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The Truth

The truth is as hard to grasp as water in your hand. – Justin Bass, copyright June 5, 2015.

Google search for %22water EPA%22 on June 5, 2015

Google search for “water EPA” on June 5, 2015

WARNING: Cancer in the Water

Carcinogens in oil-drilling wastewater pose a threat to California’s drinking water. That is why on July 1, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board will craft its first groundwater-protection program. The final criteria will be based partly on input from the public in May and June. Unfortunately, the Water Board has no plan for a public-awareness campaign to let the people know about the public-comment period, other than the Water Board’s website.

Anyone can make suggestions to the Board’s headquarters in Sacramento by email, fax, standard mail or in person, until May 29. Then the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will make its recommendations available to the public on June 16. Public comment on the final draft of the groundwater model criteria will be open until June 29. If all goes according to schedule, the Board will finalize the groundwater plan July 1 and adopt it officially on July 7.

In contrast to New York’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), California decided to regulate all methods of well stimulation used by the oil companies. California is not only the 7th largest economy on the planet, it is also the 3rd largest oil-producing state in the country.

The black dots represent California’s active oil wells regulated by the state’s Department of Conservation (map procured from http://maps.conservation.ca.gov/doggr/index.html#close):

California's Active Oil Wells

This is the first time in the history of the state that California will regulate enhanced methods of oil extraction used by oil companies, since oil drilling started in the Golden State over 120 years ago. Long, metal straws, as oil-drilling pipes, pierce the groundwater on the way to the pools of fossil fuels thousands of feet below the surface. Any leak in the oil-drilling pipe could contaminate the groundwater. The oil companies also use injection wells to dispose of wastewater. Likewise, the injection wells stick through the groundwater, and any hole in the injection wells could pollute the groundwater.

California does not even know how much groundwater it has because nobody has ever bothered to measure and track it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowed oil companies to dump waste into certain areas of California’s groundwater because it was thought that the water was so deep and dirty it would never need to be used. Farmers who typically drilled to a depth of 500 feet to access drinking water now have to drill past 1,000 feet to reach the potable groundwater. Corporations, like Crystal Geyser, Coca-Cola and Nestlé, also drill for California’s groundwater to make as much bottled water as they want, and they do so legally because the state currently allows property owners to access the water under the land they own. Some parts of the state are sinking, or subsiding, because taking water out of the sediment is similar to letting air out of a tire.

Now in the fourth year of a debilitating drought, Governor Jerry Brown and the Water Board enacted a 25 percent reduction in urban water use. California farmers, who grow the overwhelming majority of fruits, nuts and vegetables for the rest of the country, have also agreed to a 25 percent reduction in water use. On top of that, the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies drinking water for most of the 22 million people living in Southern California, announced a 15 percent reduction in imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The panoply of water-rationing programs will go into effect on July 1.

There is less water to go around for California’s 38 million people and to grow the fresh produce shared with America’s 300 million-plus thirsty and hungry mouths. Yet oil companies continue to use well-stimulation techniques that could contaminate drinking and irrigation water. The state’s oil regulators admitted that oil companies have been illegally dumping drilling waste into underground sources of drinking water that were not exempted by the EPA. Recently 23 of the offending injection wells were shut down.

The U.S. Clean Water Act protects surface waters, such as lakes and rivers, from which California draws about 25 percent of its potable water. The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act protects the other 75 percent of the Golden State’s drinkable water, which comes in the form of groundwater. There is one exception to the SDWA: the Republican-majority Congress of 2005 exempted fracking fluids from federal regulation, thus leaving it up to the states to regulate fracking contamination of groundwater. Now California’s oil regulators are investigating all 50,000 injection wells in California, and they suspect approximately 2,500 injection wells may be operating in violation of the SDWA.

In addition, President Barack Obama will announce a new rule to protect all United States drinking water, surface water and groundwater, The New York Times reported on May 22, 2015.

“There are enough chemicals in oils that are carcinogens,” but when acid-mixes are used to stimulate the oil well and then injection wells shoot the hazardous materials underground “that’s even worse. That creates all the chlorinated hydrocarbons, which are all carcinogens. Like chloroform, that’s a carbonate. All the PCBs, all the polychlorinated biphenyls, are even more toxic,” said Dr. Robert Schiestl, who is a professor of Pathology, Environmental Health Science and Radiation Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a member of the University’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Epidemiological studies lag behind 40 years because that’s how long it takes for the people to get cancer.”

