News & Notes June 7, 2012

I was down with one of my bad cluster headaches yesterday, sorry for not being able to write.  I finally gave up and took a Vicodin.

If you watched the film “Gasland” you recall streams out west where methane was bubbling to the surface.  Now you don’t need to go all the way to Wyoming just go to Bradford County to see the phenomenon.  There’s no danger to our water supplies though everyone, just keep walking.

A bill in the legislature would put limits on charter school tuitions.  These privatized, for profit enterprises have little to no accountability.  They aren’t subject to NCLB and are underperforming public schools even though they admit few if no special ed students.  They underpay their teachers and at a rally in the Rotunda Monday I heard one of their leaders complaining about having to fund teacher’s pensions.  Let me cry for you Argentina…

Here’s a bit more evidence our Governor is an idiot.  The state just concluded a three year extension of the contract for state liquor store workers.  It includes a clause guaranteeing their jobs if the system is privatized.  The Governor doesn’t think so.  Hmmm.  Should Tom Corbett be peeing in a cup or should we have insisted on IQ tests before that election day?  Kudos to Wendell Young IV who is looking out for his union rank and file.  It appears he outsmarted the Governor.

Scott Walker survived a recall election in Wisconsin though Democrats did take control of the State Senate in that once progressive state.  Gov. Walker is trying to destroy public sector unions.  It appears the sentiment of the voters was that he needs to do something even more egregious to deserve being removed.  Like a federal indictment?  That seems imminent for Walker.

Donald Trump says he will sue the former Miss Pennsylvania who resigned yesterday.  Calling the national pageant rigged she cast aside her crown.  Too bad it wasn’t attached to Trump’s wig.

We spend vastly more on our military than even China which is several times larger.  The obscene Defense budget can and should be at least halved if things are so out of hand The Pentagon has two Hubble type telescopes just sitting around collecting dust.

Have you read this NY Times piece about President Obama’s secret kill list?  Before rushing out willy nilly to knock on doors for OFA please realize his torture, detention and rendition policies differ little from GW Bush.  The unconstitutional domestic wiretapping also continues.

Meanwhile Dr. Jill Stein has garnered the Green Party presidential nomination.  There are alternatives to the two corporate owned Parties.

The Sandusky jury has been selected and has a distinct Penn State flavor.  That’s expected for Centre County which is why this trial should have been moved.  This report says the former defensive coach wrote love letters to alleged victim #4.  This is pathetic.  Testimony begins Monday.

These laws allowing medical professionals to deny treatment due to personal religious beliefs should mean they should not be allowed to practice.  In New Jersey a man was denied medicine by a doctor because he had AIDS.  What happened to the creed “first do no harm?”  If doctors and nurses refuse to treat people they should find other professions.

John Perzel and Bill DeWeese are cellmates.  A favorite Tweet I saw called them the Speakers of the (Big) House.  Can you imagine the conversations they’ll have?  DeWeese refused to book with Mike Manzo who turned state’s evidence.  You’d think after being House Speaker he’d be accustomed to living among rats.  He’d likely have bored Manzo to death vocally anyhow.

Any moron who still thinks Faux News is “fair and balanced” is unbalanced themself after they were caught producing and airing their own campaign ad against Obama.  That’s what political operatives do, not “news” organizations.

News & Notes March 23, 2012

It’s so nice out my fingers want to type in “April”…

The blog morphed over to a cloud server yesterday.  I apologize if anyone had issues getting access during the transition.  Let me know of any problems.  I also added links to various social media/web sharing sites.  Please use them liberally.

Rep. Tony Payton Jr. withdrew from the April ballot due to petition problems.  He’ll likely run as a write-in.  Tony’s a good guy who we need in Harrisburg.

John Perzel, who wasn’t, was sentenced to from 30 months to five years for using taxpayer money to buy a $10 million campaign database system for the HRCC.  It seems they’re still using the software.

Jane Orie’s case went t trial after she spent two+ days on the stand denying she ever gave orders for her staff to do campaign work on state time.  I suppose we think they simply decided to do it themselves?  How stupid does she think the jurors are?  It didn’t help when the DA ran a rebuttal witness onto the stand who testified he saw it being done massively and openly one day when he visited her office.

Prospective voters are already lining up to obtain state ID’s.  We’re spending $10 million to pay for these when abused kids and disabled Pennsylvanians aren’t getting services, when Gov. gasbag is shutting down the parks fund and our roads are crumbling.  All this to solve a problem which doesn’t exist.  Meanwhile people are having to pay bus fare, stand in long lines, if they’re able (many are not) or pay to get copies of their birth certificates.  Having to pay to vote is illegal.

Blue America has a facebook page up about Tim Holden and fracking.  Go “like” it.

Though the EPA issued a press release claiming water in Dimock is safe some who went and examined their documents found otherwise:

In response, Water Defense and “Gasland” director Fox went to Dimock to personally collect the EPA test summaries from six of the eleven families and had the samples reviewed by independent experts. They found that the summaries actually did report explosive levels of methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals. According to Water Defense, all six of the results contained at least one serious health concern, either from chemicals present or methane levels. In four of the six summaries, methane levels exceeded the 7 mg/l actionable threshold necessary for mitigation under Pennsylvania law, the standard they say was previously cited by former state DEP Commissioner John Hanger. One of the test results showed methane levels at seven times that limit. The results also showed dozens of other contaminants, according to the organization, including heavy metals and chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, although safe levels have not been established for a majority of these chemicals. Water Defense has called for the complete test results to be released by the EPA for further analysis, citing inconsistencies in the available data.

Fox News says it has never called President Obama a Muslim.  This is called revisionistic history.

Manan Trivedi has a bio video up:

Speaker Smith Adopts Sgt. Schultz Defense

Remember the old TV show Hogan’s Heroes?  Sgt. Schultz always pretended ignorance of everything happening by saying “I know nothing.”  State House Speaker sam Smith adopted that stance yesterday in his testimony at the ComputerGate trial.  Though he signed contracts for software allowing the Republican House Campaign Committee to use $10 million in public funds for campaign data mining (and he also signed the checks) he claims he knew nothing.  

Smith says he relied on their lawyers to review the contracts and was told they were legal.  Of course if they were the ten former Representatives (including former Speaker John Perzel) wouldn’t be on trial, in jail or awaiting sentencing int he scandal.  It sounds to me like Smith had some very bad lawyers.  Perhaps John Ryan was moonlighting for the Republican Caucus at the time since it sounds like the bad legal advice he’s been known to dispense.  

Of course the Sgt. Schultz defense is no defense.  One must wonder why Smith isn’t also in the dock.

Data mining is used by political parties to identify their voters.  For example the GOP likes to find men who own guns, hunt and fish, watch Fox News, etc.  Every time you use a store card to buy anything that information is fed into databases.  Combined with the newspapers, books, magazines and other periodicals you read a profile is created about you.  Marketing firms use these to target you for direct mail solicitations, marketing calls, internet ads, etc.  This is why I refuse to use store cards.  Everything about you can be tracked from where you shop, to when you shop, what you buy and what you read and hear.  It is a massive invasion of privacy in return for saving a few cents on your purchases.

News & Notes September 1, 2011

It has been a bad week for Jane Orie.  First she’s accused of lying under oath at her first trial and she’s accused of forging documents submitted in it, then Superior Court decides retrying her isn’t double jeopardy.  I suppose a defendant shouldn’t be granted double jeopardy when they cause a mistrial by presenting forged documents at trial.

Former House Speaker John Perzel faces over 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a scheme which used $20 million in state funds to create a political database for his fellow State House members to win elections.

The fires in Texas and Oklahoma are burning more and more homes after a brutal summer which saw temperatures skyrocketing.  Do you believe in global warming yet?  You can’t pray it away folks, we have to do something!  Hurricane Irene was intensified by climate change as Atlantic Ocean temperatures keep rising.  

Stupid Eric Cantor opposes doing anything about climate change then starts bitching about how much it’s costing to clean up after all of the disasters it is causing.  The bills will only get higher if we continue doing nothing.  Cutting funds for first responders to pay for disaster aid is simply insane.   Cantor will spend $12 billion for firemen in Afghanistan but only $2 billion here.  How screwed up is that?

In Harrisburg City Council voted down Mayor Linda Thompson’s Act 47 plan and the state may take over our capital.

Remember how a Glock handgun was used by Jared Loughner to kill six people and wound Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords?  The Republican Party there is celebrating it by raffling off a Glock 23 to raise funds for GOTV.  Sick, just downright sick.

The gun culture here, and especially in the Southwest, is causing death and destruction beyond our border.  Mexican President Calderon condemned Americans’ appetite for both drugs and guns lamenting the effect they are having on his country.  This week a gun store here in New Mexico was raided for providing arms to Mexican drug cartels.  The infamous ATF program Fast and Furious was an insane attempt to track guns going across the border by putting small gps locaters in them.  Someone forgot to figure out how to maintain long enough battery life however so the ATF wound up supplying guns used to continue the carnage in Mexico.  Jason Altmire thinks the head of the ATF got a raw deal.

Once upon a time music moved a generation (mine).  Where is the soundtrack for peace and social justice today?

Perzel to Plead Guilty?

Philly.com is reporting that former House Speaker John Perzel will plead guilty to corruption regarding the ongoing BonusGate prosecutions.  The plea, expected Wednesday, follows several of his former key aides pleading and agreeing to testify against the Philadelphian who finally lost his seat to Democrat Kevin Boyle last year.  Perzel, along with Bill DeWeese, shared the Speaker’s Chair during an era of intense political corruption in Harrisburg.  Attorney General Tom Corbett rode the cases all the way to the Governor’s Mansion.

Perzel Tied to Corruption

Tom Corbett began his reclamation project this week with a preliminary hearing for former GOP House Speaker John Perzel and other Republican BonusGate defendants.  He has to show he didn’t only prosecute Democrats or he gets slaughtered with attack ads in the fall.  Not that that won’t happen anyway but now he can say he finally brought charges in a bipartisan manner.  It isn’t true but he’ll claim it.  The preliminary hearing which began this week and continues in late May (due to scheduling conflicts) concerns a large state contract for database services.  The database was actually used for political purposes and not legislative.  Witnesses immediately tied Perzel directly to knowledge of the scam on taxpayers and testimony also revealed nepotism within his offices and extensive use of legislative staff to run campaigns.  It was also revealed that a former State Rep was given a no show state job after losing her seat.  All in all it is reminiscent of the last BonusGate trial where incumbents used state staff, offices and resources to run campaigns.  No wonder few challengers defeat these incumbents, the playing field is so tilted against them one has to wonder why anyone even tries.  As I peruse the list of them going unchallenged this year I am reminded…they don’t.

Perzel Indicted on 82 Counts

Attorney General Tom Corbett finally went after Republicans in his BonusGate investigation and he did so in a big way indicting former GOP Speaker John Perzel on 82 counts.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reports nine others were caught in the web of deceit using taxpayer funds to organize and run political campaigns from the State Capitol building.  The others were:

Brian Preski, Perzel’s former chief of staff

Paul Towhey, Perzel’s current chief of staff.

Samuel “Buzz” Stokes, former campaign manager and Perzel’s brother in law.

John Zimmerman, a Perzel legislative aide.

Don McClintock, a Perzel campaign aide.

Jill Seaman and Elmer “Al” Bowman, former aides to Rep. Feese.

Eric Ruth, former House Republican information technology deputy director and nephew of Perzel’s wife.

Perzel is up for re-election in 2010.