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Out d’Coup Podcast

14
Jan 2022

Out d’Coup | Sinema Kibosh; Voting Rights; SCOTUS; Sedition Charges; Fraud Electors; Omicron Raging; Bryan Cutler; GOP Goober Candidates; HACC Union Vote; Bucks School Boards; Cultural Last Call

Kyrsten Sinema announces that she is willing to kill voting rights legislation because of her love of the filibuster. Her teary-eyed performance on the Senate floor all but sinks hopes to pass voting legislation this year. Schumer says they will begin debate on Tuesday and force the issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court shoots down Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for private business. 

The leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, is indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy. 

Republicans from at least 5 states forged official elector certificates and sent them into the National Archives and the U.S. Senate ahead of the January 6 insurrection. 

The Republican Party is changing its rules to prevent any GOP presidential candidates from taking part in debates hosted by the Commission for Presidential Debates. 

And the Omicron variant of COVID is predictably swamping the U.S. and the federal government is just getting around to thinking about helping with masks and testing. The should get up and running sometime after the crisis has hit. What do you think? Summer?

Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler admitted earlier this week that he was in contact with the Jan 6th Commission.  Makes you wonder who Jim Jordan and Scott Perry were meeting with in Harrisburg while they were attending the Stop the Steal rallies. 

Gubernatorial Candidates Lou Barletta and Charlie Gerow, and Charlie Gerow’s co-worker, Kevin Harley, all signed their names presenting themselves as “electors” on forged documents that were submitted to the Dept of State and the US Library of Congress

Full-time and adjunct faculty members at Harrisburg Area Community College will have their union election from Feb 24 to April 7.  Faculty members at HACC have faced years of anti-union tactics from the administration to delay a union vote.  The school was caught padding their faculty lists with professors who didn’t teach in order to stop the card signing process.  

Central Bucks School District votes to lie that its health and safety play is following CDC guidelines.

Pennridge School District just ignores all guidelines and says everyone back to school after three days, no masks needed.

Pat Poprik, Chair of Bucks County Republican Party, was one of the signers of PA’s false slate of electors. 

And in other news Former House Speaker Mike Turzai is running for Governor.

Hey, Don’t Look Up. Station Eleven Rocks. Just started Foundation on Apple TV+

7
Jan 2022

Out d’Coup | Jan. 6 Insurrection Anniversary; Omicron Rages; PA Farm Show; Mastriano to Declare; Pennridge Discrimination and Whitewashing; Upper Bucks Tech School Scandal; Station Eleven

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection. While a lot of words were said, it remains to be seen whether the political will exists to defend democracy. Will we keep anti-majoritarian rules like the filibuster in place? Will we continue to support a Senate that grants disproportionate power to white, rural states and districts? What will this year’s elections bring? 

COVID rages and it appears our institutions are pretty much throwing in the towel. 

In a what-the-what news…lightning increased dramatically around the North Pole. According to CNN, “Vaisala, an environmental monitoring company that tracks lightning around the world, reported 7,278 lightning strokes occurred last year north of 80 degrees latitude, nearly twice as many as the previous nine years combined.”

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is this weekend!  Don’t want covid?  Do go.  It’s that simple because masks and vaccination cards won't be required as Omicron is ripping the lands. 

Doug Mastriano is launching his campaign for Governor tomorrow.  Get ready everybody.

The Pennridge School District makes more moves to discriminate and whitewash history now that the extremists have full control of the board. The board ordered the removal of the book, Heather Has Two Mommies, due to its radical message that “it doesn’t matter how many mommies or how many daddies your family has … the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other.” Check out Cyril’s interview with the book’s author, Lesléa Newman, in his latest column. And then there’s moves to prevent critical discussion on the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection. Teachers were sent a note instructing them to “not wade into” discussion of January 6. Instead, they should stick to “business as usual.” We should recall that Bucks County had more people attend the insurrection than any other county - and the Pennridge School Board president, Joan Cullen, was one of them. 

Looks like the Executive Director of Upper Bucks County Technical School. Jeffrey Sweda, is being given the boot after the board overseeing the school’s Joint Operating Committee charges him with “persistent negligence in the performance of his duties, willful neglect of duties, and/or willful failure to comply with school laws and directives.” The charges include buying a $999 log splitter for his personal use, stealing pavers from the school, cutting security cameras to the loading dock, abusing co-workers, and more.

Station Eleven.

17
Dec 2021

Out d’Coup | Build Back Better; Dems Coming Apart; Kellogg’s Strike; bell hooks; PA Democracy Not OK; PA Maps; Philly Proud Boys Arrested; NASA James Web Telescope; Last Show of 2021; Thank You!

The FDA has permanently lifted a restriction on access to abortion pills. This will allow patients to receive the medication by mail instead of requiring them to schedule an in-person appointment with specially certified health care providers. The decision will not change state laws that ban the pills, but it’s one piece of positive news in an otherwise dark future for abortion rights. 

President Biden indicates that the Build Back Better bill will not be passed before the Christmas break, despite Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer’s assurances that it would. The Senate had no problem, however, of passing a $768 billion, one-year defense spending bill on a vote of 88-11. So, we won’t get critical climate action, paid family leave, universal preschool, or hearing aid coverage, but we will get more, shiny nuclear weapons this holiday season. 

Did 

1,400 Union workers at Kellogg’s may have an agreement that would end their 10-week strike. But don’t celebrate yet. While negotiators said they have an agreement, workers still need to vote on the agreement. Workers voted down the last tentative agreement after workers refused a two-tiered workforce that would have sold out newer workers. 

Schools in Pennsylvania and several other states have increased police presence around schools today in response to national TikTok trend to threaten school shootings and bombings. Generally, officials are saying the threats are not credible, but are taking no chances. 

bell hooks, one of the most important black feminist writers, scholars, and activists has died at the age of 69. She began writing her ground-breaking book, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, when she was a 19-year-old undergraduate. Her long collaboration with Cornell West provided some of the most important dialogic books for a generation of public intellectuals and activists. 

Democracy in Pennsylvania is not ok.  Pennsylvania House Democrats stood up to the GOP’s attacks on voting rights and the democratic institutions protecting those rights this week.  Progressives, led by Emily Kinkead and Chris Rabb, held a press conference Wednesday morning bringing attention to the GOP’s efforts to undermine democracy and weaponizing constitutional amendments aimed at those institutions while leadership used the House Floor to air their concerns.

Republicans are pushing constitutional amendments that would immediately dissolve and gerrymander Pennsylvania’s supreme court, change the court’s 10 year term limits to 2 years, change the Secretary of State’s appointed position to an elected position, allow fraudits and give the legislature more control in overseeing elections. 

The Legislative Reapportionment Committee released their preliminary house and senate maps yesterday and Republicans are upset at the House maps calling them a Democratic Gerrymander.

Water is wet and the New York Times recently reported that Scott Perry and other friends from the Freedom Caucus attended key meetings with Trump to overturn the 2020 election. 

Philadelphia Developer Ori Feibush uses scab labor and someone died at his worksite. The worker, Siarhei Marhunou, was employed by a company called DBCI LLC. DBCI had been subcontracted to work on the project by the Huntingdon Valley-based construction company Hammers Contractors. Hammers had, in turn, been contracted by the Fitler Construction Group, which was managing construction for OCF, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Three more Proud Boys from Philly were arrested Friday and charged in connection with the January 6 insurrection. Isaiah Giddens, Brian Healion, and Freedom Vy decided taking pictures of themselves flashing the white supremacist “OK” sign inside Senator Jeff Ferkley’s offices was a good idea at the time. Time to pay the piper. 

NASA’s James Webb telescope is set to launch as early as Christmas Eve, December 24, according to Space.com. The James Web telescope is NASA's next "Great Observatory" and is set to launch from Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. 

SpaceX is looking at sexual harassment allegations from five former employees. 

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter crossed the 30 minutes of flight time threshold.

