Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Prognostications: How did I do?

Last December I listed a number of things that I thought had a high probability of happening in 2011, which is a mealy-mouth way of saying predictions.  So let's see how I did: 

There is a 25-30% that the teams in a certain American city run the table. You know, win the championship in all 4 major North American sports league. 
Yeah I meant Boston and it didn't happen. What did though was the Bruins winng the Cup, which means for the first time a city had all four of it's teams win their championship in less than 7 years. So I was greedy.
The oil peak begins to be felt again, as $4/gallon gas has been forecast and some have suggested $5/ gallon by 2012. Energy supplies will become a real topic, but many will blame price gouging, environmentalists and deliberate under-production rather than accept that we've hit a limit.
We remain on a production plateau and prices have dropped close to $3/gallon

I will go out on a limb and say that the wild patterns we have been experiencing will continue to be the new norm. There will be some more unprecedented events.
Let's see, record floods and droughts, heavy snows and warm winters, near record low arctic sea ice, wild shifts in airmasses in North America which, even at this late date in the year, are producing record tornado outbreaks.

American Higher Ed.
There will be an orchestrated push-back against those blaming the cancerous growth of administration for financial woes. There will be some troubling developments in enrollments. Institutions and those in them will still deny that cronyism in faculty hiring, grade inflation, declining standards, coverup of criminal activity, and retribution towards critics and whistleblowers exist within the ivy-covered halls.  But look out, I sense a few high profile scandals.
While not directly related to academics, the Penn State pedophile scandal counts as does the other ones coming out.  The UC crackdowns on Occupy Berkeley and Davis can be considered pushback as the students are pointing out the very rot that many academic administration thrive on.
The science of geology, dominated by academic geologists as it is, will continue its stupid, self-inflicted downward spiral. Departments will close or morph into more ridiculous entities and no one will do a damn thing about it.
Nailed that one.

Woe will be the Tea Party. Their vaunted fiscal conservatism will be revealed as nothing more than BAU tax cuts for the rich and using the local, state and national treasuries to enrich the wealthy private good, while cutting the public good taxes pay for. Most of the TP will show their true colors as nothing more than the ol' paranoid hate-filled "social conservatives"...Palin will devolve into further into a tabloid characiture, Beck will implode, Limbaugh will abide (unless outed).
 I think I did pretty good on this one, all though it is more woe be us, the TP is still in denial about their own shortcomings.  The American right is disintegrating.
A new, diffuse but real change will occur, populism of what used to be called the liberal or progressive kind. But since it will not be new-jerk anti-American and have a more working base, the established and inept liberals will at first ignore it, then attack it, then try to co-opt it.
Can you say Occupy movement?

One word - stagnation. Neither party in Congress will benefit, the GOP will look obstructionist and more fixated on what you're doing in your bedroom, while the Democrats will squander the opportunity to make a coherent statement on what to do. Naturally the pundits will miss this and then try wildly to spin a narrative. Colbert and Stewart will have a field day (or many). On the state level, the GOP will begin to regret their November success.
GOP was simply obstructionist, didn't even bother much with the social conservativism as I thought they would.

World Events
Electoral shocker in Ireland. Afghanistan will grind on, but the U.S. pullback will begin. The secret war against al-Qaeda will continue. Said organization will try some major attacks in Europe.
Korea: hopefully no war, but it's possible. Expect some surprises, an early NK success and use of chemical weapons, SK doing most of the ground fighting and the U.S. introducing the use of converted Ohio class subs to launch devastating cruise missile attacks.
Ireland? What was I thinking? Thankfully war did not break out in the Korean pennisula. Big stories were Arab Spring, civil wars in Syria and Libya, death of Qaddafi/khadafy/K-daffy whatever, and of course Osam bin Lade.

Local (SE Penn and environs)
Philly will continue to have crime problems.
Yeah, sigh...
By the end of the year, people statewide will begin to become angry that no economic benefit is coming from the gas boom.
Not yet, but there are stirrings....
Teabaggers will have some nasty infighting. Why? Farm subsidies. 
The solvency of a prominent institution in Newark, DE may not be as good as the institutional leaders have been saying, revelations of this will be considered a scandal.
They haven't yet opened UD Inc.'s books.

Monday, December 19, 2011

MLB Realignment: A modest..nay..crazy proposal

Those who follow baseball know that Bud Selig and the owners have worked their magic again, moving the Astros to the AL (necessitating season-long interleague play) and adding an additional wild card spot to the post-season.  Now the wild card has been good to my Sox and I've grudgingly come to accept inter-league games, but I think that because baseball has so many regular games too much post-season play will make the long season less relevant.  Baseball will start to resemble the NHL.

Speaking of which, the NHL is probably realigning into a four conference format that I kinda like. Right now it is divided into East and West Conferences with geography based divisions. But when I was kid the NHL had these crazy conferences and divisions labeled with the names of historic figures in the game.  This was because the divisions and conferences were not based on geography.  The playoff system was crazy too and teams in the same conference could face-off in the Stanley Cup final, as Boston and Montreal did in the '70s.  I was going to say they were in the same division at the time, but that was later in the '80s and I misremembered.  I always thought this was kinda cool because I believed at the time it was some old and different Canadian tradition, but the setup only began in 1974.

Anyway, all this nostalgia made me think to myself, "Self, if baseball is going to re-align, why not go all out,  chuck geography and do a radical makeover?"  So I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a plan I could implement if I was king of the world. Note I said could, not sure I would.  I divided the leagues into conferences named after important management figures and divisions named after Hall of Famers associated with teams in each division, I am a bit stumped for one.  Since I'm assuming I would have North Korean style dictatorial powers I added an expansion team to each league. I'm open to suggestions as to where they would be located.

Look over the format and see if you can figure out the method I used to assign teams to respective conferences and divisions.

Oh yeah, as Dear Maximum Leader Commissioner I would institute salary caps and revenue sharing, so fear not A's fans.

American League
National League
Ban Jonhson Conference
J. McGraw Conference
Babe Ruth Div.
Jackie Robinson Div.

Nap  Lajoie Div. 
Honus Wagner Div.

Bart Giamatti Conference
K.M. Landis Conference
Nolan Ryan Div.
Tom Seaver Div.

Roberto Alomar Div.
to-be-named later Div.

First of all don't get too worked up, it ain't gonna happen.  You'll notice that there would be no need for a wild-card, to reach the post-season a team would need to win its division.  Yeah, in order to maximize games within a division travel would be a hassle.  Still, the more I look at it, the more I like it.

OK, if you haven't figured it out, the conferences are divided into pre-expansion and post-war expansion teams.  In the old team conferences the divisions are based on the original geographic groupings that existed before franchises moved. For example the A's started in Philly and the Twins were the original Washington Senators, so they are grouped with other northeast teams.  In the expansion conferences the divisions are based on when teams where added, or pre- and post-Bicentennial.

Monday Marcellus Highlights, Dec. 19, 2011

Wow, another lost week there!  Busy catch-up week for me after my part-time semester was finished.  On a side-note, many faculty and state survey people are demanding I be hired full-time so they have a "real" geology department. Being resisted by a non-geoscience dean who's concerned that anything but surface geology (on a freshman-level) hurts the "brand" and few faculty with pull who go along with this model....anyway here are the highlights from the Marcellus news I've tweeted during the past week.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's pipeline series continued, focusing on concerns of both environmentalists and sportsmen, eminent domain issues, and conflicts among local citizens over pipelines.

Remember the case where the contractor for the state's Homeland Security department spied on anti-fracking activists?  A judge is allowing the 1st Amendment case to proceed:
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition sufficiently pleaded First Amendment violations in its lawsuit against an American-Israeli anti-terror think tank that contracted with Pennsylvania's Office of Homeland Security to keep tabs on environmentalists' protests against natural gas drillers, a federal judge ruled.
 According to the Coalition's September 2010 lawsuit, the group was swept up "in a prolonged and secret campaign of domestic surveillance" after Powers gave the green light to a $125,000 contract for the Institute to "regularly surveil and report on potential terrorist threats against ... [Pennsylvania's] critical infrastructure."
Another example of citizens' institutions being turned against citizens engaged in legal civic activity on behalf of wealthy entities. And more outsourcing of public duties to private for profit companies.

Questions are being raised (on an environmental site mind you) over whether fracking will have the economic benefits that proponents claim it will:
Our shale gas resources, however, while much ballyhooed in the press, are far less certain. We may now have a 100-year supply of gas in America, as suggested by recent reports. . . or we may not. The U.S. consumes 24 tcf of gas per year. Currently, we only have an 11-year supply on the books: 273 tcf classified as “proved reserves,” meaning gas that is commercially producible at a 10 percent discount rate. Beyond that, there are only “probable,” “possible,” and “speculative” resources, where the gas has not yet actually been discovered, or proved to be economically recoverable. Even where we are sure that the resources exist, we do not know how much of is technically recoverable until we produce it. And as I noted two weeks ago, in the EIA’s Low Case shale gas estimate, the U.S. could become a net gas importer by 2035.
For me this is one of the biggest questions.  Although the fracking process has been around awhile, the application of fracking to liberate gas in tight reservoir shales has only been developed in the past decade or so and the data on the long-term productivity of these wells is still an open question.

The battle over how much local governments will be allowed to regulate drilling continues, particularly in Pennsylvania where surrender of local control is a pre-requisite in the proposed "impact fee" legislation:

The fight, which pits towns and cities against energy companies and states eager for growth, has raised a fundamental question about the role of local government: How much authority should communities have over the use of their land?
The battle is playing out in Pennsylvania as the Republican-controlled legislature considers bills that would in their current form sharply limit a community’s right to control where gas companies can operate on private property. Critics say the final bill could vastly weaken local zoning powers and give industry the upper hand in exchange for a new tax, which municipalities badly need.
The legislation has struck a nerve in a state where land control has long been considered quintessentially local.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Marcellus Highlights, Dec. 12, 2011

Now that I can tweet daily Marcellus news, I will only post weekly highlights here at the Old Schoolhouse.  Three main themes were in the news this past week, the endless saga of will we or won't we have an "impact fee" in PA, the continuing drama over contaminated water in Dimock and the growing pipeline infrastructure.

Pennsylvania towns contend with gas pipeline proposals
A number of municipalities in Washington County have spent the past few months crafting regulations for Marcellus Shale gas well drilling pads, compressor stations, processing plants and even employee work trailers. But pipelines? Not so much.

Two of those municipalities in the northern portion of the county, Peters and Union, now find themselves scrambling to brace for proposed pipeline projects on their doorsteps.

"I don't think we thought of it," said Peters Manager Michael Silvestri about why township officials failed to consider pipelines when council approved a gas well drilling ordinance in August.
 'Gas gold rush' prompts pipeline
A Wisconsin construction company is ready to dig under the Monongahela River to complete a major Marcellus Shale natural gas pipeline.
Michels Corp. of Brownsville, Wis., will cause partial navigation channel closures as it completes the project this month between Carroll and Rostraver townships near Donora and Webster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh announced Thursday.
Dominion Resources of Richmond, Va., is developing the pipeline in response to what is "tantamount to a gas gold rush" in Washington County and outlying areas, company spokesman Charles Penn said. Dominion has contracted with Michels to lay the pipe at the bottom of the Mon, the corps said.
Powerful Pipes, Weak Oversight

There was trouble on the job. Far too many of the welds that tied the pipe sections together were failing inspection and had to be done over.
A veteran welder, now an organizer for a national pipeline union, happened upon the line and tried to blow the whistle on what he considered substandard work.
But there was no one to call.
Pennsylvania's regulators don't handle those pipelines, and acknowledge they don't even know where they are. And when he reported what he saw to a federal oversight agency, an inspector told him there was nothing he could do, either.
Business leaders ask Corbett, Pa. lawmakers for resolution of Marcellus shale legislation
The state's leading business organizations asked Gov. Tom Corbett and legislative leaders to reach agreement on natural gas drilling legislation that would create uniform standards for zoning and impose an impact fee that's competitive with other states.
Activist Group Tries to Deliver Water to Dimock

Anti-natural gas drilling activists travelled from New York City this week to deliver fresh water to residents of Dimock, Pennsylvania.  The trip was as much of an effort to help the residents, as it was an effort to raise awareness of potential health hazards associated with Marcellus Shale drilling.
Dimock has become known as the town where residents can set their tap water on fire. Cabot Oil and Gas had been supplying affected residents with clean water. But the company ended their deliveries a week ago, after the Department of Environmental Protection said that the water was safe to drink.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Santorum: the Return of the Rickster

I've not done the Saturday wrap-up of all the great things the former Sen from Penn has done in quite awhile.  Honestly there wasn't much material.  But this past week....

The Rickster is back and better than ever.  He's knows he's going to surge and has none of the electability issues of Gingrich and Romney.

First of all he understands that politics has been blinded by with science:
Discussing controversial classroom subjects such as evolution and global warming, Santorum said he has suggested that “science should get out of politics” and he is opposed to teaching that provides a “politically correct perspective.”
and from the same source, Santorum-rama  gives his thoughts on ed-a-mucation:
...he favors an education system designed around the fact that most parents love their children and want to give their child the best opportunity for success.
Enough of that there schooling designed by parents who hate their kids!

