News & Notes December 19, 2013

We’ll start with some good news.  Justin Bieber announced he is retiring from music.  In other good news Gov. Gasbag says he’d sign a comprehensive employment non-discrimination bill.  He admitted he was wrong thinking LGBT citizens were protected by federal law.  No, Governor, a tiny bit of investigation (have you heard of something called Google?) would have told him that ENDA has not yet passed.  Still, we thank him for his evolving stand on equality issues.

In holiday news WestJet made tons of goodwill by its giving.  Their unique program is caught in this video:

Katie McGinty’s marital ties to the energy industry, the Keystone XL pipeline and fracking may severely hurt her chances in next spring’s primary.  Of course John Hanger, a strong progressive on other issues, still has the spectre of Gasland hanging around his neck.

Even as we bundle up against an early winter freeze I’m reminded how climate change is affecting all of us.  Communities are already planning ahead for water shortages.  Some experts are predicitng the extinction of our species unless we make drastic changes quickly.  What good will all of this economic activity do us when we’re all gone?  Perhaps our species will evolve quickly into beings which breathe CO2 instead of oxygen.

Women in Harrisburg have introduced a package of bills designed to protect women’s rights.  Representatives from Pennsyltucky have been eroding these rights for years.

A federal Judge (appointed by GW Bush) ruled the NSA spying program unconstitutional.  Edward Snowden should be the Person of the Year for disclosing the vastness of this web of lies.

Rick Santorum is still saying enormously stupid things.  This time he says that forcing people to have health insurance is a plot to kill those who don’t vote the right way (liberally).  Maybe his ideology is actually the one doing that.  Forcing people to live without health care shortens lives.  18,000 Americans die each year because they lack access to health care.  Many other lives are shortened.  This has nothing to do with ideology, it is about a basic human right.

Why is this book still for sale?  Responsible retailers wouldn’t carry it in their inventories.

Another round of austerity was passed in Congress this week.  This time it was a bipartisan, team effort.  Expect President Obama to sign the bill.  No wonder his approval rating is at a lowly 40%.

Gov. Nikki Haley (SC) violated people’s rights when she had Occupy protesters arrested.  These judicial decisions after the fact are nice but they aren’t bothering those elected officials who regularly violate our constitution.  As long as they got their short term solution:  getting rid of the Occupy Movement, they’re happy.  Until we have serious repercussions, for example the immediate removal from office, we don’t really have constitutional protections.

Speaking of outrageous police state actions our City of Reading allowed police officers with lights flashing to intimidate drivers being stopped by a firm doing an NHTSA study to question people and take DNA swabs of their mouths with no warrants, no probable cause and no rights.  Even when drivers objected to the unconstitutional stops and searches the participants continued harassing them with questions.

86,900 Pennsylvanians will lose their unemployment benefits before the end of the month.  Most will go onto the welfare rolls and our economy will suffer.  Sounds like another stupid move by conservatives in Washington.  These “pro-life” legislators have no problem taking food from children and veterans or forcing people out of their homes just as winter arrives.  Tell me again about the sanctity of life.

I love how conservatives are always claiming personal responsibility as one of their hallmarks then passing the buck for their failed policies onto liberals.  First they refuse to regulate industry and commerce, crash the economy as a result, then blame Blacks and liberals for their mess.  Newt was the latest to try this tactic but was corrected by Robert Reich.  By the way go see “Inequality For All.”

If you had your health insurance canceled you should be blaming the corrupt insurance industry rather than ObamaCare.  It would have been grandfathered under the ACA but your insurance company altered your policy so it wouldn’t be and they could then cancel you.  Facts matter.

Marjorie Margolies is being haunted by her past in her quest to succeed Allyson Schwartz in Congress.  Her husband was convicted of fraud and her own ethics are also questionable.  She also voted to cut Social Security benefits when last in Congress and thinks some seniors should give their benefits back.  Politico did an expose on her also.

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