Sunday, August 31, 2008

Planned Parenthood W PA Action Fund: McCain Out of Touch on Women's Health

John McCain: Out of Touch on Women’s Health

Pittsburgh — The Planned Parenthood Western PA Action Fund, the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania today criticized John McCain during his visit to Washington, PA for his out-of-touch record on issues relating to women’s health.

“For 25-years, Sen. John McCain has shamefully opposed support for basic health care for women, including affordable birth control — even in the face of rising health care costs,” said Kimberlee Evert, President of the Action Fund. “While Sen. McCain dodges questions on the campaign trail about whether or not he thinks it’s fair for insurance companies to cover Viagra but not basic birth control, his abysmal record on women’s health care speaks volumes.”

In an effort to raise awareness among voters, especially women voters who remain a crucial voting block this election, the national Planned Parenthood Action Fund has launched a “kNOw McCain” campaign, an aggressive grassroots and online effort to educate the public about McCain's extreme anti-women's health care record.

“It’s ironic that McCain is parading through Pennsylvania with former Governor Tom Ridge, known for his support for reproductive rights,” said Evert. “We need to let the public know that McCain can’t have it both ways: he can’t advertise himself as a moderate, and consistently vote against basic women’s health care.”

In Washington, McCain has consistently voted against women’s health for more than two decades. From standing with the Bush administration in opposing funding for family planning programs to voting against requiring insurance coverage of birth control, McCain has taken extreme positions against women’s health and has failed to support legislation that would help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. Just as alarming, McCain wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, potentially putting the lives and health of women in jeopardy.

McCain’s 25-year record in Congress of opposing initiatives to better women’s health has earned him a zero rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the lowest rating possible.

The following are highlights of McCain’s abysmal voting record on women’s health issues:

· McCain opposed requiring insurance coverage of prescription birth control. In 2003, McCain voted NO on legislation to improve the availability of contraceptives for women and to require insurance coverage of prescription birth control. [Murray Amendment, S.Amdt 258 to S. 3, vote 45, 3/11/03]

· McCain opposed Title X family planning program. In 1990, McCain voted NO on legislation to extend the Title X federal family planning program, which provides low-income and uninsured women and families with health care services ranging from breast and cervical cancer screening to birth control. [Motion to Invoke Cloture; Family Planning Amendments of 1989, S.110, 9/26/90]

· McCain supports overturning Roe v. Wade. In February 2007, the AP reported, “Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned. ‘I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned,’ the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.” [AP, 2/18/07]

For more information on McCain’s out-of-touch record on women’s health and the “kNOw McCain” campaign, please visit

Lancaster Healthcare Conference on September 18

From Progressives for Pennsylvania:


Support Mounts for Single-Payer Legislation in Pennsylvania

LANCASTER, PA—Progressives for Pennsylvania (P4P), a locally-based activist group and vocal advocate for healthcare reform, is sponsoring its second regional healthcare conference, this time focusing on the single-payer, universal coverage option offered by House Bill 1660 and Senate Bill 300, now pending in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Entitled “Single-Payer, GUARANTEED HEALTHCARE for All: A Mainstream Solution!,” the conference will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2008, at the Roschel Performing Arts Center of Franklin & Marshall College, 628 College Avenue, Lancaster, from 7 pm to 9:30 pm. The public is welcome and admission is free.

A stellar panel of experts representing a true cross section of policy makers and opinion leaders will clarify the oft-misunderstood or misused concepts of “single-payer” and “universal” as applied to healthcare coverage. A question-and-answer period will follow the formal presentations.

In addition to former Philadelphia Health Commissioner and nationally recognized healthcare consultant Dr. Walter Tsou, the panel members represent groups as varied as the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Pennsylvania nurses, Pennsylvania medical students, Pennsylvania doctors, the Pennsylvania League of Women voters, award-winning journalists, business leaders, union leaders, and educators. A complete list of panelists and their credentials is posted on the Progressives for Pennsylvania website at

SB 300 and HB 1660, known collectively as "FAMILY AND BUSINESS HEALTHCARE SECURITY ACT," were introduced in their respective legislative bodies by State Senator Jim Ferlo and State Representative Kathy M. Manderino to address the growing crisis in Pennsylvania. Statistics from various sources estimate as many as 4 million are uninsured and underinsured, or about one third of the Commonwealth’s population.

“This legislation, if passed, would make Pennsylvania the first state in the nation to enact truly universal, comprehensive healthcare for all, and it would pay its own way in the process,” says Progressives for Pennsylvania leader Jerry Policoff, “And it would cost less than Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses are currently spending on health-related expenses.”

Both Ferlo and Mandarino will be at the conference to discuss specifics of the bills and what sets them apart from competing bills proposed by Governor Rendell and other legislators.

Co-sponsors of the conference are American Medical Students Association (AMSA); American Patients United;; Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice (LCPJ); League of Women Voters Pennsylvania; Progressive Democrats of America: Healthcare Not Warfare Campaign; Pennsylvania Council of Churches; The Local Economy Center at Franklin & Marshall College; Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP); Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP); Pennsylvanians United for Singlepayer Healthcare (PUSH)

“At a forum P4P held last year, Governor Ed Rendell pledged to sign this legislation if it reached his desk, a pledge he had made before and has reiterated since,” said Policoff.

“This is an idea whose time has come, and it is gaining momentum and growing mainstream support every day”.

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? Change to Win

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following is a statement from Change to Win chair Anna Burger regarding presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s announcement today of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate for the 2008 election.

"Even though it is John McCain's 72nd birthday, it looks like Barack Obama and Joe Biden got the best gift with McCain's choice of Sarah Palin to be McCain's running mate. In an election McCain claims is about experience and security, he picks someone who barely has the equivalent of a learner's permit in elected office, let alone foreign affairs. She has served well under two years as governor, and her prior experience as a mayor of a town with 9,000 people does not qualify her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

“America's working families want change. They want leaders with a proven record of standing up for better wages, health care for all, retirement security, fair trade deals that value jobs here at home, and for rebuilding our middle class through green jobs that pay a living wage. They want the chance to better themselves through union representation without facing illegal employer harassment.

“Governor Palin's lack of experience and thin record give us no choice but to return to the clear facts; that John McCain has a long and terrible record of failing America's workers. McCain's record is a train wreck for families who want a shot at the American Dream, and this choice, his first as a presidential candidate, shows a serious lack of judgment and understanding about what this election is about.

“That's why Change to Win members are so excited about the Obama-Biden ticket. We're in our sixth month of backing a candidate who has the vision and leadership to make real change for all of America's working families. Obama had the wisdom to pick a partner with over 30 years of experience in foreign affairs, and who has always stood on the side of workers in the fight for good jobs, retirement with dignity, and the opportunity to leave a better life for their children. That is why we are proud and excited to continue to knock on thousands of doors, visit thousands of worksites, and make millions of phone calls to educate our members and turn out an historic vote this November.”

** Note: Media representatives interested in scheduling an interview to discuss Change to Win’s political program should contact Noreen Nielsen at**

# # #

About Change to WinChange to Win is a six million member partnership of seven unions founded in 2005 to represent workers in the industries and occupations of the 21st century economy. Change to Win committed to restoring the American Dream for a new generation of workers – wages that can support a family, affordable health care, a secure retirement, and the opportunity for the future. The seven affiliated unions are: Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers' International Union of North America, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and United Farm Workers of America.

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? United Steelworkers of America

USW International President Leo W. Gerard commented today on John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate, saying, "It is important to realize that while the governor's husband is a member of a union, this does not automatically qualify her for an on-the-job training program to become a heartbeat away from the presidency. And while her husband is one of 850,000 dues-paying members of the steelworkers union, it does nothing to absolve Sen. McCain of his long history of anti-union sentiment and anti-worker actions, including continuously pushing an anti-working family agenda."

Read more of the statement here.

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? Sierra Club

McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy

Washington, DC: Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope issues the following statement in reaction to Senator McCain's pick of Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President:

"With the pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate, John McCain's race towards the Bush administration's failed energy policy is now complete."

"John McCain was once willing to stand up to his own party, but now that he is running for President, he supports the same Bush policies and powerful special interests that put us in the grip of the oil companies. One of the last remaining independent policies putting him at odds with Bush was his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, yet he has now picked a running mate who has opposed holding Big Oil accountable and been dismissive of alternative energy while focusing her work on more oil drilling in a wildlife refuge and off of our coasts."

"Palin herself told Roll Call earlier this week, 'When I look every day, the big oil company's building is right out there next to me, and it's quite a reminder that we should have mutually beneficial relationships with the oil industry.'" (Roll Call, 8/25/08)

"No one is closer to the the oil industry than Governo Palin. Along with her support for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and off our coasts, she also opposes a windfall profit tax on the richest oil companies. Under her leadership, Alaska has sued the federal governent for considering listing the Polar Bear as a threatened species even though global warming threatens its very existence.

She has been dismissive of alternative energy, saying "alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop" (The Post and Courier Charleston, SC, 8/16/08), when in reality it is the oil she would like to drill that would take a decade to bring to market."

"Senator McCain has lost any chance of having a balanced or moderate ticket with this choice and has instead opted for the same, business-as-usual reliance on the outdated oil companies that has been the hallmark of the Bush-Cheney administration. On the third anniversay of the hurricane that knocked loose oil rigs and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf Coast that is bracing for another hit, McCain is sending a terribly indifferent message by selecting a candidate who only repeats Big Oil's talking points."

"Senators Obama and Biden share the common goals of putting America back to work by building a balanced clean energy economy, taking on Big Oil and meeting the challenge of global warming. Under their leadership, our economy can become stronger, and our world cleaner and safer."

Paid for by the Sierra Club Political Committee,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? Campaign Money Watch

Palin Pick Underscores McCain's Loss of Maverick Reformer Credentials

Washington, D.C. – Campaign Money Watch, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog, released the following statement today from its director, David Donnelly, regarding Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) selection of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) to be his vice presidential running mate:"In choosing Governor Palin, Senator McCain is clearly trying to shore up his past maverick reformer image – an image that is now in tatters due to the type of campaign he's run and the big money lobbyists he depends on every day of the week," Donnelly said.

"This selection raises plenty of questions," Donnelly continued. "She bills herself as a reformer, but has been silent on whether she supports public financing of elections in her own state. As governor of an oil-producing state, she's been a friend to Big Oil. Given John McCain's extensive fundraising from Big Oil, her selection raises concerns of whether the McCain-Palin ticket will promise the same access for oil companies and their lobbyists that we've seen for nearly eight years from the Bush-Cheney administration."

Gov. Palin recently told a reporter, "When I look every day, the big oil company's building is right out there next to me, and it's quite a reminder that we should have mutually beneficial relationships with the oil industry."

For John McCain, that mutually beneficial relationship includes millions in campaign donations.

Campaign Money Watch is a project of the nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund. The organization works to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations.

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? League of Conservation Voters

Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which works to turn environmental values into national priorities, today expressed its deep disappointment with John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“Unfortunately, with her support for drilling in the Arctic Refuge and off our coasts, Governor Palin will simply continue the failed policies of the Bush-Cheney Administration and their Big Oil friends – policies that could make us even more dependent on foreign oil," LCV President Gene Karpinski said.

Governor Palin characterizes McCain’s flip-flop on drilling offshore as a positive step in his transformation from maverick to Big Oil's best friend.

She has implored McCain to change his position against drilling in the Arctic – something she will have plenty of opportunities to pursue as his running mate.

In addition to supporting backward-looking energy policies, Governor Palin has also opposed a crucial clean water initiative, sued the federal government for listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and opposed other important wildlife protection measures.

This ticket now stands in even starker contrast to the visionary energy plan laid out by Senator Obama last night, which will create millions of new jobs, improve our national security, and reduce global warming pollution.

“Now more than ever, America is in need of real vision and leadership to bring us a new clean energy future, and the McCain-Palin ticket offers nothing of the sort.”

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? NARAL

I’m heading home from Denver and my ears are still ringing from the roar of the crowd that celebrated this amazing moment in Mile-High Stadium. Sen. Barack Obama is the leader our country needs right now - and I can’t wait to get home to start the final leg of our fight to put him into the White House.

