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The Latest Edition of Voices of Central Pa


Peak Democracy ask your opinion about the Nuisance ordinance

Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau, interviewed about the health of the oceans

An exclusive interview by VOICES, the son of Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau, is interviewed by Jill Gomez, the environmental editor of Voices, about his views on the health of the oceans, commercial fishing, and the future.

This interview was made possible with the efforts of the Schreyers Honors College of Penn State.

GOLDEN RULE: Woman Told by Insurer to Get Sterilized

Are these kinds of video interesting or not? Should VOICES post more like this, or decline to repeat what are basically national advertisements?

Ralph Nader on Obama's first months, "Very Dissapointing"

From YAHOO Finance Tech Ticker "Obama is a frightened man"

  • His early months in office have been "very disappointing."
  • Obama is "a frightened man," who won't take on corporate power.
  • Obama is "conflict averse" - and a "harmony ideology type," who's being taken advantage of by the sharks in Congress, of both parties.
  • He's "Bush-Cheney redux" when it comes to military and foreign policy, "albeit with better speeches" to the Muslim world. Given Obama's handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nader wonders in amazement: "And they gave him the [Nobel] Peace Prize?"

Nader's main gripe is that Obama has "turned his back on the very people" who voted him into office, imploring the President to invite representatives of consumer, environmental and worker groups to the White House -- "as they elbow their way between the hordes of corporate execs, speculators and criminals that have received invitations there."

(note: if the video doesn't start, try clicking on the headline at the top to open this on a new page.)

What stories and topics should VOICES cover?

Voices would like to hear your opinions and suggestions for stories and topics to cover in the next years worth of issues. So please let us know if there are topics and issues you'd like to see addressed in the pages of Voices.

We will consider and discuss all suggestions. And if we don't cover your story idea you can always come back and ask us why.

Locals launch single-payer healthcare effort

By Nadin Nauman

The healthcare reform fight has found a new base in Centre County as a group of local residents organized in August to push for statewide single-payer healthcare legislation, an option considered more radical than any being considered in Washington D.C.

In the past few months, the group, which calls itself Citizens for Healthcare Reform, has held open meetings and rallies around the county to gain support for a plan it says is the answer to the country’s healthcare woes.

 “Our current system is broken,” Halfmoon Township resident Brenda Black told Voices. “We can’t keep it or else it’ll impair our nation.”

Black explained that since she became involved she hasn’t heard one good reason why single-payer insurance is not the way to go.

“Centre County has a growing number of voters who really care about our connections on Earth,” said Black. “It may not really be Happy Valley for everyone but there are a lot of us here who are willing to try to live our values which include better lives for ourselves and others.” Single-payer advocates say that it is the only proven system of all being proposed, that every industrialized nation has some form of single-payer and that it has worked more cheaply and provided more services to more Americans in the form of Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Administration benefits than any other system.

Current legislation pending in Harrisburg would tax individuals 3 percent of their income (compared to the average 8 percent they now spend on healthcare) and employers 10 percent (compared to the 30 to 35 percent they now spend) to fund the program. No one would carry insurance or pay premiums or co-pays anymore and all Pennsylvanians would be covered.
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Defense contracts create fewer good jobs

Centre County’s Top Defense Contractors – 2000-2008

Centre County’s Top Defense Contractors – 2000-2008

by Suzan Erem

Centre County is home to 118 defense contractors that have accounted for almost $1.2 billion dollars of federal monies brought back into the community from 2000 to 2008, according to data tracked by the Federal Procurement Data System, a U.S. government Web site that monitors 12 million federal contracts in real time.

But many local contractors are a far cry from Blackwater operatives shooting Iraqis in the middle of a war zone. One is a caterer; another a mechanical bull manufacturer and even a municipal garbage hauler makes the list.

Penn State University won the bulk of defense contracts, to the tune of $1.06 billion over that time, according to Government Contracts Won, a company that aggregates defense contract data and makes it searchable. The university won its contracts listing itself under a variety of categories including “minority institution,” “other educational institution,” “other small business operating in the United States,” “small disadvantaged business,” “other nonprofit institution” and “large business operating in the United States.” No Penn State administrators, including those in the Office of Sponsored Programs in charge of such grants, would make themselves available for an interview. The only information Voices could obtain from the university was funneled through Penn State’s Office of Public Information, whose staff was unfamiliar with specifics of the grants.

Other local contractors are a mix of household names and obscure acronyms. Minitab doesn’t even make the top 10 and Raytheon itself is closer to the bottom 10 though Raytheon’s subsidiary, HRB Systems, Inc., listed separately, brought in $20 million over the past eight years. HRB, like many of the high tech contractors, was founded by a former Penn State researcher.
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The Kindergarten War

The lessons kids learm from the Pa legislature.

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by Dr. Radut