You may have heard yesterday about how Standard and Poor’s, the same rating agency that took copious amounts of cash to cover up Big Shitpile, is now playing Chicken Little over the U.S. debt. I hope you’ve been reading me long enough to know this is all part of the big Austerity! dance:
At least one economist burst out laughing on hearing about the S&P announcement. “They did what?” exclaimed James Galbraith, a professor of economics at the University of Texas in Austin, who formerly served as executive director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. “This is remarkable! It certainly will confirm the suspicions of those who have questioned S&P’s competence after its performance on the mortgage debacle.” Continue Reading »
So 780 million gallons later, we finally know what many of us suspected for years: The fracking process pumps deadly chemicals into the earth, which can contaminate wells and other drinking water sources.
Mr. Urbina reports that “…some ingredients mixed into the hydraulic fracturing fluids were common and generally harmless, like salt and citric acid. Others were unexpected, like instant coffee and walnut hulls, the report said.”
So, literally everything from instant coffee to benzene is in this stuff. And that’s just what we know so far. Now we’ll see the industry scramble to set up “voluntary” disclosures, in the hope of stalling Congress in its efforts to make the chemical disclosures mandatory. Honestly, are we being too hard on the drillers in demanding that they tell us what they’re injecting into our backyards? Is it too much to ask?
The problems tied to fracking continue to get worse – at least the problems we’re being told about. And we’ve noted before that the NYT coverage tends to ripple through the big regional and local news organizations across “Frackland.” So this new report will no doubt usher in at least another really bad week or two for the frackers.
I would add that, clearly, a spate of state and federal laws are being broken here – even with the Clean Water Act exemption – but nobody is ready to enforce anything. Yet.
Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.
The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.
The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as “highly inaccurate”. BP denied that it had any “strategic interest” in Iraq, while Tony Blair described “the oil conspiracy theory” as “the most absurd”.
But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture.
Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.
The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.
Tax day is maybe the single most stressful day of the year for those with ADD. First, you get the “Why did you wait until the last minute?” questions from well-meaning friends (because I didn’t find the paperwork until yesterday, okay?).
I tried to file online. We couldn’t agree, so I printed out the forms and filled them in.
Then I tried to mail my taxes, I really did. But I didn’t realize that the downtown post office wasn’t staying open until midnight the way it always did, nor did they have the friendly people on the sidewalk who always took your envelope when you drove past.
No, this time, there was some huge clusterfuck out on Chestnut Street. There were traffic cones dividing the four lanes, and you were permitted to doublepark in two of them while you ran into the building to mail your taxes.
The thing is, through the glass windows, you could see hundreds and hundreds of tense-looking people standing in a line that wound all through the building. Why were they in line, you ask? I don’t know, but I suspect they had no other option, because there’s no way in hell I’d be standing in a long line like that if I didn’t have to.
So I made an executive decision. I drove home to my little local post office (which, by the way, doesn’t empty the collection box until noon) and deposited my taxes. Then I drove to the Wawa, bought a cream doughnut and inhaled it, because my overloaded brain was screaming, “Carbs! Fat! Sugar!”
I don’t know how much they’ll charge me in interest just because I’m one day late, but I don’t care anymore.