from our friends at the Agenda Project:
Thursday, February 28, 2013
from our friends at the Agenda Project:
This group has been around since 2010 but I just heard about them this week. Patriotic Millionaires are individuals earning over $1 million a year who think their income group should pay higher taxes. There were some names there that surprised me. Rick Steves, whose television show and books have been a favorite in my house for years, is on the list. Apparently his bliss led him to a sizable income.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Franklin Institute Hawk fans rejoice!!! The Hawkwatcher blog reported on Tuesday that the Red Tailed Hawks are returned to the nest at the Franklin Institute. They are also exhibiting bonded pair behavior. So it is likely they will rebuild the FI nest and raise their young in it. They are bringing sticks to the nest to rebuild it. This is great news!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
State Sen. Dominic Pileggi has introduced SB 538. This bill would change the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes. This affects presidential elections. Right now Pennsylvania, like all but two other states, awards all its electoral college votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote in the state.
Pileggi's bill would award two of Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote and divide the other 18 votes by percentage of popular vote results. Dividing electoral votes was suggested by Republicans (including RNC Chair Reince Priebus):
Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party's path to the Oval Office.
Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party's majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis. ("The GOP's electoral college scheme," by Reid Wilson, National Journal 12/17/2012).These bills are only being introduced in states that have voted Democratic in recent presidential elections. Republican states are keeping the "winner take all" standard electoral plan. Thus Republicans would gain electoral votes in Democratic states without losing any of the votes in Republican states.
The Republican State Senators in Pennsylvania who supported Pileggi's bill are:
PILEGGI, SCARNATI, WARD, ALLOWAY, MENSCH, EICHELBERGER, RAFFERTY, FOLMER, ERICKSON, GREENLEAF, TOMLINSON, BROWNE AND YAW
If your senator is on the list and you have strong feelings you might get in touch with them.
Gawker has published an online comic book featuring Ryan Gosling and Kate Upton explaining the upcoming sequester. Entertaining: http://gawker.com/5986069/kate-upton-and-ryan-gosling-explain-the-sequester
Monday, February 25, 2013
This evening the White House released reports on the sequester's impact on individual states. The Pennsylvania report is several pages long so in lieu of re-posting it, I'm providing the link:
Check your local papers for more nuanced stories on the report.
Rummaging around the Internet this week I stumbled over something I hadn't known before; an odd trivia bit from Pennsylvania's history. The Ku Klux Klan operated an orphanage in Harrisburg that burned in 1926. Apparently a new building was constructed. The orphanage was called Klan Haven. If you search Google books you can find some background information on it. Who knew?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
There are a few standard blog features that have fallen by the wayside. Perhaps some explanation is in order:
PA in the WSJ: I used to note all the Pennsylvania-related stories in a week's worth of Wall Street Journals. For some time most of the news was bad. No one likes reporting bad news, so I stopped. Maybe I'll pick it up again later.
Bain in PA: I started a series of posts about companies based in PA that received significant funding from Bain Capitol. The first few were easy enough that was low-hanging fruit. The others required a greater understanding of financial matters than I possess. So I stopped.
Campaign finance reports: Last year was a busy at work so there was less time for blogging. Also there were not only the standard campaign reports, but some candidates had more than one committee. Following all the relevant committees would have required more time than I had available. Maybe this year it will be more feasible.
Friday, February 22, 2013
On Sunday, February 24, the National Constitution Center is welcoming the public, free of charge, to enjoy the museum. This includes the main exhibition The Story of We the People, the multimedia presentation Freedom Rising, Signer's Hall, and the special exhibit on the Rise and Fall of Prohibition. There are also special programs for African American History Month, including a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and a copy of the first printing of the Dred Scott Decision. The free admission is courtsey of PwC.com
I've visited the NCC, most recently this past fall. Their main exhibit is interesting and there are a lot of interactive spots along the way. You can sit in a jury box, go into a voting booth, see yourself taking the presidential oath of office, listening stations for major events in US history. Kids like it and I did as well. The Freedom Rising show includes live actors, video, audio, and great visual effects. It's a great show. The Signer's Hall has life sized statues of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Ben Franklin's hand is shiny from people shaking it. I just have one note, for Dr. Who fans -- don't blink while in the Signer's Hall. You'll know what I mean when you see it.
If you don't have other plans for Sunday, make a point of taking advantage of this free offer.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Jenice Armstrong wrote an article for the Philadelphia Daily News today, "Pa. state rep. gets snubbed for violating dress code." The article focuses on the refusal of the representative standing in for the speaker to acknowledge a representative who was wearing African garb. Apparently there is a dress code for state reps and men are supposed to wear a suit and tie.
I noticed this sentence:
Brown's outfit was within the dress code for female representatives, which requires them to wear a dress or skirt.Seriously??!!! Women in the state house can't wear pants to work in Harrisburg? I am flabbergasted. That's just bizarre. In the depths of winter, on a day like today, if a female representative knows she will have to be out in the elements for part of the day can't wear nicely tailored wool slacks to keep warm?
No wonder so few women run for state rep. One hopes the rule book allows women to drive and own property, but maybe not ....
Interns from Pennsylvania or attending Pennsylvania colleges:
Cho, Grace Hometown: Vienna, VA; The Pennsylvania State University, PA
Davey, Sarah Hometown: Holland, PA; American University, DC
Feltz, Luke Hometown: Williamston, MI; Gettysburg College, PA
Jones, Marisa Hometown: Coopersburg, PA; The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, PA
Maisel, Michael Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; New York University, NY
Mayers, Katarina Hometown: San Marino, CA; Villanova University, PA
Nembhard, Travis Hometown: Commack, NY; Villanova University School of Law, PA
Richardson, Camille Hometown: Berwyn, PA; Columbia University in the City of New York, NY
Schermer, Phillip Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA; University of Michigan, MI
Venkataramanan, Rajiv Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; Georgetown University Law Center, DC
Another MSNBC blog entry from the former PA congressman:
"Message to Congress: It's been two months since Sandy Hook. Act!" by Patrick Murphy, MSNBC 2/12/2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
from the inbox:
Study: Sequester Would Cut 78,454 Jobs in Pennsylvania. According to a 2012 study by George Mason Professor Stephen Fuller, the automatic spending cuts affecting Department of Defense and non-Department of Defense discretionary spending would lead to significant job losses in every state.
· Sequester Would Cost Pennsylvania $4 Billion in Total Lost Income. [The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on DOD & non-DOD Agencies, Professor Stephen Fuller, 7/17/12]
Study: Sequester Would Slash Critical Maternal and Child Health Services. The American Academy of Pediatrics studied the impacts that sequestration will have on Pennsylvania and projected that:
· 21,100 mothers and young children would lose access to food assistance and critical health care.
· 8,250 fewer children would receive vaccinations.
· 95,400 fewer women, children and families would receive critical preventive health care.
· $160 million would be cut from the NIH’s research projects based in Pennsylvania
[American Academy of Pediatrics, 10/1/12]
Study: Sequester Eliminates $91 Million in Education Funding, Affecting Thousands of Pennsylvania Students. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed how sequestration would impact education in Pennsylvania and concluded that the state would lose $91,931,000 in federal funding for critical education programs. These cuts include:
· $21.8 million would be cut from special education funding, affecting 13,410 students.
· $2.2 million would be cut from grants for career and technical education, affecting 8,330 students.
· $2.1 million would be cut from need-based grants that would help 68,500 low-income Pennsylvanians pay for college.
[NEA, February 2013]
Monday, February 18, 2013
In his first month in office, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said he is already reducing costs, improving efficiency in the face of budget and technology changes.
“I said in my swearing-in speech that we would start by getting our own house in order and we are doing just that,” DePasquale said. “We’ve already made changes to printing practices that will save more than 3.3 million sheets of paper annually — that’s enough paper to line the PA Turnpike from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, twice."
In the past month, the department began cutting operational costs and conducting a comprehensive review of its out-dated information technology infrastructure.
Aside from reducing printing and paper cost, DePasquale highlighted a variety of actions to reduce costs and improve efficiency, including:This all sounds great except that last one -- our local press needs our support, and the online versions do not contain everything in the print versions, at least unless you pay subscription fees.
• Reducing the department’s fleet by 44 automobiles; • Reducing travel expenses; • Reviewing all leases to identify additional efficiencies and cost reductions; and • Eliminating the purchase of all hard-copy newspapers and the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Local food blogger Marissa McClellan has published a book on home canning called Food in Jars, based on her blog with the same name. It is full of recipes that can be made in the smallest of kitchens, and designed for small households, perfect or urbanites and suburbanites.
I went to high school in a rural setting and a lot of the farm wives had elaborate canning sessions to store away a year's worth of green beens or pickled beets for the winter. Food in Jars is a little more cosmpolitan with the standard jams and jellies but also things like cranberry ketchup, sweet cherry butter, basic picked jalapeno peppers, and honey roasted peanut butter. There is an entire chapter on tomatoes. Most recipes make between 3 and 6 jars.
No special equipment is required beyond what one would find in a basic kitchen set up (other than the jars and lids, which you can pick up in stores), though a jar lifter and a wide mouth funnel would come in handy. For an inexpensive shower or housewarming gift a few friends could get a themed gift of the book and those two pieces of equipment.
For the non-cook or aspirational cook, just looking at the pictures is fun. I especially like the ribbon used to tie the jar rings together. The book reminds me of the homey smells of my adolescence and the planning and resilience personified by the rows of canned food in my mother-in-law's cellar.
It's a good book by an excellent local author. Available on Amazon (print and Kindle) and likely in local bookstores.
Uh oh. After the season finale of Downton Abbey this evening there was an alarming comment. Patrick Stoner went into a full fledged fund drive. He specifically mentioned that WHYY had lost funding from Pennsylvania. He mentioned it several times. I thought he was about to cry, and not only because he just found out that Matthew died. Now the whole world knows our shame.
I am a WHYY member and donated an additional $100 to the organization during the year. Note to the governor and legislature -- don't mess with Downton Abbey.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
from the inbox:
The President’s Plan to Ensure Hard Work Leads to a Decent Living
There’s a basic bargain in America. It says that no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family. President Obama has fought for the middle class, and has made historic investments in making sure that there are ladders of opportunity for those working hard to make it to the middle class.
The President’s plan builds on the progress we’ve made over the last four years to expand opportunity for every American and every community willing to do the work to lift themselves up. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we face. It will take a collaborative effort—between business and federal, state, and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; kids and parents—to ensure that hard work leads to a decent living for every American. The President’s plan:
· Rewards hard work by raising the minimum wage to $9.00: Right now, a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 a year. That means too many Americans who are putting in an honest, hard day’s work are living in poverty. That’s unacceptable. The President’s plan raises the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00, which would directly boost wages for 15 million workers and reduce poverty and inequality.
· Provides high-quality preschool for every child: Let’s give every child the fair shot he or she deserves. For America to succeed in the 21st century, we must have the most dynamic, educated workforce in the world, and that education has to start early in life. But today, most four-year-olds aren’t in a high-quality public preschool program. The President’s plan partners with states to expand high-quality preschool to every child.
· Partners with communities to help them rebuild and put people back to work: A child’s zip code should never determine her destiny; but today, the neighborhood she grows up in impacts her odds of graduating high school, her health outcomes, and her lifetime economic opportunities. This year, the Administration will begin to partner with 20 communities that were hardest-hit by the recession to help get them back on their feet. Working with local leaders, the President’s plan targets resources at creating jobs, public safety, education, and housing.
· Creates pathways to jobs for all Americans: The President’s plan offers incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill a job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore. His plan also supports summer and year-round jobs for low-income youth. This is in addition to his plan to equip Americans with the skills they need for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the 21st century.
· Expands early childhood opportunity for all Americans: In addition to providing access to high-quality preschool for every child, the President is proposing to make a significant investment in early learning opportunities for our youngest children—birth through age three—by expanding Early Head Start, child care, and other health and education programs.
· Strengthens families: The President is proposing to remove financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples; as well as continuing to support the critical role that fathers play in enhancing the intellectual, emotional, and financial well-being of their sons and daughters.
Our friends at the Economy League are posting at their World Class Blog, with weekly entries leading up to the World Class Philadelphia Summit on March 18. Check them out at : http://worldclassgreaterphila.org/blog
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
As mentioned in the President's State of the Union address, the Department of Education is now posting scorecards for the nation's colleges and universities. The URL is whitehouse.gov/scorecard
Each report contains:
The College Scorecard provides students and families with clear information through an interactive tool that lets them choose among any number of options based on their individual needs – including location, size, campus setting, and degree and major programs. Each Scorecard includes five key pieces of data about a college: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment. These data will be updated periodically, and the Department plans to publish information on earnings potential in the coming year.
The Montgomery County Democrats have released the names of their candidates for the Court of Common Pleas:
Steve Tolliver has criminal and extensive civil trial experience and has tried cases in both state and federal courts over his thirty years of practice. He has served as Regional Director of the National Bar Association and as a member of the Hearing Review Committee of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He began his career as a private practitioner and served as a chief assistant city solicitor, and is a former shareholder of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin. He currently serves as corporate litigation counsel for Aetna Life Insurance Company. Tolliver resides in Cheltenham Township.
Gail Weilheimer is an experienced trial attorney and has litigated hundreds of jury and bench trials, as well as numerous hearings in both the public and private sector. She began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia. She also served as an adjunct professor at Widener School of Law and as an instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. She is currently Senior Counsel for Wisler Pearlstine, LLP, where she is a member of the firm's Education and Municipal Law Groups. Weilheimer is a resident of Abington Township.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Health care advocates will join uninsured workers, physicians, disability groups, and faith leaders to call on the state legislature to reject Governor Corbett’s recommendation and move to accept the $43 billion in new federal funding that has been set aside for Pennsylvania to extend coverage to up to 700,000 adults. The group will hold a press conference at 1pm in Harrisburg on Tuesday to kick off a statewide campaign targeting the Governor and lawmakers to seize this historic opportunity.
The Affordable Care Act gives states the opportunity and the funding to extend Medicaid coverage to working adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly$15,900 for an individual and $32,400 for a family of four in 2014). Under the new law, the federal government will shoulder 100% of the cost of extending coverage from 2014-2017 and 90% in the years after that.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Today Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that same-sex spouses of active members of the military will begin receiving protections that were previously denied to them, including the issuance of military identification cards, access to family support initiatives, and joint duty assignments. The Secretary noted that the Pentagon was doing what it could, within the constraints imposed by the discriminatory so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
"Today's announcement by the Pentagon that it will provide same-sex spouses of active service members some of the limited protections it can, within the discriminatory constraints imposed by the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, is a positive step that will help families and align with the military’s goals of treating service members fairly, while at the same time underscoring just how great a burden DOMA imposes on families and employers," said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. "All members of our armed forces provide the same service, make the same sacrifices, and take the same risks to protect our country – and the military, like many employers – would like to treat its people equally. But DOMA’s gay exception means that the federal government, including the Pentagon, may not provide family protections to families or even respect married couples as married, if they are gay. The problem is not what the military and employers would like to do; it’s that the law is tying the hands of employers and the military for no good reason. It is time to overturn DOMA and get back to the practice of federal respect for married people and families, especially those serving our country.”
When I was in high school my mother recommended an author to me. Grace Livingston Hill wrote formulaic romance novels with religious overtones. All of them seemed to have social mobility themes as one of the pair would be wealthy and the other of much more modest means. The books were set in the Great Depression or earlier in American history. I liked historical fiction and so read all of her books that our public library had. They seemed worn but still in fairly good shape. My mother had read Hill's books growing up; for all I know my grandmother had as well.
Grace Livingston Hill started publishing in the 1880's and stopped in the late 1940's. That's a long career. Even more amazing -- some of her books are still in print and Amazon also has several of her books available for the Kindle. She may be the most popular novelist that most people have never heard of.
Masland Library at Cairn University in Langhore has a Grace Livingston Hill exhibit on display through May. If you are in or near Langhorne in the next few months, think about stopping in and having a look.
A few items for your calendar:
Philadelphia City Council is partnering with Philabundance, the region's largest hunger relief organization, for an evening of song, dance, and comedy. The talent is courtesy of the City Council. The event is Thursday, Feb. 21, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. Tickets are $100. This sounds like a very entertaining evening. Tickets available online.
Then you'll have time to save up for the Support Center for Child Advocates annual benefit reception and auction. The Support Center has been the nation's leading pro bono legal and social service advocacy organization for 36 years. The event is Wednesday, April 10, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Crystal Tea Room. Tickets are $125.00 and sponsorship opportunities are available. Ticket sales and more info online.
Saturday, February 09, 2013
from the inbox:
With President Obama’s State of the Union address coming up next Tuesday, the majority of Americans will tune in to hear the POTUS’s outlook for the country and has plans for the next four years. However, today “tuning in” to the State of the Union means more than just sitting down in front of the television.
A recent Bing survey found nearly 75 percent of Americans identified themselves as active participants or observers in online political discussions. With that in mind, Bing will launch www.bing.com/politics on Saturday as a resource for:· The exclusive Bing Pulse, which will for the first time enable Americans to give real-time feedback on the President’s speech. The Bing Pulse will allow people to join the conversation by “voting” every five seconds on their reactions to the President’s speech.· Up-to-the-minute non-partisan news, and the ability to filter it from left to right-leaning sources· The conversations that are trending on Twitter at that moment· Original videos of former President Jimmy Carter and former Speaker Newt Gingrich on the address· Live streaming of the speech itself
Friday, February 08, 2013
Let's contrast that with the folks in the state legislature. A lot of the people who work there are also hardworking and some take a pay cut to work in the public sphere. But there are some that maybe aren't so pure of heart.
Take per diems (please!), the money state legislators are given each day they are traveling on the state's business to cover the costs of doing so. The legislators are not required to provide any receipts nor is the per diem limited to the amount spent; it is simply paid. A system like this is definitely open to abuse. A bill is going to be, or has been, introduced in the State House to limit per diems to days the legislature is in session or committees meet. ("Pa. lawmaker proposes per diem reform," by Dennis Owens, abc27.com, 2/07). There is some information about the bill on the state legislative site. It looks like HB460 and HR50 are the relevant bill / resolution numbers. Given the history of the legislature I do not think it likely these bills will pass, but I do think voters should pressure their elected officials to do something about per diems.
Pensions are a related issue. The governor says the pension system for state workers needs to be overhauled. Here's a bit of history:
The retirement systems were not always in the red. In the late 1990s, the systems were flush because Wall Street was booming. With investment money pouring into the systems, the Legislature voted and Gov. Tom Ridge endorsed a measure to allow the state and school districts to stop contributing their shares. Employees made theirs.
While the state's contributions were frozen, state lawmakers gave themselves a 50 percent pension hike, and a 25 percent hike for state workers. ("Corbett's pension reform plans could face opposition," Steve Esack, Morning Call, 2/05)
Note the workers continued to pay into the system but the state did not. If the legislature changes the pension rules for state workers they will surely have to change it for themselves. Or else face the wrath of the voters (remember the BonusGate backlash?).
While the newspaper reporters might take pay cut to keep their jobs I can't see the legislature doing anything similar. It's no fun being that cynical and I hope they prove me wrong.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
CNNMoney posted an article today by Blake Ellis called "Debt collection horror stories," that mentioned Pennsylvania. A debt collector in PA is accused of setting up a fake courtroom and pretending to have legal authority, holding fake court proceedings (the state Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the firm). Other stories in the article have debt collectors calling people and saying they will lose their children, threatening to kill their pets, and dig up deceased relatives. Some of the people receiving these calls have already paid their debts.
There is currently legislation in the Pennsylvania State House regarding debt collection agreements (see HB 67 and HB 68). I would review the State House Journals for those days but the most recent issue available online is Oct. 16th. Kimmel & Silverman, a PA law firm that hosts a blog on debt collection, posted an entry on January 29th recounting stories of debt collectors harrassing people on Facebook.
One way people get trapped debt and have trouble getting out is through payday loans, which are short term high interest loans that borrow against a future paycheck. The borrower often can't pay the loan (especially the interest) and roll it over into another loan, which also can't be repaid, and into a spiraling and ever increasing debt. Last year the Pennsylvania legislature considered a bill that would make payday loans easier to obtain. You can read more about that at the Stop Payday Loans in Pennsylvania website.
The Pennsylvania Treasury Dept. website suggests an alternative to payday loans, called Better Choice:
If you have a payday or cash advance loan, you’re probably paying extremely high interest rates and fees. And if you have to roll over your loan and pay even higher fees for that privilege, you may be caught in a never-ending cycle that’s digging you deeper into debt. Developed by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and the Pennsylvania Treasury, the Credit Union Better Choice Loan is a smart alternative to payday lending that helps you save more of your hard-earned money—and even start saving for your future.Definitely a better choice.
Most newspapers and a number of organizations have weighed in on Gov. Corbett's proposed budget. Here are a few that you might have missed.
John Micek, PennLive
"Wealthy School Districts Reap Benefits of Governor's Budget Plan" / Education Law Center
"2013-14 Budget Analysis," / Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
PCN is partnering with the Education Policy and Leadership Center on a monthly news program on education. Starting February 13 at 9:00 p.m. and on the second Wednesday of the month thereafter, "Focus on Education" will feature an introduction by EPLC president Ron Cowell, followed by a panel discussion. The first program will focus on violence in schools.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
The Pew Research Center has compiled a 13 question quiz on current events. There are some straight question, some match photo with name, a couple of symbols, and so on. After completing the quiz you can answer a few demographic questions and then, if you wish, see how you stack up against others that took the quiz.
You can see how many question you got right, and what percentage of others who took the quick did better or worse than you did. For more detail there is a lengthy chart showing how different demographic groups did on each question. Not surprisingly those who have more education did better. On most questions people who were older did better; the exception is on the questions pertaining to international matters. That was curious. It's interesting to look over all the data.
It's a quick quiz and, for those who have a few minutes of spare time, worth the time.
The New Castle News is reporting that Pennsylvania State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi intends to introduce legislation that will award the commonwealth's electoral votes by percentage of votes received. Previous attempts to change the current "winner take all" system to one based on congressional districts were defeated. The latest plan would give a presidential candidate who won 40% of the votes in Pennsylvania 40% of Pennsylvania's electoral votes. (source: John Finnerty, February 2)
"I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at," Priebus said of the plan to change how electoral votes are granted. (source: Reince Priebus backs electoral vote change, but it's state decision," by Patrick Marley, Wilwaukee Journal Sentinal, Jan 31).Pennsylvania's congressional, state house, and state senate districts, drawn without regard to county and municipal boundaries in convoluted shapes, are embarrassment enough. We don't need to make things worse by changing the electoral vote system, especially when it is being done for clearly state political reasons. These changes are not being suggested in states that vote Republican -- the electoral votes in those states would not be changed. So even if, nationally, a Democrat won the popular vote, he or she would still lose the electoral college vote because states that have been voting Republican would not split their electoral votes.
This is why people hold politicians in such low regard.
from the inbox:
SEPTA can take its passengers “across the pond” without leaving the Delaware Valley when they ride one of the Authority’s buses, trains or trolleys to the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show, “Brilliant!”, a tribute to Great Britain. The Flower Show will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center March 2-10.
Riders don’t need their passports for this excursion. SEPTA’s “One Day Independence Pass” and “Family Independence Pass” offer customers convenient, economical and unlimited one-day travel on all SEPTA trains, trolleys and buses. The Flower Show is open Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 3 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Monday-Friday, March 4-8 from 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 10 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Showgoers can beat the morning and evening commuter crowds by traveling to the Convention Center before and after rush hour. Independence Passes are not valid on Regional Rail trains arriving to Center City before 9:30 a.m. on weekdays.
The One Day Independence Pass costs $11 per person. The $28 Family Independence Pass
provides unlimited travel for one family of up to five people, traveling together on any one day,
on all regularly scheduled SEPTA service (at least one person, but no more than two, must be 18 years of age or older). While additional fees apply on Regional Rail travel to and from Trenton and West Trenton, NJ, passengers still save when purchasing Independence Passes over individual rail tickets.
Passes can be purchased in advance — they are not activated until the date they are punched by a SEPTA operator, cashier or conductor. Independence Passes are sold at all SEPTA Regional Rail Ticket Offices, SEPTA Sales Offices, the Transit Gift Store and SEPTA Sales Office at 1234 Market Street and online at shop.SEPTA.org. Independence Passes can also be purchased on board SEPTA Regional Rail trains.
As an added bonus, SEPTA customers can purchase discounted Flower Show tickets — $28 for adults and $15 for children ages 2-16 —at all major SEPTA Transit Sales Offices and Regional Rail Ticket Offices.
Monday, February 04, 2013
Brad Koplinski, a Harrisburg City Councilman and a Democrat, has announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor. Koplinski has set up a website, www.koplinski2014.com, with a bio, issue statements, and, of course, a donations page. The official announcement is slated for Monday, Feb. 4th, in the State Capitol.
A non-political side note, since most people are distracted by the Super Bowl, about shoes.
Women's shoes are losing the Cinderella focus. Shoes on display in mainline shoe stores are no longer necessarily a small size 6. You see a lot of size 7's and above on the display racks. And long pointy toes (witch shoes) are another strike against the stereotype of small dainty feet. This may mean a lot of things but one is that women no longer feel a need to meet the tiny foot ideal.
Men's shoes, on the other hand, seem to be going in the other direction. I've noticed lately in meetings that there is a new style in men's shoes. We all sit through meetings that don't always hold our attention all the time. I often look at shoes in situations like that. From what I've seen men in high profile jobs are now wearing shoes with narrow toes than traditional men's shoes. Those in medium level jobs still wear boxy toed shoes but the corner office crowd seems to be adopting a leaner footed look. Can kitten heels be far behind?