This is our first News and Notes of 2013. I wish everyone a Happy New Year.
The 113th Congress was sworn in today and new Pennsylvania members Keith Rothfus and Matt Cartwright were sworn in to office. The previous Congress was the most ineffectual in history and this one bears a striking resemblance.
Former State Rep. Joe Brennan is headed to jail for DUI and wife beating. A judge sentenced him to between 90 days and 2 years. He lost his seat over the incident and may as well use the time to dry out. He's had an obvious drinking problem for some time.
Marriage equality began in Maryland on the first and many couples began hitching up. You can now get legally wed in Delaware, Maryland, New York and DC but not in Pennsylvania.
Brian Sims, the first openly gay lawmaker elected to the state legislature was sworn into office Tuesday. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has already submitted his perennial bill outlawing marriage equality.
The first bill introduced in Congress wasn't about gun control, immigration reform, renewing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, a farm bill or Hurricane Sandy Relief. It was Rep. Bachmann's bill to repeal Obamacare. Republicans have already wasted 32 votes on this windmill tilting.
Hillary Clinton was discharged from a hospital after four days of treatment for a blood clot. This apparently was the result of the non-existent (according to Faux News) concussion she faked in order to avoid testifying to Congress about Benghazi. Yes, she faked a life threatening situation just to avoid a few ridiculous witch hunt queries. Fox should be ashamed for accusing her of faking such a serious injury (said from someone who suffered six moderate to severe concussions).
As I mentioned above the Violence Against Women Act expired with the new year. Now women lack basic legal protections because Republicans didn't believe women in same sex relationships, Native American women and others also deserved protection. Shame.
I'd like to play poker with Barack Obama. The man folds even when holding all the aces. After going over the fiscal cliff Republicans faced all of the blame because the country understood they were holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage for continued cuts for the richest 1%. No GOP Congressman or Senator with any sanity was going to risk being labeled this way (though some did vote against the final bill and will be). The President held all the cards and still completed a bad deal. Included are tax breaks for Goldman Sachs (surprise, surprise), NASCAR and other special interests.
Trans Ocean, one of the corporations responsible for the Gulf oil spill disaster paid a federal fine of $1.4 billion today. Eleven workers died due to its negligence. This was a drop in the bucket for a multi-national company. If corporations are legally persons they should have gotten the death penalty for killing 11 workers.
A Swiss bank pled guilty to aiding the tax evasion efforts of rich Americans. Wegelin & Co. hid more than $1.2 billion from the IRS and paid a fine of $74 million. Just another cost of doing business.
Former UFCW Local 1776 head Wendell Young III passed away this week. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.
Delaware Senator Chris Coons delivered this speech defending our privacy rights: