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Out d’Coup Podcast

May 2021

Out d’Coup LIVE | Joshua Pribanic, co-creator/director of ‘Rights of Nature’ documentary, “Invisible Hand”

On tonight’s show, I welcome Joshua Boaz Pribanic, the co-creator and -co-director of the Rights of Nature documentary, Invisible Hand. Invisible Hand has been called a “paradigm shifting” documentary about the struggle for the recognition of “Rights of Nature,” quite possibly a defining battle of our times where nature, democracy face off in rural America. Produced by award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, Invisible Hand takes us behind the curtain of the global economy where “Rights of Nature” becomes capitalism’s primary opponent. The film’s epic battle does not begin in the centers of global capital, but in the small rural community of Grant Township, PA as residents band together to stop a fracking waste injection well from being located in their town. The “Rights of Nature” may be the most provocative, and powerful, assemblages of Western legal traditions and Indigenous knowledge that this country has ever seen. And it may be what is necessary to combat the climate crisis and reimagine global civilization. 

Joshua is a film director, editor, investigative reporter who gained international attention for his reporting on fracking shale gas in the United States. He’s probably best known for his award-winning documentary films on fracking, the 2013 film Triple Divide and the 2017 film, Triple Divide [Redacted], and, now, of course, Invisible Hand. Joshua is also the co-founder of the investigative journalism non-profit, Public Herald where he serves as Editor-in-Chief. Public Herald has been cited in over 200 publications including The New Yorker, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone,  and The New York Times.

A special shout out to Jonathan Mann who wrote our intro song, “There Are No People in the Future.” Check out all is great stuff on his YouTube page and follow him on Twitter @songadaymann

Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Biden’s New Plan; Raiding Rudy; Tucker Freaks Out; New House Numbers; PA Spotlight New Webpage; Mastriano; Brandi Levy Free Speech; PASSHE; Pennridge SD; Space News; Free Will Releases

One day ahead of his 100th day in office, Biden addressed a joint session of Congress to layout out another ambitious policy agenda in his “American Families Plan.” As reported in the New York Times

Also this week, Biden signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for all federal contractors to $15/hour. The increase will impact hundreds of thousands of workers. 

The FBI raided Rudy Giuliani’s home and office this week, seizing computers and cell phones. According to new reporting in the New York Times, the probe centers on the firing of the US Ambassador to Ukraine. If there are any feds listening to this podcast, please send us all conversations between Rudy and Doug Mastriano.

Tucker Carlson tests the boundaries of extremism. Carlson used his top-rated, Fox News show to claim that requiring children to wear masks was “child abuse.” He said, “your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart...Call the police immediately, contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.” 

The game of musical chairs has begun as the Census Bureau released the new state population numbers, which determine the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives

Gains: Texas (2), Florida (1), North Carolina (1), Colorado (1), Oregon (1), Montana (1)
Losses: California (1), New York (1), Illinois (1), Pennsylvania (1), Ohio (1), Michigan (1), West Virginia (1)

Matt Gaetz’s wing man decided to sing

Pennsylvania Spotlight relaunched their website!  This is a project that has been in the works for months and thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, especially Scott Wagner and Mike Turzai. 

Senator Doug Mastriano and Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate Paula Patrick were slated to speak at the “Up Front in the Prophetic” Q-Anon conference happening in Gettysburg this June, but both issued statements condemning the event and movement. Unconfirmed reports are that Mastriano issued this statement with a wink and a nod. 

A case by Pennsylvania high school student Brandi Levy made it to the Supreme Court after she was suspended from her cheerleading tea m after posting harsh comments about her school on Snapchat. When she failed to make the varsity cheerleading team, she posted a picture of herself flipping the bird captioned with “F___ school f___ softball f___ cheer f___ everything.” The case raises significant questions about the authority of schools to punish students for speech that occurs off school grounds. 

This was a major week for the future of the PA State System of Higher Education. On Wednesday, Chancellor Greenstein’s plans to merge six universities into two was accepted by the Board of Governors, triggering a 60 comment period and legislative hearings. A new report by the U Mass-based Political Economy Research Institute found that Greenstein’s plans will lead to over 1,500 direct job losses, leading to over 700 additional “indirect” or “induced” lost jobs in the Commonwealth. The question on the table now is whether Governor Wolf wants the destruction of PA public higher ed to be his lasting legacy. 

In my neck of the woods, there’s a team of right-wing extremists running for the Pennridge School Board. At least they are making it easy to know who NOT to vote for. So, DO NOT vote for Christine Batycki, Jordan Blomgren, Ricki Chaikin and Bob Cormack.

The Mars Helicopter Ingenuity failed to make a fourth flight yesterday when it failed to switch into flight mode. 

China launched the main main module for its first permanent space station on Thursday. The launch is the first of 11 missions necessary to complete the station and establish China a major player in the future of space. China will also land its first rover on Mars next month. 

Last Friday, SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission launched a new crew to the International Space Station. On their way to the space station, a piece of space junk came unexpectedly close to colliding with the capsule. 

The four astronauts that arrived at the International Space Station were scheduled to depart the ISS later today, but they have been delayed for the second time due to weather. Or, maybe they want a few more days for sightseeing? 

Free Will Brewing new releases: Strawberry Banana Mash & Longful Hunt.

Last weekend Free Will launched Sunday Sessions - live music at the Brewery. Sklyar Love kicked off the season for the first show. This Sunday, John Valerio will be taking the stage from 1-4pm. No tickets required. There will be 19 beers on tap, wine from Pennswood, and food by Tre’ Locally Sourced.

Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Guilty x 3; Transform Policing; India’s COVID Crisis; Biden on Climate; DC Statehood; Seth Grove Show; Dush Death Camps; PASSHE; PA Abortion Bills; NASA; Human Robot & Free Will

Guilty, guilty, guilty. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin found guily on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd. Now attention turns back to the work of fundamentally transforming policing in America. 

The three former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in George Floyd’s arrest and who stood by as Derek Chauvin killed Floyd, will be facing their own day of reckoning in court in the coming months. 

As if to underscore that convicting Derek Chauvin would not change the rot at the core of American policing, police shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright just 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin’s trial was being held. 

Axios reported that Senate Democratic and Republican staffers see the Chauvin verdict as “taking off the pressure” to pass meaningful police reform.

And...is Nancy Pelosi actually trying to hurt Democrats and prove to everyone that she and others in the party leadership are completely out of touch? 

India sets a new global record for the most number of COVID cases in a day at more than 330,000. Until now, the United States was the only nation to see that number of cases in a day. Hospitals in Delhi and in other large cities are running out of oxygen. Indian journalist Rana Ayyub told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman “it is an apocalyptic situation in India right now.” With a population four times as large as the United States the devastation from the virus could prove catastrophic and lead to the spread of new virus strains.

The explosion of COVID cases in India has further exposed inequity in vaccine distribution globally. Even though India is one of the largest producers and suppliers of vaccines to the world, corporate patent protections have prioritized getting vaccines to nations who can pay top dollar, not to those who need it most. We can thank Bill Gates for that, as outlined in Ann Neumann’s recent article in the Baffler, “Who Owns Vaccines.” 

Yesterday, on Earth Day, Biden made a commitment to cut U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030.  While the commitment is one of the boldest we’ve ever seen from an American president, energy experts told the New York Times that such a move would “require a dramatic overhaul of American society,” and fundamental changes in American’s energy system. It remains to be seen if the Biden administration truly has the political will to do what is necessary to meet his own commitments. It should be noted that climate scientists and activists have pointed out that even Biden’s bold goals are not enough to stave off some of the worst effects of climate change. 

Priorities USA, the Super PAC that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, released a report last week that was very critical of Democrats' ad spending.  Republicans outspent Democrats on TV and digital advertising for House and Senate campaigns 8 to 12 months before the 2020 even though Democrats outspent Republicans by the time of the election.  And here’s the kicker: 75% of the money Democrats spent on TV advertising for Congressional races missed their target audiences.  

DC Statehood, baby. House passed a D.C. Statehood bill yesterday. The bill moves on to the Senate. It will be one more test of how wedded to the filibuster Democrats are. 

Seth Grove and the House Republicans from the State Government Committee released their “findings” from their election integrity hearings.  Republicans are eyeing up voter IDs for in-person voting and those voting by mail, limiting dropboxes to one per county, having signature tests and third party witness signatures for mail-in ballots and purging of the voter rolls.

Stephen Caruso from the Pennsylvania Capital Star published an amazing interview with House State Government Chair Seth Grove.  During the interview, Caruso asked Grove how he can be a “good faith” actor in negotiating voting reforms when he is associated with ALEC, put his name on letters seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results and had a meeting with Kris Kobach during his election integrity hearings.  Grove’s response “we’ll see.”  

Election truthers, conspiracy theorists and insurrectionists inspired by the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell returned to the capitol this week demanding that the Pennsylvania General Assembly pass legislation to conduct a complete audit of the 2020 election.  The event was such a hit that independent journalist and documentarian, Zach Roberts, traveled to Harrisburg for it.  

Cris Dush went full blown “Cold Warrior” in the middle of a Senate appropriations hearing yesterday.  Dush used COVID conspiracies and Nazi anaologies when asking Acting Department of Health Secretary Allison Beam if the Wolf administration intentionall sent COVID infected patients to nursing homes and turned those nursing homes into “death camps.”

In an Op-Ed this week, Tara Murth and Susan Frietsche from the Women’s Law Project, warned that maternal mortality is skyrocketing in Pennsylvania while PA Republicans continue to pursue anti-abortion legislation that will only worsen the crisis. HB 1977 is a near total abortion ban; SB 21 pretends to protect people with disabilities as a justification for restricting abortion rights; and HB 1890 would mandate a death certificate be issued for every abortion and would threaten medical providers who did not obtain a death certificate. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a big, if rather superficial, story on PASSHE Chancellor Greenstein’s plans to fundamentally redesign the 14 state-owned university system. While much of the article misses the mark, it has helped place PASSHE in the national spotlight - right where Greenstein wants it, I suspect.  APSCUFs survey of the faculty affected by the planned mergers found that fewer than 8% of faculty were supportive of the mergers and only 7% believed the process has been transparent. 

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, made not one, but two flights on the red planet this week. The historic first flight on Monday saw the helicopter take off, hover about 10 feet in the air for about 30 seconds, then descend back to the ground. On Thursday, the flight lasted almost a minute. The helicopter hovered at about 16 feet and moved sideways for about 7 feet before returning to the ground. 

Meanwhile on the ground, NASA’s Perseverance rover turned a bit of Martian air into breathable oxygen thanks to an instrument called MOXIE. The little toaster-sized instrument is designed to separate oxygen atoms from carbon-dioxide molecules. The test produced enough oxygen to give a single astronaut about 10 minutes of breathable air. 

Early this morning the SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon capsule launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida upon a Falcon 9 rocket. The international crew consists of 2 astronauts from the U.S., one from Japan, and one from Russian. Crew-2 should arrive at the International Space Station early tomorrow morning. 

U.S. military chose Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics for their first phase of a project to test nuclear propulsion systems in orbit. 

And, SpaceX beat out Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics to win build the space craft for NASA’s Artemis mission to the Moon. 

I got myself some Human Robot beer this week! And...a hat. 

Free Will Releases. 

Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Killer Cops; Chauvin Trial; Biden Refugee Fail; FL Anti-Riot Bill; Amazon Union Post-Mortem; Seth Grove Circus; Philly NRA Gun Safety; PASSHE; NASA News; Human Robot; Free Will Releases

Kimberly Potter, the officer that shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, has been fired and will face second-degree manslaughter charges. Potter, a 26 year veteran of the Brooklyn Center, MN police force and president of the police union. She claims she meant to use a taser, but pulled her weapon instead. 

In more arguments for why we need to defund the police, Chicago police released body cam footage of an officer killing 13-year-old young black man, Adam Toledo, as he raised his hands up. 

Minnesota protests continued and have been met with militarized police response. 

Meanwhile, in Virginia a cop drew a weapon and pepper-sprayed a uniformed soldier at a traffic stop. The Windsor Police Department officer apparently thought the car had no plates, despite the new car temporary tags clearly displayed in the rear-window. When Army lieutenant Caron Nazario asked the officer what was going, officer Joe Jutierrez responde, “What’s going on is you’re fixing to ride the lightning, son.” 

And lawyers for Derek Chauvin, the cop that slowly killed George Floyd, rested their case after trying to smear Floyd and falsely attribute his death to drugs. Chauvin refused to take the stand, invoking the 5th Amendment.

President Biden has been dragging his feet on relaxing Trump’s inhumane restrictions on refugees, leading to a lot of head-scratching and anger from Democrats and immigrant and refugee rights groups. According to new reporting by CNN, the reason for the delay is that Biden is fretting over the “political optics” of allowing more refugees into the country. The delay has left thousands of people seeking refuge in a state of limbo after an already lengthy waiting process. 

The Guardian reports that police officers and public officials from around the country have been donating to Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense fund.  An executive internal affairs officer from Norfolk Virginia gave a donation that said “keep your head up, you’ve done nothing wrong.”

The Florida Senate passed an “anti-riot bill” that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been drooling over. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the bill will “grant civil immunity to people who drive through protestors blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot.” 

In addition, “A new crime of “mob intimidation,” defined as three or more people “acting with a common intent” forcing or threatening to force another person from taking a viewpoint against their will, is created by the bill. It is punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor, and bail is denied until first court appearance for anyone charged with the crime.”

More alarming news on the climate front. In a new study by the Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat in Cambridge, UK, scientists found that “just 3% of the world’s land remains ecologically intact with healthy populations of all its original animals and undisturbed habitat,” according to The Guardian. Previous analyses put the number between 20- and 40%. However, those studies relied heavily on satellite images, which can give the false impression that the ecosystems are intact.

The numbers are in. Workers hoping to unionize the Amazon plant in Bessemer, AL lost their election in a blowout. The vote was 738 in favor to 1,798 against.. Writing in the The Nation, Jane McAlevey argues that the effort does not mean that unionizing Amazon plants are doomed; rather, there were warning signs all over that the campaign had some serious problems - some due to Amazon’s union-busting efforts, but also due to some “fatal flaws” in the organizing campaign itself. 

  • Inaccurate lists of workers
  • Poor handling of discussions about union dues
  • Focus on plant gates, no house calls
  • No sign of majority support

Seth Grove and the House State Government Committee ended their dog and pony show relitigating the 2020 election. The meetings spanned 2 months, took up a total of 48 hours and continued to spread disinformation surrounding the 2020 election.  In the waning days, Grove invited members from multiple Heritage Foundation fronts, the Foundation for Government Accountability, the Public Interest Legal Foundation and other Koch Brother backed organizations to continue Trump’s big lie.

The next phase of the PA House Republican’s plan to cancel voting rights in Pennsylvania moves forward. It may take months for legislation to take shape, but Pennsylvania will be a focal point as Republicans look to push a smorgasbord of voter suppression tactics, like signature matching and voter ID’s. 

The Philadelphia Police Department launched a short-lived initiative to combat gun violence in the city this week.  Commissioner Outlaw announced that the police department was going to team up with the Department of Parks and Recreation and teach children about gun safety.  The problem?  The Commissioner stated that they were going to use the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program without stating it was an NRA backed program.  The initiative lasted less than a day after gun safety advocates and residents pounced on this idea. 

Philadelphia Councilmember Kendra Brooks, introduced two bills this week that would end practice of landlords denying turning away prospective tenants based upon eviction records. Brooks explained her rationale to WHYY: “Structural barriers and biases in the renting process disproportionately impact low-income renters, especially Black women. And as we know, these same renters have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. We must work toward a pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind and protecting renters’ rights to access affordable rental properties is a key part of that.”

PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein, made his case for his plan to fundamentally redesign the 14 state-owned university system to the Board of Governors on Thursday. Board of Governors Chair, Cynthia Shapira, called Greenstein’s remarks “inspirational” as she threw her support behind his plans to merge 6 of the universities into 2; fire hundreds of faculty and staff; and force students into more online classes. A piece of good news from the meeting that is getting much more coverage is the Board agree to freeze tuition for a third straight year. 

Kutztown University student, Natalie Santos running for Allentown City Council

NASA’s InSight Mars lander is going into emergency hibernation due to a build up of dust on the lander’s solar panels. Since landing in Elysium Planitia in 2018, InSight has been busy - detecting more than 500 Mars quakes and beginning to measure Mars’s core. Scientists say the lack of the powerful gusts of wind that are common in other parts of the planet have led to the build up. 

Still no flight for Ingenuity. An expected test flight for the little Mars helicopter was called off earlier this week due to a software issue related to its flight control. A fix has been identified and the NASA team say that Ingenuity may be ready to give it another go as early as next week. 

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk announced that not only will the Artemis mission put the first woman on the moon, it will also send the first person of color as well. 

I will be seeking out Human Robot beer this coming week.

Free Will releases.

Apr 2021

Out d’Coup | Global Trends Report; Infrastructure; J6; Joe Manchin; Global Corp Tax; Matt Gaetz; Kandida Kenner; PA Voting Rights; PASSHE; Mars Helicopter; Mars Society; Free Will Brews

U.S. Intelligence officials released their “Global Trends” report and its pretty bleak. As the Washington Post headline reads: “Intelligence forecast sees a post-coronavirus world upended by climate change and splintering societies.”

Biden’s infrastructure bill is pretty awesome. 

A new study by the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, found that most of the January insurrectionists came from counties with the most significant declines in the non-Hispanic White population. That is, most didn’t come from deep read counties; they came from places like Bucks County, PA that is experiencing a significant shift in demographics. The study also found that those involved in the insurrection are older and more professional than right-wing groups studies in the past; they were all, however, 95% white and 85% male. The lead researcher, political scientist Robert Pape, suggests that 90% of the insurrectionists are still in the process of congealing into a mass movement that is willing to put “violence at its core.”

The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, helped pave the way for Democrats to use budget reconciliation again this fiscal year to pass Biden’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan. She stated that the Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 allows for the Senate to use reconciliation more than once a fiscal year, because it says "the two Houses may adopt a concurrent resolution on the budget which revises or reaffirms the concurrent resolution on the budget for such fiscal year most recently agreed to." 

Just to balance the equation apparently, Joe Manchin flip-flops, saying that there is no way he would vote to get rid of or weaken the filibuster. 

Biden’s new Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, calls for a single minimum global corporate tax. 

Biden announced on Thursday moves to end gun-maker liability protections as part of a series of executive actions in response to gun violence. 

Things just get worse and worse for Trump-loving, and all-around creepy, Florida congressman Matt Gaetz.  The New York Times reported that Gaetz went pardon shopping in the final weeks of Trump’s term.  Apparently he asked Trump for an unconditional pardon for any crimes he may or may not have committed.

One out of every three UK teachers plans to quit in the next 5 years because of rapidly increasing workload and growing disrespect for teachers. That’s according to the results of a survey that the National Education Union asked of 10,000 members. 

Congratulations to Kadida Kenner from the Pennsylvania Budget Policy Center & We The People for accepting her new role as Executive Director at The New Pennsylvania Project.  Kadida will be fighting to protect voting rights right here in Pennsylvania as Republicans continue to push Trump’s Big Lie in 2020 and ramp up their nationwide attacks on voting rights.

Speaking of the attacks on voting rights by Pennsylvania Republicans, Republicans Daryl Metcalfe, Seth Grove, Cris Dush and dozens of other conservative republicans were spotted having dinner with Chris Kobach Tuesday evening.  Kobach was the Secretary of State in Kansas and helped weaponize Trump’s unfounded election fraud claims in 2016.

If that’s not bad enough, Seth Grove is wrapping up his show hearings on the 2020 elections and has started inviting Koch aligned front groups to push their anti-voter agenda at the latest House State Government Committee hearings.  Grove had members from the Foundation for Government Accountability and the Heritage Foundation’s Honest Elections Project speak at his most recent hearings.

In their 2021 Gerrymandering Threat Index, Represent.us has moved Pennsylvania into the moderate risk category as PA Republicans gear up their voting repression machine. 

Get ready Pennsylvania, because the push to restrict rights at the ballot box is coming our way.

Rep. Scott Perry struggles with using Venn diagrams.

Did you know that if you offer people a discount to shop at your store you just might be part of the plan of microchipped lizard-men to eat your liberties? It could happen. Well, and it kind of did happen to Donna Gouldery, a owner of Allora Gifts & Home Decor in Doylestown, PA. The crazy story is highlighted in Cyril Mychalejko’s latest column, “Hysterical social media mob targets Doylestown business woman.” We’ll get into it. 

COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in PA and NJ even as vaccines roll out. 

The University of Pittsburgh is has ordered students to shelter in place as coronavirus cases spike again. 

70% of PASSHE faculty oppose mergers

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter survived its first several days detached from the Perseverance rover. Yesterday, the little helicopter unlocked its rotors and will go through a series of tests before attempting the first-ever powered flight on the Red Planet sometime after Sunday, April 11. . 

It’s official, I am signed up for the 2021 Mars Society Virtual Convention. Yes, Raging Chicken will be attending this year’s Mars Society Convention from October 14-17. brings together prominent scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs and space advocates to discuss the significance of the latest scientific discoveries, technological advances and political-economic-social developments that could affect plans for the human exploration and settlement of Mars. The Mars Society was founded in 1998 by Robert Zubrin, who Motherboard writer Abraham Riesman calls, the “Right-Wing Mars Guru.” Down the rabbit hole I go. 

Mar 2021

Out d’Coup | GA Voter Suppression; Amazon Piss Bottles; Amazon Union; Columbia Grad Strike; NYU Grad Strike Vote; H’Burg Mayor Race; Pennridge TPUSA; Sisters of the Night Caucus; Ingenuity; Free Will

Georgia Republicans pass a slew of voter-supression measures. As reported in The Guardian, the new legislation “requires voters to submit ID information with both an absentee ballot request and the ballot itself. It limits the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, allows for unlimited challenges to a voter’s qualifications, cuts the runoff election period from nine to four weeks, and significantly shortens the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot.”

According to an explosive new article in The Intercept, Ken Klippenstein obtained internal documents showing that Amazon managers and executives have been fully aware that drivers often resort to peeing in bottles and even pooping in plastic bags due to the pressure to meet package quotas and an intense schedule.The report drops as Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama enter the last week of voting on unionization.

In a failed attempt at witty snark, Amazon Executive Dave Clark also took to Twitter to respond to news that Bernie Sanders would be travelling to Bessemer to join workers on the picket line. The tweets landed like a brick. 

