Friday, March 30, 2007

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that passed the Pennsylvania House or Senate this week, and mention of any noteworthy resolutions. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountant friends at PICPA have provided their usual informative weekly update.

Other updates this week:

PA GOP Senate
PA Democratic Senate
PA GOP House (daily session updates)
PA Democratic House


There was one resolution that caught my eye as having political signifigance this week.


Resolution No. 60 Printer's No. 648. A Resolution urging the Rendell Administration and the Secretary of Public Welfare to desist in any action that furthers the planned move from a voluntary managed care choice to a mandated fee-for-service system for medical assistance recipients.



No bills passed in the house this week.


SB 150 Prior Printer's No. 94.Printer's No. 567. An Act relating to the protection of victims of sexual violence.

SB 356 By Senators M. WHITE, MUSTO, BOSCOLA, STOUT, TOMLINSON, BRUBAKER, FONTANA, KITCHEN, ERICKSON, WONDERLING, KASUNIC, GREENLEAF, COSTA, RHOADES, O'PAKE, GORDNER, FERLO, BROWNE, MADIGAN and WASHINGTON. Prior Printer's No. 160.Printer's No. 568. An Act amending the act of June 22, 1993 (P.L.105, No.24), known as the Environmental Education Act, providing for the establishment of the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education and the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education Board; and making editorial changes.

SB 151 By Senators GREENLEAF, COSTA, EARLL, O'PAKE, RAFFERTY, BOSCOLA, FONTANA, PUNT, TARTAGLIONE, RHOADES, KITCHEN, ARMSTRONG, ERICKSON, C. WILLIAMS, WASHINGTON, WOZNIAK, TOMLINSON, GORDNER, BROWNE, BAKER and FUMO. Prior Printer's No. 95.Printer's No. 748. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for weapons or implements for escape and for contraband; and making a conforming amendment.

SB 256 By Senators BROWNE, BOSCOLA, COSTA, M. WHITE and ARMSTRONG. Printer's No. 294. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for right to bail.

SB 637 By Senators BAKER, CORMAN, PILEGGI, RAFFERTY, TOMLINSON, WAUGH, ERICKSON, GREENLEAF, McILHINNEY, PICCOLA, RHOADES, WONDERLING, M. WHITE, D. WHITE, VANCE, ROBBINS, BROWNE, FOLMER, EARLL, MADIGAN and REGOLA. Printer's No. 545. An Act amending Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing that the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency be appointed subject to confirmation by the Senate.

SB 86 By Senators TOMLINSON, BOSCOLA, ERICKSON, RHOADES, GORDNER and STACK. Prior Printer's No. 120.Printer's No. 750. An Act amending the act of May 2, 1947 (P.L.143, No.62), entitled "An act regulating the sale and resale for profit and the carrying on of the business of selling or reselling tickets or other devices for admission to places of amusement; providing for the licensing of persons reselling such tickets for profit; providing for the suspension and revocation of such licenses; imposing duties on licensees and owners or operators of places of amusement; imposing powers and duties on the Department of Revenue, county treasurers, district attorneys, and the receiver of taxes, and city solicitors in cities of the first class; making disposition of moneys collected and providing penalties," further providing for reselling of tickets and for printing prices on tickets.

SB 180 By Senators PIPPY, PUNT, COSTA, STOUT, FONTANA, RAFFERTY, TOMLINSON, BRUBAKER, ROBBINS, ARMSTRONG, KASUNIC, D. WHITE, ORIE, FERLO, REGOLA, WOZNIAK, PILEGGI, M. WHITE, LOGAN, WAUGH, FUMO and WASHINGTON. Printer's No. 216. An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for burial details for veterans.

SB 306 By Senators RAFFERTY, KITCHEN, TARTAGLIONE, WONDERLING, EARLL, FERLO, C. WILLIAMS, ORIE, O'PAKE, GREENLEAF, PIPPY, M. WHITE, BAKER and LOGAN. Printer's No. 342. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages.

SB 355 By Senators M. WHITE, MUSTO, EARLL, STOUT, MADIGAN, SCARNATI, FONTANA, BROWNE, PUNT, BRUBAKER, RAFFERTY, ERICKSON, WOZNIAK, D. WHITE, PICCOLA, RHOADES, GORDNER, FERLO and BAKER. Prior Printer's No. 159.Printer's No. 737. An Act amending the act of January 8, 1960 (1959 P.L.2119, No.787), known as the Air Pollution Control Act, further providing for public review of State implementation plans.

SB 550 By Senators D. WHITE, ERICKSON, RHOADES, ARMSTRONG, RAFFERTY, ORIE, O'PAKE, VANCE, EARLL, STACK and C. WILLIAMS. Printer's No. 293. An Act amending the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.682, No.284), known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921, further providing, in insurance holding companies, for definitions, for acquisition of control of or merger with domestic insurer and for acquisitions involving insurers not otherwise covered; and making an inconsistent repeal.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Frahnkenschteen or Frankenstein: Designing the Perfect Legislator

John Micek, over at Capitol Ideas, wants to design the perfect legislator. Today he posed this question to his readers:

What constitutes a productive and effective state legislator?
Is it the number of bills they pass?
Is it how quickly they respond to citizens' needs?
Is it a combination of both?
In any given legislative session, hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of legislation are introduced. Only a handful ever become law. Based on that, you could divide the number of bills a lawmaker sponsors by the number he or she actually gets passed. That'll give you a batting average of effectiveness.
But is that a fair way to do it?

He's asking people to send him suggestions by early next week. I plan to think on it and post my thoughts here, maybe some other bloggers will do the same.

But if anyone sees John flying a kite over a castle or if people with electrodes sticking out of their neck start running for office we'll know what happened.

Targeted Seats and the Quarterly Campaign Finance Deadline

Saturday marks the end of quarterly campaign finance reporting period, as you are no doubt well aware if you are on any congressional representatives email lists. I've been getting hints, invitations, and outright requests, and I did drop a few coins in at least one bucket.

If you are so inclined, here are the Pennsylvania congressional seats that have been targeted by one party or the other as potential wins.

Republicans have targeted the four freshmen Democrats and will be trying to win those seats back( links to the contribution page on their campaign website or you can use ActBlue):

Jason Altmire (PA-4)
Chris Carney (PA-10)
Patrick Murphy (PA-8)
Joe Sestak (PA-7)

Democrats think they have a shot at these incumbent Republicans (sorry, I'm just not nonpartisan enough to provide links -- if you want to donate to these folks you'll have to google them. Please note that ActBlue has set up accounts for these seats even though there isn't a declared Democratic candidate, so you do have some options here):

Charlie Dent (PA-15)
Jim Gerlach (PA-6)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another Chaka Fattah Update

According to a press release on politicspa today:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today she will convene a bipartisan National Summit on America's Children on Tuesday, May 22, and that Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) will serve as one of three co-chairs.

That's one week after the primary election. Either Rep. Fattah will be the de facto next mayor of Philadelphia or he will have lost the race. Assuming, of course, that Philadelphia politics will follow the usual pattern and whoever wins the Democratic primary will win the election in November.

A Smoke-Filled Room has been keeping me up to date on the mayoral media news. According to an article in today's Daily News ("Fattah Backs Off Claim, Remains Mum on Finances," by Bob Warner), Congressman Fattah is no longer saying he won't release his tax returns because his wife's job contract forbids it, but because she prefers that information on her salary remain private. They file joint tax returns so releasing his information releases hers also.

Shades of Geraldine Ferraro -- when she was running for vice president she released her tax returns but initially refused to release her husband's, and received a considerable amount of bad press because of it. When a politician marries, or when someone marries a politician, they have to expect things like this. The Fattahs could have decided to file separately but didn't. For what it is worth, I think they should release the returns.

UPDATE: The March 29th Inquirer has an article "Fattah: Can't disclose tax data," by Andrew Maykuth, stating the Fattah's wife cannot release her salary due to a confidentiality agreement in her employment contract.

Big Bloggy Welcome to Great Expectations

Chris Satullo, Tom Ferrick, and assorted other Inquirer folks, are starting a new blog called Great Expectations. It will discuss topics related to the Great Expectations project "which focuses on civic engagement and the issues in Philadelphia's 2007 mayoral race."

They can be found at:

Everybody be nice and say howdy. Later we'll be coordinating who takes them "welcome to the neighborhood" oatmeal cookies and who takes sandwiches. I don't think they need voter registration forms.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

February Senate Journals

Not much happened in the Pennsylvania State Senate in February. The entire senate met on five days and the journals for those days were not particularly lengthy. Here are the dates and number of pages:

Feb. 5 (9 p.)
Feb. 6 (5 p.)
Feb. 7 (8 p.)
Feb. 12 (17 p.)
Feb. 13 (12 p.)

On the 5th Sen. Vince Fumo stepped aside as chair of the Appropriations Committee while his legal status is straightened out.

On the 7th four bills were introduced that all concerned nursing babies. Since this was a topic of discussion on this and other local blogs in the recent past I will make a point of looking at those bills more closely. (If you want a head start see SB 34 - SB 38).

On the 12th Sen. Fumo did another one of his reverse Carthago delenda est talks on the Iraq War.


