PA-13 Endorsement: Daylin Leach

I endorse Sen. Daylin Leach for Congress in the 13th District.  I’ve known the State Senator for a few years and he’s one of my progressive heroes in Harrisburg.  He has consistently led the fight for progressive issues, a leader and not a follower.  No one has been a more steadfast supporter of the LGBT community in the state legislature over the years.  I cannot imagine a more worthy successor for the Democratic seat being vacated by Allyson Schwartz as she seeks the Governors Mansion.

I really like Rep. Brendan Boyle also but his track record in Harrisburg is much shorter than Daylin’s.  There’s simply no way I cannot support Leach regardless of whoever is running.  I know very little about Valerie Arkoosh and Marjorie Margolies has a long history of ethical issues.

PCCC Endorses Daylin Leach in PA-13

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has formally endorsed State Sen. Daylin Leach for Congress.  He is running in PA-13 to succeed Allyson Schwartz who s running for Governor.  Daylin is one of the most liberal members of the state legislature and has led on progressive issues both while serving in the House and Senate.

From the PCCC:

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is endorsing Daylin Leach for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 13th District, calling Leach a “game changer” and praising his leadership on popular progressive issues such as expanding Social Security benefits, raising the minimum wage, and making college more affordable.

“Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren have proven that bold progressives in Congress can change the national conversation. Daylin is one of those game changers,” said Adam Green, PCCC co-founder. “When Wall Street front group Third Way attacked Elizabeth Warren and Social Security, Daylin could have remained silent — especially since his outgoing Congresswoman, Allyson Schwartz, was a Third Way Chair. Instead he denounced Third Way and demonstrated the kind of clarity and bold leadership we need in Congress.”

In response to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Third Way President Jon Cowan and Third Way Senior Vice President for Policy Jim Kessler attacking popular progressive ideas, Leach told Huffington Post:

“I found the editorial appalling, quite frankly. Social Security literally lifted up entire generations of senior citizens out of poverty. I support Elizabeth Warren’s proposals [to expand benefits] and I would not consider myself a Third Way type of candidate in any respect.”

This week, Leach joined the PCCC and progressive candidates from across the country to launch a joint petition calling on Republicans to support raising the minimum wage, a key economic issue ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.

Tomorrow’s national endorsement and fundraising email to PCCC members is copied below. The PCCC is fundraising for Leach’s campaign from it’s membership base of over 2,000 members in PA-13, more than 29,000 members in Pennsylvania, and nearly 1 million members across the country.

During the 2012 election cycle, the PCCC members raised over 2.7 million dollars for candidates through 250,000 small-dollar donations including hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple House campaigns. PCCC members made over 2 million calls to voters for progressive candidates. Over 30 PCCC-endorsed campaigns won, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for U.S. Senate and Mark Takano (D-CA), Alan Grayson (D-FL), and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) for Congress.

MontCo Rallies For Bruce Hanes and Marriage Equality

As of closing today Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes has given out 78 marriage licenses to same sex couples and 21 of them have wed.  Sixteen couples applied today alone and last week saw one couple drive from Pittsburgh and another couple from Portland, Maine get a license to marry here.  Many of these couples seem to be from Southeastern Pennsylvania but some are taking advantage of this window to drive from different corners of the Commonwealth to Norristown.  

Today those LGBT and straight allies of Hanes held a rally in frnt of the Montgomery County courthouse to show their appreciation.  Included were three candidates for Congress in the 13th CD.  Also speaking were several House members from Harrisburg:  Mark Cohen, Brendan Boyle, Matt Bradford and Madelein Dean.

Before the event began a couple came by on their way in to get their marriage license and joined the rally.  Lisa Dow Summey and Renee Juliano even got to speak and showed off their newly minted marriage license.  They have three children who now will be able to have more secure futures because their Moms will be legally married and entitled to more than a thousand rights denied them until now.

Sen. Leach:


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Sen. Leach is hugged by a couple he personally married:

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This adorable little boy has a question:

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Summey and Juliano:

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Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2013

Six hundred people from 42 counties and 17 states converged on the Harrisburg Hilton Friday and Saturday for the fourth Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (not affiliated with this blog).  It kicked off with a session Friday afternoon with David Cobb of Move to Amend.  He leads the effort to overturn Citizens United and repeal corporate personhood.  He also gave a rousing speech Saturday at lunch telling the crowd that righteous anger is not only justified but necessary.

Scott Paul:

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Jim Dean:

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The morning session on Friday had a welcome speech from Eileen Connelly Chair of Keystone Progress.  Mike Morrill, the Executive Director, also spoke.

