Category Archives: petition

An Architectural Marvel is up for trashing in Chicago…

I am deeply upset with my alma mater, Northwestern University, as they attempt to tear down a particularly special architectural classic from the 70s. This  preservation battle has been building for months in Chicago on the fate of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital, a concrete, cloverleaf structure from 1975 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.  Famous architects and designers like Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have signed petitions entreating Northwestern, who owns the building, not to tear it down, pleading for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give it landmark status.

The university says it needs new biomedical research facilities and that Prentice is too small, old and quirky to adapt. A new building would bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives – that’s Northwestern’s argument.

So here is a suggestion: Build a research tower on top of Prentice. The architect Jeanne Gang has a proposal for a new research tower on top of the hospital:

Why save Prentice? There are  Chicagoans that hate it. Concrete buildings from the ’70s are becoming  unpopular outside architectural circles, although it’s spreading, and rightly so. Great late-Modernist buildings, innovative and ruggedly beautiful, deserve respect and careful custody. Prentice is a good example.

Architect Goldberg, who died in 1997, used a pioneering form of computer modeling to engineer a tour de force: an open, seven-story maternity ward inside the cloverleaf shell, cantilevered 45 feet from the supporting core.

Great buildings have often survived the wrecking ball by being added to, incorporated into larger structures or updated for a new era — in Rome and Istanbul, New York and Chicago.

 

 

An important message from John Case, re: racial inequality and the law…

 

I received this from my friend John Case this morning and I felt it was important to pass on to you.

 

John Case <jcase4218@gmail.com> Aug 24 08:43PM  

Hello,
 
I’m going to tell you a story, then I need your help.
 
In self-defense, John McNeil, a successful African American businessman and father of two, shot and killed a Caucasian man. The deceased was a former builder who worked on John’s property and had threatened John and his son with a weapon.
 
His case should have been covered under Georgia’s Castle Doctrine, but John McNeil is sitting in jail serving a life sentence for murder.
 
John’s case is currently being reviewed in Georgia courts. We hope that the decision is a just one and that Attorney General Sam Olens does what is in his power to see that justice is served and John returns home to his family.
 
NAACP President Ben Jealous is heading to Georgia to personally deliver a petition in support of John’s case, please add your name to it today:
 
http://action.naacp.org/justice-for-john
 
John’s case is even more egregious when you consider the circumstances of his arrest. The District Attorney, who was running for re-election, brought charges 274 days after the incident. The police believed John McNeil acted in self-defense and did not commit a crime. Two officers who responded to the incident testified to this point at trial.
 
This is a clear-cut case of self-defense. Please sign the petition asking the Georgia attorney general to support justice for John McNeil:
 
http://action.naacp.org/justice-for-john
 
Thank you.

I hope you will review this and take action. Had it been a white man who exercised self-protection on his property, we would never see that man in this position.

 

Which Candidate do you trust to improve your life?

This set of survey results from Slate:

or

36.4% think they will be worse off with Obama… but 49.3% think they will be worse off with Romney.

So, what do YOU think?

Ever wonder exactly what is being talked about when we consider the ultra-rich 1%?

This:

I hope that makes it a little more clear.

Now think about increasing their taxes just a LITTLE bit and mix it up with the taxes being paid by the Middle Class. Wouldn’t things be better for EVERYONE?

When the Republicans say there is no War on Women, hit ‘em with this list:

Raw Story ran this from Helen Wheels:

Everyone should copy & paste this for safekeeping and for sticking in lying sack of shit baggerfascists’ faces whenever necessary. I, with the help of other commenters up here, have kept a running tab of the GOP War on Women:

- Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Equal Pay for Women Act
- Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken‘s Anti-Rape Amendment

- Every GOP member vote FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation

- Every GOP member vote FOR Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health
Coverage Amendment. While Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employer
to deny men employee health coverage for Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio
Amendment allows Employer to deny female employees & female
dependents: contraception, tubes tied, and hysterectomies.

- GOP Redefine Rape

- GOP write legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina

- GOP change legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence
to “accuser”

- GOP write legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides
abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)

- GOP write legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income
pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

- GOP write legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die
rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

- GOP write law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women
should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland)

- GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.

- Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women: GOP write Bill to CUT
funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

- GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned
Parenthood.

- GOP voted for a Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood
health centers.

- GOP write Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.

- GOP Write Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS
all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception
coverage. (Dan Burton(R))

- GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday
signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the
country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and
declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

States passed 83 laws restricting access to abortion, nearly four times the
23 laws passed in 2010. A lot of that had to do with the 2010 elections, which
ushered in a wave of Republican legislators and governors. This year, the
number of states with fully anti-abortion governments — in which both the
governor and the legislature oppose abortion rights — increased from
10 to 15.

Got it? Pass it around… post it on your blogs…print it out and pin it to bulletin boards everywhere.

We must out-fund Monsanto’s Lobbyists (or die eating our unlabeled veggies!)

Volunteers across California are making history. On May 2nd, the California Right to Know campaign turned in nearly 1 million signatures to place a ballot initiative to label GMOs on the November 2012 ballot.

But this is only the beginning. We know that Monsanto and their minions will do everything in their power to spread lies and confuse voters. They have proven this time and again and most recently in Vermont and Connecticut where citizens in those states overwhelmingly supported bills to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Only a few days after voters in California qualified the historic initiative to label GMOs, Monsanto and biotech lobbyists were working behind closed doors in Connecticut to kill the bill that would have made it possible for the residents in that state to know what’s in their food.1 In the final hours of the 2012 legislative session, the biotech industry succeeded in getting Connecticut’s governor and House leaders to strip the bill of its labeling requirement as it was on the verge of passing with bipartisan support. Now, this year alone, governors in Vermont and Connecticut have both caved under the biotech industry’s threats to sue them if they pass a bill to label GMOs. This is an outrage!

While these backroom shenanigans can’t happen in California, since the ballot initiative will be put to a vote of the people, we know that Monsanto’s minions will be up to their usual dirty tricks. Already, a powerful biotech front group is starting to spread misleading stories in the media and distorting the real facts about the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012.

This has been called “the Food Fight of Our Life” and we need your help in making sure that we succeed in November.

Will you chip in to make GMO labeling a reality? Only with your help can we win in November!

We can win in California, but we need your help today! Here’s how. Between May 1 and May 26, a broad coalition of food, farm, health, public interest, and environmental groups all over the country, joined by leading organic food companies, will attempt to raise one million dollars to support the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, a citizens’ ballot initiative, and other state GMO-labeling campaigns.

In an extraordinary gesture of support and solidarity in the fight for GMO labeling in California, Mercola.com, the largest alternative health website in the world, along with a group of leading organic companies including Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, and Eden Foods, and other nonprofit organizations, have pledged another one million dollars to the “Drop the Money Bomb on Monsanto” campaign – but only if we reach our goal of $1 million by May 26.

Please help us raise $1 million by May 26 for the California Right to Know GMO Labeling Campaign so we don’t miss out on this $1 million matching gift!

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/591?akid=549.271844.mqPu-i&t=10

Thank you for contributing what you can today – Together we can win!

Now’s the time. Let’s drop the money bomb on Monsanto and take back our food supply!

Thanks for participating in food democracy,

David Murphy

President, Food Democracy Action!

P.S. All money raised for this campaign will go through Food Democracy Action!, a 501(c)4 allied organization of Food Democracy Now!, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. Thank you for your support!

Source:

1. “GMO ‘Right to Know’ campaign in CT fails — Lawsuit threatened”, Digital Journal, May 5, 2012

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/590?akid=549.271844.mqPu-i&t=12

The House has voted to take away your privacy – what do you do now?

Yesterday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed CISPA – the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act – by a vote of 248-168. CISPA now goes to the Senate.

CISPA gives the government, including military spy agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), virtually unlimited powers to capture our personal informationmedical records, private emails, financial information — all without a warrant or proper oversight.

Tell Your Senators: Stop CISPA.

And this is not just a Democrats vs. Republicans thing…Civil liberties groups and progressives unanimously opposed the bill, but so did Ron Paul.

President Obama warned the House that he will veto the bill because it does not protect our privacy, but they ignored his warnings.

Let’s hope he doesn’t have to. Get word to the Senate now.

Attorneys General in 11 States call on Congress to reverse Citizens United decision.

