The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 2nd: Don’t Frack with New York!

When I was young, my parents managed to scrape together enough money to take us on a week’s vacation nearly every summer, usually to somewhere within reasonable driving distance from our home in southeastern New York. Several of these vacations were in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but some of our other trips were to the Catskill Mountains, a much shorter drive away. While I have only vague memories of a small rustic cabin shadowed by huge pine trees, the highlight of our trips to the Catskills, for me, was a visit to Catskill Game Farm. The game farm was a small zoo, complete with lions, llamas, monkeys, English fallow deer, giraffes, zebras, sheep, goats, etc. Being very small, my favorite part of the visit was feeding the deer and goats. One could buy a handful of feed from a dispenser, and immediately be surrounded by a small herd.

Mum, Jane, and siblings Bobby and Anne with a friendly goat at Catskill Game Farm

Although our visits to the Catskills centered primarily around the Game Farm (which, sadly, closed down in 2006 after 73 years of entertaining families), the Catskill Park itself offers a whole lot more. The entire park consists of 700,000 acres, about 300,000 of which is the publicly-owned Catskill Forest Preserve. The Preserve was established in 1885, starting with 34,000 acres. Situated just to the west of the Hudson River, its rounded, heavily-forested mountains, valleys, waterfalls and streams provide a home to black bears, bobcats, bald eagles and other wildlife. The park’s large landscapes and small, secluded ecosystems are a photographer’s dream. Its reservoirs and streams provide much of the drinking water for New York City.

Unfortunately, with its proximity to the Marcellus Shale, this pristine area is now under threat of being tainted by proposed fracking activity. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has put out an alert to try to stop New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYSDEC from allowing fracking in the Catskill area. The public comment period on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) expired on January 12th, but there is still time to sign the NRDC’s petition to save yet another irreplaceable national jewel from being ruined. This is an area that is near and dear to me personally. and I hope that you’ll all add your signatures for this worthwhile cause.

UPDATE: Apparently only New York State residents can sign the petition, but perhaps an email to Governor Cuomo might help, for those of you who also treasure the Catskills.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.


136 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 2nd: Don’t Frack with New York!

  1. I tried to sign NRDC’s letter, but they want NY residents only.

    Y’all might have already seen this as it’s an old article, but it spells out the sad history of the Komen breast cancer organization.
    I’m a breast cancer survivor who never had any use for their damned pink ribbon.

  2. We take a long weekend vacation every year in the Catskills. The place truly is a treasure. During hurricane Irene, many of the small villages were under water.

  3. That’s a bit shortsighted of the petition gatherers, to limit it to NY residents, unless there’s a legal requirement to do so.
    Listened to Interior Secretary Salazar yesterday on the audio-net saying that fracking’s been going on for a long time, is very safe…when the fracker’s are required to disclose the stuff their injecting… Not sure I believe him, but agree that disclosure should be a requirement to put stuff into the ground, as well as monitoring, cleaning and restoring the water that comes back out as a byproduct of the frackeration…

    • Those are good memories. I remember this one time we had to put the dog on the roof of the car and then he shat and it ran down the back window… Wait, that’s not my memory!

  4. Via TP’s tweets timeline:

    thinkprogress BREAKING: CNN now reporting that Donald Trump will endorse Romney today, not Gingrich (via @vplus)

    That makes sense to me. Mitt knows much more about running a business than Newt, so why would trump endorse Newt? In Trump’s eyes, Mitt is more qualified to be president because of his business experience. Good thing we all know how short-sighted “The Donald” can be.

    • Phil looks a little glassy eyed.
      It’s within the realm of possibility he was woken up intentionally to somehow benefit futures trading on Wall Street.

    • Today is my ex’s birthday, and his brother’s birthday too.

      I used to have so much fun on this day, at their expense. 😉

  5. Accusation of plagiarism is a left-wing conspiracy?

    This write up contains spoilers about the show Downton Abbey and the movie Mrs. Miniver. Don’t read the rest if you don’t want to have the plots spoiled.

