Arizona’s Religious Bigotry Bill

The Arizona legislature has passed a bill and sent it to Gov. Jan Brewer legalizing religious bigotry.  Kansas has already enacted such legislation and Rep. Gordon Denlinger of Lancaster County has introduced a similar bill in Harrisburg.  Religious zealots are angry that they can no longer openly discriminate against people they don’t like without legal ramifications so they’re touting their right to religious freedom so they can legally discriminate against folks like me.  Unfortunately what they don’t understand is that their rights when when they begin to infringe upon mine.

This is a slippery slope and the new law would apply to many others, including those who passed the bill.  There’s nothing in it which is specific so when a majority of Arizonans are comprised of Native Americans, Hispanics and LGBT people these very angry white men could see themselves becoming the victims of their own law.  That would be karmic.

Who is to say, for example, that my or another’s atheistic beliefs motivate us to bomb or burn churches and other religious institutions?  That would be perfectly legal under this law.  Under this law people wanting to use peyote could do so without fear of arrest.  Of course the real reason for this legislation is so business owners won’t have to cater to gay and lesbian couples wanting to get married and buy wedding cakes, photographs, receptions and what not for their nuptials.  Why would they think I’d support a homophobic businessman anyway?

However once you enter into a public domain with your enterprise you are required to accept any legitimate customer who happens by.  As of today though many states still allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers.  This includes Pennsylvania.  I could be refused service in any restaurant in the Commonwealth.  Of course I don’t eat where I’m not welcome anyway (Chick Fil-A).

The Arizona law will be bad for business and bad for the state.  We’re planning a summer trip to the Grand Canyon while staying in Santa Fe this August.  I won’t go if this law is signed by Gov. Brewer.  Businesses openly discriminating will discover it is bad for business.  Hopefully Arizona’s economy will stutter and regress if the Governor signs this bill.  Three state Senators who voted for the legislation are now opposing it after discovering it will harm the state’s businesses.  Where was their due diligence before they voted?  I think their personal bigotry got in the way of their brains operating.  This seems to be the Arizona way.

News & Notes February 7, 2012

Komen VP Karen Handel resigned today after destroying the breast cancer charity.  Recruited by former Bush Administration spokesman Ari Fleischer, she admits she was responsible for the policy excluding Planned Parenthood from cancer screening funds.  CEO Brinker, a Bush Administration funder and former Ambassador, claimed on television last week that that wasn’t the case.  The Susan G. Komen Foundation has no credibility at this point and no one is believing their fairy tale that they’re reversed their policy condemning poor people to death from breast cancer.

Rick Santorum is still pushing the myth that abortions cause breast cancer in spite of their being no scientific basis for the belief.  Haven’t we had enough stupid, anti-science Presidents?

Here’s one woman’s reminder of what breast cancer is, and is not:

Speaking of stupid Republicans Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana takes the cake this week.  He posted an article from The Onion on facebook that said Planned Parenthood was building an “abortionplex.”  The piece from last May satirically joked about a facility being built in Kansas.  Everyone, except Rep. Fleming, of course, knows The Onion is a fake news site which writes satire.  None of their stuff is true.

CNN contributors keep getting into trouble for saying bigoted things.  Perhaps the “news” network is trying to hard to be Faux News?  Sunday Roland Martin Tweeted this:  “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”

The David Beckham underwear ad didn’t even show the front of the man’s briefs for crying out loud, why would anyone turn that commercial into an opportunity for gay bashing, bullying and violence?  Frankly I don’t see why anyone worships that man’s body.  Of course I hate tattoos and think they debase the human body so Beckham does nothing for me.  He obviously did for Martin however, the man should be banished from the airwaves for his hate speech.

Bill DeWeese is insisting he will remain a State Representative even after his conviction yesterday on five felony counts.  This is a common condition known as delusion.  Instead of resigning now and saving taxpayers the cost of a special election he will stubbornly stay in Harrisburg until his formal sentencing on April 24th.

AFSCME sent me this neat video of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.  You’ll recall her standing on a tarmac shaking her finger in President Obama’s face recently.

Hands Off My Healthcare!

Two years ago then Sen. Arlen Specter held a health care town hall in Lebanon, PA.  You’ll recall it because it was heavily televised after an angry tea bagger confronted him in a very threatening manner.  Americans For Prosperity was financing a lot of organized action against “ObamaCare” and Sarah Palin’s make believe “death panels” in an attempt to derail health insurance reform.  I was there that day after covering a small protest here in Reading.  The group Conservatives For Patient’s Rights officially sponsored the tour with this bus:

Now these same people are trying to get their hands on MY health care.  They have convinced Republicans in Congress to destroy Medicare, my health provider.  It’s bad enough they want 59 million uninsured Americans to die because they cannot get into line for medical care but now they want to throw millions of elderly and disabled Americans into that group.  

They have instituted real death panels in states like Arizona which is now rationing health care and deciding who on the transplant list will live or die.  They have taken the extreme, fictitious labels they gave to President Obama’s plan and made them real.

Now they’re coming after both my Social Security disability and my Medicare.  If you’re poor, chronically out of work or in long term care they also want to end your Medicaid.  That program pays for long term nursing care and assisted living for millions of senior citizens.  Once one’s assets are wiped because of our broken health care system Medicaid pays for their care.  62% of all Medicaid is paid out for these services.  Where will our parents go when this is no longer available?  On that bus?  No, under it.  Conservatives will use their billions from the Koch brothers and their Orwellian sounding names to run all of us under their bus.

That senior citizen who confronted Sen. Specter won’t be able to get any medical care after RyanCare becomes what we used to call Medicare.  I remember this conversation I had with a couple outside that community college in Lebanon:

Notice how he had no idea what HR 676 said, how single payer systems would work here and how he then refused to renounce his right to Medicare after condemning government run health care. Then last year I went to a Tea Party tax day protest in Reading with these signs and a portable BBQ grill:

I asked the tea baggers to have the courage of their convictions and burn their Medicare cards. I didn’t need to use a single match that day.

Paul Ryan’s plan would overturn the Affordable Care Act with its protections against patient abuse, something we actually do call “patient’s rights” and replace the well run program with a voucher system where seniors and disabled people would have to purchase health coverage from private insurers. Just like as in “ObamaCare.” I thought that was a horrible, evil program? It is which is why I was against the system devised by Congress with no public option.

We would be forced out of Medicare as we know it and given vouchers worth about half what coverage would cost, if we could even, actually receive such insurance. How do you get health insurance when you’re disabled or a senior citizen with existing medical conditions. Not many people age 65 or over have no pre-existing conditions. Even if healthy we’d be subject to the abuses reigned upon us by the private insurers when something does happen. “Oh, I’m sorry but you had acne as a teen so you aren’t covered for this cancer.”

Now, that’s a death panel. Tea baggers want to destroy what works, what costs us 3% overhead to manage and replace it with a system with 25% overhead and no protections. They want to rid us completely of Medicaid as Idaho’s Governor decided this week to do. They want Governor’s such as Jan Brewer in Arizona eliminating all transplant coverage. If you need a new heart, lungs or kidney you’d better start having bake sales today so you can pay for it later.

The American system of medical care has been broken for years and every passing year makes things worse. At least the disabled and elderly have had a safety net. The poor had some access and those trapped in long term care receive skilled nursing care. That is all at risk thanks to Congressman Ryan and his cohorts in the GOP. Now it’s time to turn the town halls against them. Keep it civil folks but go and have your voice heard this time.

News & Notes April 19, 2011

I had a funeral to attend this morning so I’m a bit tardy getting to the blog.  I’m glad I’ve been working getting my boats in shape for the season since it appears I might need them for routine navigation.  Perhaps I really need to be building an ark.

There’s an old saying that everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything.  As more and more extreme and violent storms rage across the world and more people are killed isn’t it time we awakened and realized there IS something we can do to reverse global climate change?

Harrisburg shut down for two days over water main breaks.  The Capitol complex was left without water and staffers were sent home to work both yesterday and today.  This may be the best strategy possible to derail the extreme fringe agenda being enacted by Republicans.  Maybe someone simply thought the water mains were attacking them and used the Castle doctrine to destroy them?

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed two controversial bills yesterday, the Birther Bill and one allowing students to carry guns on campus.  I suppose the potential legal liability for taxpayers is finally getting the attention of some of these folks.  Arizona is already in court defending its law requiring everyone to carry “papers.”  

James O’Keefe, the Breitbart “reporter who selectively edits videos to slander and destroy people and organizations, is again, refusing to do interviews on video.  He denied a Media Matters interview at a Tea Party event he attended.  What are you afraid of James, the same fraudulent treatment you give others?

Standard and Poors downgraded American debt yesterday after being responsible for destroying the global economy by fraudulently grading junk mortgage securities as AAA.   One pundit noted this is like the tailor telling the public the emperor has no clothes after selling the imaginary suit to him.

Secret memos are telling the tale about how oil firms such as BP discussed exploiting Iraq’s oil wealth before the invasion.  U.S. and Great Britain denied vehemently they were invading Iraq for its oil and now these documents refute that assertion.  Smart people weren’t fooled however and these revelations simply provide evidence whereof.

Republicans spent the past thirty years wildly spending the country into huge debt.   In 1981 when Ronald Reagan was sworn into office American debt totaled about $2 trillion.  This was after 200+ years.  By 2009 when Barack Obama was inaugurated with a Bush budget projected at $1.3 trillion for a single year the total debt was at $12 trillion.  Most of that was the result of GW Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, two unfunded wars and the global recession caused by deregulation of financial markets.  All the causes of the massive deficit were the fault of Republicans and now these same principles are saying they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling to cover their irresponsible policies.  How do you extort a further tax cut for the rich then refuse to vote to pay for it? The Washington Post has a story today about the consequences of a federal default.

AlterNet has published a gas industry talking points memo for its employees seeking to get homeowners to sign leases.  The document tells them, basically, to hoodwink property owners by not revealing important information.  An example:  “Denial is a river in drilling country: “Some might ask how many wells will be in a square mile. Don’t answer that question. Most landowners will not realize that 10-20 wells can be placed in a square mile.”

The Wall Street Journal highlights high income earners who aren’t paying any taxes.  Since you just finished ponying up your fair share here’s a bit of outrage for you as if you needed one more example.

DEP issued guidelines today asking gas drillers to stop dumping fracking fluid into sewage treatment plants.  These municipal systems aren’t designed or equipped to process toxic chemicals and radiation from water being released into rivers and streams.  The DEP action is not an order and companies aren’t legally required to abide by its recommendations.  Basically, it has no teeth.  Gov. Corbett pledged just yesterday to protect Pennsylvania’s water then today his DEP did this?  Don’t drink the water in Pennsylvania.

Speaker John Boner has hired a private individual at a cost of 500,000 tax dollars to defend DOMA.  What a wonderful use of your tax dollars since the lawyers in a similar case couldn’t muster a defense of Proposition 8 in California.

News & Notes January 7, 2011

I’m still concentrating on getting the year correct on these things, how embarrassing to write ‘2010’ rather than ‘2011!’

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been announced as the featured speaker for the second annual Pennsylvania Progressive Summit.  The event will be held in Pittsburgh January 22 & 23 at the Sheraton Square Hotel.  You can find more information at their website:  http://paprogressivesummit.org/.  There are over 100 workshops scheduled including one on blogging (I’ll be on that panel again).

Arizona has adopted actual death panels for Medicaid recipients and, so far, two transplant victims have died because Gov. Jan Brewer decided their lives are not valuable enough to save.  A number of transplant procedures are no disallowed in Arizona.  Maybe if they only had their papers???

Our own Rep. Daryl Metcalf made a splash on the national scene this week headlining a protest in Washington against “anchor babies.”  he mistakenly claimed that hundreds of thousands of foreign women come to the U.S. to have babies so they can become citizens.  The real number is about a hundred.  Of course Daryl is never one to let facts get in the way of his bigotry.

President Obama named fellow Chicagoan Bill Daley as his new Chief of Staff.  He replaces Rahm Emmanuel who left to run for Chicago Mayor trying to succeed Daley’s brother.  It all sounds so incestuous doesn’t it?  Obama had a unique opportunity to repair torn relations with progressives with this selection and he totally dropped the ball (again).  Rather this nomination simply adds fuel to the right wing argument he is just a product of a corrupt Chicago political machine.  

I finally got my new desktop computer today.  Its been a long three months without it.  You’ll recall the house got hit by lightning September 22nd and my venerable Dimension 4700 got fried through the ethernet cable.  It took Erie Insurance this long to settle the claim.  Th enew machine isn’t quite what I wanted but I couldn’t convince the local computer store to build the machine I had spec’d out.  I wound up buying a new Dell i7870 machine.  I now have it partially set up.  It still need speakers and the second monitor set up.  Building my bookmarks and setting passwords will take some time along with replacing all the software.  Its so nice not to have to use that darned touchpad again.  I normally only use my laptop at meetings, events or when traveling so its now relegated back to that status.  

Does anyone know a good solution to organizing documents in Windows 7?  I really miss being able to make folders and subfolders so I can find everything easily.  This new version, as I found with the new laptop, doesn’t do that at all.