My beloved governor

That nasty piece of work is trying to make life even harder for the poor. Yes, people who are deathly ill can wait until next week when the clinic on wheels will be here!

A state employees’ union and several Department of Health nurses and Democratic state lawmakers are suing Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration over a plan to close nearly half of the state’s 60 community health centers.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Commonwealth Court.

Department of Health officials say they can do a better job treating public health problems and reaching more people by making community health nurses more mobile. They say the centers have expensive leases and are underused by the public.

The lawsuit says the plan violates a 1996 law that requires legislative approval before closing any centers.

The union says 26 nurses will lose their jobs, while closing the centers runs the risk of slowing the detection or prevention of outbreaks of communicable diseases, particularly in rural areas.

Feed lot

That’s all we are to the corporations. Ralph Nader:

Many giant profitable U.S. corporations are increasingly abandoning America while draining it at the same time.

General Electric, for example, has paid no federal income taxes for a decade while becoming a net job exporter and fighting its hard-pressed workers who want collective bargaining through unions like the United Electrical Workers Union (UE). GE’s boss, Jeffrey Immelt, makes about $12,400 an hour on an 8-hour day, plus benefits and perks, presiding over this global corporate empire.

Telling by their behavior, these big companies think patriotism toward the country where they were created and prospered is for chumps. Their antennae point to places where taxes are very low, labor is wage slavery, independent unions are non-existent, governments have their hands out, and equal justice under the rule of law does not exist. China, for example, has fit that description for over 25 years.

Other than profiteering from selling Washington very expensive weapons of mass destruction, many multinational firms have little sense of true national security.

Did you know that about 80 percent of the ingredients in medicines Americans take now come from China and India where visits by FDA inspectors are infrequent and inadequate?
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“The Phillies lost tonight but at least they’re showing some signs of life.” — Local broadcaster.

On the FIRST DAY of the season. At least they don’t look dead yet.

Wales welfare cuts

When I read these stories, I think about Reverend Bacon’s “steam control” speech in “Bonfire of the Vanities.” Because when government refuses to provide at least some basics to make the lives of the poor tolerable, the steam builds up. And, as Bacon points out, have you ever seen what happens when a steam boiler is out of control?

Imagine: A 14% cut in your benefits if you have a spare room!

Changes to welfare and benefits will have a “destabilising, damaging and devastating impact on communities”, a Welsh government minister has claimed.

In a strong attack, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Huw Lewis accuses the UK government of “coming for ordinary Welsh people”.

He also claimed the coalition was setting out to “make the poor pay the most” for the banking crisis.

But the UK government says the changes are needed and are fair.

The Welfare Reform Bill is set to mark the biggest overhaul of the benefits system since the 1940s as it comes into force this month.

The government has also confirmed plans to implement a £50 immediate fine for “errors that could have reasonably been prevented” on benefit claims.

It also wants to impose tougher penalties for more serious benefit fraud.

But Mr Lewis claimed the UK government was “coming for ordinary Welsh people” and of setting out to “make the poor pay the most” for the banking crisis.

He said: “My concerns run very deep. The UK government’s programme of welfare reform as they call it to my mind isn’t about welfare reform at all.

“To my mind it’s about the remaking of social security in its entirety.

“They are recasting the relationship between the UK government and citizens, just when people need protection most of all in this economic downturn, they are stepping away from their responsibility to the most vulnerable in our society.”

H/t Ron K., who says, “If you can’t make the American system as good as Britain’s, make Britain’s as bad as America. ‘Cause the parasites need feeding no matter what.”

Oily liars

Charlie Pierce on the 84,000 gallons of tar sands oil that spilled in Arkansas last week:

The Arkansas spill was the second accident of the week and, regarding the first of them, a train wreck in northern Minnesota, the people running the railroad refused to say whether what spilled was tar-sands oil at all, and put out a statement on which local Minnesota environmental officials called bullpucky almost immediately.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, the country’s second-largest railroad, said the company was investigating the incident. CP Spokesman Ed Greenberg said only one 26,000-gallon tank car had ruptured, adding it was a mixed freight train carrying crude and other materials. The company did not comment as to what kind of crude the train was carrying. But Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesman Dan Olson said up to three tank cars were ruptured and an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 gallons – or 475 to 715 barrels – leaked out.

I’m sure Canadian Pacific is not trying to bury the words “tar sands” in regards to this spill so that TransCanada, the company that’s waiting to build the Keystone XL pipeline, wouldn’t find itself with some inconvenient headlines to which it might have to respond. I also believe in the practical benefits of sunbathing in Nunavit in the middle of February.

TransCanada is no different from Exxon, which is no different from Shell — which, as kindly Doc Maddow has been pointing out, is having the devil’s own time keeping track of its wandering oil rigs in the Chukchi Sea. It lied. It lies. It will lie again. (Also, as we always point out on this issue, there’s already one Keystone pipeline, and it’s already leaked all over the landscape.) That is what the president is being asked to invite into the country. Just so we’re all still clear — which, apparently, cannot be said any more of several rivers in Arkansas.

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