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Lazy Media Gets “F” For Its Heat-Wave Coverage

The media’s nauseating and nonstop coverage of the (typical) summer heat forsakes more important stories, such as the Norway massacre.

Gary Kirkpatrick runs Ned’s Bar in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  If you stopped in for a cold one recently, Gary would have gladly given you the rundown of all things happening in that part of the Sooner State.  As home to the Cherokee nation, and sitting on the boundary of the wild and scenic Ozark Mountains, Tahlequah is never dull.  With so much going on around him, Gary had lots to say. 

But there was one thing he didn’t mention: the weather.  Which, come to think of it, was amazing.  Not just because he was one of the few who didn’t get sucked into the nauseating, 24/7 news coverage of the “nation’s heat wave,” but because, if anyone is entitled to blabber on about the summer temperatures, it’s folks like Gary Kirkpatrick.

You see, in Gary’s neck of the woods, it wasn’t 95 degrees for just a few days like on the East Coast, spiking past 100 for several hours (with the media hyping a “heat index” of 105, whatever the hell a heat index is).  It was a tad hotter.

As in, over 100 (real) degrees — for over 30 straight days.  That’s a solid month of topping the century mark.  And was there complaining?  Few and far between.

 Maybe that’s because many mid-westerners still exhibit the salt-of-the-earth, tough-as-nails pioneering spirit that built the nation.  And maybe it’s because East Coasters are getting increasingly soft.

But one thing is certain: the media vastly over-sensationalized the story, to the point where the heatwave was the only topic of conversation for millions of Americans. Their scare tactics petrified seniors, made parents of young children frantic, and otherwise consumed a nation, forsaking many other far more important stories.

The media’s abdication of all things related to doing its job has it fast approaching the esteem level held for lawyers, politicians  and the cockroach — with the cockroach being held in higher regard, of course.

*****

You could take any TV segment from a decade ago about summer heat and air it today — and no one would know the difference.  It is, quite literally, the exact same storyline with the exact same verbage.  The only thing different is that the hype factor has increased exponentially.

And it’s not just that the stories are mundane, but they’re produced in a way that would offend a third-grader’s intelligence. That’s not to suggest that they should appeal only to Ph.D’s, but come on… the American people are not that stupid.  They don’t require the media’s condescending, dumbed-down approach, but in fact deserve solid and relevant reporting.

                                                                                                   *****

“Place the metal fittings of the seatbelt into the other, and tighten by pulling on the loose end of the strap.” “Pour shampoo into wet hair.  Lather. Rinse.” “When it’s hot, drink plenty of liquids, don’t exert yourself outside, and seek air conditioning.”

Really?

The airlines and shampoo companies have those ridiculous instructions for liability reasons, since trial lawyers (see “cockroach” category above) sue for every reason, even inconceivable ones.

So what’s the media’s excuse?  Let’s be honest.  If folks don’t know that they should avoid excessive heat, drink water, and not resurrect a jogging regimen after 20 years (and 80 pounds ago) when the mercury hits 95, then nothing the media tells them will make a bit of difference.  Idiots will be idiots.  But the vast majority of people have common sense, so the ridiculous stories airing nonstop serve no purpose.

And really, what do we expect? It’s July in America.  It gets hot.  Philadelphia, Washington, and New York routinely see temps in the mid to upper 90’s during this time.  How is that news?  The fact it breaks a one-day record from a whopping five years ago is newsworthy? And when it breaks 100, you’d think it was the end of the world.  Is there any real discernable difference between 96 and 100 anyway?  Or 93 with high humidity versus 100 without it?

So extensive was the media’s coverage that it took significant channel surfing to find any details on the horrific massacre in Norway. In fact, just a day after the shooting which left scores of children dead and a government building in shambles, a national network dedicated less than one minute to the story. And that was only after at least 12 minutes of coverage dedicated solely to the heat.

Is it any wonder why so many around the world view America disdainfully? Here we have a major terror attack against a close ally (Norway has a military contingent in Afghanistan, and has been threatened by al-Queda in the past), and the identity of the perpetrator(s) and possible connections to other terrorists had not been fully determined. 

Yet we give those tragic events nary any coverage, instead incessantly rolling the same tape on something that happens every year — a hot spell during a typical American summer.

Compare that to the outpouring of support from overseas and their in-depth coverage of hurricanes hitting America, the Alabama tornadoes, our flooding rivers— and terror attacks, including the Oklahoma City bombing, to which many experts likened the Norway attack.

The media has reinforced what so many overseas already think: Americans are arrogant and self-absorbed, caring not about the troubles of others.  And that’s the biggest tragedy, because the reality is so very different.

The American people, as individuals, and their government (to a fault) comprise the most generous nation the world has ever known. Money, logistics, care packages, and yes, their prayers, are immediately sent around the globe whenever a crisis erupts, with no expectation of payback.  We do this not for calculated future gain, but, trite as it sounds, because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the media overshadows the true American spirit by ignoring the gripping stories of the day in favor of recycled garbage that focuses on 1) things we already know, and 2) things we cannot change.

In the same way that we were treated to the Year of the Shark several summers ago (when shark attacks were actually down), this has become the Summer of Record Heat.  Both are codespeak for media laziness.

The biggest irony is that the media hasn’t changed its ways, content to sensationalize the mundane while ignoring the real stories (READ: the ones which require an honest day’s work), yet its ratings continue to plummet. Call me crazy, but there might be a correlation there.

Sounds like a great story.  Just don’t expect to see it on TV — or this column in many papers.

Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

 Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

 Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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July 30, 2011 at 8:24 am Comments (0)

As Space Shuttle Dies, So Does American Spirit

How this affects you: the lack of a manned American space program is a deathblow to the discovery of new technologies and life-saving bio-medical research — not to mention a national security threat, as the U.S. must now rely on foreign nations for human access into space.

Say what you want about Americans, but at least we’re consistent.  After all, we have willfully allowed the demise of our nation, not from outside invasion, but within. With our full approval, the greatest, most benevolent nation the world has known is being transformed into a shadow of its former self.  In many respects, it has become a second world nation with a first-world military, but even that dubious distinction may soon be a pipedream.

The biggest culprit for the decline?  Overseas outsourcing.  Consider what we have done:

– Incomprehensibly, we have outsourced our energy needs.  Rather than utilizing our mammoth domestic reserves, we find ourselves bent over a barrel, paying through the nose to nations who don’t put exactly put America on their Christmas card lists — such as Venezuela and the Middle East. This transfer of wealth, the largest in history, only continues to accelerate.

– We have outsourced virtually our entire manufacturing base to Mexico, Central America, India and China.  When a nation makes nothing, it is infinitely harder to rebound from a severe recession, so do the math.  Our economy will be in the tank for the long haul.

-Bowing to excessive self-imposed regulations, America now relies on other countries — especially China — to supply it with rare earth elements, without which the economy would come crashing down.  These materials are absolutely instrumental in everything necessary to keep commerce flowing and our nation safe: computers, cell phones, high-tech electronics — and yes, strategic military assets.

So now that our fleet of Space Shuttles has been retired from service, it should come as no surprise that we have done what was once unthinkable.  We have officially outsourced the mainstay of our space program — manned space flight.   Naturally, we have no replacement, since that would have required foresight and common sense, so now we are in the peculiar situation of having to rely on the very same folks who less than two decades ago were our archenemy — the Russians. 

Hey, it’s great that they’re a bit friendlier now, but let’s not get carried away.  They are still Ruskies, with quite a few Soviets still in the mix — folks who don’t exactly pop to mind when contemplating our bona fide allies.

There’s an old saying that it’s not how fast you start the race, but who crosses the finish line first.  So it’s not without irony that the biggest race that mattered to this country just a few decades ago — the Space Race — has now officially been won by our adversary.

Sure, they launched a Cosmonaut into space before we put Alan Shepard there, but after that, it was all America.  Skylab, multiple moon landings, deep space probes, communication and military satellites and yes, forking over huge chunks of cash to build the International Space Station (ISS).  And without Americans supplying the logistics to the ISS via the Shuttle program, it would have never gotten off the ground. Literally.

So let’s recap.  We foot most of the bill.  We supply the engineering knowledge and expertise.  We send the materials into space, and we build it.  And now, we have to beg permission from the Russians to access it.

How does a parent have that conversation with a starry-eyed child mesmerized by the lure of outer space?

“Dad, how do we get astronauts to the space station?” 

“Well, uhhh… since we put all of our space ships into museums and don’t have any new ones, we now have to hitch a ride with the Russians.  But there’s good news.  They used to be our enemy, but now they’re run by the Mob.”

If America’s space situation doesn’t lend itself to the euphemism of a deep space probe getting stuck in Uranus, I don’t know what does.

                                                                                                             *****

By no means was the Shuttle program without flaws.  True, it was the base of operations for cutting edge experiments and bio-medical research, and it placed the incomparable Hubble telescope into orbit, opening our eyes to unprecedented views of the universe.

To many, though, the Shuttle was nothing more than a very expensive bus that flew around the Earth, dropped off construction equipment, and returned home.  And while the original plans called for launches on a regular basis, the Shuttle flew only a fraction of the envisioned missions.

Shuttle’s value aside, it is indisputable that America’s original vision for space exploration got sidetracked, with numerous Administrations forsaking that which inspired generations of Americans to literally reach for the stars.

Despite the once-unimaginable walk on the Moon occurring a mere 66 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight, we haven’t been back in nearly four decades.  Dark side of the Moon?  Still unexplored.  Manned missions to Mars, let alone Jupiter’s moons, which hold the promise of life more than anywhere else in our solar system?  Off the table. (And it’s not for lack of money, as we spend trillions on everything else under the sun — no pun intended — but that’s another column).

The resulting loss of innovation and invention has been significant.  Even in a program as basic as Shuttle, the technology that emerged was phenomenal, from materials to microprocessors that revolutionized every aspect of our lives.  Now imagine those types of advancements on steroids.  Such is the sky-is-the-limit creativity that would emerge if America stopped wallowing in mediocrity and once again forged ahead, as only it can.

And it’s not just the tangible advances that come about from a dedicated space program, but something infinitely more important.  There is an unbridled sense of nationalism, a pride that emanates from every citizen that, in no uncertain terms, shouts to the world that the American pioneering spirit can never be stopped, that nothing is impossible. For proof, look no further than the spectacular rescue of Apollo 13.

Ask anyone alive in the 50’s and 60’s, and they will mistily recount how America was completely united when it was launching its boys into the great unknown.  Were there political disagreements? Of course, but reaching for the stars made folks realize that they could rise above petty arguments, and that yes, some things were even bigger than themselves. 

Pushing the limits of human ability and venturing into what was literally a dream for 50,000 years’ worth of humankind gave Americans the justifiable patriotic pride that they were indeed special — that they weren’t just traveling through history, but making it.

Conquering gravity and making science fiction come true didn’t start in Russia, and most certainly didn’t originate in China.  The space race isn’t a sprint, but a marathon, yet the United States doesn’t even have a runner on the track.

So will America ever come out of its self-imposed eclipse and once again claim the space leadership mantle that it not just owned, but invented?

Hard to tell, but a hybrid quote from astronaut James Lovell and the comic strip character Pogo keep coming to mind:

“Houston, we have a problem —- and it is us.”

Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

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July 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm Comments (0)

Running on Empty

Americans for Prosperity is holding their Running on Empty rally tomorrow, July 15, at Point State Park in Pittsburgh from 12:00 to 1:30.  Here’s the blurb:

If you haven’t heard already, the Running On Empty Tour, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity Foundation, and co-sponsored by several local grassroots organizations, is coming to Pittsburgh on July 15th! They’ll be pulling into Point State Park at noon!

