Gerlach Anounces Retirement From Congress

Congressman Jim Gerlach announced he will not seek re-election to Congress this year.  The former State Senator and Congressman cited time away from his family, the grind of running every two years and Washington gridlock (for which he is largely responsible) for his decision.  The open seat is garnering national attention as a possible pick-up for Democrats.

I expect State Sen. Rafferty to make  amove on the GOP side.  Rumors also are speculating about Sam Rohrer, Curt Schroder and others.  On the Democratic side I’ve seen names such as Sen. Judy Schwank and Doug Pike.  I spoke briefly with Schwank about the seat two months ago on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee which approached her about running.  At that time she declined to run.

Pike ran in the Democratic primary four years ago and is a fixture at Democratic Party functions.  He padded his resume back then claiming health care management experience he really didn’t have and lost a close race to Manan Trivedi.  I’m not sure he’s currently living in the 6th District as borders changed with redistricting.  One possible entrant I would get excited about is State Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County.

The Reading Mayor’s Inaugural Ball

This is going to sound like the blog morphed into a society column.  Last night I attended Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer’s inaugural ball at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center where one entered three floors of ballrooms and suspended belief.  Suspended belief that one was in the poorest city in the nation.  For four hours I was surrounded by opulence, men in tuxedos and suits, women in gowns, drinking, eating and dancing to live entertainment on each level.  Entering the ground floor there sat a massive ice sculpture of the famous pagoda, Reading’s landmark.

Dumping my outer garment at the coat check room I sidled past the long line for the bar and was escorted upstairs by Mick Dee, the Mayor’s new Communications Director.  The second and third floors were decked out with tables surrounded by local merchants whose tables were decked with food for the guests.  Dubbed “A Taste of Reading” they donated the gustaceous delights which offered a full range of delicious eating.  There was even a new Jamaican restaurant.  While the food, beer and soft drinks were donated the Mayor’s Transition Team did purchase the wine (state law), cakes rent the facility.

This was a lavish affair.  A long gray, vintage limo parked outside on Sixth Street for most of the evening while Mayor Vaughn Spencer, donned in a stylish tuxedo, held court.  He was joined by City Council and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

I have lots of pictures so let’s take this society column under the fold…

Hello again, here are pictures of the upper ballrooms and a few of the local restaurants which participated:

The view of the first floor from the mezzanine:

There I came upon City Councilwoman Donna Reed and new Council President (succeeding Spencer) Francis Acosta:

Scott Hoh and former Councilman Angel Figueroa:

Mayor and Mrs. Ed Pawlowski:

Labor leader Fred Shaef and former Sixth Congressional District candidate Doug Pike:

Rick Hinnershitz and his wife Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz:

Retired labor leader Larry Murin and his lovely wife Brenda:

My dear friend Rosie Skomitz:

A few more pictures of the lavish surroundings and the mayor:

How appropriate was all this in the poorest city in America?  How appropriate was it for Spencer to be sworn in in a church?  I found everyone regaling in the special night while thousands of city residents were going to bed hungry.  It might have started his term out on a better foot to invite many of the city’s poverty stricken residents into the ballroom instead for a meal.  Around 75% of Reading School District students qualify for free meals, many toil at multiple jobs making $7.25/hour struggling just to keep roofs over their heads.  At a time when heating assistance has been cut back along with WIC, welfare and access to medical care this lavish evening seemed out of touch with reality.

I suspended belief for four hours then dealt with one of the city’s persistent problems on my short drive home:  double parkers.  They’re the biggest reason I avoid Reading like the plague.

Pike Concedes, Saidel Asks for Recount

The news continues pouring in this afternoon.  I took a short nap to catch up on lost sleep and here’s the latest:

Doug Pike has conceded in the 6th CD.  Manan Trivedi eaked out a win with overwhelming support from his home county to win even though Pike was on TV and he wasn’t.  Congratulations to Dr. Trivedi, son of immigrants and an Iraq War veteran.

“Today I spoke by phone with Dr. Manan Trivedi and congratulated him on winning the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 6th District of Pennsylvania.”

“Manan would be a much better member of Congress than Republican Jim Gerlach,  a career politician who has let working families down again and again. I endorse Manan Trivedi — a doctor and veteran who served on the front lines in Iraq — and I urge my supporters to unite behind him.”

“To the hundreds of people who worked their hearts out to send me to Congress:  I will always remember and appreciate your dedication. Today is the end of our campaign, but it’s not the end of my service to others – and I know it’s not the end of yours.  Thank you.”

In the race for Lt. Governor Jonathon Saidel is asking for a recount.  This is another close race.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to the voters who participated in yesterday’s election and honored me their votes and to congratulate my opponents on a race well run. Our democracy is the greatest system ever devised to choose those who lead and govern us. As we await the final results of yesterday’s election, it appears more than 70 precincts have not been included in the vote count for Lieutenant Governor leaving the final outcome in question.  As we understand it, it is the prerogative of the Pennsylvania Secretary Sate to proceed with a recount. State election law provides for a process that will guarantee every vote is counted and tallied correctly. We have every confidence Secretary Cortes will proceed in an appropriate manner and we will do all we can to bring about an expeditious and accurate conclusion to the primary election.


Other statements flooding my inbox:

From Sen. Williams:

“We knew from the beginning that this would be a difficult climb, given our time frame. But the issues were so great, speaking to the needs of real people in need of real jobs, better schools, lower taxes and streets safe from illegal gun trafficking, that it was worth the effort.

“I’m proudest of the fact that Pennsylvanians from across this great Commonwealth came out, listened, and helped us carry this message forward. While we didn’t get enough votes in this race, we know we helped impact the dialogue. And that’s a win for everyone in this state. I remain committed to serving the people of this state and will continue to fight for their cause.”

From TJ Rooney:

Last night was a phenomenal night for Pennsylvania Democrats. We had a great field of candidates this year all across the Commonwealth – a true testament to the strength of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.  Dan Onorato and Joe Sestak emerged from their respective primaries well positioned to take on Tom Corbett and Pat Toomey in the fall.

In the 12th Disctrict, Mark Critz beat back national republicans hell bent on proving that they could be competitive in a race with these unique dynamics. Again, they were sorely mistaken as Tim Burns and his empty campaign were soundly rejected by the voters of the 12th District.

Going forward, we will be holding the do nothing Republicans accountable each and every day. Just this morning we released the video in order to highlight the Wall Street past of Pat Toomey. We look forward to an exciting summer and victory in the fall. Please click here to view the video.

Here’s the video already launched against Pat Toomey:

From Jack Wagner:

Thank you to our friends and supporters across the Commonwealth.  We appreciate your hard work and dedication.  We will never forget your many contributions to our campaign.

As Auditor General, I will continue to fight for Pennsylvania families and taxpayers and to bring fundamental reforms to state government.  I look forward to working with all of you in that effort.

Gregg Kravitz:

I announced my candidacy less than four months ago, and in a relatively brief period of time, we accomplished a great deal.  I am forever grateful for all the support that we received from so many.  It was a rainy, cold election day, and despite the weather, we had a dedicated army of supporters who helped us cover all 47 polling locations for every minute that the polls were open – this was no small feat.

Many of you invested your time, energy, money, and resources on our behalf.   There will be a return on your investment.  Last night’s results do not change the need for meaningful reform for our community and government, and your investment helped address those needs by allowing us to start conversations that needed to be had – and will one day lead to changes in public policy that will improve our Commonwealth.

jim Gerlach’s campaign already attacked Manan Trivedi and he had this to say in response:

“Jim, on March 20, 2003, while you were comfortably sitting at home after you supported the lies George W. Bush told about why we needed to take our eye off the ball in our fight against Al Qaeda, my boots were some of the first on the ground in Iraq.   I was working to save the lives of the Marines you sent into a needless war.

“Well I didn’t back away then and I am not going to back down now in my commitment to improving the lives of the people I grew up with.  This is my home.  This is where my family lives.  And this is going to be an election about changing our future and building a better Pennsylvania.”

NARAL PAC Issues Clarification on 6th CD Situation

NARAL Pro Choice America PAC issued a statement Friday regarding the 6th Congressional District primary between Berks County’s Manan Trivedi and Doug Pike of the Main Line:

“Voters in Pennsylvania’s 6th District should know that NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has not endorsed either Doug Pike or Manan Trivedi in the 6th District. As with any district when there are multiple pro-choice candidates, we encourage pro-choice voters to assess the field of candidates and vote their conscience, but we have not issued a rating or endorsement of any candidate in this race. Our PAC board will determine when, and if, it is appropriate for us to weigh in after the primary.”

Doug Pike’s Gall

Doug Pike sent his opponent Manan Trivedi a letter yesterday and copied it to the press.  He opens the letter with this incredulous statement:

Real Democrats don’t deceive other Democrats.

Is that so Mr. Pike?  Then when will you stop telling Democrats you were the President of a hospital for ten years?  You weren’t.  Your statement is meant to make Democratic voters think you ran a large institution and made day to day decisions.  You didn’t because you were the President of the Board of Trustees of a rehab facility in Long Island, a vastly different circumstance.  I stopped reading your letter to Mr. Trivedi when I saw that first sentence.  Perhaps before insisting someone else not attempt to deceive Democrats you might try it yourself.

Doug Pike’s Credibility Problem

I was appalled last week when Doug Pike, a former journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer clamped down on media coverage of his debate with Manan Trivedi.  I also discovered his campaign manager “forcefully” insisted upon no video at Monday’s debate in Kutztown.  Aside from the obvious hypocrisy of a former journalist trying to blind the public to coverage of his campaign and a lack of transparency the way his campaign manager lied to me then ran the event organizers under the bus was appalling.  I’ve done a bit of research since and one of Pike’s major claims is, well, not quite false, but ridden with credibility problems.

Andrew Eldredge-Martin replied to my request for comment on the video ban by first insisting it was the organizer’s idea and rule, not theirs.  He later changed his story and said “we pushed for this.”  Oops, can someone say flip flop?  Then he went back and blamed the organizers after I published his statement of “we pushed for this.”  He even had one of the organizers call me.  The problem is I knew about the rule before I went to Narberth to cover the event.  I then told Drew before the debate began that I’d be videoing it and he failed to inform me of the rule.  I gave him a chance before hand to come clean and he failed.  I gave him a chance the next day to come clean and he lied.

This is the same man who has been caught misrepresenting himself on blogs impersonating average citizens denigrating Pike’s competitor Manan Trivedi.  He was outed by DavidNYC but refused to apologize.  The fact is the Pike campaign continues to sock puppet online while issuing a hypocritical challenge to Trivedi to run a clean campaign.  I call that another credibility issue.

The largest credibility issue is Doug Pike’s claim he spent “10 years as President of a hospital and nursing home.”  He mentioned this in his opening remarks in Narberth and his campaign repeats it ad nauseum.  I took this to mean he actually led and managed a major hospital, something like Abington, Paoli Memorial, Lankenau…  It was an addiction treatment center on Long Island and he wasn’t the President, except of the Board of Trustees.  That’s a major, significant difference.  Dan Hirschhorn of PA2010 also has an issue with this facet of Pike’s biography.  The Pike campaign bragged about this in this press release published on PoliticsPA.

There are numerous examples here of credibility issues:  being extremely disingenuous about his “hospital management background,” misrepresenting themselves online, calling for clean campaigning after maliciously deriding their competitor online without truthfully disclosing their identities (actually trying to hid anonymously), then lying to me about the video rules.  They’ve been caught lying too many times now and that calls into question the candidate’s integrity.

