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.

Brad Koplinski photo DSCN3296_zps40a80dfc.jpg

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%.

Sen. Mike Stack photo DSCN3291_zpse08feb13.jpg

Sen. Mike Stack

Mark Smith photo DSCN3295_zpsa0ce8f50.jpg

Mark Smith

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

Rep. Davidson to Announce for Lt. Gov.

A source tells me that State Rep. Margo Davidson is about to announce her candidacy for Lt. Governor.  She has been telling folks in Delaware County she has decided to run.  The field for Lt. Governor has been filling as quickly as that for Governor as Tom Corbett continues putting his foot in his mouth every time he opens it.

Rep. Davidson would join Mark Critz in the conservative Democratic wing of this primary.  Brad Koplinski, a certified progressive, has been leading this contest for some time and has amassed an impressive list of endorsements.  Margo Davidson’s record in Harrisburg is extremely troubling and includes a vote to close abortion clinics, prevent women from purchasing abortion insurance coverage with their own funds in the new ACA exchanges and support of school vouchers.  She spoke for vouchers on the House floor, an effort which drains our public schools of desperately needed revenue.

Thus far vouchers and charter schools have siphoned $1.5 billion from Pennsylvania’s public schools.  Several abortion clinics were forced to close after the infamous ambulatory surgical center standards passed with Davidson’s help.   Others were forced to spend millions making unnecessary renovations which increased the cost of abortions.

Just because a legislator is Black and/or female does not mean they are progressive.  Margo Davidson is proof.

Critz’ PR Firm Caught Faking Fracking Petition

Former Congressman Mark Critz now works for EIS Solutions and that firm just got caught submitting a fraudulent petition in Colorado.  EIS Solutions filed the document in Fort Collins, CO on behalf of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.  It had 600 fraudulent signatures, some from businesses.  The effort was to be in support of hydrofracturing or fracking.  Supposedly supporting the controversial practice many of those whose supposedly signed didn’t even know what fracking was and said they saw the document.  

We should be very careful to watch what EIS Solutions does here if this is how they operate.

News & Notes August 12, 2012

State Rep. Randy Vulakovich ran away with last week’s special election and will replace Jane Orie as State Senator for the 40th District.  He replaced Jeff Habay when he was convicted on similar crimes:  using taxpayer funded state resources for political work.

Nancy Brinker stepped down as head of the Komen Foundation.  Participants in their Relay For Life fundraisers is down (sometimes up to 40%) due to its decision to defund Planned Parenthood.  

Poor Mitt Romney can’t seem to stop himself from lying.  The pathological prevaricator keeps releasing ads rated “pants on fire.”  Then he complains when Obama goes after his tax and business records.  What a crybaby.  If you can’t keep it honest…

I haven’t figured out if Sen. Pat Toomey is stupid or simply clueless.  He reiterated again last week that government doesn’t create jobs or prosperity.  The era after WWII to 1981 disproves this theory.  High taxes on the rich fueled an era of prosperity unmatched in human history.  The Reagan Revolution ended it with jerks like Toomey dismantling everything.  The Obama stimulus created over 3 million jobs.  Toomey thinks it failed.  Tell that to the 14,000 Pennsylvania teachers who had jobs until it ended.

Another accident caused by the awful “turn right on red” law.  Enabling ignorant drivers to run red lights with abandon was stupid.  No one obeys the law which requires you to come to a full stop first and NOT turn into oncoming traffic has caused me numerous very close encounters.  Each time the moron behind the wheel claims they had a right to run the light directly in front of me under the law.  They don’t and this needs to be repealed.

When I tell people in other states that here in the Keystone State you can be arrested for parking tickets they think I’m crazy.  A proposed new law would end the cycle of constables showing up at homes to arrest drivers for failure to pay parking tickets.  You can actually be handcuffed, drawn in to the back of some ancient, flea trap of a vehicle and hauled off to court for a hearing.  Constables make huge incomes doing this and are trying to derail the law ending the practice.  Sen. Pillegi is blocking it.

The Obama campaign had this all ready to roll out yesterday:

Paul Ryan isn’t just anti-choice he supports “personhood” legislation making a fertilized egg a human being with full rights.  But he won’t give me full rights.

Eric Holder decided not to prosecute the banksters whose fraud crashed the economy.  Jill Stein for President.

The VoterID fiasco continues to make news.  Congressional candidate Larry Maggi may not be able to vote for himself.

Allegheny County Republican Chair Jim Roddey thinks Obama supporters are “retarded.”  Wow, what does that make a Romney supporter?  His bad taste joke:

“There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly — he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, ‘Sir, here’s a place.’ And he said, ‘That’s a handicapped space.’ I said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded.'”

Speaking of bad jokes Mark Critz reportedly made an anti-woman quip to the Pennsylvania Association of Democratic Women.  Apparently it has cost him considerable support.

Obama has not only deployed drones (including at Fort Indiantown Gap) to spy on us but now has a blimp.  At least we can see when this one is lurking over our swimming pools.

The former Chair of the Florida GOP, notorious for voter disenfranchisement, says it was all intentional to deprive Blacks their right to vote.  This is also what VoterID is for according to Jim Greer.

A Magisterial District Judge has been forced to step down after making sexual advances in return for promised verdicts.  Justice for sale is ugly.  Anyone can run to be a MDJ and only voters decide who is qualified.  District Courts handle all sorts of cases including preliminary hearings in criminal cases.  Maybe it’s time we required some kind of law degree.  There are some really bad Magistrates out there.

Proposition H8 organizers violated California’s law on disclosure and are facing fines.  

There’s been virtually nothing on major news outlets about the growing LIBOR scandal.  Banksters continue getting away with rigging the game with no consequences.  Now these criminals are turning on one another.  You have to love it when sharks turn on themselves!

Here’s what happens when assholes like Sen. Williams turn public schools into private, for profit religious ones.  Education takes a back seat to mythology and fantasy as reality.  Reality check:  humans an dinosaurs didn’t cohabit the planet, dragons aren’t real and the Trail of Tears wasn’t good for Indians.

Meanwhile Christian music star Randy Travis was found naked and drunk by cops.  He then threatened the guy and his family.  How very Christian of him.

Finally, in a bit of Penn State news coach O’Brien is putting players names on the jerseys.  It has been a PSU tradition that team trumps individuals.  I honor the tradition and think this is blasphemy.  Football is a team sport.

Holden, Altmire Bite the Dust

Newcomer Matt Cartwright stunned Blue Dog Tim Holden and Mark Critz bounced Blue Dog Jason Altmire out of Congress tonight.  This is progress for Pennsylvania.  Ironically Holden loved his new District map so much he twisted arms in the state legislature to approve the redistricting.  It cost him his seat.

In other races Kathleen Kane will lose to david Freed in  November, Gene Stilp won in PA-11 to challenge Lou Barletta using, as he Tweeted, grassroots and social media.  Rick Daugherty defeated Jackson Eaton in PA-15.

Erin Molchany won the nomination for the 22nd State House seat, Marty Schmotzer will take the seat until January and various other races are still close.  My friend Joe Haas swept to victory in House 187 over Bill Bispels who really didn’t mount a campaign,  

CD 12 Endorsement

One of the fiercest battles this year has been the fight between current Congressional incumbents Jason Altmire and Mark Critz in the redrawn 12th Congressional District.  Since Pennsylvania lost a seat due to the census Republicans packaged these two men together in the new 12th.  Altmire is a very conservative Democrat who defeated radical right Representative Melissa Hart for his seat.  Critz inherited his when Jack Murtha passed away.

Jason Altmire is someone who votes with Republicans most of the time on key issues, in key votes.  His Democratic credentials are more questionable even than Tim Holden’s.  In fact he makes Tim look like a liberal.  I cannot support someone with such a right wing voting record.

Mark Critz has been a staunch supporter of Labor though and has a more moderate voting record.  He is not a progressive by any stretch of the imagination though.  The shenanigans surrounding his election in a special election still hang over him but he is the better choice in this conservative region of Pennsylvania.  I won’t endorse him because he is not a progressive but there is a clear choice in this race for union workers and their families.

News & Notes April 10, 2012

State Representative Dante Santoni Jr. has endorsed Democrat Mark Rozzi to succeed him in the 126th (my) District.  This is significant not only because Dante is the incumbent but because it is a clear break from his mentor Tom Caltagirone who is supporting Frank Denbowski.  I see far more Rozzi signs in yards in the District, maybe 10-1.  This is a safe Democratic seat with a tea bagger running on the GOP side so the primary will determine the winner.

The interesting 22nd District is also seeing a clear front runner in Erin Molchany.  Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus is her latest endorsement.  Mark Schotzer, anointed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in the special election, admittedly stole $50,000 from Allegheny County taxpayers and failed to pay $25,000 to the IRS the last time he was in public office.

David Axelrod was home in Philadelphia to endorse Patrick Murphy for Attorney General.  The former Congressman knows President Obama well and worked with him while in Washington.  Murphy also secured the endorsement of the Pennsylvania National Organization for Women,  significant because his primary opponent is Kathleen Kane.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will be at Penn tomorrow on their Joining Forces Anniversary Tour.

Mark Critz and Jason Altmire held a debate in Johnstown illustrating why neither is a progressive.  They argued over balanced budget amendments, illegal immigration and funding for Planned Parenthood.  Meanwhile a woman has launched an attack website against Critz foe refusing to support her against her allegations of women being raped while serving in the military.  Critz sits on the Armed Services Committee.

Rick Santorum has an event today at the Gettysburg Hotel at 2 PM.  He then travels to Lancaster Bible College where he will appear with his wife and James Dobson at 7:15 PM.  Mitt Romney will be on the PA-Delaware state line at the Mendenhall Inn with Chester County Republicans at 7:30 PM.  The Inn is on Route 52 south of Chadds Ford.

News & Notes March 27, 2012

As we near the one fourth mark of the year this also means the end of the first quarter fundraising period for federal candidates.  This means our inboxes will be full of emails asking for contributions.  Campaigns cost money so give until it hurts.  We’ve seen what the alternative is…  That’s far more painful.

I’ll be in Philadelphia tomorrow for an interview so blogging will be light.  Unfortunately, with the new texting law blogging while driving is against the law, lol.  I do so wish there was a train!

The Steel City Stonewall Democrats have endorsed Erin Molchany for Chelsa Wagner’s House seat.  Her opponent once stole $50,000 from Allegheny County taxpayers and reneged on $25,000 in taxes to the IRS.  This one’s a no brainer unless you sit on the PA Dems Executive Committee.

Bill Clinton endorsed Kathleen Kane for AG.  The co-owner of an anti-worker, anti-union trucking company co chaired Hillary’s presidential campaign in her region in 2008.  The Clintons are famous for their loyalty.  Its just too  bad they aren’t showing that same loyalty to their union friends.

Meanwhile the AFL-CIO endorsed Patrick Murphy for the post.  If you’re a working person there’s no choice in this primary.  For some insane reason they also endorsed Tim Holden after swearing they wouldn’t following his votes against working people.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is conducting its 40th anniversary state convention in Philadelphia this week.  Speaking tomorrow will be D. Alexander Bullock, Chapter President of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Foundation in Detroit.  I’ll be interviewing him following his speech about voting rights, union organizing rights, voter education and voting registration.

The Critz campaign says their internal polling has them within 7 points of Jason Altmire.  That still spells defeat.

I applied, yet again, to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department for funds owed me from years ago.  They advertise these unclaimed monies periodically and a relative let me know I was on the list.  I applied for my money two years ago and they never responded.  Rob McCord, I want my money and I want it now.

He’d better listen to me because Pat Robertson says I’m possessed.  Heaven knows what I might do…   Oops, I meant hell.

People on the right wing are asking what makes the Trayvon Martin case national news.  it’s national news because of the Stand Your Ground Law and the fact the local police department didn’t do anything against a man who stalked, attacked then murdered a teenager for the crime of walking while Black.  If you cannot understand how this is major news you are dumb and ignorant.

The Pennsylvania Civil Rights Network has some details on the lawsuit against Tom Corbett filed for his corruption while Attorney General.  Juicy stuff.

Activist Roxanne Pauline shot this video of HHS Regional manager Joanne Grassi speaking recently in Scranton:

March 5, 2012

A Commonwealth Court Judge has ruled Jason Altmire stays on the ballot.  Mark Critz challenged the residency of an Altmire staffer who circulated nominating petitions.  Documents were presented at Friday’s hearing showing both residences.  If it had been me I’d have gone with where she watches TV.  From the Critz camp (Mike Mikus):

“We disagree with the judge’s decision and are currently exploring our legal options. It was clear from the beginning that the Altmire campaign violated the law in numerous instances and the fact that they withdrew approximately 400 signatures – nearly 25 percent of the total they submitted – demonstrates that our case is very strong.”

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (of which I’m a Board member) is looking to hire someone for healthcare financing.  We are seeking a person with experience with Medicaid, a Pennsylvania department or legislative body with strong research and relationship building skills.

Equality Pennsylvania is urging everyone to sign a petition urging Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott to support marriage equality.  Sign it here.

Extreme, violent weather killed 38 more people last week.  Idiots continue claiming climate change isn’t happening while we’re witnessing the results constantly.  Isn’t it too bad that people are dying because of those who choose to live in a fantasy world?  Meanwhile morons like Ron Paul say the corporate sponsored weather fatalities are too bad, the government shouldn’t pay for it.  He is right about one thing:  it’s the business community which needs to pony up and pay.

Indiana wants to give homeowners permission to kill cops.  The NRA supports the police assassination bill.

The Catholic Church, the folks who brought us the Dark Ages and the Inquisition, think they are dictating morality to us by insisting that contraception is evil.  These are the very same people who thought priests molesting boys was OK.  So much so that Cardinal Bevilacqua had a list of pedophile priests shredded and Allentown Bishop Edward Cullen conspired to do it.  So much for moral authority…

When women in Virginia dared stand up for their rights they were met by police in riot gear.  31 were arrested.  When are we going to begin arresting these paramilitary police who are violating our rights?

The Department of Justice is investigating Chesapeake Energy for violations of the Clean Water Act.  I should disclose that I’ve known about the DOJ investigation for about a year but chose not to divulge that knowledge so as not to jeopardize the investigation.  They have been on the ground in Pennsylvania for some time.

People in Dimock are finally going to discover what is in their water.  If you saw Gasland you know they light their tap water on fire.

Opponents of Voter ID presented 70,000 signatures today in Harrisburg.  Instead of creating jobs Republicans spent their time working on a bill to deprive thousands of their right to vote.  They based this on the assumption that people impersonate others at the polls.  This is a non existent problem.  Why don’t these reactionaries just fess up and be honest about what they do?  Quit lying to us and be honest for once.  This isn’t about dead people voting (because it doesn’t happen) it’s the Deny Democrats the Right to Vote Act.

Minnesota State Rep. Mary Franson thinks if you get food stamps you’re a wild animal.  See, some of these whackos do say what they think.  The bad news is that they’re batshit crazy.

Critz Challenges Altmire Petitions

Congressman Mark Critz is challenging Congressman Jason Altmire’s position on the April primary ballot by contesting 942 of the signatures of his nominating petitions.  Altmire filed 1651 signatures and 1000 are required for the federal office.  If successful Critz would eliminate his opponent without firing a single shot in a heavily watched race.  Because of reapportionment Pennsylvania lost a Congressional seat and Republicans controlling the process (along with Democrats Bob Brady and Mike Doyle) pitched these two incumbent Democrats against each other.

The rules for gathering petition signatures are strict and every candidate is provided with a list of the rules when filing to run with the Pennsylvania Department of State.  In addition these rules are listed on its website.  There’s really no excuse to violate them as widely as it appears Altmire did.  Critz alleges that a staffer for his opponent circulated petitions while not residing within the District.  That would disqualify every signature on those petitions.  In this instance that would mean 610 signatures.  Subtracting that figure from the 1651 filed and he’s perilously close to being disqualified.  Only 42 additional ones need to be disallowed.

Here’s the list as supplied by the Critz campaign:

610 Defective Circulator’s Affidavits

115 Line Information Omitted

87 Illegible

85 Nicknames or Initials

79 Not Registered

66 Omitted or Incorrect Municipality

64 Line Information in the Hand of Another

38 Not Registered at Address

33 Not Registered Democrats

24 Invalid Dates

22 Duplicate Signatures

17 Struck Before Filing

16 Struck by Pennsylvania Department of Commonwealth

12 Signed After Circulator’s Affidavit Dated

8   Printed Signatures

1   Printed and Signed Different Names

Judges often won’t disqualify for minor mistakes such as listing the wrong municipality or dates depending on the individual case.  They tend to define their decisions based upon the intent of the voter.  If that is clear they’ll uphold the signature.  There certainly appear to be enough justifiably contested signatures here to threaten Congressman Altmire’s career.  If, indeed, one of his staffers not living in the District filed as the circulator he has no legitimate legal recourse to uphold those 610 signatures and his career will be over.  There’s no excuse for such a mistake but a confidential source told me earlier this week there, indeed were, problems with a circulator.

Most of the new District lies in Altmire’s old District so most of the voters there know him better than Critz.  That could also work to his disadvantage in a Democratic primary though because his voting record shows he’s actually an elephant in a donkey costume.  Critz hasn’t been in office long having succeeded the late John Murtha in the old PA-12.

I’ve had my problems with both of these conservative Congressmen in the past, particularly with the way Critz was selected by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party after Murtha died.  He’s far superior to Altmire, in my estimation and should be the choice for Democrats in this election.

Update:  From the Critz campaign:  “Actually, the 610 number is attributed to multiple circulators. His staffer accounts for 385.”

This means there were more circulators not eligible to do so for Altmire.  Really bad judgment by someone high up in that campaign if true.