Why are we suffering when there are solutions? That’s the question and American’s for Prosperity Foundation is traveling the country to drive home the answer.  The development of American energy will make a far-reaching difference in reducing the cost of your grocery bill, cooling your house, and your commute to work.

Americans are truly running on empty and something’s got to give. Families are hurting. Budgets are stretched beyond the limit. Prices for gas, food, and energy continue to skyrocket and Pennsylvanians are being forced to do more with less.

Washington has failed to mirror our level of responsibility. In fact, since President Obama took office, gas prices have nearly doubled!

Join us at NOON on July 15 at Point State Park to learn what the administration could be doing to make it easier on you and your family, and how you can help convince them to make it happen.

Lots of good speakers, a great venue, and it’s free.  It’s also co-sponsored by Pawatercooler which makes it that much more awesome.

See you there.

July 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm Comments (0)

What they don’t want you to know about drilling in the Marcellus…

…it creates jobs.

Nearly 48,000 people have been hired in the last year by industries related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and 71 percent of those people were Pennsylvania residents. Nine thousand of them were hired in the first three months of 2011.

The average salary was higher than the statewide average.

And the rate of hiring is accelerating.

While there has been much talk of the economic impact of the Marcellus, most of it has been anecdotal, until the Department of Labor and Industry quietly published its most up-to-date hard numbers about two weeks ago.

Just for fun, before you click on the link, imagine what all the anti-Marcellus zealots are saying to refute this. Here’s what I came up with:

–All those jobs are just low-paying support jobs
–The money doesn’t make up for the environmental damage
–TAX THE DRILLERS! TAX THEM TAX THEM TAX THEM!
–The numbers in the report were made up by the Corbett administration
All those jobs are going to out-of-staters Oops. Sorry. That one’s no good anymore.
–TAX THE DRILLERS! IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN! DEAR GOD WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?!?

OK. Now go to the comments section, which is apparently for Bolsheviks only, and see how many you got right. I was four for five the last time I checked. What you’ll see here is cognitive dissonance in action. The Marcellus-haters want the gas industry to fail. They want to see poor rural Pennsylvanians stay poor and rural. They want double-digit unemployment provided they’re not among the unemployed. The problem is that it isn’t happening. In response, the haters have begun moving the goalposts. The jobs may be here, but they’re not good enough. The gas companies may be paying taxes, but they’re not paying enough. We may not see environmental damage now, but trust me it’s there. Repeat ad nauseam.

Usually this is the part where I’d conclude by shaking my head and saying that they “just don’t understand”, but I think they do understand. I’ve been working in the environmental field for almost 15 years, and I’ve seen these groups in action over and over. There is a significant contingent of people who are anti-industry and anti-development. All their talk about taxes, jobs, and the environment is just a cover. The fact of the matter is that they don’t want to see productive enterprises thrive because it empowers the individual and disempowers them. If you have a good job and bright future, you don’t need a grievance group to do anything for you. The professionally aggrieved become irrelevant, and it drives them insane.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself what exact conditions would have to exist before these groups would be satisfied. What would it take to shut them up? You could levy all the taxes and write all the regulations you want, but they’d still call for more. No amount of evidence will make them change their minds (see above). The only thing they’ll accept is an outright ban. They got a temporary one in New York State, and I predict that when that ban expires they’ll call for an extension saying that there hasn’t been “enough” study of the consequences of drilling. They want it shut down permanently, and nothing else will suffice.

At one time in history, Pennsylvania was the most productive place on earth. At that same time in history, Pennsylvania was great, and when I say great, I mean great-among-the-nations great. That is not a coincidence. We have the chance to be great again, and we owe it to ourselves to make sure that a bunch of power-hungry junior autocrats don’t stand in the way.

May 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm Comments (0)

Not Fond of the Scarnati Plan

I previously posted that I wasn’t categorically opposed to a tax or fee for natural gas extraction, but I put out some pretty steep conditions that I was looking for.  The Scarnati framework doesn’t meet those conditions.