Many times health professionals, like those at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for example, treat the symptoms of leukemia without anyone ever asking what caused the leukemia in the first place. A mother, who for many years has lived on the same block as a residential oil-drilling site in the City of LA, gave birth to a child with leukemia, her neighbor said. The baby died and the mother does not want to talk about it for public consumption, according to the neighbor, who did not want to be named. When asked if a woman could give birth to a child with leukemia as a result of drinking water with oil-drilling contaminants in it, Dr. Schiestl answered, “It is possible.”

Since January 1, 2014, oil companies operating in California are required by the law, known as Senate Bill 4, to inform neighbors of any well stimulation within 1,500 feet (or the length of five football fields), so that the neighbors can request tests of the local groundwater. The oil companies and their state regulators keep changing the definition of well stimulation. Therefore, the public is not notified and never knows its rights. Likewise, California’s first groundwater-monitoring program is supposed to be open for public comment, starting with a public workshop in Sacramento on May 19. Again, the majority of the public did not know about Tuesday’s open event and most people do not know about the problem of oil companies contaminating the public groundwater.

In March, Governor Brown staged a photo-op in front of a desiccated, Sierra Nevada mountainside, where there is historically a visible covering of white snow for scientists to measure. April storms provided enough snow for popular winter resorts in Mammoth Mountain and Tahoe to extend their ski seasons, but 2015 was the driest winter in California since the state started recordkeeping of droughts in the 1800s. California needs snow more than rain, because snow melts slowly and accumulates in underground aquifers whereas rain runs off into the gutters and out to the ocean before state and local agencies can collect it for drinking. Not only does the oil industry contaminate groundwater with its use of injection wells dumping into pristine aquifers, but the burning of oil creates warmer precipitation events and thus depletes California’s essential snowpack. The snowpack is the state’s slow-drip supply of drinking water. Snow we can hold in our hands, rain runs through our fingers.

Despite having a law to protect drinking water from oil-drilling contamination, the enforcement of the law is still up to the oil regulators at the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (under the aegis of the Department of Conservation), who are operating in the best interest of the oil companies’ profits and the $6 billion worth of annual taxes they produce for the state, rather than informing the public of potential well-stimulation contaminants in the groundwater, beneath their homes and near the oil drilling sites.

The $6 billion tax figure comes from a December 24, 2013 Op-Ed published in the Los Angeles Times by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association. The WSPA lobbies for the oil industry in California and five other states. When the LA City Council voted to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits in 2014, the oil companies and their lobbyists threatened to sue the City. So there is no ban on hydraulic fracturing in the City of LA.

To date, California has conducted only one SB 4-related, water-quality test, and that test was for surface water not groundwater, according to Andrew DiLuccia, Public Information Officer at California’s Water Board. “The test results indicated no impacts associated with well stimulation,” he said about the lone water test near Fillmore, in Ventura County, California. None of the underground sources of drinking water polluted by the oil companies’ 23 illegal injection wells have been tested under SB 4 regulations. However, benzene, a known human carcinogen, was detected inside fracking wastewater at “levels thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe” in 2013, according to an article from the Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter, Julie Cart, of the Los Angeles Times.

“Benzene is the most toxic of the fuel components and can seriously affect the blood cells. Industrial workers exposed to high levels of benzene in the air were at higher risk of developing a type of anemia and of having a low white blood cell count than other unexposed workers,” reads a July 1997 report from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, titled Volatile Organic Compounds in Drinking Water. “Leukemia, a form of cancer of the white blood cells, was more likely to occur in industrial workers as compared to other workers. There is also limited evidence that benzene can injure the fetus or cause miscarriage.”

Statewide water rationing goes into effect this summer for all Californians, while the oil companies continue to use known carcinogens and stimulate oil wells with thousands of gallons of hydrochloric acid mixed with thousands of gallons of water. For instance, Breitburn Energy and Pacific Coast Energy operate dozens of active oil wells, called West Pico, at the corner of Pico Boulevard and Doheny Drive in the City of Los Angeles. The City is host to hundreds of active oil wells, many of which are in residential neighborhoods, where people in cars navigate the streets and pedestrians walk in the shade of tree-lined sidewalks.

