Free Markets, Free People
In macro terms its really fairly simple. We have always come out of busts with booms. Wondering what the next boom is going to be and how to help it launch itself is where government should be looking and trying to act – not at deficit funding government make work projects and future energy schemes still some decades from reality.
For instance – a little look into the not to distant future and a scenario that would help us in both the balance of trade and employment, arenas (the latter almost immediately).
But also, we will help to satisfy burgeoning demand for petroleum in Asia, South America and Africa. Yes, the US is an oil importer. But if we import less, that will help to satisfy world demand just as much as if a new exporter appeared on the market. If we import a billion barrels a year (2.74 million barrels a day) less, at current prices that works out to $100 billion off of our huge trade deficit. This could also be a huge engine of job growth. We now have about 2,000 rigs drilling, and more are being added all the time. For each rig there are the roughnecks, the service companies, the drilling pipe and casing producers, the local service providers, etc. It is big business, and growing fast.
Fortunately, we have lots of places to drill, in various shale formations around the country. (It’s not “shale oil” in the classic sense, better to call it, “shale associated oil”). For those who think that Yankee ingenuity is a thing of the past, just look at our oil and gas industry. It serves as a powerful testament to the power of the free enterprise system that a great many people chipping away at the same problem can come up with creative new ways of extracting oil from the earth that a centralized government program of oil production would never (and has never) originated. You don’t see these new drilling techniques coming from Russia, which is still sadly statist in its efforts to exploit natural resources.
We have the resources, we could be exploiting them now (relatively speaking) and have them benefit our economy while we do the pie-in-the-sky energy research the Democrats think is the panacea to all our problems. I’ve never understood their insistence on ‘either/or’ in that regard. Why can’t we do both simultaneously – which seems both logical and would help do exactly what they claim they want – employ Americans.
Timothy Siegel’s point about innovation is well taken as well. One of the reasons we’re moving past the peak oil predictions of the past is because of innovation from private oil companies that is allowing them to extract harder to reach and exploit oil and gas at a reasonable price. We, as a nation, should be encouraging that instead of doing everything in our power to cripple such innovation.
Instead we get solutions like those below from the left. Government should spend money when one of the greatest engines for economic revival is left sitting at idle while the administration figures out how to get more sugar in its gas tank.
It’s freakin’ nuts.
As Peter Glover says, writing in the Energy Tribune, this ought to be the lead story in every American paper and on every American news show. But it’s overshadowed by Japan, Libya and other developments in the world.
America’s combined energy resources are, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CSR), the largest on earth. They eclipse Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th) and Canada (6th) combined – and that’s without including America’s shale oil deposits and, in the future, the potentially astronomic impact of methane hydrates.
The US and Russia are the two most resource rich countries in the world. Here’s the chart that shows how huge our advantage is:
Note it says “Oil Equivalent” on the left side. That’s because it includes coal. Yeah, that icky, nasty stuff that we’re trying to ban or make it supremely expensive to use.
The CRS estimates US recoverable coal reserves at around 262 billion tons (not including further massive, difficult to access, Alaskan reserves). Given the US consumes around 1.2 billion tons a year, that’s a couple of centuries of coal use, at least.
In fact, the US has 28% of the world’s coal.
In 2009 the CRS upped its 2006 estimate of America’s enormous natural gas deposits by 25 percent to around 2,047 trillion cubic feet, a conservative figure given the expanding shale gas revolution. At current rates of use that’s enough for around 100 years. Then there is still the, as yet largely publicly untold, story of methane hydrates to consider, a resource which the CRS reports alludes to as “immense…possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels.” According to the Inhofe’s EPW, “For perspective, if just 3 percent of this resource can be commercialized … at current rates of consumption, that level of supply would be enough to provide America’s natural gas for more than 400 years.”
So, the possibility of 400 years worth of NG, a couple hundred years worth of coal – but what about oil?
Well shucks, seems we have the potential to be quite free of foreign oil, doesn’t it?
While the US is often depicted as having only a tiny minority of the world’s oil reserves at around 28 billion barrels (based on the somewhat misleading figure of ‘proven reserves’) according to the CRS in reality it has around 163 billion barrels. As Inhofe’s EPW press release comments, “That’s enough oil to maintain America’s current rates of production and replace imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years”
Of course that all assumes we do something about taking advantage of the resources we have and actually putting ourselves in a position where we’re not at the mercy of foreign sources of the same sorts of product.
Obviously and hopefully, we’ll come up with affordable and available renewable energy products while we’re doing that.
However, we have no coherent energy plan from this administration. Instead it seems to have gone to war with the oil industry and is doing everything it can to slow its ability to find and exploit these resources. 19,000 jobs and 1.1 billion in earnings have been lost since the imposition of the administration’s moratorium. Both former Presidents Bush and Clinton have spoken out against the delays. And the administration remains in contempt of a court order which ordered them to speed up the permitting process. As a result the EIA has estimated a loss of 74,000 barrels a day of production due to the moratorium this year.
Meanwhile our President touts foreign oil, our investment in it and claims we’ll be its “best customer”.
As Glover says:
Meanwhile US energy policy persists in pursuing the myth that renewables are the economically viable future, with fossil fuels already, as the president said in January, “yesterday’s energy”. With 85 percent of global energy set to come from fossil fuels till at least 2035 no matter what wishful thinkers may prefer, current US energy policy – much like European – is pure political pantomime.
Couldn’t agree more. We sit on a veritable treasure trove of natural resources which could actually make us energy independent and we have an administration which is doing everything in its power to not just keep us dependent on foreign oil, but to increase our dependence.
That’s kind of what some pundits are hinting with the latest "official" unemployment numbers.
But as the three of us noted on yesterday’s podcast, that number is only a slight glimmer in an otherwise dark picture. And the underlying unemployment numbers (and trends) don’t really support the reduction of last week (the number of new private sector jobs was not enough to maintain the unemployment number). Or said another way, it is most likely a temporary blip. Another ominous development that doesn’t bode well economically is the precipitous rise in oil prices and the impact that will have on any recovery. In a word, the impact it will have is "bad".
Oil is one of those commodities that has a very broad impact on economic activity. It is, until an alternative or substitute is found, the literal life-blood of our economy.
How does oil staying in the $104 to $107 a barrel range sound? Not very good, obviously. As one refiner told me, his only control over how much the fuel he refines costs when it leaves his refinery is the economies he can wring out of his equipment, but the cost of the goods coming in are beyond his control. So that cost per barrel is what he’s paying as the crude shows up at his refinery for processing.
How long will it stay over $100 a barrel? Well, many are saying quite some time:
Oil prices climbed to near $106 a barrel Monday as intense fighting between Libyan government forces and rebels appeared to be turning into a civil war and raised the prospect of a prolonged cut in crude exports from the OPEC nation.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for April delivery was up $2.25 to $106.67 a barrel, the highest since September 2008, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had gained $2.51 to settle at $104.42 a barrel on Friday.
Citigroup said it raised its 2011 average forecast for Brent crude to $105 from $90, but doesn’t expect the violent protests in North Africa and the Middle East to spread to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.
"We assume that output disruption is maintained through the second quarter," Citigroup said in a report. "Output disruption, or at least the threat of, will support a fear premium for the rest of 2011."
As mentioned in the article, most now view the war in Libya to be a civil war. And, reports today say that Gadhafi’s forces have had some successes against rebel forces (apparently neither side is particularly swift in the combat portion of battle). Reports also point to other countries possibly helping the rebels. And we know there are "friends" of Gadhafi, mostly found in the socialist South and Central American countries, who will try to help the dictator maintain power.
The initial shock of the turmoil in Libya has worn off the markets and they are now looking at a prolonged reduction of capacity with Libya off line. And, we’re seeing unrest in other Arab oil producing states as well. Unrest, or instability, drives the price of oil up.