Quoting myself:

Show me a genuine economic externality (– not the phoney-baloney stuff that’s been making most of the headlines) that is not addressable by current law, and that is unique to the gas industry, and I’ll support a gas tax/fee, and only insofar as the money never goes through Harrisburg and only addresses economic externalities from gas.

The Scarnati plan falls significantly short on those fronts.

Elizabeth Stelle at the Commonwealth Foundation explains:

It is not local. A significant portion of the fees collected (40%) will be directed to statewide programs; much of the “local impact fee” would leave local communities where drilling is occurring.

It goes beyond local impact. Many programs that will likely receive portions of these “fees” do not address any of the local environmental or infrastructure impacts caused by gas drilling. Furthermore, drilling companies are already held responsible for environmental and infrastructure damages by current law and regulations. Drilling companies are required to put up bonds for all posted roads and bridges, repair any damage they cause and are responsible for any groundwater contamination within 1,000 feet of each well.

Also, a retroactive tax/fee? Seriously? Is that even constitutional?

April 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm Comments (0)

America Needs More Nuclear Power

We are not Japan — Our nuclear is safer and reduces foreign oil dependence

There is a story about a wealthy man who sought the world’s safest place in which to build his home, a place free from all dangers, natural and man-made.

After expending a considerable sum researching such a location, he determined that a particular island in the South Atlantic fit the criteria.
The man spared no expense in constructing the most solid, fortified and beautiful home — one that was virtually impregnable.

But after planning for all contingencies, something happened for which he had not accounted.

The man found himself directly in the line of fire — of the Falkland Islands War.

The point?  Life is full of risks, and despite some people’s naïve belief that risks are avoidable, they are not. Instead, our focus should be on mitigating those risks in common sense ways while still living in the real world.

But we don’t.

Already, we have heard the calls to reevaluate our nuclear power program (codespeak for phasing it out of existence) because of the situation in Japan.  And God forbid that we should actually forge ahead with new nuclear plants, several of which have been recently approved.  That would be dangerous and foolhardy, we are now told.

So let’s get that mentality straight.  We should shelve nuclear expansion — a virtually zero emission power source that significantly reduces reliance on foreign oil from hostile nations — because of problems half a world away? 

Problems that directly resulted from Japan being front-and-center on the notorious Ring of Fire — home to 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and 75 percent of its volcanos.  And problems that, for the most part, America doesn’t have, since almost none of the country sits on that Ring.

That’s not just naïve.  That’s self-inflicted stupidity.

The United States has 104 nuclear plants in operation, accounting for 20 percent of our electricity consumption.  It should be double that number, but for decades, leadership has been sorely lacking in both political Parties, and the American people are extremely short-sighted on all-things energy.

So now that we’re facing $4/gallon fuel — with experts predicting $5 by next year , which significantly inflates the prices of almost everything due to increased transportation costs — what are our options?  We have none.

Our drills in the Gulf sit idle, Alaska is pumping but a fraction of its resources, there is no drilling off our continental coasts, and natural gas companies are shutting down operations because the demand is so low. 

And now, the stigma of Japanese nuclear problems, combined with political cowardice, will all but halt the expansion of our nuclear program.

We can’t have it both ways.  If paying less at the pump, bolstering national security and reducing greenhouse emissions are important, then nuclear power is the only real alternative.

So instead of punting away such a proven and safe energy source, America’s leaders need to show political courage by telling the people the truth, not what they may want to hear. 

And here is the truth:

1)Unequivocally, China will not allow its nuclear program to be sidetracked or slowed by the problems in Japan.  They have 27 new plants under construction, including the most advanced reactors in the world.  While we bury our heads in the sand and bog down any new construction with litigation, our biggest economic and military competitor will continue to challenge our status as the world’s only superpower.  And because of their determination and mettle, they will surpass us in a decade.

2)Nuclear power plants are safe.  As is the case with anything, risks exist, but with proper oversight and increased fail-safe measures, many of which were implemented  after the September 11 attacks, those risks are well within acceptable limits. And for those who may think this author is a NIMBY — Not In My Back Yard —there are four nuclear plants that literally surround my region.

