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Monday, August 18, 2014

COLUMBUS (Chris Vanocur) -- A prominent member of an Ohio church recently picketed by strippers is now calling for a ban on all public nudity in the state.

Sunday, dancers from an Ohio gentlemen's club protested at a church in Warsaw. Reportedly, this was because the church members had been protesting them for years.

Dr. Patrick Johnston is a member of that Warsaw church. After the protest by the dancers, Johnston posted this message on his Facebook page: "I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio." read more

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Republican state senator in Colorado justified the practice of hydraulic fracturing -- commonly known as "fracking" -- by saying that the presence of burnable amounts of methane gas in drinking water is a perfectly natural phenomenon. "They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other," state Sen. Randy Baumgardner said, "but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the 'burning waters.' And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Molly K. Hooper - 07/29/14 06:00 AM EDT

A popular piece of legislation that seeks to honor Pope Francis is stuck in Congress.

With time running out on the Capitol Hill calendar, the lawmakers who crafted the bipartisan measure are getting impatient with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The resolution, written by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.), congratulates Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizes "his inspirational statements and actions."

The seemingly innocuous resolution was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which hasn't acted on it. The panel didn't comment for this article. read more

Friday, June 06, 2014

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, "we will accept nothing less than full victory." More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day's end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolph Hitler's crack troops. read more

Monday, June 02, 2014

Two seasons ago, the Los Angeles Kings went on an unprecedented march to the Stanley Cup despite being the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles had to rally three times Sunday night to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, 5-4, in overtime of Game 7 at United Center and will face the New York Rangers for the chance to return as champions.


"#17 | POSTED BY ABH AT 2014-08-20 11:58 AM:
Rcade, do you seriously think instigating a violent confrontation with the police officer trying to arrest you provides any form of "incentive to reform" on the party of the officer? If your do, you are seriously mistaken."

No one is saying to not state your case when stopped by an officer. Vociferously, if necessary. Just be polite about it so you don't aggravate the situation. Once the handcuffs come out, the discussion is over and yoy have two choices: get your butt kicked good and hard and go to jail anyway, or go to jail in one piece and sort it out later."

Let see a show of hands of all those who think a vociferously stated case (politely, of course) would NOT have aggravated this particular police officer. No doubt it would have initiated a thoughtful discussion regarding the merits of the police officer's actions and it would not involve batons, tasers, guns, etc. [SERIOUSLY???]

Meanwhile, no one was saying it was a good idea to instigate a violent confrontation. What IS being pointed out that this particular police officer has crossed the line between wanting to protect the public and wanting to intimidate the public. We all get that it's a lousy, dangerous job which can (and likely does) change some (most?) that elect to do this job. The point is: if this is a police officer's attitude, he is unfit for duty. Period.

"I am teaching my children to avoid getting their butt kicked good and hard and stool ending up in jail. Everyone would be wise to do the same."

If your point is that it's not a good idea to instigate violence in a woefully uneven matchup with armed individuals, that probably goes without saying. What parent would counsel their children to be reckless or stupid? I confess (as a parent), I advise my child to not be reckless or stupid. So what? I also teach them to be good citizens. That includes having the courage of their convictions, even when it's "unpopular" or dangerous. Yes, that does put them at some risk sometimes. However, if we really are to be good citizens of the USA ("land of the free; home of the brave", remember?), it is imperative to maintain in ourselves that belief and to instill it in our children.

'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'
- Edmund Burke

"Bottom line.
It is easy to assume that all instances are real and that correlation is causation. But each one looked into paints a different picture. We still have a grand total of one well that was contaminated. I do not include the parsons well even though the EPA said it was due to the reasons i stated. But even if you do you have two. Putting a bunch of cases together to make it look like a problem does not make it a problem. As mentioned most of the cited cases do not even involve fracking. It is very important to get the whole picture before coming to conclusions.
Personally i dislike fracking because it is not very efficient. There are far better sources of energy. But claims like they are destroying aqua-firs are not reasonable. I understand that every once in a great while something bad might happen, nothing is perfect and i respect you position that just because the cases are very few does not mean that it should be ignored. That i agree with but, i look at it saying that response should be tempered by scope.
#119 | POSTED BY SALAMANDAGATOR AT 2014-08-15 05:59 PM"

Yes, it is easy to assume ALL instances are real, but no one here is making that claim. The evidence does indicate some are real and, given the lack of evidence (mostly due to the current non-requirement for the industry to obtain and/or report that evidence), it is surprising that there are ANY reported problems.

