Thursday Mashup (8/8/13)

August 8, 2013

rbby_92

  • Gosh, it looks like RNC Chair Reince Priebus has his proverbial shorts in a knot here, all right…

    The Republican National Committee is threatening not to partner with NBC and CNN on future presidential debates unless they halt production of recently announced programs about Hillary Clinton, according to letters RNC Chairman Reince Priebus sent to network heads.

    NBC announced in July that the network would air a four-hour miniseries about the former first lady called “Hillary,” and CNN Films is producing a documentary about her as well.

    In letters addressed to NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt and CNN President Jeff Zucker on Aug. 5, Priebus warned that RNC members intend to vote on a resolution at their party-wide meeting later this month to shut out the networks from partnering with the party on Republican primary debates if they do not cancel the programs.

    “Out of a sense of fairness and decency and in the interest of the political process and your company’s reputation, I call on you to cancel this political ad masquerading as an unbiased production,” Priebus wrote. “If you have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote of the RNC stating that the committee will neither partner with you in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates which you sponsor.”

    Somehow I don’t think Priebus knows the meanings of the words “fairness” and “decency,” but that’s a secondary point (and I actually hope the two networks tell him where to go – I realize the ad revenue rules their world and they don’t want to miss out, but all of those debates should be run by the League of Women Voters anyway).

    But to refresh Priebus’s memory in the “political ad masquerading as an unbiased production” department, here and here are prior posts from 2006 concerning the “Path to 9/11” non-documentary that aired on the Disney/ABC/RNC network, full of all kinds of questionable assertions about that dreaded day that (surprise, surprise!) aired two months before the 2006 midterm elections (fortunately, based on the electoral outcome, the strategy backfired).

    And I thought the following was interesting (from here)…

    …I also wonder if Priebus might have motivations of his own for getting some RNC debates off networks. Given that the Republican Party seems no closer than it was in 2012 to reaching a decisive break between its radical and moderate wings, if I were Priebus, I might want to keep that debate between them as far away from mass audiences as possible. Given how far moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney have had to run to the right during their primary campaigns, one of the things that debates do is generate a vast trove of high-quality clips of things that the eventual nominee will eventually have to try to explain away in a shortened general election season. If I were Priebus, I’d want as few of those debates as possible, and I’d want them to happen further from the public eye so my eventual candidate has less baggage that can eventually be hung around her or his neck.

    So we’ll see if our corporate media goes weak in the knees when confronted with the “Ooga Booga! Li-Bu-Ruul Bias!” charge once again (though, based on this, I think the GOP needs a dose of “physician, heal thyself” if they’re so concerned with women voters, among other demographics that they’re losing badly).

    On a related note, I have to tell you that this is a real head-scratcher as far as I’m concerned (h/t Atrios). Normally I definitely side up with David Brock and Media Matters, and I’m sure the NBC miniseries will be nothing but trash TV (and I don’t know how CNN can say they’ll create a “documentary” on HRC without involvement of the news division), but rightly or wrongly, here is where I come down on this.

    First, this furor assumes that cable TV will hold sway over the outcome of the 2016 presidential election (assuming Hillary runs – wink, wink), and to be honest, I don’t know how you can say that. No, I don’t have viewing demographic numbers in front of me at the moment, but I think the very fact that the two cables in question are even contemplating these productions gives you an idea of how hard-up they are ratings-wise (relative to Fox, of course, which is a whole other discussion). And I want to emphasize that I’m talking about holding sway over the general election; from what I read last year, the ratings for the 2,347,618 Republican primary debates actually weren’t bad – if Priebus and Brock have leverage here, this is it (i.e., CNN and NBC wouldn’t want to lose out).

    Second, can you really honestly say that there are that many people without an opinion on the Clintons one way or the other at this point (people likely to be swayed by these two productions, which I’m sure will be heavy on the “entertainment” and very light on the facts and historical context)? So basically, I don’t care if CNN and NBC go ahead with these productions; I have a feeling that there will be salacious stuff with no basis in reality (I can see it now…the closet door of the darkened room pops open while Bill and Gennifer Flowers are engaged in carnal acts, and Hillary, holding a gun, shoots Vince Foster, who was trying to talk Bill out of it…fade to black), but there will probably also be complimentary stuff too. As I said earlier, my beef with Priebus is that he’s alleging preferential treatment from the networks, when he definitely benefitted from some of that in the “Path to 9/11” mess.

