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Current location: Keystone State
Member since: Wed Sep 14, 2016, 01:54 PM
Number of posts: 13,136

Journal Archives

Corman's 2017-18 budget priorites

Jake Corman, the senate majority leader, lays out his plans for the budget.


There are some ideas here, like prison reform, that I agree with and I'm sure Gov Wolf does, too, but the big enchilada is "pension reform". I actually do think that a pension system that allows beneficiaries to withdraw their entire contributions and still receive a pension does need some tweaking because there is no defined benefit system of which I am aware that allows you to be both in and out. I was amazed when I read that Ridge and Rendell among others were able to take a lump sum pension withdrawal and still get around 1,000/mo state pension.

Posted by DeminPennswoods | Thu Jan 5, 2017, 07:47 AM (2 replies)

PG wingnut columnist Jack Kelly retiring due to cancer

Jack Kelly, the local rightwing columnist at the Pgh Post-Gazette announced a day or so ago that he was retiring due to a recurrance of cancer. Ironically Mr anti-union, anti-ACA and anti-all things safety net was very grateful to the writer's guild/union, presumably for protecting him from being fired when he had to take off for chemo the first time.

The commentors wished him well, but I'll be happy if it's an aggressive cancer that puts another rw crank out of their misery shortly.
Posted by DeminPennswoods | Mon Jan 2, 2017, 02:46 PM (6 replies)

PA Democratic Party plan

Email sent to me by the PA Dems outlining their plans as an opposition party.

In the past month, we’ve been receiving an almost endless supply of emails from Democrats across the Commonwealth - many asking what the party plans to do to oppose President-elect Trump’s inflammatory hate speech, ill-informed agenda, and extreme cabinet nominations.
To answer our supporters…we do have a plan. It’s quite simple:

We will oppose any policy that works against the values for which Democrats stand; and we will oppose any policy that excludes Americans based on traits like ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

Contribute today to send a clear message that you expect our elected officials to be accountable to the people, not to Trump’s corporate interests.

And we don’t stop there. We will knock on doors - taking issues off the television where the media controls the spin and bringing them directly into the living rooms of our neighbors where they hit home the most. We will use all the tools at our disposal to make sure your voice is heard.

Above all else, we will listen to you and other Democratic supporters throughout the Commonwealth, and engage you on important issues every step of the way.

Those who have already offered help have gotten plugged-in to our volunteer corps, which is currently making phone calls, writing letters, and holding events in opposition to Trump’s hateful rhetoric and his cabinet nominations. That group will continue to expand as we move into 2017 and work to support candidates in municipalities across the Commonwealth - even at the most local levels where Republicans have previously run unopposed.

But for all that to happen we need your help.

Contribute now, and help us mobilize supporters ahead of the broad sweeping changes we know Trump plans to make within days of taking office.


Thank you for all that you do for the Democratic Party and for Pennsylvania. We’ll see you in 2017!

/s/Marcel Groen
PA Democratic Party Chairman

Posted by DeminPennswoods | Fri Dec 30, 2016, 07:11 AM (1 replies)

Betsy DeVos and Pennsylvania charter schools

This is from The Notebook, a newspaper and website addressing issues facing Philadelphia Public Schools,


No one illustrates that relationship better than DeVos, who established Students First PA and who still runs its national parent organization, American Federation for Children. Jeffrey Yass, one of the local millionaires who donates to Students First PA, is also on the board of the Cato Institute – a think tank whose studies have been cited to explain votes on charter expansion by Pennsylvania legislators who received donations from Students First.

Since its inception in 2010, Students First has given more than $200,000 to PACS supporting seven state senators on the 11-member education committee alone, plus more than $5 million to support Democratic State Senate Whip Anthony Williams in his failed gubernatorial primary campaign.

The most cash given to a member of the committee other than Williams was $111,500, to PACs supporting Republican Joseph Scarnati. Although most of the recipients were Republicans, $45,000 from Students First went to the minority chairman of the committee, Democrat Andy Dinniman.
The super PAC also contributed to the PAC supporting the campaign of former Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican.

Students First has donated nearly $300,000 to support the campaigns of seven state representatives on the House education committee, with Jim Christiana, a Republican, receiving the most, and $26,500 going to the majority chairman, Republican Stan Saylor. The super PAC also contributed $76,000 to the failed primary opponent of Minority Chairman Jim Roebuck, a Democrat who has never received money from Students First.
Posted by DeminPennswoods | Tue Dec 20, 2016, 05:12 AM (3 replies)

Car registration license plate stickers no more

Starting Jan 2017, PA drivers will no longer get a registration sticker for their license plate. I'm a little surprise because local law enforcement complained loudly about this making it harder for them to stop unregistered vehicles. They could get plate scanners, but can't afford them.

Probably the easiest way to solve the problem is to go back to matching a car's inspection date with its registration renewal date. That way cops need only look at the inspection sticker inside the windshield to know if the car's registered since you need both a valid registration and insurance for the yearly inspection.

On the plus side, it's one less money-making tool local cops will have in their toolbox. They'll probably just set up more speed traps to fill the coffers.
Posted by DeminPennswoods | Sun Dec 18, 2016, 12:00 AM (9 replies)

PA Unemployment Call Center layoffs

Flying under the political radar have been the layoffs of about 500 state civil servants working at state unemployment claims call centers. The issue centers around an upgrade to a broken and out-dated computer system. The GOP-led state legislature passed a bill to fund the upgrades and the dept did its due diligence going out for bids and selecting a vendor, IBM, to do the work. In my experience bidders often over-estimate their ability to do the job or downplay the difficulty of the task. Most people would think of IBM as a safe experienced choice. They did produce some upgrades, but overall they failed. The project funding is lapsing at the end of 2016, so everyone thought there was an agreement for a 1 year extension of project funding while a new contract was put out for bid. The GOP asked for a bunch of info on the tech project with Gov Wolf and staff provided, but, now, naturally, that's not enough detail for the state Rs.

Enter ambitious Trumpkin R state senator Scott Wagner. He managed to blow up the entire deal. Since there's now not enough money in the budget to continue the tech upgrade and pay salaries, the department is closing 3 call centers. The delicious part is the call centers being closed are in the districts of 3 Republican senators. They don't like that at all. It got so bad that state sen Pat Browne (R) told Wagner to get lost when Wagner came to visit one of the closing call centers.

More background and links here: https://twitter.com/PA_Spotlight
Posted by DeminPennswoods | Mon Dec 12, 2016, 02:51 AM (3 replies)

Ta Ta Tribune-Review

Yesterday was the last print edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It's now an online newspaper only for Pittsburgh although Trib Total Media will continue to publish printed editions of the Greensburg Tribune and Valley News Dispatch plus a few other small papers.

They've been downsizing and contracting since their owner Richard Mellon Scaife died in 2014 and the trust he was using to prop up the paper was emptied. One less right wing rag.
Posted by DeminPennswoods | Thu Dec 1, 2016, 07:21 AM (5 replies)

So what happened in Pennsylvania?

I'm sure, like many Keystonestater's, I was very, very surprised by the election results. There was a huge turnout in Philadelphia that gave Clinton a 450+k margin. She also won the Phila collar counties, including Chester, by a lot. There are many republican counties in the state, but they are generally lightly populated.
I was stunned the margins there were enough to overcome a nearly 800k margin in the urban areas.

When I looked at the numbers from the Dept of State's election results, it turns out Dem Josh Shapiro who ran for state attorney general actually got the most votes of ANY candidate on the ballot. He overperformed Clinton by a little under 144k votes. Had just half of the Shapiro voters, voted for Clinton instead of who they did vote for or did not vote, HRC would have carried the state. In fact Dems swept every row office - attorney general, state treasurer and auditor general. The second consecutive election this has occurred. So there isn't some big reluctance on the part of Pennsylvanians to vote for Dems.

From my perspective, I live in western Pennsylvania. I am a loyal Democratic voter, yet there was absolutely no outreach to Dems here other than in Allegheny county. I think if HRC had done a few of her smaller "listening" events in a few spots out this way, she would have connected better and I feel would have changed enough minds to win.

Posted by DeminPennswoods | Wed Nov 23, 2016, 11:38 AM (17 replies)

Pgh Post-Gazette endorses McClelland in PA-12

This surprised me after them endorsing 3 neanderthal Rs for state senate yesterday.

Anyway, they're endorsing her over Keith Rothfus, the R incumbent.

Posted by DeminPennswoods | Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:35 PM (2 replies)

An observation about Trump

I observed something interesting about Trump's behavior over the past several weeks. First was at a townhall or similar venue when he was asked what he should do about the hardworking undocumented people. To my surprise, he asked the audience. They said these undocumented folks shouldn't be considered the same as the undocumented people who are criminals, etc. It struck me as a very unusual act for such an alleged "dominator".

Then he did it again on the clip of the Dr Oz interview, asking the audience if he should turn over doctor's letter.

The most interesting thing, though, was how, when the pastor of the church in Flint chided him for making his remarks politics, he completely deferred to her. I know later, on friendly turf at Fox he denigrated her, but his original deference was astonishing.

It made me wonder why. After mulling it over, I thought deep down Trump must be really insecure. Imagine my surprise when Tony Swartz, author of "Art of the Deal" told sub All In host Joy Reid that it wasn't well know, but Trump is very insecure.

I think this knowledge will help Hillary a lot in the upcoming debates.
Posted by DeminPennswoods | Fri Sep 16, 2016, 09:03 AM (3 replies)
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