The Progressive Summit 2014 Style

Keystone Progress, with its partners, put on the fifth annual Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (not affiliated with this blog) Friday and Saturday in Harrisburg.  This is the final year of the organization’s Board Chair Eileen Connelly who is relocating to our eastern suburbs of New Jersey for family reasons.  Mike Morrill continues as Executive Director and Berks County’s own Jane Palmer organized the event once again.

Friday the Progressive Change Campaign Committee held a day long field training for candidates, campaign workers and interested parties.  PSEA kindly provided the space and President Mike Crossley made an appearance to talk with the 25 or so participants.  Kayla Wingbermuehle did the training which consisted of a pretty thorough (for one day) run through of determining win numbers, targeting precincts and voters, analyzing how many voter contacts to do to win and calculating the number of volunteers needed to do that.  She then went into a session about recruiting and training volunteers and how best to use them and keep them happy.  The final segment was about training the group in actual voter contact.  There were a lot of “do’s and don’ts” and considerable role playing mixed with exercises.

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Kayla Wingbermuehle

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State Rep. Erin Molchany, Keystone Progress PAC’s first ever endorsement, held an event Friday before the Gubernatorial debate.  Following the debate Keystone Progress held its annual event fund raiser.  Only two f the candidates for Governor attended that and I heard quite a few people in attendance wonder why the others weren’t there.

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Rep. Erin Mulchany

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Jim Hightower

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Jim Dean of Democracy For America

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John Hanger

More pictures are under the fold…

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Manan Trivedi

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Treasurer Rob McCord and Rep. Dan Frankel

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Jim Dean, Adams County Chair Roger Lund and Rob McCord

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Sen. Daylin Leach

Lt. Governor Debate

Six candidates for Lt. Governor debated Saturday at the 2014 Pennsylvania Progressive Summit.  There was little public disagreement except on the issue of fracking.  Brenda Alton and Brad Koplinski were vocal in their opposition and Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith was out of his element in his strong support of the practice.  Bradford County is on the state’s Northern Tier and is the most drilled county in the Commonwealth.  Alton was very good n the issues but no one knows who she is and she has no traction in the race.  She acknowledged there are some economic benefits but asked “At what cost?” which is the heart of the issue.  Koplinski mentioned New York’s moratorium then cited Pennsylvania’s many mistakes and said perhaps New York is waiting to learn from how we are screwing it all up.

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Brad Koplinski

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Jay Paterno

Jay Paterno, a recent entry into the race showed up and was very knowledgeable on the issues.  I didn’t agree with everything he said but he surprised me with his breadth of information.  State Sen. Mike Stack was impressive though he did mis speak about spending more on prisons than education.  We’re spending more on prisons than we are on HIGHER education, not education in total.  The straw poll came out with Koplinski on top with 59.7%, Mike Stack at 22.7%, Brenda Alton 10.4%, Mark Critz 4.5%, Mark Smith with a paltry 1.3% and Jay Paterno 0.6%.

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Sen. Mike Stack

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Mark Smith

Here’s a chunk of the debate before my battery ran out:

Jim Hightower a Hit At Summit

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Radio host Jim Hightower was the keynote speaker Saturday morning at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit.  Mixing wit, humor and a progressive take on things he stood at the podium in his Texas cowboy hat and wooed the 700+ people in attendance.  His radio show is based in Austin, Texas and he has also written several books along with publishing a monthly newsletter.  I began taping as he was talking about Tom Corbett and reviewing some of his most clueless remarks:

News & Notes January 19, 2012

Congressman Tim Holden withdrew his support for SOPA yesterday following a blackout day by major internet sites.  I’ve never known this corporate Democrat, my former Congressman, to back away from an issue.

My PA Progressive Summit workshop is scheduled for Sunday February 12th at 9 AM.  Titled Video 101  we’ll be teaching people how to setup, shoot, edit and upload videos.  Remember all those great interviews we did at McCain/Palin events in 2008?  We’ll teach you how to do them, how to edit them and where to upload them and post them on blogs.

