It’s All About the Electrons (Flowing, Yo)

The Coming Energy Wars | Newsweek International Edition | Newsweek.com

The lack of any spare capacity in the global pipeline makes it difficult to solve such situations with sanctions; taking any oil off the market would, at this point, merely ignite an already explosive situation. The megatrends fueling the global supply shortage tend to feed on one another. Higher prices fuel the growing tendency of oil states like Russia and Venezuela to re-nationalize fields. That often leads to lower output, due to the inefficiency of most state oil companies, notes Sanford Bernstein analyst Ben Dell. The publicly traded companies have to go where they can. As fields in peaceful places (Alaska, the North Sea) are tapped out, the hunt for new oil has moved into conflict zones (Nigeria and Angola) or geologically extreme territory (Siberia, the deep sea). And while higher prices are already driving down energy consumption in rich nations, that drop does not offset the booming demand in emerging markets.

Some dry but good reading from Newsweek on the ramifications of everyone fighting over the same thing, i.e., everyone is going to fight over the same thing.

This is also why Iran is having such a fun time being in the position they are.  That is, the world is both trying to cut them off to punish for the uranium enrichment and trying to open them up to exploit their oil, natty gas, and pipeline potential.

Welcome to the New Social Reality

Palm Beach County teachers found to have questionable content on Facebook profiles — Health and Safety at School, Washington Post Company, Boca Raton — South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Any kid with a computer and an Internet connection could have done it: Join Facebook and type in ” Palm Beach County School District.” Up popped more than 200 names, many of them local teachers sharing personal information.

More than a dozen included content that might raise a few eyebrows. Kindergarten teacher Meghan Buckley, 26, had a page with links to photos of herself drinking and having her bottom spanked by a friend.

And what a spanking it was.  One would assume.  Regardless, this is the way it is now.  I’m surprised that a full-fledged anonymous blogging service hasn’t be dreamt up and implemented yet.

The Problem of Speculation

Saudi Arabia seeks oil price curb – Jun. 9, 2008

The Saudi announcement comes just three days after the biggest single-day price leap ever, when oil surged more than $11 to surpass $139 per barrel.

Retail gas prices rose further above $4 Monday in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, following the unprecedented price rally.

The kingdom will work to ensure there will be no “unwarranted and unnatural oil price hikes that could affect international economies, especially those of developing countries,” said Madani.

“There is no justification for the current rise in prices,” he said.

There isn’t any market justification for the prices right now, at least in the fundamental sense.  However, with all the strangeness going on and the way the market works, the prices now have spiked tremendously which is exacerbating some very real problems in developing countries.  When people are already rioting in the streets, run away oil prices have the ability to be a very nasty catalyst.

No Wonder I Just Got A Rebate

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC’s Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

War profiteering

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

This is going to be a part of the war, much like the care for the soldiers who fought it, that’s going to cost a lot for a long time.  Now we just need to start putting the profiteers in jail to stem the tide a bit (actually that’s something we should have done very publicly the first time something like this happened, but, well…with Bush…ya know…).