Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 53,931
Number of posts: 53,931
From 1/16: Fracking Chemicals In North Carolina Will Remain Secret, Industry-Funded Commission Rules
Fracking Chemicals In North Carolina Will Remain Secret, Industry-Funded Commission Rules
By Emily Atkin - ThinkProgress
January 16, 2014 at 11:39 am
On Tuesday, the 15-member state Mining and Energy Commission voted unanimously to pass a rule that would let fracking companies keep secret the makeup of the chemical mixture they pump underground to aid shale gas drilling. From the North Carolina News Observer:
The public safety standard will help the energy companies protect their secret sauce used in natural gas drilling, but critics said it would also keep residents in the dark about potent chemicals used near local farms and waterways. The rule passed unanimously after nearly three hours of intense debate Tuesday, and it follows more than a year of deliberations that had the commissioners tied up in knots. Commissioners sought to appease frightened residents, the energy industry and lawmakers eager to promote drilling for economic development.
Though the rule passed Tuesday is only a recommendation to the state legislature, which will reportedly have the final gavel over fracking disclosure standards in the future, it effectively protects energy exploration companies from disclosing their chemical concoctions until then, according to the News Observer.
It might seem strange that after 3 hours of what the News Observer called “intense debate” over the rule, it would pass without a single no vote. But taking a closer look at the committee’s leadership suggests why it was unanimous...
Chemical disclosure, the NRDC argues, is crucial in case any subsequent groundwater contamination from fracking occurs. First responders need the information to respond to accidents and emergencies, doctors need the information in case anyone is exposed to the chemicals, and scientists need the information in order to better understand of the cumulative environmental and health effects of fracking.
Posted by WillyT | Tue Jan 21, 2014, 01:15 PM (4 replies)
Barbara Buono, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie's electoral opponent, says he runs a bully state
BY LESLIE LARSON AND CORKY SIEMASZKO / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
PUBLISHED: MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2014, 10:23 AM
UPDATED: MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2014, 9:40 PM
The Democrat Chris Christie squashed during his reelection romp said she believes the Hoboken mayor’s claim that the governor’s No. 2 put the squeeze on her. Barbara Buono said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is “very heavy-handed” and an enforcer in an administration that fosters “a culture of fear in Trenton.”
“They don’t hesitate to smear and bully people,” Buono told the Daily News. “Kim Guadagno has a history of calling into question the integrity of people who are just trying to do their jobs.”
As an example, Buono cited Guadagno’s public claim in 2011 that a state-funded arts group might have fraudulently doled out $300,000 in grants — a charge that was later refuted after a seven-month investigation.
Asked if this was just griping from a failed gubernatorial candidate who lost to Christie in November by a landslide, Buono chuckled. “If I were the only person calling them bullies it would be one thing,” she said. “But now we’ve had three mayors speaking out about how the Christie people operate.”
The three — all Democrats — are the mayors of Fort Lee, Jersey City and Hoboken.
Christie, who was back in the Garden State Monday after a weekend of fund-raising in Florida, did not comment on the latest developments in a scandal that has dimmed his presidential prospects. But a spokesman for the Republican governor dismissed Buono’s “sour grapes.”
“There’s no more bitter beverage than wine made from sour grapes, and after her 22-point loss last year, it appears Barbara Buono has sipped liberally from that cup,” Christie spokesman Colin Reed said.
Zimmer’s account was backed Monday by Hoboken City Councilman Ravinder Bhalla. “I recall having a conversation with her where she complained about Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno strong-arming her about advancing the Rockefeller Group’s project ... and how she thought it was inappropriate,” he said. “That was in June of last year.”
The rest: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/n-lt-governor-slams-false-illogical-claims-article-1.1585322
Posted by WillyT | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 10:15 PM (4 replies)
Bridge scandal made Dawn Zimmer's Hoboken story believable: Editorial
Had Dawn Zimmer told her story last May – that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno threatened to hold Hoboken’s hurricane aid hostage unless the mayor signed off on a pet construction project – would anyone have listened?
Not likely. If a Democratic mayor accused the Republican incumbent of playing politics with Hurricane Sandy money – while the governor was knee-deep in a re-election campaign – Zimmer’s allegations would have been dismissed as election-year shenanigans. Her word against Gov. Chris Christie’s.
We’ve all seen how Christie treats those who cross him.
But eight months later, Zimmer’s going public, and her story has grown legs. In the span of a weekend, she’s talked publicly, to the TV cameras, and privately, to federal prosecutors. For the moment, she has the nation’s ear.
Zimmer’s critics, namely the Christie administration, say the long delay torpedoes her credibility. She’s agreed, in part: “I probably should have come forward in May when this happened,” she said. Zimmer says she stayed silent because she feared Guadagno’s backroom threats: that the administration would sink Hoboken’s Sandy aid if Zimmer didn’t play ball.