On the 5th the following senators requested leaves of one kind or another: Punt, M J White, Sout Armstrong

On the 6th Senators Piccola (returns) and Fumo

On the 12th, McIlhenny (returns), Piccola

On the 13th, D White, Ferlo, Robbins, and M J White

Clarification on Child Care Survey

A few people have emailed to suggest that perhaps CNN misinterpreted the parameters of the survey referenced here yesterday. So I tracked down the original article, "Are There Long-Term Effects of Early Child Care," pages 681-701 in the March/April 2007 issue of Child Development. There are 6 authors. The first two are Jay Belsky and Deborah Lowe Vandell.

On page 682 we find this definition:

Especially because definition would affect which child care arrangements were -- and were not -- studied, the decision was made to define child care broadly, such that any and all nonmaternal care that was regularly scheduled for at least 10 hr per week qualified as "child care," including care by fathers, grandparents, and other relatives.

One item mentioned on page 696 was that parenting quality "provided to be a far stronger and more concistent predictor of tested achievement and teacher-reported social functioning than was child-care experience." Another shocker was that children in higher quality child care did better than those in poorer quality care.

Link to Transcript of Edwards 60 Minutes Spot

I missed John and Elizabeth Edwards on "60 Minutes" last Sunday but did find a link to a transcript of their appearance. On the sidebar was a link to the video as well. I watched it after I read the transcript and think the transcript is a good one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Last Chance to Write the Reform Agenda

According to

Welcome to the Citizen's R.E.F.O.R.M. Agenda. From now until March 31st, we, the people of Philadelphia, are collectively writing the R.E.F.O.R.M. Agenda — a series of action items to establish a transparent, accountable, and accessible government that works efficiently for all citizens, not just a few.

The voting phase, wherein registered users can vote on their reform priorities, begins April 4th, with an 11:00 a.m. kickoff at the National Constitution Center with keynote speaker Flavia Colgan.

Congressional Old Boys' Network at Play

Steve Goldstein's article in today's Inquirer on Congressman and Democratic mayoral candidate Chaka Fattah's golf hobby ("For Fattah, vote record can be a sand trap") has been noted by a number of bloggers today. The part that I considered most significant is this:

Fattah said his signature legislative achievement, the GEAR UP program that has contributed more than $2 billion nationally since 1999 to help low-income students in their college aspirations, owes its passage to a game of golf.

In 1997, Fattah was playing a round with Republican members of his committee and asked them to support his bill. When he began to describe it, one GOP member said, "We don't want to know the details; we'll be available," Fattah said.

The bill passed the GOP-controlled committee, with Fattah's golf buddies either abstaining or voting for passage - against the will of their leadership. While he declined to disclose his partners' names, one of Fattah's GOP colleagues confirms the incident.

There are a number of things about this that bother me.

1) People are voting on legislation not on its merit but because they play golf with the legislation's sponsor. They don't want to know the details? Gah!

2) None of the golf buddies mentioned in the article are female. Golf still tends to be predominately a man's game and legislative favors traded there, again, regardless of the legislation's merit, will exclude women legislators.

3) According to the paper his signature legislation was passed in 1997? That was ten years ago.

Survey Says -- Dads Are Child Care Not Parents

Today CNN was reporting on the latest survey results a longitudinal NIH study on the effects of child care. ("Child Care Linked to Later Behavioral Issues,). The full article was published in the most recent issue of Child Development. The article authors are quick to point out that:

The authors emphasized that the children's behavior was within a normal range and that it would be impossible to go into a classroom, and with no additional information, pick out those who had been in child care.

What just makes me crazy about this whole study is the definition of "child care."

In the study, child care was defined as care by anyone other than the child's mother who was regularly scheduled for at least 10 hours per week.

Think about that. Anyone other than the child's mother. That includes dad. Families who do split shifts where one parent works days and one parent works nights would be using child care according to the study. Families where dad works during the week and mom works on Saturday or Sunday and a few other hours a week would be considered to use child care according to the study. Families that bring grandma in for 2 hours Monday through Friday would be using child care according to the study. Any mother who regularly planned to be away from her child for more than 1.5 of the 24 hours a day throughout the week would be considered to use child care. That a parent, a male parent, having sole responsibility for his child 1.5 hours every day of the week, would be classified as child care just boggles my mind. How much money is going into fatherhood initiatives and the NIH says that is child care? Not parenting but child care. Steam is coming out my ears.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Note on Copy Editors at the Inquirer

Also in this month's Philadelphia Magazine is an article on Philadelpia Inquirer boss Brian Tierney, entitled "Press Lord 2.0" by Jason Fagone. In it you will find this sentence:

Tierney wants a paper that "pops," yet he has laid off 13 of the paper's 45 copy editors -- the Inky's gurus of pop.

I wasn't going to say anything but this is noticeable in the daily reading of the paper. It may seem odd for a blogger to point this out but blogging is not held to the same grammatical and spelling standards as the flagship newspaper of one of the nation's largest cities. In the last week, for example, I saw oversees used for overseas, te for the, and today wee for what was surely intended as were. These things do pop but not in a good way.

Dwight Evans in Philadelphia Magazine

Alerted by A Smoke-Filled Room, I checked out the profile of Democratic Philadelphia mayoral candidate Dwight Evans in this month's Philadelphia Magazine ("The Dwight Stuff" by Gregory Gilderman). Here are two paragraphs that sort of sum up the article:

To people whose knowledge of Evans comes only from television, it may be a surprise that this purveyor of lists has received the endorsement of three of the city’s most important unions. Or that such influential insiders as Bruce Crawley and Carl Singley are behind him. Or that Philadelphia’s Black Clergy have given him a nod. Even more interesting, perhaps, is what political consultant Larry Ceisler and many others — Democrats and Republicans — say about Evans. “If you ask people who deal with state and city policy,” Ceisler says, “most of them would say Dwight Evans would make the best mayor.”

The problem for Evans is that people in the policy business don’t decide elections. Voters do, and in that area, Evans — ahead of the curve on issues or not — has often struggled to make a connection. In the 1999 Democratic mayoral primary, for instance, he finished an anemic fifth in a five-person field, and in this spring’s primary, things look only slightly more promising. In two recent polls, just 10 percent and 12 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Evans. He remains hopeful that the public at large will come to view him the way the policy wonks do, but in this town, history shows that’s a risky gambit.

It covers a number of his accomplishments, his strengths and weaknesses, and good biographical information. Well worth the time to read for anyone interested in the Philadelphia mayoral race.

Off Topic: February Was No Fun I, Or, a Brief Word on Elizabeth Edwards

Around New Years I posted a note on Barack Obama’s Audacity of Hope and said it would be the first in a series of posts on presidential candidate’s autobiographies. While I have not added to the list I have been reading. The review of Hillary Clinton’s book is holding me up. I keep writing and rewriting. In the meantime I’ve read John Edwards’ Four Trials, Elizabeth Edwards’ Saving Graces and am halfway through Bill Richardson’s book.

The Edwards’ books came at an interesting time. In early February my doctor suggested I make an appointment with an oncologist. No real worry. But for too long something had been where something had no good reason to be. While it didn’t have the properties of anything scary and I’ve been very good at having all the tests that people in my demographic group should have and nothing untoward showed up, it just seemed best to get a definitive word. Since it wasn’t anything urgent my appointment with the oncologist was scheduled for 3 weeks later. Three weeks can be a long time to wonder. And it was during these three weeks that I finished Four Trials, which is mostly about lawsuits involving parents who died and left young children and young children with serious illnesses. Then I started Saving Graces which opens with Elizabeth Edwards being diagnosed with breast cancer. For reasons I do not understand myself I used the prescription for the oncologist as my bookmark. Nothing like a little salt in the wounds.

Saving Graces is a wonderful book. I loved it and highly recommend it for anyone. Keep Kleenex handy though. Unless you are heartless there are parts that will have you in tears. Not that it is a sad book. Sad spots, definitely, but her life in many ways is fairly ordinary. Her children are noisy in church. The neighbor kids eat her out of house and home. She has to stop on the way to a campaign event to buy a new shirt because she spilled fruit juice on the one she was wearing. I could relate to all of that. I just hoped we didn’t have anything else in common.

So the big day arrived and off I went to the oncologist. There is just no way to walk into a door labeled Surgical Oncology without at least an inward grimace. The pictures in the examination rooms do nothing to ease the spirit either. I made a nervous and dark-humored joke that the doctor acknowledged with a thin-lipped smile and made a note in my chart (“idiot” perhaps or maybe “jerk”). However she did lighten my day considerably by telling me that what I have is nothing more serious than whacky lymph nodes. No real reason for them to be behaving the way they are but no real harm in it either. Anything she did to fix them would probably cause more problems than it would solve.

Considering what she could have told me adding whacky lymph nodes to my list of personal physical idiosyncrasies (along with wandering kneecaps, funny looking toes, and an odd metabolism) is easily done.

Here is my brief word on Elizabeth Edwards: My heart and prayers go out to her and her family.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

PA in the WSJ

It was another slow week for Pennsylvania related items in the Wall Street Journal, at least as far as I could tell. There were two intersections of Pennsylvania and chocolate. Those struck home in particular as I had a pan of brownies in the oven while reading.

PA Politicians

For those who missed it, former Sen. Rick Santorum as been hired as a consultant by law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott “Noted…,” 3/20). The firm is based in Pittsburgh but Santorum will work out of the Washington office. [blogger note: sorry, couldn’t resist].

PA Businesses

Cadbury, the British candy behemoth, and personal favorite of mine, is currently Cadbury Schweppes but is splitting its candy and beverage operations. (When friends go to Britain or British friends come here I ask to see if they will bring me a Cadbury Caramel bar or two or three or four. The American version just doesn’t taste the same.) One possible outcome is to join the Cadbury part with our own beloved Hershey. If this will increase the odds of my getting more Cadbury Caramel bars more often I’ll all for it. (See “Sweet Deal in the Works?” by John Christ and John Foley 3/23)

Other PA

My thanks to Amy E. Griel, a postdoctoral dietetics intern at Penn State. In “We Thought We Knew Carob, But Carob is No Chocolate,” (3/20) she notes that carob usually has as much fat and calories as chocolate since production into chocolate substitutes takes as much milk and sugar. When I was in college the lefties I hung around with touted carob as a healthy alternative to the good stuff. I never tasted any similarity. Thank you, Dr. Griel, thank you. Let it be known, there is no substitute for chocolate, and carob is just as bad for you.

In Kevin Helliker’s Health Journal “Minorities and the Swimming Gap,” (3/20) he talks about the Philadelphia-based movie “Pride” as part of the larger picture of the discrepancy between the swimming abilities of whites and African Americans.

A thorny issue for colleges is the focus of “After a Suicide, Privacy on Trial” by Elizabeth Bernstein (3/24). The primary case discussed is that of an Allegheny College (Meadville, PA) student who hanged himself.

U Penn grad John T Gilbride’s obit (“Captain of Industry Steered Shipbuilder Through Tough Times,” by Stephen Miller) appeared on 3/24.

According to “Now Opening: 800 New Hotels” by Candace Jackson, Philadelphia is slated to get 17 new hotels this year (3/24).

Other Interesting Tidbits

“Internet Plays Widening Role in Race for President,” by Amy Schatz (3/19)

Friday, March 23, 2007

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that passed the Pennsylvania House or Senate this week, and mention of any noteworthy resolutions. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the
originally formatting).

Our accountant friends at PICPA have provided their usual informative weekly update.


HB363 Printer's No. 427. An Act designating the bridge carrying State Route 30 over Main Street in North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, as the Veterans Bridge.

HB 294 By Representatives SCAVELLO, SIPTROTH, CARROLL and PEIFER. Printer's No. 336. An Act designating the Interboro Bridge on State Route 2012, Monroe County, as the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

HB195 Prior Printer's No. 229.Printer's No. 807. An Act designating the bridge carrying SR 441 over the Swatara Creek in the Borough of Royalton, Dauphin County, as the Sgt. Major Clarence Edward Mathias Bridge.

HB 116 By Representatives D. EVANS, GERBER, CALTAGIRONE, CAPPELLI, CURRY, JOSEPHS, KING, KULA, MANDERINO, McGEEHAN, MELIO, PARKER, SIPTROTH, VITALI, DALEY, HARHAI and GALLOWAY. Printer's No. 138. An Act amending the act of April 21, 1949 (P.L.665, No.155), known as the First Class City Home Rule Act, further providing for the general grant of power.

HB 85 By Representatives K. SMITH, STABACK, CARROLL, SHIMKUS, WANSACZ, CALTAGIRONE, DALEY, YOUNGBLOOD, MUNDY, BENNINGTON, SIPTROTH and DENLINGER. Printer's No. 109. An Act authorizing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to grant and convey to the County of Lackawanna Transit System Authority (COLTS), certain lands situate in the City of Scranton, Lackawanna County, in exchange for a certain tract of land from COLTS situate in the City of Scranton, Lackawanna County.


SB 21 By Senators DINNIMAN, PILEGGI, RAFFERTY, ERICKSON and BRUBAKER. Printer's No. 29. An Act authorizing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to enter into an agreement or other legal instrument with Chester County to alter use restrictions and reversionary covenants on real estate conveyed to Chester County, situate in Newlin and West Bradford Townships; and making inconsistent repeals.

SB 437 By Senators REGOLA, WAUGH, LOGAN, ROBBINS, WONDERLING, BOSCOLA, RAFFERTY, McILHINNEY, O'PAKE, BAKER, BROWNE, FONTANA, TOMLINSON, D. WHITE, EARLL and VANCE. Prior Printer's No. 163.Printer's No. 425. An Act amending the act of November 10, 1999 (P.L.491, No.45), known as the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, further providing for the adoption of regulations.

SB 263 By Senators GORDNER, TARTAGLIONE, MUSTO, BAKER, RHOADES, KASUNIC, BOSCOLA, BROWNE, BRUBAKER, COSTA, ERICKSON, FERLO, FONTANA, LAVALLE, LOGAN, PIPPY, RAFFERTY, TOMLINSON and WONDERLING. Printer's No. 157. An Act amending the act of June 21, 1939 (P.L.566, No.284), known as The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, providing further benefits.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Santarsiero and Marseglia Website Up

The endorsed Democratic candidates for Bucks County commissioners, Steve Santarsiero and Diane Marseglia have their campaign website up and running. It is very sharp, very nicely done. Take a look:

January Pennsylvania Senate Journals

Pennsylvania State Senate Journals for January 2007

The Senate was in session for 9 days. The Senate Journal issues for January are now available on the web and I’ve skimmed through them for interesting comments or events. Here are the dates and the number of pages for those journal issues:

Jan 2 (35 p)
Jan 16 (10 p)
Jan 17 (7 p)
Jan 22 (8 p)
Jan 23 (3 p)
Jan 24 (5 p)
Jan 29 (8 p)
Jan 30 (10 p)
Jan 31 (5 p)

So, as you can see, not a whole lot happened in the Senate in January. The committees may have been very busy but when the Senate was in session together not a lot was going on. Most of the January Senate Journal issues were long introductions of guest, resolutions being passed, and so forth. The January 2nd issue is comprised mostly of election results. On January 16th Lt. Gov. Knoll gives a speech, in the issue for the 17th there is a list of Senate committees. Not a lot of discussion. There were, however, a few points of interest.

In case you were wondering, January 2nd is Senator Joe Scarnati’s birthday and everyone sang to him. Sen. Robert Mellow commented (p. 4) on what a “very young, attractive, energetic candidate Sen. Scarnati is.” Can we all agree to use another word for attractive? Personable, charismatic, vital, appealing – any of these would suffice. One person calling another attractive in a work setting is maybe not such a good idea.

The same issue notes that there is a committee to escort the President Pro Tempore elect to the rostrum. Are they worried he’ll be mugged along the way and needs protection? If there is a budget assigned to this committee I’d suggest we do away with the whole thing.

On the 29th Sen. Vince Fumo makes another long impassioned speech about the war in Iraq (p. 5)

On January 30th Sen. Andrew Dinniman brought along his friend the Ambassador from Kenya who addressed the Senate (p. 5). Given Pennsylvania ’s place in the world economy this sort of exchange should, in my view, be encouraged.


On the 16th Senators Pileggi, Tomlinson, Ferlo, Tartaglione and Fumo requested leaves for legislative or personal reasons

On the 17th Senators D. White, Greenleaf, Tartaglione, Waugh (returned), and Tomlinson requested leaves.

On the 22nd Senators Mary Jo White, Washington and Punt requested leaves.

On the 23rd Senators Punt and Greenleaf (returns) requested leaves.

On the 24th Senators Punt, Greenleaf, Gordner, Armstrong and Fumo requested leaves.

On the 31st Senators Earll and Armstrong requested leaves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another Allyson Schwartz Update

From the inbox:

This evening Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-13) held a telephone public forum. I'm told around 125 people called in. She had to dart off once or twice to vote in a late night budget committee meeting but spoke briefly about her trip to Iraq and answered callers' questions.

Montco Commissioner's Race Set

The Montgomery County GOP seems to have sorted itself out. Republicans Bruce Castor and Jim Matthews have sent out a notice that they will be running for county commissioner as a team. Castor's chosen running mate, Melissa Murphy Weber, decided not to stay in the race, as has Matthew's fellow incumbent commissioner Tom Ellis.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Ruth Damsker and Joe Hoeffel are off and running. Their campaign website is up but there isn't much there at the moment. Nice photo though. (

Just personal speculation -- who will end up being the minority commissioner, Bruce or Joe?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nutter News

According to a press release received last week Philadelphia Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Nutter has hired Neil Oxman, the media wizard behind both of Ed Rendell's successful mayoral campaigns, as his media consultant. Should that intrigue you, stop by Kildares at 509-511 South 2nd St. this Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30 to watch some basketball and celebrate all things Nutter.

Allyson Schwartz Update

There are two news items regarding Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13).

She has been asked to take over the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee)'s Women Lead program, to raise money for women candidates and encourage more women to become involved with politics. (press release via politicspa)

As he predicted in his blog yesterday, Josh Drobnyk of the Morning Call writes in "Schwartz Backs Clinton for President," (3/20) that Rep. Schwartz has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Local Blogger On NPR

One of my fellow local bloggers, Daddy Democrat, reports that a cartoon he created was posted to NPR's On the Media page. He gives the full story, telling more about graphics packages than I could follow.

A Big Bloggy Welcome to Pennsylvania Avenue

The Morning Call, home of Capitol Ideas, one of my morning blog stops, has launched another political blog. Steely-eyed, sharp-witted Washington correspondent Josh Drobnyk is writing Pennsylvania Avenue, tracking the 2008 presidential race and its Pennsylvania connections. Today is he reporting that Rep. Allyson Schwartz will be supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton in the presidential sweepstakes. Welcome to the blogosphere, Josh! I'll update my blogroll as soon as I can get a reliable connection (much frustation over the wireless connection at Casa Jane this weekend and today). (h/t Pennsyltucky Politics)

PA-Based Leadership PACs

This past election season we heard a lot about leadership PACs. My interest was further piqued by a recent article in Politico (“Junior Democrats Launch Leadership PACs,” by: Kenneth P. Vogel, 3/09)
March 9, 2007 03:26 PM EST

I found further information on the newly elected official’s PACs; none had Pennsylvania connections, with the possible exception of Freshmen Democrats, though none of the names listed were from Pennsylvania. (See "Six Democratic Members Start PACs Since Election," PoliticalMoneyLine Staff 1/31

However, if you are interested, a number of Pennsylvania’s current and past elected officials do have PACs. This list is taken from the Leadership PAC List of I have provided the name of the PAC and the official’s name. Click on the link to see how much each raised in 2005-06, how much went to Republicans and Democrats. Keep in mind that some, like Dent’s were only recently established.

America's Foundation Rick Santorum (R-Pa)
Big Tent PAC Arlen Specter (R-Pa)
Cmte for a United Republican Team Curt Weldon (R-Pa)
DENT PAC Charles Wieder Dent (R-Pa)
Doing Our Nation's Service PAC Donald L. Sherwood (R-Pa)
Helping Advance the Republican Team PAC Melissa Hart (R-Pa)
Majority PAC John P. Murtha (D-Pa)
Pro-Growth Action Team ex-Rep Pat Toomey (R-Pa)
Prosperity Helps Inspire Liberty PAC Phil English (R-Pa)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Iraq War Offensive

Today's Inquirer has a sentence that it the most offensive I have read concerning the Iraq War. In "Focusing on War's Funding vs. Cost," by Matt Crenson, we find this:

Some say the continued strength of the economy itself is a demonstration of the war's affordability.

Some things should just never be measured solely in financial terms.

Monday Night Evans Video Chat

Monday the 19th at 7:00 p.m. Democratic Philadelphia mayoral candidate, Dwight Evans, is having another video chat. I'll have to miss this one because of a family conflict. Hopefully I can catch it on the campaign site Tuesday; they are usually available the next day.

The nice thing about this kind of public forum is that it does mesh well with a busy household (provided you have wireless). I can watch from home and carry the laptop around the house as household activity moves and changes. I started watching last week's chat sitting on the dining room floor finishing up my spaghetti, then moved to the landing outside the bathroom while the youngest kid took a bath, dropping out to turn on and off the water or put my plate in the dishwasher.

To join in just click on the link on Evans' campaign site while the chat is in session.

Local Blogger Gets Her Own TV Show

From the inbox -- Flavia Colgan, who runs Citizen Hunter, expands her media empire. Look out Oprah!!

Flavia Colgan's New Show, Miracle Quest, Premieres on Travel Channel

From the stigmata of Padre Pio in Italy to visions of the Virgin Mary in France, Travel Channel's 'Miracle Quest' takes viewers on an amazing journey to the limits of human understanding. Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they believe in miracles. Religious tourism in Italy alone generates over $4.5 billion each year. The French city of Lourdes attracts more visitors than all the wonders of Egypt because of six crutches that hang on a rusty wire - a symbol of a miracle cure, for those who believe. Miracles are big business.

Take a "front-row seat" as Flavia Colgan embarks on a personal quest of discovery. With a sense of adventure and open-minded curiosity, Flavia will examine the theories, question the authorities, and speak with those who have experienced the miraculous first-hand.

Episode 1 Friday March 30th at 8PM

Flavia follows in the footsteps of the country's most famous stigmatic, Padre Pio. On her quest for knowledge, she also attempts to uncover what really lies behind the astounding phenomenon known as stigmata

Episode 2 Friday April 6 at 8PM

In this episode, our host looks into the many visions of Mary that were reported in France after the French Revolution. Flavia also explores the question of why the Virgin's miraculous appearance in Lourdes more than 150 years ago continues to attract millions of pilgrims from around the world.

Episode 3 Friday April 13th at 8PM
United States

Flavia investigates the differences between several unique cultural miracles and uncovers the extraordinary origins behind them.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

PA in the WSJ

Either it was a slow week for Pennsylvania in the Wall Street Journal of I missed things.

PA Politicians

“House Democrats Strip Iran Provision From Bill,” by David Rogers mentions Rep. John Murtha (D., Pa.) (3/13)

PA Businesses

Obit of Roswell Brayton, Jr. CEO of Woolrich, Inc., based in Woolrich, PA, founded in 1830. (3/17)

“Big Hits in Sports,” by Rob Cox and John Christy, on Dick’s Sporting Goods, based in Pittsburgh (3/17)

Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton mentioned in “Yao Guilty in Fraud Case,” by Paul Davies (3/15)

Brief notes:
Pep Boys of Philadelphia (3/14 and 3/16)
Leep, maker of building materials, Montoursville (3/15)
Bon-Ton department stores of York (3/16)

Other PA

Brief quote by Ilana Diamond, of Sima Products, a home-theater and digital-imaging accessories manufacturer in Oakmont, in “Drilling Kids in Chinese, by Ellen Gamerman (3/17)

Mention (3 paragraphs in a much larger story) of a house in Pittsburgh in “Foreclosure Rise Brings Business To One Investor,” by James R. Hagerty (3/14)

Pittsburgh ranked 6th and Philadelphia 7th in a chart of “metropolitan areas that lost the most jobs in the mortgage-lending and consumer-finance sectors between the fourth quarters of 2005 and 2006” in “Subprime Troubles Bite Into Office-Space Sector,” by Jennifer S. Forsyth and Conor Dougherty. Our neighbor to the south, Wilmington, ranked 2nd. (3/16)

Mention of a book by Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore prof, “The Paradox of Choice,” in Jim Sollisch’s essay “The Joys of Workaholism” (3/16)

Anecdote about Jake Kaufman of Chambersburg in a story about Open That Bottle Night, events to open bottles of wine saved for special occasions, in “A Toast to Memories,” by Michaela Rodeno (3/16)

Review of Pittsbugh author Lee Gutkind’s new book “Amost Human” in “The Winding Road to the Robotic Future,” by George Anders (3/16)

Friday, March 16, 2007

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that have passed the Pennsylvania House and/or Senate this week, along with selected resolutions (i.e. the ones that looked interesting to me). A list of bills introduced or acted upon is distributed daily to anyone who signs up on the state legislative site. This information is taken from those emails.

In general, if the list of sponsors is longer than 3 lines in its original form the list of sponsors is not included (sometimes it seems like hundreds of people sponsored a bill).

The House did not pass any bills this week, though a large number in both the House and Senate, were shuffled off to committee or considered for the first time.

Of particular interest this week is HR 108, the new House rules.

Our accountant friends at PICPA have also updated their weekly update.

Other weekly updates:

GOP Senate
Dem Senate
GOP House (daily)


HR 108 By Representatives SHAPIRO, STEIL, ARGALL, BENNINGHOFF, COHEN, COX, DALLY, FREEMAN, GRELL, MAHONEY, MANDERINO, MUNDY, NAILOR, ROAE, ROHRER, RUBLEY, SAINATO, SCHRODER, TANGRETTI, THOMAS, VEREB, VITALI, WALKO, WILLIAMS, MAHER and MUSTIO. Prior Printer's No. 716.Printer's No. 814. A Resolution adopting as permanent rules for the House of Representatives the Temporary Rules of the House of Representatives (2007-2008), providing for equal opportunity officer and advisory committee; further providing for order and decorum, for smoking, for members' and employees' expenses; providing for employee payroll information and for electronic availability of reports; further providing for time of meeting, for introduction and printing of bills, for fiscal notes, for consideration of bills, for first consideration bills, for third consideration and final passage bills, for amendments, for bills amended by the Senate, for sine die and final introduction of bills, for standing committees and subcommittees and for Committee on Rules; providing for status of members indicted or convicted of a crime; further providing for committee action, for public hearings, for adjourn, for lay on the table, for motion to take from table, for financial interests in gaming entities, for electronic roll call, for suspending and changing rules and for parliamentary authority; and making editorial changes.

HR 111 By Representatives HARPER, ROEBUCK and GERGELY. Printer's No. 733. A Resolution providing for the composition of the Legislative Committee for Research Liaison.

HR88 Printer's No. 810. A Resolution designating the week of April 9 through 16, 2007, as "Voter Awareness Week" in Pennsylvania.


SB 71 By Senators GREENLEAF, ORIE, KITCHEN, COSTA, BOSCOLA, RAFFERTY, FONTANA, PUNT, TARTAGLIONE, ERICKSON, O'PAKE, WASHINGTON, BROWNE, STACK and C. WILLIAMS. Printer's No. 18. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for Office for Safe Schools; and requiring the establishment of policies relating to bullying.