Outside of the Three Mile Island (TMI) incident in 1979, there has never been a major accident in the United States.  And not to minimize the seriousness of TMI, not only was no one hurt or killed, but numerous independent evaluations, including a 13-year study of 32,000 people, concluded that there were no adverse effects to the surrounding population.

3)Numerous ships in the United States Navy are nuclear-powered (including all aircraft carriers and submarines), allowing them to travel non-stop at high-speed without needing to refuel for twenty five years. Not only do these vessels represent a huge cost savings and are environmentally-friendly, since they forego two decades’ worth of oil, but they are an incalculable asset to America’s national security.  And in more than 5,400 “reactor years” of operation with 500 reactors, and well over 130 million miles steamed, there has never been a nuclear accident.

4)Much of the damage to Japan’s plants was due to the tsunami after the earthquake.  A common sense policy might be to build American plants several miles inland from the sea and not on fault lines, especially on the more-earthquake prone West Coast.  While the rest of the country is not immune to earthquakes and tidal waves, the likelihood of those events occurring on even a fraction of the scale in Japan is remote.  And America’s nuclear facilities are designed to withstand the power of the largest earthquakes.

America’s nuclear energy policy cannot and must not be formulated by what happens in other parts of the world where natural disasters (Japan) or human incompetence (Chernobyl) exist. 

Common sense tells us that we can increase our nuclear-power knowledge from Japan’s unfortunate series of events. Those “lessons learned,” combined with the huge technology advances that have been realized from the days of TMI, would make America’s nuclear program the envy of the world.

Incredibly, it has taken a Democratic President to push this initiative, despite the vehement objections of his Party’s biggest constituencies.

With Republicans in control of the House and poised to take over the Senate, there is absolutely no excuse for not pushing ahead on the next generation of American nuclear power plants, which would be the first constructed in three decades.

With no end to soaring fuel prices and the Asian Tiger’s appetite growing every day, Americans should embrace nuclear power for what it is: a gift of clean and limitless energy.

To ignore this reality would be too great a risk.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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March 15, 2011 at 8:26 am Comments (0)

A Case of Gas

The New York Times put out another hit piece on Marcellus Shale drilling. No, I will not link to it. GrassrootsPA has it if you really need your daily dose of left-wing enviro-pr0n. There is also a response by former DEP secretary and Marcellus-hater John Hanger in which he simultaneously calls out the NYT for shoddy reporting, half-truths, and sensationalism while adeptly covering his ass. Again: no link, GrassrootsPA, pr0n. You get my drift.

So we have plenty of innuendo regarding drilling in the Marcellus Shale, but where are the facts? Is there any significant danger to human health or the environment posed by drilling? Is shale gas as plentiful as is reported? Will it really bring jobs and economic growth to PA and for how long? Those are all good questions which deserve factual answers, not the politically motivated schlock offered up by the Times.

The Pennsylvania Coalition for Responsible Government is a fairly new grassroots organization headed up by Greg Wrightstone. Greg is the Director of Geology for a Pittsburgh-based natural gas drilling firm and is a petroleum geologist by trade. He knows what he’s talking about, and his view is that the anti-Marcellus crowd (he calls them “zealots” which is kinder than I would be) has it wrong.

He’s put out the first of several white papers giving the facts on the Marcellus shale. Here’s an excerpt:

Estimates for the recoverable reserves from the Marcellus Shale are that it will produce ~489 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF). Recent corporate press releases reported extraordinary per well recoveries in southwest PA and northern WV and may suggest that these previous estimates are likely conservative. To put the size of the resource in perspective, some facts are presented:

1. The United States consumes some 22 TCF per year – the Marcellus may provide more than 20 years of consumption for the entire country
2. The largest conventional natural gas field in North America is the Hugoton Field of Kansas with “only” 81 TCF, about 1/6 the size of the Marcellus
3. More than 450,000 wells have been drilled in the Appalachian Basin over the last 150 years and they have produced “only” 47 TCF, less than 10% of the projected production from the Marcellus

[...]

Approximately 75% of the projected fairway of Marcellus production is located in Pennsylvania, meaning that a possible 13.5 million acres of the Commonwealth are located in the highly productive “core area”. Using moderate assumptions of reserve size and $5.00/MCF, the full development of the Marcellus may yield more than $600 billion in direct royalty payments to the parties that own the oil and gas rights including citizens, communities and the Commonwealth. An additional $54 billion in lease signing bonuses are likely to be seen in addition to the royalties paid.

For the individual landowner, it is projected that a typical Marcellus well will yield royalties in excess of $4 million per well drilled, or approximately $45,000 per acre.

$45,000 per acre. 75% of it is under Pennsylvania. $600 billion-with-a-“b” to citizens and the states. Even if they’re projections are high by a factor of two, it’s still breathtaking. It truly is the biggest thing to hit Pennsylvania since steel.

Read the whole thing. It’s pretty detailed, but facts are like that. More to follow.

February 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm Comments (0)

The Post Gazette Has Fired Its News Editors

Because obviously they’re not actually checking anything that their “news” writers submit for publication.

Exhibit one: Congressional panel finds diesel fuel in fracking fluid
The alternate headline of “Dick Cheney Makes Your Kids Drink Gas” was apparently too over-the-top even for the AP. What the article doesn’t explicitly point out is that the panel consisted of Henry Waxman, Ed Markey, and Dianna Degette, who are three of the most certifiably insane member of the House of Representatives. And the Pennsylvania connection, you ask?

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Repetz said that the state is not aware of the use of any diesel fuel in frack fluid here, based on the companies’ disclosures of the chemicals they use on each well site.

Or, in other words, not much. But it gets the hand-wringers riled up, and that sells papers. Mission accomplished.

Exhibit two: 3 fly ash sites leaking chromium into waters
This comes to us from the ever-objective Don Hopey who actually does his own writing for the PG, so I’ll give him that. The article is based on a report from Earth Justice and “two other environmental groups”, all of which, I bet, are shining examples of objectivity (much like Mr. Hopey himself). I wonder if Earth Justice mailed him a copy of their report or hand-delivered it.

Note to the PG editorial staff (assuming it exists). If you rip off parts of the report and pass it off as news you need to tell us you’re doing that or else it’s plagiarism. People can get fired for that, you know.

February 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm Comments (0)

Another New Low for Journalism

The AP brings us this bit of enlightenment:

Pa. allows dumping of tainted waters from gas boom

The natural gas boom gripping parts of the U.S. has a nasty byproduct: wastewater so salty, and so polluted with metals like barium and strontium, most states require drillers to get rid of the stuff by injecting it down shafts thousands of feet deep.

Not in Pennsylvania, one of the states at the center of the gas rush.

There, the liquid that gushes from gas wells is only partially treated for substances that could be environmentally harmful, then dumped into rivers and streams from which communities get their drinking water.

Yes, the rivers run…well…I don’t know what color, let’s say black, BLACK with pollution in the name of greed. Big Gas is coming to taint your water, steal your women, and make sure that the sun never shines again.

Or not.

Associated Press hit piece targeting Marcellus producers in PA takes months to assemble – and only hours for DEP, MSC, others to expose as “misleading”

I don’t know which is more shocking. The fact that the DEP, the Morning Call, the Centre Daily Times, the W-B Times Leader, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review all agree on something or…wait that is basically the most shocking thing I can conceive of.

The fact that the AP would engage is such a naked partisan hit-job is yet another sign that real journalism is dead. The AP and their fellow travelers may say that they’re just concerned with the environmental impacts or social impacts or whatever related to Marcellus Shale drilling, but the fact is that they are anti-growth, anti-industry, and anti-capitalist. To that extent they’re also anti-intellectual in that it is a marvel of science and engineering that we can even recover a gas deposit 5000 feet below ground and they want us to treat drilling like the villagers treated Frankenstein. And we all know that these are the same people who will cry the loudest about offshoring manufacturing jobs and our foreign dependency on oil.

These people are liars, hypocrites, and thieves, and it’s time we stopped giving them the benefit of the doubt.

For anyone who hasn’t realized it yet, the Marcellus Shale is the biggest thing to happen to Pennsylvania’s economy since steel. It is an economic godsend, and we will not see something like this again in our lifetimes. Act accordingly.

January 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm Comments (0)

Marcellus Shale: Not An NBA Player, But Key To PA’s Future

First in an ongoing series examining all aspects of developing the Marcellus Shale.

Stories keep rolling in about the booming economy in a faraway land.  Tales of jobs, new construction on every corner, more jobs, hotels booked for a year, office space — long vacant — now renting for the highest prices ever fetched, and even more jobs.  Yet despite years of growth, the influx of foreign capital hasn’t subsided, but in fact, continues to exponentially increase. Combined, all these things have created a climate so healthy that taxes haven’t risen in eight years.

As with Doubting Thomas, something this good must be seen to be believed.

So as my trip was being arranged, I was asked the duration of my flight to China, and how long I’d be away.  As to the second question, the same day.  I can’t answer the first, because it’s based on a false assumption.  I was, most definitely, not going to China.

Although solid growth and low taxes are now virtually nonexistent in this country, I had a mere three hour drive to behold the only thing that can bring Pennsylvania — and maybe the nation — back from the edge of the abyss.

Time to get up front and personal.  Time to meet Marcellus Shale.

*****

Pop quiz.

Which of the following is true:

A)    Bon jour, monsieur. I present to you Marcellus Shale, ze best French wine this side of ze Seine River;

B)    Meet Marcellus Shale, the new Philadelphia 76er who might help the NBA team win more than 10 games;

C)    Welcome to the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, and centered in Pennsylvania, where 60 percent of the state sits atop the reserves, whose liquid gold is conservatively valued in the hundreds of billions.

Unfortunately for vinophiles and the impotent Sixers, the answer is C. 

But unbelievably, there was almost an asterisk.  If lame duck Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and his protégé, failed gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato, had their way, the Marcellus Shale industry would have died before ever getting off the ground.  Those politicians wanted to impose a severance (extraction) tax on natural gas, as high as ten percent.  Rendell’s rationale?

Oil companies needed to pay their fair share.

Thankfully, Governor-elect Tom Corbett, with a No-New-Tax promise being the cornerstone of his campaign, trounced Onorato. In doing so, he slammed the door shut on the catastrophic failure that will forever be known as the Rendell Legacy, and opened a portal to opportunity not seen in Pennsylvania for generations.

*****

Corbett and Onorato were like night and day on a number of issues, but none more important than how to proceed with the Marcellus Shale. A severance tax, especially the one proposed by Rendell/Onorato, would have undeniably been the death knell of what is a mobile industry.

While Pennsylvania is blessed with a sizable portion of the highly-profitable Shale, our competitors are not far behind: West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York and up into Maine and Canada.  And Michigan, with the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, is making lucrative offers to the industry to extract Shale gas from beneath the Great Lakes.

In his attempt to make Pennsylvania competitive again — dare we say viable —, Corbett innately understood two things that were lost on Rendell.  First, if you want less of something, tax it.  Second, you can’t tax your way out of a recession and into prosperity.

But what about the “fair share” that the industry allegedly doesn’t pay?  Pure election year theatre, orchestrated in a shameless attempt to close the $5 billion budget deficit created by the reckless former Governor.

The real story?

The natural gas companies in Pennsylvania, just like all other corporations, are saddled with the second highest corporate net income tax (CNI) in the nation (10 percent), along with an onerous capital stock and franchise tax and the country’s most hostile legal system.  And this horrid picture doesn’t even include the world’s second-highest national corporate income tax rate (40 percent).

Put another way, the proposed severance tax…

Read The rest and post a comment at Philly Mag’s Philly Post:

 http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2010/12/02/marcellus-shale-is-not-an-nba-player/

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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December 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm Comments (0)

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