The black dots represent the City of LA’s active oil wells:

LA's Active Oil Wells

The Department of Conservation’s public records show that on January 2, 2014, DOGGR’s engineer, John Huff, approved the West Pico 12 oil well to begin “stimulation of the Hauser Formation & new Repetto perforations with 15% HCl [Hydrochloric Acid],” in the Beverly Hills-adjacent neighborhood represented by LA City Councilmember, Paul Koretz. (Hauser and Repetto are millions-of-years-old geological formations.) This use of acid to stimulate the oil well is considered “maintenance” by the oil regulators, but it still creates wastewater that the oil company injects deep into the ground, in the same neighborhood as moms pushing baby strollers and dads pitching to bat-wielding kids in the front yards.

“DOGGR does not do an adequate job of regulation,” Koretz said.

Many of the local residents have no idea about the toxic chemicals being used down the block. “If we had known about the oil drilling, we never would’ve moved here,” said Lyndsey Vlaicu, who lives with her husband and their 2-year-old son within a stone’s throw of Pacific Coast Energy’s West Pico oil derrick, which is disguised behind a building-like façade and a fringe of trees. “I can smell gas four to five times a week.” Acrid fumes pervade the air more so when the workers show up with their trucks, Vlaicu added.

Full disclosure: I used to live on the same block as the West Pico oil wells, but moved away in March 2015. I did not know Mrs. Vlaicu until after I moved from the neighborhood and began reporting this story. Like many of the residents on the block, I was not notified about the productive oil derrick, which is located about the length of one football field away from my former apartment.

The black dots represent the active West Pico oil wells:

West Pico Active Oil Wells

In practice, the regulators at DOGGR determine what constitutes well stimulation, no matter what the text of SB 4 states. There is no agency other than DOGGR to enforce the law and there is no recourse for the people of California to challenge DOGGR’s authority. The EPA gave California “primacy” to regulate its oil drilling and groundwater, which the state ostensibly fulfills through DOGGR and the law, SB 4. The oil companies’ lobbyists helped to write the law and their regulators assist the oil companies to get around the required public disclosure of well stimulation.

“This is the well that we want to perforate the Repetto and do an acid job,” wrote Frank Smith of Breitburn Energy to Huff, the oil regulator at DOGGR, on January 27, 2014. “We believe that there is adequate protection of any USDW [Underground Source of Drinking Water]. Tom [McCollum of Pacific Coast Energy] and I would like to call you around 9:15 am this morning to discuss with you. Our West Pico rig is awaiting orders and not having to do a cement squeeze would save us about $100,000.”

West Pico 1

West Pico 2

West Pico 3

Breitburn got the approval for Pacific Coast Energy to go ahead with the acid job.

“To follow up on our phone conversation, based on the results of the cement bond log, no cement squeeze is necessary at this time,” wrote Huff, the oil regulator.

A cement bond log calculates the thickness and quality of the cement around the oil pipe.

Not only would it have added to the cost, but the cement squeeze at West Pico 12 would have also added an extra layer of protection between the groundwater and the toxic chemicals in the oil/acid mix running through the industrial piping. For a reference point, the inadequate cement job and the overdue cement bond log at the Deepwater Horizon oil drill in the Gulf of Mexico were largely to blame for the catastrophic ocean spill in 2010.

The cause of the massive oil spill in the California ocean water near Santa Barbara on May 19 is still unknown, as of this reporting.

It is important to note that solar-electric panels and plug-in cars never polluted the water in California. It’s time for all of us, as a civilization, to transition from using oil and other fossil fuels as soon as possible. We, the consumers, are causing our own problems by perpetuating the production and sale of dirty fossil fuels because almost all of us continue to use them in one way or another. We use oil and gas for our cars and we cook with natural gas flames. We heat our water with fire and we produce our electricity by burning fossils fuels. However, our cars, our cooking, our heated water and our electricity can all be energized by the Sun. If you want to point a finger at anyone for the problem of global warming, the prolonged drought and the scarcity of clean water in California, power down your computer or phone, extend your index finger toward the black screen and take a good, hard look at your reflection. What are you going to do? You can no longer plead ignorance. Now you know the problems and the solutions. So what are you going to do?

Here is the Water Board’s website:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/groundwater/sb4/docs/notice_model_criteria.pdf

For Perspective:

Go to page 4 of the highlighted document below to see “well stimulation” at the West Pico 40 oil well, as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, or AQMD, defines it:

COM – R1148.2 Chemical Report – PB – 11-5-2013 – Event ID#868 – Fac ID; …-3

After receiving a public records request in April 2015, the AQMD, has delayed the release of 2014 and 2015 chemical reports at the West Pico facility, due to possible trade secrets, said Lisa Ramos, Public Records Coordinator at AQMD. SB 4 protects trade secrets as long as the oil company reports the chemicals to DOGGR and defines the use of them as “well stimulation.”

Neither Breitburn Energy executives nor Pacific Coast Energy executives returned calls and emails requesting a comment about their residential oil drilling and “well stimulation” that runs through neighborhood groundwater.

Read the public document cited in this article for yourself:

West Pico 12 – Well Stimulation in 2014 – 03720146_DATA_2015-04-28

After many attempts to interview the oil regulators in California, the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Department of Conservation, Justin Turner, replied via email, “The Department does not make field inspectors available to the press for interviews, as a rule.  An exception will not be made in this case.”

Multiple requests for an interview with Governor Jerry Brown went unanswered, including a hard-copy request mailed in an envelope to his office in Sacramento, as is the policy of his office. For the past two weeks, Governor Brown’s phone number responds with an answering machine stating that nobody can take a call and to try again later.

After more than a month of requesting an interview with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, his Communications Director and Senior Advisor, Rhys Williams, emailed back, “At this time, we’re unable to accommodate your request.”

* I submitted many different versions of this article to Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, The Orange County Register, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, National Public Radio stations 89.3 KPCC and 89.9 KCRW, as well as to local and national television news stations and many other news outlets. None of them decided to publish the article, so I am publishing it here because the information in this article is in the public interest.

Justin Bass is a freelance reporter and environmental advocate living in Los Angeles. He has a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University and previously reported on the financial markets in New York. He has worked for both SolarCity and Tesla Motors.

For lagniappe…

Head of California agency accused of favoring oil industry quits

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-head-of-oil-regulating-agency-quits-20150605-story.html

“Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery”

https://theconversation.com/get-more-out-of-your-solar-power-system-by-using-water-as-a-battery-37807

Fande = Fact & Evidence; Cande = Conjecture & Exaggeration

Bring your Fande, leave your Cande!

Sid Caesar’s Scintillating Comedy

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

The 1950s comedy is so scintillating it still holds up today as some of the freshest, funniest theatricality you will ever see. If you’ve never seen Your Show Of Shows or Caesar’s Hour, do yourself a favor and go buy the DVDs. You are in for a treat! Check out who wrote for Caesar. : )

Picture source: http://cdn-media.hollywood.com/images/638×425/2137406.jpg

Read more: http://www.hollywood.com/news/celebrities/56786854/sid-caesar-dead-this-is-your-life?page=all

Here are some youtube videos of some of my favorite sketches.  It’s worth buying the DVDs to see all of them.
“20 Minutes For Lunch”
“The Professor on Mountain Climbing”

“Gallipacci”

“The Small Apartment”

Surveil You Later? — How the N.S.A. ruined the Information Age

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment


The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland.

picture source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg

The N.S.A. ruined the Information Age.
Who wants to shop online with somebody looking over your
shoulder? President Obama, you know what it’s like to be
followed while shopping. Why do it to us, in our homes, at
our offices, or wherever we may be connected to the world
wide web?

Maybe somebody was on his cellphone at the park and wanted to
check the score of the football game he just bet on. It’s
none of the government’s business if two consenting adults
make a gentleman’s wager on the outcome of the Giants vs.
Vikings game. Mitt Romney can make $10,000 bets all day, and
it’s none of the government’s business if Rick Perry takes
him up on it or not!

Video: Mitt Romney saying “Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000
bucks? $10,000 bet?”

Oh, Mitt!

Now, since Edward Snowden revealed the surveillance-software
suite at the disposal of U.S. government workers, we also
know that the N.S.A. can see our emails, internet search
activity, online bank accounts, and everything we do in the
digital world. So if that’s where we are in present-day
American society, let’s just admit we live in an age of
diminishing privacy. Sure, you can refrain from using the
internet, and give up calling and emailing people. But how
many people are going to stop using their iPhones and
Androids and other so-called smartphones? Once you get ‘em
hooked, you can’t just take away the candy. At least not
without a claim ticket.

That’s why we should use a cellphone check-in
service. In the name of bringing back conversation to
civilized society. Just listen to these two humans talk to
each other when there are no cellphones to interrupt their
natural state.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Two men in the audience waiting for a live
show to begin.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
God, this is boring!

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2:
Totally.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
And we can’t even get online.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2:
Hey, by the way, what do you think
about the N.S.A.?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
Seriously?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2:
They can’t track us now.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
Well, I think it’s bad that there’s
no oversight.

Two men in suits suddenly appear.

SUIT #1:
Sir, would you please come with us?

Audience Member #1 gets up to leave with Suit#1.

SUIT #2 (TO AUDIENCE MEMBER #2):
And what do you think about the
N.S.A.?

Audience Member #2 smiles and give two thumbs up.

Suit #2 nods and harrumphs before exiting.

Audience Member #2 slouches down in his seat, stealthily
looks over both shoulders, and turns around with a nervous
head twitch.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Let’s not let it get to this, People. Secret courts for
surveillance programs on American citizens is not what the
framers of the Constitution had in mind. Just in case, the
American Public demanded the first 10 Amendments.
The very first Amendment is Freedom of Religion, Freedom of
the Press, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly to protest the
government, and Freedom of Speech.

Speech is not free when you have somebody looking over your
shoulder the whole time. Just ask Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden during interview in Hong Kong hotel with UK Guardian reporter, Glenn Greenwald, and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras.

Picture source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2013/06/Edward-Snowden.jpg

The rest of Europe wants to give him an award, but he’s in
Vladimir Putin’s Russia now. And Snowden thought the N.S.A. was
bad? If he did any whistleblowing on Putin, he’d be in
Russian jail faster than you can say Pussy Riot.

In 2012, band members of Pussy Riot wearing their trademark balaclavas while performing “Punk Prayer” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Two of the women in the band are serving out two-year prison sentences for singing their political-protest song in church.

Picture source: http://rt.com/files/news/pussy-riot-court-hearing-355/if499a049ff6dce2e1c1bd012dd9466b2_1.jpg

We live in an age where the whistleblowers of secret U.S.
government surveillance have to hide out with our competitor
countries? How is that Freedom of Speech protection for
Snowden when he has to flee to China’s Hong Kong?

Map of Hong Kong as part of China.

Picture source: https://fandecande.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/14194-china-map-w-hong-kong200.jpeg

And then to Putin’s Russia?

Map of Russia, bordering Europe and Asia.  

Let’s get it all out in the open. Our government spies on
everybody, including its own citizens.

People using N.S.A.-tracked devices.

Picture source: http://www.redorbit.com/media/uploads/2013/09/smartphones-everywhere_TS_80404212_091613-617×416.jpg

If you reveal the secret surveillance, the government will
revoke your passport and you will be in No Man’s Land. All
you can do is throw up your hands and try to make calls for
help, much like being a Verizon Wireless customer near the
beach in L.A.

No, Technology does not always work. And when it does work,
we have no privacy. But our cellphones and our computers
provide those sugary snacks for the mind that we crave day
and night. We don’t really care who watches us, as long as
they let us have our candy.

Edward Snowden just pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of
Oz.

Wizard of Oz behind the curtain when Dorothy reveals him
in the classic film (in color).

But this Oz is very powerful. It’s going to take a lot of
Heart, Brains and Courage to overcome the all-powerful
National Security Agency. But, like I said, give people the
candy they want and they don’t really care what you do behind
the curtain. Especially if you tell them that it has
something to do with stopping terrorists. (Joe Q Public
voice.) “Of course you need everybody’s emails to stop
terrorists. I’m not a terrorist, go ahead.”

We’ll sing “God Bless America” at the 7th inning stretch and
you can track everybody in and out of the stadium.

Aerial view of Dodger Stadium.

Picture source: http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID426/images/dodger-stadium-pic.jpg

Unless, we start doing cellphone check-ins at the ballpark, and
at the movies, and at every public venue! We could take back
our Freedom of Speech if, and only if, we willingly give up
our cellphones for moments during the day.
If we can have coat-check rooms, then we can have cellphone check-in
rooms. Or you can leave your cellphone at home or in
your car. Civilization is what we make of it. The
communication network provided by cellphones and the
internet, that’s the N.S.A.’s domain. But everything else, the
rest of the world, that’s ours. All of ours. Unless you’re
Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden in Russia.

Picture source: http://img.welt.de/img/ausland/crop121424053/2238725298-ci3x2l-w620/title.jpg

He’s the hero, and yet he’s the one who has to hide. Think
about that the next time the N.S.A. tracks you online while
consuming your internet content.

It’s not so bad now, but just think of what somebody could do
if they wanted to take advantage of our private information:
our business contracts and financial investments, our
professional and personal relationships. This is not the place where government should be. We all have the right to our privacy! Unless you’re a terrorist!

Well, I guess that settles it: the N.S.A. can do whatever it
wants in the name of fighting terrorists and we should use
cellphone check-in rooms to get away from the N.S.A. at certain
points during the day.

Ah, America! The only country that
cares enough to monitor its citizens’ communications 24/7
just to make sure everything is O.K. Like an overbearing
parent!

“It’s for your own good,” they’ll say, as they store
everything we text and type in a super-huge server facility
in Utah, where you can’t even buy a beer on Sunday!


Frosty glass mug of beer.

Picture source: http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/life/drink/2012/02/120224_DRINK_frostedBeerMug.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large.jpg

What’s next? No tacos on Tuesdays?!

Taco, a happy-hour treat on Tuesdays.

Picture source: http://i.cdn.turner.com/dr/teg/tsg/release/sites/default/files/assets/meattaco.jpg

We have to draw the line somewhere, or the government will
continue to encroach on our privacy and our civil liberties.
I say beer on Sunday and tacos on Tuesdays, and cellphone check-in
rooms, and real regulation on the N.S.A. surveillance. No
secret courts. Let’s have our regulation in a regular court.
And let’s have our daily slice of Americana with our First
Amendment rights intact.

Map of the United States in the
middle of North America.

picture source: http://www.kidcyber.com.au/IMAGES/usa-politcal-map.jpg

Freedom of Speech makes America the best country in
the world. Without Freedom of Speech you might as well be living in Russia.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

So much corruption and hypocrisy in America today

April 9, 2013 Leave a comment
* Must-see video…”Exxon turns to paper towels for oil spill clean-up. Rachel Maddow shares photos and video of the pollution from the oil pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas being addressed with paper towels.”http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/51473926
“Exxon turns to paper towels for oil spill clean-up
video.msnbc.msn.com
Video on msnbc.com: Rachel Maddow shares photos and video of the pollution from the oil pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas being addressed with paper towels.”
* Must-see video…”British press more honest on Thatcher legacy. Rachel Maddow praises the ability of the British press to describe the full range of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy upon her death, in contrast to the willful ignorance endemic to manipulated American media coverage of political figures like Ronald Reagan.”http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/51474158
“British press more honest on Thatcher legacy
video.msnbc.msn.com
Video on msnbc.com: Rachel Maddow praises the ability of the British press to describe the full range of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy upon her death, in contrast to the willful ignorance endemic to manipulated American media coverage of political figures like Ronald Reagan.”
  • This is so wrong…”The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project was started in 1997 by Grover G. Norquist….Our goal is to eventually see a statue, park, or road named after Reagan in all 3,140 counties in the United States.”
    http://www.ronaldreaganlegacyproject.org/about

    www.ronaldreaganlegacyproject.org

    The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project is committed to preserving the legacy of one of America’s greatest presidents throughout the nation and abroad.”
  • https://fandecande.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/fah-q-grover-norquist/

    fandecande.wordpress.com

    FAH-Q = For All to Hear & Question. ; ) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ PROBLEM: The greedy, self-serving Superwealthy and their enab…
  • http://www.thenation.com/blog/162206/grover-norquists-culture-corruption

    www.thenation.com

    After his central role in the Jack Abramoff scandal, why does Grover Norquist have any credibility left?”

  • www.youtube.com

    “We are not auditioning for fearless leader,” Grover Norquist told conservatives at the CPAC convention in February. “We don’t need a president to tell us in…
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    “Exxon wins safety award as Mayflower sees no end to spill cleanup (VIDEO) — RT USA
    rt.com
    As responders continue clearing tens of thousands of gallons of oil from a small Arkansas town after an Exxon pipeline burst, delivering a severe blow to the local ecosystem, a major NGO has named the oil giant the winner of a national safety award.”
    • EXCERPT: “In preliminary other findings released in the weeks following the fire, the Chemical Safety Board has faulted Chevron’s failure to replace a heavily corroded pipe on the 245,000 barrel-per-day crude distillation unit that ruptured setting off the fire, which caused only minor injuries at the second-largest refinery in California.

      The board has also criticized the refinery for failing to shut the unit down when it sent firefighters on August 6 to try and find the leak.