Yesterday, 11 state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress requesting a constitutional amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

This section of the letter gives the historic background that SCOTUS eliminated:

The case overturned elements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the “McCain-Feingold Act” or “BCRA”) pertaining to the corporate financing of electioneering communications in the run-up to primary and general elections. The Supreme Court ruled that these restrictions on corporate political spending violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections, thereby allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.
In effect, the Citizens United decision overturned a century of jurisprudence, dating back to the Tillman Act of 1907, which supported Congressional authority to restrict corporate political spending on federal elections. With respect to the BCRA, the decision directly overrules key provisions of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003), which upheld the BCRA provisions that prevented direct expenditures by corporate entities on electioneering communications. Importantly, Citizens United kept intact other critical rulings in McConnell regarding disclosure requirements. However, by its decision the Court gave corporations the same rights under the First Amendment as individuals, and thereby severely limited Congress’s power to regulate corporate political spending and invalidated bipartisan, democratically-enacted restrictions on corporate behavior.

Hopefully this brings a start to an action which will eventually eliminate the Super Pacs and bring our elections back to the majority voters.

Hopefully, this won’t become a political volley between Republicans and Democrats.

Hopefully.

How to let the Government know you want their hands off Social Security…

… which does not contribute to the budget deficit… in fact the Government owes Social Security the millions they have borrowed from it that they should not have.

If you want to weigh in, AARP (who have not been totally on our side to keep Social Security from being reduced…until the polls showed that this was not the position of their members) has a means of expression you should try:

For the past year, Washington has been discussing changes to Medicare and Social Security behind closed doors as part of a backroom budget deal. Throughout that debate, we heard from millions of members who said they’re tired of Washington playing politics with the benefits they’ve earned. That’s why we’ve launched ‘You’ve Earned A Say.’ We’re calling it that because Americans have earned their benefits by paying into Social Security and Medicare for years and they deserve to know what the politicians are talking about.

As AARP says on the site: Don’t let Washington decide the future of Medicare & Social Security without you.

Make sure you get your position covered.

Here’s something we can do to head off Fracking in West Virginia (and elsewhere)…

I received this e-mail today from  Josh Fox at Gasland. I hope you will read it and follow his suggestions.:

Dear Friends:

I want to call your attention to some critical news and ask you to quickly take action:

FIRST: USDA GATE!!!

BREAKING NEWS: USDA Reverses Itself and Exempts Rural Properties with Gas Drilling Leases from NEPA

ACTION:  Call President Obama and tell him:

“Please do not allow the USDA to exempt housing loans from a full NEPA review.”

White House Phone numbers:  202-456-1111 and 202-456-1414

Here’s the background and the reasons why you should call:

In a move that has angered hydrofracking opponents, the USDA did an about-face and reneged on earlier statements that its popular rural housing loans on properties with gas drilling leases would have to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and today authorized an Administrative Notice stating that rural housing loans would be excluded from NEPA.  On Monday, The New York Times had reported the USDA was planning on issuing an Administrative Notice to the opposite effect, telling staff that loans on properties with gas leases must undergo a full environmental review as required by NEPA before mortgage loans are made or guaranteed by the agency.

“The proposal by the Agriculture Department, which has signaled its intention in e-mails to Congress and landowners, reflects a growing concern that lending to owners of properties with drilling leases might violate the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA, which requires environmental reviews before federal money is spent,” the Times wrote.   The article quoted the program director for rural loans in the Agriculture Department’s New York office saying that, “We will no longer be financing homes with gas leases.”   “Approval of such leases would allow for a number of potential impacts to possibly occur which would need to be analyzed in a NEPA document that would be reviewed by the public for sufficiency,” another USDA official was quoted as saying.

See the full New York Times article HERE.

But in an email statement yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reversed those positions and said, “USDA will not make any policy changes related to rural housing loans…The information provided to Congressional offices on March 8, 2012 was premature and does not reflect past, current or future practices of the department.   Tomorrow, I will authorize an Administrative Notice reaffirming that rural housing loans are categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act.”

Friends, this is a very important development and one that we need to speak up about.  A full NEPA review, like the type the agency was talking about affirming, would have been more transparent, more rigorous and comprehensive.  USDA staff experts in the NY office as well as in DC made clear in emails that the law and the science require that mortgages with drilling leases shouldn’t be exempt from NEPA.   This 180-degress turn by Secretary Vilsack contradicts both science and law.

Excluding NEPA review of fracking’s environmental impacts is a significant move.  It means that environmental review of rural housing loans would be limited to the EPA‘s far less comprehensive national study of fracking, which is focused exclusively on drinking water and does not admit public comment.   Doing a NEPA analysis would have ensured that federal agencies issuing loans are complying with the law.  In fact, officials expressed concern the agency would be vulnerable to lawsuits if they didn’t conduct the NEPA reviews thoroughly enough.  But exempting rural housing loans from NEPA means that gas drilling leases will also be exempt from legal recourse and other basic public interest protections the law was meant to provide.  It also means that when property values drop precipitously due to contamination from gas drilling, sometimes to as low as 10% of their original value as we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, the American Taxpayer is going to be left holding the bag.   

Not only is this is unlawful, it’s just not right.

Call President Obama and tell him:

“Please do not allow the USDA to exempt housing loans from a full NEPA review.”

White House Phone numbers:  202-456-1111 and 202-456-1414

SECOND: EPA VINDICATES DIMOCK FAMILIES!!!

BREAKING NEWS: EPA confirms Dimock water is unsafe.  The Gasland team and I provided Pro-Publica with the unreleased water tests.  The families in Dimock, PA have high to explosive levels of methane as well as chemicals known to cause cancer and heavy metals that exceed the agency’s “trigger level” in their water wells.  The families have been vindicated.  Science triumphs over spin.

Please read the full Pro-Publica story HERE.

Thanks for taking action and being a part of a profound movement to stop fracking!

–Josh

The USDA seems to be in the pocket of the gas companies. It should be the representative organization of the American rural citizenship.

As Josh says: “Science triumphs over spin.”

Major Quote of the Day – Do you want to get out of Afghanistan?

 This amazing solution is from Father Tyme on BlondSense:
You want to end this thing? Send every proponent who thought or thinks this American Military/Political/Business crusade justifiable; every Congress person who voted for this travesty along with their entire family; every Right Wingunt; every Pseudo-patriotic NASCAR sucking holier-than-thou Evangelical Right Wingunt Mother’s son and daughter; every Ted Nugent-Victoria Jackson-Patricia Heaton-Kelsey Grammer-Megyn Kelly-Money grubbing Rush Hudson Limbaugh-Bill O’Reilly-Glen Beck cocksucking bird brained “Let’s you and him fight, but not me” advocate; every unemployed Joe the Plumber who salutes the flag but hates anything non white; every media owner, media personality and political hack; every pajama-clad envelope stuffing/bake sale College Republican Chickenhawk; every money-loving bishop, priest, pastor, reverend who intentionally misinterpret and mouth beliefs different from a true Xtian gawd’s will (and any of their following sheep who thinks their religious leaders saints); every Fatherland Security Employee; every CEO, investor and banker’s child…send them all over there right now with the same equipment and unprepared training assholes like Rumsfeld, Powell, Bush etc. and now Obama thought and still think was and is acceptable…send them all over there – to Democratize and Americanize those heathens; to convert those infidels to American Business Dogma; to allow Americans their inalienable ability to suck all the oil they can suck; to make America safe for rapists, thieves and especially for increased business profits. While we’re at it send their aged, infirmed and invalid, handicapped or otherwise physically and/or mentally challenged parents as well.
 
I’d give it two days! They’ll all be home!
Send this to your Congress folks and Senators… send it to your local papers…pass it on all over the net. Someone has to get this travesty stopped!

Is your food going to be sprayed with Agent Orange?

Right now, Dow‘s Agent Orange corn is being rubberstamped through the approval process at USDA. It has not been adequately tested for our health or safety, and it should not be approved. We have until February 27 to tell the USDA to reject Agent Orange corn. Tell the USDA not to approve this crop!

Big Ag is in an arms race with weeds. Most genetically engineered crops are made to withstand chemical weed killer (e.g., Roundup), but over time, weeds evolve to resist these chemicals.

This means that farmers have to apply stronger chemicals to kill the weeds, and the newest version of this is 2,4-D, a major component of Agent Orange. This is the same horrific chemical that destroyed wide swaths of jungle and killed hundreds of thousands of people during the Vietnam War.

If the USDA approves Dow’s Agent Orange corn, more dangerous chemicals will definitely be used on our crops, we’ll see new resistant weeds and people may get sick. Urge the USDA to reject Agent Orange corn!

