California Daydreaming

California Water Crisis Meets (Already Iffy) Fracking Boom

California is sitting on the largest tight oil formation in the US, the Monterey Shale. Interest is heating up. The legislature passed a controversial law to regulate fracking and allow the industry to drill. But fracking requires lots of water.

Offshore Fracking (And Dumping Chemicals Into Coastal Waters) Beyond The Public Eye

Oil companies have been fracking offshore California and dumping chemicals into coastal waters for as long as two decades. It wasn’t until recently that FOIA requests brought it to light. Now the EPA is feebly trying to step in.

Next Shoe to Drop in Broke California’s Lopsided ‘Recovery’

If you come to San Francisco or Silicon Valley and look around, you’d think California is booming, that companies jump through hoops to hire people, that they douse them with money, stock options, and free lunches. And some do. But in other parts of the state?

Silicon Valley Frenzy: Big Bucks, Big Data, and Spying

The government spy-services marketplace, part of Big Data, is juicy. Investors clamor to get in on it. Scores of startups have sprung up. The hottest one is Palantir. Its valuation jumped 50% in three months – to $9 billion! Its technologies, designed for the CIA to track terrorists, have transitioned to track you and me.

The Day The Bubble Became Official, And Everyone Was Happy

A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?

American Boondoggle Meets Chinese Methods

BYD, the name of a Chinese electric vehicle and solar panel maker, stands for “Build Your Dream.” Maybe that’s what they’re trying to do in China. But here, they’re building a nightmare: broken promises, falsehoods, design flaws… all lushly funded by American taxpayers. And they paid Chinese workers in California $1.50 per hour to do it.

California To Grapple “Indefinitely” With Nuclear Hangover

The costs of nuclear accidents can be catastrophic, for generations. But there are also the routine costs after reactors are shut down, when decommissioning expenses pile up, for timeframes beyond human comprehension. True costs are unknown. Now, the scandal-plagued San Onofre plant in Southern California has become a test case – indefinitely.

“A Feeding Frenzy, A Mad Dash To Snap It Up” – House Flipper

You can’t get away from it. The media fawn over it. Rational neighbors drool unexpectedly. Ads flood the airwaves. “Learn our simple three-step system on how to flip homes,” the announcer says. Everyone knows: untold riches are waiting for you. “Right here in the Bay Area,” he says. It’s hot, so hot that people will get burned. And banks will get hit (again).

Whose Capital Will Get Destroyed? Wall Street Tries To Cash Out Of Newfangled “Asset Class”

Oaktree Capital and Carrington Mortgage are trying to dump a portfolio of 500 single-family homes they’d bought out of foreclosure. They’re trying to get the heck out of the once hot buy-to-rent trade. Blackstone, which gobbled up 32,000 of these homes, is trying to get its money out. They all are. That trade is turning sour. Trouble in the housing market!

Surveillance Society: If You Drive, You Get Tracked

A technology that surreptitiously captures data of people out on the street, combines it with other data, and mines it ad infinitum? Local and federal government agencies love it. It’s increasingly sophisticated and cheap. It’s spreading. And it led a professor at West Point to warn: “We don’t have a police state in this country, but we have the technology.”