As The Donald would tell you (if you were worthy of his magnificence), Santorum is the epitome of loyalty and integrity. And he's not going to let those lesser candidates get away with skipping the King of the Birthers/Newsmax/Ion(!?) debate:
“Many of my opponents jockeyed to be the first to fly up to New York and use Donald Trump for a photo op and no doubt try and secure an endorsement. But when Donald wants to moderate a debate – they refuse to attend. That’s what’s so wrong with politics today – hypocrisy," Santorum said in a statement released Thursday.
He's not letting up on teh gayz either.  When it was suggested that same-sex marriage hurts no one Santorum let 'em have it:
Clearly agitated, Santorum seemed astounded when Kornelis said he couldn’t contemplate how this would “be a hit to faith and family in America.”
“You can’t think of any consequence?” Santorum asked.
Kornelis answered that he did not.
Santorum then said that if same sex marriage was legalized then “their sexual activity” would be seen as “equal” to heterosexual relationships and it would be taught in schools.
“Really- wow- um okay, well let’s see if we can have a discussion. We can flesh out some, well, let’s look at what’s going to be taught in our schools because now we have same sex couples being the same and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society as heterosexual couples and their activity,” Santorum said.
See, Ricky knows the agenda of those gays, those dirty sexy bad boys, the ones he just can't stop talking about, thinking about, dreaming about...

And don't try to tell him that being a Christian is about helping others. Rick Nasty-mixture also knows that no one dies in America from lack of health insurance:
“People die in America because people die in America (he loves those tautologies). And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to,” he said. “And it’s not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit.
He's also not happy that Obama let us know bin Laden was dead.  Well, as McCain aide Mark Salter posted on Facebook, "For pure, blind stupidity, nobody beats Santorum. In my 20 years in the Senate, I never met a dumber member, which he reminded me of today,"

Ahh the Rickster, truly a stellar representative of the people of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor: 70 Years On

We're reaching the point where soon there will be no living veterans of the attack, a melancholy development reflected in this Atlantic story:
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will commemorate their last Pearl Harbor anniversary today, the group sadly lacks the number of able-bodied members to keep on going. Citing the tolls of age and their dwindling numbers, the group voted unanimously to disband at the end of this month.
For those under 30 this probably doesn't resonate, but I am old enough to remember when there were plenty of people around who fought in World War II.  I also remember seeing a program in 1979 marking the 35th anniversary of D-Day, which to someone in junior high like I was seemed like impossibly ancient history. Now that memory itself is 32 years old.  Time marches on.

The Pacific War is not a distant event for me though.  I've been to Pearl Harbor, Guam and Saipan but more importantly my father named me after my uncle who was lost in a TBF Avenger in 1944 near the Philippines.  So in a way I carry a direct personal legacy of what happened seventy years ago today.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Now with Twitter.

You'll notice a twitter feed to the right. This is where I'll post daily Marcellus news updates. I'll still try to do a weekly wrap-up of the news from that front.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What are denialists worried about?

The denialists continue to scream that any discussion, let alone actual policy, to do something about climate change is nothing less than the road to some marxist stone age.  Why? At moment nothing at all has been accomplished in curbing emmisions:
Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.
Well if that doesn't bother you, an article in Nature (behind paywall) indicates that there is a high risk that arctic permafrost will thaw, which could lead to a larger amount of methane being added to the atmosphere.  Paraphrased in Sciencedaily:

Permafrost thaw will release approximately the same amount of carbon as deforestation, say the authors, but the effect on climate will be 2.5 times bigger because emissions include methane, which has a greater effect on warming than carbon dioxide
The survey, led by University of Florida researcher Edward Schuur and University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Benjamin Abbott, asked climate experts what percentage of the surface permafrost is likely to thaw, how much carbon will be released and how much of that carbon will be methane. The authors estimate that the amount of carbon released by 2100 will be 1.7 to 5.2 times larger than reported in recent modeling studies, which used a similar warming scenario.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lost Week

It happens. Too much to do and a sick kid to boot. I'll try to get back up to speed this week.

You'll notice I've added my Twitter feed, I'll  be RT a lot of Marcellus news I receive.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Strange, stupid and surreal Sunday, Nov. 27

Warning Patriots, them Muslens are infiltrating 'Murica using Butterball turkeys....wait, Turkey is a Muslen country, it all makes sense!

So you're saying Mac n' Cheese is soul food Pat?

Law & Order: Special Buggy Unit has gone federal.

This would justify road rage:

...if you could get out of the goo.

The metal is what makes Craisans crantastic!

Another reason to avoid those stupid Twilight movies - they'll give you seizures!

It's been 40 years since D. B. Cooper pulled his caper.  What does one do for 40th Hijacking Anniversary?

Aww, Roseanne may quit twitter because people are pretending to be her...what a tragic loss for civilization.

"MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's archaeology institute downplays theories that the ancient Mayas predicted some sort of apocalypse would occur in 2012, but on Thursday it acknowledged that a second reference to the date exists on a carved fragment found at a southern Mexico ruin site.Ah - HA! I knew it!

Frosty is arrested at a parade, it's getting to be like Christmas under the Czars!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street as an accident of history

A year ago Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their satirical rallies mocking the divisness in the media and politics.  Many people who were becoming frustrated with the cynicism, cronyism and double standards in the world projected their own hopes onto the rallies and mistook what they were about, much in the way they projected too much onto Obama (uhhh Micheal Moore, he campaigned on finishing the job in Afghanistan not leaving) or even voted for the Tea Part Repubs while ignoring their platform.  The general reaction to these very different events underscores a yearning in people for some sort of change and enough with the corruption and dismantling of democracy.

So it is with Occupy Wall Street.  I agree with this assesment by one Sarwar Kasmeri while not sharing in his disappointment:
But if you still believe Occupy Wall Street's objective is to illuminate and help correct the glaring inequalities in America, the message from the Hartland meeting would have disappointed you. Never a movement focused on specific changes, Occupy Wall Street now seems transformed into a chaotic grouping of utopian ideas that have more to do with social engineering than the gut-level issues that so anger much of America today.
But this is the way that OWS-types have been and always will be. Most times they are ignored, but this time the anti-financial/political corruption  and 99% theme they were espousing happened to strike a nerve with the public.  Yet it is foolish to expect this group to do anymore than their own thing and they are not obligated to do what others want them to anymore than Stewart and Colbert were.  Those who want to actually accomplish change in meaningful way need to stop complaining and step up and lead themselves.  I have to give credit to organized labor for at least trying to take advantage of the opportunity at hand, but most so-called progressives are always looking for someone else to do the heavy-lifting for them.

Black Friday is sickening.

