Monday, September 30, 2013

Faux Outrage Over Obamacare

There's so much Bul&*%t going on right now in Washington, D.C. it's enough to make one want to call out a Hazmat team to scrub down the joint!

Most of those on the right loved the idea until Obama put their own brainchild into law. Republicans loved the idea of an "individual mandate", they just don't like it when Democrats succeed in bringing it into law.

Something they either were too lazy or inept to get done themselves.

Either that or they've swung so far to the right they can no longer see an image of their distant former selves because of all the loons in their party right now..

I attribute this current clamor over shutting down the government over Obamacare to ineptness. They've become so crippled by radicals within their own party, they can no longer legislate effectively.

I offer you the following..

Meet the Press May 15, 2011

Are you sure about that Newt?
Newt in 2008 on the Individual Mandate

Adjusted For Inflation 'Obamcare' does that!

Still not convinced Republicans once supported the 'individual mandate'?
     See: "25 Republicans Who Supported Obamacare Before Obama"


Rick Santorum-- The 2012 Republican Presidential debate...

The Morning Call (May 02, 1994 by Ann Wlazelek): Candidates Diverge On Health Care Remedies-- "Santorum and Watkins would require individuals to buy health insurance rather than forcing employers to pay for employee benefits..." (Joe Watkins was a Republican contender running against Santorum for U.S. Senate in 1994)

See this article published in the Morning Call on May 28, 1994-- " For several years, Santorum has promoted a Republican alternative. It would require workers to buy their own health insurance.."

Still not convinced the 'individual mandate' wasn't a idea borne in conservative ideology?

Uploaded on Oct 4, 2011
The Heritage Foundation Flip Flop on ObamaCare

The 'Tea Party' has so polluted the Republican party, it's no longer capable of functioning as a unit on the principles it once stood for. Unless conservatives reject the wingnuts within their party, they will remain incapable of legislating effectively. I urge the Republicans to reject 'Tea Party' members within. Why?

Because there is no such thing as a 'Tea Party'!

These radicals declaring themselves to be Republicans are anything but conservatives. They're using the Republican Party to run for office under their banner because the 'Tea Party' is incapable of organizing their own legitimate political party. The sooner Republicans figure out their being gamed, the better it will be for both them and this nation. Historically speaking, I respect the 'Grand Old Party'. What I don't respect is how they allowed themselves to become dupes for what should be a mediocre 3rd party.

I've voted for Republicans in the past. However, the party having allowed infiltration by these loons has demonstrated a lack of leadership and control up to this point. I strongly urge Republicans to take back their party. I want to be able to support them like I did in the past on issues with which I agree. But this whole idea of shutting down the government because of 10 or so radicalized Senate and House members is repellent.

It would be my fondest desire to see Republicans clean out this nest of vipers within. They should realign themselves to support the 'individual mandate' as they once did. Fix the things in 'Obamacare' that are weak or broken. Republicans should be trying to take credit for this instead of trying to sabotage the plan. They should be selling the voters on the idea that they were the original authors of this plan. It was they who were trying to help people rather then letting Democrats control the message. Give me back the party I was once had confidence in. Get rid of the rotten apples!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Inequality For All " (Film)

A new film produced by Jennifer Chaiken featuring Robert Reich.

Born in Scranton Pennsylvania Robert Reich served under Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Under the Clinton administration he was the Secretary of Labor from 1993 until 1997. A former professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Currently he is a well known author, political commentator and Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

In this video Robert Reich sat down with Bill Moyers to discuss this new film

As of September 28th, 2013 this film has not been scheduled to run in the Lehigh Valley area

Official Website for ' Inequality For All '
Roger Ebert's Review Of The Film
Movie Details @

According to 'The Bureau Of Labor Statistics': "In 2012, there were 3.6 million hourly paid workers in the United States with wages at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. These workers made up 4.7 percent of the 75.3 million workers age 16 and over who were paid at hourly rates.

In 2012, 6 percent of women who were paid hourly rates had wages at or below the prevailing federal minimum, compared with about 3 percent of men."

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Last Book Store Left In Allentown

I've got to admit I didn't know John Furphy's 'Another Story' bookstore still existed. Nor did I realize Allentown lost all these kind of single owner book stores and that's a damned shame!

There's two ways someone can help this guy out. He has setup a online site where people can donate. The second is stopping by his store at 524 N. 18th St. and purchasing a book or two. I'm sure the guy would prefer customers over having to ask for money.

I continually urge people to shop local from small business owners and try to do the same myself as much as possible. They need our help.

While your out in that neck of the woods also check out the events going on at the Agri~Plex at the Fairgrounds. Today there's a 'Children's Consignment Event' going on. It runs through Sunday. The place was packed this morning (Friday, Sept. 27, 2013). Families were lined up outside.

Also check out the open all year-round 'Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market'. Many of the prices can be half of what these items costs in a grocery store.

These are to name but two. The point is we need to support one another starting at the grassroots level. Over the past 30 or 40 years shoppers deserted Allentown in droves in favor of the large corporately owned malls and their big box stores. Look what we've become. It doesn't have to be this way.

What sets Greenwich Village, Chelsea and a few others apart from the Times Square crowd in New York City is the amount of support small shops receive by New Yorker's looking for a great meal for little costs. If your one of those chumps tourists that goes into New York and pays $7 for a steamed burger, it's time you took a downtown train. Around the 'times Square' area they cater to the rubes who don't know their way around beyond a few feet from the bus & train terminals where they came in. I wouldn't be surprised if these small downtown shops get the same number of tourists as Times Square (if not more). Times Square appears to packed because it's only a few blocks to either side. On the other hand these small quite neighborhoods are spread over miles of small streets and alleyways.

This is what I would like to see for Allentown. Sections of the city where small shops would group together. Each with their own separate characteristics With all that said, here is a video which features "Another Story"

'Another Story' on Facebook

Save Another Story---The Next Chapter
Another Story Used Books, founded in 1984, needs funding to retire it's debt and continue into the future. "My name is John Furphy and I am the owner of Another Story Used Books, the last and only full-line bookstore in the city of Allentown. The store was founded in 1984 in downtown Allentown, and I bought the store in 1997. A few years after the purchase the downtown started to have problems, with a perception of crime that changed to reality over the years.

Seven years ago Another Story opened for business in the West End Theater District, with its new location at 524 N. 18th St. A lack of funds prevented the store from properly advertising the move, and the store has not yet achieved the customer base it had while downtown.

For half the time that Another Story has been in this new location I drove taxi in the evenings to pay the bills, until an accident two years ago last April when I drove into a parked car near the end of the shift. Working 90 hours each week between the two jobs had nothing to do with it, and neither did the fact that people I knew were dying at the rate of several a month, no more than the passing of my father and the inheritance of the family home in the coal regions and the resultant emotional upheaval associated with that have any effect. Because of a head injury suffered in the accident a doctor had my license pulled. Apparently I am not as thick-headed as I thought. Last December I ran out of funds, and the store has survived since on the kindness of strangers and friends.

Another Story is an excellent used book store with an emphasis on the literary and scholarly but not limited to that. Several years past the Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olin Butler spent two days in the store while at the local college, and as he departed said the store had more depth and breath than many larger stores. Stores like this are needed, stores where books of old still live, stores that carry more than the flavor of the month. Another Story does not carry all books, it is a small store with about 20,000 volumes, but the selection is not bad, with over 40 separate sections. The other day a customer walked in and inquired about a book that covered Lenin's return by rail to Russia. Though not in stock, I told him the book was To The Finland Station by Wilson. Last week a customer came looking for Hemingway and I was able to tell him what was in stock without looking.

Through the years I have enjoyed guiding many younger customers in the world of literature. If the future of bookselling is relegated to online shopping these interactions will be lost, and this is one of the reasons that Another Story needs to survive. For those kind enough to contribute, the store has no physical perks to give, but for $20 I'll write you a bad, or maybe even a good poem. If your donation is three figures you will receive a short story or something close that is guaranteed to be full of painful puns and bad jokes. It's the best I can offer, aside from my profound thanks for helping save this store, and that is Another Story.
More Info can be found @ the 'My West End" blog.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cats Vs. Dogs

Your dog's reaction when you get home
Your cat's reaction when you get home

How a dog steals food
How a cat steals food

A dog's relationship with birds

A cat's relationship with birds

Dog's reaction to a walk

Cat's reaction to a walk !

Climate Change-- Sea Levels Rising

The makers' of the video below support the view that climate change is manmade. I'm not going to argue whether it is man made or not. What is important, it's a indisputable measurable fact that indeed ocean waters are rising.

Should we disallow rebuilding along the shorelines once an area gets wiped out?
Should we further disincentivize these areas by not offering flood insurance?
Should we make it impractical (too expensive) to build along flood prone beaches?

Sea Level Rise: A Slow-Motion Disaster

The Center For American Progress

Anyone who visits the Jersey shore can witness for themselves what has occurred over the years. You could almost count the streets like a rings in a tree trunk. The newer homes are now blocking the view once had by older homes which were somewhat safer further back from the ocean. In many shore communities you could estimate a home's age and value by the number of blocks from the beach. In some communities I figure a safe bet would be about 10-15 years for every block they are from the beach.

If we are going to allow people to build recklessly I say let them assume the risks if they voluntarily choose to build within a certain zone too close to the shoreline. Require of them an up front interest bearing locked box containing the funds necessary to cleanup their mess if their house or business ends up on a dump. Let them pay for the required utilities themselves also.

90% of the people coming to the shore are visitors. It seems to me those 90% (who don't live there) shouldn't be taxed through their federal and state dollars offering incentives that encourage risky development. Someone who came many miles to visit the beach I'm sure won't mind taking a shuttle bus/tram the last few blocks.

I like boardwalks as much as everyone else. I can see having those for tourists. I can understand the rebuilding of them through state and federal aide. What I cannot understand is why it is expected of taxpayers to guarantee homeowners or the hotel/motel investors be made whole if they chose to build in certain high risk areas along the immediate shoreline.

Now that we have concrete data that supports the fact the oceans are rising, it has become foolish to build, rebuild again and again. This is repeating the same mistakes over and over expecting this won't happen yet again.

Kinda' stupid don't ya' think?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Obamacare Premiums For Pennsylvanians

The numbers are in for what the premiums will cost Pennsylvanian's to purchase health insurance on Pennsylvania's exchange.

According to this article published in 'The Morning Call', "A 27-year-old Pennsylvanian will pay on average $187 a month for a mid-level plan. A family of four will pay $675, according to estimates. Tax credits will lower the costs for some... early estimates show premium costs will be 16 percent lower than previously projected by the independent Congressional Budget Office... Pennsylvanians will have 56 plans to choose from"

The current 'Plan A' by the Republicans in congress is to block funding for it. If that should fail, 'Plan B' will be an attempt to delay it for one year. All of this makes me wonder if delaying it wasn't the main goal in the first place. Are Republicans counting on Obama crumbling, like he has done in the past, trying reach a compromise bill?

Perhaps they are counting on this strategy to accomplish two things. (1) Delay it before people find out it will actually cost less then what they're now paying. (2) Push it back hoping Republicans can gain enough seats in congress during the 2014 elections so they can dismantle it.

What remains to be seen in this political drama is whether Obama will compromise himself again or whether he will stand his ground this time.

Who will blink first?
Will neither side?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Long Term Goals Of The Texas Republican Party

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): "In a Senate floor speech, Sanders detailed a Republican to-do list that ranges from abolishing Social Security, privatizing VA health care, getting rid of the EPA, junking the minimum wage and more. Those and other proposals, the senator said, are detailed in the Texas Republican Party platform."

The Lone Star Strategy

If you believe that Bernie is FOS.. READ IT FOR YOURSELF!
2012 Republican Party Of Texas Platform

I can't believe Texas voters put these kind of wingnuts in Washington, DC. If Texas wants to secede, I say, let's not wait. Give them their own damned country. Then cut them off from the United States entirely. Let every disgruntled American citizen who thinks like them go there. No more aide. No more Social Security. No more anything.. even if Mexico invades them! I've had it with these A**holes.

Pennsylvania Flushes $1.5B Down The Drain

According to Slots players sent $1.5 billion to Pa.'s horse racing industry over the last six years. "... many of the recipients of the horse-race subsidy are out-of-state multimillionaires. Some are billionaires several times over."

This while (to name a few)...* Pennsylvania is spending less on students than it did in 2008.

* Pa. reduced funding for four straight years for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

* Pa. cut funds (2009-2010) to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by $60.6 million (67%).

* The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will be forced spend $500 million less on our highways in 2014 (The state House failed to enact a Senate-passed measure).

I could think of a couple of other ways the $1,500,000,000 could have been better spent. This could have been used to offset property taxes for individuals stuck on a low fixed incomes (disabled, retired). It could have gone towards paying down the money the state already borrowed. As of March 1, 2013 Pennsylvania owed $8.8b in outstanding debt from money already borrowed.

Just about anything would be better then picking the pockets of one segment of the gambling industry to help prop up the other. This would be like charging the beer drinkers 18% more and giving it away to wine and hard liquor producers. If Pennsylvania is going to pick someone's pocket shouldn't' it be used to help offset the costs of government?

Pennsylvania racing industry fights — again — to retain full share of slots revenues

Monday, September 23, 2013

Obamacare Info (Current As Of 9/23/3013)

The following information are copy/paste highlights from various pages which can be found @ Obama Care Much more information is available online. I urge people to visit that site for complete and up to date information. What I presented here are only a few of the more significant parts I thought might prove useful to get someone started.