    A final observation: how big of a dope is Reince Priebus anyway to end up doing something that ends up playing into the hands of David Brock and Media Matters (and as noted here, just when I was about to post this, Priebus said something else that would qualify as “gobsmacked,” I guess – what a maroon).

    (Last but not least, I think this is full of great observations from kos).

    Update 8/9/13: And I would say that this sums up most of what I’ve been saying for the last eight years or so.

  • Next, I give you the following pro-fracking commercial that recently appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer (here)…

    The Marcellus Shale formation – the second-largest natural-gas field in the world – has been a blessing for Pennsylvania’s workers and our economy.

    Almost a quarter-million people in Pennsylvania work to produce natural gas from the Marcellus Shale or in related industries. Thanks to the growth of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, the Marcellus has been responsible for more than 150,000 new hires in the past three years – almost three-quarters of them state residents. The average salary in core fracking industries is more than $90,000 a year. In 2010 alone, oil and gas development utilizing fracking contributed more than $11 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.

    Fracking is safe and environmentally friendly. In Pennsylvania, more than a dozen state and federal regulatory agencies oversee all aspects of fracking, from well development to pipeline construction. Properly constructed wells leave a very small environmental imprint, and about 99.5 percent of the solution used to free natural gas from shale formations is just water and sand.

    Pennsylvania leads the country in developing safe, effective fracking technologies and policies – and other states are starting to follow suit.

    If fracking is so “safe” and “environmentally friendly,” then how come the fracking companies, after paying out large settlements to people whose properties have been ruined by fracking, make those folks sign gag orders, extending not just to the parents, but to their kids also, as noted here? (An update is here.) Or, as noted from here, “these gag orders are the reason [drillers] can give testimony to Congress and say there are no documented cases of contamination,” said Earthworks organizer Sharon Wilson.

    And as noted from here, Pennsylvania is 33rd in the nation in employment; that’s OK, but nothing to brag about as far as I’m concerned.


    The writer of this column, Kevin Colosimo, serves as a managing partner at Burleson LLP in Pittsburgh, and is a trustee at large for the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation in Kentucky (I sincerely hope that he is based in Pittsburgh and not Kentucky, since the former is smack in the middle of the Marcellus Shale but the latter isn’t, as you can see from the gray area in the map above – it would be pretty low down for him to be praising something that has no chance of blowing up in his face, an expression you can actually take literally when talking about fracking).

  • Continuing, It’s time to find out what our wet noodle PA-08 rep is up to (from his web site here)…

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) ignited a bipartisan push Thursday (8/1) with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) to ensure our nation’s veterans play a critical role in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure with the introduction of the Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act.

    “Our fighting men and women are the most highly skilled workforce in history,” said Fitzpatrick, “We must leverage their unprecedented skills to get our economy moving once again.”

    “Rebuilding our nation’s transportation infrastructure is one of my top priorities and is absolutely essential to growing our economy and creating jobs,” said Bustos, “The brave veterans who served us so honorably deserve our full support and that starts with making sure they have good-paying jobs here at home.”

    “With the unemployment rate for returning veterans remaining far too high, it is common sense that they should have access to the contracting preferences available for transportation projects,” Bustos continued.

    This is more distracting feel-good pabulum that is yet another feint to burnish Mikey’s alleged “moderate” bona fides while his utterly lunatic U.S. House “leadership” fiddles as our country burns.

    And that is because, as noted here, Dem U.S. House Rep Rosa DeLauro introduced the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2013 on June 27th, but no vote was scheduled (there was no other activity of any kind, apparently). On top of that, the Water Infrastructure Resiliency Act was introduced by Dem U.S. House Rep Lois Capps on February 15th here (same story).

    “Oh, there you go again, telling us that it’s only the Dems who are doing the right thing. How typical!”

