Here’s the Military Gear the Defense Department Has Sent to Lancaster County Police

The New York Times is disclosing what military equipment has been given to state and local law enforcement agencies through the United States Defense Department. Here’s what law enforcement agencies in Lancaster County received.

The Times reported in June:

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

Thanks to data acquired and disclosed by the Times on Github, I am able to report that no less than $11,000 worth of that military equipment has been sent to Lancaster County since 2008, including thirteen of those machine guns and 196 of the magazines. (None of the armored vehicles or aircraft yet.)

A full accounting of what has been received by agencies in Lancaster County, PA is below the photo gallery.

NSN (National Stock Number) Item Name Qty Acquisition
1005-00-073-9421 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $499.00 9/17/2008
1005-00-073-9421 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $499.00 9/17/2008
1005-00-073-9421 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $499.00 9/17/2008
1005-00-073-9421 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $499.00 9/17/2008
1005-00-073-9421 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $499.00 9/17/2008
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 10/29/2010
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 10/29/2010
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 10/29/2010
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 10/29/2010
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 2/26/2013
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 2/26/2013
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 2/26/2013
1005-00-856-6885 RIFLE, 5.56 MILLIMETER 1 $120.00 2/26/2013
1005-00-921-5004 MAGAZINE, CARTRIDGE 196 $9.31 2/21/2013
1240-01-411-1265 SIGHT, REFLEX 3 $328.00 2/21/2013
3413-01-428-6623 DRILLING MACHINE, UPRIGHT 1 $3,993.32 4/30/2012
5120-00-293-1439 VISE, MACHINIST’S 2 $422.41 3/15/2012
5180-00-357-7770 TOOL KIT, REPAIRMAN’S 1 $2,012.00 4/4/2012
5820-01-512-3227 RECEIVER-TRANSMITTER, RADIO 6 $329.15 9/24/2013
6545-00-656-1094 FIRST AID KIT, GENERAL PURPOSE 6 $87.29 7/5/2012
6545-00-656-1094 FIRST AID KIT, GENERAL PURPOSE 6 $87.29 7/12/2012
7110-DS-SAF-E000 5 DRAWER SAFE 3 $800.00 4/20/2012
8415-01-461-8341 SHIRT, COLD WEATHER 10 $60.45 4/20/2012
8415-01-461-8356 SHIRT, COLD WEATHER 25 $60.45 4/20/2012
8415-01-530-2157 ELBOW, PAD 25 $11.79 4/20/2012
8415-99-359-9160 MASK, SAFETY, ALL TEMPERATURES 30 $21.25 9/24/2013
8465-01-328-8268 GOGGLES, SUN, WIND AND DUST 25 $23.81 3/15/2012
8465-01-393-6515 MAT, SLEEPING, SELF-INFLATING 10 $44.39 4/20/2012
8465-01-505-4762 DRINKING SYSTEM 24 $36.79 4/13/2012
8465-01-524-7226 SUSTAINMENT POUCH 6 $15.58 4/4/2012
8465-01-524-7226 SUSTAINMENT POUCH 25 $15.58 4/4/2012
8465-01-525-0577 FIGHTING LOAD CARRIER 13 $43.75 3/15/2012
8465-01-525-0606 POUCH, M4 TWO MAGAZINE 25 $5.44 3/27/2012

Patriot-News Front Page: ‘As for Paterno, This Must Be His Last Season’

The Harrisburg Patriot-News published an extraordinary front page today:

Front Page of the Patriot-News, November 8, 2011

The entire front page is an editorial. It stands up for the thousands of Penn State alumni and supporters who live in Central Pennsylvania. It stands up for the rule of law. And it stands up for children who are the victims of sexual crimes.

To the editorial board of the Patriot-News, bravo.

Highlight sentences:

The most famous coach in college football history must be held to a higher standard.

A man who has spoken with such affection for 46 years about “his kids” failed real kids when they needed him most.

It might always be honor with an asterisk, admiration with a shake of the head. Joe will have to live with that.

The Patriot-News wasn’t alone. The newspapers of Central Pennsylvania stepped up today. They put their communities, and their responsibilities to them, first. They collectively mounted the kind of pressure necessary to oust an iconic figure who long ago aged past his ability to control his organization, his staff, and his team.

The York Daily Record reminds us all that whenever anyone even suspects that a child is being abused, “…the first call, the most important call, must be to the authorities.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer wants Paterno to step down at the end of this season, too, saying his “oft-discussed retirement would be timelier than ever – even though leaving amid this scandal will provide a sad coda to an otherwise stellar career for the man who, until now, served as the reassuring public face of Penn State.”

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette underscores that no one did the right thing: “It’s clear no one at the university acted aggressively enough as they were being informed of these allegations. There was one call to be made when they were informed. Immediately. To state police.”

The Scranton Times-Tribune echoed the point that “Penn State’s obligation hardly ends with the legal process.”

There are a couple exceptions to this set of newspapers who stepped up and addressed our state’s highest and mightiest public university, though—as of this writing, there’s not a peep about PSU amongst the editorials in the Lancaster or Reading newspapers.

If you so much as suspect that a Pennsylvania child is being abused, call ChildLine at 800-932-0313.

More about Penn State football on
In the Middle of College Football Season, Injustices of the NCAA Revealed

Marcellus Shale drilling is harming Pennsylvania’s environment, New York Times reports

A New York Times expose today reveals a thoroughly corrupt system that is effectively allowing natural gas drilling to destroy Pennsylvania’s environment.

The in-depth report comes at a time when the number of Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania are expected to increase from 6,400 today to no fewer than 50,000 in 2031.

Natural gas drilling wastewater
What the waste water looks like. Thumnail of the photo by Jessica Kourkounis.

The article, by Ian Urbina, reveals that, in a process that defies belief, radioactive waste water from the drilling process is being sold to municipalities in our state to use for de-icing roads, because the waste water is high in salts.

Natural gas is extracted from the Marcellus Shale formation in our state by injecting millions of gallons of water to break up rock and release the natural gas. The problem is that 10 to 40 percent of that water comes back to the surface within two weeks of its use. And at that point it is contaminated with salts and radioactive elements including barium and strontium.

One partial solution to this problem has been for drilling corporations to capture this waste water and reuse it at new drilling sites. This is a flawed solution, however, because it leads to waste water with even higher concentrations of contaminants, and the water is not reusable forever—it must eventually be disposed. Adding insult to injury, the New York Times reports that “the total amount of recycling in the state is nowhere near the 90 percent that the industry has been claiming over the past year.” It gets worse:

In the year and a half that ended in December 2010, well operators reported recycling at least 320 million gallons. But at least 260 million gallons of wastewater were sent to plants that discharge their treated waste into rivers, out of a total of more than 680 million gallons of wastewater produced, according to state data posted Tuesday. Those 260 million gallons would fill more than 28,800 tanker trucks, a line of which would stretch from about New York City to Richmond, Va.

On March 11, 2009, a meeting was held between natural gas drilling industry officials and “state regulators and officials from the governor’s office.” The subject of the meeting was a modest proposal requiring drilling corporations to track each load of waste water from the extraction site to the disposal point. Without that requirement, drillers could dump the waste water on the side of the road and no one would be the wiser. What happened during and after that meeting is horrifying:

After initially resisting, state officials agreed, adding that they would try to persuade the secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to agree, according to the notes. In the end, the state’s proposed manifest system for tracking was not carried out.

Three of the top state officials in the meeting — K. Scott Roy, Barbara Sexton and J. Scott Roberts — have since left their posts for jobs in the natural-gas industry.

The article, “Wastewater Recycling No Cure-All in Gas Process,” is required reading for all Pennsylvanians.

Give it a read and leave your thoughts here.

(While I could not have anticipated the details of this ongoing disaster, I told you so.)

Fire on 300 block of N Queen destroys Zap & Co (PHOTOS)

I know a lot of you are concerned about last night’s massive fire that hit the 300 block of North Queen Street, the epicenter of Lancaster’s indie arts scene. So I grabbed a camera and walked over this morning.

I don’t have any new facts, just photos. For the full story, see the LancasterOnline article.

Everyone is free to use these photos for any purpose, and no need to ask me for permission or give me credit.

Spill, baby, spill

BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Digging for fossil fuel is never safe. It’s never safe for humans, and it’s never safe for the wild areas in which we humans allow the digging. The inconceivably massive oil spill we are witnessing on the Gulf Coast should remind us of that. BP, world champion of corporate green-washing, is responsible.

The corporations who dig up fossil fuel need to be watched closely by competent regulators. Regulation costs money. The corporations that make money by digging up fossil fuel should cover the cost of the outside regulators.

That’s why I voted a strong “yes” in the Central Penn Business Journal’s current Question of the Week, “Should Pennsylvania impose taxes on drilling in Marcellus Shale?”

It’s never clean. It’s never safe. It’s always risky.

Pennsylvania needs regulators to protect the most basic interests of society from sloppiness of the corporations that dig up the fossil fuel here in our state. We should mandate the corporations to foot the bill for those regulators themselves.

Map of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico