News & Notes June 25, 2014

Pennsylvania isn’t doing our part in preserving the Chesapeake Bay.  This vast estuary is a favorite for many in south central PA.  So much so the locals in northern Maryland refer to them as the “Pennsylvania Navy” coming down every weekend.  Now Sen. Toomey along with four Members of the PA Congressional delegation (including Rep. Scott Perry from the south central region) have signed on to a protest of new restrictions on pollution.  How shameful.

Tom Corbett is so disliked he can’t even congratulate Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins without getting booed.

In the “not exactly a news flash” segment natural gas money is pouring into Gov. Gasbag’s re-election campaign.  Of course that’s why I nicknamed him that four years ago.

Fortunately there is one man willing to balance those scales a bit.

In other fracking news retired state Health Department workers claim the Corbett Administration silenced them about the health dangers of fracking.

“There was a list of buzzwords we had gotten,” Stuck said. “There were some obvious ones like fracking, gas, soil contamination. There were probably 15 to 20 words and short phrases that were on this list. If anybody from the public called in and that was part of the conversation, we were not allowed to talk to them.”

In yet more bad news for Corbett the Kane investigation into his management (as AG) of the Sandusky investigation revealed total incompetence.  Because the Attorney General’s office essentially sat on the investigation for a couple of years more boys were molested.  A search warrant after the first complaint was filed and police began investigating the former coach would have revealed the extent of his behavior.  Though it was concluded that no evidence of political calculations were involved in the delays it was political because the delays were caused by his overtly political prosecutions of BonusGate.

I’m not saying those who used state resources for political efforts shouldn’t have been prosecuted, they should have, but the manner in which Tom Corbett did it was very political.

President Obama finally took steps against Uganda for human rights violations against LGBT persons.  Certain Ugandan leaders are now barred from entering the U.S. and:

The Obama administration will also discontinue or redirect funds for programs with the Ugandan Police Force, the Ugandan Ministry of Health and National Public Health Institute. The White House also cancelled an American-sponsored “aviation exercise” in the East African country. –  

Sen. Toomey was also targeted by members of Keystone Progress recently:

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran beat his Tea Party challenger in a run off election yesterday.

The United Methodist Church reinstated the credentials of Pastor Frank Schaeffer of Lebanon.  The Appeals Court over ruled the trial outcome following Schaeffer’s officiating at his son’t gay marriage ceremony.

In other gay news Allegheny County has adjusted its benefits policy to cover same sex partners and spouses.

Isn’t it interesting that almost all actual voter fraud is perpetrated by Republicans?  22 states have now restricted voting rights, mostly for Democratic voters, based on claims of widespread voter fraud.  Perhaps Wisconsin Gov. Scott walker should explain how his supporters cheated in his recall election.

Sestak Responds to VA “Death Book” Smear

Congressman Joe Sestak, a tireless advocate for Veterans, responded to the latest Fox News smear.  It seems that producers at Fox have nothing better to do than concoct crazy conspiracy theories about the government.  In their latest attack, pulled out of thin air, they claim the VA has a “death book” advising vets to end their lives.  Fox heavily edited the contents of the book to support their latest effort to stir up the crazies.  Sestak’s response:

“As a Veteran, I read with deep concern an editorial entitled ‘The Death Book for Veterans,’ which accuses the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of deliberately sending Veterans a ‘hurry-up-and-die message’ with a pamphlet on living wills and end-of-life care. Anyone may criticize — and, indeed, suggest improvements to the pamphlet — but to seriously allege that an honest effort by the VA that sincerely helps families plan for the most difficult emotional experience of their lives is a ‘death book’ is counter to the public’s and Veterans’ interest.

“This is the same kind of sensationalized rhetoric and misleading accusations behind the misinformation on ‘death panels’ in the health care reform debate, and I am disappointed that Arlen Specter would lend credence to this insincere rhetoric by calling for a Senate hearing without, by his own admission, even reading the pamphlet.

“In the active service and as a Veteran, I’ve seen many attempts to use our nation’s fighting men and women as a political tool, rather than truly helping assist them. What we should really be focused on — especially those who supported the policies of the previous administration — is restoring coverage to the nearly one million ‘Priority 8’ Veterans who make as little as $29,000 a year and have been blocked out of VA care since 2003; clearing the backlog of nearly 600,000 VA disability claims so they can get proper support; and passing the Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act (H.R.3155) into law to meet the needs of those who make great sacrifices at home to provide daily care for our Nation’s heroes.

“We need to give Veterans real respect, attention, and care — not political rhetoric that fuels accusations and misinformation.”