UGI Responds, I’m Unimpressed!/UGI_Utilities/status/155286257566617600

My response?!/ccocca/status/155364704930377728

Seriously.  You spent $40 million on infrastructure last year?  You want a cookie?  How much of that was spent in Allentown?  Five city residents died last year because you’re not moving fast enough or spending enough money.

How does that $40 million compare to the dividends you’re paying out? Let’s tweet about that.

The $9 Million Amazon Boycott and Priceless Found Irony

An Amazon box on top of a box from the once globally famous, now defunct iconic Allentown retail brand. Found irony.

Speaking of the New Generative Economy (see previous post), donating clean water, trees, construction funds or socks (or buying fair trade items at local stores) works another kind of grace: it takes business away from companies who produce things in unjust conditions overseas and companies who package and ship them in unjust conditions right here in Pennsylvania.  Spencer Soper, the journalist who first broke the Amazon news, reports that almost 13,000 people have signed an online pledge to boycott Amazon via DC-based advocacy group American Rights at Work.

Soper’s new piece notes that 13,ooo people might equate to something like $9 million in sales.  Even if that’s only a drop in Amazon’s global bucket, imagine what that same $9 million could do, even when broken into pieces, for fair trade retailers and generative charities.

Here’ s the ARW open letter to Jeff Bezos, which you can sign and send online.

Matt Drudge and Eric Scheiner Hate the Muppets, Seem Rather Fond of Poverty

Headline writer Matt Drudge linked to a post by CNSNews video producer Eric Scheiner today that basically equates the folks behind Lily the Sesame Street Muppet with ye old Politburo.

Drudge’s headline: SESAME STREET Muppet Touts Entitlements: ‘I Get A Free Breakfast and Lunch’…

Scheiner’s take: “Sesame Street Muppet Pitches Government Dependence: Free Food at School.”

Now that you know the specific evil Sesame Workshop is apparently sanctioning, here’s a bit from Scheiner’s post:

( – A “food insecure” Muppet is helping to promote a national “Food for Thought” campaign that teaches poor families to seek out nutritious food and to eat on the taxpayers’ tab.

At the National Press Club on Thursday, Lily the Muppet – who worries about her family not having enough money to feed her properly — pitched free food at school:

“Sometimes we can’t always afford to buy all the food that we need,” Lily said. “I mean, but we’ve been finding lots of ways that we can get help…Yeah, for example, at school I get a free breakfast and a lunch…part of the meal plan.”

Rather than stave off starvation on the public dole, perhaps Drudge and Scheiner are suggesting that the nation’s chronically poor children, many of whom are being raised in food deserts, might sustain themselves on ideology.

Lily’s message is being circulated through schools, hospitals and food assistance programs as part of Sesame Street’s “Food for Thought” multi-media campaign, which includes DVDs and a booklet listing “services that can assist your family” as well as “referrals to social service agencies.”

Organizers say they have produced a million of the kits.

Here’s to a million more.  And yes, Matt Drudge, basic nutrition is an entitlement, and making it available to those who can’t yet provide it for themselves is the obligation of any society that styles itself as free and full of opportunity.

As for CNSNews: it’s owned by L. Brent Bozell IIIs Media Research Center, which says it aims to “prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values” and to “neutralize [that bias’s] impact on the American political scene”.

How the hell is feeding poor kids a liberal or conservative issue?  Is it really more conservative or “traditional” to expect the market to take care of the poor?  And even if it is, what are we supposed to do while we wait for all of these layers of regulation and “entitlements” to be peeled back so we can freely suckle Market Mother Wolf?  If the private sector has to wait for lower taxes and fewer regulations before it solves the hunger problem in America, to hell with the private sector on this particular issue.

What’s so offensive to a certain radical conservative strain about things like the Food for Thought Campaign?  Is it simply hating to be reminded that poor kids actually exist, that they really do go hungry?  Is it really only politics?  Or, at the end of the day, is it really about hating those kids and their families because of who they are and where they live, and how easy it is to blame them for their misfortune, a reality so inconvenient to certain sacral political beliefs?