For eight months, Zimmer wouldn’t sign a Hoboken redevelopment plan pushed by the Rockefeller Group, which is represented by David Samson, Port Authority chair and a powerful Christie ally. That’s why, she believes, her city has gotten just $342,000 in Sandy aid – despite applications for $100 million. Pennies, for a city Sandy nearly drowned.
Bridgegate convinced Zimmer to break her silence...
Posted by WillyT | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 06:55 PM (11 replies)
Poll: Most Americans now oppose the NSA program
Those surveyed now split 45%-43% on whether Snowden's disclosures have helped or harmed the public interest.
Susan Page, USA TODAY
3:10 p.m. EST January 20, 2014
WASHINGTON -- Most Americans now disapprove of the NSA's sweeping collection of phone metadata, a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, and they're inclined to think there aren't adequate limits in place to what the government can collect.
President Obama's announcement Friday of changes in the surveillance programs has done little to allay those concerns: By 73%-21%, those who paid attention to the speech say his proposals won't make much difference in protecting people's privacy.
The poll of 1,504 adults, taken Wednesday through Sunday, shows a public that is more receptive than before to the arguments made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. His leak of intelligence documents since last spring has fueled a global debate over the National Security Agency's surveillance of Americans and spying on foreign leaders.
Those surveyed now split, 45%-43%, on whether Snowden's disclosures have helped or harmed the public interest.
The snapshot of public opinion comes as the White House, the intelligence agencies and Congress weigh significant changes in the way the programs are run. In his address, Obama insisted no illegalities had been exposed but proposed steps to reassure Americans that proper safeguards were in place.
By nearly 3-1, 70%-26%, Americans say they shouldn't have to give up privacy and freedom in order to be safe from terrorism.
Posted by WillyT | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 04:25 PM (14 replies)
President Obama Failed To Mention Why Government Was Spying On MLK
By: DSWright - FDL
Monday January 20, 2014 11:02 am
During his speech defending the NSA and domestic surveillance President Barack Obama ironically mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King as proof that intelligence agencies spying on Americans had precedent in our recent history. What Obama failed to mention was why MLK had been targeted by the government. What did King do to become a threat to national security besides being a leading in the civil rights movement?
FBI founder and longtime director J Edgar Hoover initiated attempts to destroy MLK well before King’s assassination in 1968. Hoover started a project known as COINTELPRO to destroy MLK and other radical elements. FBI Director Hoover’s plot against King was particularly nasty and involved taping King engaging in extra-marital affairs then writing a letter to King to commit suicide or risk exposure.
Hoover and others within the American national security establishment view MLK’s overall agenda for America as a threat to national security. After successfully pushing for civil rights reform King fought for a guaranteed annual income and against the Vietnam War.
The FBI played an active role in trying to disrupt the Poor People’s Campaign with Operation POCAM:
The FBI, which had been targeting King since 1962 with COINTELPRO, increased its efforts after King’s April 4, 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”. It also lobbied government officials to oppose King on the grounds that he was a communist, “an instrument in the hands of subversive forces seeking to undermine the nation”, and affiliated with “two of the most dedicated and dangerous communists in the country.”
Despite the intense interest by America’s national security state, no evidence was ever produced to back up the charge – repeatedly leveled – that King was some agent of a foreign power. You may note current parallels.
Operation POCAM became the first major project of the FBI’s Ghetto Informant Program (GIP), which recruited thousands of people to report on poor black communities.Through GIP, the FBI quickly established files on SCLC recruiters in cities across the US. FBI agents posed as journalists, used wiretaps, and even recruited some of the recruiters as informants.
Posted by WillyT | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 03:54 PM (6 replies)
The Liberal Surveillance State
by HENRY - crookedtimber.com
JANUARY 19, 2014
Long time readers of Sean Wilentz will remember him for greatest hits like his notorious piece on the “cutthroat, fraudulent politics that lie at the foundation of Obama’s supposedly uplifting campaign,” involving “the most outrageous deployment of racial politics since the Willie Horton ad campaign in 1988 and the most insidious since Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, praising states’ rights,” or his claim that not only was Obama’s “most obvious change to liberal politics” the color of his skin, but Obama was the second coming of Jimmy Carter and a starry-eyed Russia-hugger to boot. So it’s very, very weird to see Wilentz criticizing Edward Snowden on the grounds that his “disgruntlement with Obama … was fueled by a deep disdain for progressive politics” – given his own track record on Obama’s brand of progressivism, why on earth would he believe this to be a problem?
But then the whole article – an attempted hack job on Snowden, Greenwald, Assange and the liberals who like them – is weird like that. In one sense, I can understand why the New Republic went for it – it’s perhaps the purest exercise in even~the~liberal~New Republic~ism that the magazine has published since its change in ownership. Yet it’s also so obviously intellectually shoddy and incoherently argued that you’d have thought that any half-way competent editor would have decided that no amount of contrarianism was worth the damage to the magazine’s brand.
Wilentz’s self-appointed task is clear enough – he wants to tell liberals why they shouldn’t trust the hidden agenda of people like Snowden, Greenwald and Assange. The problems come in the execution.
The article comes in three main parts. First – the promise:
Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange hardly subscribe to identical beliefs, and differ in their levels of sophistication. They have held, at one time or another, a crazy-quilt assortment of views, some of them blatantly contradictory. But from an incoherent swirl of ideas, a common outlook emerges … paranoid libertarianism … Where liberals, let alone right-wingers, have portrayed the leakers as truth-telling comrades intent on protecting the state and the Constitution from authoritarian malefactors, that’s hardly their goal. In fact, the leakers despise the modern liberal state, and they want to wound it.
Then the evidence – a detailed examination of Snowden, Greenwald and Assange’s views, or at least those views as Wilentz would like to portray them. Finally, the argument, that these views add up to a pernicious political philosophy that no self-respecting liberal ought to sign up for.
The problem is that these don’t add up...
The Wilentz piece: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116253/edward-snowden-glenn-greenwald-julian-assange-what-they-believe
Posted by WillyT | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 03:09 PM (0 replies)
Almost Forgotten, West Virginia: Your Sunday Morning Conversation
Jason Linkins - HuffPo
Posted: 01/19/2014 10:15 am EST
A week after a massive chemical spill at a Freedom Industries storage facility contaminated the Elk River in West Virginia with 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol and forced 300,000 residents of the state to go without potable, usable water, life is slowly starting to return to normal.
Well, that's the casual way of describing what's happening, anyway. In truth, the story continues to develop in sad and interesting ways. Two days after local authorities gave the all-clear and started to lift the ban on water usage, we found out that was a blown call -- area hospitals very quickly "saw an uptick in patients after the ‘do not use’ advisory was lifted," and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to pregnant women, "Maybe don't drink this stuff, after all." (I am paraphrasing.)
Meanwhile, about 15 miles up I-64 from Charleston, in the town of Nitro, you'll never guess what's been discovered. Unless, of course, you immediately guessed, "Oh, there was probably another Freedom Industries chemical storage facility with a similar level of substandard containment and due cause to issue citations for multiple safety violations." In which case, points for you!
The good news, I suppose, is that timely scrutiny has been applied to another environmental time bomb. Lord knows that's not the norm. As National Geographic reported this week, the "coal-cleansing chemical that spilled from Freedom Industries' storage tank into the Elk River last Thursday is only the latest insult in what for some has been a lifetime of industrial accidents that have poisoned groundwater, spewed toxic gas emissions, and caused fires, explosions, and other disasters that neither state nor federal regulators have been able to protect against."
As one woman in that National Geographic article put it, "Welcome to our world..."
Posted by WillyT | Sun Jan 19, 2014, 01:45 PM (0 replies)
Chris Christie's Office Goes Off On MSNBC: 'A Partisan Network That Has Been Openly Hostile'
The Huffington Post | By Chris Gentilviso
Posted: 01/18/2014 5:14 pm EST | Updated: 01/18/2014 6:31 pm EST
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office responded forcefully on Saturday to an MSNBC report alleging he held Hurricane Sandy funds hostage.
In a press release obtained by Business Insider, Christie spokesperson Colin Reed accused the network of displaying "openly hostile" behavior toward the governor in an "almost gleeful" manner since the George Washington Bridge scandal broke open.
A segment of Reed's statement, via Business Insider:
"MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him, even taking the unprecedented step of producing and airing a nearly three-minute attack ad against him this week. Governor Christie and his entire administration have been helping Hoboken get the help they need after Sandy, with the city already having been approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid and is targeted to get even more when the Obama Administration approves the next rounds of funding. The Governor and Mayor Zimmer have had a productive relationship, with Mayor Zimmer even recently saying she’s ‘very glad’ he’s been our Governor. It’s very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television."
Posted by WillyT | Sat Jan 18, 2014, 11:16 PM (35 replies)
The last-ever scene Robinson filmed was a euthanasia sequence in the science fiction cult film Soylent Green (1973); it is sometimes claimed that he told friend and co-star Charlton Heston that he, Robinson, had in fact only weeks to live at best. In the event, Robinson died twelve days later.
Related Thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024353349
Posted by WillyT | Sat Jan 18, 2014, 10:10 PM (2 replies)
Why isn't it applied to the 1% ?
And... Why is that NEVER pointed out ???
Posted by WillyT | Sat Jan 18, 2014, 08:44 PM (14 replies)