Your daily briefing for all the top news in Energy, Technology, Finance, and Politics.


Unrealistic Green Expectations
Jeffrey Leonard
These trends buy time to develop new energy technologies. America can use the cushion of booming natural-gas production and the renewal of existing nuclear plants to put in place a national energy strategy to boost the economy and cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The pillars of such an energy strategy are: 1) a multi-decade commitment to invest in the basic research and development behind a multiplicity of new energy technologies; and 2) a gradual and incremental tax on carbon emissions.


Energy secretary skeptical US will export oil anytime soon
Laura Barron-Lopez
On crude oil exports specifically, Moniz said the administration is looking at the policy but the U.S. “remains a very large importer of oil.” “There has been no policy change. This is a case where we are importing millions of barrels a day and will do for some years,” Moniz added, hinting that exports may not be a good option any time soon.


White House may see no reason for pre-election biofuel move
Erica Martinson
The Obama administration is nearly a year late in setting its 2014 biofuels mandate, but both ethanol supporters and critics say with politics at play, the White House may delay its decision until after the midterm elections.


Activists distort Alison Lundergan Grimes’ coal stance with ‘tracking’ video
Tom Howell Jr.
Activists targeted Senate challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes on Monday with an undercover video in which her own supporters veer way off message on coal, a digital-age doozy that complicates the Kentucky Democrat’s bid against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and reveals a new level of campaign “tracking” that lets the cameraman join the action. … “I really don’t think her heart is 100 percent in backing coal. But she has to say she is because she will not get a huge number of votes in this state if she doesn’t,” a woman identified in the video as a Warren County Democratic operative says of Mrs. Grimes.




Here’s the single biggest thing holding Google Fiber back
Brian Fung
Laying down high-speed fiber is expensive. Digging trenches in the ground and stringing cables along utility poles is expensive. Getting permission to do all that is expensive. But it turns out that all of that is a fraction of the cost of offering TV programming, according to the head of Google Fiber, Milo Medin. And it’s a cost Google can’t avoid paying.


Big phone companies are racing to abandon old copper networks. The FCC says, ‘not so fast.’
Brian Fung
America’s top telecom companies are eager to end support for their aging copper networks in favor of next-gen fiber optic cables that are much more profitable and come with fewer regulatory strings attached. But the nation’s top telecom regulator has a message for them: Not so fast. “It’s easy to say that old-fashioned, all-copper networks are obsolete,” said Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler at a telecommunications conference Monday. But, he added, recent advances in copper-based broadband technology mean it’s too soon to kill off copper for good. “Our goal should be to improve our copper retirement process to strengthen our core values, including competition,” he said.


US Telecom Association wants ‘archaic’ regulations gone
Mario Trujillo
A trade group on Monday urged the Federal Communications Commission to do away with some outdated broadband regulations that were written decades ago to deal with voice-only telephones.  The U.S. Telecom Association — a trade group that represents broadband providers — filed a petition with the FCC asking to be freed from “archaic” regulations that some fiber-based broadband networks have to deal with.


Big Tech pledges student privacy; critics scoff
Stephanie Simon
Companies signing the pledge — including Microsoft, Amplify, Edmodo, Knewton and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt — will commit to clearly disclose what type of personal information they collect about students, and for what purpose. They will promise not to sell the information or use it to target advertising at students. They’ll pledge to let parents see their children’s records and correct any errors.


Drone alliance sets sights on D.C.
Tony Romm
Amazon, Google and other drone makers are combining forces in a new trade group that aims to loosen federal restrictions on testing and flying unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States.




Big Banks Face Another Round of U.S. Charges
Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg
With evidence mounting that a number of foreign and American banks colluded to alter the price of foreign currencies, the largest and least regulated financial market, prosecutors are aiming to file charges against at least one bank by the end of the year, according to interviews with lawyers briefed on the matter. Ultimately, several banks are expected to plead guilty.


JPMorgan breach raises alarm about safety of financial system
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel
In the case of JPMorgan, hackers got access to a massive number of accounts — 83 million households and businesses. But security experts and officials are more concerned that the attackers lingered in the system and returned at least five times to see how far they could penetrate the financial giant’s internal networks, which are generally thought to be among the most secure in corporate America, said people with knowledge of the attack who were not authorized to speak publicly. That behavior indicates something more nefarious than a simple robbery.


J.P. Morgan Hackers Attempted to Infiltrate Other Financial Institutions
Danny Yadron, Emily Glazer and Devlin Barrett
Federal officials asked a group of large banks and other financial institutions last month to check if they had seen indicators associated with the cyberattack that resulted in the theft of account information for millions of J.P. Morgan customers this summer, these people said. A number of financial institutions responded that they had seen traffic from the suspect computer addresses linked to the hackers, but that they didn’t believe they had been breached, the people said.


