Marita Noon Wonders Why Fracking Is Still An Explosive Issue

For immediate release: December 30, 2013

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1608

Defusing the explosive conversation on fracking 

Hydraulic fracturing started out as an “exploding torpedo” back in 1865. Today, nearly 150 years later, the actual process has made giant technological strides, but now, it’s the topic that’s explosive. 

While the White House has been encouraging Christmas dinner table conversation to center around Obamacare, in my experience, it is fracking that came into the conversation—and when it did, the results had the potential to be as explosive as the early practice.

Over the holidays two young adults came home for Christmas. Somehow hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” came into the conversation. Dad, a reader of my column whose employment is also peripherally connected to the oil-and-gas industry, spoke up in support of the practice that has unleashed America’s natural resources and made us the world leader in energy production. His children, and their friends who had gathered in his home, were shocked and spouted the usual claims of water contamination, harsh chemicals, and flaming faucets. The topic became so explosive that his kids packed up and left before the festivities even began.

I was in California for Christmas. I visited a cousin in Napa Valley whose adult son is in the wine business. He was at her home when I arrived. She told him what I do and stated that he had many friends in the oil-and-gas business. I smiled and said: “I can talk oil, gas, coal, nuclear, fracking, whatever…” My cousin quickly interrupted and stated: “We probably don’t want to talk fracking.” I took the hint, and we moved on to another topic. Driving back to my brother’s house, I wondered: “When did fracking become an explosive topic.”

With the Christmas prime rib consumed, my family and friends were still gathered around the table. Once again fracking came up. I shared the previous two recent stories. One woman asserted that if her sister, who was arriving in a few days from Boulder, Colorado, was there and we talked fracking, the results would be explosive, too.

Because they are not in the industry, I found that the group gathered around our table had misconceptions about the process that they’d been fed by the media.

While I don’t have an exact date when the topic of fracking became explosive, I do know, from my speaking and writing on the topic, from radio interviews with listener call-ins, and private conversations, that the explosive reactions are due to a lack of understanding about the process—with the biggest concerns being about water, chemicals, and flaming faucets.

Water

As I’ve written previously, there are accusations that fracking is taking billions of gallons of water out of the hydrologic cycle. Especially in the southwest where water is scarce and drought conditions persist, this poses a problem.

The process of hydraulic fracturing has advanced from the first nitroglycerin “torpedo” that was shot down a well hole on April 25, 1865, and well acidizing that was used in the 1930s to enhance productivity, to the modern mix of high pressure, water, and chemicals began in 1947 in Grant County Kansas—and it continues to evolve and become more economical.

In a piece addressing water used in fracking, The Economist describes the process this way: “Water injected at high pressure into rock deep underground during the process of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ often returns to the surface as brine, having picked up a lot of salt on its journey. It is also contaminated with chemicals from the fracking process itself.”

Today, less and less freshwater is being used—especially in the arid southwest where water for drinking and agriculture is at a premium. A typical frack job can use as much as 5 million gallons of water and lasts about 3 days. The procedure can result in decades of oil or gas production.

With the development of new technologies, the fracking process can be done with brackish water that may be as much as ten times as salty as seawater. A recent report from Reuters, titled “Fracking without freshwater at a west Texas oil field,” documents some of the advancements. Billions of gallons of brackish water are located far below the fresh water aquifers. Producers in west Texas are fracking with the brackish water from the Santa Rosa aquifer. They are then recycling the produced water—a byproduct of oil and natural gas drilling, and the flowback water—the fluid pushed back out of the well during fracking. Both forms of wastewater have historically been trucked to underground disposal wells.

A couple of months ago, I participated in the Executive Oil Conference in Midland, Texas where a panel of water experts addressed the crowd of more than 800 attendees and discussed the new technologies.

Now, instead of trucking wastewater to a remote location, mobile systems can treat the water onsite and condition it to meet almost any specification the driller wants—resulting in a reduction of expensive truck traffic. The portable systems can treat 20,000-30,000 barrels of water per day. For bigger frack jobs, additional units can be added—making the system totally flexible.

These new water solutions can reduce the total dissolved solids in the water from as high as 200,000 to below 200. For reference, the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking water is 500. The same water can be recycled and used over and over again. Addressing the new technologies, James Welch, Global Business Development Manager, Water Solutions, with Halliburton, told the crowd: “Produced water is not a waste. It is an opportunity. It is an offset to freshwater usage.” Halliburton is able to fracture with water that’s 280,000 TDS.

