News & Notes June 23, 2012

Lots of news today.  I was painting up at the old house yesterday so I didn’t get much time for blogging.  A few more weeks and I’ll be finished there.  This taking care of two houses is for the birds.

The OctoMom is endorsing payday loans.  Known for her bad judgment, this is appropriate.

Sen. Scott Brown R-MA says he meets with kings and queens every day.  Either he needs to quit playing poker or stop going to drag shows.

Mother Jones has a story about which states require HIV status disclosure if one is positive.  Considering the shattering effect of HIV and its status as a lethal disease I believe Pennsylvania is correct in requiring disclosure.  If I had sex with a man who is positive and he didn’t disclose that I’d consider him a criminal and he should go to jail.

Mother Jones (again, this magazine should be required reading) reports on the growing number of privatized prisons.  I’ve written about this travesty.  The subject is beginning to get widespread coverage.  It is very dangerous for our democracy.

Today’s reading list is long but these are important articles.  Economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses The Price of Inequality.  We haven’t been this polarized monetarily since the advent of the Great Depression.

Chesapeake Energy has to pay $1.6 million for poisoning wells in Bradford County.  This is the price we’re paying for a few jobs:  the destruction of our water supplies.  How stupid can we get?

In a bit of neat, fascinating and interesting news spacecraft Voyager is about to enter interstellar space.  Man has never constructed a ship capable of leaving our solar system before.  I’m old enough to recall when Voyager was launched in 1977.  Living to see it accomplish its mission to this extent is fabulous.

If you think we have a stupid Governor Ohio is right behind us.  Gov. John Kasich appointed a dropout to the State Board of Education.  Maybe the other Board members can call signals to the former quarterback.

Speaking of stupidity most Republicans still think Iraq had WMD’s.  How much of this is wishful thinking to justify their mad dash into war or how much is due to listening to bad sources for news is up in the air.  There is no excuse in this internet age for getting bad information.

Businesses have been dumping toxic waste into wells and salt pits.  Now some of it is surfacing.  What won’t we do for the almighty dollar?  What will we do once we’ve poisoned planet earth?  There is no Plan-et B.

The Romney’s dancing horse gave them a nice $77,000 tax credit last year and they get to watch it perform in the Olympics next month.  They’re perfectly normal working folks though. I’m sure you own a dancing horse too.  You have an elevator for your cars too don’t you?  No wonder he was so amazed at the touch screen ordering computer at Wawa.  The rest of us have been using those for ten years.  You want to see something amazing?  Watch how President Romney makes your economy, your job, your retirement and your home disappear.

Luzerne County is forcing LGBT partners to out themselves.  This is very bad policy.  While I’m not a fan of closeted gays I understand the necessity if your home or job depends on discretion.  Until we pass ENDA this is an issue.

News & Notes April 14, 2011

A former aide to Sen. Jane Orie has been charged with having sex chats with an underage boy.  Alan David Berlin is on trial for wanting to have sex while wearing an animal costume.  Let me guess…an elephant?

Stephen Colbert had his way with Sen. John Kyl on his Comedy Central show.  Normally able to keep a straight face in any skit he lost it on this one while discussing getting a colonoscopy at Walgreens.  Gee, why hasn’t it ever occurred to me to get one of those at a drug store?  Now we can really begin cutting those out of control health care costs!  

By the way did you know that Sen. Kyl has sex with illegal aliens in Area 51 all the time?*

* not intended to be a factual statement

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War was noted this week.  Isn’t it time for Southerners and Klansmen to wake up and realize they lost?  On the road back to economic slavery corporations have new soldiers in the Tea Party.

Unsure what to do or where to flee when the revolution begins, your local nuclear plant goes all Fukushima or the tea baggers revoke all of your rights?  Here’s your solution.  The perfect place for all you survivalists reading this blog.  The Rapture is now only days away!  Perhaps we can get all the tea baggers in there then seal the entrance. (satirical folks)

Today’s required reading is by Joseph Stiglitz.  “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” in Vanity Fair magazine.  An excerpt:

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets-our people-in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality-such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests-undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”-it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

Rick Santorum announced he is running for president on, appropriately, Faux News.  The Virginia resident still has to overcome the stain of the definition of his name.  Google it.  Sometimes name recognition isn’t a good thing.  Thank you Dan Savage.

The school vouchers vote has been stalled in the PA Senate while the Governor furiously looks for the necessary votes.  It seems privatizing our public schools by draining the taxpayer money and handing it to religious schools isn’t flying even with Republicans.   By the way who will run against Anthony Hardy Williams now that he has sold out?

Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers screamed  a gay slur during a basketball game the other night.  Angry at being called for a foul he let loose a definite one at the ref calling him a “f*cking f*g.”  He was fined $100,000 and explained his slur by claiming he didn’t really mean it because it was uttered “in the heat of the moment.”  BS.  These are the times when we really, actually see inside a person’s character.  Kobe’s is ugly.

In their latest attack on common sense PA House Republicans repealed a building code requirement for fire sprinklers in newly constructed homes.  The next time a loved gets scorched in a fire you know whom to blame.  The measure goes to Gov. Corbett.  The home building industry is a major contributor to GOP candidates (and some Dems) and this was high on their wish list.  We should be reducing the number of fires so we can reduce the number of fire companies and firemen.  Codes have so advanced that fires are actually becoming rare events.  Why reverse that trend?  People shouldn’t live in fear of fires any longer.