Democrat Lindy Li has announced her candidacy for the seventh congressional district. Website: http://www.lindyli.com/
Monday, May 18, 2015
Tomorrow there is a primary election in Pennsylvania. The big race is the Philadelphia mayoral primary (my fingers crossed for Kenney).
But there are statewide judicial primaries, county offices, and local elections.
For Supreme Court I"m voting for Anne Lazarus, Christine Donahue and whoever I pick at the last minute. Both have run before and I've looked at their bios, read their publications, ABA questionnaires, etc.
For Superior Court Alice Beck Dubow.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
John Oliver's HBO show, "Last Week Tonight" has made a name for itself by calling out people, companies, and elected officials that it thinks need to change their behavior.
Tonight's show included two Pennsylvania congressman, Chaka Fattah (D-02) and Charlie Dent (R-15). Both are on an agricultural committee that has voted against enacting regulations protecting chicken farmers from predatory corporate practices of the chicken industry. Oliver hopes that Ohio Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur reintroduces her bill and that others on the committee will support it this time around.
Oliver's minions (viewers) have previously flooded the FCC with comments on net neutrality. This time he is saying that any congressional representative on the committee that votes against Kaptur's bill will have their wikipedia page altered (and re-altered) to suggest, in vulgar terms, that said representative actives upon an unnatural fondness for chickens.
The show itself is always worth watching. This segment (available on demand tomorrow), does not call out Dent and Fattah by name but the representatives on the committee are flashed across the screen.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new, time-limited special enrollment period ending on April 30, 2015, giving some uninsured Pennsylvanians who did not realize they would be fined for not having health coverage another opportunity to enroll in a plan for 2015.
“This new special enrollment period has given uninsured Pennsylvanians another chance to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage and avoid the full fine on their 2015 taxes,” said Get Covered America Pennsylvania State Director Neil Deegan. “With one day left until the deadline, eligible Pennsylvanians should know about this opportunity to get covered so they can experience the peace of mind and financial security that comes with having health insurance.”
To qualify for this special enrollment period, consumers must attest that they first became aware of the implications of the fine after the end of open enrollment when they were preparing their taxes and were subject to the fine for not having health coverage in 2014.
The fine for not having health insurance for 2014 is $95 per adult in the family or 1 percent of household income, whichever is higher. For 2015, the fine increases to $325 per adult in the family or 2 percent of household income, whichever is higher.
There are other opportunities for Pennsylvanians to enroll outside the open enrollment window if they experience a life changing event during the year such as getting married, having a baby, or moving to a different coverage area among others. Lower-income Pennsylvanians who qualify for low cost coverage through the new Health Choices plan can enroll year-round.
To find out if you are still eligible to enroll, Pennsylvanians can schedule an appointment with an enrollment assister by visiting the Get Covered Connector, atwww.getcoveredamerica.org/connector or by calling the Pennsylvania Health Access Network at 1-877-570-3642.To find out if you have experienced a qualifying life event, you can visit the HHS screener and answer a few questions.
modified press release:
On Friday, May 1st, the White House will honor “Champions of Change” that demonstrate how national service creates pathways to economic and employment opportunities. Through the longstanding AmeriCorps VISTA program and supporters of the Employers of National Service initiative, America is reaping the fruits of its commitment to national service.
Two Philadelphians are on this year's list:
Back in the day when Young Philly Politics was the top political blog in the city I read it mostly for the political news, but also for the comments. One conversation point I especially enjoyed was the banter between or about two brothers who were among those who set up and ran the site.
One of them is now a rising tech entrepreneur, having co-founded Zivtech, an open source software programming firm. It is now one of the city's thriving small nerd firms. Who knows, maybe it's the next Microsoft.
Zivtech was mentioned in this week's Philadelphia Business Journal as one of Philadelphia's exceptional system integrators for 2015. System integrators pull together existing hardware and software products to come up with streamlined, cost efficient solutions to solve business programs faster (or at least that's what the press release said).
