Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania, Jan. 25

Two weeks worth of updates to get in. I'll skip my comments this update and give you the original headlines and lead-ins. I'll also pass on the business updates as well:

Committee Deciding Marcellus Shale to Have Just One Northeastern PA. Lawmaker
Standard Speaker
Only one lawmaker from Northeastern Pennsylvania sits on a key House committee that will handle bills dealing with the environmental impact of Marcellus Shale drilling this session.This happens despite the fact that the region has been at the center of a drilling boom for the past four years and deals with a legacy of environmental issues dating from the heyday of anthracite mining

Gas Industry's Impact Felt Locally
The Standard-Journal
When Gov. Tom Corbett was sworn into office last week, the climate of business in Pennsylvania changed, as did the government view of the natural gas industry...

DEP losing staff to gas drilling industry
Citizens Voice
The Marcellus Shale natural gas industry has jobs to offer in Pennsylvania and, in many cases, environmental regulators that once watched over the drillers are stepping in to fill the openings.

'Mad Money' Host Cramer Says Its Smart to Invest in Marcellus Shale
PW-Philadelphia Weekly 
The guy who told his television audience to keep their Bear Stearns investments six days before Bear Stearns shares dropped 90 percent, then feuded with Jon Stewart which culminated in, possibly, the most awkward, sad interview of all time?

Panel backs city plan to avoid buying Marcellus Shale gas
The Philadelphia Gas Commission is supporting a city councilman's efforts to keep natural gas harvested from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale from coming into the city.

Pa. Governors inauguration marked by 'fracking' protest
Pennsylvania's new governor, Tom Corbett, took office on Tuesday and an environmentalist group opposing "fracking" in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale deposits didn't waste time in petitioning the governor. A group estimated at 150 were camped out about a hundred yards from the inaugural platform, unfurling a banner which stated their position: "Stop the Drilling."

L.R. Kimball brings on former DEP deputy as adviser
Pittsburgh Business Times
The government to industry funnel gained another one this week as L.R. Kimball announced that it has brought on a former deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as an adviser to its natural gas work.

Public concerns mount about Marcellus shale drilling
Tarentum Valley News Dispatch
Ron Slabe doesn't expect the anti-Marcellus movement to derail the natural gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania. But he trusts it will make it safer.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strange, surreal Sunday rundown...Jan 23

Hey New Yorkers, next time you have a little snow, look at what the way the pros do it in New England, just clear with the ATF first.

So the hippies weren't responsible for the drugged-out Sixties after all, it was 1950's houswives.

In case you were wondering where your order of mammoth tusks were, they've been held up.

That stellar journal of record, UFO Digest, may have found the long sought after link between HAARP and mass bird deaths. I knew it.

Does this mean that they're going to broil a cheesehead in Chicago in return?

The Scots say that veggies give your skin a healthier glow than tanning....wait a minute, Scots, vegetables and tans? Something's not right.

Chupacabras are back! The cover-up continues, THEY now say its a hairless bear. Sure.....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Think its cold? Not so much in the Arctic.

Those who cannot accept a warming world probably take comfort in local cold and snow in the US and Europe, and use current local weather to dismiss reports that globally 2010 tied with 2005 for the hottest year on record . But what has this winter really been like from a global perspective.
Well here is November 2010's temperature anomaly (compared to 1951-1980 data):
Departure from 1951-1980 mean for November 2010, in degrees C Click for larger image..  
And here's the same for December:
Departure from 1951-1980 mean for December 2010, in degrees C. Click for larger image.
Notice that the Arctic is significantly warmer than the reference period.  This is reflected by the near record low amount of Arctic sea ice. Here is the Arctic Sea ice coverage trend as of today from the National Snow and Ice Data Center:
Meanwhile, the observatory at Mauna Loa reports the mean atmospheric CO2 for December at 389.69 ppm. This continues the steady upward trend for the decade:

Now causality does not equal causation, but since we have established well back in the nineteenth that atmospheric carbon dioxide absorbs IR energy, a correlation between warming and CO2 is to be expected by the rational observer. This does not mean that the increase in CO2 for November and December are in lockstep, but the ever increasing carbon dioxide will be reflected over time by more and more positive temperature anomalies.

So right now, business as usual rules, in our actions and in the climatic response.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

College students not learning? What a shock!

From the Department of Stating the Obvious "Study: College Students Not Learning':
"A study of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years."

Well what do you expect? Colleges and universities are businesses, with profits and dividends in the form of high paying administrative  positions and lucrative contracts to service providers.  The eternal growth model is also followed, requiring ever increasing enrollments.*  This requires the lowering of admission and achievement standards. If a new faculty member wants to get tenure they better play ball and pass the underachievers, ignore the cheating, plagiarism, and lack of preparation. All should follow the latest education fad, if said fad can be twisted to meet the goal of keeping asses in the seats. Tenured faculty are rewarded with promotion to the ranks of the ever increasing admin. if they play ball. This is now pretty much the modus operandi of many schools, such as the University of Delaware.

Then there is the sales part that is needed for the constant growth model.  The marketing arms push the notion that everyone must attend college. Many jobs still don't require college level skills and the institutions are providing little as it is. The HR people at larger companies are also a problem, they do not understand the duties of many positions being filled and thus use college degrees as a substitute for actual qualifications. I found many years ago that Analog devices would not consider me for an electronic tech position without an Associates in Electrical Engineering, even though that degree provides absolutely none of the practical technician skills the position required The college admissions push also creates a new market for college preparation shysters and funding college provides a boom for the lending industry.

The end result is that higher education is failing in its mission and its heading for a crash.

And its own damn fault.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Strange, surreal and Sunday...Jan 16

They're biting in the Schuylkill River. Big ones, in the thousands of pounds.

Ya know, I blame these bird deaths on the guy who kept serving them. On the other hand, it seems you can't trust human pilots with any beverage. And then there's this, what's up with you pilots lately?

Even mermaids aren't safe these days.

Sarah Palin, Larry the Cable Guy and an Elvis impersonator walk into a bar...if that were only a joke.

Damn you wobbly Earth, now I have to live my life not be able to have the stars tell me if I'll find happiness or word from a long-lost friend today.

Late breaking update: with a warmer climate, why would any think we need hairy elephants?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quick thoughts on what happened on Jan 12

 First of all and most importantly, there was a convergence of message from the President and Jon Stewart:
"But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together." President Obama.

"It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV...It's important for us to watch our rhetoric,if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid madmen and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak." Jon Stewart

Palin began, much earlier than I expected, her demise. The cynical ploy of trying to upstage the president's message backfired badly.  Later, Colbert hilariously disassembled her and cultists followers.

In short, Obama was the President, Palin solidified her position as the Lindsey Lohan of politics.

Update: seemed like I hit on the narrative that developed on Jan 13, wide-spread praise of Obama from across the political spectrum, dismissal of the pretender.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Marcellus News for Pennsylvania, Jan. 12

In W. Virginia, legislators are working on a bill that addresses many of the same issues in Pennsylvania, such as rules and fees, but they punted on the pooling issues.

National Fuel Gas is expanding its operations, shelling out $23 million to obtain of wells and property in Tioga County.

Talisman Energy of Canada plans to divest much of their Marcellus holdings, preferring to work in Texas gas shale plays that also yield liquids. The Marcellus Shale mainly yields natural gas and is considered "dry".

Speaking of Talisman, they were fined $24,608 by the DEP  for a diesel fuel spill that occurred in March 2010 at a Armenia Township well site in Bradford County, PA.

State Senator Pat Vance (R-31) voiced concerns about the disposal of drill cuttings at a Newburg (Cumberland Cty) landfill, which is some distance far from the gas shale dilling operations.

New Gov. Corbett, chose Michael L. Krancer, a judge on the Environmental Hearing Board, to head the Department of Environmental Protection.

Digging Deeper

The TP types, Limbaugh, Beck and Palin just can't stop. They refuse to give up their violent and hateful rhetoric.

If they are not trying to incite violence what is the purpose?

Simple, they are trying to bully people to get their way and shut them up.  Now we know they are all talk and just pathetic, insecure, willing to be used losers.

No reason to fear 'em folks, the next time they rant and carry guns just laugh at them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wingnuts Can't Divorce Themselves From Their Past Rhetoric

I know a few people who are complete racists, yet emphatically deny it even as they use racial slurs in casual conversation. Being good authoritarian followers, they repeat the mantra of those they trust (e.g. Rush) that accusing them of being racist is itself racists, and anyway all the blacks and "liberals" themselves are racist.  The thing is they're not fooling anyone, and so the goal of their denial is as ridiculous as its logic.

And so it is with the wingnut response towards calls to tone down the rhetoric in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords. Although Jared Loughner was not a TP member (and may be schizophrenic IMHO) there is no denying that violent rhetoric and images have been a staple of the so-called Tea Party movement from the get go, and bringing guns to rallies and angry confrontations at rallies are one of their hallmarks. Furthermore, Loughner's ramblings do take pages from various paranoid right-wing beliefs. Some conservatives claim his flag-burning "proves" he's a left-winger. I hate to break it to them but some of their allies believe that the Stars and Stripes is actually not the "true" American flag, so hostility towards the flag is not confined to left wingers.

There have been calls on the conservative side for a more civil conversation. Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer relased a statement that reads in part, "Spirited debate is desirable in our country, but it only should be the clash of ideas." However, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips declared "The left is coming and will hit us hard on this. We need to push back harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic. Emphasis on both words."
Similar claims are echoing throughout the blogosphere, many comments  echoing these sentiments on Yahoo are peppered with violent language and even threats towards "liberals" and "leftists"!

Update: Just seen this on the Wikipedia page on the group: After a Tea Party Nation member posted a reply to Phillip's post criticizing him, Phillip's responded: Did you bother to read what the left said yesterday? The wounded were not even to the hospital when the started the attacks. What would you prefer we do? Stick our heads in the sand? Perhaps we should just let the libs shut us up? Maybe you would prefer that. The left is going to use this to blame the Tea Party for the murder. I am not going to let them get away with it and I suggest you wake up and help with the fight.

FYI, it is a war. the left wants to take over our country and destroy the freedoms that we have.

Just like the racists I described, they're fooling no one, especially moderates and independents. Even if Loughner is not one of their own, they have trouble accepting this turn of events as a moment to pause and reflect on their vitriol. Even though the media is failing to note this, this is the narrative that is taking firm root in the public's mind. The wingnut denials and attempts to spin it elsewhere appear as desperate moves to "shift blame." Ironically this will reinforce the meme that their rhetoric is indeed at fault in the public's mind.

The truth is they can't tone it down and drop the hate and ridiculous claims of persecution anymore than they can stop breathing, it is an intrinsic part of their being. The Tea Party Express that issued the "tone it down" is of course a main-stream conservative republican group co-opting of the TP movement. Ironically they are probably more about the TP's stated goal of lower taxes than the actual movement, which showed its true stripes by its focus on guns, gays, mosques and immigrants rather than fiscal conservatism. By not abandoning their hate at this moment (and instead doubling down on it), they will come to be seen as a liability rather than an asset to the GOP.

Friday, January 7, 2011

GOP Stumbles Out of the Gate

The gimmicky reading of the Constitution seemed to confirm in my mind my forecast that the new house would veer off into Terry Schiavo territory rather quickly. But I didn't expect them to be so incompetent as to have two new members miss their swearing-in while holding an illegal fund-raiser on capital grounds and then allow said members to vote, thus rendering all the 112th House votes to date invalid.

I've said many times in the past year that choosing between democrats and republicans is like choosing between incompetence and malfeasance. Guess the Rs decided to combine the two, a veritable Reese's cup of bumbling corruption.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Marcellus Pennsylvania News For 2011

And its a biggie. The AP reports that unlike other states where fracking occurs, the Keystone state has allowed drillers to dump their contaminated wastewater in streams, including those that supply drinking water. Considering that many of the "Real' 'Merikans in rural PA would sneering mock anyone who told them their water was contaminated and then gladly quaff a pint of acid-mine drainage to show those "city-folk", I'm not surprised. When a political entity finds itself sitting on an energy bonanza it use it like Saudi Arabia or Alaska (to pay for public services and/or dividends to the citizens) or it can end up like Nigeria (environmental devastation with little tangible economic reward for most of the citizenry) Coupled with the fact that the drillers will not be subjected to any royalties thanks to the Teabaggin' pols in the state, it is obvious that when it comes to energy resources Pennsylvania has decided to follow the Nigerian instead of the Saudi model. Well what do expect from a state that elected a man senator who not only thinks Palin's great, but thinks she will win the state.