Holy Tom

If only Holy Tom Corbett was as concerned about the people going without food or the school district that’s cutting all “frills” like school nurses and libraries. But he’s a Republican!

HARRISBURG — Women in Pennsylvania will have the right to choose insurance through the state health exchange, but it won’t extend to abortion.

The state Senate on Wednesday voted 31-19 to approve House Bill 818, which prohibits insurance policies offered through Pennsylvania’s upcoming health-care insurance exchanges from offering abortion coverage. The bill, which already passed in the House, goes to Gov.Corbett.

Christine Cronkright, a spokeswoman for Corbett, said the governor will sign the bill.

In an email, Cronkright said the bill would not “place any greater restrictions” on access-to-care for abortion. Abortions will still be allowed in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is at risk.

However, the ban also extends to plans sold by private insurers issued without federal subsidy.

There’s that small-government, market-friendly GOP for ya!

Via DUI attorney Karin Porter.

Words that can trigger Big Brother…

This really made me shake my head.

Homeland Security released a list of words that, if used in Social Media, make  result in the monitoring of social media activity for terrorist tendencies or threats against the country.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as ‘attack’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘dirty bomb’ alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like ‘pork’, ‘cloud’, ‘team’ and ‘Mexico’.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The list has been posted online by the Electronic Privacy Information Center – a privacy watchdog group who filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act before suing to obtain the release of the documents.

In a letter to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, the centre described the choice of words as ‘broad, vague and ambiguous’

These “keywords” are categorized by types of threat such as domestic security, HAZMAT, health threats, infrastructure, Southwest border violence, terrorism and weather and related disasters. Here are some words/phrases I thought were strange: recovery, leak, wave, sick, electric, the name of almost every major border town in Mexico, aid.

A senior Homeland Security official who spoke to The Huffington Post on Friday on condition of anonymity said the testimony of agency officials last week remains “accurate” and the manual “is a starting point, not the endgame” in maintaining situational awareness of natural and man-made threats. The official denied Electronic Privacy Information Center’s charge that the government is monitoring dissent.

Oh, guess that’s why I did not see the phrase “impending Civil War.”

Why I heart Daylin Leach

Here are Senator Daylin Leach’s remarks on the Vance Amendment to HB818. This is why I really, really want to see him elected to Congress:

I rise to indicate that I will be voting “no” on the Vance Amendment.

I will not be voting “no” for what I consider to be the irrational reasons some of my colleagues are voting “no.” I am voting “no” because this bill codifies in law the idea, which is already part of other laws, that taxpayer funds should not be used for abortion services.

I disagree with that premise. I believe that taxpayer dollars should be used for abortion services.

Abortion is a legal, constitutionally protected right, and it is health care that women do not just want – as we see by 40,000 abortions in Pennsylvania last year – but very often need. Need in order to protect their life. Need in order to protect their health.

When we say no taxpayer money – no Medicaid, no Medicare, no taxpayer money of any kind – will go to pay for abortion services, what we are saying is, “We are going to make abortion services unaffordable for poor women.”
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How horrible:

Several people were trapped in the rubble of a four-story building that collapsed Wednesday morning in Philadelphia, rescue officials told local media.

The structure, located centrally near 22nd and Market Street, was next-door to a building that crews were demolishing. It’s not immediately clear what caused the collapse.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers told ABC News that between eight and 10 people are believed trapped under the structure.

A heartfelt thank you

To all the people who donated to help my neighbor yesterday. I was just sitting home, working, when she knocked on my door. What else could I do?

We can’t help everybody, but at least we helped someone! She’s absolutely flabbergasted that a bunch of strangers would send her money. “On the internet? Really?”

A city councilman’s office is trying to help her now.

Bradley Manning is guilty of ‘aiding the enemy’ — if the enemy is democracy

Bradley Manning performed a public service, and for that, he’s being prosecuted as if he were a spy. Norman Solomon:

Of all the charges against Bradley Manning, the most pernicious — and revealing — is “aiding the enemy.”

A blogger at The New Yorker, Amy Davidson, raised a pair of big questions that now loom over the courtroom at Fort Meade and over the entire country:

* “Would it aid the enemy, for example, to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government?”

* “In that case, who is aiding the enemy — the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”

When the deceptive operation of the warfare state can’t stand the light of day, truth-tellers are a constant hazard. And culpability must stay turned on its head.

That’s why accountability was upside-down when the U.S. Army prosecutor laid out the government’s case against Bradley Manning in an opening statement: “This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy — material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk.”
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A very good question

This was a pleasure to hear. Listen to the whole thing as Jim McDermott asks why teabaggers wanted taxpayer subsidies!

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) on Tuesday questioned why tea party groups were seeking to be subsidized by the government.

At a House hearing on IRS misconduct, McDermott acknowledged the federal tax agency had inappropriately used political criteria to locate nonprofit applications that needed extra review.

“But as I listen to this discussion, I’d like to remind everyone what we are talking about here,” he continued. “None of your organizations were kept from organizing or silenced. We are talking about whether or not the American taxpayers would subsidize your work. We are talking about a tax break.”

The tea party groups in question were applying to become tax exempt 501(c)4 groups, also known as social welfare organizations. McDermott noted the purpose of such groups was to advance the common good and general welfare a community. Political organizations, on the other hand, are categorized under section 527 of the federal tax code.

“Each of your groups is highly political,” the congressman said. “From opposing the President’s healthcare reform, to abortion restrictions, to gay marriage, you’re all entrenched in some of the most controversial political issues in this country – and with your applications you are asking the American public to pay for that work. Many of you host and endorse candidates. The line between permitted political activity and non-permitted political activity can be very fine, and it’s important that tax payers know which side you fall on.”

McDermott’s remarks angered Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who accused the congressman of blaming the victim.

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