News & Notes April 25, 2011

Nice weather is upon us at last!  I got a lot done around the house today and got the launch permit for one of my kayaks.  They are two year Fish & Boat Commission stickers so I alternate my two kayaks each year.  It seems that fewer and fewer places are handling them.  I have a few things to still do to get my trailer in shape then it’ll be back out on the water after a long, hard winter.

The firm which was preparing to defend DOMA for House Republicans announced today it will not do so.  Paul Clement, the attorney who took the case then resigned from the firm and will do the defense on his own.  The law firm was getting tons of bad press for defending discrimination and didn’t seem comfortable with the publicity.

Tea baggers seem especially upset over gas prices.  Entering the Gamesa plant  afew weeks ago to cover the President’s visit several of them were holding signs blaming Obama for the high prices.  Aren’t these the Ayn Rand aficionados who are all hell bent on free markets determining everything?  I suppose only until the free market hurts them?  Now they’re demanding governmental intervention.  Can you say hypocrisy?

A new WikiLeaks document dump is revealing what happened at Gitmo.  Interviews, dossiers of prisoners and other information is illustrating how sorry our efforts were under Bush.  One detaineee was a sheep herder, another was kept for years because he happened upon some Arabic documents.  It took us years to determine he didn’t even speak the language.  Future terror attacks resulting from Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and other atrocities will be blamed on other factors rather than our own pathetic policies.  The question will pour from lips everywhere?  “Why did they attack us?”

Chesapeake Energy finally got their exploding gas well under control in Bradford County.  One result is that gas companies have finally agreed to stop dumping toxic fracking fluid into our waterways and through sewage treatment plants unequipped to handle the substance.  All of our efforts are beginning to gain some success.  It is imperative everyone continue applying pressure.

Tom Corbett said he wants to make Pennsylvania the “Texas of natural gas” but even in Texas they tax gas extraction.  Texas even has its citizen’s opposition to fracking now.  Can we say “frack you Tom Corbett?”

The gas industry claims natural gas is a “clean” fuel but facts say otherwise.  Five millions of water are required to frack each well each time (each well can be fracked about a dozen times) and loads of methane gas are emitted.  Methane is especially bad for climate change.  Also factoring in the gasoline and diesel from all the rigs hauling water, sand and chemicals to each well and gas may be dirtier even than coal.

Natural gas is mostly methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas, especially in the short term, with 105 times more warming impact, pound for pound, than carbon dioxide (CO2), Howarth said, adding that even small leaks make a big difference. He estimated that as much as 8 percent of the methane in shale gas leaks into the air during the lifetime of a hydraulic shale gas well-up to twice what escapes from conventional gas production.

Sen. Jane Orie’s retrial has been scheduled for October.  Her lawyers are appealing to Superior Court with her argument that she cannot be tried again under double jeopardy.  That’s a bit ridiculous since it is apparent her team doctored evidence presented at trial.  You shouldn’t be able to cheat your way to an acquittal.

The next time someone tries selling you on Amway use this information on them.  Rich and Betsy DeVos are co-owners of the private company infamous for its pyramid schemes.  They sink millions into GOP campaigns, think tanks and religious right organizations.  Now they’re funding the efforts to privatize public schools.  SB1 is in a holding pattern in Harrisburg but it may still get a vote so boycott Amway.

The water problems plaguing Harrisburg last week have been blamed on beavers.  Now the Harrisburg Beavers are being blamed for every ill besetting that poor ‘burgh.  Someone has even begun a Twitter account in their name.  The fake Linda Thompson (the horribly incapable Mayor) account is blaming all of her incompetence on the furry creatures.

Rick Santorum says he will repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if elected president.  This is the same guy who also wants to tell you what sex acts you can and cannot do in the privacy of your home.  Isn’t that the ultimate “big government?”

I went into my local AT&T store this afternoon to complain about my iPhone tracking me and the people didn’t know what I was referring to and had nothing to tell me about how to disable the feature.  AT&T, are you listening?  I can’t hear you now.

Racist Governor Haley Barbour announced he will not run for president.  The GOP fields of clowns remains the same.

Apparently there’s a wedding this Friday for a couple known as Will and Kate.  Seems to be a big deal since the supposed cable “news” people are all agog over the event.  I wonder if the future princess will wear a white gown?  I mean, they’ve been shacked up for a year so I’m assuming she’s no longer a virgin?

I  heard a GOP radio commercial today claiming the Republicans didn’t vote to end Medicare.  Did they read their bill?

December 16, 2010

As we near the end of the year Republicans are now using the Christmas holiday as their latest excuse not to approve the START Treaty.  Ronald Reagan began the series of SALT and START Treaties to reduce the world’s inventory of nuclear weapons.  This was one of the few positive things to come from his failed presidency and he stressed the need for verification.  For the past year we’ve had no inspectors on the ground in Russia because the treaty expired.

