Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Joe Hoeffel's New Book

Joe Hoeffel, who has held several elected offices (Congressman, Montgomery County Commissioner, State Representative) has a new item on his resume -- author.  His new book, The Iraq Lie:  How the White House Sold the War, was released yesterday.

Amazon has both print and kindle versions, with parts of the prologue, afterward, appendices, and index available online.

You can also buy it directly from Progressive Press.

Laura Olson has an initial announcement in the Morning Call on 7/25.

New SEPTA Twitter Feed

Links to press releases, news bites, videos and industry articles prepared by members of the SEPTA Media Relations Department will now be available through the @SEPTANews Twitter account. It will also share photos from press conferences, ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and community events and retweet articles and news clips featuring SEPTA.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

McCarter Hosts Food Drive

State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery/Phila., announced today that he will be collecting donations of food for a food drive he’s hosting at his district office. The drive will run until Thursday, Aug. 28. 

"Many people think about food drives during the holiday season, but the truth of the matter is that hunger doesn’t take time off," McCarter said. "There are still people struggling to recover in our communities and anytime is a good time to make a donation that will help local families put food on the table."

Donations can be made at McCarter’s district office, 215 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Friday, July 25, 2014

WaPo: PA #1 Gov Race

The Washington Post has an article, "The top 12 governor's races of 2014" (by Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan, 7/25).  The top race?  Pennsylvania:

Gov. Tom Corbett (R), quite simply, needs a small miracle to beat Democrat Tom Wolf.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teletownhall with Senator Toomey [Partial]

Tuesday night the phone rang and it was a teletownhall withSen. Pat Toomey, already in progress.  I was able to listen in for awhile until another call came in that I had to take.  This was the first time that the household got a call from Toomey.  His office has not been eager to respond to the few phone calls and letters I have written him  (all very polite) so I was surprised to be on the call list.  Here are my notes from the part of the call I was able to hear.  Keep in mind that the call had already started when I came in, and that it continued after I had to hang up.  These notes are not intended as a transcript.  My apologies in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Q: Children on the border.  [caller claims over 80% come with adults; Toomey did not address this allegation]

PT: Many are 16,17 year old boys and a security risk.  Some have gang connections.  It is a humanitarian crisis.  Send them back so parents will stop sending them up.  Administration won’t do it.

Q:  Keystone pipeline

PT:  I co-sponsored that bill.  Reid won’t let it come up for a vote.  It is a huge opportunity for Pennsylvania.

Q:  Why not raise the gas tax, make it a percentage of the purchase, not a flat rate?

PT:  A user fee so there’s no [missed this].  The problem with raising it is that we aren’t spending the money we raise now as wisely as we could.  We are spending it on scenic not essential items, like bike routes.  It should be used for bridges and roads, essential items.

Q:  EPA garnishing wages on people who put a pond in their yard?

PT:  First I’ve heard of it, let me look into it.

Q:  Extending unemployment benefits

PT:  I offered a bill, but with reforms.  These extended benefits (beyond six months), my bill gradually phased them out.

Q:  immigration, change law, did Bush sign it?

PT:  We need better immigration laws.  Yes, the law passed in 2008, but the problem didn’t start until the President [Obama] said we wouldn’t send people back if they were under 31.

Q:  Ryan budget, stop slander, should be on conservative radio and tv about it, get values out not slander

PT:  Call back and we’ll send you a summary of the Ryan budget.  Don’t live beyond means – deficits, balanced budget in 10 years.  Reform big programs to put them on a sustainable path.

Q:  40 year old single mother, unemployed since 2009, living with a relative, circle – daycare to expensive but need daycare to work

PT:  I hear this on a regular basis across PA.  My heart goes out to people.  We need more jobs.  The medical device tax is costing us thousands of jobs; we need to repeal that.  Agriculture is big in Berks Co [caller from Berks]; the EPA is putting a damper on the ag sector

At that point I had to leave the call.  During the call Toomey asked people to remotely vote (by pressing the appropriate key on their phone keypad) on whether or not schools should do background checks on all their employees.  

Saturday Night Fever -- PARTAY!!

from the inbox:

Philadelphia’s Top LGBTQ Party Promoters Unite for the First Time in His/Herstory to Celebrate the Power of Community and Raise Funds for the William Way LGBT Center.

 Hosted by: Stimulus Productions, NSFW Dance Party, Mondo Trasho, CANDELA, PhillyGayCalendar.com’s Boys of Summer, Drink or Swim, The Sleepover Party, DJ Carl Michaels, Pulse Events, Groove Philly, And Many Others! 
Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 10:00 P.M. – 3:00 A.M.Underground Arts Located at 1200 Callowhill Street 
 This Saturday night, Philly’s favorite party promoters, deejays, and entertainers are banding together to raise money for the William Way LGBT Community Center. Guests will enjoy amazing, eclectic performances, sets by 11 of Philly’s hottest deejays, male and female go-go dancers, and surprises around every twist and turn within the expansive venue. With four dance floors and spectacles all over, attendees will be dancing their way through Philly's Fiercest Funhouse. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two Notes on Workforce Training

Two notes this week on workforce training.

One from the White House:

In his 2014 State of the Union address, the President tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of federal employment and training programs, with the aim of making them more job-driven. That review is complete, and now that the White House has identified what is working across the country, the aim is to multiply those shining examples. The Vice President’s report highlights successful job-driven training strategies, details executive actions that are being taken by the federal government, and new commitments by employers, non-profits, unions and innovators to help spread what’s working and to support more Americans in getting and moving up in in-demand jobs and careers. (Read the full report or fact sheet)

Last Thursday (7/17) the Wall Street Journal published an article by  Lauren Weber, called "Just whose job is it to train workers?"

Amtrak Veterans Job Fair

from the inbox:

In support of an initiative to make 25 percent of new hires veterans by the end of 2015, Amtrak is proud to play host to a Veteran Opportunity Expo at 30th Street Station on Thursday, July 24, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  More than 60 firms, including Amtrak, will have representatives on hand to discuss career opportunities for veterans and other men and women with military backgrounds.

A dedicated team of Amtrak recruiters will be on hand to work with veteran applicants to understand how their military skills, experience and training correspond to career opportunities that best align with their capabilities. 

An Amtrak spokesperson will also be available to discuss the Veterans Hiring Initiative.  Amtrak committed itself to this aggressive goal last year and has hired more than 800 veterans since 2011.  A custom-painted locomotive (Engine #42) was dedicated in June 2013 to honor our employees who are veterans, and raise awareness of the company’s initiative.  Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman is himself a veteran of the Vietnam War and cares deeply about providing career opportunities for other veterans. 

The event is produced by the military-to-civilian recruitment firm RecruitMilitary and sponsored by the NorthStar Solutions Group and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Center City Trolley Tunnel Closed

from the inbox:

SEPTA’s Center City trolley tunnel will be closed from 9 p.m. on Friday, August 1 through 4 a.m. on Monday, August 18 for a Trolley Tunnel Blitz.  During the 17-day closure, in-house SEPTA crews will complete numerous overhead wire, track and station improvement projects that will improve safety and service reliability of the trolleys that run through the tunnel. 
During the Trolley Tunnel Blitz, SEPTA trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate through the tunnel; service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets.  Passengers can use SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line for travel to and from Center City.

Cickay Staying in State Senate Race

partial press release:

Candidate for State Senate (SD-10), Steve Cickay, has indicated he is firmly committed to continue his issue-based campaign against an incumbent career politician.  Cickay has assembled a team of grassroots volunteers who are very busy throughout District 10 spreading the word why the status quo is not acceptable and is confident that the traditional old-fashioned voter outreach will take his positive message of change successfully to the voters.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Corporate Personhood and Grammar

I was doing some proofreading this morning and a bit of grammar caught my eye.  Normally inanimate objects are referred to as "that."  For example, this is the tree that fell.  Cars that explode should be banned.  And so on.  People are referred to as "who" or "whom."  Examples:  The candidate who won the election.  The woman who helped me is moving.  Group nouns seem to go either way:  The family that prays together stays together.  The people who lived next door had a pool.  Animals can also go either way.  The dog that bit me.  The cat who came to dinner.

Companies tend to be in the "that" category.  The company that bought them out.   The legal firm that did the work.  But since we have corporate personhood now, and corporations can, via their closely held status, have religious beliefs, will that change?  Will we have to say things like "it was Hobby Lobby who had the sale?"  Will certain corporations start to refer to themselves in that fashion?  "It was our corporation who donated to the charity?"  Not just, "it was our employees who" but "it was the corporation who ...."

Interesting discussion point for the grammar nerds.