    I’ve been watching a show called Downton Abbey. Just catching the first season via Netflix. I like the show well enough, and I think it’s well crafted. I happened to catch an episode about a local flower show. One of the plot lines involved the automatic awarding of first price to a local rich matriarch, despite everyone else acknowledging that a local (non-rich) gardener’s roses are far superior. This exact same story line occurs in the movie Mrs. Miniver. (Down to the resolution; which I won’t spoil.)

    I noticed the similarity, and after some googling, I saw that I wasn’t the only one. The writer of Downton Abbey was accused of plagiarism, and he denied it; but does concede the similarities. Amazing coincidence.

    However, I’m willing to accept that it wasn’t done intentionally. What would be the point of doing that, particularly on a television program, where you’re going to get so easily caught? The plot line may have been lodged into his subconcious at some point. That doesn’t make it any less wrong, just unintentional.

    Now, I wouldn’t have bothered you all with this except for some of the writer’s initial reactions to the accusation.

    When asked about the apparent similarities, Fellowes accused this newspaper of being part of a left-wing conspiracy against him.

    Fellowes apologised if he “seemed rather weary”, but explained he had grown “depressed” by the criticism of Downton Abbey, even though it has fared so well in the ratings that ITV has already commissioned a second series. “All we get is this permanent negative nit-picking from the left,” he said. “You just want to say relax! It’s a show that might not appeal to the left. I mean, why is it that it’s The Independent on Sunday ringing me up about this? There are plenty of shows on television I don’t like but I don’t go on about them.”

    It’s not about not liking the show. It’s about the plagiarism. And this isn’t a left/right thing. It’s about the plagiarism.

    What is with people always jumping to “left wing conspiracy” when they get caught by the press?


  6. OK, I admit it. I’m confused. Yesterday the word was that the Donald would endorse Gingrich, but now he’s prepared to endorse Rmoney.

    What confuses me is why anyone gives a shit.

  7. The Washington Post reports:
    “Donors reacting to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood contributed $650,000 in 24 hours, nearly enough to replace last year’s Komen funding, Planned Parenthood executives said Wednesday.”

    • Wingnuts like Erick Son of Erick are urging people to donate to Komen to show their support. His audience is probably stupid enough to think donating to Komen will somehow batter Planned Parenthood.

      I know that anti-choice groups were planning a boycott of Komen or something like it, but the reality appears to be that it was a small minority of anti-choice people working there that caused the change, not a popular uprising of the righteous.

    • Alas, the Reichwhiners are still stupid. They pulled this little trick and didn’t think people would see through it. Komen has lost their reputation and Planned Parenthood, and more importantly the people they serve, hasn’t been harmed.

  8. Gasland journalists arrested by Capital Police by order of House Republicans.

    In a stunning break with First Amendment policy, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. Initial reports from sources suggested that an ABC News camera was also prevented from taping the hearing; ABC has since denied that they sent a crew to the hearing.

    Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Gasland” was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing. The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building.

    • I’m one of them. As soon as the direct deposit switches, I’m done with the old greedy bastards.

      Combination of Credit Union, and online cash/savings accounts for me. One of the online accounts offers a true fee-free ATM card. They don’t charge you any fee, and if the machine itself tacks on a fee, they’ll reimburse it.

    • Oh shock. My (soon-to-be-former) bank starts high fees on all accounts, and the CEO gets a 58% raise to base pay.


      • Why would any bank think that higher fees, especially in the current climate, is a good business plan? Especially with the news that 5.6 million customers have departed because of policies like this.

        • In doing some digging on this, my bank said last fall that they only expect the people to leave they lose money on. And it makes sense that free checking does cost the bank something. But it seems that it was always a loss-leader sort of product. Give them the free checking, and maybe they’ll come to you for savings. For loans. For other money-making services.

          So while on the year-on balance sheet, this might be a net boost to the bank. But what about the next 3-5 years, when those customers don’t bring in that other business because they’re gone?

    • Yup. As soon as I hear “Fast and Furious” come out of someone’s mouth these days I tune out knowing that I’m dealing with a Foxbot.

  9. This is fun! I’m playing around with a friend’s digital camera and I’m getting better results than I expected at this point. I’ve pretty much decided to get one of my own. The new gravatar is a Yellow-tailed Blue Damselfish in my tank. He’s about 2 inches long.

    • Don’t spend much on a digital camera. The cameras in cellphones will eventually make stand-alone digital cameras go the way of the VHS cassette.

      • I’m not much of a cell phone fan but I am a camera fan. Since one of the things I would specifically look for is the ability to zoom in on small creatures and plants I also need an optical zoom. The one on my borrowed camera is adequate so far but, since it’s a few years old, I could get better for about $100.00 which is the top of my price range anyway.

  10. It makes one wonder. Batscat Shelly admitted that her presidential campaign is $90,000.00 in debt. Other sources are alleging as much as a million. Who do you believe?

    Devin Henry at MInnPost:

    Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign is more than $1 million in debt, according to a Federal Election Commission filing.

    Bad news for her congressional campaign:

    Contributions and debt are transferable between presidential and congressional campaigns, meaning Bachmann will start her re-election bid nearly $450,000 in the red.

    • Does he really believe there are “safety-nets” for the very poor?Mittens’ memory is failing: his repugnant party keeps cutting funding for those programs thus leaving people in a more dire situation.

  11. Can Sanitation truly be this dense? Really?
    Of all people he should be empathetic to this woman’s plight.
    I have a tendency to forget the repugnant motto “I’ve got mine to hell with you.”

    Santorum to sick kid: Don’t complain about $1 million drug costs

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder on Tuesday that she shouldn’t have a problem paying $1 million a year for drugs because Apple’s iPad can cost around $900.

    • Children suffering from trisomy 18 rarely reach the age of 3 as Santorum’s baby did. The comparatively good health of her is most probably due to the fact that she gets top of the notch care. Undoubtedly her parents bend every which way to ensure the girl has all the care she needs and they quite obviously do a good job. And quite obviously they have the funds to ensure she has this care. Why Santorum would deny the same to other parents, whose children have equally heartbreaking conditions is beyond anything I can imagine. Why Santorum would deny the same to anybody, is beyond me,too. I’m a parent and the very thought of one of my kids not getting all the care he needs breaks my heart. Santorum is a coldblooded evil selfrighteous asshole.

      • I agree. I can’t imagine how a parent leaves the bedside of his own very ill child, looks another parent of a sick child in the eye, and starts nattering on about free markets. The man has no soul.

    • Oh my god, that is just unbelievably twisted. Pro-life??

      “He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” the candidate continued.

      WTF? Drug companies don’t provide care to anyone. They sell drugs at the highest price possible.

      Fuck you, Santorum.

  12. Jane – boy your post took me way back to my youth and going to the Catskill Game Farm! The tradition was repeated with my own child. So sad to read that the Farm is closed 😦

    • I might add that I took my boys to the same game farm. We have a 35 mm of my middle kid (now 42) carrying a bag of bread cubes being pursued by a flock of geese. He wanted to keep the sack for feeding at a more auspicious pace, but the geese won. Somehow, they did not go after the youngest – he would have brained them with a brick. I now wonder how many critters may have been there at the same time. That would be from 1973 thru 1982 in my case.

  13. And Atlas Shrugged Part II is going to be released just before the election. Wow. Obama is doomed when everyone rushes out to see this and turns into instant Tea Potty clones. It’s likely to be a monster, except, well, they start shooting in April for release in October. Maybe they should have brought in Roger Corman.

    • Weired. So a bunch of libertarians, who would never support anything that won’t turn a profit, are backing a movie that has no chance of turning a profit?

      • According to TPM it cost $20 million to produce and earned $4 million at the box office. Not only is it a money loser, but no one went to see the damned thing except Randoids. Oh, and if I remember correctly there were people in the theaters who couldn’t get in to see the movie they wanted. I’m sure they spent a lot of time scratching their heads.

    • Yes Gummitch, I remember reading that a reporter went to see the movie in Orange County, CA, and the only other people in the theater were two girls who had no idea what it was about but couldn’t get into the movie they wanted to see. (I’m sure one can Google the story.)

      I also understand that after the horrible reviews of Part 1, the director said, “I get it! There won’t be a Part 2.” Someone must have paid him a fortune to change his mind. Or they fired him and got someone else. Maybe the sequel will have musical numbers. If they want parodies, I can help them. It might make the movie more watchable. 🙂

      But then I’d have to read the book. 😦

      • But then I’d have to read the book.

        oh, that’ll never do – you’d be poisoned for all time!

        • I honestly can’t remember which turgid volume I plowed through years ago. Reviewing books for 10 years or more, I had to read a lot of crap, and I’d definitely throw Rand into the same pile.

  14. Atlas Shrugged Part 1:

    Domestic Total Gross: $4,627,375

    Production Budget: $20 million

    Widest Release: 465 theaters
    Open Date: April 15, 2011
    Close Date: May 19, 2011
    In Release: 35 days / 5 weeks

    That folks, is a flop.

  15. It sounds like Komen is digging in. Claiming that they “won’t back down to political attacks” they seem content to risk the lives of innocent people in order to hurt Planned Parenthood. Funny, I don’t usually include petty vindictiveness among my requirements for a charity. And trying to hurt another charity to score a political point is downright disqualifying. They could still probably redeem themselves with a couple changes to their management but the fuzz is lit and getting shrot.

    • Didn’t they already back down to petty ‘political attacks’ in the first place?

      That’s a very Reichwing piece of projection I might say.

      • I don’t think Komen gave in to some anti-choice organization, I think a small group on the inside of Komen’s leadership put it all together themselves, in conjunction with whatever Tea Potty asshole started an “investigation.”

        • Exactly. They hired a right-wing politician, and not a very successful one, who campaigned on a platform that emphasized defunding Planned Parenthood. Presumably, her politics mesh with the rest of the top management for the Komen Foundation and decided to use her position to implement a little bit of her agenda despite losing her election.

          It’s sad that the real loser is the Komen Foundation because they’ve done a lot of good over the years. Now that we know, however, that they will abandon the best interests of those they wish to serve in order to make a political judgement about another charity? Many of us will find other charities. The ironic part is that this stupid move has already earned more in donations for PP than the amount of the Komen grant. PP wins, their patients win, and Komen destroyed their reputation for nothing. Even if the president fires everyone involved with the decision and steps down it’s probable that no informed person will ever look at those pink ribbons in the same way.

  16. Nancy Brinker’s, founder of Komen, thousand-dollar contribution history. How does she spend her six figure income she “earns” by taking donations in her sister’s name?:

    1991: $1000 to George Bush

    1992: $1000 to Kay Bailey Hutchison

    1993: $2000 to Kay Bailey Hutchison

    $1000 to Martin Frost

    1995: $1000 to Bob Dole

    $1000 to Glenn E. Box

    $1000 to Malcolm S. Forbes, Jr.

    $12,500 to the Republican National Committee

    1996: $1000 to William F. Weld

    $1000 to Bob Dole

    $1000 to Larry Pressler

    1997: $1000 to the Republican Leadership Council

    $1000 to Kay Bailey Hutchison

    $1000 to John McCain

    1998: $1000 to Kay Granger

    $1000 to Bob Inglis

    $5000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee

    1999: $3000 to George W. Bush

    $1000 to Bill Frist

    $2000 to Kay Bailey Hutchison

    $1000 to Elizabeth Dole

    $1000 to Olympia Snowe

    2000:$1000 to Pete Sessions

    $28,500 to the Republican National Committee

    2001:$1000 to Arlen Specter

    2002:$1000 to Elizabeth Dole

    2003: $12,500 to the Republican National Committee

    2004:$1,000 to Mel Martinez

    2006:$1,000 to Eric Cantor

    $2,500 to “Straight Talk America”

    2011:$1,150 to the Republican National Committee

    • Now they’re pulling the proverbial GoOPer oops we found another reason that may sound more plausible:
      SGK pulling a typical Repugnant Party “moving the goal post” once they’ve been found out..

      This from one of the links – up yonder:

      So why did Planned Parenthood lose funding? Brinker says it has to do with the fact that they do not provide mammograms to women, but only provide mammogram referrals. “It was nothing they were doing wrong,” she explained. “We have decided not to fund, where ever possible, pass-through grants. We were giving them money, they were sending women out for mammograms. What we would like to have are clinics where we can directly fund mammograms.”

      SGK knew from the get-go PP wasn’t equipped with the monstrously expensive machinery for mammograms and/or the ultrasound machines.
      (OB/Gyn offices don’t provide that service either. They refer to other facilities for the testing)

      • How about if SGK provided MORE money to PP to buy the necessary equipment, instead of yanking their funding – and everyone’s chains – over this pitiful excuse?

      • The winger meme of the day, repeated endlessly through their echo chamber, is “Planned Parenthood lied! They have never provided mammograms!”

        Toss in some distorted figures about abortion and “massive” child sex scandal and you have all the red meat any wingnut fundamentalist anti-choice piece of shit would ever need to convince their peers how vile PP is.

    • It also sounds like they are fond of litigation. I guess we can look forward to a slew of lawsuits against anyone they can blame for their suddenly falling donations.

      • I read somewhere that SGK threatened to sue a little kid who had a lemonade stand on a corner, trying to raise funds for breast cancer research — apparently she used the words “for the cure.”

        They do that a lot, and it’s pure and simple bullying.

  17. via Balloon Juice

    HOPE KILLS: Susan G Komen Foundation Would Rather Be Associated With A Handgun Than Planned Parenthood

    So the Komen Foundation doesn’t want to be associated with the nation’s largest abortion-provider. But they don’t mind partnering up with a handgun maker.

  18. Our sweet wolfie seems to be spending her time tiwitting these days, and this is a recent gem:

    First of all, fuck you with a giant dinosaur cock, Santorum. Something big enough you won’t have a few seconds to enjoy yourself before you burst and plummet head first into the deepest recesses of your Hell. Stuffed up Satan’s anus seems like a simple solution.

    “Look, I want your son and everybody to have the opportunity to stay alive on much-needed drugs,” Santorum insisted. “But the bottom line is, we have to give companies the incentive to make those drugs. And if they don’t have the incentive to make those drugs, your son won’t be alive and lots of other people in this country won’t be alive.”

    And fuck your exploded corpse.

    “He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” the candidate continued. “And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.”

    They don’t provide care, you moron, they provide dividends to their shareholders. My ex takes a number of very expensive drugs to maintain any measure of life — the Copaczone alone costs $3500/month. Without insurance, who can afford that? And honestly, Ricky, no. We do not believe in markets. Only morons do.

    • I barely survived three years without meds while waiting to qualify for Medicare. That was after I went bankrupt paying medical bills out of pocket because I got too sick to work and couldn’t get insurance at any price.

      Then you get sick freaks like Sanitarium and Bill0 claiming that poor people are unworthy of health care because they are all “addicts” or “lazy”.

      • Jeebus, fuck that guy. Srsly, fuck him.

        My youngest is on the brink of ruin through no fault of his own. He has a job after looking for months and months, thank goodness, but the pay is crap. He finally got health insurance through the job, but he has pre-existing conditions (which need attention NOW) but the insurance company is making him wait a year before they will pay anything for those things.

        He hasn’t knocked up any girls, he’s not a drug addict, he works so many hours that he owes the IRS money this year — how fair is that? — so he’s clearly not lazy. It’s just an endless cycle of nickle and diming bullshit that he can never get out of.

        Fuck you, Bill O’Reilly. I hate everything about you, and that’s something I rarely say about anyone.

    • I always read here gummie but you folks are so quick that somebody has usually said what I was going to.

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