Weekly Roundup: From DC to Texas to … Mars

Hey Influence Traders,

It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for Power Moves Weekly Roundup.

Sorry it’s coming out a day late … with the good snow forecasts, I pulled a #PowerMove and took the family skiing in Colorado.

That was a blast, but I had Texas-esque internet infrastructure.

A quick programming note before we dive in: I’ve started a new Roundup feature identifying the Power Mover and Power Loser of the week … with plenty of competition for both titles on the first go-round.

DC Action

I typically start my weekly summaries talking about executive orders and cabinet confirmations, but there is little to report.

The only item of note is that President Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has an uphill battle to be confirmed by the Senate.

She was always considered a weak candidate – known more for her tweeting than her abilities.

Insiders are saying that her fate might be sealed since Democratic power broker Senator Joe Manchin announced that he will vote against her.

Weather

The weather was the headline story of the week for much of the U.S., but particularly in Texas.

Politically, the weather in Texas is as polarizing as an Arctic vortex!

Both sides of the aisle immediately took it as an opportunity to push agendas.

Who will win out?

Will it impact the Biden Administration’s climate agenda?

More on that in the Power Loser section …

Power Mover

The week saw a number of winners.

Bitcoin is on a run, up more than 20% for the week. Many people believe that we are just in another crypto bubble, but in a future issue I’m going to discuss why this time might be different.

Naomi Osaka of Japan beat Jennifer Brady to win the Australian Open, remaining undefeated in Grand Slam finals as she claimed her fourth major title.

She became the first woman to win her first four Grand Slam finals since Monica Seles did it in 1990 and 1991.

But the inaugural Power Mover of the Week is …

NASA

Our newest Martian, a robot named Perseverance, was sent 249 million miles from Earth to the Red Planet.

Despite hitting the Martian atmosphere at 12,000 miles an hour, the ingenuity of the scientists who built it managed to land it safely.

Its mission is to search for life beyond Earth.

The rover is the size of a small car and is equipped with sophisticated cameras and lasers to analyze the chemical makeup of Martian rocks, as well as ground-penetrating radar to identify the chemical signatures of fossilized life.

Later this month it will launch a drone, which will be the first vehicle to fly in another planet’s atmosphere.

Everything I just typed is absolutely incredible when you think about it.

Bravo, NASA!

Sometimes it’s nice to see a win for the home team.

Power Loser

Again, numerous contenders:

Robinhood's decision to restrict trading on GameStop stock put it squarely in the hot seat in front of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

But as my buddy Bill Griffo from Power Income opined, the Congressional GameStop Hearing was, “A big nothingburger.”

But Robinhood did have some fallout, as a California federal judge refused to toss out a proposed class action alleging that the app’s repeated service outages harmed retail stock traders.

And “Roaring Kitty” who, despite easy treatment on the Hill, did receive a class-action lawsuit of his own.

Keith Gill, known as Roaring Kitty on social media sites like the WallStreetBets Reddit forum, along with his brokerage MMI, was hit with a lawsuit accusing him of misrepresenting himself as an amateur investor and profiting by artificially inflating the price of the stock.

The suit alleges that Gill is a licensed securities professional who manipulated the market for his own profit.

It also says that, “He caused enormous losses not only to those who bought option contracts, but also to those who fell for Gill’s act and bought GameStop stock during the market frenzy at greatly inflated prices.”

The suit was filed on behalf of Christian Lovin who sold $200,000 worth of call options on GameStop shares when the stock was below $100. The stock quickly moved above $400 a share, forcing him to buy the calls back at elevated prices.

I read the 35-page complaint. While there are some damning accusations, it was brought as a class-action, which will be difficult to maintain with just one named plaintiff.

Power Loser of the Week

But my Power Loser of the week is the Texas Power grid, which failed on multiple levels.

Naturally, that failure was instantly politicized, with one side blaming renewable energy, and the other blaming climate changes, fossil fuels and old infrastructure.

Tuesday was the coldest day in North Texas in 72 years, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area reached a record low of -2 degrees. 

The cold temperatures along with freezing rain caused wind turbines to freeze to a halt, knocking out almost half of the state’s wind turbine energy.

Wind power is the fastest-growing source of energy in the Texas power grid and provides 23% of the state’s energy. Wind is also the state’s second-largest source of energy after natural gas.

Folks on the right immediately jumped at the opportunity to blame green energy programs for the grid failure.

But oil and natural gas did not fare too well either, with many pipes freezing up. This caused oil and natural gas futures to fall.

The left, meanwhile, took the opportunity to blame all of the issues in Texas on climate change.

The entire mess highlights the challenges the Biden administration will face in modernizing the electricity system to run entirely on wind turbines, solar panels,and batteries.

Many in the administration are now arguing that the federal government and energy businesses will have to spend trillions of dollars to harden electricity grids against the threat posed by climate change and to move away from fossil fuels. 

John Kerry, the White House’s special envoy on climate, doubled down on this position when he warned that the U.S. only has less than a decade left to avoid a climate catastrophe. He made that statement on Friday, the same day the U.S. formally reentered the Paris Climate Agreement.

The weather is causing DC to make ripples.)))

While there are two sides to this argument, the administration has a head of steam and is controlling the narrative. 

It will be hard to arrest those power moves. 

I anticipate a big infrastructure spending bill to be fast tracked and we’ll talk about what could mean for you in the weeks ahead.

Cutting Through the Noise for You.

Frank

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