Friday Reads

good morning!

We’ve talked about the earthquake in Virginia some.  This is one of the most interesting op eds I’ve seen for some time and it’s written by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall who is actually a psychologist but has done some research on the subject. She argues that fracking in neaby West Virginia could’ve been responsible for the unusual and unusually large quake.  I know there’s a lot of controversy about fracking but I had no idea it could cause earthquakes.  Actually, fracking itself doesn’t, its another step in the process and it’s happened before in Arkansas.

According to geologists, it isn’t the fracking itself that is linked to earthquakes, but the re-injection of waste salt water (as much as 3 million gallons per well) deep into rock beds.

Braxton County West Virginia (160 miles from Mineral) has experienced a rash of freak earthquakes (eight in 2010) since fracking operations started there several years ago. According to geologists fracking also caused an outbreak of thousands of minor earthquakes in Arkansas (as many as two dozen in a single day). It’s also linked to freak earthquakes in Texas, western New York, Oklahoma and Blackpool, England (which had never recorded an earthquake before).

Industry scientists deny the link to earthquakes, arguing that energy companies have been fracking for nearly sixty years. However it’s only a dozen years ago that “slick-water fracks” were introduced. This form of fracking uses huge amounts of water mixed with sand and dozens of toxic chemicals like benzene, all of which is injected under extreme pressure to shatter the underground rock reservoir and release gas trapped in the rock pores. Not only does the practice utilize millions of gallons of freshwater per frack (taken from lakes, rivers, or municipal water supplies), the toxic chemicals mixed in the water to make it “slick” endanger groundwater aquifers and threaten to pollute nearby water-wells.

Horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracking (which extend fractures across several kilometres) were introduced in 2004.

The op ed provides links and information on the the related research and information on the prior quake experience in Arkansas.

Mitt Romney lost his cool last night in a New Hampshire Town Meeting. The dust-up was over Romney’s support of a balanced budget amendment which is basically anathema to economists.  You can watch the video and the resultant hair malfunction that results.  Also, interesting to note is Mediate’s use of the word “former” in front of front runner.

Former GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney got into a heated exchange with a voter at a New Hampshire town hall event Wednesday over his support for a balanced budget amendment, and by the mainstream media’s selective standards, lost his cool when she tried to engage him. In clips played on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundownthis morning, Romney certainly appeared angry by those standards, and the full exchange, while slightly less damning, demonstrated a marked contrast with how President Obamadealt with an aggressive questioner recently.

The snippets that MSNBC played, of Romney snippily asking the town hall attendee to let him answer her question, were obviously designed to show the candidate as impatient and besieged, but placing them in context doesn’t change things all that much. Romney aggressively interrupts the woman’s calm, if rambling, question by asking her, “Did somebody in the room say that we don’t need any government?”

When she tries to engage his question, calling the balanced budget amendment “irresponsible,” he interrupts her again, abruptly asking, “Do you have a question, and let me answer your question.”

“Yes, how do you think the government can not provide funds for the people, its citizens?”

Romney begins to answer the question, and from there, you can’t hear what the woman is saying, but Romney reacts angrily to her attempts to follow up, saying, “You had your turn madam, now let me have mine!”

Frum Forum mentions the number of economists that think a double dip recession is inevitable.  I want to bring this up now so that when you hear the villagers say most economists didn’t think that it was going to happen that you’ll see that a lot–if not most–of us do think that.  Also, note that the majority of us have been saying that the Federal government has been doing the wrong Fiscal Policy things since about 2007 too.  Paul Krugman mentions that  the fiscal policy response has just been gunning for another recession tool.

At this point the entire advanced world is doing exactly what basic macroeconomics says it shouldn’t be doing: slashing spending in the face of high unemployment, slow growth, and a liquidity trap. It’s a global 1937. And if the result is another recession, the witch-doctors will just demand more bleeding.

Yup, the austerity demons will undoubtedly howl for more budget cuts and more tax cuts for the unjob creators.

The U.N., U.S. and NATO have unfroze Libyan assets so the transitional government can provide critical humanitarian aid to the Libyan People.  This news comes from the US State Department.

The UN Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee approved a U.S. proposal to unfreeze $1.5 billion of Libyan assets to be used to provide critical humanitarian and other assistance to the Libyan people. The U.S. request to unfreeze Libyan assets is divided into three key portions:

Transfers to International Humanitarian Organizations (up to $500 million):

  • Up to $120 million will be transferred quickly to meet unfulfilled United Nations Appeal requests responding to the needs of the Libyan people (including critical assistance to displaced Libyans). Up to $380 million will be used for the revised UN Appeals for Libya and other humanitarian needs as they are identified by the UN or other international or humanitarian organizations.

