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This is an excerpt from my original article for the Raging Chicken Press.  

“What the fuck?”  Those were the first three simple words that came to mind when I read about the decision the Pittsburgh Opera made last week.  The opera, in their infinite wisdom, decided to give Governor Tom Corbett and his wife a “Joint Lifetime Achievement Award” in education. Did you get that? IN EDUCATION. In an attempt to quell the public relations firestorm this decision made, the Pittsburgh Opera published the following on their Facebook page:

Dear all,
The Joint Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Gov. and Mrs. Corbett’s public service careers and support of the arts through Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Mrs. Corbett has served with PCA for 10 years, and Governor Corbett oversees the budget. Consistent and long-standing PCA funding is critical to our ability to provide opera education programs, free community programs, and to keep our starting ticket price at $10. PCA funding is significant not just to us, but to arts organizations statewide.

Thank you for sharing your passion for the arts and for education. We, too, hope for the restoration of arts funding and education funding.

Where can I even begin to respond?

Well, the story began last month in Pittsburgh with controversy concerning who would receive Pennsylvania’s new lottery contract.  The company originally slated to receive Pennsylvania’s five-year, 183 million dollar contract was Brunner, a Pittsburgh based advertising agency.  Brunner and the state had inked the deal earlier this year so Brunner began hiring employees and vendors.  The state, who is in the process of privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery, found problems and discrepancies during last year’s bidding process and decided to cancel the contract.  Since the contract between Pennsylvania State Lottery and Brunner was cancelled, MARC USA, the previous contract holder, was given a one year extension on their expired contract. MARC USA had already filed a lawsuit that raised concerns over the selection process.  Michele Fabrizi, President and CEO of MARC USA, was quoted by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette saying: “MARC USA is thrilled to continue our work with the Pennsylvania Lottery to benefit older Pennsylvanians.  We look forward to helping the lottery to achieve the kind of record-breaking results it has enjoyed since our partnership began in 2002.”

Now, you’re probably sitting here and asking yourself, “What exactly does the Pennsylvania Lottery have to do with the Pittsburgh Opera?”    The main connection between the two is Michele Fabrizi.  Michele Fabrizi is the CEO of a company that benefitted from political pandering and shady business practices that “knee-capped” their competition, but it also turns out that Ms. Fabrizi is the Chair of the Pittsburgh Opera Board of Directors.  So the political connections between the Governor–who has been cutting education to the bone–and the Chair of the Pittsburgh Opera’s Board of Directors, Michele Fabrizi, need to be called out because of the award the governor is receiving.

The rest of the article appears on the Raging Chicken's website

Originally posted to S Kitchen on Wed May 09, 2012 at 04:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Hippie and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republicans like their butts kissed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's what they live for. BTW I just heard today that PA is now one of the top states in casino revenues. Combine that with the lottery and the fact that we also rank high for small business creation, one would think that we wouldn't have to do all this cutting, wouldn't one?

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed May 09, 2012 at 04:46:28 PM PDT

  •  This kept me up last night! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapamp, JPZenger

    I saw this posted on a friend's Facebook page, and I couldn't sleep. I got up, put on my robe, and left a message on the Pittsburgh Opera's Facebook page. My district - in PA - has lost over $1 million in funding, I don't know if I'll have a job next year, and then this happens? I feel like I got kicked in the face.

    •  Disbelief (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mapamp, I teach music, JPZenger

      I was shocked when I saw this a couple of nights ago.  This is clearly a political action because their "pr" statement is shit.  Gov Corbett tried to eviscerate the PCA last year, and is trying to do that again this year.  

      If you would like to write on this issue more in depth, we'll be glad to publish your concerns, even if it is a small letter to our editor.  We want to get people's voices out about this.  Our email is

  •  I saw "Pittsburgh O" and assumed it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was referring to the Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland. O! How I miss the O!

    (non-Pittsburghers: Oakland is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh. The "O" is a...distinctive hot dogs/burger/fries place. If you go, I dare you to get a "large fry".  heh. )

    There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who fit into one of two mutually exclusive categories, and those who don't.

    by zhimbo on Wed May 09, 2012 at 05:07:27 PM PDT

  •  Link - what is being done to Pennsylvania (0+ / 0-)

    check out this link to find out much more about what is being done to Pennsylvania.  This is what happens when the Republicans quickly gain control of the Governorship, both Houses of the legislature by large margins, and the Supreme Court.

    JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

    by JPZenger on Thu May 10, 2012 at 11:58:50 AM PDT

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