SB 157 By Senators RHOADES, MUSTO, C. WILLIAMS, LAVALLE, RAFFERTY, GORDNER, STACK, KASUNIC, COSTA, WASHINGTON, STOUT, WOZNIAK, M. WHITE, GREENLEAF and EARLL. Prior Printer's No. 21.Printer's No. 53. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for powers and duties of the intermediate unit board of directors; and providing for academic improvement programs.

SB 158 By Senators RHOADES, MUSTO, LAVALLE, C. WILLIAMS, BOSCOLA, RAFFERTY, WASHINGTON, STACK, WOZNIAK, KASUNIC, COSTA, ERICKSON, KITCHEN, STOUT, GREENLEAF, REGOLA and FERLO. Printer's No. 22. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, establishing parent involvement programs and policies in school districts.

SB 154 By Senators RHOADES, RAFFERTY, GORDNER, BOSCOLA, STACK, STOUT, ERICKSON, WAUGH, GREENLEAF, KASUNIC, COSTA, WASHINGTON, WOZNIAK and PILEGGI. Prior Printer's No. 19.Printer's No. 52. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for continuing professional development and for program of continuing professional education.

SB 155 By Senators RHOADES, RAFFERTY, GORDNER, BOSCOLA, STACK, STOUT, KASUNIC, COSTA, ERICKSON, WASHINGTON, WOZNIAK, WAUGH, GREENLEAF and PILEGGI. Printer's No. 20. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, authorizing intermediate units to establish a pool of educational advisors for certain school districts.

SB 219 By Senators VANCE, RHOADES, FOLMER, BOSCOLA, COSTA, EARLL, ERICKSON, O'PAKE, ORIE, PUNT, RAFFERTY, M. WHITE, C. WILLIAMS, WONDERLING and WAUGH. Prior Printer's Nos. 24, 54.Printer's No. 388. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for background checks of prospective employees and for disqualifications relating to teacher's certificate.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Montco GOP's All Shook Up!

PAWaterCooler has been live blogging results of the Montco GOP Convention. Incumbent county controller Eric Kretschman withdrew his candidacy and Bob Sanders will now be the GOP candidate on the ballot. The first ballot for county commissioner has come out with Bruce Castor and incumbent Jim Mathews getting the most votes. We will have to read the papers tomorrow for all the details and final balloting.

One concern I have had in both Montco and Bucks is that the boards of commissioners could end up losing what little diversity they have had. Both are currently made up of two white male Republicans and one white female Democrat. When the dust settles in early November we could end up with three while males on both boards. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that; it's just nice to see a different face once in a while.

News Round Up: Reform Edition

Just like spring flowers political reform is bursting out all over.

The Pennsylvania State House Democrats have released their Agenda for PA Progress.

The Pennsylvania State House has adopted new rules to reform the legislative process.

PoliticsPA columnist Curtin comes in like a lion and says that the real problem still hasn't been tackled.

In Philadelphia you can help write the reform agenda. is setting up a wiki that will allow registered users to edit the initial document. Editing will go on through the end of March. In early April you can vote on reform items and then candidates are asked to respond to them. To play you have to sign a reform contract and give up standard personal info (name, address, phone number, email, which they way will be kept private).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A New Lentz on Life

Daddy Democrat brings us some valuable information and some good news. State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D-161) missed the vote to reform Pennsylvania State House rules but had an excellent reason for doing so. He and his wife welcomed a son yesterday. I met Mrs. Lentz at a political event last spring. She's a very intelligent, well-spoken woman and a great campaigner on her husband's behalf.

Many congratulations to the Lentz family. Rep. Lentz can check with Congressman Murphy on combining fatherhood with adjusting to life in office.

Montco County Controller Intrigue

According to the Bulletin ("Montgomery Controller Charged with Forgery" by William Mulgrew, 3/14), Republican Bob Sander, a candidate for Montgomery County controller, has accused incumbent Republican controller Eric Kretschman with turning in forged signatures on his petitions. Intrigue, scandal, notarized statements, withdrawn support, and any number of other things. Read the full article for details. (via PoliticsPA)

Philadelphia Quality of Life Survey

Recently the Inquirer ran an article by Andrew Maykuth, "Poll finds city voters uneasy," (3/04)

If you want more information, the 7 page summary and the raw data (one of these files runs 61 pages) are also available on the website.

Some things I noticed:

More Democrats that Republicans think city officials are corrupt.

The more money and education you have the better you rate Philadelphia as a place to live.

People's view of how safe their neighborhood is depends on what neighborhood they live.

Some of these are common sense but there are a number of other, more interesting, information bits in the results if you are willing to sort through for them.

Voting Integrity Resources

The Election Reform Network got in touch recently to bring some items to my attention. One concerned the ease of accessing the information in some voting machines. I had seen news reports on this but hadn't read them thoroughly. This time I did.

A full professor at Princeton, Andrew Appel, purchased some voting machines on eBay. Let me backtrack and say why I made mention of full professor. This is not a rank that is handed out for longevity; you have to work for it, and not everyone gets it. Dr. Appel has a lengthy list of publications and presentations for organizations like IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). These are not fly by night groups -- it's the big leagues. Appel has been studying voting machinery for at least 3 years. In short, Dr. Appel is not a crackpot. Nor is he an egghead. He writes well and in understandable language.

His account of buying the voting machines and the initial look inside is recounted in "How I Bought Used Voting Machines on the Internet," (2/07) (

I also really enjoyed reading his "Effective audit policy for voter-verified paper ballots in New Jersey," also available on his website, as a pdf file. This is an introduction to the feasibility of voter fraud and ways to thwart it through, you guessed it, effective audit policy. The article, dated 3/09/07, is detailed and very thorough but easy enough to understand that I could skim it while in the same room with small children watching American Idol. It's good stuff.

The good folks at the Election Reform Network say the machines Appel bought are the same basic model used in Montgomery County and this concerns them. After reading Appel's work it concerns me too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Joseph in the Lion's Den

In the past few weeks there has been some discussion over Rep. Joe Sestak’s upcoming appearance at a Muslim organization's event. The organization is CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations); the event is for their Philadelphia chapter. Having read a bit about the controversy (see references at the end of this post) in the papers I thought it would be a good idea to hear from Rep. Sestak himself and attended a public forum at the Suburban Jewish Community Center B’nai Aaron in Havertown on Sunday afternoon. Heated rhetoric during campaigns and debates are not infrequent but it is rarer to see a sitting congressional representative being vehemently berated by constituents. Only a few people spoke with such passion but the crowd was clearly very concerned.

I think kudos are in order for Rep. Sestak for coming to talk directly to people that he knew were upset with him. He handled all the questions well and did not attempt to pander to the audience, but did stand his ground. Whether his position is a good one or not, politically, only time will tell.

Keeping in mind that I am not a trained journalist, here are my rough notes from the event.

Rep. Sestak spoke first, then took questions.

He said that he would have stayed in the Navy longer but got into the political race because of his daughter’s health. After her first brain surgery she was given 3 to 6 months to live, only 2 children with her kind of brain tumor have survived more than 2 years, she is now at 1.5 years. He had excellent health care due to his military service. He wanted to pay this back and help move society forward and so ran for office. He ran on four pillars: national security, health, education and economic security. They are not unconnected, educational prowess undergirds a great military.

He asked for congressional committees that would relate to these issues. His committee assignments are armed services, education and labor, and small business. He is on the health subcommittee for small business and the labor subcommittee on health. Furthermore he has held one education summit and plans on having more.

To date he has sponsored one bill, on Iraq, and will now focus on his other issues. For example he wants to have a mental health summit and believes in mental parity. He spoke about the troops coming home from Iraq that have developed a mental issue, and how many are able to receive treatment.

In the navy his job was to stitch together diverse people to work on one mission; as a politician his job is to stick together diverse people to find win/win solutions. As for local issues he has four: economic development, airport redesign, watershed management, and crime & violence. He tries to be consistent and act on what he ran on.


Rabbi Malik explains that they came close to cancelling the forum when he agreed to attend a fundraising event for CAIR. They are concerned about his lending credibility to and help raise money for an organization affiliated with Hamas. He has said he felt it would do more good than harm. She would like an explanation of that comment also.

Rep. Sestak answered that one of his staff accepted the invitation to speak at a banquet which 250 of his constituents were expected to attend. He then learned it was part of a fundraiser; he originally thought they were two separate events. He told CAIR he would not attend a fundraiser and not appear with other speakers. He accepted not in support of CAIR but for his constituents attending. When he was campaigning at 69th street station the Muslim community would send out volunteers to distribute campaign literature at each of the station doors. Upper Darby is a diverse community. Forty-three languages and over 60 countries are represented. He has met with Polish, Chinese, Irish, African American and other ethnic groups. He intends to tell CAIR if an organization does not condemn terrorism they are wrong. He has been to Israel five times, including 2 weeks spent traveling around on his own. He is not going in support of CAIR but of constituents.

Are you hiring anyone from CAIR

He hired someone who used to work for CAIR three weeks ago. This was the person who accepted the invitation to speak at CAIR. He did not know she was a Muslim until the end of the job interviews.

follow up: Have you learned more about the Jewish community? Will we be proud of you this Sept. 11?

