Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spending Money on What?

From today's Inquirer -- in the list of congressional votes:

Travel to America. Voting 78-18, the Senate sent President Obama a bill (HR 1299) that would establish a federal corporation to increase foreign travel to the United States. The Corporation for Travel Promotion would be funded initially by about $100 million in assessments on the U.S. hospitality industry and another $100 million in special visa fees collected by the Department of Homeland Security.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Menendez, and Specter.

Not voting: Lautenberg.

This makes little sense to me at a time when we are trying to save money, or at least slow down spending.. In investigating further, HR 1299 as listed on is a bill regarding DC police (introduced by our own Bob Brady). However, there is an H.R.2935 Travel Promotion Act of 2009, which involves setting up a Corporation for Travel Promotion, with Joe Sestak, Mike Doyle, Joe Pitts and Todd Russell Platts as co-sponsors, but it is listed as having been referred to committee and not moving from there. The Senate version, S.1023 Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by Senate), with the latest action listed as 9/10/2009 held at the desk. Both. Senators Casey and Specter were co-sponsors. I'm not sure what this means, whether Thomas isn't updated or there is another version of the bill.

In any event, I don't think it's a good use of funds at this point.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Democratic Candidates for 195th House District

Long time state representative Frank Oliver is retiring. His district, the 195th, represents part of Philadelphia, and includes Drexel University, Mantua, and across the Schuylkill up to around W. Dauphin St., ending somewhere between N. 21st and Broad St. As convoluted as that sounds it is actually a more compact district than many in the city. His longtime aide Michelle Brownlee is running (can't find a campaign site for her).

Another Democrat, Chris Rooney, is also running. Rooney, an attorney, is a graduate of Temple and Penn and lives in the Fairmount section of the district. His website, has several short issue statements. According to his biographical statement he rides SEPTA, always a good thing. Voters in that district might want to take a look.

Netroots Auction

The Netroots Nation is hosting their annual online auction next month. Proceeds offset costs of the conference and go towards other Netroots Nation activities. Organizers are currently collecting items to be auctioned. (I wonder if my set of Star Wars bubblegum cards would be of interest?) The auction announcement lists:

In the past, we've auctioned off coffee with Nate Silver and Wes Clark, Netroots Nation programs signed by Bill Clinton and Howard Dean, a subscription to a popcorn of the month club and original photography from community members, just to name a few items.

Rummage through your closets and contacts list and see if you have anything to auction.

Murphy Credit Card Plan Enacted

Almost a year ago Congressman Patrick Murphy introduced a bill, HR 2217, that would:

amend the Truth in Lending Act to require creditors to report the terms and conditions of all business, marketing, promotional agreements and college affinity card agreements with institutions of higher education and alumni organizations, and for other purposes

Those of you who have been in college may remember all those credit card offers that were tucked in the bookstore bags with your textbooks or handed out on campus like (and often with) candy. Unfortunately that is one factor in the amount of debt that college students get at graduation.

The language of Murphy's bill was folded into the Credit CARD Act of 2009 (see section 303) which passed and went into effect this week. The information in this report will be made public, as noted in "Once secret credit card-college marketing deals to be revealed," by Jay McDonald:
By that date [2/22/10], card companies that contract with colleges and universities to issue affinity credit cards emblazoned with school logos and campus images must submit a report to the Federal Reserve detailing the terms of those contracts by institution. The Fed will then compile a report and make it publicly available.

As noted in a press release from Murphy's office:
As you may know, college credit card debt has skyrocketed in recent years. According to a 2009 study by Sallie Mae, college seniors are graduating with an average credit card debt of more than $4,100, up from $2,900 almost four years ago, and the average college student has over 4 different credit cards. What is not as readily known are the often lucrative deals that colleges make with credit card companies. Through these deals, universities receive large cash payments from companies in exchange for handing over their students’ personally identifiable information (i.e. permanent addresses, e-mail addresses and local telephone numbers). The companies then use this information to directly target students, who are often unaware of the terms and conditions of these deals.

The regulations that went into effect on Monday provide much needed transparency on this issue. Now, schools are required to either place these contracts on their website, or make them available upon request and within a reasonable time frame. Congressman Murphy is urging students and their families to request these documents from their schools so that they have better knowledge of the business practices that schools may be engaging in at their expense.

These college credit reports, like college crime reports, may not be requested by individual students, the availability of the information means that the data will show up in college rankings, news reports, and, hopefully, encourage colleges and universities to clean up their acts. The good ones will put their policies in recruiting materials. Knowing that educated consumers (parents and students) can ask about the topic will make the credit environment a little cleaner.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Murphy Plans to Scrap the MAP

From the inbox:

Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA, 8th District) and New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ, 5th District) announced their bipartisan legislation to end the Market Access Program (MAP). Cutting this wasteful corporate giveaway will save American taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years, making good on recommendations from at least six GAO reports. Originally designed to help companies expand markets overseas, the MAP has turned into another corporate welfare program. The vast majority of funding under this program goes to large multi-million dollar conglomerates and trade associations that do not need taxpayer assistance to sell their products internationally. In the past, recipients have included Blue Diamond Growers, Sunkist Growers, the California Table Grape Commission, the National Barley Food Council, and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Since its creation in 1985, the program has repeatedly failed to provide evidence of meeting its mission; despite multiple attempts at reform, it stands today as a prime example of corporate welfare to big business. Millions of dollars under this program go to large multi-million dollar conglomerates and trade associations that do not need taxpayer assistance to sell their products internationally. The program continually funds large and profitable trade associations and cooperatives, and there is little ability to make sure these funds are not supplanting private dollars. Recent egregious examples include:

§ $5.3 million granted to the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, which includes in its membership such profitable companies as Butterball, Tyson, Wampler and Perdue

§ $8.3 million granted to the U.S. Grains Council, whose membership includes giant corporations such Monsanto, which had over $6.7 billion in profits in 2009

§ $2.1 million granted to Sunkist Growers, Inc, which had over $860.5 million in revenues in 2009

Elimination of the MAP would show that Congress is serious about trimming wasteful spending from the federal budget. The Murphy-Garrett Scrap the MAP Act has been endorsed by the National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.

“The $2 billion MAP corporate welfare program is a text book example of what is wrong with Washington, and I am proud to team up with my Republican colleague to take on the special interests and eliminate this wasteful spending on behalf of Pennsylvania taxpayers,” said Rep. Patrick Murphy.

“Our country's large national debt is unsustainable. Congress cannot abdicate their responsibility to find solutions to this problem, and cutting spending is a necessary first step. I am pleased to work with Congressman Murphy on this effort, and I hope we can set a bipartisan example for our colleagues to follow,” said Rep. Scott Garrett.

Tom Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, said “the Market Access Program (MAP) has been the epitome of corporate welfare and government waste for many years. The nation’s deficit is soaring, yet the federal government continues to dole out tens of millions of dollars annually for advertising and promotion to profitable, private companies. The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste commends Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Scott Garrett for leading the charge against MAP and hopes that all members of Congress will vote in favor of scrapping this profligate program.”

“Corporate welfare like the Market Access Program is all the more offensive when the nation is facing an enormous budget deficit,” said Ms. Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Lawmakers should support Representatives Murphy and Garrett’s Scrap the MAP Act and start whittling away the pile of debt facing taxpayers.”

In a letter endorsing the legislation, the National Taxpayers Union stated that the “government loses considerable credibility here and abroad when taxpayers are forced to support unnecessary and economically dubious ventures like the MAP… [i]t is our hope that Congress will act swiftly to abolish some of the most wasteful federal programs that continue to bloat our already overgrown budget, so we can curb spending and reduce our debt. [The Murphy-Garrett] ‘Scrap the MAP Act’ takes us one step closer to reaching these goals.”

The Market Access Program (MAP) is a mandatory spending program authorized in the Farm Bill and administered by the Foreign Services Department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It uses funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation to promote the overseas marketing of U.S. agricultural products. MAP funds consumer promotions, market research, trade shows, advertising campaigns, and other programs designed to subsidize the sale of high-value products in foreign markets by private cooperatives, trade associations, and businesses. Since its founding in 1985, MAP has received over $2 billion in taxpayer money and in FY2011 is authorized to spend $200 million.

PA to Test Children's Health Programs

From the inbox:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced a nearly $10 million grant to Pennsylvania to improve health care quality and delivery systems for children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The grant is part of $100 million in federal funds awarded to 10 states today as part of the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA). The funds will be awarded over a five-year period. North Carolina will be awarded $1.9 million in the first year of a five-year grant totaling $9.8 million.

Pennsylvania will use its grant money to test and report on recommended measures of health care quality that can help identify children with developmental delays, behavioral health issues, and complex medical conditions. Early identification will enable the state to link these children with needed primary and specialty care and to monitor the services they receive. Pennsylvania will also be one of two states evaluating a model electronic health record for children.

