Tuesday, February 25, 2014


FLIP - Ever since we learned that we have more natural gas reserves under our feet than the Saudis have barrels of oil; natural gas exploration has been a booming business for the oil companies. And no company has slurped more from the natural gas trough than ExxonMobile. ExxonMobile is the largest natural gas producer in the world and its CEO Rex Tillerson, the front man for all that is good about the industry. Tillerson’s primary job is to sell the public on the virtues of natural gas exploration and the safety of its controversial “fracking” process. Fracking is the process of forcing water and what are hazardous chemicals into the shale to force out the natural gas. Property owners have expressed their concerns over the negative affects fracking has on their property values and quality of life. Chemicals seeping into the water table, unsightly drilling operations, 24 hour noise pollution and lower property values are the primary issues. Tillerson has taken every opportunity to marginalize their concerns. That is until a fracking operation decided it was going to build a 160 water tower next to his home. The tower would be used to supply water to a nearby fracking site. Tillerson has joined other property owners in the area in filing a lawsuit to block construction of the water tower. The suit claims that project would cause too much traffic and noise from hauling water from the tower to the fracking site. According to Tillerson’s lawyer the CEO is concerned the operation might devalue his property. What's good for the goose...

FLIP – The intensity of the blowback over Arizona’s controversial anti-gay law has proponents ducking for cover. The bill, passed by the Republican controlled state legislature, allows business owners to refuse to sell goods and services to gays “and others” if they believe that doing so would violate the tenants of their religious beliefs. The bill awaits the governor’s signature. Opponents of the bill stormed the statehouse bearing signs of protest. Handmade signs generally do not faze lawmakers. But threaten their pocketbooks and you get their undivided attention. Apple, Marriott, American Airlines and other major corporations made it clear that their interest in doing business in the state would be adversely affected if the bill were signed into law. The NFL mumbled that it would consider withdrawing the Super Bowl scheduled for Phoenix in 2015. Republican state legislators are now urging the governor to veto the bill they voted for less than a week ago. Three Republican state senators have written a letter to the governor formally withdrawing their support of the measure. This is what happens when one’s ideology loosens their grip on reality.

FLOP – Secretary of State Chuck Hagel announced that in 2015 the defense department will undergo the largest military cuts in the 40 year history of the all volunteer force. Cuts will include a reduction in active duty US Army forces to pre-WWII levels of 440,000. The Air force will eliminate its entire fleet of A-10 Warthog close air support fighters as well as its fleet of U-2 spy planes. 30,000 National Guard troops will be eliminated. Commissary and housing allowances will also be slashed. Military bases will be closed but specifics were not announced. The cuts are part of a concerted effort by the Obama Administration to reduce government spending. One would assume that such a reduction in spending would be looked upon favorably by fiscal conservatives. Not so much! The announcement was met with a hair-on-fire reaction from the right who asserted that the cuts would jeopardize our national security. These are the same lawmakers who are always railing against the deficits and the debt. It is ok to reduce deficits by cutting social safety net programs upon which tens of millions of Americans depend. But the minute that you hint at cutting the defense budget or closing a military base in a conservative district all hell breaks loose.

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