PA Democratic Party State Committee Picnic on a Friday???

The August 28 picnic in Camp Hill, PA is sure to be a blast this year as candidates with visions of sugar plums abounding to look for support, scout the competition, and solicit their next would-be donor.  The 30 dollar ticket price will be well worth its weight in gold with some of the characters that will gracefully abound providing many highlights and new stories. However, to step back from the wonderful job and hard work that the PA Democratic Party staff puts into making these events truly outstanding as they ALWAYS are…

I would like to examine the practicality of holding State Committee events on a Friday evening. It may be coined the only option, but in terms of an attendance and money making perspective, it is highly illogical.  For example, the picnic will be held on Friday the 28th of August, and unless you were able to take the day off of work, are employed in politics, are a senior, or are unemployed you likely will not be able to attend.  Thus, this event is likely to attract the same old people as opposed to new people from the Philly and Pittsburgh areas.  This includes potential donors who would like to come mingle, but otherwise will be lost from attending because the picnic was scheduled on a Friday evening, whereas they could definitely make it to the picnic on Saturday Aug 29th if it were held then.

I know it has been this way in the past, but having a state picnic on a Friday kinda is what it is (a local picnic)… people highly interested in attending on Saturday from all over the state likely won’t be showing up for the picnic on Friday.  All’s we’ll have is a bunch of Gubernatorial candidate staffs fighting over the Gubernatorial straw poll set to take place and spitting watermelon seeds at each other (and likely Morgan too).  Hopefully there will be some free booze on hand again so John can get some good stories!

Birthers Take Over the GOP Lunatic Fringe

We saw it on the campaign trail last year:  the lunatic fringe which has taken over the Republican Party calling Obama a terrorist, a Muslim and someone who would allow the government to come and seize all your guns.  Aside from these crazy conspiracy theories has come their latest fad:  that President Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t constitutionally qualified to be President.  These nut cases are referred to as “Birthers” and are all over conservative talk radio and blogs spreading their poisonous propaganda.

Unfortunately no amount of propaganda can remove the facts.  Obama was born in Hawaii, his actual birth certificate HAS been produced by the State of Hawaii and authentic copies of local newspapers exist which recorded his birth at the time.  If he was actually born in Kenya why did two Hawaiian newspapers at the time report that he had been born?  Why would they care that a Barack Hussein Obama had been born in Kenya?  They reported he was born in Hawaii as his official birth certificate certifies.

Some people are simply insane.  Others refuse to believe facts even when presented.  These morons choose to believe falsities because they wish to.  It is one thing to be stupid and not able to comprehend facts.  It is quite worse to choose to be stupid and ignore them.  Birthers are mostly the latter.  These are those same idiots we interviewed last year waiting to attend McCain/Palin rallies who rattled off the same GOP talking points they heard from Rush, O’Lielly, Beck, Hannity and the rest of the lunatic fringe talking heads without once checking the facts for themselves.

Now these lunatics are taking over the asylum by influencing members of Congress.  Mike Stark, s well known blogger, approached numerous Congressmen and asked if they believe this nonsense.  I’m not surprised to report that Tim Murphy was one of them.  Afraid to accept the truth or unwilling to accept facts, these are people who have the votes which directly affect your life from health care reform to funding for police, for economic development, to war and peace.  Isn’t that a scary thought?  People who vote to determine whether we go to war are so misinformed on a simple, basic issue they cannot answer a simple question?  Now you understand how Iraq happened.

Ask your Congressman if he’s part of the lunatic fringe.

You can see more here.

Rendell Proposing “Bridge” Budget

Gov. Rendell is preparing to enact a bridge budget if a House/Senate conference committee meeting today is unable to reconcile huge gaps between Republican (Senate) and Democratic (House) budget proposals.  Senators Dominic Pileggi, Jake Corman and Jay Costa join Representatives Dwight Evans, Todd Eachus and Sam Smith trying to hammer out spending authorization for state government.  State workers are looking at a payless payday tomorrow and vendors are not getting paid.

