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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
May 31, 2014

PA Gov.Corbett holding firesale on state's natural resources

Now that PA Governor Tom Corbett is facing historically massive odds against being re-elected, he's holding a fire sale for Big Fracking and Big Coal, opening up state parks and lands for fracking and long wall coal mining. The payback will be in major campaign contributions and/or post elective-office board appointments, consultancies, hiring by law firms representing fracking/mining interests, etc.

The Center for Coalfield Justice has appealed a state mining permit allowing a 3,175-acre expansion of Consol Energy's Bailey Mine that the center says will undermine and subside 14 streams in and around Ryerson Station State Park in Greene County.

According to the Washington, Pa.-based environmental organization, the planned longwall mining operation will damage and dry up several of the streams in the park where subsidence caused by the same longwall mine in 2005 resulted in the draining of Duke Lake, a popular 62-acre recreational lake. The lake remains dry today.

"First, Consol destroyed Duke Lake in the middle of Ryerson Station State Park," said Patrick Grenter, CCJ executive director. "Now, they're looking to destroy the streams that flow through the dry lake bed. When will the DEP learn its lesson and just deny the permit? How many more public lands will the state sacrifice to this company?"

The appeal, filed Friday with the state Environmental Hearing Board, seeks revocation of the permit, which, Mr. Grenter said, allows Consol to add five new longwall "panels" and mine an additional 50 million tons of coal from the Pittsburgh coal seam. The state Department of Environmental Protection declined to comment.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/05/30/Environmental-group-appeals-Consol-mining-permit-for-Greene-County-park/stories/201405300187#ixzz33ILUOcZy

And just three days after the state primary, and on the Friday before a 3 day holiday weekend, Corbett opened the frackgates to poisoning the air and water at our state parks and forests.

Groups Slam Corbett for Lifting Ban on Fracking in State Forests and Parks

On May 23 Gov. Tom Corbett issued an Executive Order lifting a three-year moratorium on fracking in state forests and parks. Eight environmental organizations immediately issued a joint press release challenging the claim that fracking beneath these areas would have “no long term surface disturbances”, see below. A ‘Protect Our Forests’ rally will be held on Tuesday, June 17 in Harrisburg. (more…

May 28, 2014

Marcellus Shale Sludge Rejected in Washington County(PA) Sent to West Virginia

Source: Tribune Review

Range Resources on Tuesday disposed of Marcellus shale drilling sludge in West Virginia that was deemed too radioactive for a Washington County landfill.

The Cecil-based company sent two roll-off boxes of material from a well pad in Smith Township in Washington County to Meadowfill Landfill in Bridgeport, W.Va., spokesman Matt Pitzarella said. On March 1, representatives from Arden Landfill in Chartiers turned the material away after it tripped radioactivity monitors.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6184655-74/material-landfill-washington#axzz32t8dkuIi

This news story broke around 8:30 p.m. tonight. This is the latest development on the story of radioactive fracking waste/sludge being turned down by Pennsylvania dumps/landfills. The Pennsylvania DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) would better be known as the Department of Environmental Prostitution. GOP Governor Corbett has so thoroughly sold out the state's DEP to Big Fracking that he has appointed political hacks from Big Oil at top spots, slashed the number of field inspectors even as the number of wells, well pads, processing stations has figuratively, and in some cases, literally exploded, and even stripped field inspectors of the ability to issue citations in the field, regardless of how egregious the violations.

The background story on this is at: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/05/27/Two-more-containers-found-with-Marcellus-Shale-sludge-radioactivity-in-Washington-County/stories/201405270162

The DEP states it is (merely) "encouraging" enforcement of radioactivity rules. “We’ve been talking to landfills and ENCOURAGING them to reject loads with radioactivity higher than 150 microcuries because we want more thought given to how we handle this and what goes into landfills,” Mr. Poister said. “It’s something we feel is necessary given the oil and gas boom.” I suggest the time is well past for thinking about how to handle this and merely ENCOURAGING the profiteers to exercise care. Safety guidelines should have been researched and documented, at the Frackers' expense, before fracking commenced and should be rigorously enforced.

Now a recent study determines that the test used by PA's DEP to measure radioactivity in fracking wastewater grossly UNDERESTIMATES radioactivity. "When energy companies extract natural gas from shale using hydraulic fracturing, they generate flowback wastewater, a brine solution that contains naturally occurring radionuclides, including radium isotopes. Because some of this wastewater is diverted to treatment plants and eventually discharged into local waterways, state environmental agencies have started to establish procedures for monitoring radium levels in the wastewater. However, a new study cautions that one test state agencies are considering could underestimate radium levels by as much as 99%." (Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ez5000379). http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/03/Analytical-Test-Underestimate-Radioactivity-Fracking.html
May 26, 2014

War Is A Racket speech by most decorated Marine General, Smedley Butler

This link is to a professional actor reading the words of
Smedley Darlington Butler, a United States Marine Corps major general, the
highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. Thanks to my old friend (and Army vet) Fran for sharing this with me.

"War Is a Racket", circa 1935, outlines the connections between war and profiteering businesses. War is driven by enterprise. Don't send your kids off to fight for "our country" unless your loyalty is to Halliburton. I mourn for all who died in wars - both soldiers and civilians. They didn't die "for our freedom" or "to keep us free" - they died for war profiteers, and General Butler spells it out with moral authority, in absolute detail and no uncertain terms.
May 17, 2014

Tom Wolf's letter to Marcellus Shale Coalition

While any of the Democratic candidates for governor in next Tuesday's primary would make far better governors than Corbett, I feel Tom Wolf would be the best. Corbett is certainly afraid of him! Here are (1) my comments in the Tribune-Review and (2) the letter Tom Wolf sent to the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Wolf is the candidate Corbett is most threatened by. I have received THREE oversize, full color, multi-page campaign brochures, identified as "Paid for by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania", containing hyped-up, grossly distorted attacks on Wolf, mostly for actions taken by Obama, like the Affordable Care Act. They vaguely cite the likes of the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation (GAG!). I was undecided which Democrat to vote for in the primary - any of them would be a huge improvement over Corbett, but leaning toward Wolf. The campaign garbage from the GOP (doubtless subsidized by the fracking companies) has solidified my decision to vote for Wolf. It DID occur to me that the GOP's massive investment in these attack ads (never seen that in a Democratic primary in my 50 years of voting), COULD be an extremely clever psy-ops, reverse psychology move. But nah! That would mean the state GOP believed in science, and that would go hand in hand with believing massive climate change is occurring, exacerbated by human action, or that the earth is more than 6,000 years old, or gasp! believing in evolution.

I look forward to the fall election, and voting for Wolf, (BA, Dartmouth; MA , University of London: Ph.D. from MIT). I particularly like that he demonstrated a commitment to public service by serving 2 years in an agricultural assignment for the Peace Corps in India and has both business and government experience. By contrast, Corbett went to a tiny religious college & had to teach as a 9th grade sub for a year before finally finding a third tier Texas law school which would admit him.

October 18, 2013
Pittsburgh, PA
Dear Board Members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition:
As a fellow Chief Executive Officer and as a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, I believe
the Marcellus Shale must be a key component of any plan for our state's economic
future. I believe we all have an obligation to get this new energy era right, and unlike Governor
Corbett, I will make sure state agencies tasked with environmental oversight are
adequately funded, staffed, and supervised to prevent reckless drilling, and that
irresponsible companies are held accountable.

And I will also make sure that if Texas, Wyoming, Louisiana, New Mexico, West
Virginia, and Oklahoma and most other states in the country currently benefit as oil and
gas companies cash in on those states' environmental resources, that Pennsylvania
does, too.

I believe this because when my wife and I bought back my kitchen and bath products
business, we turned it around by investing in people, innovating, and thinking about the
future differently. We turned the business from a wholesale distributor of
other people's products, into a company that sources our own American made kitchen cabinets and other building products that compete directly with products made in China. And we did it the right way --treating workers fairly and providing good benefits. We even return twenty to thirty
percent of all of our company's profits back to the workers -- because their work is what
truly makes my company successful.

I have no doubt that the natural gas operations of your companies are likewise
successful because of the leadership of your management teams, the innovation of
your engineers, and the hard work of your employees who work the drilling rigs.
But what also makes these operations successful is access to abundant recoverable
natural gas and direct access to the biggest markets in the world --and only
Pennsylvania offers businesses both. That's what makes us the Keystone State.
If done right and if its benefits are broadly shared, continued development of natural
gas is a bridge to a clean energy future and will allow Pennsylvania to have good
-paying energy jobs; a safe and secure environment; and the ability to make critical
investments in education, health care, and safe, reliable infrastructure.
Texas, Wyoming, Louisiana, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Oklahoma are just a few
of the places that use a severance tax to ensure that a fair portion of the profits from
their natural resources are used to fund key priorities. In fact, Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state that doesn't accomplish this with a severance tax.

Unfortunately, the Marcellus Shale Coalition recently issued a press release that
misrepresents basic economic facts about a severance tax,
while also stoking
unwarranted fears about job loss in a state that is too slowly recovering from the
economic recession. While it is true that Pennsylvania's corporate tax structure and corporate net income tax is one of the highest in the entire country, and we need to make our tax system fairer, few companies engaged in natural gas drilling pay corporate taxes thanks to loopholes.
According to a recent New York Times article, more than two thirds of the companies in
the Marcellus Shale Coalition are registered to a single address in Wilmington,

Delaware. And in 2008, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center found that only 15
percent of gas companies actually paid Corporate Net Income taxes to the
In addition to avoiding corporate taxes, it has also been alleged in the
Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Marcellus Shale Coalition members have been picking the pockets of landowners by drawing up leases that deduct impact fees from royalty payments in
direct violation of Pennsylvania law.
While many Marcellus Shale Coalition members act responsibly and want to share in the benefits of this remarkable natural resource, it seems that others may be more interested in cutting corners to increase profits at the expense of taxpayers, landowners, and the environment.

From January 2009 through June 2012, the top five fracking operators in Pennsylvania
were Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, Shell Western, Talisman Energy, and
Anadarko--all of which are headquartered outside of the state. And according to
NPR's StateImpact Project these five companies were responsible for 1,786 en
vironmental violations totaling $2,548,156 in fines--or fifty-two percent of both the
total number of violations and total dollar amount fined for all operators
.So let's end the empty rhetoric that gets us nowhere--and let's get to work on how best to share in the benefits of the Marcellus Shale to move both business and Pennsylvania forward. And if you think differently about a severance tax, it's easy to see how it will help boost demand for natural gas products--and thus increase profits for gas companies such as yours --by providing the state of Pennsylvania with the incentive and the revenue it needs to help build the natural gas infrastructure of tomorrow.
Tom Wolf

May 17, 2014

Websites Throttle FCC Staffers to Protest Gutting of Net Neutrality


People worry that new rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission will allow internet service providers like Comcast or Time Warner to throttle download speeds for the next YouTube or Netflix. And some are actively pushing back against the FCC through the press and political channels. But that’s not the only way to protest the commission’s new rules. Various companies and organizations have added code to their websites that kicks in whenever there’s a visit from someone who works at the FCC. While everyone else is enjoying these websites at ordinary broadband speeds, this code ensures that FCC staffers view them at dial-up speeds reminiscent of the 1990s.

The online protest is the brainchild of Kyle Drake, a Portland-based software developer. “If it bothers you that I’m doing this, I want to point out that everyone is going to be doing crap like this after the FCC rips apart Net Neutrality,” Drake wrote on his blog. He posted the code to his website on May 9, saying he would throttle the FCC’s bandwidth until the agency paid him $1,000 per year to get what he calls his “Ferengi plan,” a tip of the hat to the unscrupulous money-grubbing Star Trek aliens. Now countless others are using his code.

Drake’s code works with the popular Nginx web server, and now there’s a version for Apache, too. The software doesn’t actually slow the FCC’s internet. It merely serves webpages to the agency much more slowly, after checking a visitor’s IP address against a list of known FCC addresses.

Earlier this week, MaxCDN, a web service provider, rolled Drake’s code into its web management console, so any of its customers can throttle the FCC with the click of a button. So far, more than 130 have done so, says Justin Dorfman, the company’s director of developer relations. “We could have written a ‘me too’ blog post saying ‘MaxCDN supports Net Neutrality — blah, blah, blah,’” he explains. “But we decided this was a way to raise awareness of this issue, not only to our customers but anyone with an Nginx server who wanted to do the same.”
May 16, 2014

Bill C.charges up to $750,000 per speech-Clintons solidly in 1 %

While HC was Secretary of State, she had to disclose amounts & sources of her husband's income on govt. employee financial disclosure forms. That's where all the details in this 2013 article come from. Now, and for as long as she is not a declared candidate for president, the Clintons' speechifying and all other income sources remain confidential - between them & the IRS. The details are almost impossible to believe - he was paid over $200,000 by a financially failing "non-profit" hospital. A newspaper publishing company in Nigeria paid him $700,000 each for speeches in two successive years - 2011 and 2012. Any politically cognizant person can draw conclusions about what quid pro quos are expected by domestic and foreign special interests groups and businesses in anticipation of Bill Clinton's wife being elected president.


As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarks on her new career as a paid speaker, she joins a lucrative family business that already has earned her husband more than $100 million since leaving office in 2001.

According to a CNN analysis of 12 years of federal financial records, former President Bill Clinton had his most active and profitable year on the lecture circuit in 2012, delivering 73 speeches for $17 million from mid-January 2012 through mid-January 2013. That brought his total haul in speaking fees since leaving the White House to $106 million. His previous record for annual speech income was $13.4 million in 2011.

As in previous years, the former president's highest-paying events were held overseas. He earned $5.2 million last year for 15 speeches given in 12 countries. The most lucrative was a February speech to a local newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria, for which he received $700,000. He addressed the same group in 2011 for the same amount. He earned an additional $150,000 for a June speech delivered via satellite to an audience in Australia, while on a speaking tour in Florida. The remainder of his 2012 speech income was earned before domestic audiences in 15 states and the District of Columbia.


02/18/13 6:08 AM EDT

EXCLUSIVE: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hit the paid speaking circuit this spring (likely April or May) and has selected the Harry Walker Agency, which represents President Clinton, as her agent. Industry officials expect that she will be one of the highest paid speakers in the history of the circuit, with fees well into the six figures in the United States and abroad.

]Bill Clinton has earned a whopping $500,000 speaking advance to deliver a 45 minute speech at the 90th birthday bash for Israeli President Shimon Peres — putting Clinton’s price tag at roughly $11,100 per minute.
In 2011, records show Clinton’s most lucrative events were overseas. He earned $750,000 in November 2011 to travel to Hong Kong to speak to employees at the Swedish-based telecom giant Ericsson. That year, he also earned $700,000 for an appearance at a newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria, and $550,000 for a speech to a business conference in Shanghai, China.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-clinton-paid-500-000-speaking-advance-45-minute-speech-earning-11-100-minute-article-1.1361928#ixzz31uB4y4ch

Bill Clinton accepted a $225,000 speaking fee from the nonprofit Washington Hospital Center smack in the middle of two big rounds of layoffs in 2012 — one of a number of tax-exempt organizations that have paid big money to hear the former president talk.

The $225,000 payment wasn’t made public by the hospital on its annual Internal Revenue Service forms, but rather appeared among dozens of lucrative speeches by Mr. Clinton reported on his wife’s final ethics filing as secretary of state.