And now we know what we’re up against, with Sen. John McCain’s announcement moments ago that anti-choice Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is his pick for vice president.

By picking Palin, we now risk having two anti-choice extremists who will push a rigid anti-choice agenda. Any remaining doubts about McCain’s extreme anti-choice position should be put to rest when voters learn about the combined anti-choice records of Palin and McCain.

Speak out for the future of a woman’s right to choose by making a donation to NARAL Pro-Choice America to help elect Sen. Obama.

We must reach hundreds of thousands of Independent and Republican pro-choice women in suburban and exurban swing districts this fall - and we need your help to do it.

Palin is not just anti-choice, she’s opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. [Juneau Empire, “Abortion Draws Clear Divide in State Races,” accessed 8/29/08 and Anchorage Daily News, “Governor’s Race: Top contenders meet one last time to debate,” 11/03/06.] Palin is also a member of the anti-choice group Feminists for Life.

We can’t let McCain-Palin continue George Bush’s rigid and extreme anti-choice legacy.

Help defeat John McCain and Sarah Palin, and help NARAL Pro-Choice America protect choice at every level. Donate today.

Thank you for everything that you do.
My best,

Nancy KeenanPresident, NARAL Pro-Choice America

How are progressive organizations responding to Palin? Planned Parenthood

Yesterday morning, on my way back from the high of the Democratic National Convention, I learned that Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential pick.
What might have been encouraging news for women was just the opposite — somehow McCain had managed to find a woman running mate even more conservative than he is on women's rights.
It was heartbreaking news, especially on the heels of such an inspiring week. Right now there is so much shameless rhetoric from the Republicans about breaking the glass ceiling, especially from McCain and his running mate.
What good does it do to break a glass ceiling with a woman who wants government to control women's reproductive health? That isn't the world I want for my two daughters. A day later, and I'm still having trouble expressing the depth of my anger about McCain's choice of a running mate.
This shameless pandering to women — with a woman who doesn't trust other women to make their own decisions about childbearing — has really got me going.
My dear friends and supporters, the stakes in this election just got unbelievably higher. More than ever before, the November 4 election is the most important vote for women's rights of my generation. And our actions in the next eight weeks — yours, mine, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund's — have never been more critical.
Believe me, I don't say that lightly. It's time to get to work — and hard. If you can only do one thing, it should be to tell every woman you meet that McCain and Palin are the most anti-choice, anti-women pair imaginable.
Don't stop at just telling your friends. You can bet that I'll be telling strangers in the checkout line at the grocery store, the women I see at the gym, parents at my kids' schools. Women trust other women to tell them the straight truth — and the straight truth is that McCain and Palin would take us back to a time when women had absolutely no right to decide whether or not to have a child ... zero. It's been widely reported that Palin is against abortion even in the cases of rape and incest!
Bear with us over the next two months. We're going to be asking for your help, your contributions and your time a lot. Thank you in advance for doing what you can, when you can.
Times like these, it's hard not to hear my mother's voice in my head. I can tell you that my mother, the former governor of Texas and a remarkable feminist leader of her time, would have been downright outraged right now. What would have offended her most about McCain's decision to put Sarah Palin on the ticket is how utterly calculated, how awfully pandering it is to women. It is the worst kind of politics. Mom would have said, "Women voting for this ticket is just like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders."
We have the opportunity in Barack Obama and Joe Biden to elect a team that have always stood strong with us for women's health — end of story. I'm so excited coming back from Denver — but with this decision by John McCain, I recognize that everything for us is at stake.
Thank you, as always, for standing up with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the women Planned Parenthood health centers serve. We are quite a force, aren't we?
Cecile Richards, PresidentPlanned Parenthood Action Fund


© 2008 Planned Parenthood® Action Fund, Inc. Terms of Use

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Speech at the DNC

The "Free Speech Zone" at the DNC is reminiscent of the "Free Speech Zone" at the Beijing Olympics. Funny, I thought the Free Speech Zone was called the United States of America. The City of Denver's Free Speech Zone is not viewable by the delegates, unless they make a special trip. It also has no shade, no water and no rest rooms.

Barack "O-Bomb-A"

Last night, after the convention, I went to the Union Station parking lot to get my car, but I was stopped by the Denver Police. They said there was a suspicious package. I went back to the Big Tent to wait until they cleared the lot. Moments later there was an explosion, prompting us to all run outside to see what happened. The police had exploded the suspicious package:

It turned out to be a case of flyers for an independent group supporting Democrats for Congress:

New Healthcare figures from Census Bureau

While we're on the topic, the new healthcare figures from the Census Bureau are available here:

Released on 8/26/08

Harry and Louise Return to Promote Healthcare for All

Harry and Louise are back; this time to promote full quality helath coverage for eveyone. In 1993, Harry and Louise wer the fictional characters created by the insurance industry to scare Americans away from the clinton healthcare plan. While the Clinton plan left a lot to be desired, the Harry and Louise-inspired backlash helped Newt Gingrich and the Republicans take over Congress in 1994. Those events are the prime reason why politicians have been reluctant to support quality, affordable healthcare for all until now. Here's to a new Harry and Louise inspired backlash; this time against anyone refusing to back healthcare for all Americans.

In case you've forgotten (or were too young) here's the insurance industry's original Harry and Louise ad:

SEIU and Families USA Hold Healthcare Forum at DNC

Healthcare is the topic of the week at the DNC and events throughout Denver. Every time a speaker mentions health care coverage for all Americans, the crowd erupts in approval. It's pretty obvious that the activists who make up the crowds want to make this topic number one.

I've counted at least a dozen separate events, all of them advocating for universal coverage. Some of the events are advocating for single payer as the only solution, but the vast majority of the events are for a starategy that calls for universal coverage without specifying what that means.

The SEIU/Families USA event was a star-studded affair that included Senator Clinton, Tom Daschle, Speaker Pelosi, Governor Ed Rendell and many other elected officials.

Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA provided us with the most recent statistics on healthcare which were just released on tuesday. The new number of uninsured according to the US Census Bureau is 45.7 million in 2007, which is down slightly from 2006. That number is still the equivalent of the total population of 24 states plus DC. The drop in uninsured is a little deceptive, though, according to Poolack. Emlpoyer provided health coverage dropped to 59.3% in the same period.

So why are there fewer uninsured? More government provided health coverage. From 2006 to 2007 there were 1.3 million more enrolled in CHIP and Medicaid, 1 million more in Medicare and more people covered by military health care. together, there were over 2.7 million more covered by governmental programs in 2007.

And one needs to remember that in 2000 there were 38.4 million uninsured according to the Census Bureau.

All of the speakers encouraged the attendees to support Obama for president and to work for Democratic majorities in Congress and the Statehouses. They also urged the activists to stay engaged after the election. As Rep. John Dingell put is, "The number of our opponents has decreased, but their viciousness has intensified."

Kansas Governor Kathleen sibelius reminded the audience that the 16 cents of every helathcare dollar goes to paying for the uninsured and an additional 33 cents goes to paperwork.

The best line of the day was delivered by 13 year old Graham Frost from Baltimore. You may remember Graham from last year's S-CHIP debates. Graham gave a Staurday Morning Democratic radio message, talking about his familiy's healthcare problems following a near-fatal car crash involving him and his sister. Both suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries so severe that both he and his sister had to learn to walk, talk and eat. Graham said that if it were not for CHIP, he wouldn't be in Denver today.

He closed by saying, "If someone needs healthcare, like me and my sister did, they should get it. Not as a privilege, but as a right."

More photos, click here
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania
Families USA

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anna Burger Discusses the American Dream

Anna Burger, President of the Change to Win labor coalition speaks on the American Dream project at the DNC in Denver 8/25/08.

The Shifting Faith Vote: What It Means For This Election

Note: The audio is the video pics up just as the panel is introduced. Be patient for the first 2 minutes.Since the 2004 election, the ground has shifted tremendously for evangelical Christian, Catholic and other religious voters.

A deepening awareness about torture, poverty, global HIV/AIDS, the environment and peace stands alongside more traditionally conservative values like abortion and gay marriage. Both Presidential campaigns are consciously trying to build momentum with faith voters. This panel assesses how the changing values debate among religious voters will have an impact on the general electorate, the campaigns, and the media. It also explores how those who support this expanded debate are getting the message out broadly between now and the election.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Poll Shows Obama Can Win White Working Class Voters

American Dream Frames Economic Agenda for Working Families

DENVER, CO. – Barack Obama can capture the votes of America’s workers, including so-called Reagan Democrats, with a strong message of economic populism and sharp contrasts with McCain on taxes, health care, trade and corporate power according to a new survey conducted by Lake Research Partners and released today at a news briefing at the 2008 Democratic National Convention by Change to Win.
“The American Dream defines both a value system and a broad economic reform agenda focused on jobs with wages that can support families, affordable health care, retirement security and opportunity for a better future,” said pollster Celinda Lake. “Workers see the Dream at risk and want government action to create a new infrastructure for a new American Dream. They want a candidate who is not controlled by big corporations, and who will support progressive taxes, limits on corporate power, worker rights and proactive government.”

Live Steaming from Denver--The Big Tent

We're having some difficulties uploading content from Denver. In the meantime, enjoy this live streaming from the Big Tent. Keystone Progress is a co-sponsor of this great event.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NEA Video Contest: "Got Tuition?"

Contact: Jennifer Lucas Phone: 703-302-8387

Debt-ridden students, parents, recent grads get national platform on costly tuition
NEA, Huffington Post launch first-ever “Got Tuition?” video contest

WASHINGTON – Millions of students and families facing skyrocketing tuition costs in a sour economy will soon be able to tell policymakers how to fix the problem. The National Education Association (NEA) and top news blog The Huffington Post launched today a first-ever, “Got Tuition?” national video contest to provide a high-visibility platform to push for solutions to high tuition costs.

The producer of the winning two-minute video will get the opportunity to blog on the front page of Huffington Post about college affordability and $1,000 in prize money. Videos will be judged by a panel that will include Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and other Huffington Post contributors, who will select five finalists on which the public can vote.

“Every year NEA members see talented students whose potential is not realized because they can’t afford to go to college, and our elected officials are not recognizing just how serious an issue this is for families,” said Shilpa Reddy, a spokeswoman for the NEA. “With almost 200 small lenders suspending their student loan programs this year, this has become a serious national economic issue. We’re providing a platform to the people who are bearing the brunt of this problem.”

Recent polling shows that families are increasingly concerned with rising college tuition costs in difficult economic times. Over 75 percent of people say it is more difficult to pay for college now than it was 10 years ago, and over half of families with students in high school report cutting back on spending in order to afford college. The faltering economy is most frequently named as the reason people cannot keep up with tuition costs. To add insult to injury, credit agencies actually penalize families who shop around for the best rate on student loans by tarnishing their credit ratings.

The campaign will be promoted through innovative ads on the increasingly popular site,, in order to reach students, who are among those most affected by tuition costs.
Contestants should send their videos to and must include their name, address, daytime phone number and email address. Videos must be no longer than two minutes and should tell the contestant’s story about tuition costs, resulting student debt and what policymakers should do to solve the problem. Judges will be looking for creativity, how well the message is conveyed and relevance to the theme of college affordability.

Videos that advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate for any federal, state, or local elected office are ineligible. For more information visit

Take Action: Help Restore PA's Hate Crimes Law

When I was a boy growing up in Boston I had an older neighbor who was a little different. As a teenager Rick was outgoing, liked to dance and wore flamboyant outfits. Despite his clothing choices, he was popular with a lot of the boys in the neighborhood because he was a great dancer, and he was willing to teach us some basic moves so that we could go to the junior high dances and not look completely foolish.

One day I saw Rick walking by my house, but I didn't recognize him. His face was swollen, his nose was broken and he lhad ost some teeth. My mother said he was beaten up because he was "a queer." I didn't know what that meant, but I knew it was wrong to beat up somebody simply because he was a little different. I remember telling my mother that there should be a law to protect people like Rick.

