News & Notes May 9, 2012

The state Senate is looking to restore many of the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Gasbag.  Would he sign such a budget?  Cuts for those most vulnerable and those hitting the future of our youth are especially troublesome.

Corbett is objecting to a forced usage of a national ID card at the same time he is trying to force Pennsylvanians to carry state identification papers in order to vote.  Hypocrisy anyone?

HHS awards in Pennsylvania will enhance patient care in our hospitals:

·         An award of nearly $5 million to Finity Communications, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, to improve health care for high need populations in the greater Philadelphia area. The project is using health information technology to engage patients in their own care, emphasizing prevention and wellness.

·         An award of nearly $2 million for a program by the George Washington University for dialysis patients.  The program is using telemedicine to offer real-time health monitoring to improve patient safety and treatment, and will expand to patients in the Philadelphia and Southern Maryland areas.

·         An award of nearly $5 million to Joslin Diabetes Center, Inc., of Boston, to help people with Medicare and Medicaid understand their risks for diabetes, and improve health habits for the prevention and management of the disease.  The program will target at risk and underserved populations in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

The Department of Commerce reports that Pennsylvania exports totaled $41 billion in 2011.  This is a 17% increase from 2010 and is a result of the Administrations efforts to double exports in four years.

I frequently decry the use of our precious fresh water supplies for fracking.  Now a proposal is out there to use contaminated water from mine runoffs for this use.  

Georgina Zogby, wife of the Commonwealth’s Budget Director, was sentenced for retail theft.  Five years probation is the result of her sticky finger visits to TJ Maxx and Wegmans.

The Pirates released an “It Gets Better” video.  We’re still waiting for a Phillies version.

Sen. Richard Lugar went down to a Tea Party primary challenger yesterday.  The 80 year old Indianan didn’t realize it was time to go.  Voters informed him otherwise.  Meanwhile in Missouri a Tea Party Express rally saw one its members call for the killing of Sen. Claire McCaskill.  The tea baggers continue being outside the pale.

At a Sandusky pre-trial hearing today several entities attempted to quash subpoenas from the coach’s lawyer.  Obviously the credibility of the alleged victims is paramount to his getting a fair trial and should be fair game.  It appears the Attorney General’s office botched this investigation.  We now learn the time of the infamous shower rape was off by a year, not an insignificant error.  People lost their jobs over this, facts need to be ascertained before arrests are made.  Mike McQueary says he will sue Penn State under the whistle blower law.  The trial is slated for June 5th.

Sen. Jane Orie was suspended from practicing law by the PA Supreme Court.  Justice Joan Orie Melvin, under a black cloud of corruption from her sister’s trial conviction, abstained.

Pat Toomey joined fellow Republicans yesterday in blocking a move to keep student loan interest rates where they are presently.

A mortgage company denied a buyer because of a Marcellus shale rig next door.  This is evidence of that property values are suffering from the activity.  Gas brought in $3.5 billion last year but Pennsylvanians got nothing in return for our resources being exploited.

Lugar: Killing Afghans More Important Than Saving Americans

Sen.  Richard Lugar of Indiana says we should stop reforming health care so we can concentrate on killing Afghans.  This is how monstrous the right wing mindset has become:  killing is a higher priority than healing.  We can borrow to wage war but we cannot borrow to provide access to medical care to our own citizens.

When Ronald Reagan was elected our national debt was about $900 billion.  After almost thirty years of mostly Republican rule it stands at around $12 trillion.  The sudden conversion by the GOP for fiscal restraint is admirable but their priorities are all screwed up.  You use debt for economic recovery not for wars of choice.  We should tax the people supporting the war and we should draft their kids to fight it.  That’ll end this charade quickly.