Obama Meets Top U.S. Financial Regulators at White House
Victoria McGrane
President Barack Obama on Monday urged U.S. financial regulators to keep looking for new ways to rein in excessive risk-taking in the financial sector, possibly through compensation and additional capital rules for the biggest financial firms, a White House spokesman said.


Paulson: AIG bailout designed to be punishment
Josh Boak
The 2008 government bailout of American International Group was specifically designed to punish the insurance giant, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in U.S. court Monday. The $85 billion loan package extended to AIG — then reeling from the financial and housing crisis — gave the government control of 80% of its stock. Unlike other major financial firms rescued in the middle of the worst economic downturn in roughly 80 years, Paulson said that AIG shareholders should have faced punishment for their troubled balance sheet as part of any rescue.


A.I.G. Bailout, Revisionists’ Version
Andrew Ross Sorkin
The government sought to save A.I.G. for only one reason: because it was “systemically important,” which is not-so-hard-to-decipher code for a company whose failure would have had a ripple effect on large swaths of the industry — in this case, dozens of banks. To pretend that the rescue of A.I.G. was anything but an effort to make sure the rest of the industry didn’t go under is to misunderstand history. The entire point of the A.I.G. bailout was to bail out Wall Street and reinstall confidence in the system so that it didn’t collapse under even more uncertainty.


U.S. Regulators to Review ‘Systemically Important’ Label Process for Financial Firms
Ryan Tracy
U.S. regulators on Monday said they would review the overall process for deciding whether big financial firms are “systemically important.” The move, announced at a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, showed how the group of top U.S. regulators is trying to fend off criticism from the financial industry and members of Congress while also establishing itself as the prime U.S. watchdog for spotting financial-system risks. Despite its decision to review the overall process, the council also said it would continue the process of deciding whether to apply the systemically important label to MetLife Inc.


A Calpers Comeuppance
Calpers warns that workers will be at risk if insolvent cities can use bankruptcy to impair pensions, but the bigger danger is if politicians are allowed to use Chapter 9 to protect unions while shorting other creditors. Judge Klein has it right.




Supreme Court Delivers Tacit Win to Gay Marriage
Adam Liptak
The decision to let the appeals court rulings stand, which came without explanation in a series of brief orders, will have an enormous practical effect and may indicate a point of no return for the Supreme Court. … “The more liberal justices have been reluctant to press this issue to an up-or-down vote until more of the country experiences gay marriage,” Mr. Dellinger said. “Once a substantial part of the country has experienced gay marriage, then the court will be more willing to finish the job.”


One Step Closer to Marriage Equality
Every day that the justices do not declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, a child in San Antonio feels confusion and shame that her fathers cannot get married; a woman in Atlanta is prohibited from making emergency medical decisions for her life partner; a man in Biloxi, Miss., is denied veteran’s survivor benefits after his husband dies. The consequences of being treated as inferior under the law are real, immediate and devastating. Same-sex marriage is among the most important civil-rights issues of our time, and the country is ready to resolve it once and for all. The justices have all the information they need to rule that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. What are they waiting for?


GOP Senate Races Get Cash Infusion
Patrick O’Connor and Rebecca Ballhaus
After months bemoaning Democrats’ financial advantage, the National Republican Senatorial Committee collected a record $15.5 million in September—more than doubling its August haul of $6 million. Despite notching another record-setting month, the GOP’s September windfall still leaves the party trailing Democrats, which entered the month with a sizable fundraising lead.


What If I’m Wrong About GOP Flipping at Least 7 Seats?
Stuart Rothenberg
So what could/would cause me to change my expectations over the next month? How could Democrats alter the election’s trajectory? First, Democrats still may be able to localize elections in a few states — the most likely prospects are North Carolina and Alaska, which were carried by Romney, and two swing states won by Obama, Iowa and Colorado. … Second, Democrats may be able to register and turn out additional voters, who could change the arithmetic of the elections. … Third, the Democrats’ money advantage could help limit GOP gains to five seats or fewer, keeping the Senate in Democratic hands for the president’s final two years. … Finally, news is always a wild card.


Only one Senate candidate has gotten more popular recently — Greg Orman
Andrew Prokop
As negative ads have started to fill the airwaves in states with competitive Senate races, it’s quite natural for voters to start increasingly disliking every candidate. A new series of polls from YouGov, the New York Times, and CBS News confirms that this is exactly what’s happening across the nation — with one notable exception: Yes, Kansas independent Senate candidate Greg Orman is the sole candidate who’s actually risen in the estimate of his state’s voters in recent weeks.


To Defeat Islamic State, Remove Assad
Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham
The airstrikes and other actions President Obama is taking against Islamic State deserve bipartisan support. They are beginning to degrade the terrorist group, also known as ISIS, but will not destroy it, for one reason above all: The administration still has no effective policy to remove Bashar Assad from power and end the conflict in Syria.