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The EU's recent reforms to its farm subsidy program include features like:
(1) Farmers under 40 years old will get extra subsidies;
(2) 30 percent of EU members' farm payments will also be spent on "green" measures like crop diversification, maintaining grassland and creating ecological areas;
(3) favors young farmers and smallholders over big business;
(4) give farmers' organizations a greater role in helping farmers cope with market volatility;
(5) lets the markets play their role but also gives farmers a chance to play their role.
A reform of EU farm subsidies agreed this week will favour young farmers and smallholders over big business as well as more eco-friendly farming in a "paradigm shift" for Europe, a top official said on Thursday after three months of talks.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Nov 7, 2013, 08:47 AM (1 replies)
Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
William Coyne, 77, the quiet Democratic congressman who represented the Pittsburgh area for 22 years, from 1980 to 2003, has died.
Mr. Coyne, an Oakland resident, died early this morning of complications from a fall that occurred two months ago, according to Jamie Rooney, his longtime executive assistant.
“Bill was in good health until he fell and hit his head, very good shape,” said Mr. Rooney.
Often described as affable, but quiet and self-effacing, Mr. Coyne was an old-fashioned liberal who had a number of behind-the-scenes successes on the House Ways and Means Committee, including earned income tax credits for the poor and industrial development bonds for cities. He also had an admirable record of constituent service.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/2013/11/03/William-Coyne-retired-ling-time-congressman-from-Pittsburgh-dies/stories/201311030207
I had the pleasure of meeting him several times while he was in office. He was an old-fashioned liberal Democrat in the finest sense - a kind man and a gentle man, without a whiff of the entitlement, ego or greed of too many of today's politicians. The very best kind of public servant. Rest in Peace, Congressman Coyne. You were a good man and you led a good life.
Posted by Divernan | Mon Nov 4, 2013, 06:40 AM (4 replies)
Here's the announcement I got from Senator Ferlo's office. Please contact your state senators and ask them to co-sponsor his new legislation, Senate Bill 1100, which amends the infamous pro-fracking Act 13 of 2012.
SENATOR JIM FERLO
PHONE: (412) 952-3364
CONTACT: Anne Huber
PHONE: (717) 787-6123
Senator Ferlo Holds Town Hall, Unveils New Oil & Gas Legislation
Pittsburgh, October 30, 2013 – Senator Jim Ferlo, in partnership with Protect Our Parks, held a town hall meeting to discuss fracking in Allegheny County Parks on Wednesday evening. The event was held in the auditorium of Highlands Middle School in Natrona Heights with several hundred in attendance. As the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1100, a statewide moratorium on fracking, Senator Ferlo called the meeting to inform local residents, exchange ideas, and rally public support to protect county parks.
“I have heard countless stories over the years about the reckless and dangerous practice of fracking, and I am extremely concerned that this method is something under consideration within our pristine and valuable public parks. With children, public health, lost recreation areas, and water quality in mind, I oppose drilling in our county parks. I called this open meeting for the sake of public dialogue, and those in attendance did not disappoint,” explained Ferlo.
The middle school auditorium was host to concerned citizens, elected officials, and various community members. Fracking is proposed for two Allegheny County Parks in the 38th Senatorial District: Deer Lakes Park and Harrison Hills Park. Allegheny County Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko has proposed a “3 year hold on drilling, exploration, of surface or subsurface development relating to natural gas extraction on any property located within the boundary of any County park,” and she was present to discuss her concerns.
“I support Councilwoman Danko’s proposal wholeheartedly, and I believe we should do the same in Allegheny County as we ought to do statewide: impose a temporary moratorium on new fracking and establish an unbiased committee to study the effects of fracking across our Commonwealth which is why I have introduced Senate Bill 1100,” said Ferlo.
The event was hosted by Senator Ferlo in conjunction with Protect Our Parks, a group comprised of ten member organizations that oppose fracking in county parks and has organized a number of local events to protest the proposal.
“The member organizations of Protect our Parks are grateful to have Senator Ferlo’s support for our efforts educating the public on all aspects of shale gas extraction. It is up to us to make sure that our health, safety, and welfare are considered above the interest of the drilling industry. We are finding that the negative impacts from this industry are far greater than any short term gains. We believe it is up to the people to make sure our elected officials are doing their due diligence to protect the people and not the gas industry," said Briget Shields of Protect Our Parks.