Black Friday violence: 1 shopper critically injured after shooting, 15 others pepper-sprayed
Updated at 8:40a.m. ET: NBC station KNTV's Monte Francis reported that a Black Friday shopper was shot and critically injured by a robber in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in San Leandro, California, early Friday.
Updated at 7.30a.m. ET: An angry woman used pepper spray when Black Friday bargain-hunters tried to cut in line at a crowded Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles late Thursday, leaving 15 people with minor injuries. The incident occurred shortly after 10:20 p.m. PT (1:20 a.m. ET Friday) in the San Fernando Valley as shoppers looking for deals were let inside the outlet.
This is why I've always hated Black Friday and avoid it like the plague.  I also thought it was a waste of time for the Occupiers to protest it.  But now I'll have to rethink that. The customers are morons, but no one is putting a gun to the head of retail execs and overpaid marketing clowns who encourage this sort of behavior. I'm sure they absolve themselves of all responsibility as they laugh at moronic customers and count their cash. Society has to say ENOUGH.

I actually believe that Blue Laws are not a bad idea, not for the original religious justification, but for people to take a break from everything.  I remember everything but convenience stores being closed on July 4th in Mass. and was shocked to see this on a Walmart in Utah in 1996:
In honor of our nation's birth we will be closing today at 5:30 PM.
Wow, don't go overboard on your honoring there. Now it seems like that is the norm. What do we expect in a country that went to war and issued tax cuts at the same time?

Greed is killing us

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday wackiness roundup Nov. 20th edition.

Really pal, stop using Dungeons & Dragons as a handbook for life. I've never trusted those Society for Creative Anachronism types.

Drunk and proud of it.

Pilot gets stuck in the can and hilarity ensues.

A Russian says a weird skeleton with a triangular skull found  in Peru is that of...an Alien!

"COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The sprawling pile of hundreds of thousands of tires isn't easy to spot from the ground, sitting in a rural South Carolina clearing accessible by only a circuitous dirt path that winds through thick patches of trees. No one knows how all those tires got there, or when." Oh come on, we know it's the triangle headed Peruvian aliens.

This is a great spoof of the latest GOP debate...wait, what? It's not a parody? God help us....

Couple name their kid Adolf Hitler, are surprised over everyone's reaction.

Oh so now the Chupacabra are hairless racccons, not mangy foxes. And I suppose Bigfoot is unidentified primate, not an interdimensional being - please.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania: Nov. 18-19

Sen. Dinniman Speaks Out Against Marcellus Shale Legislation

State Senator Andy Dinniman held a press conference on the Old Court House steps Friday afternoon to address concerns he had about the Marcellus Shale bill recently passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
“I believe the citizens of this county have made their feelings clear,” Dinniman said. “They feel that we need a fair impact fee or a tax on natural gas drilling.”
Pennsylvania DEP Effort Encourages Oil and Gas Industry to Use Mine Drainage Water
The Department of Environmental Protection announced today the preliminary process it will use for authorizing the use of acid mine drainage water for oil and gas operations, including Marcellus Shale wells.
"Acid mine drainage impairs more than 5,000 miles of streams in our state, making it ideal for operators to take the drainage out of our waterways and put it to use for hydraulic fracturing," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "As natural gas extraction does not require drinking quality water, this represents a real win-win that can address two water challenges at once."
 Groups to protest drilling bill
A coalition of groups and citizens opposed to HB 1950 will voice their discontent today about the huge benefits they say Marcellus Shale drillers will receive at the financial and environmental expense of Pennsylvania residents.
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) and the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition, joined by other community and civic leaders, will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. on the steps of the historic courthouse, 2 N. High St., in West Chester.
Cawley: Gas drilling guarantees job creation
Creating jobs in Pennsylvania boils down to a simple mathematical equation, said Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley: E = J.
"Energy equals jobs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Cawley told a crowd of business owners and students at Bucks County Technical High School in Fairless Hills on Friday.
The Fracturing of Pennsylvania

From some views, this diamond-shaped cut of land looks like the hardscrabble farmland it has been since the 18th century, when English and Scottish settlers successfully drove away the members of a Native American village called Annawanna, or “the path of the water.” Arrowheads still line the streambeds. Hickory trees march out along its high, dry ridges. Box elders ring the lower, wetter gullies. The air smells of sweet grass. Cows moo. Horses whinny.
From other vantages, it looks like an American natural-gas field, home to 10 gas wells, a compressor station — which feeds fresh gas into pipelines leading to homes hundreds of miles away — and what was, until late this summer, an open five-acre water-impoundment chemical pond. Trucks rev engines over fresh earth. Backhoes grind stubborn stones. Pipeline snakes beneath clear-cut hillsides.
 Pa. Marcellus Wastewater Industry Restructuring, Painfully
The emerging industry for treating and disposing of Marcellus wastewater has undergone a painful restructuring in Pennsylvania since April.
That's when environmental regulators asked drillers to voluntarily stop using conventional wastewater treatment plants.
"It's been a very powerful transformation of the water disposal and water processing industry during the last six months," said Paul Hart, president of Hart Resource Technologies, which operates three treatment facilities to the east and north of Pittsburgh.
Drilling halted after spill into NW Pa. reservoir
Hunt Marcellus Operating Co. tells the Bradford Era that it stopped drilling in Johnsonburg after some bentonite gel was released into Silver Creek and made its way into a drinking water reservoir controlled by the Johnsonburg Municipal Authority.

Week-end Wrap.

Some random items I didn't get a chance to comment on:
MLB adds two wild cards, moves Astros to AL
Two wild card teams will be added to Major League Baseball's playoffs no later than 2013, the same year the Houston Astros will begin play in the American League.
I know a lot of people like the idea of more opportunities for teams to get into the post-season and for more interleague play, but I worry about baseball become too much like other sports.  IMHO Selig is taking MLB down the road the NHL has gone, and that's not a good thing.

Report: Red Sox meet with Bobby Valentine - Nooooooo!!!!!

This is one of the best takedowns of the Penn State-Paterno cult I've seen.  Trust me, a lot of Pennsylvanians are still in denial over the whole thing and are hostile to articles like this.

PSU could raise tuition to cover damages from suits - How about taking the money from the football program and if necessary athletics as a whole?  Doesn't this remind you of the bailing out of Wall Street?  I don't expect to see Penn State students rioting over this though.

Speaking of which, academia really doesn't like students protesting income inequality and college finances, the latest over the top crackdown coming at UC-Davis.  I know it annoys many that students want debt forgiven and many millenials did think they were entitled to great jobs just by going to college.  But this is the lie that was sold to them by their parent, guidance counselers and of course the universities themselves.  The rapid rise in tuition (above the rate of inflation) is due in part to the need to pay for the bloated administration, which also drives the push for mire enrollments, the dumbing down of the curricula (and the increasing worthlessness of degrees). For decades people were told by society that if you wanted to get a good job you needed a degree, any undergrad degree would do. Now you pay more and get a crappier education for your degree and can't even get a good job.  The same society tells the students they spoiled and deceived it was their own fault  they chose to go to school and tough shit that you can't a good job.
BTW, no one's even got into the cronyism problem yet, which goes along with the branding/markteing mindset in the hiring of faculty and technical staff. Yours truly discovered the hard way that actually running an electron microprobe lab and years of electronic repair experience can't compete with people who assisted in a lab for two year with the right pedigree and connection.  Should make you question the quality of data coming out of geoscience analytical labs these days.

Nobody should surprised at this - Lobbying firm's memo spells out plan to undermine Occupy Wall Street

But this may surprise you - Geraldo Defends Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations From Eric Bolling’s Repudiation.  Of course at one time Geraldo did fancy himself a crusading investigative reporter, so he really doesn't mesh with Fox's politics, just their sensationalism.

This is one of the better discussions I've seen of Peak Oil. I like the "just the facts and spare me the doomerism and conspiracy" approach.  It's enough of a problem w/o attaching whackiness to it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania: Nov. 15-17

Markell: Delaware will vote against controversial drilling in Delaware River watershed
Gov. Jack Markell said late today that Delaware will vote against a regional agency plan to allow a controversial type of deep shale-gas drilling in the Delaware River watershed, citing unsettled and inadequate terms for state and local environmental safeguards and insufficient public review of recently amended regulatory proposals.
Poll says most in Pa. see more pros than cons in shale industry
About 41 percent of Pennsylvanians said drilling has yielded more benefits than problems so far, while 33 percent said it posed more problems and 26 percent weighed the pros and cons as equal. When asked to consider the long-term impact, 50 percent said shale gas will provide more benefits than problems, while 32 percent said the reverse.
One thing's clear: Pennsylvanians think the shale gas is indeed taxable. About 72 percent said firms extracting natural gas should pay a tax that's allocated at a local level.
Experts Say Shale Boom Equals Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
When you meet Randy Pfirman, you can almost see the dollar signs in his eyes. Just two years ago, the born and raised Williamsport man had a slow water hose manufacturing company on his hands. He had less than a handful of workers, and business was declining. Every year, the area would lose a factory, and they would lose another customer. Then in 2009, one of those remaining few customers “hit it big,” drilling one of the area’s first gas wells that tapped into the Marcellus shale. The man warned Pfirman that gas companies and their teams of workers would be “coming in from all over.”They did. And they wanted Pfirman’s products.“I don’t ever have to worry about what I’m going to do in the future,” said Pfirman. “Nobody in this area has to worry about jobs anymore.”
House GOP Leadership Kills Debate on Amendments to Marcellus Bill
In one of the more blatant displays of raw power against the will of the people, the House Republican leadership today rammed through second consideration of HB 1950, an omnibus Marcellus Shale drilling bill that is an early Christmas gift to the multinational gas drillers and puts frack fluid in the stockings of citizens.
Heavily debated Marcellus Shale bill passes Senate
The State Senate Tuesday approved legislation that would establish reasonable fees on gas drillers, establish strong environmental safeguards, and strengthen oversight of the Marcellus Shale drilling industry, according to Senator Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, who sponsored the measure.
Passage of Senate Bill 1100 comes after months of negotiation and compromise on a number of areas, including how funding would be allocated and local zoning issues.
DEP investigation finds inconsistencies in Marcellus violations
A DEP team convened to scour inconsistencies in oil and gas inspections between Pennsylvania’s three regions came out with its findings today. The verdict: inconsistencies exist.
As we reported in August, different regions’ inspectors were entering violations differently, accounting for swings in the number of offenses recorded in the southwestern vs. the northeastern parts of the Marcellus Shale.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Troubling aspects of OWS raids

I'll say right off the bat that mayors do have legitimate obligations to enforce public safety and that the Occupy groups have been spineless in confronting both anarchists who try to hijack their peaceful movement and various creeps who use them to prowl for victims to sexually assault.

But based on comments from Oakland's mayor, it appears these raids may have been coordinated by the mayors, something that should raise some series free speech and right-to-dissent issues. After all, each city has different ordinances for public spaces and at any one time in a large city there will be groups picketing or protesting  and collections of people camping out, i.e. collections of homeless. One could then make the argument that the Occupy groups were cleared out not for the violations, but rather because of who they are.

Even more troubling is accounts now coming to light that NYC had reporters covering the raid arrested. When you compare the way the pro-Paterno punks were treated at Penn State and these raids (as well as how UC- Berkely of all places reacted to an Occupy Cal.), you do have to wonder if mayors and University officials are indeed controlled by big donors.

"It's the climate stupid" Redux

Nill McKibben rhetorically asks, "Will global warming be a 2012 election issue?"  Now McKibben is the person you expect to push this narrative, but it does hint that there is a growing unease about the climate due to the rise in extreme weather that would affect politics.
Hey, I called it.

Police clear Bonus Marcher's..er Occupy Camps

Over the weekend Portland, Oregon (there's two Portlands you know), Salt Lake City, Oakland and Denver cleared out the Occupy camps in those cities. Last night New York did the same, but there is a court order overturning NYC's action. No tanks, bayonets or calvary were used.

Which brings up the most obvious analogy to the Occupy events, the Depression era Bonus Marchers
"Bonus Army marchers (left) confront the police." Wikicommons.

There was one good article I came across in October linking the two, as well other similar movements during economic stress in the U.S. such as Coxey's Army.  Why don't we hear this analogy more often in the MSM, instead of very weak comparisons to the Sixties' anti-war protests?  Sadly I would have to attribute it once again to the severe cultural myopia of the Baby Boomers, as the error is made by those on both the left and right.  The danger from this narrow viewing of history is that it shoehorns everything into the conflicts and issues of a narrow slice of time that are not appropriate to today's program.  It is similar to when those who should know better frame every period of international tension with a grossly simplified version of the '38 Munich Appeasement.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania: Nov. 14

New Drilling Fee Proposal Moves Out Of Senate Appropriations Committee
The Senate Appropriations Committee this evening approved, largely along party lines, an amendment offered by Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) to Senate Bill 1100 proposing a uniform, statewide Marcellus Shale drilling fee starting at $50,000 per well, per year decreasing to $10,000 after 10 years. Senate Democrats offered their own proposal starting at $75,000 per well, which was defeated.
Shale Boom Hits Williamsport: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
But around Williamsport, gas companies have leased thousands of acres of property from landowners, forests and state parks over the past five years to get at it.
Now because of it, Williamsport calls itself the energy capital of Pennsylvania. This year, it was named the seventh fastest growing small city in the country. There are 553 active drilling sites just in Lycoming County, where Williamsport is located, and 1,562 next door in Bradford County.
Those who live there say Marcellus shale has changed everything.
Fracking critics urge officials to block Delaware Basin gas development

Opponents of a controversial method of natural gas extraction will stage a last-ditch effort on Monday, November 14 to stop an interstate regulator from giving the go-ahead for gas production in the Delaware River Basin.
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), consisting of the governors of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, plus Army Corps of Engineers which represents the federal government, is due to vote on Nov. 21 on proposed rules that would allow tens of thousands of gas wells to be drilled in the basin. Approval would lift a moratorium.

Lack of posts

Despite all the goin'-ons with OWS, fracking and Penn State (which does relate to overall issues with double standards, misplace priorities and abuse of pwer) I haven't written a thing here. Unfortunately I have had a lot of grading for my one class coupled with the need to get exterior work on the old school house done while the weather is good.

I hope to get back up to speed soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More crazy weather

Well despite the record-breaking October Northeast snow, the month overall was warmer than average in the U. S

But in terms of ongoing crazy we have Oklahoma tornadoes being followed by snow in the Plains region

And for real crazy we have an unusually powerful Bering Sea storm packing 85 mph winds about to slam into western Alaska, possibly producing 4 to 10 foot storm surges.

Joe Paterno Must Go - Now!

In the wake of the revelations that a serial pedophile was employed as an assistant coach by Penn. State football and protected by higher ups in the university, newspapers in Pennsylvania are calling for the resignations of Penn. State's president and Joe Paterno.  A former quarterback and grad assistant witnessed the rape of a 10-year old in a PSU locker room shower, then went to his dad, who told him to talk to Paterno, who in turn did little but inform higher-ups. The GA didn't intervene or call the police and Joe Pa did little more. Yet, paterno is still defended  by PSU football fans and alumni.

Sexual assault on a child is a felony and a citizen is required to report it to the law enforcement authorities. Not just pass it upstairs, as if there is really anyone with authority over JoePa. Sorry Mike and Mike in the Morning, he did not do enough. This is the type of actions that got the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in trouble.  This case is no different, the same legal principles apply.

Whether it's Penn State, the Catholic Church, the National Restaurant Association or Occupy Wall Street, sexual assault is a crime that you are required to report, not police yourself to protect your organizations reputation - period.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania: Nov. 7

Corporate funding of Marcellus Shale studies at universities raises alarms

As development of the Marcellus Shale spreads across Pennsylvania, Penn State University has taken a central role in doing research about the industry, from its economic impact to its geological properties.
Some of the research is paid for by companies extracting the gas, according to petroleum geologists who do the work. But the state-related university, which took in $214 million in taxpayer funding last year, declined to say how much individual companies spend or what the money pays for.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania: Nov. 3

Midnight Pennsylvania Explosion Fuels New Marcellus Gas Safety Concerns
A natural gas compressor station in southern Pennsylvania exploded overnight Thursday, prompting the evacuation of about 150 people and raising concerns about safety amid the shale-gas boom that is spreading throughout the state.

A local resident reported a "loud noise" at the Artemas Compressor Station in Mann Township, Bedford County, at about 12:30 a.m., according to Shawn Trahan, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Columbia Gas Transmission, part of NiSource, which operates the station.
Pa. House panel OKs shale fee bill on party lines

Pennsylvania House Republicans on Wednesday passed a measure out of committee that would impose a local impact fee on natural gas drilling and establish new state regulations on the growing industry.
The 127-page bill, approved 15-9 in the Finance Committee along party lines, was patterned closely on an approach favored by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. It also would fund environmental programs.
Federal probe into hydraulic fracturing and its effects on drinking water to begin
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday released the outlines of its long-awaited probe into whether hydraulic fracturing — the unconventional drilling technique that’s led to a boom in domestic natural gas production — is contaminating drinking-water supplies.
Investigators will try to determine the impact of large-scale water withdrawals, aboveground spills of drilling fluids, and the fracturing process itself on water quality and quantity in states where tens of thousands of wells have been drilled in recent years.
Chesapeake, Enterprise to run ethane pipeline
Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Wednesday it will anchor Enterprise Products Partners LP's proposed ethane pipeline from northeastern states to the Gulf Coast....The companies said the pipeline would deliver ethane produced in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio about 1,230 miles to their storage complex for natural gas liquids in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is depressing....

The Department of Energy program to monitor CO2 emissions has reported that they increased 6% from 2009 to 2010, an apparently unprecedented "monster" increase.  According to AP
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated,...The world pumped about 564 million more tons (512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That's an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases.
The DOE program is located at Oak Ridge National Labs (hardly a hippie Biosphere 2 type place).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania: Nov. 1

The big story today is that the bill proposed by Gov. Corbett for the state to levy an impact fee that would go to local communities (i.e. local impact fee) would also limit ability of the same communities to pass local ordinances that regulate drilling:
The two state legislative chambers are reversing roles on Marcellus Shale regulations, with an impact fee from the House GOP gaining steam and the Senate delaying a vote on its levy proposal until mid-November....
Since then, the Corbett administration has urged lawmakers and staffers to include a provision that would completely pre-empt local zoning ordinances on oil and gas drilling. An administration spokesman declined to confirm that the administration is pushing for state control of drilling rules, but he did say the governor believes local rules are too fragmented.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania Oct. 31

I've decided to go with daily updates with the latest news.

Shale Gas Fuels Legal Boom
The natural-gas boom in Pennsylvania is stoking legal battles over who owns gas that was worthless until a few years ago but now holds the promise of great wealth.
Residents call for gas drilling regulations
Tapping into the natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formations in Pennsylvania is a good idea, said area residents who attended a public forum Saturday morning in Middletown.
But the gas drilling industry should be regulated to minimize its impact on the environment, said the residents at the forum hosted by state Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31.
PGC: Shale, storms will affect 2011 hunt
"This year it's going to be a little more important than just finding out where the food and bedding are. It's also going to be what else is going on. Marcellus shale drilling is now in full swing throughout much of Pennsylvania. A lot of prime hunting areas in the Big Woods area of north-central Pennsylvania, and in the northeast and down through southwestern Pennsylvania are under production for natural gas. There are a total of 148 permits issued for drilling Marcellus shale on state game lands; of that number 50 have been drilled.

Climate Drumbeat Continues

Here in SE Penn, we had a bit of snow on Saturday October 29.

This of course is the same record-setting storm that dumped over 30 inches of the white stuff in western Mass.  Once again, any single extreme event cannot be attributed to climate change, but we have been having quite a few around the globe the past few years.  Western Massachusetts has had tornado producing storms and flooding from Hurricane Irene this year as well.  I imagine a destabilized climate regime to be like the change of seasons in New England, greatly contrasting air masses leading to unstable moisture laden air and storms, but on a global scale. And for those who cannot connect heavy snow with global warming I would point out that in the spring in New England we have had some our heaviest snowfalls as the seasons change.

