Archive for it’s all about money

Radioactive waste a toxic byproduct of fracking, drilling in N. Dakota

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headdesk radioactive waste fracking

Back in May I wrote, Hey Big Oil "pro-lifers": Fossil fuels may be killing babies! Today's Los Angeles Times has an extensive report about how, in North Dakota, fracking may very well be producing radioactive waste. Again, "pro-lifers," the question is: What do you value more, life or profits?

Did I mention that oil drilling and fracking are producing radioactive waste?

So you know how Republicans despise oversight? Because, freedom! Don'tcha wonder if they ever consider their fellow Americans' freedom to keep breathing? Especially those self-proclaimed right-to-lifers. It's hard to fathom that they are actually this okay with exposure to deadly toxins as long as their corporate gods make a buck.

Did I mention that oil drilling and fracking are producing radioactive waste?

Am I repeating myself? I tend to do that when I'm livid. And appalled. And sickened. But I'm not sickened in a way that will potentially kill me. No, that's reserved for the victims of Fracking, Inc. in North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state, right after Texas.

Did I mention that North Dakota doesn't have an environmental protection agency?

Did I mention that New Mexico GOP Gov. Susana Martinez weakened her state's rules on hazardous waste last year?

Did I mention that the EPA is not providing adequate oversight? That would be the Environmental PROTECTION Agency.

Did I mention that my head is throbbing from banging it on my desk?

Via the L.A. Times must-read story:

Nearly 1,000 radioactive filters were found last year at the landfill, part of a growing tide of often toxic waste produced by the state's oil and gas rush. Oil field waste includes drill cuttings — rock and earth that come up a well bore — along with drilling fluids and wastewater laced with chemicals used in fracking.

To many local and tribal officials, environmentalists and some industry managers in North Dakota, the dumping of the socks [filters clotted with radioactive dirt] and the proliferation of other waste shows the government falling short in safeguarding the environment against oil field pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency decided during the Reagan era to classify oil field waste as not hazardous, exempting it from tight controls and leaving it to be managed by widely varied state laws. Nationally, no one tracks how many millions of tons of waste the fossil fuel boom generates, or where it ends up.

There's that "leaving it to the states" beast raising its ugly head again. Republican-run states have done so well with the Affordable Care Act and voting rights. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for one thing, North Dakota situating "slop pits" of poison over "known aquifers" could be a teeny tiny problem.

Some of the people quoted in the article requested anonymity because they were afraid of repercussions-- like, you know, getting fired-- for trying to point out things like waste management failures, fear of carcinogens in groundwater, exemptions for radioactive elements being classified as hazardous waste, and for putting frackin' lives in danger. Things like that.

And then there's-- ta-daa!-- Congress:

The EPA says it cannot reclassify oil field waste as hazardous without legislative action, which, with the current Congress, is unlikely.

bangheadSee: "Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

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Maine town to Big Oil: We don't want to bathe in bottled water

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tar sands maple leaf oil Maine

Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) is owned by a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc., "both heavily involved in extracting petroleum from oil sands," per a report by the Los Angeles Times. And now PMPL wants to start exporting toxic tar sands crude goo from Canada through South Portland, Maine. You all know what tar sands is, right? If not, please scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of tar sands pipelines.

You'd think by now that impending climate change disaster and that other infamous, short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting would be a wake-up call. But no-o-o. Pollution be damned. Fresh air and water? Pfft! The health and well-being of anyone who gets in their way? Meh.

But there is a town in Maine that's not afraid to put up its dukes. The L.A. Times has the story:

On Monday night, the South Portland City Council, including Blake, is expected to pass an ordinance that would prevent the export of crude oil from the waterfront. The product of a relentless 18-month campaign by residents and Maine environmental groups, the measure is a response to plans by Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, or PMPL, to reverse the flow of its import pipeline in order to export oil sands crude from Canada, the same petroleum that would run through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the Great Plains.

"This isn't an anti-Portland pipeline company measure," Blake said. "It's anti-dirty oil." [...]

Communities along the pipeline route, from Vermont to Maine, also grew alarmed by spills of oil sands crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 and then in a subdivision in Mayflower, Ark., in 2013... The Portland-Montreal pipeline six times crosses the watershed for a major tributary into Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for the greater Portland area.

That can't end well.

One resident's take says it all: "All you need is one break, not even a huge break, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to be drinking and bathing in bottled water."

Bingo.

Please read the entire article at the link.

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Retailer: "If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that."

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retailer caviar vending machine

Unemployment continues to be a problem in this country, despite the recent good news and drop in the jobless rate to 6.1 percent. But there is at least one retailer who is apparently shrugging off and/or disregarding our nation's jobless situation. The retailer in question happens to be from-- le ahem-- Beverly Hills, California.

In today's Los Angeles Times, there's a lengthy article about how U.S. vending machines are on the upswing. And by upswing, they're not just talking quantity, but also quality. Vending machines are movin' on up(scale), and retailer after retailer is reaping the benefits. And the profits.

