pipelines foul marsh creek and tales of shoen road: time to leave our area pipeline companies

Photo courtesy of my friends.

I woke up thinking about Marsh Creek again this morning. I will preface this post with did you know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline had been stopped in July?

Washington Post: Virginia Politics
Energy companies abandon long-delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

By Erin Cox and Gregory S. Schneider
July 5, 2020 at 7:07 p.m. EDT

The two energy companies behind the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Sunday abandoned their six-year bid to build it, saying the project has become too costly and the regulatory environment too uncertain to justify further investment.

The natural-gas pipeline would have tunneled under the Appalachian Trail on its way from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina…Property rights advocates in the Appalachians joined with an ashram in central Virginia and black Baptists from a rural county to make opposing the pipeline a high-profile political and social justice issue….Virginia-based Dominion Energy and North Carolina-based Duke Energy spent $3.4 billion on the project….But company officials said in a statement that other recent federal court rulings linked to the Keystone XL pipeline have heightened the litigation risk, extended the project’s timeline and further ballooned the cost of the project…

(Washington Post 7/5/2020)

So if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline have been stopped, why not Mariner II?

I do not know how you could have missed the news this week. It started when Sunoco/Energy Transfer breached the aquifer and mud emerged from the ground while drilling on Saturday on Shoen Road. This is where my friend Ginny lives. I will let her words from five days ago be heard now:

It was a rough day y’all. Started before 6am with Sunoco violating our township noise ordinance. Then at 1:40pm I sent an email to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection staff in charge of Mariner East informing them that Sunoco’s plan to handle a frac-out of drilling mud on our property was failing and instead of Sunoco stopping drilling as required or the DEP forcing them to, they all did NOTHING. Two hours later there was a river of drilling mud flowing across our property. All this while an estimated 250,000 gallons of formerly pristine groundwater pour down the drill hole every 24 hours to be hauled away as residual waste….. enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool every two days. This is expected to continue for a few months.

The upside of all this: As I stood at the road, amongst a crowd of township police and glaring workers and security, and with the support of friends, people from our community driving by gave thumbs up and bold raised fists.

Community power. Defend what you love.

~ Ginny Kerslake 8/10/2020

And I watched live videos where it looked like my friend Ginny was being menaced on her own property? It has been crazy. My friend Ginny, however, is grace under pressure. And she pointed out on Tuesday:

As an estimated 250,000 gallons of ground water per day gushes down the borehole from the Mariner East HDD on Shoen Road in West Whiteland Township to be hauled away as waste, after Sunoco beached the aquifer yet again, let’s look at the situation in Edgemont, Delaware county where Mariner East drilling also destroyed private wells. But unlike in West Whiteland, THERE IS NO PUBLIC WATER OPTION.

Erica Tarr’s family has been without clean running water for several months. They have had to dig a new well and put in expensive filtration devices to no success and at great expense to them. Aqua PA has quoted them $500,000 to extend a new public water line to their home. Sunoco had done nothing for them. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has done nothing for them.

Where’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro? He has been investigating Mariner East for over a year now. Meanwhile this family is denied our constitutional right to clean water. So many families have been denied this right along this egregious project and in Western PA due to fracking, many without the resources to fight or fix, or without even knowing their water was contaminated. Where’s Governor Tom Wolf?

A reminder of Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment, proudly passed in 1971:

“The Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA), (Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution), states: The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”

What’s there to be proud of Pennsylvania?

~ Ginny Kerslake 8/11/2020

Would you want to bathe in that water?

Ginny had this to say today:

As the DEP investigation into and cleanup of the drilling lubricant spill into Marsh Creek continues, so too do the investigations at Shoen Road where Sunoco has breached the aquifer and mud emerged from the ground while drilling on Saturday.

In a bold-faced life Sunoco claims they did not breach the aquifer, though they did it in 2017 and 2019 in their previous failed attempts and 250,000 gallons of water has been flowing back through the pilot hole and is being pumped 24/7 from drill pit.

And why isn’t the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection doing the appropriate analysis to determine an inadvertent return?

Time for the DEP to pull the permits

“This is an example of the crisis of our time. The people of Pennsylvania have a right to clean air and pure water, public health, safety and private property.

“Yet the priority seems to be protecting a multi-national, private, for-profit corporation, which then exploits and degrades our resources, our quality of life and our health and safety. Who does our government work for?”

~ Ginny Kerslake 8/14/2020

So what is Ginny talking about? Why the fouling of Marsh Creek by Sunoco/Energy Transfer this week. Lots of us, myself included have kept kids away from beautiful Marsh Creek since the polluting event this week.

Marsh Creek. A simply beautiful place loaded with wildlife. Where drinking water lives.

I first learned about Marsh Creek in my early 20s. I had a roommate back then who had grown up in the Downingtown area. Her mother worked for the EPA, so they were a family who completely respected the majesty of nature and were pro-environment back then.

I was fascinated by Marsh Creek when I first saw it. As the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says on their website:

Marsh Creek State Park was developed to help manage the water resources in the Brandywine Creek Watershed. Frequent flooding, water shortages, and lack of recreational opportunities were problems in the watershed.

The park was formerly a combination of rolling, wooded hills and small farms located on both sides of the Marsh Creek valley. The former village of Milford Mills is now under 30 to 50 feet of water. All of the buildings were removed; leaving only a few roads, foundations, and the embankments to the Larkin’s Bridge under the lake.

The lake was created by the damming of Marsh Creek. Construction of the dam occurred between May 1970 and June 1973. The impoundment is a 90-foot-high, 990-foot-long earth and rock fill dam on Marsh Creek, a tributary of the East Branch of Brandywine Creek.

On November 16, 1973, the gates of the dam were closed. The lake reached normal pool stage 218 days later on June 21, 1974.

At normal pool elevation of 359.5 feet above sea level, the impoundment covers an area of 535 acres plus a 25-acre wetland. The lake volume is 13,000 acre-feet (4.4 billion gallons) with a maximum depth of 80 feet at the dam.

The Marsh Creek watershed comprises 20 square miles of the Brandywine Creek watershed, which is part of the Delaware River Basin.

~ Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
The Story of Milford Mills and the Marsh Creek Valley: Chester ...

My friend historian Catherine Quillman wrote a book about Milford Mills.

Way back in the first half of the 19th century, there was the tiny town of Milford Mills. A little village, really.

Little houses in the midst of sprawling farm country. A one room school house, a bridge, a general school.

Only in Your State says “Local legend also tells of a majestic mansion with 44 rooms. It was here, so goes the story, that supposed gangster Max Boo Boo Huff spent five years – from 1930 to 1935 – in the mansion, running a modern-day bar during Prohibition. Huff’s departure gave way to a new owner who turned the mansion into a resort.”

