Thursday, July 30, 2015

Possibly An Overstatement

A variety of emails arrive in a variety of inboxes every day.  One caught my eye in particular.  It highlighted a campaign volunteer and included this statement:

She's here almost as much as the staff, and she always meets her weekly contact goals -- just last week she made 1,881 calls to supporters encouraging them to volunteer in their communities, too.
I'll not name the campaign, other than to say it wasn't Joe Sestak.

Let's do the math.  1,881 calls in a week.  If the volunteer is working 7 days a week that is 268.7 calls per day.  To be kind let's limit the work day to 8 hours, that's 33.5 calls per hour, that's two per minute.  Granted the email didn't say how many of those calls were answered, but if voicemail messages were left that might take 30 seconds.

I think the campaign worker who sent this out was exaggerating.  Otherwise it's considered the norm ("weekly contact goals") to work 7 days a week and even then I'm not sure there would be time for meal and bathroom breaks.  Unless the norm is 10 hours a day 7 days a week.  I'm not sure how many people would be inspired to join a campaign that expects this kind of obsessive dedication, which must be to the exclusion of all else.

On the Larry Wilmore Show I think this email would have gotten weak tea.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Christina M. Hartman in the 16th

part of a message from Christina M. Hartman the inbox:

For far too long, the people in Lancaster, Chester, and Berks counties have not been getting the representation and support they need to be successful.
 I’m running for Congress because the people of Pennsylvania’s 16th District deserve better. It’s time to listen to what the diverse communities in Lancaster, Chester and Berks have to say and support them in pursuing a better life for themselves and their families, through education, training, support to small businesses, and care for our aging population.
Raised in Manheim Township, I took what Lancaster taught me about community and shared those lessons around the world. After graduating from George Washington University (Washington, DC) and Fordham University (New York City), I took on some of the world’s toughest dictatorships, leading numerous high-profile organizations and advocating for freedom and democracy in those countries and in Washington. From South Sudan to Afghanistan, I helped organizations strengthen their countries’ democracies through civic education, elections, and youth leadership development. 
Here at home, I have continued to focus on community development initiatives. I worked with the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization pursuing justice for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Today, I bring my expertise to organizations in Lancaster such as the Non-Profit Resource Network at Millersville University and the Parish Resource Center, providing leadership in strategic planning, fundraising, and communications to enhance the services that these organizations provide.

Christina M. Hartman's campaign website is

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pennsylvania and the Clean Power Plan

Some energy and environmental news that might have slipped by you:  The EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires states that have fossil fuel power plants to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 or the government will develop its own plan for that state.  The Pennsylvania state legislature passed a law, signed by Gov. Corbett last October, saying the legislature has a role in the process.  This law is being used as a model by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to slow down the EPA’s process in other states as well.  You can read more about the entire matter in a wonderfully concise article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Michael Sanserino (“With GOP in Command, States Look to Tweak Clean Power Plan,” 12/30/2014)  There are several quotes by one of my favorite PA state representatives, Greg Vitali,who has made environmental concern a hallmark of his career in public service, on the plan and how it might or might not be affected by the state law.

The Natural Resource Defense Council has produced a colorful six page pamphlet titled “Pennsylvania’s Clean Energy Future” which spells out how reducing the state’s carbon emissions will impact our economy and health, and providing some policy options.  To meet federal requirements the state will have to reduce its carbon emissions by 32% below 2012 levels and prepare a plan to do so by June 2016.    A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists says that many states have already made significant progress towards this goal.  Pennsylvania is one of them. The White House prepared a special (short)report on what the goals mean for Pennsylvania and the Northeast (including a shoutout for Mayor Nutter   

Several environmental groups have formed Clean Power PA to present information on how the state can prepare a Clean Power Plan.  Their website,, has a number of resources for further study, and some very cool infographics.  The site's home page describes the organization and it's purpose:

The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy. The coalition is led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),PennFutureClean Air CouncilMoms’ Clean Air ForcePenn EnvironmentNextGen Climate AmericaConservation Voters of PAClean Water ActionVoces Verdes, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Audubon Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has a long history as a leading energy producer in the United States. It’s one of the industries that fuels our economy and sustains our quality of life. But pollution and climate change threaten our health, our children’s health, and the natural beauty of our most treasured places. Now is the time to invest in a clean energy future for the Keystone State. 

Pennsylvania is poised to become a leader in renewable energy, creating thousands of sustainable jobs, reducing carbon pollution, and keeping our air and water clean in the process. PA Clean Energy Initiative, through its campaign Clean Power PA, advocates for the policies and investments that can bring our clean energy future to fruition.

This is something we will all be hearing about in the next year so we should start reading up now.

Monday, July 13, 2015

PA Background Checks for Gun Purchases

A note from our friends at CeaseFirePA:

What happened with the Charleston shooter’s background check? Did he pass it? Did he fail?

Here’s what happened: the background check was never completed.  Most background checks take just minutes for an approval or denial to register. But some take a bit longer, and under federal law, if a clear answer doesn’t come back in three days, the seller can sell the gun.  

Moving forward with a sale like this means putting guns in the hands of people who are dangerous. As we saw with the tragedy in Charleston, allowing sales to go forward without a completed check can be a death sentence for mothers, fathers, and children.

Fortunately, in PA, our background check system (PICS) allows extra time for a background check to be completed. The default is to protect safety, not to let a sale go through in the absence of a completed check.

PICS and the federal system work in tandem to keep PA safe. We’re fortunate to have this system in PA. But wouldn’t you know -- the gun lobby doesn’t like it, and yet again is pushing a bill that would eliminate it.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Another Grant for AccessMatters

modified press release:

AccessMatters has received a two year $1,706,922 grant to provide coordinated health care for HIV positive women, youth and their families in the Philadelphia area.  This will enhance the organization's existing AccessMatters' Community-based Health Services.  The program served over 2,300 clients in 2014.

Through this funding  from the Ryan White Part D Program, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, AccessMatters’ Community-based Health Services partners with ActionAIDS, BEBASHI, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Adolescent Initiative and Special Immunology Family Care Center, Philadelphia FIGHT, Temple University Comprehensive HIV Program, and Penn Community Clinic at Presbyterian Hospital where women, infants, children, and youth receive comprehensive, family-centered care.

Adult women over the age of 25 and adolescents ages 13 to 24 make up approximately 25% of all new HIV cases in Philadelphia.  While the proportion of newly infected women has stabilized over the past few years, they still represent 34% of the population living with HIV in Philadelphia and 52% of the consumers served through AccessMatters program in 2014.  Typically adolescents receiving HIV primary medical care through AccessMatters’ Community-based Health Services and its’ network of over 70 health centers are young African American men who have sex with men, and under the age of 20.     

Through research, training, delivery of evidenced-based programs, community engagement and advocacy, AccessMatters is leading the way in transforming access to sexual and reproductive health. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

NAACP Plenary Session Info

more news on the NAACP Annual Convention being held in Philadelphia:

On Monday, July 13th, NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks will address NAACP delegates at the First Plenary Session of the 106th NAACP Annual Convention.

President Brooks will articulate his vision for the NAACP, discuss the recent events occurring across the country including the fight over taking down the Confederate Battle flag, the recent string of church burnings in the south, the tragic shooting and loss of nine lives at Emanuel AME Church, the on-going campaign against excessive use of force by police and the discriminatory criminal justice policies that negatively affect communities of color. The theme of this year’s convention is, “Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice.”

Brooks, a longtime lawyer and human rights activist, formerly served as the President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice based in Newark, N.J. Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts from Jackson State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University and JD from Yale Law School.

The plenary session will also feature a panel discussion on the role of prosecutors in criminal justice reform. The session will focus on the role prosecutors are playing in the administration of justice in this country. The panelist will discuss how prosecutors are using their discretionary power to address inequities in the justice system. Additionally, the panel will discuss the efforts of prosecutors to overturn wrongful convictions of innocent citizens, and efforts by advocates, legislators and academics to reform the grand jury process and take other measures to make sure the criminal justice system operates fairly and free from bias.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Another Pronunciation Snafu

I was trying to watch the Hillary Clinton interview on CNN when the phone rang.  It was the DCCC wanting money, and not happy about taking no for an answer.  The young man was persistent.  He had a long sales pitch and several rejoinders when I declined.  He also called John Boehner [pr. Bayner] ad John Boner.  [sigh].  It is hard to take view someone as a politically serious person when they make mistakes like that.

NAACP Conference Events in Philadelphia

Mushed together from a variety of press releases:

The NAACP will celebrate 106 years of civil rights advocacy by holding its annual national convention in Philadelphia, PA. The convention will feature dozens of events, including remarks from The Honorable Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America; The Honorable Marilyn Mosby, State's Attorney for Baltimore; The Honorable Michael Nutter, Mayor, City of Philadelphia; The Honorable Chaka Fattah, United States House of Representatives; The Honorable Corey Booker, United States Senate, Charlie Wilson, Recording Artist and many more!

·    Keynote Speaker Marilyn Mosby, the State’s Attorney of Baltimore, will discuss the incredible ways in which women of color are breaking barriers and beating the odds through self empowerment.  Ms. Mosby will offer unique perspective as to how women are maximizing their value on their jobs and in their communities. Following Ms. Mosby’s speech, panelists Stephanie Brown James, the Founder & Executive Director of Brown Girls Lead, and Monique W. Morris, the Co-Founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, will address the ways that we can strive for justice for women and assist Black girls in finding positive pathways in life. 

     The Author Pavilion celebrates books written by and about African Americans. The event, which is free and open to the public, provides convention goers with a unique opportunity to meet and greet with some of their favorite authors  Charlie Wilson will be in conversation with Frankie Darcell of WDAS radio, discussing his new autobiography, I Am Charlie Wilson, in which he explains how he overcame drugs, prostate cancer and homelessness.  It is a remarkable story of hope and an inspirational example of why one should never give up.  Julian Bond and Phyllis Leffler will be discussing their new book, Blacks In Leadership: A Conversation with Julian Bond, which uses the lives of prominent African Americans from all sectors of society to trace the contours of Black leadership in America.  Seven year-old author, Natalie McGriff will be discussing her book, Moxie Girl, which celebrates natural hair care and self love. Motivational speaker James Edwards will host a panel on the Black Lives Matter movement. Panelists include authors Jean Love Cush and Eric Broyles.  The NAACP Author Pavilion is sponsored by the NAACP National Office and managed by The Oracle Group International.  The Oracle Group is an internationally recognized literary public relations and marketing agency that specializes in producing events that promote literacy.  Our primary focus is to connect authors with events that engage, uplift and promote the local, national and global community.

·    Career Fair

Commerce and Industry Show -- Join Chairman Roslyn M. Brock, Vice Chair Leon W. Russell, President and CEO Cornell William Brooks as they officially open the 46th Annual Commerce and Industry Show alongside nine-time Grammy nominated recording artist Charlie Wilson. From July 11 - July 14th, the show will feature exhibits and booths from industry and emerging businesses leaders, a health fair, an author pavilion, has been a cornerstone of the NAACP’s convention for nearly half a century. This year, the Commerce and Industry Show will also feature an open casting call for the show “Shark Tank” and the ACT – SO culinary arts competition.  ACT – SO is the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.

Pennsylvania is Champion of Change

from the inbox:

 On Wednesday, July 8th, the White House will recognize nine individuals as “Champions of Change” for Precision Medicine who are making a difference in transforming the way we improve health and treat disease.  These individuals embody the promise of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which was launched earlier this year to enable a new era of medicine through research and technology that empowers patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward development of individualized treatments.  The program will feature remarks by Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Senior Advisor to the President Brian Deese and Director of National Institutes of Health Francis Collins.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live,  on July 8th at 2:00 PM ET.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit to learn more about the Precision Medicine Initiative, visit Follow the conversation at #WHChamps.

There is one Pennsylvanian on the list:

Emily Kramer-Golinkoff, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
Emily Kramer-Golinkoff, a 30 year old with advanced stage cystic fibrosis and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, is co-founder of Emily's Entourage, a 501(c)3 that raises funds and awareness to accelerate new treatments and a cure for rare (nonsense) mutations of Cystic Fibrosis (CF). She is also Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Operations at the Penn Medicine Social Media and Health Innovation Lab. Energized by recent breakthroughs for other CF mutations, Emily and her Entourage have raised over $1.5 million since the organization's founding in 2011, and led worldwide efforts to fast track research on rare nonsense CF mutations through research grants, scientific symposia, and collaboration among leading scientists in this area.  With only 35 percent lung function, Emily spends over 3 – 4 hours a day on treatments, injects multiple insulin shots, and takes countless pills to slow progression of her disease.