Thuggery, Hype, and Reason–The Marcellus Shale in Three Acts

The demonization of Pennsylvania’s biggest industrial phenomenon in the last 50 years continues. This time, it’s not just hyperventilating environmentalists getting into the act, it’s gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato (D):

First the thuggery…

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato says he’d pressure natural gas drilling companies to hire Pennsylvania residents by threatening to withhold state drilling permits.


Onorato says he’d be justified to use permits as leverage, arguing, “I think all governors apply pressure on every industry. The whole idea of being governor is you try to bring jobs and improve the economy of your state. We have a golden opportunity here, with the Marcellus Shale find. But we get one chance to get it right.”

The problem is, Onorato’s idea isn’t legal. “It’s not what we do,” says Governor Rendell. “And you might be able to do that, but you’d probably have to change some regulations or get some legislation.”

OK–when Ed Rendell suggests to you that something is illegal, that should be your signal to back away slowly and not make any sudden moves.

Actually, this is a real shame. I like Onorato and have even had some personal dealings with him where I thought he was both fair and open-minded. This kind of thing is, frankly, beneath him, and is exactly the kind of sleazy crap that everybody’s sick of.

Now on to the hype. The P-G never disappoints. From Saturday’s letters to the editor, we get this gem:

The Marcellus Shale drilling plans of the carpetbagger natural gas interests are going to create disasters for many Pennsylvania communities.

Our most precious water supplies are being totally put at risk. Pennsylvania politicians sit idly by, doing nothing to stop this attack upon our commonwealth.

It is not a matter if such disasters occur, but when and how many times.

The promise of economic benefit to Pennsylvanians is only a pipe dream to mollify those who think such financial gain would justify the ecological risks.

Come on, people, wake up! Get our state politicos to get with it and put a complete halt to this; otherwise thousands of Pennsylvanians will have to deal with poisoned water supplies.

This is the Silent Spring of the 2010 decade !


For the love of Pete man, calm down. Zoloft. Seriously. Like 50 mg is all you need. It’s heaven in a little pill.

What amazes me is the accusations of “carpetbagging” that are thrown at natural gas drillers. First of all, has anyone actually looked to see how many jobs are out there because of natural gas drilling? A quick search on lists about four pages of natural-gas related jobs in Pennsylvania posted by one company in the last 30 days. And has anyone ever stopped to think about Pennsylvania’s long history of oil and gas drilling? Perhaps if we hadn’t driven all those jobs away to places like Texas, we would still have people living in Pennsylvania who know how to drill.

And finally, reason. Also from Saturday’s P-G:

The Environmental Protection Agency recently held a meeting at Southpointe in Washington County to receive public testimony on the possible negative effects of hydraulic fracturing on fresh water. I spoke and was received with a chorus of boos from the crowd because I presented a factually based argument in support of hydraulic fracturing.

Based on my own research, more than 48,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured to date in Pennsylvania. Other studies have estimated that more than 1 million wells have been fracked throughout the United States since 1960. Yet not one case of fresh water pollution by hydraulic fracturing has been documented. This is a large enough database to conclude that it is highly unlikely that any future contamination will occur.

Physics also dictates that fractures created at depth do not reach the water table, which has been verified in lab and field tests. Upward growth of induced fractures cannot reach above about 2,000 feet in depth — approximately 1,500 feet below the deepest fresh water. Below 2,000 feet, fractures in the Appalachian Basin for geological reasons are propagated vertically in a general northeast-southwest direction. Above 2,000 feet, the basin’s geological characteristics stop fractures by forcing them to move horizontally.

It is physically impossible to force a vertical fracture upward from the Marcellus Shale to shallow fresh water layers. And no matter how hard anti-Marcellus zealots try to connect hydraulic fracturing to the contamination of fresh water, they won’t be able to do so unless they repeal the laws of physics.

The writer is a petroleum geologist

Holy crap! These are actual facts based on real science articulated by someone who has a background in the subject! Sanity–so refreshing ™.

As an aside, I’ve met Greg Wrightstone, and he is a terrific guy. He heads up an organization called the Pennsylvania Coalition for Responsible Government. Check it out.

July 31, 2010 at 6:43 pm Comments (0)

Rasmussen Poll — Same Old, Same Old

Rasmussen Reports:

Republican Pat Toomey continues to hold a small lead over Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Pennsylvania Voters shows Toomey earning 45% support, while Sestak picks up 39% of the vote. Six percent (6%) prefer another candidate in the race, and 10% are undecided.


