Coal Gathering Opens With Dour Assessment, Political Vitriol

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Pittsburgh conference examining a possible resurgence of coal markets opened Monday with a dour view of the industry from one of its most controversial leaders.

“We have the absolute destruction of the American coal industry. If you think it’s coming back, you don’t understand the business. Or you’re smoking dope,” Robert E. Murray, CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, told several hundred industry executives gathered for the Platts 37th Coal Marketing Days.

Murray, whose company has filed four lawsuits against the Obama administration over proposed environmental rules, mixed market predictions with political vitriol, mostly aimed at the White House and climate change.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6837696-74/coal-murray-industry#ixzz3E4M6Livu
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Web Petition Wants To Stop Sherman Hills Funding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A post on the White House’s We the People website petitions the Obama Administration to cease Section 8 subsidies to the Sherman Hills apartment complex.

But before it earns a response from White House staff, it first must gather 100,000 signatures by Aug 15.

Readers on the Times Leader’s Facebook page were quick to respond when asked if they would sign the petition. Many readers commented emphatically that they would sign. However, the petition only gained 5 signatures in the same time period.

One commenter suggested tenants receive criminal background checks and drug tests.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1541121/Web-petition-wants-to-stop-Sherman-Hills-funding

Obama Makes West Philly A ‘Promise’

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting West Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY, a day after the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” President Obama will announce that a section of West Philadelphia has been selected as one of the first five federal “Promise Zones,” a new program aimed at turning around some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods.

Mayor Nutter will join Obama in the White House to announce the program, which gives the selected areas preferential treatment when applying for federal grants to boost early education, reduce crime and spur economic growth.

The Philadelphia “Promise Zone,” which encompasses Mantua and surrounding areas, has about 35,000 residents, 51 percent of whom live in poverty and 13.6 percent of whom are unemployed.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20140109_Obama_makes_West_Philly_a__Promise_.html#0ji38k5HFpegZEbF.99

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Crisis Averted, Obama Says Americans ‘Completely Fed Up’ With Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama scolded congressional Republicans on Thursday, hours after a fiscal crisis was narrowly averted and called on his opponents to help repair the economic damage caused by a 16-day U.S. government shutdown and a close brush with a debt default.

Obama stressed that he is willing to work with lawmakers wherever they can agree, but the tone he struck amounted to a rebuke of Republicans, whom Americans largely blame for pushing the United States to the brink of an economic calamity.

“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” said Obama in a White House speech attended by many of the aides who worked day and night through the various stages of the latest fiscal stalemate.

“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” said Obama in a White House speech attended by many of the aides who worked day and night through the various stages of the latest fiscal stalemate.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-obama-20130915,0,5894864.story#ixzz2i0gCYjlb
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Pentagon Ordered To Expand Syria Target List

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that President Bashar Assad’s government has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

Mr. Obama, officials said, is determined to put more emphasis on the “degrade” part of what the administration has said is the goal of a military strike against Syria — to “deter and degrade” Mr. Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons.  That means expanding beyond the 50 or so major sites that were part of the target list developed with French forces before Mr. Obama delayed action Saturday to seek congressional approval.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/world/pentagon-ordered-to-expand-syria-target-list-702239/#ixzz2e93qQvkl

Many Weapons In ‘War On Coal’ Deployed Long Before Obama Took Office

The coal industry can be excused for thinking there’s a massive, organized, palm-rubbing effort to make its life difficult — the war on coal, in short.

It’s a “war” that’s been decades in the making, with few regulations actually originating with the Obama administration.  Yet the current swarm of actions also underscores the extent to which the White House can influence which rules get written, enforced or buried by delays and litigation.

“It’s not a war on coal for warring on coal’s sake,” said David Spence, associate professor of law, politics and regulation at the University of Texas.

Rather, it’s kind of a perfect storm of actions that have been simmering for a long time.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/many-weapons-in-war-on-coal-deployed-long-before-obama-took-office-698992/#ixzz2blfnoFXX

Federal Budget Cuts Will Affect More Than Federal Programs, Officials In Scranton Say

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (...

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration will hurt everything from the local barbershop to the largest manufacturers in Northeast Pennsylvania, said members of a panel at Sen. Bob Casey’s office Friday in downtown Scranton.

With no deal between Congress and the White House in sight and just hours before sequestration kicked in at midnight, the Democratic senator and a cross-section of local civic leaders struck a dire tone.

“We don’t have a full sense of what will happen,” Mr. Casey said.  “If this goes a day or week, it will have an impact.  If it goes six months, the effect will be devastating.”

As the furloughs and cuts begin, sequestration will have an immediate impact not just on the government employees, but on contractors, and the communities where they live and spend.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/federal-budget-cuts-will-affect-more-than-federal-programs-officials-in-scranton-say-1.1452684

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.

Pennsylvania: Life Is Good, Despite Some Concerns

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A majority of Pennsylvanians back the gun control measures endorsed by the White House, and nearly as many support the National Rifle Association proposal to put armed guards in schools.

On pocketbook matters, angst is growing.  A majority have a negative view of Pennsylvania’s economy, and satisfaction with family income fell 10 percentage points from last year, according to The Morning Call/Muhlenberg College 2013 Pennsylvania Quality of Life survey.

John Geist, a 62-year-old from South Whitehall Township, is a Pennsylvanian who falls into both categories.

Geist used to consider himself middle class, but he was laid off when his company outsourced and had to settle for another manufacturing job earning substantially less.  It was the second time in his life he’d lost his job through no fault of his own.

Read more:

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-quality-of-life-poll-guns-20130216,0,6655627.story

Progress Seen In Last-Minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks

English: President Barack Obama addresses a jo...

English: President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the United States Capitol on 24 February 2009. Español: Presidente Barack Obama dando un discurose por una sesión conjunta del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en la cámara de la Cámara de Representantes en el Capitolio de los Estados Unidos, 24 de febrero de 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences today on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.

Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.

Republicans want to replace across-the-board reductions with targeted cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the White House and Democrats were resisting.

At the same time, Democrats said the two sides were closing in on an agreement over taxes.  They said the White House had proposed blocking an increase for most Americans, while letting rates rise for individuals with incomes of $400,000 a year and $450,000 for couples, a concession from President Barack Obama’s campaign call to set the levels at $200,000 and $250,000.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=439707

Senate Leaders To Make Last-Ditch ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Effort

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and U.S. congressional leaders agreed on Friday to make a final effort to prevent the United States from going over the “fiscal cliff,” setting off intense bargaining over Americans’ tax rates as a New Year’s Eve deadline looms.

With only days left to avoid steep tax hikes and spending cuts that could cause a recession, two Senate veterans will try to forge a deal that has eluded the White House and Congress for months.

Obama said he was “modestly optimistic” an agreement could be found.  But neither side appeared to give much ground at a White House meeting of congressional leaders on Friday.

What they did agree on was to task Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, and Mitch McConnell, who heads the chamber’s Republican minority, with reaching a budget agreement by Sunday at the latest.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscalbre8a80wv-20121109,0,6642146.story

Braddock Mayor To Be Honored By White House As AmeriCorps Alumni

The White House Friday will honor Braddock Mayor John Fetterman as an outstanding AmeriCorps alumni who is a “Champions of Change.”

Mr. Fetterman is one of a dozen lauded for what the White House said is “leveraging their national service experience to become an influential leader in their communities.”

Mr. Fetterman, a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public policy, was placed in AmeriCorps service by the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. He moved to Braddock in 2001 to do the AmeriCorps work. Four years later he became the town’s mayor — winning the election by a single vote — and has been at the forefront of a massive effort to revitalize the once-prosperous town ever since.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-east/braddock-mayor-to-be-honored-by-white-house-as-americorps-alumni-649273/#ixzz23kIFbGM7

Newt Gingrich Considering A Run For President

Newt Gingrich

Image via Wikipedia

Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich is considering a run for the White House.  He will begin an exploratory process of raising money to “test the waters” and see if there would be enough support for his candidacy.

Gingrich left Congress is 1999 but has stayed very politically active and appears on many television shows where he weighs in on current political events.  Gingrich intends to take a formal step in the next two weeks toward running for the Republican nomination in 2012.

Fox News has suspended their contracts with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich while they both explore the possibility of seeking the Republican nomination for President.

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty Invited To The White House For St. Patrick’s Day

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

Image via Wikipedia

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty received a letter from the White House inviting him and his wife to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the President and First Lady.  Mayor Doherty was surprised by the invitation.  V.P. Joe Biden was born in Scranton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s father was born in Scranton, so there is a Scranton connection in Washington, D.C.

In March of 2008, during the presidential primary, then Senator Obama spoke at the Irish Women’s Dinner at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton.  In April of 2008, Senator Obama returned to Scranton for a meal at the Glider Diner.  Mayor Doherty supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary and raised money for her campaign

It should be noted that Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is reported to be the fourth largest in the United States.  150,000 people pack Scranton for the parade and festivities.  The good news is that the parade in Scranton will be on March 12th so Mayor Doherty will still be in town for the celebration. 

In 2008 Hillary Clinton was Grand Marshall for the parade.  Mayor Doherty would like the President or Vice President to come to Scranton and be Grand Marshall of their parade.

Congratulations to Mayor Doherty for this high honor.

Party Gate Has A Fall Gal

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers has taken the fall for the “party-gate” scandal that rocked the White House last year when two fame-whores crashed a State Dinner and embarrassed Barry and Michelle.

Supposedly Desiree is leaving because she accomplished her goal of making the White House “the people’s house” and is going back to doing what she loves…working in the corporate world. 

O really?  And pigs fly.