Yes, he has learned a lot about the Jewish community in the past few days. He called the local AIPAC [American Israeli Public Affairs Committee] representative to talk with him about the issue and spoke to a number of others in the Jewish community. There are a number of disparate views in that community. On the matter of his support for Israel you will have to decide that and judge him. On what he said and on what he has done. He helped plan Reliant Mermaid, the first Israeli Arab joint military operation.

If constituents in the Ku Klux Klan invited you would you go?

No, he wouldn’t attend an event but he would talk to them.

Can you put out a position paper on this?

He has a position paper on Israel and could put out a position paper on this particular issue but it may take a while.

The Inquirer had an article on 2/26/06 that provided background information on this staff member including a mention that her stepfather is on the CAIR board. Is it a security risk to allow her access to the sensitive information in your office? You are empowering her by hiring her.

She’s in the district office and there is no sensitive information there. He has a fault – he is demanding. He has another fault – he loves those who work with him. This staff member is a recent graduate of Rosemont College and just starting her working career. He then told the story of an aviator who had been relieved of duty unfairly. The aviator’s call name, assigned to him not one he chose, which he had covered over on his airplane because it could be considered offensive, was repainted on his plane the day before press was on the aircraft carrier. The plane appeared in photographs and the aviator was relieved. Sestak was told to stay out of it but he made calls on behalf of the aviator who was then reinstated for duty.

Why do you conflate Muslim constituents with CAIR. You are making it harder for Muslim moderates.

Asks what conflate means. When he speaks to CAIR he will say as he always does that Israel is a staunch ally and Hamas is wrong. CAIR, like the organizations of many new immigrants, is trying to break in to politics, into the Democratic Party. Two Muslims who volunteered for him at the 69th street station told him not to go to the event or they were afraid he would not be reelected in two years.

follow up: Can you post your remarks to CAIR?


[Long impassioned ranting question that I could not hear because of the constituent’s soft voice but her gestures spoke volumes. Unlike other questions this one was not repeated into a microphone.]

Three points: The staffer did as she was told and asked CAIR to change the wording on their website regarding the event. He doesn’t know what the staffer said or didn’t say and they have no control over whether or not the staffer’s name is still on CAIR’s website. On evidence of ties to Hamas, if it is so strong the organization would have been closed down.

It is an insult to compare CAIR to Polish and Irish community groups. If 250 constituents are going to the banquet he should contact the FBI because they may be [missed a few words] group hates Jews

The FBI has gone to their banquets, and has not shut them down. He regrets if the other groups might feel it is an insult to compare them.

follow up: The staffer told her the two events (banquet and fundraiser) are the same and that Edward Peck would also be speaking.

As the event was presented to him he would be the only speaker. Before he makes judgments he wants to know the other side. The decision was made. For better or worse it is the right thing to do. He believes ultimately that the better way of approaching anything is to talk to anyone. He had a wonderful career. Politics is a passion. He regrets that people disagree with his decision.


If there was one issue he didn’t do his homework on during the campaign this was it. The VA gets Protonix for $250; via Medicare it is over $1,000. The government at present can’t negotiate prices. We should allow the government to negotiate. We need to put teeth into it but not in such a way that has scores of companies falling off a cliff in a year.

What plans for older, ring communities? [this refers to the older suburbs just outside the city]

He has met with organizations in Philadelphia, the Brookings Institute and Upper Darby leadership. By the way, he does own a home here now. We need to bring in the right industries. We can start with arts and entertainment which leads to retail which leads to real estate. It can take a decade or more. He has talked with Delaware County College [not sure this is exactly correct] and Drexel about making sure we offer the right training programs and keep newly developed industries in the area. He gives examples of mig and tig welding and nanotechnology. It is hard to get students for these programs even though there are jobs. Residents coming to the area have lower incomes than residents leaving the area. Since people change jobs more often it is not enough to have one company from an industry we must have several to allow for job changes. We also need to relieve the health burden on small businesses.

[question on the situation at Walter Reed Hospital]

He let the soldiers down. His daughter’s first brain surgery was at Walter Reed and they had wonderful treatment. The military and congress and the president let the soldiers down. It was like walking around a ship but not doing below the deck plates.

Further Reading

CAIR controversy

Bender, William, “Sestak Takes Heat Over CAIR Banquet,” Delaware County Times 3/02/07

Rabinowitz, Beila "Commentary: Sestak Must Rescind His Ties To CAIR," The Evening Bulletin 03/07/2007

Lively post on PA7Watch blog.

General article on Sestak:

Drobnyk, Josh, “'The hour is late, but the agenda is long' for Sestak,” Morning Call 3/05/07

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dwight Evans Webchat III

This evening’s live webchat with Philadelphia mayoral candidate Dwight Evans went well. In fact, I thought it was the best of the three I have been in one. Previous webchats have been available on the campaign website,, within a day or two and it is safe to assume this one will be as well.

There was no theme for this hour-long discussion, questions were submitted on a variety of subjects and I thought Evans gave thorough answers to all of them. Those who signed on late sometimes asked a question that had already been asked and answered but Evans was willing to reiterate and sometimes expand on what he had said earlier.

A few times I was called away from the computer to attend to family matters so I cannot provide a complete list of questions and answers. Instead here are a few of Evans’ comments and sometimes what they were in reply to. As always, let me state that these are my impressions and my apologies for any errors or misconceptions.

He would like to make Philadelphia the Hollywood of the East. One related vision is to create a Kenny Gamble entertainment district.

Regionalism is very important. As three examples, mass transit, tourism, and the health care industry all depend on the area as a region, extending outside the city limits.

We need to welcome newcomers to the city, including those from other countries. Immigrants have contacts with their home countries that can be useful to the area economy. Violence and school quality can have an impact on people coming here.

For education he plans to focus on four areas: preschool, class size reduction, modernization, and reducing the drop out rate.

Parenting not government is the answer. Parenting is the hardest job in the world.

In answer to whether or not Rep. Bob Brady should be taken off the ballot he said that was up to the courts.

He would like to stress entrepreneurship. Safety is also a concern. He said if there are no customers there can be no businesses.

In closing he said if we work for him for the next 60-some days [I didn’t catch the exact number], he will work for us for the next eight years.

The next webchat is scheduled for Monday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m. To join in simply click on the link off the campaign site.

Patrick Murphy Interview in The Metro

The freebie that one finds on SEPTA trains, The Metro, had a brief interview with 8th district congressman Patrick Murphy ("Back on the Home Front," by Brian X. McCrone, 3/09/07).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

PA in the WSJ

Here, again, are Pennsylvania related articles from the Wall Street Journal. No guarantees that this is all of them, but certainly the ones that jumped out at me.

PA Politicians

In “White House Antagonism Threatens War-Fund Bill,” by David Rogers (3/07) we find this sentence: “The White House has consulted with some Democrats, including a meeting last week by Vice President Cheney and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley with Rep. John Murtha (D., Pa), one of Mr. Bush’s critics on the war and a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.”

Gads! Newt Gingrich was born in Harrisburg! (“He’s Back,” by June Kronholz 3/10)

PA Businesses

Robert Sellars, head of U.S. equities in Philadelphia for Aberdeen Asset Management is quoted regarding companies that make knee and hip replacements in “Spring in Steps of Knee, Hip Firms,” by Karen Richardson (3/06)

In “Economy Grows Modestly in Most of U.S.” by Conor Dougherty (3/08) we learn about a report by the Federal Reserve which finds, in part: “’modest expansion in economic activity’ in many districts, including the regions centered on Chicago, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.”

The Vanguard Group, based in Malvern, is a focus of an article on its founder, John Bogle, titled “Bogle Sees Tough Times Ahead For Stock-Market Investors,” by Jonathan Clements (3/07)

There is a short note on American Eagle Outfitters of Warrendale, Pa (3/08) that discusses their new “intimates” line called aerie by American Eagle.

For those who have not heard the Philadelphia and Denver mints forgot to put the “in God we trust” marking on the edge of a batch of new George Washington dollar coins. They are hot collector’s items and being referred to as “godless dollars.” (“’Godless $1 Coins Are Hot Items,”) (3/08)

If you have more money than you know how to give away you might touch base with Geneva Global in Wayne “which focuses on initiatives in impoverished countries, helped clients give out $23.2 million in grants lat year, up from $600,000 five years earlier.” Source: “Paying Money to Donate Money,” by Rachel Emma Silverman (3/09)

Primanti Brothers Restaurant in Pittsburgh is mentioned as one of the best places in the country to get a hamburger. (“The Best Burger” by Raymond Sokolov on 3/10)

Other PA

Philadelphia was one of the cities mentioned in “US Airways’ Check-In Shutdown,” by Melanie Trottman (3/05). Note this sentence: “The problems began when the airline’s kiosks at its hubs in Charlotte, N.C. and Philadelphia failed to come back online as planned early in the morning.” The waiting time in Philly was as long as 2 hours.

In keeping with the airline theme this week, Philadelphia is one of the cities studies in “What Frequent-Flier Miles Get You,” by Scott McCartney (3/06)

In “Debating Standards for Mortgage Lenders,” by Ruth Simon (3/08), we find this very sensible plan:

Pennsylvania’s Department of Banking will in the next few weeks publish proposed rules that would require mortgage lenders to discern whether borrowers will be able to repay their loan over its life, rather than just make the introductory payment.

