Thursday, October 20, 2011

october surprises - 10.20.2011

Politics Written ALL Over It

According to this wonderful piece from the Citizens Voice today, it appears as though the Harvey's Lake Council has "passed an ordinance regulating all things oil and natural gas-related, from drilling to pipelines". Ohhh reeeeeallllly now? According to the article, it seems as though the borough has decided to finally take the threat of gas drilling seriously, once and for all!! ...Erm, actually, not so much. In fact, quite the opposite, as I'll demonstrate. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund lobbied hard for its passage and according to Francis Kopko, Borough Council President, it is "very comprehensive" and includes natural gas compressors, metering stations, pipelines, wastewater treatment facilities, and sets limits such as how far away they can be from structures and noise levels.

Noise levels. Right....

Pardon my lack of enthusiasm, because I want to kick the gas drillers out of here as much as anyone else who likes clean drinking water and, you know, NOT getting cancer, but I find myself laughing more than anything else. And here's why:

The Democratic ticket at Harvey's Lake for the November 8th election this year includes heavy hitters Michelle Boice and Ed Kelly. Ed Kelly has served on Council before, and is well-respected. His name carries a lot of weight in the borough and as someone who has met him and gotten to know a bit about him, I can vouch for the fact that he's just an all-around good guy and that people like him. Michelle Boice is Luzerne County's Crusader for the People: Remember that protest on the court house steps after the debit card scandal and the property reassessment debacle when everyone was screaming for Greg Skrepenak to "SECOND THE MOTIONNN!!!!"? That was Michelle Boice's doing. The informative calls on Corbett and Sue Henry that you hear, issuing warnings about accidents pertaining to natural gas drilling that, somewhere in the state or the country, eventually come to pass? That's Michelle Boice. The other two names on the ticket, who have dubbed themselves the Harvey's Lake Hopefuls, I am not as familiar with, however, with Boice and Kelly on the ballot, the Democratic candidates have a BIG chance at upsetting the political status quo at the Lake and winning the election.

This ordinance, while as a symbol a great thing with a purpose I generally support, is a watered-down response to the top issue. It's an October Surprise -- wanna know how I can tell? It's because the very same Council that just took such a "strong" stance on gas drilling actually REJECTED an ordinance in March that was stronger and more substantive. In fact, the same councilmembers that voted for this current legislation are the same ones that voted down the better proposal earlier this year.

They said they voted down the March ordinance because it would have put the borough at risk of being sued by the gas companies -- gee, way to grow a spine, everyone -- and, they also claimed, because it would have violated the PA Oil and Gas Act, even though it actually wouldn't have, because other jurisdictions in Pennsylvania had passed similar ordinances. In a nutshell, it was the borough not wanting to upset the apple cart too much.

Now, with the election right around the corner and the Harvey's Lake Hopefuls running a strong campaign, Council now decides to get its act together and pass something to curb gas drilling? Puh-Leeze. This ordinance has nothing to do with gas drilling and everything to do with the election, which is only 19 days away.

I'm not sure why such politically motivated moves are called "October Surprises" when they're all the same. They should really call them "October Political Re-Runs".

WTF Is Michele Bachmann Smoking??

Did anyone catch the latest GOP presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, NV? I had it on as background noise as I was doing something more important than watching Mitt "Corporations Are People!" Romney, Rick "Execution Afficionado" Perry, and Herman "I'll Only Sign Bills 3 Pages Long" Cain  try to out-right wing each other (which, by the way, was changing the strings on my guitar and tuning it, if you're curious). However, my ears perked up and honed in on one comment from Michele Bachmann with bat-like precision. The good Congressnut from Minnesota had mentioned that Iraq and Libya should re-imburse the United States for liberating and rebuilding their countries.

Did you pick your jaw up off of the floor yet? Here's the video, if you don't believe me, or if you didn't watch the debate:

Excuse me, Congresswoman, but what kind of drugs are you on, exactly? I'd speak to your dealer about quality, if I were you, because you got some bad stuff....

Bachmann suggested two things in that response: first, that she thinks you shouldn't expect the U.S. to help get rid of dictators or tyrants or help in natural disasters unless you can afford to pay us back every dime for it -- Imagine if FDR had that policy about Hitler -- and two, that if we go into another country, uninvited and unasked, kill their leader and shoot the place to Hell in the process, occupy them for years, and torture captured citizens in secret prisons like Abu Ghraib, that they should turn around and pay us for it... the torture-politics aside, the idea that Iraq should repay us for what we spent rebuilding their country after we damn near destroyed it is beyond-the-pale crazy, even for Bachmann's standards.

I mean, seriously, let's look at this logically for a second: Say a guy smashes his car into the side of your house, and then turns around and bills you, asking you to re-imburse him for the time and money he spent repairing the damage that he caused. What would you say to such a guy?

I know what I'd say. So, I'll say it. Michele Bachmann, "Go frak yourself".

Blythe Evans' New Video,

Candidate for Luzerne County Council Blythe Evans (R-Plymouth) has a new campaign video out, and he wanted me to share it with everyone, and because I'm an equal-opportunity liberal, I would of course be happy to. Blythe is not a partisan, nor is he a political insider. In fact, we often times find ourselves agreeing rather than disagreeing on local issues (state and national may be another story, however, but alas, that's for another time, hehe). He's a pretty stand-up guy, and his ad is very well done, I must say. We Evanses have to look out for one another, and so without further ado, here's Blythe's new ad. Oh, and also, when he's examining the solar panels in the ad, check out his awesome Welsh Flag shirt! As a Welsh/English American, I salute him for wearing the colors of St. David.

Songs You Should Listen To

For this edition of "Songs You Should Listen To", I bring you some tunes that will certainly please your eardrums from the British music duo known as Massive Attack. They're one of my favorite artists (or rather, pair of artists). Here's "Atlas Air" from their album Heligoland (2010):

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