Let's not forget the ingoing flooding in Thailand and ongoing drought in Texas.  By themselves they mean little on a global scale and there is always drought and flooding at any given time - but record breakers all over?

What we do know is that it is warming, and a Koch brothers financed dissection of the data has confirmed it.  The spin has already started to discount this research, in some cases it is verging on hysteria.

Climate experts: Expect more extreme weather
Freakish weather disasters — from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast U.S. to the record floods in Thailand — are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost, says a draft summary of an international climate report obtained by The Associated Press. The report from the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be issued in a few weeks, after a meeting in Uganda. It says there is at least a 2-in-3 probability that climate extremes have already worsened because of man-made greenhouse gases.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strange, stupid and surreal Sunday, Oct 30

This is why monopolies are illegal...I think.

OK, first of all its friggin' Taco Bell and secondly they don't even use real meat, so don't ya think using a molotov cocktail to make a complaint is a tad bit excessive..

But it seems people everywhere are taking to fire to solve fast food issues. But pizza sucks in Florida anyway and c'mon, Domino's and Papa John's?  Again a tad bit excessive.

I guess Craig Ferguson and Sean Connery are screwed.

And some wonder why people hate the financial services industry.

"Experts say that consuming 2 ounces of black licorice per day for two weeks can set the heart stuttering in susceptible individuals."  If you eat that much licorice (yech) you're asking for trouble.

Bet they don't make a James Franco movie about this guy.

Sad, pathetic or both? You decide.

Wouldn't the old be tough and stringy? I foresee a lot stews and slow barbecue.

Why wouldn't a Harvard psychiatrist study zombie brains, another worked on alien abductions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sitrep* on wealth and fairness

*sitrep, military-speak for situation report

The Congressional Budget Office reports the obvious, the richest 1% have been getting richer while everyone else has been stagnant:

Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of Americans with the highest incomes have seen their incomes grow by an average of 275 percent, according to the CBO study (PDF).
In comparison, the 60 percent of Americans in the middle of the income scale saw their incomes increase by just 40 percent during the same time period, according to the study, which was based on a combination of IRS and Census data.
 Meanwhile, people like Herman Cain and Rick Perry float tax plans that will punish the poor and help that 1%.  They and others like Ron Paul also want to strip the government to regulate business, presumably including safety of the food supply.  At the same time the present system shows it is not strict enough:
The death toll linked to Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes in the United States has climbed to 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
Whole or pre-cut Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes from Colorado-based Jensen Farms have been traced as the cause of what has become the deadliest U.S. food-borne Listeria outbreak in a quarter century.
The way higher ed operates has gotten a pass (IMHO it is a systems of cronyism that awards the haves at the expense of the have-nots), except in terms of the cost:
In-state tuition at public colleges shot up 8.3 percent this year to an average of $8,244, according to an analysis by the College Board. Tuition at private four-year colleges jumped a more modest 4.5 percent, to an average of $28,500.
This is above the rate of inflation, but then so the salaries of the top administrators are way above that of faculty and staff - and the number of these administrators and their salaries keep growing.

Even the Vatican has chimed in on the economic stresses in the world (not surprising if you know Catholic Social teaching).  As Andrew Sullivan says, this has not gone down well with those who can't  reconcile modern American Republicanism with their supposed strong faith:
You knew the Church's effective endorsement of Occupy Wall Street would prompt a sudden outbreak of heterodoxy on the theocon right, didn't you? I mean any Catholic challenge to Randian orthodoxy in the GOP must be smacked down quickly, right? And, sure enough, the theocon blogosphere rises as one in dissent.
But some are saying us Gen Xers like yours truly are happy and balanced. Well there's my personal world and the greater world so I guess it depends on which you are looking at.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Off for the weekend

Leaving tomorrow for a field trip to the Potomac Corridor.  No new posts until next week

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Best report on OWS

From John Oliver on the Daily Show
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The 99%
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

In short, a mixed group including many wackos with an odd way of doing things are bringing attention to what many think, but are too busy to say.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strange, Stupid and Surreal Sunday Oct. 16

***sigh*** more misuse of 9-1-1, what were they doing in a corn maze with a three-week old in the first place?

The Teabaggers know we can't let the commies contaminate our precious bodily fluids.

Yet another fine moment in Philly sports fandom - yeah cancer!

Guess the bankers can't even hide in the tundra.

Steven Seagal is keepin' busy.

Good Lord this is terrible.

Remember the old Simpsons when Bart was caught shoplifting and the store detective said he would grow up to "steal quarries and stadiums"?  Well don't laugh, infrastructure theft is real.

M..yes, Bigfut ees really from Mother Russia.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Delaware being occupied

An Occupy Delaware group has sprung up and this one has some real blue-collar origins:
Some who arrived at the United Auto Workers hall in Newark on Wednesday were unemployed, others were underemployed and those who had jobs like Von Spalding of Dover talked about the difficulties of supporting a family with current wages.
Spalding said he felt he needed to do something, so he attended a meeting in Newark this week to join the nascent Occupy Delaware group, a gathering modeled after the larger Occupy Wall Street movement spreading across the nation.
The reason why there is a UAW hall in Newark, DE is that there used to be a Chrysler plant in town. That closed recently and has been bought "as is" by the University of Delaware, who is marketing some vague economy defying plans for the property.
Funny thing is Newark is also a college town and one would expect an Occupy group to start up on campus (compare to Boston), but UD students have been accused of being among the most politically apathetic in the country.  I don't know about that, I saw some blazer and tie wearing College Republican fratties cheering for Christine O'Donnell outside the debate in campus last year. Seriously though, any involvement by UD students has been below the radar compared to other locations, I'll see if I can find it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The whole occupy thing...

I've been trying to get a post with my thoughts on Occupy Wall Street out, but with my obligations and the constantly shifting story I keep finding myself behind the curve. But I should since it ties in with the whole supposed point of this blog. So I'll get one with my impressions to date out tonight.

Someone who I often find myself simultaneously agreeing and disagreeing with, Thomas Friedman, disclosed that he himself is unsure what it all means, but points out two possibilities:
When you see spontaneous social protests erupting from Tunisia to Tel Aviv to Wall Street, it’s clear that something is happening globally that needs defining. There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me. One says this is the start of “The Great Disruption.” The other says that this is all part of “The Big Shift.” You decide.
Disruption, said Gilding. “Our system of economic growth, of ineffective democracy, of overloading planet earth — our system — is eating itself alive. Occupy Wall Street is like the kid in the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperor has no clothes. The system is broken....Not so fast, says John Hagel III, who is the co-chairman of the Center for the Edge at Deloitte, along with John Seely Brown. In their recent book, “The Power of Pull,” they suggest that we’re in the early stages of a “Big Shift,” precipitated by the merging of globalization and the Information Technology Revolution. In the early stages, we experience this Big Shift as mounting pressure, deteriorating performance and growing stress because we continue to operate with institutions and practices that are increasingly dysfunctional — so the eruption of protest movements is no surprise.
Andrew Sullivan thought this picture looked like a South Park parody, but it may actually express many peoples frustration and uncertainty, in a crude sort of way:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday's Strange, Stupid and Surreal, Oct. 9

Blowing up Ikea?-Well it was bound to happen, but who would've thought Poles would be the ones?

