Monthly Archives: January 2012

The coming collapse of the American middle class: Higher risks, lower rewards, and a shrinking safety net


Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law,  bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an  outspoken critic of America’s credit economy, which she has linked to  the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class.  Series: “UC  Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures” [6/2007] [Public Affairs] [Business]  [Show ID: 12620]

Per Wikiepdia (here), Elizabeth Warren chaired the Congressional oversight of the 2008 U.S banking bailout, and led the conception and establishment of U.S Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In July 2009, she left the Congressional oversight committee to pursue her academic role at Harvard Law School. The following quote sums up her work well:

Four years ago, I submitted an article to Democracy Journal that argued for a new government agency called the Financial Product Safety Commission. I threw myself into that piece because I felt strongly that a new consumer agency would make the credit markets work better for American families and strengthen the economic security of the middle class… I leave this agency, but not this fight… the issues we deal with – a middle class that has been squeezed and business models built on tricks and traps – are deeply personal to me, and they always will be.

I hope there were more people in Washington D.C with similar mentality and clarity.


Fracking suspected to cause 4.0 earthquake in Ohio

As discussed here that one of the reasons for Virginia’s earthquake was fracking by oil and gas companies, another news story came up per USGS that the 4.0 magnitude earthquake in Ohio was caused due to injection of waste water into the faultine. However fracking is quite similar to that process, as discussed earlier. I believe that more studies need to be conducted to understand the effect of fracking and artificial injection of water in to the earth, particularly near fault lines. Per Yahoo news:

Officials said Saturday they believe the latest earthquake activity in northeast Ohio is related to the injection of wastewater into the ground near a fault line, creating enough pressure to cause seismic activity.

The brine wastewater comes from drilling operations that use the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale. But Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer said during a news teleconference that fracking is not causing the quakes.

“The seismic events are not a direct result of fracking,” he said.

Environmentalists and property owners who live near gas drilling wells have questioned the safety of fracking to the environment and public health. Federal regulators have declared the technology safe, however.

4.0 Earthquake strikes in northern Ohio (Yahoo!)

Zehringer said four injection wells within a five-mile radius of an already shuttered well in Youngstown will remain inactive while further scientific research is conducted.

A 4.0 magnitude quake Saturday afternoon in McDonald, outside of Youngstown, was the 11th in a series of minor earthquakes in area, many of which have struck near the Youngstown injection well. The quake caused no serious injuries or property damage, Zehringer said.

Thousands of gallons of brine were injected into the well daily until its owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC, agreed Friday to stop injecting brine into the earth as a precaution while authorities assess any potential links to the quakes.