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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
March 13, 2015

SNP wants to block military action as price of Labour deal

Source: The London Times

Britain should “not pretend to be a world power” and curbing interventionism would be a key plank of any post-election deal between Labour and the SNP, the head of the nationalists in the UK parliament declared yesterday.

The collaboration between the SNP and Labour to block military action in Syria in 2013 provides a template for future foreign policy co-operation between the two parties, according to Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster.

His move comes as new Times poll by You Gov shows that Labour has made no progress in clawing back votes in Scotland.

Read more: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/scotland/article4380715.ece

SNP refers to the Scottish National Party. Westminster refers to the seat of the UK Parliament in London. The UK has "devolved" varying degrees of governmental powers to some of its member states, i.e., Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not England.

For example, Wales and Scotland have each approved an indefinite ban on future fracking, so Big Fracking is trying to bribe the UK government to pass a law forbidding fracking bans or moratoriums by any member states/countries of the UK.

One of the ways the recent Scottish vote on declaring independence from the UK was defeated, was by the UK promising additional devolved powers to Scotland.

The question of military interventionism abroad is an evolving one in the UK. Just last September, the head of the Labour Party rose in the House of Commons to speak in favor of air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. http://press.labour.org.uk/post/98458975484/ed-miliband-statement-on-military-action-against
Labour Press

Ed Miliband statement on military action against ISIL in Iraq

(NOTE: I carefully considered whether this announcement was recent enough to qualify for LBN, and respectfully request that the time difference between the UK and the US be allowed for. The press release was midnight our time.)

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, in a statement to the House of Commons, said:
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the government motion concerning military action against ISIL in Iraq. Let us be clear at the outset what is the proposition: air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. Not about ground troops.
Nor about UK military action elsewhere. And it is a mission specifically aimed at ISIL.

I think this push toward NON interventionism by the military is an extremely interesting and encouraging development. Must have the Military Industrial Complex in a real panic. Likewise for the pro-endless-war politicians and their owners/I mean lobbyists in the U.S. It appears members of the British Parliament and even entire political parties in the UK are not as whorishly for sale as their U.S. counterparts!
March 9, 2015

My rant about useless, dysfunctional Democratic committee people.

I put this post together in response to a comment in another thread, but decided to post it on its own thread.

12. Pleased to note that Erin McClelland is gearing up to challenge Rothfus

I heard her speak and field tough, unscreened questions in the last election, and she is most impressive, and ready for Washington. I'm thankful she has the drive & commitment to challenge Rothfus again. If our Democratic committee people - many of whom have no interest except going to parties and conventions - would bother to spend more time contacting registered Democrats in their wards, and making sure potential Democrats are registered, AND MOTIVATING PEOPLE TO GET TO THE POLLS, Rothfus never would have been elected in the first place.

You're absolutely right about Citizens United. The GOP/Big Businesses/corps., pour millions into Rothfus' campaigns because the Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District is NOT a sure win for the GOP. The only way we can overcome their money is to get people registered and to the polls.

My area Dem. committee people don't do door-to-door to collect signatures for petitions or hand out campaign literature; get yard signs out along the roadways or into yards; don't campaign for individual candidates; don't provide Democratic candidates with addresses and locations for yard signs; don't volunteer to be poll watchers, and don't show up at the polls to hand out literature, ask people for their votes or thank them for their votes. In other words, they're pretty much good for shit. Sounds like the same types with which Sestak became disgusted. If they're not physically fit enough (usually because of age) to do anything but sit around socializing and guzzling booze at their official gatherings, then they should get the hell out of the way. We have a huge contingent in the Pittsburgh area who are in their 60's & 70's, and they have blocked several generations of younger Democrats from getting involved as committee people.

Re their "Let's Party" attitude:

Bagpipers, street food vendors, and green shamrock T-shirts. Passers-by might have mistaken today's festivities at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local union headquarters in the South Side for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration.

But the event was the Allegheny County Democratic Committee's annual election endorsements where committee members cast their votes to decide which candidates the party should endorse in the upcoming May primary election.

The annual event draws some of the region's most powerful committee powerhouses and longest reigning political families. But though the event is steeped in tradition, some have begun to wonder if the endorsement process should be changed." I think we should get rid of endorsements," said Sam Hens-Greco, 14th Ward Democratic Committee chair. "We spend a tremendous amount of money and time on them, and there's more the party could be doing." Attitudes like this are part of the reason the ACDC plans to hold a convention this summer to re-examine the committees bylaws and endorsement process.