The Governor says he will ask the House to pass Senate Bill 850, the GOP budget, and he will then use his line item veto to annul all but the essential services pending passage of an acceptable budget.  This way core governmental services can continue, vendors and employees get paid in the interim.  Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair TJ Rooney and spokesman Gary Tuma appeared on Democratic Talk Radio this morning to discuss the impasse and Rendell’s proposed short term solution.  Rooney mentioned a certain Senator who is voting with Republicans on this and condemned the traitorous conduct.  Lisa Boscola went unnamed by Rooney but is the Lehigh Valley State Senator, well known for her public and private bouts of shameful drunkenness, who cannot seem to see through her alcoholism induced fog to understand the importance of education.

Test Scores Show Rendell Education Policies Effective

Gov. Rendell had the state’s PSSA scores released early as part of the budget battle in Harrisburg.  Pennsylvania continues trying to operate without a budget which means state employees are working without pay.  Aside from Senate Democrats the only exception to this are those staffers in the Capitol.  Why should they get paid when no one else is?  Maybe they’d be hungrier to get a budget passed if they were actually hungry.  Oh wait, they can eat for free at the Capitol cafe on the taxpayer dime.  Maybe it’s time to cut that off too.  We do need to save money.

The primary issue in the budget battle is education funding.  This has been the cornerstone of Ed Rendell’s two terms as Governor and he has raised funding for education by a billion dollars.  Senate Republicans want to balance the budget by gutting education.  This is the easy, coward’s way out because it passes the buck for tax increases to local school boards.  The rigid ideology of these people will not allow them to vote for tax increases.  Therefore our children will pay the price.

What these legislators need to consider when defending their business and corporate constituents is that an uneducated workforce costs far more than a poorly educated one.  This costs more money in training, lost jobs because other businesses go elsewhere, and inefficient workers.  It actually is better for business to have an educated workforce.  Why are Republicans trying to screw their chief backers?  This doesn’t make sense.

The PSSA scores show that significant progress has been made in Pennsylvania’s schools.  In 2002 math proficiency was 50%, now it is 56%.  Science sees improvement from 59% to 65%.  Of course it helps that Dover prevailed in keeping evolution in its science curriculum.  When we teach myths and fables instead of science our children suffer.

August is just around the corner and the impasse in Harrisburg is serious.  Gov. Rendell is considering a stopgap budget so state services don’t cease and hard working people can be remunerated for their efforts.  Vendors and contractor deserve to be paid for their goods and services too so their employees do not wind up on our already bloated unemployment rolls.  Of course the Republicans keep voting against extensions of those benefits so they likely are not going to be swayed by economic arguments.  Perhaps if they had been better educated they could comprehend that educational success benefits everyone.  They needed Ed Rendell as Governor when they were in school.

News & Notes

There’s a lot to catch up with after vacation so I’ll comment on several issues.  First off I’ll be away again next week to go kayaking in Maine.  I will have my laptop but squeezing in writing while away with the family can be difficult, especially since we’ll be sharing the computer again.

Sen. Jim Bunning has decided to retire rather than lose.  The former Phillies perfect game pitcher sullied his legacy by shilling for extreme right wing causes in the Senate.  His strange, unpredictable behavior of late became bizarre and resulted in his own Party turning upon him.  What else is new for the GOP?

Speaking of the Phillies a fan was beaten to death in the parking lot last week.  This came as no surprise to me.  I had a scary experience there when I had Sunday season tickets.  This is a major reason I stopped going to games there.  When I contacted the team about the unsafe conditions in their own parking lot they couldn’t care less.  They have allowed these rowdies to take over their facility and it was only a matter of time until tragedy happened.

On the good news side Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  It isn’t even August and we are this far in the process.  Maybe we can even get a real liberal next time.

Are you as fed up with the death of customer service as I am?  I recently had some really bad experiences.  Monday I was in a Redner’s market when an employee in a hurry to go home almost ran me down in the aisle.  I mentioned sarcastically (as I too often need to do) to “excuse me for getting in your way, I’m only a customer.”  This is designed to remind them that customers are too important to be rude towards.  Her reaction?  She began laughing.  I put all my purchases back and left the store.  Why should we tolerate such horrid customer service?  Vote with your feet and shop elsewhere.

Then there are the rude drivers.  People right on red doesn’t mean you can run red lights.  The law requires that you STOP first and insure no oncoming traffic is coming.  I’m fed up with people trying to crash into me while running red lights.  This is a bad law because there’s no traffic enforcement because the Keystone Kops can’t patrol everywhere.

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan has decided to run for Congress in the 15th CD.  Charlie Dent hasn’t had a serious challenger until now.  Callahan is smart, young, handsome and a real up and comer.  Dent’s people are giving him serious credibility by attacking him already.  They should be worried.

Health care reform is dead.  The current proposed legislation will do almost nothing.  Failure to go for the best resulted in getting nothing.  Blue Dogs and Republicans are to be thanked the next time you get sick, get denied by your insurer or die because you cannot get in any waiting line for care.  The delaying tactics of the GOP have killed reform.  What a shame.

I was on a blogger conference call with President Obama and David Axelrod last week.  Obama said he had serious reservations about health care coops.  We’ll see if he winds up signing a bill in which coops are the “reform.”  He sounded very good on the call and having the opportunity to listen directly to the President and his chief adviser was amazing.

The mortgages with preferential VIP terms given to Senators Dodd and Conrad have turned out to be bad news for both Democrats.  After denying they knew they were receiving sweetheart deals Countrywide now is saying both were told they were getting special terms because of who they were.  Hubris always is the fall guy when powerful people allow their power to go to their heads.  I don’t care which Party to which you belong, if you do wrong we’ll call you on the carpet.  Both of these men should resign.

Last week’s sting in New Jersey surprises no one.  The corruption there is depressing and is so endemic to the process you’d swear the state was part of Philadelphia.  Clean them all out and send them all to prison.  Violating the public trust these days is only good for 55 month sentences regardless of your level of corruption.  Shame on the courts too.

KBR electrocuted 17 soldiers because they cut costs to increase profits running their massive war profiteering operations in Iraq.  Credit to Sen. Casey for pursuing this issue but Cheney’s company got off the hook today.  Part of the reason for government is that some vital services and duties should not be done for profit.  Military operations, prisons and health care are obvious examples.  Every time we make these for profit the greed takes over, we have endless wars, judges sending kids to prison by denying them their right to lawyers, millions of people incarcerated, and tens of millions of people with no access to medical care.  Shame on us for privatizing government.

The people called “Birthers” are insane.  Claiming Barack Obama cannot be president because he was born in Kenya illustrates their complete lack of intelligence.  The birth certificate and two newspapers in which his birth announcement was published when he was born in Hawaii were made public before last year’s election.  This is the same stupidity which results in people denying the Holocaust, global warming and evolution.  Meanwhile we wonder why our students are falling behind in science?  Facts are stubborn things, they do not disappear simply because you wish they would.  Lou Dobbs is one of the most visible idiots fomenting this craziness.  It’s time CNN took him off the air before they lose whatever credibility they retain.

And now a word from the poofter (or is it pooftah)

Actually it’s Poofta and it’s a primarily British and Aussie slang for homosexual. Usually referring to a thin, effeminate man. Hardly an apt description of John or myself for that matter.

But of all the derogatory words one could use satirically or mean-spiritedly, poofter/poofta is rather tame in the grand scheme of things.

I know Mr. Fielding is just a poor ignorant Republican but even he should have been able to come up with something better than poofta.

Allow me to help you Mr. Fielding…having been of the receiving end of these verbal barbs for many of my 49 years I suggest in future you choose from this, somewhat more tastier list of insults. If you really want to hurt someone, don’t hold back…be like Sally Kern and really let it fly. Try using: fag, faggot, poof, queer, homo, turd burglar (loved that one), sissy, fudge packer, corn holer, liberal fairy arse, arse bandit, pillow biter (that would be me), cock sucker (me again), nancy boy, mary, batty boy, ass bandit, swish, shirt lifter, puff, pansy, gaylord, knob, fudgepacker or the ever obscure uphill gardener.

I’m sure there are plenty not of this list either. Get your friends to leave comments with more…I love collecting words.

If you think names don’t hurt Mr. Fielding I would dare you to walk in my shoes for 1 month. It takes a strong person to be a faggot in today’s society. Stronger than you can ever imagine. With ignorant people like you constantly trying to push us back in the closet, tell us we’re worthless and that we have no place in society, that we are not normal and we should just go away…it takes a strong person to live with that kind of vitriol and still flourish as a person…still be a good person.

I don’t hate you Mr. Fielding…I pity you. You want to be elected to represent the citizens. Yet you choose to deny the right of marriage to an entire group of taxpayers because you don’t agree with it or perhaps your belief system doesn’t agree with it. Well here’s a big FYI for you Mr. Fielding…your right to swing your dogma ends at the tip of my nose. Churches don’t issue marriage license Mr. Fielding, the state does…and the state has an obligation to treat ALL it’s taxpaying citizens the same. I suspect that concept will just baffle you.

If the church issued licenses and if we were REQUIRED to get married in a church (which we’re not by the way) then it would be a different story.

And let’s not even talk about the REAL tradition of marriage in the Christian tradition because it’s laughable…it included polygamy, incest, use of slaves…in one case a man ended up married to a kitchen condiment (you may recall Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt). Biblical marriage, as a template or a ruler against which all marriage should be measured, is a joke.

Until the 1960’s traditional marriage didn’t allow for people of different races to get married. Do you want to bring back that prohibition too? Come along Mr. Fielding…really use your brain to think through the ramifications of what you are saying. 1 man, 100 wives…this is a good idea to you?

You want to protect marriage? Outlaw divorce. Or introduce legislation to bring back stoning for those who commit adultery…that’s traditional too right?

If you want to hurt people Mr. Fielding don’t coach it in platitudes and say that you’re supporting a “tradition” or being “satirical”. If you want to hurt people, then do it…be a bigot and be proud about it. Let people judge you for the true person you are. To mask your true feelings is to treat your supporters without respect.

I think we cocksuckers being 4th or 5th class citizens isn’t good enough for you…I think that maybe you would like to pack the queers and the dykes away. You could set up camps like they did for the Japanese in the 1940’s…or better yet, you could setup camps like Hitler did. Round up all us faggots and just snuff us out…how’s that sound? Then we’re not citizens at all…we’re dead…problem solved…and you can go back to your traditional marriage and ponder who will be the next group deserving of your ire.

Thank you Mr. Fielding for showing people a little of your true colors. Some people will rally to your side. Some people will step back and wonder whether or not you are worthy of their support.

You are quite correct to not stay awake waiting for support from the gay community on election day…it most certainly won’t be coming. But then you don’t want it…this fairy says ‘wish granted’.

Good luck Mr. Fielding…I bid you peace.

Biden, HOLDER ANNOUNCE RECOVERY ACT FUNDING FOR PENNSYLVANIA TO SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT

The White House held a press conference in Philadelphia this morning to announce additional ARRA (stimulus) funds for law enforcement.  Pennsylvania stands to gain significant funding for police.

The Clinton Administration’s COPS program was very successful but was sliced and diced to near extinction by George W. Bush.  President Obama is committed to rebuilding this as part of the economic stimulus.

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced $1 billion in grants to fund the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers all across the country under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The grants will be awarded to 1,046 law enforcement agencies from all 50 states, including more than $20,163,683 in grants to fund the hiring and rehiring of 93 law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania.   These funds will provide 100 percent of the approved salary and benefits for these officers for three years.  All police departments receiving the grants will then be required to retain the grant-funded positions for a fourth year.

“A big part of the Recovery Act is about building communities – making them as strong as they can be, allowing every American family to live a better life than the one they are leading now,”  said Vice President Joe Biden.  “And we can’t achieve the goal of stronger communities without supporting those who keep our streets safe.”

Read more to see how many officers this program keeps or creates throughout the Commonwealth:

The COPS Hiring Recovery Program funds were awarded to the following applicants in Pennsylvania:

Agency Name

Officers Awarded

Award Amount

Harrisburg Bureau of Police                      

8

$1,689,552.00

Philadelphia Police Department                  

50

$10,903,350.00

Coatesville Police Department                    

1

$192,716.00

Chester Police Department                        

5

$970,315.00

Homestead, Borough of                            

1

$142,493.00

Erie, City of                                    

6

$1,563,720.00

McKees Rocks, Borough of                        

1

$223,083.00

Norristown Police Department                    

1

$309,540.00

Sharon, City of                                  

1

$194,901.00

Reading, City of                                

4

$1,000,100.00

McKeesport, City of                              

3

$641,763.00

City of Easton Pennsylvania                      

3

$669,768.00

Aliquippa, City of                              

1

$133,008.00

Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department

1

$165,158.00

Rochester Police Department                      

1

$181,125.00

Williamsport Bureau of Police                    

3

$644,499.00

Beaver Falls, City of                            

1

$167,625.00

Knox, Borough of                                

1

$160,172.00

Wilkinsburg Police Department                    

1

$210,795.00

Why All Progressives, Democrats, Unionists and Reformers Should Join ACORN

by Stephen Crockett

We are all familiar with the highly partisan and blatantly dishonest attacks on the low and moderate income advocacy group ACORN that dominated Fox News election coverage last Fall. Republican Right Wing partisans have remained loyal to their absurd talking points after the November election and continue to intentionally spread lies about the ACORN organization that all progressives, Democrats, labor activists and reformers should actively refute. These politically-motivated attacks on ACORN are based on two ridiculous ideas.

The first ridiculous idea is that this relatively small group of relatively poor individuals somehow is responsible for the mortgage crisis and the collapse of the economy. After decades of Reagan-Bush Republican mismanagement, Wall Street greed, assaults on unionized labor, unsound tax policies, unfair trade policies, disastrous healthcare policies, runaway corporate corruption, huge sweetheart government contracts going to Republican connected corporations and absurd financial deregulation, we need to understand that the structure of our economy needs serious fundamental reform. Reagan-Bush Republicanism ruled the market economically and politically to create the economic crisis.

The economic collapse has many more serious fundamental causes than just the collapse of the mortgage market. Income inequality, speculation, ending anti-usury laws, not enforcing anti-monopoly laws and excessive credit card debt can be added to the previous list of root causes underlining the current economic crisis. The Republican Right bears most of the responsibility for this situation. ACORN bears none!

First of all, sub-prime mortgages did not create the mortgage crisis. The notable economist Paul Krugman has debunked this Republican myth very effectively. The mortgage crisis has been spread across all income levels. Foreclosures are not limited just too poor people.

ACORN has never issued any mortgages nor has it pressured lenders to issue high-rate, unaffordable loans to poor and middle class Americans. Instead, for over a decade, ACORN has been the national leader in the fight against predatory lending.

The roots of the mortgage foreclosure problem are in the deregulation of the financial sector of our economy. Readers can find an excellent article outlining this situation, The Conservative Origins of the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis by John Atlas and Peter Dreier http://www.prospect.org/cs/art…  The article effectively refutes most of the Republican talking points on the root causes of the mortgage meltdown.

Secondly, ACORN has never been involved in election fraud. ACORN never tried to rig any election. The accusations are both false and politically-motivated in the extreme. The FBI investigation of ACORN for voter fraud so widely publicized during the election does not appear to exist. Every state and local investigation has proven ACORN to be innocent of any wrong-doing!

Every informed political person knows that voter registration forms once signed cannot be legally discarded even if the organization collecting them suspects fraud. It is a crime to discard those registration forms. ACORN has a policy of trying to verify the validity of voter registration forms and bundling suspect forms together before turning them in to election offices. ACORN is not required by law to do this extra step but voluntarily does so to help local election offices prevent voter registration fraud.

The real reason that the Republican Right has smeared ACORN on the voter registration issue is that ACORN helped register upward of 1.3 million new voters during the 2008 election cycle. The majority of these voters were low and moderate income Americans. Since they are low and moderate income voters, they tend to support Democrats more than Republicans. Everyone knows that the Republican Party supports the economic interests of the Super Wealthy and international corporations over those of poor and moderate income Americans.

Voter suppression targeting low and moderate income Americans by Republican operatives have been documented in almost every state in the nation in recent elections. The attacks on ACORN were designed to support legal action attempting to keep low and moderate income citizens from voting. Republican lawyers filed lawsuits in dozens of states as part of this effort during the 2008 elections with a special emphasis being placed on swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. The lawsuits failed basically everywhere because they lacked any merit or validity.

