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Reposted from weinenkel by ColoTim
Halliburton fracking site explosion, emergency vehicle
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Halliburton seven whole thousand dollars for the safety violations that lead to the death of one worker at one of their fracking sites in Weld County, Colorado.
According to a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration document, a 2-inch metal pipe fitting blew off a valve and hit an employee in the head, killing him.
OSHA found that:
In the citation issued on May 12, 2015, OSHA said, "[Halliburton] did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to struck-by hazards associated with working in the red zone of the [gas] well."
[...]
"Employees remained in the red zone while equipment was pressurized up to 3500 psi [pounds per square inch]. This condition exposed employees working in the red zone to struck-by hazards as a result of an explosion," the OSHA report said.

In "abatement notes" on how Halliburton should reduce well-site hazards, OSHA said, "Frozen plugs should be allowed to thaw at a normal rate. Steam or hot water should not be used to thaw plugs…Freezing operations should be under the direct supervision of a qualified person."

OSHA seems to like that $7,000 number. They fined a Halliburton plant that almost blew up a town a whopping $49,000 a few months back—$7,000 for every person on site at the time. In OSHA's defense, when you go to their website it doesn't look like they have much time to worry about fines, they're too busy dealing with the oil and gas industry constantly violating the law.
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I hope you're enjoying our extended Seattle season.  Spring crops & flowers are flourishing, even if trail time is now inconveniently muddy for another week.  Who knows, by the 16th, it may be 83 & sunny... but I wouldn't bet on it.  Bet on grey, & that means you'll need extra caffeination to escape weekend hibernation.

Same place & time: Common Grounds, 2139 W. 44th Ave at Vallejo, 9am-noonish. We always meet at the BTBTP (Big Table By The Piano).

See you on the 16th.  RSVP to me or via the Facebook button that will appear for the event in the C!U!A! diary.

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Reposted from Kerry Eleveld by ColoTim
GOP Sen. Ray Scott
Republican state Sen. Ray Scott congratulated public health officials on the award before voting to defund the program.
Colorado Republicans narrowly took over the state Senate last November and they're already working their magic on reproductive health. On Wednesday evening, an all-male Senate committee voted to defund a program that had reduced the teen birth rate in the state by 40 percent over four years. A day before the GOP voted to dismantle the program, the initiative had earned Colorado an award from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association for providing outstanding public health access.
Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, brought the award with him to the hearing, just before the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote.

“We have the will to make this program successful,” Wolk said. “The will of the governor, the will of a number of legislators, the will of evidence-based organizations ... who say long-acting reversible contraceptives are safe and the preferred method of birth control for these young women.”

The 40 percent drop in teen pregnancies was accompanied by a 35 percent reduction in teen abortions. Overall, the program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, saved the state an estimated $42.5 million. Originally, it had been funded through an anonymous grant. The legislation would have allocated $5 million toward expanding the initiative.

The successful effort to defund the program was fueled by runaway religious objections to the distribution of IUDs. Such birth control devices usually prevent an egg from being fertilized, but in very rare instances, eggs get fertilized anyway and the IUD keeps that egg from attaching to the uterine wall. To the religious fundamentalists who apparently control the Republican Party in Colorado, that amounts to an abortion.

Never mind the fact that program reduced the abortion rate by 35 percent over a five-year period. The fundies are concerned about preventing that one in a million chance that an IUD prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall, which by the way, occurs naturally anyway—no IUD necessary.

Is anyone else sick of idiocy being the driving force behind our nation's reproductive health policies?

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Reposted from Hunter by ColoTim
Rep. Trey Gowdy, Rep. Ken Buck hold an AR-15 rifle painted with numerous American flags
Good to know.
A Republican lawmaker is allowed to have an AR-15 in his office as long as it isn't loaded, the U.S. Capitol Police said Tuesday after a photo of the rifle caught the attention of law enforcement officials in Washington, D.C.
"Caught the attention of" means, in this context, that possessing an AR-15 in the District of Columbia is illegal, and so Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) tweeting a picture of himself and a sleepy-looking Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) gently cradling what can only be described as a firearm-shaped style abortion caused some online kerfuffle while authorities worked out that yes, members of Congress are exempt from those regulations. Rep. Ken Buck can fill his office closet with enough weaponry for he and his staff to take out the entire Senate, if that is what he feels inclined to do.

Perhaps more importantly, while the weapon in question looks like the unfortunate offspring of a military artillery piece having sex with a Toby Keith concert, the bolt carrier assembly has been removed, rendering it inoperable.

“It is a beautiful, patriotic paper weight,” [Buck] added.
Ah, so it's Rep. Paul Ryan, then?

Anyhoo, all of this turned out to be much ado about nothing. If Ken Buck wants to feed an American flag to a cat and display the resulting hairball in his office, he is free to do so. Don't think he will take his momentary Twitter fame lying down, however. He's already got a fundraising email out asking all good patriots to pay him money to prevent anyone from questioning him and his really just gawdawful-ugly gun ever again.

In the email, Buck asked supporters to donate to "strengthen our fight against anti-gun activists."

"The Second Amendment exists to protect your God-given right to bear arms," the email continued. "The actions by Anti-Gun Liberals against Trey Gowdy and me are just another attempt to strip us of our rights."

A lot of kerfuffle for an inoperable gun-shaped object. Next he should bring a working one in and send a fundraiser about how the man doesn't want him to load it.
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What would be happening tomorrow if adhering to the third Saturday routine will instead be happening a week from it, as I've had A Two Weeks.  I'm uncharacteristically tired & am really looking forward to being responsible for nothing tomorrow morning before work. It should say something that it's taken me this long to remember to get around to setting the event for the 25th.  

And with that said/sorta whined, come hang out on the 25th for what is still unofficially Caffeinating Liberally. Usual deets: Common Grounds, 2139 W. 44th Ave in what is much more likely be a sunny Sunnyside that day, compared to this Saturday.  I'm there at 9; pretty much no one else is, but feel free to come by anytime after then, but probably before 12, when we tend to disperse. We always meet at the BTBTP--Big Table By The Piano.

RSVP to me via Kosmail, OR via the Facebook link that will show up for this event in the Connect! Unite! Act! diary.  

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Reposted from Daily Kos by ColoTim
Methane is a gas often associated with swamps in the southeast or West Texas oil deposits. But last year scientists found the largest concentration in the US hanging quietly above in an unexpected place. Now, researchers are gearing up to get to the bottom of the Four Corners plume:
“With all the ground-based and airborne resources that the different groups are bringing to the region, we have the unique chance to unequivocally solve the Four Corners mystery,” Christian Frankenberg, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said, in a statement.

As part of the experiment, scientists will fly two Twin Otter aircraft over the Four Corners area, where the borders of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet. These planes will carry two instruments -- the Next-Generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRISng), which can be used to map methane in great detail in the entire region, and the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES), which can carry out highly sensitive measurements.

Methane is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon-dioxide. There's enough of it above the area to equal the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from three million averaged sized cars. And yet, just ten or twenty years ago there was no indication of a large plume in the region.

It's certainly possible it went unnoticed until now. But a lot has changed in the last two decades. The middle and high western desert is now home to one of the larger coal mining operations in the world and a number of natural gas fracking sites have come online all around the area as well. If methane is leaking en mass from those kinds of places, it could mean a new, unwelcome factor contributing to climate change.

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Reposted from Mopshell by poopdogcomedy Editor's Note: Tell Sen. Bennet not to side with the GOP in sabotaging Iran Deal: (202) 224-5852 -- poopdogcomedy

Sen. Bob Corker is confident that the final version of the Corker-Menendez bill will be passed with a veto-proof majority in the Senate, perhaps as early as this week. In order to obtain that veto-proof majority, twelve senators will need to cross the aisle and join the Republican Party in addition to Independent Sen. Angus King.

I propose that the following ad be inserted in the local newspapers of all twelve senators who are deserting the Democratic Party, their voters and their President.

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Reposted from weinenkel by ColoTim
The largest koi pond in this here parts
As beautiful as it may seem to watch thousands of goldfish swim about in late afternoon light of a Boulder, Colorado day, for the Parks and Wildlife, it's a huge headache.
The exotic species, which were first noted by Boulder Open Space Rangers March 13, are now present in the thousands and will likely need to be removed to maintain the integrity of the lake.

"Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem," said Kristin Cannon, district wildlife manager for Boulder. "We strongly encourage the public not to dump their unwanted pet fish in our waters. It is bad for our environment as well as illegal."

This is a big problem, as any non-native species in an area can knock out the balance of a sensitive ecosystem. Goldfish are not the only issue:
Also of concern is the "bucket brigade"-- anglers who choose to dump sport fish of their choosing into Colorado waters. While some nonnative fish are stocked at times, aquatic biologists only do so after a rigorous biological assessment to determine what can be stocked and where for a balanced ecosystem.
Teller Lake from satellite
Teller Lake
The fish were most likely released into Teller Lake a few years ago. Goldfish can grow to a pretty large size unchecked. Removing them can be a huge headache as well:
Wildlife officials say they have two options: They can drain the lake and start rebuilding the natural fish stock from scratch, or they can bring in a specialized boat that would allow them to pick out the goldfish only.
A date has not been set for goldfish removal.
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Reposted from weinenkel by ColoTim
Ice Bong over rainbows
Cotton mouth machine
This morning, in Boulder, Colorado, another casualty of legalizing marijuana:
The report came in around 6:01 a.m. today after a security guard at the bus station found what he thought looked like a pipe bomb near the bike shelter on the east side of the station, according to police spokeswoman Kim Koblel.

