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Money Matters

  MORGAN: Fracking Bust? Or Fracking Boom?

MONEY MATTERS • Column

Fracking Bust?

Or Fracking Boom?

By TOM MORGAN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

 Who you gonna believe?

When people argue over contentious issues today they often follow a predictable pattern. He cites a scientific study that says blah blah about climate change. She cites a scientific study that claims the opposite.

Oh yeah? He says her study was published in a junk journal. Oh yeah? She lists the scientist’s credentials. And claims his scientist has the wrong degrees.

Oh yeah? He says her scientist is sponsored by oil companies. Oh yeah? She says his scientist is paid by government grants that pretty much require compliance.

They Google in their sleep to bolster their arguments. They greet their partners good-mornings with snarls. “By god I’m right. Her so-called scientific expert worked at a Mobil gas station in high school.”

All of this opens a can of worms. The chief worm is the question: Can you believe what you read or see or hear on a contentious issue?

Here is an example of what I mean.

Governor Cuomo banned fracking in this state. After six years, his environmental department backed him up with several reasons.

Fracking could and did pollute. With particulate matter. And with methane and organic chemicals.

Fracking could and did contaminate drinking water. With methane and fracking fluids. Because of improper wells.

Fracking contaminated soils and water by way of surface spills. It also caused earthquakes.

A fancy institute weighed in by pooh-poohing the so-called economic boom fracking brings. The promised jobs don’t come in the number that frackers promise. Studies that describe the boom are flawed.

Meanwhile….comes another study published in a big science journal. Its results are the opposite of what New York’s environmental officials declared.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Geological Survey. Researchers from Penn State studied 21,000 water samples from areas near gas and oil wells in their state.

They found virtually zero methane contamination of the water. (Methane occurs naturally in lots of the state’s groundwater.)

The same researchers earlier studied 11,000 samples of water. From near 1400 gas wells in just one county. They found no problems. Actually, they found the opposite. There were trends of improving water quality in the county. Despite all the fracking.

“Since 2010 two dozen independent studies have not found any systemic impact caused by the 110,000 oil and natural gas wells in the U.S.”  This from the Heartland Institute.

Our EPA spent $29 million and 6 years to find fracking has little or no effect on groundwater.

How about the boom that wasn’t? One consumer group estimates the lower gas prices saved Pennsylvania folks and businesses $31 billion over ten years.

Economists from three big universities say the average household in Pennsylvania gets up to $1900 per year in benefits from fracking. They cite healthy rises in average income and wages. They credit fracking with a 10 percent increase in jobs in the state.

A big Chamber of Commerce study estimates fracking added $13 billion to the state’s GDP. And $7 billion in new wages.

Heartland cites other studies that debunk the “myths” that fracking pollutes water or air. It assures us that major fracking states of Pennsylvania and Texas have lower rates of asthma, birth defects and cancer than many states that have no fracking.

And the institute cites studies that claim earthquakes in fracking areas are of little significance.

I imagine some readers are Googling away already. They want to prove or disprove one side of this issue or the other.

It is a pity that it is impossible to find the truth in this and other vital matters. After all, a lot of up-staters would love to see an economic boom. Even if it was half what Pennsylvania’s is. The only booms upstate has experienced lately come during hunting season.

My grandfather reckoned the truth was usually half-way between the opposing arguments. Maybe that is where it is.

In the future maybe we will use artificial intelligence computers to resolve such issues. One side will input its data. The computer will spit it back as bull-tweedy. It will proclaim the other side’s argument worthy of five stars.

Yeah, but you can’t trust that robot. It was made by XYZ Company.  Its pension fund owns energy stocks!

From Tom…as in Morgan.

Tom Morgan, retired Oneonta investment counselor and nationally syndicated writer of this column, lives in Franklin.

Punishing Present For The Past

COLUMN • Money Matters

Punishing Present

For The Past

 By TOM MORGAN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Join me in a grand political correctness crusade! Together we can punish the present for the past. This crusade has already racked up several victories. Many more lie ahead.

Our most recent victory: We beheaded Kate Smith. The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers destroyed her recordings of “God Bless America” they used to play. The Flyers hauled her statue from its stadium. They did this after the crusade unearthed two of her recordings. From 80 years ago. They had racist lyrics.

By today’s standards they did. Those are the only ones that count. Today’s standards.

Onward!  Let us demand the NY Yankees close down. Kate used to sing racist lyrics. The Yanks practiced racism. Big time. They downright banned African-Americans from their entire organization. This, for many years after the Dodgers hired Jackie Robinson. The Yanks might as well have painted a sign on their stadium: BLACKS NEED NOT APPLY.

Onward!  Let us demand that all of Major League Baseball go out of business. Yes! We pulled down statues of generals who fought for the Confederacy. We chiseled names from buildings. We re-named parks and schools. Those that honored guys who owned slaves.

Well, for 50 years baseball would not let a black man don a Major League uniform. Banned them. For the color of their skin. Down with baseball! Destroy the Hall of Fame with its tributes to all those racists of old.

Down with the bigoted racist U.S. Senate. It was certainly that for a few hundred years.

The Senate honored Sen. Robert Byrd for 51 years. Mourned him as a hero of that esteemed body. Well, for many years Byrd was a Grand Cyclops of the KKK. While a senator. He fought bitterly against civil rights for black Americans.

As did Sen. J. William Fulbright. Yes, these mentors to Bill and Hillary were downright racists. Active racists. Let us take down their portraits and statues.

Let us extinguish the Fulbright Scholar Program. Let us remove Byrd’s name from the countless buildings and parks and highways in West Virginia. Leave it only on the sewage plants named after him.

Kate Smith only sang a few racist songs. These guys labored to deny rights to millions of Americans. They kept segregation and racism alive.

Let us close down the Congress that tolerated these racists. That lauded and honored them. Let us start anew. The whole structure was racist from its founding.

Onward! To more practical goals. Destroy the New Yorker magazine. For decades it ran disgusting cartoons.  Disgusting by today’s standards.

They lampooned women with big chests, blacks, Jewish merchants, fat women, flat-chested women, stupid blondes. They portrayed women as idiots. For their driving, their shopping, their looks, their looseness after a few drinks. One of their top cartoonists was obsessed with women’s breasts. His characters leered down blouses. They cheered when discovering breasts floated in the bath.

The New Yorker cartoons targeted Indians, Native Americans, gypsies, Italians, Arabs, Mexicans, Chinese, black cotton-pickers. They portrayed blacks with huge white lips. They featured Africans as ignorant savages with spears and grass skirts.  One cartoon featured a gentlemen’s outfitter store that displayed a range of KKK robes in its windows.

Down with the New Yorker, I say. It was a racist, sexist rag for 50 years. It deserves more punishment than Kate Smith. She sang. The New Yorker humiliated millions and openly encouraged racial and ethnic prejudice.

Close down NBC and other networks. They kept blacks off the air for decades. They made millions on the Amos ’n’ Andy show.

That program invited millions to laugh at the depiction of laziness and ignorance of blacks. It mocked blacks’ dreams of improving their lot. One critic called it a mean-spirited exploitation of racial stereotypes. Its characters mangled the language. What was most humiliating to blacks was that the characters on radio were whites, impersonating blacks. They wore blackface for publicity shots.

Join the crusade. Along with today’s rap groups.  Yes.

I asked a few rap groups for support for this crusade. I cannot print their responses because they were filled with profanity. Lots of variations of the N word and “ho’s” and “white MFers.” From the translation it looks to me as if they are really opposed to racist stuff, man.

One thing I know for sure. All this virtue-posturing is pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

From Tom…as in Morgan.

    Tom Morgan, a retired Oneonta investment counselor and author of the nationally syndicated Money Matters column, lives in Franklin.  You can reach him at tomasinmorgan@yahoo.com.

Let’s Build Great Future On Great Past

COLUMN • MONEY MATTERS

Let’s Build Great Future

On Great Past

By TOM MORGAN •  Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal

Was America ever great?

Former Attorney General Eric Holder poses the question. “Exactly when did you think America was great?”

He competes with Governor Cuomo.  Cuomo told us “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.”

Let us look at that question. But first, let us admit these politicians are simply trying to dilute the impact of “Make America Great Again.” Because Donald Trump wields it at the moment. (Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did in campaigns past.)

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