Tag Archive for longmont

Falling Through the Cracks

STOP ROMNEY!

The 1% are the real poor – spiritually bankrupt.

From my years of work in providing care for disabled people. I am well aware of the number of people who “fall through the cracks” of our vaunted welfare system. When one is disabled and cannot work, for whatever reason, it is “the Christian thing to do” for society to help them avoid the inevitable ruin for them and their families. However, for many the system as it currently exists falls far short of that target.

One family man of my acquaintance has fallen through that proverbial crack and, as the result his very life and the continuation of his whole family is endangered. As the result of construction work injuries that broke his back, coupled with the extreme hard physical effort expended in working as a roustabout in the gas fields, he could no longer do that kind of work and had to give it up.

As a man who was only in his thirties, he determined to make a living by doing odd jobs, which he did for a period of years as his health continued to decline. As the recession crept up, it was harder to make enough money to support his family so his wife of twenty years began working in the office of a provider of services for the disabled and, for a few years, made enough money to sustain the family while he played “Mr. Mom” for their two sons and worked part time at any odd jobs he could get.

They managed quite well for a few years but, eventually, the strain began its own vengeance and he developed ulcers which sometimes caused him intense pain. The recession deepened and his odd jobs became harder to find and ceased. His wife’s employer, a contractor for the state, began to be squeezed by state budget cuts until they were forced to cut the salaries of their employees. She helped her husband apply for his Social Security disabilty benefits. His application was denied because he had not been working under “covered” employment for too long. Then application was made through the Social and Rehabiliation offices. There they were told that the wife’s income alone would only allow them to receive food stamps.

Then their oldest son turned eighteen, graduated from high school and then left home. With one less person in the house, the food stamps disappeared! This year, the younger son turned eighteen and then graduated from high school. Now he can’t even qualify as a dependent for tax purposes unless he goes to college, which he would love to do. However, in the process of evaluation, it was learned that this proud graduate of the special education classes of our school system failed the entrance examinations because of a “reading comprehension problem.” Sorry, but the scholarships and additional fees paid by his parents are non-refundable!

As problems are wont to do, they keep getting worse. Two days after he finally received a diagnosis of duodenal ulcers, the kind that are prone to rupture and cause one to bleed to death internally, he was moving a very heavy object in his own yard and caused a groin rupture. So, here they are with no medical insurance coverage, a gross family income which cannot pay all their expenses, and the threat of death hanging over them. Unless they take the option offered by the Republican politicians by showing up in a hospital emergency room and “free-loading” the necessary treatment, proving that it is no answer at all, the man is simply living on borrowed time. They know that the collection agency will hound them until hell freezes over in their efforts to collect every single dime. The irony of this situation is that, except for the fact that our Governor has stated that he would not accept the offer made by “Obomneycare” to increase the levels of poverty in Medicaid adjudications, they could, at least, receive the needed medical care under its provisions.

Is it the prevailing theory of the Republicans that this is the way our America should run? Should we give tax breaks to the filthy rich and let the poor just die because they are not able to do sufficient work to maintain life? Is this what the many generations of my family, including five of my brothers, fought and many died, to preserve for posterity? Is this the society we want to leave for our own descendents? If this is not a nightmare, I never want to wake up.

This writer is an octogenarian who has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.

Jim Davies: Yale letter “poppycock”

Photo by Free Range Longmont

Melinda Yale – spouting “poppycock”

Melinda Yale accuses President Obama of corrupt Chicago politics (Times-Call, July 7) yet makes no case for it. Political corruption is defined as the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Of all the things the right has thrown at Obama, I don’t recall anybody of accusing him of illicit private gain.

Yale goes on to declare that many of the rich are giving up their citizenship, again with no facts to back up the claim. It appears to me that the rich have done very well during this economic downturn. Large companies are making record profits, and the stock market’s ticking right along. It is just the great unwashed masses that are paying for the mistakes of her “risk takers” (read “banksters.” )

Yale then states that Obama has bypassed both the Constitution and Congress. I’m assuming she is talking of the health care bill and immigration. The health care bill was passed by Congress, just not by her favorite portion of Congress. The bill was held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court, thanks to that turncoat Justice Roberts.

The president tweaked the immigration policy to protect young people brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own because Congress continues to sit on its collective hands and do nothing. The Republicans can either get to work and pass some policy changes or take back the presidency and tweak them back to where they were, but after all their griping they probably won’t change them back — that would be political suicide.

Yale turns the subject to socialism and quickly morphs socialism into communism and declares that the Democratic Party and all labor unions are communists. Perhaps the Republicans need to dig up Joe McCarthy and let him have at it again. What poppycock!