Tell USDA — don’t approve Agent Orange corn:
http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9513

Monsanto Attempts to Lockout Socially Responsible Shareholder at Annual Meeting…

CLICK HERE

In the Organic Consumers Association blog, the report concerns Monsanto shareholder (and organic food activist) Adam Eidinger. A clip:

Eidinger, who organized last October’s a 100 person, 313 mile “Right2Know March” from New York City to the White House for federally mandated GMO food labeling says: “With the rise or Round-Up resistant ‘superweeds‘ the company is simply telling farmers to spray even more toxic herbicides including 2,4 D, the main ingredient in Agent Orange.

I urge you to go read the article and to contact your representatives about Monsanto poisoning (and hiding their actions concerning) our food.

Now I know petitions work…

… after 300,000 customers signed the petition that disapproves, The Bank of America has now cancelled the $5.00 monthly charge on debit card accounts. ‘Bout time. Waiting to see how things turned out Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust and Regions Financial have all pulled back on their plans.

“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”

- David Darnell, co-chief operating officer at Bank of America

So much for charging us to spend our own money.

 

Quote of the Day – Looks like the Occupy Movement will benefit Obama

“While people were pretty evenly split on whether the administration favors the middle class, the rich or the poor, they were all but unanimous about which class the Republicans favor; 69 percent said Republicans in Congress favor the rich, while just 9 percent said the middle class and 2 percent said the poor. That’s a significant perception problem for the GOP, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters — for whatever bad press they have created and will create due to the actions of some participants — are rallying support against the very class that the GOP is thought to favor.”

- Chris Cillizza, The Fix, Washington Post

I’m not sure the GOP cares… nothing else that has been said, polled, complained about or done has gotten them to listen to the Middle Class that they started to disable with Reagan. The day one of those turkeys comes out to Tax The Rich and gets the Republican Party behind him (or her) is the day the world will end.

Belief and politics

I read somewhere, very recently, that an acknowledged atheist in our society, no matter how qualified or politically necessary, can never be elected President. Damn… there go all my hopes for the future.

Perhaps the majority of voters think we need a god to keep the world at peace, or feed the hungry, or raise the poor from the economic miasma.

And what about giving us an edge on foreign religions? Hell, don’t they believe in the god as well?

And what about the conflict between religion and science? Don’t we need science for civilization to progress? And don’t we need to reinforce education, rather than lay off teachers,  to promote science?

And Math?

And the Arts?

It seems, though, that the fundamental beliefs of the atheist in human development and responsibility are meaningless when compared to the beliefs of the prayer-meeting politician.

I signed a petition this week to have “Under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. I’d sure like to see “in God We Trust” taken off our money. Neither is likely to happen.

I know the rich keep getting richer while the poor trust in a god to lift them up to a mythical “next life.” The don’t see that they are being used… kept in their place by that upper class.

Now, I CAN’T take advantage of the poor. I’m what’s called in NYC an “Ethical Humanist.” It doesn’t make me much of a political guy in West Virginia… but, at least, I can live with myself.

Mr. President: Take the New Deal off the Table…

OK…Now go HERE and sign the petition. I did.

Congress is back in session… don’t expect anything new.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

- Mark Twain

So now there is a reason to find the day’s comedy on C-Span and C-Span2 once more. Unfortunately, this is no longer comedy, but the essence of our national tragedy.

Tragedies have tragic figures, of course, who fall into the inescapable fissure of their own inabilities. The tragic figures here are not Democrats, not Republicans, not the President,

Mitch McConnell LEADS the Ranks of the Inverted

not Mitch McConnell, not John Boehner, and for heaven’s same not the Tea Party.

We are the Tragic Figures: Americans. Americans who no longer vote because they have  been alienated by one party or the other with the marketing assistance of Corporations and that 1% of the population that controls 80% of the money. Americans who hear politicians say “Put America First” and “Put Americans Back To Work” – yet cancel each other out on their own votes in Congress. Americans who are bought off without even knowing it… have been since Reagan… and who attack their own state of well being while they think they are standing strong.

The major point of tragedies is that they prove their point, but don’t end well. The Tragic Figure dies, or has eyes pulled out, or loses everything necessary to maintain life.

In a recent  Truthout article called “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult”, Mike Lofgren shows the strategy that Republicans use to carry us further into unending misery:

Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

“Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.”

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.”

…and, of course, the resulting action is that65% of Americans at a minimum no longer vote.

And that’s the real tragedy.

Support this blog with $5.00 or more and get “Bill’s Modern Diner,” a great image font, e-mailed to you immediately.

So many of you have been following this blog since 2004 that I feel like a member of a huge web community.