The village of Milford Mills existed until around 1970 when federal and local authorities decided a dam and a reservoir would be built there. The plans for Marsh Creek Dam meant the end of Milford Mills. I am told residents tried to fight it, but they lost and the village was razed. The dam was built and the man-made lake began to fill up with water. In 1974 or so the Marsh Creek Lake had a reported 100,000 fish added to it. The remnants of Milford Mills became the ghost town under the lake.

Marsh Creek was built to address water issues. It was built to provide drinking water for the Chester County Resources Authority. Apparently, previously there had been shortages. Also addressed by the creation of Marsh Creek? Alleviation of seasonal flooding. Of course I have to wonder given the intensity of infill development including around Marsh Creek if that still helps as much as they had thought it would. The park was also created and there are all sorts of things to do there. You can hike around and look at the ruins of Milford Mills, picnic, swim, sail, fish.

So when I first saw Marsh Creek it was I guess the late 1980s. I was in awe of how pretty it was plus fascinated by the mob stories and probable urban legend of wise guys ending up in the lake.

But now what lies ahead for Marsh Creek? How fouled is the water? Will we ever really know? What we do know is thanks to the brilliant activists.

Plume of pollution out at Marsh Creek thanks to Sunoco/ Energy Transfer Partners.

Inquirer: Drilling is stopped after leaks develop along Mariner East pipeline. One is affecting Chester’s Marsh Creek Lake.
by Frank Kummer, Posted: August 11, 2020

Drilling fluid used in Sunoco Pipeline LP’s Mariner East project in Chester County leaked into Marsh Creek Lake in a state park of the same name on Monday — one of three incidents in recent days along the pipeline construction project route.

Virginia Cain, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said the agency is investigating the three incidents, which occurred at two project sites, in West Whiteland and Upper Uwchlan Townships.

The DEP said the first leak occurred on the 100 block of Shoen Road in West Whiteland on Saturday. Both the DEP and the Fish and Boat Commission responded and tested water to see if it contained drilling fluids. Drilling was stopped to await an analysis of the liquid.

~ Philadelphia Inquirer 8/11/2020

And this heinous fouling of Marsh Creek Lake is not the only pipeline problem this summer. More and more sinkholes keep cropping up:

Inquirer: State investigating new sinkholes along Mariner East pipeline
by Andrew Maykuth, Posted: July 17, 2020

Pennsylvania pipeline inspectors announced Friday that they are investigating a new series of sinkholes that have opened up along Sunoco Pipeline LP’s Mariner East project route in Chester County after cracks were reported in the pavement of Business Route 30 in Exton, impacting some traffic.

Public Utility Commission safety inspectors are investigating subsidence that has occurred since July 10 in places where the controversial pipeline is under construction. The incidents happened not far from the West Whiteland Township location where sinkholes formed over the last two years, forcing several construction halts and service disruptions on the operating pipelines.

~ Philadelphia Inquirer 7/17/2020

I just. Can’t. Even. What in the hell has to happen to be enough? Is this enough to get these people out of our communities? These pipelines are the things you hear about, but if you don’t live close enough to a pipeline site you think we are all a collective of drama queens.

I used to think that it was mostly drama before I moved to Chester County. I thought “oh it can’t possibly be that bad.” Then there are the moments that stick in your head. One such moment occurred for me a couple of years ago. We invited Adelphia Gateway which wishes to do Sunoco-like projects to a parlor meeting in my living room. My friend Ginny sat on my sofa with tears in her eyes as she recounted what had happened to her and her family at the hands of pipelines at that point.

This parlor meeting was July 25, 2018. I will note that questions we gave to the PR talking head sent to handle us have to date never, ever been answered. Adelphia Gateway will have my entire neighborhood within a blast zone if they proceed, and we are on wells. There is not public water for us so what has happened this week on Shoen Road and at Marsh Creek is EXACTLY what I worry about along with the sinkholes and well, the very real fear of any of these lines blowing up.

Anti-pipeline activists are still painted as these awful people. Ladies and gentleman, they are your neighbors. People you socialize with. Go to church with. Your friends. My friends.

For the recent primary election, the pipeline proponents, supporters, etc spent a crazy amount of money to try to still our voices by attacking candidates who speak for us. Ginny Kerslake did not prevail in the end in the primary against sheeple Kristine Howard, but my other friend Danielle Friel Otten did survive and crushed her opponent. If that pro-pipeline money had NOT been spent, I believe Kristine Howard would have gone down in flames. She still can if people are now smart and get behind a third friend, Wendy Graham Leland. I know it is only a matter of time before Camp Lameass Howard starts in on her. I wish them luck there, but I digress. I know some amazing women, but I digress again. (Sorry I do that sometimes.)

Lookee here however, remember that the politics intertwined in the pipeline issues are very important. It’s a ridiculous game of who is on first.

People, we need to be first.

Please call on our leaders to demand Governor Wolf Pull the Mariner East Permits PERMANENTLY:

Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
717-787-2500
http://www.governor.pa.gov/contact

joshmaxwell@chesco.org
mmoskowitz@chesco.org
mkichline@chesco.org
repotten@pahouse.net
senatormuth@pasenate.com
johohenste@pa.gov
RA-epcontactus@pa.gov
sdamico@upperuwchlan-pa.gov
jgoncharoff@upperuwchlan-pa.gov
jbaxter@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

Chester County Commissioners fired off this today:

However, allow me to also share some other things I have seen:

Upper Uwchlan…Upper Uwchlan please don’t tell me you people are going to be ostriches sticking your head into drilling mud laced with bentonite? Sigh.

And here are things I would like you to read:

My ChesCo: COMMUNITIES / OP-ED / PENNSYLVANIA
Connecting the Dots: Marsh
Creek . . . District 13 and CWA
August 13, 2020 – by Richard Ruggieri

The pipeline leak into Marsh Creek earlier this week was an avoidable water emergency. To make matters worse, Marsh Creek is a source of drinking water for people in that community. Sunoco/Energy Partners demonstrates by their actions that they have little regard for the impact their negligence has on the community.

The issue surrounding water in Chester County is at its tipping point and is nothing less than a PA Constitution crisis. It is possible to support progress and be good stewards of our natural resources at the same time. In fact, our PA Constitution demands it, Article I, Section 27 says: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”….AQUA is also engaging in a hostile takeover effort of our local water authority, Chester Water Authority (CWA). You may have seen the many, many SAVE CWA and Save Octoraro Reservoir yard signs in yards and on highways. AQUA wants to buy CWA. AQUA wants CWA because it stands to make billions on the deal, pulling vast amounts of money out of our fragile local economy. It also wants valuable public natural resources including the Octoraro Reservoir and 2000 acres of CWA land assets…..Will our water be sent to Northern Chester County for fracking?

