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  1. Shale debt, falling prices and slack demand has tight oil producers in trouble. And yet, there is still burgeoning production. Why? Well, we’ve seen this before. It’s the shale debt redux. Operators did it a few years ago in natural gas and prices have yet to recover. Unfortunately cheap money in the form of debt can mean poor investment choices for businesses and for investors. But it can also lead to an aberrant market because operators deep in debt won’t curtail production even though it is glutted. Debt coupons simply have to be met.

    The shale revolution has always been funded by massive debt. Operators who were drilling for gas back in 2009-2011 used debt extensively. And just like now, they overproduced. By 2011, supply exceeded demand by four times. Then prices tanked. It is curious that so few asked the questions: why did they produce so heavily and glut the market; and why did they continue to produce into a glutted market? The answer is really quite simple. Many couldn’t afford to pull back production to help stabilize prices. Had they done so, they would not have been able to meet their debt payments. So they kept pumping…and pumping…and pumping.

    And now they’ve done it again.

    Much of the debt issued by shale operators has been high yield or what is commonly referred to as junk. According to the Wall Street Journal:

    “Junk bonds have financed the U.S. shale boom, and now the sharp drop in oil prices could lead to a massive wave of defaults on that high-yield debt.”

    JP Morgan Chase estimates that as much as 40% of this junk debt may be defaulted on by shale companies in the next two years if prices stay below $65/bbl. Yeah, you read that right…40%! Prices are currently trading around $45/bbl and operators are still pumping huge amounts of crude into the market so a $20/bbl price rise would seem unlikely.

    This picture is complicated enormously by the overwhelming need for cash by shale operators. Energy was the fastest growing sector of junk debt in 2014 and is the largest chunk of the high yield market.
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  2. il giudice del Tribunale del Commercio di Madrid, Carlos Nieto Delgado, ha deciso di inserire l’istituto nella fase di liquidazione per un elevato rischio di “imminente insolvenza”. Lasciano le scrivanie gli amministratori provvisori nominati dalla Banca di Spagna solo due settimane fa, prendono posto i curatori fallimentari. Il procuratore non risparmia nemmeno una frecciata agli organi supervisori: “Clienti e lavoratori si chiederanno, ragionevolmente, com’è possibile che Banco Madrid abbia superato tutti i controlli, godesse di una buona salute finanziaria, ma in meno di 72 ore sia finita sull’orlo del fallimento”. Un leitmotiv già vissuto con Bankia.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-03-27)
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  3. There is, however, a clear political and strategic dimension to the creation of the AIIB and the reaction of the US to its allies' involvement. The US lobbied hard for its allies not to join the initiative and the White House signalled clear unease at Britain’s decision to join it last week.

    The decision of many of the US’s allies to join speaks of China’s global influence. No other country has the capital to establish such a bank and garner the support of so many countries. There have been many moments in China’s economic rise, but this may mark another historic point of China’s global influence surpassing the US and the US losing out on future investment and influence opportunities.

    The biggest difference between the AIIB and existing international financial institutions is who its shareholders are. The World Bank is responsible for providing assistance to developing countries across the world and its president is nominated by the US president and is usually American. The Asian Development Bank, meanwhile, focuses on Asia, but is dominated by Japan (all presidents having been Japanese) and the US, who are the largest shareholders.

    Although China is a member of both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, it has no actual influence. Establishing the AIIB and having the largest tranche of shares in it means that China will have the main influence, lessening US control of the international financial system.

    There is also room for another bank in terms of the amount of infrastructure that is still needed in Asia.

    The cascade of European countries looking to join reflects a recognition that China is a reliable and responsible collaborator and a belief that it will be a world power for the foreseeable future. China has the world’s second largest economy, the largest population and foreign exchange reserves and huge consumer purchasing power.

    It is therefore extremely beneficial for European countries to enhance their relations with China, especially with their ongoing economic difficulties. Members of the AIIB will have access to the significant investment that accompanies it. For this reason, the British prime minister, David Cameron, said that it was in Britain’s national interest to become a founding member.
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  4. the EPA lists energy efficiency as one of four “building blocks” that can help states reach their emissions reductions goals, calling it “a proven, low-cost way to reduce emissions, which will save consumers and businesses money and mean less carbon pollution.” The agency suggests that a 1.5 percent reduction in a state’s emissions might be achieved through this route.

    But according to a group of behavioral researchers writing in the latest issue of Nature Climate Change and led by the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Amanda Carrico, EPA is setting a “very modest” target here. As they note, some estimates for how much energy could be saved by energy efficiency initiatives — including programs that try to directly change people’s behavior — run as high as 23 percent of total U.S. electricity demand. In terms of emissions, they continue, ramping up household focused conservation programs could conceivably lead to a seven percent cut overall.

    Indeed, a single behavioral energy intervention that many utilities are already pursuing — sending out home energy reports along with monthly utility bills, which compare people’s usage levels with those of their neighbors — leads to a 2 percent reduction in energy use, on average.

    One key problem, though, will be whether an agency like EPA has the right DNA to oversee the utility industry’s deployment of social science-heavy behavioral and efficiency programs. It’s not exactly part of the traditional environmental regulatory wheelhouse. “Achieving these objectives,” note Carrico and her colleagues, “will challenge the thinking of regulators who have more experience with mandating the best available technologies than with programs that target decision-making and voluntary behavior.” Measuring how much energy behavioral programs are actually saving – and how many emissions they’ll therefore be averting – is also a challenge.

    No one is saying that merely changing people’s behavior, or the objects they use in their homes, will let us stop worrying about coal plants and the emissions they pour into the atmosphere.

    Nor are they saying that energy efficiency and behavioral change should be the number one strategy for addressing climate change.

    Nonetheless, efficiency and behavior could be a much bigger climate wedge than it currently is. And increasing it benefits everybody, and above all the consumer — who ends up paying less on each electricity bill.
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  5. there was little residents could do to stop Walmart. Like most U.S. cities, Slidell has permissive zoning when it comes to commercial development. This particular wooded lot is zoned for “neighborhood commercial,” under which Walmart’s Neighborhood Market store, which is essentially a large supermarket fronted by a few acres of parking, qualified as an acceptable use.

    Today, the forested lot in north Slidell is gone, and the small town is saddled with four Walmart stores.

    The situation in Slidell is a microcosm of a strategy Walmart is pushing hard across the southern U.S., and will soon advance northward. Having used its supercenters to capture one-quarter of U.S. grocery sales, the chain is building a new wave of smaller stores that are poised to clean up the market share its supercenters don’t already control.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-03-27)
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  6. As the Middle East descends ever further into chaos, Rome suddenly finds itself in the crosshairs of Islamic State (IS). Doubtless with an eye on its own security, the Vatican has legitimised the use of military force against IS – but given the apocalyptic thinking of the enigmatic Pope Francis, there may well be more than pragmatism at work here.

    Hailed for his apparently progressive social views, even as many of his admirers remain mystified by his repeated references to supernatural conflict, the Holy Father has given his critics and adherents a big clue to understanding his worldview: on several occasions, he has informed journalists that the best way they can understand his priorities and concerns is to read a 1907 science fiction novel by R. H. Benson (1871-1914), an English convert to Catholicism.

    Benson was a trophy convert, a son of the archbishop of Canterbury who had taken Anglican orders before his conversion in 1903. His novel, Lord of the World, imagines the condition of England after the collapse of the established church and the disappearance of the House of Lords under suffocating socialism, as a Freemason conspiracy established Communist dominance in Europe.

    IS is not the only jihadist movement to be propelled by apocalyptic theology, but more than any other, it has pushed the coming apocalypse into the ideological foreground.

    But given the extent to which this prophetic culture is sustained by the well-being of a single person (self-appointed Caliph al-Baghdadi) and by expectations of a decisive victory in a clearly identified location, Islamic State has also made itself vulnerable to shattering ideological defeat.

    Pope Francis’ choice of fiction might indicate that he understands all this better than many Western politicians and military strategists do. Re-read today, Lord of the World is an astute and prescient commentary on the threat of eschatological radical jihadism. It’s also a searing critique of the West’s moral and religious vacuum, in which violent absolutism of the IS variety has thrived shockingly well.

    It seems that despite all their differences, Pope Francis and IS might share some very similar assumptions about the nature of the last crusade.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-03-27)
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  7. Gabriele Cagliari fu nominato presidente dell’Eni il 3 novembre 1989. Nel 1993 fu arrestato dai pm milanesi Fabio de Pasquale ed Antonio Di Pietro, accusato di aver versato ai partiti una maxi tangente. Dopo quattro mesi nel carcere di San Vittore a Milano si suicidò il 20 luglio del 1993.

    Stanno distruggendo le basi di fondo e la stessa cultura del diritto, stanno percorrendo irrevocabilmente la strada che porta al loro Stato autoritario, al loro regime della totale asocialità. Io non ci voglio essere.

    Tutto quanto mi viene contestato non corre alcun pericolo di essere rifatto, né le prove relative a questi fatti possono essere inquinate in quanto non ho più alcun potere di fare né di decidere, né ho alcun documento che possa essere alterato. Neppure potrei fuggire senza passaporto, senza carta d’identità e comunque assiduamente controllato come costoro usano fare
    Per di più ho sessantasette anni e la legge richiede che sussistano oggettive circostanze di eccezionale gravità e pericolosità per trattenermi in condizioni tanto degradanti.
    Ma, come sapete, i motivi di questo infierire sono ben altri e ci vengono anche ripetutamente detti dagli stessi magistrati, se pure con il divieto assoluto di essere messi a verbale, come invece si dovrebbe regolarmente fare.

    L’obbiettivo di questi magistrati, quelli della Procura di Milano in modo particolare, è quello di costringere ciascuno di noi a rompere, definitivamente e irrevocabilmente, con quello che loro chiamano il nostro “ambiente”. Ciascuno di noi, già compromesso nella propria dignità agli occhi della opinione pubblica per il solo fatto di essere inquisito o, peggio, essere stato arrestato, deve adottare un atteggiamento di “collaborazione” che consiste in tradimenti e delazioni che lo rendano infido, inattendibile, inaffidabile: che diventi cioè quello che loro stessi chiamano un “infame”. Secondo questi magistrati, a ognuno di noi deve dunque essere precluso ogni futuro, quindi la vita, anche in quello che loro chiamano il nostro “ambiente”.
    La vita, dicevo, perché il suo ambiente, per ognuno, è la vita: la famiglia, gli amici, i colleghi, le conoscenze locali e internazionali, gli interessi sui quali loro e loro complici intendono mettere le mani.
    Già molti sostengono, infatti, che agli inquisiti come me dovrà essere interdetta ogni possibilità di lavoro non solo nell’Amministrazione pubblica o parapubblica, ma anche nelle Amministrazioni delle aziende private, come si fa a volte per i falliti.

    Si vuole insomma creare una massa di morti civili, disperati e perseguitati, proprio come sta facendo l’altro complice infame della magistratura che è il sistema carcerario.
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  8. Aloha Editor is distributed under the GPL v2 or later Open Source License. That means you can use it under the terms of GPL v3 as well. Generally Public Licenses are intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program ensuring its existence as free software for all its users. If GPL v2 does not match with what you plan to do, our commercial license is the way to go.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2015-03-27)
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  9. Mentre il leader Ncd preferisce galleggiare a fianco di Renzi, la capogruppo insiste per l'appoggio esterno. E vuole una conta: "Basta fare gli scendiletto, questo governo sembra un monocolore Pd". Ecco il nuovo orizzonte di una parlamentare che nel Pdl definivano "una rompiscatole"
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-03-27)
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  10. In the last year, I’ve read and enjoyed the discussions coming out of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything, as well as the great article Six Myths about Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question. The core point within both of these is that our lifestyle needs to fundamentally change if we have any chance of addressing the climate crisis.

    Yet missing from this conversation are ideas that are both practical and radical. Ideas which could serve as a blueprint for what a fundamentally different lifestyle would look like. Just as changing lightbulbs won’t be enough, we also know that occupying Wall Street is not a practical choice for most Americans. So what we need are ideas which are radical enough to cause widespread change, yet practical enough, that folks living in the suburbs could put them into practice.

    The following is a blueprint for how all of you can get to work right now. I also know these steps that are both practical and radical because everything that I describe here has already been accomplished in a small, rural, and ridiculously conservative town in Western Colorado. That is to say, if we did this here, you can do this anywhere.

    If we agree that an economy based on unlimited resource extraction is destroying the planet, and that our consumeristic lifestyle is the thing that keeps this economy in motion, then debt is the biggest and most powerful force that guarantees our continued participation. Why? Well if you are like my wife and I, we owe around $200,000 between our home mortgage and some student loans. Most Americans are in similar situations. Since all of that debt is in dollars, most of us will choose to participate in the global economy to try to pay it off. If we don’t, our system is set up to take all that we have earned and own away from us. It’s that powerful. Barring the unlikely scenario of major debt strikes or loan forgiveness programs, the status quo is not going to let us off the hook. So, at least until the debt (that we voluntarily have taken on) is gone, we need to keep participating in the global economy whether we like it or not.

    Another piece of good news is that due to our excessive lifestyle of the last 50 years, we have the perfect infrastructure already in place to get all the work done that we need to do. In every community, with every demographic of people in this country, there are large homes with large yards and vacant guest bedrooms that could house all of the young social visionaries on the planet. This is an infinitely renewable resource that could allow massive amounts of people to get to work right now without changing anything else. Even more importantly, these kinds of relationships allow young people to meet their basic needs (food, utilities, and housing) without ever having to go into debt or participate significantly in the global economy in the first place. It’s practical, radical, and possible!
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