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Friday, June 29, 2018

Kentucky Got A Shot In The Arm And It Didn't Hurt


There has been much news since Trump took office of idled plants recalling laid off workers but there has been precious little in the way of new plant construction. Well, the times they are a changing. On June 1 Braidy Industries broke ground for a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill in the Eastern Kentucky town of Greenup. When completed the mill will generate upward from 550 high paying job. Braidy Industries is a holding company incorporated in Delaware. This entity houses the Bouchard family interests in the global metals sector. It is named for Braidy Bouchard, the daughter of its flamboyant founder and CEO .
One might question the propriety of the state of Kentucky's $15 million investment in the plant but the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has been in existence for some years. The Cabinet is a not for profit LLC owned by the state.
While the media is wont to predict that Trump's tariffs may cause the EU to retaliate against Kentucky's bourbon industry and even harm domestic aluminum producer Craig Bouchard defends Trump's trade policies.


Monday, June 25, 2018

A Time to Laugh, a Time to Weep and Time To Sit Down And Shut Up!


To quote the affable Yogi Berra, the New York Yankee catcher turned linguistical gymnast, "It's deja vu all over again."
The current domestic upheaval in recent weeks replete with the aged Maxine Waters preaching civil unrest, with the reemergence of the proper noun "Fonda" in conjunction with political protest and with the promiscuous use of the word Nazi to describe voters of a particular persuasion hearkens back to the Vietnam War protests. In those days, before toxic masculinity had replaced Bourgeoisie morality as the latent cause of all things immoral and unsightly in the eyes of God and Democrat leadership, supporters of the war were condemned just as today's supporter of border integrity are harangued by the media and the left. Eventually the middle / working class had had enough. It boiled up in lower Manhattan, in the Wall Street district.
On May 8, 1970, one of the strangest confrontations in American post-war history took place when roughly 200 construction workers attacked a thousand demonstrators protesting the Kent State shootings, the invasion of Cambodia and the Vietnam War. Seventy people were injured and six arrested in the fracas, which was dubbed the Hard Hat Riot by the media of the day. For a longer exposition on the riot please see this Wikipedia post.
The event was unique. It is remembered almost half a century later not for the injuries, not for the oratory and certainly not as a political happening, It was the day America said ENOUGH. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP ALREADY. "Wow, it was just like John Wayne taking Iwo Jima remarked Jack Friedman, a 32-year-old insurance underwriter watching the action.1
The riot occurred almost two years after the riotous Democratic convention in Chicago. Richard Nixon had latched on to the "silent majority" to win the presidency with 301 electoral votes. Hubert Humphrey got 191 and George Wallace took 46. Two years later George Mc Govern lost 49 states to Nixon, winning only Massachusetts. Union leadership stood with the Democratic Party but the rank and file are yet to come home.
Mature democracies got to be mature democracies by demanding domestic tranquility at all costs. Trump's popularity has increased with Democrat outrage simply because the vast majority of Americans are afraid for the nation and are offended  by politicians, a partisan media and a learning impaired academia. It really does not need another Hard Hat Riot but before long it will somehow, tell the left it's time to sit down and shut up.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hyping The Hyperloop

The last time I addressed the hyperloop drama I noted that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has allowed Elon Musk and his Boring Company to dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The Maryland Attorney General later nixed that deal.
Oh well, even Robert Fulton had his off days but hyperloop movement is gaining momentum! While we are warned that we may be lagging behind Russia in the great hyperloop race and Musk and his Boring Company have spawned at least two copy cat competitors, Virgin Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.The privately funded X Prize Foundation whose membership includes such scientific heavy weights as Arianna Huffington and film maker James Cameron has come aboard. Lastly, the aptly named Clive Burrows will lend his expertise to the tunneling venture. If only they could find an insurance underwriter named Justin Case.
Suddenly Cleveland appeared on the front lines of the transportation revolution with the announcement that it had inked a deal with HTT to put it on the fast track to become part of the first interstate hyperloop connection. Yup, going to Chicago will soon be as quick and easy as driving through a car wash. One may even want to select a private kindergarten in the Windy City for that wunderkind in the nest.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced it has signed agreements with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Illinois Department of Transportation to study several high-speed routes that would zoom between Cleveland and Chicago in as little as 28 minutes. First envisioned by inventor and business magnate Elon Musk, Hyperloop is a technology that could speed passengers or cargo in specially designed capsules or "pods" through a steel tube maintained at a partial vacuum.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency or NOACA, the sugar daddy for current outbreak of hyperloop hysteria seem to have much more to do than making the trains run on time. It is fighting the good fight for transportation equity and bike paths.
"Northeast Ohio's top transportation planning agency is preparing a new, 20-year vision for the region that will focus on improving social equity, particularly for households without cars.
and
The interstate highway system, conceived under President Dwight Eisenhower in the late 1950s, has had consequences for Northeast Ohio that need to be addressed, says Grace Gallucci, director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, NOACA.
HTT notes that Ohio’s legislature passed a resolution supporting the initiative in January of this year, and that it’s also worked with congressional representatives from multiple states to jointly send a formal letter to the Trump administration asking for federal funding support for building out a Hyperloop network. Has anyone asked Indiana? Inasmuch as most of the route runs through the Hoosier state Indiana residents, especially those who will endure the inconveniences of the construction may be forgiven for asking what's in it for them. HHT, Ohio and Chicago want to build the project on the cheap which means burrowing under existing highways rather than buying right of way. Part of the Interstate 80 / 90 route is the Indiana Toll road which has been leased to an Australian firm. A privately owned concern will cheerfully endure hardships and declining toll revenues to keep Cleveland and Chicago happy? Without power of eminent domain no one can lay a 1 inch PVC pipe across Indiana or any other state.

I have been critical of the hyperloop from the beginning because:
1. No mode of mass transportation makes money hence creation of the hyperloop will simply drive public spending. Call it Amtrak 2.
2. It will siphon off funding for roads and bridges and probably use gasoline tax dollars.
3. The Boring Company, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies are the last people we want building anything. We don't ask Boeing to build airports. There are at least a dozen tunneling companies, some in their fourth generation of management, that could do the job safer and cheaper.
4. The aforementioned companies have no interest in participating in a competitive bidding process, a process that demands the submission of sealed bid with the job going to the cheapest and best bid.
5. There should be no hyperloop construction permitted until the federal government creates an agency to regulate interstate underground construction as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates pipeline construction.
6. It is simply stupid to tunnel across a plane such as Northern Indiana. Cut and cover is far cheaper than tunneling. Only tunnel if going under an existing right of way.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Cumberland Colony

News that a congressional candidate would be hosting a discussion on opioid addiction caught my attention because of the location, Cumberland, Maryland. Cumberland is the county seat of Allegheny County where I lived the first 9 years of my life. My father's family had lived there since the early 1800's but most have moved on. The coal, rail and paper industries have also moved on. The 2010 census showed the median household income for the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area was $30,916 and the average household income was $39,021. It is one of the poorest in the United States, ranking 305th out of 318 metropolitan areas in per capita income.



And who pray thee tell is David Trone I wondered?
He is the billionaire co-owner of Total Wine & More.
Awesome! And he lives in Cumberland?
No, not really. In fact he doesn't even live in the 6th congressional district. He lives in the 8th congressional district.
So why doesn't he run in the 8th?
Been there and done that and lost.
Lost to whom?
A dork named Jamie Raskin.

OMG!
Candidate Vote% Votes
Jamie Raskin 33.6% 43,776
David Trone 27.1% 35,400
No only did Trone lose; he lost big! Running second in a nine horse field would be nothing to be ashamed of except he spent $13.4 million dollars to do it. Trone out spent Raskin roughly 6 to 1. The almost constant media messaging cost him an astounding $329 per vote or about one tenth the average annual family income in this district. Not even Hillary Clinton could spend at that rate. If she had spent $13.4 million in 435 congressional districts she would have spent over $5.8 billion.
To add further context, Meg Whitman spent $178.5 million on her losing campaign for California governor — $144.2 million of it her own money, according to 2010 campaign finance reports. The campaign’s overall spending broke down to $43.25 for each vote she received in November’s general election. From her own pocket, it was $34.93 per vote.
On the economical side of the ledger, Ted Cruz would win his 2012 senate seat in Texas by spending just $3.16 per vote in the general election but Kesha Rogers set the mark for campaign expenditure efficiency in 2014 in the Texas senatorial primary. Even while being out spent by a ratio of 124 to 1 the Lyndon LaRouche Democrat was able to force Texas' richest dentist, David Alameel into a run off in the Democratic primary by spending just $24,139. Alameel spent $3,512,912. His per vote cost was $12.93 while Ms Rogers spent $.22 per vote.
Campaign ineptitude aside, is Trone a good fit for Western Maryland? While keeping in mind the dismal economic milieu in Cumberland with it opioid addictions and the ne'er-do-well former coal miners, peruse the Wikipedia entry for Trone's hometown, Potomac,Maryland.
In 2013, CNNMoney listed Potomac as the most affluent town in all the United States based on median household income.[1] Potomac is also the seventh most top-educated American small town according to Forbes.[2] Bloomberg Businessweek labeled Potomac as the twenty-ninth richest zip code in the United States in 2011, stating that it had the largest population of any U.S. town with a median income of more than $240,000.[3] In 2012, The Higley Elite 100 published a list of highest-income neighborhoods by mean household income, which included four neighborhoods in Potomac; one of these neighborhoods, "Carderock-The Palisades" was ranked the highest-income neighborhood in the United States, followed by "Beverly Hills-North of Sunset" in Beverly Hills, CA, and "Swinks Mill-Dominion Reserve" of McLean, VA.[4] More recently, two Potomac neighborhoods were ranked among the ten wealthiest neighborhoods in the country by CNBC in 2014.[5] In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that Potomac was the 6th wealthiest city in the United States.[6] Many Potomac residents work in nearby Washington, D.C.
Obviously it's a great place to live, so good that the incumbent Congressman  John Delaney lives there too. Parenthetically NBA greats Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning also live there. In 2011 the district was gerrymandered to oust long time Republican Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett. This was done by adding part of Montgomery County. The demarcation is so arcane that the state provides a website with a zip code look up just so voters know what district to vote in. The redistricting process is being challenged in the Supreme Court. It's impossible to overstate the outcome of the Court's decision. It will determine whether the forgotten men and women in Western Maryland can once again be masters of their own destiny or remain a colony of the Potomac elites who can outspend any of them by hundreds of dollars per vote.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