In Pennsylvania, there was a law protecting people like Rick. It was an amendment to a law called the Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism Act, better known as the PA Hate Crimes Law. It was overwhelmingly passed in 2002 by Democrats and Republicans and signed into law by then-Governor Mark Schweiker. That bill extended protections against hate crimes for people based on their gender, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity and mental and physical disability.

But last month the PA Supreme Court struck down the law on a technicality, saying it was passed illegally.

That leaves Pennsylvanians in all of those categories vulnerable to hate crimes.I don't know about you, but I find that unacceptable. That's why we're calling on our State Senators and State Representatives to once again pass this legislation-and to do it right this time. Pennsylvania protects people based on their religion, race and ethnicity. Shouldn't we extend the same protections to people based on their gender, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity and mental and physical disability?

Michael Morrill

Keystone Progress

Friday, August 15, 2008

McCain Takes the Gold in Political Freestyle Flip-Flop

McCain Takes the Gold in “Political Freestyle Flip-Flop”
of Olympic Season
McCain now claims he is open to a pro-choice running mate

Washington, DC – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said Sen. McCain’s comment yesterday about considering pro-choice running mates is a complete flip-flop from his statements a few months ago. On April 15, 2008 during an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, McCain said “it would be difficult” to have a pro-choice running mate. Yesterday, aboard his campaign plane, McCain told Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard, that he is open to choosing a pro-choice running mate.

“Sen. McCain appears to have caught Olympic fever with the freestyle flip-flop he’s attempting to pull off with his hints about the possibility of a pro-choice running mate,” Keenan said. “Pro-choice Americans know that this flip-flop is not indicative of a policy shift or a reverse course for the anti-choice and anti-birth control McCain. It is clear that McCain is nervous about his diminishing support among Independent women, a key voting bloc that will likely determine the outcome of this election. McCain knows he needs pro-choice Independent and Republican women to win in November, but his extreme position on a woman’s right to choose makes it increasingly difficult to attract these voters.”

Recent polling conducted by Lifetime Networks showed that Obama leads McCain among Independent women by a 12-point margin. NARAL Pro-Choice America’s own polling in 12 battleground states earlier this summer showed Obama and McCain virtually tied among all Independent women. But, when given information about the candidates’ positions on a woman’s right to choose, Obama gains 14 points over McCain. And among pro-choice Independent women, the lead climbs to 40 points. In fact, among all groups of women voters – pro-choice Republicans, non-college educated women, older women and suburban women – Obama gains votes and McCain loses them based solely on the issue of a woman’s right to choose.

“Let’s face it – Sen. McCain is basically President George W. Bush on steroids,” Keenan continued. “McCain has consistently gone even further than Bush by calling for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. McCain has said he would appoint pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, while Bush wouldn’t admit to an abortion litmus test for his nominees. McCain’s 30-year anti-choice-voting record is anti-family planning, anti-sex education, and anti-birth control, and that is one political, Olympic style move that pro-choice Americans will see right through at the ballot box in November.”

For more information on McCain’s anti-choice record, please visit

Social Security Birthday Party in York, Pennsylvania

Sponsored by Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans

SEIU to Count Down to Better Health Care with 365 Stories for Next 365 Days

Health Care Workers, Patients, Consumers to Speak Out About Challenges of Broken System

WASHINGTON, DC – With growing numbers of Americans calling on elected officials to fix the broken health care system, SEIU—the nation’s largest organization of health care workers—launched 365 Stories: Countdown to Health Care today.

SEIU’s goal is to help win passage of comprehensive legislation between now and August 2009 – when the new Congress will break for August recess - that ensures affordable, quality care for every man, woman and child in America.

Every day for the next year, a story from nurse, doctor, health care worker, consumer, or patient will be posted at

“This movement for quality, affordable health care is driven by Americans in every community in our country who face bigger and more serious challenges getting access to health care or trying to deliver quality care. Their stories need to be heard,” said Anna Burger, secretary-treasurer of SEIU. “By this time next year, we must build a new, American health care system that works for everyone. The countdown begins now.”

The first story came from Elizabeth Manning-Washington from Michigan:
I was at my last job for nine years, and for the last year I didn't have health insurance because I couldn't afford it anymore. The premiums had gone up to $140 every two weeks -- and when I started, they were just $60 every two weeks. So the premiums more than doubled even though my wages didn't go up.

My children had Medicaid, but I was one of those people in-between -- I didn't quality for Medicaid, and I couldn't pay for insurance. I learned about the Ingham County medical plan at a health fair, and it's been a lifesaver. I don't ever want to be without health care again.
When people don't have health care, they delay treatment until they get really sick. Then they have to go to the emergency room. It'd be cheaper to give them health insurance. It'd also be simpler.

I should know. When I didn't have health insurance, I went to the hospital for a severe asthma attack. All I really needed was to go to a doctor to get a prescription for an inhaler. But, because I went to the hospital, I got a bill for $11,000. I'll have that on my credit history forever.

The stories will include the experiences of:
A couple in New Hampshire who own a small business and got priced out of their health insurance. While scrambling to find affordable insurance through a small business pool, they put off tests that later indicated that one of them had cancer.

A doctor in Harlem who sees patients whose conditions become unnecessarily severe because they don’t have access to primary care.

A hospital worker in Florida who can’t afford to pay for insurance for her kids because her premiums have almost doubled in the last two years.

The 365 Stories: Countdown to Health Care is part of SEIU’s sweeping election-year effort to elect a new President and Congress committed to fixing health care – and then tap into that same energy to ensure those newly elected leaders immediately pass comprehensive legislation to make quality health care affordable for everyone.

Sullivan: Edwards, McCain and Adultery

Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic Monthly Blog on Edwards, McCain and Adultery:

"A lively exchange on Fox News. Sean Hannity's head explodes, which is always good television at the thought that the same standards applied to Democrats should apply to Republicans. The meltdown happens around the 3:20 mark. Hannity also says that the Vietnamese "did not break [McCain's] spirit." Actually, they did, using the enhanced interrogation techniques Hannity approves of when used by Americans. McCain attempted suicide and made a taped confession of crimes he didn't commit after torture was inflicted on him. The torture techniques included beating, stress positions, dietary manipulation, withholding of medical care and solitary confinement - all of which are now used by the Bush-run CIA and were used indiscriminately across all theaters of war by the US after 2001 on Bush's authorization. "

Monday, August 11, 2008

York Seniors Celebrate Social Security's 73rd Birthday

Local Seniors Celebrate Social Security’s 73rd Birthday

Who: The Alliance for Retired Americans and organizations
What: Birthday Party for Social Security
Where: UAW Local 1872 Hall, 3562 Gillespie Dr., York PA
When: Tuesday, August 12th at 1pm

(YORK, PA)--Social Security is one of the most important and successful social programs in history. The Alliance for Retired Americans is holding this "Birthday Party" to mark the 73rd Anniversary of its signing into law by President Roosevelt. Attendees will urge candidates for Congress and President to make sure that Social Security is going strong for another 73 years.

While the anniversary is actually on Thursday the 14th, residents of York will take this opportunity to address the issue while Senator McCain is in town. Local candidates for Congress from both parties will be invited to attend and show their support for Social Security if they so choose.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Stop Electric Rate Increases in PA!

Ten years ago the Republican-led House and Senate deregulated the electric industry in Pennsylvania.

They promised us lower rates--up to 50% lower--as dozens of electricity providers would compete for our business.Instead, Harrisburg gave the electric companies $11 billion dollars of our money and a promise to allow them to raise their rates without regulation in ten years.
Now, 10 years later, Pennsylvania consumers are about to get one big sucker-punch when the rate cap comes off.

By the electric companies' own projections, rates will rise from 20% to at 63%. However, consumer advocates think the reality will be closer to a 100% increase in our electric bills--and possibly more as fuel costs continue to soar.
State Senator Lisa Boscola and other Senate Democrats are introducing legislation that would hold off the rate increases by phasing out the cap over a period of five years. It would also require that electric generators seek practical ways to lower their costs.
Pennsylvania already has some of the highest electricity costs in the nation! Raising the rates even higher will break the backs of working families already struggling to make ends meet. It will also force small businesses to close and cause other businesses to locate in states with lower utility costs.
Most Senators have not signed on to this family-friendly legislation. We need to stand together to fight the corporate special interests in Harrisburg if we are going to keep our electric bills from doubling in the next few years.
Click on the link below to join us by signing this petition to our state senators. Tell them to stand up for working families and not the big electric companies.

How to Stop a Tire Burning Plant in PA


What does an urban community do when it is assaulted by plans to build the world largest dedicated tire-burning plant in a downtown residential neighborhood?

It gets PISSED!

Erie Renewable Energy, LLC think it knows a rust-belt sucker when it sees one. A miniscule 60 jobs on a KOZ brown-field are proposed for the site in order to place itself as an electricity provider when the PA electricity rate-caps come off in 2010. (Can you say windfall profits?)

A grass-roots organization named K.E.E.P (Keep Erie’s Environment Protected) formed in Erie in the summer of 2007 to fight this proposed environmental monstrosity in the face of a community revolt and (expected) local governmental inertia.

Environmental expert Mike Ewall, in conjunction with the local Green Party in Erie, has assisted in part with the formation of a grassroots organization that has taken the town by storm.
Here’s what the folks in Erie are saying:

'If this project is developed as planned, we will be faced with potentially having to move our processing plant and likely our distribution plant south of Erie and possibly Erie County for the sake of maintaining food safety and product integrity.”

This quote comes from Bruce Kern, a food processing company owner near the proposed tire-to-toxic-death plant. K.E.E.P. has now to date 29 letters from local business in clear opposition to the construction of the proposed tire-burning plant.

The proposed tire-burning plant filed for its air-quality permit, a signal important hurdle in being granted a go-ahead by the PA DEP in December of 2007. In its application, Erie Renewable Energy (since when are tires renewable?) said its operation would be officially listed as a “major source of hazardous air pollutants” (HAP). The application goes on to reveal that it is designated as a Title V polluter which will produce an estimated (on a good day) over 1,500 tons of pollution each year in the Erie community, translating into just over 4 tons of gas and particulate matter per day. This is in conjunction with two other Title V polluters in the Erie city limits already in operation.

Does the Erie community need this kind of “business investment?”

'It's my home. It's my neighborhood. It's my city. I think I need better assurances than they have given so far,' said Dzuricky, an East Sixth Street resident.

'We are not going away,' Dzuricky said. 'We are still mobilizing. We are in this for the long haul.'

Tim Reim, representative of the local Green Party, and other K.E.E.P. officials also challenged the contention that the type and volume of pollutants the plant would emit would not represent a health threat.

Reim stated, 'How do you dump 229 tons of particulate matter containing things like dioxins in the air and tell the community it is not going to have an effect?'

'Erie must be in the forefront of good environmental standards,' he said. 'This is not an anti-business resolution. This is a pro-environment resolution. Are we willing to jeopardize future businesses, and most importantly are we willing to jeopardize our own citizens for 60 jobs? I'm interested in the health, safety and welfare of residents,' Cappabianca said. 'I want to protect the air in Erie.'

These are the words of our courageous City Councilperson, Pat Cappabianca, backed by a second Erie Councilperson, Jessica Horan-Kunco, in response to a Continuous Emissions Monitoring System Ordinance (CEMS) crafted by Mike Ewall to address the environmental needs of the citizens of Erie.

Six separate surrounding local township governments have publicly stated their opposition to the construction of the tire-burning plant.

And yet the corporate criminals who place profit over people persist in its plans to build the plant in Erie. Its original cost projection has sky-rocketed from an estimated $90 million to now $350 million, while shedding possibly 30 of its projected 60 long-term jobs.

Concerns about possible tire fires, rail and truck traffic issues, local ammonia on-site storage and local tourism, along with regional grape-growers concerns continue to beleaguer the plans of the proposed tire-burning plant’s local construction and out-of-town investors.

K.E.E.P. has had enormous success in garnering support among its many aroused citizenry. Community inspired raffles, fundraisers and anonymous donors have given a growing group of dedicated activists the incentive to continue the fight.

A recent Erie City zoning hearing board ruling which found against a preliminary approval of ERE’s plans has further enhanced K.E.E.P.’s standing in the community as a viable force against the forces of environmental degradation.

In addition, the Erie County Medical Society released a statement this last month which read in part: “…the Erie County Medical Society is concerned that simply meeting DEP standards will not adequately define the health risk to our citizens over time. It is our position that an independent health impact assessment be obtained to further delineate the burning facility.
In other words, an independent health impact assessment study of the data should be conducted before the PA DEP rules to give ERE, LLC its valued air-quality permit.

What can we do to help K.E.E.P. in Erie? Go to:
Or contact Tim Reim , 2708 W. 33rd Street, Erie, PA 16506(814) 838-1193, (814) 572-6653 – cell,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

McCain: Not Comfortable With Nuclear Waste Through Arizona, But Just Fine for Pennsylvania
McCain Nuclear Plan Would Bring At Least 6,349 Casks of Dangerous, Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste Through Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—As John McCain is paying a visit today to the Enrico Fermi nuclear generating station in Monroe, Michigan he can be expected to tout his costly plan to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and 55 more after that. This plan would effectively double the number of nuclear reactors and the amount of dangerous high-level nuclear waste that would need to be transported across the country.

The Sierra Club is today calling attention to the YouTube video that surfaced earlier this year which shows John McCain clearly saying—while shaking his head ‘no’—that he would not be comfortable with nuclear waste traveling through his own home state of Arizona on its way to the unsafe and unproven Yucca Mountain site—something for which John McCain has been one of the Senate’s biggest proponents.

The video can be viewed at:

Transcript (beginning at 1:14): Interviewer: What about the transportation? Would you be comfortable with nuclear waste coming through Arizona on its way, you know going through Phoenix, on its way to uh Yucca Mountain? McCain (Shaking Head): “No, I would not. No, I would not.”

“Why does John McCain think its okay for hundreds of tons of dangerous nuclear waste to go through Pennsylvania but yet too dangerous to go through his own state?” said Hillary Bright, Sierra Club. “John McCain simply can’t have it both ways when it comes to the nuclear waste issue. Right now he supports running hundreds of shipments of dangerous nuclear waste through Pennsylvania and sticking Nevadans with 77,000 tons of it forever, while at the same time saying he’s uncomfortable with it going through his own backyard for even a day.”

The Sierra Club also pointed out that the very nuclear plant that Senator McCain is visiting today once suffered a partial meltdown. Indeed, a book about the incident is entitled “We Almost Lost Detroit.”

John McCain supports the Bush administration’s plan to store our nation’s nuclear waste at the unsafe and unproven Yucca mountain site—a white elephant that has wasted two decades and billions of taxpayer dollars. A plan to transport the waste released by the State of Nevada based on Department of Energy plans details the likely rail, truck, and barge routes that high-level waste would take on its way to Yucca Mountain. Approximately 6,349 casks of waste would travel through Pennsylvania. Each cask would transport between 2 and 15 tons of high-level waste. In total, the dangerous waste would travel through more than 703 counties in 45 states. More than 123 million people live along the proposed truck routes alone. And more than 10 million people live within a half-mile of the proposed routes.

See link for Proposed Pennsylvania Routes:

“John McCain is asking both Pennsylvanians and Nevadans to gamble with our safety, yet it’s not even a bet he’s willing to take for Arizona,” said Hillary Bright, Sierra Club. “Just like with subsidies—he’s against them, except when it comes to nuclear power and so-called ‘clean coal’—John McCain wants to have his cake and eat it too on the nuclear waste issue. He’s all for moving thousands of tons highly radioactive waste through communities across the country, except when it comes to his home state of Arizona.”

In addition to being dangerous, John McCain’s nuclear plan is a costly distraction from the real solutions to global warming. Based on cost estimates for new nuclear power plants put forth by utilities like Florida Power and Light, McCain’s plan for 100 new nuclear plants could cost more than $1 TRILLION.

Over the years McCain has cast vote after vote in favor of Yucca Mountain and billions in subsidies for the nuclear industry, yet he has consistently voted against renewable energy and has refused to support extending key clean energy incentives that are in danger of expiring at the end of this year. While twice trying to extend these incentives in recent months, they failed by just a single vote. Every other Senator voted on these clean energy incentives, but McCain was nowhere to be found. Failing to extend these incentives could throw 116,000 people out of work in the wind and solar industries alone and sacrifice billions in lost economic growth.

Barack Obama, by contrast, opposes storing nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site. With regards to the role of nuclear power in general, Obama’s energy plan released yesterday states:

“Before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Special Show in DHS Reform in Philly on Monday Night



Philadelphia (PA) – Upon reading the many heart wrenching stories published this weekend, in both the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer, Dr. Chuck contacted his friend and radio buddy, Dr. Mazz about doing a special show focused on the need for Philadelphia to push for drastic reforms at the embattled DHS. Dr. Mazz responded –“Of course! This is an issue about which I am very passionate”. So, the plans were made to host the first ever one-hour special devoted to DHS reform on 1210 Tonight’s Family Affairs show, co-hosted by Dr. Mazz and Dr. Chuck. “ I was more than pleased that Mazz was so committed to doing this special show. He understands my concern for these issues as a child-welfare professional and as someone who grew up in DHS care,” stated Chuck Williams.

The story involving 14-year old Danieal Kelly culminates in a more than 200-page grand jury indictment and some scathing words from both the grand- jury and Philadelphia’s DA, Lynn Abraham. According to published reports, DA Lynn Abraham was seething with anger as she read, aloud, the reasons for the indictment. DHS was “in total meltdown” according to published reports quoting Philadelphia’s fiery DA. The 256-page indictment points to “...dysfunction that goes deep, down to the bone.” She also went on to proclaim that the state should seize control of the embattled child-welfare agency and that this grand-jury report “ should outrage the whole Philadelphia community”. Well, enrage one Philadelphian it did.