The result of these new procedures is, according to The Economist: “Clean water …pure enough to be used for irrigation, or even drinking water. …Alternatively, it can be re-injected into the ground during the next frack.”

Rather than taking water out of the hydrologic cycle, the oil-and-gas industry is actually often taking formerly unusable water, using it in fracking and then cleaning it up to a level where it can be introduced into the cycle as either irrigation or drinking water.

Stan Weiner, Chairman and CEO at STW Resources, was one of the panelists. He summed up the new water solutions by saying: “Now we’ve figured out a way to clean it up economically. There’s no reason not to use it. Companies nationwide, worldwide, all want to do this. We get no resistance from them. They want to see it work. It’s a go.”

GE (as addressed in The Economist), Apache Corp. (as covered by Reuters), Halliburton, and STW Resources are just a handful of the many companies, which are developing revolutionary water treatment processes that neuter one of the biggest arguments against fracking.

Chemicals

In our Christmas conversation, someone asked: “Why do they need chemicals? Why don’t they just frack with water?” She’d heard stories.

I explained that the so-called chemicals are needed to provide lubrication for the tiny particles of sand that hold open microscopic cracks in the “fractured” rock that allow the oil or gas to escape. “As a woman, I am sure you’ve had your fingers swell. That makes it hard to get your rings off.” She nodded. “What do you do then?” I queried. “Soap my hands up,” she replied.

Bingo!

That is the role the chemicals play in the fracking process. But those chemicals are now mostly food-based and can be consumed with no ill effects—both Governor Hickenlooper (D-CO) and CNBC’s Jim Cramer have had a drink.

So, even if the chemicals did somehow defy geology and migrate several miles from the fracked well through the layers of sedimentary rock to the aquifer, they are not harmful.

To illustrate the point, I am in the process of organizing what I am calling “the great New Mexico fracktail party.” I have several state legislators lined up—and am looking for more. I need to find an operator who is willing to invite us onsite when a frack job is being done. The legislators, industry folks, and anyone else who wants to participate, will be invited to the location with cocktail glass in hand (umbrella, fruit, olive—whatever—included). With media cameras rolling we’ll pour the fracfluid from the tank to our glasses and toast to American energy freedom.

Flaming Faucets 

My sister-in-law asked: “What about the flaming faucets?” “Those are real,” I explained. “But they have nothing to do with fracking.” Natural gas, or methane, was found in water wells long before any fracking was done in the area. In fact, it was the gassy smell that often alerted explorers to the potential oil and gas in the region. Oil-and-gas drilling didn’t cause the flaming faucet phenomenon. Quite the contrary. The presence of gas near the surface brought about the “don’t smoke in the shower” adage. While the water is harmless to consume, a gas build up in the house could cause an explosion.

Lies about hydraulic fracturing are rampant. If fossil fuel opponents can spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about fracking—with the goal of causing a federal fracking ban, they can virtually stop oil-and-gas development in America, as it is estimated that 90 percent of producing wells have been fracked. Without American ingenuity and increasing production, gasoline prices and utility bills will skyrocket. Economic ruin will reign. America will, once again be beholden to increasingly hostile foreign sources.

A fracking conversation shouldn’t be explosive. Today’s hydraulic fracturing is really benign, American technology that is ecologically sound and economically advantageous. Keep these facts in mind. As my stories illustrate, not everyone will listen—but if more people, such as my brother and sister-in-law, know the truth they can help de-fuse the explosive conversation. 

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

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Each year, our family observes with due respect and reverence six national historic days of recognition: Patriots Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Constitution Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.

However, the most hallowed religious observance for our family — that with the most deeply rooted traditions, is Christmas. It is not a commercial feeding frenzy for us, but a quiet and reverent time of rest and celebration of the birth of Christ, punctuated by extended family festivities.

Christmas Through the Generations

Historically, the actual year of Christ’s birth is thought to be between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C., at the end of Herod’s reign. The first mention of Christmas as a formal Nativity feast occurred in a Roman almanac dated A.D. 336. The day we celebrate Christ’s birth, December 25th, was not chosen on the basis of historical evidence but rather to replace the pagan festival natalis solis invicti, the birth of the sun god Mithras, at winter solstice.

The Christmas star that guided the Wise Men to Bethlehem may have been any of a number of recorded astronomical events coinciding with the likeliest dates of that first Christmas. Halley’s Comet appeared in 12 B.C., and ancient Chinese texts note “exploding” stars, or novas, observed in both 4 and 5 B.C. Exceptionally bright planetary conjunctions occurred in 2, 6, and 7 B.C.; among these, the most promising candidate for the Holy Star was the triple conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in 6 B.C.

The prophet Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah that, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light….” Clearly, well before the birth of Jesus, humans longed for light in the days of greatest darkness. Early Christians selected December 25th for the Nativity feast to proclaim that Jesus Christ was the real Light of the World, the true “Sun of Righteousness,” as well as the Messiah foretold in Jewish faith. As Jesus later said, he had not come to destroy the law and the prophets of Judaism, but to fulfill them, and so he also fulfilled the deepest human longings expressed in other traditional celebrations. And we Christians believe these aspects of our human nature are not merely enduring, but eternal — because we humans are all created in the image of Eternal God.

Our American Christmas heritage derives from the mingled Christmas traditions of immigrants from many lands, with differing religious beliefs and customs of worship and celebration. Our name for this holiday, itself a word derived from “Holy Day,” arises from the old English Cristes Maesse, or Christ’s Mass. Christmas is sometimes abbreviated as Xmas, which is derived from combining the Greek letter “chi,” denoting “Christ,” with “Mass.”

Christmas was first observed in Early America among the Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Moravians who settled predominantly in the Middle Atlantic colonies and the South.

Influenced by Puritanism and Calvinism, the New England Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists looked askance at a celebration they deemed based on “heathenistic traditions.” New England colonial authorities outlawed Christmas from 1649 until 1658. The General Court of Massachusetts in 1659 set a fine of five shillings per offense, punishing the observance “of any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forebearing of labour, feasting, or any such way.” Contemporaneously, the Assembly of Connecticut forbade the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, the keeping of Christmas and saints days, the making of mince pies, the playing of cards, or performing on any musical instruments.

Peter Kalm wrote on Christmas Day 1749, about Philadelphia’s holiday: “Nowhere was Christmas Day celebrated with more solemnity than in the Roman Church. Three sermons were preached there, and that which contributed most to the splendor of the ceremony was the beautiful music heard to-day….Pews and altar were decorated with branches of mountain laurel, whose leaves are green in winter time and resemble the (cherry laurel).”

Philip Fithian, of colonial Virginia, recorded in his diary entry for December 18, 1773: “When it grew to dark to dance….we conversed til half after six; Nothing is now to be heard of in conversation, but the Balls, the Fox-hunts, the fine entertainments, and the good fellowship, which are to be exhibited at the approaching Christmas.”

Fithian’s Christmas Eve 1775 diary entry from Staunton, Virginia, described other common pastimes of the holiday celebration: “The Evening I spent at Mr. Guys — I sung for an Hour, at the good Peoples Desire, Mr. Watts admirable Hymns — I myself was entertaind; I felt myself improvd; so much Love to Jesus is set forth — So much divine Exercise.” But his 1775 Christmas Day entry noted the vastly different observances of the Scotch and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians: “Christmas Morning — Not A Gun is heard — Not a Shout — No company or Cabal assembled — To Day is like other Days every Way calm & temperate — People go about their daily Business with the same Readiness, & apply themselves to it with the same Industry.”

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Massachusetts in 1856.

By the first battles of the War Between the States, most of our shared Christmas traditions were set, and the January 3, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly featured a drawing of encamped soldiers receiving Christmas gifts from home.

General Robert E. Lee wrote one wartime Christmas: “My heart is filled with gratitude to Almighty God for his unspeakable mercies with which He has blessed us in this day. For those He granted us from the beginning of life, and particularly for those He has vouchsafed us during the past year [of war]. What should have become of us without His crowning help and protection? Oh, if our people would only recognize it and cease from self-boasting and adulation, how strong would be my belief in the final success and happiness to our country! But what a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world! I pray that on this day [Christmas] when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn them to peace.”

Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870, and today, nearly all Americans celebrate Christmas in some way, a uniformity that belies the variance with which, as in colonial days, Americans approach this holiday.

