Cuba deal boosts China’s Latin American oil plans –

Idiots. – Would someone please tell the holiday weekend crew over at Fox Nation that The Onion is SATIRICAL?

Elizabeth Warren and HR 3808, The Notary Fraud Condonation Act of 2010 – I want to make sure this great story didn’t get lost in the Thanksgiving shuffle. Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post, Elizabeth Warren Helped Shoot Down Bill That Would Have Sped Foreclosures, Calendar Shows. The bill, which Adam Levitin referred to as the The Notary Fraud Condonation Act of 2010, is exactly the kind of formality legislation that could have passed Congress without anyone noticing it. If you look at some of big financial deregulations – Phil Gramm sneaking a 262 page bill, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, onto an 11,000 page omnibus appropriation bill during the lame duck session in December 2000 – Congress voted for the change without realizing its significance.   The only people who do are usually the  lobbyists, and they are the only ones that can get a voice in explaining to elites what this stuff does.

Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 919 Institutions – Note: this is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.  Here is the unofficial problem bank list for Nov 26, 2010. Changes and comments from surferdude808:  The FDIC released its actions for October, which contributed to a notable increase in the Unofficial Problem Bank List. This week there were 17 additions and one removal leaving the list at 919 institutions with assets of $410.2 billion. Assets declined $9.4 billion during the week, but $11.6 billion, or more than 100 percent of the drop in assets, came from the release of 2010q3 financials. Thus, the net 16 additions this week added $2.2 billion of assets. For the month, a net 25 institutions were added and the list has 376 more institutions than it did a year ago.

Spain’s accumulated public debt is amongst the lowest in the Eurozone… According to independent economists, market analysts and senior Spanish officials, contrary to the assumptions that Spain – like other fiscal offenders in peripheral eurozone, including Greece, Ireland and Portugal – is being punished in the bond markets due to unrestrained public finances, the country’s accumulated public debt is amongst the lowest in eurozone. With rumors galore about Spain’s public finances being out of control and investors deciding to stay away, Spain is increasingly being viewed as a potential victim of market turbulence.  However, as per José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Socialist prime minister, the country’s accumulated public debt, at the beginning of 2010, was only 53 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – half the level of Italy’s public debt.  Zapatero, as well as his ministers, further reiterated, for the umpteenth time, that the public debt levels in Spain happened to be nearly 20 percentage points less than the eurozone average as a proportion of GDP.
 
Poverty And Energy Prices Soaring In Tandem In California… In September the state of California hit a new high in food stamp benefits, crossing the 6 billion dollar mark on an annualized basis. Over the past year in California alone the total number recipients of the federal SNAP program (supplemental nutritional assistance program) rose by 16.3%. In many of the big counties of California however, food stamp usage rose even faster. As previous readers of this blog understand, it’s useful to look at the car dependent regions of southern California as they are emblematic of the state’s post peak-oil, economic breakdown. After all the food stamp program is really a food and energy program, which frees up household cash for gasoline. In San Bernardino County, for example, with its population of two million the number of SNAP recipients has now crossed the 300,000 level. Yes, a full 15% of that county is now on food stamps. But the growth rate in usage is even faster now at 22.7% since last year and has showed no sign of slowing down.
 
  Republican asks to expand power of energy panel (Reuters) – A key Republican on Thursday asked lawmakers to consolidate energy oversight in the House of Representatives into one powerful energy committee. Doc Hastings, the expected incoming head of the House Natural Resources Committee, called for expanding his panel’s jurisdiction to cover all energy policy. This expanded panel would be renamed the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Currently the Natural Resources Committee shares authority over energy legislation with the Energy and Commerce committee. "This proposal would marry together our nation’s broad energy policy with the vast majority of America’s actual energy resources that are on our federal lands and offshore," Hastings said. Under the existing system the Natural Resources committee oversees energy development on public lands, while Energy and Commerce covers oversees general energy policy.
 
Coal India Will Purchase Overseas Mines to Meet Import Demand…  Coal India Ltd., the world’s largest producer of the fuel, is studying the acquisition of five mines in the U.S., Australia and Indonesia to meet the country’s demand for the fuel, Chairman Partha Bhattacharyya said.  The state-owned company is examining a mine in Australia owned by Peabody Energy Corp., one in the U.S. owned by Massey Energy Co. and another in Indonesia, Bhattacharyya said, declining to name the third company. While Coal India hasn’t started due diligence on two more mines in Australia, it may appoint banks soon to evaluate offers, he said.  “We are narrowing the gap of valuations with Peabody,” Bhattacharyya, 59, said in an interview in New Delhi yesterday. “We would like to invest because there are companies which want money for their mines or a market for their coal,” he said. “We have the money and there is a big market here.”
 
Scary new best friend for politicians – HERE’S cold comfort. It would be impossible, according to the Swedish energy expert Kjell Aleklett, for us to emit enough greenhouse gas to warm the planet by six degrees: we don’t have enough oil, coal or gas to burn. ”All the emissions scenarios that have been put forward over the last 10 years are wrong,” says Aleklett, professor of physics at the University of Uppsala and the world president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change business as usual forecast to 2100, which would result in six degrees of warming, assumes worldwide production of coal could rise 10 times higher than today. ”That can never happen,” says Aleklett, who is on an Australian speaking tour this month and was recently heard on the ABC’s Science Show. Aleklett says coal production will peak about 2030, and China is peaking about now.
 
Delinquent borrowers would rather rent: Fannie Mae survey… Half of homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgages would rather rent than buy a home, according to Fannie Mae‘s third quarter national housing survey. This is the first time the rental preference has exceeded the percentage of people who would rather buy. Fifty percent said they would rather rent, up 10% from January, while 45% said they would buy a home, down 11% since January. According to the quarterly survey, 68% of Americans think it’s a good time to buy a home, down 2% from the last survey conducted in June, while 29% of Americans think it’s a bad time to buy a home, up 3% from June. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they think it is a bad time to sell a home, up 2% from June. “Consumer attitudes toward buying a home are more negative since last quarter,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Our survey shows that Americans’ declining optimism about housing and their personal finances is reinforcing increasingly realistic attitudes toward owning and renting.”
 
Why China is an energy consumption hog – Over the next 15 years China is expected to build the equivalent of 10 New York Citys. That’s a lot of concrete and steel, and it goes a long way in explaining why the country is using so much energy. Roads, bridges, rail lines, skyscrapers and factories all take tons of concrete, steel, chemicals and glass. "They are building massive amounts of infrastructure," said Lynn Price, a scientist in the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy research lab. "It takes incredible amounts of these energy-intensive commodities."  Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency said China surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest consumer of energy.  While China does have four times as many people, its economy is only a third the size. So where is all that energy going?  Statistics from the DOE show it’s China’s industrial production, not its 1.3 billion people, that’s using all this fuel. China’s industrial sector accounts for over 70% of its total energy consumption. Meanwhile, the U.S. industrial sector accounts for just 33% of its energy consumption.
 
Cuba deal boosts China’s Latin American oil plans – – China is taking another great leap forward in its Latin American energy plans, raising Cuba’s energy importance in the process, with a deal to lead a $6 billion refinery expansion project on the communist island, experts said this week. The project, to be funded mostly by China’s Eximbank, is the latest of several significant moves in the region for the Asian power as it continues to expand its global influence. For Cuba, the refurbishing of its antiquated refinery in the coastal city of Cienfuegos will provide an outlet for oil it hopes to tap soon in the Gulf of Mexico, while also laying the groundwork for the island to possibly become a key oil transshipment point for the Caribbean basin.A unit of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp expects to begin work in early 2011 on the project that will more than double the refinery’s capacity to 150,000 barrels daily and include construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal.
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