The Penn State Board of Trustees meets again tomorrow amidst great controversy.  Alumni need to wake up to the reality of how this is seen by everyone not affiliated with the University.  Frankly I’m tired of seeing PSU being the subject of jokes.  It’s time to put this behind us and work on restoring our image.

The final vote totals in Iowa made Rick Santorum the winner by 34 tallies.  This means Mitt Romney has only won New Hampshire.  Rick Perry dropped out this morning.  I enjoyed his “vulture capitalism” attacks on Mitt and Bain Capital.  Maybe now Perry can go back to Texas and begin facing the reality of how climate change is destroying his state.

Former State House Speaker Bill DeWeese’s trial began this week.  This is the continuation of BonusGate.  It took the AG’s office forever to finally go after DeWeese.  Interestingly “One Term Tom” Corbett prosecuted all these politicos for mixing government with politics then turned around and did the same thing this week.  His Department of State hand delivered nominating petitions throughout the Capital in violation of the law.  No legislator will touch them for fear of it being a set-up.  Doing so would violate the very laws Corbett used to send former legislators to jail.  So was this a set-up or just sheer stupidity by Corbett?  I know the man isn’t the brightest star in the cosmos but apparently he doesn’t even shine in a mini-constellation.

President Obama rejected the costly and environmentally disastrous Keystone XL pipeline yesterday.  Reports it would create 20,000 jobs are bogus, it’s more like 6,000 temporary ones.  The risk of turning the Midwest into a BP oil disaster zone aren’t worth the risk.

Wisconsinites filed recall petitions against Gov. Scott Walker with more than 1,000,000 signatures, almost as many as the votes which put him into office.  Here they are filing them:

Summit to Feature Attorney General Debate

The Pennsylvania Progressive Summit is scheduled for Feb. 10-12th and it will feature a debate among the candidates for Attorney General.  Pennsylvania has never elected a Democratic AG but three people are vying for the nomination.  The Summit organizers (this blog has no affiliation with this event) released this today:

Where does the next Pennsylvania Attorney General stand on:

   Civil liberties?

   Consumer protections?

   LGBT rights?

   Workers’ rights?

   Environmental protections?

KaneFind out at the first debate among the Attorney General candidates at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit. All three Democratic candidates-Kathleen Kane, Dan McCaffery and Patrick Murphy will be there to answer our questions about these and other issues.

Admission to the debate is part of your registration for the PA Progressive Summit in Philadelphia on the weekend of February 10-12, 2012.

McCaffery.JPGIt promises to be the highlight of the progressive political year. Here are some other highlights:

*Presentations from progressive leaders from Wisconsin, New Hampshire and across the country. People like State Senator Jon Erpenbach, one of the Wisconsin 14 who fought to protect collective bargaining.

*Over 70 different panels, workshops and presentations by the best and brightest leaders, activists and innovators in the progressive movement

Patrick Murphy*More than 1,000 participants from all over the region and across the U.S.

*Democracy for America will be providing its extremely popular Campaign Academy

*and more to be announced…

The PA Progressive Summit will be the hottest ticket of 2012. Don’t miss out by registering late. Click here to register online now!

If you attended one of the first two Summits I know you’ll do everything in your power to be there again. If you haven’t been before, you won’t want to miss this one. It will be an historic step in our movement to Fight Back and Move Forward!

See you at the Summit!

Michael Morrill, for the Summit Organizing Team

Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2011: Rebuilding Alliances, Shaping New Messages

This is a guest post by Carl Davidson

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

Nearly 500 progressive and liberal organizers gathered at Pittsburgh’s Sheraton Station Square over the sunny but bitterly cold weekend of Jan. 22-23 to drawn out the lessons of their setbacks in the 2010 elections and shape a new course for the future.

Under the theme of ‘Taking Pennsylvania Forward,’ the two-day meeting was mainly pulled together by four ‘Organizing Sponsors’-Keystone Progress, a popular online communications hub for the state; SEIU, representing some 100,000 PA workers; the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a coalition between the United Steelworkers and advocates for new manufacturing enterprises; and Democracy for America, the outgrowth of the Howard Dean campaign in the Democratic Party.

