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Sky pilot

Eric Burden and the Animals:

Spirit in the sky

Norman Greenbaum:

Jump into the fire

Harry Nilsson:

Heh

Dads are the original hipsters!

Wonderful. Go read!

AARP is singing our song

Good. Maybe people will understand how important this is when they hear it from them:

AARP understands the urgent need to reduce the deficit and control government spending, but we also recognize that imposing arbitrary spending limits on Medicare and Social Security could significantly reduce benefits to current and future retirees.

The proposed limits on Medicare could force seniors to pay higher insurance premiums and co-pays, and threaten their choice of doctors and hospitals.

Imposing limits on Social Security could lead to cuts that could deny seniors the money they count on to pay for essentials such as groceries, utilities and prescription drugs.

Cutting Social Security would also break our nation’s commitment to provide the benefits our seniors have rightfully earned.

Instead of making harmful cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Congress should cut down waste, fraud and inefficiency throughout the health care system and target other wasted and inefficient spending, including spending through the tax code in the form of loopholes and other unnecessary subsidies.

AARP urges members and all Americans to contact their representatives in congress and tell them to oppose arbitrary limits that could force dangerous cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Contact your member of congress now!

Last night’s show

With David Swanson. Very enlightening, I think. Click here to listen!

The plan to kill the public schools

This is the problem: the right wing has long-term, patient strategies to accomplish their goals, and lots and lots of money. Liberals are more reactive, and our donors don’t support much long-term infrastructure. Unless that changes, we’re screwed:

Right-wing think tanks have determined that school vouchers are key to eradicating public education and Dick and Betsy DeVos lead the way in execution of the well-funded plan. The money is tracked in two
extensive reports on Talk2action [1 and 2]. See DeVos video excerpt
below.

“We need to be cautious about talking too much about these
activities,” Dick DeVos warned in a December 2002 speech at the
Heritage Foundation.

DeVos was introduced by former Secretary of
Education William Bennett and then proposed a stealth strategy for
promoting school vouchers in state legislatures. DeVos and his wife
Betsy had already spent millions promoting voucher initiatives that
were soundly rejected by voters.

Pro-privatization think tanks had concluded that vouchers were the most politically viable way to “dismantle” public schools; the DeVoses persevered. Dick DeVos introduced his 2002 Heritage Foundation audience to a covert strategy to provide “rewards or consequences” to state legislators, learning
from the activities of the Great Lake Education Project (GLEP) initiated by Betsy DeVos. Vouchers should be promoted by local “grassroots” entities and could not be “viewed as only a conservative idea.” DeVos added, “This has got to be the battle. It will not be as visible.”

Ten years later, the DeVos stealth strategy has been implemented and
is winning the voucher war in several states. As recommended to the
Heritage Foundation in 2002, the public face of the movement is
bipartisan and grass roots, and millions of dollars are poured into
media firms to reinforce that image. However, behind the scenes the movement continues to be led by the DeVoses, and the funding used to provide “rewards or consequences” for state legislators continues to be raised from a small group of mega-donors.

Progress

Got so much done yesterday. Two more bags of stuff to the Salvation Army, my desktop is finally clean, and we put together the “new” used brass bed I found on Craigslist. (It’s so pretty!)

I’m planning to paint my bedroom, too — as soon as I can settle on a color. My apartment had these paper-bag brown walls when I moved in; I liked them, but they didn’t go with anything I owned. So I painted my room what I thought was a pale ice blue, but it turned out to be lavender. An improvement, but not the color I wanted.

I have to say, these drugs are pretty amazing. After the past few years of being stuck, I feel like my old self again. I’m not only going out a lot more and meeting people, I’m actually getting things done. Soon I’ll be playing music again, and that thought really makes me happy.

Marcellus shale

Sunlight is, as they say, the best disinfectant!

The state Department of Environmental Protection has killed a controversial directive that required all its shale gas drilling inspectors to first get approval from the agency’s chief before issuing violations.

Katy Gresh, the agency’s spokeswoman, said its top staff had reaffirmed to its field inspectors that they had full power to write up polluters without getting a prior OK from DEP secretary Michael Krancer.

She said that a controversial March 23 email to agency worker – meant to be internal but leaked to the media – had been badly written in saying that Krancer would have “final clearance” over citations.

“The secretary’s intent was not clearly communicated” at the time of the memo, Gresh said Tuesday. All Krancer was seeking was to ensure he was notified of regulatory actions, Gresh said.

Jeff Schmidt, director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club and one among several critics of the original directive, said Tuesday that DEP was now generating a tale of “smoke and mirrors” to pretend there had been no reversal.

In the original March 23 email, a top Krancer aide wrote that “effective immediately,” all violations must first be sent to him and another senior aide – with “final clearance” from Krancer, the new agency chief as a nominee of incoming Gov. Tom Corbett. (The state Senate confirmed Krancer’s nomination last week.)

Schmidt said the original edict was “explicit” in its demands.

“I think they never intended for it to be public, therefore they never planned to deal with it if it became public,” Schmidt said. “Now they’re coming up with one story after another to change history.”

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