My FDL
User Picture

Monty Python State Department

By: David Swanson Wednesday June 22, 2011 9:18 am

Scene:  A cafe.  One table is occupied by a group of Vikings wearing horned helmets.

Whenever the word “war” is repeated, they begin singing and/or chanting.

A man and woman enter.  The man is played by Eric Idle, the woman is played by Graham Chapman (in drag), and the Secretary of State is played by Terry Jones, also in drag.
high school tee
Man:   You sit here, dear.

Woman:          All right.

Man:   Morning!

Secretary of State:     Morning!

Man:   Well, what’ve you got?

Secretary of State:     Well, there’s sanctions and prosecutions; sanctions drone strikes and prosecutions; sanctions and war; sanctions prosecutions and war; sanctions prosecutions drone strikes and war; war prosecutions drone strikes and war; war sanctions war war prosecutions and war; war drone strikes war war prosecutions war cyber war and war;

Vikings:           War war war war…

Secretary of State:     …war war war sanctions and war; war war war war war war targeted assassinations war war war…

Vikings:           War! Lovely war! Lovely war!

Secretary of State:     …or a United Nations resolution combined with infiltration, a USAID fake Twitter application, a CIA overthrow, trained enhanced interrogators and with crippling sanctions on top and war.

Woman:          Have you got anything without war?

Secretary of State:     Well, there’s war sanctions drone strikes and war, that’s not got much war in it.

Woman:          I don’t want ANY war!

Man:   Why can’t she have sanctions prosecutions war and drone strikes?

Woman:          THAT’S got war in it!

Man:   Hasn’t got as much war in it as war sanctions drone strikes and war, has it?

Vikings:           War war war war… (Crescendo through next few lines…)

Woman:          Could you do the sanctions prosecutions war and drone strikes without the war then?

Secretary of State:     Urgghh!

Woman:          What do you mean ‘Urgghh’? I don’t like war!

Vikings:           Lovely war! Wonderful war!

Secretary of State:     Shut up!

Vikings:           Lovely war! Wonderful war!

Secretary of State:     Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can’t have sanctions prosecutions war and drone strikes without the war.

Woman:          I don’t like war!

Man:   Sshh, dear, don’t cause a fuss. I’ll have your war. I love it. I’m having war war war war war war war targeted assassinations war war war and war!

Vikings:           War war war war. Lovely war! Wonderful war!

Secretary of State:     Shut up!! Targeted assassinations are off.

Man:   Well could I have her war instead of the targeted assassinations then?

Secretary of State:     You mean war war war war war war… (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)

Vikings:           (Singing elaborately…) War war war war. Lovely war! Wonderful war! War w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r war w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r war. Lovely war! Lovely war! Lovely war! Lovely war! Lovely war! War war war war!

 

 

No actual diplomats were harmed in the making of this production.

 

Saturday Art and Archaeology: Copan, Rosalila

By: Ruth Calvo Tuesday March 13, 2012 5:30 pm

 

Rosalila

 

(Picture courtesy of Urban Sea Star at flickr.com.)

In the Mayan ceremonial center of Copan in Honduras, an ancient temple has been covered and preserved over the centuries by the builders themselves.  Nicknamed ‘Rosalila’, it was preserved as it had been constructed and is considered as a sacred temple which had the main building of the Copan center built over it.

One of the best preserved phases of Temple 16 is the Rosalila, built over the remains of five previous versions of the temple. Archaeologist Ricardo Agurcia discovered the almost intact shrine while tunneling underneath the final version of the temple. Rosalila is notable for its excellent state of preservation, including the entire building from the base platform up to the roof comb, including its highly elaborate painted stucco decoration. Rosalila features K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ placed at the centre of a mythological tableau, combining the founder of the dynasty with the sky deityItzamna in avian form. The mythological imagery also includes anthropomorphic mountains, skeletons and crocodiles. Vents in the exterior were designed so smoke from incense being burned inside the shrine would interact with the stucco sculpture of the exterior. The temple had a hieroglyphic stone step with a dedicatory inscription. The stone step is less well preserved than the rest of the building, but a date in AD 571 has been deciphered. Due to the deforestation of the Copán valley, the Rosalila building was the last structure at the site to use such elaborate stucco decoration — vast quantities of firewood could no longer be spared to reduce limestone to plaster. A life-size copy of the Rosalila building has been built at the Copán site museum.[35]

Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil encased the Rosalila phase under a new version of the building in the early 8th century AD. An offering was made as part of the rites to terminate the old phase and included a collection of eccentric flints worked into the profiles of humans and gods, which were wrapped in blue-dyed textiles.[78]

The structure has been moved to the archaeological museum at Copan, where it has been once again preserved for the ages.

