News and Notes June 23. 2014

PA Dems re=elected Jim Burn to a four year term as Chair Saturday.  I’ve lost all respect for the man after he refused to step aside for Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf’s choice.  Much as I dislike Katie McGinty and all the energy money she takes she was his choice to lead the Party in November’s general election, a privilege most Governor candidates get to make.  I went kayaking instead of going to Camp Hill.  I’m sick and tired of being kicked out of Democratic Party “open” meetings while to give them coverage and get stories.  It’s a waste of my time and money.

I’ve written about Social Security for years, always pointing out that it has nothing to do with the deficit.  In fact the federal government owes Social Security trillions of dollars, not the other way around.  Regardless Republicans have cut its budget to the extent that they’re being forced to close offices.  Now many seniors will have to drive (if they can) longer distances to obtain benefits they’ve paid for over many years.

President Obama issued an Executive Order last week providing employment discrimination against LGBT persons by any federal contractor.  Kudos.

Now we have to pass an ENDA bill nationally and here in Pennsylvania.  No person should be evicted or refused service at a business due to their real or perceived sexual orientation.  From the ACLU:

House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300 would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.”

“Even after the historic achievement of marriage equality in Pennsylvania, the struggle for full equality is far from over,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “When Pennsylvanians go to work, they expect to be judged based on their performance.

“But LGBT workers in the commonwealth can still be fired simply for who they are. It is past time to pass this bill and bring a greater level of fairness in the workplace, in housing, and in public services.”

The PHRA prohibits discrimination in employment, in housing, and in “public accommodations,” such as restaurants and hotels. Seventeen states include legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination laws, and four additional states include protections based on sexual orientation. In Pennsylvania, 34 municipalities have similar ordinances.

The legislation was introduced this legislative session with a record number of co-sponsors from both parties, with 96 co-sponsors in the state House and 25 in the state Senate. Meanwhile, polling again shows more than 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support this type of legal protection.

“The people of the commonwealth support fairness in daily life,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The public is leading the way for lawmakers on this issue.”

HB 300 is currently in the House State Government Committee. SB 300 is in the Senate State Government Committee.

According to HHS the Affordable Care Act has saved 15,000 lives and $4 billion in health care spending:

The Department of Health and Human Services announced that new preliminary data show an overall nine percent decrease in hospital acquired conditions nationally during 2011 and 2012.  National reductions in adverse drug events, falls, infections, and other forms of hospital-induced harm are estimated to have prevented nearly 15,000 deaths in hospitals, avoided 560,000 patient injuries, and approximately $4 billion in health spending over the same period.

The Affordable Care Act is also helping reduce hospital readmissions.  After holding constant at 19 percent from 2007 to 2011 and decreasing to 18.5 percent in 2012, the Medicare all-cause 30-day readmission rate has further decreased to approximately 17.5 percent in 2013.  This translates into an 8 percent reduction in the rate and an estimated 150,000 fewer hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries between January 2012 and December 2013.

These improvements reflect policies and an unprecedented public-private collaboration made possible by the Affordable Care Act.  The data demonstrates that hospitals and providers across the country are achieving reductions in hospital-induced harm experienced by patients.  These major strides in patient safety are a result of strong, diverse public-private partnerships and active engagement by patients and families, including efforts from the federal Partnership for Patients initiative and Hospital Engagement Networks, Quality Improvement Organizations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration on Community Living, the Indian Health Service, and many others.


I don’t understand how some folks who call themselves “pro life” can oppose laws which actually save lives.

The White House is hosting a summit today on working families.  Opening remarks this morning were from Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.  Other participants include SEIU, Claudia Goldin, Economics Professor at Harvard, the Center For American Progress, Rep. Martha Edwards of Maryland, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and closing remarks from the First Lady and Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America.

Meet The Press simply isn’t  the show it used to be since David Gregory took over.  I won’t even watch it any more.  Sunday he allowed Sen. Paul to repeat debunked lies about Benghazi without challenge.  Shameful journalism.

A scientific study confirms that liberals and atheists are smarter.  I suppose this explains why conservatives don’t believe in science.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values.  The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years.”

“Evolutionarily novel” preferences and values are those that humans are not biologically designed to have and our ancestors probably did not possess.  In contrast, those that our ancestors had for millions of years are “evolutionarily familiar.”

