News & Notes June 24, 2013

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says he won’t blow up his expensive, aging, underachieving team to stock up on prospects.  This team isn’t even mediocre so I’m not sure which group of players he’s been watching.  Truth is they just aren’t very good.  It might help if the team stopped bringing back injured players before they’re ready.  This is a bad habit of theirs which goes back several years.

The law of the land says citizens can film and photograph police.  If we’re to have checks and balances against a police state then they must be accountable for their actions and activities too.

Idiot legislators continue attempting to allow predatory lenders to come into the state and rip us off.  Payday lending is a blight on an economy and these leeches bleed people dry.

State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery is under investigation for various, serious ethical lapses.  He got a parking ticket fixed for his wife during a federal investigation into Philadelphia’s corrupt Traffic Court.  Then it was revealed his wife (who is also his court aide) accepted millions in referral fees from law firms who have cases before the high court.  The Justice is alleged to have then called lawyers and attempted to influence the cases.  He needs to resign.   The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been a cesspool of corruption of late.

Speaking of that court Gov. Corbett nominated Superior Court Judge Correale Stevens for the vacancy created by Joan Orie Melvin’s corruption conviction.  Sen. Daylin Leach gave the Guv a list of acceptable candidates on which Stevens’ name was included.  He seems like a good choice.

Harrisburg is so broke the city couldn’t pay its website hosting fees and their website went down.  Now that’s embarrassing.

Supposedly “pro life” Republicans tried cutting food stamps after crashing the economy and sending millions into poverty.  They don’t care if children go hungry.  Congressman Matt Cartwright is bringing attention to the plight of those trying to eat on a few dollars a day by eating only on food stamp rations for a while.  You try it and see how many king crab legs you can buy…

I agree with Congressman Dent on something:  his fellow Republicans statements on abortion are staggeringly stupid.

I don’t understand the Tea Party outrage over the IRS fully examining their applications for non profit status.  Every group applying for this should be very closely examined and probed.  Here’s the truth:  they don’t qualify as political organizations.  No taxpayer should be funding political groups of any persuasion by granting them tax exempt status.

The Supreme Court keeps eroding your rights.  Where is the Tea Party outrage over all of this?  Now your right to remain silent is nullified unless you immediately invoke it when being questioned by police for any reason.  Also, if someone in a supervisory position at your workplace harasses you, discriminates against you or creates a hostile workplace there is little recourse in the courts.  On the plus side it’ll be harder for businesses to employ and exploit slave labor in the form of interns.

I have now re-registered to vote by joining a political party.  I am now officially a Green.

News & Notes

There’s a lot to catch up with after vacation so I’ll comment on several issues.  First off I’ll be away again next week to go kayaking in Maine.  I will have my laptop but squeezing in writing while away with the family can be difficult, especially since we’ll be sharing the computer again.

Sen. Jim Bunning has decided to retire rather than lose.  The former Phillies perfect game pitcher sullied his legacy by shilling for extreme right wing causes in the Senate.  His strange, unpredictable behavior of late became bizarre and resulted in his own Party turning upon him.  What else is new for the GOP?

Speaking of the Phillies a fan was beaten to death in the parking lot last week.  This came as no surprise to me.  I had a scary experience there when I had Sunday season tickets.  This is a major reason I stopped going to games there.  When I contacted the team about the unsafe conditions in their own parking lot they couldn’t care less.  They have allowed these rowdies to take over their facility and it was only a matter of time until tragedy happened.

On the good news side Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  It isn’t even August and we are this far in the process.  Maybe we can even get a real liberal next time.

Are you as fed up with the death of customer service as I am?  I recently had some really bad experiences.  Monday I was in a Redner’s market when an employee in a hurry to go home almost ran me down in the aisle.  I mentioned sarcastically (as I too often need to do) to “excuse me for getting in your way, I’m only a customer.”  This is designed to remind them that customers are too important to be rude towards.  Her reaction?  She began laughing.  I put all my purchases back and left the store.  Why should we tolerate such horrid customer service?  Vote with your feet and shop elsewhere.

Then there are the rude drivers.  People right on red doesn’t mean you can run red lights.  The law requires that you STOP first and insure no oncoming traffic is coming.  I’m fed up with people trying to crash into me while running red lights.  This is a bad law because there’s no traffic enforcement because the Keystone Kops can’t patrol everywhere.

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan has decided to run for Congress in the 15th CD.  Charlie Dent hasn’t had a serious challenger until now.  Callahan is smart, young, handsome and a real up and comer.  Dent’s people are giving him serious credibility by attacking him already.  They should be worried.

Health care reform is dead.  The current proposed legislation will do almost nothing.  Failure to go for the best resulted in getting nothing.  Blue Dogs and Republicans are to be thanked the next time you get sick, get denied by your insurer or die because you cannot get in any waiting line for care.  The delaying tactics of the GOP have killed reform.  What a shame.

I was on a blogger conference call with President Obama and David Axelrod last week.  Obama said he had serious reservations about health care coops.  We’ll see if he winds up signing a bill in which coops are the “reform.”  He sounded very good on the call and having the opportunity to listen directly to the President and his chief adviser was amazing.

The mortgages with preferential VIP terms given to Senators Dodd and Conrad have turned out to be bad news for both Democrats.  After denying they knew they were receiving sweetheart deals Countrywide now is saying both were told they were getting special terms because of who they were.  Hubris always is the fall guy when powerful people allow their power to go to their heads.  I don’t care which Party to which you belong, if you do wrong we’ll call you on the carpet.  Both of these men should resign.

Last week’s sting in New Jersey surprises no one.  The corruption there is depressing and is so endemic to the process you’d swear the state was part of Philadelphia.  Clean them all out and send them all to prison.  Violating the public trust these days is only good for 55 month sentences regardless of your level of corruption.  Shame on the courts too.

KBR electrocuted 17 soldiers because they cut costs to increase profits running their massive war profiteering operations in Iraq.  Credit to Sen. Casey for pursuing this issue but Cheney’s company got off the hook today.  Part of the reason for government is that some vital services and duties should not be done for profit.  Military operations, prisons and health care are obvious examples.  Every time we make these for profit the greed takes over, we have endless wars, judges sending kids to prison by denying them their right to lawyers, millions of people incarcerated, and tens of millions of people with no access to medical care.  Shame on us for privatizing government.

The people called “Birthers” are insane.  Claiming Barack Obama cannot be president because he was born in Kenya illustrates their complete lack of intelligence.  The birth certificate and two newspapers in which his birth announcement was published when he was born in Hawaii were made public before last year’s election.  This is the same stupidity which results in people denying the Holocaust, global warming and evolution.  Meanwhile we wonder why our students are falling behind in science?  Facts are stubborn things, they do not disappear simply because you wish they would.  Lou Dobbs is one of the most visible idiots fomenting this craziness.  It’s time CNN took him off the air before they lose whatever credibility they retain.