Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forget proof -- we have a theory

In an amazing article (although I should know by now not to be amazed), Reuters reports on a "startling" new theory about why the Vikings left Greenland in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Guess what, the departure was most likely caused by a major cooing of the climate. Scientists have drilled cores in Greenland ice that tells them that in the mid 1200's the temperature started cooling and eventually went down by four degrees Celsius (according to the article). Not surprisingly, the farms in the area were unable to grow sufficient crops to sustain the Vikings through the much harsher and longer winters being experienced, so they left.

This cooling coincides with the end of what is called the Medieval Warm Period. It lasted until about 1300 and then came a much cooler mini-ice age that continued until about 1800. Since that time, the earth has been warming steadily. Although we have records showing two hundred years of warming with much of it prior in time to any of the human activities that are now being blamed for global warming, many "scientists" are still claiming that man is causing global warming. Indeed, even though Reuters is reporting on evidence that severely undercuts the man-made global warming theory, it cannot end the article there. The last paragraph of the Reuters article reads as follows:

"Scientists fear that the 21st century warming is caused by climate change, stoked by a build-up of greenhouse gases from human activities. An acceleration of warming could cause a meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, raising world sea levels."

Reuters cannot bring itself to point out that there was a warm period that lasted from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries followed by a cooling period that also lasted 600 years all of which had nothing to do with human activity and all of which undercuts the global warming theory. Instead, it reports the evidence but then announces the contrary conclusion.

Oh well!

Time for a breather about 2012

It seems that the media just cannot help itself. They have to write about the 2012 presidential race and discuss who is ahead and who is behind. The real truth is that there is not much of a race going on yet. The media is just rying to stir things up so that they can have something easy to write about. We are just ending May of the year prior to the election. There are oodles of time left for a candidate to push to success or fall from the heights. I went back to 1991 to look at numbers in May of that year and found that George H.W. Bush had an approval rating of 75% in May of that year. Presidential candidate Bill Clinton had the support of 1% of all Democrats who were polled in California and Florida during that same month. That's right, Clinton was totally unknown and had no support and Bush looked completely unstoppable.

Four years ago at this time, the inevitable race between front runners Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton was shaping up in the press. We all remember how that race went.

The point is that most of the speculation about presidential candidates is unimportant since very, very few people are yet paying attention. I realize that I too have talked about the shape of the race, but enough is enough. There is just too much that the USA has to deal with for us to be distracted with the nonsense of campaigning a year and a half before the election.


It is difficult to ignore the latest alleged episode of a politician caught sending lewd photos of himself on social media. Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York allegedly tweeted such a picture to a woman who had sent out a tweet about Weiner being her boyfriend a few weeks ago. Now I say "alleged" since Weiner claims that he did not send the photo but that his Facebook account was hacked and used to Tweet the suggestive photo. Of course, the hacker also sent copies of the photo to all 50,000 people who follow Weiner's tweets. Weiner managed to find out about the hacking in just under 4 minutes and to delete all photos and history in his account. Amazingly, the woman who got the tweet also deleted all her photos immediately. Oh, and Weiner who normally wants the government to do everything no matter what the problem decided not to call in the police when the security of his accounts was allegedly breached. Why would a US Congressman care that his internet accounts were hacked? After all, Congressmen have no secrets, right? No need to call security, right?

When Congressman Lee of New York was discovered to have sent a shirtless photo of himself to someone on Craigs List, he resigned and the media played it up as a big deal. Now that Weiner has allegedly sent pictures of his own weiner to someone on Twitter, certain media in Weiner's own city cannot be bothered to even cover the story. Could it be because Weiner is a Democrat and a political ally of the New York Times? Allegedly.

The real truth is that if I were on a jury and had to rule on the evidence presented so far, I would find that Weiner is lying and covering up his attempting to cheat on his new wife. Allegedly.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The wonders of internet advertising

Over the last week, the Obama campaign has been consistently advertising on my blog. Given my view of the president which is best expressed by the tag line "Obama has got to go!", I think it interesting that the Google computers that determine where to place ads have put the ones for Obama here. As I understand the process, Google places ads next to subject matter that discusses the same subjects as those covered by the ad. As a result of this process, I get a lot of ads about investing in oil and gas, selecting municipal bonds and a batch of political ads as well. Each time someone clicks on an ad, a charge is added to the account of the person placing the ad. In other words, one pays for ads based upon a small charge for the number of people who see it and a much larger charge for the number of people who click on it. It does not make much sense for Google to place the Obama ads here, since I doubt there are too many of his fans who read this blog.

Bad Ideas -- even for Paul Krugman

In his latest column in the New York Times, Paul Krugman is promoting ideas to cut unemployment. First, of course, he laments that "fact" that no one cares about the unemployed and reducing their numbers. He points out the the Obama administration is doing nothing to cut unemployment. He then dismisses Republican calls to lower taxes and regulation to spur the economy as just meaningless "rituals". Of course, this is Krugman talk for saying that he disagrees with them. Then we get to the point of the piece. Here are Krugman's ideas for lowering unemployment:

"[W]e could have W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads — which would also, by raising incomes, make it easier for households to pay down debt. We could have a serious program of mortgage modification, reducing the debts of troubled homeowners. We could try to get inflation back up to the 4 percent rate that prevailed during Ronald Reagan’s second term, which would help to reduce the real burden of debt."

Let's look at these three ideas. First, he wants to expand government employment dramatically with those shovel ready projects that were supposed to be part of the Stimulus package. Of course, we found with the Stimulus that there just were not enough of these projects to make much difference. In other words, the plan sounds nice, but it does not and cannot work. Second, Krugman wants those who could not pay for their mortgages to be forgiven much of their debt. This would cause hundreds billions of dollars of losses to the banking industry and it would reward many who borrowed over their heads to acquire homes that they could not afford. Oh, and it would not create even one job. So, Krugman's plan would further damage the already shaky banking system without helping lower unemployment, the purported reason for the plan. Third, Krugman wants to ramp up inflation further in order to help people pay off their debts. Inflation is an insidious destroyer of prosperity for many, particularly those who live on fixed incomes. So those retired elderly folks who live off of social security and their pensions would see their real incomes decline. So would those who own bonds or real estate. In other words, a big chunk of the populace would have lower real incomes and would spend less, thereby reducing economic activity. Further, those who work would also see their real purchasing power reduced. A salary of $50,000 per year would be worth only $48,000 if there were 4% inflation as Krugman wants. Nevertheless, since there is such high unemployment, the likelihood that raises would keep up with inflation is low, so these employed folks would also cut their expenditures and further decrease economic activity. The end result is likely higher unemployment, not the creation of more jobs.

Of course, unlike Krugman, I never won the Nobel Prize for economics. Nevertheless, I do know a ridiculous scheme when I see one. Krugman should be ashamed to have proposed such nonsense and the New York Times should know better than to put it out there into the public discourse.

The Obama Media Campaign continues.

In recent weeks there has been a spate of bad economic news. Growth in GDP has been anemic and below expectations. New unemployment claims have risen on a consistent basis to levels not seen since last fall. Unemployment has risen and is likely to go higher. Home sales have produced figures that were strikingly poor. So what is the answer of the mainstream media? Simple: the media is now looking for and announcing things in the data that indicate that the future recovery will be better than expected. A good example is a piece in the Los Angeles Times called "Positive Signs in Anemic US Recovery". You can view the article by clicking on the title to this post.

