Obama at Penn State

I’m at Penn State and situated in my spot in Rec Hall awaiting the President’s arrival.  He speaks at noon and will announce an initiative for the retrofitting of commercial buildings to save 20% on energy costs in the next ten years.  The five step program will be the centerpiece of his speech today.  The drive up was beautiful with clear blue skies as I headed northwest through central Pennsylvania.  I don’t get back to campus very often and it looks quite different from my undergraduate years decades ago.  Rec Hall is still the same however.

Revolution spreads

Jordan’s King Abdullah has taken preemptive steps to avoid the turmoil suffered in Tunisia and Egypt. Meanwhile people in The Yemen have called for a day of rage to  express their anger at the Yemeni government.

Meanwhile many people are now openly talking about Friday being Mubarek’s last day.

In Egypt, everything depends on the army who today says they will protect the anti-Mubarek demonstrators after yesterday’s clashes between the protesters and the pro-Mubarek forces that unfortunately left several people dead.

I couldn’t help notice that the pro-Mubarek forces had nicely printed signs and banners compared with the hand-written banners of the protesters. I find that curious in light of the denials from the Egyptian prime minister that the government did NOT arrange the pro-Mubarek protesters. Although the Egyptian PM has apologized for the violence on Wednesday and promised an investigation.

Egypt is quickly devolving and we hope for calmer heads on both sides to prevail to prevent all out civil war.

Speculation is rife that this could spread to Syria which is where any protests could be extremely bloody.

I guess we’ll wait and see and hope that people who want their freedom prevail in the least violent way possible.

UPDATE: The BBC is now reporting the some army personnel are saying they will now protect the protesters from the pro-Mubarek contingent. If correct, this appears to be another step along the path to Mubarek leaving. An internal struggle is now being setup with the Police and Internal Security on the side of the President and the Army coming down on the side of the protesters. This could easily devolve into civil war but there is more and more speculation that Friday may be the day the Army tells Mubarek to go.

Breitbart Wannabes Target Planned Parenthood

Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts in crime (fraud is a criminal offense) went after ACORN and pretty much destroyed that dedicated non profit using fraudulent videos which Fox News played endlessly.  Now we know they were fabricated frauds and we know his operatives tried infiltrating federal offices to do more of the same.  Now they have fabricated videos purporting to claim that Planned Parenthood facilities treated victims of an “underage sex trafficking ring.”  No such thing happened.  These people went to 12 different Planned Parenthood facilities trying to entrap our employees into doing something illegal for the purpose of pulling another ACORN scam.  Planned Parenthood, as I told you last week, reported them to local and federal authorities.

This is nothing but a scam to shut down Planned Parenthood.  The videos are a fraud and the perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted.

Introducing Third and State

We are very happy to announce the launch of Third and State, a new joint blog of the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Pennsylvania, like many other states, faces historic challenges – from ensuring that the economy brings broadly shared prosperity to working families, to addressing Pennsylvania’s budget challenges in a balanced way, to implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act, to reducing poverty and strengthening Pennsylvania’s schools.

With this blog, we will present sharp and timely commentary to help you better understand Pennsylvania’s economy and how the state budget and other policies impact the lives of people in this state. And we’ll bring it to you from our perch at Third and State  – across the street from the State Capitol.

Third and State

A common thread throughout this blog will be our belief that Pennsylvania’s best days are ahead of us. We envision a Pennsylvania where prosperity is broadly shared, where parents can see their kids off to school knowing they will be safe and get a good education, where businesses and industries want to locate because of our renowned universities, trained workforce, well-maintained infrastructure and good quality of life.

Our bloggers are economists and public policy experts who will write about the state budget, tax fairness, the economy, health care, income inequality, poverty, and much more. We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments too. Help us make this a conversation about how we can strengthen local communities across Pennsylvania through good economic and budget policies.

You are welcome to follow our new blog at www.thirdandstate.org, or tune in to this diary here at The Pennsylvania Progressive, where we plan to cross post many of our blog posts. We hope you join the conversation.

This blog takes the place of the Keystone Research Center’s Pennsylvania Policy Blog. You can still access past Pennsylvania Policy Blog posts at that site or link to it from our Blog Archive page.

News & Notes February 1, 2011

Congressional Republicans have a plan to attack women by redefining rape and incest.  This way they can further restrict what abortions are legal.  Unless a woman is brutalized and physically forced it won’t be rape.  Saying “no’ won’t be “no” anymore.  How many women voted for these Republicans?

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day and if Phil says six more weeks of winter he’ll be lunch.

Jihad Jane is going to court.  The Pennsburg woman was arrested last year of terrorism charges.

The State Department has announced that all non-essential persons in the Cairo embassy will be evacuated.  Additional Marines were sent to protect the building and its occupants.

President Obama has rescheduled his trip to Penn State.  He will tour labs and speak on Thursday instead because of the impending winter storm.  They do read weather reports at the White House.

Linda Kelly, a former federal prosecutor is said to be Gov. Corbett’s selection to be Interim Attorney General.  First order of business should be investigating Republican caucuses in Harrisburg for corruption.

Sen. Daylin Leach underwent back surgery this morning.  I hope he recovers well because I’ll miss his witty repartee on facebook if he doesn’t.  Beware Daylin, of those who’d stick knives in your back!  Just because there’s a “Dr.” in front of his name check to see his voter reg first!

The DCCC is targeting Lou Barletta, Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Meehan as part of 19 GOP Congressmen thought to be vulnerable in 2012.

The Keystone Research Center launched its new blog today.  “Third and State” is a joint effort with their Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. The statewide think tank does remarkably good work on economic issues and I attended their workshop in Pittsburgh on the State of Working Pennsylvania.  

This year’s Equality Forum will be held at the end of April, as usual.  SundayOUT! is May 1st.  The new website featuring this year’s panels regarding a wide range of LGBT issues, special events, parties and other information is available here.

In other LGBT news if you live in Berks County or the nearby area please support A Good Thyme For Life.  The annual dining experience supports Co-County Wellness Services which runs Berks AIDS Network.  On March 1st you can dine at the finest restaurants in the area and a percentage of your check will go to support BAN.  

Job #1 For State GOP: Attacks on Women

Pennsylvanians’ number one issue is jobs.  The economy is what everyone based their votes upon last year and it is foremost in everyone’s mind.  Well, not every one’s.  Republicans in Harrisburg who ran on deficits, budgets and job creation took their first action in the legislature and it was about…abortion.  Not jobs, not providing economic development, not the budget but an attack against women.  Fueled by the arrest of a back alley butcher in Philadelphia their response wasn’t to expand access and coverage so we wouldn’t have Dr. Kermit Gosnells instead they went the opposite direction and passed SB3 in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee (12-2) restricting access to abortion services under the new health care exchanges.  This will only result in more Gosnells and more mothers being killed needlessly.

Isn’t it interesting how fetuses have more rights than women for Republicans?  SB3 is so restrictive a woman cannot even pay for abortion coverage with her own funds.  It’s part of an overall attack on women which also includes attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and/or impose financially burdensome new regulations upon the clinics.  Dr. Gosnell was not affiliated with Planned Parenthood and wasn’t even a licensed obgyn.  He didn’t use trained and licensed medical assistants and neglected basic sanitary requirements for any medical operation.  He is exactly what would spring up throughout Pennsylvania if Republicans have their way and these attacks on women’s reproductive rights succeed.  Instead of addressing the real problem:  coverage for abortions, they are making it worse.  Is this the absolute top priority for the Pennsylvania GOP?  What happened to jobs, economic development and balancing the budget?

Disclosure:  I am a Planned Parenthood Board member.

Gas Drillers Used Diesel Fuel For Fracking

A Congressional investigation says gas drillers used diesel fuel in their fracking fluids and injected it into the ground to release natural gas from shale formations.  According to water experts I’ve spoken with there is no need to put anything in water for fracking.  The hundreds of toxic chemicals used simply make the process cheaper, and more profitable, for energy companies.  Meanwhile Pennsylvanians are having their water supplies contaminated, rivers polluted and property values plummet to zero.

The investigation was led by Henry Waxman, Dana Gillette, and Ed Markey all Democrats.  Kiss consumer protections goodbye now that Tea Party groups, lackeys of corporate America and the Koch brothers, are in charge.  Imagine the lunacy of using diesel fuel to obtain gas…  This is a petroleum derivative so, in essence, we’re using oil to get gas.  So much for the argument that gas is “clean energy.”  When you factor in the hundreds of truckloads of toxic chemicals and water used for each well plus the fumes exhausted into the atmosphere from each well there never was anything “clean” about gas.

Imagine what will happen to our water supplies as diesel fuel is dumped into our aquifers and rivers?  It already is happening and DEP is in bed with the industry from all accounts.