However, the illegitimate Republican lawsuits attacking ACORN were effective propaganda tools in keeping the hardcore Republican partisans fired-up and motivated during the election. These false attacks are still being used to keep the ever-shrinking Republican base motivated to fight the Obama economic recovery agenda. ACORN has lobbied hard in favor of much of this legislative agenda. It is easy to understand the Republican attacks if you read ACORN: The Bogeyman in the GOP Closet http://www.huffingtonpost.com/… .

When the attacks on ACORN began, I joined ACORN and became strongly involved in their political action, lobbying and community organizing activities. While ACORN consists of mainly poor and moderate income people, they accept anyone regardless of income who cares about the issues that impact poor and moderate income Americans.

ACORN is an important ally of progressives, Democrats, labor unions and reformers everywhere. ACORN is a strong supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act. They are fighting foreclosures and predatory lending. ACORN fights hard for equality before the law. ACORN helps bring millions of new voters into the political process. They fight to make our economy work for all Americans and not just the economic elite. ACORN is good for American Democracy.

Every progressive, Democrat, union activist and reformer in America should seriously consider showing their support by joining ACORN and becoming actively engaged in their efforts. You can join ACORN by contacting your local ACORN office or signing up via their website at http://www.acorn.org/.

Written by Stephen Crockett (Host, Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio… and Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.midatlanticlabor.com). Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702. Email: demlabor@aol.com. Phone: 443-907-2367.

Hoeffel, Meehan, and 2010 Intrigue

Two intriguing candidates in my mind for 2010… in much different respects are Joe Hoeffel and Patrick Meehan.  

In the Democratic field, Montgomery County Comissioner Hoeffel in my mind would be the main contender to Dan Onorato, and provide the “Don Cunningham effect” to the split that we were anticipating a year ago before it became clear that Cunningham was not going to run.  Onorato appears to be the favorite in the field so far.  A Hoeffel candidacy appears intriguing because he already has Jack Wagneresque name recognition (well maybe not that much but he’s well-known).  I am not sure how much COH Hoeffel has left over in his coffers from his 2004 Senate run.

In the Republican field, Pat Meehan, Tom Corbett and Jim Gerlach would be “one hot mess” of a GOP primary battle with Corbett so far as the anticipated favorite.  Some in the party want Meehan to take the GOP Lt. Governor post, but Meehan seems none too happy with that.  I am predicting that if Meehan does run for a post, he will surprise us all and run for Congress, becoming a very, very formidable candidate.  

Who are the top candidates to take over Jim Gerlach’s seat in 2010 for the Dems and GOP?

GOP Abandons States Rights Plank

The sacred plank of state’s rights has been foundation of the Republican Party since its formation during the slavery debate.  The GOP has steadfastly stood up against federalism and for state’s rights to the point where it came to civil war.  States have the right to determination of any issue not specifically enumerated to the federal government in the constitution according to their ideology.

How quickly they abandoned this last week when the NRA demanded they vote for a radical gun measure.  I’m sorry to report that many Democrats also knuckled under to the knuckle draggers including Bob Casey.  The bill would have required states to allow the carrying of weapons inside their state by anyone with a permit from another state.

There is nothing in the constitution giving this power to the federal government and states have kept this authority to determine who can carry deadly weapons as their right and not that of the feds.  The 58 Senators who voted for this bill did so in a naked attempt to severely limit state’s rights in a precedent setting bill which could have been the basis for completely emasculating state’s rights on every other issue.  Fortunately the bill needed 60 votes to close debate so was defeated by the narrowest of margins.

Allowing a wild west mentality to be forced on peace loving states by those western ones interested in open gang warfare on their streets and flying bullets through day care centers and the like was radical and extreme.  The fact the NRA dictated this vote and it failed illustrates their declining influence.  Common sense prevailed but, frighteningly, was a minority.  Sen. Casey has been in the pocket of the NRA his entire career and should be ashamed of this vote.  It could come back to haunt him.  I recall reminding people of his NRA affiliations during that primary election.