Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Warning Shot

"We'll never know"

That's the comment a reader left on an article about the sexual harassment lawsuit against Joe Shannon, the Tarrant County District Attorney.  (It was "settled" for $375,000 taxpayer dollars).

The comment made some of us laugh.  Hard. 

Every woman in Fort Worth knows.  (Well, not "every", but you get the point).  We're not referring to the District Attorney, we don't personally know the man.  However, we do know many in the political arena in Tarrant County. That "journal of harassment" could have been written by any of these women.  The story is the same.

By the way, what ever happened the "wrongful termination" suit filed against the Tarrant Regional Water District?  (It included obscene photos.) WHY would the media not be all over the opportunity to fill you in on another Tarrant County office scandal that's costing YOU money?

Are there reasons, other than money, not to go to court?

The republic of dirty old men holding office, or court, in Tarrant County, might want to consider something...

The women around here have had enough.

WHO's next?

Well, what do ya know?

The Tarrant County Tax Accessor, Ron Wright, has called for the resignation of Tarrant County District Attorney, Joe Shannon. 


Did a high ranking Tarrant County Republican just call another high ranking Tarrant County Republican out? 

REALLY?  It will be interesting to see WHO takes WHO's side. 

And what else will come to light.  Tarrant County's a big place, with lots of people. 

You know how people are. 

They talk.

And if that wasn't enough, they take notes.  Read it in the Dallas Morning News

Funny, we've always thought Dallas should report on politics in Tarrant County.  National awards, ripe for the picking.

Fracking Colleyville

Welcome to our world.

The Colleyviller Courier has the scoop.  We're glad someone does.

Fracking could become a regular occurrence for the next 16 months at a drill site on Pleasant Run Road unless Colleyville officials agree to allow a gas company to tap into city water.

City Council members were surprised to learn at a recent work session that Atlas Barnett plans to frack every 45 days starting in April and continuing until August, 2014.

"That's a hell of a lot of disruption for a long time," said Councilman Michael Muhm.

Every 45 days, Atlas Barnett will inject water, chemicals and sand into the ground to break up shale and release gas. A portion of each of the seven wells will be fracked until the 2.95-million-gallon storage pond runs out of water. When all the water is gone, crews will leave the site to give the water well time to refill the pond, returning about a month and a half later to repeat the process, said Ron Ruthven, Colleyville's development director.

Colleyville's drilling regulations require gas companies to find their own water sources to protect the city's water supply.

Some council members said they are having second thoughts because they never imagined a gas company would need to come out 10 times because of water limitations.

However, a "pre-fracking activity" will take place this week that will close the intersection for about 15 minutes.

Lease obligations require Atlas Barnett to perforate the wells by dropping explosives down the well bore, Ruthven said.
Hear that??

Do YOU see a pattern here?

In the past couple of weeks we've received several emails on the same subject...Water.

YOU may want to start paying attention.  YOU really can't afford not to.

Heck, even the CIA is -

So with fresh water running out, it is supposed to become more precious than oil. According to the CIA, future wars will be fought over it.

Message from Mexico: U.S. Is Polluting Water It May Someday Need to Drink

As ProPublica has reported in an ongoing investigation about America's management of its underground water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued more than 1,500 permits for companies to pollute such aquifers in some of the driest regions. Frequently, the reason was that the water lies too deep to be worth protecting.

Injection Wells

The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground

Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply 

The Race to privitize our water article spends a great deal of time talking about T. Boone Pickens 

A recent episode of the hit TruTV investigative program, "Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura," has literally tapped into a water scandal that most of the US public has no idea about. Multi-national corporations and unscrupulous wealthy individuals are buying up water rights for some of the largest aquifers in the US and the world. With water predicted to become a scarcity within 20 years, it would appear that some of the elite wealthy are trying to corner the market on the earth's most precious life-giving resource, water.

If that wasn't enough, check out the article on about the Colorado river running dry.

"States cooked the books to show higher demand for water consumption to set up a federal bailout on expensive water projects," said Molly Mugglestone, director of the advocacy group Protect the Flows. "Meanwhile, the states failed to account for river flow that will be required to sustain our multi-billion dollar recreation economy."

Pay attention people, like your life depends on it.

WHO pays?

Fort Worth's parking problems just keep mounting.  You have those that won't return to the Cultural District due to the horrid paid parking garages and patrons not hanging out on West 7th because they are afraid of getting their car towed.

Now it moves inland to downtown.

Check out the story on

So we were surprised when a delivery driver rolled up and unloaded on us, and on parking officers who've been taking some heat for doing their jobs.

"They're harassing everybody down here in Fort Worth," the driver yelled over two lanes of traffic. "Nobody wants to come down here anymore. They're making it impossible for everybody to deliver. They're not helping!"

As the driver drove away, he screamed, "They're ticketing everybody!"

Scott Timberlake, the manager of P.F. Chang's, picked up the theme.

"All my vendors are getting tickets for parking in the same places when they drop stuff off for deliveries," he said. Timberlake believes strict enforcement will also hurt his carryout business. He said he'll take up the issue with city officials.

Part of the frustration stems from new rules on identifying commercial vehicles. Officials say delivery trucks must have a $75 permit or else be clearly marked with lettering in contrasting color at least 3 inches in height. The goal is to keep loading zones open so trucks won't clog up traffic lanes already squeezed by construction.

In fact, one of the first tickets in the new effort was found tucked beneath the windshield wiper of Mayor Betsy Price's official vehicle.

She wasn't the driver, but she paid the ticket.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Durango says


Three little words sure can make a lot of stink.

Trinity River Vision.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Call out

We were glad to see the NE Tarrant Tea Party calling out one of their Congressman.

You should go see it for yourself.

Congressman Michael Burgess is holding a town hall meeting on Thursday evening. The good news is that Burgess is always very available to speak with us and talk about the issues. The bad news is that he recently voted to raise the debt ceiling after promising he would never do that again. Why not show up at the town hall to discuss this and other issues?

Watauga Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, January 31, 2013
7 p.m.- 8 p.m

The Harvest Church
7200 Denton Highway
Fort Worth, Texas

If you are unable to attend the town hall meeting, it is scheduled for a live Internet broadcast at:

The boy is on a roll...

We told you about Giovanni Capriglione, rookie legislator, filing the transparency bill so politicians would have to reveal their connections.  Now he's introduced HB 706, which would allow concealed license holders to carry on college campuses.

This guy has been there a few weeks, he's showing those lifetime members as thing or two.

Keep up the good work!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Local boy makes the Big Time

Actually, the New York Times.

Rookie Representative Giovanni Capriglione and a Democrat ally have caused a stir.  With good reason.  Keep up the good work.  Texas needs cleaning up so that you can say Texas and ethics in the same sentence and everyone won't die laughing.

It’s easy to think of a political group — the Legislature, the city council, the school board, the utility district — as inherently corrupt. Sometimes, they do their best to prove it. That is not really the problem here. The problem is that under the current ethics laws, it’s very hard to prove the opposite. It can be difficult to tell an honest lawmaker from a lawmaker who is on the make. 
Start, if you can, with the assumption that most people in public office are honest and are serving with the best of intentions, even if you disagree with their politics. Assume they are reasonably intelligent. And think about what happens when you give intelligent people a set of rules. Over time, they figure out the best way to read the rules, to stay within the law while also taking every legal advantage. 
Over time, things get out of balance. It might be that most people are following the laws on the books, but that the everyday level of questionable behavior is out of hand.
Read the entire New York Times article here

Hey Dallas

We're watching YOU.  Be there February 7th.

It's for YOUR own good, you don't want to end up like Fort Worth, do ya?

What do you do if you’re a gas drilling company and a key vote on whether to allow fracking in parks, near a school and soccer fields and in the Trinity River floodplain doesn’t go your way? Simple: make a back-room deal to undo the vote and get a “do-over” as if it had never happened. That’s what happened this week in Dallas when the City Plan Commission voted to reconsider the failed drilling applications in a move that was both a shame and a sham. Since three Commissioners who had previously voted against gas drilling permits could not be present, the vote to reconsider these applications passed 6-5. Oh, and no public testimony was allowed. Whatever this is, it isn’t democracy.

Read the rest here

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A new low

That sucking sound you hear is the swirling Fort Worth Star-Telegram, apparently losing its grip.

There is a “story” written in it by Mel LeBlanc about Matt Damon’s new movie, Promised Land.  Is it a movie review?  A gas drilling advertisement?  We can’t tell.

What he said about the movie is only a portion of the issue.  The main issue people have is WHY would anyone believe what Mel says, especially when he’s being paid to say it.   Note the byline -  Mel LeBlanc is managing partner of Shale Play Advisors, LLC., which promotes responsible urban drilling.

If you wonder why else we would question Mel’s judgment, check out this comment:
This guy resigned in shame from the Arlington City Council because he violated the public trust with drugs, alcohol and prostitutes, and God knows what else. Now we are supposed to believe his delusional opinions regarding anything to do with gas drilling....much less "Promised Land." Can't believe the ST even printed this garbage!

Seriously folks, you can’t make this crap up.

Read the entire Star-Telegram "Gas man gives 'thumbs down' to Damon's Promised Land" article.


We just received the following email, if it ain't enough to make you sick, YOUR water might be....

It is unconscionable that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is tasked with safeguarding our nation’s vital natural resources, would fold under pressure to the oil and gas industry...It is again abundantly clear that the deep pocketed oil and gas industry will stop at nothing to protect its own interests, even when mounting scientific evidence shows that drilling and fracking pose a direct threat to vital drinking water supplies.

From Smoking Gun to Censorship: Range Resources Link

The Obama EPA's Weatherford, TX study was long-in-the-making, with its orgins actually dating back to a case of water contamination in 2010. The victim: Steve Lipsky.

"At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane," the AP wrote.

AP proceeded to explain that Lipsky had "reported his family's drinking water had begun 'bubbling' like champagne" and that his "well...contains so much methane that the...water [is] pouring out of a garden hose [that] can be ignited."

The driller in this case was a corporation notorious for intimidating local communities and governmental officials at all levels of governance: Range Resources. Range, in this case, set up shop for shale gas production in a "wooded area about a mile from Lipsky's home," according to the AP.

As DeSmogBlog revealed in November 2011, Range Resources utilizes psychological warfare techniques as part of its overarching public relations strategy.

Due to the grave health concerns associated with the presence of methane and benzene in drinking water, the Obama EPA "ordered take steps to clean their water wells and provide affected homeowners with safe water," wrote the AP.

Range's response? It "threatened not to cooperate" with the Obama EPA's study on fracking's link to water contamination. The non-cooperation lead to the Obama EPA suing Range Resources.

It was during this phase of the struggle where things got interesting. As the AP explained,

Believing the case was headed for a lengthy legal battle, the Obama EPA asked an independent scientist named Geoffrey Thyne to analyze water samples taken from 32 water wells. In the report obtained by the AP, Thyne concluded from chemical testing that the gas in the drinking water could have originated from Range Resources' nearby drilling operation.

Despite this smoking gun, everything was soon shut down, with the Obama EPA reversing its emergency order, terminating the court battle and censoring Thyne's report. The AP explained that the Obama EPA has "refused to answer questions about the decision."

"I just can't believe that an agency that knows the truth about something like that, or has evidence like this, wouldn't use it," Lipsky, who now pays $1,000 a month to have water hauled to his family's house, told the AP.

"Duke Study" Co-Author Confirms Veracity of Thyne's Study

Robert Jackson, a Professor of Global Environmental Change at Duke University and co-author of the "Duke Study" linking fracking to groundwater contamination did an independent peer review of Thyne's censored findings. He found that it is probable that the methane in Lipsky's well water likely ended up there thanks to the fracking process.

Range predictably dismissed Thyne and Jackson as "anti-industry."

Americans Against Fracking: An "Unconscionable" Decision

Americans Against Fracking summed up the situation best in a scathing press release:

It is unconscionable that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is tasked with safeguarding our nation’s vital natural resources, would fold under pressure to the oil and gas industry...It is again abundantly clear that the deep pocketed oil and gas industry will stop at nothing to protect its own interests, even when mounting scientific evidence shows that drilling and fracking pose a direct threat to vital drinking water supplies.

There's also a tragic human side to this tale.

"This has been total hell," Lipsky told the AP. "It's been taking a huge toll on my family and on our life."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gas rig vote

Or rigging the gas vote?

The industry not speaking at the packed Denton Council meeting was a sure sign the vote was going to swing their way.  One council member was absent and one had a pair, making the vote 5-1.

The council chamber holds a little over a 100 people, it was standing room only.  Many residents spoke, some were asked to leave.

What all citizens should be asking is why on earth any municipality would remove “air and water monitoring”?  Especially if said municipalities sole existence is to protect those that elected them.

WHO exactly makes up the gas well inspection division?

Those amendments included increasing the setback for protected uses to 1,200 feet, increasing insurance liability coverage, and requiring compressor stations be subject to setbacks, noise and screening. Air and water monitoring were taken out of the ordinance, but Watts amended the motion to ensure that gas well inspection division would take up the task.

You’d think….

If people keep asking the same question, someone would answer, right?  Anyone??

"If you're having trouble now supplying police and fire service, what's going to happen when you add more houses and you haven't collected the money to pay for those police and fire services?" Fuller said.

That’s the telling sign in the article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram where everyone wants new fees.  Those that have to pay them say it’s too high.  Those that don’t say it’s not high enough.

The council is scheduled to vote on the fee proposal Feb. 5. The increase would take effect April 1, with developments that are already platted grandfathered in for two years at the current fees.

The city charges transportation impact fees on new residential and commercial developments, and the money must be used to build roads into that development.

Under the staff proposal, the fee on a single-family home -- paid before permits are issued -- would rise to $3,680 from $2,000. The staff also is proposing that the fee rise again in 2015, to $5,112 on a single-family home.

Development and business groups are backing a proposal led by Nicol's group that would raise the impact fees to $3,000 on a single-family home.

At the city's current growth rate, it takes nearly six miles of new arterial roads per year to serve new developments, staff members estimate. The current fees pay for 1.1 miles, said Kate Beck, the city's transportation planning administrator. The staff's proposal would pay for 1.8 miles.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's time.

Do something.  Save YOUR kids.  They'll be glad you did.

Someone started an online petition to appoint Calvin Tillman to the EPA. 

We wholeheartedly support.  You should too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What they said...

Was - Stick 'em up!

The Dallas Morning News reports TXDot claims they need a billion here and 3 billion there to add to their ten billion.

They also favor the Private Partnerships that make toll roads owned by Spain.

Oh, and those roads the gas drillers tear up?  Well, they don't know how to fix that...

Read the entire article here.  Trust us, YOU can't afford not to.

TxDOT needs an additional $1 billion-a-year alone to shore up its maintenance budget, he said. And going forward, the agency will likely need another $3 billion-a-year infusion to its current $10 billion annual budget to “address congestion long-term with a sustainable method.”

Wilson also said something needs to be done to address the road damage associated with oil and gas development. Drilling a single well, he said, is equivalent to adding nearly 8 million cars to a road, and many rural roads aren’t built for that kind of traffic pressure.
“How do we figure that out and make sure we have good solid roads?” he said.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You think 2% was bad??

Read what Terri Hall had to say about Texas toll roads here-

"Texans are facing more toll roads, the sale of our public roads to private toll operators (P3s), and heaps more public debt if lawmakers don't get more traditional funding to TxDOT to build freeways. It's truly at crisis levels and will cost Texans abundantly if they do nothing (or more of the same)."

Read all of it.

 In fact, federal data shows Texas has the highest road debt of any state in America.

Wake up.  YOUR kids can't afford for you to be ignorant.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hey Dallas -

Thinking about drilling your constituents?  WFAA reports Dallas is considering drilling in parks and flood plains.  WHERE have we heard that before?

THEY apparently haven't watched the Shaletest video.

Has Shaletest received a response?  WHY not? 

Inquiring minds wanna know, so will your kids.

Down the drain

The ST just flushed one of their best.

A reporter AND a champion for the underdogs.

We look forward to his new venture that will help those in Texas fighting injustice.

WE need all the help we can get.

WHERE did we read the story?  The Fort Worth Weekly, of course.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

WHO are they?

Did YOUR Senator add pork to bills?  (Would this be the same “conservative” Senator that has been reported to have the highest travel bills in Congress?)

Did YOU vote for them?


Inquiring minds, and your kids, wanna know.

Read the letter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram then tell us how good the Fort Worth billion dollar “flood control” project sounds.  Better yet, tell a Sandy victim.

Let’s recap - YOUR billion dollar pork added to a bill by YOUR “conservative” Congresswoman has so far produced : her son a job, her son’s friend a restaurant in a flood plain, a wake board park that floods with the polluted river, more debt to move the Fire and Police Training facility, business’s being acquired by eminent domain and soon to be a drive in on a contaminated site.  Someone tell Chris Christie, there’s no money for NY floods, Texas politicians need it.

Sandy bill

Politicians are outraged that the House did not pass the Senate's $60 billion disaster aid bill for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

I wish they all would point their outrage in the correct direction, which would be the senators who added billions of those dollars to be used for pork.

The already-taxpayer-supported Amtrak would receive $336 million, and millions upon billions more going for tree planting, roofs for D.C. buildings and myriad other things that have nothing to do with Sandy.

My solution would be to publish the name of each senator and how much he or she added for their pet projects. All of the Sandy victims, along with the rest of us, could then see the real enemy of the people: the politician who is taking money from the hurricane victims.

-- Ruth Orren, Fort Worth 

It's not a fee, it's a TAX...

If you are thinking of moving to Fort Worth, you might want to check their financials and their tax rate first.  YOU can’t afford not to.  (While you’re at it, notice they rank 45th in education spending and dead last in mental health money).

WHY would the story on Fort Worth fees and bonds not be one of the most read stories on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram?

WHY wouldn’t residents be asking WHERE the hell their money is really going?

WHY would a city that far in debt with billions in infrastructure issues and a dwindling water supply be looking to spend a billion on turning the polluted river into a polluted lake?

WHY is no credible media source (we know, irony) asking these questions?  WHY are citizens not outraged enough to send the 7th street gang and their kids packing?

Fort Worth's bond package will be at least $242 million and will probably grow, based on such factors as property values and interest rates. Part of the city's property tax revenue will pay off the debt, so higher property values would increase borrowing capacity.

But the money will still meet only a small portion of the city's estimated $2.3 billion in capital needs over the next several years -- including $1.5 billion for infrastructure -- and council members are expected to hash over other ideas to expand the pot.

Among other ideas: Council members this year are expected to review whether to establish a user fee on water bills that would go to roads and streets, recommended by a city task force in 2010.

Councilman Sal Espino, whose district includes far north Fort Worth, which has lagged in infrastructure, has been pushing the council to consider dedicated revenue streams for transportation, such as higher impact fees and the user fee, and he wants to see if there's a way to redirect more of the city's sales tax to transportation.

"The builders association understands for reasons lost in antiquity, the city of Fort Worth used other priorities than building new streets and maintaining streets" in the past, Nicol said. "Like it or not, it is what it is."

Price said only: "I do believe such a fee should be tied to specific projects. Citizens ought to be able to clearly see what they get for their investment."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oink, oink

The letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today reminded us of the “This little piggy” rhyme…

Of course ours cried, “Me, me, me!” all the way home…

Thanks for saying what everyone is thinking, well done, sir.

On the one hand, Kay Granger voted against the recent "fiscal cliff" deal because she opposes increased government spending. On the other hand, her stated goals for the upcoming session are to ensure increased funding for government programs at Lockheed Martin and for the glorified pond north of downtown known as the Trinity River Vision.

Here is my "vision" of Washington: hypocritical representatives like Granger talking about reducing federal spending while extending their arms for more handouts. Which is it, Ms. Granger, pork for your district or fiscal conservatism? You can't have it both ways.

-- William W. Thorburn, Benbrook

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Waiting on the spin cycle

Will the industry go after Matt Damon like they did Josh Fox?

Promised Land is getting Oscar buzz. 

Gasland was nominated for an Oscar too.

Gasland is running again on HBO. 

Do you ever get the feeling people are trying to tell you something?

Check it out.  Before it happens to YOU.

And some good news...

Local girl goes national.

Read about Deborah Rogers in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  That is, if they'll let you.  Apparently they don't think they've lost enough readers, so they plan on losing more by charging a cover. 

Fort Worth resident Deborah Rogers, who has been critical of natural gas drilling and the economics of shale gas production, has been named to a 21-member advisory committee to the Department of the Interior.

"There's quite a bit of room for financial transparency in oil and gas and in mining," Rogers said. For example, she noted that some government and independent studies have found that U.S. shale wells could hold fewer reserves than commonly estimated by producers, with significant economic consequences.

Money for nothing

An incoming email poses a very important question.  How much would YOU pay for public information?

What is your experience with the media and the idea of paid subscriptions to web sites? We are spoiled having received all this goodness for free we are disinclined to pay for it now.

I would like to read your take on the matter. Is the Star Telegram still doing electronic subscriptions? The Wall Street Journal does too.

 Looks like a another site is going to subscription  As I flipped through about page 5 of the cartoons on a subject, I received notice of subscription request.

Dear Information Seekers, It seems that one at time more and more electronic media gateways are closing to the public at large. Remember when the Internet Service Providers were held as the keepers of keys to the vast wealth of knowledge that the Internet could offer? The warning was that access to information would become a commodity available to only those who could pay the price. It seems the annoying ads for revenue are no longer enough. Subscription access to web sites is another way the money will expand the wedge between the citizens of this country. The haves and the haves nots. The educated and the uneducated. Those with opportunity and those without.

 Our forefathers knew the importance of the free flow and distribution of information. In the earliest days of our Nation the Post Office all newspapers enjoyed free postage as an effort to unite our nation and encourage publication. Even today newspapers are offered nominal postage rates. See ya in the funny papers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Is your kettle black?

Perhaps the most interesting note in this article on drilling in Texas, concerns Oklahoma.

Some cities have moved to limit fracking or ban it outright – even in the heart of oil and gas country. Tulsa, Oklahoma, which once billed itself as the oil capital of the world, banned fracking inside city limits.

Now WHY would they do that?

Fast pass to the Naughty list...

Only in Texas would Santa be cuffed and unmasked for drawing a Peace sign on the sidewalk.

We like their closing line - Don't hate the media, be the media.

Read the comments on the website that posted the Arrest of Santa video.

There's a special place in Hell

For politicians who support bills like this.  They serve frack water on tap.

If a company does release information about what is used, health care professionals are bound by a non-disclosure agreement that not only forbids them from warning the community of water and air pollution that may be caused by fracking, but which also forbids them from telling their own patients what the physician believes may have led to their health problems.

A strict interpretation of the law would also forbid general practitioners and family practice physicians who sign the non-disclosure agreement and learn the contents of the “trade secrets” from notifying a specialist about the chemicals or compounds, thus delaying medical treatment.

The clauses are buried on pages 98 and 99 of the 174-page bill, which was initiated and passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and signed into law in February by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

If you can stomach it, read the rest here.