So it isn’t surprising that in the last two weeks, the price of gasoline rose at its second fastest pace ever:
Gasoline prices in the United States posted their second-biggest increase ever in a two-week period, due to the rise in crude oil prices stemming from the turmoil in Libya, an industry analyst said Sunday.
The national average for a gallon of self-serve, regular gas was $3.50 on March 4, according to the Lundberg Survey of about 2,500 gas stations, up 32.7 cents from the previous survey on Feb. 18.
The most it ever jumped was in 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit. But that was soon solved because the event itself wasn’t prolonged as is a civil war. So chances are, this isn’t the end of the rising price of gasoline.
As you might expect our national leaders have managed to put us in a position where we essentially have nothing to answer with domestically. In fact, as I recall, we’ve been told repeatedly for the last 20 or so years that bringing significant new assets on line would take at least 10 years or so and thus, I guess, shouldn’t be done. Er, yeah, ok and where would we be now if we had committed to that 10 years of bringing them on line 20 years ago? At least better off than we are now.
And most likely not talking about using the strategic reserve I’d bet. FYI, the strategic reserve is not supposed to be a tool for the use of politicians to drive down the price of gasoline when their failed energy policies show up at the pump. It is a reserve for use by our military in case we’re cut off from the foreign oil we’ve become even more dependent upon.
But back to the economy.
Does anyone really need an explanation of the impact higher fuel prices will have on a barely recovering economy (not to mention unemployment)? And, with the specter of inflation rising – not to mention food prices – how likely is the impact to be “minimal”?
Yeah, it’s not.
And, as usual, we’re in a basically no-win situation thanks to the foresight of our elected leaders and their wonderful job of putting a practical energy policy in motion. A 10 month drilling moratorium (and the jobs that go with it) with no real end in sight.
So to the original question – is the economy set to rebound?
Unfortunately if it was, it most likely will be one of the shortest rebounds in history.
Gallup tells us that economic confidence has slumped sharply in the past two week due mainly to the spike in gas prices driven by the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
Funny how that works, no? Gas prices go up, economic confidence goes down. And the rest of that goes “economic confidence goes down, incumbents suffer”.
So you’d think smart politicians would want to ensure that they’ve done everything they could to ensure gasoline prices remain as low as possible.
You’d think. But that’s not exactly what has happened here, is it? We’re now in the 10th month of a drilling moratorium imposed by this administration, so there’s really no immediate or impending increases in production domestically that could help ease this, is there?
The slump in confidence is likely tied to gas prices, which have risen sharply amid growing political instability in the Middle East, most notably in Libya. The U.S. Department of Energy reported an increase in gas prices from an average $3.14 per gallon nationwide during the week ending Feb. 14 to $3.38 this past week. In addition, news media focus on the challenges governments are having in passing budgets may also affect Americans’ perceptions of the economy.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index comprises two measures — one assessing consumers’ views of current economic conditions and another measuring their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. Both components are more negative than they were two weeks ago, but most of the change has come from increasingly pessimistic expectations about the economy’s direction.
The pessimism is being driven by the understanding that we haven’t the means to effect the problem nor have we done anything in the interim to improve our ability to effect the problem. In other words, we’re more at the mercy of foreign oil now than we were when this administration took office.
Secretary Salazar has been on a vendetta against oil, using the unusual but certainly horrific accident on the Deep Horizon platform, to effectively shut down a critical portion of the domestic oil industry. It has cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars (not only to the industry but to the government in the form of royalties and taxes). Rigs which were scheduled to be deployed in the Gulf before the moratorium are now deploying elsewhere. It costs millions for companies when oil drilling rigs sit idle. So they’re off to do what – exploit foreign oil fields. And they most likely won’t be back in Gulf waters anytime soon.
The point, of course, is the entire energy situation in the US is being badly mishandled by the incumbent administration. And while they sit and fiddle, we become less and less able to effect world pricing for oil because our capability has been hamstrung by a government and bureaucracy that is basically antagonistic to fossil fuels.
That’s a risk, especially in these economic times. If the economy is still in this sort of shape, pessimism still holds the majority in consumer confidence and gas prices hang around the $3.50 range, even some of the so-called front runners in the GOP at this point might be able to squeak out a win. And it would most likely, as Charlie Cook predicts anyway, mean a tough election for Congressional Democrats in both houses.
Gasoline isn’t going to go down anytime soon as the unrest continues to roil the ME and N Africa. And if something happens in Saudi Arabia, all bets are off. But it is interesting to see how quickly the price of one commodity – albeit a critical commodity – can turn sunshine to gloom with the public. It is something to watch going forward.
Yesterday was a rather interesting day for me. Besides being a mild and pleasant day in Washington DC, a new Congress was being sworn in and an vital industry group was making the “state of American energy” known via a presentation and news conference at the Newseum – a museum about the history of gathering of news (and a place you should definitely put on your “must visit” list the next time you’re there).
The American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard made a very sound and clear argument for the development of an energy policy which will best benefit this country and economy. Backed by a Wood Mackenzie study, the choices seem stark and the best one seems obvious. As he laid them out, choice one is to continue the policy of limited or no access to domestic drilling areas both on and off-shore and taxation of the industry at an increased percentage in order to generate revenue for government use. That will certainly generate revenue – no doubt. But at what real cost to the economy? That is the question.
Choice two is to open up access and focus on safe and environmentally sound drilling to boost production here in the US. That, of course, would have the critical side benefit of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and, by the way, producing more revenue for government than choice one.
The numbers for the two options come from the Wood Mackenzie study as cited in an API press release.
The study calculates that increased access to America’s oil and natural gas reserves could, by 2025, create 530,000 jobs, generate $150 billion in taxes, royalties, and other revenue for the government, and “boost domestic production by four million barrels of oil a day.
The other choice? Not so good: “Raising taxes on the industry with no increase in access could reduce domestic production by 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (in 2020), sacrifice as many as 170,000 jobs (in 2014), and reduce revenue to the government by billions of dollars annually”
That latter policy choice would reduce our domestic oil production, cost jobs, raise the cost of doing business for the oil and gas industry of which most will be passed along to those who can least afford it. Plus:
An additional 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in potential production that is currently of marginal economic feasibility would be at greater risk of not being developed under the modeled tax increase.
So again we see some pretty stark examples of how government enabling an industry would be vastly more beneficial to the economy and its own revenue coffers than would government using regulatory restrictions, denial of access and a straight up scheme of taxation.
Yet right now we have an administration which is choosing the latter course and is seemingly at war with that industry- an industry that “supports more 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.”
Does that make sense to you?
The energy policy choice that enables Americans to increasingly address their own domestic energy needs with good paying jobs and will actually provide more in revenue for the government than taxation alone seems the obvious choice.
So why aren’t we seeing it being made?
I’m in DC for a energy speech by American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard. Disclaimer – API provided for my transportation, hotel, etc. That, of course, will not change or even influence the fact that I am a strong proponent of the America petroleum industry and feel we should be exploiting our own native petroleum resources to the maximum. Instead we seem to be on a reverse course. Our government seems to be at war with the industry. And, of course, those who’ll pay the price are you and me at the gas pump.
If you noticed lately gas prices are going up. Steve Everley of American Solutions gives you the top 5 reasons why that’s the product of the Obama administrations actions and policies.
It began right after President Obama took office in 2009 – Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, cancelled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah. A year later 61 were cancelled. Salazar also unilaterally extended the “public comment” period for new offshore drilling by another 6 months, thereby again delaying the process.
Meanwhile in Congress, the Democratic House passed a very harsh cap-and-trade bill. It imposed taxes on CO2 which would have significantly raised the price of gasoline had it passed the Senate. In fact, as Everley mentions, a less stringent cap-and-trade scheme studied by Harvard University would have raised gas to $7 a gallon. Thankfully, the House bill died with the 111th Congress. However, it now appears the EPA is prepared to do what Congress couldn’t and via regulation, impose a carbon cap.
