News & Notes December 30, 2011

Only one more day in the year.  It seems like just yesterday I was saying we were in August and the year was flying by.  Maybe it just seems it as I get older and older.

The Carbon County Dems are hosting Tim Potts of Democracy Rising at the Inn at Jim Thorpe January 24th at 7PM.  Jim Thorpe is a lovely little town if you’ve never been there.

Double Happyness Travel of Huntingdon Valley has been shut down by the Dept. of Transportation for numerous safety violations.  The bus company provided cheap fares at the cost of cutting corners on maintenance and fatigued drivers.  There’s a reason these cheap bus lines are cheap:  they cut corners and not the ones at intersections.  This is one more example of government working for you.

Lisa Sasinoski, who worked for Joan Orie Melvin in both capacities in Superior Court and Supreme Court, says she knew she was breaking the law by working on political campaigns at the office:

“It’s my understanding you’re not even allowed to have yard signs,” Ms. Sasinoski said. “I knew it was wrong, and we shouldn’t be doing it.”

But she continued, “I really felt like there was no other choice.”

What a broad indictment of Justice Melvin.

The City of Santa Fe requires that all workers be paid a living wage.  Somehow it doesn’t affect the number of jobs however.  This year the wage goes over $10/hour.  Conservatives are constantly crying that higher wages mean fewer jobs though all economic and labor data show otherwise.  It is yet another of their mythical talking points which is a lie.  Twelve states are enacting minimum wage increases in 2012 but Pennsylvania is NOT one of them.  It’s time to begin recapturing the real wages lost to inflation and bring workers into the 21st century.

Range Resources spends lavishly trying to brainwash us about its good citizenship as it pillages our countryside for natural gas.  One small community upstate is fighting back after the company destroyed one of its roads.  They certainly got Range Resources’ attention.

The federal law granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies which are intercepting your calls, emails, financial transactions and internet activity for the Department of Homeland Security is constitutional according to a federal appeals court.  Congress passed the protections after consumers threatened to sue for violations of civil rights.  The constitution bars any such searches without probable cause and warrants.  President Obama has continued the illegal program begun under George W. Bush.  Doing so is an impeachable offense.

State Senator Mary Jo White is retiring.

Six State Representatives who were elected to other offices will see their replacements be elected in special elections next year.  Some of the districts were moved cross state as part of the redistricting process.  This is proving to be a touchy point since the successors may live nowhere their constituents.

Geisinger Health System will no longer hire workers who smoke.  Applicants will be tested for nicotine.  With health costs out of control this seems sensible.  Smoking costs all of us tons of money but the tobacco companies remain uncontrolled.  If we began getting as outraged over tobacco deaths as we did over terrorism we might get our priorities straight.

Russia slammed the U.S. for our hypocrisy over human rights.  We feign indignation and outrage over other nation’s human rights records while neglecting our own sorry record.  While Gitmo remains open along with secret torture sites overseas, while we continue executing innocent prisoners, pass laws declaring our intention to hold citizens indefinitely without trial and tap telecommunications without warrants our record on human rights is as sorry as the country’s we condemn.  Let he is without sin cast the first stone seems to be Russia’s message.  It’s funny how they’re taking the moral high ground over a supposed “christian nation.”

Speaking of American immorality people have been warning about the stealing of our elections since evidence began popping up about it in regards to electronic voting machines.  Now we have proof it was actually done:

Ole Newt sure has been getting ganged up on with his sorry, lengthy record of corruption, unethical behavior and flip flops.  Back in 1992 this ad was run against him for bouncing checks at the House bank:

As Rick Santorum is surging from behind (doesn’t that just bring certain images to mind?) in Iowa voters there need to be reminded he belongs to a secret Catholic cult called Opus Dei.  They not only want to outlaw contraception but all forms of masturbation.  Any sexual activity not likely to produce children would be against the law under a President Santorum.  While he goes around decrying the evils of Sharia law he’d impose the same thing (but called Christian law).


