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.

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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?

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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.

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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

who does pennsylvania governor tom wolf listen to when it comes to pipelines?


I am starting with P.K. Ditty’s video of today. It captures everything.  And everything includes the fact that in my opinion today was just a photo op for Governor Tom Wolf and some of his lady supporters in Harrisburg who ummm, shall we say aren’t so beloved by their Chester County and Delaware County constituents at present over pipelines? Come on now ladies, you know who you are and I even like two of you personally  (the third I do not respect at all) but I think all three of you (Democrats incidentally) are doing a crap job of representing residents on pipelines, alrighty?  Don’t be like Tom Wolf’s Political Andrews Sisters  (sorry not sorry, feeling politically sarcastic today.)

This was total BS what this event became. We all know it did not start that way correct?

Here is what went out August 22 from two local state reps which did NOT announce today, but I think sets a stage of political puffery:

BS

Translation? GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT.  I am hearing they are great at dodge ball with residents?  Because this is really about what? Perhaps it is really about Governor Tom Wolf getting them re-elected so they can support the fakakta thing called Restore PA, AKA another hall pass for pipelines at the expense of residents?

Fakakta means something silly or ridiculous and a a word used to describe something that is not working well or is really crap.  (It’s also a great description to apply to pipelines.)

State Senators Andy Dinniman and Daylin Leach listen to the residents on pipelines and they care. State Representatives Carolyn Committa and Kristine Howard showed up and I don’t quite no what else to say except I am massively disappointed in both of them over this. People are asking if Katie Muth actually showed up? And some other State Senator was there apparently.  His name is Tim Kearney. Daylin Leach was there so one would have thought State Senator Katie Muth would have at least shown up to say how awful he is or something? (She’s good at that, right?)

Today in my opinion was yet another GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT. (And I am not pointing fingers at the State Senators who were there, to be clear.)  Affected residents wanted to sit down and talk to our Governor.  OUR GOVERNOR. AS IN IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT PENNSYLVANIANS EQUALLY. BUT DOES HE? HA! THAT WILL BE THE DAY….

Residents didn’t ask to stand in the heat and basically do the whole Oliver Twist  “Please sir, I want some more” and beg for freaking gruel, did they?

 

With regard to the timing and planning of today’s political gymnastics or mini-circus, I found out this morning Wolf would be at the Giant parking lot on Boot Road in West Chester at 2 pm today.  I heard certain media were informed by the Governor personally at some other appearance in Horsham this morning. But other media weren’t told? How does that work exactly? Word of mouth? No real press release? Top secret public location? Spy vs. Spy? I had a LOT of friends there. Friends who are directly affected by Energy Transfer/SuNOco/Mariner East Pipelines every. damn. day.

 

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I don’t need to do a complete recitation of the problems with this pipeline, they are well known and well documented at this point, aren’t they?  As human beings, we are at RISK. Our families are at RISK. Our wells are at RISK. Our properties are at RISK.  Our elected officials and public officials and agencies know this and yet….MOST DO NOTHING, correct?

 

 

Today was a scripted appearance.  Is it true that even media were restricted on questions or they weren’t supposed to ask questions? Were babies kissed? Did Lot’s wife turn into a pillar of salt? Oy vey so many questions I have and my political sarcasm cup runneth over today….but I digress.

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My friend Ginny Kerslake, a pipeline affected resident speaking with Governor Wolf

I spoke with my friend Ginny after and this is what she said:

“Several residents had the chance to tell their stories of how Mariner East construction has impacted them and their neighbors and share their concerns for the safety of their families and communities, asking Governor Wolf to halt Mariner East.”

I also touched base with my friend Tom Casey who had this to say about this afternoon:

“I expected nothing less than what happened today. The Governor listened to impacted residents, but didn’t hear them. I have also never met a politician where you literally have to negotiate the terms of a handshake.”

I wonder what that certain East Goshen Supervisor was doing there? He is certainly not halting the march of Adelphia Gateway is he? BUT he sure do love his sound bytes right? Dude, if you wish to be a man of the people then you have to actually be a man of the people, ok?

And speaking of East Goshen what is with the two mass mailing a couple of days apart of  Dear Occupant letters coming from SuNOco but says it is from East Goshen? It has to do with the 24 hour continual drilling and they will apparently pay for people to leave their homes while they do it? Sounds like quite the offer so what happens when no residents are around to bear witness?

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I find today’s event to be a study in confusion and contradiction. So was it just supposed to be a lovey dovey photo op that went bad?

The first media article I am sharing is by Bill Rettew from The Daily Local with Pete Bannan photos. (And yes, I do pay for online subscriptions to the Daily Local, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The New York Times.)

Daily Local:  Wolf visits pipeline construction site
BILL RETTEW 1 hr ago

The governor was a changed man.

Gov. Tom Wolf smiled often during a recent walking tour of West Chester Borough. On that tour he told pipeline foes that he would soon tour the pipeline construction site.

Wolf kept to his word, Thursday, and met about 100 residents and fellow elected officials within feet of the Sunoco/Energy Transfer Mariner East pipeline route.

The governor received some applause when he stopped to listen and talk. He was surrounded five deep and sometimes talked in little more than a whisper.

That trademark smile was gone. The governor did not give those impacted by pipelines much to smile about either when he definitively said several times that he would not halt construction.

The press and media were not notified about the event.

Ginny Kerslake, of West Whiteland Township, nailed the governor down about the visit. She had personally asked him three times to come and see for himself….

Wolf asked Kerslake how he could change. She said living near a pipeline was like playing Russian roulette.

Kerslake said after the visit that Wolf “finally” showed up.

The governor said he agrees with several pipeline bills, but they would not impact the Mariner East.

“This is not what we were asking for,” Kerslake said. “We want to talk about what’s going to happen to this pipeline.”

The second article is from Jon Hurdle at State Impact PA:

State Impact PA AUGUST 22, 2019 | 6:04 PM
Wolf tells pipeline activists he won’t shut down Mariner East
Governor defers to Public Utility Commission on pipeline safety
by Jon Hurdle

Gov. Tom Wolf told anti-pipeline activists on Thursday that he is not going to stop construction or operation of Sunoco’s Mariner East pipelines.

At a rare face-to-face meeting with opponents at a pipeline construction site in East Goshen Township, Chester County, Wolf was repeatedly urged to shut down the pipeline until public safety can be assured.

But he disappointed activists by stating clearly that he would not do so.

Eve Miari, an organizer of the event, said Wolf’s statement was the first time he had gone on the record saying clearly that he would not shut down the line because of safety concerns…..Six people who live near the cross-state pipeline, plus a supervisor for East Goshen Township, took turns pressing that case to Wolf….“My question to you now, Governor Wolf, is will you halt Mariner East now?” Kerslake said. “We do not have a credible and practical plan to protect us in the event of a leak.”….Rosemary Fuller, a resident of nearby Middletown Township, said her private well has been contaminated with fecal coliform and e-coli as a result of the recent horizontal directional drilling near her house.

Fuller tearfully told Wolf that the contaminated water creates more problems for her husband, who has cancer, and her son, who has a compromised immune system.

Pennsylvania Politics is in full flower again.  At the expense of residents. Bottom line? ANY politician that supports pipelines over people needs to GO and that includes the ones who never answer directly, don’t really return phone calls and play possum, and who act all supportive when it is most self-serving.

Of course Tom Wolf won’t shut down the pipelines. 

Yes I am disgusted.  Today at the end of the day was COMPLETE B.S.

Rant over. (for now)

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lieutenant governor john fetterman blocked moi on twitter

blocked by john

Oh my! Should I wear it as a badge of honor? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of the Commonwealth of PA has blocked moi on Twitter. My first ever gubernatorial blockage!!!

Yes, really.  And honestly? I tweet at Donald Trump and Real Housewives significantly more than him which isn’t saying much because I don’t tweet at any of those folks or Trump much.  Mostly where Big Orange is concerned, I try to pretend he isn’t on Twitter. (Keeps the blood pressure down.)

But even Big Orange hasn’t blocked me on Twitter.  But John Fetterman has apparently. It’s like he wants me to write a blog post about it. Especially amusing since there seems to be some legal precedent stating elected officials cannot block constituents on social media, especially if they use social media to inform constituents? And Lt. Gov. Lurch might not like my Tweets, but I am a constituent, yes? Something about that pesky thing known as the First Amendment, perhaps?

I do not know precisely when I was blocked (I discovered it today) because I don’t include him in tweets very often. I think he is like an empty paper bag with even less substance. I never even wrote a blog post about before about our Lieutenant Governor because he has always seemed a little creepy to me.

I have no problem with ink but his date and numeric tattoos are utterly creepy to look at.  And I am fascinated and always slightly puzzled how the man can never get a shirt that fits properly at the collar.  Or how a politician can look so uncomfortable in a suit, or even  as a politician.

I remember when he first came onto the political scene that I took note of him.  It was that 2016 U.S. Senate attempt.  Then I promptly forgot about him until Tom Wolf starting trotting him out for his last election.

Wolf is a true Rendell Democrat and we’ll leave it at that.

Now what had I tweeted and how often at John Fetterman? The answer is not much and it was mostly pipeline related.  Those pipelines are ruining where I call home and in my humble opinion are too problematic and too damn dangerous.  And for what all this risk to residents? So people a few miles up the road can get sinkholes, the people in East Goshen suffer from inadvertent returns on Boot Road, other people can get their water wells ruined, miles and miles of countryside get raped and pillaged and for what? So a company that should not have PUC utility status can ship gas and “other hydrocarbons” overseas to make plastics in places like Scotland? And don’t forget exploding refineries that then immediately go out of business, right? Or property values that go down due to pipeline syndrome, right?

Compared to a lot of what I see on Twitter, I barely nipped at Big John’s ankles.  I pulled as many  tweets as I could find, and like I said, there weren’t many.  I have screen shots so you can see:

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John Fetterman did kind of make campaign promises about pipelines to people in Chester County and elsewhere.  Once he got elected, what has he done?  Here are some pipeline and Fetterman things I found on Facebook:

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Here is what the ACLU had to say in January of this year:

Court Rules Public Officials Can’t Block Critics on Facebook

By Vera Eidelman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
JANUARY 9, 2019 | 12:00 PM

One of the core purposes of the First Amendment is to allow people, regardless of their views, to hold the government accountable through expression. So, if your elected representative has an official Facebook page where she invites comments, can she block you from commenting because you criticize her work?

According to a federal appeals court, the answer is a resounding no.

On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the interactive portion of a public official’s Facebook page is a “public forum,” so an official cannot block people from it because of the opinions they hold.

And then this happened today ironically:

Wall Street Journal: President Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users, Federal Appeals Court Rules
Practice of blocking users violates free-speech protections, judges say
By Corinne Ramey
Updated July 9, 2019 4:03 pm ET

A federal appeals court in New York ruled President Trump’s practice of blocking some users on Twitter violates the free-speech protections of the First Amendment.

Tuesday’s ruling stems from a 2017 lawsuit filed by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute on behalf of seven people who had been blocked by the president’s @realDonaldTrump account.

Here is a report also from NPR:

NPR: U.S. Appeals Court Rules Trump Violated First Amendment By Blocking Twitter Followers
July 9, 20193:38 PM ET
VANESSA ROMO

A federal appeals court in Manhattan says President Trump cannot block critics from his Twitter account, calling it “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”

In a 29-page ruling on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court’s decision that found that Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked certain Twitter users, because he uses his Twitter account “to conduct official business and to interact with the public.” By preventing critics from accessing his feed, the president is barring them from participating in what the judges deemed a public forum.

“[The] First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” the judges wrote.

So I guess Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is more special than the sitting President? (However, I can’t say either would honestly win any popularity contests, can you?)

Now mind you, the reaction from some Twitter-vomitors was amusing.  One guy said to me he would block me too and I was a “conservative big oil hater.” Oh how that made me giggle.  I am an independent and a moderate but  I’m not anti-oil, I’m anti-pipeline in Pennsylvania, there’s a difference. Above all else I am an independent thinker and I’m proud of that. But to the intellectually limited who haunt Twitter I am either that or an  evil Liberal or a former RINO (Republican in Name Only).

Seriously, Twitter is the last bastion for total freaking craziness.  That is why over the years I have been active then not active on Twitter.  Twitter is like a weird free for all where grown men seem to think it’s OK to call women a Facist C-U- Next-Tuesdays. Yes, someone did actually do that.

Do I really, really care if John Fetterman blocked me on Twitter?

No.  Because in the stratosphere of politics in PA, he’s temporarily trendy at best.  He’s like that dress you know you shouldn’t have bothered buying that will be out of fashion before you even get to wear it enough.

But there is the principle of the thing here.  The First Amendment allows freedom of speech and the ability to address your government. It’s not selective or subjective.

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

At the end of the day I know I did not do anything so terribly awful or profanity laced that I deserved to be blocked.  I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, therefore one of his constituents whether he likes it or not. And whether I like him or not, which I really do not on principle. He’s a phony baloney. And he sucks up to that Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing so often people probably actually do throw up a little every time they see him fawning.

And am I so powerful he decided to block me? Oh hell no. I actually just think it’s because he doesn’t like to be reminded of things he said he would do and hasn’t, and he must hate being reminded about his pandering to Chester County residents devastated by the pipelines just so they would vote Wolf-Fetterman last election, right? besides, I am a blogger which is always an easy target for politicians because everyone knows bloggers are really Cyborgs, right?

So John Fetterman, I am not so politically naiive and honey have I got your proverbial number.  You keep on going on your “listening tours” with your selective politically male hearing.  We’ll remember the truth come the next time you want to run for something. 

Meanwhile, I will continue to look at the little plastic troll dolls many friend got at a tag sale and marvel how they all sort of resemble John Fetterman.  

This post was brought to all of you courtesy of the First Amendment and to all a good night.

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politics + non-profit nature conservancy = ?

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Saw this on a friend’s Facebook page with this comment:

“Like if you think Political Signs should NOT be installed in a beautiful view shed. PS this property is owned by the Brandywine Conservancy and I bet the Politicians did not ask permission.”

Thoughts? And anyone else tired of all the robo-calls and political mailers and the ads on television?

political turn-offs

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All yes the season has arrived. Not fall, but the season where we open our mailboxes to far too many political mailers. There is no subtlety involved as it is an almost daily barrage from both parties. My position is, save a tree don’t flood my mailbox. I also am of the mindset that I prefer not to get my email inundated either.

Today we received a giant expensive multi–page glossy mailer mailer from the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. For Manan Trivedi.

Now I have met Dr. Trivedi, and I found him to be a very nice person, but he’s not the person to represent me. I did not feel when I lived in Montgomery County that a man who was from Berks County could really represent my interests in Congress. I still feel that way as a Chester County resident.

I also want to rid myself early of all the glossy mailers that are going to clog up my mailbox and recycle bin. So since it is September and this is my first one I called up the campaign number listed on the glossy mailer. The lady who answered the phone at 484-329-7907 could not have been more pleasant. But some guy who must’ve been her supervisor decided he wanted to speak to me. I’m not going to publicly shame this person because everybody deserves a chance and I respect people that want to work on campaigns and I know it’s tough. But I will say that somebody else should take calls from now on, this gentleman should not be on the phone.

I tried to explain to this guy why Dr. Trivedi was not a candidate for me. I also tried to explain to this guy why I don’t want to receive these mailers. I did say to him however if he really wants his candidate to have a good showing in Chester County, a public position on things like the Sunoco pipeline and eminent domain would be of interest to Chester County voters.

He then tells me how they went to a couple community meetings and they were “looking into it.” Since March, no less. I said what is there to keep looking into? I asked if his candidate was in favor of eminent domain? Does his candidate understand our fears about these pipelines and what they could do that legitimately terrifies residents out here? I asked if his candidate understood how a lot of us were on wells and how scary an idea that is when somebody’s talking about fracking and putting pipelines through communities along with potential dangers to all natural water sources and wildlife?

If you want a topic that has grabbed hold of Chester County residents regardless of political party this is it, right? He decides he then wants to tell me all about Ryan Costello and Ryan Costello’s flaws.

I didn’t call them to debate the other candidate. I also don’t like to be talked down to by a campaign office. And I completely abhor people who use poor grammar on the telephone and tell me that they are a Montgomery county resident and he understands how I feel. I live in Chester County, you couldn’t possibly understand how I feel as a Chester County resident, so unfortunately that attempt at political empathy fell far short.

I did tell him that I feel sorry for political candidates because of the gerrymandering which has occurred in the 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania over the past years. But when push comes to shove, I want someone more local to me to represent me in Congress if I can get it. And while I might find someone to be a very pleasant person, it doesn’t that I find them to be the best candidate for the job to serve my needs as a Chester County resident.

I will be blunt, I also find Obamacare a hot mess. I feel the last few years of national politics have been embarrassing at times for any American no matter what political persuasion you are. When it comes to Federal level politics, you very rarely get the opportunity to vote for the “local” guy. And my local guy is Ryan Costello. And I will vote for him gladly. But because I think Dr. Manan Trivedi is a nice person, I think his campaign offices need an education.

I see no problem with people being excited and very supportive of their particular candidate for whom they are working. But they need to adopt more of a “the customer is right” attitude. They need to learn the subtle art of turning people to their position without getting irritated on the phone. After all, there are quite a few weeks between now and election day. And I won’t be the only phone call their offices receive.

I have decided that one of the things that is going to make me decide on candidates this fall is what kind of a position do they take about pipelines and gas companies like Sunoco in Pennsylvania? How do these candidates feel about eminent domain? In mid-September, a candidate’s political office should not still be saying that the candidate is looking into something. They should have a position and be able to clearly state it for the candidate. The Wolf gubernatorial campaign, for example, is very clear on where they stand about pipelines. And I can tell you quite honestly, I can’t good conscience vote for Tom Corbett a second time. Especially given all the donations he gets from oil companies, right?

I might be a Republican, but I do believe in a two-party system. I am also an inveterate ticket splitter. But a two-party system in Chester County is also about 17 shades of ridiculous once again thanks to the infighting of the Democratic Party of Chester County. Truthfully, to that end, I actually feel sorry for the Trivedi campaign because as a Democrat candidate he and other Democrat candidates may very well be tainted by the same brush that is the in-fighting in Democratic politics right now in Chester County.

Thanks for stopping by today. Save a tree by asking candidates for political office not to send piles of glossy mailers out. And if you are a Chester County resident, please ask your candidates offices where they stand on pipelines and eminent domain.

so sunoco isn’t sleazy and sunoco isn’t sunoco?

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We just celebrated the 4th of July which celebrates our freedoms in this country and apparently Sunoco officials don’t care for free speech and freedom of opinion? And maybe they don’t like that eminent domain word but what did they expect when they went to the Public Utility Commission to try to get around local zoning? Seriously?

There is this new article in the Inquirer about SuNOco, and apparently SuNOco isn’t SuNOco and isn’t sleazy? So is this pipeline is a mirage then? Are we imagining all the road disruptions and closures and all the public meetings are really the meeting of the quilting society or something?

I am very confused.

A rose by any other name and all that?
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Apparently SuNOco’s public image is taking a beating? Does that mean their retail business is feeling a pipeline pinch?

It is up to personal choice if Chester County and other Pennsylvania residents choose to patronize other gas stations, right? We don’t live in a communist or otherwise single state run country where we have no choice as to where we buy gas, do we? Did they ever consider in addition to image issues that a good percentage of the time their gas is also just more expensive than other gas retailers?

So now will SuNOco that isn’t really SuNOco be buzzing around changing the corporate branding on their pipeline property sites like the sign seen every day at a crossroads in Upper Uwchlan? And what of the Sunoco Logistics website with the teeny tiny Sunoco logo we all know so well?

And while they are answering questions, what is it precisely they do with endangered wildlife when they find it (or more appropriately it is pointed out to them) ? Someone told me they were told the wildlife (like bog turtles and such) is moved someplace and then brought back to the habitat in which they were discovered? Is this true and how do they know which wildlife goes where down to the individual creature?

This Philadelphia Inquirer article today gives many the vision of a corporate shell game doesn’t it? And is the talking head of the split personality oil company the same guy who used to be an amazing reporter for the paper now making him the news?

So who is SuNOco? And if they want a better corporate image maybe they shouldn’t be trying to force feed Pennsylvania residents a pipeline? Could it be a lot of this petroleum posturing is that this just isn’t residents saying no? Could it be SuNOco is a little nervous that politicians from all over on both sides of the political aisle are starting to speak out too? Could they be nervous that the residents objecting are growing daily in numbers and esteemed environmentalists are taking their side?

Sorry SuNOco, sorry SuNOco PR team, people are unified about not wanting you in Chester County no matter what you call yourselves aren’t they? Welcome to a public relations hell of your own creation and seriously what did you think was going to happen? That everyone was just going to be o.k. with your taking people’s land and adding flare stacks in densely populated areas? Did you think a county that has a large percentage of residents on wells wouldn’t be concerned about pipelines and so on? Maybe you have a friend in Governor Corbett but not everyone else is feeling so chummy?

Great article Philadelphia Inquirer!

Philadelphia Inquirer: Sunoco fights connection to pipeline firm
By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
POSTED: July 06, 2014

Sunoco’s good corporate name is taking a beating these days, as community activists and bloggers post snarky statements under headlines like “Sleazy Sunoco,” linking the company to fracking and eminent domain …..in the hands of careless journalists and picket-sign painters, the companies all just become “Sunoco.”

According to brand consultants and public-image experts, Sunoco the fuel retailer faces a big challenge disassociating itself from the actions of its corporate doppelgänger…..Sunoco Pipeline, a Sunoco Logistics subsidiary, has asked the PUC to declare it a public utility to bypass local zoning restrictions. ….”Sunoco, Sunoco Logistics, Sunoco Pipeline?” said Tom Casey, a leader of the community opposition. “There’s a lot of confusion about who’s doing this. Who are these people?”

Casey had heard company officials explain that Sunoco Inc. and Sunoco Logistics are two separate companies, with different missions. Then a public-affairs officer handed him a business card that identified him as a Sunoco Logistics employee. The other side of the card identified him with Sunoco Inc.

“He has the same job with both companies at two different addresses,” Casey said. “That’s confusing.”……..If this bothers Sunoco, its spokesman, Jeff Shields, is not letting on too much.

Nor is the spokesman for Sunoco Logistics, the selfsame Jeff Shields, who said in an e-mail that the pipeline company “is proud of its roots with a company and a name that has represented good corporate citizenship and American prosperity for more than a century.”…Sunoco Logistics, which was spun off as a separate company, is still contractually obligated to support Sunoco’s retail operations. But its new ventures, such as the Mariner East project, are unrelated to its former parent company.

Both are now units of Energy Transfer Partners L.P., a Dallas company that bought Sunoco Inc. in 2012 and acquired the controlling interest in Sunoco Logistics……Sunoco Logistics could rename itself something else – say, SXL – to provide some cover for Sunoco. But image experts say crusader activists would see right through such a strategy.

“That would backfire on the company double time, because now the public’s suspicion of evil would be confirmed by the company’s efforts at deception,” said Rob Frankel, a Los Angeles branding expert…..Sunoco Inc. already has a long history of oil extraction, and so an association with a pipeline transporting hydraulically fractured Marcellus Shale gas liquids is not an image-altering event, said Oscar Yuan, a partner at New York brand consultant Millward Brown Vermeer.

20140707-110547-39947204.jpgSelect photos in this collage are courtesy of public photos of Just The Facts Please on Facebook of which this blog is not a spokesperson or representative, just a fan.