10
Dec 2021

Out d’Coup | Democracy Summit; New German Chancellor; Starbucks Union; UAW Members Win Union Democracy; Gerrymandering and New Legislative Maps; Street’s Fumble; Yass; COVID Spikes; Huge New Planet

President Biden presided over the launch of his virtual “Summit for Democracy” on Thursday. Biden warned the more than 80 leaders of democratic nations that the threat to democratic forms of government is pressing and all “the date we’re seeing is largely pointing in the wrong direction.” The statements may have fallen a little hollow as the U.S. is one of the nations that has been newly placed on the list of nations considered democratic backsliding nations. While the White House put out a list of actions it says its taken to protect the vote, one lawyer from the Texas Civil RIghts Project told The Guardian, “you have to be kidding me,” the actions are nothing but “minor tweaks on the edge of the problem.” 

Angela Merkel’s 16 year reign as German chancellor came to an end this week as the new chancellor from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Olaf Scholz, took the oath of office. He will lead a coalition between the SPD, the Greens, and the libertarian inclined Free Democrats. Scholz will be the first chancellor to lead a cabinet to include as many women as men. The coalition also has ambitious plans to fight climate change by phasing out coal and prioritizing renewable energy. 

And this little ditty from The Independent: Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert has called out big businesses for their alleged duplicity on the climate crisis as well as their opposition to the Biden administration’s ambitious Build Back Better Act. 'The [corporate] sector has historically been full of s***, and the sector is still full of s***,' Mr Gellert told Fast Company on Monday."

Workers in Buffalo, NY become the first to get a union at a Starbucks.

UAW workers win the right to directly elect their leadership, bringing new measures of rank-and-file democracy to a powerful union. 

Canada bans conversion therapy and France moves to make it a criminal offense.

All I want for Christmas are legislative maps!  Maps, maps and more maps!  The Pennsylvania House Republicans released their congressional map drawn by former Lehigh County Republican Commissioner Amanda Holt.  It’s a solid GOP gerrymander.  

Then Senate Democrat Sharif Street released a “compromise map” that’s a 6-11 GOP Gerrymander.  Why?  Well, that map places a congressional district in his backyard and would set up a potential primary between Congressman Brendan Boyle and Sharif Street. State and national Democrats are pissed to say the least, calling the map a non-starter.

Lastly, the Legislative Reapportionment Committee, which is responsible for drawing the state house and senate maps, is getting ready to release their maps and vote on them in the coming weeks. 

The AP reported this week that Pennsylvania’s right-wing billionaire Jeffrey Yass is looking to spend $20 million on his endorsed candidate for Governor and all the usual suspects from the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth Partners are at the center of it.     

Hospitals in rural PA are facing are sounding the alarm in the face of rapidly increasing COVID cases. According to PennLive, “Geisinger hospitals throughout north-central Pennsylvania are operating at well over 100% percent of their capacities, with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients responsible for most of the strain.” 

The Philly Inquirer reports that COVID hospitalizations are at the highest rate since January - the peak of the last COVID surge. 

Scientists just discovered a planet that is 11 times as massive as Jupiter orbiting a dual star system, the b Centauri system. The discovery is changing scientists’ understanding of the conditions under which planets can form. 

3
Dec 2021

Out d’Coup | SCOTUS Attacks Roe; Omicron Rises; Honduras Elects First Woman Pres; Barbados Boots the Queen; Oz and McCormick Enter PA Senate Race; CBSD; Fitzpatrick Faces Primary; TV

The Supreme Court’s right-wing majority seems prepared to deal a death blow to Roe v. Wade, sending women’s autonomy and equality back generations. Rebecca Traister’s article in New York Mag, “The Betrayal of Roe,” should be at the top of your reading list as we prepare for a protracted fight. 

The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has now been confirmed in five U.S. states: California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, and Hawaii. Strap in, folks. 

No government shutdown after conservatives cave. 

So glad to see that The Daily Beast got it right: “Steve Bannon’s Jan. 6 Legal Strategy: ‘Blowing Up the Whole System.’”

Honduras elected its first female president, Xiomara Castro, from the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party. Her husband, Manuel Zelaya was president from 2006-2009 and was ousted by a military coup. 

Barbados boots the Queen and becomes a republic. 

And Chris Cuomo also got the boot from CNN this week after it was revealed he worked with his brother, the former and disgraced New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, on a communications strategy following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct on part of the former governor. 

We’re not in Kansas anymore.  Nope! Just Pennsylvania.  Day-time TV show host Dr Oz has officially announced his campaign for the US Senate.  The New Jersey Resident is looking to run as a Republican for Pennsylvania’s open senate seat.

David McCormick, President of the venture capitalist firm Bridgewater, is also getting to run for Pennsylvania’s US Senate.  Expect McCormick to become the frontrunner given his connections to the Trump infrastructure.     

Central Bucks School District is back in the New York Times following their two-part podcast on their explosive school board meetings about mask requirements and critical race theory. In the latest article, we get to see the real crises hitting the district regarding inadequate staffing, overcrowded classrooms, and declining resources - even in this fairly well-off, Bucks County school district. 

In the #PA01 in Bucks County, Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is getting primaried from his right. Last week Perkasie resident and America First Party guy Bradley Lanning announced his challenge to Fitzpatrick. Yesterday, Trumpista Caroline Avery of Bristol threw her hat in the ring because she says Fitzpatrick "ignores the Trump agenda, ignores the Constitution, votes with the anti-American Democrat members, and basically (doesn't represent) anybody or anything but himself" in Congress. It will be a wild ride. 

Could “mushroom leather” be in your future? Could be. 

Diving into the Wheel of Time & the new season of Star Trek Discovery. 

In just a couple of weeks I’ll be jumping into Foundation on Apple+. Thanks one of our listeners, Chris, for letting me know that the series is based on Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation series. Now I’m doubly interested.

19
Nov 2021

Out d’Coup | Long COVID; CBO Score; John Deere Workers Win; Ohio Concealed Carry; Ithaca Carbon Free; School Board Mania; Fulton County Library; PA GOP Games; KU Dining Workers; CBSD; New Sci-Fi

New research shows that at least 50% of people who survive COVID-19 “experience a variety of physical and psychological health issues for at least six months following their recovery,” according to the Washington Post. 

The Congressional Budget Office says that Biden’s Build Back Better Bill will not be entirely paid for as the White House claimed. It’s close, but the CBO didn’t think the IRS would be able to raise $67 billion over 10 years; they put the number at $207 billion. That might just be enough for Manchin or Sinema to take a hatchet to key provisions of the Build Back Better bill. 

UAW workers at John Deere approved a new contract after a month on strike. The agreement will see a 20% increase in wages over the course of the contract and significant improvements in working conditions. Rank-and-file working power baby. 

The Ohio House passes a bill that will let residents 21 years old and older to carry concealed weapons without any kind of license or permit. If the Ohio Senate passes the bill, there will no longer be a requirement for a background check or training. 

A school district in Goddard, Kansas orders 29 books be banned from its libraries. You can already guess the kind of books being banned: the Pulitzer Prize winning play “Fences,” but August Wilson; Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale; The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas; and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, are among the books on the list. 

Ithaca, New York votes to decarbonize all of its buildings by 2025. The unanimous vote for their “Efficiency Retrofit and Thermal Load Electrification Program,” will include everything from swapping out natural gas and propane cooking with electric induction to installing solar panels. The city of 30,000 is working with a Brooklyn-base company, BlocPower to manage the program. The move will eliminate 40% of the city’s carbon emissions. 

Right-wing parent groups at the forefront of “critical race theory” protests are now shifting their target to school-based mental health programs, according to reporting by NBC news. You heard that right. No more talk of suicide prevention, depression, or any “social emotional learning” is the goal. Right-wiing groups apparently believe that “social emotional learning has become a ‘Trojan horse’ for critical race theory…[and] encourage children to celebrate diversity, sometimes introducing students to conversations about race, gender, and sexuality.” God forbid. 

And, the QAnon Shaman is sentenced to 41 months in prison. 

Earlier this month, the Fulton County Commissioners denied the Fulton County Library a $3,000 budget increase because they host “hate groups” that are sympathetic to the LGBTQ communities or the Black Lives Matter movements. In response to this bigotry, Emily Best from the Sisters of the Night Caucus launched a gofundme page to help the library close the budget gap and ended up raising over $26,000.  

Pennsylvania House Republicans used their fall session to highlight their extremist agenda.  House Republicans passed a constitutional open-carry gun rights bill, a bill making bail funds illegal and advanced more voter suppression measures. 

The House Labor and Industry Committee held a hearing on a slate of radical anti-union bills.  Public Sector labor leaders refused to participate in the committee’s “farce,” and Democratic Chair Jerry Mullery walked out of the committee meeting and hosted a press conference outside of the meeting with members and labor leaders.

A landmark PA school funding trial got underway. The case involves the cash-strapped Panther Valley School District and five other Pennsylvania school districts. In opening remarks, of course, GOP House Speaker Bryan Cutler argued that there’s nothing to see here, everything’s fine. Tell that to the 75 kindergartners in the Panther Valley School District who are forced to share one toilet and two urinals. 

Spanning both Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, Panther Valley serves more than 1,600 students. Around 56% are classified as economically disadvantaged, though McAndrew believes the number of children living in poverty is higher.

Lt. Governor John Fetterman joined Kutztown University Dining Workers United for a rally on Tuesday, demanding Aramark and Kutztown University recognize their union. 

Dina Leygerman, a former Central Bucks School Board candidate, wrote an excellent piece on Medium critically responding to the recent two-part podcast on The Daily from the New York Times on the school board wars in Central Bucks. Dina Leygerman lays out a much more toxic history and lays bare the role Paul Martino played in fomenting the conflicts. 

The highly anticipated series The Wheel of Time launches on Amazon’s Prime Video. Get ready for social media haters and lovers. 

The new season of Star Trek: Discovery launched this week on Paramount Plus.

12
Nov 2021

Out d’Coup | Build Back Better; COP26; No Consequence Extremism; COVID surges; Dr. Oz; Connor Lamb is Desperate; Scranton Teachers Strike; KU Dining Workers United; CBSD; Space News; D&D

Well, the big roads, bridges, and fossil-fuel infrastructure bill passed. And now...drumroll please...it looks like the more important Build Back Better reconciliation bill is on the ropes as fossil fuel industry and corporate-backed Democrats renege on their promises. Hope you have your flood and fire insurance updated. Earlier in the week, Brian Deese, the director of Biden’s National Economic Council told PBS:

“We are confident that this framework will pass the House and will pass the Senate. And what we're telling lawmakers is, this is an easy vote.”

As COP 26 wraps up in Glasgow, Scotland it is clear that the developed countries are going to rely on magic and wishful thinking to address the climate crisis. According to Climate Action Tracker, only four parties - Chile, Costa Rica, the European Union, and the U.K. - have any kind of concrete plan to meet their pledges to cut the carbon cord. While nations - including the U.S. - have committed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the Century, current policies put us on track for 2.7 degrees Celsius. And time is running out. 

It’s been a banner week for right-wing extremists.  Kyle Rittenhouse puts on a show in an attempt to avoid accountability for killing two people and wounding a third during a #BlackLivesMatter protest last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, tweeted out an altered anime video showing a character with his face killing a character with AOC’s face. 

Despite the dire warnings from scientists and direct experience with extreme weather, a new Washington Post-ABC News polls finds Americans’ views on the threat of climate climate change remains unchanged over the past seven years. And, surprise, surprise, the gap between Democrats and Republicans has only grown. 

Austria is preparing to place millions of unvaccinated people on lockdown as chancellor Alexander Schallenberg expressed the exasperation of many European leaders calling it shameful that people refuse to get vaccinated, putting their communities at risk. The move comes as COVID cases are surging in Europe

Oh, yea, and the leaders of Belarus have got an extremist grift going. They’re massing refugees from the Middle East on the border of Poland with promises they will be given entry to Poland. The problem? 1) it was a lie; 2) Poland’s right-wing government doesn’t want them. Prepared for more of this, folks as the climate crisis grows. 

Republicans are getting high on their own supply of ivermectin.  Joe Rogan has become the right-wing’s go-to source for medical advice.  

Meanwhile, the pandemic news takes a turn for the worse as we are seeing a surprising spike in COVID cases in states with high vaccination levels. That paints a rather concerning picture for this winter. 

Day-time TV host and vaccine skeptic Dr Oz. is looking to make a gubernatorial run in Pennsylvania. 

Conor Lamb went on social media the other night telling everyone that he’s a “normal” brunch-going, Manchin like Democrat and if you don’t like it, well, then he’s “NOT YOUR GUY.”

In the day’s following Lamb’s late-night twitter rant about socialism, Civiqs and the Inquirer released a new poll that showed Lt Gov John Fetterman polling at 52% while Lamb was polling at 12%.  Clearly, not our guy.   

Hundreds of striking Scranton Federation of Teachers members went to the capitol Wednesday calling out the “state-sponsored union busting” happening in Scranton.  The teachers went on strike over a week ago after working without a contract for 4 years.  Speakers included Senator Marty Flynn, Lt Gov John Fetterman and House Rep Malcolm Kenyatta.

Central Bucks School Board meeting goes off the rails as a few members of the community take the mic during the public comment period to spew transphobic and anti-semitic comments. 

MotherJones and WHYY looked into the “successes” fringe school board pac’s had with their local school board races and it turns out the PACs supporting right-wing candidates had zero victories in competitive races across Bucks and Montgomery Counties. 

Kutztown University food service workers continue their fight for a union. They will be holding a rally at 5:30 on Tuesday, November 16 outside South Dining Hall on campus. The workers sought voluntary recognition from Aramark, but the company has been dragging its feet. Kutztown University food service workers are the only ones in the State System of Higher Education without a union. 

SpaceX launched another four astronauts to the ISS this week on its Crew-3 mission. The launch marks SpaceX’s fifth crewed launch in less than 18 months. 

Shenzhou 13 astronauts continued construction of China’s new space station over the weekend in a six and a half hour space walk. This was the first of two or three planned space walks to install a robotic arm and prepare the module for the arrival of new equipment and modules next year. 

Heinz rolled out its first “Mars Edition” ketchup this week. The ketchup was made from tomatoes grown in Mars-like conditions. According to CNN, “A team of 14 astrobiologists worked for nine months at the Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology, growing tomatoes in a controlled environment with soil, temperature and water conditions similar to Mars.” Research team leader Andrew Palmer said, “Before now, most efforts around discovering ways to grow in Martian-simulated conditions are short-term plant growth studies. What this project has done is look at long-term food harvesting. Achieving a crop that is of a quality to become Heinz Tomato Ketchup was the dream result and we achieved it.” 

29
Oct 2021

Out d’Coup | Build Back Better?; COP26; Big Oil Testifies; Cuomo Charged; FB Metaverse; Shapiro and Climate; Corman Runs; Black Flags; Paul Prescord; More Yass; DnD and Race; Dune

Build Back Better? One thing is clear, there would have been next to nothing had it not been for the progressive caucus’s willingness to hold their ground and not cave to pressure from Nancy Pelosi and corporate Democrats. 

Climate emergency and COP26 - We’ll be focusing on this on Monday’s Out d’Coup LIVE. 

Big Oil testifies before Congress. Lies, lies, and more lies. 

And a new report from Molly Taft and Emily Atkin shows how Big Oil uses Newsletter ads to spread misinformation. Big Oil targeted Punchbowl, Politico, and Axios newsletters that are frequented by beltway insiders. From the report: In the month leading up to the hearing, from October 1 to October 22: 63% of Punchbowl newsletters, or 30 out of 48, were sponsored by fossil fuel interests; 100% of POLITICO’s Morning Energy newsletters, or 15 out of 15, were sponsored by fossil fuel interests; 62% of Axios Generate newsletters, or 10 out of 16, were sponsored by fossil fuel interests.