Gov. Corbett says an on time state budget isn’t likely to pass by June 30th.  For someone who has ballyhooed the fact he has passed a budget on time every year this is but one more black eye for the vulnerable sitting Governor.  I love the fact he spent $3 million in campaign ads this spring and moved his approval number all the way from 29% to 30%.  Interestingly the Guv has given $1.5 billion in corporate tax breaks intended to create jobs.  Our current fiscal deficit is $1.4 billion.  His tax breaks haven’t created any jobs.  We rank 49th in the country in job creation so they obviously aren’t working.  Instead of making the state budget worse by privatizing the Wine and Spirit Stores and gutting pensions let’s simply repeal those tax cuts.

Meanwhile the Republican Governors Association made an illegal million dollar contribution towards Gov. gasbag’s re-election in violation of Pennsylvania election law.  Sheldon Adelson gave the money despite the fact he owns the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.  Casino owners are barred from making political contributions in Pennsylvania.

Radiation from Fukushima continues polluting the Pacific Rim.  Tuna being caught are so radioactive they cannot be consumed.

Surprise, surprise, we’re listed as the fifth most corrupt state.

News & Notes September 12, 2012

Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi yesterday in a rocket attack.  The riot directed against the U.S. Embassy on September 11th was planned to protest a new American movie about the Prophet Muhammed.  Our State Department professionals are always a target for outrage against oppressive U.S. policies and actions.

Paul “Lyin'” Ryan has been caught prevaricating once again.  This time he claims the size of government has doubled under Barack Obama.  In reality due to severe budget cuts the size of the federal government is smaller than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower was in the Oval Office.  Facts are curious things, important for those of us who live in a reality based world, superfluous for morons.  He also is claiming not to have supported cuts in Defense spending for which he did, indeed, vote.  His mouth runs faster than his legs do in a marathon.  It’s just as accurate as his times.

Elections have consequences, remember that when (assuming you can in PA) you vote.  In Tennessee one county defunded Planned Parenthood.  The result: a drop in health services for women of 93%.  Defunding Planned Parenthood is a direct attack upon women’s health.  Planned Parenthood Action Fund is running this ad in Ohio and Virginia:

Mitt Romney is flip flopping so much on ObamaCare he looks like a flounder caught on a fishing dock.  Even he can’t keep track of his latest position.

yet one more example of an elderly voter forced to take transportation to PennDOT in search of a voter ID he couldn’t obtain.  This time having an influential son on TV saved him.  What about the hundreds of thousands of other senior Pennsylvanians who don’t have powerful children on CNBC?

Wonder why Sheldon Adelson is willing to spend $100 million to get Romney in the White House?  It’s an investment as he stands to gain over $2 billion in tax benefits under President Romney.  It’s a simple return on investment calculation.  Guess who gets screwed in the deal?  Remember Adelson owns the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.  Going there just puts your cash into Mitt’s campaign.  Romney will do Sheldon’s bidding, after taking $100M he’ll have to.  This means fighting a proxy war for Israel against Iran.  War with Iran will make Iraq look like a walk in the park.  Guess whose sons and daughters will die?  Hint:  not the 1%.

East Penn School Board member Julian Stolz, he of the worst campaign finance reporting I’ve ever seen, is calling for the banning of books.  He is upset at what he terms “the pornographic nature” of Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Acid Kool Aid Test” and Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Prep.”  I’m not familiar with the second author but I’ve read most of Wolfe’s literature.  He’s one of the major authors of our time.  The books listed on the school district’s summer reading list aren’t required and, as always, parental input of their children’s education, reading materials and such is important.  It is up to parents to decide what on a reading list is appropriate for their child and what is not.  School Board members shouldn’t be in the business of banning books.

Mike Fitzpatrick is having a tough time defending his record.  The former moderate Republican became a Tea Party favorite after winning his seat back in 2010’s GOP wave.  He was at a Bucks County car dealership and took some tough questions on the auto bailout.  This is becoming a significant issue this fall.  Ask your Congressman if he supported saving millions of jobs.

Mitt Romney says he isn’t running for president to save the planet.  If there is no other reason to vote against him in November this is it.  Global climate change is the biggest threat to anyone living on the earth right now.  Warming is driving wildfires, drought, floods, tornadoes and other extreme weather.  Americans are dying because of climate change.  If Mitt has no concern for this issue he isn’t fit to be president.

Hunger and famine resulting from climate change threaten the stability of every nation on earth.  The threat of mass riots as crops continue failing because of climate change is something you’d think both of our major presidential candidates would comprehend.  The threat is real according to some experts.  My food budget is quickly outpacing the cost of gas in breaking my budget.  I can choose not to drive as much and we all know I can cut back on eating some but what’ll happen once I’m down to 150 pounds?  Don’t get between me and the ice cream counter.

Pennsylvania took in around $200 million last year in Marcellus Shale gas taxes.  Most of that goes to local governments to fix roads, restore clean water (or provide it as the case may be) and other impacts.  That’s why it’s an impact fee actually instead of a tax.  Imagine if we actually taxed this resource which legally belongs to all Pennsylvanians and is being removed for free?  

Chesapeake Energy is being accused of cheating leaseholders out of royalties.  Surprised?  Get into bed with the devil and get screwed, there’s nothing shocking here…

Baseball pitcher Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants) has joined the No Hate Campaign.  He threw a perfect game earlier this season.

How stupid are Americans?  15% of Ohio Republicans think Romney killed Osama Bin Laden.  I report, you decide.

Jimmy Fallon channeled James Taylor at the DNC convention:

News & Notes June 18, 2012

Rumor has it that Ed Rendell is quickly writing an update for the second edition of his book “A Nation of Wusses” to add Mitt Romney.  How big a wuss is Mitt that he snuck off to a different Wawa to avoid the former Governor and his posse of 250 demonstrators?

Jerry Sandusky’s lawyers commenced their defense this morning.  How do you counter eight young men who testified about eerily similar progressions by the coach whose best move turns out to be tickling?  A psychologist will say he suffers from something called hystrionic personality disorder.  I’m betting the jury sacks him with a hysteric-ectomy, removing him from the public arean and off to state prison.  I still think there isn’t enough evidence to convict on the counts on two boys who have yet to be identified.

Former Sen. Bob Mellow, already a convicted felon, lost his huge state pension last week.  taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for lush retirement packages for those who robbed them.

Randy Vulakovich, a State Representative, is the GOP choice to run for Sen. Jane Orie’s vacant seat.  One more corrupt lawmaker spending time in prison, Orie may soon be joined by her sisters.  Melissa Hart lost the nomination and Vulakovich will face Democrat Dr. Sharon Brown.

Romney is now talking tough about Israel after billionaire Sheldon Adelson has vowed to spend $100 million to get him elected.  Welcome to the Amerika of Citizens United where the USA is now owned, lock, stock and barrel, by the likes of Adelson, the Koch Brothers and a handful of other billionaires.  Kiss democracy good-bye.

These young people were in Quakertown Saturday with their RomneyMobile:

Raging Chicken Press has a good take on Saturday’s event.

The Democratic candidates continued on to Cornwall Terrace in Lebanon County where they spoke again:

The state is rejuvenating HEMAP (finally!!) with cash from the national mortgage fraud settlement.  This was one of th emost successful mortgage help programs in the nation until Tom Corbett killed it.

Allegheny County is suing the state over Voter ID.  The county says it is too expensive and there is not sufficient time to implement it before November.  The ACLU, in partnership with several other organizations is already suing on civil rights grounds.  Pennsylvania will spend $10 million to fix a non-existent problem while critically needed programs go unfunded.  These are Republican priorities in action.

In fracking news a Greene County businessman dumped waste water illegally.  This is why businesses must be regulated:  if they can make a buck by poisoning you they will.

In Susquehanna County a family is suing driller WPX for poisoning their water.  Get ready for thousands of these across Pennsylvania due to fracking.

Have you seen those BP propaganda commercials claiming everything in the Gulf is fine?  Well, except for all the deformed fish…  Here’s a counter ad:

Karma is a funny thing.  Former Arizona lawmaker Russell Pearce, author of that state’s infamous “papers” law, was kicked out of two Mexican restaurants where he wanted to hold fundraisers.  I think he got the big burrito instead…

In yet another show of a total lack of civility by conservatives Neil Munroe interrupted the President twice on Friday. He works for the radical website The Daily Caller.