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Friday, June 20, 2014

The leader - and leadership - you deserve

According to Peg Gibbons, the result of the voice vote last night was “overwhelming” in support of another four-year term for Marcel Groen as Chair of Montgomery County Democrats. They even gave him a standing ovation.

Sort of like a roomful of frat boys bending over for the initiation paddle smack – “Thank you sir, may I have another!” You don’t dare give voice to how humiliating and degrading it might be, you just accept it and pretend you want more. If you want to exist in Montgomery County Democratic circles, you better not cross Boss Groen.

Go ask Joe Hoeffel. Or Joe Sestak, who Marcel and the rest of the Democratic hierarchy turned their back on, allowing Pat Toomey to squeeze out a victory he didn’t earn.

Marcel has always been the kind of leader who left the organizing and the hard work to others while he and his law firm milked the connections and the spotlight that came with his party position. There are plenty of Montgomery County Democrats who will admit privately that if there had really been a motivating and organizing force at the top of the party, the county could have turned blue long before it finally happened – due almost solely to demographics rather than any efforts by Democrats – two years ago.

But Boss Groen has been happy to take credit for the county’s political shift, and virtually the entire county organization has been overly eager to kiss his ring and bow down before him, as witnessed last night.

So, for another four years, those in the trenches will continue to do what must be done, while the Czar collects his contacts and his contracts while praising the noble peasantry. In the Montco Democratic gulag, top-down politics is a way of life. And until somebody reminds party members where the real power lies, any thought of revolution is a far-off fantasy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hey, a guy's gotta eat, doesn't he?

 photo Piggies.jpg Buried deep in yesterday's Inquirer story about a failed movie studio project in Norristown (movie studio?!?), was this gem that I found very revealing:

There was one more political connection: Gallub's attorney on the project was Marcel Groen, longtime chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, who often represents developers on high-profile real estate deals in the region.

Sigh.

Is it too idealistic to wish that the leader of your county's Democratic Party wasn't rubbing shoulders (and soliciting big buck political deals) with the would-be Donald Trumps of the Philly area?

Yes, I guess it is.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dark days for liberals

As I've said in earlier posts, I'm completely for reelecting President Obama. He's earned a second term and he is surely a much better choice than the guy who's got Romnesia.

But my complaint is that the Democratic Party has drifted uncomfortably far from what I believe its core ideas and values should be.

This post, written by a guy named David Dayen at the Firedoglake blog says it way better than I could:

Obama comes at the end of a 30-year cycle of narrowing and narrowing what passes for the liberal agenda. The landscape was so different in the 1970s that Nixon was calling for a guaranteed income. Now when Democrats are really feeling bold, they highlight policies that they are proud to reveal were based on Republican ideas of just a few years earlier, things like the Heritage Foundation’s health care plan or the market-based solution of cap and trade.

I would disagree that liberalism – although that’s probably the wrong phrase – has disappeared. It’s just become hidden beneath a thicket of campaign contributions from wealthy donors. The decline of unions as a political counterweight means that Democrats chase big money, and not surprisingly they respond to big money concerns. Issues like poverty, hunger, and need go unremarked upon on the national stage, even while they remain core concerns at the community level.

Amen to that.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'll see your VoterID and raise you hours-long lines and thousands of provisional ballots

I'm through trying to argue the common sense "anti-voterness" of this ID law. Either the courts will see it and rule as they always have that uncommon barriers to voting are unconstitutional, or they will cave to the Republican assault and allow it.

If Voter ID is not tossed out in court, then Democrats should fight fire with fire.

We should recruit as many Democratic voters as possible in heavily Republican districts and have them show up in November without ID and demand to vote through the time-consuming process of provisional ballot. We should do it in every county across the state of Pennsylvania. We should do whatever we can to make voting lines in those districts hours long - if Republicans want to vote, they should have to pay the price, just as they're making Democrats do.

If Repubs want to play the game, we should show we know how to play, too. When one side declares war, the other side either fights back or it surrenders. I'm not ready to give up, and I hope the Democratic Party feels the same way.

Friday, July 13, 2012

So this is what MCDC has become

The French have a saying for it: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...The more things change, the more they remain the same. Less than a year after taking the courthouse, Montgomery County's Democrats have apparently become the New Republicans.

And now that they're in charge, they even get their very own "best networking event in Montgomery County" held at a swanky, upscale country club. An event like that just oozes the working-class/middle-class values that Democrats are supposed to represent, doesn't it?

They can juice this thing up all they want with the list of co-sponsoring unions and marquee political names, but the real names to see on the list of sponsors are the corporate law firms, civil engineers and financial advisors who are only too happy to throw money and fancy soirees at the ruling party.

And, quite apparently, the new Ruling Class is only too happy to step up to the trough and accept.

I think George Orwell had them pegged:

"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Time has come today...

...And with it, a question.

Yes, I am one of the two dozen or so people who still get a print version of Time Magazine each week. I keep saying I'm going to give it up and subscribe to the New Yorker instead, but so far the law of inertia is winning.

So anyway, the latest edition showed up today and I'm stuck on the page with the Book reviews. What's with the bar codes on every book cover on that page? I literally went from cover to cover in this week's issue (well, April 16's to be accurate), looking for some sort of explanation, but there is nothing there.

At first, I was thinking this might be some sort of link to an online book-sales page, but there doesn't appear to be any kind of app or software that covers this. So now I'm guessing that these were leftover internal layout codes for each book cover photo (note the % figures for each, likely relating to how each should be sized from its original).

Just putting this up in hopes that somebody might know for sure. Anyone have an answer?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jobs good? Jobs bad? Whose news is true?

Yes, it's April Fools Day again. And today's foolishness is brought to you by the competing truth squads at the Philadelphia Inquirer and MSNBC.com, who both decided that today would be a great time to take a look at the current job market for 20-somethings.

Trouble is, they both came away with polar-opposite reports.

Here's the uplifting take that MSNBC.com offers:

Hiring is back in a big way on many college campuses, one of several signs a recovery in the U.S. jobs market is gaining traction. After four years during which many students graduated to find no job and had only their loans to show for their studies, most college campuses are teeming with companies eager to hire.


Sounds pretty good, eh? But then we have the front-page series that kicked off today in the Inquirer. Here's their take:

...[F}or young people these days, the American Dream is imperiled.

A forever-altered economy, combined with a seemingly unending recession, is impeding the path to adulthood and prosperity for the "millennial generation" - about 80 million people ages 18 to 34.

In Philadelphia, as elsewhere, young adults struggle with the highest unemployment rates of any age group and with unprecedented levels of college debt.

High school graduates and dropouts face lives of diminishing prospects; college graduates clutch somewhat sturdier umbrellas against the storm.

Although college has never been more vital to success, degrees aren't worth what they were a generation ago: There are 80,000 bartenders in America with B.A.s.


The reality is almost certainly somewhere between MSNBC's rosy forecast and the Inquirer's bleak-and-bleaker outlook. Read 'em both and see if you can figure out which one is closer to the way things are today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Media blackout lifted on Bevilacqua death

Now that the days of viewings and services marking the death of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua have concluded, it is apparently safe for the Inquirer to wade into reporting on the circumstances surrounding the former archbishop's unexpected demise.

In a story that appeared on Philly.com shortly after 10PM tonight, Inquirer reporter John Martin details how Montgomery County coroner Walter Hofman has been involved in probing the prelate's death since shortly after Bevilacqua passed away last week:

A representative of the coroner's office came to the seminar(sic) the night the cardinal died, according to Donna Farrell, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese...

Hofman said he was asked the next morning by county prosecutors to conduct his examination. He arranged for Bevilacqua's body to be transported to the coroner's office in Norristown.

It had already been embalmed, but Hofman said embalming would not interfere with his exam. The body was returned to the funeral home later Tuesday.

The coroner also asked the archdiocese to turn over medical notes and any medicines Bevilacqua had ingested in the three weeks before his death, Farrell said.


For the record, it has taken 10 days for this story to make its way into the news. No explanation is offered in the Inquirer article for the delay in reporting these developments.

The strange case of Cardinal Bevilacqua

I can't get past this, though it seems like I'm the only one bothered by it or even thinking about it.

At the beginning of last week, in a story posted on philly.com at 3AM on Tuesday, Jan.31, the Inquirer reported that Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sardina ruled former Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua competent to testify in an upcoming abuse case brought against three Catholic priests.

Less than 24 hours later, Bevilacqua was dead.


Now if this had been a Mafia don or the head of a drug-dealing street gang, the papers would have been full of the "stange circumstances and convenient timing surrounding the death of a key witness."

But to date, not one word in that regard as it applies to the Cardinal has been written or reported by any media outlet in Philadelphia - or anywhere else, for that matter.

Granted, Bevilacqua was an old, sick man when he died. He reportedly was battling cancer and Alzheimers, and his death was not a shock. But according to a post in the Catholic clergy blog Whispers in the Loggia Bevilacqua's passing was "not expected to any imminent extent."

So we have the unexpected death of a key witness in a high-profile sex-abuse case...and not a single solitary piece of reporting about it. The death reportedly took place at the Cardinal's residence in Lower Merion, so jurisdiction would be in Montgomery County. Yet we have had almost no word about whether Montco DA Lisa Vetri Ferman has opened an investigation or whether county coroner Walter Hofman ordered any medical examination or autopsy of the Cardinal following his demise.

I say "almost no word" because there appears to be one very brief attempt to contact Hofman reported in an article appearing on something called Pahomepage.com. Here's what it says:
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has resisted expanding on claims Bevilacqua suffered from cancer and dementia.

A cause of death is not being released at this time.

A call to Montgomery County Coroner Walter Hofman said on the phone to Eyewitness News, "I'm not talking about His Eminence."

A reporter was asking if Hofman's office had pronounced the Cardinal dead on Monday night. Hofman said information will only be released after his office completes its report. He said that would be four to six weeks.


So apparently anyone who has questions about the suspicious timing of Bevilacqua's death will need to cool their heels until sometime in March or April.

Meanwhile, we are left to ponder the deep mysteries of how the Philadelphia news media, government authorities and Catholic hierarchy can seemingly work hand in hand to ignore this curious turn of events. And it seems we must ponder it to ourselves, because Philly.com has also decided to delete its Comment section beneath all stories dealing with Bevilacqua's death.

To me, the past week has not only seen the passing of a high-profile religious leader.

It's also seen local journalism lapse into a coma.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Proud Liberal

I might have some problems with the Dem label, but never with being Liberal. Thank you, Lawrence O'Donnell, for the reminder of why this should not ever be something we're scared to be called. Like O'Donnell says, it's a badge of honor.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Not yet

A few have wondered whether the "Ex-Dem" thing has run its course and whether I'd be removing it in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential festivities.

My answer? Not just yet. For now, it stays as-is.

Oh, I'll vote for Obama, and for Casey, and for whatever Democrat steps up to the plate in whatever gerrymandered Congressional district they've got me in this decade.

But I won't buy into the Party, and I won't be sending off scads of campaign contributions to support these guys this time around. Because even with Newt's racist rants, and Mitt's bowing down to Corporate Personhood, I'm not convinced that the powers driving the Democratic Party are all that much different than those at the core of the Republican Party, with the end result being that where we end up is right about in the same sorry position no matter which party is in power.

I don't believe that top Democrats are at all devoted to Democratic ideals. And until they show me otherwise, I don't want to be a member of their team.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Times (Herald) Foolery

At least now we know why the Times Herald's Stan Huskey became an editor: it was very clear he'd never make it as a poet.

As evidence, we present Stan's latest salvo in the never-ending "We know Matthews is a crook, we just need some new laws to prove it" mission - in which he attempts to rhyme his way to some sort of point. Not only does he fail to make his point, he also fails to make a rhyme in most cases. For example, take these final six lines of his "Twas the Day After Christmas" doggerel:

Pay to play has been touted as an onerous offense
But apparently the evidence is easy to rinse
Campaign finances are easily spent
On your car, your club or possibly your rent
So here’s to a happy Christmas to all
A time to take umbrage begins with this night


I rest my case.