"We may make some adjustments, but we won't be eliminating them," said Mills. "You can see the committee people love it. Everyone's having a ball."

Look at the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation - 100% males; 17 of 18 Congressmen are white; 5Ds 13Rs; 2 white male senators, 1 D and 1 R. Then look at the statistics for party registration in the Keystone State:

As of December 31, 2014:
Registered Democrats - 4,047,193
Registered Republicans - 3,000,090
No Affiliation - 668,025
Libertarians - 47,357

For the primaries, only the Ds and Rs can vote, but come November we outnumber them by a goddamn ONE MILLION+ VOTES! There's no excuse for the fact that we don't have TWO Democratic U.S. senators representing our state.

As to the Independents, an ever increasing proportion of the electorate, this is where we desperately need committee people in each and every ward and district, pounding the pavements and knocking on doors to hand out literature and ask people for their votes. My aged knees no longer permit me to climb up and down my community's hills or trudge along it's sidewalk-less streets and roads. But I did do that for several decades for individual Democratic candidates, and it was my experience that many, many voters of whatever party affiliation, appreciated having someone politely ask them for their vote, answer questions for them, tell them the location and hours of their polling place; perhaps help them change their registration if they had just moved into the area, arrange for them to get absentee ballots or a ride to the polls.

On edit: And while I can no longer campaign door-to-door, I do arrange voter registration sessions at the senior community in my ward and district - people are constantly moving in and need to update their registrations, and they do turn out to vote. And I serve as a Judge of Elections and make damn sure no voters are intimidated by the local tea party jerks. Get out the vote, everyone!

March 8, 2015

No.Dak. fracking fields crime so high, FBI is stepping in


North Dakota’s oil production began growing in the mid-2000s, when companies figured out how to extract oil from the state’s Bakken region. Around 2010, production in the state skyrocketed, and that boom brought in throngs of workers from around the county — a population increase that, as Thornton said, also brought with it an increase in crime. According to the Washington Post, violent crime in the state’s oil-rich Williston Basin region increased by 121 percent between 2005 and 2011. Drug use and prostitution are also prevalent.

“It’s not Mayberry anymore,” North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon told the AP earlier this year. “Our police and prosecutors are going to have to adapt to keep pace. We have organized criminal gangs selling drugs, sex trafficking, and out-of-state flim-flam men coming in. And the cases have become more and more complicated.”

One town in North Dakota — Watford City — has grown its police force from just four policemen in 2010 to 19 this year. The town experienced just 41 calls for police service in 2006, while in 2014, it experienced 7,414.

“There used to be a saying that 40 below keeps out the riff-raff,” said Steve Kukowski, a sheriff in Ward County, North Dakota. “That’s not true anymore.”
March 2, 2015

Ah, that alerter wasn't offended by the word, but by criticism of a 3rd wayer.

Talk about faux outrage! And as the judge says in trial court, when overruling an objection, the objector "opened the door" to a comment. Specifically, when Rahm described fellow Dems as "fucking retarded", his supporters cannot be heard to object to Dems calling Rahm a bastard.

Hope Obama sits this one out and doesn't make another bogus trip to Chicago for an opportunity to boost Rahm's campaign. Perhaps someone can remind him that Hispanics and teachers and unions are valued members of the Democratic party and deserve a level playing field when running in a primary.

An interesting question to me is what will Rahm do if he loses, i.e,. next career step. Certainly if he is available, Hillary would snap him up for her campaign staff. Hell, he could end up back in the White House as her chief of staff. That could happen even if he wins the run-off - resigning from elected office to get back to DC where all the real action is, baby! Or he could follow the Clintons' example of starting a boutique "charity" to launder corporate "donations" while simultaneously lobbying his political connections AND skimming off a healthy chunk of said "donations" to fund a five star life style.

Manny makes the point it would be best if Rahm were out of politics forever. That is so true. But Rahm is like the legendary rattle-snake, which keeps snapping lethally even after it's head has been cut off. He will always be a source of hubris, arrogance and self-interest wherever he ends up.

February 20, 2015

Get your tickets to see Tom Corbett massacre Shakespeare: $250 each!

