Daily Archive: 09/16/2014

Sep 16 2014

Sunday Train: Reflections on a visit to the East Coast

Cross-posted from The Sunday Train ~ apologies for the jet-lag induced cross-posting delays

Your intrepid sustainable energy and transport reporter was recently required to engage in some official business with an overseas consulate located in New York city, and in order to be able to afford to sit and wait as the wheels of bureaucracy as long as might have been required, obtained lodgings in a relatively cheap motel in New Brunswick and took the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor train back and forth. This week’s Sunday Train is a collection of scattered observations made along the way.

Sep 16 2014

You Want A Fracking Smoking Gun?

Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes And Process Used For Oil And Gas Drilling

by Emily Atkin, Think Progress

September 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence “directly linking” the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling.

In a study (.PDF) to be published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Tuesday, the scientists presented “several lines of evidence (that) suggest the earthquakes in the area are directly related to the disposal of wastewater” deep underground, according to a BSSA press release. Fracking and conventional natural gas companies routinely dispose of large amounts of wastewater underground after drilling. During fracking, the water is mixed with chemicals and sand, to “fracture” underground shale rock formations and make gas easier to extract.

The USGS research is just the latest in a string of studies that have suggested the disposed water is migrating along dormant fault lines, changing their state of stress, and causing them to fail.

For their research, the four California-based USGS scientists monitored the 2,200 square mile Raton Basin, which goes from southern Colorado into New Mexico. They pointed out that the Basin had been “seismically quiet” until 1999, when companies began “major fluid injection” deep into the ground. Earthquakes began in 2001 when Colorado wastewater injection rates were under 600,000 barrels per month, and and since then there have been 16 earthquakes that could be considered large (above a magnitude of 3.8, including two over a 5.0 magnitude), compared with only one – a 4.0 magnitude quake – in the 30 years prior.

“These earthquakes are limited to the area of fluid injection, they occur shortly after major fluid injection activities began, and the earthquake rates track the fluid injection rates in the Raton Basin,” the paper said, noting the scientists’ comparisons of the timing and location of earthquakes with the timing and location of injected wastewater. By the mid-2000s, Colorado’s wastewater injection rates were up to 1.9 million barrels per month.

Taking that and the unexpected frequency of the earthquakes into consideration, the paper noted that it was “highly unlikely” that the quakes could have been due to any random fluctuations underground.

“Detailed investigations of two seismic sequences places them in proximity to high-volume, high-injection-rate wells, and both sequences occurred after a nearby increase in the rate of injection,” the study’s accompanying press release said. “A comparison between seismicity and wastewater injection in Colorado and New Mexico reveals similar patterns, suggesting seismicity is initiated shortly after an increase in injection rates.”

Sep 16 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Dave Johnson: Corporate Courts — A Big Red Flag on ‘Trade’ Agreements

Think about everything you understood about our system of government here in the United States. We’re  governed under a document that starts with the words, “We the People.” Right? When We the People agree that something should done to make our lives better, it’s supposed to get done. Right?

You didn’t know it, but that whole system changed several years ago. Our government, in our name, signed a document that placed corporate profits above our own democracy. The “investor-state dispute settlements” chapter in NAFTA (and similar agreements) places corporate rights on above the rights of people and their governments. [..]

But wait, there’s more. The suits aren’t even heard in courts. They are settled by corporate-controlled tribunals set up by these trade agreements.

Trevor Timm: The billionaire, the NSA and the no-fly list: America’s ‘state secret’ obsession has gone too far

When lawsuits start hunting for the truth, the Obama administration shuts them down with one overreaching power and three words: just trust us

In lawsuits challenging NSA mass surveillance, torture and drone strikes on Americans in recent years, the US government has turned what was once a narrow legal privilege into an immunity trump card – a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card for “matters of national security”. And now, despite publicly promising to restrict its use, attorney general Eric Holder is trying to expand the power even further.

In Monday’s New York Times, Matt Apuzzo wrote about a fascinating – if bizarre and publicly mysterious – court case between two private parties in which the US justice department has invoked the so-called state secrets privilege. A Greek shipping magnate has accused an advocacy group pushing for sanctions on Iran of lying about him, but the government argues that the case must be dismissed with hardly an explanation, citing only a “concerned federal agency” [..]

What’s truly revolting about this abuse of the state secrets privilege is that it used to be an issue Democrats ran against. President Obama said he would reform it in his 2008 campaign, and vice president Joe Biden co-sponsored a bill to do just that. All the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for state secrets reform as well, explicitly citing NSA wiretapping and torture as things that should never be kept classified from the American people – that should always be able to face a challenge in court.

What have we heard since? Not a peep..

Dean Baker: The myth that sold the financial bailout

Letting the investment banks collapse would not have caused a second Great Depression

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The investment bank’s bankruptcy accelerated the financial meltdown that began with the near collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns in March 2008 (saved by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan) and picked up steam with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac going under the week before Lehman’s demise. The day after Lehman failed, the giant insurer AIG was set to collapse, only to be rescued by the Fed.

With the other Wall Street behemoths also on shaky ground, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson ran to Capitol Hill, accompanied by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner. Their message was clear: The apocalypse was nigh. They demanded Congress make an open-ended commitment to bail out the banks. In a message repeated endlessly by the punditocracy ever since, the failure to cough up the money would have led to a second Great Depression.

The claim was nonsense then, and it’s even greater nonsense now.

Stephen Marche: Why Canada wants Scotland to vote ‘yes’

Tea and biscuits, James Bond, the queen – Britishness is a cover for ruthless conquest. And the end of Britishness can’t arrive soon enough

The Union Jack currently occupies space on three of Canada’s provincial flags – by Friday all may be historical artifacts. The Scottish referendum is currently too close to call, but even if Scotland votes to stay, Britishness – as an idea and a way of being – has died in the process of debating it. Should the United Kingdom survive, it will survive out of economic fear. The lie that Britain deserves to survive as anything other than a bad arrangement handed down from history has been called out. And it brings me hope: if Scotland has the guts to reject the fundamental hypocrisy, vulgar classism and demand for self-contempt that Britishness demands, maybe Canada can work up the courage to do the same.

Scots built Canada under the banner of Britain. Sir John A MacDonald, the father of Confederation, rejected Chinese citizenship exactly because, as he said, the Chinese immigrant “has no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations, and therefore ought not to have a vote.” Canada is its own country, of course, but British instincts and feelings and aspirations have been steeped into Canada, to the point where in some regards we are more British than the British. My nation’s motto is “peace, order and good government” – and each of those three principles is applied with the utmost sincerity. We really believe in those values.

Angel Gurria and Nicholas Stern: We can avoid climate change, and boost the world’s economy – if we act now

Reversing the damage is within our grasp, but it will hinge on a strong international climate agreement and policies that make polluters pay

The global economy is undergoing a remarkable transformation which is altering our ability to deal with climate change. The growth of emerging economies, rapid urbanisation and new technological advances are making possible a new path of low-carbon growth in ways that were not apparent even five years ago.

We know that if left unchecked, greenhouse gas emissions will cause devastating climate change. What is now becoming clear is that reducing emissions is not only compatible with economic growth and development; if done well, it can actually generate better growth than the old high-carbon model. [..]

The prize before us is huge. We can build a strong, inclusive and resilient global economy which can also avoid dangerous climate change. But the time for decision is now.

Eugene Robinson: Why Does Hillary Clinton Want to Run For President?

Judging by her weekend appearance in Iowa, it looks as if Hillary Clinton is indeed running for president. Now she has to answer one simple question: Why?

“It is true, I am thinking about it,” she said Sunday at the final Harkin Steak Fry, an annual cholesterol-boosting fundraiser that retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin has hosted for the past 37 years. Given the context, this was pretty close to an announcement of the Clinton 2016 campaign. [..]

Now Clinton begins another campaign-perhaps-in which she is seen as the inevitable winner. She has said she will make a firm decision “probably after the first of the year.” But if she has reached the point of dropping broad hints, she needs to begin telling the nation how and why she proposes to lead.

Sep 16 2014

TBC: Morning Musing 9.16.14

Well, here’s a roundup of Adrian Peterson/NFL news.

First, Cris Carter says exactly what needs to be said:

Watch Cris Carter take an emotional stand against child abuse on ESPN

“My mom did the best job she could do. Raising seven kids by herself. But there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong. It’s the 21st century. My mom was wrong. She did the best she could, but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me. And I promise my kids I won’t teach that mess to them.”

Apparently, Peterson had another son that got the Peterson discipline in much the same way. I’m sure the NFL is looking into it. Not.

More accusations for Adrian Peterson

Jump!

Sep 16 2014

On This Day In History September 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 16 is the 259th day of the year (260th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 106 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1932, in his cell at Yerovda Jail near Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi begins a hunger strike in protest of the British government’s decision to separate India’s electoral system by caste.A leader in the Indian campaign for home rule, Gandhi worked all his life to spread his own brand of passive resistance across India and the world. By 1920, his concept of Satyagraha (or “insistence upon truth”) had made Gandhi an enormously influential figure for millions of followers. Jailed by the British government from 1922-24, he withdrew from political action for a time during the 1920s but in 1930 returned with a new civil disobedience campaign. This landed Gandhi in prison again, but only briefly, as the British made concessions to his demands and invited him to represent the Indian National Congress Party at a round-table conference in London.

In 1932, through the campaigning of the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar, the government granted untouchables separate electorates under the new constitution. In protest, Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast in September 1932. The resulting public outcry successfully forced the government to adopt a more equitable arrangement via negotiations mediated by the Dalit cricketer turned political leader Palwankar Baloo. This was the start of a new campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables, whom he named Harijans, the children of God.

Sep 16 2014

TDS/TCR (Ursine Toy)

TDS TCR

It’s so Christiany

It’s War!  War I tell you!

The real news, as well as this week’s guests and Tavis Smiley’s 2 part web exclusive extended interview below.