Time to End Legalized Discrimination

Letter from Susan F. Rzucidlo, Landenberg, Daily Local News, 7/4/15

It was good news to see the recent Supreme Court ruling that agreed with Pennsylvania’s decision to accept and allow same sex marriage, it ended an era of separate but not equal, and it defined all as all. The Court decided that love wins and all people have the same right to marry who they love. That was good news, but it also pointed out that the work against legalized discrimination in Pennsylvania is not yet done. Many people are unaware that in the majority of communities in Pennsylvania someone can be denied a job or fired from a job just because of who they are. They can be denied a house or apartment, a mortgage or loan, or even a seat at a restaurant, simply based on their private lives. This is wrong and is time to end legalized discrimination in Pennsylvania. …

keep reading at Daily Local News

On Patriotism

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, July 4, 2015

A few words about patriotism – something we talk a lot about, especially around July 4th, but seldom stop to examine its real meaning.

True patriotism isn’t simply about waving the American flag. And it’s not mostly about securing our borders from outsiders.

It’s about coming together for the common good.

Real patriotism is not cheap. It requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going – being willing to pay taxes in full rather than seeking tax loopholes and squirreling away money abroad.

Patriotism is about preserving and protecting our democracy, not inundating it with big money and buying off politicians.

True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve our government, not destroy it.

Finally, patriots don’t pander to divisiveness. They don’t fuel racist or religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist.

To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen the “we” in “we the people of the United States.”

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July

The President’s weekly address, WhiteHouse.gov, July 4, 2015

In this week’s address, the President wished everyone a happy Fourth of July. He honored the individuals who, throughout the history of America, have struggled and sacrificed to make this country a better place, from our Founding Fathers, to the men and women in uniform serving at home and overseas.

View the full address at WhiteHouse.gov

1:57: “We honor everyone who strives to make this country a better, stronger, more inclusive, more hopeful place….”

Thank You, Donald Trump!

by America Ferrera, Huffington Post, 7/2/15, excerpts:

…what you just did with your straight talk was send more Latino voters to the polls than several registration rallies combined! Thank you for that. Here we are pounding the pavement to get American Latinos to the polls, while your tactic proves most effective. Remarks like yours will serve brilliantly to energize Latino voters and increase turnout on election day against you and any other candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric….

Thank you for reminding us that there remains an antiquated and endangered species of bigots in this country that we must continue to combat. Thank you for reminding us to not sit complacently at home on election day, but to run to the polls and proclaim that there is no place for your brand of racial politicking in our government. Thank you for sending out the rallying cry….

Read the full letter at Huffington Post

A great week for Democrats

by Dick Bingham

The week of June 22 will go down in history as a great week for Democrats, a great week for Pennsylvanians and a great week for our country.

On Thursday, June 25, PA’s Commonwealth Court judged as unconstitutional a controversial law, supported strongly by the National Rifle Association, that allowed any legal gun owner to sue Philadelphia and other municipalities over local gun ordinances that are stricter than state law and force those municipalities to pay attorney fees.

Also on Thursday the US Supreme Court upheld the right of the US government to provide subsidies to help its low income citizens obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act no matter where they live. And on Friday, June 26, the US Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage must be legal and recognized in all states.

These three rulings illustrate two messages loudly and clearly:

Freedom, fairness and opportunity for all are alive and well.

Elections matter.  We need to do everything in our power to elect Democrats to the courts in Pennsylvania this fall (Nov. 3) and to elect a Democratic president and a Senate that is Democratically controlled in 2016.  If we do not succeed, the risk of losing close decisions in the courts increases dramatically.

It was, indeed, a great week for Democrats.  It reminds us what we can accomplish when we work hard to get voters to the polls each and every election.

Dick Bingham
Chair, Kennett Area Democrats

The 2015/16 Budget Season is almost over, well… not really

by Mike Sturla (PA House, D-96), Commonwealth Common Sense, 7/1/15

The 2015/16 Budget Season is almost over, well… not really. The June 30 deadline has passed and Republicans in the House and Senate have shown that they have a plan (or at least a rigid ideology) and they are sticking to it.

For the past four years, Republicans who controlled the legislature in both the House and Senate, along with a Republican Governor, passed one irresponsible budget after another. As a result, Pennsylvania plummeted from seventh in job creation to 50th, dead last, the structural deficit grew, education funding was slashed, the state’s bond rating was downgraded multiple times, more than 20,000 teachers and school staff were laid off and are still out of jobs, student test scores dropped, a reasonable tax on the severance of Marcellus shale gas never materialized and local property taxes skyrocketed.

When the results of the Republican’s policies were crystalized in last year’s gubernatorial election, even Republican legislators looked for someone to blame for the abysmal state of affairs….

keep reading at Commonwealth Common Sense

PBPC Commends Gov. Wolf on Veto of Republican Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 1, 2015

Calls for Legislators & Governor to Return to Negotiations

Dr. Mark Price, an economist and interim research director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Wolf’s veto of the Republican 2015-16 budget last night:

“The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commends Gov. Wolf for swiftly vetoing last night what amounts to his predecessor’s fifth budget. Gov. Wolf had no choice. This budget, hastily thrown together at the last minute by Republican legislative leaders and rammed through the General Assembly, was bad for Pennsylvania.

This budget contributed a pittance toward restoring the $1 billion in funding cut from education over the last four years. Continue reading

Obama to Bring Overtime Pay to Millions

The Daily Beast, 6/29/15

President Obama announced plans Monday to unveil a rule change that could raise wages for 5 million workers who are currently excluded from overtime pay. In a Huffington Post op-ed, Obama said he would recommend changing overtime rules so that salaried workers who earn less than $50,400 per year would be guaranteed time-and-a-half wages when they work more than 40 hours a week. Salaried workers must make less than $23,660 to qualify for overtime pay….

keep reading at The Daily Beast