Keynote speaker David Cobb:

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AJ Marin of Lancaster introduced four of the Hershey guest workers whom Keystone Progress aided last year.  These foreign students came to Hershey as part of a J1 visa cultural program and then were subjected to enormous exploitation by Hershey Foods.  They were housed in a basement room with no more than curtains separating each person and males and females weren’t given separate accomodations.  They worked double and triple shifts at a packaging plant for low wages when they had supposedly been brought for a cultural program.  The only culture provided by Hershey was the opportunity to see how American grassroots advocacy comes to the aid of the oppressed.

Jim Dean of Democracy For America and Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing also spoke.  Kate Michelman received the Anna Burger Award for lifetime achievement.  She led NARAL Pro Choice America for years and worked for the Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.

Kate Michelman:

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The lunchtime event was scheduled to have the three Democratic Row Officers Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Treasurer Rob McCord and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.  Eugene had a family event get in the way and had to cancel and Kane simply didn’t show up leaving McCord with the audience all to himself along with moderator Sen. Daylin Leach.  Both men are known for their senses of humor and they provided a spirited exchange including questions of whether either one had a big formal announcement to make.  McCord is rumored to be running for Governor and Leach will be running for Congress when Allyson Schwartz declares her campaign for Governor.  With Daylin supporting Allyson sharing the podium with McCord could have been awkward but these are two very nice men who don’t have it in their bones for that nonsense.

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The first workshop I attended was a legislative update with reporter and columnist Will Bunch moderating.  Rep. Jesse White was very good reviewing the state of the legislature along with the Chiefs of Staff for both Sen. Leach and Sen. Jim Ferlo.My second workshop was called “The Fourth Estate:  Cracking the Code on the Role of Journalsim in Government and Politics.  This is what I do so the session was very interesting.  It was moderated by reporter John Micek and included Bunch, Eric Boehm of PA Independent, Chris Comisak of CapitolWire and Tara Leo Auchey of Roxbury News.

The legislative panel:

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The media panel:

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Since I work with the White House Office of Public Engagement I wanted to attend their session but it was canceled.  Maybe sequestration hit their travel budget.  Instead I went to the AFL-CIO’s panel on Right to Work For Less.  Frank Snyder, Secretary-Treasurer gave a great, humorous Powerpoint.  On the issue of lottery privatization (also called crony capitalism)  he showed this slide of the House chamber turned into a giant keno casino.  

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The day wrapped up with Beth Becker’s Social Media 101.  Beth worked for Lois Herr’s Congressional campaigns in Lancaster County and now resides in DC where she does consulting on using social media.  She represents the Congressional Progressive Caucus among other clients.  I always learn new secrets about using social media at her workshops.  The only downside to the Summit is only being able to attend five workshops.  Each session has four or five you’d want to attend.  I try and hit the ones where I can learn the most.

Saturday ended with a film about ALEC and then a salsa dance party.  In future years the Summit is going to remain in Harrisburg where it is best attended due to its central proximity.  Last year it was in Philadelphia where few people came from western Pennsylvania and the year before that we were in Pittsburgh where most attendees were from the western part of the Commonwealth.

News Tidbits From the Progressive Summit

I’m in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit sponsored by Keystone Progress (not this blog) and got a few tidbits at the social receptions tonight.  Expect Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz to formally announce for Governor in April.  The following day State Sen. Daylin Leach will formally announce for her seat in the 13th CD.  State Rep. Mark Cohen is also considering a run for the open Congressional seat.  His state House district lies in the 13th CD, Leach resides just outside of it.

John Hanger was the first Gubernatorial candidate to show up at the Summit, I expect more tomorrow.

NAACP Calls VoterID Election Fraud

The NAACP held a two hour rally on the Capitol steps today (Tuesday) against VoterID.  The heat was oppressive but several hundred people braved the conditions to make their voices heard.  I finally gave up on getting pictures and video as people crowded the podium and blocked my access.  It was a good thing though as I needed to get inside and cool down, get something cold to drink and prepare for the Aichele press conference.  The video:

News & Notes June 1, 2012

There’s a lot of news happening.  I’ve been battling one of my periodic headaches for the last week so I apologize for not posting more.

Congressional candidate Missa Eaton (PA-3) in northwestern PA, is holding a reception in Philadelphia to support her candidacy against car dealer Mike Kelly.  The District includes Erie and about five neighboring counties down towards Pittsburgh.  

The jury in the John Edwards trial came back with an acquittal and was hung on the remainder of the six counts against the former Senator, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate.  They found him not guilty of accepting an illegal campaign contribution from “Bunny” Mellon.  If that wasn’t considered a campaign contribution it means he couldn’t have violated campaign finance law, something most legal experts expected.  Though the man did some despicable things they weren’t illegal, just immoral.

