Nigel Farage’s United kingdom Independent Party, or UKIP, has made big strides in recent local elections.
Much of the party’s success has come from the online presence of Mr. Farage and his unrelenting challenge to a European Union which is increasingly seen as not in the best interest of Britain. (Not to mention the Continent.)
To see what UK voters see in Mr. Farrage and his party I’ve attached a video I posted last year. It’s just so good.
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For the first time in state history, the Idaho House of Representatives passed a scholarship tax credit (STC) bill. Like the bill that the Alabama legislature passed last month, Idaho’s STC legislation is a step in the right direction though it has some limitations.
The Idaho bill would grant tax credits to individuals and corporations in return for donations to nonprofit scholarship granting organizations (SGOs). The SGOs would fund low- and middle-income students attending nonpublic schools. To be eligible to participate, a family’s household income could not exceed 150% of the federal free-and-reduced lunch program’s income threshold ($63,964 for a family of four). According to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, that would cover about 59% of Idahoans. The program is limited to students who attended a public school in the previous year or are entering kindergarten or first grade.
The program would be capped at $10 million per year. While the cap would adjust for inflation, there is no “escalator” provision to grow the program over time to meet demand, as in Arizona, Florida, and New Hampshire.
The program would also require participating private schools to administer standardized tests. This is an unnecessary provision that’s intended to provide accountability but could exacerbate the “teach to the test” problem. The most effective form of accountability is the chosen schools’ direct relationship with parents who can choose to leave if their kids’ needs are not met. Most STC programs do not require schools to administer standardized tests, yet many schools voluntarily administer them because parents desire it. However, when the state mandates testing to participate in school choice programs, there are fewer choices available to parents who want to avoid the “teach to the test” issue.
Despite the bill’s limitations, the Idaho House of Representatives just took the Gem State one step closer to having an education system that empowers families to choose the education that best meets their kids’ individual needs.
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Arctic Oil Exploration Gains Momentum
Tuesday May 29, 2012, 4:00am PDT
By Adam Currie
http://oilandgasinvestingnews.com/4438- … dium=email
Despite oil prices recording steep declines over the past month, explorers and producers are continuing to search for economically viable plays in ever more challenging settings.
With conventional land plays still making up the majority of major discoveries, more and more companies are now choosing to venture beyond the beaten path in the hope that rewards will be plentiful with higher-risk ventures.
The land sections currently up for grabs in the northeastern stretches of the Beaufort Sea are a prime example of this type of high-risk venture. Recently Ottawa placed 905,000 hectares of Canada’s northern offshore up for bids, effectively clearing the way for energy companies to snap up exploration rights for an area half the size of Lake Ontario. Since the region has never been drilled by an oil and gas company, some speculators are labeling the area a high-potential play and a possible game changer. The US Geological Survey estimates Arctic waters hold 26 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
There is no guarantee that the current round will produce large numbers, as recent years have seen smaller bids from companies that some consider to be speculators with a questionable ability to mount effective drilling programs. With that said, there have been instances of large purchases in the past, and coupled with Arctic shipping lanes opening up, extraction from areas such as the Beaufort Sea is now a very real possibility.
The auction, which runs until September, puts in play a 30 percent expansion of the area already under lease in the Beaufort and Mackenzie Delta.
Houston-based ION Geophysical Corp. (NYSE:IO) is a firm believer in the area’s potential and has admitted that while the economic and technical hurdles to producing oil from the Arctic remain high, recent data is altering the energy industry’s view of the potential up north. It has even gone so far as to describe the area as a “world-class play.”
The company has built up a highly sought after database that is beginning to alter perceptions within the industry. In 2006 it launched a multi-year program aimed at mapping the subsurface below the Beaufort Sea using seismic and gravity equipment to identify structures that might contain oil and gas.
The logistics of such a program do not come cheap, with hurdles including a region that is difficult to access, treacherous terrain, and continuous environmental group opposition. In a recent interview, Joe Gagliardi, director of Arctic Solutions and Technology for ION, confirmed that over $150 million has been spent on the program so far, before adding that a large portion of that money has already been recouped as the company’s data continues to gain “global” interest.
“The Beaufort-Mackenzie is a world-class play. It has the possibility to change the game when it comes to the world balance of oil and gas reserves,” said Gagliardi, before adding, “[t]he low-hanging fruit for large oilfields are drying up outside of the Arctic.”
