Newspaper Ad Calls For Obama Assassination

A classified advertisement in the Warren Times-Observer call for the assassination of President Barack Obama.  The Pennsylvania newspaper claims it did not understand the meaning of the ad when it accepted, received payment and ran the outrageous statement:

May Obama follow in the steps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy!

All those Presidents, of course, were assassinated.

It is inexcusable for any newspaper to accept payment to run a plea for someone to kill the President.  Not knowing history is no excuse.  This is an example of why knowing history is important.  A simple Google search would have informed the employee or editor of the advertisement’s significance.

“Unfortunately, the attitude of the person who placed the ad is too prevalent in Pennsylvania,” said Michael Morrill, the executive director of Keystone Progress.  “In the last few days we’ve gotten emails calling the president ‘chimp’ and the n-word after he nominated Judge Sotomayor.  It makes it very difficult to organize around issues when the opposition to the president’s policies is so racially charged. “

Obama to Host G20 in Pittsburgh

The eyes of the world will be on Pittsburgh this September as President Barack Obama will host the G20 summit in our Pennsylvania city.  This will bring many world leaders and press to the Steel City along with masses of press.  The event is scheduled for September 24-25th. From the White House:

How the Pittsburgh Summit Came About

At the meeting in London in April, leaders decided that, given the nature of the crisis and the importance of a robust response, it would be useful to meet again in September to assess the status of the economy and to discuss further actions.  With leaders already scheduled to be in the United States in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama offered to host the Summit and leaders of the G20 welcomed the invitation.

About the Summit Location

Pittsburgh has demonstrated a commitment to employing new and green technology to further economic recovery and development. The Summit will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, an exemplar of that commitment.  The facility is proud to have a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S Green Building Council for leadership in energy and environmental design.

Sestak to Challenge Specter

Congressman Joe Sestak has told some key supporters he will run for the U.S. Senate according to Talking Points Memo.  The progressive blogosphere has been encouraging him to take up the mantle of true Democrats and unseat the 29 year Republican incumbent pretending to be a Democrat.  We are heartened to learn he will accept this honor and uphold the rights of working Pennsylvanians, those downtrodden and those in need of true representation in the Senate.

Pennsylvania Legislature Becoming Gay Marriage Battleground

Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County announced he will introduce a bill providing full and equal marriage rights to same sex couples while neanderthals like Rep. Metcalfe and Sen. Eichelberger seek to enshrine discrimination into the constitution by permanently preventing GLBT residents from having equal rights.  Leach should attach an amendment to that bill then exempting gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders from all state taxes in lieu of our second class rights status.

This isn’t some religious argument tendered over which archaic clause or interpretation of some old book of myths and fables one believes.  It is a legal matter of who has certain rights and who does not.  Some people have these rights and some do not.  Our national constitution and our ethics require that all Americans be treated fairly, justly and LEGALLY under the law.  That is not the case.  Sen. Leach is to be commended for having the courage to stand for equality.  Sen. Eichelberger should return to his cave.

The Value All Families Coalition released this statement on Sen. Leach’s bill:

Civil Rights Coalition Commends State Senator’s Marriage Proposal

(Harrisburg) Civil rights organizations across Pennsylvania today commended Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach for his intention to introduce legislation that would grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples.  The Value All Families Coalition praised Senator Leach’s longstanding dedication to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, calling the proposed legislation an inspiring glimpse into the future of equality for all Pennsylvania couples.

“We absolutely look forward to the day when all Pennsylvania families can enjoy the same benefits and protections under the law that heterosexual couples currently have,” said Jake Kaskey, policy and outreach coordinator of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania.  “We are grateful for all of the work that Senator Leach has done on behalf of the LGBT community over the years and look forward to seeing full equality reached for all LGBT people.”

Senator Leach’s decision to introduce an inclusive marriage bill comes as other states, including Iowa and Maine, pass same-sex marriage legislation and one day after California’s Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, an amendment to California’s constitution prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples.  It also comes at a time when the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is debating House Bill 300, legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities as all other married couples across Pennsylvania,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “We look forward to demonstrating the need to recognize every relationship across Pennsylvania.”

Senator Leach’s proposed legislation, which is currently circulating for co-sponsorship, was announced just days after another state senator, John Eichelberger (R-Blair), announced his intent to introduce a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.

Numerous studies have shown that states that grant marriage equality to all couples receive significant economic benefits.  The New York City Comptroller issued a report this week declaring that marriage equality for LGBT couples in New York would garner the state an additional $210 million in revenue in the first three years.

