News & Notes August 18, 2011

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale was arrested yesterday at a sit-in against Hershey Foods.  As Keystone Progress reported yesterday the food manufacturer misled foreign students who paid $3-6,000 apiece to come and work at Hershey Park for the summer.  Instead they were to put to labor filling boxes of chocolates at the candy factory.

Michele Bachmann is promising a return to under $2/gallon gasoline if elected president.   She intends to do this by expanding drilling (more Deepwater Horizons) and reducing regulations on oil companies (more poisoned air, ground and water).  The actual cause of the spike in gas prices is the deregulation of commodities markets under George W. Bush.  Speculators were allowed unrestricted access and huge pension funds and other investors flooded into these markets driving up prices.  How Bachmann, who advocates deregulation and free markets, intends to lower prices caused by those exact conditions illustrates she either doesn’t understand the problem or is pandering to voters.

Manan Trivedi announced last month he is running for Jim Gerlach’s Congressional seat again.  I hope he finds an issue to run on this time.  In 2010, with all of the horrid votes cast by Gerlach over the years, all Trivedi could find for a message was the Congressional pay raise.  With all the issues and problems facing this country voters didn’t care about how much Gerlach made.

The Murdochs have been caught lying again about the News Corporation phone hacking scandal.  Surprise, surprise.  Now what will Parliament do about it?

President Obama will call for Syrian President Assad to step down following violent clashes with protesters.  I hope the American and British leaders remember this when austerity riots break out in both countries.

Organized Labor Canvasses Philadelphia

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale spoke at a big labor rally this morning to get the hundreds of union members revved up to go out canvassing other union members all day.  He is followed in this video clip by the national President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten who fired them up.

Rick Smith Show Will Stream AFL-CIO Convention

The Rick Smith Show will web stream next week’s Pennsylvania AFL-CIO convention live from Monday through Thursday.  I have prior commitments scheduled before I knew the dates of this event so I won’t be able to cover it.  The Rick Smith Show airs on WHYL radio in Harrisburg every weekend.  Longtime distinguished AFL-CIO President Bill George is retiring and his successor will be determined at this convention.  Tune in to follow events.