News & Notes April 6, 2011

There’s lots going on today.  I’ll be in Bucks County later to live blog the Obama town hall on energy at Gamesa in Fairless Hills.  The event is scheduled for 2 PM.  Fran the pipefitting man will be my sidekick doing pictures and video.  Thanks Fran.

Lancaster is preparing to test water in the Susquehanna River for radiation.  Well downriver from the major fracking areas officials are concerned about radioactivity levels in the drinking water.  I’m not sure what they’ll do when they find it, send some in bottles for the Governor’s lunch?

Republicans who keep threatening the rest of us over election fraud just keep engaging in it themselves.  Paul Summers of Drexel Hill pled guilty to petition fraud in the mess last year in the 7th CD.  Pat Meehan’s petitions to get on the ballot were ridden with fraud.

Now that Rep. Metcalfe has introduced the GOP’s “right to be poor” legislation the Governor is acting on the concept by proposing a 4% pay cut for state workers.

Here’s an analysis of how and why “right to work” doesn’t create jobs.  Since it hasn’t done so anywhere else why would we do this here?  All this does is destroy unions, decrease wages and benefits and creates poor people from formerly middle class folks.

Yet another example of Pennsylvanians fighting back against the frackers.

Pastor Terry Jones finally went and burned a Quor’an.  The violence erupting in Afghanistan and elsewhere has already cost dozens of lives including UN workers.  He has blood on his hands which will never wash clean.

The message Democrats need to use in 2012:  Republicans are trying to make America a third world country.  It’ll balance out nicely against their “American exceptionalism” theme.

The fringe right at Faux News is all agog over Ivory Coast bad boy former President Gbagbo who has refused to leave office after losing the election.  Instead he has triggered a civil war over succession and last week murdered 800 civilians.  At Fox it’s OK to do it if you’re a christian.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had all state computer hard drives destroyed when he left office.  What was he afraid of, all those fat pictures?  He’s gained it back so who cares?  Perhaps he was actually hoping to destroy that birth certificate showing he came from Alpha Centauri.

Southwest Airlines is promoting the great ventilation on its Boeing 737-300 planes following last week’s fuselage rupture.  Three more jets have been found with defective skins.  I fly Southwest when I travel to and from Santa Fe.  I think I’ll keep my seat belt fastened the entire flight from now on.

Two gay men at Swarthmore College were attacked by high school students Tuesday.

“The student reported that he and his friend were punched and knocked to the ground, and then were repeatedly kicked and stomped by at least five boys and one girl, Braun said,” according to the Inquirer.

You’d think in this day and age you could be safe at a liberal bastion like Swarthmore.

Pennsylvanians Getting Fracked by Drillers Fight Back

As thousands of new holes are drilled into our geography each year in the endless search for natural gas the side effects are hurting people.  Some are beginning to fight back.  A laundromat in Troy is prohibiting gas workers from doing their laundry because of the extreme dirtiness of the clothing.  The greasy clothing is gumming up the machines and will no longer be allowed in the business.  Part of the problem is that most gas workers, so far, have come here from Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.  

A couple upstate are selling their home because of a gas site next door ruining their tranquil life.  They should sell before the drilling contaminates their water supply and the property is worthless.  The thousands of mostly unmarked old wells dotting the region, some dating back to the onset of oil exploration a century ago, are causing natural gas to seep into wells and above ground due to the shock caused by hydro fracking.  

Local townships, boroughs and counties are also taking it on the chin as trucks destroy the roads not designed and built for such heavy traffic.  Each gas well requires up to 8 million gallons of water and all of it must be trucked in to each site.  A single well pad can support multiple wells.  Police are now conducting inspections of the trucks and fining the operators for infractions.  They’re finding lots of infractions.

There are ways to fight back.  If you’re a homeowner in the Marcellus Shale region your best alternative is to leave before you lose everything.