~ Richard Ruggieri candidate for State Representative for District 13, learn more about him and his campaign at RuggieriPA13.com. 8/13/2020

As per a Daily Local report in 2019, there is a relationship between AQUA and Energy Transfer:

Sunoco/Energy Transfer, the company behind the problematic and controversial Mariner East pipeline project, is in business with Aqua America, which provides water service to thousands of residents in Chester County, state Sen. Andy Dinniman revealed Friday.

“It is important that citizens know the relationship between companies involved with the Mariner East pipeline,” Dinniman said.

According to Energy Transfer’s 2018 annual report, the company owns a 51 percent stake in Aqua – ETC Water solutions, characterized as a “joint venture that transports and supplies fresh water to natural gas producers drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.”

~ Daily Local News 6/28/2019

Talk about an unholy alliance, right? So Sunoco/Energy Transfer fouls the water. AQUA PA is public water and they are trying to take over the Chester Water Authority ? So that also guilt by association (or investment) means they are fouling Marsh Creek and so on but then they would have control over our water if AQUA PA takes over CWA?

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. (Yes I am an Outlander fan.) But seriously? You can’t make this stuff up! We are living it! And to what end? The destruction of where we call home and our water resources for freaking corporate profits?

My Chesco: COMMUNITIES / GOVERNMENT / PENNSYLVANIA
After Energy Transfer Debacle, Otten and Muth Invite Legislators and Public Officials to Observe Marsh Creek State Park
August 13, 2020 – by MyChesCo – Leave a Comment

My Chesco: NEWS
Wolf Administration Outlines Actions Underway in Wake of Pipeline Drilling Spill Affecting Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County
August 14, 2020 – by MyChesCo – Leave a Comment

WHYY : WATERSHED
Paddle protest at Marsh Creek Lake calls for Mariner East shutdown
By Susan Phillips August 13, 2020

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'MARINER EAST PULL THE PERMITS BINGO PERHTEH PUL Edgmont Township Rep. Howard Howard Senator Katie East Goshen Township Rep. Hennessy Barrar Middletown Township DCNR Rep. Rep. Shusterman West Gosher Township PUC Chester County Senator Keaney Uwchlan Township Comitta DEP Rep. Sappey Rep. Williams Senator Dinniman West Whiteland Township Rep. Killion Delaware County Upper Uwchlan Township Construction Mariner caused natural every NOW! revoketh weinvite officialsto action demandthe evocation immediately! but Sfety'
From West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety – It’s Pull the Permits Bingo time!

State Impact PA: Mariner East construction spills 10,000 gallons of drilling mud into Chester County lake

Susan Phillips
AUGUST 11, 2020 | 7:17 PM

NBC10 Philadelphia: MARINER EAST PIPELINE
8K Gallons of Drilling Fluid From Controversial Pipeline Project Leak Into Lake

NGI Mariner East Again Contending with Drilling Fluid Spills in Pennsylvania

BY JAMISON COCKLIN
August 13, 2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has responded to several reports of fluid discharges at construction sites for the Mariner East pipeline system in Chester County, including a confirmed spill at a state park.

~ Natural Gas Intelligence 8/13/2020

Pennsylvania Pressroom:

08/13/2020 Wolf Administration Outlines Actions Underway in Wake of Pipeline Drilling Spill Affecting Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County

Operation at the drill site has been suspended indefinitely.

Harrisburg, PA — The Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Environmental Protection (DEP) assured Marsh Creek State Park supporters that concerted efforts are underway to safeguard visitors and park resources in the wake of Monday’s pipeline drilling fluid spill affecting the lake; and that Energy Transfer will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

“We are deeply concerned and troubled over this significant resource and recreation impact at Marsh Creek that comes at a time when that park, as are all our parks, is seeing incredible visitation rates amid the pandemic,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Drawing more than 1 million visitors a year, Marsh Creek is among our most visited park, and water-based activities are the catalyst for that draw.

“The popularity of paddle-boarding alone is phenomenal at Marsh Creek Lake, and anglers and other boaters can be found daily on the lake. Containment, water testing, and remediation are underway, and access to affected water and shoreline will be restricted.”

Noting the park’s connecting trails and other strong ties to surrounding communities, Dunn said, “DCNR recognizes this park is beloved by those who live nearby and is an important resource to the people and businesses of surrounding communities. I feel it is important to let them know we’re standing by them on this.”

What Happened

On Monday, August 10, DEP responded to a report from Sunoco of a potential inadvertent return at HDD 290, a drill site off Green Valley Road in Marsh Creek State Park in Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County. Operation at the drill site has been suspended indefinitely.

Used in Sunoco Pipeline LP’s Mariner East project in Chester County, an estimated 8,100 gallons of drilling fluid (mud and water) leaked into wetlands off park property and into a tributary to Marsh Creek Lake. The spill is affecting the lake’s cove area along Park Road.

What’s The Status

Buoys will be used on the lake to delineate the affected area.

Approximately 33 acres of the 535-acre lake is now off-limits to boating and fishing.

Offering a swimming pool, the park does not permit beach-based swimming. Boating and fishing still is permitted on the rest of the lake, and the park remains open to all other activities.

“With the assistance of DEP, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, private contractors, and our park personnel, we are focusing on containment, cleanup, and remediation, and we need the public’s cooperation,” Dunn said. “Aiding that effort are DCNR park managers and rangers, as well as our aquatic specialists who will be gauging the spill’s effect on water quality and lake aquatic life.”

What’s Being Done

DEP, along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), continue to investigate and oversee the cleanup of the inadvertent return into Marsh Creek, said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

At the conclusion of the investigation, DEP anticipates that there will be civil penalties and potentially other regulatory ramifications.

Drilling activity at the site has ceased until further notice.

“Since the spill occurred on Monday, clean-up crews have made significant progress in collecting and containing spilled material. DEP aquatic biologists have been onsite since the beginning of the incident to assess the spill and ensure that cleanup activities are conducted properly. Downstream drinking water intakes have been notified and there are no concerns about drinking water safety. There have not been any complaints of impacted private water wells,” McDonnell said. “DEP is also actively coordinating with experts at DCNR, Department of Health, Army Corps of Engineers, and Public Utility Commission to ensure that the ongoing situation is managed consistently and safely. DEP has consistently held Sunoco accountable for violations and will do so in this instance as well.”

Located in northcentral Chester County, Marsh Creek’s lake and 1,784 acres offer a refuge for migrating waterfowl and also are popular with hikers, hunters, and picnickers.

More information about Marsh Creek and Pennsylvania’s other 120 state parks is available on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-877-6315;
Virginia Cain, DEP, 484-868-2452

~ Commonwealth of PA Press Release 8/14/2020

Daily Local: Officials claim pipeline workers breached aquifer at Shoen Road in Chester County
By Bill Rettew 13 hrs ago

WEST WHITELAND — Sunoco/Energy Transfer workers hit and breached an underground aquifer at Shoen Road which since then has fouled 250,000 gallons per day of fresh drinking water, according to State Sen. Danielle Friel Otten, D-155th, of Uwchlan, and Shoen Road resident Ginny Kerslake.

The two women estimate that 50 trucks, with a capacity of 5,000 gallons each, have daily been removing water from the drill site of the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline.

Sunoco/ET spokesperson Lisa Coleman responded with a one-sentence comment.

“We did not impact the aquifer at Shoen Road,” wrote Coleman on Aug. 11.

~ Bill Rettew, The Daily Local 8/14/2020

Daily Local: Dignitaries visit site of drilling mud spill at Marsh Creek Lake
By Bill Rettew

UPPER UWCHLAN—On Friday morning, local public officials and legislators paddled to the site of Monday’s Marsh Creek Sunoco pipeline construction spill of about 10,000 gallons of drilling mud to monitor the mitigation process.

State Rep Danielle Friel Otten, D-155th, of Uwchaln and state Sen. Katie Muth, D-44th, of Royersford invited the dignitaries to view the damage and cleanup firsthand. They visited the popular state park lake via paddleboards, kayaks and canoes.

State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-157th, of Schuylkill said that the 10,000 gallon spill is alarming.

“I’m here to make sure our public parks are clean and the air around them is clean so people can enjoy,” she said. “Public parks are for all of us to enjoy.”

State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166th of Haverford, discussed meeting climate change goals.

“We can’t continue to build fossil fuel infrastructure and reach our goals,” he said.

“Marsh Creek is a valuable ecological and recreation area and I was very concerned when I learned of the spill.

“I wanted to see firsthand the extent of the damage and the progress of cleanup efforts. I was pleased to see both cleanup workers and representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on the scene….In addition to Friel Otten, Muth, Vitali, Shusterman and D’Amico, state Rep. Dan Williams, D-74th, of Coatesville came out, as well as Chairman Bill Miller from Uwchlan Township and Rebecca Britton, Vice President of Downingtown Area School Board.

~ Bill Retter, Daily Local News 8/14/2020

So…who was NOT there at Marsh Creek today? HOW ABOUT STATE REPRESENTATIVE KRISTINE HOWARD? KRISTINE, IF IT ISN’T A PHOTO OP WITH GOVERNOR TOM WOLF AND CAROLYN COMITTA YOU CAN’T BE BOTHERED?

AND OH YES WHERE WAS CAROLYN COMITTA (AND WHO IS RUNNING AGAINST HER FOR STATE SENATE NOW)? AFTER ALL IT WAS ESSENTIALLY A YEAR AGO WHEN SHE “TOURED” THE PIPELINES WITH KRISTINE HOWARD AND TOM WOLF RIGHT? THERE WAS A FAB PHOTO OP AND THE PHOTOS HAVE LONG SINCE DISAPPEARED HAVEN’T THEY?

PLEASE VIEW THIS NEXT SCREEN SHOT WHILE IMAGINING BARBARA STREISAND SINGING “MEMORIES”:

~ Carolyn Comitta Press Release August 22, 2019 | 4:08 PM

While we are on the topic of who has and has not been to Marsh Creek can we mention that Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro should have been there over the past few days?

Enough is enough #WaterIsLife #DefendWhatYouLove

I do not know about you but I am over this pipeline bullsheit. Over it. Ever new adventure in the land of pipeline drama is worse than the last. These pipeline companies are destroying where we live and don’t try to spin the crap that they employ locally unless Oklahoma and all the other states that make up the out of state license plates are suddenly IN Chester County?

We put our lives and sweat equity into where we call home. So why is it government is just allowing it all to be destroyed? Systemic corruption? Greed? What?

I don’t know where to go in my head. I grew up around oil companies. My father did PR for one for years. Years. But all the pipelines I ever knew about then were petroleum. Like the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which started operating in 1977. Of course in that same vein, I remember the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989. And I remember how the guy driving the tanker (while drinking) got off without felony charges.

Back to the present. Gotta love the Energy Transfer statement regarding Marsh Creek:

As my friends from Just The Facts Please said regarding this latest jackassery word puzzle from Energy Transfer:

These [idiots] just can’t help themselves with their lies and stupidly worded statements. Marsh Creek IS an important drinking water source for this region. But I guess Kelcy Warren wouldn’t know that from his tower in Texas.

ETP states, “As a clarification to some public statements that have been made, no public drinking water has been impacted.”

~Just the Facts Please. Facebook 8/14/2020

Kelcy Warren is the CEO of Energy Transfer. And Chairman of the Board of Directors. And he hosted Trump’s Dallas Fundraiser in June (What COVID-19?). Supposedly this is an email to reach him : amayfield@energytransfer.com – also found this which lists Energy Transfer Executives. Also found this on Energy Transfer’s Website: Office: 214-840-5820
Media@EnergyTransfer.com and InvestorRelations@energytransfer.com (Just in case any of you wish to email Energy Transfer perhaps?)

So where in the Sam Hell do we go from here? I don’t know about you but I want these pipeline operators GONE. As in FOR GOOD. #SafetyOverSunoco #SoOverSuNOco

I know this is a ridiculously long post and I have meandered like a stream. But this Marsh Creek thing makes my head spin. This has to stop. Our elected officials need to man and woman up and kick the pipelines the hell out of Pennsylvania, starting with where we call home, Chester County, PA.

Keep the faith Mama Bears. #DefendWhatYouLove

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor, nature and water
Source: Facebook West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety

life in a modern pandemic

We have been here in pandemic land before. Spanish Flu 1918. I remember being told as a child how it killed a lot of my maternal grandfather’s family.

It’s oddly prophetic that this past fall an exhibit at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia opened about the last Philadelphia area pandemic called “Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia”

We are all being introduced to coronavirus. Our pandemic for modern times. A reminder that while we have come so far in many aspects in society, we as humans are still vulnerable to disease and pestilence. Hunker down, it’s a global pandemic. Literally.

Now we know why things like the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Philadelphia is cancelled. In Philadelphia pretty much all big events are being cancelled. All colleges and universities seem to be going to virtual/online learning modes and emptying schools. Some school districts are closing schools. This is also why annual traditions to us in Chester County like the Chester County Antiques Show which was to open tomorrow with a special preview party.

I received notice of other things being cancelled that I was attending. My friend Andy King had a show scheduled at The Living Room in Ardmore. He’s been postponed until June, and the venue is closed until May 1st . A pop-up dinner by Peachtree Catering we were going to at the end of this month is also postponed indefinitely.

