Oil Executives testify on the Hill

Update: Afternoon session of hearings cancelled due to protester disturbances…

CNBC live feed here

Waxman should be teeing up the industry for Obama to hit in his address to the nation tonight…

will the executives of the other big oil companies throw BP under the bus? Is it fair to ask since BP has dragged the entire industry under the wheels of the Obama Administration?

CNBC:

…U.S. lawmakers will ask Lamar McKay why BP made repeated choices that appeared to favor cost savings over safety before its rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico….

…McKay, the head of BP America, will be surrounded at the congressional hearings by executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell seeking to stave off repercussions for the industry.McKay’s rivals are likely to hang him out to dry in a rush to prove their companies would never take such risks or face such failures as the spill that has poured millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

“This incident represents a dramatic departure from the industry norm in deepwater drilling,” Exxon Mobil Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said in prepared testimony….

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June 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Obama Administration, Politics, Taxes, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. Comments off.

Oil Spill Hearing on the Hill: BP, Transocean & Halliburton testify…

Everyone doing their best ‘it ain’t me’ impression…

CNBC livestream covering the hearing here, in a recess right now

May 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Politics. 1 comment.

Sorry Charlie! Crist tries to call Rahm, gets the brush-off, decides to lose to Rubio as an Indy….

I have long thought Charlie Crist and Jennifer Granholm are on the’ favor’ list for Team O as they helped block revotes in FL and MI in the Democratic primary.

Granholm keeps listing herself as a possible SCOTUS pick and Charlie apparently has been trying to call the WH and get an Ambassadorship or perhaps confirmation that Obama and the DNC would not help Meeks too much and let Charlie have the Senate seat in FL…

Marc Ambinder reports:

Charlie Crist, soon to be independent Senate candidate from Florida, tried to reach White House chief of staff Emanuel through intermediates. WH refuses to take the call. Dems plan big talent/money blitz for Kendrick Meek.

What’s Crist up to? Might he be interested in cutting a deal to caucus with the Democrats if they chase Meek from the field?

Who knows? But the most plausible path to victory for Crist is if Meek backs him. That’s a real possibility, I think, later in the game if Rubio and Crist are each getting about 40% in the polls and Meek is getting about 20%. But, as voters get to know the lesser-known Rubio and Meek, it’s probably more likely they emerge as the frontrunners and Crist fades as election day approaches….

Of course O and Rahm aren’t taking Charlie’s calls and even if they were, O has lost his cache, especially in Florida where they hate the health care bill more than most of America.

Marco is going to kick Charlie’s axx come November….it will be sweet schadenfreude for this Hill supporter and Rubio fan!

April 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Politics. Comments off.

Sarah Palin’s Speech at SRLC in NOLA

Courtesy of CSPAN

My fave parts include Drill Baby Drill not Stall Baby Stall, and Sarah’s staunch support of Israel.

April 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Economy, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Taxes. Comments off.

The hidden Tyranny of the Cap and Trade Bill…

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

C. S. Lewis

energypolice

Update: commenters note it may be section 202, 204 of the bill, they added so many pages, we all have different versions no doubt….

AIP – Jimmy Bise (go read the whole thing!):

…Let me introduce you to a little section of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill called the “Building Energy Performance Labeling Program”. It’s section 304 of the bill and it says, basically, that your house belongs to the state. See, the Federal Government really wants a country full of energy-efficient homes, so much so that the bill mandates that new homes be 30 percent more energy efficient than the current building code on the very day the law is signed. That efficiency goes up to 50 percent by 2014 and only goes higher from there, all the way to 2030. That, by the way, is not merely a target but a requirement of the law. New homes must reach those efficiency targets no matter what.

But what does that have to do with current homeowners like you? Well, I’m glad you asked. You’re certainly not off the hook, no way, no how. Here’s what the Democrats have planned for you. The program requires that states label their buildings so that we can all know how efficient every building (that includes residential and non-residential buildings) is and it requires that the information be made public. To that end, the bill suggests a number of circumstances under which the states could inspect a building, including:

(A) preparation, and public disclosure of the label through filing with tax and title records at the time of–

(i) a building audit conducted with support from Federal or State funds;

(ii) a building energy-efficiency retrofit conducted in response to such an audit;

(iii) a final inspection of major renovations or additions made to a building in accordance with a building permit issued by a local government entity;

(iv) a sale that is recorded for title and tax purposes consistent with paragraph (8);

(v) a new lien recorded on the property for more than a set percentage of the assessed value of the property, if that lien reflects public financial assistance for energy-related improvements to that building; or

(vi) a change in ownership or operation of the building for purposes of utility billing; or

(B) other appropriate means.

Pay close attention to (iii), (iv), and (vi) because those hit you right where you live. What that’s saying is the state will be empowered to inspect your home if you want to 1) renovate your house in any way that requires a building permit, 2) sell your house, or 3) change the name of the person responsible for any utility bill.

By now, if you haven’t swallowed your tongue and are in need of medical attention, you’re probably wondering if there’s a penalty for not being in compliance with the new efficiency ratings. The answer is no, and yes. Here’s where the bill gets really sneaky. So far as I can tell, there is no direct penalty if your house does not meet the bill’s target. However, it does require that the number of buildings inspected by the state meet certain percentage targets and if they do not, the state loses out on a significant portion of the money it could get from Washington. In other words, the bill demands certain things from the states, but ties funding for those demands to compliance with the demands.

Did I say the bill gets sneaky? I was wrong. The bill strong-arms the states like a couple mob heavies leaning on a witness in a Rico trial. In turn, the states are going to put the screws to you, so it gets the billions of dollars Washington is dangling in front of them. So while the Federal government won’t directly punish you, it will provide the states with lots and lots of rectangular, green reasons to do so.

And it gets worse. The Federal government has graciously offered to help homeowners with the retrofits the states will force them to do through a program called the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Purposes (REEP). REEP sets aside a pool of money in each state for property owners who have to turn their polar bear-killing buildings into lean, mean, green machines. But, and I’m sure you’ve guessed this already, there’s a catch. Before I get to that, here’s the magic formula (and don’t read ahead and spoil the surprise!):

(i) AWARDS- For residential buildings–

(I) support for a free or low-cost detailed building energy audit that prescribes, as part of a energy-reducing measures sufficient to achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in energy use, by providing an incentive equal to the documented cost of such audit, but not more than $200, in addition to any earned by achieving a 20 percent or greater efficiency improvement;

(II) a total of $1,000 for a combination of measures, prescribed in an audit conducted under subclause (I), designed to reduce energy consumption by more than 10 percent, and $2,000 for a combination of measures prescribed in such an audit, designed to reduce energy consumption by more than 20 percent;

(III) $3,000 for demonstrated savings of 20 percent, pursuant to a performance-based building retrofit program; and

(IV) $1,000 for each additional 5 percentage points of energy savings achieved beyond savings for which funding is provided under subclause (II) or (III).

If you want to hit that 50 percent savings mark that all new homes have to hit, then you can get as much as $12,200, including inspection, as you scoop all those awards. That’s a pretty good chunk of change that should cover most, if not all of the costs of a retrofit on any moderately-sized older house, right? Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

Except for that catch and boy is it a doozy.

(more…)

July 13, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Obama Administration, Politics, Taxes, Unemployment Statistics. Comments off.

Update 12: Economic Action Alert: Blue Dogs roll over: Waxman-Markey Climate Carbon Cap Bill headed to House floor today: Call Your Critters…

Update 12 Rep Michelle Bachmann R-MN on Levin now, says Boehner stopped talking and Pelosi is headed to floor. Bachmann says that the bill contains provisions imposing the California building codes on the entire country, no quesitons asked…Good Gawd Almighty!

Update 11: Minority Leader John Boehner is trying to hold it back, he has unlimited speaking privileges and is reading the 300 pg amendment on the floor.FILIBUSTER!!!..MM is covering it

Mark Levin just read of some things in the bill and OMG!

You CANNOT SELL YOUR HOUSE until it passes an energy efficiency inspection!!

Great news for housing market eh? WHAT UTTER MAROONS!!!

Keep calling!!

Update 10: MM is live blogging the action on the floor:

4:22pm: Shadegg presses on access to bill at desk again. Chair says clerk is “integrating” pages of bill.

Rep. Bilbray: The biggest threat to environment is the smoke coming from the backroom deals surrounding this bill.

4:48pm: GOP Rep. Tom Price asks for moment of silence for all those who will lose their jobs under cap and trade. Heh. Request denied.

Rep. Pence: We can stop this bill. We can do better. And we must!

4:53pm: GOP Rep. Barton refers to suppressed EPA Carlin report. “The science is not there.”…

Update 9: Finance Ranking Member Spencer Bachus R-AL speaks against the subsidies to FOREIGN derivatives market that is created in this bill:

(more…)

June 24, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Film, Finance, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Taxes, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 3 comments.

More on ‘Decoupling’ Utility Billing

The Amendment to remove this ‘decoupling’ from the Stimulus Bill passed the Energy Cmte but was ‘removed’ from consideration by the ROOLZ Cmte, (ugh ROOLZ CMTE, gives all of us a flashback to the horror of the May 31 RBC doesn’t it?) Anywho under Pelosi’s new ROOLZ, they have total control over what is offered so the Amendment never even got to the floor..result- Decoupling utility rates from usage IS in the bill as passed by the House…call your Senators!!

From The Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana:

Electric Utility Decoupling

Duke Energy has hijacked the stimulus bill by successfully lobbying for the inclusion of an amendment regarding the decoupling of electric rates. (See Wall Street Journal website: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123266431226307785.html)This amendment presents a veiled attempt at another corporate bailout. The concept of decoupling results in taking most of the savings ratepayers receive from energy efficiency in the form of reduced utility bills and handing the vast majority of those savings over to utility companies.

What Duke’s Amendment Does:
Duke Energy’s amendment ties energy efficiency block grants to states to the governor of a state telling the federal government that he/she will seek favorable rate treatment for utilities in the form of decoupling. In other words, if the governor is not willing to sell ratepayers out, the state will not receive money to assist homeowners and businesses in reducing their energy bills and saving money.

Why Duke’s Amendment Must be Removed:
There is nothing more important to the middle class now than the concept of affordability. It is obviously clear that issues once considered the realm of low-income families are becoming middle class issues. People can’t afford their health care insurance or bills, their mortgages, retiring, the kids’ educations etc, — and Democrats decide to hand windfall profits to rich utility companies??

It makes no sense whatsoever to convert ratepayer savings into utility profits under the current circumstances. It makes absolutely no sense to tie energy efficiency block grants to states under the stimulus package to utility malfeasance.

Please Take Action Today!

Please call your Congressperson ((202) 224-3121) and Henry Waxman ((202) 225-3976), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

  • Urge them to use at least 50% of the transportation funding for public transit.
  • Urge them to remove the decoupling amendment so that residential and business ratepayers are not punished for saving energy.
  • Tell them that affordability of utility bills is paramount to people keeping their homes and maintaining slim profit margins for small businesses.
  • Tell them that decoupling is a slap in the face to people who have been suffering for years under financial duress.
  • Tell them that decoupling is not in keeping with the President’s message of positive change for the people but, instead, reinforces continued corporate high jacking of our economy and incomes on behalf of short term profit motive.

January 29, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economy, Obama Administration, Politics. Comments off.

Update: CNBC reports…And the Beat goes on…the beating in Housing that is….

CNBC Video Update on the prior month release, November’s prices, and December housing starts:

Courtesy of RealDealNews:

David Crowe, senior staff vice president of the National Association of Homebuilders, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com and CNBC’s Diana Olick discussed home purchase stimulus options on CNBC yesterday, in the wake of new data about the drop in home prices and new home starts in 2008. David Crowe argues that a temporary tax credit for home purchases will help to stimulate the housing market.

Yes, housing values have dropped another 15% …shocker!!..uhm NOT…We knew this was coming..where oh where is our HOLC??..once again declines in housing values outpace expectations for a whopping 15% drop in median home price nationwide year over year…we at MiM have been clanging the alarm bell on housing since 2005…our arms are tired ..where the hexx is the action on mortgage modification and foreclosure mitigation???

when will I–I-I-I- see HOLC…..sing it Linda..

And the beat goes on… Team Obama is pushing energy today…let’s hope this team gets a housing rhythm soon…they are WAAY off target to fix this economy…the list of job losses he read off (CAT-20,000; Home Depot 8,000 etc) will NOT be helped by increasing fuel efficiency standards peeps…

here is a laugh for today, cause we sure as hexx need one if Team Obama is this far off target…(and his energy legislation has daycare in it, earmark? who me earmark? I mean MiM is all for daycare but that is a frakin earmark baby)

I am sure the bankrupt auto makers are simply thrilled with this move coming now..good Gawd…I mean this is nonsensical…do this in a year, not NOW…Oh there ya go, GM announcing another few thousand layoffs in OH and MI and shutting in plants for an additional period…

housinginyourhands

the ever-brilliant MSM has decided to focus on the ‘surprise’ jump in home sales last month..completely missing the enormous JUMP in Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure that is sweeping the nation..we call it Jingle Mail….CNBC reports:

A real estate group says sales of existing homes rose 6.5 percent from November to December, closing out the worst year for the U.S. real estate market in more than a decade…

But THIS is the real news to follow:

The median sales price plunged to $175,400, down 15.3 percent from $207,000 a year ago.

The price drop represented the largest decline since the NAR started keeping records and probably the largest since the Great Depression, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist told reporters.

That was the lowest price since May 2003 and the biggest year-over-year drop on records going back to 1968.

And how do homeowners FEEL about their home values? Cause ‘everybody knows’ that it is that ephemeral FEELING that leads the consumer to spend or not to spend and THAT is the question….CNBC:

The record 61 percent of homeowners saying their home price fell last year suggests the worst housing market since the Great Depression is less likely to rebound before 2010, according to the survey.

Foreclosures will continue to escalate as home equity keeps falling below outstanding mortgage balances, and homeowners will remain intent on rebuilding their savings and reserve funds, the survey said.

But what can we do? PUT A FRAKIN FLOOR IN THE HOUSING MARKETS!!! IT’S TEH HOUSING STOOPID!!

*sigh*

well, the Case-Schiller Index is out this week and should scare the hexx out of everyone so perhaps we will have Geithner in by then and he will make a move…but we are beginning to suspect that Team Obama may have plans to wait…

Here is our worry at MiM, we are concerned that perhaps Obama plans to WAIT for the announcement of TARP 2, which is already funded and which WILL at least partially go to housing..anywho we think he may plan to WAIT to make a move on TARP Deux until AFTER the stimulus plan is passed..that isn’t until the end of FEBRUARY!!!

But, he likely doesn’t want to give the GOP ammo to use on the floor during the debate on the stimulus, ie, wahh wahh we just saw another 350billion in TARP used to no avail wah wah wah…

these are the same yahoos who put NO strings on the first 359 bill which is why NONE of it went to ameliorate the housing CRISIS, yeah its a frakin crisis ‘member?

…good gawd save us from these politicians…

for anyone who missed the carnage, here is the Case-Schiller Index report from December 30, 2008, brutal, just brutal…via CNN Money, the LAST Case Schiller Index was SOOO bad everyone, MiM included, expected ACTION on housing out of the gate from PEBO…

The latest Case-Shiller numbers provide more ammunition to Washington policy makers who want to do more to fix the housing mess, according to Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with the Stanford Group, the policy research firm.

“These data just add to the tremendous pressure on the president-elect and the Democrats to stimulate housing,” he said. “That means more lucrative tax incentives and broad foreclosure prevention. All of this will likely be in the stimulus plan that Congress adopts in January.”

Nicholas Retsinas, Director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, agrees. “Housing problems are at the core of our economic problems,” he said, “yet, of the government interventions made during 2008, few were focused on housing.”..

where is the housing action??

-cricket-

-cricket-

Instead Obama is today announcing he plans to allow each state to set their own emissions standards, so P.S. Gas is going back up peeps, yeah how I wish I could buy it up and store it now…WTH is all this focus on ENERGY right now while housing is falling off a frakin cliff and gas is so low?? THIS is NOT the current crisis!!  FIX THE HOUSING!!!

January 26, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cabinet, Economy, FDIC, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 2 comments.

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