Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Morning Views And News -- Part II

Coal: one man's worst nightmare:  How many people remember this: the O'Bama administration's worse nightmare? Coal. Yes, that was noted at this post back on March 12, 2011. That is more than two years ago. And the fallout (pun intended) from the  Fukushima debacle continues; it is worse than ever more than two years later.

Two years ago:
Steven Chu is the country's Secretary of Energy.

He is an advocate of alternative energy and nuclear power.

Steven Chu's worst nightmare:coal.
What about other energy sources? Big Coal won’t be very happy if Dr. Chu gets confirmed as head of the DOE—he’s really, really not a big fan. “Coal is my worst nightmare,” he said repeatedly in a speech earlier this year outlining his lab’s alternative-energy approaches.
This morning there are reports that there has been a huge explosion in one of Japan's nuclear reactors where radiation had already risen 1000 times higher than normal.  [Update: March 12, 2011 afternoon: a second reactor ha now lost its emergency cooling system. Two reactors at risk.]
And so it goes.  Steven Chu's worse nightmare: coal. I can't make this stuff up.


Ignoring the law:  I assume all presidents ignore the laws they swore to uphold, but one thing about President O'Bama. He has kept his promise to be transparent. He is very up front about ignoring the laws he does not like. Fortunately there are some who still believe in the rule of the land. For North Dakotans, it will mean another $3.2 million.

The Bimarck Tribune is reporting: the Feds "agreed" to pay the states the mineral rights they were owed. Wow. "Agree" to pay the states the mineral rights they were owed. The O'Bama administration has such contempt for states' rights. All 57 of them; 57 states, that is. If you bother to read the linked article, the best line:
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said the administration's reversal showed it had "seen reason."
Seen reason. Okay. 

WSJ Links

 Soybean, grain prices soar

Earthquakes and fracking
So much oil and water is being removed from South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale that the activity has probably led to a recent wave of small earthquakes, according to a study that appears in the online edition of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The Wall Street Journal reviewed the findings in advance of publication. The peer-reviewed study's authors suggest that taking oil and water out of the ground allows surrounding rock and sand to settle, triggering small tremors that are typically too weak to be noticed on the surface.
Environmental and community groups have expressed concerns about a link between earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing, a method of injecting water into dense shale formations in order to crack them open and tap into trapped oil.
The new study doesn't find much evidence that the man-made fracturing is causing earthquakes all by itself.
The connection is more indirect, the study found: New wells are extracting nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day and a considerable amount of water as well. Given the scale at which oil is now being removed, enough liquids are being disturbed that rocks are settling and faults slipping, causing the small earthquakes.
The cause of the earthquakes in South Texas is similar to what occurred around the city of Long Beach, Calif., last century, said Cliff Frohlich, one of the study's authors and an associate director at the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics.
Oil production and groundwater wells caused much of the area to sink nearly 30 feet over many years.
Harrisburg gives the court its plan to pay off $360 million in debt. I follow these stories here.
Harrisburg's state-appointed financial overseer released a plan on Monday for Pennsylvania's financially troubled capital to rid itself of $360 million in debt through the sale of an incinerator and the lease of its parking facilities for 40 years.
William B. Lynch, the city's receiver, filed a proposal with the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg for approval. A spokesman for Mr. Lynch said a decision could be made within three weeks. The receiver has negotiated with the city's creditors, who have agreed to take about $100 million less than they are owed, although they could recoup more money after 25 years from parking revenues.
Court approval would bring the city significantly closer to stabilizing its finances after years of missteps and the intervention of the state's governor. The sale and lease also require city council to approve legislation sanctioning the deals. A council member said bills to do so would be introduced Tuesday.
Under the plan, Harrisburg would sell its debt ridden incinerator for between $126 million and $132 million to Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority.
Why O'Bama is being pulled into the Syrian debacle: one word - Iran. 
After two years of trying hard to avoid involvement in a conflict that he fears could easily become a long-term quagmire, that has little popular appeal at home, and that his own Pentagon chiefs have essentially called a losing proposition, President Barack Obama stands on the edge of a military commitment in Syria.
The reasons the situation has come to this are many and varied, but the most complex one can be summarized in one word: Iran.
As the force behind the Syrian regime, Iran is the country most responsible for fueling the regime's fight, and the nation whose influence will be most enhanced if President Bashar al-Assad prevails. 
The timing is such, President O'Bama will leave the next president to clean up this mess.

A bittersweet story: a civil rights leader finally gets his medal of freedom. He died in 1987. 
A Quaker born in Pennsylvania in 1912, Mr. Rustin grew up a star athlete and talented musician. He joined the Young Communist League in the 1930s, drawn to what he saw as the party's efforts toward righting racial wrongs in the U.S., though he broke with the party after concluding that its allegiance was more to the Soviet Union.
During World War II, Mr. Rustin spent 27 months in federal penitentiaries for refusing to submit to the draft, in keeping with his Quaker beliefs. In prison, he led protests against segregation behind bars and got in trouble for sexual activities with other inmates.
After his release, he wound up on a North Carolina chain gang after organizing protest rides against racial segregation on buses. He traveled to India in the 1940s to study the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi.
Teaming up with Rev. King, he helped organize the 1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, AL.

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