Then came Deepwater Horizon and the excuse to shut down offshore drilling for a 6 month period. That was quickly done by Salazar and we began to suffer the results in lost jobs and product. Since the first moratorium has expired, the administration has unilaterally imposed a second one of 6 months.
The effect has been devastating to the industry (especially in the Gulf states) and it has put the US in an energy hole.l The Energy Information Administration projects that we’ll see a decline of 220,000 barrels per day from offshore sources in 2011. Prior to the Obama administration’s shut down of that source, EIA had projected increases in production for 2011.
Why this is happening should come as no surprise to anyone who has acquainted themselves with candidate and now President Obama’s energy policies. They simply don’t include gas and oil. In fact, as most should remember, when a candidate for the presidency Obama said he knew what he wanted to do in the energy arena would drive up the cost of gas, but he thought that was necessary for environmental reasons and because he thought it would help incentivize the green energy industry.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – any comprehensive energy policy must include the exploitation of all traditional energy sources to include oil and gas. They are key and critical to our economy and way of life, and cheap energy is what helps fuel the economy. Any energy plan must be reality based and recognize that you can’t abruptly cut off oil, gas and coal without wreaking havoc on that economy. And you have to have a plan to transition the economy from the traditional fuels to the greener and more renewable fuels as they become viable and affordable.
None of the alternate fuels that the environmental crowd wants to replace traditional fuels fits either of those two criteria yet. Until they do we must maintain and expand our traditional fuel exploitation. To not do that, especially in a time of recession, is absurd.
Lift the ban on offshore drilling, support the oil, gas and coal industries and integrate them into any energy plan produced. Do that now. And then take a look at the state of alternate energy sources and make an honest, not political, assessment of where we are today, when those technologies and fuels will be viable and affordable, and plan accordingly.
That’s how it should be done. That is not, however, how it has been done.
If you’ve tried to imagine its size, there’s a site out there that will help you. And if that doesn’t put it in context enough for you, you can drop it on a map anywhere you’d like.
I dropped it on Washington DC.
Imagine something of that size in that area. Why there’d be a mobilizing of everything that could be mobilized trying to fight this thing and control it.
And of course there’s the “what will it do” question as in, once it gets into those loop currents around the keys, then what?
That particular test was run with dye within 20m of the surface. Don’t forget there’s a huge plume of oil well below the surface that is going to move as well.
Yes, some will disperse with time. Some will evaporate. But there’s still questions about that which is moving below the surface and how much of that will remain concentrated enough to have an effect. After all, the dye made it.
UPDATE: OK, my bad – the YouTube vid above is that of a model showing how the current flows and approximate time in days, for it to disperse. ScottH in comments brought it up and asked me to make it clear. Not sure how I ended up thinking it was real (oh, yeah, the dye reference). I sound like a global warmist. Anyway, this at least has some real data and some science behind it, however it is a model.
While the Fed tries to assure us that when the time comes it can wring the excess money it has pumped into the economy without driving it into the ditch, Paul Krugman and others want more spending, and we’re staring at 9 trillion in additional debt, the rest of the worldhas seems to be quietly deciding that the dollar has become an unstable currency in which they’d rather not trade:
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
They’re talking about a whole range of different currencies to replace the dollar but the fact remains that the old buck ain’t what it used to be and those trading in oil are looking for a more stable means of trade.
The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.
Which explains some of the growth in the price of gold. Of course this transition will take time as the various countries carefully get rid of their dollar reserves over the coming years. However, if they are as committed to this transition away from dollar as the base trading currency for oil as this article indicates, then obviously the strength of the dollar will be adversely effected over that transition period and beyond as dollars are dumped. Couple that with the excess dollars we’ve pumped into the system these past few months and you can begin to understand the possible economic disaster this may end portend.
Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America’s trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington’s control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.
The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. “The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies,” a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. “The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won’t be able to use the US dollar.”
Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years’ time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.
We’ve been talking and hinting about this since it first began surfacing and warning of the dire economic consequences such a move would have. Of course it is the result of our own profligate spending and financial mismanagement, but I don’t think, for the most part people understand the implications of this move to replace the dollar. And it also doesn’t appear we have ability (much less a plan) to reverse this trend toward this change of the economic guard.
And apparently force you into those electric cars the government is dumping all that money into.
According to API president Jack Gerard, in a letter he sent to members of Congress, the plan included in Waxman-Markey is pretty darn clear:
The legislation will drive up individual and commercial consumer’s fuel prices because it inequitably distributes free emissions “allowances” to various sectors. Electricity suppliers are responsible for about 40% of the emissions covered by the bill and receive approximately 44% of the allowances – specifically to protect power consumers from price increases. However the bill holds refiners responsible for their own emissions plus the emissions from the use of petroleum products. In total refiners are responsible for 44% of all covered emissions, yet the legislation grants them only 2% of the free allowances.
Upon reading that I assume anyone with the IQ of warm toast can see where that is headed. It is a targeted tax on oil and gas which will be passed on to the consumer in just about every conceivable way possible. Both at the pump and in the cost increases rolled into products we buy due to increased transportation costs, etc.
Electricity, however, whose coal plants are supposedly one of the primary producers of CO2 and very much responsible for the emissions problems we supposedly have get a pass. Does that even begin to hint that this legislation isn’t just about controlling CO2 emissions?
In fact, it shouts it out fairly clearly doesn’t it. Keep the proles happy by ensuring their power to the house is subsidized and stick it to them at the pump where government (who now has a stake in the game) wants consumers buying “green” cars. Don’t you just love it when a plan begins to come together?
Moving on, Gerard’s letter lays out some sobering numbers:
This places a disproportionate burden on all consumers of gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, jet fuel, propane and other petroleum products. An analysis of the Congressional Budget Office Report indicates that it could add as much as 77 cents to a gallon of gasoline over the next decade. And, according to the Heritage Foundation this legislation could cause gas prices to jump 74% by 2035. That means, at today’s prices, gasoline would be well over $4 a gallon.
Of course by 2035 we’ll all be riding around in vehicles powered by uincorn methane. And everyone knows that unicorn methane is nontoxic, environmentally friendly, smells good and is eco friendly.
That said, there is the cap and trade plan as it pertains to one vital segment of our economy in all its simple glory. It will force you to pay outrageous prices to use petroleum products in order to move you to the desired, but not yet available, means of conveyance. In the meantime, and until it is available, you’ll just have to suffer with the cost increases. Also remember that government estimates of cost are notoriously conservative and the real cost of such legislation is likely to be much higher than anticipated.
And don’t laugh too hard when they try to sell that to you by saying they’re attempting to save the planet. They’re exempting coal fired power plants for heaven sake. Trust me, this isn’t about emissions. If it were, they wouldn’t treat natural gas the way they do in the legislation as the letter points out.
After all, they’re the government and they’re there to help.
That problem would be putting up with me for 4 days.
I’m in Houston at the invitation of the American Petroleum Institute (who is kindly picking up the tab) to cover the Offshore Technology Conference here. About 75,000 oil folks are converging on the place for 4 days of conferences and panels on various topics.
Today, the “Meeting The Energy Challenge” panel meets and it should be interesting. We’ll have the president of Shell Oil, a Senior Fellow of the Progressive Policy Institute, the president of the API, the presidents of the American Trucking Associations and Air Transport Association, the president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, the Executive Director of the National Council on Energy Policy and Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) here to talk about that – I’m looking forward to it.
And Pogue – if you read this and can respond, yes, I will be glad to buy you a beer – just let me know when (other than monday night) we can do it prior to Thursday before I fly out.