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Why I love (and support) Bernie Sanders…

As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington today, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. And he urged President Obama not to accommodate them again on the backs of working Americans, the poor and the Elderly. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 18,700 people by the time he completed his speech.

Sign the letter »

Want Single-Payer health Care? Move to Libby, Montana… but hold your breath

Max Baucus, U.S. Senator from Montana.

Max Baucus helped keep the rest of us from a Single-Payer system - my idea of a Democrat with Republican motives.

This article, reproduced here in full, is from Firedoglake. Read it and see why I don’t like Max Baucus:

How Libby, Montana, Got Medicare for All

By Kay Tillow

http://my.firedoglake.com

In 2009 when the Washington beltway was tied up with the health care reform tussle, Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the all powerful Senate Finance Committee, said everything was on the table–except for single payer. When doctors, nurses and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, Baucus had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, “We need more police.”

Yet when Senator Baucus needed a solution to a catastrophic health disaster in Libby, Montana, and surrounding Lincoln County, he turned to the nation’s single payer healthcare system, Medicare, to solve the problem.

Baucus’ problem was caused by a vermiculite mine that had spread deadly airborne asbestos killing hundreds and sickening thousands in Libby and northwest Montana. The W. R. Grace Company that owned the mine denied its connection to the massive levels of mesothelioma and asbestosis and dodged responsibility for this environmental and health disaster. When all law
suits and legal avenues failed, Baucus turned to our country’s single payer plan, Medicare.

The single payer plan that Baucus kept off the table is now very much on the table in Libby. Unknown to most of the public, Baucus inserted a section into the health reform bill that covers the suffering people of Libby, Montana, not just the former miners but the whole community—all covered by Medicare.

They don’t have to be 65 years old or more.
They don’t have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges.
No ten year roll out—it’s immediate.
They don’t have to purchase a plan—this is not a buy-in to Medicare—it’s
free.
They don’t have to be disabled for two years before they apply.
They don’t have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands.
They don’t have to meet income tests.
They don’t have to apply for a subsidy.
They don’t have to pay a fine for failure to buy insurance.
They don’t have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable.
They don’t have to hide their pre-existing conditions.
They don’t have to find a job that provides coverage.

Baucus inserted a clause in the Affordable Care Act to make special arrangements for them in Medicare, and he didn’t wait for any
Congressional Budget Office scoring to do it.

Less than two months after the passage of the health reform bill on March 23, 2010, Nancy Berryhill of the Social Security Administration in Denver joined personally in
setting up an office in Libby to sign up these newly eligible people.  “This is a new thing,” Berryhill told the Missoulian. “No other group like this has ever been selected to receive Medicare.” Berryhill issued a nationwide alert to inform anyone who had lived or stayed in Lincoln County of their eligibility. She opened a storefront in Libby at the old downtown city hall where she signed up 60 people on the first day. She plastered the towns of Whitefish and Eureka with pamphlets explaining the program and added three new staffers to the office in Kalispell.

Berryhill said she did not know how much the care would cost. That kind of analysis was beyond her directive to sign the people up. There have been no reports of competition from the private for-profit Medicare Advantage plans. The sick are not profitable.

No one should begrudge the people of Lincoln County. The mine wastes were used as soil additives, home insulation, and even spread on the running tracks at local schools. Miners brought the carcinogens home on their clothes. The W. R. Grace Company dumped much of the clean up costs onto the federal government. A June 17, 2009, order by the Environmental
Protection Agency, the first of its kind, declared Lincoln County a public health disaster. The Libby Medicare provision in the health reform law is based on the area covered by that EPA order.

Baucus gave his reasons to the New York Times for its only story on this unique benefit: “The People of Libby have been poisoned and have been dying for a decade. New residents continue to get sick all the time.  Public health tragedies like this could happen in any town in America. We need this type of mechanism to help people when they need it most.”

Health tragedies are happening in every town. Over 51 million have no insurance. Over 45,000 uninsured people die needlessly each year.  Employers are cutting coverage and dropping plans. States in economic crisis are slashing both Medicaid and their employees’ plans. Nothing in last year’s reform law will mitigate the skyrocketing costs. Most insurance is threadbare and doesn’t cover. More than 50% of us now go without necessary care. As Baucus said of Medicare, “We need this mechanism to help people when they need it most.” We all need it now.

Bill Clinton recently stated that the U. S. could give coverage to all for one trillion dollars a year less than we now pay if we adopted the system of any other advanced nation. (Unfortunately, he did not say this when it would have mattered most during the 1993 and 2009 health care reform debates.)

Other industrialized countries have found that to cover everyone for less they must remove the profit-making insurance companies. Congressman John Conyers has reintroduced HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which does exactly that. There are 60 cosponsors. It would cover all medically necessary care for everyone including dental and drugs by cutting out the 30% waste and profits caused by the private insurers.

So as the Ryan Republicans try to destroy Medicare and far too many Democrats use the deficit excuse to suggest cuts in its benefits, let us counter with the Libby prescription to clean up the whole mess. Only a single payer, improved Medicare for All, can save and protect Medicare, rein in the costs, and give us universal coverage.

Medicare will celebrate its 46th birthday on July 30, 2011, and all are invited to join in the festivities. Medicare was passed in 1965 and implemented within less than a year. When we pass HR 676, this single payer bill, we can all be enrolled in the twinkling of an eye.

So write and call your Reps and Senators and the President and tell them to get insurance companies out of healthcare and get us all on Medicare. We’ll save money (government AND the people), we’ll have a healthier nation, and we’ll join the rest of the civilized world in the 21st Century.

Let’s help stop Fracking, especially in WV…

CREDO put up a petition last night. I hope you will read it, then go there and sign…

Subject: Tell your Senator: Stop dangerous Fracking

Dear Friend,

Did you know that oil and gas companies are allowed to inject unchecked quantities of a secret, toxic fluid, directly into or drinking water – and that the EPA is currently powerless to do anything about it? 

High Pressure Hydrolic Fracturing (or Fracking) is a method of drilling for natural gas by pumping a mixture of water and toxic, cancer-causing chemicals deep underground. 

It’s already responsible for poisoning the groundwater in states across the country, but thanks to the work of Dick Cheney the EPA can’t currently regulate Fracking. 

I just signed a petition asking my Senator to co-sponsor the FRAC Act, which would allow the EPA to regulate Fracking. Please add your voice and help build the call to pass this vital bill to protect our drinking water: 

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/frac_act/?r_by=-2276645-vfzXZ7x&rc=paste1 

 

It only takes a minute… so please let the Congres know your feelingd.

Do cell phones cause brain cancer?

Here we go again. This time the question of whether mobile phones can give users brain cancer has come up once again from a group of international researchers that examined dozens of studies. They say the answer is maybe. From Portfolio.com:

Should you text rather than call?

A statement issued Tuesday from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says that mobile phones are “possibly carcinogenic,” and although the link between cell phones and cancer is “not clearly established” it also cannot be ruled out. Mobiles may be linked to a type of brain cancer called glioma, according to the research conducted by a group of 31 experts that have been meeting in Lyon, France, to review human evidence coming from epidemiological studies.

It’s worth noting that the WHO’s cancer researchers could have given mobile phones one of five scientific labels: carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic, not classifiable, or not carcinogenic, reports the BBC. Other “possibly carcinogenic” items, based on previous IARC research, include gasoline engine exhaust, lead, coffee, and dry cleaning.

If you missed this week’s Podcast, you can hear it at BlogTalk Radio…

Just go HERE.

We talked about Apple Computer‘s announcement of iCloud, the shortage of some generic medications in hospitals, the loss of memory with age, The loss of groundwater as seen from space by the GRACE project. and other things… If you sign in and listen, you can also add comments which will be available to all listeners, a list that grows every week.

btw: I’m getting a new cell phone, hopefully in the next week, which will improve the AWFUL sound quality of my current podcasts. And maybe I’ll have a music intro by next week.


– Bill

A petition worth signing… make sure everyone can vote, not just the friends of Republicans!

Stop Vote Suppression!

Now that they control a majority of statehouses across the nation, Republicans are attempting a bold power grab to disenfranchise voters and repeat the Florida election debacle of 2000.

Right now, states with Republican governors or new GOP majorities are ramming through bills designed to make it harder for people to vote.

They’ll stop at nothing to steal the Presidency.

We have to act now to stop these bills from becoming law. The Democratic Governors Association is the only organization devoted solely to electing Democratic governors who will veto any and all attempts to limit voter rights. Use the form at the right to stand with the DGA and demand that Republicans stop their politically-motivated attempts to suppress votes.

 

Go HERE.

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