Here's how the business describes itself:
Zivtech, founded in 2008, is a Philadelphia web design and web development shop. Our jawn is open source software programming. Zivtech works with healthcare, pharmaceuticals, education, publishing, government, startups, and nonprofits. Zivtech partners with leading digital companies, including Acquia, to deliver reliable websites and web applications to organizations worldwide. The Hebrew term “ziv” translates to the light that comes from a candle: radiance, beauty, and seeing something new. Zivtech illuminates technology.
Monday, April 27, 2015
from the inbox:
When the Pennsylvania Democratic Party held its endorsement meeting for the May 19 primary election, it endorsed only two candidates for the three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it fell short of endorsing anyone for the single open seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Accordingly, the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee made its own choices last Thursday night for the open positions and voted unanimously to endorse Anne Lazarus for Supreme Court and Alice Beck Dubow for Superior Court.
Judge Lazarus, a former judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, was elected to Superior Court in 2009. She joins state party-endorsed candidates Kevin Dougherty and David Wecht as the choices of the Montgomery County party.
Judge Dubow, a lawyer in private practice for 23 years, has been a judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for the past seven years.
Marcel L. Groen, the Montgomery County Democratic chairman, hailed Lazarus and Dubow as exemplary judges with superb qualifications who will be strong contenders for the party in the November general election.
The executive committee met in Plymouth Meeting at the offices of Local 1776, United Food and Commercial Workers.
I plan on voting for Anne Lazarus for Supreme Court. More on my reasons for this shortly (I hope).
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Preliminary plans have been released for renovating the Gallery. They amount to a few drawings of gleaming white spaces. It sort of looks like a hospital or lab to me, a sterile space. I also wonder if the mall will be willing to hire enough people to keep the floors and walls gleaming white. Parts of the Gallery floor now are white, near the food court oddly enough, and as I walk over them they are usually stained or scuffed. I can't imagine the entire floor being like that. There's a reason why most homes with kids and pets have dark carpeting or flooring. It hides the dirt and signs of heavy traffic. Gleaming floors, especially if they are at all reflective, are a hazard for the part of the population that might wear a skirt.
The plans calls for high end outlets. This entire concept kind of baffles me because it often isn't high quality goods at low prices. It's lower quality goods made by companies known for luxury items. Personally, I'm not interested in paying more to wear someone else's livery. I've heard of Gucci and Prada but never owned anything made by them, and probably never will. I'm too frugal to pay for the high end stuff and not fashion conscious enough to pay for low quality items that have that name on them.
However, it is clear that commuters will be kicked out while the renovations are underway. Then after two years (probably more) of being out in the heat, cold, rain, and snow, if we're still around the owners think we will gleefully run back inside and throw money at them. Me, I tend to carry a grudge. After two years of regularly wet feet every time it rains I won't think kindly of them. My commute involves multiple forms of transit with short walks in between, the longest of these currently is through the Gallery. My feet might get wet at other places along the way but they will definitely get wet on Market St., especially if it is too crowded to use an umbrella.
One of the news articles on the Gallery mentioned the possibility of an Italian restaurant (with white floors??!!) with a bocce court. I don't know what that is but if it involves throwing, kicking, or tossing one object at another you don't want me doing it around other people. As a founding member of the Physically Uncoordinated Americans for Mom and Apple Pie I know my limitations.
But, then, it is pretty clear that the new Gallery owners are not interested in my money very much at all. All this talk of high end retailers and fancy eateries tells me I'm not their target customer. I loved the CVS, but it closed years ago. As ubiquitous as the chain is it was the only one I passed on a regular basis and it was great to pop in and get bandaids and hosiery (I fell on the way to the train that day), toiletries (forgot my deodorant that morning), office supplies, batteries, and all the other daily necessities that I otherwise only buy on weekends at the grocery store. I loved Bolton's and shopped there frequently but they closed. I went into the bookstore and the card shop. They closed for the renovations and there's been no mention of anything like that in the renovations. I went into whatever Stuff Mart was on the street level (K-Mart? WalMart?) but it closed. I miss Strawbridge's but it closed years ago and whatever took it's place inexplicably didn't use the lower floor display windows. They've been papered over for years. I never did understand that -- all those people walking by blank windows.