Pike Campaign Shuts Me Down at Debate

Yesterday was a very long day.  I was off at 8 AM for Harrisburg to lobby against the death penalty and cover the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.  I also visited several legislators from the Lehigh Valley to schedule guest for upcoming Democratic Talk Radio shows.  I covered Sen. Leach’s press conference on the death penalty moratorium then drove home to dump the video and drive to Narberth for a 6th Congressional District debate between Doug Pike and Manan Trivedi.  Our regular readers know I cover events via video.  My unofficial motto is “have Flip, will travel.”  (I use a Flip camcorder)

Video has far more impact than simply writing about an event and/or pictures.  My readers can see the candidates and get a feel for who they are, how they are speaking on important issues, etc.  That’s why we interview them on our radio show also.  The Pike campaign insisted on no video during the debate last evening.  They have also insisted on no video on an upcoming debate in Kutztown but the Kutztown Area Democratic Club refused to do so.  Here is the statement I received from the Pike campaign:

On February 2nd, we suggested that no audio or video recording be allowed at the debate because none of us wanted the low-blow artist Jim Gerlach to be able to use audio or video of the event against our eventual Democratic nominee.

You may have seen that a Republican tracker was at the event last night trying to record the event. That could have been part of the reason they requested no audio & video after the event had started.

Going into last night’s event, we had not been informed whether audio or video would be allowed at the event.”

I taped Jim Gerlach for Lois Murphy’s campaign in past years as a favor and Congressman Gerlach was a complete gentleman towards me, even coming up to me after one event and saying hello.  Videoing other candidates is standard practice in politics.  Video caught the famous “macaca moment.”  Pike’s insistence that no video be allowed makes me wonder why he’s so afraid of it and why, as a former journalist he refused to allow me to do my job?

The rule wasn’t announced before the event but I had been told about it by a source and told it was a requirement made by the Pike campaign.  Drew Eldredge-Martin, Pike’s campaign manager, explained to me this morning they had only requested the rule but didn’t know if it had been accepted until just before the event.  My information tells me otherwise especially in light of their insistence upon it for the Kutztown event.  Drew finally admitted “we pushed for it.”  He said “we think it’s in the best strategic interest of the Party.”

I wasn’t able to do my job last night for The Pennsylvania Progressive.  I was shut down and so I left the event.  I drove three hours round trip to cover this event then was prevented from doing so by the organizers.  Even after being told I was web media they continued to enforce the rule.  I don’t allow just everyone to use my material.  This website is clearly marked “all rights reserved” and I use Photobucket for video I don’t want everyone to have access to (YouTube allows anyone to use your work).   I do that so Republicans such as Jim Gerlach CANNOT use my video without permission.

I am upset wit the Pike campaign over this and with the Lower Merion/Narberth Democratic Club for capitulating to their demand.  It is undemocratic to shut down the media and to shut down the political process.  Candidates should be experienced enough not to make glaring mistakes in public and if they do the voters need to know they aren’t yet ready for prime time.  Democrats are running some bad candidates this year and we’ve exposed one, Mark Critz, already.  I’m an unaffiliated voter, not a member of any Party.  I probably vote Green Party for a third of my ballot because Pennsylvania Democrats are offering me such poor candidates.  I think Pike’s insistence upon no video makes him a poor candidate.  When I combine this with his campaign’s continued use of fake blog commenters to attack Manan Trivedi while issuing a credo for clean campaigning is a travesty.  I don’t have a horse in this race, it isn’t my District (though it will be by November) I cover as many Congressional races as is possible.  I covered Chris Carney’s campaign in PA-10 when Drew was the campaign manager in 2006.   I do think was a stupid decision and the decision to shut me down from covering last night’s debate was unfortunate for them.  I won’t cover their campaign again.

Update:  Bob Wegbright, one of the organizers of the event contacted me and said they decided on this rule and are apologetic that I was unable to cover it.  He says the decision was theirs.  I have sources both there and here telling me otherwise.  Public events at public venues such as the Narberth Borough Hall are open to the public and, by law, can be video taped.

News & Notes March 8, 2010

There’s lots of news other than the 12th CD and we need to do some catching up.  I attended the President’s speech on health insurance reform (their term) this morning at Arcadia University in Glenside.  The crowd was electric, more energized and enthusiastic than any I’ve seen and this is my seventh Obama event.  I’ll have more on that event separately (I need to edit and upload the video).  How many of you were there?  I saw Kevin Shaw of Montco DFA.  Here are a few pictures:

Jonathon Saidel filed his nominating petitions today for Lt. Governor:  “I am excited to make the campaign official today and, in a case of perfect timing, I am equally excited to thank the Allegheny County Labor Council for becoming the first local labor council in Pennsylvania to make an official recommendation to the Pennsylvania State AFL-CIO for an endorsement in the Lieutenant Governor election,”

I had a minute to say hello to Congressman Joe Sestak today.  We both ducked out quickly Sestak was endorsed by the UFCW today in a big endorsement.  The United Food and Commercial Workers is a major union and they represent thousands of workers in SE Pennsylvania alone.

Citing Joe’s consistent support for labor issues and tireless advocacy for working families, Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV and Local 23 Director of Public Affairs Kevin Kilroy, representing Local 23 President Tony Helfer, delivered the endorsement on behalf of their combined 37,000 members and the 1.3 million workers represented by UFCW. Pictured from left to right are: Kevin Kilroy, Congressman Sestak, Wendell W. Young, IV, Al Vincent (Director of Region 2 for UFCW International) and John Myerson (Director of Legislative and Political Action, UFCW 1776)

“The UFCW is proud to endorse a true Democrat for the United States Senate, a candidate who will work as hard for Pennsylvania as the men and women we represent,” said Young, who spoke at Joe’s field office in Philadelphia.

“Our members know we can count on Joe Sestak to stand and fight for the issues that matter to working men and women, issues such as the Employee Free Choice Act, ensuring fair wages and benefits, and passing real health care reform. Over the last 30 years, Arlen Specter has repeatedly let us down when it matters most, waffling on the public option, delivering a crippling blow to card check, casting the deciding vote for the Bush tax cuts, and letting Wall Street gamble away our savings and pensions.”

Sixth District Congressional candidate Doug Pike issued an interesting statement today.  In it he pledges to run a “clean campaign” and makes the following promises:

1) Focus my campaign on policy differences with Gerlach and the Republicans.

2) Discuss policy differences between myself and Manan in a respectful manner.

3) Never question Manan’s motivation or qualification to serve.

4) Never attack Manan’s character or family.

5) Never use Manan’s name or likeness in paid campaign communications.

6) Make clear to my staff, volunteers and supporters that they must abide by these same guidelines.

7) Call Manan personally if I hear of an attack before responding.”

Pike’s Democratic opponent is Manan Trivedi, a physician from Berks County who served in Iraq.

Ryan Bucchianeri also filed his petitions today for the 12th Congressional District.  “It is official.  Our campaign to bring about change to southwestern Pennsylvania and more importantly, change to Washington is now a choice that voters will have in this primary election,” said Bucchianeri.  “We filed with 1640 signatures today.  While I may not have the most, we accomplished this goal through an all grassroots effort.  I am very grateful to everyone for all their hard work and am honored that they have joined our campaign to bring about new ideas and new leadership,”

I couldn’t watch all of the Oscar’s due to this morning’s early alarm clock.  I did love Neil Patrick Harris however.  When he sang that line about the soap I almost died.  As usual I didn’t see any of the movies so for me it’s simply a matter of enjoying the spectacle.  Kirk and I did go see “Alice in Wonderland” this afternoon in Imax 3D.  Wow, what an experience!  It was a quick trip from Glenside back to Reading.  I swear I didn’t speed!  (Much….)  I thought I could exit before the President but lost the race.  I think he got a better parking space…

Bob Cesca, Berks County’s most famous blogger, hit the nail on the head about the Tea Partiers in this HuffPost article.  They were out in force today.  I was sorry I couldn’t get more fascinating video interviews of them..  Considering these people were invisible during thirty years of massive budget deficits, the shredding of our rights and the choice of the last President to lie us into war their motivation boils down to one issue:  race.

Lois Herr, running in the 16th CD against Joe “He’s The” Pitts, attacked the Congressman for voting against last week’s jobs bill.  Pitts has become the poster boy for The Party of NO:  “On both his official website and his campaign website, Joe Pitts says that lowering taxes on small business is the best way to create new jobs.  But today he voted against a bill that directly cuts taxes for small businesses that create jobs,” Herr said.  “We already knew that Pitts doesn’t make sense for the 16th District, but now he’s stopped making sense to himself.”

News & Notes February 2, 2010

It’s that time of year again.  February 2nd means our famous Pennsylvanian weather prognosticator is working and campaign finance reports are in.  Lots to discuss especially since Phil says we have six more weeks of winter.  That means staying inside.  Isn’t it funny how, every year, our groundhog comes out from Gobbler’s Knob in the middle of winter and makes a prediction?  Since there are always six more weeks until spring arrives this isn’t exactly rocket science.  How is it then he is only correct 40% of the time?  I suppose that’s because he’s a groundhog and never attended Penn State’s acclaimed program in meteorology.

In the Democratic primary race for the 6th Congressional District seat Doug Pike and Manan Trivedi are both having problems raising money.  Pike announced cash on hand of $1,107,482 but he has now contributed $962,000 of his own and family’s money to his campaign.  Subtract that and he isn’t all that far ahead of Trivedi who has $123,000 COH.  Pike raised $456,000 in the fourth quarter but $340,000 of it was from himself.  Trivedi is spending money about as quickly as it is coming in.  Jim Gerlach is desperate for cash after spending the past year running for Governor.  His $5,300 COH leaves him vulnerable but he claims to have commitments for over half a million.  Since none of those funds are his yet who knows what he’ll get.  Gerlach has so angered the previous candidates in this race by stabbing all of them in the back who knows if he’ll mount a credible campaign?  He certainly cannot count on their support and that could be the difference in the 6th.

In the 7th Congressional District Bryan Lentz got $295,000 compared with Pat Meehan’s $580,000.  We need to help Bryan.  He’s a great guy, a war veteran and a solid progressive.  

Patrick Murphy continues to be a serious fundraiser.  The 8th CD incumbent is being challenged by Mike Fitzpatrick whom he defeated for the seat.  He raised $321,000 and has a prodigious $848,000 cash on hand.

Kathy Dahlkemper raised $1,000,000 and has $685,000 in the bank.  She is a fervent support of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment so don’t give her money.

Jason Altmire, who also voted for Stupak-Pitts got $1,300,000.  He has $980,000 in cash.  Jason is a corporate Democrat and he came to Congress from UPMC.  He voted against health care reform.  He is also opposing using the rule of law against those arrested for terrorism in western PA courts.

Chris Carney got $680,000 last quarter and is sitting on $495,000.  I don’t think Chris has much to worry about.  He’s a conservative Democrat in a very red district.

Paul Kanjorski raised $930,000 and he has $975,000 cash on hand.  His Democratic primary opponent Corey O’Brien raised $206,000 and has $110,000 in cash.  He’ll have to do much better to be viable.

The 15th race is going to be one of the best to watch this year.  Republican Charlie Dent raised has raised $840,000 and has cash on hand of $612,000 to Democrat John Callahan’s $630,000 cash on hand.  Callahan has only been a candidate since September.

In my District the 17th Tim Holden has only $675,000 in the bank.  This is a principal reason he now has a primary challenger.  He’s vulnerable in more ways than one.  Incumbents with heavy war chests tend to discourage challenges.

In the U.S. Senate race all three candidates are doing well and all have sufficient funds to mount major campaigns.  Joe Sestak has $5,100,000 cash on hand and Specter $8,660,000.  

The race for Governor is interesting.  Dan Onorato has led in raising money from the start.  In fact he began way before any other candidate excepting Jack Wagner.  Onorato also has money he raised from his campaigns for Allegheny County Executive so not all of his funds were provided for this race.  He is allowed to use them.  Onorato raised $3,700,000 last year so the numbers people toss around trying to cite his inevitability as a candidate can be misleading.  He does have a ton of money however.  Jack Wagner raised $171,000 in the fourth quarter.

Joe Hoeffel told me last September he needed to raise a million dollars by the end of the year.  The solid progressive in this race he got only $347,000 and has $229,000 banked.  Joe is someone else we as progressives need to support financially.  This is a big state and it costs money to travel and money to get one’s message out via the media.  No one can do it without a media campaign.

There are rampant rumors Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty will drop out and run for Lt. Governor with Dan Onorato.  There are already two candidates for the second spot and trying to leverage Jonathon Saidel out of that position could anger organized labor and cost Onorato in November.  Doherty has only $94,500 cash on hand.

Tom Corbett, the presumptive GOP candidate has $3.2 million on hand.  Sam Rohrer has but $28,000.

Thanks to Tom Fitzgerald of The Inquirer and Alex Roarty of PoliticsPA for compiling all these numbers.

The documentary film Out In the Silence has been screening all over Pennsylvania for months.  I saw it last September at a conference in State College.  It is about a gay teen growing up in Oil City and his struggles against bashing and discrimination in a small, conservative town.  Joe Wilson who made the movie with his partner Dean Hamer is traveling and conducting question and answer sessions with each screening.  This is a powerful film and I urge everyone to go watch it.  See the movie here:

Feb 8th 6:00 PM-Vulcan Theater, Elmo Natali Student Center, 250 University Avenue, California, PA

Feb. 9:  5:30 PM – Screening followed by community dialogue – 1301 Seventh Avenue Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Feb 10th:  6:00 PM-Screening followed by community dialogue-311 N. West Street, Waynesburg, PA

Feb. 19:  7:00 PM-Community screening and dialogue-40 South Portage Street, Westfield, NY 14787

In the “life is strange” department reader Fran the Pipefitting man sent me this link.  Documentary film maker Karen Schmeer was hit and killed by a driver escaping a robbery at a drugstore.  

I added another blog to our Pennsylvania blogroll this morning.  I have a few more to do yet.  NEPArtisan is written by Tom Borthwick and is quite good.  Go check it out.

Assassin Scott Roeder was convicted of killing Dr. George Tiller in a quick jury rendering of the evidence.  It took just 37 minutes for the members hearing evidence and testimony to convict Roeder on all counts.  Justice prevailed.  Concerns remain that the domestic terrorists involved in such anti life activity will resurrect their barbaric behavior against clinics and doctors.  These extremists need to realize they don’t have the power or responsibility to dictate to others how they must live their lives and how government must stay out of our bedrooms and medical care decisions.  If one really wants to keep government out from between us and our doctors then support women’s reproductive rights.

Mike Veon and others went on trial Monday in the BonusGate prosecution.  They are accused by AG Tom Corbett of using tax money, time and resources to run political campaign from inside our State Capitol.  Veon was the second highest ranking leader of the Democratic Party.  His defense seems to be blaming former Speaker Bill DeWeese for everything.  Corbett indicted numerous Democrats for these illegal actions but, as yet, no Republicans.  The GOP did exactly the same things as Democrats but Corbett allowed them two years to destroy evidence while he concentrated on Democrats.  The Republicans eventually indicted were charged with different offenses.

Trivedi, Pike Continue Debate

The Democrats fighting for the 6th CD seat vacated by Jim Gerlach continue fighting back and forth.  This is getting a bit childish.  I hate to say it but Trivedi reminds me of a 12 year old.  While Pike is trying to remain somewhat above the fray he still hasn’t explained or commented on the blogging controversy and this will dog his campaign until he does.  I just don’t understand why Trivedi inserts it into this debate.  The dueling press releases continue:

The revisionist history of negative elections, by Doug Pike’s campaign

Reading, Pa – Today, Manan Trivedi’s campaign called on Doug Pike to come clean with the people of the 6th district when it comes to negative campaigns and running an operation based on assumptions and not facts.

“We expect better from a journalist like Doug Pike,” said Trivedi spokesperson Daren Berringer.  “We always thought that journalists asked questions first and gathered some facts before formulating an opinion about someone.  What we are learning is that Doug Pike and his campaign like to base their positions solely on their own dreams and wishes.  But now that they have finally asked, even if it was indirectly through a press release, Manan Trivedi does not support the Stupak Amendment.  He has never supported it.”

The Trivedi campaign also took issue with the dubious accusation that they have taken on a negative campaign tactic.  Every statement that the Trivedi for Congress campaign has made has been factual and well documented.  As the Trivedi campaign pointed out, it has been the Pike campaign that was first caught in a national online blogging scandal called “sock-puppeting” where by which someone creates anonymous accounts on a blog and then posts comments to attack an opposing candidate with the hopes of going undetected.

It was first reported on September 30, 2009 on the national blog, Swing State Project and DailyKos ( http://www.swingstateproject.c… ) that Doug Pike’s campaign manager had repeatedly been caught in clandestine campaign efforts.  The guilty campaign manager posted comments that were critical of Dr. Trivedi in an attempt to make it appear as though actual activists were involved.  Pike’s campaign and his manager were exposed, given an opportunity to apologize and have remained silent.

“We were glad to respond to Mr. Pike’s request about Manan’s position on the Stupak Amendment,” Berringer continued.  “And now it is Pike’s turn.  When are you going to apologize to the entire grassroots and netroots communities for allowing your campaign to conduct itself in such a less than respectful manner?  It has now been 61 days since the incident and you have failed to utter a single word.  As an Iraq War veteran and a physician, Manan Trivedi has always taken ‘responsibility’ seriously.  Mr. Pike, when are you going to apologize and finally take responsibility for your campaign?

“Manan will be happy to have a ‘reasonable discussion’, Mr. Pike.  Just let us know when your campaign decides to be reasonable,” Berringer concluded.

The Pike response:

Pike Keeps Campaign Positive in the Face of Attacks

Ardmore, PA — Today, Pike campaign manager Andrew Eldredge-Martin issued the following statement:

“Doug’s strong commitment to a woman’s right to choose compelled him to state publicly his opposition to the Stupak Amendment and other right-wing attacks on choice. Since no other candidate, Republican or Democratic, had yet made his position on Stupak clear, Doug simply asked that they come out one way or the other.”

“Unfortunately, Manan Trivedi decided to take that opportunity to begin a campaign of extremely negative and personal attacks on a fellow Democrat that hurt the Democratic Party’s chances of finally winning this seat.”

“Doug is committed to offering voters the serious discussion of issues they deserve — not petty, misleading campaign attacks.”

Doug Pike served on the Editorial Board of The Philadelphia Inquirer for 14 years, providing insight and analysis on a broad range of public policy for southeast Pennsylvania. He also served as President of a hospital for 10 years. Previously, Pike served as a Special Assistant and Speechwriter for U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas. In 1971, Pike graduated with honors from Princeton University.

The 6th District encompasses parts of Berks, Chester, Lehigh, and Montgomery Counties.