In one of my other lives I frequent ChoralNet, a site for performers and composers of choral [#37] music. The other day this popped up, under the title Economic Meltdown and it is so apropos for the action on Wall Street:
"Lives Torn Apart" by Julia Laylander (used by permission)
Walking a hard, empty road,
Bearing a terrible load.
Lost in confusion,
Wishing it were an illusion.
Where is the land where our dreams could come true?
What can an honest soul do to get through?
Lives torn apart by invisible men,
Leaving us starting all over again.
How do they think we will live? Read more about "Some things we cannot, we will not forgive"
Well, well, well. I was looking over my money situation and realized I hadn't seen my annual estimate of Social Security benefits that's been coming every July for years. Hmm, I wondered, did I throw it in the wrong pile? Or did the feds cunningly decide to terminate this service as one more step in the path leading the American people to believe that Social Security will not be there for us and there's nothing we can do about it?
You guessed it!
Googling for "social security annual statement" got me to this helpful page, where the gummint explains that
In light of the current budget situation, we have suspended issuing Social Security Statements.
The people of Appalachia are perhaps the only group in the US who may be routinely scorned and mocked with impunity. With their position as cultural buffoons and scapegoats comes relentless economic exploitation and environmental destruction.
From the Center for Constitutional Rights, a walk for labor rights and against mountaintop removal. I unfortunately can't get to Charleston; if anyone can go and report back, I'd love to hear about it here at Corrente: Read more about Solidarity: West Virginia
In a deregulated electricity supply state, like mine, there are companies claiming to supply electricity with a certain percentage guaranteed to come from wind or other renewable resources.
I'm willing to pay a premium for this, but only if it's really going to do some good. A little research suggests that what's really going on is the sale of RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates). Can anyone explain to me whether, if I sign up with one of these suppliers, my electricity use will then use less coal, natural gas, or whatever? Or point me to some reliable source of information? Read more about Common household remedy request: "green" electricity?
Something may be stirring in the usually apathetic part of the populace: instead of the typical low humor and cute pictures, here's a mass email from a normally apolitical buddy:
Wow! Talk about “tell it like it is”!
THIS SENIOR CITIZEN NAILED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alan Simpson, Senator from Wyoming , Co-Chair of Obama's deficit commission, calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation as he compared "Social Security" to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats. August, 2010.
Here's a response in a letter from a unknown fellow in Montana ... I think he is a little ticked off! He also tells it like it is !
Hey Alan………..let’s get a few things straight……….
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headline says it all: Gas drilling ok'd despite protests. But the details are interesting, in a horrible sort of way, and may serve to increase our motivation to get involved in local politics. To summarize:
March 30 2011: Energy US presents Avonworth Municipal Authority board Chairman Ed Gould with a five-year lease for drilling rights in the 119-acre ACORD Community Park. Read more about Local democracy in action
I don't know how I missed this one, but thanks to the local single payer leadership I just got a pointer to this NYT article from last December on the President's position on Marcellus Shale drilling in the soon-to-be-no-longer-beautiful Delaware River watershed: surprise, surprise, the administration supports drilling before the completion of a study of the potential effects on drinking water.
Here's the announcement, but I don't, unfortunately, see it at Conyers's own website. This time we're starting out with 25 cosponsors, including Pittsburgh's own Mike Doyle. The game's not over.
Vermont and California are making notable state-level efforts, too. However, Margaret Flowers says the Vermont proposal is not true single payer, as it would leave out those currently on Medicare or Medicaid. Read more about Medicare for all (HR 676) rises again
Here are the results of the shallowest possbile online research on Gene Sharp:
Amazon's page of Sharp titles, including Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential, From dictatorship to democracy: A conceptual framework for liberation, The politics of nonviolent action, Gandhi As a Political Strategist: With Essays on Ethics and Politics, and five more.
Four UCSF scientists sent a memo to the President's science advisor last April, explaining why the administration should do further testing before deploying the whole-body scanners.
The executive summary: Read more about Opting out of the full-body scan could save your life
From today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, local Democrats stand up to the gas-drilling industry. The city council just passed an ordinance (by a veto-proof majority) banning drilling in the city limits.
No council member offered words of support for the industry Tuesday. Council President Darlene Harris scoffed at the industry's assertions about job creation.
"There's going to be a lot of jobs for funeral homes and hospitals," Mrs. Harris said, referring to health concerns associated with gas production. "That's where the jobs are. Is it worth it?"
Now that's the kind of talk I (used to) expect from a Democrat! Read more about Jobs, jobs, jobs -- for funeral homes and hospitals
For the first time the Massachusetts Medical Society has asked doctors what they think about health reform in its annual “Physician Workforce Survey” of 1,000 practicing physicians in the state, and the results may strike some as surprising.
A plurality of the physician respondents, 34 percent, picked single-payer health reform as their preferred model of reform, followed by 32 percent who favored a private-public insurance mix with a public option buy-in. Seventeen percent voted for the pre-reform status quo, including the permissibility of insurers offering low-premium, high-deductible health plans.
Yes, I'm really happy that I don't have to vote for a Tea Party candidate in order to stick a thumb in the eye of Democrat Mike Doyle. I will get a certain satisfaction from touching the screen for Green Ed Bortz. (Not as much as from pulling the lever -- cachunk! -- on the old machines, never mind my total distrust of electronic digital voting machines.)
Yes, I know Doyle's chance of losing this seat is zero. That's why my vote is no more than a thumb in the eye.
The whole thing raises two questions:
First, why put in the effort to challenge a safe seat?
Second, if the answer is "in order to move the Overton Window to the left", why engage in boutique lefty image-making like this: Read more about Third party candidates: cut out the boutique politics already
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tucks away some peculiar comments from the oil and gas industry in an article ostensibly discussing the brave Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and its recent loss in the courts.
Right off the bat, the reporter tells us that the CEDLF has proposed an ordinance to ban drilling in the city of Pittsburgh (a no-brainer, one might think, but in fact it seems the state constitution doesn't permit such bans). Then there's a long exposition on their recent defeat in a lawsuit on behalf of the little town of Blaine ("We're right in the middle of the Marcellus gas thing," said Mr. Westfall. "You can't go out on the road anymore without getting run over by a big truck.") Read more about What a good idea! Flagmen where drilling is close to school bus stops!