Even if it means laying off the very consumers who need work so they can, you know, keep consuming.

At first glance, burrito-spewing vending machines didn't seem like a bad idea. Nor did caviar-to-go. Yes, caviar. To go. From vending machines. Pardon moi, "automated boutiques." Food on the run is a convenience that is addicting to those who are short on time. So, sure, why not expand the roll of coin-operated machines that serve fast-food sandwiches, cupcakes, and pizzas? And caviar. All that easy access sounded okay to yours truly... until I read this:

After closing her Beverly Hills store in 2010, Stern began looking into vending machines. Her company typically sells to grocery stores and restaurants but wanted direct access to customers, too. [...]

The machines now pull in 10% of the company's total sales. The boutiques send emails when supplies are low and can also be remotely operated via smartphone to help shoppers who run into problems.

"If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that," Stern said. "When you have physical employees, you don't have a life. Ask any restaurant or supermarket business."

Let them eat caviar.

pizza vending machine retailer

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TransCanada to small town: Here's $28K. Now shut up about tar sands pipeline project.

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tar sands maple leaf oil

TransCanada is buying an Ottawa town's silence, and it will only cost them a few thousand dollars. TransCanada has aggressively pursued a rather unique "no comment" policy about their gigantic tar sands pipeline proposal. Why? It has to be because TransCanada knows that the project, which is bigger than our own Keystone XL project, is a disaster waiting to happen. Scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of a tar sands pipeline.

By paying off an entire town, TransCanada can sidestep some of the challenges to the pipeline’s approval. Well, for five years, anyway.

TransCanda's new PR slogan should be, "Money talks so opponents don't have to!"

Via Think Progress:

A small town in Ottawa, Canada will be receiving $28,200 from energy company TransCanada Corp. in exchange for not commenting on the company’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline project, according to an agreement attached to the town council’s meeting agenda on June 23.

Under the terms of deal, the town of Mattawa will “not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects” for five years. In exchange for that silence, TransCanada will give Mattawa $28,200, which will ultimately go towards buying a rescue truck for the town. [...] If approved, Energy East would carry about 1.1 million barrels of tar sands crude across Canada each day. That’s more than Keystone XL...

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

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Big Brother cast member: Pres. Obama is a "Muslim monkey"

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big brother racism

Yes, I admit it, I watch Big Brother and have since Season One. Sue me. Mr. Laffy and I have no idea why we started, considering we're not fans of reality [sic] shows... which is ironic, because Mr. Laffy writes/produces reality shows. (Before you ask how one writes an unscripted show: He writes host dialog and figures out how to whittle down over 300 hours of footage to create a storyline for a 41-minute show.) So anyway.

Last year Big Brother had, erm, issues. Racist issues. Nasty ones. Ugly ones. Involving two blonde women targeting their fellow African American, Asian, and gay house guests. It was not easy to watch, the viewer backlash was loud and clear, and they both got fired from their jobs. But one of them came in second and was rewarded for her on-air behavior with thousands of dollars, despite her vile conduct.

Clearly, CBS, squirming amid the uncomfortable howls of protest, has learned a thing or two and is making every attempt to improve the screening process of this season's contestants.

The Los Angeles Times:

Absent in the promotion of the new season however has been any mention of the elephant in the "Big Brother" living room — the racist and homophobic comments that clouded last season, but did bolster ratings.

Key words: Bolster ratings.

In TV land, ratings are everything. Without ratings, shows go to TV Heaven (or Hell, depending on the show), with some exceptions of course. But CBS knows better than to repeat this particular mistake, especially one that was so egregiously offensive. Right?

But already a similar controversy is heating up. Fan websites discovered this week homophobic and racially inflammatory comments on social media from new cast member Caleb Reynolds, an "adventure hunting guide" who lives in Hopkinsville, Ky. In commentary on his Instagram account, Reynolds referred to President Obama as a "Muslim monkey" and used an anti-gay slur.

CBS's response? No comment. No comment about whether Racist Caleb will be a house guest. No comment about whether they knew about his disgusting racist, bigoted "commentary." Only silence, per the L.A. Times.

I guess they're weighing whether boosting the number of more rubbernecking viewers and spiking media coverage trump prejudice and hatred. That should be an easy choice. If CBS has to mull this one, then Big Brother will be evicted from my house.

big brother eviction

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Hey Big Oil "pro-lifers": Fossil fuels may be killing babies!

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we cannot drink the water big oil frackingScreen grab from "Fracking hurts Californians, Governor Brown" video below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Melissa Harris-Perry took a disturbing look at a mysterious spike in infant deaths in Utah that could very well be linked to air pollution from the oil and gas industry. Yet, we haven't heard a peep about Big Oil possibly killing newborns from those very same "pro-lifers" who hypocritically devote themselves to "saving babies."