Last night it was announced flights from Europe weren’t coming to the U.S. for 30 days – a 30 day ban starting Friday I think it is. Ban thus far doesn’t extend to the U.K. as of now. Unless passengers were U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents. Residents returning to the U.S. will be expected to self-quarantine upon return for about two weeks. It’s all very confusing, even to CNN.

Our financial markets are having big time issues. The U.S. markets have always been driven in part on emotion, and it’s 2020 but starting to feel like 2008. And people can weather that, what we don’t want is 1918.

I was doing a little gardening event and that is being postponed too. I can’t help it. I am still a cancer patient, which means I am in that lovely class of the immunocompromised. We are all supposed to practice social distancing – AKA minimizing close contact with people. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Those precautions involve “social distancing,” meaning minimizing close contact (defined as within 6 feet) with other people. While big gatherings increase the risk that lots of people could be exposed to infection — especially events where cheering could mean saliva flying — there may be no safety in small numbers.

“There’s no threshold. This is a time when if you’re invited to a dinner party with five people, you should say, ‘No thanks,’ ” said Carolyn C. Cannuscio, a social epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine….Cannuscio at Penn was dismayed by city officials’ implication that gatherings of fewer than 5,000 are low risk.

“They need to walk back that number,” she said. “That number will be talked about in public health classes for decades to come. Everybody is vulnerable to making mistakes in communications, but I want our leaders to recognize that we need to reduce social contacts. I know I might sound hysterical, but I recognize the public doesn’t understand the importance of social distancing.”

People, for the time being, it’s time to practice our nesting instincts and just stay home and enjoy each other’s company. Even Broadway, yes as in New York City, is going dark for a couple of weeks:

People are bitching left and right because things like NCAA March Madness is CANCELLED to live audiences. The tournament will go on, but the teams will be playing for the ghosts in the stadiums only. The NBA has suspended it’s season altogether. The NHL has suspended it’s season and MLB is delaying opening day.

This is actually no joke, yet on social media I see otherwise intelligent people saying that coronavirus is a “liberal conspiracy”. Seriously.

I am not in the mode of panic, but honestly? I am concerned. It’s taking people down in Europe and elsewhere and there seems to be no solution. It seems like pandemics before it, it must run it’s course?

Of course what also bothers me is we are still ill prepared for these disasters. Today Governor Tom Wolf basically started the wheels turning for PA shutdown. Montgomery County in particular on lockdown.

But what really gets me other than the mass confusion is how will this affect small businesses and hourly workers? Our economy is not as dandy as everyone would like to play make believe about. A friend of mine with a small business recently posted the following:

Governor Tom Wolf…now that you have taken our kids out of school, how are you going to help all the parents who work full time and have to work full time but have kids in school?
How are you going to help small businesses who have moms or dads as employees and now they can’t come to work?
What are you doing for the 1,000,000 small businesses in PA that are losing work but still have to pay mortgages, bills, employees?

What’s your game plan? You wanted to be our leader and I respect your position…I just need answers on what your are proactively doing for us.

For a lot of us if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Those in the millionaire category will grumble about their various inconveniences… and survive.

And what about the testing? How do we do it, how do we get them? That seems to be about as clear as mud. HOW do you get a test? Who decides if you should get one? What kind of games will insurance companies play with this? (See Inquirer’s Coronavirus testing in Pa.: state lab is not following CDC guidelines to get more people tested by Marie McCullough, Updated: March 12, 2020- 1:26 PM)

Another thing that bothers me is the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cardiologist who is last media report in really bad shape in the hospital with Coronavirus. I really hope he recovers as he has a family and friends and colleagues who love and care about him. BUT….what the HELL was he thinking? He knew about Coronavirus and he saw patients? Children under the care of a cardiologist? So he’s sick, someone else in his house is sick, and so many schools and school districts had to close because of virus fears and why? Because he saw patients when he came back. He’s a DOCTOR. Shouldn’t he have known better?

Sorry not sorry, it really bothers me.

And oh this:

Philadelphia Inquirer: A Philly teacher had known exposure to a coronavirus patient. The district isn’t notifying parents.
by Kristen A. Graham and Wendy Ruderman, Updated: March 12, 2020- 2:03 PM

A Philadelphia School District teacher gave the grim news this week: A relative had tested positive for the coronavirus, and he had been in close contact with the family member recently.

The Randolph High School teacher informed his students on Wednesday, then the principal sent the teacher home to isolate for two weeks.

What followed was panic: Staff had questions, students had questions, but it seemed no one could provide answers. Students panicked, some donning rubber gloves, many asking if school should be closed. Eventually, most of the student body walked out. But parents were never notified about the close contact the Randolph teacher had with the coronavirus patient.

I am so at sixes and sevens about this. I don’t know what to think. As far as society progresses, we can’t escape the natural correction caused by disease is what keeps floating through my brain. I know, I am being repetitive.

Cancel Everything
Social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus. We must start immediately.

MARCH 10, 2020
Yascha Mounk
Contributing writer at The Atlantic

We don’t yet know the full ramifications of the novel coronavirus. But three crucial facts have become clear in the first months of this extraordinary global event. And what they add up to is not an invocation to stay calm, as so many politicians around the globe are incessantly suggesting; it is, on the contrary, the case for changing our behavior in radical ways—right now.

The first fact is that, at least in the initial stages, documented cases of COVID-19 seem to increase in exponential fashion. On the 23rd of January, China’s Hubei province, which contains the city of Wuhan, had 444 confirmed COVID-19 cases. A week later, by the 30th of January, it had 4,903 cases. Another week later, by the 6th of February, it had 22,112.

The same story is now playing out in other countries around the world. Italy had 62 identified cases of COVID-19 on the 22nd of February. It had 888 cases by the 29th of February, and 4,636 by the 6th of March.

Because the United States has been extremely sluggish in testing patients for the coronavirus, the official tally of 604 likely represents a fraction of the real caseload. But even if we take this number at face value, it suggests that we should prepare to have up to 10 times as many cases a week from today, and up to 100 times as many cases two weeks from today…..

The coronavirus could spread with frightening rapidity, overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, until we adopt serious forms of social distancing.

This suggests that anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel.

Well it’s a good thing I like being home I suppose. But then there is the other thing: you can’t even get food/pantry basics in some places because people are just wiping out stores. Some hoarding and I am sure the people who will re-sell at astronomical levels will surface more and more (Just look at trying to get supplies on Amazon.)

My mother just called me. She lives in Philadelphia. My stepfather had just gone to Trader Joe’s for some basics. Their shelves are literally bare, and not just for toilet paper.

One of my friends has a husband who is very immunocompromised – she’s been buying cases of rubbing alcohol.