I also humbly present my rebuttal to the Huskey malarkey, for better or verse. With the late Nat King Cole doing the vocals, I give you "Huskey Burning with an Open Ire", otherwise known as "The Day After Christmas Song":

Huskey burning with an open ire
Like he’d been punched in the nose
Still can’t believe that Matthews the Liar
Is not the crook he thinks he knows.
He really thinks it blows
And so he writes and writes and writes
And hopes to one day to change the laws
Thinks that new rules will make it all right
And fix the county’s many flaws
But please, let us pause
And think about what’s really wrong
With news so biased and obsessed
Skewed and distorted reporting allowed
From Tea Party Phucas and the rest
Who ever could have guessed
This once-great paper falls so low
It acts so very like Fox News
Although it’s been said, many times many ways
It’s the readers who lose.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Credit where credit is due

Winning the County Commissioners' race is huge. Beyond huge. And even though I continue to have very large issues with the MCDC leadership, it is time to say "Well done."

Local pundits will crunch the numbers for a long time over this one, but I'm sure we'll see that the race was won with huge turnout in the Eastern part of Montgomery County.

Meanwhile, there's another facet of the race that has gotten almost no attention, but I think it smacks of (dare I say) genius. That compliment is not given lightly to this crew, believe me.

But as much as I could not believe county Democrats weren't fielding a candidate to oppose Risa Ferman for DA, I now look at that as a brilliant strategical move.

Here in the Philly burbs (and elsewhere), Democrats lose law & order races. Whoever Marcel & Co. put up against Ferman would have been a sacrificial lamb anyway. But more than that, it would have opened the door for all kinds of "Democrats are soft" talk. And enough of that kind of talk could easily have poisoned the well for the Commissioners race, too.

But by not running a candidate for DA, the county Democrats completely took that card off the table.

It's not the only reason that Shapiro and Richards (yes, I will now acknowledge she has a name) won last night. But it's part of the big picture, and in hind sight, I appreciate how smart it was.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Times Herald Reporter: Just call him "Mr. Tea"




This is really beyond priceless. Reporter Keith Phucas, Bruce Castor's bestest buddy at the Times Herald, formerly BFF of Curt Weldon and lover of all things conspiracy related, is apparently a card-carrying Tea Partier. Who'da thunk it?



The Times Herald: like their cable news clone, Fox News, delivering far-right propaganda direct to you every day. The house organ of the Montgomery County Republican Party...Now featuring Tea Party reporters!!!



They distort. I deride.




Monday, October 17, 2011

Norristown Times Herald: "Keep your comments to yourself!"

Looks like one of the major changes in the Norristown Times Herald web redesign is the total elimination of Reader Comments. As a semi-frequent contributor, I'm a bit taken by surprise.

But who knows, maybe this will work for them.

It sure will eliminate Stan Huskey's frequent attempts to justify his paper's total lack of objectivity in its coverage of local politics. I'm guessing he'll use the extra time to discuss additional story and column ideas with Bruce Castor and the MCRC.

Monday, August 1, 2011

MPXD: Ex Marks This Spot

After this latest national disgrace in which our President once again abandoned the people who supported him in order to appease those who hate him and hate all that the Democratic Party stands for, I can no longer be a Democrat.

I have not left the Party. The Party has left me. And I am grieving because of it.

But until some hoped-for day in the future when those we elect actually stand and fight for the ideals our Democratic Party was built on, I will not call myself a Democrat. When this party again defends the poor and the powerless, when it protects the weak against attacks from the rich and powerful, when it speaks for labor and jobs and not for greed and corporate corruption, I will happily welcome my Party home.

I don’t see that day coming anytime soon, though. So I will be Montco PA Ex-Dem from this point on.

You have no idea how sad this makes me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Overweight and Out of Control

It's official: the Governor of New Jersey is fat, irresponsible and reckless.

What's more, he's costing the state an untold amount of money in extra health care and state administrative fees because of his total disregard for his health.

The rotund teabagger was rushed to the hospital today, complaining of shortness of breath. Apparently it wasn't a heart attack (the first thing one might suspect, given the Guv's gigantic size) but instead may have been triggered by an existing asthma condition.