The new survey finds Sestak a point closer to Toomey than he was two weeks ago. While that’s not a significant change, it’s enough to move Pennsylvania from Leans Republican to Toss-Up status in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.

Read the whole thing here.

One small detail:

Rasmussen considers that at this point in the race the percentages of people with strong feelings pro or con are more important indicators than the general figures. In that category Toomey has a small edge. The two men are almost tied in terms of strong supporters [Toomey has 20%; Sestak has 19%] but only 12% have strong negative feelings toward Toomey while 18% have a strong unfavorable view of Sestak. It’s not much — this is going to be a close race — but it is something.

July 30, 2010 at 1:12 pm Comments (0)

Biros Files Nomination Papers

Mercer County: Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roberta Biros, Independent Candidate for State Senate, officially filed her nomination papers in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth today, July 29, 2010.

Roberta personally delivered the nomination papers that qualify her as a candidate for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s 50th District this afternoon. According to the election standards of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Roberta was required to gather 827 signatures from registered voters in the 50th District (including Mercer, Crawford, and portions of Butler and Lawrence Counties) in order for her name to appear as an Unaffiliated Independent candidate in the November election.

Roberta Biros’ opponent in November is long-time Republican Senator Bob Robbins, who will be running as the nominee on both the Democrat and Republican tickets this year.

Roberta Biros is challenging Mr. Robbins on a platform of Good Government. She believes that Pennsylvania needs to decrease the size and cost of government and decrease spending. Roberta supports (and has agreed to in writing) the initiatives of including term limits, support of a part-time legislature, and pension and tax reforms. Roberta has signed a “Declination of State Pension” pledge where she states that, if elected, she will decline enrollment in the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). She has also accepted the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” where she officially opposes increases in State spending and taxes. In her effort towards full transparency and accountability, Roberta’s Platform for Good Government is available through here website at

July 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm Comments (0)

Dignity and the Office of the President

It is indeed rare when I can find common cause with our illustrious Guv, Ed Rendell, however, his comments regarding President Obama’s appearance on The View today are right on:

Rendell: I think there’s got to be a little bit of dignity to the presidency.

Mika Brzezinski: What are you saying, Ed?

Willie Geist: What a horrible insult to “The View.”

Rendell: I think there are some shows. I wouldn’t put him on “Jerry Springer,” too, right? … I think the president of the United States has to go on serious shows. And “The View” is, you can make a case that it’s a serious show, but it also rocks and rolls a little bit. I’m not sure he has to go on “The View” to be open to questions.

As Jim Geraghty points out in yesterday’s Morning Jolt, since becoming President, Obama has appeared on the following programs:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The Late Show with David Letterman
Taped a question-and-answer promoting Conan O’Brien’s transition to The Tonight Show
taped a promotion for George Lopez
taped a video for The Colbert Report
taped a prime-time special with Oprah
been the subject of an NBC News prime-time special
been the subject of an HBO documentary,
grilled with Food Network star Bobby Flay,
popped up in commercials during Thanksgiving football,
filled out his NCAA basketball tournament picks on ESPN,
and now gone on American Idol. (Again.)

Appearing on The View, however, is not beneath the dignity of the office, according to Katie Couric.

“It’s not beneath the President, or any politician to try to reach out to all Americans, especially when our nation is facing so many challenges. Pennsylvania’s Governor Ed Rendell said the President should stick to ‘serious shows,’ but it isn’t about Whoopi’s banter or Joy’s barbs, it’s about the audience. At a time when unemployment is near 10% and consumer confidence is falling, daytime television viewers may be exactly who President Obama needs to reach.”

Yeah. Because Obama’s absence from the airwaves has been such a notable drain on the morale of the country. As James W. Ceasar writes in this week’s Weekly Standard, the longer President Obama holds office, the more he diminishes in stature. He has resorted to divisive populism:

With the peculiar magic of his presidential campaign now a faded memory, Obama is shoring up support by the cruder method of divisive appeals. Long before the current (already hugely extended) campaign season began, Obama made it a practice to target opposition symbols (“the insurance industry,” “speculators,” “a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” the oil companies), call out and assail individual opponents (Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner), and refer disparagingly to the Tea Party movement and Republicans in general (“this crowd”). More than a half-year before the midterm elections, he tried to revive his electoral base of “young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women” by taking a page from Al Gore’s 2000 campaign and embracing the shop-worn slogan, “I won’t stop fighting for you.”

And then there’s this piece by Democrat consultants Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen that appeared in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

The president had a unique opportunity to focus on overarching issues of importance to whites and blacks. He has failed to address the critical challenges. He has not used his bully pulpit to emphasize the importance of racial unity and the common interest of poor whites and blacks who need training, job opportunities, and the possibility of realizing the American Dream. He hasn’t done enough to address youth unemployment—which in the white community is 23.2% and in the black community is 39.9%.

Mr. Obama has also cynically divided the country on class lines. He has taken to playing the populist card time and time again. He bashes Wall Street and insurance companies whenever convenient to advance his programs, yet he has been eager to accept campaign contributions and negotiate with these very same banks and corporations behind closed doors in order to advance his political agenda.

Finally, President Obama also exacerbated partisan division, and he has made it clear that he intends to demonize the Republicans and former President George W. Bush in the fall campaign. In April, the Democratic National Committee released a video in which the president directly addressed his divide-and-conquer campaign strategy, with an appeal to: “young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again.”

Ubiquitous. Common. Divisive.


July 29, 2010 at 7:49 am Comments (3)

Huge News: Democrats Tell the Truth!

The latest ad from the Democrats does nothing but (almost) accurately explain the agenda of many Tea Party activists:

If only the GOP was truly committed to doing half of the stuff on that list, I would consider myself a Republican for life. Alas, they are far too weak to do something as awesome as repealing ObamaCare, or, dare I repeat it, abolishing the Department of Education. Just thinking about that gives me a thrill up my leg.

July 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm Comments (0)

Rendell: Obama Could Face Primary Over Afghanistan

Well, isn’t that interesting.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell predicted on Tuesday that if the president escalates America’s military involvement in Afghanistan he could very well face a primary challenger in 2012.

In an overlooked “Morning Joe” segment on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Democrat offered his distinct brand of eccentric, conversation-driving political foresight. He couched his statement about the possibility of a primary challenge by stressing that if Obama sticks to his current plans for Afghanistan — a reduced military presence beginning in July of 2011 — there would not be political insurrection within the party.

Hillary 2012?

The outgoing Governor is looking for work after all. It’s hard to get off of the public dole he’s been living on for decades. He was an early and active Hillary supporter.

Tip to Allahpundit who adds:

Never happen. There’s no draft and no real risk of catastrophic battlefield defeat, so there’s nothing to galvanize widespread support for an insurgent peacenik Democrat. If Obama stays the course, we’re likely to just keep muddling through, and while no one’s thrilled with that idea, it ain’t enough for a Hillary 2012 campaign when progressives are already wetting themselves about losing the White House to the GOP. The racial politics would be poisonous too, of course. George Bush got reelected in 2004 while muddling through in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and yet Democrats are going to bounce the first black president after a single term for doing the same — when he’s already committed to some sort of token drawdown next summer? Not a chance.

If there were a primary challenge, it wouldn’t be on the war… but on competence. Something Hillary could credibly do. Of course the war would be a part of that, but not the main part.

Rendell must’ve heard something and dropped it by accident.

July 28, 2010 at 7:03 am Comments (0)

John Barbero 1945 – 2010

John Barbero, the voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has died after a battle with cancer.

” ‘The Pittsburgh goal. Scored by No. 66. Mario …’ The way he stretched out that ‘uuuu’ with Mario’s last name, you can hear it now.”
-Mike Lange

Rest in peace, Barbero. We’ll never forget your voice.

July 27, 2010 at 11:37 pm Comments (0)

Defining Social Justice

The term social justice is thrown around like crazy these days.  I have to be honest, until a couple of years ago, the term really didn’t mean anything to me.  There is really no definition for it and it used in so many varying ways.

Which is why I was glad to see an article by Dr. Paul Kengor on the subject recently.

Most exasperating is that many who speak the language of social justice really mean “economic justice.” Unlike traditional practitioners of social justice, whose occasional noble interests ranged from prison reform to child-labor laws, many modern practitioners seek wealth redistribution, “living wages,” progressive income taxes, and an eternally-widening net of federal government power and central planning; they are inclined to class interests rather than human rights. And, by their estimate, achieving economic justice requires collectivism. They invoke social justice not to try to resolve conventional social differences as much as class/income differences.

