News & Notes April 27, 2011

There has been a lot of news this morning.  An Afghan military officer opened fire and killed nine Americans in Kabul.  Isn’t it time we cut our losses and left this war ravaged nation?  Trying to instill democracy has never worked and it is failing there.  Democracy is something which must come from the people in a grassroots effort as we’re witnessing in many Arab lands.  It cannot be imposed.

The Federal Reserve announced it will not change the rate of interest.  The more I see of unfettered capitalism the more I like socialism.  The best thing for socialists is to simply sit back and watch capitalism implode.

2012 will be yet another change election now that voters have seen the GOP agenda.  No jobs, just extremism in its naked form.  The tax cuts for the rich combined with program cuts for everyone else highlighted by the recent attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, should be game changers.  Leave it to Democrats though to drop the ball.

The International union of Fire Fighters has announced it will no longer contribute to national Democrats.  Unhappy with doing so and then getting screwed they will focus on state races.  Smart.

Gov. Corbett is coming out against forced pooling as his poll numbers plummet.  He has to do something to placate angry Pennsylvanians.  The well blowout in Bradford County has people pissed.  The reaction times for notifying authorities and then capping the well were unacceptable.  People are asking why a team had to come from Oklahoma to stop the leakage.  With thousands of wells already drilled here why are their no response teams on the ground here?  The energy industry knows they own Corbett and other key lawmakers so felt they could do whatever they wished.  Corbett’s forced pooling decision is a warning he still has to answer to the people.

The five freshmen Republicans in Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation plus swing district veterans such as Dent and Gerlach could be in trouble over their votes for RyanCare.  It is incumbent on Democrats to field strong candidates in these areas and support them well.  The opportunity exists to hang them with their votes.  Having Patrick Murphy running for AG takes one strong contender out of PA-08 however.  Who will step up?  

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will travel to Florida to witness her husband shoot into space on the shuttle.  This is an amazing recovery thus far for the heroic woman shot in the head not long ago.  Why can’t we pack Sarah Palin on the shuttle and take her where she rightly belongs-space?

I’m not really worried about the debt ceiling vote.  The real masters of Washington (Wall Sreet) will never allow a default vote to happen.

Leon Panetta will succeed Robert Gates at the Pentagon.  General David Petraeus will succeed him at CIA.  Panetta should be a good fit at the Pentagon but I have serious misgivings about the CIA.  It has never worked well putting a military person in Langley.  This CIA is already too caught up and involved in paramilitary operations and putting a General in charge is a recipe for disaster.

Donald Trump has some serious baggage trying to carry the GOP nomination.  First of all his voting record is awful and The WaPo reports he has given more money to Democrats than Republicans over the years.  That should play well in Iowa…for the rest of the field.

Why are the feds going after internet gaming operators while allowing Wall Street criminals a walk?

Bradford Well A Fracking Mess

Chesapeake Energy lost control of a gas well in Bradford County and it spilled toxic fracking fluid for 16 hours.  The combination of millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic materials contaminated a stream running into the Susquehanna River and seven families were evacuated.  A nearby farmer was told not to allow his cows access to surface water though I’m not at all sure how you tell cows not to drink the water on the fields.  Is there a special bovine language for that?

Will Range Resources, ExxonMobil and other energy companies plastering us with their propaganda about natural gas include scenes like this in their advertising?  The well pad in a remote area will contain six wells and one was being fracked when it exploded.  Toxic fluids escaped the immediate area and neither DEP nor the township were notified about the accident for hours.  Of course it isn’t likely that DEP will do anything anyway under Gov. Corbett.  Perhaps we need to bottle some of this fluid and serve it to the Governor with his lunch.  If it’s safe he shouldn’t have any adverse health issues.

DEP records show that Chesapeake has been fined seven times for a total of $61,101 over the last three years — which makes it tied with Range Resources for the second-highest number of fines in the state next to Chief Oil & Gas, which had nine.

This latest accident comes on the heels of a Congressional report released by Democrats last weekend.  This New York Times article says millions of gallons of toxic chemicals are being injected into the ground to produce this gas.  What is the logic behind using 5 million gallons of fresh water per well to collect gas?  water is becoming a far scarcer resource than natural gas but we’re using vast amounts from our aquifers, affecting homeowner’s wells, to extract the gas and then contaminate what water remains underground?  This is insane.  Some excerpts from the report:

The inquiry over hydrofracking, which was initiated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee when Mr. Waxman led it last year, also found that 14 of the nation’s most active hydraulic fracturing companies used 866 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products – not including water. More than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or are listed as hazardous air pollutants, the report said.

Companies injected large amounts of other hazardous chemicals, including 11.4 million gallons of fluids containing at least one of the toxic or carcinogenic B.T.E.X. chemicals – benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene. The companies used the highest volume of fluids containing one or more carcinogens in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

The report comes two and a half months after an initial report by the same three lawmakers that found that 32.2 millions of gallons of fluids containing diesel, considered an especially hazardous pollutant because it contains benzene, were injected into the ground during hydrofracking by a dozen companies from 2005 to 2009, in possible violation of the drinking water act.