In addition to the robust discussion regarding fracking the parks, Senator Ferlo went on to unveil new legislation. Ferlo plans to introduce, in the near future, a bill which would overhaul Act 13 of 2012 that provides for the State’s oversight of the oil and gas industry. The proposal includes a 17-point plan to amend the law which is currently in place. Some of the changes include increasing criminal penalties for violations of the Act, eliminating the impact fee and replacing it with a fair severance tax, and requiring that a driller notifies surrounding property owners and municipal officials of their plans to drill if they are within 5,000 ft of the prospective well site, among several others. The co-sponsorship memorandum is available online with a complete description of the bill.
“While a statewide moratorium is my goal, in the meantime I strive to amend Act 13 because we can make significant changes to the law currently on the books that will benefit thousands of Pennsylvania residents. I hope my Senate colleagues will join me in supporting this legislation,” said Ferlo.
Panelists at the event included Patricia DeMarco of DeMarco & Associates, Lynda Farrell of the Pipeline Safety Coalition, Erika Staaf from PennEnvironment, Dr. Cynthia Walter, Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko, and former Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields.
State Senator Jim Ferlo is a Democrat representing the 38th Senatorial District comprised of parts of the City of Pittsburgh, Armstrong, and Westmoreland Counties. Senator Ferlo serves constituents in two district offices; one in Lawrenceville and one in Natrona Heights. For more information, visit www.senatorferlo.com
Posted by Divernan | Thu Oct 31, 2013, 07:14 AM (3 replies)
Big Pharma knows the answer is a resounding, "HELL, NO!" All these adds with the cutsey phrases: "ED" for erectile dysfunction; "T Number" for testosterone level, etc.
I'm still waiting for the add that says, "Hey, guy! Can't get it up with a derrick? Are you DIB (Dead in Bed)? Have we got a drug for you!" Of course, no guy wants to cop to that description, so Big Pharma spins it as something every guy wants just to add something to their performance.
I think what the world needs is for every male MIC executive and board member to take testosterone LOWERING drugs - also every male politician elected to national office.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Oct 20, 2013, 12:03 PM (0 replies)
The GOP/ALEC (Koch Brothers) are supporting a woman who's a former banker/small business person and currently ALEC state co-chair, who "doubts the validity of climate science". The Democrats' candidate is an ER physician who was appointed to the state Senate seat last January after then-Democratic state senator Derek Kilmer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Of particular note is that Democrat Dr. Nathan Schlicher's biggest supporter is a San Francisco billionaire named Tom Steyer who made his fortune in hedge funds but now devotes his time and considerable money to promoting government action against global warming. He started a Political Action Committee called the Next Gen Climate Action Committee which has " pumped money into two high-profile races: the special election that sent Massachusetts Democrat and oil-industry critic Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate in June and the current governor’s race in Virginia.
“I don’t personally know Mr. Steyer and haven’t spoken with him,” Schlicher told KUOW. “I appreciate that he believes I represent somebody who cares about the environment and has chosen to invest in that.”
I find this story doubly inspiring: a physician candidate who could make a very good living independent of politics, versus an ALEC political hack; and a self-made billionaire fighting for the environment, instead of spending his time figuring out how to further benefit the one percent.
Posted by Divernan | Fri Oct 18, 2013, 03:53 PM (1 replies)
Elderly Texan May be Disenfranchised by Texas' new voter suppression law; Woman Denied Voter ID 3 times
Posted by Divernan | Thu Sep 26, 2013, 01:37 PM (3 replies)
How should we apostates refer to the group - something along the lines of Voldemort/"You Know Who" becomes "You Know Which Group"; or Hilda Rumpole/ "She Who Must Be Obeyed" becomes "He Who Must Be Endorsed 100% of the Time".
I mean, doesn't EVERY group consider the acronym when selecting a name?
I think epithet is too strong a word for the acronym, "bog".
An epithet is an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned;a disparaging or abusive word or phrase. A bog is not a bad thing - it is a form of wetland, much to be treasured and preserved.
The word bog is defined as: A bog is a mire that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens. They are frequently covered in ericaceous shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog functions as a carbon sink.
And BOG is a multi-purpose acronym, used to refer to many things:
BOG - Acronyms and Abbreviations - The Free Dictionary
Acronym, Definition. BOG, Board of Governors. BOG, Boy or Girl. BOG, Best of Group (dog shows). BOG, Boil-Off Gas. BOG, Be Our Guest. BOG, Best on Ground.
