Joe Hoeffel announced this morning that he will not run for re-election as Montgomery County Commissioner. He astutely allied with fellow Commish Jim Matthews to be in the majority following Bruce Castor’s implosion four years ago. That began when he ran Matthews under the bus for accepting campaign contributions from convicted felon Bob Asher. That story broke here on The Pennsylvania Progressive. Hoeffel had gotten into some hot water when it was revealed that he and Matthews routinely met for breakfasts. That was an apparent violation of the sunshine law because they formed a quorum of the County Commissioners by meeting.
Josh Shapiro, Hoeffel’s former Chief of Staff when he served as a Congressman, announced he will run to succeed Hoeffel. Josh is a State Representative and a leading reformer in Harrisburg. He is a brilliant young man who impresses everyone. He has a great future and will make a fantastic Commissioner.
In the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson gun sales there continue unabated. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent undercover agents to a recent gun show in Phoenix where they were able to purchase firearms in spite of telling dealers they wouldn’t pass a background check. New York, like many other cities, is wrought with gun violence perpetrated by criminals able to buy guns and extended magazines at gun shows and from unscrupulous dealers. Yes, guns kill people. Countries which severely restrict gun sales and ownership have a fraction of the gun deaths we do. That’s proof that it isn’t the people but the guns. Let’s begin taxing ammunition heavily and we’ll cut the number of senseless deaths substantially. I like Chris Rock’s idea: if bullets cost $5,000 apiece these fools will think twice before pulling the trigger. Nothing in the constitution says anyone has a right to ammunition.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided to decide on the role judges play in determining whether minor girls can obtain permission for abortions from the courts. The state’s Abortion Control Act, one of the most restrictive in the nation, requires such permission if a young woman cannot obtain parental permission. The issue of parental consent is a hot button issue. Responsible parents understandably want to be involved but in too many cases they are the problem. Until we live in a perfect world where incest doesn’t occur this is a serious issue. Young women should not be forced to obtain permission from an abusive and incestuous parent for an abortion.
A federal judge in Florida ruled the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. So far some judges have agreed and others disagreed. Until this is ruled upon by the Supreme Court nothing will be settled. While I feel the Interstate Commerce Clause provides sufficient legal basis for the law I’ve never felt comfortable with the Act forcing Americans to buy insurance from private corporations with no public option alternative. This amounts to a giant governmental underwriting of private business at taxpayer’s expense. That is a purely Republican position and it mystifies me why they’d oppose such legislation. The mandate is the part of the health insurance bill I dislike so this thrills me.
Demonstrations continue throughout Egypt today while the government successfully shut down Al Jazeera. The Arab network had been broadcasting video of the revolution sweeping the country against President Hosni Mubarack. Here is a picture Tweeted from Cairo today:
a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/20915586@N00/5405178073/” title=”Cairo Demonstration by morgan_2408, on Flickr”>
I wonder where Fox News sent their correspondents? Back in 2009 they broadcast this map of the Middle East:
President Obama will speak at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State Wednesday at noon. I have White House press credentials but a major winter storm set to hit us tomorrow night may make that impossible. Didn’t anyone in Washington check the forecast first?
The Koch brothers, major financiers of the Tea Party and the Heritage Foundation held their annual Billionaire’s Caucus in Rancho Mirage, California to be met by hundreds of protesters. They were met by police in riot gear. Isn’t it nice to know the Koch brothers billions are going for a good cause???
House Republicans in Harrisburg backed off a vote today stripping Democrats of a member on each committee. Protests over the weekend and a press conference by good government groups in the Rotunda this morning may have given them pause. They got tons of bad publicity over the weekend. Democrats robo called for support yesterday.