Sunday, October 31, 2010

Following Dan Onorato Around

In 2006, I wrote up some general guidelines for evaluating candidates. A few times I’ve used those guidelines to write about meeting candidates over a period of months and how they measured up to them. It’s been awhile since I wrote a “meeting” post, so let’s dust off the guidelines and see what happens.

Dan Onorato is the Democratic candidate for governor. I’ve watched a couple of gubernatorial debates on pcn and written them up, went to an early endorsement rally, read his policies extensively and posted on that, did an email interview, reviewed his campaign finance reports, attended three of the picnics he held on this side of the state over the summer, went to one house party where he was the featured guest, and attended one diner stop (see the Dan Onorato and Governor 2010 blog post labels for those and other posts). That’s not as extensive as the contact I had with previous “meeting” post candidates so this is more a “following around” post. Also, at very few of these events did Onorato make public remarks, for the most part he would walk around the room or area and talk with people individually. But his detailed policy statements fill in, providing his platform and electoral positions. Having read up on his work in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh I see a lot of consistency in what he promised and what he did in office. So, here goes:

The Utility Test
Voters might assume that high rollers and influentials can get face time with elected officials and candidates, but how are those further down the food chain treated? This is important because no matter how useful you are at any one point in time the wheel usually turns at some point and you will lose your utility. What happens then? How receptive is the candidate to regular voters?

I think some people on the Onorato campaign were tipped off early on as to who I might be, which removes the some of the element of surprise and objectivity. All the same, this is a governors race and I am a low level blogger. At most of these events I sat quietly and watched the interaction between candidate and people, but a couple of times I had specific questions about policy matters or campaign finance. Not all candidates take unexpectedly detailed or pointed questions well, but Onorato did. He was willing to discuss matters and explain his position, and, when I did not appear convinced, where he thought we agreed. I still disagree but appreciate the effort he put into his answer. I saw him engage in lengthy discussions with other people as well. A videographer from the campaign of his opponent, Tom Corbett, attended some of the same events I did. I watched carefully to see how the young man was treated. At each event he was invited to get something to eat or drink. Onorato came over to talk with him at one event. If a representative from the opposition is greeted in a calm, welcoming fashion, then voters can expect the same. The research I have done on various posts, on Onorato and the minority business community in Pittsburgh for example, indicate that he works with the community he represents. Of the various criticisms I have heard and read, inaccessibility is not one of them.

The Staff and Supporters Test
People are judged by the company they keep. What sort of staff does a candidate hire and do they stick around? High turnover is a warning sign. What kind of people attend the candidate’s events? As always, one reason I can write a post like this is that someone on the campaign staff kept me in the loop, where would the candidate be and when. I was added to the press release list and, especially in the last few months of the election, there was a public schedule with a number of free public events on it. I could usually get an answer to an emailed question. Campaign staff were efficient and friendly. Onorato hosted a number of picnics in various parts of the greater Philadelphia area over the summer, and has done a number of diner stops. The people I spoke to at events were civic-minded and pleasant. I enjoyed going out to Onorato events and just chatting with the people who were there. Onorato appears comfortable wading into the masses and chatting with people one on one. He doesn’t seem to bend his campaign positions to fit the audience – I saw and heard a lot of consistency in what he said in public remarks and in what was said in individual and small group conversations.

The Motivation Test
Can the candidate get people who otherwise disagree to work together? Can the candidate get people to come out and get involved? Here again I’d say yes. In doing research on his work in the Pittsburgh city council and Allegheny County government I found evidence that he could work with people he disagreed with and get them to come on board for projects. His low key, no drama approach seems effective. As always, when writing a post like this, it is worth noting that I was willing to give up a fair number of Saturday or Sunday afternoons to drive around and go to events to follow the campaign.

The Rope Test
My mother's basic judge of character is to ask this: If you were dangling over a cliff and hanging on to a rope, would you want this person to be holding the other end of the rope? In this case I’d say “yes.” Onorato is methodical, both an accountant and a lawyer. If he makes a commitment, say holding a rope, I think he would carry through. He would, of course, make sure he got the rope at a good price and you shouldn’t expect a big fuss when you got back up the cliff, but you would not fall.

Summation: No candidate will share your views on everything, or do everything the way you would have liked. What is important is if you can voice that view and be heard without fear or repercussion, and if you can count on the candidate to follow through with stated intentions. That has been my experience with the Onorato campaign and what has been reflected in the research I have done on his work in office. It may be telling that in nearly six years of blogging, this is my third “meeting” post.

GOTV Rally in Ambler with Rick Taylor and Rendell

This afternoon a number of elected officials gathered in support of State Rep. Rick Taylor (D-151), who is running for re-election this year. It was a beautiful crisp fall day. These are my notes from the rally.

Montgomery County Democratic Chair Marcel Groen started the festivities. He mentioned some of the local officials present, including Mayor Bud Wahl and Bob Pesavento, President of the Upper Dublin Township Board of Commissioners. Other local elected officials were present but not named. Groen introduced Ruth Damsker

Ruth Damsker, candidate for state senate in the 12th district. She said everyone knows what needs to be done. We need to preserve what has been done for open space. We also need to tax Marcellus shale.

Next up, State Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-153), whose district contains part of Upper Dublin Township. He said if the GOP wins a majority in the state house it will mean we didn’t go our job here. Rick Taylor is key. We need to make the gas drillers pay for cleanup. We need to keep communities safe.

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel welcomed the crowd and introduced Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.

Schwartz said we need everyone to come out and vote. Ambler is a great place. Rick Taylor is responsible to the community. She cited his work on the Willow Grove Naval Air Station as an example. Not only is Taylor a good legislator but a really good person.

Taylor himself took the microphone. We have the heart we have to get the votes. Nothing is more important than education. The GOP wants to gut education. On Marcellus shale, the state senate walked way without getting anything done. He and his campaign have knocked on over 30,000 doors.

Gov. Ed Rendell arrived in a big bus. He said Rick Taylor has the courage of the heart of a lion. On the statewide elections, Dan Onorato [Democratic candidate for governor] and Joe Sestak [Democratic candidate for Senate] are within the margin of error in polls and can win. We should go out and talk to people and motivate voters. Allyson Schwartz has done a great job with CHIP; 4 million more kids are now insured. With the Lilly Ledbetter Act women now can receive equal pay for equal work. Credit card reform means no more families put in the poor house. We took the middle man out of student loans. The health care reform bill isn’t perfect but it protects us in many ways.

Rendell continued, saying that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill kept unemployment lower than it would have been otherwise. The stimulus worked. The GOP seems to think the health care reform bill was written by the devil. We are the only developed nation without universal health care. The Congressional Budget Office says the health care reform bill will cut the deficit 20 trillion dollars [not sure this amount is right and did not catch the time period this would cover.] With the bill, young adults can stay on their parents coverage until they are 26. There is no cap on coverage, and insurance companies can no longer drop people when they get sick. Let’s not be ashamed of what we’ve done.

He said we cannot even get a vote in the state senate on taxing Marcellus shale. Tom Corbett [Republican candidate for governor] is against a severance tax because he has received nearly a million dollars from the drilling industry. On the state level Rendell said he has targeted programs that work, pre-kindergarten and full day kindergarten, free after school tutoring; he said Pennsylvania is the only state to make substantial progress in all areas on educational tests. We’ve tone a good job. The tea party has some scary ideas. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, in line to be chair of the government oversight committee under a Republican majority, has said she would issue subpoena after subpoena. President Obama didn’t do that when he took office. John Boehner, in line to be speaker of the house if the Republicans win a majority, campaigned for a candidate who posed in a Nazi uniform. Mitch McConnell has said his top priority is to keep President Obama from getting anything done.

Rendell ended by saying that like long distance runners we need to find the energy to sprint at the finish line.

Personal notes: I’ve been a fan of Rick Taylor since his first run for office in 2006. My favorite photo of him is when he took on Tom Corbett for using subpoena power to try and find out who owned a twitter account.

Conference Call with Nutter on Voter Suppression

This afternoon Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Will Crossley, Director of Voter Protection at the Democratic National Committee held a conference call on voting in the city. It was in response to Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett's comments on keeping the voting percentage down in Philadelphia. To be fair, directly after the "keep it down" comment he did say he wanted everyone to vote, but from the fuller comments I saw on an extended video, he did seem to be saying he wanted to keep Democratic voting down, and wanted lots of people of all political stripes to vote for him. Sure, every candidate wants everyone to vote for him or her. But there is no denying that Corbett said:

I saw today that the Governor said yesterday that Bob Brady should resign as chairman of the Democratic committee of Philadelphia if he doesn't get 50% turnout....

I don't think he's going to get 50%.

But we want to make sure that they don't get 50%.

Keep that down." (watch video of comments here)

Given the history of voting rights among the African American community comments like that can bring up old and ugly memories. Nutter referenced the many who fought and suffered, even violence, for the right to vote. He called on all Philadelphians to come out on election day and vote.

Crossley referenced other voter suppression tactics across the country:
From sending out flyers with the wrong date for Election Day to misleading voters by telling them that if they have parking tickets or owe child support you will not be allowed to vote.

In Nevada there were ads telling Latinos not to vote.

In concert with Mayor Nutter I would encourage all registered voters to participate in the Democratic process.

Review of Pat Toomey's Road to Prosperity

Over a series of posts I reviewed Pat Toomey's Road to Prosperity. Each post covered a chapter or two, with an additional post on how women are presented in the book (hint: by and large they aren't), and another post on his view of the separation of church and state (based on the book). While it is true that I disagree with much of what Toomey says, I also find his reasoning to be cold. Rest assured, this is an economics book; it is not intended as anything even faintly warm and fuzzy. This is perhaps best summed up in his statement on the fact that new jobs are seldom created where old jobs were lost:

This is a very real problem for those individual auto workers and their families, and, as society, we should have a serious discussion about the public policy options for helping them deal with this problem (p. 113)

That strikes me as being particularly heartless. And he has no solution, other than, we'll have to talk about it. Small comfort to those who are left behind.

On other policies, make no mistake that he favors privatizing social security; people will be required to put money into accounts, similar to 529 college savings plans which "for a very modest fee, a financial services firm provides this service efficiently and seamlessly." I am concerned about how those firms will be regulated, what happens if some of the accounts are held by a firm that collapses, and what that modest fee might be.

You are encouraged to read the book for yourself, although these posts may direct you to specific sections you might want to focus on. A note on his sources is also provided below.

Pat Toomey: No Ladies' Man
Introduction and Chapter 1: Principles of Prosperity
Chapter 2: Lessons from History
Chapter 3: Tax Policy
Chapter 4: Government Spending
Chapter 5: Free Trade Facilitates Economic Growth
Chapter 6: Transforming Social Security
Chapter 7: School Choice
Chapter 8: The Crash of 2008
Chapter 9: The 2009 Lurch Left, and Epilogue

Toomey on church and state

A Note on Sources

Researching and writing a book is a lot of work, and I commend former Congressman Toomey and his co-author for making the effort to do so. However, I do question their use of sources. Research is often a tedious and difficult task, especially if done in a thorough fashion. A writer wanting to reach a diversity of people must make sure the sources refered to reflect some diversity as well. Mr. Toomey does not do well here and if he farmed out the research, his assistants did not do him many favors. Other than government reports the notes section is populated with primarily newspaper articles and reports from and websites of partisan organizations, such as the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, both conservative think tanks, and the Friedman Foundation, which is dedicated to school choice. While, yes, it is logical to base your book on people who agree with you, it does require you to paddle in a very small pond. There are a number of ways to diversify your sources but they require a lot of work, combing through books, articles, and reports from a variety of publishers, shifting through the strands and weaving together a strong base that brings a larger group together.

Limiting yourself to what you can find easily among your friends leaves you with a flimsy foundation. As one example. When Toomey wants to make a point about the effect of government regulation on the Great Depression (in chapter 2) he cites four works but depends more heavily on one than the others. A book by Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz is cited once, perhaps because that particular work has little to say on the subject. Another book by Gene Smiley is listed in the references a total of five times. Another book, by Jim Powell (a senior fellow of the Cato Institute), is cited 15 times, but only seven of those times alone; most often Powell is cited in conjunction with another source and that source is usually a book by Amity Shlaes. In addition to the eight times she is cited in conjunction with someone else, 7 times with Powell, she is cited 14 times on her own, for a total of 22 citations.

Why does this matter? I did some checking on Shlaes to see why her book, The Forgotten Man, was so important, why Toomey referenced it so frequently. I found a number of reviews of it. The popular press seemed to like it; the scholarly publications not so much. The Journal of Economic History (68, 2008, 325-328) says "Schlaes and many others sadly perpetuate this incorrect myth [of the New Deal as a Keynesian response to the Depression]. While JEH praises the books storytelling structure and calls it "a welcome addition to Great Depression scholarship" it says it is less successful as an "analysis of Roosevelt's New Deal economic policy..." Yet this was how Toomey was citing it. Labor History (50#2, 2008, 217-221), as one might expect, also does not like it, although the review does say the book was praised it the Wall St. Journal and Commentary. The review refers to her "ideologically driven bent" and her book as a "tract for unbridled self-interest." In the New Republic (Mar 18, 2009, pp. 38-42), the review states:
Now here is the extremely strange thing about the Forgotten Man: it does not really argue that the New Deal failed. In fact, Shlaes does not make any actual argument at all, though she does venture some bold claims, which she both fails to substantiate and contradicts elsewhere. Reviewing her book in the New York Times, David Leonhardt noted that Shlaes makes her arguments "mostly by implication." This is putting it kindly. Shlaes introduces the book by asserting her thesis, but she barely even tries to demonstrate it.

American History (December 2007, 63-64) says Shlaes "makes no attempt to be balanced." The reviewer states "She cherry picks economic data to make her case ..." Even Commentary (Sept 2007, 72-77) has some reservations: "If it is true that New Deal policies were not so effective in ending the depression, it is also true that FDR's leadership was instrumental in maintaining the public's faith that the crisis could be met within the boundaries of traditional institutions."

Why does this matter? If Toomey is only reading and listening to people who agree with him he is only hearing half of the story. Each time he cuts the pie, to limit references to women in his book, to limit his sources to only those from a few conservative organizations or those whose thinking is like his own, he closes off part of the world. Eventually he ends up representing only a select few.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pat Toomey: No Ladies' Man

Pat Toomey is the Republican candidate for Senate. Reading through his book, The Road to Prosperity, I noticed something. Women are practically non-existent. Even though his co-author, Nachama Soloveichik, is female, he seldom references women in the book. Most people these days will make an attempt to balance out pronouns, so that not every hypothetical example is a "he" or "him" and to ensure that a good percentage are "she" or "her." Toomey and Soloveichik seldom reference women at all. All but one worker is male (the only exception is a hypothetical fashion designer). He does reference congressmen or -women in one place. Otherwise all workers are "he" or "his" or "him." Women are referenced as a mother who buys inexpensive Chinese-made clothes for her children, and as single mothers with little education. Even the American taxpayer is referenced as "he." Does this mean if Toomey is elected the IRS will stop taking money out of my check?

I made a list of references in the book to gendered examples. References to historical people (FDR, Herbert Hoover, etc) are not included, though most of those were male. Ditto for experts quoted or referenced in the text (also mostly male). If one hypothetical situation is mentioned more than once only the first reference is listed -- Toomey makes several references to a coffee shop owner, only the first is included below.

Not many people are going to notice this, and perhaps not many will care, but to me it says a lot about how Toomey sees the world -- it is mostly male and women exist only a mothers, fashion designers and congressional representatives. Each example is preceded by the page number on which it appears. This isn't cherry picking. I may have missed one or two but, to the best of my ability, this is complete.

1, coffee shop owner …. he
7, example of farmer, Andy Drysdale
9, homebuilder …. he
10, single person …. himself
13, producer must recover all of his costs
14, the investor, he
17, examples of “ridiculous” projects Cowgirl Hall of Fame
19, shoemaker … his
20, a small homebuilder …. he
42, the trucker … he
52, a worker … he
54, a worker … his tax rate
55, individual families … a working-class father … he
55, entrepreneur … he
58, carpenter … his
64, “Consider a young man from a middle-class family who embarks on a business career” as example of how people move form one income level to another
69, if one man is given …
70, “first, we need to elect congressmen and –women
74, thing that enrich our lives …. piano lessons for a daughter
80, no rational person would ever fund with his own money ...
90, “What bureaucrat feels the need to spend money on the Cowgirl Hall of Fame”
91, the American taxpayer … he
100, An American mom chooses to buy Chinese-made clothes for her children …
100, a Chinese farmer … his
101, one man trims trees, another is a heart surgeon
118, Chinese farmer … his
119, a worker … his
122, Ida Mae Fuller – first American to get social security (paid in $44, received $22K)
127, cites case of Ephram Nestor, Bulgarian immigrant deported
128, your surviving spouse … she
129, a hypothetical 25 year old male
131, among occupations mentioned … fashion designer … she
134, a worker … he
137, cites Kathleen Casey-Kirscling – first baby boom to file for social security benefits
150, random college student … he
172, broken homes, kids “are raised by a parent who has little education herself”
177, home buyer … he
214, productive activities … men and women producing goods and services

China, Toomey, and Wall Street

Something interesting showed up in a New Yorker article this week (11/01). The article itself, "The Online Threat," by Seymour Hersch, is on cyber warfare. This passage caught my eye:

James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who worked for the Departments of State and Commerce in the Clinton Administration, has written extensively on the huge economic costs due to cyber espionage from China and other countries, like Russia, whose hackers are closely linked to organized crime. Lewis, too, made a distinction between this and cyber war: “Current Chinese officials have told me that we’re not going to attack Wall Street, because we basically own it”—a reference to China’s holdings of nearly a trillion dollars in American securities—“and a cyber-war attack would do as much economic harm to us as to you.”

What does this have to do with Pennsylvania politics? One of the candidates for Senate, Republican Pat Toomey agrees with the Chinese. From his book, The Road to Prosperity (p. 105):
Trade skeptics worry about the risks Americans take when we borrow heavily from the Chinese. They argue that the Chinese government might quickly sell off our bonds some day, driving down bond prices and raising the corresponding interest rate the United States would have to pay on new debt. But the Chinese have no incentive to do such a thing -- at least not for now.

Neither of these passages makes me very comfortable. I'd rather we weren't so heavily indebted to another county. I also plan to vote for Joe Sestak.

Obama Remarks at Temple Today

from the inbox:

Hello! Hello, Philly! Hello, Philadelphia! (Applause.) Oh, this is a good-looking crowd here. (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to go? (Applause.)

First of all, thank you, Elliot, for the unbelievable introduction. We appreciate you. We’ve got a couple other special guests here. I want to make sure that I acknowledge them. Governor Ed Rendell is in the house. (Applause.) U.S. Senator Arlen Specter is here. (Applause.) U.S. Senator Bob Casey. (Applause.) Congressman Chaka Fattah. (Applause.) Congressman soon-to-be-senator Joe Sestak. (Applause.) Mayor Michael Nutter. (Applause.) Allegheny County Executive and soon-to-be-governor Dan Onorato. (Applause.)

I want to thank the first-time voters and Temple University Young Democrats -- (applause) -- for all the great work you guys have done. And give it up for Quincy Lyons for the great job he’s doing organizing. (Applause.)

Now, I am not here to give a long speech, because I want everybody out there, not in here. I’m here to deliver two messages.

The first message is thank you, because not only did all of you mobilize, organize and energize in 2008 to help send me to the White House -- (applause) -- but over the last two years, so many of you have continued to be involved each and every day to make sure that we could keep moving this country forward. It’s because of you that young people are getting college scholarships that weren’t getting it before. (Applause.)

It’s because of you that young people can now stay on their parents’ health insurance till they’re 26 -- (applause) -- and folks who have health insurance aren’t dropped by insurance companies when they get sick.

And the fact that -- and it’s because of you that we’re also going to be able to fund AIDS. It’s because of you that we are going to be in a position to make sure that each and every person out there is able to find work after a devastating economic crisis that made such a difference to so many families all across this country.

Now, here’s the thing, though, guys. You cannot stop now, because the fact of the matter is we are in a difficult election. It’s difficult here in Pennsylvania. It is difficult all across the country.

And unless each and every one of you turn out, and get your friends to turn out, and get your families to turn out, then we could fall short, and all the progress that we’ve made over the last couple of years can be rolled back.

So the key right now is not just to show up here, it’s not just to listen to speeches. It’s to go out there and do the hard work that's going to be required to bring this home over the last few days. That's going to be the key. (Applause.)

And so I know that some of you may have been at the rally we had with 20,000 folks of Germantown. (Applause.) But you know what, coming to a rally, that's not the hard part. What I need this weekend is 20,000 doors knocked on by all the volunteers who are here today. (Applause.) Is that something that you think you can do, 20,000? (Applause.)

In order for Joe Sestak to be successful and Dan Onorato to be successful and the entire Democratic ticket to be successful, you're going to need to talk to folks everywhere you can and make sure that you describe to them the future that you see for this country.

You want a country where every young person can get a decent education. You want a country where nobody is bankrupt because they get sick. You want a country where our seniors can retire with dignity and respect, and Social Security is there not just for this generation but for future generations.

You want a country that has the best infrastructure in the world. We used to be number one. We can’t have the best rail lines and the best airports built in China or Singapore. They need to be right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

We don't want to be falling behind in math and science and technology. We’ve got to be first in research and development and technology to make sure that the new products and new services are developed right here in the United States.

We want clean energy here. We don't want solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars built in China or Europe. We want them built here in the United States with American workers. (Applause.)

And so it is absolutely critical that you go out there and you describe your hopes for the future, especially the young people here, because this election is not just going to set the stage for the next two years. It’s going to set the stage for the next 10, for the next 20.

And for those of you who were so excited two years ago, I just want to remind you this. Two years ago was not about me. It was about you and it was about this country. And I said then that change was going to be hard. Now, we’ve been involved in some tough fights over the last two years. We can’t move backwards now. We’ve got to keep moving forward now. And that's all going to be up to you.

So I want everybody to get out there, knock on doors, make phone calls, volunteer, talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, go into the beauty shops, go into the barber shops, when you’re in church or -- you know, this weekend, I want everybody to be talking about -- have folks voted.

If you do that, then I am confident we’re not just going to win this election but we’re going to keep on moving this country forward so that the American Dream is accessible for everybody, not just some.

Thank you very much, Philadelphia. I love you. (Applause.) God bless you. Let’s get busy. Let’s go to work. Thank you. (Applause.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

New SEPTA Silverliner Cars

Today SEPTA debuted the new silverliner cars. Here are a few facts about the new train cars:

• 120 New Cars to be purchased by SEPTA under $274 million contract with
Hyundai-Rotem USA
• First three-car train began regular revenue service Oct. 29, 2010
• New cars replace some old trains and add to fleet. Approximately 70 old
railcars will eventually be retired. Added capacity will help alleviate
• Manufacturer: Hyundai-Rotem; shells built in South Korea, assembly in South
• Specifications (each car approx.) - Size: 85 feet-long, 10 feet, 6 inches wide,
and 14 feet, 8 inches high; Seating: 108-110 riders; Railcar weight: 146,600
• Passenger Amenities: Bright, spacious interiors featuring non-glare
florescent lighting; large windows; video screens and digital panels that
display travel information and service updates; wide mid-car doors designed
to make boarding/departing easier; State-of-the-art railcar airconditioning
and heating systems
• Energy efficient: Cars utilize AC Propulsion System with a traction motor to
regenerate electricity during braking, thus saving energy.

Obama's Statement on Today's Events

from the inbox:

Good afternoon, everybody. I want to briefly update the American people on a credible terrorist threat against our country, and the actions that we're taking with our friends and our partners to respond to it.

Last night and earlier today, our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, working with our friends and allies, identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States -- specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago. Those packages had been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom. An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material.

I was alerted to this threat last night by my top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan. I directed the Department of Homeland Security and all our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our citizens from this type of attack. Those measures led to additional screening of some planes in Newark and Philadelphia.

The Department of Homeland Security is also taking steps to enhance the safety of air travel, including additional cargo screening. We will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens.

I've also directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting. Although we are still pursuing all the facts, we do know that the packages originated in Yemen. We also know that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist group based in Yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies.

John Brennan, who you will be hearing from, spoke with President Saleh of Yemen today about the seriousness of this threat, and President Saleh pledged the full cooperation of the Yemeni government in this investigation.

Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government to disrupt plotting by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to destroy this al Qaeda affiliate. We'll also continue our efforts to strengthen a more stable, secure and prosperous Yemen so that terrorist groups do not have the time and space they need to plan attacks from within its borders.

The events of the past 24 hours underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism. As usual, our intelligence, law enforcement and Homeland Security professionals have served with extraordinary skill and resolve and with the commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand. We're also coordinating closely and effectively with our friends and our allies, who are essential to this fight.

As we obtain more information we will keep the public fully informed. But at this stage, the American people should know that the counterterrorism professionals are taking this threat very seriously and are taking all necessary and prudent steps to ensure our security. And the American people should be confident that we will not waver in our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates and to root out violent extremism in all its forms.

Thank you very much.

Corbett Wants Fewer Philadelphians to Vote

from the inbox:

Pennsylvania’s chief law enforcement official and GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett yesterday said that “we want to make sure” that city residents do not come out to vote on Tuesday.

In a speech to Delaware County Republicans, Corbett implored his followers to “keep” down the vote in urban areas:

“President Clinton is coming back into Pennsylvania on behalf of my opponent again. The President is coming in on Saturday. Mrs. Obama is coming in on Sunday or Monday….

I saw today that the Governor said yesterday that Bob Brady should resign as chairman of the Democratic committee of Philadelphia if he doesn’t get 50% turnout….

I don’t think he’s going to get 50%.

But we want to make sure that they don’t get 50%.

Keep that down.”

Click here to view the clip:

“The Attorney General’s job is to protect our right to vote and make sure that every vote counts, so why is Tom Corbett instead telling his Republican activists to ‘keep’ the vote down in the City of Philadelphia?” said Onorato for Governor Communications Director Brian Herman. “With two new polls in the last week showing Dan Onorato ahead of Tom Corbett among registered voters, having as few votes as possible come out of Philadelphia is the Republican’s only path to victory.”

On Wednesday, the CNN/Time poll gave Onorato a 2-point lead among registered voters, up from a 5-point deficit the prior month. And the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Onorato beating Corbett by 3 points among registered voters.

“Republican Tom Corbett has proven time and time again that he’s willing to put his extreme political agenda ahead of average voters: from suing to block President Obama’s health care law to doing the bidding of his Big Oil & Gas donors,” said Herman. “And now five days before Election Day, he’s telling supporters to help him ‘keep that down’ when it comes to inner-city voting.”

Additions to Early Retiree Program

from the inbox:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released a list of additional employers and unions accepted into the Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, including 41 in Pennsylvania. Nationwide, nearly 700 additional large and small businesses, State and local governments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and unions have been accepted into the program, which reimburses employers for a portion of the cost of health benefits for early retirees’ and their families. Today’s announcement brings the total number of organizations participating in the program to nearly 3,600 nationwide and 204 in Pennsylvania.

“By helping employers and unions continue to offer coverage for early retirees, we’re helping them compete -- while providing a measure of certainty and security for their former workers at a time when it could not be more important, “said Secretary Sebelius. “The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program seeks to shore up the financial foothold for employers and unions who want to provide coverage to their retirees.”

Created by the Affordable Care Act as another bridge to the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers and unions, to help them maintain coverage for early retirees ages 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Businesses and other employers and unions that are accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for a portion of the costs of health benefits for their early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Savings may be used to reduce employer or union health care costs, provide premium or out-of-pocket relief to workers, retirees, and their families, or both. The program ends on January 1, 2014, when the State-based health insurance Exchanges will be up and running.

The list is too long to add here, but can be found at:

Teva Moves to Northeast Philly

from the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz joined Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter at City Hall today to announce that Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, will expand its operations in her congressional district, creating hundreds of jobs and investing nearly $300 million into Northeast Philadelphia’s economy. The company already has a facility in North Wales, which is also part of the congresswoman’s district.

Schwartz advocated to Nutter and Rendell on behalf of Teva to ensure that this global pharmaceutical company will expand their operations in her district. The $295M project will employ up to 500 full-time positions once construction is complete. Development of the new distribution facility is scheduled to begin in spring 2011 and will create approximately 400 to 600 construction jobs in the Northeast.

“Teva's expansion into Northeast Philadelphia is a tremendous opportunity for the city,” Schwartz said. “This project will create or save more than 500 jobs and inject nearly $300 million into the local economy. I am thrilled that TEVA has selected this location for its distribution facility and was happy to work with city and state officials to bring real economic growth to the region.”

“Making this investment in Philadelphia is significant for us both financially and emotionally as we've always considered Philadelphia to be our hometown,” said William Marth, President & CEO Teva Pharmaceuticals - The Americas. “We have strong partnerships in Philadelphia and we're glad to be furthering our investment in this great city.”

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA will acquire a 136-acre parcel at 1 Red Lion Road in Northeast Philadelphia and build a state-of-the-art distribution facility. The facility, which will consist of three buildings totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet, will support all of Teva’s warehousing and distribution needs in the United States.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is a global pharmaceutical company, based in Israel, which specializes in the development, production and marketing of generic and proprietary branded pharmaceuticals as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients. Teva is among the top 11 pharmaceutical companies and among the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Onorato and Minority Business

Dan Onorato, the Democratic candidate for governor, isn't very well known on this side of the state, even after months of campaigning. While some aspects of his work in the Pittsburgh area have been written about, others haven't. A strong showing from the voters of the Philadelphia area could make a big difference in the outcome of the race. Out of curiosity I looked into his relationship with the African American business community in Pittsburgh.

To avoid getting only the mainstream view I made a special effort to research in Pittsburgh's ethnic newspapers. (The Ethnic Newswatch database is an excellent resource for this.) While this is a relatively short post a lot of background research went into it. This is only a summary, but it may provide voters with some idea of how Onorato dealt with minority businesses.

The first executive order Dan Onorato signed after taking office as Allegheny County Executive directed all departments to make diversity a top priority. He also announced a new fund “to provide short-term, working capital for minority and women-owned government contractors” (Toler 05/09/2004).

"We are creating economic opportunities for firms that have traditionally faced challenges in obtaining enough working capital to participate in the government projects," said Onorato, adding that this will help the qualifying companies grow.(Toler 05/09/2004)
This is an issue he has been involved in as far back as 1994 when he was on the Pittsburgh city council (Bull, 7/21/1994).

Onorato does not use traditional set asides or quotas. In fact, in 1999, when he was on the Pittsburgh City Council, Onorato voted against a city council proposal mandating a set asides for city residents and minorities, though he has supported goals for inclusion. (Morrow, 5/29/1999) He was also on the board of the Stadium Authority, where the lack of minorities in the concessions was an issue. In his view, “We’ve got to make sure business ventures reflect what this city looks like” (Hamm, 8/16/1995). Making sure minority owned ventures knew the system and how to maneuver through it seemed preferable to him, rather than court battles. Later, as county controller he estimated that 40% of the auditing contracts in his office went to minority and women owned businesses. One of those was a $12 million contract for medical services at the county jail (Morrow,10/07.2000). He also said that 25% of the people hired in his office were African-American. (Toler, 8/06/2003)

In response to criticism that his office did not do enough to combat the problem of companies claiming more diversity in their work than was accurate, Onorato’s office studied primary contractor’s and subcontractor’s inclusion of minority and women-owned businesses in large public infrastructure projects. He then established eight recommendations to increase the number of minority and women-owned businesses involved in county construction projects, such as verifying payments and requiring proof of “good faith” efforts from contractors. The president of Minority Enterprise Corp and the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP praised his efforts. (Toler 8/07/2002) In the next year, the Port Authority, exceeded its 18% minority and women-owned business participation goal. (Toler, 4/007/2004). Prior to that he advocated merging the county and city offices that verified minority contractors, and began doing the work in house instead of hiring outside firms to do it. This was to cut down or eliminate fraud. (McNulty and Boyd, 6/16/2000).

When he ran for county executive Onorato had the support of African Americans he had served on the city council with, even those with whom he had occasionally had disagreements. Here are some quotes:
McDonald-Roberts served on Pittsburgh City Council with Onorato.
"He's smart, he thinks outside of the box, he knows government, he knows finance and he's one who cares about the many different people who make up this community. It's time," she said. "He has always been there for our community."
"Name me one other political event that has brought together this diverse (in opinion) a group of Black politicians," said Pittsburgh Councilman Sala Udin. "You can't because there is not one."

State Rep. Joseph Preston Jr., D-East Liberty, added that Onorato's platform includes issues beyond economic development that affect people where they are.
"It's about substance and who can deliver," Preston said in explaining why he supports Onorato over Roddey.
After "sitting down" with Onorato, Preston said he supports him because his plan addresses the needs in the areas of health and human services and senior citizens' issues. (Morrow & Toler, 9/27/2003)

Valerie McDonald Roberts, quoted above, ran for lieutenant governor in 2006 and many, myself included, were very impressed by her during her campaign visits to the Philadelphia area. Onorato won the election and in his first month of office appointed African-American Tim Johnson as the Director of Administrative Service (Morrow, 1/21/2004) and Ruby Byrd Smith to be director of the county’s Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (Morrow, 1/28/2004). After five months in office, Onorato said that 21% of the 178 people he had hired were African American, as were 26.3% of those he had appointed to boards and authorities (Toler, 5/09/2004). After a year in office he said that a third of the 150 people he had appointed to boards and authorities were minorities, though he defined that term broadly. "When I say diversity, I'm not just talking about African-American," Onorato said. "I'm talking about gender, I'm talking about age” (Toler 1/26/2006)

There are a number of roadblocks to increasing the diversity of those getting government contracts. Onorato has supported a number of possible solutions. Some examples the city of Pittsburgh tried were reducing the size of contracts, increasing outreach to minority and women owned firms (Morrow, 10/31/2007). Perhaps as an example of that outreach he led off a 13 week radio effort to let small business owners know how to find information on upcoming projects and how to become involved in them (Belser, 1/13/2007). In 2009 a large Detroit-based minority owned, contracting firm opened a regional office in Pittsburgh. The company could do $100 million in bonding. (Morrow, 10/14/2009).

Onorato supports the idea of public / private partnerships and one example of that is a fund financed equally by the county and a donation from Citizens Bank. Each put in $500,000. The fund was to short-term working capitol to minority and women owned or disadvantaged businesses who wished to work on government contracts (Kendrick, 9/19/2004). A year and a half later the program “produced solid results” (Morrow, 4/12/2006). Another example is a “sheltered bond” program that would allow qualified contractors to apply for bonds of up to $1 million; it also provided short term financing for start-up costs. Some of the funds for this came from the state, others from private foundations. Bonding and finance are listed as two obstacles for small and minority owned firms. Onorato has also noted that the closing of a Pittsburgh based trade school has reduced the training venues for those wishing to go into the construction trades (Morrow, 1/27/2010). The issues of financing and education are represented in the policy statements he has set out for his campaign.


Belser, Ann, “County buys air time on WAMO to reach disadvantaged businesses,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 13, 2007.

Bull, John M. R., “Loan to pirates limits city borrowing for construction,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 21, 1994.

Hamm, Sandy, “Brewer gets first African-American stadium food contract,” New Pittsburgh Courier. Aug, 16, 1995: . A-1

Kendrick, Louis ‘Hop.’ ”To Tell The Truth; Reparations yes, but not cash, ownership,” New Pittsburgh Courier. :Sep 19, 2004. p. A7

McNulty, Timothy, and Tom Barnes, “County, city to join forces on certifying contractors,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 16, 2000.

Morrow, Christian, “Brinker Group opens office in Pittsburgh,” New Pittsburgh Courier. Oct 14-Oct 20, 2009. p. A1,A4

Morrow, Christian, “County loan program produces solid results,” New Pittsburgh Courier. Apr 12-Apr 18, 2006. C1-C2

Morrow, Christian, “Johnson tapped for county post,” New Pittsburgh Courier, Jan 21, 2004, p. A-1.

Morrow, Christian, “Racial summit elicits praise and response,” New Pittsburgh Courier. Oct 31-Nov 6, 2007. p. A1,A5

Morrow, Christian, “Robinson look sinto row office contacts with minorities,” New Pittsburgh Courier Oct. 7, 2000, p. A-1.

Morrow, Christian, “ Smith named to county M/WBE post,” New Pittsburgh Courier, Jan 28, 2004, p. A-1

Morrow, Christian, “Udin takes Pgh works crusade to the people,” New Pittsburgh Courier, May 29, 1999, p. A-1

Morrow, Christian, “Union job inclusion still a challenge,” New Pittsburgh Courier, Jan 27-Feb 2, 2010., P. A1, A4.

Morrow, Christian and Sonya M Toler, “Black Dems show support for Onorato,” New Pittsburgh Courier Sept. 27, 2003, p. A-1.