And while we're on the topic of Big Oil killing living things, look how their self-serving, corporate activities are contributing to land loss along the Louisiana Gulf Coast:

louisiana coastline destroyed by big oil

The Los Angeles Times has the story:

For decades, oil and gas companies cut canals through fragile wetlands with the state's approval to haul equipment and install pipelines. But scientists say the dredging let salt water flow in, killing vegetation that kept the land from eroding.

Without the buffer of these marshes and barrier islands, Louisiana's many low-lying coastal communities — and its biggest city — now have little natural protection from storm surges created by hurricanes. ... Last summer, the independent board that oversees flood protection for New Orleans decided that oil and gas companies should pay their share. In a move that roiled a state where the energy industry is the economic foundation, the board voted unanimously to sue all 97 companies operating in the state for unspecified damages. [...]

Over the next 50 years, the state is expected to lose as much land as it did in the last 80. The disappearance of the coast has left the state vulnerable to flooding from hurricanes, but it also affects the whole country. Nearly 90% of all offshore U.S. oil and gas production occurs off the state's coast, and the industry's infrastructure is stitched into the shoreline. The region is a hub for shipping and fisheries. The marshes attract millions of migratory birds annually.

Of course, it goes without saying that Gov. Bobby Jindal would do anything to save his state-- and the entire nation-- from environmental disaster... right?

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and key legislators denounced the litigation, initiating legislation that would quash the lawsuits and undo post-Hurricane Katrina reforms aimed at removing politics from flood control. Last month, the state Senate passed a bill that would allow Jindal to kill the New Orleans lawsuit by replacing the lawyers who are handling it.

Oops. My bad.

And while we're still on the topic of how fossil fuels are slowly snuffing life as we know it, remember this? Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault. Hey, me too! Well guess what, there was an L.A. Times sequel: "U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96%."

Families are already suffering everywhere, and there's more where that came from.

"What is all that money worth if there will be no future generations?"

Now let's take a look at today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor responses to those reports, because our voices matter:

Gov. Jerry Brown has displayed cognitive dissonance by supporting both climate change mitigation and fracking in California.

Fracking not only perpetuates our dependency on fossil fuels, it also releases methane all along the supply chain, which is a greenhouse gas less prevalent in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide but roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas.

Brown is trying to be slick like the streets of Atwater Village after the 10,000-gallon oil spill last week by appealing to both sides of the aisle. But like those streets, he is finding himself mired in a sticky situation, where he will need to fully commit to a side.

Californians are noticing that the governor's position on the issue of climate change is about as stable as the ground upon which Big Oil is fracking.

Amanda Grossi

Los Angeles

The writer is a field manager for Environment California.

***

I don't know why companies are even looking for oil anymore. What oil is left will be used up at some point. Meanwhile, extracting it gets more costly, and that doesn't include the hidden costs of the damage to the environment, including its contribution to global warming.

The sun produces energy; it has done so for billions of years, and when it stops, so will our planet. We should not build another house without solar panels. There should also be small wind turbines for our home patios that can help out when it is windy.

We don't need oil, and we really don't need shale oil.

Jenny Wilder

Apple Valley

Bonus insanity: House Votes To Deny Climate Science And Ties Pentagon’s Hands On Climate Change.

Via .ecobumperstickers.com

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Big Pharma accused of fraudulently pushing painkillers to "a population of addicts"

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it's all about the money Big Pharma

Big Pharma is pushing deadly drugs and addicting my home state of California. Allegedly. Painkillers like OxyContin are involved in more than 16,000 deaths every year. Traffic accidents are now taking a back seat to meds when it comes to causes of deaths.  Per an article in the Los Angeles Times, two counties are now suing drugmakers for violating California laws against false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance.

Big Pharma encourages patients, including veterans and the elderly, to request painkillers when they have everyday headaches, arthritis and back pain. Allegedly. The reason the headline includes the phrase "population of addicts" is that heroin use has also increased as a result of all the prescriptions, because it not only creates a similar high, but it's also cheaper, per the lawsuit.

The drug manufacturers say the narcotics they push are safer than they are.

not funny hahaha no

The L.A. Times:

Two California counties sued five of the world's largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation's prescription drug epidemic by waging a "campaign of deception" aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin. [...] The companies employed tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to "conceal their deceptive marketing and conspiratorial behavior," the suit states.

One such tactic involved the use of leading physicians — known within the companies as "key opinion leaders" — to spread the message to their peers, it says. The drug makers allegedly recruited and paid those physicians to give speeches and write policy papers.

Another marketing ploy was to create and co-opt patient advocacy organizations and medical specialty societies, the suit says. The companies used these front groups to promote narcotic painkillers and to write treatment guidelines that expanded the market, it says.

It was the drug makers' "marketing — and not any medical breakthrough — that rationalized prescribing opioids for chronic pain and opened the floodgates of opioid use and abuse," the suit says.

it's all about the money 2

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