From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus

As holiday is derived from “Holy Day,” and Christmas from “Cristes Maesse,” the name Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas.

My colleague William Federer offered a brief history of the very real St. Nicholas, who is at the root of the modern Santa Claus.

“Greek Orthodox tradition tells of Saint Nicholas being born to a wealthy, elderly couple in Asia Minor (what is today Turkey) in the year 280 AD. When his parents died, he used the wealth he inherited to generously give to the poor.

“Upon hearing of a merchant who went bankrupt and that creditors were about to take his daughters, Saint Nicholas threw money in the window at night to provide a dowry for the daughters to get married, thus saving them from a life of prostitution. When the father discovered who gave the money, Nicholas made him promise not to tell, as he wanted the glory to go to God alone.

“This inspired the custom of secret gift-giving on the anniversary of Saint Nicholas’ death, December 6, 343 AD.

“Saint Nicholas became Bishop of Myra and was imprisoned during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He was freed by Emperor Constantine. Saint Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea where the Nicene Creed was written.

“Just like the Apostle Paul, in Acts, chapter 19, Saint Nicholas preached against the fertility goddess “Diana” and her immoral temple prostitutes at Ephesus – the Las Vegas of the ancient Mediterranean world. The people responded by tearing down local temple to Diana.

“Saint Nicholas was known for courageously rescuing a soldier who was about to be executed by a corrupt governor, and for having many miraculous answers to his prayers.

“After his death, Emperor Justinian built a cathedral and named it after him. Vladimir the Great of Russia converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and adopted Saint Nicholas as the patron saint of Russia.

“In the 11th century, Muslim Seljuks Turks invaded Asia Minor, killing Christians, turning churches into mosques and digging up the bones of Christian saints and giving them to dogs. For protection, in the year 1087, the bones of Saint Nicholas were shipped to the town of Bari in southern Italy, thus introducing Saint Nicholas and gift-giving traditions to Western Europe.

“Eventually, Dutch immigrants brought the Saint Nicholas traditions to New Amsterdam, which became New York, and they pronounced Saint Nicholas ‘Sinter Klass’ or ‘Santa Claus.'”

Founding Fathers and Christmas

Unfortunately there is a perennial societal tension now associated with Christmas. If not for its dire implications for the future of Liberty, the seasonal contortions over “non-offensive greetings” would be humorous. The Left insists the word “Christmas” violates the phony “Wall of Separation” doctrine if a government employee deigns to utter it within earshot, and that it is too ethnocentric for corporate use.

Some years ago, The Patriot Post coined the greeting “Happy Christmahanakwamadan.” We did so in response to the fashionable PC crowd’s ludicrous demands for “inclusive faith neutral” greetings. We also published our legal department disclaimer outlining the terms of acceptance for the greeting as a counterpoint to retailers vying for your business who have instituted policies discouraging or outright prohibiting any mention of “Christmas.” We do not challenge private sector employer’s right to dictate corporate policies on such matters.

However, the ongoing campaign to censor Christmas from public forums is another matter.

Ironically, it’s often these same censors who take shortcuts such as wishing folks “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Xmas.”

Despite some Americans preoccupation with the secularization of Christmas, Our Founders, the framers of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, had no such concerns about public expressions of faith, as none was warranted. Conversely, they were bold about promoting Christianity and speaking about their own faith.

Historian Peter Lillback, author of “Sacred Fire,” an exhaustive scholarly treatise on George Washington, notes that it is only in recent years, with the searchable digital publication of our Founders’ writings, that we get an accurate picture of their faith, and expression of same.

Lillback writes, “Washington referred to himself frequently using the words ‘ardent,’ ‘fervent,’ ‘pious,’ and ‘devout.’ There are over one hundred different prayers composed and written by Washington in his own hand. He described himself as one of the deepest men of faith of his day when he confessed to a clergyman, ‘No Man has a more perfect Reliance on the alwise, and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have nor thinks his aid more necessary.’ Although he never once used the word ‘Deist’ in his voluminous writings, he often mentioned religion, Christianity, and the Gospel. He spoke of Christ as ‘the divine Author of our blessed religion.’ He wrote of ‘the blessed religion revealed in the Word of God.’ He encouraged seekers to learn ‘the religion of Jesus Christ.’ He even said to his soldiers, ‘To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.'”