Oh, and we should mention that Amazon workers in Italy went on strike over labor conditions this week. 

Speaking of strikes, Columbia University graduate workers continue their strike for a second week. Key demands in the more than two-year negotiations for their first contract include a neutral arbitrator in harassment cases, union coverage for more student workers and a pay increase. 

And, graduate student workers at NYU began voting on their own strike authorization on Tuesday. The strike authorization vote was called after more than 9 months of negotiations in which the graduate student union made significant concessions. 

Rutgers University says that all students must be vaccinated to return to in-person classes in fall 2021. Rutgers is one of the first universities in the nation to begin to roll out vaccination and prevention protocols for the next academic year. 

It’s time to take a deep dive into the shit-show that is the Harrisburg Mayoral race.  Republican Charter School grifter turned Democrat, Otto Banks, had his residency challenged in court this week and is allowed - for now - to stay on the ballot.  Banks bought a house in Harrisburg in August 2020 to run for mayor, but never used his utilities, which raised questions if he was actually living in the city.  The judge presiding over the case sided with Banks.

Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Health by the United States Senate this week and made history by being the highest ranking transgender official in United States history.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases have begun to surge again in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as both states move quickly to open up businesses and return kids to in-person classes. The surge is being attributed in part to the spread of the more contagious variants of COVID-19

Cyril Mychalejko, the new progressive columnist for the Bucks County Courier Times & The Intelligencer, shines a spotlight on how the white supremacist-adjacent Turning Point USA has made inroads it the Pennrigdge School district. Cyril Michalejko will be out Out d’Coup LIVE on Monday, April 5. We’ll dig in. 

PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein feels the heat. 

Sean gets snubbed on State Street.  We’ll talk about that later on.

DO NOT WAIT to head on over to Twitter and follow Sisters of the Night Caucus, “bewitching political talk from your favorite PA witches!” 

NASA gets ready to launch its Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, in early April. Ingenuity is attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover. The Rover dropped the debris shield covering the little helicopter. NASA has identified a 33 x 33 foot patch of the red planet for Ingenuity’s airfield. This will be the first attempt at powered flight on Mars. 

Ingenuity is carrying a postage sized piece of fabric from the Wright Brothers’ aircraft that made its historic flight at Kitty Hawk, NC. 

Lego announces its biggest and most detailed Space Shuttle set, yet.

I got my first vaccine shot. 

Free Will Brewing releases

Mar 2021

Out d’Coup | Anti-Asian, Misogynist Killings; Proud Boy Arrests; Deb Haaland; Spain 4-Day Work Week; Toomey Sucks; Bucks Ass’t DA Does Door Dash; Dissolving PASSHE; SLS; Mars H2O; Free Will Releases

On Tuesday, 8 people were killed in an anti-Asian, misogynist attack on three spas in Atlanta. Six of the eight people killed were Asian women. The killer was arrested. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Officer Capt. Jay Baker held a news conference on Wednesday and said that the shooter had a “sex addiction” and was just “having a bad day.” It was later revealed that Capt. Baker had been pushing anti-Asian t-shirts with the slogan: “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.

Philadelphia Councilmember Helen Gym called the shootings “the latest escalation in the nation’s history of systemic racism and violence against Asian immigrants, fostered by a culture of white supremacy and misogyny that has long devalued the lives of immigrants, Black women, and women of color.” See Helen Gym’s Twitter thread on history of AAPI organizing in Philly.

Proud Boys leaders in four states were arrested this weekOne of the four leaders arrested was Philadelphia native Zach Rehl.  Rehl became a figurehead in the organization over the last three years.  He was photographed at the insurrection leading the Proud Boys to the capitol and smoking a cigarette inside Senator Merkley’s office while  wearing a Temple Owls schoolbag the whole time.  

This comes on the heels of a report of how federal, state and local agencies ignored the Proud Boys over the last four years while they were committing acts of political violence at Trump events and far right rallies.   

Deb Haaland was confirmed as the first Native American cabinet secretary. Haaland will lead the Department of the Interior - the department with a long and strained history with indigenous communities. The agency manages over 500 million acres of public land, much of it stolen from indigenous people. The agency also houses the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

The filibuster appears to be on life-support as President Biden and key Democratic senators come out in reforming it.  This prompted Mitch McConnell to throw a temper tantrum on the Senate Floor where he promised to go “scorched Earth,” and Democrats responded by saying that McConnell already went “scorched Earth.”

Spain may become the first country to move to a four-day workweek. That follows the launch of a pilot project for companies in the country interested in the concept. Spain has a long history of leading on shorter working hours. Following a 44 day strike in Barcelona in 1919, for example, Spain became one of the first countries in Europe to move to an eight-hour day. As reported in the Guardian, “From New Zealand to Germany, the idea has been steadily gaining ground globally. Hailed by its proponents as a means to increase productivity, improve the mental health of workers and fight climate change, the proposal has taken on new significance as the pandemic sharpens issues around wellbeing, burnout and work-life balance.” The pilot program will see a reduction of working hours with no loss of salary or jobs. 

This won’t come as a surprise, but the Guardian reports that “The oil industry knew at least 50 years ago that air pollution from burning fossil fuels posed serious risks to human health, only to spend decades aggressively lobbying against clean air regulations.” Their report is based upon a pile of internal document obtained by the Guardian, including internal memos and reports. 

The CDC is exploring whether 3 feet of social distancing - instead of 6 feet - is safe for schools. The distancing guidelines are a key part of determining the most effective way to reopen schools while keeping students, faculty, staff, and the community safe.  

21 states with Republican Attorneys General are suing the Biden administration for putting the kibosh on the Keystone XL pipelines. 

Moderna begins to study the safety and effectiveness of its vaccine for kids between the age of 6 months to 12 years old. The study will enroll about 6.750 children in the U.S. and Canada. 

Graduate Student Workers at Columbia University are on strike after failing to achieve their first contract after over two years of negotiations with the administration. 

Bucks County Assistant District Attorney Matt Weintraub was caught moonlighting as a Door Dash driver while working out of the District Attorney’s office.  The Bucks County District Attorney only demoted from his position while the DA called it “an incredibly poor decision.”

The Pennsylvania Capitol is scheduled to reopen to the public this Monday.  It will be open to the public for the first time since the fall.  Guests must wear masks unless you are Republican legislators who still don’t believe in the pandemic.

The Commonwealth Foundation went in front of the House Commerce Committee last week and defended their positions on why there shouldn’t be a minimum wage.  Representative’s Malcolm Kenyatta and John Galloway shut that nonsense down and forced the Commonwealth Foundation’s representative to explain that they support a zero dollar minimum wage. 

Two men were arrested this week for taking part in the assault on Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 insurrection. Sicknick later died from his injuries. And, once again, a Pennsylvanian was one of those arrested. Julian Khater, a 32 year old many from State College, was seen spraying bear spray directly into the face of Officer Sicknick during the assault. 

Yes, of course, Sen. Pat Toomey blocked a bill that would have prevented debt collectors from taking stimulus checks. When asked why he voted for the bill he blamed Democrats for not including it in the original bill and compromised with Republicans to pass a bill with 60 votes. He defended debt collectors and said it’s too late anyway as 90 million checks have already been sent to Americans. Way to stick up for working families. 

At the State Senate budget hearings yesterday, PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein issued a threat. If his plans for reorganizing the 14 state-owned university system are not followed - including the mergers of three universities in the Northeast and three universities in the West - he told lawmakers: “I will be recommending to the board that we come back to the Senate next year with a legislative package to dissolve the state system.” Senator Joe Pittman of Indiana County, the home of IUP, said he would be happy to introduce the legislation. APSCUF President Jamie Martin said she was flooded with texts and emails from faculty who were watching the hearings. “It was reckless, at the very least it was reckless,” Martin told PennLive. 

NASA finally had a successful test of the Space Launch System or SLS rocket on Thursday. The SLS rocket is the one planned to be NASA’s workhorse for Artemis Moon missions. 

SpaceX’s launch of 60 Starlink Internet Satellites was seen over large areas of the Eastern U.S. including Central, PA and Bucks County. 

Some scientists now think that the large amount of water that flowed on Mars billions of years ago, may have become trapped in the planets outer crust. The findings published in the the journal Science, suggest that between 30% and 99% of the water on Mars may have been incorporated into minerals and buried in the planets crust. 

Elon Musk fulfills a childhood dream and changed his official title to “TechnoKing of Tesla. Tesla’s chief financial officer, Zach Kirkhorn, will also get a new title. He’ll be Tesla’s “Master of Coin.” 

Kevin has his vaccine appointment!

Free Will releases Personified - DDH Double IPA 8.4% ABV. This Sunday is Free Will’s annual release of their Barrel Aged Flowers series, featuring six different bottles and for the first time ever, draft pours of each.

Mar 2021

Out d’Coup | Recovery Act; PRO Act; Gun Control; OK Protester Law; Cancel Cuomo; Big Money for PA; PASSHE Fail Fast; Octavia Butler on Mars; Navajo Nation and NASA; Galicia Noir; Free Will Releases

The American Recovery Act is now law. President Biden signed the bill into law a day ahead of schedule and some people will start receiving deposits in their bank accounts as early as this weekend. The American Recovery Act is a real game changer and is raising the prospect that the Reagan Era is finally coming to an end. 

The House of Representatives passed the PRO Act, one of the most significant pieces of pro-labor legislation in decades. AFL-CIO president RIchard Trumka called the legislation “a game changer.” The PRO Act would effectively undercut so-called right-to-work (for less) lawes in more than two dozen states; prevent employers from forcing workers to attend anti-union “captive audience” meetings; allow newly certified unions to seek arbitration and mediation for first contracts; prevent employers from using an employee’s immigration status against them when determining the terms of their employment; and; establish financial penalties for companies, executives, corporate directors, and other company officials who violate workers’ rights. The bill faces a fight in the Senate, which may push Democrats to finally end the filibuster. 

The House also passed gun legislation that would strengthen background checks. 

Oklahoma’s Republican dominated state house passed a bill to give immunity to drivers who run over protesters. If signed into law, the legislation would shield from liability any driver who “unintentionally” injures or kills a protester while “fleeing a riot” as long as they had a “reasonable believe” that they were in danger. Yep, that would be qualified immunity to run down protesters. The bill also calls for $5000 in fines and jail time for protesters who “unlawfully obstruct” traffic. 

John Carroll University in Cleveland now says it can fire individual tenured faculty members without cause in cases of “budgetary hardship.” Several faculty have already been fired and programs are slated to be eliminated at the stroke of the pen. Look out higher ed. 

Biden’s dogs get kicked from the White House. 

And what’s this about Little Marco supporting Amazon workers union organizing drive?

A majority of New York’s Democratic Delegation to the United States House has called on Governor Cuomo to resign in the wake of his growing scandal.  This includes Jerry Nadler, Mondaire Jones, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Carolyn Maloney and more. 

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has a complete rundown on what Pennsylvanians can expect from the American Rescue Package.  5.9 million Pennsylvanians will receive $14.8 billion in direct payments.  Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians will see their healthcare premiums decrease and a quarter of Pennsylvania’s uninsured are now eligible for free bronze or low-cost silver packages. 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be receiving $7.2 billion from the American Rescue Package, which will help plug the state’s $2.5 billion budget deficit and county and municipal governments from around the state will receive an extra $5 billion dollars.  

Bucks County Republican Party uses “Johnson & Johnson” for its caller ID to trick residents who are hoping to get the vaccine only to hear a Republican Party message about attending a petition-signing event before next week’s signature deadline. 

The York-based convenience store company, Rutter’s, said that the $2/hour “hazard pay” they provided employees during the pandemic will now be permanent. That means that the starting wage will be $12.50/hr, increased to $13/hr after three months. 

PASSHE Chancellor Greenstein was at a Zoom town hall with faculty and staff at Kutztown University. When pressed on a series of problems at the university including lack of access to mental health services and racism in the campus police, Greenstein said that the solution is to do what they do in the tech industry, wildly experiment 

NASA named the landing site of the Perseverance rover, “Octavia E. Butler Landing,” after the celebrated African American science fiction writer. Butler’s novels include Kindred, Parable of the Sower, and her Xenogenesis or “Lilith’s Brood” series. Her dystopian novels explore themes of racism, exploitation, global warming, and women’s rights. She died Feb. 24, 2006.  

The Navajo Nation is working with NASA’s Perseverance Rover team to name new features identified on Mars. The President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez said that “The partnership that the Nez-Lizer Administration has built with NASA will help to revitalize our Navajo language. We hope that having our language used in the Perseverance mission will inspire more of our young Navajo people to understand the importance and the significance of learning our language. Our words were used to help win World War II, and now we are helping to navigate and learn more about the planet Mars.” Among the words chosen to be used for Mars formations, are Navajo words for “red rock,” “diligence,” and “amongst the sand,” and “Máaz” – the Navajo word for “Mars.” One of the Perseverance mission scientists, Aaron Yazzie, is Navajo and said they worked hard to come up with translations that resemble Navajo spellingsPresident Jonathan Nez and a team of advisors came up with a list of 50 names for the NASA team to start with and plan to keep adding more. According to a news release, the team had some suggestions like, “tséwózí bee hazhmeezh,” or “rolling rows of pebbles, like waves.” 

China and Russia sign an agreement to build a Moon base. According to a Russian statement, the station "is a complex of experimental research facilities created on the surface and/or in the orbit of the Moon, designed to carry out multidisciplinary and multipurpose research work." The move suggests that Russia is moving away from its long collaboration with the U.S. and may chart a new path once the International Space Station as the program is scheduled to end at the end of the 2020s. Russia also notably did not sign the Artemis Accords, calling the rules too “U.S. centric.” Are you ready for Moonraker the sequel?

Thanks to my friend Stu in Northern Ireland, I’ll be watching Galician Noir this weekend. Stu’s wife is from Galicia, the Northwestern corner of Spain that feels like your in the Northwest corner of Ireland. 

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Mar 2021

Out d’Coup | New Sunrise Campaign; SCOTUS Decisions; New Class of Workers; Federico Klein; Frances Regan on Gaming Board; PA No. 1 on J6; Starship; Star Trek; Voyager Station; Free Will Releases

The Sunrise Movement launched a campaign for “Good Jobs for All” last night. The video launch event featured Sunrise activists; Sara Nelson - President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA; and, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who introduced a historic jobs guarantee resolution a couple of weeks ago. The Good Jobs for All campaign calls for jobs that will help stop the climate crisis; a federal jobs guarantee to help end the COVID recession; and jobs to address those suffering from climate disasters. You can get involved by clicking “Join the Rays” in today’s show notes.

Some big rulings in the Supreme Court this week. In a 5-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme court made it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to fight deportation, even those who have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives. That opinion was written by Neil Gorsuch. And, Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s last minute appointment following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, issued her first majority opinion this week. This time in a 7-2 ruling, the Trump court was joined by Justice Elena Kagan of the so-called “liberal” justices. In this ruling, the Court rejected a Freedom of Information Act request from the Sierra Club “for documents about harm to endangered species,” according to the New York Times. Barrett argued that “the records were protected by an exemption to the act that shields documents that would disclose deliberations inside an agency before it makes a final decision.” The ruling overturned the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court. 

In some potentially discouraging climate news, John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, is reportedly talking to some of the largest banks and asset managers in the U.S. about contributing capital for clean energy. That’s according to CNBC. The news comes just a couple days after Kerry tapped Wall Street veteran Mark Gallogly to join the climate team. You can imagine why some climate activists are a little concerned. 

Jane McAlevey takes to the pages of The Nation to warn national labor leaders not to buy into the Silicon Valley’s promise for sectoral bargaining. 

Federico Klein, a Trump appointee within the Department of State, was arrested this week for taking part in the Jan 6th Insurrection.  Before joining the Trump campaign in 2016, Klein worked for the Family Research Council and his mother noted that “Fred’s politics run a little hot.”  

The Stock market tanked this week. 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Board is the best job in Harrisburg if you can get it or are appointed to it like Frances Regan, the wife of State Senator Mike Regan.  Frances Regan was appointed to the Gaming Board this week with no announcement or press release and she will be getting paid $145,000 a year to attend one or two meetings a month during her term. 

Pennsylvania is number 1. Yep, moving from the second spot last week, Pennsylvania now boasts the number 1 position for the state with the most people arrested for the January 6 insurrection. And guess which PA county is number 1? No, not the deep red counties in the center of the states. It’s my very own Bucks County. 

A new report by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center finds that of 53 Pennsylvania waterways tested, “microplastic contamination was found in every spot, from Lake Erie, Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers, and the Delaware River.” The report calls for the passage of bills such as the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act, which calls for banning single-use plastics and environmental remediation efforts. 

Lock Haven faculty holding a virtual town hall on March 30 about the controversial integreaton of LHU with Mansfield and Bloom. 

SpaceX finally lands its Starship! Yes, the SN 10 successfully launched from its Boca Chica launch pad just after 6:30 pm on Wednesday. Then for the first time it stuck the landing! But...a few minutes later, it blew up.  

A new Star Trek movie is in the works. This time it will be led by an original script by Kalinda Vazquez, one of the main writers of the Star Trek Discovery series. She’s going to be busy as she is also working with George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame on an adaptation of Roger Zelazny’s sci-fi novel, Roadmarks for HBO. Live long and prosper, Vazquez!

New analysis of satellite data by Chinese scientists confirmed for the first time the existence of “space hurricanes” - whirling storms of plasma that occur in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. But these hurricanes don’t rain water droplets, they rain electrons. 

The Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) announced plans to begin building the first space hotel in 2025. The plan is to open the space station for guests in 2027 - but, you’ll need a net worth of about $50 million if you want to be one of the lucky 400 guests. The company claims that the spinning Voyager Station will feature Moon-like levels of artificial gravity and, according to the company, the space station will feature themed restaurants, viewing lounges, movie theaters, bars, libraries, gyms, and a health spa. And, just coincidentally, the company is now open to investors. Smell a little grift anyone?

Free Will Brewing releases: Sing Me Back Home - DDH Double IPA brewed with a base of fluffy flaked oats and wheat, hopped in the kettle with Citra, then double dry hopped with Strata, Moutere, and even more Citra. 8.7% ABV. New label art from Kolahari. Also, if you’re looking to burn a hole in your wallet and buy some serious craft beer cred? Here’s one for you: Saffron Black Lime Ralphius (2020) - $50.00. Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels with Saffron, Black Lime, and Fleur de Sel - 17.5% ABV

If we want a progressive future, we need progressive media. Support pull-no-punches, homegrown progressive media today by becoming a patron of Raging Chicken for as little as $5/month. Simply go to Patreon.com/RCPress.

Feb 2021

Out d’Coup | No 15 for You; Attacking Syria; 500K Deaths; Climate Warnings; NYPD Robot Dogs; Fracking Ban; PA GOP Cryfest; Perseverance; Molson Coors Labor Fight; Sean’s Whiskey; Free Will Releases

Democrats who have been luke-warm about passing a $15 minimum wage got the cover they needed yesterday as the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, advised that the $15 minimum wage cannot be included in a reconciliation package.  

Those Democrats who have been pushing for the $15 minimum wage have urged that Vice President Harris overrule the parliamentarian’s ruling, which is within her authority. On Twitter, Representative Ro Khanna wrote, “I’m sorry - an unelected parliamentarian does not get to deprive 32 million Americans the raise they deserve. This is an advisory, not a ruling. VP Harris needs to disregard and rule a $15 minimum wage is in order.”

It’s time to dump the filibuster and, as David Dayen argued this morning, it’s time to put the $15 minimum wage bill on the floor

And while the Biden administration and conservative Democrats are willing to throw up their hands and say there is nothing they can do when it comes to the minimum wage, they’re willing to roll out the tanks in support of Neera Tandem’s appointment to the Office of Management and Budget. 

Release the hawks. Biden orders air strikes in Syria against two Iranian-backed militias on the border with Iraq. The administration claims to have targeted and destroyed “multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups.” The strikes were said to be in response to recent attacks on American contractors and properties in Iraq by militants. 

And the pandemic rages on. Even as cases began to drop, the U.S. passed the 500,000 COVID-19 deaths mark this week. 

A new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) sea currents are slowing faster than expected and may lead “tipping point” in climate change if swift action is not taken. Scientists have warned that the slowing or stopping of the AMOC will lead to large-scale impacts affecting live on the panet. 

New York City police deployed Boston Dynamics creepy and frankly dystopian robot dog to a live crime scene this week. The New York Post released footage of the robot dog to a home invasion crime scene in the Bronx. It wasn’t the first time, either. Back in October, the NYPD sent another robot dog into a building where a gunman had barricaded himself. According to the Post, the robot dog is in its test phase, equipped with lights and a camera. “This robot is able to use its artificial intelligence to navigate things, very complex environments,” according to NYPD’s Technical Assistant Response Unit’s Deepu John. Yeah, what could go wrong. 

The Delaware River Basin Commission lifted their moratorium and has banned fracking in the Delaware River Watershed.  This will protect the drinking water for tens of millions of residents living in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania House and Senate Republicans threw a temper tantrum this week after the Dept of State released their ballot question on a constitutional amendment limiting the Governor’s powers on emergency declaration orders.  Apparently, the question was too straight forward and not confusing enough for Republicans.

Kendra Brooks, from Philly’s city council, is joining with Astra Taylor from the Debt Collective in calling bullshit on Biden’s claim that he can’t cancel $50,000 in student loan debt. 

Pennsylvania Republicans failed to cancel Pat Toomey after spending hours debating his vote to convict Donald Trump. 

The Mars Perseverance rover sent back amazing footage of the February 18 landing in Jezero crater. Just amazing. A couple days later we got the first full-color, 360 degrees view of what Perseverance sees. Gotta admit, I was in awe.  

Researchers are making a case that NASA should begin studying nuclear propulsion systems for future missions to Mars. 

Columbian County woman becomes one of NASA’s newest flight directors. Chloe Mehring grew up in Mifflinberg and started working with NASA in 2008 in the Flight Operation’s Propulsion Systems group. 

Put that sixpack back in the cooler. Molson Coors Beverage Company has locked out 300 workers at its Toronto brewery after workers overwhelmingly rejected the company’s “best and final offer” during contentious contract negotiations. Molson Coors had prepared for this move by posting ads for scab workers three weeks before their lockout. 

Sean has whiskey recommendations.

Free Will Releases: Sputnik 36 and Soul Supper. https://freewillbrewing.store/

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