What is the right answer? Everything in the US is a study in confusion. To me it feels like a somewhat rudderless ship. (See CNN)

The Philadelphia Inquirer is providing pretty good coverage. So is the New York Times. The CDC has a whole section about coronavirus. But there is so much condradicting and confusing information out there, isn’t there?

Vox has this interesting chart and notes the following:

The Spanish flu of 1918-’19, the most horrific pandemic in modern times, focused mainly on the young. It had biological similarities to a flu pandemic in the 1830s that gave some older people in the 1910s limited immunity.

Most common symptoms in China, up to February 22, 2020

So PhillyVoice had this amazing article in 2018 about the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia:

SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

(Part 1) 100 years ago, ‘Spanish flu’ shut down Philadelphia – and wiped out thousands
Some 12,000 people died after the city held infamous Liberty Loan parade
BY JOHN KOPP AND BOB MCGOVERN

September 28, 1918 was to go down as a great day in Philadelphia.

Some 10,000 people were expected to watch the latest Liberty Loan parade – a patriotic spectacle designed to boost public financing for World War I.

But amid growing excitement that the war was nearing an end, 200,000 people flooded Center City, loudly cheering as thousands of military personnel, industry workers, relief workers, scouts and veterans marched down Broad Street.

That so many people came out astounded the local press, which did not hold back any praise in its coverage. The Philadelphia Inquirer lauded the parade for its pageantry and the enthusiasm of its onlookers, often in flowery prose.

“The energies of the city – its wealth, its brawn, its intellect, its patience, its skill in the works of brain or of hand – these were seen, as they never had been seen before in such a time and under such stress,” The Inquirer wrote in a front-page story. “Yet in every stride and in every voice there was to be seen and heard the first premonition of – victory.”

The Evening Bulletin, published later that afternoon, was more succinct but no less laudatory in its parade coverage. “This is a great day in Philadelphia,” its front page story began.

But tucked deep inside the newspaper was a story about Thomas Harlacker, a 30-year-old city policeman who was one of influenza’s latest local victims. The account, which noted 118 new cases of the disease in the city in the last day, carried a warning that, 100 years later, reads prescient.

“The epidemic is assuming more serious proportions,” the story cautioned, citing a warning by the city’s health director, Dr. Wilmer Krusen. “If the people are careless thousands of cases may develop and the epidemic may get beyond control.”

(Part 2) SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

In 1918, Philadelphia was in ‘the grippe’ of misery and suffering
The dark days of influenza epidemic: bodies piled up with no way to bury them

BY BOB MCGOVERN AND JOHN KOPP

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote in 1859.

Nearly 60 years later it was an apt description of life in Philadelphia.

World War I was winding down, victory in sight. The city had proudly and vigorously raised millions of dollars to support the local soldiers on the battlefield. The patriotism and excitement was palpable: the boys would be coming home soon.

But in late summer 1918, the city was in “the grippe” of a second wave of a Spanish influenza epidemic sweeping the United States. The city was quickly plunged into misery. Illness and death and decay was everywhere. Dread and despair tormented the living. Unspeakable indignities visited the dead and alive.

For two weeks in September and October, from the start of the epidemic through some of its darkest days, the city’s newspapers chronicled the misery in the streets of Philadelphia. But they also shared tales of heroism, hope, frustration and evil.

Here’s how the epidemic played out – day by day – for days immediately after the Liberty Loan Parade that many experts say led to the explosion of influenza in Philadelphia. They were some of the darkest days this city and surrounding towns have ever seen.

09282018_police_stricken_headline

We need to learn from the past. But it would help if information wasn’t conflicting or seemed to omit things wouldn’t it?

Government does not want full scale panic.

Hell, no one does. It won’t kill us to practice “social distancing” but we need to live our lives.

And I don’t think individual people should be able to clean stores out of cleaning supplies and more, do you?

No photo description available.
Trader Joes in Tredyffrin. Facebook Photo

I guess there is a reason we didn’t have any snow days with schools this year other than global warming, right? Because snow days are becoming coronavirus days but what of the parents of all these kids being told to stay home? Are we all supposed to stay home?

I was told this afternoon all of the schools and colleges/universities in Ireland had closed down.

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor
ACME market in Paoli. Facebook photo

So our ultimate takeaway? Hunker down I guess.

But I still do not know how I feel about this. Other than don’t hug, don’t spit, and PLEASE wash your hands.

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From PhillyVoice via U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND/VIA LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

what is going on in west goshen township these days?

 

Pennsylvania, 1933, Plate 017 West Goshen Township, West Chester, Ludwig's Corner, Green Hill Station, Chester County

West Goshen is one of those Chester County municipalities that seems to like to stay below the radar.  We heard a lot about them in recent years because of the Sunoco pipeline.  But you don’t hear about them very often overall, do you? I don’t think so, unless I am missing something?

However, West Goshen actually popped back into the news again recently over a pipeline meeting in West Chester.  There was also an interesting blip in Pensions and Investments about them in early August (article was titled West Goshen Township issues call for investment manager.) And something just yesterday about QVC laying folks off again recently (jerks – QVC not the township so we are clear.)

West Goshen also seems to outsiders and residents to not be so open and transparent a municipality, and maybe there is good reason for such opinions? The Board of Supervisors Meetings are neither televised nor videotaped for replaying later (even East Whiteland has joined modern times with that!) and their meeting minutes are not current and the most recent I could find was from July 2016, and they are draft minutes, not finalized (don’t they finalize at next subsequent meeting and post?).  Oh and this Sewer Authority Meeting Minutes from June makes interesting reading but nothing more current?

I found this letter in the Sewer Authority Meeting Minutes so interesting, I thought I would share with the class. This is something one would think the local papers would perhaps be clued into and report on? What the heck is going on???

I don’t have a clue but damn…. that is one scathing letter, isn’t it?

So I found this thing on the court records after someone said there was some kerfuffle at summer meetings.. West Goshen is embroiled in some new litigation…and it’s new, very new.

I sense a Nancy Drew Mystery….and I predict this is something to watch….

 

A resident is suing West Goshen Township. People do not take those actions lightly. And it is over a lack of “sunshine”. Yep. Open Records. (I have friends who did this and prevailed in Radnor Township some years ago now and this is not an easy thing.)

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE OF PETITION FOR REVIEW TO OVERTURN THEFINAL DETERMINATION OF THE OFFICE OF OPEN RECORDS (OOR) FINAL RULING AND TO COMPEL THE DEFTS TO PROVIDE ALL INFORMATION REQUESTED UPON”

Municipalities and sunshine and transparency do not necessarily go hand in hand do they?

I notice that West Goshen has TWO lawyers representing their interests versus one resident pro-se (representing himself) at this point.

So the two lawyers are Kristin S. Camp (Township Solicitor) and an associate from her law firm, Ryan Jennings.

kristin-camp

ryan-jennings

Hmm that Camp name was familiar, so I asked a friend who lives in Easttown Township and they said Kristin S. Camp was their solicitor didn’t I remember the articles about Devon Yard the hideous Eli Kahn/Wade McDevitt/Old Waterloo/Devon Horse Show/Devon Drama plan??  (Well who could forget about that looming monstrosity?) They sent me a link to a February 2016 article written by Main Line Media News Reporter Linda Stein titled  Easttown Township: More than 200 residents pack meeting about Devon Yard plans .

It always amazes me how many municipalities municipal lawyers have – Ms. Camp is no exception and she has a few. I don’t know if this list is completely 100% current and if not I apologize to the solicitor but I have: West Goshen, Easttown, West Nantmeal, Birmingham, and Pocopson all in Chester County? Wow, and she is a partner in her law firm? Busy busy busy.

But West Goshen is spending money on two lawyers to defend against one small resident? Are they nervous or something?

Now the Judge assigned, like most Chester County Judges means nothing.  Judge Jeffrey R. Sommer who apparently before ascending to the bench was in the same law firm that Solicitor Camp is with. His term runs from when he was elected in 2013 to 2023.  This Judge was in the news this summer over his excellent decision regarding that pool fence dispute.  Somehow I knew the Judge who wouldn’t get this case is the only one I know of related to someone serving on a West Goshen Board, Allison Bell-Royer. Her husband is a former West Chester Borough Councilman, Shannon Royer.  Mr. Royer, a senior lobbyist with a firm called Wanner, sits on West Goshen’s Zoning Hearing Board.

As a completely unrelated aside, Judge Royer has an amazing Pennsylvania political pedigree. Her grandfather was legendary State Senator Clarence D. Bell, who I think still holds the record in the Keystone State for being the longest serving public official in Pennsylvania – almost 50 years! (48 to be precise).  Judge Royer’s dad was no slouch either.  If you wonder what propels people towards public service, look no further than the examples Judge Royer had growing up.  When Judge Royer was running I was new to Chester County, so I did a little research to decide if she was someone I wanted to vote for since women on the bench is still not an every day occurrence and I think it should be (but I digress).

So back to this case.  What does it all mean? I don’t know.  Hopefully reporters will dig into it.

Seems there is a lot going on behind the scenes in somewhat normally sleepy West Goshen doesn’t there? I don’t have much of an opinion about West Goshen at this point, but I do find this somewhat intriguing, don’t you?

File under inquiring minds want to know?

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good-bye tom

tom hickeyI found out the evening before last from a mutual friend, that  Tom Hickey had died.  Knowing him a little bit for eight years was a good thing. He was kind and loved animals. Now he and PSPCA’s George Bengal are fighting the good fight from heaven. Homeless pets have another guardian angel watching over them.

But darn it, I am sad.

I liked Tom a lot and before his first stroke we would speak every now and then. My cell phone would ring  and  I would get “Hey it’s Tom. Got a minute?” and then he would launch into whatever he was thinking. Or he would text me similarly and ask me to call.

2786939954_34c1902e98_oI first met Tom on August 21, 2008.  I met him through Bill Smith at Main Line Animal Rescue.  It was when Bryan Lentz and others were presenting the PA Dog Law Puppy Mill stuff in Radnor Township. Tom Hickey was with the PA Dog law Advisory Board,and at the time Jessie Smith was with Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

From then on, I would keep in touch with him.  He was funny, nice, an animal lover, and adored his family.

He could get controversial and would go to the mat for homeless pets.  Animal Rescue is a tough business and he was one of the ones who gave it their all.

In 2010 it was because of him that the people selling puppy mill puppies inside Zern’s were punished for cruelty.  They had puppies, little puppies in unventilated fish tanks inside the non-air conditioned Zern’s. Such a horrible horrible thing.  

zerns

If you did not know him or knew that happened, you would never know he was the quiet force behind that. But he was.

In 2013 when Chester County was gripped with the horror of two family dogs being shot in West Vincent, in what became the movement called Justice for Argus and Fiona, Tom stepped up and rolled up his sleeves, and was a big part of justice actually happening in that situation.  I was also as my readers know part of getting justice for the family in that case, and it was a pleasure to work with him on that. He was always positive and encouraging and said the right thing would happen, and it did.

He was also a former member of the board of the Chester County SPCA now known as the Brandywine Valley SPCA, and always, always was a champion of homeless pets. Tom was a board member during tumultuous times at the Brandywine Valley SPCA, but he should be remembered there for his contributions.  He was passionate, and incredibly  dedidicated. He was also just one heck of a good guy.

Tom was one of a kind.  I enjoyed knowing him even a little bit for a few years. To his family I send prayers and hugs and condolences.  He was one of a kind and a lot of use will miss him, but I know how much you loved him, and he you.

Good-bye Tom.  You were way too young to go. Sigh. Now you and Sharon are together again.

 In the end, it’s still that amazing love story between he and his wife. Good-bye Tom.

This is how Tom should be remembered- with his dogs. Hickey family photo

This is how Tom should be remembered- with his dogs. Hickey family photo

Here is Mari Schaefer’s article on Philly.com – read the whole thing, I have only featured an excerpt:

Updated: JULY 18, 2016 — 3:22 PM EDT

Thomas Hickey Sr., 61, a passionate advocate for animals and the underserved, died of a stroke on Sunday at Jefferson Hospital.

 Hickey, who had recently moved to Center City from Chester County, is best known for his work on legislation to improve conditions in Pennsylvania puppy mills.

“The canines of Pennsylvania have every reason to be sad today,” said former Gov. Ed Rendell, who appointed Hickey to the state’s Dog Law Advisory Board in 2006. “They lost a great, great champion.”

…Sharon Hickey, who died in January at age 59 of cancer, shared her husband’s love of animals, said Kimberly Cary, their daughter.

“We always rescued our dogs,” said Cary.

Her parents, who both went to Holy Cross Elementary School in Springfield, Delaware County, and then Cardinal O’Hara High School, met as teenagers, Cary said.

“They were together ever since,” Cary said.

Hickey helped start a rescue called Dogshome and also founded DOGPAC, a political action committee focused on promoting laws to protect animals….

Visitation is planned for Thursday at 9 a.m. followed by a service at 11 a.m. at the D’Anjolell Memorial Home, on 2811 West Chester Pike in Broomall.

Donations can be made to the Saved Me Animal Rescue, 860-862 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123.

sense and sensabilities?

So I wrote a post yesterday on how I feel about some of the politics in this country. Wow, the brew ha ha which has ensued one would have thought I was chicken little and the sky was falling in.

It actually made me ask a question:

So if you don’t like tea partiers and question them and other political extremists, does that make you a bad Republican? Or a bad Democrat for that matter? If we can’t question politics are we truly free?

Well?

Why can’t I question what makes me uncomfortable along with what I do not understand?  Why does that suddenly make me a political undesirable? As a woman am I supposed to walk ten steps behing, be barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen and MUTE?

Let’s review something – I blog for me first and foremost.  I share my opinions because it is what I feel like writing about in that moment.  It is not always going to be  placid and necessarily comfortable for all.  It’s not always going to be a pretty photo, or a fantastic recipe to share. Sometimes it will be topics like politics, from a local stage to a national level. It depends where the inspiration comes from at that moment.

I feel that the basic framework on which this country was founded is exactly why we should question things now.  I feel that in an odd way certain groups in this country are trying to suppress some of the very freedoms and philosophies on which this nation was founded and grew.

That, dear readers, doesn’t make me a bad female Republican. It means I think about things.

I was a volunteer, a media relations volunteer at RNC2000.  Twelve years ago I felt strongly enough about being a part of that to seek out friends in Washington who could help me get a better volunteer position.  Truthfully, I was one of the few volunteering in my capacity that did not come out of politically connected PR and advertising shops.

I approached it all with an open mind and as a result, met some truly remarkable people.  And I lent a Congressman at the time  named Chip Pickering cab fare when he got off a train without his wallet and no one else believed he was who he was.  (And yes he paid me back and my reward were invitations to some pretty awesome A list parties.)  But what I noticed was at that time the Republican party worked really hard to extremists on the fringe so everyone felt honestly welcome within the party.  Not so any longer.  The extremists are being embraced at the expense of ordinary Americans in the middle. That is an act of desperation that I feel quite strongly will bite them in the rear.

Both political parties are guilty of the dumbing down of America and that bothers me. Washington is full of politicians spending our tax dollars to prove each side right and wrong.  These politicians aren’t worried so much about the constituencies they represent, but seem to be constantly running for re-election.  I think that is crap.

Truthfully, I have been reading up on things in Washington, and I think Democrats and their assorted pals are nervous about the upcoming election.  I believe people should start paying attention to who is leaving what and taking what new job.  Because face it, with a new administration a lot of people could find themselves on the outside looking in.

One example I see recently and locally to an extent is the latest headmaster appointed at The Haverford School.  John A. Nagl.  His experience and current responsibilities are truly remarkable.  But a change of course to headmaster of the Haverford School?  To me that might be commentary on the current political climate and fear of things to come. (of course what a lot of people are also asking is why Haverford is choosing yet another ex military to run a non-military school?)

Ok, so back to the topic at hand: questioning politics.

If we can’t question and discuss politics, let alone express our feelings as to what is bothering us, we are no longer truly free.

You can’t just drink the kool-aid in either political party and it would behoove more people to look at who they are voting for a little more closely. It would also behoove more to be of an independent mind.

And if you want to discuss with me what I am thinking about, that is fine, but don’t just tell me I am across the board wrong.  I know I am not.  Maybe I make some of you uncomfortable with my pondering, and I am sorry.  But you have to think.  You can’t just act like a Stepford wife or Moonie and pull the lever for any candidate.  You need to ponder. You have to ponder. You have as a resident of the United States of America an obligation to carefully ponder as far as I am concerned.

Here are a couple of notes I received from people I know with regard to my blog post yesterday:

 I LONG for moderate Republicans to take back their party from the crazies. Leave women’s bodies alone and focus on the types of spending reform for which the party is supposed to stand.

What makes me crazy is how many have signed a PLEDGE that makes them beholden to a LOBBYIST. They sold out their ability to compromise and act in the best interest of our country because Grover Norquist made them do it. To me, that is treason. When a leader like Mitch McConnell says that Congress’ goal for two years should be to unseat the President in the next election, ergo not pass any legislation that would seem like a “win” for the D side, regardless of how much it would benefit people and businesses that are hurting, where are we?

Stop worrying about who people are schtupping. Stop worrying about women who take a pill so that they have two children instead of 20, and pass the existing legislation that lowers corporate tax rates, invests in retraining for people in hard-hit areas that have been laid off. Stop blindly protecting the defense budget and question why we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars building up bases in the Caribbean to combat drugs.

Someone…please…take back the reins. When Reagan’s key tax policy advisor has said that the GOP has gone off the rails and is hurting the country, there’s a problem. I think we need a more-than-two-party system. But, at the very least, we need TWO functional parties that welcome debate and dissent, can compromise, and don’t accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being “un-American.”

Another one (ironically from a friend in DC who reads Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller):

And please be sure to read the sentence where Smith says to put yourself in the father’s position. Yeah, the father’s position is MUCH more difficult to be in than the poor girl who got raped and pregnant.

Karen Heller: Another GOP moment: Smith comparing daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape  August 29, 2012|By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist

“Maybe Tom Smith just wanted us to remember his name.  Or realize he’s the Pennsylvania Republican running for the U.S. Senate.

Or perhaps he’s jealous of headline-hogging Todd Akin, that Missouri master of creative obstetrics, and wanted his own moment in the sun and on this paper’s front page.

In any event, Smith finally made news Monday by comparing unintended pregnancy to rape.

Specifically, his daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape, after a Harrisburg press luncheon in front of a group of reporters….

Smith answered, “I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But fortunately for me, I didn’t have to. . . . She chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t rape.”

Scolforo: “Similar how?”

Smith: “Having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: “That is similar to rape?”

Smith: “No, no, no. Well, put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, I mean it is similar.” “

The last comment is from someone who was a life long Republican until not so long ago:

I have been enjoying newsroom all along – despite the nasty reviews from the “pros.”
I also found Sunday night’s show to be spot on.
So who owns the term rino these days? I sure as heck can’t say. That we are even asking that question is just plain sad.
For me, long ago my personal experiences informed my decision to leave a party that so deliberately and decidedly was extremely comfortable with treating women as second class citizens. But the fact that the Republican party is now, in 2012, hell-bent on controlling women’s bodies in ways I really never dreamed could happen in my lifetime makes it impossible for me to contemplate ever returning. And please, how is it that creationism is even a topic we have to contemplate – let alone discuss in the public discourse?
But these are only the most obvious of issues. what is deeply, deeply disturbing to me is the lack of caring and compassion for those in need. Not every person is a lazy worthless free loader living off/on the public dole, and the insanity – to say nothing of the fundamental selfishness – which seems to be at the center of policies that so callously and inappropriately ignore those less fortunate, I just can not understand or grasp such perspectives.
So there – I joined you on the soap box…..thanks for listening.
Remember what Thomas Jefferson said – “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”