According to a report on MSNBC.com (with my emphasis added):
While it is not known if this is an asthmatic attack at this point, a source close to the governor confirms Christie has suffered from asthma for years.
"He carries an inhaler with him," this source told NBC New York.
He also noted that the governor's weight doesn't help his health issues.
So just to recap:

- Christie knows he's got a history of asthma

- He allows himself to get big as a house, making the condition worse

- And when it inevitably results in him being carted off to the ER, Jersey taxpayers foot the hefty health-care bill along with all the expense involved in setting up security, transportation, communications and all the trappings that go along with having the governor make an unscheduled hospital visit.

Just one more reason that Chris Christie is bad for New Jersey.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm often accused in real life of asking too many questions. Here are some of them:

- Why do the Montco Repub commissioner candidates and the Montco Republican Party in general get a free ride from the press in the face of their overwhelming financial support from Vahan Gureghian and the three stooges from Susquehanna International Group? These guys are one-issue contributors, all looking to funnel taxpayer dollars away from public schools and into charters and voucher programs. To paraphrase Grover Norquist, these deep-pocket wingnuts want to shrink public education until it's small enough to drown in a bathtub -- last year, they bought Tom Corbett and half the PA legislature, this year, they're aiming for the Montco Courthouse.

- Why is Joe Hoeffel taking the lead on 422 tolling? I respect the hell out of Joe and think he doesn't get nearly the acclaim that he deserves from his own party but man...this makes no sense at all. I'm starting to think that maybe he likes being called out by all those people who write in the Comments sections.

- How can a newspaper that's as bad as the Times Herald continue to reap armloads of awards in various newspaper & journalism contests? (And I'll try to answer my own question on this one: A)it's a real small field competing these days, so you don't really have to be good to win a prize, just show up; B)the contests they're winning are sort of the newspaper equivalent of the Golden Globes - if your corporate parent buys an ad in the program book, you're bound to take home some hardware; C) and here's a scary thought: all the daily newspapers of the same size as the TH are even more inchoherent, more poorly written, less intelligent and have less talented staffs. Hard to imagine, but possibly true...)


- How do I reconcile the fact that I love the things that the Democratic Party stands for and the ideals that it represents, but for the most part can't relate to any of the people who actually run the Democratic Party or most of its candidates and elected officials? And that applies as much locally as it does nationally. I could never be anything other than a Democrat, but there are only a very small handful of Democratic officials I'd ever want to spend my free time with.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Castor & Brown: The Anti-Public Education Slate?


Great story in today's Inquirer about how top Repub fatcats in Montco are turning their backs on Bruce Castor and giving instead to the Shapiro-What'sHerName ticket. Looks like Bob Asher is again dealing the self-righteous Castor a nice, public smackdown. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Meanwhile, a more interesting story may be buried in the final paragraphs of the Inquirer article:

Since declaring her candidacy in the fall, [Jenny Brown] has received more than $90,000 from charter-school magnate Vahan Gureghian.

That and subsequent contributions totalling $33,333 from three founding executives of the Susquehanna International Group in Bala Cynwyd account for the largest checks cut to any candidate in the race.

Their combined gifts make up 75 percent of all the money the Castor-Brown campaign has raised since October

So fully three-quarters of all the funding for the Repub County Commissioner candidates is coming from sources that are committed to killing public education in Pennsylvania? The same sources that have backed the Corbett administration as it tried to place school districts across the state in a stranglehold? The same sources that have pushed for a voucher system that could further cripple cash-starved PA schools? And, in the case of Gureghian, a guy who has engaged in secret non-public negotiations to take over all elementary education in Pottstown?

Somehow, I think that this issue might resonate with voters a lot more than whether or not the candidates back Obama's Israel policy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The few, the proud...the Primary voters

We're a hardy bunch, us handful of voters who show up in off-year primaries. Doesn't matter whether it's wet, or unseasonably cold or even if there aren't any contested races - like addicted gamblers who spy a vacant slot machine, if you put up a voting booth we will invariably jump into it. We need that fix twice a year no matter what.

So tomorrow, the 10 percent or so of us who do this without question will make our trudge to the polls, push the buttons and return home to await our next fix in November, when our votes will actually have some impact. Unlike tomorrow's vote, especially for Democrats in Montgomery County, where the closest we come to a contest is the cross-filed judges. (Hint to Dems: read your sample ballot and vote Haaz & Austin.)

But just for the hell of it, I will be committing one small protest gesture tomorrow. One of my two votes for County Commissioner will be a write-in, inspired by the no-class way that our party's standard-bearer of just four years ago was kicked to the curb by MCDC leadership.

I'll push the button for Josh Shapiro tomorrow. And then I'll write in the name of Joe Hoeffel. And I'll say a silent thanks for the way that Joe has conducted himself in the face of unrelenting opposition from Republicans, the Times Herald and the people who call the shots in his own party.

Joe, there are still plenty of people in Montco who appreciate all that you've done throughout your career. Your name should be on the ballot, and the party should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to happen.

If this is the last time I get to vote for Joe, I will do it proudly. The man has served us well.

Sticking it to Tom Corbett


Earlier this month, Morning Call columnist Bill White asked readers to send him ideas for a Tom Corbett bumper sticker. I'm happy to report that the readers did not let him down.

White had one hell of a job picking from the the dozens of great entries he received. That's probably because Corbett has produced such a huge pile of dumb in his first few months as PA Governor - from his full frontal attack on public education, to his refusal to lay a pinkie on his buddies in the "natural resources" (aka "let's see how many ways we can destroy the environment") biz, Corbett has been exactly as advertised in last year's election: a friend to the rich and powerful, an enemy to the middle class and poor. Like Tea Party icons everywhere, he's a government official who is working as hard as he can to destroy government.

So without further ado, enjoy these entries from Bill White's readers:

• Corbett is out of his frackin' mind.

• Corbett: Hey, at least I don't drink as much as Rendell.

• PA: The Commonwealth where the common wealth goes to the Gas Companies.

• Heat your home Corbett style — light your tap water on fire!

• Corbett: Leave no clean water behind, just children!

• Corbett, taking PA up a toxic creek!

• Pa: Where welfare is for the wealthy, and everyone else gets fracked.

• Corbett: Destroying education, health care and the environment for the good of all!

• You've got a fracking friend in Pennsylvania.

• Corbett: Making Pennsylvania more depressing than Billy Joel could have imagined.

• Gas drillin' is thrillin' when you're frackin' for free

• Gov. Corbett: Frakturing Public Education.

• Let them eat shale!

• Corbett: The best governor money can buy.

And in the end, White chose two winning entries. For the record, I like some of the nonwinners above a lot more than the two that White picked - but hey, it's his column and he gets to have the final say. Here are the two winners:

• Corbett: Hooked on Frack

• Corbett: Every child left behind

Saturday, April 16, 2011

BLTWY: Do they even read the stuff they put up there? (UPDATED)


I got ticked off at the MSNBC.com politics blog BLTWY the other night when they put up a half-baked steaming pile of Grover Norquist taunting President Obama (Obama's Terrified of Paul Ryan...yeah,right), then linked it on the front page of MSNBC as if it was news.

But it was late at night and by the next morning it was forgotten, a temporary annoyance from a blog that's trying to up its readership, I supposed.

Today, though, I took another trip to BLTWY-ville and found the page pictured here, (which has since been removed - see UPDATE below) which convinces me that this stuff is the product of either incredible incompetence or just plain stupidity. Or both. Probably both.

Seems that the BLTWY bozos decided to put together a "where are they now" feature on high-profile politicians who ran for office and lost last fall. Among those featured: Joe Sestak.

Except that they apparently found an April Fool's Day item from the Politicspa.com website - which churned out fake news items on April 1 like a poor cousin of The Onion - and took the whole thing seriously. Here's what BLTWY is saying about Sestak:


Joe Sestak
Then: The Pennsylvania Representative lost his reelection bid to Republican Pat Toomey

Now: Running for basically every office in Pennsylvania

Joe Sestak certainly didn't let his loss in November slow him down. On the contrary, it seems the former congressman's political aspirations have quadrupled. Sestak recently announced his bids for or Auditor General, PA Treasurer, Congress, Governor in 2014 and 2018. “Pennsylvania is in crisis, and voters deserve responsible, accountable leadership,” said Sestak in a press release. “Unfortunately there’s only one of me, so I will give it my best.” Guess that clears up our lingering suspicion that Sestak had himself cloned.


The idiots at BLTWY found this fake April Fools day item, complete with fake press release, and swallowed it whole, then regurgitated it as fact for their readers.

I either need to read less or routinely pop some ibuprofen before turning on the computer. This stuff hurts my head.

UPDATE: I guess the crew at BLTWY was rightly embarrassed by their Sestak flub - they have taken the page down and Joe is nowhere to be seen in their current version of "Where are They Now?" But if you're curious about what real reporting incompetence looks like, you can still see their original in all it's head-slapping glory courtesy of Google cache. Go have a laugh, it's worth the trip.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Foolin' - Bush makes Presidential Poll Final Four

I just wish this was an April Fools story. It would be really funny. But it's not...and it's not.

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia has a blog called Constitution Daily, a nice one to check every once in a while for historical and Constitution-related tidbits.

To coincide with the NCAA basketball playoffs, the blog decided to run a Presidential bracket and see who came up as the Presidential champion.

Well, they're down to their Final Four and here are the match-ups:

Washington vs. Lincoln (a tough call, I'd say, with good arguments to be made for both of them...current voting is close: Washington, 47.6% vs Lincoln 52.4%).

and

Franklin Roosevelt vs. George W. Bush And as of a few minutes ago, Bush is winning by a wide margin, 71% vs. 29% for Roosevelt. Again, this is NOT an April Fool's prank - I only wish it was. For a result like this, I'm pretty sure the blog must be using James Baker and Katherine Harris to process the votes.

Voting is still going on however, so there's still hope that a few folks who actually know something about Presidents and the Constitution (and competency) might keep this atrocity from happening.

In the great scheme of things, a blog poll doesn't amount to much, even one that's run under the auspices of a good-hearted institution like the National Constitution Center. But I'd hate to see a result where a handful of right-wing loonies ended up making a statement that will no doubt be picked up by the echo chamber to the effect that Bush is more highly regarded than Roosevelt.

Because that really would look Foolish.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This should be fun



It appears that one of Montco's most strident Wingnutters is trying to unseat a two-term incumbent Supervisor in Upper Providence.

Personally, I wish Lisa Mossie great sucess in the primary and I hope she wins. It will be much sweeter to see her lose to a Democrat in the fall.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cha-ching!!! Corbett's budget takes over $20 million from County School Districts

Here's the rundown of what each school district in Montgomery County is going to face in putting together next year's budget. This, along with reduced revenues from property tax reassessments and recession-related fallout, is going to have a huge impact on public education. It's going to mean much higher property taxes and giant cuts in staff and programs...in other words, you'll pay lots more and get lots less.

Maybe this will wake up Montco voters who thought that electing Tom Corbett meant they'd be paying a bit less at tax time. I don't think I'd want to be a Republican state legislator who has to face the voters after they get next year's property tax bills.

Wonder if the Tea Partiers will go after Corbett and his party with the same fervor they've attacked President Obama? But at least the gas drillers won't have to pay any taxes...as they say in Texas, "Yee-Haw!"

Anyway, these figures are transcribed courtesy of Democratic Staff on the House Appropriations Committee in Harrisburg. You can look for yourself by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Orgy of Slogans for Newt's 2012 Campaign


This is what Twitter was born to do: Somebody comes up with a concept, throws a hashtag on it, and then anyone who has a creative spark is free to pile on.

Tonight, there was an especially, er, fertile idea: #newt2012slogans. In light of Newt's hilarious explanation about his serial infidelities ("Working too hard", no pun intended, was somehow responsible for his bed-jumping), it was an assignment with infinite possibilities.

And the Twitterati did not disappoint.

Here are some of the better entries:

The Audacity of Grope

It's the Viagra, Stupid

Make Love and War

Really, Really Passionate Conservatism

America: Love it, Then Leave It

Wife Change You Can Believe In

I Approved This Massage.

I only regret that I have but one wife to leave for my country

Go all the way with Newt!

Drill, Baby, Drill


###

If you have any others, I'd be honored to see 'em. Leave as a comment...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Report: Corbett budget cuts 50% from PSU, Pitt

According to a story in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Corbett's Draconian education cuts will begin with higher education:

His proposed 2011-12 budget would cut in half state funding for the State System of Higher Education and for state-related universities including Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh, Republican and Democratic legislative sources said last night.

50-percent. My God.

The article goes on to say "Lawmakers braced for deep cuts in education, community and economic development, and welfare programs."

You know, maybe it's just me, but I don't think of Education as another "program" to be cut. Whether it's public K-12 or Pennsylvania's Higher Education system -- and both are going to be officially nuked later today -- state-supported public education is a primary responsibility that we owe to our kids, ourselves and our society.

I hope that somebody organizes a Wisconsin-type protest against this outrage. Hundreds of thousands of PA taxpayers need to arrive in Harrisburg to show this governor that his priorities are not just wrong, they are immoral.

Destroying schools so that gas drillers can do their dirtywork tax-free is an abomination.

I am ashamed of my state. Deeply and completely ashamed.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Corbett's first execution: Public Education



This week, Tom Corbett is going to show Pennsylvanians that he's the tough, no-nonsense Governor that they voted for by sending his first victim to the death chamber.

Surprisingly, it won't be a child murderer or a cop killer that Corbett signs the death warrant for. Instead, it will be Pennsylvania's public schools.

Harrisburg politicos and pundits around the state are abuzz over what Corbett's budget address this week will reveal. But for anyone who's been paying attention - not many, apparently - this much is already known: schools will be the prime target, and they will be hit severely.

In fact, Corbett's budget director has already written to at least one local school district and informed them that the new budget will contain "catastrophic cuts" in funding for education.

Catastrophic. This is the word that Corbett's own aide is using. One can only imagine what that is going to look like.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Teachers aren't Bankers!



"We the taxpayers have a right to cut teachers salaries and benefits – they work for us! Bankers are not suckling from the taxpayer’s teat…except, of course, for the billions of gallons of taxpayer-bailout teat milk they sucked on so voraciously." - Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 3/3/11

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Fox News Effect

Expose people to a 24-hour a day stream of infected right-wing propaganda and pretty soon, they start acting like this:



I know this is the same kind of speech that the Supreme Court just protected in the Westboro Baptist Church decision. But it is ugly and it is hateful and it is as un-American as any act of terrorism. No matter how many flags they wrap themselves in.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And just like that...it's gone!


Who says Repubs are slow-footed, lumbering Neanderthals who find it hard to cope with modern science?

Well, me...but that's not really the point of this piece.

The point here is that these Repubs can apparently move with incredible online speed when the need arises.

Take the case of the Jenny Brown (but not Bruce Castor) for County Commissioner Facebook page. It was just noted here in an item posted a little over 24 hours ago and already -- like magic! --the page has completely disappeared!

I guess it's a good thing that nothing ever really disappears from the Internet.

And I'd say that since they're so obviously sensitive about this, it's another good indication that there really is trouble in Repub Paradise if they need to go to the online shredder this early in the game. I would love to know what kind of phone calls went out to get this done so quickly...and who was doing the calling?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TH to chat live with Marcel this afternoon

This should be interesting.

Maybe they'll ask him what he did with the knife he used on Joe Hoeffel.

With luck, he'll announce he's stepping down after the November election. But don't hold your breath on that one.

UPDATE: We should set some expectations beforehand. Maybe some betting odds.

For example - Number of times Marcel mentions the name of Josh Shapiro's running mate: Over/under 12. I'll take the over on this one - I'm sure that's one of the reasons he's doing the interview, to get some name recognition for what's-her-name.

Number of questions Stan Huskey asks that deal with Joe Hoeffel in some way: let's put the over/under at 6 for this one. Again, I'll take the over.

Any others?

WRAP-UP #1: Good thing I didn't put money on those two bets, I think I got skunked on both. Some talk on the Commissioners' race and some about Hoeffel, but not nearly as much as I expected. Overall, good show by both Marcel & Huskey. Color me surprised.