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 December 27,2011

Someone in our household developed a substance abuse problem over the weekend.  Far be it from me to point any paws but I suspect the presence of two catnip toys in a certain cat’s stocking was the cause.  Someone is enjoying being really, really relaxed this week, aren’t you Schroeder?

As gleeful as some are over a proposed Illinois bill targeting Joe Walsh for being a deadbeat Dad it’s clearly unconstitutional.   That document lays out the criteria for Members of Congress and no state can tamper with them.

The Second Mile’s insurance company says it is nor liable for Jerry Sandusky’s legal bills.  This court fight will be interesting.

I need to catch up on several things I sort of put aside over the long holiday weekend.  I didn’t have much time for blogging and I figured no one was taking time away to read online either (at least I hope you had better things to do).  First up is Joe Sestak’s speech on American exceptionalism.  Republicans plan on making this their theme for 2012.  My take on it is somewhat different, more on that as we get through the year.

Delaware Riverkeeper is very good at keeping us up on everything affecting that waterway:

Also last week, the EPA issued new rules governing the burning of mercury laden coal.  It is widely believed that mercury emitted from coal fired power plants causes autism.  We know these plants cause asthma:

Ron Paul’s evil twin was bragging about his newsletters in this video too:

Alabama’s draconian immigration law is going to cripple the state’s economy.  Why is it these southern crackers never learn from their mistakes?  Now they’re proposing using prison labor on the farms because none of those proud racists will lower themselves to do farm work.  Isn’t it funny how conservatives scream about immigrants coming to take their jobs then when they chase them away none of them will take those jobs?

The GOP’s war on voting is taking its toll around the nation.  People are being denied ID’s to vote, now in Tennessee.  This is a perfect example of the type of election fraud conservatives have been screaming about, except it is them doing the dirty deed, as usual.  Not everyone has their birth certificate.  I only got mine two years ago because I wanted to get a passport.  Most Americans really have no need for the document unless they are traveling internationally.  What if your home burns down and it’s lost?  It isn’t always easy for someone to obtain a copy and that requires an expense which makes it a poll tax.

Newt Gingrich has focused his campaign more on getting his signature on books for customers than getting voter’s signatures on primary nominating ballot petitions.  I agree with him this failure is as as catastrophic as Pearl Harbor (said with tongue firmly in cheek) because his campaign has also bombed.

Rick Santorum also failed to make the ballot.  This is more embarrassing for him because it’s his home state.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unjustly discriminates against LGBT couples.  Gays and lesbians are second class citizens who pay additional taxes for fewer rights.  How crazy is this in a land which claims “equal justice under law?”  CNN Money did an analysis showing LGBT couples pay as much as $6,000/year more than straight couples allowed to marry and file jointly.  If we get fewer rights we should be paying fewer taxes, not more.

News & Notes December 21, 2011

Ignorant conservatives like to lie about hospitals refusing to treat people who are without insurance.  They do and they do it every day.  This case happened right in the Lehigh Valley. Heaven help us though if we criticize these leeches on society.

The riots at Penn State following Joe Paterno’s justified firing cost the town $190,000.  Thirty eight arrests and a another huge black eye for the university also cost our reputation.  He’d already announced his retirement so was it worth it?

Jane Orie’s retrial will begin in February and I can’t wait.  How much evidence will she fabricate this time to abort yet another attempt to hold her personally accountable for her misdeeds?  She had to sign a waiver in order to retain her high powered attorney since he may be called to testify in the altered documents portion of the trial.  Of course she can always claim duress later and appeal to the state Supreme Court where her sister sits thanks to their corruption, for which she is on trial.

As state revenues sink gas drillers continue to exploit our common resources for private profit without any extraction taxes.  Here’s a neat graphic showing the increase in wells:

Russ Diesinger, a school board member in Berks County, is running for the State House in the 130th District now held by Tea bagger David Maloney.

Philadelphia based Comcast stole $160,000 in payroll from its employees.

HBO has given “Hung” the short end of the stick.

Rick Santorum is OK with income inequality.  Of course he is since he’s one of the 1% biggest protectionists.

As people all over the world deal with increasing climate change species are disappearing, migrating and adapting.  Still, stubborn idiots continue denying this is happening.  They’ll do so until it kills them then they’ll scream bloody murder that we failed to deal with the problem.  On the plus side Texas may become inhabitable in just a few years after its water dries up and the state burns itself out.

Gays are approaching presidential candidates and challenging them on their homophobia.  The latest is Newt who replied that gays should simply support Obama.  I thought leaders, especially presidents, were supposed to represent us all?  Of course American government stopped representing anyone except the 1% long ago.  At least Gingrich isn’t pretending otherwise.

Things in Wisconsin have gotten ugly as Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters try to sabotage the recall effort against him.  He doesn’t even seem to comprehend that faking someone in a campaign ad won’t be researched and exposed.  His “small business owner” turns out to be a billionaire who outsources jobs.

News & Notes December 11, 2011

Berks Democrats held a no confidence vote against Chair Tom Herman yesterday which was defeated by one vote.  Apparently many of those in attendance abstained in a show of apathy.  You get what you deserve now, an even more arrogant abuser of power.

The GOP presidential field put on another comedy show last night in Iowa.  Mitt Romney tried to bet $10,000, proof solid he’s a 1%’er.  How many of you make ten grand bets?  Michelle Bachmann proved she still talks in nonsense and Rick Santorum kept bragging about his support in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state.  Hey Rick, remember 2006 when you only got 42%?

While riot police were disrupting Occupy Boston the State Department was warning Russia not to interfere with peaceful protesters.  If only we could force this sort of policy right here:

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the United States supported the right to peaceful protest in Russia as it does “anywhere in the world.”

“We expect that those demonstrations will remain peaceful on behalf of all parties, whether they’re the demonstrators or whether they are those keeping social order,” she said.

“So our expectation is that if there are protests, that they will be peaceful and that they will be allowed to proceed peacefully,” Nuland said.

There have been dozens of response videos to Rick Perry’s homophobic “Strong” ad.  Here’s one of the best:

After Perry released his ad his pollster was outed by fellow Republicans.  Ouch.

Rick Perry thinks we have just eight Supreme Court Justices.  At least he can finally count past two.

Newt still backed his statement that Palestinians are “an invented people.”  At last night’s debate all we heard about were rocket attacks on Israelis.  Not one candidate spoke about the inhumane blockade against those “invented people” and the thousands of lives being destroyed by Israel.  There are logical reasons rockets are launched across the border.

Now for a bit of Christmas cheer:

If you’re going shopping for other Christmas cheer this season the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board wants you to know that if you got raped because you were drinking it was your own fault.

News & Notes December 3, 2011

Channel 69 News picked up my story about Tom Herman.  No one will yet comment about their resignation.  I’ve downloaded the fall dinner video done by Mr. Herman to pull out the section where he rants against blogs, email listers and progressives.  This is someone who co-founded a “progressive PAC (which gives to non-progressives) and who calls himself a progressive when it’s in his interest.  BS as we saw in his rant.

Donald Trump will moderate a GOP debate.  This is now, officially, a reality show combined with book tours.  At the end of the debate he should fire one of the candidates.  You cannot take seriously anything in which The Donald is involved.

Newt Gingrich claims people use their food stamp card to go to Hawaii.  This is shocking in that it illustrates the disconnect the 1% have with poor people.  Newt doesn’t have a clue how food stamps work.

The Milton S. Hershey School barred a boy from enrolling because he has HIV.  It’s been a long time since we witnessed HIV hysteria.  I thought the Ryan White days were passed us.  The only potential threat from others is the slight chance the boy would be subjected to a predatory sex offender hiring Hershey boys out for sex to older men.  Since the Hershey School has actually had that happen recently with one of its adult employees perhaps they shouldn’t be trusted with any children.

Michele Bachmann says she’d close the American embassy in Iran.  There hasn’t been a U.S. embassy in Tehran since 1979.  Shouldn’t candidates for president have some minimum sense of history and information?   Maybe, at a minimum, pass a basic civics test?

House Speaker John Boehner says the middle class payroll tax cut is “chicken shit.”  I think he has this confused with the way Republicans view the entire 99%.  Perhaps he should spend less time protecting billionaires’ incomes and rolled around in some chicken shit.  It’s right there in the GOP caucus room.

Penn State isn’t subject to the state Open Records Act and is using that shield to suppress requests for information about the Sandusky scandal.  They also used it to fight grand jury subpoenas.  As I recall the original controversy was around disclosing JoePa’s salary.  Penn State is just making itself look worse and worse by concealing what should be public information.  This is yet another disgrace.

Gov. Corbett ordered DPW to cut $470 million from its budget and social workers are now telling tales about poor women and children being cut from Medicaid.  All this, of course, is to fund tax breaks for corporations and allow energy drillers to NOT pay for extracting OUR natural gas.

Congressman Mike Kelly (PA-03) lambasted Obama for not taking responsibility for Republican failures.  It sounds like something you’d hear from a car salesman.  Kelly is a car dealer in Erie.

Rick Santorum says you shouldn’t get health insurance if you have pre-existing conditions.  It’s an excellent argument for single payer.

Random Thoughts

A new woman has come forward claiming a 13 year affair with Herman Cain.  No word from Mrs. Cain but Herman says it is no one’s business if he committed adultery.  Say what you want about Newt’s serial adultery but at least he married them.

Tobey Maguire is returning money he won fair and square in a gentleman’s poker game.  Just because some fool lost hundreds of thousands in high stakes poker doesn’t mean he (or his estate) doesn’t honor their debts.  If you can’t risk losing you shouldn’t be playing.  There’s no evidence any of the players knew he was losing money he’d stolen in a Ponzi scheme so why should they have to repay investors?  Is nothing sacred any more?

Barney Frank isn’t seeking re-election next year.  This frees him up to accept unlimited bribes from Wall Street banks.

A judge has rejected a $285 million settlement against Citibank.  He thinks it isn’t sufficient and that the public should be informed what the bank did, this time, to get such a slap on its wrist.

What idiot would claim there’s no such thing as income inequality?  This one:

There are so many absurdities on this spiel one hardly knows where to begin.  Teachers “are allowed to exist?”  News flash:  we don’t need stock brokers in order to have teachers.  Without teachers those morons on Wall Street wouldn’t even know how to add and subtract or how to commit massive fraud.

A gay couple on layover in Denver were called “faggots” by a United Airlines supervisor.  Don’t fly United folks.

Bob Casey aggressively courted the gay community in 2006 despite a career of gay bashing.  He promised he’d seen the light and would support equality.  Now it’s time to pay up on the DOMA vote.  We’re watching Bob.