Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense Of Marriage Act

WASHINGTON — In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court today struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.  That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month.

In neither case did the court make a sweeping statement, either in favor of or against same-sex marriage.  And in a sign that neither victory was complete for gay rights, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.  A separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487453

Richest 7 Percent Got Richer During Recovery, Report Says

English: Map of the United States.

English: Map of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the economic recovery while average net worth declined for the other 93 percent of U.S. households, says a report released today.

The upper 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation’s total household wealth in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009, said the report from the Pew Research Center, which analyzed new Census Bureau data released last month.

The main reason for the widening wealth gap is that affluent households typically own stocks and other financial holdings that increased in value, while the less wealthy tend to have more of their assets in their homes, which haven’t rebounded from the plunge in home values, the report said.

Tuesday’s report is the latest to point up financial inequality that has been growing among Americans for decades, a development that helped fuel the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471710

The Impact Of The Fiscal Cliff On The States: Sequestration

Click here to see a chart of all 50 states and where your state stands:  http://www.pewstates.org/research/data-visualizations/the-impact-of-the-fiscal-cliff-on-the-states-sequestration-85899435504

You can click on the state of your choice and get all the details broken down for you.

PPL Goes Before U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments from PPL Corp. and federal tax authorities in a case whose outcome could determine the fate of billions of dollars in corporate profits.

The dispute, two decades in the making, involves a British tax imposed on PPL of Allentown after it bought one of many businesses privatized by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At issue, specifically, are U.S. tax breaks for companies that pay foreign taxes. U.S. multinationals and lawmakers are watching closely — not only because the Obama administration has taken a very public stance against such tax breaks, but also because the nine Supreme Court justices rarely hear tax cases.

“The IRS recognizes the stakes in this case are broader than this particular [British] tax,” said Dirk Suringa, a former Treasury official, now a partner at law firm Covington & Burling.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/mc-sumpreme-court-hears-ppl-case-20130220,0,3330844.story

A More Simplified Way Of Explaining The U.S. Economy/Debt‏

Editor’s note:  This came in my email today and I liked the comparison between the home budget versus the national budget.  I don’t know anybody who would run their household budget the way our government runs the national budget.  I think this applies across the aisle!

This rather brilliantly cuts thru all the political doublespeak we get.  It puts it into a much better perspective.

Lesson # 1:
* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $3.85

Got It ?????

OK, now Lesson # 2:

Here’s another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:

Let’s say, you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood….and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do ……

Raise the ceilings, or pump out the crap?

10 Cities Where Workers Have Big Cursing Problems: Report

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s Note:  Philadelphia made the list!

Where a worker lives may determine how much they swear at work, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder.com (NBC News).

Those who work in the nation’s capital might not be surprised to hear that it’sWashington D.C. that ranks first among the cities with workers with the most potty mouths.  Just take a look at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who reportedly told TARP inspector Neil Barofsky that he was “the most f@*&ing transparent secretary of the Treasury in this country’s entire f@#&ing history!”  For Barofsky’s part, he recently said the U.S. was “pretty f@#%ed.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/12/cities-where-workers-swear_n_1765823.html

Nearly One Third Of Pennsylvania Residents Obese

Logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Pr...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Center For Disease Control has released their 2009 U.S. state by state obesity rates.  Not good news for many Americans. 

Colorado had the lowest obesity rate at 18.6 percent.  Only Washington DC had a rate below 20 percent, coming in at 19.7 per cent. 

Seven states had rates over 30 per cent.  Mississippi topped the chart at a whopping 34.4 percent!

Pennsylvania’s obesity rate was 29.4 percent in 2009.

To see all the charts and the article, click here:

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html#State

Pelosi Seeks Minority Leader Spot In New Congress

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States Hou...

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70-year-old Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to retain her control over the Democratic Party in the House by being elected Minority Leader.  Pelosi was the first woman to ever hold the position of Speaker of the House.

Pelosi’s bid is being met with some resistance by members of her own party.  Some feel she serves as a symbol of all that contributed to the Democratic Party losing control us the House in last Tuesday’s election.  Republicans were voted into office in record numbers.  Pelosi wants to make sure Republicans do not undo her health care legislation.

Pelosi said she will run for Minority Leader if she feels she has the votes necessary to be elected.

Pennsylvania Election 2010

Now that the dust has settled, we have some new elected officials and hopefully those annoying phone calls and all the junk mail is over until the next election!

Some interesting facts about the election and maybe something Democrats need to think about for the future.  Winning an election in Pennsylvania can’t be done by concentrating on Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties.  Corbett carried Allegheny County, not by much, but he did.  Can’t say that Onorato should feel too good about losing the county he is Executive for.  Onorato lost Allegheny County by 649 votes.  Another reason everyone should vote!  Toomey didn’t lose by much in Allegheny County and he carried most other large counties.  He did take a beating in Philadelphia as expected.

Pennsylvania is a diverse state.  There are other heavily populated areas that are or lean Republican.  Lancaster County has over 500,000 people, York County has over 400,000 residents, Chester County has almost 500,000 residents, Berks has over 400,000 residents so I submit these counties more than make up for Philadelphia.  Bucks County with its 600,000+ residents swung Republican for governor and the US Senate races.  Can’t put all your eggs in one basket and win in PA.

We congratulate the winners.  We expect big things.  We will be watching and reporting in our usual no-nonsense style so don’t screw up!

Tom Corbett has a big task ahead of him.  This editorial from the Harrisburg Patriot outlines the road ahead: http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/11/governor_corbett_hit_the_groun.htmlhttp://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/11/governor_corbett_hit_the_groun.html

No COLA For Social Security Recipients In 2011

For the second consecutive year, the Social Security trustees have determined that a cost-of-living adjustment for social security recipients is not necessary as the cost of living has not increase enough to warrant a raise.  An official announcement is expected on Friday when the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics announces their inflation estimates.

Minor Earthquake Shakes DC

An earthquake, centered in Rockville, MD, shook the Washington DC Metro Area this morning around 5:00 am.  The quake measured 3.6 on the Richter scale and was the strongest to ever hit the area since record keeping began in 1974.

While the quake didn’t cause any major damage, local police and the US Geological Survey’s website we swamped with inquiries.  Many residents were startled by the seismic activity which is very rare in this area.

Rendell And Legislature Come To Budget Agreement

This is news!  Pennsylvania will have a budget on time for the first time in years!  The new budget will be $28 BILLION dollars.

Overall spending was increased less than 1% and no increase in sales tax or state income tax.  Guess Harrisburg finally got the message!

Pennsylvania is expecting to receive $2.7 billion in federal economic stimulus money.  Without this money further cuts and tax increases would be necessary.

Spending was increased for healthcare and education.

Agriculture, conservation & natural resources, labor and industry, environmental protection, libraries, the governor’s office, state parks and state health care centers had their budgets cut between 6.9% – 11.7%.

The new fiscal year starts tomorrow, July 1st.