Some of those problems might be due to the practices used in "normal" gas drilling; some might be unique to fracking. I suspect that distinction matters little to the user of a water well. Either way, this just diminishes the confidence the public in the results/conclusions the industry (that has a vested interest) is willing to report.

This isn't an instance of confusing correlation with causation. It's not realistic to dismiss evidence as simple correlation when water wells near a fracking operation BEGIN to show increased levels of contaminants chemicals AFTER that fracking operation has begun. The fact that some of the contaminants are "natural" is a distraction and not pertinent. What is pertinent is the contaminant (whether injected, or simply released from the geology) has changed the quality of the water in an aquifer.

I'm glad you can appreciate the seriousness of even a few cases. I find it difficult to imagine how one would "clean up" an aquifer once it is contaminated. Injecting chemicals and/or releasing resident chemicals that can ultimately find their way into an aquifer (again, it's immaterial whether that is due to natural faults, fracking, poor drilling practices, substandard materials, etc.) seems like a highly risky practice for comparatively minimal gain. I suspect the industry's non-concern about (and even aggressive opposition to) regulating these operations is that they'd rather reap the immediate economic benefits than safeguard the public's well-being (now or in the future).

From the fourth link (a side/related issue regarding the REPORTING of contamination in PA):
"If you live in Pennsylvania and would like to be informed of when and where fracking leaks are contaminating the groundwater, well, good luck. The Department of Environmental Protection doesn't bother to inform the public, or make any record at all, when those violations affect private water wells.
"The DEP is required to notify the public when PUBLIC wells are contaminated, but the brief argues that leaving out private settlements puts everyone's safety at risk: It cites statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau showing that more than 3 million Pennsylvania residents rely on private well water. And private well water isn't faring too well lately: The DEP reports that 98 private water supplies in the state have been contaminated by shale gas drilling between 2008 and 2013."

*** There's no requirement to notify users of PRIVATE wells! ***

From the fifth link (cornell.edu):
I won't go into the listing of (eleven!) recommendations by the authors of this study, but will will simply state that your simplistic dismissal of their analysis seems quite contrary to their recommendation #11:
"The injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids should be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act."

The final (sixth) link is a compendium of the most of the same sites mentioned above, but with more detail and a few additions. In fairness, this compendium does lump both problems with fracking along with cases of problems with just natural gas drilling. The references cited (over 50!) at end of the article can be used to help differentiate.

Bottom line:
Each link provided does not necessarily indicate a single, specific example and often contain multiple cases. Some of the links address the hazards of the fracking fluid chemicals that are ARE (not just CAN) be used. If one is willing to examine each link thoroughly (i.e., not limit one's reading only to what is directly written in the article, but also follow the links referenced within an article), it becomes apparent there is more than ONE instance of fracking-caused contamination. This particularly surprising given the lack of regulatory oversight (at best) and the propensity of regulating agencies to take a laissez faire attitude in enforcing the weak regulations that are already in place.

"#96 | POSTED BY SALAMANDAGATOR AT 2014-08-15 12:54 PM"

OK, so maybe the issue is reading abilities.

From the first link (WV):
"The E.P.A. concludes that hydraulic fracturing can lead to pollution of groundwater supplies. Further, the agency cites an example from West Virginia in which fracturing fluid migrated from a natural gas well to a water well owned by James Parsons, making it unfit to drink. They include comments from the American Petroleum Institute, which says that problems with the water well resulted from a malfunction in the fracturing process and that such malfunctions would also harm oil and gas production."

From the second link (PA):
"Drilling for natural gas caused "significant damage" to drinking-water aquifers in a Pennsylvania town at the center of a fight over the safety of hydraulic fracturing, according to a report prepared by a federal official.

The previously unreleased document from an employee at the Environmental Protection Agency's regional office found that drilling or fracking, in which water, sand and chemicals are shot underground to free trapped gas, caused methane to leak into domestic water wells in Dimock, Pa. The findings contradict Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., which drilled in the town and said the explosive methane gas was naturally occurring."
"The U.S. government does not set a limit on methane levels in water, as the agency says methane does not impair the smell or taste of water. The gas can, however, be explosive."

From the third link (WY, TX, and [mostly PA):
"In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production.

The presentation, based on data collected over 4 1/2 years at 11 wells around Dimock, concluded that "methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality." The presentation also concluded that "methane is at significantly higher concentrations in the aquifers after gas drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking [hydraulic fracturing] and other gas well work."

Critics say the decision in July 2012 by EPA headquarters in Washington to curtail its investigation at Dimock over the objection of its on-site staff fits a troubling pattern at a time when the Obama administration has used the sharp increase in natural gas production to rebut claims that it is opposed to fossil fuels."

" 'There was no mention of future cases.'
That is true but with the use of the googles on the interwebs nothing more but that one instance pops up with any factual findings from an actual investigation.
#80 | POSTED BY SALAMANDAGATOR AT 2014-08-14 04:52 PM"

Looks like you could use some help with 'the googles'.
I usually charge for this, but consider this a public service:







Meanwhile, the EPA has been conducting a multi-year investigation into the question of ground water contamination due to fracking:


Unfortunately, the preliminary progress report only details the methodology used in their investigation. In fact, it explicitly states that no conlusion is to be drawn YET. The final report is due in late 2014. I guess we'll see.

"#41 | POSTED BY SALAMANDAGATOR AT 2014-08-14 01:32 PM"

The issue may just be that you're 'behind the news', as this report is from 2011 (and presumably is working from data more than three years old). Disregarding the obvious (i.e., "it is nearly impossible to prove that the hydraulic fracturing is NOT causing the contamination observed"), it is telling that what contamination that is observed is due to already-regulated practices. Doesn't exactly instill confidence in the industry. It is telling that BOTH states were in the process of having new regulations implemented.

From your link:
"In addition to contamination caused by legacy practices and orphaned sites, Ohio and Texas investigators have identified groundwater contamination caused by a wide range of regulated industry practices. Appropriately, Ohio and Texas have focused regulatory attention on those activities that have caused the majority of groundwater contamination incidents. In recent years, the national debate on natural gas E&P has been focused nearly exclusively on a single, brief, yet essential activity, hydraulic fracturing. Neither state has identified hydraulic fracturing as the cause of a single documented groundwater contamination incident. However, it has become increasingly apparent that in much of the popular literature, the term "hydraulic fracturing" has become synonymous with any and every E&P activity that can impact groundwater. When developing public policy, it is critical to differentiate activities that can contribute to groundwater contamination in order to accurately target and prioritize reforms. As in the practice of medicine, the physician must accurately diagnose the specific cause of an ailment, in order to prescribe the appropriate remedy. Although many states, including Ohio and Texas, have implemented or are considering new regulations that significantly improve documentation of hydraulic fracturing operations, including public disclosure of chemical additives in fracturing fluids, it is critical that states maintain an appropriate focus on activities and practices that are actually found to cause groundwater contamination."


Now for something more recent:


A for methane being "basically harmless", I'd disagree (but that topic is for another thread). I suspect you would be 'unhappy' if methane were in your drinking water.

"But what does is that shale can release methane upwards without fracking. This is a way they find it.
#36 | Posted by salamandagator at 2014-08-14 11:52 AM"

Of course, methane can reach the surface without fracking. This study did mention that there are higher concentrations of methane in water wells from areas near the fracking.

From the same link provided:
"The next step in proving whether or not fracking has contaminated specific drinking-water wells would be to figure out whether methane in those wells came from the Marcellus Shale or other deposits. Energy companies claim that the gas can rise naturally from deep formations through rock fissures and that determining a source is therefore problematic. Yet some scientists maintain that chemical analysis of the gas can reveal whether it slowly bubbled up through thousands of feet of rock or zipped up a leaky well. Jackson is now analyzing methane samples in that way.

Another way to link a leaky fracking well to a tainted water well is to show that the earth between them provides pathways for the gas to flow. Leaky wells have to be identified first, however. Anthony Ingraffea, a fracking expert at Cornell University, is combing through the inspection reports for most of the 41,311 gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania since January 2000. Thus far, he says, it appears that "a higher percentage" of Marcellus Shale fracking wells are leaking than conventional oil and gas wells drilled into other formations. Stay tuned."


Possibly the methane is sentient and is selecting just those fissures near ("picking on") the water wells near the fracking!

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