Kengor poses some great questions you can ask your friends when they start talking about social justice:

We need to probe deeper: What do you really mean by “social justice?” How would that translate into policy? What kind of government control and taxation do you have in mind? Do you really mean “economic justice?”

I always found clear definitions helpful when having a conversation.  Besides, how can you talk or debate about something without both parties starting off with common definitions of words and terms.

Kengor cites another article that was very enlightening about the history of social justice – well worth the read if this is a topic of interest to you.

July 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm Comments (0)

Sestak: Can’t Spot a Flaming Liberal

No excuses.

Sestak, speaking at the Pennsylvania Press Club, was asked whether he believes Speaker of the House Pelosi is a liberal or a pragmatist. Sestak describes himself as the latter.

He said he didn’t know, but also said he never looks at her voting record.

No. Never.

Even Joe Sestak admits he is a true-blue liberal, telling radio host R.J. Harris only five minutes later: “I absolutely do say I’m a progressive.”

“Joe Sestak criticizes Arlen Specter’s party switch, but Joe is attempting an identity switch of his own,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik. “By any objective measure, Joe Sestak has one of the most fiscally liberal voting records in Congress. Only someone like Joe, who has voted with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time, would think record deficits, trillion dollar bailouts, and massive government health care programs are fiscally conservative. Pennsylvanians know better.”

(tip to HotAir)

July 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm Comments (0)

Arizona Immigration Law: Well-Intentioned, But Meaningless

Oh the hypocrisy.

Ever since Arizona passed its controversial law allowing police to check a suspect’s immigration status, the federal government had been intimating that it would file suit to stop the measure. 

Which it finally did.  (Although, in a moment of utter embarrassment, Attorney General Eric Holder testified of his intention to file suit despite his admission that he’d NEVER READ the ten page Arizona law!) 

And the results of the lawsuit?  Wholly predictable.

The Right is furious, the Left satiated, and, as always, common sense people are still out in the cold.

Fact is, the Arizona law, signed by a Republican Governor and a red-meat issue to the GOP base, is 100% meaningless.  Beyond providing fiery agenda-driven rhetoric — for both sides —, it’s just the latest futile attempt to solve America’s out-of-control illegal invader problem.

Why the hypocrisy? Because instead of focusing on the real issues, like building a border wall and cracking down on employers who hire illegals, the Administration is trying to score political points by hoping the Republican position alienates Latino voters.

If Obama and the Congress were really concerned about reigning in a state for doing its own thing — against the wishes of the federal government —perhaps a better lawsuit would be one against those who are in flagrant violation of federation immigration law. After all, these states are the biggest obstacle to sound immigration policy.

New Mexico would be a good start.


After we get through the white noise of Arizona’s law being one that harasses the good illegals who have broken America’s laws to get here, or conversely, that such a measure is mandatory to protect our citizens from the invaders, it would be nice to stop and actually ask the most basic question:

How, exactly, are the police supposed to check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally? What document proving citizenship will they be seeking?

There is no national ID card, and probably about six people nationwide even know where their Social Security card is, so, for the most part, that leaves the driver’s license.

Granted, not everyone drives, but it would be a good starting place. 

Well, except for one small thing.

Several states still issue drivers licenses to illegal invaders.  States like….New Mexico, which just so happens to border Arizona.

(This practice does not comply with Federal Real ID Act requirements.  The Act mandates that, in order for a license to be recognized by the U.S. Government, states may issue licenses only after determining “proof of identity and lawful status of an applicant” and “verification of the source documents provided by an applicant.”)

So when Juan Valdez is pulled over for a traffic stop, on suspicion that he is an illegal, he will be required to prove his status as a citizen or legal immigrant.

As he whips out his license from New Mexico, Utah or Washington, or any of the eight other states that until recently issued licenses to known illegals, along with car insurance (because you can’t get car insurance without a license), a sly smile will creep across his face. There will be no deportation this night.  God Bless America!

Of course, it doesn’t stop with licenses….

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

About Chris Freind:

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,

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 also serves as a weekly guest commentator on the Philadelphia-area talk radio show, Political Talk (WCHE 1520), and makes numerous other television and radio appearances.  He can be reached at

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July 27, 2010 at 9:07 am Comments (0)

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