Should There Be A Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes?

This is the debate that should be, but isn’t really, happening in Pennsylvania.  The bills are dying on PA Rep. Ron Marsico’s desk.   Bill White, one of the panelists at the November 17th edition of Beerituality, shares one of the reasons in this post.

To my many Catholic friends and readers: please know that this isn’t meant to single out your faith tradition.  God knows this sin is everywhere.  And it’s also important for the public, Catholic or otherwise, to know where local or regional incarnations of the institution, complete with legislative apparatuses, stand on bills like PA HBs 832 and 878. Given what we know about how long it can take to remember abuse, let alone feel confidant about reporting it, statues of limitations for sex crimes without any kind of “window” for adults recalling childhood abuse seem counter-intuitive to my way of thinking.

What do others think?



Bill White on Specific Sex Abuse Legislation We Must Act On NOW

In my Beerituality recap, I included links to PA House Bill 832 and PA House Bill 878.  In his closing remarks last night, Bill White challenged us with some very specific action.  From Bill:

“The bills, which grew out of a Philadelphia grand jury’s most recent findings on clergy abuse and coverups involving the Philadelphia Archdiocese, are House Bill 832, which would repeal the statute of limitations from the point of passage forward in civil suits relating to child sex abuse; and HB 878, providing a one-time two-year window for victims to bring civil action in cases barred by the current law.    They’ve been trapped in the state House Judiciary Committee, buried by committee chairman Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin County. His number in the Capitol is  (717)783-2014. Callers should tell him – and their own legislators — that they think these bills are important and they want them to get a fair airing instead of being bottled up.”

PA residents, please make these calls.

Marian Wright Edelman: The Rent We Pay For Living and the Biggest Problem American Children Face

“I was taught that the world had a lot of problems; that I could struggle and change them; that intellectual and material gifts brought the privilege and responsibility of sharing with others less fortunate; and that service is the rent each of us pays for living — the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you have reached your personal goals.”

“What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children to not be violent while marketing and glorifying violence… I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America.”

― Marian Wright Edelman

The first quote was in my Google+ feed today thanks to a dear friend who works with children.  I forwarded it on to the leaders of our Mission Team here at First Presbyterian and to all our ministry and program staff.  For me, it comes closest to defining a missional life as anything I have seen.

The second quote is prophetic in its assessment and ever-timeliness.  I hope to God for a day when it’s outdated because we, American adults, will have made it so by our ethical and moral commitments, our spiritual and political priorities, and by shining lights on places where our systems have absorbed injustice instead of upending it.


Amazon Workers Left Out In the Cold: Excuses Expose Amazon’s Sustainability Issues

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...
How To Make Enemies and Exploit People

I’ve heard some people in this here Valley saying that Amazon was justified in keeping warehouse workers, often clad in nothing more than t-shirts and short, outside in the wee hours of the morning in the freezing cold for ridiculously long periods of time.  Oh, they’re not saying it exactly that way.  Remember, the evacuations at the warehouses were caused by fire alarms being pulled, and the alarms were pulled so that these workers could steal, so the narrative goes.  Sometimes people with throw the word “lazy” in there before “workers,” or maybe the occasional “thieving.”  So, you know, because some workers are allegedly stealing, everyone has to be exposed to extreme cold for close to two hours so some middle managers can get some iPod Nanos back.  Some of the workers, by the way, have been saying that the managers are the ones doing the stealing.

Amazon and Amazon fans can spin this however they want. The fact remains that these procedures, and the culture that breeds them, are the definition of unsustainable business.  There’s really no better to handle rogue alarm-pulling (if, indeed, that’s what happened) than to let your workforce freeze in the early hours of a November or December morning in Pennsylvania?  That’s atrocious and unacceptable.  Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, really has no better way of cooling their facilities in the summer than farming out heat-sick workers to local ERs via a veritable concierge ambulance service?  Please.

Strike a blow for sustainability and stop buying from Amazon until they figure out how to run an ethical business on the supply side.