      California’s worker safety regulator the California Occupational Safety & Health Division (Cal/OSHA) fined Chevron $963,000 on January 30 for 25 violations of worker safety regulations.”
      http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/04/05/us/05reuters-refinery-fire-chevron-richmond.html?hp&gwh=7669496AF28CDA75228882EAC67B1338

      www.nytimes.com

      The federal agency investigating the fire that broke out in August at Chevron Corp’s oil refinery in Richmond, California, faulted the state’s regulatory system for not being proactive enough in preventing accidents.”
    • “According to the indictments, one Republican official from Queens frisked a briber, who was actually an undercover F.B.I. agent, to make sure he wasn’t wearing a wire. Then failed to find the wire. Then took the bribe while being recorded. This all happened at a super-secret meeting at Sparks, the steakhouse where John Gotti had Paul Castellano rubbed out. I believe there should be an unwritten rule in criminal conspiracy that you do not schedule your big payoff at the most famous gangland murder site in Manhattan.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/opinion/collins-a-new-era-in-political-corruption.html?hp&_r=0

      www.nytimes.com

      New York’s recent corruption scandals shatter our confidence that taking money was the
      one thing politicians know how to do well.”
    • “Unemployment, not excessive money printing, is what ails us now — and policy should be
      doing more, not less.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/opinion/Krugman-The-Urge-To-Purge.html?hp

      www.nytimes.com

      The push to see depression as a necessary and somehow desirable punishment for past sins
      is as strong as ever.”
    • https://fandecande.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/open-letter-to-president-obama-9/

      fandecande.wordpress.com

      Social Security, don’t touch it. Mr. President, I’ve gone to bat for you over and over again.
      I volunteered for you in 2008 and in 2012. I stand up for you in conversation and defend you on-line. B…
    • www.youtube.com

      Bernie Sanders Sets The Record Straight On Social Security And The Fraud The GOP
      Is Attempting To Pull On The Elderly And Veterans”
    • “The Big Lie”…EXCERPT from End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman, pages 64-66;
      W.W. Norton & Company 2012:

      “The Big Lie

      ‘I hear your complaints. Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not saying I’m sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have gotten them without that.

      But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for.’

      –Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, on the Occupy Wall Street protests

      The story I have just told about complacency and deregulation is, in fact, what happened in the run-up to the crisis. But you may have heard a different story—the one told by Michael Bloomberg in the quotation above. According to this story, debt growth was caused by liberal do-gooders and government agencies, which forced banks to lend to minority homebuyers and subsidized dubious mortgages. This alternative story, which says that it’s all the government’s fault, is dogma on the right. From the point of view of most, indeed virtually all, Republicans, it’s an unquestioned truth.

      It isn’t true, of course. The fund manager and blogger Barry Ritholtz, who isn’t especially political but has a keen eye for flimflam, calls it the Big Lie of the financial crisis.

      How do we know that the Big Lie is, in fact, not true? There are two main kinds of evidence.

      First, any explanation that blames the U.S. Congress, with its supposed desire to see low-income families own homes, for the explosion of credit must confront the awkward fact that the credit boom and the housing bubble were very widespread, including many markets and assets that had nothing to do with low-income borrowers. There were housing bubbles and credit booms in Europe; there was a price surge, followed by defaults and losses after the bubble popped, in commercial real estate; within the United States, the biggest booms and busts weren’t in inner-city areas but rather in suburbs and exurbs.

      Second, the great bulk of risky lending was undertaken by private lenders—and loosely regulated private lenders, at that. In particular, subprime loans—mortgage loans to borrowers who didn’t qualify according to normal prudential standards—were overwhelmingly made by private firms that were neither covered by the Community Reinvestment Act, which was supposed to encourage loans to members of minority groups, nor supervised by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored agencies charged with encouraging home lending. In fact, during most of the housing bubble Fannie and Freddie were rapidly losing market share, because private lenders would take on borrowers the government-sponsored agencies wouldn’t. Freddie Mac did start buying subprime mortgages from loan originators late in the game, but it was clearly a follower, not a leader.

      In an attempt to refute this latter point, analysts at right-wing think tanks—notably Edward Pinto at the American Enterprise Institute—have produced data showing Fannie and Freddie underwriting a lot of ‘subprime and other high risk’ mortgages, lumping loans to borrowers without stellar credit scores in with loans to borrowers who failed strict lending criteria in other ways. This leads readers who don’t know better to think that Fannie and Freddie were actually deeply involved in promoting subprime lending. But they weren’t, and the ‘other high risk’ stuff turns out, on examination, to have been not especially high-risk, with default rates far below those on subprime loans.

      I could go on, but you get the point. The attempt to blame government for the financial crisis falls apart in the face of even a cursory look at the facts, and the attempts to get around those facts smack of deliberate deception. This raises a question: why do conservatives want so badly to believe, and to get other people to believe, that the government did it?

      The immediate answer is obvious: to believe anything else would be to admit that your political movement has been on the wrong track for decades. Modern conservatism is dedicated to the proposition that unfettered markets and the unrestricted pursuit of profit and personal gain are the keys to prosperity—and that the much-expanded role of government that emerged from the Great Depression did nothing but harm. Yet what we actually see is a story in which conservatives gained power, set about dismantling many of those Depression-era protections—and the economy plunged into a second depression, not as bad as the first, but bad enough. Conservatives badly need to explain this awkward history away, to tell a story that makes government, not lack of government, the villain.

      But this in a way only pushes the question back a step. How did conservative ideology, the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, come to have such a firm grip on our political discourse? That’s a slightly harder question to answer than you might think.”

      ________________________________________________________________________________

      * I highly recommend the book by Paul Krugman, “Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.”

      picture source: http://www.amazon.com/End-This-Depression-Paul-Krugman/dp/0393088774

      www.amazon.com

      A call-to-arms from Nobel Prize–winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman.
      The Great Recession is more than four years old—and counting. Yet, as Paul Krugman points
      out in this powerful volley, “Nations rich in resources, talent, and knowledge—all the
      ingredients …”
    • “Republicans will lie, cheat and steal…EXCERPT: “As I reported a couple of weeks ago, a recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the genetically modified seed industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ig…”

      www.motherjones.com

      The notoriously agribiz-friendly senator freely admits that he crafted the recent GMO rider—and that Monsanto helped.”
    • http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/513a8415c07f5d47130004d0-gasland-part-ii

      www.tribecafilm.com

      Two years ago, Josh Fox introduced us to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar®-nominated exposé Gasland. Now this once-touted energy source has become a widely discussed, contentious topic. In his follow-up, Fox reveals the extreme circumstances facing those affected by fracking, from earthquakes to…”
    • * Legacy of failure manifests as a library and museum on May 1, 2013.
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/01/16/george-w-bush-presidential-library-opening/1839687/

      www.usatoday.com

      The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas is set to open its doors to the public on May 1.”
    • http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/obama-im-no-cheney-on-drones-88853.html

      www.politico.com

      President Barack Obama’s defense to Democratic senators complaining about how little his
      administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy: Dick Cheney
      was worse. That’s part of what two senators in the room recounted of Obama’s response when,
      nea…”
      ________________________________________________________________________________________
       For lagniappe…
      “History Licking Its Chops To Judge George W. Bush
      ‘Let Me At That Fucker,’ Says Branch Of Knowledge”

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/history-licking-its-chops-to-judge-george-w-bush,31921/

NBA, take out the trash!

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment

There is nothing in the NBA rulebook about trash talk, because it is not part of the game of basketball, invented in 1891 by James Naismith.

But you know what is in the NBA rulebook? Unsportsmanlike conduct (look under “Taunting”): http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_index.html

Basketball is a civilized game of sport. If you can’t play it by being civilized and exhibiting sportsmanlike qualities – respect for one’s teammates and competitors, all of which are your colleagues presenting the product of professional basketball to the public – then you don’t get to play basketball in this civilization.

* Keep your mouth shut, Kevin Garnett. If the NBA referees or security guards hear anything derogatory coming from his lips or from any other player’s, coach’s or fan’s, kick ’em out of the stadium, tell them not to come back for the rest of the night, and try to behave yourself next time or the same consequences will occur. Of course, this is f*cking impossible to enforce, so it will be up to the NBA players to enforce it themselves on the court by exhibiting sportsmanlike conduct for us to enjoy. We want to see you play! We enjoy watching you play! P-L-A-Y. Oh, and if you can’t play nice, leave. It will be up to us fans to exhibit civilized behavior in the stands while sitting with opposing fans. America is what we make it. So let’s have a good time.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read more: http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/art_garcia/11/07/trash-talkers/index.html

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Go to minute 1:54…”The kid is nice on the hoop”…

Go to minute 2:10…”I want to offer my love and respect to the end”…

Everything Under the Sun by Justin Bass

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment