Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pipeline death threats

On Saturday morning Linda, our daughter Rachael, our grandson Gavin, and I canoed from Preacher’s Camp Boat Launch across Beltzville Lake and up Wild Creek Cove.  The Christman family once “owned” Wild Creek (can you really own a creek?) from Pohopoco Drive to about half a mile from the confluence with the Pohopoco.

After the Beltzville project was completed, what had been Wild Creek became the Wild Creek Cove, under many feet of lake water.  I wanted to show Gavin where our stream entered the lake, and the rock formation my Dad called “the bear cave,” and the cliffs below the Wild Creek Falls.

I wanted him to see it before the UGI-PennEast pipeline cut a permanent scar through Beltzville State Park across Wild Creek Cove.  I wanted him to see it while it still had hemlocks on both sides of the Cove, while it still had an unbroken shoreline on both sides.

The Morning Call recently published an article that PennEast officials had received death threats.  The FBI is investigating.  Perhaps the FBI should also investigate the real threats to the the environment, to the natural beauty of the area, to endangered plant and animal species.  These abuses to the environment aren’t some fanciful and silly threats--these are promises of things to come, brought to our neighborhood and our parks by a company which has one interest only--to make money.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mission Impossible and other reviews

Let’s face it–Tom Cruise is getting a little long in the tooth to play in action movies.  In the scene early in the film where he is shirtless, he is starting to look like an old man, with doughy skin.  Not only the that, but the movie goes on way too long.  Fast and Furious 7 had a lot more action and suspense.  Still, it was entertaining.  At no point was I tempted to walk out.

“Holmes” is playing at the 19th Street Theater in Allentown.  That one is worth seeing.  Sherlock Holmes has been played by many actors in many permutations, but in this one he is very old, bordering on dementia, yet the movie delivers.  Laura Linney is excellent as the house keeper, and the kid is great.

Finally, “Ant Man” is a good popcorn movie.  It is funnier than most of the Marvel Comic films, has a good lead, and a satisfying ending.  Two thumbs up.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Barbara Green defines irony

The route of the UGI-PennEast pipeline was altered by about a mile and a half west of the original route to deliver gas to Blue Mountain Resort.  

According to an article in today’s Morning Call, the Blue Mountain Resort is getting some help in the form of a $500,000 grant to build an electric generating plant.  The grant is from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority.  

The article stated that the proposed water park would include heated pools that can be used in winter and a spa, wave pool, and children’s areas.  The second phase may include a “lazy river” where people can float down a man-made stream.

Ms. Green, Blue Mountain Resort President, was quoted in the article as saying, “I like being outside.  That’s my business, to help people have a lot of fun enjoying the outdoors. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Monarch butterflies

Tonight Mari Gruber, owner-operator of the Butterfly Sanctuary on Route 903 in Carbon County, spoke to a group of about 40 people at the Kibler one-room school.  She pointed out that last year the Monarch butterfly population experienced a slight uptick.

She attributed this to thousands of people across the U.S. and Canada planting milkweed seeds or not pulling out or spraying milkweeds, the only plant utilized by Monarch butterfly caterpillars.  

This example shows what education and awareness can do.  I believe that people want to do the right thing.  The problem in today’s world is that so many don’t know what the right thing is.  So spread the word.  Let the milkweeds grow and bloom.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Profiles in cowardice

Yesterday I learned that in 1936 U.S. Olympic officials removed Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller from the 400-meter relay team to avoid offending Hitler.  Glickman and Stoller were Jews.  Evidently the relay team was very good, and the U.S. officials thought Hitler wouldn’t like a team that was half Jewish winning the race.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Clinton's tax proposal

While the Republicans are trying to distract the voters about Clinton’s emails, she is out making serious proposals to reform the way corporations behave.

In a recent speech, Clinton said she would like to end “quarterly capitalism.”  She would extend the definition of the long-term holding period for the lower capital gains rate to two years instead of the current one year.  In an article in today’s Times, Andrew Ross Sorkin quotes Clinton as saying one year “may count as long-term for my baby granddaughter, but not for the American economy.”

Even more radical, Clinton proposes to enact a six-year sliding scale for capital gains taxes.  Individuals in the top bracket would pay ordinary income tax on the sale of investments for the first two years.  By the sixth year, the tax would be at the current capital gains rate of 20%.

This means shareholders would take a longer view, and companies would look at long-term growth rather than quarterly figures.

So while Rand Paul is sucking up to that guy Bundy who wants to graze his cattle on our public land, and Huckabee is comparing President Obama to a Nazi, and Cruz is calling Mitch McConnell a liar, Hillary Clinton is making serious proposals about serious issues. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Apology to local borough council members

On July 24 in a post on the Sestak-McGinty race, I made a passing remark that Sen. Toomey was fit only to be local council member.  A number of hardworking local council members took offense.  They feel that Toomey would be no better or more effective on a borough council than he is in the U.S. Senate.

Point taken.  So to Kris and Billy and Helen and Jesse and Chris and all the other borough council members out there, I would not wish Toomey on any of your councils.  Not even Parryville.