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Heroes and villains


Good vibrations

Beach Boys with the second ever live performance of this song:

Love and mercy

Brian Wilson:

Surf’s up

Brian Wilson:


When a judge tells a jury they do not have the right to refuse to convict because they believe the law is unjust, he is lying.


Tuesday, June 21 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking Susie |  Susie Madrak chats with Dave Johnson from the Campaign for America’s Future. Dave blogs at Seeing the Forest. Listen live and later on BTR.

Dave is a good friend and always fun to talk to. He’s also scary smart under that grin, and has lots of useful things to say about progressive politics. As always, call in to 646-200-3440 with your questions and comments.

Nurses strike

Tomorrow in NYC:

Nurses from across the U.S. will stand up to Wall Street on Wednesday, June 22 to demand the high rollers in the finance capital of the world pay to rebuild the economy of a nation they have done so much to destroy.

Join us for a march and rally that begins at 12 noon on the steps of the Federal Hall across from the Stock Exchange in New York City.

Nurses have grown increasingly alarmed with the health deterioration they see daily among their patients that is ripping at the fabric of so many in our nation today.

They are appalled at the silence from policy makers who seem to care much more about slashing budgets than in addressing the crisis, and from so many in the media who are more focused on the seedy than the needy in our communities or the greedy who put them there.

And, they are taking action — proposing a Main Street Contract for the American People with much of the revenue to come from the speculators and corporate tax dodgers responsible for the economic meltdown. Read more about our campaign here.

The Wall Street action is part of an International Days of Action called by European unions which is part of a worldwide campaign to make the corporate finance thieves pay to rebuild the global economy. In the U.S. that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars from a sales tax on the buying and selling of stocks, bonds, derivatives, credit default swaps, and other financial machinations that are not untaxed and have put so many families in peril.

Other nations are, once again, ahead of us. The UK already has what is called a Financial Transaction Tax, and  the proposal was endorsed this week by the French National Assembly and the Brazilian Congress. The protests next week are intended to press all the European Union member nations to adopt the fee.

Endorsers of the Wall Street protest include the AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, National Jobs with Justice, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, Bakery, Confectionary, and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 53, Amalgamated Transit Union, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Right to the City, Vocal NY, Transport Workers Union Local 100, UNITE HERE Local 100 and Working Families.

UK June 30th strike

They expect one million public workers to strike in the UK on June 30th – and, as I pointed out to a union group at Netroots Nation, not only is the U.S. not seeing any planned actions in solidarity, I’ve barely heard a whisper here. Why?


“Marriage is between one man and one child less than one-third his age.” [Via JoeMyGod.]

The stealth attack on PA

Gov. Tom “Secret Agent Man” Corbett is pursuing many of the same draconian budget and union-busting measures as more high-profile Republican governors, but since he so rarely holds unscripted press conferences or answers questions, I suppose the state’s media gang figures there’s nothing to cover!

Since taking office in January, Gov. Tom Corbett and his allied Republican majorities in the state House and Senate have been guided by two principles as they approach crafting a new budget: no proposal may exceed the $27.3 billion originally proposed by Corbett regardless of specific spending; any revenue derived from the booming natural gas industry must be dedicated to specific purposes rather than deposited in the general fund.

Corbett and legislative leaders view the general fund as a swirling, voracious black hole. Once public money enters the vortex, it is lost forever.

So any new revenue must be put in funds dedicated to specific purposes. Curiously, however, the rule does not seem to apply to existing funds with dedicated revenue streams.

One of the first acts of the administration, with tacit approval from the legislative majorities, was to eliminate state subsidized health insurance coverage for more than 40,000 low-income working adults under the adultBasic program. Instead, the state directed those needy workers to far less affordable skeletal plans offered by private insurances. Far fewer than 10 percent of the newly uninsured workers opted for the private plans, for which premiums range up to 500 percent of the premium under adultBasic.

Yet, a major part of the funding for adultBasic came from a dedicated revenue stream – Pennsylvania’s share of the master settlement that states reached with the tobacco industry. In 2001 the state Legislature passed and Gov. Tom Ridge signed a law creating the Tobacco Settlement fund and dedicating the revenue solely to health-related purposes – including adultBasic.

This year the state is scheduled to receive $315 million in settlement funds. But instead of using the money for the dedicated purposes established by law in 2001, the administration plans to divert some of the fund for other purposes, including $220 million for a business loan fund.

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