So, I am accepting my dinosaur status. All the signs seem to read "pragmatic middle aged women with disposable income need not apply." Or perhaps we just don't spend enough or there aren't enough of us to matter. Earlier I wrote about my emotional attachment to the Gallery and as days go by I'm slowly accepting that this chapter in my daily life is ending. I've mapped out my alternate transit routes but will probably hang on till the last day. I'll force them to kick me out instead of leaving under my own steam.
One last thought in this post -- white floors? really? did these people never mop?
Recent articles on the Gallery from the Inquirer:
"PREIT's $575M plan to remake Gallery," by Jeff Gammage, 4/15/15
"Shopping for a new image," by Jeff Gammage, Maria Panaritis, and Jacob Adelman 4/19/15
"In-city outlets," by Jacob Adelman 4/16/15
"Gallery's revival clears a first hurdle," by Jeff Gammage 4/17/15
Allyson Schwartz, former congressional representative for Pennsylvania's 13th district, has announced her new career shift. Here is part of the official statement:
Today, I will begin as President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. The Better Medicare Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington that supports and promotes Medicare, in particular Medicare Advantage.As you know, while I have worked on many issues during my years in Congress and the state Senate, nothing has been more important to me than ensuring quality, affordable, accessible health care to all Americans.I am proud of my accomplishments, from my role in establishing one of the nation’s first CHIP programs to helping ensure the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Throughout, I advocated public-private partnerships, innovations in the delivery of health care, and financing that rewards quality and value - all with the goal of making health care more affordable, and improving the health of beneficiaries.
Schwartz provides a variety of social media connection points for Better Medicare Alliance, and a video link:
The purpose of the Better Medicare Alliance is to bring together a national coalition of health plans, providers, advocates and beneficiaries to support and strengthen Medicare Advantage.As President and CEO, I look forward to reaching out to everyone who cares about keeping the promise of Medicare our seniors, to build on the experience of what works, and to share this knowledge to sustain Medicare for all of us. It is exciting and important work.I encourage you to learn more about the Better Medicare Alliance and to share your perspective with me through our website, on Facebook or Twitter.I know from experience that we as a nation have the capacity to meet challenges when we make the commitment. I look forward to this opportunity to work to fulfill the promise of Medicare - health care our seniors and their families count on - and meet one of those great challenges.With warm regards,
AllysonP.S.: To learn more about the Better Medicare Alliance, check out my video at www.bettermedicarealliance.org/videos.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
from the inbox:
Politico's new KGB File column by Kate Glassman Bennett highlights the woman who will be the next White House Social Secretary, Deesha Dyer. She is a native of Philadelphia and used to work for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.
Another contender for the job, Samantha Tubman, also has Philly roots, as a graduate of Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania.
You can read more in "Entertainer-in-Chief." The article starts with Tubman, who was considered a frontrunner, and is updated with the announcement on Dyer.
The April issue of More magazine includes a profile of Malika Saada Saar, a human rights attorney. One of her areas of specialty is fighting human trafficking. She led the effort to shut down the adult services section of Craigslist in 2010. In 2011 she co-founded a human rights organization called Rights4Girls that helps raise the awareness of child sex trafficking in the US. The article, by Sharon Cotliar, mentions that Saar grew up in Philadelphia. I can't find the article online but the print issue is still on newsstands.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
A few articles in the Wall Street Journal from the past week or so:
"Pro Stadiums, Public Money," by Eliot Brown 3/09/15 (behind paywall)
The president's proposed budget would bar the "use of tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports facilities." The Treasury Department noted that such bonds "shifted more of the costs and risks from the private owners to local residents and taxpayers in general." Yeah, let's stop doing this.
"Executive Pensions Swell at Top Firms," by Theo Frances and Andrew Ackerman (3/25/15)
One of the examples discussed is that of Jeff Imhelt of GE. Compare these two quotes: "In all, Mr. Immelt’s pension is valued at about $4.8 million a year for life. The company puts its current value at about $70 million, up from around $52 million a year ago." and this "In 2011, GE stopped offering new employees traditional defined-benefit pensions and replaced them with 401(k) plans. At the time, Mr. Immelt cited recent market downturns and lower interest rates as being among the reasons for the shift." Somehow that just doesn't seem fair.
from the inbox: