Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/9 - Smuggling Rises On CA Coast, Storm Sirens' Last Wail

Sunday, December 9, 2012, 12:49 PM

Economy

Energy Leveraging: An Explanation for China’s Success and the World’s Unemployment (Arthur Robey)

America’s recent oil-drilling success relates primarily to shale oil (sometimes called tight oil). There is no guarantee that America’s success with shale oil will continue. The Bakken is today’s biggest source of shale oil, with some claims that Bakken will be able to provide over 1 million barrels a day of oil for many years. It seems strange then that recently ONEOK Partners was not able to find subscribers for a 200,000 barrel a day crude pipeline for Bakken oil. The number of drilling rigs active in North Dakota is now down about 13% from its high in June, according to Baker Hughes–something else a person wouldn’t expect in an area where future production is expect to grow rapidly.

Tough opposition to city's sale of PGW (Thomas C.)

The objections over the fees are among the many legal and political obstacles the Nutter administration must surmount to sell the 176-year-old utility, which has been restored to financial stability in the last decade. Lazard Freres & Co., the financial adviser, estimated the sale could fetch up to $1.85 billion and net the city as much as $496 million.

Land Routes Blocked, Smuggling Rises Sharply on California Coast (jdargis)

“There’s been an uptick in smuggling at sea because we have been successful in making it difficult for smuggling organizations at the land border,” said Claude Arnold, the special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles. “They’re trying everything they can to get their products into the country.”

New Taxes to Take Effect to Fund Health Care Law (jdargis)

To help finance Medicare, employees and employers each now pay a hospital insurance tax equal to 1.45 percent on all wages. Starting in January, the health care law will require workers to pay an additional tax equal to 0.9 percent of any wages over $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Big Money Bets on a Housing Rebound (jdargis)

As the foreclosure crisis grinds on, knowledgeable, cash-rich investors are doing something that still gives many ordinary Americans pause: they are leaping headlong into the housing market. And not just into tricky mortgage investments, collateralized this or securitized that, but actual houses.

Environment

Cuba’s Free-Market Farm Experiment Yields a Meager Crop (jdargis)

No other industry has seen as much liberalization, with a steady rollout of incentives for farmers. And Mr. Castro has been explicit about his reasoning: increasing efficiency and food production to replace imports that cost Cuba hundreds of millions of dollars a year is a matter “of national security.”

Storm Sirens’ Last Wail (jdargis)

“In better days, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to spend $100,000 on a less than perfect tool,” said Michael Soots, the county’s director of information services. “But in these times we don’t have the $100,000, and it is much less than perfect.”

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