The American version of “The Office,” based on a British television show of the same name, set in Scranton, is discussed in “NBC Remixes ‘The Office’: Reruns Become ‘Newpeats’,” by Brook Barnes (3/09)

Philadelphia was one of the first Pottery Barn locations outside of New York (“Paul Secon” by Stephen Miller on 3/10)

Other Interesting Tidbits

The Stop Big Media campaign, which has been mentioned in this blog, is highlighted in “Nonprofit Takes On Big Media,” by Amy Schatz (3/07)

Friday, March 09, 2007

weekly legislative update

No bills were voted on in the Pennsylvania House or Senate this week. Quite a few were shuffled off to committees. A few resolutions were passed but the legislature's server is hinky tonight so I can't get in to see what they are.

Our accountant friends at PICPA have updated their legislative page, providing some good information. None of the legislative caucuses (is that the right word?) have updates this week.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Judicial Candidate Resource

The Pennsylvania Bar Association has posted a list of statewide judicial candidates and the bar's assessment of them. Even better, copies of the candidate's questionnaires are provided as pdf files. Something to look at before election day.

Dwight Evans Update

This Sunday at 7:00 p.m. the Evans for Mayor campaign is having another live webchat. These events are very interesting. All you have to do is go to the website and click on the link to join in. They are usually an hour long.

According to this week's edition of Campaign Insider:

Democratic Philadelphia mayoral candidate Dwight Evans is the first candidate to use the social networking technique on a local level. He's been using Userplane Webchat for weekly live video chats. He plans on conducting the chats until the May 15 Democratic primary and, if elected, to continue the chats once in office.

How cool is that?

Off Topic: Monday Philly Goes Green

This Monday is being celebrated as the 95th anniversary of Girls Scouting in the U.S. The official birthday website is I am also told that the Philly skyline will be lit with green lights on Monday evening in honor of the event. So, if you're downtown and see green, it isn't for the Eagles or Kermit the Frog, but for those little girls that used to wear beanies and still sell cookies.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New PA House Reforms Introduced

The committee suggesting new rules for the Pennsylvania House has introduced their reform bill, HR 108. You can read the full text here. It looks daunting but any suggested change is underlined so you can skim through and just read the new stuff. One interesting note -- they are amending the language of the House rules to change chairman to chair, "he" to the Speaker or another title. It also sets a starting and ending time to House business, per diem requirements, legislative nonprofits, public service announcements, vehicle leases, release of salary numbers, posting votes on the Internet (I note that it didn't say publicly available Internet; someone could password it), "gut and run" bill changes, and more.

It looks good to me. Many congratulations to Reps. SHAPIRO, STEIL, ARGALL, BENNINGHOFF, COHEN, COX, DALLY, FREEMAN, GRELL, MAHONEY, MANDERINO, MUNDY, NAILOR, ROAE, ROHRER, RUBLEY, SAINATO, SCHRODER, TANGRETTI, THOMAS, VEREB, VITALI, WALKO AND WILLIAMS on a job well done. (Sorry about the caps -- I just cut and pasted the names.)

HR 787 Update

I've been tracking HR 787, the bill proposing the redeployment of troops in Iraq. It has been steadily signing up co-sponsors (the first co-sponsor was Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district; a number of other PA reps have signed on since then). There are currently 53 co-sponsors. I'll continue to watch this particular piece of legislation.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Chaka Fattah Round-Up

There has been a convergence of Chaka FattaH data lately and I have collected it together for you, along with some other information. Congressman Fattah is considered the frontrunner in the Philadelphia mayoral race.

For one, the Daily News has a nice article examining some of the congressional earmarks that Rep. Fattah has included in federal legislation. Worth taking a look. "Earmarked by Fattah: Do charities funded by taxpayers give him an advantage?" by Catherine Lucey & Bob Warner (3/06/07).

The Philadelphia Magazine is continuing their series of articles on mayoral candidates. This month it is Fattah. "Just your average politician" by Andrew Putz (3/07). One thing that struck me was this:

The one person who seems to suffer no angst over the contest is Fattah himself: "Lu Blackwell's supporters always talked about how he voted the right way on everything," he says. "Well I thought a congressman ought to do more than that. I thought a congressman should initiate legislation." (p. 164 of the printed magazine)

This is in reference to the special election held in 1991 when Congressman Bill Gray retired. Fattah ran on a third party against Democrat Lucien Blackwell. Blackwell won. Fattah won the seat in 1994 and has been in congress ever since.

Personally I think the use of sponsored legislation to evaluate elected officials is overrated but if Fattah thinks it's a good way to do so, then let's see what he's come up with lately. Yesterday I posted a list of the number, and sometimes details of, bills sponsored by the Pennsylvania congressional delegation. In 2007 Rep. Fattah has sponsored none. He has, however, been busy running for mayor. So I did a search in Thomas to see what legislation he sponsored in the 109th (9 items) and 108th (6 items) congress. Brief information is provided below.

If you want to double check this use the Thomas search screen.

109th congress

Items 1 through 9 of 9
1. [109th] H.CON.RES.377 : Honoring the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) for fifty years of distinguished service.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 4/4/2006) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 5/24/2006 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness.
2. [109th] H.RES.349 : Recognizing the importance of addressing extreme poverty in Africa, recognizing the devastating impact that HIV/AIDS has had on the African economy, recognizing the need for the development of a safe blood supply in Africa, and congratulating the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for hosting the "Live 8 2005" concert.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 6/30/2005) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House International Relations
Latest Major Action: 6/30/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on International Relations.
3. [109th] H.RES.798 : Recognizing and celebrating students who overcome immeasurable adversity to excel academically.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 5/4/2006) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 5/24/2006 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Education Reform.
4. [109th] H.R.378 : To establish a program to assist homeowners experiencing unavoidable, temporary difficulty making payments on mortgages insured under the National Housing Act.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 1/26/2005) Cosponsors (19)
Committees: House Financial Services
Latest Major Action: 2/28/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
5. [109th] H.R.379 : To ensure equal protection and due process of law in capital punishment cases by imposing a moratorium on the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty in certain States.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 1/26/2005) Cosponsors (5)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/2/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
6. [109th] H.R.1341 : To require each State to provide a minimum level of access to health care to all citizens of such State as a condition for participation in Federal health care funding programs.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 3/16/2005) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Energy and Commerce; House Ways and Means; House Resources
Latest Major Action: 3/24/2005 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Executive Comment Requested from HHS.
7. [109th] H.R.1601 : To require a study and comprehensive analytical report on transforming America by reforming the Federal tax code through elimination of all Federal taxes on individuals and corporations and replacing the Federal tax code with a transaction fee-based system.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 4/13/2005) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 4/13/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
8. [109th] H.R.2178 : To provide for adequate and equitable educational opportunities for students in State public school systems, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 5/5/2005) Cosponsors (128)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 5/20/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Education Reform.
9. [109th] H.R.3551 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by strengthening and expanding the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) in order to facilitate the transition of low-income high school students into post-secondary education.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 7/28/2005) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 10/12/2005 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness.

108th congress

Items 1 through 6 of 6
1. [108th] H.R.236 : To provide for adequate and equitable educational opportunities for students in State public school systems, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 1/8/2003) Cosponsors (188)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 2/21/2003 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Education Reform.
2. [108th] H.R.1357 : To establish a program to assist homeowners experiencing unavoidable, temporary difficulty making payments on mortgages insured under the National Housing Act.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 3/19/2003) Cosponsors (32)
Committees: House Financial Services
Latest Major Action: 3/31/2003 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
3. [108th] H.R.3759 : To require a study on transforming America by reforming the Federal tax code through elimination of all Federal taxes on individuals and corporations and replacing the Federal tax code with a transaction fee-based system.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 2/3/2004) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Ways and Means
Latest Major Action: 2/3/2004 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
4. [108th] H.R.3948 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by strengthening and expanding the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) in order to facilitate the transition of low-income high school students into post-secondary education.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 3/11/2004) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 3/29/2004 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness.
5. [108th] H.R.3988 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by strengthening and expanding the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) in order to facilitate the transition of low-income high school students into post-secondary education.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 3/17/2004) Cosponsors (58)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 4/30/2004 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness.
6. [108th] H.AMDT.331 to H.R.2861 Amendment increases funding for the Hope VI public housing revitalization program by $4.5 million.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 7/25/2003) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 7/25/2003 House amendment agreed to. Status: On agreeing to the Fattah amendment (A006) Agreed to by voice vote.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Legislation Introduced by Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation

While I was rooting around in Thomas, the online legislative database ( last week, I also checked to see what bills the Pennsylvania congressional delegation had introduced. Thomas doesn't let you search for consponsors, only sponsors, and I only searched the current congress, 2007 bills. For Philly area representatives and a few others, the bills themselves are listed, for those outside the region the number is listed. You will have to check those yourself. Just to see what sort of cross-pollination there is I also looked to see how many Pennsylvania cosponsors there are for bills. Information is current through the end of February.

Jason Altmire

H.R.372: To direct the Federal Trade Commission to revise the regulations regarding the Do-not-call registry to prohibit politically-oriented recorded message telephone calls to telephone numbers listed on that registry. 7 cosponsors (0 PA), in committee

Bob Brady

H.R.513 : To amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to enhance the protection of credit ratings of active duty military personnel who are activated for military service.

