30 May 2011

Strange Sightings - Long Island Sound

                                                   From the postcard collection.

Dr. George Tiller - In Remembrance

Philosophically, I prefer to celebrate people's Lives rather than memorialize Death.          But  ...        and Still...

Today is the 2nd Anniversary
of the murder of
Doctor George Tiller.

 I won't link to the wikipedia pages where more space is given to his death than his life. Instead I will remember the stories of those he helped physically, emotionally, and psychologically, as any good doctor will do.

His lapel pin said "Trust Women".

Thank you, Dr. Tiller

29 May 2011

Don't Forget to Remember

While you trundle down your personal path today, keep in mind the Others, the Necessary, the Wonderers and the Wanderers, the Differences and Similarities, and all the spaces Inbetween.

27 May 2011

Not from The Onion…From Ohio

House Passes Bill to Drill in Parks
by  Jim Siegel

Friday, May 27, 2011
With Ohio facing $500 million in backlogged capital projects at its state parks and gas prices still flirting with $4 a gallon, House Republicans say now is the time to allow oil and gas drilling in parks and other state-owned land.

After a three-hour debate, the House voted 54-41 yesterday for a bill that would create an Oil and Gas Leasing Commission to oversee the leasing of state-owned land for oil and gas drilling. […]

"We're not against drilling. We're against drilling in parks," said Rep. Robert F. Hagan, D-Youngstown, who went on to question whether Republicans were on drugs.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

h/t Rigzone

26 May 2011

w00t du jour


(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and 29 of his Senate colleagues wrote to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today, calling on HHS to clarify to state Medicaid directors across the country that state laws attempting to exclude family planning clinics that provide abortion services from Medicaid or Title X participation, such as Planned Parenthood, will lead to compliance actions on the part of HHS.
The Senators wrote to Secretary Sebelius as numerous states consider legislation that would prohibit Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funds for family planning services, including Medicaid funds and Title X family planning funds, endangering the health of millions of women, teens, and families across the country. Such a proposal was recently enacted in Indiana.

Legislation like the bill passed by the Indiana legislature to exclude such Medicaid providers stands in direct opposition to longstanding Congressional intent, and create serious access concerns for both patients and providers,” the Senators write in the letter. “The restrictions threatened by state legislatures blatantly contradict the spirit and letter of well-established and long accepted law. These principles have been backed repeatedly over many years – truly bipartisan support. We write not to ask support for new law, but for vigorous, prompt enforcement of existing law.”

The letter was signed by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH),  Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Udall (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).            

[UPDATED] "ICYMI Thursdays" - CT Business & Industry Association

I went to Hartford yesterday to attend the Manufacturing and Technology Day events at the Capitol. There was to be a panel discussion, followed by exhibits by 35 Connecticut manufacturers. Here is the blurb from the invitation I received:
Manufacturing works for Connecticut: It’s the key to good jobs and a bright future in the global, technology-driven economy. On May 25, manufacturers will go the Capitol to talk about the top issues impacting their industries, and exhibit products and services. Be part of this special event to show how manufacturers are a vital part of Connecticut’s economy and future.
What I failed to notice is that this was being organized by the CBIA (Connecticut Business & Industry Association). This is an organization who works to kill legislation that may help working people, consistently disseminates untruthful interpretations of bills in the legislature, and inserts itself into government as though it actually represents businesses in the state.

Please note the Letter to the Editor published in the New Haven Register on Sunday, prior to the Senate vote on Paid Sick Days. It is reprinted in full below.
Published: Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Register’s scathing editorial slamming the paid sick leave bill easily could have been written by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. It’s typical of the arrogant disregard it has shown toward the state’s most economically vulnerable workers.

It’s a perfect example, too, of the CBIA expecting these struggling workers to accept a no-win situation.

The CBIA also has railed about the captive-audience bill, which would stop employers from bullying and intimidating employees to prevent them from joining a union. Not surprisingly, many employees who presently enjoy the benefit of paid sick leave are union members or well-paid professionals, who simply take for granted the availability of sick leave.

As many former union jobs have been downsized away or shipped overseas, to be replaced by lower paying service sector jobs, many workers no longer enjoy benefits such as paid sick leave.

While current labor laws make it nearly impossible for workers to exercise their right to join a union if they like, the CBIA, Republicans and even some Democrats are opposed to enacting a law that would allow more of Connecticut’s workers to earn up to five days of sick leave a year.

A group of 16 distinguished economics professors
in Connecticut wrote an open letter to the General Assembly in which they present strong evidence that “while costs for employers are extremely small, the benefits are substantial.” They cite research showing that paid sick days are “smart business” and would “improve employee retention, minimize layoffs, promote work-life integration, enhance economic security for working families and create a level playing field among employers.”

The paid sick leave bill would ensure a measure of dignity and respect for many under-appreciated workers, who have been among the hardest hit in the recession. Let’s hope Connecticut will lead the way forward on this important issue.

Bruce Deegan
North Branford

The rage of CBIA members against the Paid Sick Leave bill - which includes misinformation and threats to lay off workers and cut vacation days - has been going on for several years. Their anger is unabated and is also directed at the Captive Audience bill, as noted in the LTTE above.This bill is defined as an Act to "prohibit an employer from coercing employees into attending or participating in meetings sponsored by the employer concerning the employer's views on religious or political matters."  Seems an obvious YES vote to me.

[UPDATE] Just received an email from Jon Green at CT Working Families. One paragraph reads:

...we're not out of the woods yet. The bill should go to the House next week, but the CBIA and their big business allies will stop and nothing to derail us. We don't have the multi-million dollar lobbying war chests of the big business lobbyists. We've gotten this far on grit, creativity, hard work, and the support of people like you. Now we need your help to keep the momentum going for one more week.
Contribute by clicking here and supporting efforts to pass the Paid Sick Leaves Act.
Let's get Connecticut civilized.

25 May 2011

Blake for Mayor - Official Announcement and Event Invitation

Please join us as Ben Blake announces his candidacy for Mayor
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011
6 pm
On the steps of Milford’s Historic City Hall

And….Following the announcement
7 pm
If you cannot attend, please consider making a contribution through
the campaign website www.blakeformilford.com or by mail to

PO Box 3307 Milford, CT 06460

Thank you for your support!

Benjamin Gettinger, Treasurer
Approved by Ben Blake

24 May 2011

Busy today...Busy tomorrow.
                                                   From the postcard collection. Circa 1974.

23 May 2011

The War on Women

Got an email today from Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which went into detail about the War on Women.  Among other things noted in the email was this:
Anti-choice leaders pushed H.R.3, the outrageous "rape-audits" bill, through the U.S. House of Representatives, and now a vote on this legislation in the U.S. Senate could come down to the wire.

Show Congress You're Fighting Back

Anti-choice senators are preparing to move the War on Women forward with legislation that will deny women access to everything from birth control to cancer screenings to the right to choose safe, legal abortion.

Join the photo petition today.
  1. Make a sign. Make a sign from scratch or download and print out this sign.
  2. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign. You can use your camera, a webcam, or even a photo from your phone is fine!
  3. Email your picture to hall33ready@photos.flickr.com – a unique address that will automatically upload your photo to NARAL Pro-Choice America's Flickr site.
    (You can use the subject line to give your photo a title and the body to add a description.)
  4. Make sure your friends are involved, too! Get the word out.
NARAL Pro-Choice America will deliver your photo to our senators to make sure they see who these dangerous bills could impact.  Senator Blumenthal is a longtime supporter of women and girls' rights. Senator Lieberman is...well...Senator Lieberman.

Incidentally, the Connecticut organization, NARAL Pro-Choice CT,  welcomes your donations to support work to defend the laws that ensure women's reproductive rights are not abridged.