General Flynn's Sentencing Has Been Delayed-Maybe Permanently

Well, this is a hell of a note. A few days ago it looked as if General Michael Flynn would soon be special prosecutor Robert Mueller's first trophy. What could possibly go wrong? Flynn had pleaded guilty and it seemed that the sentencing would be a simple formality. How could one possibly fumble a guilty plea? Mueller may have found a way.
First, Judge Rudolph Contreras, an appointee of former President Obama, recused himself without an explanation. Some speculate that Judge Contreras was aware of the faulty FISA warrant. Whatever the reason Judge Emmet Sullivan was randomly chosen as a replacement. Sullivan was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton but before that he was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by Ronald Reagan. Sullivan has presided over several high profile cases including the corruption trial of the late Senator Ted Stevens and he has become Judicial Watch's favorite judge in their many FOIA lawsuits.
Recently, Mueller asked for a delay in Gen. Flynn’s sentencing because both defense and prosecution were not ready. Mueller supposedly also wants to talk with Flynn again. Why? Possibly because two investigations produced two outcomes. When Flynn was first questioned or if would, interviewed, it was by FBI agents who worked for Comey and they did not think he lied. In their opinion he may have become confused during the course of the interview but did not willfully attempt to deceive them. When he was interviewed the second time it was under Mueller's supervision and the agent doing the interview was Peter Strzok. Strzok was the guy who interviewed Clinton’s longtime aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, about their boss’s private, unsecured server she illegally used during her tenure as secretary of state and could find no wrong doing. He even arranged for the FBI to destroy evidence, namely a laptop that contained classified emails. Eventually he was booted from Team Mueller and assigned to the bureau's human resources department.



So now Mueller must defend the finding of an agent he fired and in light of recent events it is very probable that Flynn's lawyers may withdraw the guilty plea. Worse yet this all goes down in front of Judge Emmet Sullivan who has some old fashion ideas relative to prosecutorial misconduct. The New York Times reported on the dismissal of all charges against Senator Stevens.
A federal judge dismissed the ethics conviction of former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska on Tuesday after taking the extraordinary step of naming a special prosecutor to investigate whether the government lawyers who ran the Stevens case should themselves be prosecuted for criminal wrongdoing.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, speaking in a slow and deliberate manner that failed to conceal his anger, said that in 25 years on the bench, he had “never seen mishandling and misconduct like what I have seen” by the Justice Department prosecutors who tried the Stevens case.
Judge Sullivan’s lacerating 14-minute speech, focusing on disclosures that prosecutors had improperly withheld evidence in the case, virtually guaranteed reverberations beyond the morning’s dismissal of the verdict that helped end Mr. Stevens’s Senate career.
The judge, who was named to the Federal District Court here by President Bill Clinton, delivered a broad warning about what he said was a “troubling tendency” he had observed among prosecutors to stretch the boundaries of ethics restrictions and conceal evidence to win cases. He named Henry F. Schuelke 3rd, a prominent Washington lawyer, to investigate six career Justice Department prosecutors, including the chief and deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section, an elite unit charged with dealing with official corruption, to see if they should face criminal charges.
Mueller's case is dependent on the judgment of a dirty cop. Would he care to sit through a 14 minute lecture from a judge who fails to conceal his anger and who is apt to appoint his own special prosecutor to help Team Mueller sort out its ethical deficiencies?
Probably not.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The FISA Court Has Been Lied To And It Knows It.

Normally I would be adverse to posting such a lengthy video. Quite simply I think it is the obligation of the blogger to condense the information but this video does not lend itself to that simply because it explodes one bomb after another.
Did you know that the FBI shared personal information on American citizens with private contractors? The FISA court has been aware of that for sometime and indeed is not happy about it. On April 26, 1917 it releasedt a 99 page memo spelling out its concerns. You may view it here. Scroll down to page 85 to see this discussed. The fact that this document has been in the public domain for almost a year speaks volumes germane to the level of journalistic competence in contemporary America.
Another argument for posting the video is Joe DiGenova himself. He is a superb raconteur. This interview could have been written by John LeCarre or Tom Clancy.


 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ohio's First Gas-Fired Power Plant Goes On Stream.



This is a big deal! We have been writing about Ohio's Utica Shale since drilling began in 2010 because of the potential benefits to Ohio and the country as a whole. Most of the drilling and pipeline news appeals to a small segment of the population so understandably it doesn't get much media play. With literally and no, I do not mean virtually, ceremony Switzerland-based Advanced Power announced the beginning of operations of its 700MW gas-fired plant built at a cost of $899 million in Carroll County. The international contractor, Bechtel Corporation, was the prime contractor on the job. According to Bechtel, the Carroll County power plant meets National Ambient Air Quality Standards and will produce 50% lesser carbon dioxide and 90% less sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide when compared to a conventional coal-fired power plant.
Served by an American Electric Power Company 345 kV transmission line and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline system, the power plant sells into the PJM Interconnection market. The Carroll County Energy plant, as it’s called, is owned by a consortium of equity investors that include Advanced Power, TIAA-CREF, Chubu Electric Power Co., Ullico and Prudential. The plant produces enough electricity to service about 750,000 home and has a full time workforce of 22 people. Without the need to unload, move and prepare coal for burning and the onerous labor of disposing of the ash, plant operation is not labor intensive.
This the second generation of gas fired power plants which have made natural gas the most efficient fossil fuel around. Natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants use two turbines to generate electricity in tandem, with the waste heat from a primary gas turbine being used to drive a secondary steam turbine.In other words it's like the slaughter house that uses all of the pig except the squeal.

The Wreck That Is Hillary Clinton.

I'm surprised this parody hasn't got more views.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Admiral Mike Rogers-Unsung Hero

  One of the many uncovered stories in the media--including Fox--is the story of Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the NSA who is retiring in a few months.
  The Last Refuge has covered the service of Admiral Rogers.
  If you'll recall, there was quote a stir when Rogers went to visit Trump on November 17, 2016.
  Why?
  Because we now believe that Admiral Rogers was apparently the only head of a US government security agency who was willing to let Trump in on the secret that he was being--and had been--surveilled in his own quarters.
   After Rogers visit, Trump promptly moved his operating headquarters On November 18 from Trump Tower to his golf club in New Jersey.
  Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wanted the Admiral fired because of "performance issues," according to US News & World Report. They also had complaints that they were concerned about a "division" in deciding how to handle intelligence matters among the heads of the departments.
Meanwhile, the 57-year-old admiral's recent trip to New York to meet with President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday also caused "consternation" for the Obama administration, the Post said, in part because it appears unprecedented for an officer like Rogers to conduct such a meeting and not inform his superiors.
   Earlier in the year, you may recall that Devin Nunes held a press conference after being called to the White House to receive certain unidentified information. The Last Refuge, which has the best rundown I've read on this situation reminds us:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, then held a brief press conference  and stated he has been provided intelligence reports brought to him by unnamed sources that include ‘significant information’ about President-Elect Trump and his transition team.
   So the information was seeping out.
   Sundance writes that he/she believes that Rogers learned of the subterfuge in 2016, told the court on October 26 of the violations, then made this unscheduled visit to Trump Tower without informing those snakes who were working on destroying Trump from within the country.
  This is a story of enormous importance that needs to be told. Sundance's post at The Last Refuge is well worth reading in its entirety.
  Maybe somewhere down the line we'll hear this story more broadly. As for now, its doubtful.
  One thing's for certain.
  We do owe a vote of thanks to Admiral Rogers for his service and, IMHO, to Sundance at The Last Refuge for his/her tireless reportage & insight
  There's more on General Flynn's story too, over there
  There's a reason Trump has surrounded himself with military leaders and his own security team.

Go ahead. Run Oprah.

    Hoosierman knows I wasn't always on the Trump fan wagon but the past year has proven to be shocking in our POTUS's pursuit of conservative principles. I simply don't believe ANY other elected Republican would have done what Trump has done in one year. He seems impervious to the vicious smears of the press.
    Now, I tried to watch those ridiculous Golden Globe awards. I really, really did.
    After about 15 minutes of watching heaving bosoms, slit skirts, self congratulatory lauds, long haired men wearing sunglasses in a lighted room and an underlying contempt for their audience (translation: people like me), I realized I had only seen 1 of the shows up for awards. (That series would be the kiddie scare fest Stranger Things. )
    The truth is that anything that comes out of Hollywood stinks. As an aficionado of British television, I can tell you why.
    Hollywood products are banal, predictable and terribly written. I don't know how much writers get paid but it's too much. I heard on the news today that Seth Myers has something like 24 writers for those couple jokes he does on some show and last night. 
    Hollywood also assumes we are all as stupid as they are.
    That, I think, is what bores me so much: the assumption that we just want shoot em up, bloody action flicks with lots of sex and shapely bodies.
    I had the misfortune of being blackmailed to see the latest Star Wars flick; I almost fell asleep except that every now and then a big boom shook my seat.
  This morning when the news informed us that Hollywood is goo-gooing over Oprah as POTUS, I was not surprised.
   Admittedly Oprah does have a few things in common with Trump; she's an entrepreneur who has made a fortune in reality tv, but I say go ahead and run her as your presidential candidate. 
  Crow about her eloquence, her "hugs," her weight. 
  Bleh. To many of us, Oprah represents everything that is wrong with the Left Coast. They're self absorbed nitwits who tweet from their hot tubs while sipping whiskey. They haven't a clue what our lives are like.
   Even if we don't count Oprah's cozy relationship with Weinstein, she has a past, too, including a disastrous sex scandal at the school she ran in South Africa.
  Same goes for Michelle Obama-that nasty condescending woman who only loves America when one of her family is in office.
  Looks like Joe Biden, of he of the toupee and fake white teeth, is the best hope of the Democrat loons.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Weed, Greed And The Investor Class