Transfers to suppliers for fuel and other goods for strictly civilian purposes (up to $500 million):

  • Up to $500 million will be used to pay for fuel costs for strictly civilian needs (e.g., hospitals, electricity and desalinization) and for other humanitarian purchases.

Transfers to the Temporary Financial Mechanism established by the Contact Group to assist the Libyan people (up to $500 million):

  • Up to $400 million will be used for providing key social services, including education and health. Up to $100 million will be used to address food and other humanitarian needs.

The United States crafted this proposal in close coordination with the Transitional National Council, as they assessed the needs of the Libyan people throughout the country. It responds to humanitarian concerns in a diversified way that prioritizes key needs. The United States will work urgently with the Transitional National Council to facilitate the release of these funds within days.

The President of the AFL-CIO continues his harsh criticism of President Obama.  This should be interesting since labor unions provide a lot of GOTV work for elections at all levels.

The most powerful union official in the country offered reporters his harshest critique of President Obama to date Thursday, questioning Obama’s policy and strategic decisions, and claiming he aligned himself with the Tea Party in the debt limit fight.

“This is a moment that working people and quite frankly history will judge President Obama on his presidency; will he commit all his energy and focus on bold solutions on the job crisis or will he continue to work with the Tea Party to offer cuts to middle class programs like Social Security all the while pretending the deficit is where our economic problems really lie,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Trumka dismissed Obama’s recent job creation proposals — an extended payroll tax cut, patent reform, free trade deals — as “nibbly things that aren’t going to make a difference,” and said the AFL-CIO might sit out the Democratic convention if he and the party don’t get serious.

“If they don’t have a jobs program I think we’d better use our money doing other things,” Trumka said.

The editors of Bloomberg are down on monetary policy and are asking for more relevant fiscal policy in this op ed: The U.S. Needs a Jobs Policy, Not More Cheap Money.  Well, at least some body gets it.  The Federal Government can create jobs.  Some one just needs to get the President to believe that and fight for it.

While the Fed can only print money, the government has the power to create jobs directly. And jobs are what the economy needs now, to break the chain in which high unemployment, weak consumer demand and low business confidence reinforce one another. Bloomberg View has laid out some of the best options available for a national jobs policy:

— Public-works spending can lift demand and put people to work in capital-intensive industries such as construction.

— A tax credit for companies that increase their headcount can encourage hesitant employers to hire at minimal cost to taxpayers.

— Programs that pay the wages of new hires as they gain on-the-job training can efficiently target the long-term unemployed.

— Allowing the unemployed to collect benefits while starting up new businesses can prompt older, better-educated people to create their own opportunities.

— For some entry-level jobs, scrapping the reporting of criminal records on applications can help qualified workers get a foot in the door and stay out of prison.

— And to make the spending more palatable to congressional opponents, President Barack Obama could offer to cut some of the red tape holding back hiring and economic growth, such as the outdated Davis-Bacon Act, which artificially raises the cost of public-works projects.

Altogether, a meaningful jobs package might cost taxpayers more than $200 billion over a couple years. To provide the government the leeway it needs to support the economy in the short term, it’s crucial that the congressional supercommittee, which must find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years, recommend a combination of new revenue, spending cuts, tax reforms and entitlement changes that would put the government’s long-term finances on a sustainable path.

Whatever Bernanke says today, he can’t rescue the economy alone

Yup.  But, we’ve been talking about that here for a long time.  I feel a bit blue in the face, do you?

So, here’s some news from North Dakota where seven oil companies are charged with killing birds.

Seven oil companies have been charged in federal court with illegally killing 28 migratory birds in Williams County.

Slawson Exploration Company of Kansas, ConocoPhillips Company, Petro Hunt, LLC and Newfield Production Company, all of Texas, Brigham Oil and Gas, LP of Williston, Continental Resources, Inc. of Oklahoma, Fidelity Exploration and Production Company of Colorado face charges of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Most of the dead birds were found in un-netted oil reserve pits in May. An employee of one company alerted the Fish and Wildlife service to some of the dead birds. Others were found by inspectors.

In one case, an oil spill leaked into a nearby wetland, where several ducks died as a result of exposure to the oil.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says netting is the most effective way of keeping birds from entering waste pits.

The maximum sentence they face is six months in federal prison and a $15,000 fine.

So corporations have all these people rights now, how do we get them into prison for those six months? Perhaps Uncle Clarence Thomas has a suggestion?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Via Corrente and Lambert/DC Blogger: 

Update on Susie at Suburban Guerilla

Susie was taken to the hospital early this morning for a possible heart attack and is being kept there for observation and testing until tomorrow morning.

29 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. This administration has an interesting way to stimulate manufacturing in the USA.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    I feel a bit blue in the face, do you?

    Dak, I honestly can’t understand how you and other economist can keep up the charge against these idiots who are completely ignoring your opinions and disregarding your suggestions to fix the economy. Blue in the face? You must have one hell of a headache too, from all that head banging against the Obama wall of resistance…

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Since I took a break from blogging yesterday, I am not sure if this link was passed on: ANALYSIS-Little relief seen as U.S. finalizes patent reform | Reuters
    It is things like this that really drive me crazy…

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    And one more, from The New Yorker, it is about Clarence Thomas. I have not read the entire 10 pages yet, but I wanted to link to it. The Thomases vs. Obama’s Health-Care Plan : The New Yorker

  5. Boo Radly says:

    What Bernanke says today:

    Breaking News Alert
    The New York Times
    Friday, August 26, 2011 — 10:08 AM EDT

    Federal Reserve Chief Offers No Signs of New Stimulus

    The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said Friday that the economy is recovering and the nation’s long-term prospects remain strong, an upbeat assessment that offered little indication of any plans for additional measures to boost short-term growth.

    “With respect to longer-run prospects,” Mr. Bernanke said in his prepared remarks, “my own view is more optimistic.” He continued, “The growth fundamentals of the United States do not appear to have been permanently altered by the shocks of the past four years.”

    “The country would be well-served by a better process for making fiscal decisions,” he said, noting that the political battle over raising the debt-ceiling had disrupted the financial markets “and probably the economy as well.”

    Read More:

    Is it me – so many of our ‘experts’ seem “fracking” idiots? Am I a conspiracy freak – been in high dungeons since Bu$h was selected – hm. no moral compass, bar set in the dirt, hm, no regulations – absolute chaos caused by teh powers to be – it was a given. BO was a given – merely a puppet, basically undisguised.

    If they ever do admit all the damages being done to man kind, the environment so MOU get their spoils – guess who pays? The banks, corporations – all to BIG to fail. The people will be alled to bail them out. The little People die from this mindset – thousands and thousands every day. Bu$hit’s bizarro world continues, the R’s loyalist refuse to see that the majority of them are in the same sh!t pile as the rest of us by continuing on this path. They can’t see corruption? This is global and it will touch all.

    The big boys who live for the Big toys – wouldn’t have a world to play with them in. Seems things have unraveled at warp speed – no breaks in sight.

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    to our Skydancers.
    Be safe all you East Coasters. Will be thinking of you. 🙂

    • dakinikat says:

      Some hints from a hurricane veteran:

      Put an ax or something like that in your attic in case you have to evacuate up to your roof. Be prepared for no electricity for at least five days. Clean out your refrigerator completely. You’ll really be sorry if you leave any meat or food in there. Freezer too!! Hurricane lamps with oil last longer than anything with batteries and candles and they give off better light. You can play cards by them and read by them easily Fill your bathtub with fresh water. Freeze partially filled milk jugs with water so you’ll have some ice to freeze things for awhile if the electricity goes out and you’ll have a cheap source of drinking water. Flooding usually means they’ll shut down your water supply and your gas line. You can live off the pocket of gas for awhile. 4 drops of liquid bleach will purify 1 gallon of water of any nasty things that live there. You’ll go crazy from lack of information if you don’t have a battery powered radio. Get two sets of batteries for it. Plan for 3-5 days of no help from any one. Stock up on stuff in cans but don’t forget you need an old fashioned can opener. Keep your important stuff in a water proof container in case you have to evacuate through water. This is stuff like your passport, birth certificate, and insurance documents. Put a list of important numbers in there too. NO matter where you are, your cell phone will not work if the towers in your home town go down. I learned that the hard way. You may have to go to a phone store and have them reprogram your phone to a different set of towers to get reception. You’ll need that list of numbers. Call FEMA and file a report while the storm is hitting your area and avoid the rush. You can’t believe how much that helped me during Katrina. Also, make sure you have flood insurance now! As long as there is no flooding up to your doorstep, you can still get it. Do it now!!!!

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Wow, that is a great comment Dak…

      • dakinikat says:

        I lived and learned when it comes to Hurricanes. I’ve now lived through more than my fair share!

      • Beata says:

        I would suggest stocking up on a nutrition drink like Ensure. It comes in easy-to-twist-open 8 oz. bottles that don’t have to be refrigerated. It’s gluten- and lactose-free, too. Most major drugstores and supermarkets have generic versions that are cheaper than the brand name drink. Some people don’t like the taste, but I have been drinking it for years because of health problems. It’s not all that bad. I would skip the strawberry, though – it’s a little like Pepto-Bismal!

        And check all your batteries and battery-operated flashlights, radios, etc., BEFORE the storm hits to make sure they work.

        Take care, everyone. Here’s hoping the storm will not be as strong as predicted.

      • foxyladi14 says:

        all good ideas..Dak.what about some dry ice in the freezer for cold stuff.??

      • B KIlpatrick says:

        It’s a moot point now, but it should be kept in mind that oil lamps give more light, but they are also an extremely dangerous fire hazard.

  7. northwestrain says:

    I read another article about Fracking — and there could be a cause/effect — sort of a domino effect of Fracking . . . . . a few more variables = earthquake.

    When there was an earthquake in Seattle during GW bushies first year in office — Seattle got no Federal money — because the State Government would have had to basically eliminate any company with union employees. Washington is a strong Union State.

    First thing the Repubs want to do is tie any funding assistance to outlawing unions in times of disasters.

  8. The Rock says:

    Great post Dak. I always wonder how so many people in this country are so devoid of basic understanding.

    My mind is on home right now. Everybody has checked in so far. The actual number is probably closer to 50 dead.

    When will the DNC realize that they are backing a cooked goose? Asshats…

    I actually met this guy at work. He has some pretty lucid ideas and quite a bit of government experience.

    I’ll make sure to come back with more news from home if anything changes, though more news would probably be bad news. Sky Dancers on the East Coast – be safe. We in the gulf know what you are facing. I’m not making much money right now, but you can be sure it will be going to necessary aid groups should the worst happen.

    Again – great post Dak. Have a great day all…

    Hillary 2012

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I am so glad you posted Rock, you were in my thoughts when I heard about the attack in Nigeria. Yes, keep us updated…

    • dakinikat says:

      Thx for the links!!! You have a great day too!!!

    • The Rock says:

      As always, thank you for your concern. Being an a member of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) creates its own tensions that groups like Boko Haram seize upon and use to create confusion and terror.

      A bit of info about the suspects…

      Some pictures of the blast (VERY GRAPHIC)

      My curiousity is going to be the response of the AU and ECOWAS. The UN released a toothless statement, which is all that is expected….

      Hillary 2012

    • Woman Voter says:

      Hi Rock,

      I saw John’s posting and it almost looks like a Romney posting. The Bush Tax Cuts for the rich are killing the Middle Class and Social Security is self sustaining and if those loans or rather the money stolen out of it was replaced it would be in even better position.

      Any hoo, stay safe.

    • djmm says:

      Kinky Friedman is a great musician (“They Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore”), a great mystery author and a great American. He also makes great salsa, sales of which benefit his animal rescue operation. It was easier to find when he was running for governor.

      He is right about President Obama, but I am sorry to hear he plans to vote for Rick Perry. Just because he was nice enough to call you, Kinky, doesn’t mean he should be President.


  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    There are some interesting post coming out about Irene and Bernanke. Here is a couple of them for you:

    Mike Barnicle Hurricane Irene | Hurricane Irene Unemployment | Video | Mediaite

    Barnicle then asked the following question:

    “Is there potentially a rather dark downside to the storm in that after the storm has passed, after it’s over, there might be employment and reconstruction and things like that?”

    Perdue was slightly taken aback by the question, but went on to explain that “some employment” will come from reconstruction, and a few dozen large structures could be targeted. However, Perdue also stated the obvious:

    “All of us want jobs, but this isn’t the way to get them, quite frankly.”

    Yes, we want jobs so bad, that even disasters are being seen as “job creators.”

    Eric Cantor is spreading his twisted view of compassion once again.
    Hurricane Relief | Eric Cantor | Hurricane Irene | Mediaite

    We aren’t going to speculate on damage before it happens, period. But, as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts.

    And about those desperate jobs that Morning Joe was looking forward to…Bernanke does not even mention the word jobs in his latest speech today:

    Bernanke Word Cloud | ThinkProgress

  10. dakinikat says:

    Why are Christian Dominionists suddenly downplaying Dominionism? | Secular News Daily

  11. dakinikat says:

    Obama’s Team Is Blowing It

    Independents hated the president’s debt deal, a new poll shows. Michael Tomasky on Obama’s lousy summer—and how David Plouffe and Bill Daley are letting him down.

    More on Obama and his team playing 11th dimensional chess with themselves and losing. And it’s still his fault, and not his advisers. sheesh!!

    The fundamental problem appears to be the excessive fixation on Obama’s (forgive me for even using this word) “brand”—this “adult in the room” nonsense. Whenever I see those words in print anymore, usually in a background quote from a White House aide or a Democratic source trying gamely to be on-message, I hear strong and unsettling echoes of the 2008-vintage messianism. Does anyone buy this anymore, outside of what appears to be an increasingly bubble-ized White House? Those beloved independents certainly aren’t thinking of the president that way these days, and one doubts that even most of his supporters are.