Altmire votes No on HRC… Vote No on Altmire this November

(Jason Altmire sells out – promoted by PA Eagle Eye)

Jason Altmire just sealed the deal on his re-election prospects against Mary Beth Buchanan.  Actually, if I lived in his district, Id vote for Mary Beth as joke… you know how you vote for the class dork as the prom queen as a prank, because Jason Altmire has been a complete and utter failure to Pennsylvania Democrats. Obviously the former UPMC Executive has put the needs of Big Insurance ahead of the poor people and working class that were counting on him.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/…

For Altmire and also Tim Holden, it is not doing the right thing, but much more about job security and winning re-election.  That being said, I urge all Pennsylvania Democrats to stand down when it is time to decide on whether or not to vote for Jason Altmire or Tim Holden.  When they question the silliness of doing so, tell them simply, “I’ve learned by watching you.”

A tip for Jason and Tim.  Next time you want volunteers for phone banking or canvassing, go beg someone from the Republican party.

Pittsburgh Police Under Fire For G20 Misconduct

The violence perpetrated by police in Pittsburgh during last summer’s G20 summit have been broadcast all over the world and now the City and its leaders Luke Ravenstahl and Dan Onorato must be held accountable.  Lawsuits for wholesale violations of peaceful protester’s civil rights are proceeding through the courts and a Judge is ordering the Pittsburgh Police to hand over documents.

Chief Harper has 20 days to deliver reports related to the arrests of 29 people, a roster of police officers involved in G-20 events, their training records, a summary of reported injuries, policies on riot control, an accounting of the city’s stockpile of less-lethal munitions, including pepper spray, from before and after the summit, and other information.

The city initially refused, saying that because the G-20 was a “national special security event,” with the Secret Service leading security preparations, certain documents would be privileged under federal law. If that’s the case, Judge Wettick wrote, the city should prepare a “privilege log” detailing why it can’t release each document.

Correction:  what it was was the shredding of people’s constitutional rights to free assembly and speech.  The protesters marching peacefully to protest what they saw as international tyranny were entitled to do so by the constitution.  I wonder why the so called Patriots and Teabaggers aren’t out waving their copies of the constitution over this, it’s far more important than the false, ridiculous arguments they seek to make.  When it comes to real, actual shredding of our rights these folks are nowhere to be found.

Disclosure of training, policies and stocks of tear gas will be very compelling evidence of police brutality so it’s no wonder the City doesn’t want to respond.  However it is also these citizen’s constitutional right to stand up for their rights and demand the City of Pittsburgh be held accountable along with the federal government.  If these summits cannot be conducted legally they should not be held.

Dan Onorato, as Allegheny County Executive is knee deep in this controversy.  I have to question seriously his fitness to be Governor in light of his misconduct during the G20.  No one without full respect for our rights should be in control of the State Police and National Guard.

News & Notes February 17, 2010

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who has never seen a media opportunity he couldn’t screw up, ticked them off once again yesterday.  This man is clueless about the importance of good media relations.  It will come back to haunt him.

State Senator John Rafferty, who comes my part of the state, is proposing a new law allowing stores to sell beer in six and twelve packs.  I rarely agree with Rafferty but Pennsylvania’s archaic beer and liquor distribution laws are stupid.  I don’t drink but the fact one is forced to buy a six pack from a tavern and get soaked on the price turns people off.  There are much better ways and we see them in each surrounding state.  I understand I’m at odds with my union brothers on getting rid of the state store system too but it simply doesn’t work well in comparison.  Much of our business is driven out of state.

A Pittsburgh man died after ten calls to 911 because ambulances were unable to get to him due to the snow.  For all those morons who don’t believe in government this is a lesson.  We must have government and we must fund it adequately or next time this could be you.  If you want to live somewhere where there’s no effective government move to Haiti or Somalia.

The late Congressman John Murtha was buried yesterday.  Many dignitaries paid their respects including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bob Casey and others.  Sen. Arlen Specter, conspicuous by his absence, was out west raising money.

Testimony in the BonusGate trial keeps being interesting.  Yesterday we learned several Democratic House staffers met with and lied to AG Tom Corbett three years ago after the news was first leaked by the Post-Gazette.  It’s never a good idea to lie to the State Attorney General.  They then destroyed evidence that legislative staffers were paid bonuses for campaign work and they then tried to hide the facts from the media and public.  This illustrates how stupid our legislative staffers in Harrisburg are and why they are now on trial for corruption.  Mike Veon’s lawyers have been successful in pointing out nothing directly implicates the former leader other than the testimony of those who are confessing they lied to Corbett.  I see an acquittal coming for Veon.

Scott Detrow’s Joe the Plumber interview was all over the news yesterday.  After running both John McCain and Sarah Palin under the bus who would want Samuel Wurzelbacher’s endorsement?  After endorsing anti-government State Representative Sam Rohrer for Governor Joe is trying to explain his comments.  Maybe he should hire a real plumber to fix his leaking mouth.  It seems to oozing BS.

Speaking of Sam “The Crazy Fundie” Rohrer why is he running for Governor?  He has often said he doesn’t believe government has any role but defense.  Since the state government, outside of the National Guard, isn’t involved much in defense would Gov. Rohrer cease every other state program?  Doe she support CHIP, office of againg, family and youth services, snow plowing of state highways and road and bridge repair?  Would he privatize all of these services for private profit?  Answer us please Sam.

I finally saw DNC Chair Tim Kaine on TV this morning.  He has been as invisible as the DNC as Democrats lose race after race.  Michael Steele is everywhere and spreading lies and misinformation.  Of course Kaine didn’t even know how many Democratic Senators there are on his CNN appearance today.  There are only 57 Tim, not 59 as you stated.  Maybe this explains why we never see him.  Actually there’s another reason and I’ll get to that shortly.

Mike Stark goes after Democratic message dysfunctionality in his latest HuffPost piece.  Instead of urging Democrats to run on their records and beliefs the Party thinks they should run on Tea Party issues.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Then we have Republican stupidity.  Their strategy is to filibuster very bill, every legislative process, paralyze Washington and think the voters will reward them in November.  The crazy thing is that this strategy seems to be working because Democrats are so bad at messaging they cannot educate the voters.

Evan Bayh, frustrated about the paralysis caused by GOP obstructionism opted to bail.  While I understand this temptation this only makes the problem worse.  The same thing goes for Harrisburg.  Leaving is surrendering to the status quo.

I’m receiving information from various candidates running for the State House and Senate.  If at all possible I prefer to meet with you.  Any of you in the Lehigh Valley who wish to appear on Democratic Talk Radio should contact me, Steve Crockett or Walt Garvin.  Our contact information is at the DTR web site.  

News & Notes December 22, 2009

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has finally stepped away from his wildly unpopular tuition tax proposal.  Already infamous for his drink tax the young Mayor was getting close to making Pittsburgh the single most unpopular place for young people to come for college.  Taxing tuition was probably thought of as a method for extracting revenues from untaxed properties.  Why then not also find a way to tax churches?  They are the largest single drain on urban revenues.  Simply document the churches engaged in political activities and advocacy and tax them as any other property.  That’s like shooting fish in a barrel these days.

Elections do have consequences.  Enforcement of laws has returned and new rules protecting consumers are being developed once again after the business owned Republicans have been thrown from office.  Now no airline can keep captive passengers in a plane on the tarmac for more than three hours.  There are few things worse than being stuck on one of these flights.

How many more of our inexperienced and easily distracted teens have to die before we get serious about restricting their driving privileges?  Perhaps if the state legislature could get its act together they could find time to do something in a year besides wrangle over the budget.  While they’re at it they should make it illegal to pass on shoulders, tailgate and a few other of the horrid violations drivers make in the Commonwealth.  Oh, and throw in some traffic enforcement.  What we lose in property losses and medical care should more than make up for the cost of more police.

Cops aren’t the only authority figures who think donning something makes them above the law.  Just as there are rogue cops there are also rogue judges.  Another one is biting the dust.

Congressional candidate Manan Trivedi has received the endorsement of South Asians for Opportunity.  No surprise as Trivedi is the son of Indian immigrants.  The former Navy physician is an Iraq War veteran.  So much for those “worthless” immigrants who don’t do anything for our country.  Yes, we should simply throw them all out.  (channeling Lou Dobbs)

A federal court threw out the Congressional action against ACORN as being a bill of attainder.  Of course Congress was told their action was unconstitutional but heaven help us not allow politics and demagoguery get in the way of good government.  Or bad government in this case.

As the national health insurance bill gets progressively worse and worse (the only progressive thing about this legislation) Joe Hoeffel came out yesterday and condemned the anti-abortion language.  He said “Organizations from Planned Parenthood to NOW are outraged at the prospect that each state could enact a law forbidding any exchange-based insurance plan from providing abortion coverage. I stand with them in hoping this provision is removed from the final bill to be presented to President Obama.

However, should this provision remain and become law as part of our national health care reform, as governor I will preserve a woman’s right to choose in Pennsylvania by vetoing any bill which would prohibit abortion coverage from being offered in plans offered through our state insurance exchange.

As a state representative and US congressman, I have been an outspoken leader defending women’s reproductive freedom, and as governor I will continue the fight to protect and advance a woman’s right to choose.”  Congratulations to the candidate for Governor.  You have my vote Joe.

The Berks County Democratic Committee is considering new by laws which violate the DNC Charter.  How many times do they have to be told you cannot conduct closed door meetings?  This time I may have to insist the DNC revoke their Charter.  The new rules make it extremely easy to throw out any duly elected member they wish.  Whoever heard of a 20% quorum?  Gee, I wonder what prompted Chair Tom Herman to adopt such draconian antidemocratic rules?  Perhaps while they’re at it they can change their name too.  Something like the Berks County National Socialists?

Congratulations to the Penn State women’s volleyball team for its third straight national championship.  This extends their winning streak to 102 matches.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl endorses Increased Stealing from Commuters

(See Luke buy expensive trash cans… see Luke tax commuters. – promoted by PA Eagle Eye)

What do you think of politicians who sit around and constantly think of new ways to screw… oops, I meant new ways to tax people?  Ya know, increase the pool of dough that city government has proven incompetent to managing over the years. That is exactly what is happening in Pittsburgh, PA today as Mayor Luke Ravenstahl endorsed a plan to raise the tax on a Commuter from 52 dollars a year to $144 dollars a year, essentially tripling it all for the privilege of working in Pittsburgh.  Thanks City Government!  

“I will not raise property taxes on the residents of this city. I will not raise any tax that will solely be levied on this city’s residents,” the mayor added. He repeated his endorsement of an increase in the $52-a-year tax on all of those who work in the city to $144, and of an expansion of a payroll tax from for-profit businesses to nonprofit hospitals, universities and other institutions.

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/…

Ironically, the G-20 Economic Summit is being held in Pittsburgh in a few days.  In reality, world economic leaders can never look to Pittsburgh on how to create jobs because Pittsburgh has never had the growth that other cities such as Charlotte and Louisville have had.  I had to sit and listen to the Mayor announce that at state committee, and I wanted to say, “yeah and you should put on a tutorial on how to blow money on trash cans and hire cronies.”  Pittsburgh, an old historic city considered still east coast, but the beginning of the mid west could certainly be a mecca for start up companies and tech companies as Franco “Dok” Harris indicated, but city government doesn’t like those types.  Instead, you have to get into the cronies r’ us system Luke has in place.

The suburban commuters of Washington, Beaver, Indiana, Butler, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Indiana counties can all thank Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for endorsing the tripling of your commuter tax, as if gas and parking aren’t enough.  Furthermore, ask Mayor Luke Ravenstahl why it is that you are the one being punished for incompetence and mismanagement of Pittsburgh city government?  Luke is not helping you pay any taxes in the suburbs now is he?  For example, Luke should be taxed an annual fee when he barges in on a company’s private Oakmont golf tournament.  The mass tripling of the commuter tax will directly hurt small businesses in downtown Pittsburgh because taking 92 extra dollars will not enable some workers to stop for a bite to eat downtown after work at a local bar or restaurant, or attend a happy hour for a beer or two.  Ravenstahl is essentially robbing Peter to pay for Paul’s incompetence.  

Luke said that Union Leaders also voiced their displeasure with the plan.  “I have had lifelong friends that have threatened me because of my support for this plan, that they’ll never support me again, politically,” the mayor said. “I wish we could pay our workforce even more . . . But just like governments and households nationwide, we can’t afford to do it.”

Luke’s lifelong friends can count me in amongst those that will NEVER EVER support Luke Ravenstahl politically.  I hope all other commuters follow suit.  The ironic thing about commuters having their taxes tripled is that commuters cannot even apply for City of Pittsburgh government jobs.  Doing so would assure that the Regions best and brightest are in government instead of just Ravenstahl’s cronies, who fall outside the description “best and brightest.”  So essentially, our money is going to support Lukes cronies and incompetence… without even a say in city government.  I thought there was a rule against taxation without representation? One message Luke Ravenstahl can store away because he can bank on it…..

Don’t ever run for any political office outside Pittsburgh because you’d get smashed.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette endorses Dowd for Mayor

(Dowd wins key endorsement over Ravenstahl – promoted by PA Eagle Eye)

Amidst the ten-to-one fundraising advantage that champion campaign finance “reformer” Luke Ravenstahl has… Patrick Dowd received the endorsement from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the regions major newspaper.  You can read about the endorsement here.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg…

Personally, i may be willing to consider voting for Ravenstahl if he would promise to transport me to and fro concerts this Summer in a City of Pittsburgh vehicle.

http://community.post-gazette….

Other politicians should have stayed out of the race, and Luke’s record should have stood based on its own merits.  However, while Ravenstahl’s campaign manager Paul McKrell talks out one side of his mouth about how the boy wonder is a champion and advocate for campaign finance reform, meanwhile back at the bat cave… accept $150,000 from Dan Onorato through the back door.  Some commitment to campaign finance from these two huh?

One pattern is for sure… the mayor tends to envision a Pittsburgh renaissance conveniently only before election time.  So Luke, if you are on the brink of doing “big things” for Pittsburgh, why is it that the Pittsburgh Post Gazette thinks otherwise?  Clearly you have a hard time leading by example.

Dowd: Ravenstahl’s Waste Trashing Pittsburgh

(Challenger Dowd exposes Mayor Ravenstahl’s wasteful spending and pay-to-play contracts – promoted by PA Eagle Eye)

Standing beside a brand new $1,010 trash can funded by City of Pittsburgh taxpayers (that’s right… one thousand and ten dollar apiece trash cans when Cincy and Philly paid FAR LESS per recepticle) Pittsburgh Mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd revealed that the City of Pittsburgh under the leadership of the Ravenstahl Administration has wasted $20.2 million dollars in taxpayer money.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette quoted Mr. Dowd as he stood by the thousand dollar trash can with Mayor Ravenstahl’s name advertised on it. “Sadly, millions of dollars, millions of taxpayer dollars, are being wasted through mismanagement and cronyism,” said Mr. Dowd, as he stood by a new, $1,010 trash can on an East Carson Street sidewalk. “We cannot afford another day of this sort of waste, let alone another four years.”  

To review some of the items of wasteful spending that Dowd contends the Ravenstahl Administration has engaged in see: http://www.postgazette.com/pg/…  One thing is for certain.  The $252,250 in taxpayer money that Mayor Ravenstahl spent on a mere 250 trash cans, when literally the entire state is in a fiscal emergency is an insult to taxpayers and city workers.  A majority of that quarter of a million dollars could have been allocated in the budget to much more immanent needs than fancy trash cans with the mayor’s name. It could have been allocated to save a few workers jobs or be allocated towards the city’s pension obligations.

One could surmise that there appears to be a pattern of behavior that’s developed with Mayor Ravenstahl, which suggests a lack of foresight and leadership.  I am not sure where spending $252,250 on 250 trash cans would rank in terms of incompetency and mismanagement, but I must agree with Mr. Dowd, the challenger that it is pretty high up there.  The only question is whether it is as “un-mayor-like” as shoving around cops at a Steelers football game, or taking the City of Pittsburgh’s vehicle for personal use to a concert. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/…

Mr. Dowd recently touched upon another penchant of Ravenstahls Administration to date… that being the city awarding “pay to play contracts” to contractors when mayor Ravenstahl receives campaign donations.  Luke has defended the action by stating that he has proposed meaningful campaign finance reform.  http://www.post-gazette.com/pg…  But, in the meantime, he’ll take the campaign contributions, which is rather hypocritical to say the least, and yet another example of the Mayor putting himself in an “ethically” challenging situation.

Stay tuned as we assess the race for the Mayor of Pittsburgh, review the candidates and, my favorite… investigate the accusations made by the candidates against each other.  Hopefully, there will 3 or 4 debates atleast.  The candidates are incumbent Luke Ravenstahl and challengers Patrick Dowd, Carmen L. Robinson, and Franco “Dok” Harris, Jr.

Does God send natural disasters as punishment?

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Ravenstahl Trashing His Name

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, running for re-election in a primary this spring, has spent $250,000 of public dollars to put his name on 250 expensive trash cans for the City.  At $1000 a piece they’re the most expensive campaign signs a sitting Mayor can buy.  Oops, a candidate shouldn’t be using public funds to put his name all a city a few months before his election?

I think not.  No wonder Mayor Ravenstahl is so disliked in Pittsburgh.  This is an arrogant show of hubris and a complete waste of money.  It is also unethical.