(Picture courtesy of Adalberto H. Vega at flickr.com.)

Rosalila from second tier

Upper level of Rosalila

CEO Abuses Puppy. Why RW Media Supports Abusers Instead of Victims

By: spocko Thursday December 23, 2010 7:11 am

I spotted this terrible story today CEO Caught on Video Kicking Puppy.  The video is disturbing and seems clear cut. You really feel for the poor dog. But let’s not jump to conclusions until all the facts are in and we hear from all sides.
Puppy

The Vancouver Globe first story describes “surveillance video shot in an elevator of the Private Residences at Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver shows an unidentified man kicking a dog several times.”

As more details were revealed, we learned the kicker was Des Hague, the CEO of Centerplate, a  multibillion-dollar sports-catering company that provides concessions for major arenas like the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

In the company’s first response Hague apologized.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, this incident is completely and utterly out of character and I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed,” he said in a statement. “Under the circumstances of the evening in question, a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response. Unfortunately, I acted inappropriately, and I am deeply sorry for that and am very grateful that no harm was caused to the animal. I have reached out to the SPCA and have personally apologized to the dog’s owner. At this time, I would like to extend my apology to my family, company and clients, as I understand that this has also reflected negatively on them.”

Then, when the San Diego paper looked into it further they found that Hague lied in his statement. The B.C. SPCA determined the dog, Sade, was his, not a family friend’s pet. (I suppose that makes personally apologizing to himself easier.)

Eventually, after multiple stories and worldwide outrage, the board acted.  Des Hague to donate $100,000 and serve 1,000 hours of community service (According to Fortune Centerplate is a privately held $6 billion business with 30,000 employees and more than 350 clients and is challenging industry leader Aramark.) 

People in Vancouver, San Diego and other cities have called for their venues to drop their relationship with Centerplate.  Several articles mentioned people planning to not purchase food and drink at the venues.  Other stories mentioned how canceling the Centerplate contract  would end up hurting the local employees and the revenues the cities get from the concessions.

In a statement the San Diego Chargers said,  ”It’s unfortunate that his actions have tainted the local Centerplate employees who devotedly serve our fans.”

For me that statement is key. His actions tainted the Centerplate brand. People want him to pay, not some minimum wage worker pouring beers that cost more than their hourly wage.

So a few days later, it looks like the situation is getting addressed, changes are being made.  Further consequences, including possible jail time, for Hague are still to come.

This story is a good example of the power of video, the established mainstream media being amplified by social media and a demonstration of the economic consequences of bad behavior by a key member of a corporation. Also, not to be missed is our love and support of pets.   I want for activists to learn from this story it and see how this can apply to other situations.

How the RW Drives a Narrative Flip or “What about the poor CEO? He’s the real victim here.” 

I see too many cases of rich and powerful who change the narrative, become the victims and turn the story around.  Who helps them? Why do they do it? How do they do it?  And finally, can we thwart them in their support for morally repugnant behaviors?  

One of the more powerful narrative players to have on your side is the right wing media.  You need the right credentials and viewpoints, but if they back you, you can steal millions from people, point guns at federal officials and even shoot and kill someone and get lauded for it.    Paul Rosenburg points out in Salon, that media supporting the powerful in not new but the levels they do at are now extreme.  To get support from RW media, you need to fall under one of these categories,

  1. If Obama is for it we are against it.
  2. This action will piss off the liberals
  3. Our base will like this (aka red meat)
  4. This story will hurt Democrats and/or Hillary Clinton at election time
  5. This action supports a conservative ideal like small government
  6. You are a prominent  conservative politician 

What if Hague fell into one of these categories? What would that look like?

Cartoon Friday Watercooler: The Tick Vs. Chairface Chippendale

By: Kit OConnell Friday August 29, 2014 8:51 pm

 

It’s Cartoon Friday, again!

Tonight we’ll laugh along with the second episode of The Tick, “The Tick Vs. Chairface Chippendale.”

The Tick began its life as a satirical comic book created in college by Ben Edlund. At a time when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had successfully transformed from a gritty, black and white independent comic to a mainstream animated marketing juggernaut, Edlund was able to convince Fox to take on his quirky hero. The Tick never came close to the massive commercial success of TMNT, but at the same time it transitioned to television without losing all of its edge. The Turtles became a kid-friendly toy-selling powerhouse, while this cartoon’s blue-suited lunk retained a humor that appealed to clever kids and adults alike. The show ran for three seasons and thirty-six episodes.

Here’s how Wikipedia sums up The Tick’s powers:

The Tick possesses superhuman strength and mass, which makes him capable of inflicting great damage on his surroundings if he is not careful. His full strength is never actually quantified, although he is at the very least capable of lifting whole cars with a single hand. Tick is also ‘nigh-invulnerable,’ which means it is almost impossible to injure him in any serious way. Because of this he can survive moments of extreme duress, and demonstrated this ability on numerous occasions; once by falling 4000 feet, crashing through the concrete into a subway tunnel and subsequently being hit by an oncoming train—and surviving all this without incident (‘Evil Sits Down for a Moment,’ November 4, 1995). While he cannot be injured, he is not necessarily immune to pain, or even temporary brain damage.

Finally, Tick possesses something referred to as ‘drama power,’ or basically a tendency for The Tick’s powers to increase as the situation becomes more dramatic. He can also survive in space without a suit, and under water without oxygen for at least a long time. Despite his nigh-invulnerability, he is still susceptible to injuries. One of his only weaknesses is that he cannot keep his balance if his antennae are removed.

Since every hero needs a catch phrase, The Tick — who isn’t very bright — selects “SPOON!” as his war cry. His trusty sidekick is Arthur, a lumpy and meek fellow in a moth suit. In season 1 (as with this episode) by Mickey Dolenz, lead singer of The Monkees. And speaking of the Turtles, Tick’s voice actior Townsend Coleman also voiced Michelangelo. In each episode, The Tick and Arthur were joined by an assortment of other wacky heroes from The City like American Maid and Die Fledermaus, a ridiculously big-eared rip off of Batman. This episode, the second in the series, also introduces the Tick’s chair-headed recurring arch-nemesis.

A close up of the Tick's grinning face in his blue jumpsuit and wiggly antennae

“I’m nigh-invulnerable!”

The show also became a short-lived but fondly remembered live action TV show; it’s available online for Hulu Plus customers. After The Tick, creator Ben Edlund became better known for his involvement with television and worked on Firefly under Joss Whedon before later becoming an executive producer and screenwriter on shows like Supernatural and Revolution.

If this show whets your appetite for more SPOON-y silliness, Matthew Catania picked The Tick’s 10 Best Episodes on Topless Robot.

Seen any good cartoons lately? What are you watching on TV these days?

Housekeeping notes:

  • Please review our About Us page if you need a refresher on site rules, and
  • We encourage you to use our flag system — if you see an abusive comment, user or post, please flag it rather than replying. We review every flag and take the best action available to us.
  • If you have questions or concerns about Firedoglake-specific issues, please limit their discussion to Watercooler posts rather than starting new posts or making off-topic comments in others. But remember,
  • Firedoglake editors and staff are not allowed to comment on any moderation decisions.

The Watercooler is an open conversation. Ask questions, share links and your Friday thoughts.

OUCH! Lisa Desjardins Loses Her Job and Says Goodbye to CNN

By: Elliott Sunday June 24, 2012 6:50 am

CNN just laid off a bunch of people.

CNN President Jeff Zucker signaled last week that cuts were coming when he told staffers they’d have to “do less and have to do it with less.”

On Tuesday morning, CNN employees — and those at other Turner Broadcasting networks such as TNT, TBS, and HLN — were informed that staff over 55 years old or with the company for 10 or more years were eligible for a buyout. In a memo obtained by HuffPost, Turner indicated there will be “additional reductions in staff,” presumably layoffs, in addition to the voluntary buyouts.

[...]

For CNN, cuts are expected to hit hardest in Atlanta, where the pioneering cable news channel launched and still maintains a large footprint. The network’s center of gravity has since shifted to New York, where Zucker and many top executives are located, and few domestic programs are run out of Atlanta studios. There’s been speculation that CNN might even sell the Atlanta headquarters, though a company spokesman told Brian Stelter, the network’s media reporter, that the rumors were not true.

One of those now leaving CNN is Lisa Desjardins. She posted this goodbye note (but dammit Lisa, taking the first aid kit is just so wrong).

Lisa Desjardins on twitter

Fascism in Cleveland Faces a Voter Revolt On One Hand, Defiance On the Other

By: Ohio Barbarian Friday August 29, 2014 2:13 pm
A group of sports fans tailgating with food and drink in a parking lot

Despite a ban, the beer keeps flowing for tailgating sports fans in Cleveland.

Local politics can be fun. Several years ago, the City of Cleveland and a number of other local municipalities put up portable robotic radar camera speed traps, more commonly known as traffic cameras, all over the place. There are only a dozen or so of the infernal things, but they can be moved at will.

If one catches your vehicle speeding, you get a $100 ticket, whether you were driving the vehicle or not. My wife got zapped by one over a year ago, and so did my checking account. So did thousands of other Northeast Ohioans. And, if there’s one thing that unites both left and right, it’s a government trying to extract money from them in any way it can without benefit of due process of law. These tickets are appeal-able to a local court,  but the filing fee is as much as the ticket, and if you lose in court, now you have to pay both the ticket and the filing fee. Nice little Catch-22 they’ve got going there.

But Cleveland voters have this old progressive thing going for them called a ballot initiative. Opponents of the traffic cameras recently gathered over twice the number of signatures required to place a ban on the revenue-generating devices on the November ballot. 

Gee. Wanna place any bets on which way that election is going to go? It would be one thing if the money went to doing something that voters could actually see, like filling potholes, but Nooooo…there’s no accountability for where it does go. So. Well, there’s one small impending victory for the people.

Meanwhile, it was recently announced that all alcohol, including beer, is now prohibited from tailgating at Cleveland Browns games. It seems that the Cleveland Browns owner and the NFL were upset by people bringing in their own beer, purchased at more or less reasonable prices from grocery stores, before the games and then refusing to buy $10 beers from vendors in the stadium. the profits of which in part go to the Browns’ owner and the NFL. So they pressured the city into enacting the ban.

That one is being met with outright defiance. Even the Cleveland Police say that their policies haven’t changed, and that so long as one isn’t being obvious about drinking beer in the tailgate lot(and especially if one offers a passing cop a burger or a brat) they’re not going to look to closely. Just don’t get all rowdy and they’ll look the other way.

Come on, now. Tailgating was originally instituted as a public safety measure, you know, let people get all boozed up the night before the game, crash and burn in the trailer, have a BBQ in the morning, then go to the game and THEN drive home after they’re all sobered up. It’s pretty easy to follow the money on this one, and those benefiting from the ban have way too much already.

What can I say? Sometimes, I really love this place.

Wisconsin State Tax Collections Fall Far Short of Projections

By: WI Budget Project Friday August 29, 2014 12:14 pm

$281 Million Revenue Shortfall in 2013-14 Will Mean a Big Jump in the Structural Deficit

A dollar bill cut into shreds, with a calculator

New revenue figues show a major shortfall in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin lawmakers got bad budget news today, when the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released state tax collection figures showing that revenue collections fell $281 million (2.0%) short of projections during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. Rather than growing by 1% as anticipated, state tax collections fell by 1%, and that will cause a substantial jump in the state’s structural deficit.

State lawmakers banked on revenue growth when they wrote Wisconsin’s two-year budget and followed up with additional tax cuts. It’s not clear at this point what will result from a substantial revenue shortfall, but one potential outcome is the state could face a new round of damaging budget cuts. What makes the state’s new budget challenge very disappointing is that it could have been easily avoided if lawmakers hadn’t rushed early this year to use every bit of increased revenue projections for another round of tax cuts, without setting funds aside for an adequate budget cushion.

Although sales tax revenue nearly met expectations – falling short by $11 million, or 0.2% – individual income tax revenue was almost $179 million below the anticipated level (a 2.5% shortfall), and corporate income tax collections came in $97.7 million (9.2%) less than expected.

The $281 million shortfall is very worrisome for a number of reasons:

  • The budget provided very little margin of error because it left a closing balance of only $165 million at the end of the biennium (which is just $100 million more than the $65 million required minimum balance). Each of the last several budget bills has postponed the statutory requirement that would significantly increase the minimum annual cushion (known as the “statutory balance”) that legislators are required to set aside.
  • The state was expecting 3.5% revenue growth in the second half of this biennium (i.e., the 2014-15 fiscal year); and now that the 2013-14 base level is 2% lower than anticipated, it will take 5.6% growth in tax 2014-15 collections to hit this year’s target of $14.7 billion (without even closing the 2013-14 shortfall).
  • If tax collections do grow by 3.5% in 2014-15, as previously anticipated, the shortfall will grow by about $291 million this fiscal year, for a total shortfall of about $572 million (or $472 million after subtracting the budget bill’s $100 million “net balance”).
  • On top of these problems, the Dept. of Health Services has projected a $93 million GPR shortfall in the Medicaid budget for 2013-15; and the gaming revenue being withheld by the Potawatomi tribe may also exacerbate the state’s fiscal challenges.

The Fiscal Bureau had calculated in May that the state was facing a “structural imbalance” or structural deficit of $642 million GPR in the next biennium (2015-17), and the reduced revenue estimates will probably add substantially to that problem. That figure represents the amount of revenue growth that would be needed in the next biennium simply to freeze spending – without factoring in any of the increased costs from factors such as inflation and rising numbers of people needing state services.

A Whirl Around The Fracking World: 29 Aug 2014

By: KateCA Friday August 29, 2014 12:52 pm

 

Video: Sylva, North Carolina says No to Fracking.

*USA. There are some 240,000 miles of oil and gas gathering lines across our fair country and you’ve probably never heard of them. They are relatively small, underground and unrecognized, moving oil and gas in predominantly rural areas “from wells and nearby storage areas to processing plants and transmission lines.” Projections are for 414,000 additional miles of gathering lines by 2035. Federal regulations do not apply to gathering lines in many rural areas, and few states regulate them. Guess which industry is resistant to such regs.

*USA. Research results on fracking’s impact on health are trickling in, accompanied by calls for further research. There appear to be “potential health risks” for babies born near gas wells in CO, possibly in PA and UT.

*USA. Earthquakes tend to get people’s attention. OK usually had 3 quakes a year, but that number jumped to 109 in 2013 and to 238 so far this year. Now TX is experiencing increases in earthquakes, as are AR and OH—interestingly, all “in the vicinity of wastewater injection wells.” Scientists who initially pooh-poohed suggestions that fracking was related to earthquakes are increasingly paying attention.

*AK. Oil companies lost on their big investment in a referendum measure that would have changed how the industry is taxed in Alaska. It was “hard-fought” and “by a narrow margin”, but it failed.

*AK. “Over the last eight years, Shell’s Alaskan Arctic [drilling] efforts have been plagued by blunders and accidents.” Who can forget their oil rig  floating around up there off the Alaskan coast until it finally ran aground on Kodiak Island a few years ago? Yeah, well, they’re now trying to get permission to “explore” in the Alaskan Arctic, aiming for 400,000 barrels/day in the Chukchi Sea.

*CA. Great news from the Land of the Dusty Cars (most everyone is trying hard to conserve water, you see). Unanimous approval of “a [Senate] bill requiring oil companies to report how much water they use in their drilling operations and the water’s source.” It’s on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown (D)’s desk for signature.

*CA. One place in the state is welcoming those oil trains carrying highly flammable crude: Kern County. Looks like they’re going to have “the state’s largest crude oil rail terminal”, in addition to a big one currently being built. The terminals are expected to handle “three 100-car crude oil trains a day.” The city of Berkeley got into the act, sending “Kern a letter contending its [environmental] review is inadequate,” which Kern doesn’t seem to appreciate, somehow. Bringing in volatile crude by rail is becoming an equally volatile issue in the state.

*FL. The feds have approved use of “sonic cannons [off the Eastern seaboard from FL to DE] to discover [oil] deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through water shared by endangered whales and turtles.” The “detailed information” from this endeavor, which must be costing the taxpayers a tidy sum, will be for energy companies’ use in applying for possible future oil leases. The acting director of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management somehow sees this as a “path forward” which protects “marine life and cultural sites.” Tell that to the whales, turtles and other creatures trying to migrate and give birth while getting blasted day-in and day-out by sonic cannons.

*ILDraft rules for fracking have been sent to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. There was major negative reaction to the draft rules released last year and the IL Department of Natural Resources is being mum about whether they were modified in the interim. Interesting, too, that “Oil producers, drilling companies and geologists frustrated with the slow process” are piling bucks into Republican Bruce Rauner’s campaign chest for governor.

*INBP has a large refinery in Whiting, IN which leaked 1,638 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan in March. Seems that same refinery caught on fire this week, resulting in an explosion, but BP claims all is ok now. However that may be, BP’s still facing a lawsuit by Chicago residents allegedly suffering from Koch Industries’ petroleum coke, produced by BP and stored “in huge piles along the Calumet River,” which gets carried by the wind into their neighborhoods and homes.

*MDThe second of three fracking reports ordered by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in 2011 is now available. Oil and gas companies are eager to begin fracking in the Marcellus Shale, specifically in MD’s Garrett County. In their second report, the University of Maryland warns of air pollution, impact on workers’ health and even “adverse birth outcomes.” Should fracking be ok’d,  the report urged “strict police and state agency monitoring of fracking operations.” We can only hope.

*MI. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is putting together “an expert panel to review how low-activity radioactive materials are disposed following criticism of the state’s waste-handling policies.” Or lack thereof.

*NC. Legislators seem damned and determined to have fracking. They’re even considering forcing “landowners to submit to fracking whether they wanted to or not if just one neighbor signed a drilling lease.” Open hearings are now being held in the state by the NC Mining and Energy Commission. The meetings are causing so much discomfort to the pro-frackers on the Commission that they’ve threatened to shut the meetings down.

*ND. “More than a month after a million gallons of briny wastewater leaked from an underground pipeline on the Fort Berthold [Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara] Reservation  in North Dakota, a tribal environmental official said he’s still seeking confirmation that the spill did not enter the reservation’s water supply.” The huge saltwater spill flowed for about two miles and “left a swath of dead grass, brushes and trees.” Meanwhile, there seems to be a hide-the-data game going on at the reservation pertaining to the effects of the spill. Stay tuned. Update (already!): A second leak of 126,000 gallons has been reported.

*NDNatural gas flares, a direct result of the fracking frenzy on-going in the Bakken, seem to be everywhere these days as gas spews from the earth along with the crude.  Too often, drillers have nowhere to direct the natural gas since “existing pipelines . . . already are at full capacity.” But, not to worry, “regulators are cracking down” and new standards now exist requiring better capture of the gas. Meanwhile, the “loss” of all that natural gas is estimated to be worth about $100 million/month.

*NYCommunity and environmental organizations’ representatives  converged in Albany, urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to ban “trains carrying oil from entering New York state.” They cited recent National Transportation Safety Board recommendations and a statement from Karl Alexy of the Federal Railroad Administration that “oil tank cars cannot be built robust enough to withstand puncture in derailments at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour.”

*TX. As earthquakes begin to rattle folks in north TX, the Texas Railroad Commission is proposing “tightening regulations for injection wells while scientists explore a potential ink between high-pressure wastewater disposal” and quakes. ‘Induced seismicity’ is the term and the role of fracking wastewater injections in that phenomenon is becoming harder to ignore—just last January the Commission’s Chairman told reporters that quakes were “not linked to fracking.”

*Nova ScotiaAn independent panel headed by the president of Cape Breton University has released a report urging Nova Scotia’s ban on fracking remain in place “until there is more research and a way is found to give local communities a say in the process.”

*Argentina is moving ahead with fracking. A deal has been signed with Petronas, a Malaysian firm, to drill about a dozen wells which, if successful, will lead to 1,000 more. Chevon is already in Argentina in the Loca Campana field, producing “in excess of 25,000 barrels from 245 wells.” Argentina’s shale is also gas-rich, second only to China.

*Colombia will be opening its National Agency of Hydrocarbons in 2015,  consisting of professionals charged with “close supervision of the [oil] industry.” They’re also contracting with the Universidad de los Andes to conduct on-going seismic studies.

*Britain. The founder of “the UK’s largest solar solutions company” discusses the shale boom bubble which is “waiting to burst as economics of extraction falter and the trickle of bad environmental news starts to swell.” Wishful thinking or insightful analysis? Definitely worth a read.

*Norway. Imagine using oil wealth in support of the people! Norway is doing just that and, while longer-range plans haven’t crystallized, they are refreshingly realistic about the future of oil.

*Lebanon. It’s doubtful the transpo portrayed here will be reducing oil consumption significantly, even should it catch on, but the music and charm just might usher in a pleasant weekend for you.