Amish breaking bad.

Some would say this is why women shouldn't be in politics, or at least "lobbyists in stiletto heels."

Oops...big oops!

UFOs in KC. Could they be there to pick up Chupacabras? No because they're being shot dead in Mississippi.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania Update: Sep. 28-Oct. 6

Laser pays lobby penalty
The state Ethics Commission levied the penalty of $1,995 against Laser Northeast Gathering Co. LLC for being nearly two months late in filing the report covering the fourth quarter of 2010. The commission approved a consent agreement with the firm earlier this week. Laser has already made payment.
Community Discussion Showcases Job Training and Workforce Development for Pennsylvania's Natural Gas Industry
Local residents in Youngwood, Pa. joined Congressman Tim Murphy, area leaders, educators and businesses today for a community discussion on natural gas training programs, the impact of workforce development in the region, and the natural gas industry's commitment to safe and responsible development of the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) jointly hosted the public event held at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC).
W. Pa. county 3rd highest jobs gain in nation
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that two western Pennsylvania counties were among the top ten in the nation for employment gains in large counties, between March 2010 and March 2011.
Washington County was third, with 4.3 percent growth, and Butler County was sixth, at 4.2 percent. Elkhart, Ind. was on top at 6.2 percent.
Group hopes drillers will agree to spare parks

A Pennsylvania environmental-advocacy group has come up with a plan to keep natural-gas drillers from bringing their rigs, trucks, pipelines, and noise into pristine state parks.
The short version: Get them to pledge not to do it.
Responsible truckers run over in gas rush

The Marcellus gas rush has had a reviving effect on many local industries, but probably none have benefited as much as the trucking business in Pennsylvania.
The process of installing a gas pad and fracking a well require thousands upon thousands of truck trips, hauling equipment and water to remote sites largely inaccessible by any other means of transportation. Over my years covering the issue, I've spoken with dozens of owners of local trucking companies who have said their business has doubled or tripled since the gas companies arrived in the commonwealth.
Their success, however, has been blunted by the arrival of fly-by-night trucking companies, largely run by out-of-state owners looking to make a quick buck on the Marcellus boom, according to local truckers.
Ample supply of natural gas to lower most heating bills this winter
Heating costs for homeowners using natural gas will be lower or stable this fall, a comforting thought as Western Pennsylvania heads into a chilly weekend.
Equitable Gas set its quarterly rate for the fuel at $6.51 per thousand cubic feet, or mcf, starting today. That's down from $7.35 a year ago and $14.45 from fall 2008, when natural gas costs shocked homeowners.
Gas boom means little space for Pa. flood victims
Pennsylvania residents who lost their homes to Tropical Storm Lee more than three weeks ago are having a tough time finding affordable housing, or any housing at all, because workers in the area's natural gas drilling boom have filled nearly every room.

Last month's record flooding has worsened a housing crunch in north central and northeastern Pennsylvania, where a surge in drilling over the past few years has led to housing shortages and skyrocketing rents. Flood victims say that available units are few, and federal disaster assistance doesn't come close to paying the rent on the scattered vacancies that are left.
Shale Gas Producers Going the Extra Environmental Mile, Range Exec Says
Natural gas and oil exploration and production companies have heeded the call to improve transparency and institute better practices in the fast-developing shale resources, but there's more to do as the shale phenomena gets up close and personal in communities all across the continent, according to a Range Resources Corp. executive.
The industry as a whole also has "picked up the ball in best practices," Range Senior Vice President Ray N. Walker Jr. told NGI’s Shale Daily in an interview recently...Unless someone can show us a better way to grow value for our shareholders, we'll stick to the path we've been on.
Drill Fee Proposed for Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a fee on natural-gas drilling of as much as $160,000 a well in an effort to find a middle ground between public support for assessing drillers in the booming Marcellus Shale basin and a campaign pledge not to impose taxes.

Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Impact Fee: Day Two
More reac­tion and analy­sis on Gov­er­nor Corbett’s pro­posed impact fee on nat­ural gas drillers.
The Post-Gazette reports envi­ron­men­tal groups aren’t thrilled with the idea, even though it includes pro­vi­sions like increased set­backs between wells and water­ways, and stricter penal­ties for drillers.
Breaking down Corbett's drilling fee proposal

On Monday, Gov. Tom Corbett made a long-awaited announcement giving his blessing to allowing Pennsylvania's counties impose an impact fee on Marcellus Shale drillers.
The fee would let counties charge $40,000 per well in the first year, $30,000 in the
second year, $20,000 in the third year and $10,000 in the fourth through tenth
years, adding up to a potential total of $160,000 per well.
The impact fee revenues will be split, with 75 percent being retained at the local
level and 25 percent of the fee divided among state agencies.
Of the local money, 36 percent would got to the county, 37 percent would be distributed to municipalities with actual drilling and 27 percent would be distributed to all the municipalities within a Marcellus drilling impacted county.
WVU Researcher to Map Methane Sources in Monongahela-Area Drinking Water
Oil and gas operators and residents in the Marcellus shale region have become aware that drinking water can contain dissolved methane. But did it come from hydraulic fracturing, previously abandoned wells or from some other source?
Now a West Virginia University researcher is gathering data to help answer that question for aquifers in the Monongahela River watershed.
Newspapers seek opening of Marcellus lawsuit settlement

Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky is questioning whether the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Washington Observer-Reporter newspapers have the right to intervene in a Marcellus Shale case that was settled in his chambers in August.
The Post-Gazette asked the judge to unseal the settlement between the plaintiffs, Stephanie and Chris Hallowich of Mount Pleasant Township and various defendants including Range Resources Corp. and MarkWest Energy Partners and Energy Group.
 Tea and gas don't mix well 
The Northeast Pennsylvania Tea Party is launching robo-calls, bashing congressmen Tom Marino, R-10, of Cogan Station, and Lou Barletta, R-9, of Hazleton, diehard conservative Republicans who have often identified themselves as members of the Tea Party.
In fact, it’s their Tea-esque rhetoric that helped get them elected, many observers have said.
So, why would the herd be turning against their own?
Two words: Natural gas