Pennsylvania Republican Senators Kiss the Gas Lobby and Kick Headstart…

Marcellus Shale Gas Well
Marcellus Shale Gas Well

And the loser is: The Pennsylvania Taxpayer

Vol. 11, No. 18 – August 31, 2009
Penn Future Facts

Click Here for a printable copy

If the Senate Republicans have their way, and the $1 million in lobbying money spent this year by gas drillers has enough Democrats towing the industry line, the state budget crisis will be resolved without the enactment of a severance tax on natural gas drilling. And the loser would be the Pennsylvania taxpayer.

Multi-billion dollar Texas and Oklahoma-based energy companies as well as multi-national corporations like ExxonMobil are rushing to lock up drilling leases on millions of acres in the Marcellus Shale deposit that underlies most of Pennsylvania. The deposit is the largest and richest in North America. One company alone has identified 3,900 potential drilling sites in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Republican Senators Kiss the Gas Lobby and Kick Headstart…

Sen. Vogel on PA Budget – A 50% Cut in Pennsylvania Headstart Is Better Than Nothing

 August 29, 2009 
Pennsylvania Republican Budget:
Cut Families First
Sen. Vogel - Who Does He Serve?
Sen. Vogel - Who Does He Serve?

by Randy Shannon

Farmer and freshman PA State Senator Elder Vogel has backed the Pennsylvania Republican extremists in their attack on the State’s elderly, veterans, disabled, children, and youth by voting for the Republican Budget.

This budget was vetoed by the Govenor, but still the Republicans refuse to raise revenues to fund critical programs for the working families of the state. Now the state has run out of money and all kinds of agencies are shutting down and laying off people. There is no state funding for childcare, headstart, high school or college programs, and many more.

A local headstart employee called Senator Vogel’s office this week to discuss the impact that a 50% cut in headstart funds would have on area children. Vogel’s local staff member replied that “50% is better than nothing.”

Continue reading Sen. Vogel on PA Budget – A 50% Cut in Pennsylvania Headstart Is Better Than Nothing

Can the US Afford Single Payer Healthcare? Yes!

Tina Shannon
Tina Shannon

Presented to Cong. Jason Altmire at a PDA Roundtable Discussion on Healthcare on August 20, 2009


by Tina Shannon, Chairperson
PA 4th CD Chapter Progressive Democrats of America

Perhaps the biggest sticking point in the single payer/national healthcare argument is cost. If you look at the system of healthcare we have now, it’s hard to imagine being able to provide that to everyone in the country.

But study after study indicates that we can.

June 1991, General Accounting office: “If the US were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs (10% of health spending) would be more than enough to offset the expense of universal coverage.

December 1991, Congressional Budget Office: “(a) single payer system that paid providers at Medicare’s rates, that population that is currently uninsured could be covered without dramatically increasing national spending on health.”

Continue reading Can the US Afford Single Payer Healthcare? Yes!

Does PA Senator Elder Vogel Care About Children? Ask Him!

by Randy Shannon
Protest Daycare Cuts in Belleview
Protest Daycare Cuts in Belleview

Who Is Elder Vogel?

Elder Vogel is a farmer on the plateau above the valley of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers . He is also the freshman Republican State Senator representing the 47th Senatorial district encompassing much of Beaver and Lawrence Counties, including the cities of Ambridge, Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, and New Castle.

As his website says: “A citizen-legislator, Senator Vogel is a fourth-generation dairy farmer, operating the family farm in New Sewickley Township which was established in the late 1800s.  For many years, Senator Vogel served as president of the Beaver-Lawrence Farm Bureau, and until his election served as a New Sewickley Township Supervisor.”

Vogel defeated Jason Petrella, a Democratic Party newcomer with no political experience. Petrella was also running with the overhang of scandal. Local Democratic leader Mike Veon and other Democrats were previously ousted for stubbornly supporting a midnight pay raise despite widespread protest and criticism.

What Has Elder Vogel Done?

Continue reading Does PA Senator Elder Vogel Care About Children? Ask Him!

Western PA Progressives vs. Blue Dogs on Health Care


Photo:L-to-R, Randy Shannon, Ed Grystar, Lou Hancherick, Jason Altmire, Tina Shannon

Progressive Democrats
Take ‘Medicare for All’
To Congressman Altmire

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats and labor unions in the 4th Congressional District west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania held a special meeting on health care reform Aug 20 with Congressman Jason Altmire at the Beaver County Community College Student Union in Center Township. The roundtable discussion with Altmire was pulled together by the 4th CD Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).

The discussion was civil but the issues were sharply posed. If Altmire votes against the Weiner Amendment for single-payer health care (HR 676) when it comes to the floor in Congress in a few weeks, it won’t be because he hasn’t heard strong and passionate arguments for “Medicare for All.” Continue reading Western PA Progressives vs. Blue Dogs on Health Care

Another Nestle/Purina Worker and Union Activist Assassinated in Columbia

"No more state sponsored crime!"
"No more state sponsored crime!"

submitted by IBEW retiree and PDA member Bob Schmetzer

Worker of Nestle Foods la Rosa and Member of SINALTRAINAL in Colombia Assasinated

With deep pain, we inform that on August 21st, 2009 at approximately 6:30pm, strangers arrived to the house and knocked on the door of Gustavo Gomez worker of Nestle Foods la Rosa SA and affiliate of Sinaltrainal in the Municipality of Dosquebras.  When Gustavo Gomez opened the door, they shot him 10 times with a fire arm. He was immediately transported to the Comfamiliar clinic where hours later he passed away.

Our brother Gustavo Gomez was member of the Sinaltrainal Board of Directors of the Dosquebradas sector from 1997 until 2000. He was first cousin to Jose de Jesus Marin Vargas, worker of Nestle Foods La Rosa SA and member of Sinaltrainal who was also assasinated on November 22, 2007 in the Dosquebradas municipality.

Sadly, this crime came about in moments when Sinaltrainal has presented a sheet of petitions to the business Nestle Purina Petcare of Colombia and there are already 12 assasinations of Nestle workers, members of Sinaltrainal in Colombia.

Continue reading Another Nestle/Purina Worker and Union Activist Assassinated in Columbia