Believe it or not, Washington did not need to consult pollsters or focus groups, as General or President, before issuing proclamations of faith. He spoke them from his heart, just as most of our Founders did.

Here follows a small sample of how other notable Founders expressed their faith.

John Adams: The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.

Samuel Adams: I [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins. … I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world … bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace. … We may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid … [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.

John Hancock: That the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.

Patrick Henry: Being a Christian … is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast. … The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. … This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one, which will make them rich indeed.

John Jay: Condescend, merciful Father! to grant as far as proper these imperfect petitions, to accept these inadequate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Savior; unto Whom, with Thee, and the blessed Spirit, ever one God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever. … The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. … Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

Thomas Jefferson: I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others. … I am a real Christian — that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

James Madison: I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.

And these words from that sage, Benjamin Franklin, we all need to consider: How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.

“Endowed by Our Creator”

Clearly, our Founding Fathers understood that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” could not be sustained in the absence of Light, that these rights are irrevocably endowed by our Creator, not men.

According to George Washington, “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. … The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”

John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. … Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”

Benjamin Rush proclaimed, “[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

Likewise, Gouverneur Morris wrote, “Religion is the only solid basis of good morals and Morals are the only possible Support of free governments. Therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God.”

Samuel Adams added, “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness. … Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament and its best Security.”

Perhaps John Jay said it best: “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”

My point in listing these snippets of wisdom from our Founders is to make the case plain that the Left’s proscription on the expression of faith, censorship that is antithetical to the very existence of our Constitution and Liberty, will not cease until such expressions have been expelled from all public venues and forums. Then, and only then, can the rule of men fully supersede the Rule of Law.

The Light of the World

When our children were young, Ann and I would help them comprehend how great God has always been and always will be, the Alpha and Omega, by using metaphors with tangible examples that they could grasp.

We wanted our children to understand that it is only the rare occasion, given the immensity of His universal plan, which affords us a perfectly clear view of God’s plan for each of us. But we also assured them of the Truth we had learned: that through faith, we always know that He will use our circumstances, however corrupted by our own free will, to guide us to where He wants us to be.

As our kids have grown older, each has demonstrated a substantial interest and aptitude for science. Thus, I was captivated when one of my sons directed me to this elucidation of God’s infinite domain from Dr. William Blair, an astrophysicist and research professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Blair wrote: “Today we know that galaxies are as common as blades of grass in a meadow. The Hubble Space Telescope recently completed a particularly deep (faint) census of a tiny ‘pencil beam’ extending far out into the Universe. This survey, called the ‘Hubble Deep Field,’ was targeted on a region of the sky that was nearly devoid of known objects, so as to be (hopefully) representative of conditions in the distant Universe. The resulting images are truly amazing. Strewn across this tiny piece of the sky are perhaps 1500 or more galaxies of all shapes, sizes, and colors! Because this survey pertains to such a small piece of the sky, the implications are staggering: if the region of sky demarked by the bowl of the Big Dipper were surveyed to the same depth, it would contain about 32 million galaxies! And the estimate for the entire visible Universe is that there are upwards of 40 BILLION galaxies, each containing tens to hundreds of billions of stars!”

To put the vastness of creation into perspective, Blair uses a sheet of paper: “Imagine that the distance from the earth to the sun (93 million miles, or about 8 light minutes) is compressed to the thickness of a typical sheet of paper. On this scale, the nearest star (4.3 light years) is at a distance of 71 feet. The diameter of the Milky Way (100,000 light years) would require a 310 mile high stack of paper, while the distance to the Andromeda galaxy (at 2 million light years one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye) would require a stack of paper more than 6000 miles high! On this scale, the ‘edge’ of the Universe, defined as the most distant known quasars some 10 billion light years hence, is not reached until the stack of paper is 31 million miles high — a third of the way to the sun on the real scale of things!”

Pondering this vastness is a humbling experience indeed.

Knowing quite a few professional physicists who are men and women of faith, I wrote Dr. Blair and asked him, “Are you a person of faith in God as our creator?” and, “If so, what does your analogy reveal about the creator of our universe?”

As to the first question, he answered, “Yes, I am.”

As to the second, he replied, “In short, ‘God created the heavens and the earth.’ Understanding more about the ‘heavens’ and the scale of the Universe only magnifies my personal impression of what it is that God has created. Having a personal connection to that same God is a defining aspect of my faith.”