Cuomo gets charged.

Harvard University graduate students head into day 3 of their strike. The university administration has refused to meet demands for better pay, recognizing union shop clause, including undergraduate workers in the bargaining unit, and more. Harvard has the largest endowment in the world. It topped $53 billion during the pandemic and as the university reported a $283 million surplus operating budget.

Facebook changes its name to “Meta” as it gives a sneak peak to its virtual life platform, metaverse

Judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial says the people he shot and killed cannot be referred to as “victims.” 

Democratic Josh Shapiro says he’s not a fan of Gov. Tom Wolf’s climate mitigation plans and decision to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. 

Jake Corman begins flirting with his campaign for governor. He met with Pennsylvania’s congressional republicans at the Capitol Hill Club in DC over a week ago and is expected to announce after election day.

Senator Corman is announcing his run for governor while the Senate “audit” is polling at 55 percet opposed to 43 percent support.   

Critical school board elections on Tuesday. Also on the ballot Justice of the PA Supreme Court, County district attorney, sheriff, mayors, more judges,  

Black Flags flying in Bucks County. Cyril Mychalejko’s latest piece just dropped on the increasing extremism in Bucks Co. 

DSA Activist, union organizer and Philadelphia public school teacher Paul Prescord announced his campaign against Senator Anthony Williams for the Pennsylvania Senate.  Williams is a charter school proponent and one of the caucuses largest recipients of Jeffrey Yass Money

Speaking of Jeffrey Yass, Jeffrey Yass and the Commonwealth Foundation are making it rain for Judicial and school board candidates.  The Commonwealth Leaders Fund gave at least $1.9 million in support of PA Supreme Court Nominee Judge Kevin Brobson.  Then the Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund and Students First PACs also gave $145,000 to groups supporting right-wing school board candidates across the commonwealth.  

Kate Aronoff's book, Overheated should be on your must read list.

Just picked up Tasha's Cauldron of Everything and dove into issues of race in D&D. 

Still waiting to find the time to watch the new Dune.

22
Oct 2021

Out d’Coup | Death of Build Back Better?; Joe Manchin is Horrid; Mastriano Fleeces God; Summer Lee; HACC Unionizing; U Pittsburgh Union; KU Activists; KU Dining Hall Workers Union; Looking Ahead

Biden makes a last attempt to personally lobby his “friends in the Senate” to pass his Build Back Better plan through reconciliation. So far, his efforts have led to a DECREASE in the size and scope of the bill. According to reports, Biden told progressive lawmakers that the bill is likely to be cut from $3.5 trillion to a ceiling of around $2 trillion. Recall that the $3.5 bill was the original compromise bill, down from the initial $6 trillion. Biden also reportedly told lawmakers that free community college will be cut and the extension of the childcare tax credit will be significantly scaled back. Can you see that white flag flying above the White House?

Biden was in Scranton this past Wednesday to push the Build Back Better plan, but it looks like it's a whole lot of too little too late. 

And with Joe Manchin’s threats to leave the Democratic Party, we are left with the question posed by David Dayen in The American Prospect this week: “What if Build Back Better Builds Back Worse?” 

And, as Will Bunch wrote this week in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “From college to climate, Democrats are sealing their doom by selling out yount voters.” 

And it looks like Manchin’s blocking of climate legislation will have a disproportionately disastrous effect on the people of West Virginia. How’s that for representation. 

Doug Mastriano is waiting for a “financial sign from God,” yes, that God, about running for governor.  Mastriano has been campaigning at different churches from around the Commonwealth ahead of his anticipated run for governor.

Pennsylvania House Representative Summer Lee announced her run for US Congress with a powerful video highlighting the anger and betrayal industry has wrought in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Representative Lee picked up Representative - and the future mayor of Pittsburgh - Ed Gainey’s endorsement for the seat on her first day.

It has been over 300 days since full-time and part-time professors at Harrisburg Area Community College completed their card signing process and filed their petitions for a union vote.  The school is the only community college in Pennsylvania without union representation and PA Spotlight is getting ready to peel back the layers of Dr. Ski’s anti-union past.  Buckle up.  

University of Pittsburgh faculty voted overwhelmingly to unionize this week. 

Kutztown University saw a flurry of progressive action this week. On Tuesday, the student group, KU Activists, protested the university’s denial of ADA accommodations to at-risk students and faculty and President Hawkinson’s over all magical thinking regarding COVID protocols. Then on Thursday, KU dining hall workers went public with their union organizing campaign holding rallies outside several university dining halls.

15
Oct 2021

Out d’Coup | Joe-Kyrsten Drama; TX Abortion Ban; Striketober; Josh Shapiro for Gov; Ashley Ehasz for PA01; Sean Parnell Fail; Lincoln Project on Yass; KU Activists; Capt Kirk to Space; Dungeon Run

In what has become a ping-ponging of women’s Constitutionally protected right to an abortion, the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Texas law banning almost all abortions. The decision puts the case on a direct pathway back to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema say they are ready to tank Biden’s Build Back Better plan on the grounds that it’s too hard on fossil fuel corporations; that it expands Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing coverage; that it provides for tuition-free community college; and, generally, that everything isn’t means tested. At least that’s what Manchin laid out. Sinema seems just pissed that HER piece of legislation, the bi-partisan fossil fuel infrastructure bill, is not getting voted on first.  

10,000 UAW workers went on strike against John Deere. The strike comes after workers rejected a tentative agreement by about 90% on Sunday. Workers say the two-tier employee system which would hurt newly hired workers was a non-starter. Now that’s some solidarity for ya. 

60,000 IATSE, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, workers will begin a strike on Monday if no significant agreement is reached. 98% of IATSE members voted in favor of a strike over issues of an increased minimum wage, humane working hours, and fair pay for work on streaming programming. 

These job actions join the 1,400 workers at Kellogg’s plants who went on strike on October 5 and close to 30,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente in California and Oregon have overwhelmingly passed their strike authorization. 

#Striketober anyone?

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro launched his 2022 gubernatorial campaign in Pittsburgh and Montgomery County this week.  The Attorney General has essentially clearled the field of any challengers by gaining the endorsements of progressives and moderate Democrats throughout the Commonwealth.

Ashley Ehasz becomes the first Democrat to throw their hat in the ring to try to unseat Brian Fitzpatrick in the PA01. Ehasz is an army vet who’s campaign launch video focused on her anger that the American Dream is out of reach for so many. Her campaign announcement has spurred critical discussion about the political future of Bucks County and the whole of the #PA01. 

Sean Parnell, the Trump endorsed candidate for US Senate, went to court to try and place a “sweeping gag order” against his ex-wife.  Parnell’s wife filed two PFA’s against Sean Parnell in 2017 and 2018.  Some are saying that this can be a liability for his campaign.  

Scott Wagner was in the news again this week. On the third anniversary of his epic meltdown underneath a billboard on the side of a highway, Wagner stated that he will pledge $1.5 million to a PAC supporting Jeff Bartos if Bartos gets through the primary.

The Lincoln Project put Pennsylvania’s right-wing billionaire Jeffrey Yass on blast this week.  The group put together a 30 second ad detailing how Yass uses his money and a web of political action committees to spread disinformation to Pennsylvania’s voters.  The group also highlighted a campaign finance complaint filed by Pennsylvania Spotlight & asked viewers to call Attorney General Josh Shapiro and demand action from the complaint. 

KU Activists are holding a protest on Tuesday, October 19 from 10:30 - noon at the Alumni Plaza to advocate for the rights of disabled students, faculty, and staff. We all deserve an environment that is safe for us. Look for posters around campus soon!

Yes, Captain Kirk got to go to space. Well, the edge of space at least. William Shatner joined three other passengers on Blue Origin’s second rich people joy ride into suborbital space on Wednesday. 

Gotta love the Dungeon Run.

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