Elsewhere on the legal front the 1st District Court of Appeals in Boston declared DOMA unconstitutional in a unanimous decision.  They found it unconscionable that federal benefits for straight couples are denied to same sex ones.  The Fourteenth Amendment is pretty clear on this:  equal justice under law is the law of the land.  The case is headed for the Supreme Court where we’ll see if the inscription over the entrance means anything.  AFER released this statement:

“Today’s momentous decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals is yet another example of the clear pattern of consistent recognition among federal courts that marriage inequality-by any level of government-violates our nation’s core constitutional principles,” said AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer.  “Whether it is California’s Proposition 8 or the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, court after court has affirmed that marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans is unfair, unjust, and unconstitutional.”

Conservatives are condemning “activist judges.”

For all those morons who still are blaming liberals for the debt situation here’s a visual explanation:

It’s the tax cuts stupid…

Fallout from Fukushima is causing problems with radioactive tuna.  The issues from this disaster will reverberate for decades.  I’m glad I don’t like seafood…

Bad policy decisions also have repercussions.  The state budget woes caused by Gov. Gasbag’s stubborn refusal to lead are causing problems within the State Police.  Now, instead of using available funds to train new cadets for a force being hit hard by retirements at the same time local municipalities are turning to it for police coverage, they’re buying  a back-up radio system.  Are there any adults living in the Governor’s Mansion yet?

Sen. Daylin Leach is outraged the Governor is trying to appoint his political protege Bill Ward (formerly his failed Chief of Staff) to the bench.  This is called “getting kicked upstairs.”

“If he wants to send Mr. Ward to Disneyland or wants to get him to meet Beyonce, I would have no problem with that as long as it didn’t involve state money,” said Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County.

“To me, the whole concept of justice is a very sacred concept and the process has to be above reproach,” Leach said. “This is not about rewarding cronies.”

I agree.

All kinds of legal items today:  A Judge has frozen Jane Orie’s campaign and pension accounts pending a decision on restitution.  Considering how she plundered her campaign account to pay legal fees this is sensible.

The Gila wildfire in southwestern New Mexico is now over 300 square miles.  This isn’t the region I visit but last  year I visited the site of the Los Conchas fire which, before this, was the biggest they’d had.  It was disheartening to see the devastation and also encouraging to witness nature recovering.  Climate change has turned the southwest into a tinderbox where lightening can cause such destruction.

The Justice department is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to cease and desist in his illegal purging of voter rolls.  Isn’t it a strange coincidence that the people Republican keep disenfranchising happen to be Democrats?  Somehow they keep screaming about voter fraud (which is virtually non-existent) while they engage in election fraud.  This really boomeranged on Scott after a 91 year old veteran was purged.

A White supremacist has been elected to the Luzerne County Republican Committee and he went to his white power websites to celebrate.  Steve Smith helped form the Keystone State Skinheads.

As if the student loan situation isn’t bad enough now banks have found a way to rip off these young people.  Combined with the fraud surrounding the recent facebook IPO this is yet another warning that strict regulation of banks is critical to our future survival as a capitalist society.  If this keeps on the people will demand socialism.

There’s an old saying that people who play with fire get burned.  You’d think that playing with poisonous snakes would fit that right?  What if your father died this way and you continued doing it yourself?  Is that a definition of insanity or stupidity?  A rattlesnake bit and killed a pastor with one of those ridiculous cults this week.  I think he should have died before having a chance to procreate.  This is Darwinism at its finest.

March 11, 2012

I cracked a couple windows in the house for some fresh, spring air, cleaned and scrubbed the inside of the car and enjoyed one of the fruits of climate change:  early spring.

Owning a KIndle this article interested me.  DOJ is investigating price fixing on ebooks.  Is nothing sacred?

If you’re Jewish and considering voting for Mitt Romney or any other Mormon you should think twice.  The LDS church baptizes deceased Jews.  Can you imagine having some cult induct you into their religion without your knowledge or permission?  That’s the Mormon Church.  Plus they wear “magic” underwear.  WTF?

The trial of Sen. Orie continues in Pittsburgh.  Another staffer testified about doing extensive campaign work on taxpayer time.What’s amazing is how many lawmakers continued doing this following Jeff Habay’s conviction and those who continue doing it to this day.  Stupid is as stupid does.

Another school district is cutting curriculum instead of sports and extra curricular activities because of Gov. Gasbag’s massive budget cuts.  I cannot fathom not doing away with these extras.  Have school board members forgotten what the mission of their organizations is?  Hint:  it isn’t entertaining the local populace.

A lead plaintiff against ObamaCare went bankrupt because of medical bills.  Again, stupid is as stupid does…

The Rush Limbaugh scandal is widening as 98 major advertisers have pulled ads from all right wing hate radio shows.

Speaking of hate Rep. Daryl Metcalf has rejuvenated his marriage amendment and this time it would also outlaw domestic partnership benefits.  This hateful, mean spirited legislation is a direct violation of the constitution.  What happened to all that right wing talk about all legislation having to pass a constitutional test?  This one fails.  The State Government Committee holds a hearing on this Tuesday morning at 9 AM.  Be there if possible.

Also on the right wing hate front a legislator in Alabama has come out of the closet and introduced a bill limiting voting rights to white, straight, land owning men.  Maybe a liberal should introduce a companion bill limiting voting to only intelligent people.  Sen. Scott Beason would discover what its like to be disenfranchised.

Questions have been raised regarding Penn State’s close relationship with the gas drilling industry but this is nothing new.  The university has always been close to the mining industries.

New reports say Bank of America defrauded the mortgage program designed to keep homeowners out of foreclosure.  Duh?  What did you expect of a vast criminal enterprise like BoA?

Jamoca wrote an article about the Voter ID law below, here is Sen. Leach speaking about it:

Wal-Mart has long hidden some of its worst labor practices behind subcontractors.  That doesn’t absolve them of responsibility morally.  Theft of wages is theft, pure and simple.  I worked at one time for a company which also required us to sign false time sheets.  This is criminal.

Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2012

This year’s Summit was another successful weekend of debates, workshops, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and networking.  Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia it departed from the former format of being in a large hotel.  The expense of using the Convention Center precluded having meals and speakers which detracted from much of the networking aspect.  The consensus was definitely to return to the style of Summit from 2010 in Harrisburg and 2011 in Pittsburgh.

The weekend kicked off with a debate between Attorney General candidates Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy at the Arch Street United Methodist Church.  Murphy won the straw poll following the debate with 56%.

Saturday morning I arrived at the registration desk and spoke with DFA’s Jim Dean for a bit, Jonathon Saidel (who coordinated much of the planning from Philly) and others.  A general meeting began at 9AM with Eileen Connolly, Chair of the Board of Keystone Progress and Mike Morrill its Executive Director.  The guest speaker was Wisconsin Sen. John Erpenbach one of the Wisconsin 14.  

Tables set up along the meeting concourse represented Summit sponsors and many progressive organizations, some local some national.  Workshops went for 75 minutes and ran the gamut.  In between I ran into old friends I hadn’t seen in years to those I see fairly regularly.  I sat in many workshops and learned a lot.  I also took pictures along the way.  Saturday evening began with a comedy show hosted by Sen. Daylin Leach and featuring comics Katie Halper, Lee Camp and Jeffrey Kreisler.  Lee Camp was absolutely hysterical.  Manan Trivedi hosted an after party at a karaoke bar in nearby Chinatown and Daylin Leach took everyone deep into the night with yet another party.

I got the killer time slot of Sunday at 9 AM for Video 101:  Media for Mobilizing.  Susie Madrak was down ill so the intrepid Beth Becker pinch hit and was wonderful assisting me.  Thanks to everyone who arose early to attend and the techies (Brett Banditelli) who got us going.

If you haven’t attended a Progressive Summit you’re missing a valuable tool for honing your skills, learning about tons of stuff useful in organizing and a golden opportunity to network with progressive leaders from across the state.  I had lunch Saturday with Josh Cook of the Obama campaign and Jesse Lee and Jon Carson, both fresh in from the White House.  Lee has been the blogger contact for President Obama so it was great to meet him personally even if only for  a few minutes.

The pictures from the weekend:

Jim Dean (Howard’s brother):

Eileen Connolly:

Mike Morrill:

The women’s health panel:

Panel on fracking:

The White House panel:

There was a great panel on dealing with activist burnout:

This panel was about lobbying from the legislator’s point of view:

Sen. Leach delivering a few zingers:

Katie Halper:

Lee Camp:

Jeff Kreisler:

Daylin Leach

State Senator Daylin Leach kicked off his campaign today with an open event for supporters in King of Prussia.  He’s a genuine hero for progressives leading the fight in Harrisburg for every cause we hold dear.  He has the courage to stand up for women, for minorities, for kids, for the LGBT community.  In an age when we hunger for true leaders Sen. Leach is always there for the people, unafraid to take the point and fight.  If I say any more he’ll just get a huge head and wind up posting something on facebook so I’ll leave it at that…

Pictures from today’s event:

With Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz:

With Rep. Tim Briggs, Sen. Vince Hughes and Congressman Chaka Fattah:

Introduction by Sen. Hughes:

Sen. Leach: