About Me

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For me it is All About Being of Service & Living the Life of the Give-Away....

Being Mindful of those who are unable to speak for themselves; our Non-Two Legged Relations and the Future Generations.

It's about walking on the Canka Luta Waste Behind the Cannunpa and the ceremonies.

It's about Mindfulness and Respect. It's about Honesty and owning up to my foibles.

It's about: Mi Takuye Oyacin

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


April 19

URGENT: The blast from a seismic air gun is 100,000 times louder than a jet engine - and oil companies want to use this tool to look for oil on the ocean floors 24 hours a day.

This testing WILL kill and injure hundreds of thousands of whales. Tell the government seismic air gun testing is NOT ok now! --> http://bit.ly/1gBClvI

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Toxins in Your Town/City

Toxics Across America: Report Details 120 Hazardous, Unregulated Chemicals in the U.S.

Recent spills in West Virginia and North Carolina cast a spotlight on toxic hazards in our midst. But as bad as they are, these acute incidents pale in scope compared to the chronic flow of hazardous chemicals coursing through our lives each day with little notice and minimal regulation.

A new report by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Toxics Across America, tallies billions of pounds of chemicals in the American marketplace that are known or strongly suspected to cause increasingly common disorders, including certain cancers, developmental disabilities and infertility.

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While it’s no secret that modern society consumes huge amounts of chemicals, many of them dangerous, it is surprisingly difficult to get a handle on the actual numbers. And under current law it’s harder still to find out where and how these substances are used, though we know enough to establish that a sizeable share of them end up in one form or another in the places where we live and work.

The new report looks at 120 chemicals that have been identified by multiple federal, state and international officials as known or suspected health hazards. Using the latest—albeit limited—data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the report identifies which of these chemicals are in commerce in the U.S.; in what amounts they are being made; which companies are producing or importing them; where they are being produced or imported; and how they are being used. An interactive online map accompanying the report lets the user access the report’s data and search by chemical, by company, by state and by site location.

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An image of the interactive, searchable map of the U.S., showing sites of production or import of the MTS List chemicals. One additional site in Hawaii is not shown. The dot colors reflect the number of MTS List chemicals reported at each site. Click on image to access the map.
Among the findings: 
  • At least 81 of the chemicals on the list are produced or imported to the U.S. annually in amounts of 1 million pounds or more.
  • At least 14 chemicals exceed 1 billion pounds produced or imported annually, including carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene, and the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A—or BPA.
  • More than 90 chemicals on the list are found in consumer and commercial products. At least eight chemicals are used in children’s products.
The interactive map shows these chemicals are produced or imported in all parts of the country, in 45 states as well as the Virgin Islands. Companies with sites in Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York reported producing or importing at least 40 listed chemicals.
While the report shows how deeply toxic chemicals are embedded in U.S. commerce, the chemicals identified represent just part of the story. Companies making or importing up to 12-and-a-half tons of a chemical at a given site do not need to report at all. Others claim their chemical data is confidential business information, masking it from public disclosure. The EPA only collects the data every four years, and chemical companies often don’t know and aren’t required to find out where or how the chemicals they make are being used.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 9.04.13 AM
Most Americans assume that somebody is regulating these chemicals to make sure we’re safe.  In fact, thanks to gaping loopholes in federal law, officials are virtually powerless to limit even chemicals—such as those featured in the report—we know or have good reason to suspect are dangerous. Because none of us has the power to avoid them on our own, we need stronger safeguards that protect us from the biggest risks and give companies that use these chemicals a reason to look for better alternatives.

The good news is that Congress is working on bipartisan legislation that—if done right—would require greater evidence of safety for both chemicals already in use and new chemicals before they enter the market.  And by driving development of and access to more chemical safety data, it would give not only government but also product makers and consumers much more of the information they need to identify and avoid dangerous chemicals, and strengthen incentives to develop safer alternatives.
Congress: Protect Public Health, Not Toxic Chemicals
Is Your State One of the 33 Taking Action on Toxic Chemicals?
Cancer Caused by Toxic Chemicals ‘Grossly Underestimated’ in the U.S.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

u.s. government Update


Updated 7:01 PM EDT, Sat Apr 19 2014

TPM Livewire

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

AP Photo / Patrick Semansky 
Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," they write, "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month's ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

"Ordinary citizens," they write, "might often be observed to 'win' (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail."

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Are you ready to send a message to The White House that the #KeystoneXL tar sands pipeline must be rejected? On April 26th at 11AM, join NRDC and our partners at the National Mall between 9th and 12th streets in Washington D.C. as we stand with farmers, ranchers and tribal communities from areas along the #KXL route to send a message to President Obama. SHARE to help us spread the word!

Can't make it to DC? Make your voice heard here: http://bit.ly/1jO428i

Kock... Kook... Koch Brothers II

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 05:48 AM PDT

Koch Brothers' net worth tops $100 billion!

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David De Jong, of Bloomberg.com announces the news that the Koch Brothers Net Worth Tops $100 Billion as TV Warfare Escalates.

"Spread the word! Billionaires of lessor means take heart. Hope exists that if you too just work harder, and apply yourself with more discipline, your net worth could top $100 billion, as well. Or, as it happens in this case, the Koch brothers picked up a couple of extra billion dollars  due to a one quarter surge in industrial production because several hundreds of millions of other Americans worked harder boosting GDP more than expected.
Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who run Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries Inc., added $1.3 billion to their collective fortune yesterday on reports that U.S. industrial production gained more than forecast. The surge elevated their net worth to more than $100 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index.
The Koch brothers don't actually work, but rather contribute by being  role models for poor people, to remind us of what their our lives could be like if we only were not so selfish, slovenly, and rife with character flaws, as to continue our selfish choices to be be poor, and thereby burdening the morally superior, hard working rich people with our upkeep. By a combination of virtuous living, and having the good sense to chose to be rich, rather than poor, they set fine examples for all of us by their sheer existence.

I wonder if there is any chance we could convince them to establish an educational foundation to fund a new reality channel so we could follow them around 24 hours a day, seven days a week so we could witness the level of virtue that must be involved in generating this magnitude of wealth. We might have a solution for the problem right here, folks. Perhaps, poor people can't even imagine it because some of us just haven't seen it before. I'd like to watch them sleep to see what it looks like to make $5 million while you are sleeping for six hours. This might be the very thing that would make me want to work harder to support such a wonderful system as such as we have that could create such an astonishing feat. (Sarcastic undertones alert!)

Oh, yes I forgot to tell you one of the other ways the Koch brothers help our America, so I shouldn't be saying they aren't actually working. They also give out vast sums of money to convert democracy to oligarchy. Sorry, I sort of drifted off for a moment while suckling on the tits of the vast welfare state that is America. (Double Metaphorical Allusion Alert: "You'll have to pry my cold dead fingers of my guns," - Charelton Heston, and "Suckling on the Welfare "teets" - Paul Ryan: Caution: This is only a Metaphor Kids - Responsible progressive writers like The HoundDog do not Write Under he Influence, WUI, Also, do not try Double Mixed Metaphors at home or in school - HoundDog is a trained professional.) Back to our story, dang, this working can be so distracting for us poor, bad people. Why are we like this?  
  The Koch’s ascent comes as Freedom Partners, one of their fundraising networks, last week aired its first batch of television ads targeted at this year’s U.S. Senate races, including commercials knocking Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa for supporting President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

“The Koch brothers are pouring millions into this,” Chris Harris, a campaign spokesman for Senator Udall, said in an e-mail yesterday. “They’re only fighting for their own interests, not Coloradans’. Mark Udall has a long record of fighting for the middle class and stops at nothing to protect Colorado’s special way of life.”
And, one of the most important aspects of Colorado's "special way of life," would seem to be having 46 million plus poor and middle class Americans, and their children, not have health insurance.
The Koch brothers are funding a large and escalating TV ad war intervening in the Iowa and Colorado political contests to throw out Democrats, and those left leaning RINO Republicans who don't fully embrace the true conservative agenda. One of their political action groups called Americans for Prosperity is specially targeting Democratic candidates who supported the Affordable Care Act.

To understand more about the messages these billions are buying, let's watch as James Davis, a spokesperson for Freedom Partners ays.

“These professional politicians claim to be standing up against health insurance companies while pocketing money from their political action committees and company executives ... It’s hypocritical -- while health insurance companies stand to see massive financial gains from the health-care law, the rest of America is left paying the bill.”
 photo Koch2_zps8fe5dd73.jpg

Dang, we're going to have to work harder fellow Democrats. Now that Governor Chris Christie true character has been successful exposed to the American people and we can put aside any more talk of his possibly beating Hillary Clinton, Senators Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders or whomever should turn out to be Democratic nominee, I was planning to go back on vacation which I haven't really fully enjoyed after burning myself out on the 2012 election.

In fact, my plan had been to take off until 2016 and let some of you younger Democrat pick up the torch and burden of fighting these eternal election battles. After a quick pre-departure survey of the landscape, however, my fear is we may need all the troops we have on the front line fighting what almost be a lost stand for the America values and constitutional form of government that we have evolved, and that once was such an inspiration to so many around the world.

Maybe it still is, I haven't really heard a whole lot from my friends around the world once word got out that the NSA has been recording every single word of every single phone call, text message, and email. I've known this for a very long time. The CIA has had this responsibility since I can remember, but they used to be discrete about it.

Whatever that's a different story. I hate to say this but some of us who were hoping to be lazy may just have to look to these Koch brothers as inspiration for why we should choose to be hard working, good rich people, rather than lazy, bad, poor people.  (Humor alert.)

Time to get to work folks. The party is over. You've had your fun. Election time is coming and our opposition is already in high gear spending the big bucks. What are we going to do to respond?  
7:09 AM PT: Made minor clean up edits when post made rec list., and moved first quote up three paragraphs.

I made a promise to myself if the average number of recs and comments received for posting falls below the total number of minutes I put into writing posts for more than 5 in a row, I'd find a different hobby and way of contributing to progressive causes. Expected response to my attempts as mixing humor and reporting real news, in this case with sarcastic undertones has been so poor I didn't expect more than 15 responses.

Thanks for the encouragement. These are my favorite kind of articles to write, but usually are totally rejected here to the point I have "Bob Johnson Envy." so bad I almost prematurely withdrew from this whole blogging thing. It's really hard to stay motivated when the community comes down so hard on ones every comic effort. Thanks for this exception.

Originally posted to HoundDog on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 05:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by And Now for Something Completely Different and Hydrant.

Kock... Kook..... Koch Brothers

For more information read this article by Senator Bernie (Beloved) Sanders:

Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want?

Posted: Updated:

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors' mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough. Now, they want to own the United States government as well.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court handed down the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission. A few weeks ago, they announced another horrendous campaign finance decision in McCutcheon vs. FEC giving even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further. In the name of "free speech," they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending -- a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon -- and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Importantly, as a means of being able to exercise unprecedented power over the political process, this has been the position of the Koch brothers for at least the last 34 years.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion. In other words, under the "anti-business", "socialist" and "oppressive" Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year. 

In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion. For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined would be a drop in their bucket. They would hardly miss the few billion dollars.
Given the reality that the Koch brothers are now the most important and powerful players in American politics, it is important to know what they want and what their agenda is.

It is not widely known that David Koch was the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 1980. He believed that Ronald Reagan was much too liberal. Despite Mr. Koch putting a substantial sum of money into the campaign, his ticket only received 1 percent of the vote. Most Americans thought the Libertarian Party platform of 1980 was extremist and way out of touch with what the American people wanted and needed.
Fast-forward 34 years and the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right. Amazingly, much of what was considered "extremist" and "kooky" in 1980 has become part of today's mainstream Republican thinking.

Let me give you just a few examples:

In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage. Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.
In 1980, the platform of David Koch's Libertarian Party favored "the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs." 

Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people -- 1 in 8 Americans -- would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes."

In 1980, the platform of David Koch's Libertarian Party called for "the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that "entitlement reform" is absolutely necessary. For some, this means major cuts in Social Security. For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.

In 1980, David Koch's Libertarian Party platform stated "We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes ... We support the eventual repeal of all taxation ... As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said "would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax."

Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about. The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party. And now with Citizens United (which is allowing them to pour unlimited sums of money into the political process) their power is greater than ever.

And let's be very clear. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education. Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that. They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the most vulnerable in this country. Every piece of legislation! 

The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.
Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.
For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back.
Follow Sen. Bernie Sanders on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SenSanders


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Halliburton Loophole (2005) = Fracking

We can’t play a game of chance with California’s groundwater supply and our coast. 
It’s time to demand that oil and gas companies using drilling technologies known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” be held accountable for their practices.  “Fracking” is a process that blasts a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and unknown chemicals into rock underground to extract oil and natural gas.   
Back in 2005, President George W. Bush signed a law – known as the “Halliburton loophole” – that exempted fracking from regulation by the EPA, meaning important environmental laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act don’t apply to fracking!   
Because of this, states have had to pick up the slack.  California’s fracking bill last year was a start.  I support a moratorium on fracking in our state until a comprehensive review of its impact is complete.
But there is more we need to do nationally to protect our groundwater, our coast, and our communities – oil and gas companies shouldn’t be exempt from our critically important environmental laws! 
The truth is that fracking poses potentially significant health and environmental risks – especially when it comes to groundwater.  
As California faces the worst drought in decades, we shouldn’t put any more of our precious water supply at risk!  
Tell our U.S. Senators to close the “Halliburton loophole.” Congress must not permit the oil and gas industry to operate outside the reach of federal regulations endangering our communities  our environmental laws must apply to oil and gas companies engaged in fracking. Join me and sign our petition to protect our groundwater and coast from fracking. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Idaho: Potato Heads

State of Idaho To Kill 4000 Ravens

State of Idaho To Kill 4000 Ravens

  • author: Michele Anna Jordan
  • target: Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho, and Virgil Moore, director of Idaho Fish and Game
  • signatures: 5,141
we've got 5,141 signatures, help us get to 10,000 by May 1, 2014
The state of Idaho has received permission to kill up to 4000 ravens, a bird that is protected by federal law. The justification for this killing is that ravens prey on sage-grouse eggs, a bird which is finally being put onto the endangered list. Yet of the 19 reasons for the sage-grouse's declining numbers, predation by other wild life comes in at #12. Why is the highly intelligent raven being singled out for destruction, especially before other causes are addressed? Ravens are among the most intelligent creatures on the planet. Please sign this petition and reach out in other ways to prevent this massive and unnecessary destruction. UPDATE: On April 4, there was news that the state plans to start placing poisoned eggs in three separate areas of the state sometime this spring. The ravens are hard to kill with guns, the article said, because they are so smart. There is still time to stop this if we try. Sign this petition but also post it on facebook, tweet it, etc., and if you have time, contact Idaho tourism, Fish and Game and the governor's office. 

you have the power to create change.

Pro Fracking: Denver Post

Denver Post publishes a new False Media Section called: "ENERGY and ENVIRONMENT

SHAME ON THE DENVER POST: Passing off fake, industry-paid news as journalism has reached a new low at The Denver Post. Colorado's largest paper has created an entire fake news section called "Energy and Environment" where every "article" is an actual paid pro-fracking piece by the oil and gas industry. See the atrocious behavior yourself >> http://ow.ly/vF5Cn (Note: the landing page has trouble appearing on mobile devices)

While newspapers and magazines have long run advertisements and banner ads, The Denver Post has crossed the line by cloning the paid section (everything - down to the "In Other News" blurbs on the side...) to look exactly like the paper's real articles. It's highly disturbing behavior that should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares about democracy and a free press.

CALL OR EMAIL THE DENVER POST >> (303) 954-1010 or openforum@denverpost.com Let them know they can't get away with such unethical behavior! Click SHARE or LIKE to spread the news far and wide!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Veterans' Pension Cuts

U.S. Navy Sonar = DEATH by Murder

Michael Jasny’s Blog

Update on Greek strandings: More whales

Michael Jasny
Posted April 7, 2014 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places
Share | | |
Ziphius 2.jpg

Last week, I wrote about a mass stranding of beaked whales off Crete while the Greek, U.S., and Israeli navies ran exercises offshore – the latest in a long line of whale strandings associated with naval training.  At the time somewhere between five and eight whales were known to have beached along 20.6 kilometers of coastline west of Ierapetra.

Above is a picture of one of those stranded whales, bleeding on the tidal rocks. 
Now Dr. Alexandros Frantzis, Scientific Director of the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, reports that at least three whales stranded individually some 48 kilometers further west.  As Alexandros observes, the distances involved suggest that impacts occurred over a large area of ocean.
It is unknown how many whales died at sea.

On Friday, NRDC sent a letter to the administration, warning of the Navy’s failure to conduct an environmental review of this dangerous training event and of its almost certain violation of U.S. law.
To demand that the Navy protect whales during training, please go here.  You can also call NOAA (202-482-3436) – the agency that is supposed to regulate the Navy – and ask that they enforce our marine mammal laws.

Shell Oil = Recklessness

Coast Guard report: Reckless behavior caused grounding of Shell’s drill rig

According to a Coast Guard report, Shell's reckless actions caused the Kulluk vessel to run aground in Alaska. 

Coast Guard Report shows its time for Shell to abandon dangerous Arctic drilling plans.
The U.S. Coast Guard has spoken, and its message is clear: The Kulluk drill rig ran aground in Alaska because Shell recklessly and knowingly towed it into a brutal North Pacific storm, in part to dodge taxes in Alaska. Shell’s towing contractor, Edison Chouest Offshore, may be charged with violations of marine vessel laws and regulations.

The Kulluk went adrift in late December 2012, and ran aground near Kodiak, Alaska, on New Year’s Eve. Coast Guard rescuers saved its crew, but the rig sustained massive damage.

A year-long investigation – detailed in a recent report from the Coast Guard – found that the crew in charge of the towing effort expressed “blunt” reservations about taking the Kulluk to sea in the middle of winter with bad weather in the forecast, but Shell ordered the operation  to move forward.
The Coast Guard report, released April 3, says the ship master of the Aiviq, the boat that towed the Kulluk until the rig went adrift, emailed the Kulluk’s tow master on Dec. 22, saying:
“To be blunt I believe that this length of tow, at this time of year, in this location, with our current routing guarantees an ass kicking.”

Video shows the Kulluk running aground after Shell ignored safety concerns of tow master. 

Tax avoidance prompted safety shortcuts

“This report shows that Shell ran through every single safety and common sense red light in moving this rig because of financial considerations. This kind of behavior should raise major red flags for any future Arctic drilling plans,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Commerce and Environment Committees. “Shell should be held accountable for its reckless behavior.”
"This kind of behavior should raise major red flags for any future Arctic drilling plans." - Sen. Ed Markey
Coast Guard investigators found that Shell believed the drill rig would be subject to state taxes on oil and gas properties if the Kulluk remained in Alaska waters on Jan. 1, 2013. The Aiviq towed the Kulluk out of Dutch Harbor on Dec. 21, 2012.