Look, I'm a big supporter of the arts (at least to the best my tight budget allows), and I have been very impressed with the productions of the Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theatre - but their latest fund raiser leaves me ready to hurl. Here's the email invite I just received. Basically, Tom Corbett will be performing Shakespeare at Pittsburgh's most elite private club, The Duquesne Club.

'I am writing on behalf of Chuck Moellenberg, Partner at Jones Day and Co-Chair of PICT Classic Theatre's UnCommon Pleas, an evening of legal theatrical entertainment, co-sponsored by the Arts and Law Committee, Young Lawyers Division, and Homer S. Brown Division of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. Part of the proceeds will also benefit the Allegheny County Bar Foundation as well as PICT Classic Theatre's educational programs.

The event will place two of Shakespeare’s most well- known characters, Prospero and Caliban of The Tempest, on trial in front of a panel of federal and state court judges. Former Governor Tom Corbett and Highmark Health’s Dan Onorato, will play the iconic figures, pleading their innocence and the others guilt, while Helen Hanna Casey, CEO and President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, will appear as Ariel to cast her spell on the judges and audience.

The event is co-chaired by PICT Classic Theatre’s board president Charles H. Moellenberg, Jr. (Jones Day) and his wife Karen Moellenberg, also an attorney, as well as Thomas G. Donahue (Dinsmore) and Hayley Haldeman (Jones Day).

This entertaining evening has limited seating. The Court of UnCommon Pleas will convene at the Duquesne Club on March 19 at 6:00 p.m, featuring a three-course meal followed by the legal argument.
Tickets are $250/person, or $175/person or $300/couple for members of the Arts & the Law Committee, Homer S. Brown Division, and Young Lawyers Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

Sponsorship options, ranging from $750 to $5,000, come with a host of benefits, including the opportunity to become involved in the event.

I'd never pay $250 for this, but would love to see a tape. Will Corbett speak from behind a podium? Because he moves with all the physical grace of a man with a corncob up his ass (as we used to say in the farmlands of the Midwest.) His public speaking has never been impassioned either.

And for another thing, Dan Onorato was the Democratic candidate defeated by Corbett for the governorship. Hopefully, Dan will be very impassioned and wipe the floor with Wooden Tom!

Oh, the tragedy. The Bard will be spinning in his grave! Or will be angry in the manner Shakespeare thus described:
The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,
And ready mounted are they to spit forth
Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls
King John (2.1.217-9), King John

France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;
A rage whose heat hath this condition,
That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France.
King John (3.1.349-52), King John

Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my waked wrath!
Othello (3.3.402-3), Othello to Iago
February 16, 2015

Any sightings of ex-gov. Corbett?

With all the news stories covering Governor Wolf's actions, such as rescinding Corbett's last minute appointments, and introducing an extraction tax on fracking, etc., you'd think Corbett would be interviewed for comments. But nary a quote, as far as I have found. He evidently split Harrisburg with no forwarding address.

Best guess: He's fled to his South Carolina vacation home in Hilton Head - a frack free zone, of course. I hope he keeps his sorry ass there forever. But come the first major fracking disaster/fire/explosion/spill in Pennsylvania, I'd like some photos of him ducking reporters' trying to interview him about same.

I'll occasionally google him to spot the inevitable appointments to corporate boards and "of counsel" to major law firms. One assumes he's kept his Pennsylvania state law license active, and may hit the lobbying scene as well.

Corbett failed to report the 2012 purchase of a $265,000 Hilton Head condo in the annual filing under the governor's Code of Conduct, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania, a public radio investigative unit focusing on energy and the environment.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/harrisburg_politics/Corbetts-nondisclosure-of-vacation-home-purchase-raises-concerns.html#drdqIS32w8jcOdrz.99
February 16, 2015

Physically fragile Clintons are wrapped in protective cocoon of 5 star luxury, 24/7.

They can only handle the rigors of their public and private lives with private jets, 5 star hotels, & entourages of handlers/servants. When the luxury private airline lounges for first and business class travelers, and the on board comforts of those classes of travel are deemed too insufficient, exhausting and/or stressful for travelers, said travelers either have too inflated an opinion of themselves (particularly when a so-called "charity" is footing the travel costs) or they are too physically fragile to hold any elective office, let alone the presidency.

It is undisputed that the presidency is the most exhausting, aging, & stressful of jobs. Bill's on borrowed time with his progressive heart disease; her medical history includes repeated blood clots of the brain and medical reports of heart problems revealed by a stress test.



As long as she plays this Koch-teasing game of repeated delays as to whether she'll declare, they keep raking in the $$$, i.e., anticipatory quid pro quos, for their personal speaking/consulting fees and their boutique, fully family-owned, "non-profit" corporation. If both their healths hold out until the summer, their joint, limitless and blind ambitions will result in her running. They are addicted to their pursuit of power/wealth - even when a loving couple would take their millions and retire. They are an extreme example of workaholics - I've seen the same attitude in senior partners at some law firms - they've placed their careers above healthy personal relationships w/spouses, and never taken the time to develop a passion for any other activities than accumulating wealth.

February 13, 2015

The ripples from her brave actions have spread through the years and generations.

The benefits to the people whom she encouraged to join - not only the actual participation in swimming/tennis, but the personal confidence and participation in community that doubtless influenced other aspects of their lives - and then the example this set to their friends and relatives, and to the white members of the club -----the ripples don't stop. A butterfly flaps its wings, etc.

Back in the early 60's, I was a stay-at-home Mom in Brevard County, FL (husband working 60 hours a week on Project Apollo at Cape Kennedy). I volunteered to be a Brownie leader for my 7 year old daughter's troop - actually, I was supposed to be the assistant leader, but ended up as the only volunteer. With no training and no experience other than my own years as a Girl Scout, and with my other two kids (ages 4 yrs. and 3 months) in tow, I was in charge. There were 2 black girls and one Cuban refugee girl in my daughter's 2nd grade class when I distributed an announcement of the troop's first meeting. (Because this was a Catholic school taught by Irish nuns, there was no racial segregation as in Florida's public schools.) We'd had a few meetings, and I guess the little black and Cuban girls heard some enthusiastic feedback from their classmates, so asked their parents if they could join. At the 2nd meeting of my troop of chattering and giggling little girls, one very serious black mother walked in with the 2 black girls. She stayed for the whole meeting and watched me like a hawk the entire time. I evidently passed muster, because those girls joined, and the next week the little Cuban girl came and joined. When I called the Florida Girl Scout administrator who was my phone contact to report 3 new members - she was shocked - told me this was the first integrated Brownie troop she'd heard of.

Keep in mind that Florida fiercely opposed school integration despite Brown vs. Board of Education. It took a decade and a half - Dec. 31, 1969 - for Florida to give up on maintaining segregated public schools. And since Brownie troops were traditionally composed of little girls in the same grade school class, the troops were de facto segregated as well. I don't even know if there were actually black Brownie troops in Florida back in the 60's. And I didn't know I was doing something out of the usual to mix races. I wasn't making a political statement I was just a liberal Northerner transplanted to Florida by my then-husband's job. I had been raised to treat all people with the same degree of courtesy and respect, until and unless they individually showed themselves not to be deserving of courtesy and respect. When I looked at little girls, I saw individual children - not members of a different race.

Once during that part of the meeting when we'd sit in a circle to talk, I introduced the idea of differences- and how boring life would be if everything was the same. Asked the girls what flavor ice cream was their favorite - and then said what if the only flavor we could have was vanilla? Well, no one was in favor of that. Other topics: What if everybody's dad looked exactly alike? What kind of pets did they have? Well, what if only one breed of dog was allowed? What if every family had to drive the exact same car (as in when parents showed up to pick up their kids after the meetings); or everyone had to wear the same color clothes? I urged them not to be frightened by differences, because differences were what made our lives interesting.

But the best thing I did as a Brownie leader was help a little girl whose Mom had taken her and run away to Florida from a physically abusive husband/father in another state. I didn't know anything about the girl's background at first. But I noticed this little girl was very quiet and shy, so made a special effort to put her at ease and bring her out of her shell. One of the games we played involved sitting in a circle. Each girl was assigned a word in a story I would read aloud. Whenever I read their word, they were to jump to their feet, spin around and sit down again. The main character in the story was a fictional girl, whose name I assigned to Kathleen as her word. So she was basically the star of the game. She just opened up and blossomed in that game. First there were a few self-conscious giggles, and then laughs and then she just glowed with excitement. A few weeks later her Mom, whom I had never met, called to fill me in on Kathleen's background and to thank me. She credited the Brownie experience with a major change in her daughter - from a quiet, frightened little girl who never laughed to a child who was now happy again, and chattering in class so much, that her teacher had called her Mom (also a teacher) to talk about it.

Years later, I went back to college and got a psych degree, then a NIMH research fellowship, then a law degree. But back then I was just someone who had never experienced an abusive husband or father or even heard of such things; I was someone raised by loving parents who never uttered a racially derogatory term or statement. I was just a mom who liked kids whether they were white, black or polka dotted.

My long-winded point is that the good or evil we do lives after us, and we'll never know how far those ripples reach, for good or for bad.

Here's a link to an article about school segregation in The Sunshine State:

The Board filed a motion to amend the court’s findings, but was denied the appeal on 9 June, 1969.[24] The Board then considered appealing the case to higher courts, but its attorney counseled that such an appeal would prove futile. Moreover, the Board’s attorneys determined that the county could face penalties for an unsuccessful appeal.[25] It had finally become apparent to the Board and its counsel that the state could not provide further justification for delay and that the power of the Federal government could not be circumvented. The local board now submitted a plan for total integration on 31 December, 1969.[26] After a decade and a half the Lee County School Board had accepted, however, unwillingly, the High Court’s decision in Brown.

The eradication of dual school systems in Lee County, Florida came only after constant pressure applied by local citizens, the NAACP, the Federal Courts, and the US Department of Justice. For a decade, historical and newly-promulgated measures had worked to prevent desegregation in Lee County Schools. It took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Blalock case to move a recalcitrant board away from those state guidelines on segregation towards compliance with federal law and Court orders. It also took these Federally-supported measures to move Lee County to finally eschew the segregationist lessons of the past, which had so steadily trickled out of Tallahassee, to move into a modern era of compliance with the dictates of Brown. Viewed as a case study, the experience of Lee County, Florida reflects all too poignantly what it took to move Florida from a segregationist past to an integrationist present.

February 11, 2015

Clintons pushed the most wasteful of US funded Haiti projects.


Clintons Pushed Most Wasteful of U.S.-Funded Haiti Projects

JULY 02, 2013

Roughly half of the $1.14 billion that the U.S. government allocated to help Haiti recover from the 2010 earthquake has gone to wasteful projects with the single largest chunk—$170.3 million—going to a failed port and power plant adventure heavily promoted by Bill Clinton and the State Department under the leadership if his beloved wife.

Can you say scandal? The former president, who has been heavily involved in distributing Haiti earthquake reconstruction funds, pushed hard for the power plant and port for an industrial park in northern Haiti billed as the centerpiece of the United States’ effort to help the ravaged island nation rebuild. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined her husband in the effort, making several trips to Haiti to promote the project and encourage foreigners to invest in it.

In fact, Bill and Hillary Clinton led a star-studded delegation last year to inaugurate the industrial park, located about 100 miles from Port-au-Prince, tied to the power plant and port. Hollywood actors, a famous fashion designer and a British business magnate joined the Clintons as did high-ranking Obama administration officials such as then Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Hillary delivered a heart-felt speech saying “we have been united behind a single goal – making investments in this country’s people and your infrastructure that help put Haiti finally on the path to broad-based economic growth with a more vibrant private sector and less dependence on foreign assistance. And we believe that our work here in Haiti and here in the north is beginning to show results.”

Not really, according to a federal audit of the $1.14 billion that Congress approved to help Haiti recover from the powerful earthquake that killed more than 200,000 and left over 1 million homeless. The probe was requested by a Florida congresswoman who chairs the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee because hundreds of millions have been spent in Haiti with virtually no accountability.

The Clinton-backed power and port venture is the biggest and most expensive failure mentioned in the report. An astounding $170.3 million later, it is years behind schedule, lacks a qualified engineer and has unrealistic timeframes. As a result, planning has been hindered, the report says, and “funding will be insufficient to cover a majority of projected costs.” It will take an additional $117 to $189 million to complete it and it’s unclear whether the Haitian government will be able to find a private sector company willing to finance the remainder of the project.

That means Uncle Sam must come to the rescue or the $170.3 million already wasted on the project will be lost. Either way, U.S. taxpayers get screwed. Besides the scandalous, Clinton-backed power and port experiment, congressional investigators found mismanagement of a crucial housing plan that was supposed to accommodate up to 90,000 Haitians. USAID claims it will only be able to handle 3,200 to 15,900 people at nearly double the original cost of $59 million. That means the cost per house is nearly triple the original estimate, according to the report.

Back to the Clinton prominence in all things Haiti; the United Nations named the former commander-in-chief as a special envoy to the island and his Clinton Foundation has raised $34 million for Haiti since the catastrophic earthquake hit. Additionally, the former president has distributed $54.4 million from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which was launched shortly after the earthquake. The fund closed in December after distributing the last of the money and claims that it has “helped Haitians create a better future through smart, sustainable economic development” though it acknowledges that “much work remains to be done in Haiti.”

Combined with the U.S. government money and other charities that have raised huge sums for Haiti earthquake recovery, the island has received billions to rebuild. Yet three years later, news report after news report reveals that a large number of Haitians still live in deplorable, shanty town tent cities and an ongoing epidemic of cholera has claimed thousands of lives. Makes you wonder if someone is pocketing the money.

February 8, 2015

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette bought off by Big Fracking.

Here's today's editorial glorifying the fact that a ban on fracking in Allegheny County parkland (Pittsburgh & suburbs) has been defeated. This from the same paper which endorsed pro-fracking Tom Corbett for governor in his first election. Exactly how Republican is the editorial board? Sure like to see which board members voted to approve this editorial.

This is in the same week when Scotland and Wales have completely banned fracking in their entire countries, and a push is underway in England for the same action, and while increasing studies are linking fracking to earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma, and nearby Ohio has shut down wells because of multiple earthquakes. The proposed ordinance would only have been for two years. Across the U.S., frackers are closing down wells because of lowered prices for oil. My hope is that by fighting for this ordinance, the anti-frackers have delayed proposed projects for public parklands long enough such that the drop in price will prevent Big Fracking from further parkland drilling.

Fracking has become a victim of its own success. The industry in the US has grown very fast. In 2008, US oil production was running at five million barrels a day. Thanks to fracking, that figure has nearly doubled, with talk of US energy self-sufficiency and the country becoming the world’s biggest oil producer – “the new Saudi Arabia” – in the near future. But analysts say this whole investment edifice could come crashing down.

Analysts say that while bigger fracking companies might be able to sustain losses in the short term, the outlook appears bleak for the thousands of smaller, less well-financed companies who rushed into the industry, tempted by big returns.

The fracking industry’s troubles have been added to by the actions of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which, despite the oversupply on the world market, has refused to lower production.

The theory is that Opec, led by powerful oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, is playing the long game – seeking to drive the fracking industry from boom to bust, stabilise prices well above their present level, and regain its place as the world’s pre-eminent source of oil.

There are now fears that many fracking operations may default on an estimated $200bn of borrowings, raised mainly through bonds issued on Wall Street and in the City of London.

In turn, this could lead to a collapse in global financial markets similar to the 2008 crash.

Bagging the ban: County Council wisely pans a drilling prohibition
By the Editorial Board

What began with a bang ended with a whimper Tuesday when Allegheny County Council sensibly rejected a two-year gas drilling ban at county parks.

The final vote, 13-1, said it all. Council member Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, was the only one in favor, and member Barbara Daly Danko, D-Regent Square, who had spearheaded a similar proposal in 2013, was not present.

Council laid the issue to rest after numerous public hearings in recent months allowed county residents to have their say. Credit the grass-roots activism of Protect Our Parks with putting the first citizen-proposed ordinance before council.

But, as we said in a December editorial, a blanket prohibition on drilling makes as much sense as a blanket approval. Each proposal at each site faces different circumstances, and county officials have been careful in scrutinizing the impact of the two revenue-producing deals that have been struck so far with gas drillers — exploration on vacant land near Pittsburgh International Airport and drilling under Deer Lakes Park from a nearby well pad on private property.

There’s no guarantee the county will find favor with future proposals.

State regulators and local citizens must maintain their vigilance on Marcellus Shale drilling, but county council is right to stay open to opportunities that are safe and beneficial.

I suggest that "local citizens" do not have the resources to maintain vigilance on Marcellus Shale drilling. That is the duty & function of state regulators and DEP inspectors, whose numbers and powers were slashed by Corbett. It's not a matter of "maintaining" but of restoring, and I hope Governor Wolf will be doing that. In the meantime, kudos to Protect Our Parks for demanding these hearings, which delayed further fracking in the parks long enough for the world price of oil to drop below the frackers' break-even price, causing frackers to cancel plans for new drilling and close down some existing operations.

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