    Well, guess what? As noted here, Republican U.S. House Rep Tom Marino of PA also introduced the Energy Infrastructure Improvement Act, and that is currently in the same limbo as the other two bills (the people who have signed on as cosponsors automatically makes me suspicious about the bill’s intent, but it is no less worthy of a vote than the other two). So the utter, craven failure of the House Speaker and Majority Leader cuts both ways.

    With that in mind, this tells us why the federal government should have a role in infrastructure projects, along with the attendant benefits (for example, does anything think we actually would have our highway transportation system from coast to coast if it had been left up totally to the states?). And this tells us how the Repugs have blocked transportation infrastructure projects, thus hindering our recovery (though they have no trouble with funding infrastructure in places like Afghanistan, as noted here).

    Mikey and Cheri Bustos can introduce all of the bills giving the military preference on infrastructure jobs that they want (which is fine by me and commendable, actually), but it won’t matter if there’s no infrastructure funding forthcoming from this wretched Congress.

    Besides, on the subject of the military, I never found out why Mikey voted against a combat pay increase (here) or a guarantee to pay our military in the event of a government shut down (here).

    With all this in mind, if you really want to do right by someone from our military, click here.

    Update 8/16/13: And it looks like Mikey wants to ultimately phase out credits for wind here, which, as far as I’m concerned, is a dumb idea (would the cost savings make that much of a difference?). Wonder if he’d dare do the same thing for Big Oil, as noted here? Do I even need to ask (seeing as he once voted to cut funding of clean energy here)?

  • Further, it’s time to bring “teh stupid” with Fix Noise here

    Vague terrorist threats shutting down nineteen of our embassies, Russian strongman Putin thumbing his nose at President Obama, Iran jerking our chain – the U.S. hasn’t looked this cowardly on the world stage since the Jimmy Carter administration.

    Here at home, too, we’ve gone back to the Carter future; unemployment is high, Keynesian economics are all the rage, our professorial president is increasingly whiny and ineffectual; all that’s missing is a cardigan sweater and that infernal violin.

    I know you know what’s coming – wait for it anyway (and here is food for thought on the whole “Keynesian” stuff)…

    President George W. Bush is widely scorned these days for attempting to export democracy to the peoples of other lands; Mr. Obama, like Carter before him, has sought kindness and justice from the likes of Hugo Chavez and Bashar-Al-Assad. Which is more naïve?

    Naivete is costly. Both the Carter and Obama administrations have been distinguished by the rare murder of an ambassador.

    So was the administration of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History; this tells us that U.S. Ambassador David Foy was murdered in Pakistan in 2006 (and if you want to real the real story of what happened under Number 43 on this score, click here).

    This Liz Peek person also tells us that Carter didn’t win an agreement on Pershing missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet SS-20 missiles; in response, the following should be noted from here

    (In 1979) Presidents Carter and Brezhnev (sic – Brezhnev was the Soviet Premier) sign SALT II treaty, setting ceiling of 2,400 strategic missiles and bombers on each side, to be reduced to 2,250 by 1981. After Soviets in- vade Afghanistan, US withdraws SALT II from Senate, but both governments say they will abide by provisions. In December NATO decides to deploy 572 US Pershing II and cruise missiles in Europe starting in late 1983 to counter threat from Soviet SS-20s targeted on European cities.

    And here is another choice item from Peek…

    Who today believes that ObamaCare is the best possible answer to reining in the cost of healthcare?

    I do, for one, based on this (#1 just for starters).

    Lather, rinse, repeat (sigh).

  • RS_Media_Friendly_0802

  • Finally, I have to tell you that I’ve been quietly fuming for the last week or so about this pic from The Philadelphia Inquirer over the Rolling Stone story on Dzhokhar Tsarnev and his brother and their alleged involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing (sticking with terrorism).

    Yes, I get the fact that Tsarnev the younger was photographed with a background that would normally be reserved for a rock star that is popular at the moment. However, the cover makes it clear that the magazine quite rightly considers him to be a “monster” (how that constitutes “too friendly” for the tastes of the Inquirer is something I cannot fathom).

    Also I wonder how many of the people who screamed about the magazine’s cover actually took the time to read the story by Janet Reitman? Like just about everything else I’ve ever read in Rolling Stone, it was thoroughly researched and written very well. The story takes you inside the life of this kid, including his family, friends, and lifestyle (I was surprised by how plentiful pot apparently is on college campuses, if the Cambridge area is any indication – I didn’t know parts of the first “Harold and Kumar” movie were a documentary; yes, I’ve been out of that loop for a long time). In addition, while I respect the fact that Tsarnev and his family faced great financial difficulty, I cannot imagine how two parents could emigrate back to Russia two years ago (though they were separated for a time) and leave their four kids at the mercy of whatever fate befell them in this country, including Dzhokhar, his older brother (who really did call the shots) and his two sisters, who ended up in arranged marriages and apparently disappeared (and yes, I know this is partly a cultural issue, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s no excuse on the part of the parents).

    It’s hard to say what exactly led to the Tsarnev Brothers’ murderous and terroristic behavior – whether or not their impulse for violence existed all along, how much of their radicalism was fostered by the disintegration of their family and older brother Tamerlan’s burning desire for jihad (Tamerlan was a Golden Gloves boxer), et cetera. But this to me is a hallmark of good reporting; the story makes you think about it enough to try and connect those dots on your own.

    Does the story make me feel sorry for either of the Tsarnevs? Hell no! The older brother got what he deserved as far as I’m concerned, and at a minimum, I hope the younger one rots in prison (the story tells us that Dhzokhar apparently had a pretty casual attitude while the carnage went on and the manhunt ended up shutting down the city of Boston – let’s give him the rest of his life to think about his behavior, unless he ends up getting a date with a needle).

    It’s easy to bash Rolling Stone as some kind of a nutty, left-wing-hippie publication. That of course is utterly wrong (and I thought the paper has done a good job trying to defuse the cover controversy). It’s obviously a lot harder to give it credit for crafting exemplary journalism. What a pity.

    Update: And I guess it would be a good idea to link to the Rolling Stone piece too, wouldn’t it (here).

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    More Mikey Energy Idiocy And Fracking Fairy Tales

    July 11, 2013


    I’m going to be behind with stuff for a little while yet, but I absolutely couldn’t ignore the latest nonsense from our wet noodle PA-08 U.S. House rep from last July 4th (here)…

    By matching American ingenuity and enthusiasm to resources, North America could be energy-independent within the next decade.

    We are well on our way. Energy production in the United States is booming. Much of this growth stems from new and innovative ways to extract oil and gas from once hard-to-reach deposits in North America, including the Marcellus Shale areas of Pennsylvania. By harnessing our resources through environmentally safe yet efficient means, it is likely that the United States will become the top oil manufacturer in the world, overtaking Saudi Arabia – a profound shift in the energy universe.

    Everything Mikey says is validated from here – shocking for him to demonstrate this degree of accuracy (it gets better, though; besides, given the fact that this country is a safer energy bet than the Middle East, it kind of makes me wonder why the political party of Mikey’s affiliation supported Dubya’s Not So Excellent Adventure in Iraq, though I know that’s oil leaking under the barge, as they say).

    Continuing…

    By combining our natural gas, oil, clean coal, nuclear, and sustainable resources as part of a diverse energy portfolio, we can position America as an international leader in energy innovation, in economic power, and in prosperity and freedom for our people, our businesses, and our nation.

    First, anytime anyone uses the phrase “clean coal” in a discussion concerning energy, rest assured that they’re full of “bullpuckey,” as Rachel Maddow might say. Second, it’s nice for Mikey to talk about “renewable” energy, but the problem is that the moronic “leadership” of his party in the House just tried to scrap renewable energy and energy efficiency programs that cost less than $1 billion (here).

    Continuing…

    In order to reap the benefits of energy independence, I will continue to support the Keystone XL pipeline, the responsible development of shale gas and drilling – on and off shore – and sound investments in renewable energy.

    As stated, Mikey, maybe you support those “sound investments,” but your party certainly doesn’t.

    I call on President Obama and my fellow lawmakers to remove unnecessary, burdensome restrictions on the energy sector, pass more pro-energy legislation, and find ways to work with, not against, energy producers.

    Oh, and about those supposedly pesky environmental regs, let it be known that Mikey supported the following (noted here):

  • The TRAIN Act, which would have created a special committee to oversee the EPA’s rules and regulations and required the agency (For the first time in its history) to consider economic impacts on polluters when it sets standards concerning how much air pollution is too much (with “not your father’s Repug Party” putting profits over people’s health and well-being yet again – here)
  • The REINS Act, which, as noted here, would have mandated that any new regulation that is deemed to be a “major regulation” (having an impact of $100,000,000 or more) must be approved by both the House and the Senate (and not only that, it must happen within 70 days of being submitted to Congress…which begs the question – aside from the likely unconstitutionality of allowing the legislative branch for basically usurp a function of the executive, when what the last time this congress did anything in 70 days?)
  • The Upton-Inhofe bill (from U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Head Fred Upton and Legendary Climate Change Denier Jim Inhofe in the Senate) that would have eliminated the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (dubbed by House Dem Gerry Connolly as the Koch Brothers Appreciation Act – here).
  • And concerning the Keystone XL pipeline, as noted from here, “The only thing beyond any doubt is that KXL would be far more destructive to the climate than the State Department has let on, a key reason why both the EPA and major environmental groups have asked State to redo its environmental impact statement.” And this is because, as Think Progress points out, “Tar sands are considerably more energy intensive to extract and refine than typical crude oil.”

    And as far as this country supposedly “fracking” its way to energy self-sufficiency, I give you the following from here

    “Energy independence.” “Family-sustaining jobs.” “Transition to renewable energy.” – These have been the promises made to residents in shale states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Maryland, and West Virginia since the ‘fracking boom’ came to the northeastern United States several years ago.

    But as time passes, the glimmer of these promises has faded into a starker reality – the jobs are fewer and far more dangerous than imagined – government and industry are gearing up to ship our domestic shale gas supplies overseas – foreign countries like China are buying out large shale lease holdings on American soil – property values are diminished for leased landowners and their neighbors – and in places like the (PA) Laurel Highlands, industrial development threatens the tourism and recreation industries that already provide sustainable economies.

    Also…

    On Thursday, July 11th, MWA’s Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project is coordinating visits to State Senators offices in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties as part of a statewide effort to support a moratorium, called “Independence from Fracking.”

    (Sorry I couldn’t get the word out on this before today…)

    It’s not surprising in the least for Mikey to be an utterly craven shill of the energy industry, though, considering that, as noted here, he not only voted against funding renewable energy, but also…

  • Voted to fundamentally rewrite our national mining policy by ending a decade-long congressional ban on the sale of public lands to mining companies
  • Voted against requiring federal agencies to identify the environmental impacts of their programs on minority and low-income populations and to develop policies for implementing their programs in a nondiscriminatory manner
  • Voted to cut discretionary spending on the environment and natural resources by $2.85 billion, more than 9 percent below the previous year’s levels…among the hardest hit are the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as programs to invest in clean water infrastructure, protect oceans and coasts, and conserve agricultural lands
  • Voted to waive any federal or state law in building roads, walls, fences and other barriers along U.S. borders. In addition to jeopardizing a wide array of protected federal lands, the waiver provision would deny citizens the right to appeal
  • Mikey likes to talk about “taking risks” here, when in fact, the only “risk taking” that matters is to stand in the way of our headlong rush into fracking for natural gas, which pose a very real threat to the sustainable economies mentioned earlier (and to learn more about all of this, click here to read about “Gasland 2,” the sequel to filmmaker Josh Fox’s landmark documentary on this subject).

    Update: Oh, and did you hear the one about how Mikey the Beloved and his pals voted to cut food stamp funding by separating it from the farm bill?

    Unfortunately, it’s no joke, though he is (and they are – here – Update 7/12/13…And to do something about it, click here).


    No “Fracking” Way Our Water Should Be Unsafe

    October 13, 2010

    The latest from Democracy for America…

    I know we’re all focused on these crucial upcoming elections but I had to share this with you. Over the next several years, between 30,000 and 50,000 new natural gas wells will be drilled across Pennsylvania using the dangerous technology known as “hydrofracking.” Democracy for America and our members throughout the state are saying enough is enough, its time to take serious action.

    Join DFA members from across the state at “Building a Stronger Movement: Statewide Conference on Marcellus Shale” coordinated by Penn Action and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania.

    The conference will be addressing what you can do in your community to protect your environment and the drinking water supplied to Pennsylvania working families from the dangerous effects of hydraulic fracturing. We need you there!

    Join in the movement! REGISTER HERE

    State and local officials from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh have called for a moratorium on this drilling due to the environmental and economic damage it has already caused in many Pennsylvania communities. They are calling for further study to assess how safe natural gas hydraulic fracturing really is. The gas drilling industry will not cooperate unless they are forced to. From ProPublica:

    Residents of Dimock, PA., water woes have been widely chronicled as a prime example of the hidden costs of natural gas drilling. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced recently that these residents will get a safe and permanent water supply to replace their methane-contaminated wells.

    For about two years, Cabot Oil and Gas, a natural gas drilling company, has supplied drinking water to some Dimock residents after several private drinking wells were found to be contaminated with methane, the main component of natural gas. A few wells have exploded. The Pennsylvania DEP has said that Cabot is responsible for the problems and announced intentions to bill the company for the cost of an $11.8 million plan to construct a new public water line to serve these residents.

    “We have had people here in Pennsylvania without safe drinking water for nearly two years,” said John Hanger, head of Pennsylvania’s DEP. “That is totally unacceptable. It is reprehensible. We have given Cabot every opportunity to resolve this matter.

    But Cabot has pushed back against the agency, calling plans to construct the water system “unreasonable, unprecedented and unfair.”

    We cannot afford to sit back and expect the gas industry is going to do the right thing, Democracy for America members and everyday working people in Pennsylvania are fed up with the blatancy with which the natural gas companies are assaulting the environment. Without public pressure the state government is not going to put the brakes on hydraulic fracturing or ensure the citizens of the commonwealth will be properly compensated for the extraction of this valuable natural resource.

    We need you there! Join in the debate and the movement to protect our communities! REGISTER HERE

    Saturday, October 16, 2010 11a-5p
    Radisson Hotel Harrisburg
    $25 donation requested to help defray costs
    More info here:
    REGISTER HERE:

    For more info or for questions, please email or call Hannah Miller. Thank you for everything you do,

    – Dan

    Dan Mulligan, National Field Organizer
    Democracy for America

    To learn more, click here.


    Thursday Mashup (9/16/10)

    September 16, 2010

  • 1) This story has been buzzing around a bit; it’s at philly.com, but I also came across it here…

    The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response has embarrassed Pennsylvania’s Governor. Governor Ed Rendell apologized Tuesday to groups whose peaceful protests or events, from an animal rights demonstration to a gay and lesbian festival, were the subject of regular anti-terrorism bulletins being distributed by his homeland security director. Rendell said that the information was useless to law enforcement agencies and that distributing it was tantamount to trampling on constitutional rights. Bulletins also went to members of Pennsylvania’s booming natural gas industry because of several acts of vandalism at drilling sites.

    A Philadelphia rally organized by a nonprofit group to support Rendell’s push for higher spending on public schools even made a bulletin, as did a protest at a couple of Rendell news conferences in recent weeks as he pressed for a tax on the natural gas industry.

    “This is ludicrous. This is absolutely ludicrous,” Rendell said. “And I apologize to any of the groups who had this information disseminated about their activities. They have the right to protest.”

    Basically, as the ACLU tells us here via Daily Kos, PA’s Homeland Security Director James Powers authorized the ITRR to spy – and quite probably harass in the process – opponents of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale (with ITRR granted a contract for this type of surveillance by the state…one of the questions quite rightly posed by Rendell when he found out about this was why PA was contracting with the ITRR, when the PA State Police is capable of this type of investigation and response from law enforcement…if need be…also).

    I’ve done a little bit of poking around and I found out the following here about PA Homeland Security Director Powers; as you can read, he spent 30 years in U.S. Army Special Forces, attaining the rank of colonel. It’s highly possible that he circulated with some big names in the defense biz (which would figure since, as noted here, he was following the U.S. DoD Training Manual, which treats protests of the type over the Marcellus Shale drilling as “low-level terrorism”).

    Kudos to Rendell for putting the brakes on this as soon as he heard about it; also, I think you can be safe in assuming that there will be more forthcoming on this story.

  • Update 9/18/10: More here via Atrios…

    Update 9/26/10: I would say that this is a good reason to protest drilling in the Marcellus Shale (dear God).

  • 2) Also, Michael Smerconish of the Philadelphia Daily News had what I thought was a somewhat interesting observation on the whole Pastor Terry Jones/Almost Burning the Quran thing (here – a lot of this is a rehash from last week’s column by Christine Flowers, by the way, but at the time, I was on Jones-Mania-Overload if you will, so I didn’t bother to say anything)…

    Politicians can’t treat fringe players like they are world leaders. This story was energized by the likes of Gen. David Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The more they talked, the more credibility the object of their ire got from the media.

    OK, but Smerky then tells us the following a little later…

    Let’s be clear. Petraeus was right. So were Gibbs, Clinton and Holder. The president was right, too, especially in his assessment of the event as a stunt.

    But by engaging the instigator – even though they were condemning his actions – Petraeus, Gibbs, Clinton, Holder and Obama created the impression that he was a serious person.

    The result? Round-the-clock media attention, which in turn fueled international outrage toward the U.S. And even though the organizer didn’t actually end up burning any Qurans, the attention he received was enough to inspire copycats.

    Ummm…so Gen. David Petraeus was right to call attention to that nut because his actions could pose harm to our troops (noted here), but Petraeus was wrong because he contributed to “round-the-clock media attention” also?

    Well then, I suppose it’s up to everybody to just ignore religious or pseudo-religious figures who incite passion in an attempt to garner publicity for themselves. OK.

    Just remember, though, that that includes this guy also.

  • 3) Finally, I give you the following from the campaign of Patrick Murphy for U.S. Congress:

    We knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time.

    Big Oil has officially put me on their list.

    This week the corporate front group Americans for Prosperity bought TV and radio ads attacking me.

    Americans for Prosperity is the comically named corporate front group for the oil industry. They have the distinction of being the primary corporate sponsors for those “grassroots” Tea Party rallies. Now they have decided to back my opponent, and it’s no wonder why.

    Americans for Prosperity uses their vast corporate resources to advance their radical agenda. This was the group that fought so that oil companies like BP could drill wherever they wanted to, however they wanted to. Then when things went wrong, they fought to make sure that BP could carry on like nothing ever happened. These are my opponent’s new best friends.

    My opponent has sold his campaign to the far-right. Americans for Prosperity is just one of many groups he has courted by simply molding his beliefs to fit with theirs. He has been rewarded for his “flexibility.”

    All my opponent had to do was deny the existence of global warming, turn his back on working families, and pledge his allegiance to corporate tax breaks instead of investing in American jobs. This time his reward was $22,000 in character attacks against me.

    Now we know who is in my opponent’s corner. Now we know whose interests he fights for – BP and Big Oil, not us.

    Well, I want you to know that while my opponent knows he can count on his friends from Big Oil, I know I can count on you. I need your help to fight back against Mike’s pile of corporate cash.

    Please, contribute $25, $50 or even $100 today, and help me reach my goal of $22,001 so we can show these corporate interests that we are NOT backing down.

    Together, we can show my opponent and his Big Oil buddies that the people own this seat now – and it’s not for sale.

    Thank you as always for your incredible friendship and support.

    God, this is so disgustingly typical of Mikey.

    He couldn’t even win the PA-08 seat to begin with in 2004 without some truly foul campaigning against Ginny Schrader, trying to link her to Hezbollah (and worse, as noted here, a particularly rank stunt since Schrader’s husband was a Jew).

    He couldn’t even defend the seat in 2006 without trying to slime Patrick Murphy’s military service with the assistance of Young Philadelphia Republican Kevin Kelly (here).

    And now, having lost the seat, he can’t compete for it once more without more odious campaign garbage as noted above (and in all three instances, he’s tried to disavow any knowledge of what went on or make sure he has an “out” for himself).

    Let’s help Patrick however our means may allow and send Mikey packing for good by clicking here (and don’t strain too much listening for a response of protest from the teabaggers, who profess to oppose politics as usual…if the issue has anything to do with Mikey, you can rely on hearing nothing but the sound of crickets).


  • You Want “Christie In PA”? Vote For Corbett.

    July 7, 2010

    The latest from Keystone Progress…

    As out-of-state drilling companies plan thousands of new natural gas sites in Pennsylvania, the tragic spill in the Gulf has shown us just how dangerous drilling can be. In the next few years, it will be up to our state’s elected officials to make sure that all of the new drilling is done as safely and as responsibly as possible. Attorney General Tom Corbett is asking us to elect him as our next governor – to give him the power to regulate this industry and to protect our health and safety.

    That’s why it’s so frightening that he’s accepted $360,000 from the natural gas interests he hopes to regulate. Perhaps more frightening, he’s accepted $3,000 in contributions from one of the worst polluters in the history of the world – Anadarko Petroleum, which co-owns the BP Deepwater Horizon well and holds the drilling rights to 33,000 acres of Pennsylvania’s public lands.

    Click here to tell Mr. Corbett to give that money back!

    On May 13, 2010, three weeks after the oil spill began, Corbett accepted a $3,000 contribution from the Texas based Anadarko Petroleum PAC. Anadarko owns 25% of the well that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico and has thus far refused to help pay to stop the leak, to clean up the mess, or to compensate victims.

    Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania and Keystone Progress called on Mr. Corbett to return those funds and to refuse any further contribution from Anadarko until that company had fulfilled its responsibility to those affected by the tragedy in the Gulf.

    Mr. Corbett refused.

    As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

    “Mr. Corbett said that, as the GOP nominee for governor, he was interested in how the company operated its Pennsylvania gas fields. ‘Anadarko is here in Pennsylvania,” he said in an interview. “We’re looking at their conduct in Pennsylvania.'”

    If this company refuses to take responsibility for the incredibly public disaster in the Gulf, what makes him think that they’ll behave more responsibly in Pennsylvania? If he’s wants to be in charge of the state regulators who will ensure that drilling here is done safely, shouldn’t he refuse contributions from a company that has already proven itself a tremendous risk?

    In 2006, Mr. Corbett told the graduates of Waynesburg College that: “responsibility means having the inner moral strength to always do what is right, even when those around you make other choices.”

    So if Anadarko won’t take responsibility, it’s up to Mr. Corbett to publicly rebuke that company for its failings – just as we’d want him to hold them accountable if their drilling polluted Pennsylvania – and to give back their money. So far, he has refused. It’s up to us to remind him that protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvanians is the right choice to make:

    Click here to demand that Corbett return Anadarko’s contributions.

    Drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania has already caused explosions, poisoned drinking water and damaged food supplies. Nationwide, over 1000 instances of hazardous pollution from natural gas drilling sites have been reported. We don’t know how many have gone unreported. As more and more companies start to drill in Pennsylvania, our leaders and our regulators must be strong, independent and determined to put our safety first. Only engaged citizens like you can make that happen. Thank you.

    For a clean, safe and healthy Pennsylvania,

    Josh McNeil, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania

    Michael Morrill, Keystone Progress

    And by the way, I recently watched the superb documentary “Gasland” by PA’s Josh Fox, and if anyone out there thinks that Corbett wouldn’t open up the Marcellus Shale for natural gas development and endanger the drinking water of millions in the process (from PA to NYC)…well, you must also believe in the Easter Bunny and sugar plum fairies.

    Fortunately, we have a proven alternative (below).

    Update: You know what? Commenter Dr. Jeff Gordon is absolutely right, and I was wrong to imply that Corbett and Onorato have differences on drilling in the Marcellus Shale. I was so preoccupied with Corbett that I didn’t realize how bad Onorato is as well on this matter. I have other differences with Corbett, such as closing the Florida gun loophole, which Onorato supports but Corbett considers a non-issue.

    Being “green” is smart, but I don’t know how drilling for natural gas can fall under that category.

    Update 7/13/10: I would say that this tells us about another important difference between Corbett and Onorato.

    Update 7/15/10: And this is a pretty damn pathetic joke signed onto by Corbett also.


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