“The new data that ION shot was revolutionary,” said John Hogg, vice president of exploration and operations for MGM Energy Corp. (TSX:MGX). “There’s much more sand [sedimentary rock] that goes out farther than what we would have thought.”
A frozen frontier
The excitement has not been limited to the Beaufort Sea. Many experts view the Alaskan Arctic as the last great US domestic oil prospect, with many feeling it might hold the potential to cut the country’s dependence on foreign oil. This sentiment is underlined by the fact that Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A) has spent over $4 billion on Arctic oil exploration since 2005, while BP (NYSE:BP) committed $1.2 billion in 2008 to drilling in the Beaufort. When crude prices spiked in the early 2000s, Shell joined the scramble accelerate exploration, bidding $44 million to lease Beaufort Sea prospects.
This momentum continues to grow, with executives forecasting that a high number of oil companies will line up to join in Arctic exploration. Some have forecast that the region could eventually yield up to a million barrels a day of crude – more than ten percent of current US domestic output.
Let the bidding begin
While there might be some concern in relation to companies not tabling serious offers for Beaufort Sea prospects, there has been increasing market activity over recent years. In 2007, Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) and ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) jointly bid $585 million for a large Beaufort Sea parcel, while in 2010 Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) made a separate bid of $103 million.
It is likely that with the added benefits of up-to-date seismic data, a strong oil price, and new, effective methods of crude extraction, bidding will be highly competitive this time around. “If these guys are spending time up there, it’s not to chase little pools,” said Mike Dunn, an analyst with FirstEnergy Capital Corp.
Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for Imperial, has commented that the company “continues to view the Beaufort Sea and our deepwater acreage there as a high potential area of opportunity,” while Chevron confirmed that it will be conducting its own data gathering in the Beaufort this summer. Chevron spokesman Leif Sollid stated, “[w]e view the Beaufort as an important future oil and gas region.”
However, not all is rosy up north. Seismic data is only the first step in tapping this potential “game changer.” The technical and economic challenges are large and the Arctic remains an extraordinarily challenging terrain. In addition, existing estimates from companies and governments suggest that Canada’s Arctic holds a much smaller resource than other northern regions.
The Arctic, as the final energy frontier in Canada, continues to hold promise. Beneath the ice-covered waters of the Beaufort, explorers are confident that they might still discover the kind of mega-play that makes billion-dollar drilling programs worthwhile.
Securities Disclosure: I, Adam Currie, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Thu May 31, 2012 1:41 pm
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Rick Rule – Gold, Silver, Takeovers & 2,000% Gains
With continued volatility in gold, silver and global stock markets, today King World News interviewed Rick Rule, Founder of Global Resource Investments and one of the most street smart pros in the resource sector. KWN reached out to Rick, who is currently in New Zealand, to find out what his thoughts were on how investors can make money in 2012. First, here is what Rule had to say about the action in gold and silver: “I continue to believe that when rational people are confronted with the choice between owning dollars or euros or owning gold, increasingly people are owning gold. I continue to believe the intermediate and longer-term move in the gold price is higher. I think the gold price, in US dollar terms, moves inexorably higher.”
“Silver is already up nicely off its lows. It’s likely also that intermediate-term, that move is higher (in silver). I think we’re in a secular bull market. There are more people in the world wanting more stuff and they are more able to afford it. At the same time we are in a secular bear market in paper money. I see the next couple of years as being interesting in a positive sense for metals buyers and gold and silver share buyers.”
Rule had this to say about how to make money in 2012: “Well, this is shaping up to be a good (mining) market, Eric. Last year was a dismal market, which is, paradoxically, one of the reasons why this year will be pretty good. We’re coming off a low base and there are very low expectations and the valuations are extremely reasonable….
“It will not take much of a move to generate a pleasant surprise to the upside and get some emotion coming back into this market. The way you are going to play the game to make money in the juniors this year is to buy the companies that are rational takeover targets. I think you’re going to have takeovers on a monthly basis from here on out.
We are going to have two fires (under the junior market). There are going to be the mergers and acquisitions, but there are also going to be discoveries. The takeovers will yield premiums in the 30% to 50% range. The discoveries have the ability to yield 1,000% or 2,000% gains.
We are going to have a smattering of both of those (takeovers and discoveries) populating the market in the next 24 months. So I think it’s going to be a pretty exciting time.”
Rule is considered to be one of the wealthiest and most street smart pros in the resource sector. He gives King World News listeners some great advice on how to make money in this interview. The KWN interview with Rick Rule will be available shortly and you can listen to it by CLICKING HERE
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:58 am
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