Friday ReadsPosted: August 26, 2011
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?
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.