I remember working with a particularly opinionated carpenter who refused to allow his wife to buy a hoe. Eventually he relented with the proviso that it be kept out of sight and that she never ask him to use it. He explained that as a youngster and a teen he had hoed so much tobacco that he swore once he left his dad's farm he would never even own a hoe. Maybe if my poor friend, Marvin, had been more adequately compensated he would have been more receptive to the joys that hard work and industry bring although, candidly, he was something less than the personification of the Protestant Ethic.
Today, tobacco farmers have fallen on hard times but even in the heady days of the New Deal and the Great Society it was a rough row to hoe. A clever mechanism to raise the price of tobacco was introduced in FDR's New Deal and it remained in effect until 2014. At the inception of the program each tobacco grower was given an acreage allotment. Said growers were only allowed to plant that allotted number of acres in tobacco. This, of course, created an artificial shortage thus raising the price of the tobacco and ultimately the compensation. As the Carolinas, Kentucky, and Virginia began voting Republican the growers and everyone associated with that industry became morally suspect tantamount to Walmart shoppers and NRA members until that opprobrium was expressed in the cessation of federal largess.
Thursday's announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he would no longer participate the the prosecutorial misfeasance so dear to the hearts of his predecessors hit Washington insiders like a snow bomb. "The attorney general of the United States has just delivered an extravagant holiday gift to the drug cartels... " moaned Rep Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach, California. As idiotic as the Congressman's comments were they were very much in tune with much of the Twitter hyperbole. The action was called a war on federalism, an attack on state's rights and of course an assault on all people of color.


Attorney General Session has simply nullified the Cole Memo which more or less withdrew the DOJ for the battle against marijuana. Authored in 2013 by Deputy Attorney General James Cole the memo expressed the desire that states “prevent diversion of marijuana outside the regulated system,” prohibit access to marijuana by minors, and replace the “illicit marijuana trade that funds criminal enterprises with a tightly regulated market in which revenues are tracked and accounted for.”

All of sudden conservatives united with libertarians in their love of " a tightly regulated market in which revenues are tracked and accounted for." Of course the alleged medical value was touted but also a consistent theme of grass roots demand for legal weed. One must admit that the has been a push toward liberalizing marijuana laws but how much of that is grass root and how much of that is investor driven? Several times, both online and on television, I heard the astounding claim that legalization of marijuana would create a $40 billion industry and 400,000 jobs. Hmm. That is some industry! It generates $100,000 per employee! Talk about marginal productivity! Poor Marvin was born too soon! Had he been hoeing Mary Jane instead tobacco he would have been a millionaire before he was 30. Of course the grass is always greener in sunny California.
Oh, Uncle Tom, what makes the grass so green?
Horse shit, Little Eva, Horse shit.
Eventually I was able to trace the 400,000 jobs claim to the Aceview Group where cannabis meets capital.
Our Mission: To forge a principled and profitable industry from the ashes of cannabis prohibition.
It is probably accurate to state that Aceview speaks for California's financial elite. The author O. Henry once described New York City as an aviary overpopulated with jays. He never saw Silicon Valley. If ever there was a group of people so full of themselves. Enough, I'll let them tell you how smart they are.


"We've raised the bar so that only serious players can qualify" How damned egalitarian! As it turns out Aceview is also a political player and smart enough to be bipartisan when it come to handing out cash. It seems Congressman Rohrabacher earns his keep!
Congress                                            Senate
Buck, Kenneth R (R-CO) $1000 Bennet, Michael F (D-CO) $5000
Carroll, Morgan (D-CO) $400 Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY) $1000
Cohen, Steve (D-TN) $3000 Harris, Kamala D (D-CA) $1000
Crist, Charlie (D-FL) $1000 Heck, Joe (R-NV) $1000
DeGette, Diana (D-CO) $1,000 McGinty, Katie (D-PA) $2500
Gallego, Ruben (D-AZ) $1,000 Paul, Rand (R-KY) $5000
Grijalva, Raul M (D-AZ) $1,000 Van Hollen, Chris (D-MD) $1000
Heck, Dennis (D-WA) $1,000 Wyden, Ron (D-OR) $6000
Huffman, Jared (D-CA) $1,000
Lee, Barbara (D-CA) $1,000
Lieu, Ted (D-CA) $1,000
McClintock, Tom (R-CA) $3,350
McDermott, Jim (D-WA) $1,000
Murphy, Pat (D-IA) $5,000
Perlmutter, Ed (D-CO) $2,000
Rohrabacher, Dana (R-CA) $5,000
Rosen, Jacky (D-NV) $1,000
Schwartz, Gail (D-CO) $1,000
Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ) $1,500
Smigiel, Mike (R-MD) $500
Swalwell, Eric (D-CA) $1,000
Titus, Dina (D-NV) $1,500
Lest you think the Aceview Group is the only player in the investment community let me cite the investment web site, Seeking Alpha.
The cannabis industry has been very event driven ever since legalization began at the start of 2014 in Colorado. The article, "The State Of Marijuana Stocks And What To Look For In 2018," highlights how industry events have helped shape the market for cannabis stocks. Typically, where we've seen political events trigger moves for marijuana stocks, it was industry events that took on the spotlight this year. Beer, wine, and spirits giant Constellation Brands (STZ) made a minority investment into Canadian-based Canopy Growth (OTCPK:TWMJF), which not only triggered a move for the market in general but also more so for Canadian issuers specifically.
Second, and most recently, the first NYSE listed marijuana ETF went live during Christmas week on December 26th. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSEARCA:MJX), which was previously an ETF targeting Latin American real estate, currently invests in 30 different national and international companies involved in the space.
This includes companies that have a hand more closely tied to the plant and others that are more "pick and shovel" style companies. The majority of its holdings are in 12 companies right now with over 60% of these stocks being Canadian listed (and dually listed in the US with the five letter symbol ending in "F")



So far the pot industry has yet to produce any company tantamount to RJ. Reynolds, Lorillard Tobacco or American Tobacco and it probably never will. Tobacco was grown by dirty, shirtless, men in bib overalls who labored in the hot sun. Legal marijuana is raised in a controlled environment by sissies in white lab coats. The pot industry aims for mass consumption but controlled production, production that is a tightly regulated in which revenues are tracked and accounted for. Kudos to CNBC who cut through the states right and free market sloganeering and delivered a balanced perspective on the business aspect of "big pot".
In an interview that is not in the library Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Melissa Lee shot down the notion that in order to reap the supposed benefit of medical marijuana large quantities of weed must be grown. They noted that already there exists a huge array of synthetic cannabinoids that can be produced in a lab, negating the argument that Jeff Sessions poses a national health risk.


Kevin Sabet, is a  professor of psychiatry, a former member of the Obama Administration and a contributor to the Huffington Post. He makes clear in this interview that those who should fear Jeff Sessions the most is the investor class.It fair to say his views are close to my own.



Don’t blame Jeff Sessions for enforcing the law.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Video: Iranian Insurgents Attack the Elite Revolutionary Guard.

Not a Bill Still fan? Okay, fast forward to the 50 second mark. According to Still this video was shot on New Years Day and smuggled out of Iran. It show the protesters? rebels? attacking members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and showing little mercy.

The Calm Before the Storm? Over 9000 Sealed Indictments in Federal Courts

 Click to enlarge
What the hell is going on? As of Dec. 22, 2017, there were 9,294 sealed indictments in federal courts . This includes 1,224 in the central district of California, which includes Los Angeles; 194 in Washington; and 248 in the southern district of New York. It also includes 225 for the southern District of Indiana which does not begin to compare population wise with any of the aforementioned jurisdictions.  These data are collected  by researchers and gathered from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service of the federal judiciary. More.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Treat Your Gentry Well

Nothing says entitled quite so much as personal road a from ones homes to ones office on public property. Move over, King Louis, California has a brand new Sun King.
How convenient... Plans reveal Elon Musk's tunnel under L.A. will actually go from his office to his Bel Air homes
If the tone of the foreign press is a bit catty not to worry. The domestic press abounds with praise and platitudes. Example: "Digging tunnels is a laborious process and the billionaire plans to develop new drilling technology that would dig and reinforce tunnels as it goes along." It should be noted that Musk is the owner of a second hand tunneling machine and not a designer of anything mechanical but why split hairs?
Should anyone be surprised by this?
"His Boring Co. has applied for an excavation permit to extend its electric-vehicle tunnel in Hawthorne into Los Angeles, connecting the South Bay, Westside and San Fernando Valley, city officials said, according to Daily Breeze. Although the city's Bureau of Engineering did not release details of the permit request, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has supported the plan."
Applied for an excavation permit? Can anyone apply for one of those permits? Sounds so routine, something akin to seeking permission to build a chicken coop behind the garage. As a matter of fact it is quickly become routine for servile elected officials of both parties on both coasts to issue permits to develop public land as his lordship pleases.
From the Baltimore Sun;
( Governor Larry ) Hogan announced his support for the project on Thursday. He posted photos of himself, Rahn, Boring Co. executives and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh touring the fenced-off site near the intersection of Maryland 175 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Hanover where the tunneling is expected to begin. Administration officials said they will treat the hyperloop like a utility, and permitted it in the same way the state allows electric companies to burrow beneath public rights-of-way. “We have all sorts of utilities beneath our roadways,” Rahn said. “In essence, this didn't need anything more than a utility permit.”
Of course. What else, pray thee tell? A written contract? Legislative approval? Liability insurance?
The state is giving exclusive use of 10.2 miles of state owned right of way to a single company and it's put in the same category as laying fiber optic cable.



Got that? It will be built entirely with private money presumably for the purpose of making money yet with no bidding process, no legislative action and evidently no bonding requirements to protect the taxpayers.
A Maryland Department of Transportation representative on Wednesday told Capital News Service it would not disclose those details citing "confidential commercial information," and also indicated that no public dollars were being spent on the project.
Again, the detail are confidential. No cronyism here!
Lest readers score the proposed Baltimore to Washington hyperloop a fait accompli there is one sticking point. The gullible state of Maryland owns just 10.2 miles of the approximate 35 mile Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The remainder is federally owned and before this hyperloop to nowhere is begun someone in the media should ask the obvious. First, where are you going to put the dirt? A 12 foot diameter bore 10 miles long should yield about 225,000 cubic yards of dirt. Sure that problem is solvable but should not the solution be announced up front? Second, will the Boring Company be required to post performance / decommissioning bonding? Without bonding the taxpayers bear the entire risk of a very risky project. What is the state's cut of the action in the off chance the project does make money?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Silicon Valley; Where Cronyism Meets Capitalism

Alas, Uber the iconic if not somewhat dirty faced transportation wunderkind is merely a taxi service or so ruled the European Union's highest court. In rather direct prose the court wrote Uber, “must be regarded as being inherently linked to a transport service.” In other words it's a natural litter mate of Yellow Cab and Checker Cab companies and, oh God forbid, subject to the same rules and regulations as everyone else. Probably we can expect similar challenges to Uber's "technology platform" status stateside and it's been reported that Uber is the subject of a federal investigation probably owing to its theft of trade secrets from Waymo. Tsk,Tsk.
Elsewhere in Washington the FCC headed by Ajit Pai shot down in cold blood the Obama era Net Neutrality rule much to the consternation of Netflix and Google who labeled the action "misguided". It is probably a good indication that a minority has arrived when an administration's two most visible members ( Pai and Nikkei Haley ) are the most slandered in the popular media. Both know the value of Machiavelli's advice to the Prince:
“ One should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved.”
The only guiding principle coming from Big Tech appears to be "What's in it for me?" To date Elon Musk has captured $4.9 billion in federal subsidies which makes Solyndra's $550 million bankruptcy look like penny poker. His Tesla Motors is facing a lawsuit from the state of Michigan because Tesla has not followed the franchise rule that every other auto manufacturer must as called for, according to Michigan, by the interstate commerce clause. To his supporters it's the "dormant interstate commerce clause" an anachronism that should br judicially euthanized. Now I do have a libertarian bent and you are better off listening to even a bad lawyer than me but that said let's add a bit of historical context. In the glory days of FDR's New Deal and the Agriculture Adjustment Act one Roscoe Filburn had the temerity to grow 12 bushels of wheat above his allotment which was intended for his own use. Not since the Teapot Dome scandal! He was fined for that transgression and the Supreme Court agreed..
Roscoe Filburn was a farmer in what is now suburban Dayton, Ohio[5] who admitted producing wheat in excess of the amount permitted. He maintained, however, that the excess wheat was produced for his private consumption on his own farm. Since it never entered commerce at all, much less interstate commerce, he argued that it was not a proper subject of federal regulation under the Commerce Clause.
In July 1940, pursuant to the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) of 1938, Filburn's 1941 allotment was established at 11.1 acres (4.5 ha) and a normal yield of 20.1 bushels of wheat per acre. Filburn was given notice of the allotment in July 1940 before the Fall planting of his 1941 crop of wheat, and again in July 1941, before it was harvested. Despite these notices, Filburn planted 23 acres (9.3 ha) and harvested 239 more bushels than was allowed from his 11.9 acres (4.8 ha) of excess area.[6]
The Federal District Court ruled in favor of Filburn. The Act required an affirmative vote of farmers by plebiscite to implement the quota. Much of the District Court decision related to the way in which the Secretary of Agriculture had campaigned for passage: The District Court had held that the Secretary's comments were improper. The government then appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which called the District Court's holding against the campaign methods which led to passage of the quota by farmers a "manifest error". The court then went on to uphold the Act under the Interstate Commerce Claus.
Again context. Even at today's wheat prices ( about $4.25 per bushel ) Filburn's ill gotten gain would amount to about $80. Law is law but Musk's supporters would have us believe that law is archaic.
Unrelated to Michigan's attempt to abridge Musk's right to do as he damn well pleases another issue has arisen. Google, Uber, Lyft and of course Tesla want' to use the power of the federal government to impose on the states standards for autonomous vehicles. All of a sudden the interstate commerce clause should no longer be dormant.
We are facing an opportunity to expand the options for transportation by car by also making it smarter and safer,” said committee chairman, U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
But engineers must first shield vehicles from cyber attacks and said self-driving cars must operate seamlessly in bad weather — two significant challenges for the auto industry, said Mary (Missy) Louise Cummings, director of Duke University's Humans and Autonomy Lab and Duke Robotics.
"I am decidedly less optimistic," she told the panel. Self-driving cars are "absolutely not ready for widespread deployment, and certainly not ready for humans to be completely taken out of the driver’s seat."
"Consistency, thou art a jewel,” Shakespeare.
By all means let's make our cars safer and smarter but just for good measure let's allow Silicon Valley to develop artificially intelligent congressmen and senators who can get in out of the rain.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Energy Drill


How quickly things change! I first began writing about the Utica Shale more than 7 years ago and as the above chart illustrates the US has moved into the lead in global hydrocarbon production. A perusal of the International Energy Agency's data shows the United States is first in the world in both in oil and natural gas production. Parenthetically it ranks second in coal production in spite of the best efforts of Obama's EPA and its 8 year war on that solid hydrocarbon.
How is this possible? The peak oil theory posited the uninspiring assertion that readily recoverable oil deposits has been declining since about 1975. But how, nearly half a century later, do oil and gas set new production records every year? The quick answer is hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Very basically fracking is the process where after small explosions fracture the rock containing the oil or gas water is forced into the fractures to expand them. The water contains sand which holds the fractures open allowing the gas or oil to escape and be brought to the surface. As stated, fracking is the quick answer as it is employed in the majority of drilling operations but with very little publicity the oil and gas industry has become high tech.
How high tech? High enough that drilling the horizontal leg is done with the aid of a mouse; a mouse that sends signals to the CPU in the drilling head 10,000 feet below the surface. With the new technology come new drilling strategies. In the day when George C. Scott and Faye Dunaway were drilling for Oklahoma crude the trick was to find the pools where the oil that had seeped from the stone had collected. Today grids are mapped out and drilled horizontally. This post in a shale blog caught my attention.

Eclipse can’t help it–they keep setting new world records for the longest lateral (horizontal) wells drilled–in the entire world! It began last year when Eclipse drilled what they call their first “super lateral” Utica well in Guernsey County, OH–the Purple Hayes, at 18,500 feet long (see Eclipse Res. 1Q16: Drills Longest Shale Well Ever! “Purple Hayes”). Since that time, the Purple Hayes well has consistently been the #1 oil producing well in the state. Earlier this year Eclipse drilled a new longest-ever well, also in Guernsey County, the Great Scott 3H well at 19,300 feet long (see Great Scott! Eclipse Drills New Longest Lateral in World – in Utica). And now, Eclipse has drilled yet another record-breaker in Guernsey County. Last Friday the company reported it has drilled the Outlaw C 11H, a Utica well that is an incredible 19,500 feet long horizontally (total measured depth of 27,750 feet). That’s 3.7 miles long! 

It all very simple. Just drill down 8000 feet, make a hard right and proceed to drill another 18,500 feet which is more than twice the length of the Golden Gate Bridge. Great Scott had something going for it that George Scott and Faye didn't have. It had a computer assisted down hole motor. The video below features the Weatherford Revolution RSS smart drill motor replete with CPU, lithium ion battery, and bi-directional communications with the surface. It's not essential to understand exactly how this gadget works to appreciate the though and precision machine work that goes into it. While Weatherford produced the best YouTube video it's hardly alone. Halliburton and Baker Hughes also produce down hole motors.

 

In summation Eclipse completed the drilling phase of the well in just 17 days. With the aid of Nine Energy Service, a wireline contractor, it completed 124 fracking operations. Cost of the well was $854 per foot.

Merry Christmas, Private Slovik

Just in time for Christmas! Blue state Democrats, smarting over President Trump's penultimate legislative accomplishment, namely the passage of tax reform, are determined to put a lump of coal in the voters' stockings. What could be more Christmassy than a state Obamacare mandate? Not surprisingly the states most likely to explore a coverage requirement are the nearly dozen running their own Obamacare marketplaces, which tend to have Democratic governors.
Replicating the the wisdom of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi at the state level is fraught with challenges. The state of Washington does not have an income tax and creating one just to poke the voters in the eye might be a bit audacious. In California a new tax would require a two thirds vote by both legislative houses. Massachusetts, on the other hand, thanks to political savant, former Governor Mitt Romney, already has a mandate on the books.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Certainly precocious but somehow I feel she is best viewed from afar.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

A LOVE revolution of invectives and trash

  Quoting Madonna at today's rally:
"Welcome to the revolution of love......To our detractors that insist that this march will never add up to anything, f--- you."
  After confessing that she's been thinking about "blowing up the White House," the *star* informed her audience, the Secret Service, the FBI, the American people and the world that, rather than blow up the White House, she would "choose love."
Courtesy Tsilli Pines



Courtesy CBS
  Nice little revolution ya got there.