The Health Insurance Marketplace Opens Oct 1st, 2013 and closes March 31st, 2014. Insurance purchased on the exchange doesn't kick in until 2014.

Americans earning below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level may be eligible for cost assistance.

If you qualify for Medicaid, have insurance through work, are a large firm or are illegal or incarcerated you cannot use the exchanges to purchase health insurance (other limitations may apply).

Regardless of what tier of plan you purchase all plans must cover:
1. Ambulatory patient services
2. Emergency services
3. Hospitalization
4. Maternity and newborn care
5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
6. Prescription drugs
7. Rehabilitative and rehabilitative services and devices
8. Laboratory services
9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Most Americans must obtain qualifying health coverage by January 1st, 2014, get an exemption or pay a fee for every month they are without "minimum essential coverage". The fee is paid on your federal income tax return. This fee is commonly referred to as an Individual Mandate and is part of the shared responsibility provision.

The penalty will be applied to your taxable income and will be 1% to 2.5% of your taxable income or a set amount, whichever is greater. Your tax penalty for not having insurance is paid on your taxes at the end of the year.2014 = $95 per person per year or 1% of your Income
2015 = $325 per person per year or 2% of your Income
2016 = $695 per person per year or 2.5% of your Income
2017 = Tax Penalty will increase by the rate of inflation going forward, or 2.5% of your Income
The total penalty for the taxable year cannot exceed the national average of the annual premiums of a bronze-level health insurance plan offered through the health insurance marketplaces.

Those who have insurance through work obviously have nothing to worry about when it comes to the tax penalty. Those on Medicare or Medicaid will also be exempt. Aside from this Americans below the 133% FPL threshold will be exempt as well. Overall around 26 million Americans will be exempt from the tax penalty.

Several groups are exempt from the requirement to obtain coverage or pay the penalty, including:
• People who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income for health insurance
• People with incomes below the threshold required for filing taxes (in 2012, $9,750 for a single person and $27,100 for a married couple with two children)
• People who qualify for religious exemptions
• Undocumented immigrants
• People who are incarcerated
• Members of Native American tribes

Families who fall between 139% and 400% FPL will be eligible, although those making more will get considerably less cost assistance. Subsidies are given as refundable tax credits.

Specific plans and prices will be available on October 1, 2013,
when Marketplace open enrollment begins

Premiums will vary from state to state..
The Kaiser Family Foundation Report (Sept. 2013)--
"An Early Look at Premiums and Insurer Participation in Health Insurance Marketplaces, 2014"

Ducks In Heaven

Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, 'We only have one rule here in heaven, ‘Don't step on the ducks'

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place.

It is almost impossible to avoid stepping on one and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one. Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw. Without comment, St. Peter chains them together and says, 'Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!' He walks away.

The next day, the second woman steps accidentally on a duck. Along comes St. Peter who doesn't miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as the first woman received.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps.

She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St.Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on. Very tall, long eyelashes, muscular.

St. Peter chains them together without saying a word and leaves them.

The happy woman says, 'I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all eternity?'

The guy says, 'I don't know about you, but I stepped on a Duck!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Taxed Enough Already


Today's federal personal tax rates are the lowest they've ever been since 1934.

Is it any wonder why the government can no longer afford to fund social programs or the ability to reduce deficit spending which is leading us further away from reducing our national debts? You don't like planned parenthood.. defund it!
You don't like 'Obamacare'.. defund it!
You don't like food stamps.. defund them!
You don't like Medicare.. defund it!
You don't like unemployment benefits.. defund them!
You don't like supplemental housing assistance.. defund it!
The truth of the matter is if the 'Tea Party' had their way they'd starve the U.S. Treasury of anything that stands between them and their goals.

The problem isn't that we spend too much. The problem is there are some extremists in congress that will never be content until they shrink the United States government down to the size of a walnut.

The reason why things buzzed right along for the baby boomers was because they were willing to help pay for things. Something the Tea Party in their ignorance are unwilling to do. When today's 'baby boomers' were in their early 30's, around 1981, the top marginal tax rate 50% (although taxes on earnings from dividends & interests was 60%). Corporate taxes were near 50%. Even those tax rates being what they were, the middle income 'boomers' were still able to afford a relatively comfortable life. Since then federal tax rates have taken a nose dive. Is it any wonder then that the United States finds itself in a pickle?

The far right Tea Party activist in the U.S. Congress are attempting to undermine the previous programs that have served us well through the years by kicking the legs out from under them rather then help pay for them.