“No disrespect to Bill Clinton, but that money could’ve gone a long way and been put to better use,” said Dan Fields Jr., president of the Service Employees International Union Local 722 representing hospital workers. “Our contract expires on June 30, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to come to the table and talk about how they’re losing money, so this concerns me greatly.”

The hospital is hardly the only 501(c)(3) organization to shell out big money to hear Mr. Clinton speak. The Naples Philharmonic Center in Florida paid Mr. Clinton $200,000. Later, the nonprofit filed IRS forms showing that it lost $338,000 in overall revenue of about $24 million that same year. Another organization listed on Mrs. Clinton’s ethics form, the Bushnell Center, shelled out a six-figure check to Mr. Clinton. IRS forms show it reported a $1.8 million deficit during the same tax year it hired the former president.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/6/bill-clinton-cashes-in-on-nonprofit-hospital/#ixzz31uDdyZfU
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
May 8, 2014

You claimed a lot, but failed to provide ANY proof of what you do.

You therefore have no right, that's none-zero-nada to make any insulting presumptions about Manny, me or anyone else with whom you disagree. But in your grand tradition of undocumented claims, and because the last thing I would do is provide my name to your cohort, here are some my lifelong bona fides.

I've campaigned for Democrats in every election since JFK (heard him speak at my university as an undergrad), i.e. knocked on doors, collected signatures for nominating petitions, worked the polls, and phone banked for local, state and federal candidates; had an uncle who was state party chair for many years (his obit described him as "Mr. Democrat"/I have a treasured photo of him with JFK in the Oval Office); was a guest at Clinton's first inauguration (one of my kids worked for the DNC and the inauguration committee), have served as both appointed board member and an elected official in my local government for the 10 years since I retired from working for the State House Democratic Caucus.

But most important of all, grasshopper, I have never sold out the political values of my grandparents, parents, and, I'm proud to say,my adult children, to the centrists/corporatists/Third Way bunch. I am sickened and disgusted at any Dem. who supports candidates who sell out their constituents to Big Money interests/lobbyists/ and/or appoint Wall Street oligarchs to state or federal cabinet positions. Obviously you and I are on different sides of the present split in the Democratic party. You may wish all we progressives would shut up and go away, but we're Democrats and we're staying to fight and return the party to its roots.

And that's all she wrote!

May 8, 2014

Dem.Rep. Readshaw's daughter tries to run over Planned Parenthood demonstrators.

Due to redistricting, Readshaw is running in the primary against another sitting Democratic state representative. After reading this account I hope anyone in this House District will support his primary opponent, Erin Molchany.

The article details how Readshaw often votes with the Republican caucus. I saw this when I worked for the Dem. Caucus in the state house for 10 years - 1993 to 2003. Readshaw was one of a quartet of Democratic state reps - forerunners of the Blue Dogs - who repeatedly sold their block of 4 votes to the Republican caucus leadership to either block Dem. initiatives, or support GOP ones. The other 3 were Joe Markosek of Monroeville, Ralph Kaiser, and Dave Mayernik. The latter two were eventually pushed out of office in 2002, by Dem. leadership, when districts were re-drawn. Markosek through his seniority is now in leadership so he's behaving himself.


Part One: Assaulting Women's Health Care Rights

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates PAC organized the event. More than two dozen activists and constituents demonstrated at Readshaw's (D-Allegheny County) Pittsburgh office for 31 minutes, representing his 31 repressive votes against women's reproductive health. A handful of constituents spoke against his extreme record of compelling government to interfere with women's personal health care decisions and its harm to their lives. The crowd included members of Organizing for America, the National Organization for Women, the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, Service Employees International Union, and supporters of Erin Molchany, his primary election opponent.

Readshaw has represented Pennsylvania's 36th legislative district since 1995 and calls himself a Democrat. But he's joined with PA Republican Governor Tom Corbett and the GOP in 38 other states to pass unconstitutional restrictions on abortion, prohibit private insurance coverage for abortions, mandate oppressive building code and staffing standards for abortion clinics, and more. In 2011, he introduced a bill which would have required any woman seeking an abortion to undergo a medically useless ultrasound procedure, and would have forced the woman to view that ultrasound image against her will. It's all part of the Republican Party's campaign against women's health.

We demonstrated to bring attention to Readshaw's abysmal record of callous disregard for women's health and women's rights.

Part Two: Assaulting Women's Health Care Advocates

I've been to hundreds of demonstrations in my lifetime. This began as a pretty standard event. We circled the sidewalk in front of Readshaw's office until a woman in a large SUV backed up along the curb, nearly hitting some protestors and reporters. Jeanne Clark, a longtime Pittsburgh activist, walked to the driver's window and said "Stop. There are people behind you." The driver said "You don't care about killing babies", and she did it again. Deliberately. She sat in the car screeching "Abortion is murder." Apparently, she doesn't have a problem with vehicular homicide or critical injury. Pro-life my ass.

We learned that the woman is Megan Readshaw Perfetti, Harry Readshaw's DAUGHTER.
Perfetti is a health teacher and coordinates the health education curriculum for the Pittsburgh Public Schools. I guess she doesn't think women need health care.

Before the event even began, a man from the business next door strongly objected to our presence. He shouted that he was calling the police. No one cared, since we were protesting legally. A Pittsburgh Police car arrived a few minutes later, after Perfetti's stunt, and sat in a parking space across the street. Perfetti walked over to talk to the officer. I don't know what they discussed, since she was clearly the only person committing a crime at the time, but the officer never left his car. He drove away as the event ended.

During the entire demonstration, the nasty neighbor tried valiantly to trip several of us, including me, with his broom while "sweeping the sidewalk" where we were walking. When I took his picture during one confrontation, he grabbed my camera, which was on a strap around my neck. He let go and slunk away when I shouted at him.

May 1, 2014

Vet kept supposedly euthanized dog alive - used it as blood donor

Six months ago, a family in Texas was advised by a vet that their four year old dog was suffering from a degenerative spinal defect and needed to be put to sleep. Just last week, the family were contacted by a vet technician who told them she'd quit working at the clinic because animals were being abused, and that the family pet wasn't dead, but was being kept alive to be used as a blood donor for other dogs.

Marian and her husband immediately sprang into action and went to the vet to rescue Sid. While her husband distracted the receptionist and friends stood as lookouts, Marian hunted for their pup. He was found in a cage in a back room and happily jumped into her minivan.

The Harrises whisked Sid away to another animal hospital, where he was said to be fine. But the vet there noticed something: Sid showed signs of blood transfusions.

Jim Eggleston, the Harrises attorney, tells the Telegram that Sid was used as a blood donor and to test experimental treatments. He has heard that it may have happened to other dogs and some cats, too.

The vet has been arrested and other animals rescued from his facility.

Read more: http://blog.triblive.com/thisjustin/2014/04/30/family-says-dead-dog-alive-used-as-blood-donor/#ixzz30RGbteJi

Authorities raided a popular veterinary clinic Tuesday morning after a family’s shocking discovery that their pet that they thought was euthanized was kept alive.

The family alleges that a veterinarian at the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic kept their dog, Sid, alive for six months. Sid’s owner, Marian Harris said she gave Dr. Lou Tierce permission to put the four-year-old Leonberger down last October due to health problems. But eight days ago, Harris received a disturbing phone call from a former employee of the animal clinic. The employee told her that Sid was still alive, imprisoned in a cage.

“The betrayal is so incredibly intense that nothing you have prepares you for the emotions. There’s anger, there’s joy that you have your dog back, there’s betrayal of this intense trust. And so it’s just really hard to camp on one particular emotion,” said Harris.

Harris and her husband said they marched into the clinic and found Sid living inside a cage in a back room. “He was able to walk and jump in the back of my minivan so it was an excitement to be reunited,” said Harris.

Also, http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/04/29/dog-kept-alive-months-after-supposed-euthanization/

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