“This comprehensive report by the U.S. Coast Guard provides extensive evidence of the extraordinarily complex nature of Arctic Ocean drilling and mobilization operations,” said Lois Epstein, a licensed engineer and Arctic program director for The Wilderness Society. “Problems and wholesale failures like the grounding of the Kulluk are inevitable. When you add in a profit incentive – in this case, the avoidance of taxes – you basically guarantee that industry will take short-cuts to accomplish its goals.”

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph A. Servidio wrote in comments on the investigation: “I am most troubled by the significant number and nature of the potential violations of law and regulations identified in the Enforcement section of the investigative report.”

Shell recently announced it was cancelling plans to move forward with Arctic drilling in the Chukchi Sea during the summer of 2014, but it's not yet clear if they will try again at a later time. 
If Shell’s long record of mistakes and mishaps in its 2012 drilling and mobilization efforts in the Arctic Ocean hadn’t already shown the difficulties of producing oil in the Arctic Ocean, the investigation of the Kulluk’s grounding should make it clear: Shell should abandon this dangerous pipedream and pursue energy production in locations less sensitive and less challenging than the Arctic Ocean.

Read the full Coast Guard report on the Kulluk grounding

Shell ran up a long record of mishaps and accidents in the Arctic, even before formal drilling began:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fracking = Earthquakes

Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:57 AM PDT

New fracking studies conclude we're not paying enough attention to health and environmental impacts

Fracking in Wyoming
Fracking in Wyoming. Four fracking pads for every square kilometer.
One of the key problems with hydraulic fracturing—"fracking"—aimed at freeing natural gas and oil from tight shale formations is how little we know for certain about the environmental and health effects. Industry and its sycophants would have us believe that the risks are few if any.
 But the evidence is growing that this is far from the case. A new study from the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (SPEHP) published in Reviews on Environmental Health and an analysis by the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at University of Texas published in the Virginia Environmental Law Journal point out that not only do we not know enough about this process that is being touted as a welcome American renaissance in fossil fuel energy production, but we don't have the proper tools to measure or regulate it.
Here's Rachael Rawlins at the CSD:
Under both the state and federal programs, the regulation of hazardous air emissions from gas operations is based largely on questions of cost and available technology. There is no comprehensive cumulative risk assessment to consider the potential impact to public health in urban areas. Drilling operations are being conducted in residential areas. Residents living in close proximity to gas operations on the Barnett Shale have voiced serious concerns for their health, which have yet to be comprehensively evaluated. Given the complexity of the science, and the dearth of clear, transparent, and enforceable standards, inadequate studies and limited statistical analysis have been allowed to provide potentially false assurances. The politically expedient bottom line dominates with little attention paid to the quality of the science or the adequacy of the standards.
Rawlins and former University of Montana professor Maria Morandi took a second look at a state of Texas analysis of cancer-causing emissions around the city Flower Mound, where shale gas development is underway. The state study couldn’t confirm with 99 percent certainty that childhood leukemia rates were higher in the area. It did confirm with 99 percent certainty that breast cancer rates were higher there. But it concluded that toxic emissions had nothing to do with the increase. The Rawlins-Morandi reanalysis, however, found with 95 percent certainty that childhood leukemia rates in Flower Mound are not a random occurrence. 
Here's David Brown, lead author of the SPEHP study, writing in the abstract of "Understanding exposure from natural gas drilling puts current air standards to the test":
Currently, human health risks near [unconventional natural gas development] sites are derived from average population risks without adequate attention to the processes of toxicity to the body. The objective of this paper is to illustrate that current methods of collecting emissions data, as well as the analyses of these data, are not sufficient for accurately assessing risks to individuals or protecting the health of those near UNGD sites.
While the industrial propagandists and their marionettes in Congress and state legislatures like to downplay any possible problems arising from the drive to spread fracking far and wide, those problems are profoundly troubling.
 More on this subject below the fold.

It wasn't so very long ago that the idea fracking and its associated disposal wells could cause earthquakes was sneered at as extremist nonsense. Not so crazy after all, we've learned.
Bobby Magill at Climate Central writes:
[T]he gap in scientists' understanding of what shale oil and gas development means for the environment and human health is significant, said Susan Brantley, a Pennsylvania State University biogeochemist studying the impacts of shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Brantley, unaffiliated with the UT-Austin study, is among the scientists who have spoken out about the fracking data gap. "A few health studies have been initiated, but data are few and far between that allow scientists to interpret potential impacts," Brantley said via email. "In addition, the lack of federal oversight on a lot of activity which is controlled by the states makes for difficulties for scientists to evaluate or even get hold of needed data. In Pennsylvania, it is even difficult to determine exactly where spills have occurred, let alone the volume of the spill, the timing or the chemicals that were spilled."
The situation prompted the Inspector General's Office of the Environmental Protection Agency to state in a report last year:  
Recent and projected growth in the oil and gas production sector has underscored the need for EPA to gain a better understanding of emissions and potential risks from this industry sector. Harmful pollutants emitted from this industry include air toxics such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene; criteria pollutants and ozone precursors such as NOx and VOCs; and greenhouse gases such as methane. These pollutants can result in serious health impacts such as cancer, respiratory disease, aggravation of respiratory illnesses, and premature death. However, EPA has limited directly-measured air emissions data on criteria and toxic air pollutants for several important oil and gas production processes. [These] limited data, coupled with poor quality and insufficient emission factors and incomplete NEI data, hamper EPA’s ability to assess air quality impacts from selected oil and gas production activities.
Rawlins calls for adequate funding of regulators so they can track toxic emissions from fracking. “It’s not just Texas," she says. "It’s at the national level as well.” 
Indeed it is. But given the anti-regulatory attitude in many states as well as in Congress, and given the immense political clout of the petrochemical industry, getting adequate funding and improving regulations to protect health is, to say the least, a difficult proposition.

To say nothing of the impact of the burgeoning fracking process on global warming—what with the high potential for methane emissions associated with prying hydrocarbons from the rock. Fracking seems like a prime candidate for generating, 10 or 20 years down the road, one of those scandalous reports of devastating effects nobody could have predicted.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Gulf Watchers Group, Climate Change SOS, and Daily Kos.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Trans-Canada Pipeline Commercial


Indigenous Environmental Network's Videos:


 Published April 05, 2014, 11:51 AM

Debate: As safety questions persist, crude oil transportation modes show differing records

Fargo, ND - As the national debate over the safety of crude oil transportation continues to swirl, two high-profile North Dakota incidents illustrate the risks associated with moving the commodity. By: John Hageman and Kyle Potter, Forum News Service, Grand Forks Herald, WDAY
Fargo, ND - As the national debate over the safety of crude oil transportation continues to swirl, two high-profile North Dakota incidents illustrate the risks associated with moving the commodity.
More than 865,000 gallons of crude oil spewed out of an underground Tesoro pipeline near Tioga last September, causing millions of dollars in damages and requiring cleanup that may take years.
A few months later, a train derailment outside of Casselton spilled about 475,000 gallons of oil and prompted an explosion and partial evacuation of the small town. No one was killed or injured, but local officials agreed the accident was a “near miss.”

Officials representing both the pipeline and rail industries say their method is the safest way to transport crude oil. But while federal data analyzed by the Forum News Service confirms that crude oil spills account for a fraction of a percent of the amount shipped by rail or pipeline every year, neither trains nor pipelines operate without risks.

Pipeline operators reported almost 1,900 crude oil spills nationwide between 2003 and 2013, or roughly once every other day, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and a majority were caused by corrosion or equipment issues. Those incidents resulted in roughly 21 million gallons of oil being spilled, and in five fatalities and 11 injuries.
Meanwhile, train incidents spilled more oil in 2013 — 1.15 million gallons — than the four previous decades combined, according to a McClatchy News analysis. And that doesn’t include the crash in Quebec that killed 47 people last summer, a tragedy that heightened concerns over moving crude oil by trains.

Lawmakers in North Dakota and Washington, D.C., are pushing for more pipeline construction, which they say can ease the amount of crude oil moved on the tracks. But they acknowledge that rail transportation will play a heavy role in the energy development that’s propelled North Dakota to its status as the country’s No. 2 oil-producing state.

Comparing records

The relative lack of injuries or deaths associated with a crude oil pipeline spill can at least be partially explained by the rare instances of fires or explosions. Fires occurred in 22 different oil spills since 2003 — or 1 percent of the time — and just four of those resulted in an explosion, according to the PHMSA data.

None of those fires took place in North Dakota, but three of them happened in neighboring Minnesota. That includes an incident that killed two Enbridge Energy workers in Clearbrook, Minn., in November 2007.

Despite such incidents, most say pipelines are a safe way to transport oil, and spills are extremely rare.

“We’re going to be using energy,” said Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, who advocates for pipelines. “We might as well think of the safest way of transporting it.”

Furchtgott-Roth cited accident data compiled by the U.S. Department of State — in its review for the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline — to make her case that pipelines are by far the safest method.

The State Department’s analysis shows that, for every million ton-miles transported, pipelines spilled more barrels of crude than trains every year except one between 2002 and 2009.
But over that time period, more spills per million ton-miles shipped were recorded on rail. And between 2002 and 2012, more injuries and fatalities occurred on the tracks than from pipeline accidents.

“The data is just blindingly clear,” Furchtgott-Roth said.

Many of the drawbacks of both rail and pipeline are inherent to their design. Pipelines are purposely routed and buried through more rural areas, whereas trains run through towns that sprung up around the tracks.

With those trains, “the containers are moving, and they’re moving with other traffic,” Furchtgott-Roth said. “If there’s an incident, it’s liable to hurt other people too. Plus at the end of it, the container has to come back empty.”

“With a pipeline, you don’t have any of these problems,” she added.
"Spills add up"

Still, pipeline spills aren’t without costs. Between 2010 and 2013, pipelines cost operators more than $700 million in environmental remediation, and more than $1.5 billion in total property damage, according to the PHMSA data.

Some of the most notable examples include a July 2010 Enbridge Energy pipeline rupture that spilled almost 850,000 gallons into a creek that flows into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Crews are still cleaning up the oil from the waterway.

Another in Arkansas, this time operated by ExxonMobil, spilled 210,000 gallons and prompted the evacuation of almost two dozen homes in spring 2013.

Last fall’s Tioga spill resulted in $5.4 million in total property damage, according to the PHMSA data.
However, most of the crude oil spills over the past few years were contained on the operator’s property, PHMSA data shows. And many crude oil pipeline spills are relatively small. About a third of the nearly 1,900 spills reported between 2003 and 2013 were a barrel — 42 gallons — or less.
‘Apples to oranges’

Industry officials say pipelines have improved their safety record over the years. Pipelines spilled about 42 percent less crude oil in the last three years than they did between 2003 and 2005, according to the PHMSA data.

Technological advances, like leak detection and inspection systems as well as pipe coating to prevent corrosion, are aiding that shift, industry officials said. Paul Oleksa, a pipeline safety consultant in Ohio, added that the introduction of one-call systems has reduced the number of pipes being punctured by third-party diggers.

“They’re so much safer than anything that we’ve had over the years,” Oleksa said.
But that doesn’t mean most spills aren’t preventable. More than 80 percent of crude oil pipeline spills in the last 10 years were the result of corrosion, equipment failure, incorrect operation or material and weld failures, according to the PHMSA data.

The Association of Oil Pipe Lines points to data showing those issues occur less often today. Instances of corrosion failures in liquid pipelines, for instance, decreased by 79 percent between 2001 and 2012, according to AOPL.

“That reflects a lot of the work that pipeline operators do to improve safety,” said AOPL’s vice president of government and public relations John Stoody.

But many aging pipes are still in operation. The average age of a pipeline involved in a spill between 2010 and 2013 was between 40 and 50 years, according to the PHMSA data. Stoody said a pipe’s age is only one potential factor in spills.

“What we don’t want to do is replace pipe that’s OK just because it’s of a certain age,” Stoody said. “We want to apply our maintenance budgets to where the actual problems are.”

While acknowledging that “there’s always room for improvement,” Enbridge spokeswoman Katie Haarsager said the company often goes “beyond its minimum regulatory requirements.”
Brigham McCown, a former administrator of PHMSA, said comparing the safety records of pipelines and railroads is “apples to oranges.”

“I don’t want to get into which one is safer, because they’re both very safe,” he said.
‘More of both’
As energy production soars in North Dakota and elsewhere, trains have become the primary mover of crude oil out of the Bakken — an anomaly in the transportation of oil nationwide, and one that state lawmakers and regulators never saw coming.

North Dakota’s top oil regulator Lynn Helms previously said as much as 90 percent of the oil production here could be moved by rail this year.

The amount of oil moved by pipeline out of the Williston Basin steadily increased in the few years leading up to 2013, when oil prices and market conditions helped push more oil to the tracks.
And as oil production increased, so did the frequency of pipeline spills here. While there was just one reported crude oil pipeline spill in North Dakota in 2009, there were 10 last year, according to PHMSA.

But since the Casselton wreck brought the potential dangers of moving crude oil by rail to the attention of the state and nation, lawmakers are pushing for more oil to be moved by pipeline.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., acknowledged that trains will continue to play a large role in crude oil transportation, but advocated for a better “mix” of trains, pipelines and trucks.
“We can’t try to move all of this capacity by rail,” Hoeven said. “It creates too much congestion, obviously you have more accidents.”

Hoeven has been particularly vocal about approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which wouldn’t run through North Dakota but would transport about 100,000 barrels of Bakken crude per day. Enbridge’s proposed Sandpiper pipeline would move about 225,000 barrels per day out of the Bakken region to Clearbrook on its way to Superior, Wis.

Josh Mogerman, spokesman for the National Resource Defense Council, said the debate over pipeline and rail is a “false choice.”

“The industry wants more of both,” he said. “Not one or the other.”

As pipeline capacity lagged behind the explosive growth of oil production in the Bakken oil region, about a dozen rail facilities were built in the matter of a few years in order to get oil to markets.
Oil producers have found that trains have distinct advantages over pipeline, including their relative speed and an ability to quickly shift where oil is shipped, including places that pipelines don’t currently reach. And the extra cost of shipping by train rather than pipeline can be mitigated if oil prices allow.

Wayde Schafer, conservation organizer at the North Dakota chapter of the Sierra Club, said the only real solution to crude oil transportation concerns is reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
“All forms of transporting the oil are putting the environment and the public at risk,” he said.

Call Hageman at (701) 780—1244, (800) 477—6572 ext. 1244 or send email tojhageman@gfherald.com. Call Potter at (701) 241—5502 or send email tokpotter@forumcomm.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

HP ENVY 4500 e-All-in-One Printer

Product Review: HP ENVY 4500 e-All-in-One Printer
HP Envy 4500 e-All-in-One Printer
I have ALWAYS purchased HP Printers, but I'm pretty sure this will be the last....I finally got this printer running, but it was not an easy task.

1. It came all taped up for safety, but the tape holding the paper tray in was nearly impossible to remove.

2. Trying to find where to load the ink cartridges was also a PAIN..... You have to lift the glass scanner platen, hold it up, flip up cheaply made plastic cartridge holders and FORCE the cartridges in, because they do not simply Front Load... they go in at a downwards angle, which is difficult to maneuver.

3. Loading the paper is Another PAIN..... You have to pull the paper feeder tray out, load the paper, and push it back in. The problem? The paper tray is cheap & flimsy and does not easily glide in & out, it has to be pulled out with force and pushed back in with force.

4. Because the printer turns itself off when not being used, EVERY SINGLE TIME I TURN THIS PRINTER ON, IT FORCES ME TO ALIGN IT... SO I WASTE INK AND PAPER......

5. The face is dark as are the buttons, because I keep the printer under the desk I can not see the function buttons and I now need a flashlight to see what I am doing.

HP use to make their items easy to use and quite sturdy.... I paid triple for this HP printer than I did my last one and in comparison it is poorly made.

It is obvious that HP staff that designed this printer did not care about quality nor making the equipment user friendly. It is also obvious, that they didn't make this with the thought of using it themselves, for if they had it would be easier to use!

Too bad I waited two months before I opened it & set it up, or I'd have returned it immediately. The reviews that I read for this product were obviously inaccurate.....

Thursday, April 3, 2014

2nd Oil Leak in Southern Utah

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Burnt sagebrush and oil-covered junipers line the perimeter of the pond at Citation Oil Company's #11 oil well leak in Dixie National Forest, Wednesday, April 2, 2014. "The oil made its way under the snow to a pond that was directly downhill from the release," according to a Forest Service statement. "On several occasions since the release, Citation Oil personnel ignited and burned off the oil that had gathered on top of the pond and around the edges." This spill is located about 10 miles southwest of the town of Escalante and about three miles north of the Little Valley leak in the Upper Valley Oil Field.
Another oil leak reported in southern Utah
Newest spill » Citation Oil leak in Dixie National Forest is near the one discovered in Grand Staircase Monument. 
First Published Apr 02 2014 05:07 pm • Updated 5 hours ago 
Days after an unreported Citation Oil and Gas Corp. spill within the Grand Staircase came to light, the U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday a second leak from the same company.

The size of the spill in Dixie National Forest remains uncertain, according to Forest Service spokesman Joe Harris. He said the agency is unsure whether the leak exceeds 10 barrels, the prerequisite for a "reportable incident" under federal guidelines.

But it could be much larger, Harris said.

"We wanted to get this [information] out there," he said. "We aren’t trying to hide anything."

The spill was discovered by the Forest Service on March 24, but the company said it may be related to a repair made in November, Harris said.

Recently, officials from the Bureau of Land Management reported another Citation Oil leak in Little Valley Wash within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It remains unclear how old that oil leak is.

The Dixie National Forest abuts the national monument in southern Utah’s Garfield County. The new leak is about 10 miles southwest of the town of Escalante and about 3 miles north of the Little Valley leak in the Upper Valley Oil Field, Harris said.

Representatives of the Houston-based oil firm told Forest Service investigators that an undetermined amount of oil was released during the repair of a valve in November, according to a Forest Service statement.

"The oil made its way under the snow to a pond that was directly downhill from the release," the statement said. 

"On several occasions since the release, Citation Oil personnel ignited and burned off the oil that had gathered on top of the pond and around the edges."

Such burning is allowed under the operation plan for the oil field, according to the Forest Service.
The preliminary investigation has found no evidence that the oil traveled beyond the pond, the agency officials said.

The BLM and Forest Service are not adequately protecting public lands from the oil and gas industry, said Neal Clark of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

"This, unfortunately, is another example of the agencies failing to protect public lands," Clark said.
The federal agencies apparently lack the resources to provide oversight of oil and gas companies, Clark added. 

"If BLM and the Forest Service don’t have the resources to protect our public lands, they shouldn’t be leasing them."

The Dixie National Forest is working with Citation Oil on a cleanup plan for the oil leak, according to Harris. 

The Forest Service is recommending that the water be removed from the pond, along with oil residues and contaminated soil in the area.