Why are Senate Republicans bent on destroying our national defense?  First they defeat the Defense Appropriations bill during a time of war leaving the Pentagon without a budget and then they refuse to vote on START.  Are Republicans weak on Defense?  I think everyone can have a happier holiday knowing our national defense is taken care of and that actions have been taken to avoid nuclear holocaust.  Why don’t they?

Senator-elect Toomey today said he supports the repeal of DADT.   After Republicans filibustered the Defense bill over granting LGBT people the equal right to die for their country the House passed a stand alone bill yesterday.  During the campaign season these hypocrites all said they’d put off deciding how to vote pending the release of the Pentagon’s study.  After 70% of the military said they were OK with gays serving openly they still won’t vote to repeal this heinous policy.

Speaking of wiggle room Andy Martino of the New York Daily News Tweeted that he’d cover the Mets spring training in a Speedo if the Phillies signed Cliff Lee.  On CNN this morning he said he’d left himself some wiggle room because he hadn’t specified a Speedo swimsuit.  CNN gave him a nice blue pair with its logo emblazoned on the bikini.  I think he’ll look great in it but I remind him, Speedos leave no space for wiggle room.

If I disappear for a while come February you might find me at the Mets spring training facility with a camera.

President Obama is intervening in the Asian carp problem in the midwest.  This isn’t yet a Pennsylvania problem but if the invasive species succeeds in getting into Lake Michigan its only a matter of time before it arrives in Lake Erie.

The past couple of weeks we’ve had unseasonably frigid weather.  It feels more like late January and ponds are already freezing.  I was in Harrisburg yesterday and shocked to see the Susquehanna River freezing over too.  It could be a long winter as we continue witnessing the effects of climate change with more and more severe weather.

Meanwhile memos keep leaking from Fox News proving the management of the GOP propaganda channel is exactly that.  The memos ordered the on air personalities to question global warming and other issues at every opportunity.  Anyone who believes in “fair and balanced” is unbalanced themselves.

I felt like a Luddite yesterday at our Planned Parenthood Board meeting when I showed up with my laptop loaded with all our Board materials.  Two of our CEO’s had iPads…  Wow, much smaller, lighter and cooler.

Julian Assange was finally released on bail from a British jail today.  The Wikileaks founder was actually held without bail for questioning in a bogus sexual assault case in Sweden.  A man is detained without bail because someone wants to question him about a broken condom?  The cyber war being conducted against Wikileaks should send a chill down the spine of anyone who cherishes freedom of speech.  If they can do this against Assange anyone with a website could be next.

The Omnibus spending bill in Congress is laden with $8 billion in earmarks.  The biggest purveyors of pork are Republicans.  Didn’t they just come back after the election and promise to end earmarks?  That didn’t last very long…

On a personal note I received my new personal blood pressure testing kit yesterday and have my first appointment with Dr. Jim tomorrow to begin medication and monitoring.  Maybe I’ll survive for my birthday Monday!

News & Notes July 29, 2010

I’ve had a very busy week and a very bad headache (as a result of the busy week) for two days.  There’s much to catch up on and comment about along with some news about several state campaigns.

First up was Sunday’s release on WikiLeaks of 92,000 Pentagon reports concerning Afghanistan.  Though I didn’t see anything I hadn’t known or knew before they did provide details and examples.  I’ve been questioning these issues for several years and have been asking first, what was the mission and, secondly, is it attainable?  I think these leaks illustrate the war and our missions are not attainable.  Why are we there?

A judge declared much of the Arizona immigration law unconstitutional yesterday.  Isn’t it funny how conservatives rally around the constitution when its about the Second Amendment then ignore the rest of the document when it doesn’t suit them?  All this anguish about immigration is hypocritical because Barack Obama is doing more about the issue than George W. Bush.  Deportations are up significantly, border control has been enhanced and a bill for comprehensive immigration reform is on the table.  Crime in Arizona is actually down though undocumented people tend to obey the law more than citizens and pay taxes into Social Security and Medicare without receiving any benefits.  The outcry is much ado about nothing.

Bankers received $1.6 billion in bonuses which were supposed to be illegal under federal law due to bailout funds going to their institutions.  That’s a lot of cash going to the very people who helped crash the economy.  Any bank getting taxpayer money had to limit the bonuses they paid and this rule was flouted and ignored to the tune of $1,600,000,000.  Where’s the Tea Party outrage over that?

Pennsylvania is one of 19 states in the finals for the Race to the Top education program.  Obama’s openness to school vouchers is disturbing and undercuts our traditional program of public education.  I am against any use of tax payer funds for private or religious schools.  Let them raise their own money.  Our schools are having a difficult time as it is, diverting their funds is not the answer.  Of course this is yet one more example of Barack Obama being a conservative.  There are actually quite a few, the federal bailouts to health insurers via the new law being the best.