News & Notes May 25, 2012

Walter Brasch’s day 5 Memorial Day protest song compilation has three songs by Tom Paxton today:

Mitt Romney came to Philadelphia and got an earful at a charter school.  Did he really say smaller class sizes don’t lead to better outcomes in education?  This man has led a sheltered life.  Perhaps he really meant larger groups of bullies lead to shorter hair for gay classmates.  Or that smaller cars mean better rides on the roof for Golden Retrievers.

The prosecution of Catholic Church priests for hiding predatory priests and shuffling them around to molest more kids is still underway in Philadelphia.  Meanwhile the Church is initiating politically motivated lawsuits against the President’s contraception mandate.  They’d rather let people die than get birth control?  So says this article.  Remember, this is the moral authority many Democrats cite as their guidance on many crucial policies in Harrisburg.  Jo Ann Nardelli would be impressed.  Church hospitals are, in some communities (like Santa Fe) the only hospital in the area.  The Church should NOT be tax exempt.

Controversial Congressman Allen West says stay at home Moms are working Moms (we all know that) unless they’re on welfare.  Then they’re leeches on the public teet.  Oh my, what bigotry.

Maternity leave is a given in almost every country but America.  How is it we dare call ourselves civilized?  We let people die rather than provide universal health care, our child mortality rate is bad, our life expectancies are decreasing yet we pay twice as much for health care as socialist countries.  That’s yet another failure of capitalism.  If Mexico can afford to give 12 weeks of paid maternity leave maybe the U.S. can spare two?

Since the state has taken over the City of Harrisburg (canceling democracy for those citizens) they’re anxious for more.  Now, after slashing funding, they are out to take over school districts.  The Reading School District is set to fire 170 teachers, close five schools and shred hundreds of support personnel including teachers aides and security.  One thing you can say for Gov. gasbag:  he isn’t doing anything he didn’t say he was going to do.  Corbett did point to Chris Christie as his mentor during the campaign after all.  That was a strong clue he’d gut public education.

Unfortunately for the Governor he’s taking a huge amount of heat for his stubborn policies.  The fact he’s more loyal to Grover Norquist than the children of Pennsylvania tells us where his priorities lay.  Thousands took to the streets Wednesday across Pennsylvania protesting his policies.  is he listening?

He’s listening to his “kitchen cabinet,” those high ranking GOP operatives who told him he needs to do a better job of selling his austerity budgets.  Not, mind you, changing his failed policies but in how he and his staff sell them to the public.  As such he has decided to nominate his chief of staff to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.  This isn’t a staff shake-up mind you (I still have that ocean front property in Kansas for sale), just kicking the guy upstairs to make room for new blood.

Meanwhile the Harrisburg overseer named Corbett in court testimony as interfering with his work.

Questions are also being asked about David Unkovic’s successor and his cozy relationship with one of the Governor’s Cabinet members.  Something smells and it isn’t pleasant.

Jane Orie doesn’t want to reimburse taxpayers for her legal defense or the money she stole by using our offices, staffers and equipment to run her sister’s Supreme Court campaign.  Just because Tom Corbett allowed legislators to get away with it doesn’t mean Allegheny County should.  Pay up.  We want our money back.

It’s bad enough these public officials stole from us but we’re also paying for their legal bills?

The Susquehanna River is part of a new initiative by the Department of the Interior called America’s Great Outdoors Rivers Initiative.  As you readers know I’m an avid kayaker and the Lower Susquehanna is a beautiful place.  The Conewago area is full of eagles and other raptors.

Pennsylvania: Susquehanna River – Lower Susquehanna River Conservation Landscape Initiative

The National Park Service, other federal, state, and local agencies, and non-governmental organizations are expanding and improving and recreation and education opportunities and public access along the Susquehanna River, which is an important link to Pennsylvania’s natural and cultural heritage. On May 16, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated the Susquehanna River as a historic connecting trail and integral part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

The White House will be doing a Community Action Summit in early June to focus on the Hispanic community at Temple University.  I will be participating in my capacity as a Planned Parenthood Board member.

From HHS:  

In The First Four Months Of 2012, More Than 416,000 People with Medicare Saved an Average of $724 on Prescription Drugs and 12.1 Million Used a Free Preventive Service

Under the new health care law – the Affordable Care Act —  seniors and people with disabilities in Medicare have saved a total of $3.5 billion on prescription drugs in the Medicare drug benefit coverage gap or “donut hole” from the enactment of the law in March 2010 through April of 2012.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data today showing that, in the first four months of 2012 alone, more than 416,000 people saved an average of $724 on the prescription drugs they purchased after they hit the prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole,” for a total of $301.5 million in savings.  These savings build on the law’s success in 2010 and 2011, when more than 5.1 million people with Medicare saved over $3.2 billion on prescription drugs.

In addition, CMS announced that this year, from January through April, 12.1 million people in traditional Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost to them – including over 856,000 who have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided in the Affordable Care Act.  In 2011, over 26 million people in traditional Medicare received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.

Pennsylvania Greens endorsed Dr. Jill Stein for president at their recent state meeting in State College.  She’ll likely be my vote in November assuming she wins the national nomination.