Late Night Open Thread: New Winner in the All-time ‘Worst 9/11 Take EVAR’ Sweeps

And I, for one, sincerely hope this remains the worst take!

The Impact of Fracking on Daily Lives

For the last couple of months, SWN energy has been developing a new pad about a mile away from town as the bird flies, but about 3-4 miles by road. The pad is at a high point on what is known as Marlborough spur, and basically overlooks the town of Bethany. The sound from the pad rolls down the valley and bombards the town:

The sound has been absolutely out of control, and goes on all day and all night. Here are two videos showing what it is like, but they really do not do it justice because you also get the vibrations and grinding sound. If I put my hand against the wall of my house, I can feel it. The only way I can really describe it is that when I am not able to block it out, I feel like I am living through the seen in the Lord of the Rings when the Orcs are tearing down Fangorn Forest. Here is a video at 1 am:

And here it is at 9 am in the morning:

And it goes on like this all night. Some days it stops. And then it just starts right back up again. None of us know what the sound is- whether it is drilling, sandblasting, compressors, some combination of the above. But it is soul-crushing and keeping people up all night long. You have to sometimes shout to people outside to be heard. I know one person who took her hearing aids out and was still kept up to 3 am.

Before I go on, let me state that ALL of this could be mitigated. They could spend a little bit of money and erect a sound barrier. But they won’t, because they claim they did sound studies and it was not a problem. Were they to erect a barrier, it would stop all that from rolling down the valley and blasting the town.

Yesterday morning, immediately after recording that video, I got in the family truckster and drove up to the pad. Once there, I recorded the sound from the pad. Now to understand where I was when I recorded this, I was on the OTHER side of the pad, with the pad between me and Bethany.

Here is the sound from the pad on that side:

As you can see, less of the grinding and more of a white noise.

Sidebar- Apparently on top of the noise pollution, pumping toxic chemicals into the earth, destroying the roads, and running everyone off the road, SWN also seems to run unsecure drilling operations, because I was able to just drive right on up to the pad. There was a little shack at the fork, but no gate, no one told me to stop (there was a guy there and we just waved at each other as I drove on in), and no signage or anything to tell me to not enter or hardhat area or anything. Awesome.

At any rate, after weeks of complaints, they decided they would grace us with another sound study to see if they needed to do anything. They placed sound meters in a neighbors yard, and would monitor it for 72 hours, then run the data. You all know what happens next, right?


The sound meters were put in Friday afternoon, and there was not a peep all weekend. Monday night at 6, the meters came out, and by 7 pm they were drilling again. The report will come back showing no sound issues, because of course it will.

Finally, the town had enough and it was announced that SWN reps would be coming to town council last night. This was arranged at around noon yesterday. The drilling sounds I recorded yesterday morning? They stopped at noon.

So they know what they are doing, and they just don’t give a shit. I did not go to the town council meeting because I did not trust myself around them and the local tv station was there filming, and I did not want to become a viral sensation. I had already had a run-in with one of the SWN reps, this crapweasel who is doing their bidding. I’ll share that with you:

You see what he is doing there, right? It’s the equivalent of a gun humper saying “HA IT’S A MAGAZINE NOT A CLIP MY HUNTING RIFLE IS A SEMI-AUTO.” We don’t know what the actual source of the noise is at the pad. Like I said, it may be fracking, it may be sandblasting, it may be compressors and a whole bunch of other stuff. But he’s claiming that the place wasn’t shut down, which means it might have been passively collecting natural gas, and hence technically still running.

But since I swore at him, he had his out. Like everyone in the media and political establishment who thinks swearing while protesting something is worse than the actual violence you are swearing about, he tried to take his ball and go home:

And then I let him know I knew exactly what they were up to:

And then I hit him in the masculinity (all these roughneck pricks get off on thinking they are badass- they run around in large trucks with “pipeline trash” decals), calling him out for being a delicate flower:

At any rate, I did not go because I have anger issues, but my friends did, and here is the write-up in the local media:

A community is outraged with the effects they say fracking is having in Bethany, WV.

“This is absurd. This is the United States, but no, it’s still West Virginia, so we’re the lowest of the low and our voice is never heard,” said one community member.

“When’s it going to end? When is there going to be the next pad? Are you just going to destroy all the hilltops?”

While the room packed with citizens presented many concerns and questions, one reoccurring theme was the noise that the community members call unbearable to live with.

“I kept thinking to myself, ‘Is this anything close to freeway noise I had to deal with in LA?’ And, I’m here to tell you there is no comparison. This is worse than anything I’ve experienced,” said another community member.

And the impact it is having on their physical and mental health: “The first days we were doing outside activities and I couldn’t hear them because of the drill, and I am like; when are they all going to all start going crazy?”

We’ll see what happens. My guess is nothing.

Oh, and btw, SWN CEO William Way made $8 million dollars last year ruining our lives.

The President’s Operational Security Failure

I want to just follow on to Cheryl’s post about the President’s operational security failure on Twitter earlier today. What the President did today, despite his standing outside the White House and saying to a reporter that he had a right to tweet out the imagery, was not declassification of the geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) imagery that he tweeted out. If that had been the case, then the original classification markers would be visible, they’d be struck through, and there would be a time and date stamp along with standardized language that the imagery had been declassified as of X time today. Instead, as you can see in the image in Cheryl’s post, there is a black rectangle in the upper left hand corner, which is most likely covering the classification code. In this case that is most likely TS/SCI/NOFORN – Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information/No Foreign Distribution. Though it could just as easily be UNCLASS/FOUO  – Unclassified/For Official Use Only. We know some of the provenance of the GEOINT the President tweeted, because everyone in the Intel Community began scrambling to cover their tuchases, which the President had exposed and hung way out the window for everyone to see. The President received the imagery during a briefing earlier today.

What Cheryl described is clearly what happened here. The President had someone on his staff, most likely his caddie Dan Scavino, who is currently serving as the Assistant to the President-Director of White House Social Media Communications and tweets as/for the President, bring an unsecure smart phone into a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF) and take a picture of this classified information so he could tweet it out. Whomever took the picture, either at the President’s direction or their own initiative because they realized what they were doing was sketchy, placed a black bar over the classification markings, then loaded the image up so it could be tweeted out. Bringing an unsecure phone into a SCIF and taking pictures of anything in the SCIF is the type of thing that gets one suspended, one’s clearance stripped, and one prosecuted for stealing classified information.

As I stated above, this is not actually declassification. Here’s Brad Moss, whose law practice focuses on national security, clearance, and classification issues:

So what we have here is data spillage (emphasis mine):

Data spillage is the transfer of classified or sensitive information to unaccredited or unauthorized systems, individuals, applications, or media. A spillage can be from a higher level classification to a lower one. The data itself may be residual (hidden) data or metadata. Spillage may result from improper handling of compartments, releasability controls, privacy data, or proprietary information.The trend towards increased information sharing has weakened access controls, giving users without a need-to-know access to large volumes of sensitive or classified data. Malware that propagates via removable media has increased the risk of large data transfers outside the network. The risk of data spillage is a problem largely because of inadequate end user security awareness, unmanageable networks, and poorly implemented data policies.

The bigger issue is that anyone who has a clearance (hello!) and encounters this information (hello!) is, unlike the President, potentially liable for accessing compartmented information that they do not have a need to know. Unlike the President, no one else in the US has an Office of Legal Council memo from 1973 that places them above the law.

If you’re wondering how this could be the case, how someone with a clearance who was just scrolling through Twitter, reading Balloon Juice, or watching the news when this comes up can get in trouble, but the President can just put classified information out there, claim he has the right to do it, even if it hasn’t been formerly and properly declassified, and he faces no jeopardy and the rest of us with clearances do, it is because THE RULES WERE NOT CONCEIVED OF AND WRITTEN WITH THE CURRENT PRESIDENT IN MIND!!!!! NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM!!!! The assumption was, based on historic performance of previous presidents, that NO FUTURE PRESIDENT WOULD BE THIS STUPID AND CARELESS!!!!

As Cheryl indicated, what the President tweeted out was the good stuff. No one is supposed to know we have that good of resolution wherever and whenever we want. And because the Iranians and others – friends and foes alike – know when the test failed, combined with the shadows and other static imagery in the GEOINT, they’ll be able to work out where we were looking from.

This is not just a major Operational Security (OPSEC) failure by the President, it is also a major counterintelligence (CI) breach by the President.

As we have been since November of 2016, we are off the looking glass and through the map!

Open Thread!

* Just a quick note, because I was actually getting caught up on the news shortly after the President tweeted this out, I saw it. I then sent an email to my company’s security officer to inform him that I’d seen data spillage, that it was inadvertent, and provided the context. This was done to cover myself.

Annals of the Horrible

Thought I’d share some (late) lunch joy by cleaning out a couple of browser tabs I’ve been meaning to share with the Jackaltariat.

First up in the catalogue of awful…

Nothing says more about a society than how it treats its most vulnerable.  Which is why this, from Pennsylvania coal country last month, says all you need to know about a certain kind of Republican* values:

Wyoming Valley West School District, one of the poorest districts in the state as measured by per-pupil spending, is located in a former coal mining community in Northeastern Pennsylvania, known affectionately by locals as “The Valley.”

When officials there noticed that families owed the district around $22,000 in breakfast and lunch debt…

…school council president Joseph Mazur thought that this would be a good next move:

…the now-infamous letter to about 40 families deemed to be the worst offenders in having overdue cafeteria bills — those were children with meal debt of $10 or more.

“Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without a breakfast and/or lunch,” said the letter signed by Joseph Muth, director of federal programs for the Wyoming Valley West School District. “This is a failure to provide your child with proper nutrition and you can be sent to Dependency Court for neglecting your child’s right to food. If you are taken to Dependency court, the result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care.”

That this was about performative cruelty, and not fiscal prudence can be shown with two facts. The $22,ooo in arrears comes to about 1/4 of one percent of the district budget; you gotta know that if this was about keeping the school doors open, proposing a (surely) expensive round of child theft would not be the first move the financial folks would make.

Just to drive the point home, the guy behind the move, school council president Mazur went on to refuse an offer from a guy in Philadelphia who wanted to pay off the whole debt.  Mazur was eventually forced to reverse course.

Next up, an even more grotesque example of cruelty for cruelty’s sake from July.  I believe some commenters pointed out this incident, and I’ve been meaning to vent rage about it ever since, but here it is:

At a Border Patrol holding facility in El Paso, Texas, an agent told a Honduran family that one parent would be sent to Mexico while the other parent and their three children could stay in the United States, according to the family. The agent turned to the couple’s youngest daughter — 3-year-old Sofia, whom they call Sofi — and asked her to make a choice.

“The agent asked her who she wanted to go with, mom or dad,” her mother, Tania, told NPR through an interpreter. “And the girl, because she is more attached to me, she said mom. But when they started to take [my husband] away, the girl started to cry. The officer said, ‘You said [you want to go] with mom.’ “


I rate that child abuse, and those who did the crime should be in prison, as far as I am concerned. Een if the family separation followed the letter of the law, putting the kid in that position was gratuitous immiseration, and will deliver lasting trauma, doled out, it seems, for the agent’s amusement.


There is a word to describe such behavior and such people:  evil.  This was evil.  I say this as one with more memory of than current participation in organized religion, but it seems to me that those who welcome evil into our republic commit a grievous sin.


Happy lunch!  Open thread.

*Luzerne County, in which the relevant school district operates, went 58-39% for Trump in 2016.


Image: Pieter Breughel the Elder, The Massacre of the Innocentsc. 1565-7

Emergency And Medical Personnel Speak Out On The Nyonoksa Explosion

Two accounts of caring for the victims of the accident at Nyonoksa on August 8 were published Wednesday, August 21, in Meduza (English version) and Novaya Gazeta. The sources are an emergency responder and two doctors. The emergency responder was not on duty that day and relies on the reports of co-workers. The sources want to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

I have questions about these accounts and a Washington Post account that seems to refer to another Novaya Gazeta article without linking. But first, let’s see what can reasonably be gleaned from the accounts. Read more