The truth is that the article is unintentionally humorous. The reporters in this "news" piece say that lower consumer spending may be slowing economic growth, but it is leading to people saving more and paying down their debt to more manageable levels. Banks are also not lending as easily to folks seeking loans, so this will reduce the risk of bad loans. Even though Obama took repeated steps that were supposed to increase bank lending so as to help the economy, the article says that the reduced lending is due to government action. (In other words, if the Obama efforts led to increased lending it would be good, but if those efforts fail it is also good.) The article also points out the debacle in the housing industry and the huge number of foreclosed properties that have to sold off to restore growth to the economy. According to the authors, the total failure of the Obama programs to keep people in their homes will help the economy since it will let the overhang of foreclosed properties be sold off sooner that otherwise would be the case. The reporters also point to the battle in Washington about cutting federal spending as a good thing for the economy since it will result in a lower federal deficit in the future. Of course, they credit that battle to Obama, even though he is the one who has fought against it the strongest. There's more, but you get the picture.

So, here is the final view of the authors: Obama is doing well for the economy since he has put in place programs to help that have failed. Each of those failures has done much to make the future recovery stronger when it comes. Indeed, the actions by the Republicans to try to correct the worst spending excesses of Obama will help according to the reporters, but the credit for all that goes to Obama.

Hopefully, you can see the humor in this. Of course, for those out there who still trust the media, it is not humorous, just sad.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Voter Identification -- the Times continues the nonsense

There is apparently no news of importance this Memorial Day weekend. The top article on the front page of the Sunday New York Times is about how Republicans are passing laws that require photo ID's for voters in various states. According to Democrats (and the Times), this is an effort at surpressing the votes of minorities. This can only be described charitably as BS. Those with keener insight would see that this effort by Democrats and their allies in the media is actually an effort to try to bind minorities more tightly to the Democrat party. Think of it this way. The average minority voter has a drivers license that can easily be used as a phote ID for voting. These changes in the law will have nothing to do with that voter. But now, the Democrats come forward and claim (falsely) that the Republicans are trying to disenfranchise poor blacks and other minorities. Oh, those evil Republicans! Minorities have to stay with the Democrats or they will find themselves back in the Jim Crow South (the Times actually uses the analogy).

Here's the truth: Anyone who wants to enter the headquarters of the New York Times in Manhattan must present a photo identification. The same is true if you want to enter the Hearst building or the offices of every other media company in NYC. If the Times can require a photo ID just to walk down the corridors of its building, why is it suddenly racist to put the same safeguards in place for voting to select the leaaders of our country? simple answer: it is not!

When the New York Times opens its building to anyone regardless of ID, then it can speak about election requirements. After all, it is a lot more important who gets to vote than it is who gets to enter the halls of a dying newspaper.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Krugman Comes Through

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is out with a column that you just knew he would write. Accroding to Krugman, the Democrat charges that the Ryan budget plan would change Medicare as we know it are correct. That means that the Democrats, according to Krugman, are telling the truth and are not demogogues. Well, as Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!"

Krugman has pulled a classic Obama move. Instead of addressing the question of what should be done with Medicare, Krugman instead picks something that is not disputed and announces it as if he is resolving some great dispute. It is a classic straw man move. The real truth is that Medicare as we know it is going to be changed. It cannot survive in its present form. IT is just too damn expensive. Everyone agrees with that. Let me restate that: everyone with at least half a brain agrees with that.

Ryan has come forth with a plan that changes the program to one that gives vouchers for purchase of private insurance. It operates in the same way that the prescription drug portion of the current Medicare program functions; as a result, seniors are already familiar with how a program of this sort works.

For their part, the Democrats and Obama have offered no plan for the future of Medicare. Obama did give a speech in which he called for saving half a trillion dollars of waste and fraud in the system, but this is the same half a trillion dollars that he claimed would be used to finance Obamacare. That means that it cannot be used again for another purpose. Even the great Obama cannot spend the same dollar twice (although he seems never to give up on trying to do so.) Obama's only other suggestion was to set up a rationing board of 15 unelected supervisors for Medicare. These folks will decide which people get which sort of treatment. In other words, we are back to the original Obama prescription for Medicare, "Sometimes you have to just tell Grandma to take the pain pill."

Krugman and his ilk can wrap themselves in this deception as much as they like. If the American people come to realize that Medicare cannot survive in it current form, it will be the greatest disaster the modern Democratic party has ever faced. But hey, that's just my opinion and, unlike Krugman or Obama,I never won the Nobel Prize.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Democrats go back to their roots

In many ways, the loss by the Democrats of their majority in the House of Representatives has been very liberting for them. It has allowed them to ignore the responsibility of governing and has let them go back to their roots and vote the way they want to. Today's vote on an amendment regarding the war in Afghanistan is a good example of this. All but eight Democrats in the House voted to pass an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would have required development of an accelerated plan to take US forces out of Afghanistan. Were the president a Republican, we would hear how this represented a vote of no confidence in the policy of the administration. Of course, since Obama is a Democrat, we will never hear that explanation from the media. The truth, however, is that the vote is truly amazing. About 95% of all the Democrats in the House voted for a change to the Afghan policy being followed by the leader of their party, president Obama.

It seems that no matter what the conflict, the Democrats just want it to end whether or not the US wins or loses. We all can recall Harry Reid declaring the Iraq war lost. Indeed, we all can recall then senator Obama announcing that the surge in Iraq was a futile effort that would only mean higher casualties with no path to victory. That is the basic mindset of the Democrats. Still, it amazes me that with Obama as president, the Democrats still want to undercut the US war effort.

A chance to buy low -- Gasfrac

I have often written about Gasfrac Energy Services (GFS:CA or GSFVF on the pink sheets). Gasfrac is a small Canadian company that performs competions of gas and oil wells in shale using liquified propane gas rather than water as is commonly used in hydrofracking. The company is growing quickly. It is limited mainly by a lack of the specialized equipment that it needs rather than by any shortage of work. The future program of equiipment deliveries is sufficient so that revenues should be more than three times in 2012 what they will be in 2011, and 2011 will be more than three times what they were in 2010. Further, since Gasfrac supplies the solution to the issue of pollution stemming from hydrofracking, there will be great pressure to expand the use of its proprietary process. I will not repeat all of my prior discussion of this stock; you can look back at my prior posts for that.

The point of today's post about Gasfrac is to point out the present opportunity. Right now, the stock is trading at 10.25 Canadian or 10.47 US. It is down today on very low volume. In the next month, Gasfrac ought get a full listing on the TSX. That should open up the company to a batch of new investors who cannot buy stocks listed only on the exchanges where Gasfrac is right now. As the year progresses we will see earnings reports that should show enormous increases in revenue with concomitant increases in profits as well. Nothing is certain when investing, but Gasfrac is one of the biggest bargains I have seen for a long time.

DISCLOSURE: I remain long GasFrac stock.

How can this be a partisan issue?

The Supreme Court ruled today on the propriety of Arizona's law that requires businesses that get authority to operate in the state to use the federal e-verify system to make sure that prospective employees have valid social security numbers as a condition to hiring those employees. The majority ruled that while Congress did not make the e-verify program mandatory for use by all businesses in the country, it also did not pre-empt the individual states from requiring use of e-verify in connection with a matter like granting licenses to do business which are in the purview of the state governments.

This explanation from the Supreme Court seems straightforward and correct to me. What surprises me, however, is that the decision was not unanimous, but rather it was 5 to 3 (Justice Kagan did not participate). The three in the minority were the liberal wing of the Court. I have not yet been able to read the full decision, but the description of the dissent in news articles (which admittedly are often wrong) indicates that the basis for the dissent was strange indeed. Justice Sotomayor was of the view that since Congress had the chance to make e-verify mandatory across the nation and did not do so means that an individual state cannot do so. That opinion would overrule centuries of cases that deal with the supremacy clause of the Constitution. Simply put, the Supremacy Clause has been held to mean that if Congress takes action in an area with the clear intent to exclude any action by states in the area, then the federal law pre-empts any state attempt to take action of any sort in that area. Here, Justice Sotomayor wants to change the standard to be that if Congress considers an area, states are precluded from acting in that area, whether or not Congress intended to pre-empt state action. In other words, Sonia wants to rewrite two hundred years of jurisprudence.

Justice Breyer dissented on the grounds that the system is too prone to errors to allow states to use it without adding protection aginst errors. Somehow, there must be more to his opinion. I do not believe that even Breyer would just impose legislative requirements on states when there is no basis to do so.

What I find most annoying, however, about this decision is that it seems that the three liberal judges are just acting against Arizona for political purposes. No judge who followed the constitution could come to the opinions of the dissent in my opinion. There is just no basis for these dissents. It is sad that the Court has been reduced to a mini-legislature.

Here's the Real Problem

McClatchy is reporting today a statement by Congressman Clyburn of South Carolina in which he says that the problems faced by president Obama are due to racism. As Clyburn puts it, "the fact of the matter is, the president's problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin."

This is truly sad. Clyburn is part of the leadership of the Democrats in the House. If he truly believes that opposition to Obama is based upon racism, then he will not look critically at the important issues facing the country. Obama's position will just be taken as correct and his opponents will be labelled racists. On the other hand, if Clyburn does not believe what he says, then he is using charges of racism for political gain. That is the lowest of the low. The sad thing is that either way, the country loses.

It is time for the Obamacrats to realize that many of the things that Obama wants may not be in the best interests of the USA. These issues must be examined on their merits, not on the skin color of their proponents. We have followed the Obama prescription for getting the economy to generate jobs again since Obama took office. It has not worked well. That is a fact, and it is not any less true because the person writing these words is of one race or another. Those who want to change the American policies with regard to the economy are not racist; they are simply trying to improve things here.

The hope in 2008 was that Obama's election would get us all past the fact of racism in our past. Instead, we have moved into an age where charges of racism are thrown out there with regularity for purposes of political gain. It was change that dashed hope.

Economic Statistics bring more gloom

The weekly report of new unemployment claims was released at 8:30 and it is hard to see anything but gloom in the numbers. For the record, the Labor Department says that there were 424,000 new claims last week. This is 10,000 higher than the week before. The key, however, is not the specific number. Instead, the important point here is that for the last five weeks the number has been higher than 400,000. Economists disagree whether the number has to get to lower than 375,000 or 400,000 for there to be net job growth in the economy. Under either assumption, however, there is unlikely to be any net growth in the number of jobs in the economy. That is bad news when it continues for as long as five weeks in a row.

Of course, it is not hard to see why job growth is stalling. Growth in the economy was under 2% in the first quarter, a result that the government just reaffirmed today. At that level of growth, there just are not enough jobs created to bring down unemployment. Indeed, all of these numbers indicate that when the May unemployment level is released, logically it should show a rise over last month.

It will be hard for the media to spin this as good news. We keep hearing how things are getting better. To a great extent, however, these stories should appear under the headline "Pay No Attention To the Man behind the Curtain!!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where does it all come from?

In the last two days, I have received phone calls from Ari Fleischer inviting me to stay on the line for a live town hall meeting, from Dick Morris whose rep said that he was taking a poll and then played me a taped message from Morris advertising his latest book, from The Republican Victory Coalition which said it wanted my opinion (but when I asked that they tell me what they wanted to know rather than reading me a prepared message, they hung up), from the Gingrich campaign, from people raising funds for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and from two charities that wanted me to write fund raising letters for them. That was just the phone calls. There were more e-mails than calls, but you get the picture.

This barrage of calls set me to wondering where do they all come from. Why did they target me today? Was it something I said or just a coincidence? Did some orgainization sell my info? How could the DSCC and the Republican Victory coalition both call me?

I also wonder if it is this intense now, what will it be like next year?

The Iranian nuclear program

Yesterday, the news was out that the international agency which oversees nuclear non-proliferation matters had announced that Iran had put a new batch of centrifuges to work in its nuclear program. The strange thing about the news was that many of those reporting it professed surprise at hearing that Iran was expanidning its program to get nuclear weapons. It was almost as if the news people had gone along with the view that since the Obama administration was doing next to nothing about Iran's development of nuclear weapons, then there must be no such program.

Well, Surprise!!!! Whether or not Obama choses to bury his head in the sand and ignore the Iranian nuclear program, that program is going forward. Very soon, we will be looking at an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. When that happens, the world will have changed forever. We will all be able to thank Barack Obama for that.

Where's the savings

With all of the recent discussions about Medicare since the Ryan budget proposal was passed by the House, I think it is time that we list certain agreed principles that cover that program.

1) Medicare in its present form is going broke. It will run out of money in something between 5 and 15 years.

2) If no change is made to the Medicare system, those people alive in 2020 will have a system that will be drastically different from the one in place today.

3) There is a great deal of waste and fraud in the current system. There is at least a half a trillion dollars of waste and fraud that will hit the system over the next decade.

That's all that has been agreed, but there is no question that these three propositions are correct. So what does that mean for the current debate?

1) All the talk about how the Ryan plan ends Medicare as we know it is correct. Medicare as we know it will be gone in a few years no matter what anyone does and no matter what plan is adopted.

2) Obama and the Obamacrats have said repeatedly that they want to use the savings from ending waste and fraud in Medicare to fund Obamacare. In fact, they legislated exactly that as the basis for Obamacare.

3) President Obama now says that he wants to use the same savings from waste and fraud in Medicare to save the Medicare system. the problem is that this savings has already been spent for Obamacare and cannot be used twice.

4) Since the Obamacare law was signed about a year and a quarter ago, there should have been about $60 billion of waste and fraud eliminated from Medicare if Obama were doing his job and administering the plan to eliminate that waste and fraud. In actual fact, since Obamacare was signed, the amount of waste and fraud eliminated from Medicare is ZERO!!!

So here is the final conclusion: The Democrats are talking about saving Medicare as we know it when they know full well that it cannot be done. Further, Obama talks about eliminating waste and fraud but he does absolutely nothing about it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In case there was any doubt

Since he gave his speech on the Middle East, president Obama has falsely claimed that he was misquoted about his statement on Israel's borders. Then he said, again falsely, that his position was nothing new. Then the White House tried to spin the polite reception that the president got at AIPAC as proof that his remarks were no big deal. Now, it has come to Harry Reid, of all people, to put the lie to Obama's claims.

Reid spoke at AIPAC and said this:

“The place where negotiating will happen must be at the negotiating table – and nowhere else...Those negotiations … will not happen – and their terms will not be set – through speeches, or in the streets, or in the media.”

For those who do not speak Reid's language let me translate. Reid is saying that Obama's call for negotiations to be based upon Israel's 1967 borders was not a wise idea. Reid says that the parties to the negotiations should decide the outcome at such negotiations, not the president of the United States in a speech. Reid's speech also means that the spin put forward since the speech that Jews who contribute to and vote for the Democrats were no upset with Obama is phony. Everything Reid says and does is seen through the lens of politics. His statements to AIPAC are a clear indication of the level of panic hitting the Democrats over Obama's sticking his foot in his mouth on this issue.

The state budget surpluses

In an amazing group of articles over the last week, we have heard that in many of the states that have slashed bloated budgets, there will be surpluses for the next year since revenues have recovered a bit from their recent lows. According to the articles, the pressure is now on the various legislatures to restore the cuts that were made. This gives rise to a question of national importance: Will we ever learn our lesson? Will we ever come to understand as a country that there are limits on what government can do?

The point is a simple one. The states and local governments were in way over their heads when the revenue stream tanked in 2008. The problems was not just lost revenue; it was also excess spending. When the revenue returns, the result should not be retroactive raises for state employees or new funding for failed programs. Excess revenue should be used to promote economic growth within the state, and that can best be done by lowering taxes within that state or paying off debt undertaken by the state.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Investing in natural gas.

The American energy profile is changing and, unless the Obama administration does something to mess it up, there will inevitably be a major move towards natural gas as the energy of choice. The market forces are simply too great for the change to not take hold, so the question arises as to how one can invest to best take advantage of this. My answer is to focus on companies in the Marcellus shale play and further on service companies like GasFrac Energy Service that fill a particular need in the field.

In order to understand why the Marcellus is the place to be, you need to consider certain key facts. First, the Marcellus is located in the Northeast, so gas from this field is less expensive to transport to the markets in that area. Second, the wells in the Marcellus have, for the moment, the lowest cost per unit of gas produced in the country. Third, even though the Marcellus production has been growing rapidly for a few years now, the major oil companies are still hanging back waiting to see if the gas produced there remains economical. Right now, petroleum is rought five times more expensive than an amount of natural gas that produces the same energy. When the uncertain outlook for natural gas prices firms up, the majors will be rushing in to try to grab reserves in the Marcellus.

So which E&P companies in the Marcellus do I recommend? My first choice is Range Resources (symbol RRC). Range is second in Marcellus based production behing Chesapeake Energy(symbol CHK). Chesapeake, however, has assets all over the country including a mix of gas and oil production. Range Resources has focused on the Marcellus; it has even sold off its other assets in order to put all of its investments into the Marcellus. If the Marcellus takes off, Range Resources will fly high enough to go into orbit.

My second choice in the Marcellus is Rexx Energy (symbol REXX). Rexx is a much smaller company, but it too is focused on the Marcellus. Range Resources has the advantage over Rexx that the RRC wells have more natural gas liquids in them. Nevertheless, Rexx has the potential to do quite well once the Marcellus takes off.

The service companies that I like include two in particular: Gasfrac Energy Services (symbol GFS:ca or GSFVF on the pin sheets) and Penn Virginia Resource Partners (symbol PVR). PVR is bulding natural gas pipeline systems in the Marcellus that ought to have a major positive
effect on earnings in the next twelve months. The bulk of the company is either involved with managing coal mines or pipeline operations that are not in the Marcellus, but the increased earnings that should come from the Marcellus should be sufficient to move the stock. While you wait, you can collect a hefty dividend of about 7.5%.

Gasfrac is a stock about which I have ofter written. At the moment, Gasfrac does no work in the Marcellus, so why do I include it here? Gasfrac has the answer to all of the environmental issues raised by the opponents of hydraulic fracturing, the process that makes the development of the Marcellus possible. It is growing at the moment so rapidly that the only thing holding GasFrac back is the amount of equipment it can have built to do the work and the number of people it can train to carry out the jobs.

At some point in the near future, Congress will take up the NAT GAS act. That law would provide major incentives for people to switch from gasoline to natural gas to power vehicles. It would also promote the construction of filling stations capable of servicing cars powered by nat gas. Unlike the nonsense thrown about Washington with regard to electric cars, a move to natural gas is inevitable since it is a move that makes economic sense as well as environmental sense. Look at it this way: the utility companies that generate electric power in America have mover their power plants so that only about 1% of all electricity comes from oil fired facilities. Nearly a quarter of all electric power now comes from natural gas powered facilities. The same thing will happen for vehicles once the initial logjam is broken.

Buyng a basket of the stocks mentioned above should pay off well in the next 12 to 18 months.

Disclosure: I am long all of the stocks mentioned in this article. Natural gas is one of my heaviest concentrations.

Note: As usual, you should do your own due dilligence before investing in any of these companies. Keep in mind also, that the movement in these stocks is not one for the short term. There will be ups and downs. As the natural gas industry develops the Marcellus, however, the upward motion should take over.

Marcellus Shale gets good press

For a long time, I have been writing about American natural gas. This fuel is abundant, domestic and inexpensive. It is cleaner than coal or oil based fuels. The USA has enough to meet all of its energy needs for something like a century or more. In short, natural gas is the wave of the future for America. There inevitably will be natural gas cars, natural gas trucks, more natural gas electricity generation and, indeed, natural gas everything else.

The abundance of American natural gas is the direct result of the extraction of gas from shale formations around the country. The biggest of these formations is the Marcellus Shale which lies under Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia together with minor parts of other states. The Marcellus is pushing the economic performance of Pennsylvania in ways that the rest of the country can only hope for. (At the same time, New York which has banned drilling, is in the midst of yet another budget crisis.)

The Washington Times published a lengthy and informative article about the effect of the Marcellus on Western Pennsylvania. You can reach it by clicking on the title to this post. It is well worth reading.

Spin Does not change the facts --2

Over the weekend, president Obama spoke before a crowd at AIPAC, the main political arm of those in the USA who support Israel. Not surprisingly, Obama tried to "explain" his speech calling for the 1967 lines as the starting place for negotiations. In his usual way, Obama started with a straw man. (I would call it a lie, but he is president of the USA, so I will use that euphemism.)

"There was nothing particularly original in my proposal; this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations. Since questions have been raised, let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday -- not what I was reported to have said. I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state."

So Obama starts by claiming he was misquoted. Of course, that is untrue. His words were repeated verbatim, and it is those words that led to the uproar.

Obama then goes on to repeat and reinforce the worst of what he said in his speech. When he spoke last week, he called for a contiguous Palestinian state. I was prepared to overlook that statement as just another misstatement by Obama, but after the uproar about the statement he repeated it to AIPAC. Let's be clear what a contiguous Palestinian state means: The 1967 lines had two separate areas of Arab control which were the West Bank and Gaza. If these two are joined so that there is a contiguous Palestinian state, it means that Israel must be cut into two pieces. If the 1967 lines are considered indefensible by the Israelis, just image how much worse it would be if there were also a corridor of Palestinian land across Israel from which an attack could be mounted.

After repeating his position, Obama has the audacity to say that this has been the basis for negotiations for many years. So tell me, where is the quote where any American president, even Jimmy Carter, said that the 1967 lines should be the starting place for negotiations? Obviously, if this is nothing new, the people who write what Obama reads off of his Teleprompter could have put in at least one quote from a former president. They did not and they could not since no president has ever said this before.

Hopefully, the American people and particularly those who support Israel will not be taken in by Obama's lies. America deserves a president who has the audacity to tell the truth.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spin does not change facts

The media this weekend is filled with stories about reactions to the president's speech on the middle east, particularly his call for Israel to negotiate a Palestinian state based upon the 1967 borders. The media has trotted out the "useful idiots", who in this case are Jews who want to minimize what Obama has done. Jeffrey Goldberg writing in the Atlantic says that Obama's position is nothing new; in fact, it has been around for at least 12 years according to Goldberg. Various people at the DNC are telling the media that most Jews who contribute to the Democrats have said that they will continue on as before. Other Jewish liberal commentators have said Obama should be praised for offering such a clear vision of peace in the Middle East. (I think this last group must be on drugs.)

The key to all this talk, however, is a story that comes out of Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority has announced that it is prepared to resume negotiations with Israel, but only if Israel first agrees to the 1967 borders as the basis for a Palestinian state. Let's explore this a bit further. Obama announces that the 1967 borders should be the basis for negotiation. This is the first time an American president has ever said this (Goldberg can write what he wants in the Atlantic -- he is just plain wrong.) Now the Palestinians have the perfect situation. They do not have to negotiate anything with Israel to get the 1967 borders; they just say that it is a precondition and wait for the US to pressure the Israelis to comply. Put another way, the Palestinians get the borders they want without even having to agree to Israel's right to exist or an end to hostilities. That is the kind of peace agreement that Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler in Munich in 1938; Britain and France forced the Czechs to give up the Sudetenland in exchange for Hitler's promise of peace, but the Czechs got nothing in return. That peace, of course ended a few months later when the Germans took the rest of Czechoslovakia without so much as a peep out of the rest of the world.

My guess is that what we are seeing here is major damage control by the Obamacrats. I find it hard to believe that Jews who support Israel could watch Obama do all of this damage and then go on contributing to his re-election campaign. Oh, there will be some who will keep contributing, but I believe that this constituency, like unions, will give much less to the Obamacrats this time than in 2008. Indeed, if there is a big enough response to the Obama speech that it becomes apparent that Obama made a major foreign policy mistake, it could become a tsunami that will carry Jewish support away from Obama.

Obama got over 70% of the Jewish vote in 2008. A swing to just 50-50 in 2012 would make it much harder for Obama to win again in Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A drop off in political contributions might also put a mjor crimp in the Obama effort. Let's hope so.

Obama has got to go.

Daniels is out

In a decision which surprised me, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels decided not to run for president. The reason given by Daniels is the stress that a presidential run would put on his family. That is really sad. Daniels would have made a good candidate in my opinion. He has experience, a proven record of being able to handle difficult issues with tact and poise and a lack of the imperial cult of personality that afflicts Obama. He might have brought some common sense back to Washington.

With Daniels out the media is now annointing Romney as the front runner. This is bogus. Romney is well known by the GOP primary electorate and he is polling in low double digits. That does not make him the front runner; it makes him the least objectionable candidate with high name recognition. The media seems to be confusing fund raising with political appeal.

Daniels departure in fact does more to promote the candidacy of Tim Pawlenty than that of any other candidate. Pawlenty will now occupy the more moderate side of the conservative area essentially alone. Romney is stuck with his reputation for changing views with the prevailing political winds. He will not be invited to the Tea Party. Gingrich has managed to destroy any chance he had for the nomination in a single week. Santorum, Johnson and Paul are in the weird fringe; they cannot win a general election and that means that they cannot win the nomination. Palin has made some additional noises about running, but I still do not believe she will run. Further, she also cannot win, so I doubt she will be nominated. Bachmann will probably run, and she will occupy the most conservative side of the conservative area. She has a chance for the nomination. She can win in Iowa and South Carolina, two of the first three battles. Still, I do not see her winning in Florida or any of the large states that follow in short order after that. Huntsman is toying with getting in, and he will probably do so. Here's a point that I never thought I would make: Huntsman will split the Mormon vote with Romney. Seriously, however, it is hard to believe that a man that most thought too liberal in 2009 will now take the nomination after having been part of the Obama administration for two years. That leaves Cain. Strangely, he may vault over the others and become a true contender. Republicans normally go with experience, and Cain has none in government. But this may be the year when things change.

With all of this swirling around, the pressure on Chris Christie to run has increased. The same is true with regard to Rick Perry and Jeb Bush. It would not surprise me if six months from now one or all of these folks were in the race. It may depend to a great extent on who is leading the pack at that time.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What was the reason?

The furious reaction to the call by president Obama for Israel to negotiate a Palestinian state based upon the 1967 lines is not surprising. No one in his right mind would expect the Israelis to go back to borders which cannot be defended. Nor is there any reason for the Israelis to go beyond what the UN Security council determined in Resolution 242 passed after the Six Day War. Israel can certainly be asked to give up land for a Palestinian state so long as that Palestinian state is not devoted to the destruction of Israel. There can be negotiation about the size and shape of the state once the arabs give up their goal of destroying Israel. Indeed, in 1999, the Israelis offered Yassir Arafat close to the entire West Bank and Gaza for a state and even offered to let the Palestinians control the key Muslim sites in Jerusalem. Arafat, of course, refused the offer and launched a terror campaign instead.

Nothing that I just wrote is unknown to Obama or his advisors. They had to know that his statement would anger the Israelis. They had to know that the speech would lead to Prime Minister Netanyahu explaining why the president's demand was untenable. They had to know that the rest of Obama's speech would be lost in the shuffle once the issue of Israel's future borders was injected into the mix. They had to know that giving the speech would actually work against the possibility of peace; after all, the Palestinians can hardly now ask for less than the 1967 borders since Obama has already said he is for those borders.

So the question remains, what was the reason for the president's statements on the border? There are a few possibilities: First, the president and his advisors are inept and did not know what the likely response would be. Second, the president suffers from hubris and believes that if he makes demands in a speech, the entire world, including Israel, will tremble and submit. Third, the president is trying to take the focus off of Syria and Assad killing his own people so that the pressure for US involvement in that country will abate. Fourth, the president is trying to make friends with the Muslim Brotherhood and others in the arab street. Fifth, the presidnt is trying to oust Netanyahu from office by embarrassing him. Sixth, the president was angry that prime minister Netanyahu was invited to address Congress so Obama was trying to upstage that appearance. Last, under the president's ideology, Israel is an oppressor of the poor downtrodden Palestinian people and Obama was doing what he could to help those poor souls.

While this may seem strange, I believe that the second reason is actually what is occuring. Obama is totally self absorbed. Every time he speaks, it is about Obama more than about the USA. Just look at his speeches about how the Seals got Osama bin Laden. To hear Obama, he did everything but fly the helicopter that put the seal team into the bin Laden compound. Beyond this, Obama clearly thinks that if he says something, it will surely come to pass. Remember this gem: "If you like the plan and the doctor you have now, you can keep it under my plan!" How many times did we hear Obama repeat this even though it clearly is not true. Was he just lying to the American people? Or, is it possible that Obama thought that if he said it often enough, it would become correct?

The problem faced by America today is that we have a president who seems to believe that he has supernatural powers. He does not, of course, Indeed, if Obama has a super power, it seems to be super incompetence. Think of how he handled the gulf oil spill. Think of how long he took to decide on how to proceed in Afghanistan. Think of how he let Pelosi and Reir write his stimulus bill and turn it into a payoff to Democrat constituent groups rather than a method to help jump start the economy. Think of the way he closed Guantanamo (oh wait, he didn't). There's a lot more, but you get the picture by now.

I truly hope that there is some subtle and thoughtful reason why Obama chose to blow up any remaining chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and to destroy whatever trust remained between his administration and the Israelis. If that reason exists, however, it is way too subtle for me to see it. Sadly, I believe that the president is more delusional than insightful; more proud than smart; and more conceited than level headed. It is a disaster for America.

Obama has got to go!!!!

Even in the Business Section the Times cannot tell the truth

The New York Times business section contains a lengthy article about auto manufacturing in the USA. Basiclaly the article contrasts Livonia, Michigan with Georgetown, Kentucky. Livonia has lost auto related employment at a drastic rate in the last decades. Georgetown has picked up a Toyota plant and a host of related industries. Livonia is dying while Georgetown is booming. The Times points out that Toyota located itself in the South as did nearly all the other foreign car companies who have set up plants in America. And what is the reason for that locational preference according to the Times? I kid you not, the Times says that Toyota went to Kentucky in order to get a "fresh start" for its facility. Apparently all of the other manufacturers were after fresh starts as well.

The real truth is that Kentucky, like the other southern states, is a right to work state. That means that a non-union company like Toyota can operate there without the weight of the state falling on it to unionize its workers. Toyota had seen the enormous costs imposed on GM, Ford and Chrysler by unionized workers, costs that gave Toyota a major advantage in the car industry. Toyota and the other companies located themselves in the South so that they could avoid having similar costs forced upon them. This is not rocket science, there are countless studies done to document the difference in costs and the corresponding competative advantage held by the foreign manufacturers.

The Times, however, cannot bring itself to mention in the article that the reason that Livonia is dying and Georgetown thriving is the union. Indeed, the Times cannot even bear to mention that some people think that the union is the reason for these different outcomes. To say the least, the Times is in denial.

The Power of Natural Gas

I write frequently about the use of American natural gas, new production methods and the bonanza of the Marcellus shale and other smaller deposits found around the country. A battle has been brewing in the Notheast about drilling methods and claimed resulting pollution. Without a doubt, the key state in that battle is Pennsylvania where the majority of the Marcellus shale is located. I have stated many times that the Republicans who control the governorship and the legislature in that state will not take steps that will kill off the drilling industry there, unlike the Democrats in New York who have put the entire drilling effort on hold. The April unemployment statistics bolster that argument. First, over 10% of all new jobs created in the USA during April were in Pennsylvania even though that state has only about 3% of the American population. Second, of the ten largest states, Pennsylvania has the lowest unemployment rate. The difference in each instance is the natural gas deposits in the Marcellus. The drilling efforts create jobs. The ongoing production also creates jobs. The royalty payments to landowners on whose land the wells are drilled creates wealth which in turn creates jobs. Indeed, estimates are that Pennsylvania will grow about 1 to 1.5% faster than the national average as a result of this natural gas industry within its borders. In these times of difficult state finances, it is very unlikely that the GOP in Pennsylvania will turn off drilling and accept the resulting financial crisis.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Don't We deserve a President with at least Minimal Competence?

It has now become clear that the reaction from essentially everyone in the Middle East to yesterday's big speech by Obama is anger. The Israelis are angry that Obama broke the written agreement that they made with the USA in 2004 at the time of the withdrawal from Gaza. At that time the US agreed that it would support borders for Israel based upon negotiations between the parties and would not call for a return to the 1967 lines. The Palestinians are angry because of what Obama had to say about Jerusalem, among other things. The reaction is similar from essentially everyone else mentioned in the speech.

Presidents do not give speeches in a vacuum. Normally, before a major foreign policy is announced, the government checks out the reaction of the key players in advance. Indeed, candidate Obama blasted president Bush repeatedly in 2008 for what he said was Bush's habit of acting without consulting our allies and adding their views into the mix.

With the speech yesterday, Obama moved US policy without even running the new positions by those affected in order to gauge reactions. Obama did not run the new policy by Congress either. Not even the leaders in Congress got a chance to comment on the new policy. There used to be a show on TV and radio called the Amateur Hour. That may be entertaining when the subject is singing or dancing. When it comes to foreign policy and diplomacy, however, the USA deserves better than to have its positions determined by amateurs. At the moment, we have American policy being determined on the basis of ideological beliefs of a few left wing professorial types rather than on the basis of the actual facts.

America deserves better! Obama has got to go!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Obama Speech -- Israeli reaction

In typical fashion, Obama gave his speech on the Middle East and pulled the rug out from under the US commitment to Israel's having secure borders one day prior to a meeting scheduled at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. After hearing the text of the speech, Netanyahu said prior to leaving Israel for the meeting that he expected that the US would abide by its prior commitments, approved by Congress, to Israel having secure borders rather than the indefensible ones Obama now supports.

I wish we had a president who understood the import of what he was saying. I wish we had a president who acted in the national interests of the USA. I wish we had a president that cared about the commitments made by the USA to its allies. I wish we had a president who was serious about opposing terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that have Israel as their primary target. Unfortunately, we have a president who is none of these things.

Obama has got to go.

The true colors of the Obamacrats

The Senate Democrats voted against a bill today that (1)would have required the Interior Department to act on drilling permits within 60 days of filing, and (2) would have set a prompt schedule for the auction of leases that president Obama has said should go ahead. Before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the average time for the government to review a drilling permit was six days, so the law would give the government ten times longer to review those permits. The net effect of the law would have been to speed up oild drilling from the full stop engineered by Obama. It put to the test the new commitment announced by Obama to a speed up of drilling approvals.

We now know for sure that the Obamacrats did not mean a word of what was said. It was a lie, plain and simple.

Why does Obama do it -- the Middle East Speech.

For the first two years of his presidency, Barack Obama pushed the issue of Israeli "settlements" as his pricipal concern in trying to bring peace to the region. For anyone who understands this issue, the presidents' view was both laughable and highly moronic. The bulk of Israelis living in so-called settlements are residents of Jerusalem or close suburbs of the Israeli capital. The Palestinians call any area inhabited by Jews a settlement if it is on land ruled by the Jordanians prior to 1967. Of course, from 1948 to 1967, Jerusalem was a divided city. The Israeli side was inhabited by Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Jordanian side was off limits to any Jews. That meant that Jews were barred from the holiest sites of their religion. Even the Jewish Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem was closed to Jewish inhabitants by the Jordanians. After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel took control of the entire city and officially reunited it and annexed the portions previously under Jordanian control. Since then, literally hundreds of thousands of Jews have moved into this part of the city. In the Obama view, every time one of those folks builds a home, it is a "settlement" that he wanted stopped.

So after two years of taking a stand against settlements, a ridiculous move if there ever was one, Obama has now moved forward in his positions regarding Israel. In his speech today, Obama demanded that there be a separate Palestinian state based upon the 1967 borders with some land swaps. In short, Obama adopted the Palestinian position. The Israeli position has been that the borders of a Palestinian state have to be the result of negotiations between the parties and have to allow for Israeli security. Until today, the USA had consistently said that it was up to the parties to negotiate a setllement to the border issue.

By taking the side of the Palestinians on such a basic issue, Obama is rewarding them for intransigence. The Palestinians are the ones who would never even agree to the right of Israel to exist. They have prevented any progress towards peace for years. But Obama, rather than recognizing reality, has decided to move forward with a grand gesture that hurts the Israelis but moves us no closer to peace. Obama is now advocating a state for a government led by the terorists in Hamas. that is the only fair way to understand what he said.

In short, Obama has managed once again to undercut any chance for a movement towards peace. He has harmed our allies in Israel. He has strengthened the terrorists who are retaking the Palestinian government.

Obama has got to go!

So will we hear outrage?

Princeton professor Cornel West who the media describes as a "leading black intellectual", yesterday lambasted President Obama, as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” West also said that Obama "has not been true to his race."
So West views Obama as a race traitor for getting too close to powerful white folks. Let's imagine for a moment what would happen if a "leading white intellectual" criticized House Speaker John Boehner for being too close to powerful black men and called him a race traitor. That would be the end of the career of that leading white intellectual. There would be thousands of articles floating through the mainstream media. Coverage would be non-stop. Indeed, it would be just like the 24/7 coverage that the West comments have generated. Oh wait.....there is no coverage of the West comments.

One has to wonder why it is acceptable for Cornel West to criticize Obama in harsh racist terms but it is not acceptable for a white man to do the same thing?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

If you're going to San Francisco...

The big news today in San Francisco is that in November there will be a ballot initiative to enact a law banning male circumcision for those under 18. To say the least, this is bizarre. Just imagine if there were a ballot initiative to bar abortions for those under 18. The same groups pushing for this initiative would go wild.

This must really upset Assad

I cannot believe it. The Obama administration just announced that it was imposing sanctions on Syria as a rsult of the slaughter by government forces of nearly 1000 people who dared to march to protest against the government of Bashir Assad and the Baathist party. That's right, Obama has now frozen the assets in the USA of Assad and six other people in the Syrian government. Oh, the terror that this move must inflict on the poor Syrians.

Is there anyone in Washington who actually believes that Assad or his ministers had any assets in the USA? Anything that is hidden away overseas is in some numbered account in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland in the name of a corporate front so that the connection to Assad is not even clear to the bank holding the deposits. I don't know that for sure, but hey, I am just making an educated guess.

The Baath regime in Syria is the deadliest government in the region as far as killing its own people is concerned. Sure, we have all heard about the excesses of Saddam Hussein or the mullahs in Iran or Crazy Gaddafi in Libya, but none of them used weapons of mass destruction on their own people. In the 1980's Syria used poison gas on the City of Homa when an uprising/protest broke out there. At the time, Hafez al Assad, the father of the present president was in office and Bashir was just around learning at daddy's knee. Since then, however, Bashir has allied himself with Iran, acted as a conduit for those who wanted to enter Iraq to conduct jihad against American troops, armed the terrorist Hezbollah group in Lebanon, killed the prime minister of Lebanon when he opposed Syrian influence in that country, and many other things. This paragon of peace was nevertheless looked at by the Obamacrats as a "reformer" and an important part of the peace process, even though the only peace that Assad wants for Israel is the peace of the grave. The AP described the Obamacrat view this way earlier today: "The Obama administration had pinned hopes on Assad, seen until recent months as a pragmatist and potential reformer who could buck Iranian influence and help broker an eventual Arab peace deal with Israel."

The truth is that not only have the Obamacrats misunderstood the true nature of the Syrian government, but they have also now taken an "action" against that government which will lead to laughter in Damascus. I know Obama gave the order to conduct the bin Laden raid, but isn't it time that he took action elsewhere as well?

Donna Brazile and the latest conspiracy theory

In an article in USA Today, Donna Brazile is charging that the GOP is trying to disenfranchise black voters. Why? Well, according to Brazile, the various GOP-controlled states that are enacting photo ID requirements for voters are doing so just to keep poor African Americans from voting. Not only is this pure BS, but it is a conspiracy theory designed to keep those same poor African Americans voting Democrat.

First, lets look at the actual facts. Many states have photo ID requirements at the polls. I happen to live in one: Connecticut. No one can vote here in the Nutmeg State without first presenting a photo ID. The law was passed about a decade ago to cut down the potential for vote fraud. It was not a response to a wave of phony voters; it was passed as a way to keep that wave from developing. And here's the key, it was passed in a legislature that had a two to one Democrat majority. Were those Democrats trying to depress the vote by poor blacks? Of course not. They were trying to assure the integrity of the election process. Had the legislature been one with a Republican majority (in Connecticut????) Brazile would tell us that it was a racist move designed to keep blacks from voting. But the truth is that Brazile is just playing the race card to keep African Americans firmly tied to the Democrats.

So how hard is it to present a photo ID? Well, in Connecticut we just use our driver's licenses. Sure, there are some folks who don't have those licenses (although the number is small). They can use any other ID's issued by the government. The department of motor vehicles will issue a photo ID to anyone that can be used in lieu of the driver's license as ID.

Second, let's look at reality of what Brazile is saying. Anyone who wants to fly on a commercial airplane in the USA needs a photo ID. Under Brazile's logic, that is a racist effort to keep poor blacks of the planes. Anyone who wants to enter nearly any office building in New York City needs a photo ID. Brazile would tell you that this is a racist effort to keep African Americans from getting office jobs. One cannot get into the federal or state courthouses in this area without a photo ID. Under the Brazile logic, that means that the state and federal government are trying to keep African Americans from getting justice. Perhaps we should all write to president Obama about these terrible racist acts by the federal government.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An interesting new article on GasFrac stock

Recently, Ronald Bailey, the Science reporter for Reason wrote an informative piece on hydrofracking and the various complaints against that process from the "green" groups on the left. Since the article did not address the LPG process used by GasFrac (which is the answer to every complaint about hydrofracking and the environment), I wrote to Mr. Bailey and told him about Gasfrac. Mr. Bailey has now published a followup article that discusses the Gasfrac process in detail. It is yet another way to get out the word on this exciting and environmentally beneficial process.

Anyone interested in reading the Bailey article can reach it by clicking on the title to this post.

The Pennsylvania Wastewater regulations and Gasfrac

On Thursday, new water disposal regulations go into effect in the state of Pennsylvania. Certain treatment plants in the state will no longer be permitted to accept water taken from natural gas wells following hydrofracking. The state was concerned that the dissolved salts and other minerals or chemicals in the waste water could not all be removed by the treatment facilities. Starting Friday, waste water has to either be recycled and reused or taken to other disposal locations. The principal disposal method for the fluids seems to be injection wells in Ohio. The water and dissolved materials will be injected deep into the ground at these facilities.

These changes in regulations will raise the cost of drilling in Pennsylvain for many of the E&P companies. In view of this, I have received questions asking if this change will be of any benefit to Gasfrac Energy Systems (Symbol GFS:CA or GSFVF on the Pink sheets). The simple answer in the short run is no. Gasfrac has no operations in Pennsylvania at the moment. It did complete wells there in the past, but for now, the GasFrac operations in the USA are centered in Texas. Further, Gasfrac has a backlog that ought to keep its equipment operating at full tilt over the next six months at least, so there is no excess to send to Pennsylvania. On the other hand, GasFrac will be taking delivery of four new sets of equipment next fall. If the wastewater regulation changes crate a large demand for the waterless completion services furnished by GasFrac, it may well be that some of this equipment will end up in the Keystone state. Simply put, this is yet another reason why Gasfrac remains such a compelling buy.

Gee, Thanks for sharing

The AP is breathlessly reporting that according to Hilary Clinton, president Obama thinks that eight years as president is enough. The two of them reportedly joke about those foreign leaders who try to cling to power for longer than that.

Personally, in Obama's case, I think that 2 years and four months is more than enough. Hopefully Obama will leave this week when that time expires. He has already done enough damage to last a lifetime.

Where is the Analysis

In the last few days, I have seen news anchors on a variety of networks talking about how president Obama is now pushing for expanded oil drilling in the USA. A few of these folks also spoke about how nancy Pelosi was echoing the president's call for expanded drilling. These were not just reports on the Obama media like NBC. I saw the same on more objective news shows as well. It leads me to question whether anyone actually looks at what Obama does and analyzes what he says. The answer seems to be that even though Obama has spun a large number of tall tales over the last two years, the media is still prepared to just report what he says as if he really means it and as if it beats out what he does.

Since taking office, Obama has managed to take actions which cut US oil output by about 10% below what it would have been without those actions. This has cost the country hundreds of thousands of jobs and slowed economic growth in a meaningful way. The president has done nothing that would increase energy output from either oil or natural gas. Now he has given a speech in which he called for investigating the oil industry for fraudulent practices and raising taxes on the oil companies. No one in his right mind would think that either of these moves would encourage production increases. He also called for extending the leases of companies whose drilling programs he delayed by not granting permits in a timely fashion. Again, this does not increase output, just delays. Finally he called for increased drilling in a responsible was and pledged to study how to do that. Again, this is a sound bite designed to make him look like he favors increased production while actually doing nothing to increase production by so much as one barrel. Why does the media fail to see this? It is no mystery. The American people need to have someone who will voice these truths in a way that will get coverage. Okay Pawlenty, Daniels, Romney and the rest of you. Open your mouths and tell the American people about this!

Monday, May 16, 2011

So who are the GOP candidates?

With all of the recent news, it is worth taking a look at who is in the GOP race for president, who is likely still to get in and what the prospects for each candidate are.

First we have a group that I call the retreads. These are folks who have run before and are trying again. Number one on this list is Mitt Romney. Simply put, Romney has no chance to get nominated. As late as this past weekend, Romney is still defending Romneycare, the healthcare law he signed in Massachusetts that is similar to Obamacare in many respects. The GOP primary voters will never accept this, particularly from a candidate that they did not much like last time around.

Next among the retreads is newt Gingrich. he has now put his foot so far inito his mouth that it is coming out... well, you get the picture. Gingrich has no chance for the nomination.

Next is Sarah Palin. I do not believe that Governor Palin will run. If she does run, however, she will have to hire five large trucks just to carry all the baggage that she brings with her. Indeed, since she quit the governor's post, it has seemed to me that her chances were zero.

Ron Paul also makes it into the retreads. In fairness, Paul should have his own category for candidates who live in another dimension and only visit Earth occasionally. Paul has a small but loyal following. He has no chance at the nomination.

The last of the retreads is Rudy Giuliani who has made a few noises about running. While I like Rudy, he should stay out of the race since he has no chance.

The next category is the "new faces". First in this group is former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is not a great orator and his charisma is basically non-existent. He does have a good record in Minnesota and is a reliable conservative. He is the first candidate on the list who actually has a chance to get nominated. On the other hand, unless he wins in one of the early states, Pawlenty will just drift off into the void.

Michele Bachmann is another new face. Bachmann's problem is that she seems incapable of saying thins in a way where they do not seem like strident, in-your-face stuff. A number of primary voters will look for red meat to thrown their way and Bachmann will oblige. I doubt if there are enough of those voters to get her on the ticket, however.

Herman Cain is another new face. Normally, I would write him off due to lack of experience. Republicans, unlike Democrats, actually want a president to have relevant experience. Cain's performance in the first debate, however, was strong enough to make me wait to see how he does in the future before puttinig him in the sure loser category.

Rick Santorum is a new face and a sure loser rolled into one. When Santorum lost his last race in Pennsylvania, it was a landslide against him. That pretty much tells you all that you need to know about his political skills.

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is the next new face. He has a good record in Indiana and a wealth of experience. He seems to have a lot of political skills as his past big victories show. On the down side, however, Rush Limbaugh seems to hate him. Of course, Limbaugh also disliked McCain last time and that did not stop him from getting the nomination. Still, haveing Limbaugh as a adversary is not a good way to get the GOP nomination. It is important to note, however, that the Democrats and liberal media seem to be trying really hard to discredit Daniels. That tells me that they fear him. He has a chance to get the nomination if he runs.

John Huntsman is another new face in the mix. A former governor of Utah and ambassador to China, Huntsman is an unknown. Indeed, if you said "who?" when I mentioned Huntsman, you proved this point. While stranger things have happened, a Huntsman nomination seemed highly improbable.

The last of the new faces is former governor Johnson of New Mexico. Somehow i doubt that his plan to legalize drugs will go over well with the GOP base.

The last category consists of thos not in the race who might get drafted.

First on this list is Chris Christie of New Jersey. Because of his plain spoken leadership on fiscal matters, Christie has become a favorite of many in the GOP. He has taken himself out of the running and I do not believe that he will ever get back into the fray.

Paul Ryan is another possible draft pick. Ryan is the intellectual leader of the House GOP. He says that he is considering a run for Herb Kohl's senate seat but not the presidency. i doubt that he will change his mind.

Jeb Bush is another draft choice. He has great credentials, but he also has that pesky last name. I doubt he will get in it.

That leaves governor Perry of Texas. I have not heard of anyone outside Texas who wants him to run. He is a long shot even for a long shot.

Newt Gingrich should have said NO

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich took a position that may well end his camapign for the GOP nomination for president. Basically, Newt came out in oppositiion to the Medicare plan in the budget passed by the House GOP. He also spoke kindly of the individual mandate even though Republicans across the board have made clear that the madate in Obamacare is unconstitutional. This is the latest "idea" from Gingrich that seems half baked and idiotic.

A few months back, Gingrich wanted to let states and cities declare bankruptcy more easily. That "plan" would have undermined the ability of states and local governments to raise money through the bond markets; it would have inflicted huge losses on the individuals who buy municipal bonds (the one investment vehicle where individual investors predominate over banks and hedge funds); and it could easily have led to a panic in the market for treasury bonds. Taking this idea together with the gems announced by Newt over the weekend, one has to conclude that Newt's purported genius for new ideas is actually a remnant of what he must have been like 15 years ago. Right now, Newt is like the crazy old uncle who comes to family dinners with new inventions that never work.

Trump says NO

In a move that should not surprise anyone, Donald Trump announced that he is not running for president. Trump, of course, began his announcement with a statement that he is sure that he would have won the office had he run. The real truth, of course, is that Trump got all of the news coverage that he wanted to boost the ratings of his reality show, so there was no need to continue the charade.

The Experts speak on the Stimulus

Progressives love to point to "academic experts" who support one or another of their programs. Supposedly, the support of these experts is more important than the views of the voters. After all, according to progressives, the "experts" know better than the common people. Well, now there is a rigorous examination of the Obama stimulus law and all of the palaver about jobs saved and created. Two professors of economics, Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor, have applied their analysis to the issue. Their paper can be reached by clicking on the title to this post. The key, however,is their conclusion:

" We estimate the Act created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to o ffset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases (Fig. A) rather than boost private sector employment (e.g. Fig. B). The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services. Searching across alternative model speci cations, the best-case scenario for an eff ectual ARRA has the Act creating/saving a net 659 thousand jobs, mainly in government."

So there you have it. We spent 800 billion dollars to destroy or delay a total of 550,000 jobs and to shift employment from the private sector to the public sector. Even viewing things in the best light possible, we spent an average of $120,000 per job to save or create 659,000. In short, the economic analysis reveals a total destruction of the myth that the Stimulus law provided any effective help for the country to emerge from the recession. All it did was slap another trillion dollars into the national debt while destroying jobs in the private sector.

It is doubtful that we will see many feature articles in the New York Times or the Washington Post that explain this rigorous academic analysis. It would just not do for the paragons of the liberal press to point out the when it came to economics, Obama, like the emperor in the old tale, had no clothes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Most Unintentionally Funny News of the Day

There is rarely anything humorous that comes in the news from the Middle East. Today, however, we have a story that is so preposterous that it has to bring a smile. On the Israeli borders with both Lebanon and Syria today, Palestinian "demonstrators" tried to breach the border fence and cross into Israel. Supposedly, the genesis of the protests are Nabkha Day, the day that the Palestinians mourn the creation of Israel. It is sort of a reverse independence day. On the Syrian border, the people managed to get past the border fence and cross into Israeli territory. On the Lebanese border, no one crossed the fence. On the Lebanese border, the Lebanese army fired shots to push the crowds back and, when the people began trying to destroy the border fence, the Israeli troops fired as well. Four people were killed in the melee, although it is unclear whether they were killed by the Lebanese or Israeli fire. On the Syrian border, the Israel troop opened fire after the crowd breached the border fence and began attacking the Israelis. Four people were killed in that fight as well. So far, nothing is funny.

The humor comes from the reaction of the Syrian government to these events. The Syrian government expressed outrage that protesters would be treated in this way. the Syrian government is calling on the UN to sanction the Israelis for their conduct. This is the same Syrian government that has killed about 750 people in the last two months for taking part in demonstrations in that country. This is the same Syrian government that has put snipers in various cities where demonstrations were taking place; the snipers carried out random killings to terrorize the people into staying off the streets. this is the same Syrian government that controls the approaches to the Israeli border and which, therefore, had to have a hand in the demonstrations at the border. So the murderous Syrian regime takes abreak from killing hundreds of its own citizens to help organize a protest that illegally invades Israeli territory and attacks Israeli soldiers, thereby provoking a response. The murderous thugs of the Assad regime then express their "outrage" that the Israelis would do such a thing.

All I can say is Ha Ha Ha. How dumb do the Syrians think the world community is?