Pennsylvania Observer

A blog for progressive people in Pennsylvania. Greens, Democrats and others who want to comment on current news items in the Keystone State.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Observations…Rustbelt Radio (, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's ( review of news from the grassroot s, is expanding to a weekly broadcast on a new day. Every Monday from 6-7pm the show will air live on WRCT 88.3FM ( in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. News you won't hear on the corporate media…
Last month, six activists were sentenced to prison time for a hanging a banner action at Hatsfield's Ferry Power Plant in southwestern Pennsylvania. Five of the climbers were sentenced to five days in prison, and one defendant was sentenced to 30 days in prison. On June 23, 2004, the four women and two men scaled the 700-foot smokestack at the Hatfield's Ferry power plant, 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, and unfurled a 2,500 square foot banner that read, "The Bush Energy Plan Kills -- Clean Energy Now!"
"The real threat to Americans is the Bush energy plan, which kills over 23,000 people every year," said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Casey Harrell.
The Bush administration has systematically weakened clean air laws by allowing power stations to install new equipment without adding pollution controls, and permitting coal-fired power plants to continue to release tons of mercury into the air and waterways. In addition to its negative impacts on health, dirty energy wreaks havoc on the environment, causing global warming, acid rain and smog. The Hatfield's Ferry Power Station in Masontown was under investigation by the Justice Department for violating the Clean Air Act -- an investigation that was dropped by the Bush administration. For more information, go to: Morning Call reported that "Northampton County employees who work in court-related offices voted Tuesday to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Workers voted 33-13 to become the seventh AFSCME bargaining unit among county employees and the county's 10th labor union. More than half of the county's about 2,000 employees belong to unions…Roll Call reported that Santorum killed his own online poll on Social Security because the poll results were overwhelmingly against privatization. “The question in his online poll asked, ‘Do you support the creation of voluntary Personal Retirement Accounts as a part of Social Security reform?’” Roll Call reported. “Answering yes were 9.2 percent of respondents; 90.8 percent clicked ‘No, Social Security should not be reformed to include Personal Retirement Accounts for Individuals.’” Asked about the results of the poll, a Santorum spokeswoman told Roll Call the senator switches polls so “visitors can register their opinions on various issues.” …Washington state's House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would mandate that all elections in Washington state would be by mail ballot only. If it passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, Washington would join Oregon as the only states to conduct its election solely by mail.


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