A large number of unions other than the USW and SEIU also took part, as well as many local political, civil rights, women’s rights, youth and environmental groups from around the state. Beaver County was represented by a delegation from the 4th CD Progressive Democrats of America.

Eileen Connelly of SEIU chaired the opening session, and started off making an assessment of progressive gains and losses. When she got to ‘we have to continue pressing for and end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, she got a spontaneous round of loud applause. Her main task, however, was to introduce PA’s Senator Bob Casey.

“I want to focus on the future,” Casey began. “We need to put hope in the lead, and fear behind us. But hope comes from hard work and tough debates.”

Casey has been a liberal voice in the Senate on most issues, most recently around the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation beneath Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The shale contains immense quantities of natural gas, but it can only be released by a process of ‘hydraulic fracturing’ or ‘fracking’. Gas drillers go 4000 feet or more and then outward horizontally in a spoke-like array for up to a mile. Then a toxic brine is exploded underground, releasing the gas and bringing much of the brine back to the surface with it. There is great danger of polluting water supplies and toxic spills, among other hazards, and an insurgent movement critical of the process has been erupting through the region.

Casey noted that oil drilling and strip mining in the past had ‘left scars on the land, our communities, and our workers.” He pledged to work for gas extraction that was ‘done in a way protective to the environment, and the health and safety of workers and communities, too.” He ended by saying that, although he had to be a Senator for everyone, he always posed the question, ‘For whom do you fight, who do you put first? It’s the workers and their families that come first, especially the people without a voice in high places. They come first.”

That comment served as a perfect transition to the next speaker, Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Workers. He started off by noting the presence of a number of young people in the room, noting that the bleak future and high unemployment of many young workers was posing “basic questions about what kind of society do we want to become.”

“In the Bush years,” Gerard continued, “some 50,000 U.S. factories were shut down and moved abroad. We don’t have a deficit crisis; we have a jobs crisis. And we better face up to the fact that we have to hit the streets, kick some ass, and mobilize to do something about it. We know we can’t do it alone. The labor movement can’t work in isolation from the environmental movement, in isolation from the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, and so on.”

Gerard indicated that the road ahead would be tough. “In my own naiveté,” he explained, “I was dumb enough to assume that a Democratic Congress and a Democrat in the White House would put us on a different path.” But in order to rebuild a new clean energy and green technology manufacturing base, the only thing that will turn the jobs crisis around, he went on, it was going to taken a lot more organizing and developing our strength at the base and in the streets.

“I’m sick and tired of us whining about what the Democrats didn’t do,” he explained. “The tougher question is what are we doing, and do we have what it takes. Don’t worry about attacking Obama; attack the money! It’s Wall Street and the banks blocking a recovery and shipping our manufacturing abroad.”

Fired up by Gerard, the participants headed out for the first round of eight workshops sessions, with a total of some 72 workshops over the two days. The topics were wide ranging-the Marcellus Shale, gun violence, medical marijuana, hip-hop politics, social media, coalition building, green manufacturing and the economy, immigration reform, dealing with racism, marriage equality, women’s rights in society and the workplace, ending torture, running for office, winning elections and many more.

DFA ran a series of workshops over the two days focusing on grass roots organizing, campaign organizing, precinct organizing, and ‘get out the vote’ organizing. Attendees of the DFA workshops received a certificate and a handbook for organizing to run for office.

‘Building a 21st Century Economy’ was chaired and presented by two young women from the Blue-Green Alliance, Hillary Bright and Lauren Horne. “If we got the $100 billion Obama wants for Green jobs,” said Horne, introducing their PowerPoint presentation, “that would mean $4 billion for Pennsylvania, and that could turn into 86,845 jobs around the state. In addition to advocating new green energy manufacturing startups, the presenters also stressed the important of setting and enforcing regulatory standards, especially the Renewable Energy Standards and Clean Energy Standards.

“We also want to invite all of you to attend the upcoming annual ‘Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in DC Feb 8-10 in DC,” said Bright, wrapping it up. “We had over 3000 people come over the past three years, where we go into all of this in much more detail.”

Five different workshops over the weekend focused on pollution dangers from the Marcellus Shale drilling and coal-fired energy plants. Particularly outrageous was the dumping of fly ash and other waste in ‘Little Blue’ lake near Hookstown, PA, next to the West Virginia border and above the nearby Ohio River. It has become a giant toxic waster cesspool, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the impact Dec, 16, 2010:

“The Post-Gazette’s ecological study of mortality rates for heart and respiratory disease and lung cancer shows elevated rates for the combined area of Greene Township, Hookstown and Georgetown. Heart disease deaths there were 46 percent higher than the national rate. The total of 88 deaths from all three diseases is 42 percent higher than the predicted number of 62 deaths, based on national rates.”

“This is my hometown and these are my people,” said Tina Shannon, president of PDA in the 4th CD, and a workshop participant. “There’s only so much people can take. First they had to worry about their water. Now their kids are getting sick from playing outside when the wind’s blowing. We’ve got to draw the line and people are starting to get organized about it.”

Two back-to-back workshops, ‘Social Media 201’ and ‘Social Media Metrics,’ were especially interesting to those making use of internet technology in political campaigns. The main focus was on the use of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, both as ways of getting your message out and challenging the messages of your opponents and adversaries. In the lively back-and-forth between the presenters and attendees, dozens of tips and links were passed around on how to measure the impact of various efforts, and much more.

But economic problems remained as a center of gravity pulling on all discussions. One major workshop was pulled together by the Steelworkers: ‘Growing a Manufacturing Economy in the 21st Century.’ It featured Mickey Bolt, a USW member and a staff member of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and Ike Gittlen, USW’s AAM liaison chief.

Gittlen led off by posing the question: ‘Why should progressives care about manufacturing?’ He then projected a number of PowerPoint bullets: 1) necessary to create real wealth, 2) good jobs = strong communities, 3) good tax base = a more just society, and 4) social mobility = part of the American Dream.

“The hollowing out of our economy, the deindustrialization we see everywhere around here, the closing of factories and shipping them overseas,” Gittlen explained, “if we can’t fix these, you can forget about fixing everything else. And to fix this, we need to change and reshape industrial policy-and you can’t change policy with getting political power. That’s what it all boils down to.”

Gittlen’s points were reinforced by Bolt, who comes from Mercer County, about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh. “We have small towns like Greenville and Sharon that were centers on manufacturing. Today it’s mostly gone, and when the guts are taken out of these small communities, everything else begins to fail-the schools are under funded, the parks aren’t kept up, people stop going out to clubs and socializing-all sense of community begins to fade away as people become isolated and fearful.”

Both Gittlen and Bolt talked a good deal about China’s monetary and trade policies as a cause of the problem, and the need for U.S. officials to fight against them. One questioner from the floor challenged the emphasis: “Naturally, we want everyone to keep their trade agreements, ourselves as well as the Chinese, and we are doing unfair things that need correction, too.  But isn’t the main source of the problem with finance capital right hear at home? Shouldn’t we be mainly fighting for, say, a tax of the export of capital or a financial transaction tax to fund new startups. That might be a tougher bullet to bite, but it gets to the heart of the matter.” Gittlen responded by agreeing that the problems weren’t just on one side, but insisted that ‘all of the above’, including a focus on China, had to be carried out.

The main feature of the evening was a keynote address over by Rev. Jesse Jackson of Rainbow/PUSH, who was an early fighter against plant closings as well as civil rights, and thus warmly welcomed by this crowd.

Jackson began by recasting today’s political categories of progressive, liberal and conservative in terms of the fight against slavery.

“The conservatives of that day wanted to maintain and expand slavery,” he stated, “while the liberals wanted to make it less harsh and nicer. But the progressives of that time, those that claimed the moral center, were the abolitionists who wanted to do away with slavery altogether.

“The engine of change in our country,” he continued, “rides on two rails. One rail is the Democratic Party, the other is the Republican. But the train draws its power of movement from the third rail. That’s what we progressives are, the third rail, carrying the energy of change. We can’t just join the Democratic Party; we must change the direction of the party. We are not liberals. We are liberators.”

Jackson went on to stress the importance of new alliances. “We must really penetrate Appalachia. The region’s rural poor have a huge moral authority. No one can challenge their work ethic. No one can challenge their military commitment. No one can challenge their commitment to America.”

Republicans won their majorities, Jackson explained, by pledging to close budget deficits through spending cuts. “Their answer to a fire is a gas distribution plan.” This would lead to public sector layoffs while unemployment remains above 9 percent. New Deal-like projects were needed and the spending required should be offset by tax increases on the wealthy and by ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After Jackson speech, which drew a long ovation, the conference organizers gave out a number of awards. The most moving was to Anne Feeney, a widely loved Pittsburgh-based labor and folk singer. Feeney has been waging a person battle with cancer, and is now recovering. Her poised ability to take the stage and thank everyone was itself an inspiration.

A popular workshop on the final day was ‘Hip-Hop, Social Media and the Future of Organizing.  The presenters, who worked as a team, practically completing each other’s sentences, were Pittsburgh’s famous rapper, Jasiri X, and his elder co-worker, Paradise Gray. Jasiri got everyone energized by playing his rap video, ‘What If the Tea Party Was Black?’, which has gone viral, made the major news and irritated the Tea Party to no end. It must be seen to be fully appreciated; just Google the title.

“I must mention,” said Jasiri, “that I was inspired to do this by an essay by a white dude, Tim Wise, who wrote a heavy piece with the same title.” Then Jasiri and Paradise went on to discuss the evolution of hip-hop as spoken word poetry into the music video genre as well as live performances. ‘With a simple digital camera and a computer, you can put your piece on YouTube, then Tweet announcements around. If it’s good, it’ll take off, and on YouTube, they track the number of viewers and allow them to write feedback comments.” Jasiri went to explain how John Stewart and Stephen Colbert gave him the idea of writing and filming a weekly video rap about everything that went on in the news that week. He sustained the project for three years, and made a name for himself as a progressive and independent multimedia artist and rapper. But exhausted from the energy required, he decided to do more periodic pieces-that’s when ‘What if the Tea Party was Black?’ was born.

Some of these lessons continued intro one of the final workshops. It was a small one, titled ‘Blogging as a Tool for Communicating Progressive Ideas.’ Chaired by blogger Tom Waters, the panel included John Morgan of the PA Progressive blog, Maria Lupinacci of 2 Political Junkies, Lisa Kaneff of An Average Jane, and Barbara White Stack, blog editor for the Steelworkers.

What was interesting was the variety of approaches and tasks involved. “I pick a subject I’m interested in, like gay teen suicide,” said Waters, then I do Tweet searches to see what everyone else has to say, then I pick an angle that hasn’t been said, and write on it.” Morgan explained that he started his day with a disciplined reading of national and Pennsylvania newspapers to see what the hot topics and especially the new trend were, then to write, repost and link pieces from there. Lupinacci said she start simply by writing letters to the editor, the watching the Pittsburgh City Council on TV: “Some thing would just get me mad, some I set up a blog, and just started writing and posting every day on what got me annoyed or angry.

Stack had a different discipline. “I have to make sure everything on the site reflects the views of the Steelworkers. That means I have to keep up to date on all of our positions, what our leaders are thinking, and what issues need discussion. It’s not easy, but I really enjoy it, especially when I see our stuff getting bounced around the internet or mentioned in Congress or the major media.”

The conference wrapped up just in time. The hotel lobby was filling with crowds, mostly wearing black and gold, the colors of the Steelers football team. A few brave souls were in the green and white of the New York Jets. All were warming up for the big game that would decide whether the Steelers went to the super bowl. Most of the conference attendees were in no mood for the bitter cold of the stadium, making a beeline for home, and the pre-game TV specials and the high spirits of victory that followed later that evening.’

[Carl Davidson is a writer for BeaverCountyBlue.org , a member of Steelworker Associates in Beaver County, a national board member of the Solidarity Economy Network, and a national co-chair of CCDS, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.]

Marriage Equality: Details You Should Know to Make it Happen

( – promoted by John Morgan)

Cross Posted from SumofChange.com

Also from the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (paprogressivesummit.com), I’d like to bring you a few videos form a panel simply entitled ‘Marriage Equality’.  On this panel, the speakers discussed the benefits, issues, and consequences or allowing homosexual couples marriage rights equal to those of heterosexual ones.  The panelists and approached the topic from a variety of angles.  Some spoke about the legal issues equality, both in the PA state legislature and in the constitution, others talked about the religious aspects, especially from the Christian and Jewish traditions, and others talked about the moral and human rights aspect of the debate.

The clips below go into many of the arguments against marriage equality and gay marriage and why most of them struggle for validity.  The first video, PA state senator Daylin Leach, who sponsored a bill in the PA state legislature in support on marriage equality, goes into many of the arguments against gay marriage that he has heard while debating the bill.  As he says, no one has debated him twice, because no one has presented him an argument with any validity.  The second video looks at many of the religious issues brought up by the marriage equality debate.  Many think that religion has no part of the legal debate over gay marriage and often when religion is invoked, it is done so incorrectly.  Finally, the last clip discusses why marriage equality supporters should want legalized gay marriage and not civil unions.  Civil unions seem like an acceptable compromise, but really they are impractical and still discriminatory.

For more videos from the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit, go to SumofChange.com/paprog

For more info on the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit and it’s organizer, Keystone progress, please go to paprogressivesummit.org and keystoneprogress.org

Random Thoughts February 3, 2010

Punxsatawny Phil might, I fear, be correct about six more weeks of winter.  I awoke to the sound of snow plows this morning, not even as welcome a noise as an alarm clock.  They say more is on the way for the weekend.  I don’t know about you but I’m ready for spring!

Following last week’s allegations that Gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato ran former AG candidate John Morganelli ragged Bernie O’Hare reports he didn’t contribute a dime for Jack Panella’s Supreme Court campaign last year.  Lehigh Valley Ramblings has the story.  I have a message in with my friend Judge Panella and will update this when I can.

Update:  I just spoke with Judge Panella.  He doesn’t want to get dragged into this and actually cannot as it is political in nature.  He has no comment.

Congressman Jack Murtha is in the hospital once again.  It isn’t life threatening but doctors had to repair some damage caused by a previous procedure.

Bertha Lewis of ACORN is calling for state Attorneys General in Maryland and California to prosecute James O’Keefe for illegal wiretapping.  “Back when he was stalking ACORN acorss the country, he videotaped ACORN folks without their consent. And that’s illegal in Maryland and California, two states targeted. Now that he’s proven that his law-breaking isn’t a one-shot deal, we are demanding that the Attorneys General in California and Maryland conduct formal investigations of O’Keefe’s actions from last year.  O’Keefe’s arrest comes directly on the heels of a spate of investigations and court decisions [1] that have exonerated ACORN in the wake of his attack videos. The Congressional Research Service [2] and former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger [3] have already concluded that it was O’Keefe, and not ACORN staff, even those fired for acting inappropriately, who broke the law in the undercover videotapes.”

TJ Rooney says he almost forgot to buy his ticket for Friday’s DemFest with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  The Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has to buy a ticket to his own event?  I’d have loaned him my Party Blogger credential and he could have covered it for the blog.  That way I could get home and catch some sleep.

Pictures from The Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (not affiliated with this blog) are up here and here.  Yours truly is in a few.

I promised I’d upload the Blogging 101 PowerPoint to the web.  I contacted Chris Bowers of Open Left for the ideas and thoughts he expressed during the panel for inclusion and I should get that finished today.  Thanks for your patience.  This will make the presentation better.  Thanks Chris.

Former aide Mike Manzo is testifying in the BonusGate trial and he is devastating.  One interesting bit of testimony is his claim that the use of threats about money for staffs and offices to fellow legislators by leadership is devastating.  This is what I’ve been saying for years and demanding be reformed.  When a Majority or Minority Leader can force rank and file legislators into compliance by threatening to pull their staff and district offices, making constituent service and research impossible, we must change that system.

This is the system which keeps frustrating good people like Barbara McIlvaine Smith who opted not to run for re-election.  The old boys club atmosphere against women doesn’t help.  Meanwhile several candidates are vying for her open seat.  This is the seat which gave Democrats control of the State House four years ago.

Are you making cakes, cookies and pies for a local bake sale?  You’re breaking the law in Pennsylvania. I suppose that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  Can you imagine Tom Corbett rounding up a bunch of Amish or Mennonite women in a sting operation?  He’d never get them to trial though because no one could resist eating the evidence.

Is this woman the champion pill popper of all time or is Rush Limbaugh still the champion?

Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin got a withering warning by the Chief Justice about her incompetence after only one month on the bench.  I told you so…

I won’t be watching Sunday’s Super Bowl.  CBS is televising a Focus on the Family commercial featuring Tim Tebow.  In the past this network has refused to air issue oriented advertisements.  They are breaking their own policy.  If you are angry at CBS for this the best way to get back at them is to boycott the game.  That will affect their ad rates for next year’s game.  Hit them where it hurts:  below the belt in their wallet.

Tea Partiers are meeting this week for their “national convention.”  These are people whose hero is Sarah Palin, a former secessionist.  How do you call yourself a patriot when you support a secessionist?  Worse, she ran a socialist state in Alaska.

In all this debate about DADT I’m touched by all these conservatives who adore us so much they want to protect us from death and dismemberment.

Isn’t it nice that Jon and Kate have fallen completely off the media’s radar?  Now how do we get rid of Michael Jackson?

The underwear bomber (sorry I still get past a man wanting to blow off his balls) is cooperating with the FBI.  Instead of torturing people and proving to our enemies we’re as evil as them, smart people who are experts at interrogation got the information without compromising our values and principles.

Elliot Spitzer was on The Colbert Report last night.  Afterwards he celebrated with three hookers.

Rob Kall says an early draft of the constitution has been found.  Maybe now someone can find and salvage the real one.  We do seem to have lost it.

President Obama is congratulating Max Baucus and Chris Dodd for incorporating Republican ideas in the Senate health insurance bill.  Heck, that bill is ALL GOP ideas.

Gubernatorial Debate

I finally got all the 17 video clips downloaded from my Flip camera, edited and uploaded to YouTube.  In between phone calls chasing down the story on the Senate forum it took some time.  When Joe Hoeffel makes references to his long time, consistent record on women’s reproductive rights it is because of another candidates, at least perceived, past record, or lack of a record.  That candidate is Chris Doherty.  Jack Wagner artfully didged that question.  Two of the candidates stated they would support marriage equality.  We are making progress in Pennsylvania.

I thought Joe Hoeffel was the clear progressive winner on issues with Chris Doherty close behind.  Dan Onorato and Jack Wagner have never been progressive and didn’t pretend they were except for Onorato’s repeated use of the word.  I Tweeted that everyone should take a drink every time he said the word “progressive.”  Jack Wagner kept going back to his record as a State Senator so I also Tweeted that as part of the drinking game.  We may as well have some fun too!

It was a good debate, Four good men are running for Governor.  Kudos to the Summit organizers for a great event.  Sen. Specter’s bizarre behavior Saturday should not be what people take away from this weekend.  Watch these videos and enjoy what was a very good debate Friday night.  The moderator is Eileen Connelly of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.  Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress is at the computer monitoring Twitter for questions and taking questions from the audience on file cards.  That is his son Ben bringing them to the stage.  I asked Ben about his pay rate and working conditions and I’m trying to organize him to get some payment for his work, lol.  In actuality Ben was anxious to help somehow and he did a masterful job collecting the question cards and delivering them to his father.

The candidates, from left to right are Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Montgomery County Commissioner and former Congressman Joe Hoeffel and Chris Doherty the Mayor of Scranton.  I’ll post just the first video above the fold since I already have a lot of video on the blog’s front page.  Click on “There’s more” for the remainder.  My Flip camera ran out of memory in clip 17 so it ends rather abruptly.  That was just before the closing statements so I wasn’t able to record those and I skipped the opening statements because I knew I would have memory issues.

News & Notes From The Summit

It was truly a great weekend here in Harrisburg (I haven’t left as yet).Congratulations to all the sponsors and volunteers who put this event together in several short months.  Aside from a few glitches (giveaway items made in China for example) things went very well.  The energy level was incredibly high, everything flowed smoothly considering there were 600 people moving about a hotel not quite designed to accommodate so many, schedules were adhered to and so much networking was going on Eileen Connelly of SEIU Healthcare had to play traffic cop in the downstairs hallway.  Thank you Eileen, I don’t think I’d have made it to the Chestnut Room for a couple of my panels without that assistance.

Ms. Connelly received the Anna Burger Award for working to grow a progressive majority in Pennsylvania and, here’s where she’ll get ticked at me, I would have preferred to see such an award go to someone for whom this isn’t their job.  As much as I like and admire her, this is her job.  I can think of numerous people who were in that room for which this is their passion and who don’t get paid to do it.  It’s just my opinion but I think such an award should recognize folks like Lani Frank, Chuck Pennacchio, Tom Waters, Roger Lund, Jon Fox, Steve Crockett, and on and on.

Rick Smith and Jake Long brought The Rick Smith Show directly to the hotel and spent all weekend interviewing candidates and guests for their radio show which airs every weekend here in the Harrisburg area.  They do an excellent job in addition to Charles Showalter and Steve Crockett of countering right wing radio here in Pennsylvania.  I Co-Host Democratic Talk Radio with Steve, Walt Garvin and Dana Garrett and we need support and sponsorship to continue our work.  Don’t just get mad at Rush help us provide counter programming.

I want to thank the panelists who came and participated in the Blogging 101 panel with me.  Mark Cohen, Alan Franklin, Beth Becker and Chris Bowers.  Chris took the train from Philadelphia and back just to help on this and he was super, great and very informative as were all the other panelists.  I was asked to provide the PowerPoint presentation online and will as soon as possible.

I got four hours sleep Friday night, I think, from all the energy emanating from this event.  I got to bed very late Friday night with all the events and receptions and trying to touch base with as many people as possible.  I never even made it to Joe Hoeffel’s reception.  This was a super networking opportunity and I met many new people doing good, important work all over Pennsylvania and the nation.  Mark Karlin came from Chicago (Buzzflash) and Alan Franklin (ProgressNow) from Denver.  Many of my friends were here for whom all I was able to do was pass them in the hallways and say hello.  I wish there was more time.

I frequently heard the lament that there were so many good workshops and panels that people wanted to attend them all.  I thank all those who attended our Blogging panel, Alan Franklin’s workshop on using video and YouTube on which I assisted and our Planned Parenthood panel on women’s issues.  I also attended the panel with Sen. Daylin Leach on marriage equality.  I was running back and forth to the train station yesterday morning so I missed the keynote speech.  Does anyone have it on video?

Leo Gerard was a very good speaker Saturday evening and I imagine disgruntled many Democrats watching on PCN when he castigated them for being weak kneed.  The applause from the crowd had to get the attention of Democrats who used to meet in this very same room for State Committee meetings.  The progressive vote isn’t automatically Democratic or Green.  Candidates and parties must earn the votes and respect of these activists.

I did have several opportunities to meet and chat with people and make new friends.  I met Chris Goldstein of NORML and found we had a mutual love of Santa Fe.  There were people for whom we’ve known or been in contact but never met face to face.  There were a few people who were hoping to get together and meet this weekend but never caught up with them because there simply so many folks here and so much happening.  Often you just someone you knew in the packed hallway, said hello and kept moving so as not to gum up the works.

The hotel staff here at The Sheraton was super.  Aside from the freezing ballroom last night (it didn’t help that Sen. Specter was keeping one of the doorways open and cold air was streaming through) service was excellent, food was good and rooms in good shape.  Anything we needed for our panels was provided quickly and with good cheer.  It was so cold in the ballroom many people (including five at my table) wore their coats all evening.  Regular blasts of frigid air hit us every time a door opened.  It was so cold my dinner got cold before I was able to finish it.

Several friends of mine were instrumental in organizing and running this event and I’d like to salute them.  First and foremost is Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress.  Mike told me last night he hadn’t eaten all day.  Beth Becker, Jon Fox and Jane Palmer worked tirelessly planning and running this along with Charles Corbit and others.  Congratulations on a job well done.