If the government is properly funded, there's money available to enforce against fraud/waste so that programs vital and necessary can run efficiently. Over the last few years funds for enforcement against fraud and waste have been gutted by those opposed to them. This enables those against these various programs to rail about how government has become wasteful and inefficient.

Well yeah! When you cut off funding that allows for oversight of these programs that is exactly what will happen (and they know it too).

It doesn't take a financial genius to understand what this bunch is up to. Take away the necessary nutrients which nourish a plant and it will whither and die. It wasn't that the plant wasn't healthy. It wasn't that the plant hadn't made life a bit more pleasant for others. It's was guilty of nothing other then it's continued existence in the same yard of those who would just as soon trample it to death because they don't want to help care for it in their self-centeredness.

If the so-called leaders in Washington, DC continue down this path, the United States could find itself withering until little remains of it's former selflessness that once was the envy to the rest of the world.

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist..."
~ ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ~ ~
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator

R U Infected With The W.O.R.K. Virus?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Example Of Overpaid Government Workers?

The Art Of Distraction--
Pointing a finger in another direction so people won't see what your doing spending.

In 2012 it cost taxpayers an estimated $1.26 billion to fund the 435 members in House Of Representatives and another $931 million for the 100 Senators.

As of July 31st, 2013 there were only 15 legislative bills Congress passed in this session.
If we spent nearly this same amount this year this will come to $146,066,667 per bill

Misc. Salary BreakdownsHouse of Representatives$223,500 per annum: Speaker of the House
$193,400 per annum: Majority and Minority Leaders
$172,500 per annum: Chief Administrative Officer, Clerk of the House, Sergeant at Arms, Legislative Counsel, Law Revision Counsel, Parliamentarian, Inspector General, Director Interparliamentary, General Counsel to House, Chaplain

Senate$193,400 per annum: President pro tempore ($230,700 per annum if the position of Vice President is vacant), Majority and Minority Leaders
$172,500 per anum: Secretary of the Senate, Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, Legislative Counsel, Senate Legal Counsel
$171,315 per annum: Parliamentarian
$155,500 per anum: Chaplain $155,500

Someone please explain to me why Republicans in the House are so hell bent on taking away the same health insurance benefits they enjoy?According to South Carolina's Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan , "Members of Congress participate in the same health insurance system that all federal employees use. It consists of several private insurance companies competing to be federal employees’ insurance provider. Members of Congress pay part of the premium each month, which varies based on which plan is chosen." This sounds an awful like the insurance exchanges set up by 'Obamacare' to me.
Someone please explain to me why Congress members on both sides of the aisle are hell bent on reducing Social Security benefits?According to the August 2013 senate report as of October last year 312 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $71,472. A member with Service Under Both CSRS and FERS who spent 32 years in congress could retire with a pension of $89,610 according to this same report.

According to this senate report, "By law, the starting amount of a member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary." This works out to be a pension cap of $139,200. Currently Social Security is capped at $30,396 no matter how long or how much a worker earned. That's over 78% less then what a member of congress could receive!

We're constantly hearing about how government workers are overpaid and how ordinary citizens are leaching on the government's teat. Perhaps congress should start looking in their own back yard.

When someone receives food stamps they're a mooch, but when members of congress receive subsidized meals in the legislative diningrooms or reimbursed it's A-OK isn't it?

How many of us have access to a free gym, free haircuts, free travel, or a free hotel room that come with our jobs?

Congressional members' current salaries ($174,000) are higher then what 97% of the rest of the country earns (without accounting for their perks).

Published on Mar 15, 2013

Apparently what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander.
I suppose when it's your football, you get to make the rules.

Reference Sources:
      Congressional Salaries and Allowances @
      The Los Vegas Sun (newspaper)
      Congress: Living High on the Backs of Taxpayers (The Fiscal Times)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lehigh County Election Board Sued Over Clean Air Proposal

For those with ADD-- Skip to the 'IN SUMMARY' at the bottom

This concerns the experimental sludge incinerator currently being built in Allentown. WFMZ Reporter Randy Kraft reports, the county election board is being sued over disallowing a public referendum to appear on this November's ballot concerning their clean air proposal.

From what I gather the county's position is if this were to be passed by voters it would end up in court because they feel it supersedes the city's and county's authority over that of Pennsylvania's EPA statutes.

As I further understand this, the position of the group suing is whether this is legal or not, the election board's responsibility is solely to determine whether all the ballot requirements were met. The group feels they met all of Allentown's city ordinance requirements. The question remains did Lehigh County's election board exceeded it's authority when they ruled against it based on legal opinion as to whether it superseded state and/or the federal governments authority (which would take precedence) ?

That said, the ballot question the group proposed has three main components. (1) Require continuous monitoring. (2) Require that this continuous monitoring be streamed live to the public. (3) Limit emissions to the same as required of those who use natural gas.

In Regards To: (1) Require continuous monitoring
This is a given already. Both Pennsylvania & the federal EPA already require the continuous monitoring of municipal waste incinerators.§ 129.18. Municipal waste incinerators(a) The conditions of this section apply to municipal waste incinerators.

(b) The Department may require continuous monitoring for chemical species or process parameters which may include:...
Another Pennsylvania statute states..§ 139.111. Waste incinerator monitoring requirements.
This section applies to monitoring systems installed on municipal and hospital waste incinerators.(1) Carbon monoxide, combustion efficiency and temperature monitoring systems shall meet the following minimum data availability requirements:

(i) One hundred percent of the data hours shall be valid hours as set forth in the quality assurance section of the manual referenced in § 139.102(3) (relating to references).

(ii) At least 90% of the data required to be collected each hour shall be valid data as set forth in the quality assurance section of the manual referenced in § 139.102(3).
The United States EPA requires continuous monitoring also. 40 CFR Part 60
Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Sewage Sludge Incineration Units; Final RuleE. What are the other requirements for new and existing SSI units?
Owners or operators of new or existing SSI units are required to submit a monitoring plan for any continuous monitoring system....

F. What are the recordkeeping and reporting requirements?
Records of the initial and all subsequent stack or PS tests, deviation reports, operating parameter data, continuous monitoring data, maintenance and inspections of the air pollution control devices.
The United States EPA put out this brochure providing guidance for the continuous monitoring of Sludge incinerators.

In Regards To: (2) Require that this continuous monitoring be streamed live to the public.
Neither Pennsylvania nor United States EPAs require the public be provided LIVE streaming information. However they do require LIVE information to be made available to them. Under normal conditions operators need only file quarterly the information required. Although operators are required to monitor continuously, there are no requirements to provide the public with the data. From what I gather the public would have to file a RTK with the appropriate agency to obtain that data.

So (2) is an iffy. It may or may not hold up under current law.

In Regards To: (3) Limit emissions to the same as required of those who use natural gas.
The EPA has never regulated SSI units under section 129 of the CAA. However "The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to develop and adopt NSPS and EG for solid waste incineration units including SSI." The EPE also states "Units incinerating sewage sludge at other types of facilities (e.g. commercial, industrial, and institutional) will be covered under different air pollution incineration standards."
~~ Technical details on each can be found here ~~

Realistically there's no way on God's green Earth any incinerator or any of the various electrical power plants will meet the same standards as those using natural gas.

Both Pennsylvania and the federal EPA require that this future incinerator's emissions be (1) Continuously monitored. Neither of the authorities presently require (2) the data be streamed lived to the public. There's absolutely no way known to science to burn fuel (3) that will be as clean burning natural gas. It's simply technologically impossible. Think about what gets flushed into the sewers. Pharmaceuticals, food from disposers, and cleaning products to name a few.

Regarding this ballot initiative: (1) Continuous monitoring is a given. (2) Streaming LIVE information is a possible, but that would have to be taken up with the state and federal agencies. (3) Matching the purity of spent natural gas is unrealistic. So most likely two out of three would get tossed in court.

I will say this. If the incinerator operator wanted to be a good neighbor he could allay the public's concerns and stream the emissions data voluntarily. There is nothing stopping him from doing so.

I think the larger consideration here is why there were no provisions written into the city ordnance requiring legal review before a group's ballot proposal could move forward? The other question is why this group wasn't notified well in advance of the council's concerns? Why wait till the last possible day before the city sent it to county? Why didn't council work WITH this group ironing all this out before granting approval quickly for the incinerator before addressing everyone's concerns?

If this group does fail in it's mission to get this on the ballot it doesn't mean they've lost. It just becomes much more difficult. There's nothing preventing them from convincing a member of congress either at the state or federal level to introduce legislation.

If all else fails this group can still keep an eye on things by requesting all the continuous monitoring data through the RTK. Granted things could become a lot more difficult and time consuming if they were to regroup their efforts by creating a watch dog committee, but it's doable. This committee could then put pressure on EPA officials and members of council who might otherwise neglect to thoroughly review the future monitoring data.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Income Gap Largest In A Century!

The LA Times reported on September 11, 2013-- "The income gap between rich and poor is biggest in a century."

I measure things differently. Inequity is not in how much money one earns, but rather what one person's time is worth compared to another's. After all, in the end, isn't that what this all about? It's not how many dollars one makes, but how much time it takes to afford a house, a car or pay for their college education. There's only so many years we are allotted on this Earth. For one worker it can take many years to afford what another can in a week. This is the real inequity. Some may even say it's an injustice.

It will never be acceptable for me that one person should spend their entire time on this Earth without ever the hope of earning what another can in just one month. No society can continue with such a disparity. No human's time is worth 3,116x's over that of another. I didn't pull that number out of my hat either! I did some ciphering. Here's what I came up with...
The average yearly Social Security in 2013 is $15,228
(about the same as minimum wage)

As you see from one of the samples I used in tables above the highest earnings ratio is 3,116 to 1. In other words it would take over 3,116 of the lowest full time wage earners to match what Judge Judy receives!

I'm certainly not advocating socialism by any means, but neither can capitalism be allowed to run amuck unchecked. Would there be anything so wrong with someone limiting their earnings to a multiple of their lowest paid worker? Why can't we all share in this nation's wealth? Don't even try telling me that someone's labor is worth 3,116 more then the next person and that other person deserves this kind of reward.

We all have a part to play in making this system work. Surely a miner, food server or a factory laborer earning their living by the sweat of their brow deserves more them a measly 1 / 3,116th of the pie. This isn't about envy of the rich. It's about respecting those that toil beneath us to keep this nation afloat. If the day should come that they should get so discouraged as to give up, I hate to think where we all will be (including the wealthy). Perhaps that day may not be as far away as we wish. Many have already.

There may be no way we can fix this through legislation nor though labor uniting. But the day will come either voluntarily or of it's own accord because people will have had their fill. This is not a threat. Rather these numbers should serve as a warning. History bears witness that no nation can remain strong and united if it's peoples lose hope and feel they no longer share a portion of it's wealth.

In this physical life a person's worth is not measured in ethics and morality alone. Ethics and morality alone won't put food on the table nor a roof over one's head. Unfortunately with desperate people who are economically disadvantaged these are the first to go. And that's what we're beginning to see play out.

Those are my conclusions after taking a look into this with those examples cited above. I also conclude this won't go away on it's own by ignoring this problem. I wish it were so.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Syria: What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

Is this why went into Iraq?
(To get them back so we could cover our asses?)
How'd that work out?

Where'd they go?
Could it be... !

According to a CNN report filed by Jake Tapper on August 1, 2013, "Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels."

CNN further reported on September 7, 2013, "A potent stash of Russian-made surface-to-air missiles is missing from a huge Tripoli weapons warehouse amid reports of weapons looting across war-torn Libya." Two questions come to mind. Where these the same Russian made missiles (mentioned in the above video) that UN inspectors found? Could they have been used by the insurgents in Syria to launch chemical attacks?

Perhaps indeed this just may be the case. According to the UN report just released on Monday, September 16, 2013, "The team, led by Swedish scientist Dr. Åke Sellström, also concludes in particular that the environmental, chemical and medical samples collected provide “clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-air rockets containing the nerve agent Sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah, and Zamalka, in the Ghouta area of Damascus."

What if... just what if..-Syrian rebels got their hands on missiles from Libya?
-Saddam Hussein shipped these chemical weapons off to Syria before the U.S. led invasion?
-When Syrian rebels seized Assad's northern air base on the border with Turkey on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 they came across canisters of toxic chemicals stored there?
Could this explain why Syria is now in the United States' crosshairs?
Could this explain brouhaha in congress over Benghazi
Could this then explain why expanding the war after 9/11 into Iraq was so important?

If any of this were to turn out to be the case...
Could you imagine the repressions from military soldiers who served in Iraq and their families?
Could you imagine what this would mean for the Republican Party?
Could you imagine how our standing in the world would be affected if it were found we had our fingerprints all over this?

Perhaps none of these are the actual facts of what transpired. I certainly have no way of knowing. This does seem to fill in some of the missing pieces. On the other hand appearances can be deceiving if events are taken out of context. All this may be circumstantial hogwash. A product of an over active imagination that would serve only to provide script for another phony historically based fictional Hollywood movie.

But What If.. Just What If?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Problem In The Middle East Is...

This video comes via my distant blogging buddy Steve Schalchlin and the song he wrote.

"This song (in rehearsal) is the centerpiece number from "New World Waking!" and it features Piper Laurie reading the text, with music by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Music & lyrics by Steve Schalchlin. Arranged and orchestrated by Dr. Kathleen C. McGuire. Dec. 1, 2008.

"Holy Dirt"

Steve Performing his song (September 2008 L.A.)

Steve's Blog "Living In The Bonus Round"

And so the ignorance & hatred continues..
A FOX NEWS RADIO host complained about the new Miss America saying she doesn't demonstrate "American values”. What followed shortly after her crowning can serve no finer example of ignorance then what some people posted on Twitter. One of them tweeted,
"Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must’ve made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote".
Nina Davuluri of New York is of East Indian descent.
She is neither of Arab descent nor a Muslim.

This stems from the same kind ignorance that assumes a Sikh from East India wearing a turban is the same kind that Osama bin Laden wore.

Turbans are worn in 10 areas of the world. Each differing in the
way men wrap them signifying their particular religious belief.

Thank goodness the founders of the United States had the intuitive foresight to insist (in writing) that there be a separation of government from religion. Thank goodness they thoroughly studied history before forming our government based on the tenets of religion. Had they done so it would have been a disaster in the making.

If there's anything that can be said positive, about these ignorant fools, it is that their words solidify the argument against ever moving this nation towards basing it on any of the religions.

Even if we did, which one?
Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Scientology, 100's of Chinese folk religions, Latter Day Saints or one of the other 100's of beliefs?

"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."
~James Madison~

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."


Wikipedia: Atheism

I must admit up until a few days ago I didn't think much about this.

Briefly stated my own personal belief is there exist an intelligent self aware force that is indifferent to man's follies.

That being said, irregardless of my or someone else's predilection one way or the other it can be argued..

An atheist appreciates life more then a non-atheist--
* Since the belief is you get only one shot and there is no life afterwards it's important to stay out of trouble. A religious person who runs afoul of the law and ends up behind prison bars for the rest of their life envisions a day will come whereupon they will be freed upon death. An atheist, on the other hand would have spent his/hers precious allotted time on this Earth with no hope of freedom before the lights go out forever. Therefore it is less likely atheists are so inclined to put themselves in that position.

* It then follows atheists, believing they've been allotted 70 or 80 years of existence (at best) are less inclined to avoid participating in deadly violence, encourage wars, drive like a maniac or any number of negative things that could end up snuffing out their life.

An atheist lacks religious entanglements--* Ponder for a moment if there were no religious beliefs in the middle east. All of the troubles there would vanish. This warring between nations has been going for tens of thousands of years right up until this present day.

* The same goes for most of the hatred we find between people. Edicts among the various religions call for the punishments and exclusions of gays, women or just about everyone and everything that someone else does that does not conform to a particular faith.

* Religions preach of inclusion and forgiveness, yet that is seldom the case in the real world. We quarrel over attire and what is taught in school. Worldly governments deal with moral and ethical issues on both their own people and the rest of the world meting out justice each seem fit mostly based on their own religion's tenets. There are a whole host of other issues far too numerous to list here. It can be said most of these issues atheists have little to no motivation for getting drawn in.

Am I calling for the abolishment of religion or faith in God?
Not at all. However I would recomend every believer consider the following before getting into a conflict. All the religions believe in some form of a great evil doer. Satan, if you will. Now if I were Satan I could find no greater place to hide then where few would seek to look or dare question. The place I would mask myself in hiding would be within religion.

Satan (if there is such) exploits human weaknesses in a multitude of ways. There's nothing holy about killing in any manner what-so-ever. There's no such thing as a holy war, period! Look deep enough behind the beatings of one another in anger and it is there that you will see this evil spirit. More simply put, where there is conflict, you can bet your bottom dollar, a malevolent spirit is behind it.

Whether someone does or doesn't believe in a omnipresent all powerful being, indifference should be the order of the day. It seems to me those who claim to have religion place little to no actual trust or faith when it comes right down to God handling things. I mean after all, here is the almightily God who created all of the heavens, Earth, all the creatures, each and every human being (good or evil in man's eyes). If he can do all of that I would think it a small matter to strike down any person or a nation, if he was so inclined. Does anyone truly believe a great being such as this would need help? Rather presumptuous of humankind don't you think (to say the least).

I'll wrap this up tying into what I said at the beginning. My belief is whoever/whatever the creator is, this life-force is immune to death, pain or any physical limitations. From that vantage point this entity is unaffected by any of man's foolishness.

This life-force cares little to intervene in man's affairs for one of two reasons. (1) Either mankind will one day join in spirit with him/her/it. All this illusionary death, pain and suffering nonsense is transitory. (2) Or when your gone your gone. God isn't affected nor concerned therefore doesn't give a crap. In either case mankind is acting pretty damned idiotic inflicting needless suffering and death upon one another. Aren't there enough things to die and suffer from already, like disease or natural disasters?

In the nutshell... atheists aren't God's enemy. They can't take away or add to what is or isn't.

Playing For Change