Foreign national paid for private planes that took runaway Texas Democrats to Washington
WorldTribune, 14 July 2021
Election integrity would seem to be a bi-partisan joke. Even in Texas.
“If they (Democrats) felt like walking out was representing their districts, I was not going to force them to vote on a piece of legislation that was offensive to their district.”
That’s how freshman Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan responded to questions surrounding the Texas Democrats’ latest attempt to delay passage of a voter integrity bill by flying to Washington D.C., the Corpus Christi Caller Times reports. Continue reading “Article: Foreign national paid for private planes that took runaway Texas Democrats to Washington”
Are Power Companies Playing Texas Hold’em?
Jinjoo Lee, 05 July 2021
It isn’t even close to the peak of Texas’s sizzling summer season and already the state’s power grid has given out two warnings of tight conditions after a higher-than-usual volume of plants went offline. Wear and tear from the February winter storm is one possible explanation; market manipulation is another. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Warm weather and low wind output played a role, but what was surprising about the alerts—one in April, the other in June—was the number of power plants that were offline at the same time. On June 14, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, said some 11 gigawatts of generation (roughly 15% of that day’s peak load forecast and enough to power 2.2 million homes in the summer) was on forced outage for repairs. In April, Ercot had said roughly 33 GW of generation was out of service for maintenance. Of course, that isn’t entirely surprising after the February disaster that strained the entire system and left millions without power. Continue reading “Article: Are Power Companies Playing Texas Hold’em?”
What’s Behind The Massive Fluctuation In Natural Gas Prices?
Irina Slav, 30 June 2021
The Texas Freeze was one of those unprecedented events that have the potential to upend the way things are done, in this case, in power utilities. The crisis, which saw natural gas prices rise from two-figure to four-figure numbers, prompted an in-depth look at Texas’s grid and electricity market, and measures to ensure it never happened again. Now, gas prices are on the rise again, and many of the February bills have not been paid yet. Disgruntlement is building up across the swathe of states affected by the freezing cold spell in February. In California, people are being warned their bills are going to rise higher.
“I cannot for the life of me understand how we saw it go from $2 to $1,200 and back down to $2 in the span of the week; that’s not real,” Garry Mize, the Republican chairman of the utilities committee in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives, said recently, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Continue reading “Article: What’s Behind The Massive Fluctuation In Natural Gas Prices?”
Far From Texas, Huge Gas Bills Stoke Anger After February Freeze
Christopher M. Matthews , 27 June 2021
An angry backlash is building across the middle of the U.S. as states step in to help their constituents pay billions of dollars in natural-gas bills racked up during February’s freeze.
While most escaped the blackouts that occurred in Texas, states from Minnesota to Kansas are having to help local utilities, businesses and homeowners cover February bills after natural-gas prices surged from around $2 per million British thermal units to as much as $1,200 in parts of the country. Continue reading “Article: Far From Texas, Huge Gas Bills Stoke Anger After February Freeze”
Texas deputies seize nearly $1-million discovered during traffic stop
Joe Villasana, 24 June 2021
ANAHUAC, Texas (KWTX) – Antwone Smith, 35, of South Carolina, is in custody in East Texas after deputies with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office discovered nearly $1-million in cash in a pickup during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in an area east of Houston.
Smith was taken into custody and jailed on a charge of money laundering greater than $300,000. Continue reading “Article: Texas deputies seize nearly $1-million discovered during traffic stop”
Stunning Confessions of a Short Seller
Michelle Celarier, 22 June 2021
Anonymous short activist Rota Fortunae profited from put options on Farmland Partners — and now admits the relevant report he authored was riddled with errors.
The proliferation of short activist research in recent years has raised red flags about some of the originality, accuracy, and depth of these works — especially when combined with put options that are timed to coincide with the publication of reports that might send the stocks into a tailspin.
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Seniors Lost $1 Billion to Cybercrime in 2020: FBI
Nancy Bilyeau, 17 June 2021
People over 60 were the special targets of COVID-19-related Internet schemes and financial fraud in 2020, with 28 percent of the total fraud losses sustained by seniors, according to the FBI.
These Internet fraud schemes reaped approximately $1 billion in losses purely from seniors in 2020, the FBI said in a report released Tuesday.
“This represents an increase of approximately $300 million in losses reported in 2020 versus what was reported by victims over 60 in 2019,” said the report. Continue reading “Article: Seniors Lost $1 Billion to Cybercrime in 2020: FBI”
Is Texas headed toward another blackout? Did the Legislature fix the power grid? Here are answers to your questions about the grid.
ERIN DOUGLAS AND MITCHELL FERMAN, 15 June 2021
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Monday asked residents to reduce their electricity usage through at least Friday due to “tight” power grid conditions. A number of power plants are inexplicably offline at the same time as the state is experiencing record June demand for electricity. Continue reading “Article: Is Texas headed toward another blackout? Did the Legislature fix the power grid? Here are answers to your questions about the grid.”
ERCOT Calls On Texans To Conserve Power Amid High Summer Demand, Forced Outages
Mose Buchele, 14 June 2021
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has asked people to conserve energy throughout the week as the supply of electricity on the Texas grid runs the risk of falling short of demand.
Texans should reduce their electricity use through Friday, ERCOT said.
It is the second time the state’s grid operator has made such a request since devastating blackouts gripped Texas in February. Continue reading “Article: ERCOT Calls On Texans To Conserve Power Amid High Summer Demand, Forced Outages”
Are Oil Prices Headed toward $100 a Barrel?
nasdaq, 12 June 2021
On June 1, 2021, Jeremy Schwartz, Global Head of Research a
t WisdomTree and regular host of the Behind the Markets podcast, was joined by Mobeen Tahir, Associate Director of Research at WisdomTree, to host Erik Gilje, professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The topic was oil, and the focus was on Erik’s bullish view on the commodity stemming from structural supply issues in the U.S. amid an improving demand outlook.
Professor Gilje outlined that over the last decade, almost all new supply of oil has come from North America—i.e., either Canada or the U.S.—while the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners (OPEC+) have lost market share. The group was forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce 9.7 million barrels of supply in what can be characterized as a dramatic and unprecedented policy coordination. Continue reading “Article: Are Oil Prices Headed toward $100 a Barrel?”
House Hearing: Only Jamie Dimon’s Microphone Mysteriously Malfunctions During Pivotal Questioning
Pam Martens and Russ Martens, 28 May 2021
CEOs from the six largest banks on Wall Street testified under oath yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee. But only one CEO, Jamie Dimon, had an ear-piercing electronic sound emanate from his microphone, which blocked out the sound of his voice, when he was asked key questions by two separate members of Congress.
The situation was so bizarre that Congressman Juan Vargas, a Democrat from California, said this about the episodes: “It reminded me of the movie ‘Young Frankenstein.’ Every time they said ‘Luther’ the horses would get scared. Every time they said ‘Jamie Dimon,’ the computers would get scared.”
The first episode occurred after Congressman Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, told Dimon that two of the banks previously purchased by JPMorgan Chase had used slaves as loan collateral and at one point, after calling in a loan, the bank actually owned 1,250 slaves. Green asked Dimon: “Will you atone in the form of recompense,” and “what will you do for your banks owning human beings…?” Continue reading “Article: House Hearing: Only Jamie Dimon’s Microphone Mysteriously Malfunctions During Pivotal Questioning”
Local expert explains meatpacking industry concerns
Emily Tabar, 27 May 2021
DURANT, Okla. (KXII) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt released a letter last week about his concerns in the meatpacking industry. A local expert in the beef supply chain explains those concerns and what they hope to see change.
If you’re headed to the grocery store this memorial day weekend, expect to pay more at the meat counter. “We’ve let it go on for too long, and now we’re at the point now, it’s become a huge problem,” said Jeff Hazaleus, owner of Durant Stockyards.
Hazaleus said market manipulation by meatpackers has gone on for a while, but has become more clear this past year. Continue reading “Article: Local expert explains meatpacking industry concerns”
Macon Utilities customers outraged at spike in natural gas prices from February storms
Michael Steward, 24 May 2021
MACON — A winter storm that pushed several states into crisis, pushed a Missouri county into one of their own. The February polar vortex that collapsed Texas’ power grid and water systems led to a historic increase in natural gas prices.
Macon Utilities, a Missouri company, said they were monitoring the weather, but didn’t anticipate the severity of the storm.
“We were watching the weather with the polar vortex that was happening and we had received alerts that the temperatures were going to be cold,” Stephanie Wilson, General Manager of Macon Utilities, said. “To the severity of wells freezing… because of the temperature — that was not known.” Continue reading “Article: Macon Utilities customers outraged at spike in natural gas prices from February storms”
It’s Becoming Clearer Who Profited From The Blackouts, And That’s Raising Questions Of Price Gouging
FMOSE BUCHELE, 10 May 2021
The blackouts that hit Texas in February left more than 100 people dead and caused billions of dollars in debt for those who found themselves on the wrong side of the state’s famously laissez-faire energy market. For others, it created huge earnings the full scope of which are now coming into focus.
Until recently, companies that made a lot of money during the freeze have tried to keep a low profile about it. But quarterly financial reports have come due making that information harder to conceal. The big winners: companies that sold natural gas. Continue reading “Article: It’s Becoming Clearer Who Profited From The Blackouts, And That’s Raising Questions Of Price Gouging”
Gas Suppliers, Banks Make Billions on Texas Power Crisis
Alex Shanahan, Andy Szal, 07 May 2021
Months after the deadly winter storm passed, some companies are starting to detail some significant windfalls. In mid-February, a brutal winter storm swept across Texas and overwhelmed the state’s power grid, knocking out electricity and water to millions for days.
A sudden jump in energy prices hammered utilities, and some customers faced power bills in the thousands of dollars. More than 100 people reportedly died.
The public vented its anger — primarily at executives and lawmakers — and amid that kind of public outcry, it’s easy to see why some companies who may have benefited from the crisis were happy to keep that information under wraps. Some 12 weeks later, however, the details are beginning to seep out. Continue reading “Article: Gas Suppliers, Banks Make Billions on Texas Power Crisis”