The guard described the object as a foot-long plastic pipe that was capped at both ends.

The bus station was cleared out. Police began to close down joining streets. Luckily, before things came to a complete standstill, a police sergeant took a peek at the device and realized it was a bong.
"It was some kind of either marijuana storage or marijuana smoking device," Kobel said. "There was some marijuana in it."

Kobel said it appears the bong was forgotten at the station and was not intended to scare anyone.

Police lifted the closures and the evacuation just before 6:20 a.m.

Boulder residents can chalk this up to a victory in the war on drugs. And terrorism. But mostly somebody who lost his or her bong.
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Reposted from LGBT Kos Community by ColoTim
Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies has determined that Denver-based Azucar Bakery did nothing wrong in refusing to put an anti-gay message on a cake. The customer wanted a cake with anti-gay imagery and an anti-gay message.

From 9News.com:

In the ruling released Friday, the Colorado Civil Rights Division rejected the argument that Azucar Bakery discriminated against the customer's religion when it refused the order in March 2014.

The state ruled that the cake shop had every right not to make the cakes on the grounds that the message on the cakes would be "derogatory."

The customer, Castle Rock resident Bill Jack, wanted a cake showing two groomsmen with a red "x" over them and messages about homosexuality being a sin.

Because the shop would have treated any other customer the same way, the state decided the shop didn't refuse service because of the customer's religion.

From The Washington Post:
Owners of a Denver bakery did not discriminate against a customer by refusing to fulfill an order requesting two cakes with ant-gay imagery and wording on them. That’s the message from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, which ruled that the Azucar Bakery was within its rights when employees refused to carry out an order from customer William Jack in March 2014, according to the Denver Post. Jack, a Christian who originally told reporters that he believes Azucar Bakery “discriminated” against him “based on my creed,” had asked the bakery to bake him two Bible-shaped cakes, ABC affiliate 7 News Denver reported.

The first cake would include disdainful words about gays and a second cake would include two men holding hands and an X on top of them. Jack asked that the cake be decorated with the biblical verses “God hates sin. Psalm 45:7″ and “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:2,” the decision by the department’s Civil Rights Division said, according to 7 News Denver. Marjorie Silva, the bakery’s owner, agreed to make the cakes but refused to put the ant-gay imagery on them, according to the AP. “It’s just horrible. It doesn’t matter if, you know, if you’re Catholic, or Jewish, or Christian, if I’m gay or not gay or whatever,” Silva, 40, told the Associated Press. “We should all be loving each other. I mean there’s no reason to discriminate.”

via JMG

The ruling can be appealed to the state civil rights commission or in court.

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Reposted from Hunter by ColoTim
Full video of his remarks here.
In Colorado, things are not going well for crazy person turned state representative (but I repeat myself) Gordon Klingenschmitt. He won his Colorado Springs district by a landslide, presumably based on his strong platform of telling people that Barack Obama is possessed by demons. He is a man who does not understand the meaning of the words turn it down a notch, and that has now cost him a committee seat.
The leader of the House Republicans on Monday stripped Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt from one of his two committee posts, saying the lawmaker's  "curse of God" comments about a woman whose fetus was ripped from her womb were in "poor taste" and "insensitive."

Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso said he removed Klingenschmitt from the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee because he believed "there needed to be some kind of disciplinary action."

All right, what did he do that was so bad even his fellow Colorado Republicans were repulsed by it? He claimed that God's wrath was the reason for a gruesome attack on a pregnant Colorado woman last week.
Republicans were aghast at his comments last week when he referenced the attack on 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins of Longmont. She survived but her 34-week-old baby girl did not.

"This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb, and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open," Klingenschmitt said.

Jeebus. Good job, Colorado Springs, you've picked a real winner this time around. Klingenschmitt has now apologized and says he will be suspending his television "ministry" (the place he said those remarks) for six weeks to focus on not sucking at his day job. But he's not happy to be bounced from the Health committee, because that's discrimination.
"I am literally being punished for quoting unpopular Bible verses in my Sunday church, or interpreting the Old Testament differently than Leader DelGrosso interprets it, during my private ministry outside the Capitol. Is that suddenly a crime?" he wrote in the e-mail.
Well, at least he's clear on who the true victim in all this is.
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Hey y'all!  It's a new month... that's half over.  THAT MUST MEAN that it's time for our little northwest Denver coffee-based meetup.  

Same place & time: Common Grounds, 2139 W. 44th Ave (at Vallejo).  I get there by 9 & leave around noon, so stop by anytime in that time.  There's plenty for breakfast & lunch.  We'll chat about whatever; it's possible that someone with a more defined agenda might stop by.  We've hosted Denver City Council candidates Mickki Langston (District 7) & Rafael Espinoza (District 1).  

Hope to see you there!

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