The Value All Families Coalition is comprised of diverse statewide, regional, and local organizations that support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

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Great Roundtable on the Employee Free Choice Act in Mercer County

Last week, the Mercer County Central Labor Council hosted a roundtable discussion on the Employee Free Choice Act.

This event showcased a diverse community coalition comprising of religious leaders, labor leaders, local elected officials, community activists, and workers who discussed the importance of the Employee Free Choice Act.

“Working families everywhere have been hit hard by the economic crisis,” said Dominic Vadala President of the Mercer County Central Labor Council. “Workers who have the freedom to form unions and bargain for job security and decent benefits can stand up to corporations more interested in lining their pockets on Wall Street than giving families a fair shake on Main Street.”

Video highlights of this event are available below the fold.  


Below are video highlights of the event:

In the first clip Mayor of Greenville and Vice President of the local Chamber of Commerce discusses the need of the Employee Free Choice Act.

In the second clip Father Survil discusses how is family background has made him a strong supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act

In the third clip Professor Daniel Klaus explains the Employee Free Choice Act from a academic presective

A Victory For H8

The forces of hate were victorious today in California.  The state Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of last fall’s voter referendum making GLBT citizens officially second class.  The enshrinement of discrimination into the laws of California is a decided win for all those who hate, are intolerant, impose their bigotry on others, and who are unable to understand the words etched onto the Supreme Court:  “Equal Justice Under Law.”

White House Statement on Sotomayor

I spent three days of the past four power washing at the new house (what a difference!) and finished the entire pool area and patio.  It gave me some time to think and I thought Sotomayor would be today’s pick for the Supreme Court.  It also occured to me that GWB would have waited until next year to make this selection in order to maximize its political impact.  Everything W did was dictated by politics, a path which led to the ruination of the GOP.

Appointing Sonia Sotomayor in a major election year would have laid down a challenge to Republicans to dare refuse a highly qualified woman and Latina.  Such actions against this nominee, already begun by Senate Republicans, will now occur in an off year instead.  This is a significant difference between Bush and Obama.  This president does what he thinks is right when he thinks it is right and let’s the politics atke care of itself.

The cold, calculated political machinations emanating from the Bush White House under the auspices of Karl Rove disgusted Americans.  It is a breath of fresh air to see an Obama nominate his choice for the best person rather than keep her in his hip pocket for a choice next year.

As such the White House has issued the following information about Sotomayor:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She has been hailed as “one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting” for her thoughtful opinions,i and as “a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity”ii for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx housing project.

Her American story and three decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice. She is a distinguished graduate of two of America’s leading universities. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She replaces Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge.

Judge Sotomayor served 11 years on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country, and has handed down decisions on a range of complex legal and constitutional issues. If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said “Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her.”

In addition to her distinguished judicial service, Judge Sotomayor is a Lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School until 2007.

An American Story

Judge Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Born to a Puerto Rican family, she grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx. Her parents moved to New York during World War II – her mother served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during the war. Her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education, died when Sotomayor was nine years old. Her mother, a nurse, then raised Sotomayor and her younger brother, Juan, now a physician in Syracuse. After her father’s death, Sotomayor turned to books for solace, and it was her new found love of Nancy Drew that inspired a love of reading and learning, a path that ultimately led her to the law.

Most importantly, at an early age, her mother instilled in Sotomayor and her brother a belief in the power of education. Driven by an indefatigable work ethic, and rising to the challenge of managing a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes, Sotomayor excelled in school. Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian of her class at Blessed Sacrament and at Cardinal Spellman High School in New York. She first heard about the Ivy League from her high school debate coach, Ken Moy, who attended Princeton University, and she soon followed in his footsteps after winning a scholarship.

At Princeton, she continued to excel, graduating summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. At Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and as managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. One of Sotomayor’s former Yale Law School classmates, Robert Klonoff (now Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School), remembers her intellectual toughness from law school: “She would stand up for herself and not be intimidated by anyone.” [Washington Post, 5/7/09]

A Champion of the Law

Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system – yielding a depth of experience and a breadth of perspectives that will be invaluable – and is currently not represented — on our highest court. New York City District Attorney Morgenthau recently praised Sotomayor as an “able champion of the law” who would be “highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09]

A Fearless and Effective Prosecutor

Fresh out of Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor became an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan in 1979, where she tried dozens of criminal cases over five years. Spending nearly every day in the court room, her prosecutorial work typically involved “street crimes,” such as murders and robberies, as well as child abuse, police misconduct, and fraud cases. Robert Morgenthau, the person who hired Judge Sotomayor, has described her as a “fearless and effective prosecutor.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09] She was cocounsel in the “Tarzan Murderer” case, which convicted a murderer to 67 and ½ years to life in prison, and was sole counsel in a multiple-defendant case involving a Manhattan housing project shooting between rival family groups.

A Corporate Litigator

She entered private practice in 1984, becoming a partner in 1988 at the firm Pavia and Harcourt. She was a general civil litigator involved in all facets of commercial work including, real estate, employment, banking, contracts, and agency law. In addition, her practice had a significant concentration in intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright and unfair competition issues. Her typical clients were significant corporations doing international business. The managing partner who hired her, George Pavia, remembers being instantly impressed with the young Sonia Sotomayor when he hired her in 1984, noting that “she was just ideal for us in terms of her background and training.” [Washington Post, May 7, 2009]

A Sharp and Fearless Trial Judge

Her judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. Still in her 30s, she was the youngest member of the court. From 1992 to 1998, she presided over roughly 450 cases. As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, for example, she issued an injunction against Major League Baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike that had become the longest work stoppage in professional sports history and had caused the cancellation of the World Series the previous fall. She was widely lauded for saving baseball. Claude Lewis of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that by saving the season, Judge Sotomayor joined “the ranks of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams.”

A Tough, Fair and Thoughtful Jurist

President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She is the first Latina to serve on that court, and has participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions. Sitting on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has tackled a range of questions: from difficult issues of constitutional law, to complex procedural matters, to lawsuits involving complicated business organizations. In this context, Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine. “‘She appreciates the complexity of issues,’ said Stephen L. Carter, a Yale professor who teaches some of her opinions in his classes. Confronted with a tough case, Carter said, ‘she doesn’t leap at its throat but reasons to get to the bottom of issues.'” For example, in United States v. Quattrone, Judge Sotomayor concluded that the trial judge had erred by forbidding the release of jurors’ names to the press, concluding after carefully weighing the competing concerns that the trial judge’s concerns for a speedy and orderly trial must give way to the constitutional freedoms of speech and the press.

Sotomayor also has keen awareness of the law’s impact on everyday life. Active in oral arguments, she works tirelessly to probe both the factual details and the legal doctrines in the cases before her and to arrive at decisions that are faithful to both. She understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts. For example, In United States v. Reimer, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion revoking the US citizenship for a man charged with working for the Nazis in World War II Poland, guarding concentration camps and helping empty the Jewish ghettos. And in Lin v. Gonzales and a series of similar cases, she ordered renewed consideration of the asylum claims of Chinese women who experienced or were threatened with forced birth control, evincing in her opinions a keen awareness of those women’s plights.

Judge Sotomayor’s appreciation of the real-world implications of judicial rulings is paralleled by her sensible practicality in evaluating the actions of law enforcement officers. For example, in United States v. Falso, the defendant was convicted of possessing child pornography after FBI agents searched his home with a warrant. The warrant should not have been issued, but the agents did not know that, and Judge Sotomayor wrote for the court that the officers’ good faith justified using the evidence they found. Similarly in United States v. Santa, Judge Sotomayor ruled that when police search a suspect based on a mistaken belief that there is a valid arrest warrant out on him, evidence found during the search should not be suppressed. Ten years later, in Herring v. United States, the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion. In her 1997 confirmation hearing, Sotomayor spoke of her judicial philosophy, saying” I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.” Her record on the Second Circuit holds true to that statement. For example, in Hankins v. Lyght, she argued in dissent that the federal government risks “an unconstitutional trespass” if it attempts to dictate to religious organizations who they can or cannot hire or dismiss as spiritual leaders. Since joining the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has honored the Constitution, the rule of law, and justice, often forging consensus and winning conservative colleagues to her point of view.

A Commitment to Community

Judge Sotomayor is deeply committed to her family, to her co-workers, and to her community. Judge Sotomayor is a doting aunt to her brother Juan’s three children and an attentive godmother to five more. She still speaks to her mother, who now lives in Florida, every day. At the courthouse, Judge Sotomayor helped found the collegiality committee to foster stronger personal relationships among members of the court. Seizing an opportunity to lead others on the path to success, she recruited judges to join her in inviting young women to the courthouse on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and mentors young students from troubled neighborhoods Her favorite project, however, is the Development School for Youth program, which sponsors workshops for inner city high school students. Every semester, approximately 70 students attend 16 weekly workshops that are designed to teach them how to function in a work setting. The workshop leaders include investment bankers, corporate executives and Judge Sotomayor, who conducts a workshop on the law for 25 to 35 students. She uses as her vehicle the trial of Goldilocks and recruits six lawyers to help her. The students play various roles, including the parts of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Goldilocks and the jurors, and in the process they get to experience openings, closings, direct and cross-examinations. In addition to the workshop experience, each student is offered a summer job by one of the corporate sponsors. The experience is rewarding for the lawyers and exciting for the students, commented Judge Sotomayor, as “it opens up possibilities that the students never dreamed of before.” [Federal Bar Council News, Sept./Oct./Nov. 2005, p.20] This is one of many ways that Judge Sotomayor gives back to her community and inspires young people to achieve their dreams.

She has served as a member of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and was formerly on the Boards of Directors of the New York Mortgage Agency, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

_______________________

i American Philosophical Society, Biographical Essays of Moderators, Speakers, Inductees and Award Recipients, Annual General Meeting, April 2003, at 36.

ii Honorary Degree Citation, Pace University School of Law, 2003 Commencement.

CNN Repeating GOP Talking Point Ad Nauseum

Cable News network faithfully repeated the RNC’s chief talking point about Judge Sonia Sotomayor by calling her “an activist Judge.”  The fact this is their talking point was actually made on the air by one of their “experts.”  CNN is shameless in pandering to Fox News Channel viewers by skewing their coverage to the right.

Sotomayor was called “activist” on CNN all morning with no balanced opinion of what “activist” means and NO mention of “strict constructionist” who insist on defining language in the constitution the same way they insist on literal, strict interpretations of the Bible.  There is no  gray in these people’s eyes and no room for interpretation.  Most laws leave major ambiguities and room for interpretation.  This is the proper role for the courts.  We no longer live in the 18th century and it would have been impossible for our Founding Fathers to foresee the America of the 21st century.  As such these wise men wrote the document in a way which allows it to live, breathe and evolve.  Appointing rigid ideologues who disagree with that premise has done no good in history.  These are the same white men, however, who continue to wish to roll America back to the 1950’s when Blacks “knew their place” and women never left the home.  

The Supreme Court must reflect the diversity of America and must be flexible to adapt to the times.  Conservative means staying in the past while progressive means moving forward.  In 2009 let us choose to move forward instead of back.

CNN’s activist propaganda on behalf of those wishing to roll us backward is appalling.

Obama to Name Sotomayor to Court

Barack Obama is set to nominate Sonia Sotomayor to succeed David Souter on the Supreme Court.  Sotomayor was appointed as a Circuit Court of Appeals Judge by President George H.W. Bush and will be levated to Justice by a Democrat.  A woman and Hispanic she will bring both perspectives to her work and be the third woman and first Hispanic to serve.

Seven of the nine current Justices have been appointed by Republicans and George W. Bush was able to appoint two extreme right wing Justices during his eight years.  At that time Senate Republicans claimed that judicial nominations not be filibustered.  They have since filibustered almost every significant piece of legislation.  It will be interesting to see if they decide, suddenly, that filibustering Supreme Court appointments is appropriate.

I hope the Obama Administration vetted Sotomayor better than they did most of their other appointments.  Another embarrassment at this level will undercut much of the President’s remaining political capital.  

Should Republicans gear up their propaganda machine, as expected, they risk alienating both critical groups of voters:  women and Latinos.  Will they gamble their already small bit of credibility and tick off even more Hispanics?  My bet is yes.  The GOP had its way in naming extremists Scalis, Thomas, Roberts and Alito but will try to argue that liberals not be allowed to balance those right wing votes.  If Republican presidents have been able to appoint ideologues why should Democrats be prohibited from nominating liberals?  Elections do have consequences and this is one of them.

Pressure will be on Arlen Specter to behave better during this advise and consent procedure.  His conduct towards Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings continues to reverberate among many women and they will be watching to insure the Senator shows the proper deference and respect to Ms. Sotomayor.  Should he not he can kiss his seat good bye.

Ashley Todd Sentenced to Probation

One of the enduring memories of how desperate conservatives tried to manipulate the press involved Ashley Todd’s claim she was beaten up by a Black man because she was supporting John McCain.  The McCain staffer from Texas said a “B” for Barack was carved into her cheek.  The fact the letter was carved in a way which showed it was done using a mirror was key in debunking her claims.  Ms. Todd has now been sentenced to nine months of probation for her fraudulent claim.  She must also do 50 hours of community service.  Let’s come up with some creative ideas of how that community services should be performed.

Ideas?  How about doing community organizer work?  Perhaps something where she actually has to meet and get to know minority citizens?