H.R.557 : To amend the Small Business Act to direct the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to establish a vocational and technical entrepreneurship development program.

Co sponsors none, in committee

Chris Carney

H.RES.134 : Recognizing and honoring the employees of the Department of Homeland Security for their efforts and contributions to protect and secure the Nation. 21 (0 PA) cosponsors, passed.

H.R.803 : To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance the procurement-related activities of the Department of Homeland Security, and for other purposes. 19 cosponsors (1 PA), in committee

Charlie Dent

H.AMDT.6 (A005)
Amends: H.R.547
An amendment to add provisions which allow fuel distributors and retailers to transform their businesses by dispensing hydrogen, reformed on site from various feedstocks, or delivered by pipeline or tube trucks, resulting in new storage, handling, and equipment challenges necessary beyond that carried out under the Energy Policy Act of 2. Passed 226-201

Mike Doyle – 4 bills, one with no cosponors, one with 1 (0 PA), one with 4 (0 PA), one with 18 (0 PA)

Phil English – 12 bills. One concerns Pennsylvania and all 18 other reps have signed on. One bill has no cosponsors. Another has one – Tim Holden. One has 11 cosponsors, 2 from PA. The rest all have some cosponsors but none from PA.

Chaka Fattah – 0

Jim Gerlach

H.R.1152: To reserve a small percentage of the amounts made available to the Secretary of Agriculture for the farmland protection program to fund challenge grants to encourage the purchase of conservation easements and other interests in land to be held by a State agency, county, or other eligible entity, and for other purposes. 8 cosponsors, 5 of them from PA (Carney, P Murphy, T Murphy, Pitts, Platts), in committee

H.R.1207 : To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose an excise tax on any tax-exempt organization which accepts any contribution which may be used to relocate property held by the organization if the relocation is contrary to the intent of the donor of the property. No cosponsors, in committee

Tim Holden – 3 bills, one with 15 sponsors (3 of them from PA)

Paul Kanjorski – 2 bills, one with no cosponsors, the other with 158 (2 from PA)

Patrick Murphy

H.RES.97: Providing for Operation Iraqi Freedom cost accountability. 51 cosponsors (4 from PA), in committee

Tim Murphy – 1 bill, 3 cosponsors, in committee

John Murtha – 4 bills, 3 with no cosponsors, the other with 102, 5 from PA

John Peterson – no bills

Joseph Pitts – 3 bills 1 with no cosponsors41 (0 PA) cosponsors, 22 (4 PA) cosponsors

Todd Platts -- 7 bills, 1 of which has 1 cosponsors, but check it out:

H.R.953: To repeal the provision of law that provides automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress.

Allyson Schwartz – 3 bills

H.R.539 : To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase and extend the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction. 133 cosponsors (12 from PA), in committee.

H.R.898 : To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow employers to claim a work opportunity credit for hiring military service personnel returning from service in Iraq or Afghanistan. 57 cosponsors (5 from PA), in committee

H.R.1099 : To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to protect disaster assistance employee reservists when activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for work at a specific disaster site from termination or demotion in their places of employment. 4 cosponsors (2 from PA), in committee

Joe Sestak

H.R.960: To enhance the national security interests of the United States both at home and abroad by setting a deliberate timetable for the redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq by December 31, 2007, and for other purposes. 5 cosponsors (2 from PA) in committee

Bill Shuster

1 bill, 1 cosponsor, from PA

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Murphy Margin

In the last round of congressional redistricting, Pennsylvania's 8th district picked up an odd section of Montgomery County. The move was designed to siphon Democratic votes away from Montco's 13th district, and absorb them into more reliably Republican Bucks County. It was then known as the Greenwood Gash, after incumbent 8th district Republican Rep. Jim Greenwood. According to the Bucks County Courier Times, Joe Hoeffel, then congressman for the 13th district, coined the term ("Representational Rivalry," by Sarah Larson, 12/14/2003).

Fast forward a few years and Democrat Patrick Murphy wins the 8th district in 2006, unseating Republican Mike Fitzpatrick who was elected in 2004 when Greenwood exited the campaign trail at a late date to take a job with a biotech association. The relevant point is that the votes from Montco and a sliver of Philadelphia put Murphy over the top.

The Greenwood Gash appears to have been formally renamed the Murphy Margin, perhaps as a (not so subtle) reference to the pivotal role that tiny section of the district played.

Missing Monday

It's the first Monday of the month -- Missing Monday in the regional blogosphere. This case is older but in the advent of recent news stories of kids receovered years after they were taken, it seems worthwhile to post. Click on the name to see a photos of the boy when last seen and an age progression.

Case Type: Non Family Abduction
DOB: Jul 17, 1993 Sex: Male
Missing Date: Sep 25, 1995 Race: Black
Age Now: 13 Height: 2'0" (61 cm)
Missing City: PHILADELPHIA Weight: 29 lbs (13 kg)
Missing State : PA Hair Color: Black
Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown
Circumstances: Ke'Shaun's photo is shown age-progressed to 13 years. He was abducted from his residence by an unknown black female. Suspect is believed to be between the ages of 35-40 years old and uses the alias "Virginia Graham."

PA in the WSJ

Once again I bring you a list of articles from this week's Wall Street Journal that touch on Pennsylvania. No guarantees of it being a complete list, just the things I noticed.

PA Politicians

It seems to be all John Murtha all the time in the WSJ lately. The Pennsylvania congressman is the focus of “House Democrats Set to Retreat From Effort to Cap Troop Levels,” by David Rogers (3/02). He gets a woodcut with this one.

Alas he merits only a passing mention in “Democrats Battle Over Iraq Policy,” by David Rogers (2/27). In a sign that coverage of him may be waning the article says:

After proposing restrictions on the funds, the bill’s manager, Rep. John Murtha (D., Pa.) has been pummeled by Republicans and even fellow Democrats eager o bring him down a peg or two.”

Waiting in the wings to take up the slack in coverage is Pennsylvania’s senior senator.

On Saturday 3/03, the “Power Tables: Where the Business Elite are Eating” column discusses Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. It notes that Sen. Arlen Specter stops in monthly and sits near the fireplace. If you want to know what to get him for his next birthday, he likes Champagne Ruinart.

Arlen shows up again in “U.S. to Enter Iraq Talks with Iran, Syria,” by Neil King, Jr., and Jay Solomon. The relevant paragraph:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa) was one of seven Republicans who broke with the White House on a recent vote over its Iraq strategy, praised the decision. He told Ms. Rice that it was “very important” because of the “widespread sentiment in Congress that a resolution of the Iraq issue will require diplomacy.”

It’s Arlen week as he is mentioned a third article, “Carbon Curbs Gain Backers,” by John J. Fialka (2/27). The chart accompanying the article indicates that Pennsylvania gets 50% or more of its electricity from coal-fired power plants. The article says that Specter and Sen. Jeff Bingaman are preparing a bill that “features the safety valve to keep emissions-cret prices low and a more moderate approach towards emissions reductions.”

PA Businesses

In “While You’re At It, Why Not Generate A Little Electricity,” by Jane Spencer, (3/01) we find this paragraph:
Larry Rome, a biology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, recently launched a company called Lightning Packs that aims to sell backpacks that generate electricity from the jiggling motions of walking. In a recent test, his prototype was able to produce about 15 watts of power from the up-and-down motion of the pack.

Horsham’s Nutrisystem is featured in “A Closer Look: Inside the Leaders and Laggards,” by Joseph T. Hallinan and Roger Thurow (2/26)

Other PA

Haverford is among the colleges boosting its alumni donation percentages by including college seniors as alumni donors. (“To Boost Donor Numbers, Colleges Adopt New Tricks,” by Daniel Golden, 3/02)

D.B. from Philadephia writes Sue Shellenbarger’s “Work & Family Mailbox” column on 3/01 and asks if he can beg off from home and child responsibilities because he makes more money than his wife. She gives a long answer. I’ll do it in one word: No.

George Bush’s 2004 campaign manager, Ken Mehlman is a graduate of Lancaster’s Franklin & Marshall College. He is also a Harvard Law School classmate of Sen. Barack Obama. (“Bush’s Ex-Campaign Manager To Give Firms Political Advice,” by John Harwood and Brody Mullins, 3/01)

University of Pittsburgh researcher John Mellors is quoted in “Emerging Drugs Show Promise Against HIV,” by Marilyn Chase and Jacob Goldstein (2/28)

“Seniors, No Luck on Job Hunt? Don’t Panic – There’s Still Time,” by Erin White (2/27) follows a University of Richmond graduate to Philadelphia for her first job, soul searching about what she really wants to do, and her second job at Swarthmore.

“Is an Economist Qualified to Solve Puzzle of Autism,” by Mark Whitehouse (2/27), quotes Dr. Anna Baumgaertel, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. [blogger’s note: I have met Dr. Baumgaertel, though not in the context of autism, and found her very impressive].

Philly-based Pew Charitable Trusts is spending $2.2 million to study the current status of economic mobility among Americans. The money will be divided among four think tanks, two liberal, two conservative. (“Think Tanks Set to Review Mobility Data,” by David Wessel, 2/27).