800 lb. gorillas, elephants, & wizards behind curtains

The following address was presented to the Longmont City Council on July 10, 2012, in response to a “last-minute” attempt to dismantle oil and gas regulations that are already meager.

I speak tonight as Kaye Fissinger.  My words are solely my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

Some weeks back a gentleman approached this council at Public Invited to be Heard and minced no words in describing this Longmont City Council as the most unresponsive to its citizens as any he had ever witnessed.  He couldn’t have been more accurate and more honest.

And once again the people of Longmont who have made it clear to you that fracking in Longmont is a threat to their health, safety and welfare are being jerked around by most of you as you manipulate the process to allow for drill-baby-drill by an industry who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but their own profits.  Not only have they no interest in the well being of people, they have no interest in the well being of this nation.  They are multinationals.  And their God is MONEY.  Anywhere.  Anyway.  Anyhow.  Anytime.

After nine months, city staff must be beside itself.  This council majority never wanted to go down the oil and gas regulation road in the first place and did so only to appease and manipulate.

Council Member Finley has her britches in a twist about the Preamble.  Her alleged dispute with its contents is as phony as a $3.00 bill.  She won’t vote for the regulations under any circumstance.  Frankly, she should recuse herself.  She works for the Colorado chamber of commerce and an Encana vice president sits on its board of directors.  You’ll never convince me or a huge number of Longmont citizens that she is carrying water for anyone but the oil and gas industry.

Council Member Witt is a Romney Colorado operative.  She’ll take no position contrary to her candidate’s position.  So she’ll vote “NO,” no question, and will give a poor imitation of Council Member Santos’ tactics of trying to have it both ways.  He speaks about the industry and COGCC needing to put up or shut up, but he covers his eyes for the wink-wink so only the industry sees it.

What can I say about Council Member Bagley.  He wants TOP Operating to be able to drill.  And NOW he’s using his lawyerly skills to override the months of work by staff attorneys.  To what purpose?  Who benefits?

To the citizens of Longmont who listen and view these council proceedings there’s an 800 pound gorilla in this room sitting next to an elephant of partisan noteworthiness.  The oil and gas wizard behind the curtain is on full display.

Put Fracking Issue on November Ballot

Photo courtesy of ErieRising.com

This could be Longmont – wells and chemical storage tanks in your neighborhood.

We the people of Longmont are circulating a petition to put the issue of fracking on the November ballot. This will give Longmont residents the opportunity to indicate where they really stand. Do you want fracking within the city limits? You will be able to vote on this issue in November if our petition drive collects enough signatures.

You will find petitioners at many public places and events in Longmont over the next month. We’ll also be on downtown sidewalks, in front of businesses that have allowed us to collect signatures, and going door to door in neighborhoods. You must be a registered voter and resident of Longmont to sign.

I want to emphasize that this is a citizens’ initiative. It has no relation to any government office. It is not sponsored by any political party or candidate. It has no relationship to the Occupy movement. We are ordinary citizens who believe that Longmont residents should decide if fracking should be allowed within city limits.

Many public officials and businesspeople have pretended to know what Longmont residents want on this issue. They say they are representing the public interest, but in fact everyone has been guessing about what the people of Longmont really want.

We say, let the people decide. We urge you to speak for yourself by signing the petition and by voting in November.

The ballot issue proposes a ban on fracking within Longmont city limits.

It would further ban the storage or disposal of materials and wastewater connected with fracking, including a ban on open waste pits. A citywide referendum is a reasonable action, given that every person in Longmont will be affected by whatever decision is made on fracking.

Go to www.OurLongmont.org for more information on the petition.

Setting history straight

Jerry Day accused Tom Lopez of rewriting history for criticizing Republicans and went on to accuse five Democratic presidents of starting wars. Such nonsense must be answered. World War I started in Austria in 1914 with an assassination. The U.S. entered in 1915 after German submarines sank unarmed passenger ships, primarily the Lusitania, with Americans on board. Woodrow Wilson did not start the war.

We owe to the victims to get the story straight.

World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and invasion of the Philippines with the loss of thousands of Americans brought us into the war. The total was much greater than on 9/11. Franklin Roosevelt did not start the war.

North Korea invaded the South in 1950, threatening to drive American and South Korean troops into the sea. Harry Truman did not start the war.

John Kennedy was considering withdrawal from Vietnam when he was assassinated. I will pass on the rest of this one, including Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia.