Chuck Williams grew up in DHS care, given that there were serious addictions, neglect and abuse issues taking place within his home. He was removed from his home at the age of 13 and sent to live at St. Francis Homes For Boys, which is located in Bensalem, Pa, a suburb outside of Philadelphia. He remained there until he was accepted at Temple University. Today, he has earned a PhD, lectures at Penn State, and hosts a radio show. “I am extremely blessed. In many instances, I’m the exception to the rule. Many of the kids who grew up with me, did not make it out of the system [DHS] alive, literally. It is because of this that I’ve dedicated my life to pushing for serious reforms at DHS.” Chuck recently chaired a committee on child abuse and neglect, which was a part of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Children’s Behavior Health. As a part of that committee’s work, a recommendation was made to appoint a child advocate for the city. He has also recently teamed with the National Adoption Center to push for reforms in the foster care system, focusing on encouraging DHS to find families for abused and neglected children, which is also a major issue for the agency. “Many children languish in foster care for years because DHS refuses to allow them to be adopted by families. I had a client who was 3-years of age and DHS had placed him in six different foster care homes. This has got to stop,” stated Williams.
Anthony Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE is a physician, attorney and bioethicist. He is the host of 1210 Tonight week nights on The Big Talker. He is also on the medical staff at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey, where he lives with his wife.

Chuck Williams, MGCOD, PhD, is a trained child therapist, organizational dynamicist, and educational psychologist. He hosts Family Affairs on 1210 Tonight and is the co-host for Grimaldi vs Williams, a political call in show on The Big Talker. He currently resides in the University City section of Philadelphia.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

FACT CHECK: McCain lied about support of MLK holiday

From Progressive Accountability:

FACT CHECK: McCain Opposed Federal MLK Holiday, Arizona MLK Holiday And Key Legislation Aimed At Equal Opportunity For African Americans

McCain Claim: McCain Defended Opposition Of Federal MLK Holiday By Saying He Supported Arizona’s State Holiday. During a press availability in Panama City, Florida, John McCain said, “I have supported hundreds of pieces of legislation, which would help Americans obtain an equal opportunity in America. I am proud of that record, from fighting for the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in my state to sponsoring specific legislation that would prevent discrimination in any shape or form in America today.” [McCain Press Availability In Panama City, Florida, 8/1/08]

FACT: McCain Supported Republican AZ Governor’s Decision To Rescind MLK Holiday. ABC News reported, “In Arizona, a bill to recognize a holiday honoring MLK failed in the legislature, so then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat, declared one through executive order. In January 1987, the first act of Arizona’s new governor, Republican Evan Mecham, was to rescind the executive order by his predecessor to create an MLK holiday. Arizona’s stance became a national controversy. McCain backed the decision at the time.” [ABC News, 4/3/08]

FACT: McCain Supported Gov. Evan Mecham’s Decision In 1987 To Rescind Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “In a vote likely to haunt him for the rest of his public career, McCain voted against 1983 legislation establishing the third Monday in January as the federal holiday marking King’s birthday. Back home in Arizona, he supported Gov. Evan Mecham’s decision in 1987 to rescind an executive order creating a state holiday for King, but later reversed his position.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/16/08]

FACT: McCain Voted Against Creating Martin Luther King Holiday. In 1983, McCain voted against a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The motion passed 89-77. [HR 3706, Vote 289, 8/2/83; CQ 1983]

McCain Admitted His Opposition To The Federal MLK Holiday Was “A Mistake” And His Position Has “Evolved.” During a 2000 interview, McCain compared his evolution on this issue to former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater. “I believe that Barry Goldwater, to start with, regretted his vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” McCain said. “I think that Barry grew, like all of us grow and evolve. In 1983, when I was brand-new in the Congress, I voted against the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. That was a mistake, OK? And later I had the chance to … help fight for … the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King as a holiday in my state.” [ 4/18/00; Accessed 4/2/08]

FACT: In 1994, McCain Sided With Senator Jesse Helms and Voted To Eliminate Funding For Martin Luther King Commission. McCain voted in favor of a Helms amendment “to prohibit federal financing for the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.” The amendment failed 28-70-2. [S Amdt 1738, Vote #127, 5/24/94; CQ Vote Description]

FACT: McCain Voted Against The Civil Rights Act Of 1990 FOUR Times. In 1990, McCain voted against a bill designed to address employer discrimination at least 4 times. According to the Washington Post, the “Civil Rights Act of 1990 is designed to overturn several recent Supreme Court rulings that made it much more difficult for individual employees to prove discrimination. The legislation, being fought by business, also would impose new penalties on employers convicted of job discrimination.” [S 2104, Vote #304, 10/24/90; Vote #276, Vote #275, 10/16/90; Vote #161, 7/18/90; Washington Post, 7/9/90]

Friday, August 1, 2008

PA Nurses Pushing to Ban Forced Overtime

From SEIU Healthcare PA

Pennsylvania Nurses Push Lawmakers to Ban Forced Overtime

Last spring, urged on by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the state’s House of Representatives voted 166-31 to ban mandatory overtime for nurses. Now the nurses are aggressively lobbying the state Senate to move the bill out of committee. Members have been campaigning for the ban for the past six years, mobilizing for lobby days in Harrisburg and generating thousands of emails. A strong media campaign is supplementing the lobbying with radio ads, billboards, and excellent media coverage of events, including candidate forums.

"Every day, we are contacted by nurses who are concerned that they are unable to deliver the highest quality care that their patients deserve, because of the toll and stress placed on nurses by working endless hours. Our number one legislative priority is to insure that this outrageous practice be eliminated and banned forever." - Kati Sipp, Executive Vice President,SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.

Sipp says that one thing that distinguishes the Pennysylvania bill from similar laws in other states is that "it covers not only RNs but also LPNs and CNAs so our longterm care workers, not just acute care, are very involved."Now our members, who have already written or visited or called their Senators many times, are reaching out to non-union nurses to get them involved in the campaign. We have no doubt that we’ll eventually be successful."

Declare Your Independence From Big Oil

From our friends at Clean Water Action

Declare Your Independence From Big Oil
Eight years of increased oil production has done nothing to reduce gas prices. Instead we are faced with high gas prices for consumers and fat profits for the Big Oil companies.
The only way to free ourselves from expensive oil is to get off oil.
Read more or sign our petition and add your voice to thousands of others who oppose drilling off our most pristine coasts and in our Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.