According to Blair, who heads a NASA project looking into deep space, “Some people can look at the spirals of our galaxy and not see the hand of God, but I beg to differ.”

Sometimes our idolatry of self or materialism obscures the hand of God while some other times it is the trials of life that obscure His hand. Too often, we simply do not look for God’s hand in our life.

In the winter season, our East Tennessee mountaintop is can be shrouded in clouds that settle in for days, and that fog can persist for a week or more. The absence of sun and blue sky, or crisp and clear nights under bright stars, can take its toll on the spirit. However, my spirit is lifted high when I recall with certainty that above the fog and clouds, all the heavenly bodies shine bright. Eventually the weather will break and light will avail itself again.

I reminded my children that bleak winter weather obscuring the sunlight is an apt metaphor for the trials in our life, which can obscure the Son light.

Life itself can, at times, seem shrouded in fog and darkness. That is especially true if, like me, you bear a lifelong burden to support and defend our heritage of Liberty, which is now being assailed from many sectors. Occasionally I forget that this burden I bear on behalf of Liberty is also borne by tens of millions of fellow Patriots. But our Creator, who irrevocably endowed us with Liberty, is always there, even if temporarily obscured by the fog of conflict.

These are difficult times for Patriots — as in times past. We face daunting challenges from enemies foreign and domestic. But, I hold close these words from George Washington written early in the first American Revolution: “We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.”

So, on the darkest of days, how do we find our way to Him?

The answer is obvious to all who have opened their eyes — just follow the Light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Thus, if we want to see our Creator, we have only to turn toward the Light, and, as implicit in our motto: Veritas vos Liberabit — “The Truth will set you Free” (John 8:32).

It is the dawn of the Light and Truth that we celebrate at Christmas, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is no coincidence that as the story of His birth is recounted, it is a star that guided wise men to his side.

In the Gospel of John (1:5), it is written, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

Now, a physicist will tell you that darkness doesn’t exist except for the absence of light, which isn’t to say that we can’t live in darkness: Given the degraded state of our nation, many among our countrymen have chosen to reside in moral darkness, or worse, have been abandoned there.

As for my family and me, Dr. Blair and his family, and hundreds of millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, Jesus Christ is the Light, our personal connection to our Creator. He is that for anyone and everyone who will just turn toward Him.

The Gospels, which attest to the life of Jesus, reveal what we most need to know about God as our Creator, and His purpose for us.

We live in a world today that is no different from yesterday or tomorrow, in the sense that we have and will always have a deep desire to understand our Creator. Unfortunately, we tend to complicate the fulfillment of that desire by satiating it with all manner of false gods. I am no stranger to false gods, which, ironically, helps me to distinguish between those idols and my authentic Creator.

George Washington wrote, “May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths.” (1790)

Patriots, in keeping with the Spirit of this Christmas season, it is my fervent prayer that on this and every day of the year, we turn to the Light of our Creator for wisdom and peace. Remember that attitude is a reflection of gratitude — a grateful heart leads to a joyful spirit!

Happy Holy Days and Merry Christ’s Mass! May God’s light shine bright upon you, your family and our great nation in the coming year!

On behalf of our staff and National Advisory Committee, we are humbled to stand with you among the ranks of our Patriot countrymen. We wish peace and God’s blessing upon you and your family.

Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis

Mark Alexander
Publisher, PatriotPost.US

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Publisher’s Note: To our Patriot readers of faiths other than Christianity, we hope that this edition serves to deepen your understanding of our faith — and the faith of so many of our Founders. Permission to forward or reprint is granted.

Edgewood Chamber Friday Blast (12/21/12)

  Friday Blast
             December 21,  2012
    Your Chamber,
Working for you…
 
If you are reading this, we are still here and the Mayans were wrong…
We want to wish you a
Merry Christmas
from the Board and Director of
The Edgewood
Chamber of Commerce
 
 
     Edgewood Holiday Hunt n Glow

Was smaller than hoped, but still a great experience for those who participated.
Expect customers to come back who came running through your business for their answers…they now know where you are and what you offer.

Thanks to all who participated in the Hunt, Parade, and Glow.
Santa gave out stockings to many children who sat on his lap during the glow.
We have the bare bones of an Edgewood Holiday tradition.  Next year it will GROW..
and we were even promised a tree!
We were on Channel 7 TV on Friday and Saturday news…local papers, all over social media, and generally with the exception of some really nasty weather, we had a good event.
THANK YOU if you even told one person about it…and a Big THANK YOU if you participated in any way.
 
Winner of $1,000plus in prizes was
Ian and Christine Freemen.
A Big thanks to the 4 Balloons who
came out, and a special thanks to
the WELLS FARGO balloon, piloted by
Beth Wright, who managed to get the envelope up in spite of wind and blowing snow.  A huge accomplishment!
All 4 of the Balloon pilots,
Jerry Guziel, Martin Aide,
and Don Rose, who brought Santa to the event in his Basket along the parade route, were wonderful to work with, and did a yeoman’s job!
The Moriarty Edgewood School District was huge in helping our event.  The Float was so bright, it made it daylight around the float.   The Moriarty High School Marching Band and the Messengers choir did a beautiful job.  Many thanks to all!
Committee and helpers:
Linda and Rich Thomas, Robin and Pat Markley,
Cheryl and Vince Bonino,
Jerry  Guziel, Anne House, Traci  and the Edgewood Police Department,  Tracy from Edgewood Town Offices,  Dominic and Robin Prudencio, Kassi Aucker and Hadley Prudencio, Santa’s elves.
and Mark and Judy Aucker.
We couldn’t have done it without you!
 

Leadership Edgewood 2013
We are presently accepting applications for Leadership Edgewood 2013. We are now over half full.  Please stop by the office to talk about it if you’re interested. Only 20 persons will be registered in the class,
The 2013 session will begin in January and will run on the THIRD Thursday of every month January through June.
Committee:
Chair: Brenda Murray;
Martha Eden,  Leota Harriman, Stuart Seagers, and Nicole Dray.
 
2013 RELOCATION GUIDE COMING!
We are beginning advertising sales
for the second year of our glossy wirebound Relocation Guide.
CLICK HERE for price sheet 
THE 21 CLUB

Edgewood Chamber’s
21st Anniversary
TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Check with Board members and
the Chamber office for tickets.
Table for 8 is $225.00
$60.00 per couple
$35.00 Single
Banquet, Dance to Burnin Bridges, and  Silent Auction
 scheduled for
Saturday January 19, 2013
in the Belle Union Saloon
(known that evening as:
The 21 Club)
at Founder’s Ranch owned by SASS.
Start Digging for a picture of YOU when you were 21… for the wall of Rogues at the event.
We know what we look like at 21, what did YOU look like?
Committee:
Robin Markley, Chair & Decorating;
Chris Hopper Food/Beverage Set up;
Stuart Seagers, Kathy Haynes and Martha Dotster, Auction;
Saul Araque, Awards;
Linda Thomas and Howard Calkins,
Ticket Sales;
Leota Harriman,Advertising/Printing.
Your committee is working hard to make this a fun-filled evening for everyone!
 
    Area Happenings
This Friday Blast Section is reserved for your events or happenings in the area!  If you have an upcoming event or a special happening that you would like to see in the Blast, please email it to the office by Wednesday. Approved information will be reviewed and inserted in the Blast on the following Friday.
Open  Friday 10 – 7 and Saturday 10 – 5! Come check say hi! Friday & Saturday we will have free HOT APPLE CiDER! SALES: Gift Shop Buy one get 2nd item 50% off (most items) Choose from custom blend 85% organic soaps. Jewelry. Bath accessories. Sombra muscle gel. Bamboo arrangements. And Gift Certificates for massage treatments! REFLEXOLOGY Gift Certificates 30% to OVER 50% OFF! Art 15% off!
We are in the shopping center on Plaza Loop across from Pizza Barn.
                     
About Us 
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Thurs
10:00am – 3:00pm
Location:
95 State Road 344 Ste 3
(Library/Chamber Bldg)
Edgewood, New Mexico
Phone Numbers:
505-850-2523

e-mail:
info@ edgewoodchambernm.com
Join us on Facebook
Just search:
Edgewood Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director:
Madeline Heitzman
Board of Directors
 
President:
     Chris Hopper                   2013
Vice President:
      Misty Miller                     2013
Treasurer:
      Patrick Thompson         2013
Secretary:
       Robin Markley                2013
Board Members at Large:
Ray Seagers                          2013
Saul Araque                           2013
Howard Calkins                    2015
Gary Birkman                        2012
Martha Eden                          2015
Lisa Vigil                       2013-2015
Committees:

Membership:  Howard Calkins
Marketing:              Misty Miller
Political Affairs & By Laws:
Ray Seagers
Events:                 Committees
Education:                  Lisa Vigil
Programs:      Brenda Murray
Luncheons:     Linda Thomas
  
       
Edgewood Chamber

Board Meeting
Monday January 7,
6:15pm
Chamber Offices
Board will elect new officers.
Luncheon
Wednesday December 9
11:30am
ANNUAL BANQUET
THE 21 CLUB
Saturday Jan 19
5:30-Midnight
Belle  Union
at
Founder’s Ranch
Tickets at Chamber Office.
Triple Crown Corporate Partners for 2013:

Rich Ford
WalMart
SASS
EPCOR Water

Town of Edgewood
Meetings:

 meets First and Third Wednesdays of the month
at 6:30pm
Edgewood Community Center
 Planning & Zoningmeets First and ThirdMondays of the month at6:00pmEdgewood Community Center.

Other Chambers:
East Mountain Chamber meets
the first Thursday of the month at
11:30am.  Call 281-1999 or
Moriarty Chamber meets
at noon the third Tuesday of the month at the Moriarty Civic Center.  Call 832-4087
Mountainair Chamber meets the first Tuesday of the month at 11:30am at the Shaffer Hotel. 847-2975 or
mcc@mountainairchamber.com
 *******************
 Ponderings:
 Merry Christmas to you. I hope your season is a good one, and that
you are ready for a strong 2013.
Madeline
 If you are a chamber member, you can leave your business cards, rack cards and flyers at the Visitors center inside the South door to the Library. Be sure to get your information over here. It’s part of your benefit as an Edgewood Chamber member!
Stop by the office to see Madeline if you have any questions , or call my cell 850-2523.
2012 Edgewood Chamber of Commerce – All rights reserved
Address:
PO Box 457 Edgewood NM 8701
PO Box 457, Edgewood, NM 87015, USAUnsubscribe | Change Subscriber Options

The Left: Has Had His Back For Four Years

English: President Barack Obama signs H.R. 847...

English: President Barack Obama signs H.R. 847, the ” 9/11 Health and Compensation Act” in Kailua, Hawaii, January 2, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That is Obama’s back, but now if this rather long article from Politico has merit then it looks like the progressives will be gnawing at his backside.  It is likely the story is pointing in one direction the president can look for chewing, and of course, the conservatives aren’t apt to cut him any slack.

It is a cinch he will not be able to appease both the right and the left, so the right may as well get ready for four more years of misery.  There may be a short stay from more deception as he leaves for his 4 million dollar vacation to Hawaii, but it looks like the surf will be up for four more years and it will not be a good thing except for the beach bums.

Read the article from the link below:

When Four Years Seems Like A Century

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A Christmas Eve Story

We wish we had ran across this video earlier.  We did not, but we took a chance that we might receive an answer to our request to post it today or soon after.  Our e-mailed request to retired Ohio State Trooper Bob Welsh was answered today and we have graciously been granted permission for our posting of the presentation.

If you are now or have ever been a dedicated law enforcement officer, or if you are a citizen who has wondered just how stern and serious cops can be, and if they always present a persona like the metal of their badge … hard and durable.  Then please watch the video Trooper Welsh has presented:

A Christmas Eve Story

Repost Of A Repost: It’s A Jack Russell Christmas Someplace

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2011)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

I love dogs and I especially love Chinese Pugs, Jack Russell Terriers, and Corgi/Jack Russell crosses. Perhaps it is because we have a Pug and a Cojack and never tire of  watching their antics … well, most of the time!  I posted a Jack Russell Christmas video two years ago, also last year and will post it again this year, along with a couple of others. I hope you enjoy the dogs and the message, however subtle:

The next one:

Here’s the final one.  Now go out to your nearest shelter and save a dog, or even a cat or kitten!

Here’s a link to an alert Cojack

Have a wonderful Christmas or if you celebrate some other religious holiday during this season, I pray your particular celebratory day or period will be rewarding.

Thanks to all the dogs, pups, owners and video artists who put together these wonderful presentations.  You have blessed us.

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