Rep. Fitzpatrick Ducks Questions on Ryan Budget Votes

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick was confronted by constituents about his votes to dismantle Medicare and he avoided the issue.  Once a moderate Republican who then embraced the radical politics of the Tea party to win back his seat he must remember that the 8th District is a swing seat.  No one runs away with large margins in this Bucks centric Congressional District and ducking constituents won’t be good for his electoral health.  Voting to end Medicare as we know it will lose him tons of votes.  He has an obligation to answer direct questions about his voting record.

Fitzpatrick isn’t alone.  Sen. Toomey also ducked questions.  Today he voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act too.

9th Circuit Strikes Down Discrimination

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an appeal by proponents of discrimination today.  The effort to restore the hateful Proposition 8 initiative against marriage equality went down in a decision by the full court.  The next step would be an appeal to the Supreme Court which is expected.  If so it could be joined with challenges to DOMA.  On a conference call this afternoon attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson took questions from the media and discussed the historic decision.  AFER founder Chad Griffin, on his way to DC to work for the Human Rights campaign, said discrimination went to court and lost today.  The 9th Circuit said this:

Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.  The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

Indeed, the 14th Amendment guarantees every American equal justice under law.  Those words are engraved on the front of the Supreme Court and time will tell how many of the nine Justices believe them.

Campaign 2012: Romney’s Massachusetts Record

Obama-Biden campaign officials are going after Mitt Romney now based on his failed record as Governor.  Of course Mitt championed the individual mandate as part of his RomneyCare system in Massachusetts.  His program, in fact, was cited by Obama officials as their model while they were passing the Affordable Care Act.   His state lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs and ranked 47th in job creation while he was Governor.  While Romney constantly calls himself a “job creator” he has never done it.  The only jobs he knows how to create are nannies for his wife and kids, gardeners (undocumented ones) for his mansions and workers building an elevator for his many cars.

Massachusetts performed under the national averages when Mitt was in office.  Job growth in the public sector did thrive under Romney.  The few jobs he did create were in state government.  Meanwhile debt increased.

The truth is that Mitt Romney only cares about one job:  his.

The new Obama ad is running in Pennsylvania as part of a $10 million ad buy.  Karl Rove is spending tons of Super PAC money against the President with misleading ads.  “The New Majority Foundation” mentioned in his commercials would return the country to the failed policies of George W. Bush.  There is no difference in policies and positions between Bush and Romney.  If you like Bush you’d like Romney.  Voting for Mitt Romney means going back to the policies of Bush which crashed the economy.

Facts are tough things:

Tom Corbett’s Twisted Priorities

CapitalWire reported that Gov. Gasbag is living up to his nickname by giving Shell Oil a $67/year tax credit while slashing funding for schools, poor people and the disabled.  Kids and developmentally disabled adults, poor Pennsylvanians on Medicaid, those needing medical care and a crumbling infrastructure take a back seat to energy companies raping our countryside.

Shell wants to build a cracker plant to make plastics from ethane, a Marcellus shale byproduct.  Corbett tried to hide the immense subsidy in a tax bill but it was discovered and made public.  The fact Gasbag attempted to conceal this from the public while an outside group accuses him of cronyism and corruption may not sit well with voters.

If Republicans want to keep control of the Office of the Governor someone will need to step forward and challenge Corbett.  There’s no way “just close your eyes” will win a second term with this record.  Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is gearing up for a run and Treasurer Rob McCord is also rumored to be interested.   Outgoing Auditor General Jack Wagner, who ran last time, could also be a candidate.  At this point any of them could knock off Corbett who is clearly out of his element.

News & Notes June 4, 2012

Former State Senator Jane Orie was sentenced today to 2 1/2 to 10 years and hauled straight off to state prison.   There was no determination on restitution.

Jury selection begins tomorrow in the Sandusky trial in Centre County.  I seriously doubt there’s anywhere near the necessary evidence for a conviction.  The AG’s office hasn’t even found all the alleged victims.  How do you try someone for a crime when you don’t even know who the victim was?

I was at the Capitol all day today visiting state House members about the payday lending bill and Rep. Metcalf’s attempt to defund us at Planned Parenthood.  A Medicare/Medicaid expert at Saturday’s White House Summit said all federal funding for women’s health would be at risk if the bill passed.  Texas lost $35 billion when it passed similar legislation.

UFCW Local 1776 volunteers were plying the hallways working against Mike Turzai’s attempt to defund the Commonwealth by $500 million/year by privatizing liquor stores.  I also ran into Sharon Ward of the Keystone Research Center, Andy Hoover of the ACLU and others.

I also got to the Treasury Department.  It turns out they’ve been holding a small amount of my money for the last thirty years.  I should get a check in 7-10 days.  

Harrisburg Pride returns this year.  If you’re in central PA this LGBT celebration is one to attend.  June is Pride month for our community.  I plan on being at Philly Pride this Sunday.

Tea Party Congressman Allen West has said many outrageous things.  He’s Washington’s Daryl Metcalfe:  a crazy man masquerading as a lawmaker.  Here he is talking about a bill called the “Let Women Die” Act:

Here’s what the law does:

A vote for a bill that would allow hospitals to turn away a woman seeking an abortion, even if it is necessary to save her life (and further giving them license to refuse to refer her to another hospital that could save her life), is not what many would call a laughing matter. But at a town-hall meeting this week, Allen West proved many of us wrong, even calling out to his wife, saying, “Did you know that I voted to let you die?” He also jovially mentioned his vote in favor to redefine rape.

The recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is tomorrow.  Walker is a real sleazball.  Here are some excerpts from the Tom Barret/Walker debate:

Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman is back in jail.  Caught lying about his financial condition for bond a judge revoked his previous release.  This has destroyed any credibility the man has making his case for justified homicide weak.

Americans are stupid.  47% in a recent poll believe in creationism over evolution and science.  These same morons don’t believe in global warming even as seas have risen 7 inches and are threatening seaside communities.  How many people have to flee or relocate due to the melting of the ice caps before they wake up from their delusions?  It doesn’t matter what sort of denial you’re in, the oceans aren’t going to stop rising because climate change is very real.  What will happen in the future when millions of people around the world have to flee inland?  I can’t imagine the chaos.

How many Pennsylvanians will die to create a few jobs from fracking?  Time will tell.  Unfortunately idiots think getting a handful of jobs is worth polluting our entire state.  Pennsylvanians aren’t immune from the general stupidity.  A mobile home park in Jersey Shore is being evicted to supply water for the fracking industry.  No company should force people from their homes so they can make a profit.

Marriage bigots boycotting JC Penney are disappointed the company is celebrating Fathers Day with an ad which has two gay dads.  They’re a real couple with real kids.  Please go do some shopping at Penneys.

A good video:

Pennsylvania Politics Continues to Override Humane Actions

by WALTER BRASCH

A national animal welfare organization has filed an ethics complaint against a Pennsylvania district attorney.

SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) charges Bucks County DA David Heckler with conflict-of-interest, favoritism, and failure to fulfill his professional responsibilities. The ethics charges were filed with the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

SHARK, an Illinois-based charity, has been more active in Pennsylvania following a $1 million donation by Bob Barker to stop pigeon shoots. Pennsylvania is the only state that has open and regularly occurring pigeon shoots.

The conflict-of-interest charges date from 2010 when Heckler refused to allow Johnna Seeton, a humane officer, to have an attorney and then blocked her from filing summary citations of animal cruelty against the Philadelphia Gun Club of Bensalem, Pa. “I showed him the evidence, and that’s the last I heard from him,” says Seeton. But it wasn’t the last of the case. “The next thing I know is that I read in the paper that Mr. Heckler had brokered a deal with the gun club,” she says. That deal was for the club to pay court costs and make a $200 donation to the Bucks County SPCA. Seeton was never consulted. Heckler, however, prior to working out a deal had gone to the media to denounce Seeton’s citations as nothing more than “hot air.”

The deal was worked out with Sean Corr, attorney for the PGC. Corr, says Steve Hindi of SHARK, “was one of the biggest individual donors to the Bucks County Republican Committee [which had] heavily funded Heckler’s election campaign.” Heckler had been a state representative and senator and then a judge of the Bucks County Common Pleas Court. Corr, who was shooting pigeons at the PGC in December 2009, was convicted of harassment for shoving a camera into Hindi’s face; Hindi was not on PGC property at the time of the incident, according to the Doylestown Intelligencer. Corr is currently a part-time solicitor for the county.

On April 30 of this year, Seeton filed five summary citations of animal cruelty against the PGC for violations during pigeon shoots on March 17 and 31. State law gives DAs the discretion to deny the presence of attorneys for plaintiffs. However, Heckler’s actions are the only time any DA denied Seeton, a humane officer since 1998, the right to have an attorney. Seeton says that a private attorney representing the Pennsylvania Legislature Animal Network (PLAN) would incur no public costs. As was the case in 2010, Heckler refused to tell Seeton the reason for his denial of legal representation.

“There is a reasonableness standard that a DA in denying attorney representation will have a bona fide reason to do so,” says Elissa Katz, an attorney and president of Humane PA PAC, “but in this case there appears to be no reasonable basis for denying representation.” The PGC, however, could be represented by an attorney in the court of District Magistrate Leonard Brown. Heckler’s action “places the parties on an unfair playing field from the beginning,” says Katz.

Heckler numerous times stated that although he isn’t a pigeon shooter, he is reluctant to pursue charges against pigeon shooting because it isn’t a crime in Pennsylvania. Tom Logan, a Bucks County assistant district attorney, says the reason the DA’s office is denying Seeton legal representation is because “a review of the law [indicates] it is not a crime. If it’s not a crime, we don’t want to turn it into a crime.”

However in Bensalem Twp., where the PGC is located, pigeon shooting is illegal. In May 2002, the township determined that “live pigeon shoots do, in fact, violate the Pennsylvania Animal Cruelty Statue . . . as well as Township Ordinance No. 71,” and issued a cease and desist order. The PGC briefly suspended the shoots. Karel Minor, executive director of the Humane Society of Berks County, says pigeon shoots, contrary to public perception and political gesturing, are already illegal. The shoots, says Minor, aren’t protected “under any statute, law or code.” Further, he says, “Because they aren’t exempt from animal cruelty law, they are subject to them by definition.”

However, the problem is enforcement. “As long as DAs aren’t allowing humane society police officers to enforce existing law, the legislature is going to have to stop avoiding the issue and clarify that this practice is illegal,” says Heidi Prescott, senior vice-president for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Leaders of the state legislature, cowered by a heavy NRA lobbying campaign that irrationally equates an end of the cruelty of pigeon shooting with a violation of Second Amendment rights, have numerous times blocked legislation from a full vote. The only time the bill was voted on as a free-standing bill was in the 1980s. Several attempts to amend it have been made over the past 20 years, the closest vote taking place in 1994, when the House voted 99-93 in favor of an amendment to ban pigeon shoots, but fell short of the 102 votes needed for passage.

Most of the 20-25 pigeon shoots are in suburban Philadelphia, specifically Bucks and Berks counties, with a combined population of more than one million. Individual shoots are also held in Dauphin and Northumberland counties. The Hegins pigeon shoot in Schuylkill County was finally cancelled in 2000 after the state Supreme Court ruled that animal cruelty charges could be filed against the organizers. That shoot, begun in 1935, had attracted national attention during its last 12 years when animal rights protestors tried to rescue wounded birds and used several tactics as they confronted shooters and their supporters, including large numbers of skinheads and fringe groups from the extreme right.

Pigeon shoot organizers put as many as 5,000 birds, often scared and undernourished, into small cages and then release them about 30 yards in front of pretend-hunters with 12-gauge shotguns. Most of the birds are hit by the shot within five to 10 feet of the cages, with many shot while standing on the ground. About three-fourths of all birds are wounded, not killed outright, says Prescott. If shot within the gun club’s property, trapper boys, often in their teens will take the birds, wring their necks, snip their heads off, or stuff them alive into barrels to suffocate. If the birds survive long enough to fly outside the gun club’s property, most will die lingering and painful deaths; at the PGC, many will fall into the Delaware River and slowly drown as they struggle to swim to shore, says Prescott.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission doesn’t call pigeon shoots a sport nor does the International Olympic Committee, which banned it after the 1900 Olympics. Most hunters and sportsmen oppose pigeon shoots because they aren’t considered to be fair chase hunting.

SHARK also claims Heckler repeatedly refused to file charges against the PGC for actions that specifically violate Pennsylvania law. It claims Heckler refused to file charges against PGC members for deliberately firing shotgun shells at protesters in boats on the Delaware River. The PGC had initially filed requests with the Coast Guard to establish temporary exclusion zones on the river during pigeon shoots, but withdrew the requests. SHARK believes the reason is because the PGC didn’t wish to file an environmental impact statement that would reveal more than a century of shotgun shells and dead pigeons polluting the river.

The SHARK petition also claims that in two separate incidents PGC members recklessly drove their vehicles at female protestors. Both actions were captured on videotape. In one case, the local police and the DA’s office refused to press charges. In the second incident, a PGC member who is an attorney yelled sexist obscenities at a Marianne Bessey, an animal rights activist, “as he recklessly drove his SUV past her.” Later, in media interviews, the PGC member acknowledged his actions. However, when Bessey, an attorney, tried to file a private complaint for disorderly conduct and harassment, Heckler denied it. Bessey says Heckler claimed there was “insufficient evidence” and that her complaint lacked “prosecutorial merit.”

Heckler also refused to file charges against an individual who, SHARK claims, assaulted Hindi and brandished a pistol, threatening him for protesting. According to the petition, Robert Olsen, operations manager of Carlton Pools, owned by Joseph Solana who holds live pigeon shoots on his property, twice drove his SUV directly at a vehicle driven by Hindi on the company’s parking lot. The third time, according to the petition, on a public street, Olsen “grabbed at and assaulted” SHARK investigator Janet Enoch. When Hindi tried to intervene, Olsen pointed a loaded pistol at Hindi, swore at him, and ordered him to “get down on the ground,” according to the complaint. Although the assault was videotaped, Heckler filed only two charges-reckless driving and fighting. In contrast, according to SHARK, Heckler prosecuted a resident who “pulled a handgun on a snow plow operator who had just buried his car in the snow.” That charge led to a three month jail term.

Pigeon shoots, like cockfighting and dog fighting, “are contests scored by hurting and killing live animals while gambling on the outcome, representing the worst of humanity,” says Prescott.  

Although Pennsylvania legislators, police, and DAs may publically say how much they detest animal cruelty, they have shown their cowardice to do what is right by their failure to prosecute cruelty charges against pigeon shoots.

[Walter Brasch, an award-winning syndicated columnist, has shot at many clay pigeons but never at a live pigeon. He attended his first pigeon shoot as a reporter more than 20 years ago, and has been writing about the cruelty of pigeons shoots since then. He is the author of 17 books; his latest is the critically-acclaimed novel Before the First Snow.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D.

Latest Book: Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution

(www.greeleyandstone.com)

www.walterbrasch.com

www.walterbrasch.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/walterbrasch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

White House Hispanic Action Summit

I was at Temple University yesterday attending the White House Hispanic Community Action Summit.  As one of a few old white guys there it was useful getting a feel for issues facing Hispanics.  Unfortunately attendance wasn’t impressive and most of those who did go left by lunch.  The three open sessions in the afternoon were so poorly attended one about immigration wasn’t even hosted by its presenter.  Instead a staffer from Sen. Mike Stack’s office and I held it ourselves.

Regardless I got a lot of information from the Administration officials who attended from DC and or their local offices and from community leaders who did feel committed to staying for the day.  The fact it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon might have motivated many people to bolt.  I sat there around 2PM looking at the piles of boxed lunches sitting untouched and realized many attendees didn’t even arrive or left before lunch.

The White House puts a lot into these events, they are free to attend and one can get a lot out of them but this one seemed wasted.  When I think of all the expertise which came up from Washington to listen and contribute I feel sorry for the Hispanic community which wasted an opportunity (and their time).

Still I learned a few things.  One in five public school students is now Latino and 1 in 4 kindergartners.  Hispanics have the highest rate of workplace fatalities.  The wage gap for Hispanic women is worse than for women in general:  60 cents on the dollar.  40% of our kids are already obese.  Homeowners with housing counselors are twice as likely to remain in their homes.

Those are just a few of the facts I learned from presentations given all morning from various Administration experts.  In the open session area I learned that many Hispanics are having issues with language when dealing with medical specialists.  Mike Toledo of the Hispanic Center here in Reading brought this issue to a session on the Affordable Care Act.  People wait six months to see, say a cardiologist, then can’t see the doctor because no one in the office speaks Spanish.  They then have to wait another six months for a next appointment.  Gina Rodriguez of the CMS Office of Public Engagement (Health and Human Services), an expert on Medicare and Medicaid, said if the doctor accepts either Medicare or Medicaid they must provide translators.  She gave Mike specific information so he can solve the problem for his community.

Another woman brought an issue dealing with dental coverage under Medicaid.  Pennsylvania has cut this program so it now no longer covers root canals and crowns.  People are having to have teeth extracted instead of being saved.  This is a big quality of life issue because bridges and dentures are covered either.  How do you eat once your teeth are pulled?  I explained to her to organize on both the state and federal level to get dental covered.  Federal law doesn’t require states to cover all dental issues.

So, even though the event was poorly attended I still got a lot out of the day.  Mostly I got an appreciation of some issues and challenges facing our friends in the Hispanic community and made some good contacts.

For Profit Education Is Corrupting Pennsylvania

The for profit education industry will be the death of Pennsylvania.  Yes, there are serious problems with our public schools but nothing which cannot be solved.  For profit education though will be the death of us when our children grow up and cannot find good jobs because they’re illiterate and can’t compete.  The U.S. has the most productive workforce in the world so our schools, as bad as they’re portrayed to be, are doing a lot of things right.

The issues predominantly are in large urban school districts and these issues are tied to funding and violence.  That can be solved by having the state allocate funds statewide on a student per capita basis.  The costing out study uncovered these issues and set about correcting them until Tom Corbett took over and began undoing everything.

Charter schools are not the answer.  These for profit privatized schools under perform compared with public schools and if held to the same standards would be closed as failing schools.  Their exemption from testing, oversight and accountability is costing kids their futures.  Meanwhile their owners are pouring their profits into campaign contributions and corrupting legislators like Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams who took $25 million from them to run for Governor.  He then pushed through a voucher program which will starve our public schools.

The for profit education holds conventions where people like Williams are brainwashed and corrupted into supporting the effort to ruin and destroy public education for private profit.  The Catholic Church, looking to save its failing schools, is pouring more money into the effort.  They want to get your tax dollars so they can indoctrinate kids into their failed religion.  Beware exposing your children to their priests and their corruptive morals.  Separation of church and state prohibits using public funds, directly or indirectly, from going to religious schools.  Romney’s education plan is a disaster waiting to happen in this regard.

They’re getting around this by setting up non profit organizations which accept contributions which are eligible for tax credits.  With high administrative fees sapping a lot of the money off the top, the funds are then channeled to private, mostly religious, schools.  In Pennsylvania a large amount of this is coming from natural gas drillers.  Tom Corbett is setting up a system where frackers are giving money which then goes to religious institutions and you’re paying for it because every dollar given is a dollar less available for public education, roads, police and services for the elderly, disabled and poor.

This is a slick system but we’ll all pay later.  As we get older our Social Security is dependent on the earning capability of the young.  The more they earn the more they’ll pay in taxes and the more solvent the system will be.  If they cannot read, write and do math well forget about that.  It’s bad enough most Americans show a shocking inability for critical thinking (just look at the Tea baggers).  If they can’t problem solve they can’t be effective managers.  Education is the key to everyone’s future.  If companies can’t find educated and trained workers here they’ll move.

Higher education holds yet another ticking time bomb with student loan debt.  As graduates cannot find jobs or ones with good salaries they’re saddled with debt loads they cannot repay.  Even if they do the payments preclude them from buying new cars or homes.  Eliminate the capability to buy a house and a large chunk of our economy goes down the drain.  It was a housing crisis, after all, which precipitated the current recession.

Now fracking is beginning to impact the housing market.  Banks are beginning to deny mortgages near gas drilling in fear that contaminated water will render a property worthless.  Declining property values will directly impact public school funding further because property taxes are based on valuation.  The bright side of being able to light your water on fire is that your school taxes will disappear along with your property value.

Gov. Tom Corbett cut a billion dollars from k12 education and now the legislature is passing a law which allows the state to take over distressed schools.  Of course most of them weren’t distressed until Gov. Gasbag cut their funding.  Public schools are increasingly saddled with educating disabled, developmentally disable and autistic children while religious and charter schools do not.  Of course the cost of doing so is far costlier than educating a normal child.  After they take over a school district the state could then invalidate all of the teacher union contracts.  This is all a big game to bust unions, gut pensions and hurt kids for private profit.  It is time for everyone to stand up and say enough is enough.  If we don’t do this for the children who will?  Education is for the public good, the public welfare and should not be profit driven.

News & Notes June 1, 2012

There’s a lot of news happening.  I’ve been battling one of my periodic headaches for the last week so I apologize for not posting more.

Congressional candidate Missa Eaton (PA-3) in northwestern PA, is holding a reception in Philadelphia to support her candidacy against car dealer Mike Kelly.  The District includes Erie and about five neighboring counties down towards Pittsburgh.  

The jury in the John Edwards trial came back with an acquittal and was hung on the remainder of the six counts against the former Senator, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate.  They found him not guilty of accepting an illegal campaign contribution from “Bunny” Mellon.  If that wasn’t considered a campaign contribution it means he couldn’t have violated campaign finance law, something most legal experts expected.  Though the man did some despicable things they weren’t illegal, just immoral.

Elsewhere on the legal front the 1st District Court of Appeals in Boston declared DOMA unconstitutional in a unanimous decision.  They found it unconscionable that federal benefits for straight couples are denied to same sex ones.  The Fourteenth Amendment is pretty clear on this:  equal justice under law is the law of the land.  The case is headed for the Supreme Court where we’ll see if the inscription over the entrance means anything.  AFER released this statement:

“Today’s momentous decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals is yet another example of the clear pattern of consistent recognition among federal courts that marriage inequality-by any level of government-violates our nation’s core constitutional principles,” said AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer.  “Whether it is California’s Proposition 8 or the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, court after court has affirmed that marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans is unfair, unjust, and unconstitutional.”

Conservatives are condemning “activist judges.”

For all those morons who still are blaming liberals for the debt situation here’s a visual explanation:

It’s the tax cuts stupid…

Fallout from Fukushima is causing problems with radioactive tuna.  The issues from this disaster will reverberate for decades.  I’m glad I don’t like seafood…

Bad policy decisions also have repercussions.  The state budget woes caused by Gov. Gasbag’s stubborn refusal to lead are causing problems within the State Police.  Now, instead of using available funds to train new cadets for a force being hit hard by retirements at the same time local municipalities are turning to it for police coverage, they’re buying  a back-up radio system.  Are there any adults living in the Governor’s Mansion yet?

Sen. Daylin Leach is outraged the Governor is trying to appoint his political protege Bill Ward (formerly his failed Chief of Staff) to the bench.  This is called “getting kicked upstairs.”

“If he wants to send Mr. Ward to Disneyland or wants to get him to meet Beyonce, I would have no problem with that as long as it didn’t involve state money,” said Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County.

“To me, the whole concept of justice is a very sacred concept and the process has to be above reproach,” Leach said. “This is not about rewarding cronies.”

I agree.

All kinds of legal items today:  A Judge has frozen Jane Orie’s campaign and pension accounts pending a decision on restitution.  Considering how she plundered her campaign account to pay legal fees this is sensible.

The Gila wildfire in southwestern New Mexico is now over 300 square miles.  This isn’t the region I visit but last  year I visited the site of the Los Conchas fire which, before this, was the biggest they’d had.  It was disheartening to see the devastation and also encouraging to witness nature recovering.  Climate change has turned the southwest into a tinderbox where lightening can cause such destruction.

The Justice department is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to cease and desist in his illegal purging of voter rolls.  Isn’t it a strange coincidence that the people Republican keep disenfranchising happen to be Democrats?  Somehow they keep screaming about voter fraud (which is virtually non-existent) while they engage in election fraud.  This really boomeranged on Scott after a 91 year old veteran was purged.

A White supremacist has been elected to the Luzerne County Republican Committee and he went to his white power websites to celebrate.  Steve Smith helped form the Keystone State Skinheads.

As if the student loan situation isn’t bad enough now banks have found a way to rip off these young people.  Combined with the fraud surrounding the recent facebook IPO this is yet another warning that strict regulation of banks is critical to our future survival as a capitalist society.  If this keeps on the people will demand socialism.

There’s an old saying that people who play with fire get burned.  You’d think that playing with poisonous snakes would fit that right?  What if your father died this way and you continued doing it yourself?  Is that a definition of insanity or stupidity?  A rattlesnake bit and killed a pastor with one of those ridiculous cults this week.  I think he should have died before having a chance to procreate.  This is Darwinism at its finest.