Toler, Sonya M.. “First county exec debate a political brawl,” New Pittsburgh Courier. (City Edition). Pittsburgh, Pa.:Aug 6, 2003. p. A1

Toler, Sonya M. “Is MBE certification worth it? Cumbersome process about to get easier through County / Port Authority effort?” New Pittsburgh Courier (Apr 07, 2004), p. B1

Toler, Sonya M.. “Onorato exec order makes diversity priority,” New Pittsburgh Courier. :May 09, 2004. p. A1

Toler, Sonya M. “Onorato says plan increases minority contracts,” New Pittsburgh Courier Aug, 7, 2002, p. A-1.

Toler, Sonya M. “Onorato shares vision for region, accomplishments,” New Pittsburgh Courier Jan 26-Jan 30, 2005. p. C1

Nagle Interviews Walt Waite

I watched a you tube video of an interview John Nagle of Radnor had with Walt Waite, who is the Democratic candidate for the open 161st state house district seat. There were two 30 minute videos. Both are presented here but if questions were asked on both interviews I included new material into the first time it was asked and deleted in the second part.

As always, these are rough notes and I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions. Voters in the 151st are strongly encouraged to watch the video for themselves.

blogger’s note: I have met Walt a few times. He is quiet and low key but very personable, smart, and impressive.

Meet the candidate
Walt Waite, 161st
John Nagle, host

JN: welcome

WW: my pleasure. we've knocked on 8k doors at this point. I've lived in Ridley for the last 50 years, lived in Philly until 15, went to Ridley high school, graduated in 1965, joined Navy, off to see the world. 2 years in active duty. went around the world, visited 30 diff countries, 2 diff wars (Viet Nam, Middle East) during that time. navy taught me hard work, discipline, loyalty sacrifice. took the helm of the navy's newest aircraft carrier. scary and exciting. responsible for 5k lives. it was a tremendous experience. one of the things I learned at age 19, there is no better place in the world than right here. saw what people had to deal with in other countries. wish everyone could experience this.

jn: its a shame more Americans don't travel. our democracy is such a beautiful thing.

ww: that’s what makes me feel so honored to run for this seat. we've been working hard. knocked on doors, make phone calls, attend events, get to meet people. finding out what concerns people, what issues. that's what we've been doing this for 13 months. lost 18 pounds in the process.

jn: Joe Sestak is running for senate, which freed up his congressional seat. Bryan Lentz is running for congress which frees up his state house seat, which you are running for. Those are big shoes to fill.

ww: we've already compared and his shoes are only slightly bigger than mine but you are right the bar is high. he's done such an exceptional job in Harrisburg. My issues similar to his. no 1 issue is jobs. in the 161st we are blessed with small business. working with small business owners, finding out their concerns, expand and prosper. no 1 concern will put all my energy into that. work our way out of the recession.

jn: 161st very gerrymandered

ww: [description of district] many school districts, education is a priority, funding. the lower funding from state, the more school taxes we have to pay. I also want to make sure the funding reaches to pre-k. it's been proven time and time again when we start education early and offer best education possible we save money on the other end -- jails and court systems. Give young people best opportunity possible.

jn: someone said 4 years at penn state costs a lot less than 4 years at the state penn. poorer school districts challenged

ww: important we provide everyone with this opportunity. make sure money spent wisely and in programs that are actually working. right below jobs this is top priority.

jn: Harrisburg able to work in house in bipartisan fashion. you are interested in this?

ww: absolutely. we've been working with local state house candidates. we're all on the same page on this issue. talk to freshman class when go up for training. work with everyone. have attitude we all have to work together. see so many politicians blaming everyone but themselves. it's everyone's fault. we have to work together. learned teamwork in military. you don't take an aircraft carrier anywhere without teamwork, no matter what level you are, everyone works together and does what they have to do. fix problem now. if you wait will take longer and cost more.

jn: I was in the military same time you were. all this talk about dadt. there were gays back then. no one cared.

ww: we knew there were gay men on the ship, 2 in my particular division. it didn't get in the way of anything. everyone did their jobs well.

jn; local candidates

ww: Greg Vitali, Bill Adolph, Thaddeus Kirkland, Shannon Meehan, Margo Davidson. these are all people who've impressed me. first time candidates encourage each other.

jn: Radnor has 3 reps, Vitali, Adolph, work together, put Adolph sign on my lawn, took heat since he is a Republican and I am a Democrat. you could easily step in to Bryan's office

ww: we have no manufacturing in the district, in Delaware County but not district.

jn: where to meet you?

ww:, events listed, debate coming up. we're working hard to get this done. interview tomorrow with Delaware County Times. knocking on doors, everyone should do it at least once. people happy to see a candidate come to their door, interested in what they are thinking. works very well. Vitali out whether there is an election or not, hits his district throughout year. I can't represent people unless I know what they are thinking.

jn: marcellus shale, Harrisburg done nothing yet

ww: it's very disappointing. this is something I will be working hard to get into place. it's a resource that belongs to the people of PA. it is wrong to give it away free. Vitali introduced bill putting moratorium on leases of state forestland. still don't know what chemicals being used, who will repair land when they are gone. the leases already granted and drilling going on, have obligation to make sure process happens correctly, doesn't cause any damage. make sure land, water table, and local infrastructure taken care of.

jn: the League of Women Voters ran a forum on pipelines, statement that intrastate pipelines not regulated by anyone

ww: we saw what happened recently with explosion and now no one wants to fix it and take responsibility.

jn: local at coal mining areas, no money put aside for area to be repaired. sense of what will happen in Harrisburg?

ww: my sense is that senate will not do anything, only have a few days remaining. it is important that we pick this up again in January. house will have to re-pass bill. so important on so many different levels, protect environment, make sure gas and drilling companies hold up their end of the bargain. once extraction tax in place important to do the right things. that money in the budget won't solve all problems. but not having it is insult to people of PA.

jn: many looking to severance tax to bail us out of current problem not environmental issues, Department of Environmental Protection laying off

ww: DEP has been reduced considerably. leases granted done in such a hurry that dep wasn't able to catch up to get new regulations in place. all comes back to the environment. if we're going to allow companies to come in and take our resource we need to make sure env taken care of and people protected.

jn: work with fed / congress to close halliburton loophole

ww: yes, continue to have dialog with Bryan Lentz and Joe Sestak, keeping those doors open something I’m definitely going to do.

jn: watched how env regulations gutted under Bush administration, bad enough to leave kids debt but also environ issues

ww: every time I hear people talk about deregulation of everything my hair stands up on end.

jn: charter schools instead of fixing public schools

ww: you're not going to solve problems by throwing blanket on problem. look at details.

jn: minute left, anything you want to say

ww: retired property manager of large estate on main line. oversaw $3.5M renovations to property, look after boss’s money, making sure all details followed through, no corners cut, brought it in on time. my retirement was going to fall in middle of renovation, didn't feel good about that so stayed on and worked until the end. retired in June 2009. not too long after that ran into Bryan Lentz at clean energy summit in dc.


jn: [description of district], being vacated by bryan lentz who is running for congress.

ww: [bio, as above] navy served in middle east and Viet Nam, served on aircraft carrier America. spent a great deal of time at helm of that ship. returned last year as estate manger of large estate on main line, served on board of alumni of people who served on that ship. been on that board almost 11 years. after retired went down to dc for clean air summit, met Bryan Lentz, then to Princeton Univ for 2 day seminar on veterans running for office. taught me a lot. decided to run. I'm married, son and grandson and granddaughter.

jn: running for state house is a big job, counting on shoe leather?

ww: when I decided to run promised to commit 100% to this, talked to people to learn, Lentz, Vitali, what did they do to be successful, started knocking on doors last October, doing everything we possibly can to be successful on nov. 2.

jn: voter apathy high, how to get voters to polls

ww: turnout will determine outcome of races. very important we get as many people as possible to polls. hope that meeting them at their door will bring them out.

jn: what most important issue

ww: inter-related, extraction tax, drilling and gas companies answer questions on how process might damage state, funding public education, two state pension that have been unfunded for 9 years now, just kicked problem down the road. would like to see some marcellus money applied to two pensions initially to ease burden until we can find a solution. jobs issue -- many small business, work with them to give them the tools they need to be successful, meeting with owners and their associations, details of their individual situations, what things they think will solve the problems, prepared to work in that direction.

jn: what small businesses?

ww: good number of clean energy companies in the district, producing solar panels and the like, very interested in working with them, something I have been concerned with for some time now. remember hearing newscasters saying oil won't last forever and now here we are still taking baby steps.

jn: drilling companies don't hire local, move as a team, don’t bring in any jobs, except maybe eateries or hotel

ww: they should hire local. there are jobs within their operation that could be done by PA residents. for the drilling companies to bring own people in, level a large area of ground to set up operation and then walk way for us to clean up mess, isn't right way.

jn:: other small business issues

ww: one big question is in terms of hiring a new employee, they don’t know what the cost of that employees health care is going to be, reluctant to hire new employees, tax incentives to hire does help. it's going to take some nudging to banks to free up money we know is there but not being lent. get small business up and running and succeeding.

jn: small banks engine of this, local banks

ww: it's a situation where its hard to get this ball rolling. we all have to push to make this happen. we’ll all benefit.

jn: politics become so nonfunctional.

ww: my approach, navy taught me loyalty, hard work, dedication and teamwork. this isn't any different. worked with local candidates for state house. once i'm elected will work with freshman class to make sure everyone is of similar mind. don't pick one side of the aisle or the other. as an elected officials responsible to the people. job is to do what is best for people of our district and ultimately people of Pennsylvania. everyone has to work together to get that accomplished.

jn: house passed severance tax, senate hasn't, nothing will happen

ww: we have to get the politics out of it, to allow that not to be passed for another year almost an insult to the people of pa. something we’ve got to fix.

jn: familiar with Radnor twp

ww: in mid-90s wife went back to U Penn to get masters degree, I was home by myself at night so got a job with Radnor school district, worked with security dept, worked there almost 9 years, patrol district and make sure everything safe and secure, attend school board meetings, work with everyone from superintendent on down, became chief training officer, get to know the people and the job they are doing, administration, teachers, board member, everyone working hard for same goal, that all made it very clear to me how important public education is and why we must fund it and give younger people best possible opportunity

jn: Sestak says we aren't training people for new jobs, shipyard importing welders, vo-tech aspect. still need plumbers, electricians, etc.

ww: all the trades I've spoke with have long lists of people who are out of work, something we have to address, good hardworking people is what made us great, outsourcing jobs is something that has to be addressed. companies that outsource jobs are still receiving incentives for doing business in here in PA.

jn: graduates leaving

ww: there's a number of solutions, keeping well educated young people in pa, provide them with things like credits for tuition to remain here for a number of years,

jn: public health sector has done that. what businesses are viable for that?

ww: biggest businesses in Delaware County are Boeing and Crozier, get out young people out of college in involved in those businesses, get industries involved in education, getting them to all work together.

jn: group meetings, meet and greets, etc

ww: we've done then, meet with small business group in Brookhaven, have a lot of legitimate concerns, looking for answers. we had an event the other night for chamber of commerce, met with a lot of great people there. the big reward though is going to the doors, almost 8K doors at this point.

jn: crime a problem?

ww: I'm aware of the situation and this is one of the reasons I'm so focused on public education, when we start at pre-k, up and running and funded and running properly, a lot less expensive than to have to take care of problem at other end, prisons, and court systems, etc.

jn: amazed at chunks of funding in budget, great to shift money from prisons to education

ww: biggest part of state of budget are health care, prisons, and education

jn: crime goes up in recession

ww: going to the doors I hear so many stories about people who've been out of work for a year or more, good education had good jobs and now can't find a job. that's why its so important to run for office and when elected to work for people

jn: health care and coverage, malpractice

ww: make sure chip program are funded, attempt recently to reduce that would have taken 12K PA kids out of program, how do you tell parent you have to take their child out of the program.

jn: healthy child does better in school, and in job, all related

ww: building blocks of our society, continue to grow as a society if we just put those blocks in place and give our young people a great opportunity.

jn: many former generals and admirals are Republicans, but in military everyone gets their meals, etc. no one better than another, have rank but everyone has their duties

ww: I don’t know why that is, Sestak very impressive, not like this, very down to earth. I tell people Joe and I have something in common, we both used to play with aircraft carriers. not sure why so many officers going to GOP, but that's okay, the thing is our situation with economy and society, not so much letter behind person’s name but person themselves.

jn: current board in Radnor, every significant vote we've taken has been bipartisan. hope if people like you get to Harrisburg we can get rid of some of this partisanship

ww: hope we can get rid of some of this. I’m doing this, making some personal sacrifice, there are some things I'll lose in this process, lost 18 pounds, but that shows my commitment, I'm working very hard.

jn: thanks

ww: thanks

A Few Endorsements and a Newsy Bit

Bob Casey has endorsed State Rep. Rick Taylor, incumbent Democrat for the 151st state house district.

The Bucks County Courier Times has endorsed Bryan Allen in the 6th state senate district.

Fellow blogger the Liberal Doomsayer has looked into Mike Fitzpatrick's congressional history.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Allyson Schwartz Campaign Teletownhall

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz held a campaign teletownhall this evening. I came onto the call late, just before she started taking questions, and so cannot comment on any of her introductory remarks. The questions were primarily on the economy, education, and social security. During the call the congresswoman referenced the governor's race as well as her own and suggested those listening vote for Dan Onorato. The call was paid for by her campaign.

Monday, October 25, 2010

College Republicans Phone Poll

The National College Republicans robo-called this evening. The call asked, given the direction of the country, who I would vote for in the 2012 presidential election. The options were: Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, other, or undecided. It was tempting to pick someone other than Obama just to see what happened but I went with Obama anyway. At that point the recording said if I didn't want to receive calls in the future to call a specific number -- it was a 10 digit number, rattled off quickly, so I doubt anyone actually writes it down and calls it.

Just as a personal note, I really hate questions about "the direction the country is going." Some polls just ask "what direction do you think the country is going?" What is that? Do they mean economically, socially, morally? Is it related to military actions, foreign affairs, education policy, what? Nothing is that easy or simple. I refuse to answer any question along those lines. When I ask, pollsters can never provide any clarification. It's just annoying.

Fightin' Irish

Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. stopped in Bucks County this evening for an event in support of Congressman Patrick Murphy, held at the Ancient Order of the Hibernians in Bristol.

Murphy gave an update on the congressional race. He pointed out while the race would be close recent polls showed him ahead. He also said that his opponent had been nearly an hour late to a debate earlier in the day. In introducing Casey he mentioned that a picture of the senator's father is displayed in the AOH building.

Casey was in rare form this evening, dressed casually in jeans, fired up, and expressive. A number of times he reference a slogan on a Murphy campaign button: courage, character, commitment. He referenced courage several times, alluding to Murphy's military service and his work in Congress. Casey called the Republican strategy in congress stop, block, and demonize. As an example he mentioned the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act (HR 5297), which eventually passed and was signed into law, but was opposed by the Republicans. The bill gave a tax break to small businesses and provided funds for small and community banks.

He said that when George Bush took office there was a $236 billion surplus, and when Pres. Obama took office there was a $1.3 trillion deficit. Casey remarked on something Pres. Obama has said: We ran for office because we knew we could make a difference, especially when times are tough.

Casey's theme was that character matters and that Murphy's commitment to public service, in the military and in office showed character.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Few Endorsements

The Philadelphia Inquirer has endorsed Joe Sestak for Senate, Dan Onorato for Governor, and Patrick Murphy for the 8th congressional district. Both Sestak and Onorato have picked up several other endorsements statewide. Murphy was endorsed by the Bucks County Courier Times and the Bucks County FOP.

A few quotes:

The Inky on Onorato:

Upon becoming the Allegheny County executive in 2004, Onorato eliminated more than 600 jobs, saving taxpayers more than $30 million a year. He abolished six elected row offices, and worked with the city of Pittsburgh to consolidate services. Onorato has not raised property taxes during his tenure as county executive.

That's a record of reform and fiscal restraint that is needed in Harrisburg, where the next governor will face a budget deficit of up to $5 billion next year.

Daily News on Onorato
His track record as executive of Allegheny County has given him firsthand experience grappling with government change; his reforms involved consolidating city and county services, and eliminating positions and row offices; and he talks convincingly and concretely of how he'd streamline Harrisburg.

He's smart, energetic and well-versed on the issues. Like us, he supports a gas-extraction tax, an end to the Florida loophole, and a reform agenda that includes term limits, a smaller Legislature, and a prohibition on lawmakers' giving themselves raises.

Bucks County Courier Times on Murphy:
In the past two years, Murphy also has paved the way for millions of dollars in economic development pouring into Bucks to expand businesses, especially those that generate wind power, solar energy and polysilicon products. He also secured funding for a green jobs academy that Bucks County Community College administers to train workers in these new initiatives.

We also believe Murphy deserves praise for voting for federal health insurance reform. Murphy and other Democrats had a mandate from the electorate in 2008 to pass such a program and they accomplished it, despite stiff resistance from Republicans, who did nothing to stall the crushing burden of galloping health insurance premiums and dropped coverage during the first six years of the George Bush administration when they had total control of Congress.

the Inky on Murphy:
Murphy was one of the first Democratic officials to support Barack Obama's candidacy for president, yet he has not been a rubber-stamp. His voting record generally has been centrist, rather than liberal.

In 2006, the Iraq war veteran rode to victory with the help of antiwar sentiment and voter fatigue with the presidency of George W. Bush. This year, the campaign is all about jobs, and Murphy can point to solid efforts he's made to bring employers to his district.

The incumbent voted for the TARP fund to bail out banks, and later for the economic stimulus bill. He rightly argues that both votes were worth it to spare the nation from a deeper recession.

Murphy also has shown political courage, leading the effort to repeal the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which discriminates against gays in the military.

A Few Notes from Saturday's Inky

A few things that caught my eye from Saturday's Inquirer:

from "Health insurers' donations shift to GOP," by Jim Kuhnhenn and Richardo Alonso-Zaldivar: The gist is that health insurance PACs supported the health insurance reform bill as long as it included a mandate for everyone to have insurance (otherwise it isn't financially feasible) but now that it has passed the donations are tipping more towards Republicans hoping for less stringent regulations. For instance the bill that passed called for health insurance companies to spend 80% of premiums people pay to actually be spent on medical care. The insurance companies don't like that.

from the editorials, "Cash on the barrel:"

An so Senate President Pro Tem Joseph Scarnati (R., Jefferson) has amassed at least $143,000 in campaign donations from the [natural gas] industry. The Senate GOP never even held a vote on a tax proposal. When Scarnati's team left town, it was considering a tax that would have been among the lowest in the nation.

If Republican Tom Corbett is elected governor in November, the tax issue will be dead for at least four more years. He opposes the production tax and has accepted more than $700,000 from an industry hoping he wins. Democrat Dan Onorato, who has received far less from gas drillers, wants to impose a production tax.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Schwartz Announces Funding for Lardner's Point

from the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz announced today that Lardner’s Point will receive more than $640,000 from the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center, enabling the Delaware River City Corporation to move forward with the riverfront construction project. The $643,271 in funding is one of nine claims presented as a result of the Athos I oil spill.

Schwartz sent a letter to the U.S. Coast Guard in September urging the NPFC to release the funds for the project in a timely manner or the DRCC would lose $750,000 in funding from the state to complete the project.

“I appreciate that these funds have been made available so the Lardner’s Point project can move forward,” Schwartz said. “This breathtaking park is another link in the North Delaware riverfront, which will become a front yard for the neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia, bringing economic revitalization, recreation, and environmental opportunities to the residents of this district and the city. I look forward to working with the DRCC to make the additional trails and parks of this 11-mile greenway a reality.”

“DRCC was up against a deadline and in danger of losing $750,000 in state funding to build Lardner’s Point Park, without these funds from the NPFC, the project would have died,” said Bob Borski, Chair and CEO of the DRCC Board of Directors. “Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz’s direct involvement led to the release of $643,271 in Athos I oil spill mitigation funds to match our prior state funding. Without her, this park and shoreline restoration would not have been possible.”

The new 4.5-acre riverfront park will be constructed immediately south of the Tacony Palmyra Bridge and will be situated along the K&T Trail. Plans for breaking ground are schedule for January 2011.

Lardner’s Point will include a river overlook, fishing pier, and areas for picnicking and passive recreational activities. Tidal wetlands will be created and the shoreline or riparian edge and a riverbank forest area will be restored.

The park – the 64th in the Fairmount Park system - will be a gateway and trailhead for the North Delaware and is adjacent to the Philadelphia Water Department’s historic Lardner’s Point Pump Station.

A Good Book is a Great Treat

Today, SEPTA and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania announced their "A Good Book Is A Great Treat" book collection campaign. SEPTA invites riders to participate by donating new and gently read books to be distributed to community centers, homeless shelters, daycare centers, and schools in our region. Books can be brought to 11 SEPTA stations and transportation hubs, and deposited into collection containers from Monday, October 25 through Friday October 29, 2010.

SEPTA Sports Express for This Weekend

from the inbox:

SEPTA has extra service ready for this weekend as the Phillies and Giants return to Citizens Bank Park to close out the National League Championship Series.

Sports Express trains will supplement regularly scheduled service on the Broad Street Line for Saturday’s Game 6, Sunday’s possible Game 7, and Saturday’s Flyers game. Trips will also be added on the Market-Frankford Line before Phillies games as needed. The Market-Frankford Line provides a free connection to the Broad Street Line at 15th Street/City Hall, as do trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36. For Regional Rail riders, the subway is just a short walk from Market East or Suburban stations, and fans from South Jersey can connect with the Broad Street Line by taking the PATCO High Speedline to 12th/13 and Locust.

SEPTA and the Philadelphia Parking Authority are also partnering to offer a convenient and inexpensive park-and-ride option. For $5, fans can get a spot at Parking Authority lots at Love Park or 15th and Arch Streets by showing their ticket for that day’s game. Both locations offer easy access to the Broad Street Line, and to ensure fans can complete their trip on SEPTA, two-packs of tokens will be available for purchase at the lots. A two-pack of tokens is just $3.10. Here is SEPTA’s sports service plan for this weekend:

• Phillies vs. Giants, NLCS Game 6, Citizens Bank Park, 3:57 p.m.: Seven Sports Express trains will supplement regularly scheduled Broad Street Line service. Sports Express trips will run approximately every 10 minutes starting at 1:55 p.m.
• Extra service will be added on the Market-Frankford Line as needed.
• Flyers vs. Maple Leaves, Wells Fargo Center, 7 p.m.: Extra service at 6:08 p.m.

• Phillies vs. Giants, NLCS Game 7, 7:57 p.m., Citizens Bank Park: Eight Sports Express will be deployed, running approximately every 10 minutes starting at 5:48 p.m.
• Extra service will run on the Market-Frankford Line as needed.
• Trains will run on the Broad Street Line as late as necessary after the game to accommodate fans.

For full fare and schedule information, visit

BCCC Sponsored Debate in 8th Congressional District

PCN has broadcast today's 8th congressional district debate. These are my rough notes. As always, they are not intended as a full transcript and I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions. Voters in the 8th are encouraged to watch the debate themselves and make their own decisions.

8th congressional debate
Thursday, Oct. 20th
incumbent Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy
former Republican Congressman Mike Fizpatrick

Sponsored by the Bucks County Community College and Calkins Media
Bill Pezzza, social and behavioral sciences professor
David Gilmartin co-moderator
asks for quiet in the audience
2 minute opening statements, questions, 2 min response, 1 min rebuttal, questions sent in by newspaper readers and college students, closing statements

Opening statements

PM: thanks, been an honor to serve our country in the army, 2 deployments, and as your congressman done everything I can do improve lives in district, in 3.5 years brought back 3,000 jobs, we must make things here again, cannot be just a service economy, opponent gave vote to Bush admin and Wall St, outsourced our jobs. proud and honored to earn your support and vote.

MF: as alumnus of bccc and long a supporter, proud to be back here for important congressional debate. running for congress because I disagree with the direction of our country. so many issues that face us. choices are what make democracy work. Murphy supports a bigger government that spends more and taxes more, inhibits job creation, debt increased, he voted for stimulus and obamacare, I would have voted against it. he's voted for big banks and bailouts, i would have voted against, cash for clunkers, i would have voted against. I want to get people back to work. when he took office it was 4.?% now it is 9.6% unemployment. wonder if children growing up here will have same econ opportunities i had.

Q1: tax cuts, bush tax cuts set to expire in Jan. PM favors extend for all but household income over 250K, MF support for all income groups.

MF: first, especially in a recession no time to be raising taxes, need business and econ certainty. if they increase they will amt to largest tax increase in us history. extend for everyone sending a specific message to job creators that these are the tax rates and you are now free to create jobs. proved that this will work. revenue will go up. JFK and Ronald Reagan did and revenue went up. when taxes cut in 1982 had 90 consecutive months of econ growth.

PM: it has been documented 97 % of top 2% won't affect small businesses. We have 60k small businesses in Bucks. the money they reinvest in small business not taxed. giving tax cuts to wealthiest 2% will add $700B to national debt. With those tax cuts in the past all we have was budget deficits not surpluses. only time we had surpluses was 8 years of Clinton presidency and we want to take tax rates back to that level. we're a country at war, we're a country at debt, cannot continue policies that got us into debt. don't extend tax breaks to wealthiest Americans while at war.

MF: not extending tax breaks, just keeping current rates until economy improves. you've grown national debt under your watch. small businesses that incorporate under subchapter S are taxed regardless of whether they reinvest.

PM: my opponent, the tax cut fairy, wants to borrow another $700B from China for the Paris Hiltons of the world.

Q2: education as a great equalizer. current two tier system -- some good schools, some failing

PM: need to make sure we are competitive in a global economy. community colleges esp important. i was a student here in 1991-92, partnered with BCCC, Drexel and Delaware Valley College to form green jobs academy. training and educating workers of tomorrow. one of only green jobs academies in nation. major contrast with MF. i supported community colleges, MF signed “pledge to America,” will cut education funding 20%. this is not the time to decrease educational funding. need to make sure we are as competitive as we can be.

MF: number of ways to address issue. education funded by people who work and people who employ workers. most important thing we can do is grow the economy. we're heading in the wrong direction. can't believe opponent accused me of taking a position adverse to community colleges. as county commissioner I drove decision to get Bucks County Community College expansion. PM has been criticizing my support of this in ads, the increase was funded by voter referendum to expand BCCC. proud of my record and my support of BCCC.

PM: I am not criticizing support in past as county commissioner for community colleges, criticizing “pledge for America,” will cut funding 20% for education, you raised property taxes 7 times in 10 years, you raised prop taxes 4 times prohibited by law from doing it again, went to Harrisburg and lobbied to raise taxes.

MF: record of county commissioner supported community colleges. with Obama care government took over all student loans from private sector to fund Obamacare. we need to support students as they take those difficult steps and make those difficult decisions to fund their education.

Q3: health care reform, PM voted for, MF said would repeal.

MF: I would do it differently, 2500 page bill. i would pass series of 20 page bills, all just on one issue. My first day in office would introduce 20 page bill on liability reform, another 20 page bill, encourage competition let us buy across state lines, another 20 page bill will let small businesses go together in association health plans as large businesses do. they passed 2500 page bill that no one read and bad for American people. I would pass series of 20 page bills.

PM: ask then what they will did to address rising health care costs when they had the presidency, house, senate. they didn't do anything. I read the bill, voted for a bill that would help people who were discriminated against for pre-existing conditions, women charge 40% more than men, my opponent wants to repeal that. wants to let companies discriminate on pre-existing conditions, on parents coverage up to age 26, wants to repeal donut hole closing. would cost seniors $4000 for prescription drugs. I think that is wrong and dangerous. we need to move forward, improve health care bill.

MF: I'm for covering pre-existing conditions. in my replacement bill that would be covered, for adults on parents coverage. I’m sure his bill was well-intentioned. we were promised deficit neutral, rates won't go up, can keep coverage.

PM: he says he for this and for that. yet when he had a chance to lead he did nothing. it isn’t perfect. tried to fix, but GOP wouldn't support, that would ease 1099 form burdens in small business. we paid for it by changing loophole for tax cuts for outsourcing, didn't pass?? Its' a good bill and i was proud to support it.

Q4: jobs and outsourcing. why should students be optimistic about finding a job after graduation

PM: we need to have a “make it in America” agenda. can't continue to outsource. in my 3.5 years in office i brought back 3,000 jobs. unemployment in Bucks. 8.4? %. need to make sure you have jobs when graduate. when MF was in congress he was the tie breaking vote on cafta. he told constituents even on the day of the vote that he wouldn't vote for it. Dick Cheney called him and he changed his vote. we need someone in office who won't outsource our jobs. in Bucks we have lost 5900(?) jobs due to cafta and free trade agreement.

MF: i believe the American worker can compete with anyone in the world given a level playing field. he does not. last time we tried that we turned a depression into a great depression. just 4 years ago, when congressman took office unemployment was 4.6% now has doubled. we have second highest corporate tax rate in the world, too much litigation.

PM: hard to believe MF is complaining about unemployment when he was responsible for outsourcing good manufacturing jobs. Jones NY said was moving jobs to Tenn but many went to El Salvador and Nicaragua year after he passed cafta. can't return to failed policies. we need those jobs here in America. need to incentivize small businesses and manufacturers.

MF: just a little rich to hear you complain about cafta when all the facts show trade deficit became trade surplus. bank bailout went for corporations. bail out for automakers when jobs when overseas. cash for clunkers, 80% of cars bought were made overseas. PM outsourced more jobs with those three votes than several previous congressman combined.

Q5: immigration reform. 12m undocumented aliens in US, what should happen to them

MF: how did they get there? not all snuck across the border, some overstayed visas, now they are part of our economy, had children here. how can this happen in a nation with the technology we have. we have to be able to track them down before they are here for years and start families, tell them they have to go home. we have people on line who are doing things the right way,

PM: there are things we have done this year. now every federal worker and federal contractor has to follow e-verify. people working at jobs sites are US citizens or allowed to be here. deported more people in last 18 months that shouldn't be here. if you are here illegally and you commit a felony you need to be on first plane out. contrast with opponent. he supported a bill and voted with Nancy Pelosi, he was liberal on immigration, for sanctuary cities, won't give info on illegal immigrants, won't get federal dollars if won't provide info. he voted with Pelosi. 2300 jobs lost to American citizens bec illegal immigrants paid under table.

MF: against amnesty. they are here illegally. if they commit crimes, need to end catch and release. need to get tough. Nancy Pelosi is PM's speaker not mine. Obama has punted on this issue. this is a tough issue. he has decided to avoid immigration debate. the administration has begun to defund southern border

PM: also against amnesty, he voted against the border fence. i was only Democrat to vote to defund Justice Dept lawsuit in Arizona. Reagan tried amnesty. wrong. cant' go back to same solution.

Q: follow up: what will happen to 12 million illegals here.

MF: after those send home for violating our laws. those who continue to reside here given them an opportunity is to come out and go home and get in back of line and apply to come back in like everyone else.

PM: that's a fair solution to make.

Q6: social security, what needs to be done to fix in long term and short term

PM: it is solvent for 22 more years. hard truth is what we cannot do is privatize it. MF said he favored private accounts, would take money and put it on Wall St. we have to grow our economy to get more tax dollars in the system.

MF: I didn’t hear a real solution. short term, no cola for two years, that's wrong, members of congress get pay raises. seniors need to understand their soc sec is secured and will be make stronger in the future. against raising retirement age, cutting benefit, increasing payroll tax. growing economy will help.

PM: if we want to talk about a payraise. I never took a payraise. he got a payraise as county commissioner even while he had a side job at a law firm. would look at increase in payroll tax. would grow economy and not privatize. looking forward to fiscal commissions report.

MF: as a county commissioner I gave my pay raises away to charity. I challenged you to release your tax returns if you release yours to show where those payraises went. He took 100K book deals, don't lecture us for things that happened 10 years ago. against increasing payroll tax. I would find the individuals that are on social security that shouldn't be. we have people on security who say they can't work, have 7 children, etc. Social Security should be another retirement for seniors going forward.

PM: i actually passed a cola last year. tied to inflation that’s why no cola. I acted to give $250 last year and this year.

MF: I don't think that's accurate, some seniors not all, bonus not cost of living. the base social security number that doesn't go up. seniors earned and deserve it.

PM: means testing -- no

MF: means testing -- no

PM: extending age -- no

MF: extending age -- no

Q7: Iraq War, were your 2006 positions justified?

MF: to correct PM, i was not in congress when decision made to go into Iraq. i was in congress in 2005-2006, made difficult decisions. I would have voted not to go in. my decision was continue to fund effort or start immediate withdraw. I voted to win to bring soldiers home the moment victory was achieved. I supported surge but he voted against it. I had called for it throughout 2006, took on administration, new strategy -- surge.

PM: revisionist history, him advocated for surge in 2006. Iraq has made us lose our focus where it should be -- Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden. every cent sent to Iraq [missed this]. i voted against surge to refocus on Afghanistan. he said if we bring our troops back all hell will break lose. we brought them home in an orderly fashion. now can focus on Afghanistan. number one threat is still al Quada, who want to hurt us but also get hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

MF: Iraq and our positions in 2006. you had 2 different withdraw plans in 2006 both essentially said begin withdraw in Dec 2006 leave 50k troops in 2007. it took surge in 2007 to win the war. i thought in 2006 it was important to win first and them come home.

PM: i had the honor of serving in Iraq. He's trying to have it both ways. our troops are doing an incredible job. I was the one who tried to make sure they had the right body armor, passed new GI bill, passed largest increase in veterans benefit in history of the country.

Q8: social issues taken a back seat to economy. select one or two issues and share position

PM: i believe one of the best promises in medical research is stem cell research including embryonic stem cells, which would be discarded otherwise. could find cure to Alzheimers parkinsons, etc. my opponent voted against it, to not fund it. when congress tried to override he stood with Pres Bush. woman's right to choose - i believe has a right to privacy. my opponent co-sponsored a bill which would not allow a womens right to privacy even in case of rape or incest. we are a moderate community. they are not moderate views.

MF: I voted to increase funding for stem cells research, not against. provided there was some success, some guarantee if we invest there will be an outcome. i voted for it when there was evidence of success. last week that pluropotent (?) stem cells, generated form a persons own skin cells can be used to grow other tissue. if use own don't have to take anti-rejection drugs. all of the success has been in the areas of adult stem cells.

PM: I'm also excited about those results too but other efforts retarded by loss of funding. There will be times when you disagree with me but you can take what I say to the bank. he says one thing and does another. I would be proud to have your vote once again.

MF: you were president of pro-life group of your law school group. you were the congressman when I was in favor of online predators bill you said were against and then introduced same bill. i say abortion in case of rape incest and life of mother.

Q9: energy independence, offshore drilling and PA natural gas

PM: have to wean ourselves off foreign oil, make serious investments in wind solar, geothermal, hydrogen, natural gas, and nuclear. can't continue to send money overseas to countries that don't like us and fund terror. start green jobs academy, why I've worked to help make Fairless Hills one of the biggest green energy hubs in the country, ae polysilicon, gamesa, 4th largest solar field in the country, 16.5 acres. natural gas, need to know what chemicals we are putting into the ground and affects our water, i've co-sponsored FRAC act. look at nuclear enegery. GOP talked for 30 years but did nothing. we are now geared up to build 2 new reactors and to fund 5 more nuclear reactors with government bonds

MF: if new nuclear reactors being built, that is great, but process began before Obama administration. we need a balanced energy policy. under Bush admin lots of talk about tax breaks for oil industry. i voted against it. i said at the time we needed to balance it with renewables. that's all you hear about today. green jobs academy -- training them for jobs that may not exist today. gamesa is a Spanish company currently laying off American workers but got lots of tax credits. supports tax policy for renewables if shows benefits and employs American workers. marcellus shale can power country for next couple of decades with pa jobs but need to do so safely. would like to see state DEP ramp up review and regulation in that regard.

PM: long range off short drilling now appropriate, have it safe now, checking up on them. opponent talks about energy bill. co-sponsored bill that passed in house but now opposes when talking to tea party groups. this is a jobs issue. cites Wayne Gretsky who said passed puck not to where person was but where person was going to be. if we don't do this China and India and other countries will do it.

MF: cap and trade not an energy bill. that bill did not exist when I was in congress. i would have voted against that bill.

Closing Statements

PM: thanks for being part of this democracy. doing all i can to focus on jobs jobs jobs. green jobs academy. brought 3,000 jobs back in worst recession since great depression. making new gps 3 and flight simulators, solar field in Bucks County. now is not the time to go back to failed policies. need to get back to making things in America gain, stop outsourcing jobs. provide incentives to small businesses and manufacturers. honored to have your support.

MF: thanks. PM identified issue, jobs, but has wrong solution. issue is jobs, people are hurting. unemployment 10% underemployment 18 or 19%. economy not recovered despite government pending. elections are about choices and choice is clear. PM things we ought to have a bigger fed government, spends more taxes more, increases national debt. he believes in big fed government to create jobs. I believe in you. free enterprise system will lift us out of this recession. hope is not a trillion dollar stimulus that did not create a single job in private sector. hope is not health care plan that .... hope is not cash for clunkers. i will restore dignity and honor in free enterprise system. i ask for your support.