My NCAA Championship game pick.

               Michigan and Louisville are getting ready to play for the title. It seems as if the matchup favors Michigan. After beating a tough Syracuse team, they seem to have the momentum. Louisville is no joke themselves, they beat a strong Wichata State team.

                 Louisville is a strong defensive team, that overwhelms with pressure defense. Petting Siva is very physical guard, in my opinion the offense goes through him. Russian Smith is the better scorer and shooter but the team goes as Siva goes. Dieng should have a big defensive game, blocking a few shots. Of course Rick Pitino is a great coach, just inducted into the hall of fame. The main weakness for Louisville is outside shooting.

             Michigan has at least 4 guys on the floor who could score 20 points any night. Trey Burke won the national player of the year, although he didn’t play like it the other night. Hardaway Jr. and Stauskus can both shoot from outside. Glenn Davis III is a good shooter playing out of position as a  power forward. Mitchell Mcgary has played incredibly in the tournament. He had a double double the other night with at least 6 assists and 3 blocks. Bielien as coach, I really don’t care for. Michigans big problem is rebounding.

           Louisville will get off to a slow start, they will make it close late. But Michigan wins 71-67.  Congratulations Wolverines.

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Govener Tom Corbett is closing out of 60 State Health Centers.

                 Governor Tom Corbett administration is being sued by a union representing state employed health care workers. 5 Democrat lawmakers also filed a suit against the administration. The SEIU says Corbetts plan violates a 1996 state law as well as a provision of the State Constitution barring the government from suspending laws enacted by the legislature. The SEIU further contends that only the legislature can approve such closings. They also say that Corbetts proposal to reduce state funding for the centers in the 2013-2014 budget has yet to be approved by lawmakers.

                 The Corbett administration has a 2 phase plan to close 26 state health centers out of a total 60 statewide. This would also eliminate 73 nursing jobs. The nurses monitor local health data, track trends and investigate first hand accounts in the field. They have also been credited with several health crisis throughout the state. They contained the nations largest Hepatitis A outbreak that claimed 3 lives and over 650 confirmed cases by immunizing 9,500 people; prevented the spread of Hepatitis A outbreak amongst 30 kinderdarteners, discovering the rise in infant deaths and educating new parents to prevent it; organizing a dental clinic in response to children and adults showing up on emergency rooms with painful abscesses; identifying and treating an exchange student with tuberculosis, among several others.

             The state run centers also provide immunizations, TB screenings, STD/HIV services. They do not provide primary care. Corbett explains that the closings will help modernize the health system and saving a whopping $3.4 million. The 60 centers cost about $20 million a year. Many in the industry worry that closing the centers will reduce residents access to health care.Michael Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Pa. Department of Health, said that about 70-77% of the operational funds go to leases at state health centers and not to services. He also said that they did a couple thousand immunizations at the Harrisburg Farm Show, while the 3 local centers only did 90 in a month. Joe Sunbathe, superviser at Community Health, explained that certain services they need in the county departments had not been made available to them.

                 What Corbett is doing obviously violates the Pa. Constitution. It also does nothing to help the people of the state. Instead of Corbett taxing Natural Gas Drilling he again goes after the people. Corbetts brand of cronyism is blatantly obvious, he and the Republicans have an agenda and it is forcing Pa. down into the dumps. It is another case of Republicans not liking something and throwing a hussy fit. We need to vote Corbett out in 2014.

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Climate Change Deniers, follow the money find the truth.

             In his second inaugural address, President Obama said it loud and clear. We need action to fix our climate crisis and we need this action now. A few hours later the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) said that they did not believe in climate disruption. Actually saying that they would attack Senators who took action on the climate crisis.

              After a year in which millions of Americans felt the harsh effects of climate change, from droughts to wild fires to Superstorm Sandy- this is not just an illogical thought process, it is a horribly irresponsible position to take. But of course in politics if you follow the money, you understand the position. Oil and Gas corporations are among the NRSC biggest monetary backers. The committee has received more than $5 million from oil and gas interests in the last 4 years. Excommunicate Mobile, Koch Industries, among others have been funding far right organizations that have been attacking clean energy and climate change while propping up anti-science climate deniers. While it is not just fossil fuel companies fueling this denial of climate change, they are donating more than others. Some of the NRSC top donors are FedEx, Home Depot, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Wells Fargo.

                  The secretive Donors Trust has given millions to denying climate change. An analysis by Green Peace reveals Donors Trust has funneled at least $146 million to more than 100 climate change groups.  Some of the recipients were Americans for Prosperity, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the Heartland Institute and the Competetive Enterprise Institute. One of tie Committee for a Constructive Tomorrows main activities is running a website that acts like a clearing-house for articles that try and discredit the science behind climate change. They also launch personal attacks on people like Al Gore or climate scientists.  Many of these anti-climate change organizations were funded for the express purpose of spreading disinformation.

        The majority of American people recognize that climate change is real. But once again the Republican party thinks that taking a position that is totally out of line with the American people and the future of our planet is a winning strategy. Democrats recognize the peoples wants and work towards making the realistic ones a reality. Republicans believe money means everything despite all their recent strategies proving fruitless.

 

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Climate Change Deniers, follow the money find the truth.

             In his second inaugural address, President Obama said it loud and clear. We need action to fix our climate crisis and we need this action now. A few hours later the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) said that they did not believe in climate disruption. Actually saying that they would attack Senators who took action on the climate crisis.

              After a year in which millions of Americans felt the harsh effects of climate change, from droughts to wild fires to Superstorm Sandy- this is not just an illogical thought process, it is a horribly irresponsible position to take. But of course in politics if you follow the money, you understand the position. Oil and Gas corporations are among the NRSC biggest monetary backers. The committee has received more than $5 million from oil and gas interests in the last 4 years. Excommunicate Mobile, Koch Industries, among others have been funding far right organizations that have been attacking clean energy and climate change while propping up anti-science climate deniers. While it is not just fossil fuel companies fueling this denial of climate change, they are donating more than others. Some of the NRSC top donors are FedEx, Home Depot, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Wells Fargo.

                  The secretive Donors Trust has given millions to denying climate change. An analysis by Green Peace reveals Donors Trust has funneled at least $146 million to more than 100 climate change groups.  Some of the recipients were Americans for Prosperity, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the Heartland Institute and the Competetive Enterprise Institute. One of tie Committee for a Constructive Tomorrows main activities is running a website that acts like a clearing-house for articles that try and discredit the science behind climate change. They also launch personal attacks on people like Al Gore or climate scientists.  Many of these anti-climate change organizations were funded for the express purpose of spreading disinformation.

        The majority of American people recognize that climate change is real. But once again the Republican party thinks that taking a position that is totally out of line with the American people and the future of our planet is a winning strategy. Democrats recognize the peoples wants and work towards making the realistic ones a reality. Republicans believe money means everything despite all their recent strategies proving fruitless.

 

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Governor Tom Corbetts pension reform plan.

             Governor Tom Corbetts administration touted pension reforms as one of the highlights of his new Pennsylvania budgets. Bit his plan has the potential to balloon the already $41 billion unfunded liability by applying new artificial collars to how much the state must pay into the system. But those collars allow Corbett to rehabitate his miserly reputation prior to his bid for reelection.

           The currents crisis in pension funding is because the state failed to pay its share of pension costs, creating the unfunded liability. It is important now because the artificial collars are slowly being lifted to pay off the debt in an orderly manner outlined in Act120 in 2010. This year the state pays 11.5% of payroll for SERS and 12.4% to PSERS. Next year those payments will rise to 16% and 16.75% of payroll and the rates will continue to rise until payments peak at 28% of payroll in 2019, at which time the rates will stay in place for several years before beginning to decline.

              He wants to put state abd school employees into a seperate retirement system that resembles a private sector 401k. He also wants to lower the multiplier used to calculate employee pensions from 2.5% to 2.0% to keep the Public School Employees Retirement System and State Employees Retirement System viable. He is also trying to limit the amount by which the commonwealth employer contributions can be increased.

                In 2000 PSERS was funded at 123.8%, a decade later it was at 69.2%. The governor says the decline can only be fixed by abadoning the defined-benefit plan and replacing it with a 401k for new employees. This puts the investment risk on the emloyee while more than doubling the needed lifetime employee contributions. More than 70% of the PSERS value comes from return on investment. The networth of the pension was hit by $15 billiin during the recession.

              Some are questioning the constitutionality of this because of it breaking a contracts. People are also worried about balancing a budget on something that might be thrown out in court. I further question why the highest paid governor in the country doesnt take a pay cut as a show of good will. We are also in the top 10 highest paid legislatures in the country. If either took a pay cut it would help towards the budget and a show of goid will. But they are protected by the Pa. Constitution where the pension plan is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

              Why didnt Corbett try doing any of this in previous budgets, just the one before reelection. I truly question thus mans motives because if he wanted to straighten out our budget Pa. would be taxing Natural Gas Drillers and using the severance tax with them. That alone would create enough money to avoid education cuts. But I think we will find out in the future what exactly is happening there.

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Fracking Secrecy Denied.

             A judge ruled recently in favor of journalists seeking access to information about a fracking pollution case. Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca reversed an order by a Washingto County court sealing the record in a case in which a Pennsylvania family sued several gas companies over property damage and health impacts related to air and water pollution from nearby Natural gas operations. The Pittsburgh Post Gazzette and the Observer-Reporter had intervened in the case to unseal the records.

          Earthjustice, the non-profit environmental law firm, submitted anamicus brief supporting the newspapers on behalf of Philedelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, Dr Bernard D Goldstein, Dr Walter Tsou, Dr Jerome A Paulson, Dr William Rom, Dr Sandra Steingraber, Dr Simona Perry, Dr Robert Oswald, Dr Michelle Bamburger, Kathryn Vennie and Earthjustice. The doctors, scientists and advocates argued in favor of greater transparency about natural gas operations and their health effects.

             Earthjustice attorney, Mathew Gerhart said ” This case pitted the Natural Gas Industries insistence on secrecy against the history committments of the courts to public access to judicial proceedings. The courts ruling affirmed the importance of public access to the courts. This is a victory for everyone who believes we need more information and health consequences of frackin.”

                     Michelle Bamburger and Robert Oswald published a peer reviewed paper linking fracking with illness and the death of livestock. They cited 24 cases in 6 states, all the cows died or suffered serious health or reproductive problems after being exposed to fracking chemicals. The paper described cases of cows dalling sick, appearing to recover then a year later giving birth to still born calfs, to swelling limbs, infections, tails falling off and a healthy herd of 17 dropping dead 1 hour after fracking fluid spilled into their pasture.

               The latter herd had died of necropsy- respiratory failure with circulatory collapse. Petroleum hydrocarbons were found in their small intestines and lesions in their tracheas, lungs, livers and kidneys. Vasculitis, inflamation in the walls of the blood vessels . When blood vessels get inflamed they get narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow through them. Sometimes they close off completely, cutting of all circulation, which can lead to a tail falling off.

              The Natural Gas Industry is very displeased with this ruling, leading many to believe that they are hiding something bigger. Transparency cannit hurt a company that is not polluting. This is a victory for the little guy.

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Pennsylvania doesnt agree with you Governor Corbett.

               80% of Pennsylvanians disagree with selling the lottery to a British Company, in fact to any company. A good majority think that you are guilty if taking illegal gifts. The people Pa. want a Marcellus Shale to be taxed. Corbetts answer are to attack pensions that the hasnt been paying into, essentially punishing the employees who signed a contract with the state.

               Privatizing the Pa. Lottery is going to benefit the people of Pa., how? Penbsylvanians are decrying this effort, we do not want it, but yet you are ignoring the voice of the people. Why Governor Corbett? Some of these people put you in office, do you not work for us? You will not get another term if continuing ignoring the people as you have. Your approval ratings are in the toilet because of the actions you have taken.

              You cry poverty for the state yet refuse to tap into a very lucrative tax income. The Natural Gas Drilling Companies. 85% of the 783 companies do not pay any taxes. We do not have a severance tax on them which woul generate another $400 billion a year. This tax alone cuts Education cuts over the last 2 years in half. But apperently these tax ideas do not come to your mind. Every other state has the tax why not us?

            It is unfortunate that this man is our governer. He does not care about our people as evidenced by him allegedly taking illegal gifts and his support for the poll tax. He is manhandling the state pension plans, even after Act120 was put into effect to alleviate the problem. Corbett will end up being a 1 term governor because he knows more than the people. This is why we vote governor.

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