Posted by Divernan | Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:51 PM (1 replies)
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
An op-ed piece Wednesday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recounting the death of a longtime Duquesne University adjunct professor fueled online anger nationally over conditions facing low-paid temporary instructors but was criticized by the school as misleading and exploitative.
The column involved Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, who taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years before being let go this spring. After she died Sept. 1, Daniel Kovalik, senior associate general counsel of the United Steelworkers, the union currently in a fight to organize adjunct instructors at Duquesne, wrote the piece.
Mr. Kovalik wrote of the near-homeless woman's battle with cancer, of her struggles as a semester-to-semester hire earning as little as $10,000 a year, and of her death following a heart attack not long after losing her job with no severance or retirement benefits.
Online, the column went viral, attracting more than 171,000 page views on the newspaper's website, 50,000-plus Facebook likes and almost 1,500 comments from readers across the U.S. and overseas
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/duquesne-disputes-claims-over-death-of-adjunct-professor-704143/
My comment to the PG on this article:
Duquesne's provision of housing translates to letting her spend a "few weeks" in an all male house with a priest and undergraduate seminarians. Kind of Father Walsh to offer that, but hardly appropriate for a frail 83 year old female. I doubt he cleared that with the university in advance - the legal dept. would have had serious concerns re liability issues. Were those few weeks during last winter when she couldn't afford to have her furnace repaired so was working nights at Eat 'n Park and trying to sleep during the day in a heated university office - until reported to the campus police and thrown out of the building?
Duquesne has operated out of pure, and very un-Christian greed in this matter. Witness other, far more prestigious and higher ranked Catholic universities have strongly supported unionization of adjunct professors. The original article describes Georgetown, a Jesuit university: "This would be news to Georgetown University -- one of only two Catholic universities to make U.S. News & World Report's list of top 25 universities -- which just recognized its adjunct professors' union, citing the Catholic Church's social justice teachings, which favor labor unions."
And I received the following comment from an adjunct professor at the Jesuit University of San Francisco: "I teach at a Jesuit university, we have a really strong union, which the admin encouraged.As adjuncts we have decent hourly pay and for those who are at the preferred level (experience, good reviews, and a formal application), medical insurance, retirement benefits and a 23% higher pay rate. One is still not guaranteed employment from semester to semester, which is about par for the course in modern day America. In spite of that, this seems to be the most stable, reliable employment I've ever enjoyed. Duquesne sounds like something straight out of Dickens."
If Duquesne's concern is saving money, why not replace it's current lay president, raking in $700,000 per year plus benefits, with a . . . wait for it . . . priest! They do still take vows of poverty and that would save Duquesne well over half a million per year right there. It is supremely ironic that the current president sits on UPMC-Mercy's board of directors and heads the board's Ethics Committee. That's the hospital dunning Miss Vojtko for the portion of her cancer treatment bills not covered by Medicare. Duquesne & UPMC - two "non-profits" serving(?) the community! Charles Dickens weeps.
The only bright light in this story is for Penn State's administration - now replaced in the news by Duquesne as the most reviled university in the Commonwealth.
Posted by Divernan | Fri Sep 20, 2013, 04:28 AM (8 replies)
Little pissant cyber-serfs tugging their forelocks to the One Percenters.
Posted by Divernan | Wed Sep 18, 2013, 10:52 AM (1 replies)
(1) they have no BITE to them, i.e., truly severe and punitive financial and operational penalties (cause then the corporations just factor in occasional small fines as part of the cost of doing business);
(2) they are not mandatory, regardless of how many presidents, governors, federal or state legislators have been beneficiaries of a corporate violator's bribes/gifts/campaign donations/post elected office job offers;
(3) protections/regulations are self-enforced/self-regulated by corporations, like Obama's USDA plans to fire 1/2 their inspectors and turn inspection over to meat-processing industry;
(4) government inspection agencies are not sufficiently funded to hire, train & field the necessary number of inspectors;
(5) political appointees at the top levels of federal or state inspection agencies block, stall, delay and usurp authority from the agencies' field inspectors to report violations.
The latter 2 examples are outrageously the case in Pennsylvania re GOP Governer Corbett and the state Department of Environmental Protection re inspecting fracking drilling operations. First he had his politically appointed Secretary/cabinet member slash the number of inspectors from what it was BEFORE the fracking had started; then the department's regulations were changed such that all field reports had to be approved by the top (political appointees) level of the dept. Pennsylvania is Frackers' Paradise.
Posted by Divernan | Wed Sep 18, 2013, 10:32 AM (1 replies)