The Bosnian War started in 1992. Clinton did not get involved with the NATO bombing campaign until 1995. Clinton did not start the war.

Daddy Bush invaded Kuwait and Iraq in 1990 to save American oil interests from Saddam, who had invaded Kuwait, but failed to completely crush his war machine, allowing him to fully recover and slaughter thousands of his people after Daddy Bush urged them to revolt in 1991, and they did. They were hung out to dry.

Junior finished the job, at horrendous cost, by invading Iraq in 2002. It was justified by claiming Saddam was involved in 9/11 and possessing WMDs. Both have been proven to be lies.

Indeed, Mr. Day, some people do try to rewrite history.

Get out of the fracking foxhole

Where's council?

Where’s council?

Just as there are no atheists in a foxhole, so neither Republican nor Democrat is likely to be found. When under fire, there is but one common thought: survival. That and perhaps “Love thy neighbor.” Hold that thought.

Longmont is under siege and, without being overly dramatic, it is obvious to most concerned residents that in fact our city is in a foxhole and under fire from the state and oil and gas industry regulations. At the moment and under current regulations, a fracking well could be sited on a Longmont golf course, a cemetery, a park or within easy breathing distance of a school — and the city cannot at this point do one damned thing about it. Is there room here for partisan politics? I think not, but it is widely assumed to be so.

I care that the Republican, Democratic and independent voters out around Union Reservoir are already seeing their property values slowly circling the drain because the city cannot at this point do one damned thing to protect them. I care that a block or two south of First Avenue there may be open tanks filled with poisonous fluids. I care that no industry will want to be anywhere near these foul pits, thus limiting our city’s ability to attract new enterprise — and I’m enraged that the city cannot at this point do one damned thing about it.

I care that the laws that are now being forced down our throats were promulgated back in the ’80s when no one outside of the oil and gas industry had ever heard of fracking, and that this multibillion-dollar industry wrote its own rules, which were passed by a state Legislature where many (if not all) were bought and paid for by the rule writers. Is there anyone in state or civic government today who believes these extraordinary laws, which pre-empt county, city and local ordinances, would pass today? Would any sane politician under the golden dome even suggest such laws? And what can the city do about it? See above.

Let me be clear. I do not want to ban fracking or oil and gas drilling in Colorado or anywhere else. But think: If laws that would allow an industry to set up shop 150 or 350 feet away from a home or a school or a church were not born in a cesspool of corruption, perhaps we need a new definition of corruption. Ponder that, fellow golfers — a short wedge shot from your backyard lies a drill pad, all brought to you in the 1980s by folks in Denver now likely buried deep in some corporation’s mineral estate.

Back to the foxhole and the siege. Council has proven thus far to be woefully inadequate in defense of this city. It is palpably obvious that certain council members have abandoned their lofty ideals, which originally gave us a 7-0 vote in favor of new regulations and now, in a bizarre dance of twisted logic, they attempt to justify their new rationale to kill the strengthened regs and negotiate under the old and weak. Here, on an issue likely larger than any ever brought before council in modern times, some have caved in and embraced the enemy.

Absent the protection of council, a new movement has grown and is seeking an ordinance that would ban oil, gas and fracking operations from all city property. Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont is gathering signatures on a petition to ban these operations from within city limits. If successful, the issue would be placed on the November ballot for all Longmont residents to vote. I certainly don’t speak for this group, but firmly applaud their cause — not because I’m a Democrat or a Republican, but because I’m a Longmont resident who wants desperately to protect our values, our safety and the health of our treasured children.

You will see Our Longmont volunteers all over the city — at the library, shopping plazas, restaurants and walking down Main. Please take a moment to sign up in defense of Longmont. We are under siege and there is no room for politics of any hue. We either put aside our political differences or we will all suffer the consequences.

Let’s join hands to bring this petition to a vote in November. There is just over a month to gather 5,800 signatures and one final opportunity to get out of that foxhole.

45 years of occupation with no end in sight

The Israeli attack on Egypt that began the Six-Day War occurred 45 years ago on June 5, 1967. This attack was followed by an Israeli attack on Syria and fighting with Jordan. As a result of its attack, Israel took control of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, part of the Golan Heights in Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

Some supporters of Israel claim that the attack was necessary. However, leading Israeli leaders clearly reject that claim. For example, former Israeli Prime Minister Begin admitted: “In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

In 1968, Yitzak Rabin, chief of staff of the Israeli military in 1967, said: “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai in May [1967] would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

In a 1972 interview, Mordechai Bentov, a former member of the Israeli ruling coalition during the June war, said: “This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived and then elaborated on afterwards to justify the annexation of new Arab territories.”

As a price for peace with Egypt, Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula. However, Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights continues to this day. Some may claim that Gaza is no longer occupied, but the U.N. and the U.S. still recognize Gaza as being an occupied territory.

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank has increased in brutality and harshness over time. Palestinians rights are constantly violated. Living conditions in the West Bank are horrible and are even worse in Gaza, particularly due to the ongoing siege by Israel. For more on this siege, see http://imeu.net/news/article0019152.shtml.

Israel continues its theft of Palestinian lands and places illegal settlements throughout the West Bank including East Jerusalem. As of December 2010, there were an estimated 520,000 Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

Israeli expansion and construction of settlements has essentially eliminated the two-state option for a just peace. Israel must now choose between apartheid and democracy.

Reckless helicopter

Enstrom 480

5 passenger 400HP turbine-powered, 8′ wide x 30′ long, 3000+ lbs – this is not a ‘small helicopter’

Imagine a scenario where you are enjoying a lovely backyard gathering on Memorial Day.  You begin to hear the distinctively loud thump-thump of helicopter propellers approaching your home.  Suddenly, a helicopter appears over the treetops and hovers just above the powerlines in your back yard.  This may sound unbelievable, but it really happened – and it was alarming.

At 6 pm a black helicopter with red markings did just that.  It came so close that I could see the pilot’s face.   I was able to track the aircraft on web track (webtrak.bksv.com/den) and verify that it landed at  Longmont’s Vance Brand airport.  I got in my car and drove the 8 miles to the airport to have a little chat with the pilot, but when I arrived the copter and pilot were nowhere to be found.

This isn’t the first incident where this Enstrom 480B* helicopter has harassed our neighborhood**.  Fortunately, this time we were able to record the aircraft’s N number and identify the operator, which is based at the Longmont airport. I filed a formal complaint with the FAA, feeling confident that the matter would be handled appropriately.  Instead, Jack Muldoon at the FAA informed me that the copter was not in violation of any rules.  According to the FAA, helicopters are not held to the same altitude restrictions as fixed-wing aircraft.  Over populated areas, airplanes must fly 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet – but not helicopters.

The voluntary measures currently in place to minimize impacts from aircraft operations are not sufficient.  A small number of pilots seem unconcerned about how their conduct affects local residents.  The solution is fairly simple – adopt reasonable and mandatory regulations aimed at protecting the local community from excessive aircraft noise and reckless pilots.


* N481SH owned by Doug Lyle of Lyle Aviation, 7733 N. 73rd St., Longmont, CO 80503. Current photo.

** Flight Path of N481SH from webtrak. Note: altitudes are estimated, time frame size is 15 seconds, hovers of under 10 seconds are not apparent.

*** corrected weight of helicopter to 3000 lbs as listed here.

FSSW Stand Up For BO&G

The laugh's on US

The laugh's on US

It’s hard to see how the City Council acted to ensure the safety and health of Longmont’s residents from fracking threats as described in last Saturday’s editorial, “Drilling rules show city puts residents first.” Big Oil & Gas finally showed its cards and in no time Councilors Finley, Sammoury, Santos and Witt (FSSW) folded, abandoning the new regulations which at their request had been painstakingly produced by city staff. Now why on earth, I wondered, would they do that?

A few months ago, the vote to craft new regulations was 7-0. All hands were gung-ho to beef up the old 2000 regulations in order to protect the well-being, health and safety of Longmont and its beloved residents. Go, team, go!

But slowly, things became weird.

Councilor Katie Witt, in a convoluted mush of logic turned upside down, having earlier announced she was balancing her duty to protect Longmont against her political future (shouldn’t these be one and the same?), proceeded to vote against the new regulations. So much for protecting Longmont; so much (one hopes) for her political future.

Declaring great optimism, hope and faith that TOP Drilling along with BO&G would negotiate, moderate, mediate and in general do a host of nice things they heretofore had never before done anywhere or for anyone, Ms. Witt demonstrated a novel approach to negotiations: cede everything first, then expect one’s opponents to hand back over whatever is requested.

Councilwoman Finley : limit public's time to thirty minutes

Councilwoman Finley : Frack my constituents!

Councilor Bonnie Finley’s approach was more rational, at least on the surface. She objected to the new regulations because they might bring a lawsuit, despite being told by the legal suits that the regulations were defensible, until finally faulting the preamble as a cover for her “no” vote. Councilor Bagley advised her on at least two occasions that the preamble had no effect in law, offering at one point to shorten it to a brief paragraph, but to no avail. Ms. Finley had her talking points and stuck to them, absurd as they were.

Alex Sammoury, on the team

Councilors Santos and Sammoury, to this point having supported the regulations, had remained quiet as the debate raged around the chamber, until Councilor Sammoury gently opined that an extension to the existing moratorium would give them a chance to try again for cooperation from the quaintly named Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Despite being reminded that earlier efforts to negotiate had been rebuffed and then rewarded with threats of lawsuits from the state attorney general’s office, the motion passed. These, by the way, are the nice folks who Ms. Witt is confident will bend and bestow great favors if only asked politely.

Gabe Santos, big money's inside man

So where are we? It’s ugly. The revised regulations are tabled. A vote at the next council meeting approving the new 45-day moratorium will be held under “emergency rules,” which requires at least six “aye” votes to pass. If it does, we have more than 45 days to negotiate with TOP and the COGCC (but still under the old regulations). If two councilors — say, Finley and Witt— vote “no,” the moratorium passes but won’t go into effect until three days after the current moratorium ends.

That would leave a gap for TOP to apply for permits to drill under the old regulations — and you can bet they will not be negotiating.

In the end, the stench of BO&G permeates the chamber; in the next election, we may or may not remember this disgraceful chapter in council’s history, but by then, most or all of the players will have moved on — far and away from the drilling rigs, methane gas and gutted property values. There will be no shortage of alibis and excuses, none of which will matter a damn.

Mayor Coombs and Councilors Bagley and Levison held their heads above the stench and may yet prevail in seeing the new regulations passed into law. FSSW (remember them?) have done everything possible to ensure that the safety and health of Longmont and its residents are left in the hands of BO&G. Shame on them.

Surgical Donation from Aspen Meadows

Longmont Humane SocietyAspen Meadows Veterinary Specialists have generously agreed to volunteer the time and expertise of their surgical staff to perform one major surgery per month on shelter pets at the Longmont Humane Society’s Well Pet Clinic.  Dr. Gail Rapport Shelter Veterinarian for the Longmont Humane Society will partner with Matt Rooney, DVM in this effort.  Dr. Rapport is enthusiastic about working with Aspen Meadows, saying “I’ve never seen a group of vets as cooperative and support of their local shelters as Aspen Meadows”.

To kick off this partnership, Aspen Meadows has volunteered to do two surgeries this month!  The first operation that will be performed will benefit Hank, a six year old German Shepherd Mix who came to us with a ruptured ACL .  Aspen Meadows will perform a TPLO (tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy) by cutting the tibial plateau and rotating it. It will then be stabilized with metal plate at as cost of roughly $250 for the hardware.  LHS has a foster home ready to help Hank recover from surgery and hopefully adopt him once he’s all better!

Dahlia the kitten was found as a stray with a lump on her jaw and brought to the Longmont Humane Society by a Good Samaritan.  At first, clinic staff believed the lump was an abscess and it was treated as such.  When the mass returned and continued to grow, the symptoms resembled cancer.  However, Dahlia’s age and behavior aren’t consistent with cancer.  She’s young, playful and has a big appetite.  Exploratory surgery will be conducted during which Dahlia may have a portion of her jaw removed.  If removing a part of the jaw fixes the problem, she will still be able to eat and live a long happy life after the surgery.

You Might be a Conservative If — 2012 Edition

  1. You think that if the government is forced into another shutdown scenario this summer — again — it’ll be the fault of the president — again — and not due to John Boehner and Eric Cantor playing the same game they played last year which resulted in the nation’s credit rating being reduced. And you believe this, in spite of the evidence, because Sean Hannity said so last week — again.
  2. You believe President Obama’s support for gay marriage will weaken the sanctity of your own marriage. And the two babes you’re banging on the side down at Bubba’s Busty Bistro both agree with you.
  3. In the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case, you immediately took the side of Zimmerman, because Martin was wearing a hoody and had no business being out at night in a gated community. But you still insist your position has nothing to do with race.
  4. You bristle whenever someone reminds you that today’s recession began during the George W Bush administration, and have even developed a talking point to combat it; “Bush is gone, It’s Obama’s presidency now!” Except of course, when president Obama killed Osama bin Laden, then suddenly Bush did it.
  5. 2012 is already trending to be the warmest year in recorded meteorological history, followed by 2011, 2010, 2005, 1998, 2003, 2002, 2009, 2006, 2007, 2004 and 2001. But because 2008 didn’t make the grade, you’re quite certain climate change is bullshit.
  6. You’re convinced that there’s massive voter fraud going on in the African/American community, because you saw 13 “New Black Panthers” looking mighty intimidating at a polling station on Fox News once. Even though, those 13 jokers make up the entirety of the New Black Panthers, and Fox News played that footage more times than they played the Rev. Wright tape. Oh, but don’t you assume from this that Fox is appealing to racist voters.
  7. You take Mitt Romney at his word when he said “Of course I would have given the order [to go after bin Laden in Pakistan], even Jimmy Carter would have.” Even though Mitt Romney previously said “Osama bin Laden is not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch. I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.” But hey, this is all academic anyway, because everyone knows President Obama was only following Bush’s strategeiry.
  8. You think the recall movement going on in Wisconsin is un-American, and Scott Walker is only doing what the voters of his state demand. And that recording of Walker taking a phone call from a bogus David Koch was overblown… He just thought it was a courtesy call to discuss their mutual love of cheese.
  9. You think Romney will be a better president than Obama, because he’s made it crystal clear that he wants nothing to do with those creepy gays. Well, except for that one time, when he was running for governor of Massachusetts (link).
  10. You believe the debt is at $15 trillion today, primarily due to Barack Obama’s failed policies, even though it was at $11 trillion when he was inaugurated, and the tax cuts and wars had yet to be factored in during the Bush years. You also believe George Bush’s role in doubling it was necessary, because he had to combat a Democratic-controlled congress… the very Democrats that voted 126 to 81 against the Iraq War. And the two tax cuts became law by Bush using reconciliation, against the will of the Majority. Together, these made up the bulk of Bush’s spending spree, because after all; “Deficits don’t matter.” ~ Dick Cheney
  11. You tout the concept of “American Exceptionalism,” because America’s the bomb! We’ve done it all, we do it right every time (unless a Democrat’s in power) and those stupid European socialist twits would have been lost decades ago, if not for us. And anybody who says our claims of American Exceptionalism are really just arrogant boasts of “American Superiority,” is just jealous, because they know we’re the best. Booyah!
  12. Even though Rush Limbaugh called a young birth control activist a slut and nobody within the GOP condemned him for it, the Komen Foundation was infiltrated by a mole whose intent was to defund Planned Parenthood, the governor of the state of Virginia proposed a bill that would have required a trans-vaginal probe against her will before being permitted to have an abortion, Planned Parenthood itself has been under attack by Boehner’s congress, and most Republicans voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Law, a bill guaranteeing equal pay for women — you still deny that there’s any sort of “War on Women,” because Gretchen Carlson said so on Fox & Friends. And she’s a woman, so case closed!
  13. You think Mitt Romney would make a better president than Barack Obama, because he’s had hands-on experience in the business world. And who was the last president who ran on his record of business experience? George W. Bush. So there.
  14. You think Barack Obama broke the law by backing the NATO mission to support the Libyan rebellion, which ultimately toppled a true supporter of international terrorism, but Bush’s invasion of Iraq … which wasn’t condoned by NATO or the United Nations, was just swell.
  15. You believe teachers, firemen and cops are overpaid, and that’s a better place to make budget cuts than asking millionaires and billionaires to pay the same tax rate they did under Clinton… when times were good, and the budget was balanced.
  16. You’re a big supporter of Free Speech, but nothing ruins your day more than when some immigrant says Sarah Palin was dumb. How dare they? If that’s what they think, then they should go back to Russia. Then Sarah can wave at them from her porch.
  17. You think Citizens United was the best thing to happen to Democracy since Glenn Beck, because finally, those poor downtrodden corporatists will have a say in who represents their interests… just as poor Siemens, Mengele GmbH, IG Farben and Bayer were finally permitted to do what they do best, once freed of those pesky, restrictive regulations. Because nothing says “Freedom,” better than a government kept in check by industry!
  18. You were shocked, SHOCKED when the Romney campaign suggested Barack Obama might try to use Romney’s Mormon faith as a wedge issue in the coming months, even though there are no such plans to do so. What sort of sick, anti-American commie party would ever use religion to divide America? After all, who’s ever done that?

Balance needed

U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-3630

Oil Seepage in Pond (Foreground), Olin-Mathieson Plant in Background 1972

Most of us take a pretty one sided view of many issues.  A balanced view should be better.

Where is the balance with respect to hydraulic fracking.?  On the one hand we as a nation (and world) are a consumer of fossil fuels and will continue to be until alternate energy sources combined with greater efficiency meets our needs.  On the other hand there are risks associated with this process.  The risks are largely encountered by one group of people while very significant profits are realized by a much smaller group.

