I wonder if I’ll ever learn to like the taste. Not horrible, but not great. This is a Kale Apple Banana Smoothie. It tastes sort of like a produce-flavored wallpaper paste, but I just have to think of it as medicine — since it is. Still, it takes the fun out of lunch.

Ixnay on the PA voter ID

Voter id Rally 066

Of course it’s unconstitutional! Have any of these ALEC-written laws been upheld yet?

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A state judge has reaffirmed his ruling that Pennsylvania’s embattled voter-identification law is unconstitutional. Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley on Monday rejected the state’s motion to reinstate the law, starting a 30-day period for a potential appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley on Monday rejected the state’s motion to reinstate the law, starting a 30-day period for a potential appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The governor’s Office of General Counsel and the attorney general’s office say they’re reviewing McGinley’s decision.

Witold Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says the permanent injunction McGinley issued bars enforcement of the law unless the state’s high court does something to change that. The ACLU helped lead the legal challenge. The law is one of the country’s strictest and required nearly all of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters to display photo identification.

Oh, and here goes another one!

Recipes wanted

@ericwilliger and I made vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free cookies tonight. You can come over and eat them/play cards with us if you want to!

Now that I’m easing into gluten-free and quasi-paleo, does anyone have any fabulous recipe suggestions? Must be relatively simple and have commonly available ingredients, so good luck with that. Don’t forget, I hate to cook!

I did make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies yesterday and even if they did have a somewhat grainy consistency, they had a nice satisfying crunch.

Bunkerville held hostage

When I was on the radio last week, a guy from Bunkerville called in to say how angry the residents are about the militia members flooding into the area. He said the residents were too afraid to speak up:

A growing number of Bunkerville residents want to see the armed militiamen guarding rancher Cliven Bundy leave Nevada, according to a letter from Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

Horsford, whose congressional district includes Bunkerville, wrote that his constituents are concerned about Bundy supporters carrying weapons near local churches, schools and elsewhere.

Militia members flocked to Nevada to support Bundy in his fight with the government over his refusal to pay fees for his cattle to graze on federal land.

“I urge you to investigate these reports and to work with local leaders to ensure that their concerns are addressed in a manner that allows the community to move forward without incident,” Horsford wrote to Gillespie.

The letter also says militiamen have a presence on state and local roads as well as federal highways. In some areas, according to the letter, militiamen have set up checkpoints where drivers are stopped and asked to provide a proof of residency.

Now they’re kicking the Oathkeepers (who are pretty crazy themselves) off the ranch as “traitors.” Read this and you’ll see just how crazy it’s become for these wanna-be revolutionaries. They talk about shooting other protesters in the back.

A breath of fresh air?

Grey smokestacks, grey sky

This is a pleasant surprise:

In a victory for environmentalists and the Obama administration, the Supreme Court today ruled to uphold the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule set by Obama’s EPA in 2011. The rule requires 28 states to reduce power plant emissions that can negatively affect the air quality in neighboring states. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in the case.

The Court ruled 6-2 in favor of the rule with Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagen, Roberts and Kennedy joining Ginsburg in supporting the EPA mandate. Justices Anton Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the majority, arguing that the court’s decision ”feeds the uncontrolled growth of the administrative state at the expense of government by the people.”

While Thomas and Scalia may support the right of one state’s power plants to pollute downwind states with pollutants that cause respiratory illnesses and increase the risk of heart attacks for the downwind residents, the courts other justices disagreed. The Court majority determined that the EPA rule was a reasonable mandate consistent with the EPA’s mission, and that upholding the rule would improve the air quality for the American people. 

The states of Texas, Ohio, and Michigan opposed the ruling. Some companies that operate coal-fired power plants including Xcel Energy and American Electric Power Company, also opposed the court’s decision. Environmentalists and proponents of clean air on the other hand were pleased with the outcome. Fred Krupp, speaking on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund, applauded the ruling, stating: 

The Supreme Court’s decision means that our nation can take the necessary steps to ensure healthier and longer lives for the 240 million Americans at risk from power plant smokestack pollution near and far.

Tom Corbett and the suicide rate

Veterans Drivers License

I have to think there’s a connection:

More people are being shot down for welfare benefits in Pennsylvania than two years ago — a sign the state says points to an improving economy but advocates for the poor say stems from a change in state law that has muddied an already difficult process.

In February, the state turned down 75 percent of the applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, according to the state Department of Public Welfare.

The monthly rejection rate had been in the low 60 percent range until July 2012. That’s when the state began requiring people to apply for three jobs a week while their applications were under review.

Previously, the job search requirement was implemented after an applicant had been approved.

Advocates for the poor say the welfare rejection rate has climbed because county assistance offices aren’t telling people to look for jobs while they wait to hear whether they are approved.

They are so alarmed over the spike in rejections that they want the state to investigate. By comparison, the state rejects up to 49 percent of Medicaid and up to 40 percent of food stamp applicants every month.

“We’re continuing to be concerned about this,” said Richard Weishaupt, a senior attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, who has been in contact with the welfare department on the matter. “And we continue to ask [the department] to collect more data and drill down to find out why the rate is so high.”

Alan Jennings, executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, said he thinks the application change was created to get people off welfare — even if they need it.

“Almost every change in welfare has been designed to get people off the system,” he said. “But not in a way that’s intended to improve their lives. It’s just to get them off welfare.”

My friend Lyn worked for a local state rep’s office and I know this weighed heavily on her mind. She talked about all the desperate people who called the office, looking for some kind of help and nothing was available. It didn’t help with her drinking.

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