Saturday, October 25, 2014

Preserved Farmland in Pennsylvania

According to an article in Lancaster Farming, Pennsylvania is the first state to preserve a half-million acres of farmland.  While I have some criticisms of the program (the number of acres was raised to 50 unless the farm adjoins already preserved farmland, and not enough money has been allocated), it is still impressive that the state reached the half-million mark.

I am very proud that 23 of those acres are from our farm.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blue Mountain Ski Resort gets state loan

I find coincidences amazing.  

Yesterday the Times News ran a front page article in which Doyle Heffley announced the Blue Mountain Ski Resort has received a $1.5 million dollar loan.  The owner of the Blue Mountain Ski Resort is also a big supporter of Heffley and has contributed money to Doyle’s campaigns.  The loan (which is taxpayer money) was announced less than two weeks before the fall election.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jim Thorpe

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Jim Thorpe’s remains, currently in a tomb in the town of Jim Thorpe, can remain where they are.

Previously a U.S. District Court had ruled that the remains had to be sent back to Oklahoma under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  This law, passed in 1990, said that the remains of Indians had to be returned to their tribal areas.  Museums had been treating Indian remains as artifacts., and the law’s purpose was to end that rather creepy treatment of Indian bones.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the town of Jim Thorpe was not a museum, and that Thorpe family members approved of the town’s actions.  This was less a dispute about repatriating remains than it was about an intra-family dispute.

I personally am pleased with the decision.  I think the town has done a good job of treating Jim Thorpe’s legacy with honor and respect.  When we have out-of-town visitors, we always stop by the tomb, and our visitors read the story of Thorpe’s life.  Every visitor I’ve have seen is quiet and respectful.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Doyle Heffley: One of us?

I’m not exactly George Clooney, but I do star in a movie that is currently showing on YouTube.  The whole movie is less than three minutes, but it takes Rep. Heffley’s campaign slogan, “He’s one of us,” and puts a slightly different spin on it.

If you want to see it, go to YouTube and type in “Doyle Heffley:  One of Us.”  Click on the black and white thumbnail.  In the film, I’m the bald guy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

The Antiquities Act allows a President to permanently set aside public lands from exploitation, without the consent of Congress.  The President who used it the most was Theodore Roosevelt, but George Bush used it to create an 87,000 square mile Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.  

Earlier this month President Obama enlarged the area to 490,939 square miles.  This probably won’t benefit most of us directly, although it will benefit bottle nose dolphins, humpback whales, sharks, rays, and green and hawksbill turtles, among many other species.  

I’m not sure what Obama’s legacy will be, but I have a feeling that this will be seen as one of his more important actions.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Free Speech Movement

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement.  The whole thing began when thousands of U.C. Berkeley students blocked a police car and used the roof of the car as a platform to make speeches.  

Jack Weinberg was in the back seat of the car.  He had been arrested for staffing a table that gave out information on the civil rights movement.  I repeat—he had been arrested for staffing a table that gave out information on the civil rights movement.

Life was different then.  The students who climbed on the car to speak removed their shoes to avoid scratching the paint.  

Ronald Reagin, a candidate for governor, said the Berkeley campus had become a “rallying point for Communists.”  When asked if he was inspired by Communism, Weinberg stated, “We have a saying in the movement that we don’t trust anyone over 30.”

Weinberg is now 74.  

Fifty years ago I was a grad student at Penn State.  I was deeply impressed with the Free Speech Movement, and I continue to be impressed.  The advice not to trust anyone over 30 remains valid.

The quotes and much of the information came from an article in the Times by Carol Pogash.  The opinions are all mine.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Texas Voter ID Law

The judicial branch of the Republican Party, also known as the U.S. Supreme Court, refused to stay the Voter ID law in Texas.  This law will keep up to 600,000 Texans, mostly blacks and Latinos (and Democrats) from voting.

This brings to mind a quote from Texas governor Governor Rick Perry, who said the following at a Koch brothers-sponsored political event in New Hampshire:  “Look at the states,which are lavatories of innovation and democracy.”