Drilling and production of oil and gas has increased dramatically over the last few years.  Currently we both import oil and export refined products.  There are advantages to not importing oil, especially from countries with limited stability.

What are the facts?  The oil and gas representatives that support hydraulic fracking appear to have either avoided some information or intentionally been misleading.

Claims that there has not been a single case of ground water contamination from hydraulic fracking are misleading.  There are several examples where groundwater has been contaminated from the necessary activities that are always associated with the process.  Where groundwater has been contaminated, the distinction is not important.

It is often stated that fracking chemicals are only 0.5 percent of the injected fluid.  This appears to be deliberately misleading.  The risk is a product of the inherent toxicity and concentration of the compound, and exposure (for example amount of water consumed over what period of time).   A concentration of 0.5 percent is 5,000 parts per million (ppm) or 5,000,000 parts per billions (ppb).  The maximum concentration limit (MCL) for benzene in groundwater set by the US EPA is 5 ppb.  We do not know the toxicity of many of the fracking chemicals, or even what they are and it may be that toxicity has not been determined for many of them.  Furthermore, the risk of a mixture may be even greater.

An article in the Times-Call claimed there was no problem because benzene and propane were well below the levels for a 10 hour exposure.  While propane has low toxicity it is ludicrous to talk about a 10 hour exposure rather than a longer term exposure.

Benzene, is a carcinogen as might be other compounds in the fracking fluid.  There is no threshold limit for carcinogens.

The proponents of hydraulic fracking have not in my experience acknowledged the disruption of the lives of families living close to the drilling sites – or the impact on schools for that matter.  Decreased home values are another problem.

It is difficult for most of us to believe what we are being told when so many obviously misleading statements have been made.

The argument has been made that the fracking industry would be challenged to operate under a different set of rules in each community and thus the need for state control.  Of course many housing contractors do operate in a number of communities with differences in construction code.  But if you do allow for some benefit for uniformity, that does not negate the need for communities to protect their own citizens, real-estate values, and schools when state organizations do not.

The state group controlling fracking (Colorado Oil and Gas Commission) has historically been largely controlled by oil and gas interests.  As a result, it is hard to see how that group will not focus on profits over other considerations.  It does not appear to me and many others that  the need for energy sources and profits has been fairly balanced with the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the communities being impacted.

We are now producing more refined fuels than we need and are exporting record amounts helping the balance of trade.  Concern has been raised that the US is likely to have insufficient storage capacity for natural gas by the end of the year.  Then why the need for drilling close to homes and schools?  Why not limit fracking to less hazardous locations including those with minimal potential for groundwater impact?

Why indeed!  Oil companies realized profits in the tens of millions of dollars. The “realized” pay for the CEO of Exxon/Mobile for 2011 was 24.6 million dollars or three times that in 2009 and four times that in 2006.  By how much has your pay increased over this time? By what factor is his pay greater than yours?   CEO pay should be higher than that for most people, but by how much?  Where is the balance?

Bob Norris
Longmont

Bob has lived in Longmont since 2000 and has been active in community issues including having served on the Longmont Board of Environmental Affairs.

James O’Keefe Not Helping Scott Gessler

by Colorado Pols
Wed May 16, 2012 at 15:16:39 PM MDT

Yesterday, right-wing news site Breitbart.com released a new video from conservative “gotcha” artist James O’Keefe, purportedly showing how easy it is for “non-citizens” to vote:

In the video, William Romero, an apparent non-citizen, is shown to be registered to vote in North Carolina. According to jury refusal records obtained by Project Veritas, Romero was recused for being a non-citizen. Yet when a researcher from Project Veritas went into the polling station, he found that not only was Romero still on the voting rolls but  the poll workers were also more than willing to give him Romero’s ballot.The video finds that another alleged non-citizen in Durham County, North Carolina, was on the voter rolls–and apparently voted in 2008 and 2010–even though he had been categorized as “code 7” in jury recusal forms, which means he had been excused as a non-citizen.

In another crucial swing state, Florida, elections officials fear as many as 180,000 non-citizens may be registered to vote. In Colorado, during the 2010 midterm elections, 5,000 non-citizens may have voted…

As you know, we (and others) have repeatedly debunked this persistent claim that “5,000 noncitizens may have voted” in the 2010 elections in Colorado. The claim originates with Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who used this figure in congressional testimony, but it doesn’t stand up to even casual scrutiny. As we noted and local media outlets realized last year, over thirty thousand Colorado residents became citizens during the period Gessler “analyzed,” enough to easily account for the 5,000 “noncitizens” who “may” have voted in 2010.

As liberal blog Think Progress reports, O’Keefe appears to have made exactly the same error.

Read the rest at ColoradoPols.com


Gessler's critics closing in

Truth is closing in on Gessler's lack of proof.

Gessler’s been at this scam for some time – at least since early 2010 – and he’s got a lot of Old Guard money in his pocket so this, to me, sure looks like what they want.

How did we get here?

Our country is being hijacked right in front of us.

Our homes and safety are being hijacked

How did we get here?   As a nation, a state, a community, how did we get here?

How did we lose so much of our humanity that we would by word and deed and law allow the profit of the few to trump the genuine needs of the many?

How did we get to the point where our President listens to an industry and apparently accepts their lies, their propaganda, or perhaps just doesn’t want to be crosswise with it and those with whom it has sway during an election year?

How did we get to the point where our Colorado legislature allows an industry to write legislation with the likely help of organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council?  I ponder the word “exchange” in its name.  In exchange for what?

How did we get to the point where our governor, elected to represent all of the people, runs interference against communities who DO want to protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens?

How did we get to the point where our Attorney General in collusion with the oil and gas industry threatens legal action against communities who dare to seek to preserve our quality of life, paramount of which is our health?  Do you know that the oil and gas industry has threatened to bankrupt communities who don’t fall in line?  It will not surprise me when they try to do the same to Longmont, even in the face very tepid regulations.

How did we get to the point where members of our own city council value business above all else?

When did we lose our humanity?

Staying the course for marriage

Rethink Church - First United Methodist Church

Boulder, Colorado – In spite of the rejection of revised policies regarding inclusion of LGBTQ individuals voted on last week by the international gathering of United Methodists in Tampa, Florida, a local congregation is vowing to move forward on its own path of inclusion and social justice.

First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming faith community dedicated to “honoring the sacred worth of every human being in a way that creates and sustains a Beloved Community.”   Both the appointed pastors and the lay members of the congregation affirm that they are among the people following the path of Jesus and of Methodist founder John Wesley by welcoming everyone into their midst, stating that they are enriched, as individuals and as a community, when diversity is honored, welcomed and celebrated.

“It’s heart-breaking what happened – or more accurately, didn’t happen – in Tampa this week,” senior pastor Dr. Patrick Bruns stated following several votes which rejected efforts to open up institutional church policies to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in full acceptance and participation in the church.  “But I am reassuring our congregation and the Boulder community that those votes were far from the final word.  Our commitment to following Jesus’ Path has been called out even stronger and we plan even more energetically to pursue bold action, non-violent resistance, and courageous commitment to love, justice and peacemaking.”

Rev. Bruns made news recently by declaring that he and the other pastors at First United Methodist Church of Boulder were prepared to offer church ceremonies for committed and consenting adult life partners, regardless of their gender.  Referring to a broadly supported “Fuller Marriage Ministry” that offers ceremonies and holy unions for same-sex couples, the pastors and congregation recently notified their local Bishop of their intention to move forward in this ministry regardless of church policies to the contrary.

“It has been a unifying and energizing experience in our congregation to have leaders who are so committed to social justice and inclusivity,” noted Becca Tice, chairperson of the Affirming and Welcoming Committee which promotes the full inclusion of the LGBTQ community within the church.  “We won’t pretend that this week’s votes weren’t enormously disappointing but we don’t intend to be defined, defeated or deterred by those votes.”

United Methodists from around the globe gather every four years to consider changes to their Book of Discipline which serves as both “Constitution” and more specific, practical guidebook for how the church is to be run.  Policies detrimental and discriminatory to lesbian and gay individuals have been included in the Book of Discipline since the early 1970s but the actual implementation of policies, in practice, has varied from state to state and country to country.

Closer to home, United Methodists in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming (known as the Rocky Mountain Conference) will gather for their annual conference in Denver about six weeks from now.  Decisions made by the international conference likely will be fodder for both formal and informal discussion at that conference.  Many local individuals already are contemplating actions to express their grave disappointment and disapproval of the votes by the international body and considering ways to bring about future changes.

“We honor and respect the tremendous good work which the United Methodist Church has accomplished in so many ways since its beginning in the 18th century,” said Justin Livingston, Chair of Church Council. “We believe our world needs more instruments of God’s love, grace, and justice, not fewer, and that’s why we will continue to embrace everyone as welcomed participants in God’s family as we experience it at First United Methodist Church of Boulder.”

What does it mean to ‘rethink church’?  Come and see for yourself.