“We all have a stake in the health of our nation’s children,” said Sebelius. “Exploring new technologies and initiatives will help ensure our kids get the high quality care they need and deserve.”

The grants are totally federally funded and are designed help establish a national quality system for children’s health care through Medicaid and CHIP. The money will help states implement and evaluate provider performance measures and utilize health information technologies such as pediatric electronic health records and other quality improvement initiatives.

“These grants will test the most current theories of how to improve the quality of care delivered to children,” said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “These awards will help create the foundation for a more responsive and effective national framework of high quality healthcare for children.”

More information about children’s health coverage can be found at

Kanjo Continues '70's Media Blitz

Congressman Paul Kanjorski, not content with appearing in Rolling Stone, is also quoted in Mother Jones. See "Is the Senate Bungling Its Wall Street Crackdown? House lawmakers working on financial reform fear the Senate could blow Washington's chance to rein in the big banks," by Andy Kroll.

Creem Magazine ceased publication in 1989, but In These Times is still going strong (shout out to editor Joel Bleifuss). Maybe Kanjo will show up there next!

Schwartz on Health Insurance Marketplace

From the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz voted today to ensure that American consumers have access to choice and competition when purchasing health insurance for themselves and their families. The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act will require health insurance companies to compete fairly and adhere to anti-trust laws, ensuring lower prices for American consumers.

“For too long, health insurance companies have been playing by their own rules and middle class families have been paying the price,” Schwartz said. “Families are facing higher premiums, lower quality of coverage and limited choices, all while insurance companies are increasing prices and reaping record profits. We can no longer afford the status quo.”

Recently, California’s largest for-profit health insurer made headlines after announcing a 15 percent rate increase for its customers, and insurers in other states are calling for double-digit rate increases for individual plans as well.

“In Pennsylvania, current rate spikes are topping 20 percent annually, nearly 40 percent in previous years,” Schwartz said. “It’s time we revoked this long-standing and unjustified exemption for health insurers. It’s time American consumers got a fair deal when shopping for something as important as health insurance.”

The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act goes hand in hand with the Congresswoman’s efforts to reform the health insurance market. She has introduced legislation to ban pre-existing condition exclusions and has worked to dramatically improve transparency for consumers when they purchase health insurance.

For 65 years, the health insurance industry has been legally exempt from anti-trust laws and the federal government was banned from even investigating evidence of possible collusion. In the last 14 years alone, there have been 400 mergers among health insurers and now 94 percent of all insurance markets provide limited or no choice between insurance providers.

In Pennsylvania, Blue Cross, Capital Blue Cross and Blue Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania share 60 percent of the health insurance market.

“Competition drives economic growth, spurs American innovation and ensures that consumers are getting a fair deal,” Schwartz said. “This bill creates a fair health insurance marketplace and ensures strong oversight of insurance companies.”

Joe Hoeffel Update

A few updates on Joe Hoeffel's gubernatorial campaign:

Hoeffel has been endorsed by Lancaster County Democrats, and Steelworkers Local 10-1.

The campaign has also released its second web ad, on civil rights and marriage equality. It's very well done and worth a look.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shapiro on Health Care

From the inbox:

State Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, today spoke at a panel discussion on the need for health-care reform in Pennsylvania.

Shapiro spoke to a group of 125 business professionals and community leaders in Philadelphia, and was joined by Carole Ben-Maimon, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, and Steven Altschuler, M.D., president and CEO of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The panel was moderated by Michael V. Seiden, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Fox Chase Cancer Center.

One day after the president released his compromise health-care proposal, Shapiro discussed the growing need for stability and security for those who have health insurance, affordable solutions for those who don’t have coverage, and limiting the soaring economic costs to our country caused by our current broken system.

"The status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable for the millions of Pennsylvanians who don’t have insurance," Shapiro said. "Skyrocketing costs are crushing Pennsylvania’s families, businesses and our government. We must fix what is broken and protect what works.

"Though the need is clear, the path to health-care reform that reduces costs and increases access is still uncertain. I appreciate that the uncertainty creates some apprehension, but we must continue to move forward because the cost of doing nothing cannot be sustained," Shapiro explained.

Shapiro represents the 153rd Legislative District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and has been selected as one of 32 state legislators nationwide, named the “White House Team of State Legislators for Health Reform.” For more information, visit

Kanjo in Rolling Stone

Congressman Paul Kanjorski was quoted in a Rolling Stone article, "Wall Street's Bailout Hustle: Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy - they're re-creating the conditions for another crash," by Matt Taibbi.

No word on whether or not he'll be on the cover (all the oldsters can sing along with me, "I keep gettin' richer but I can't get my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone ....")

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Note on the Gallery

There have been a number of articles in the Inquirer lately on after school commotion in the Gallery. I've twittered a few remarks about this and would like to weigh in more formally. For a number of years my commute has taken me through Market East train station (which connects to the Gallery) at least once a week, often more than that. Market East is one of the three primary center city Philadelphia train stations for regional rail and also connects to the Market Frankford SEPTA line at both ends (8th St station and 11th St station); the Jersey bound can also find a PATCO station at one end. Market East also connects to the Convention Center which means that popular events, such as the upcoming Flower Show, can dramatically increase the number of people taking the train. In between the train stations, the Gallery offers a number of stores and food options. Lately there has been an alarming number of empty storefronts. There used to be a CVS not far from the regional rail station, which was great for picking up hosiery if I'd gotten a run on the way in, or to pick up some last minute item for work or home, depending on which way I was going. It has closed but either a K-Mart or Wal-Mart has opened up on the street level concourse that serves a similar purpose. If the morning was too hectic for breakfast at home I'll pick up a bagel at Dunkin' Donuts or a box of munchkins for the office; days I go in late Taco Bell is a great quick lunch on my way in.

So I feel somewhat qualified to offer an opinion, being familiar with the lay of the land. None of the print or online I've read have offered a detailed physical description of the area in question. As mentioned there are train stations at either end, with a few staircases to street entrances. The area in between is a long hallway with stores on either side. It is divided into two lanes by a line of kiosks and cart shops. The lanes are each perhaps seven to ten feet wide; occasional columns along the side take up space in some spots. The area between the carts is sometimes so narrow that the chairs each merchant can sit on almost touch; in other places there is a much wider space between carts. These are rough estimates made without benefit of measuring devices. During the day shoppers can meander but at rush hour those lanes become speed zones with a steady stream of commuters carrying briefcases and messenger bags, etc., and slower moving traffic staying to the edges or being zipped around by the faster movers. Parents with small children keep them close. It can be hard to walk abreast with a friend during busy times, with conversation made in snatched words as you shift between walking side by side and going to single file to move around others. More than two people in a row is a traffic hazard of notable proportions. Even in a ten foot wide lane, there just isn't room for a lot of people to congregate. The teens who have been meeting up in the Gallery do not cluster in the more spacious train station waiting area but instead clog the traffic lanes. Their age isn't a factor in this; put an equal number of old ladies with walkers and canes in the same area and you would get the same result.

What makes the teens troublesome, besides their number, is the natural tendency of teens to fidget, and for groups of teens to be a little rowdy. They bump into each other and jostle elbows. In a narrow walking lane at rush hour that has a real potential for trouble. One teen nudging a neighbor means that neighbor is likely to back into one or more commuters rushing past, and can cause a domino reaction. Worse, some days there will be five or more teens in a line sideways across a lane which means it is almost impossible to get though. I've had to almost physically push my way through a crowd on more than one occasion. The loud and often profane remarks the kids make to each other can be a little intimidating. Imagine trying to squeeze past a knot of kids playfully shoving each other and calling out one-up-manship jibes. Or being caught between two groups of kids trying to impress or insult each other; the other two sides of the box you are in are a plate glass store window on one side and a wooden cart shop on the other. A family with a stroller or toddlers or both might find it more problematic. It just isn't a good situation.

As a middle aged woman I am familiar with the restroom options in most areas I frequent. There are public restrooms at either end of the Market East station; they are safe and clean. There are also restrooms in the Gallery, but they are down a long narrow hallway, off the main traffic aisle. The hallway is narrow enough and the restrooms removed far enough from assistance if needed that I don't use them unless it's necessary. Groups of kids have been congregating near the entrance to the restroom hallway and venturing into the hallway itself. Groups of people loitering outside a public bathroom but not actually using it can easily be viewed as threatening to the general populace.

The Gallery is a place to shop or a pathway for commuters to get from the train to the exit nearest their destination, or to go from one train station to another. There have always been small clusters of the homeless, who tend to sit quietly in the food court area or on the edge of planters at the Market East end, and in my years of passing through the Gallery I don't remember them causing any problem. But blocking the traffic lanes and pushing or shoving near those walking through or window shopping is dangerous.

School Victories

From the inbox, a note on a new online site:

called (
Its' an online tool that helps education advocates and organizers plan their school improvement work and share that work with others. We've started it for PA, but are going to roll it out to other states in the coming months.
The idea is that as groups and organizations join the site and update it with projects they're working on, the site becomes a rich database of school improvement work.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Study on Women in State Legislatures

The Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University has released a new study, "Poised to run: women's pathways to the state legislatures," by Kira Sanbonmatsu, Susan J. Carroll, and Debbie Walsh. It is a 31 page pdf.

The main points are:
women need to be recruited
political parties matter
organizations help women run
more women can run
resources are important

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where the Girls Are: Congressional Version

When Pink Magazine folded More Magazine picked up their subscriptions, including mine. By and large glossy womens' magazines don't do much for me -- too much fluff, too fashion, too much "if you don't do x, y, or z your life is over or your children will suffer." And not enough politics.

But the March issue of More has an interesting article by Ann Groer called "The girls in the house," on three congresswomen who share a house. All have children and families in their home districts and share a townhouse in DC for company and cost-sharing. Democrats Melissa Bean (IL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), and Carolyn Maloney (NY) are featured in the story. The entire article isn't online but a short summary is, as well as some additional material.

Funding for PA Broadband Projects

From the inbox:

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced 10 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs and improve education and health care cross the country. The grants will increase broadband access and adoption in California , Florida , Indiana , Louisiana , New York , Pennsylvania , West Virginia , and Wisconsin . The ten grants, totaling $357 million, will bring high-speed Internet access to millions of households and businesses, and link up thousands of schools, hospitals, libraries and public safety offices to the information superhighway.

Pennsylvania projects on the list:

Pennsylvania: Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research: $99.7 million broadband infrastructure grant with an additional $29 million applicant-provided match to create the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN). With nearly 1,700 miles of fiber, the network expects to expand broadband Internet access and directly connect 60 critical community anchor institutions in 39 counties across south and central Pennsylvania . PennREN will enhance healthcare delivery, research, education, workforce development, and public safety by delivering broadband speeds of 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

Pennsylvania: Executive Office of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: $28.8 million broadband infrastructure grant with an additional $7.2 million applicant-provided match to increase broadband Internet connection speeds for community anchor institutions and underserved areas isolated by difficult, mountainous terrain in northern Pennsylvania. The project will leverage Pennsylvania’s existing microwave public safety communications network by adding a parallel 150 Mbps Ethernet backbone stretching 649 miles across the state, as well as 612 miles of fixed wireless links.

More info at:

OFA PA Statement of Fiscal Responsibility Commission

From the inbox:

Elizabeth Lucas, Organizing for America (OFA)-Pennsylvania State Director, issued the following statement after President Obama today signed an executive order establishing the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:

“Today’s announcement is just another example of the President’s willingness to work across party lines to tackle the tough issues facing Americans and Pennsylvanians. For far too long, Washington has ignored the looming financial problems while putting off tough economic choices. And as President Obama promised, and is delivering, those times are over.

"Pennsylvanians know full well that we must deal with our nations long-term fiscal problems in a bipartisan way – and this Commission does just that. This Commission created today is just part of the President’s greater efforts to grow our economy and cut wasteful spending that for nearly a decade has put Pennsylvania and this nation in the current financial mess we find ourselves in. With this type of pragmatic and steady leadership by the President, we are currently in a better position to fully accomplish his goal of economic recovery.”

The bipartisan commission was created today after President Obama signed an executive order creating the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The President appointed former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming to chair the commission. The commission will have 18 members, including the two co-chairs. President Obama will appoint four additional members, and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress will each appoint six members.

In the near-term, the Commission will propose recommendations to put the budget in primary balance by 2015, while also looking for ways to put our nation on a path to fiscal responsibility.

Fiscal Responsibility Commission

from the inbox:

President Obama Establishes Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Names former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson as Commission Co-Chairs

WASHINGTON Today, President Obama will sign an executive order establishing the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and announce that former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson will serve as the Commission's co-chairs.

President Obama said, "For far too long, Washington has avoided the tough choices necessary to solve our fiscal problems and they won't be solved overnight. But under the leadership of Erksine and Alan, I'm confident that the Commission I'm establishing today will build a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility. I know they'll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that America's people deserve and Americaâ's future demands."

Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles said, "This is one of the most critically important challenges facing the country today and it has be addressed in a bipartisan manner. This is not a Republican or Democratic problem this is a challenge for America."

Former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson said, "We find ourselves in a difficult fiscal situation that is unsustainable. Whatever the results of our work, the American people are going to know about a lot more where we are headed with an honest appraisal of our situation and the courage to do something about it. I am pleased to accept this difficult role and eager to work with Erskine and the members of the Commission."

The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will build bipartisan consensus to put forth solutions to tackle our long-ignored fiscal challenges.

· The Commission will make recommendations that put the budget in primary balance so that we are paying for all operations and programs for the federal government (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015 and meaningfully improve the long-term fiscal outlook.

· The Commission will be comprised of 18 total members. 12 members will be appointed by Senate/House leaders (3 each by the Republican and Democratic leaders of both chambers). All must be sitting members of Congress. The additional 6 members will be appointed by the President, with no more than 4 from the same political party.

· Furthermore, 14 out of 18 votes needed to report recommendations, and recommendations must be reported to Congress by December 1, 2010.

The executive order will be signed at the event this morning.

Since taking office, President Obama has worked to usher in a new era of responsibility in Washington. He put forward a 2011 Budget that includes more than a $1 trillion of deficit reduction, excluding war savings, and signed into law statutory PAYGO legislation so that Congress would have to pay for what it proposes. He ordered his administration to go line by line through the budget looking for programs that do not work or are outdated or duplicative. And the President is taking on the biggest challenge to our fiscal future -- rising health care costs -- by fighting to pass meaningful health reform legislation, and demanding that it doesn't add a dime to our deficit.

President Obama named the following individuals as Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:

Erskine Bowles is currently President of the University of North Carolina. He served as White House Chief of Staff under President Clinton from 1996 to 1998. In that capacity, Bowles brokered the last significant bipartisan budget agreement, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, with the Republican leadership in Congress helping to generate the first balanced budget in nearly 30 years. He had previously served as Deputy White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1995 and as head of the Small Business Administration from 1993 to 1994. Bowles has also had a long career in business, helping to found the investment firm Carousel Capital in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina in both 2002 and 2004.

Alan Simpson served as a U.S. Senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997. From 1985 to 1995, he was the Republican whip in the Senate, and he also chaired the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security. During his career in the Senate, Simpson was a consistent voice for fiscal balance—for example, voting in favor the bipartisan 1990 deficit-reduction agreement. From 1997 to 2000, Simpson taught at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Simpson left Harvard in 2000 to return home to Cody, Wyoming, where he now practices law with his two sons. Simpson serves on the Commission for Continuity in Government, as well as Co-Chair of Americans for Campaign Reform with several former Senate colleagues. He served as a member of the Iraq Study group.

CeaseFirePA on CNN

From the inbox:

Wednesday morning, CeaseFirePA headlined Part Three of an ongoing series on CNN’s American Morning “The Gun Trail: Tracking guns that go missing.” CeaseFirePA western Pennsylvania coordinator, Jana Finder, was front and center to discuss the importance of tracking the spread of illegal handguns to keep them out of our communities across Pennsylvania. This report comes on the heels of two recent editorials: a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial discussing the importance of reporting the gubernatorial candidates’ policies on guns via CeaseFirePA’s Governor Questionnaire; and a Philadelphia Daily News editorial revealing a loophole allowing PA citizens denied state gun permits to obtain Florida concealed carry permits—due to a flawed interpretation of PA’s reciprocity law by PA Attorney General Tom Corbett.

A Quick Note on John Murtha

Congressman John Murtha died earlier this month. Since his congressional district isn't in the geographic area I cover I've never written much about him. After his death it seemed best to let his family grieve in peace without out of town bloggers horning in and talking about him. However, long time friend of the blog Josh Nanberg has written a heartfelt remembrance of the congressman. Here is his summary:

Mr. Murtha explained that became involved with diabetes because of high rates among his constituents. He was able to use his position as an appropriations subcommittee chair to ensure that research dollars went to addressing the problem. And despite his national importance, his chairmanship, his newfound celebrity status in the progressive community because of his opposition to the war, Jack Murtha was telling us about the importance of being responsible to the people who send you to Congress every time there’s an election.

Infill Philadelphia

The Economy League's new newsletter has an article by Chris Scoville called "Green is in, but what about gray?" Initially I thought it was on the aging of Pennsylvania's population (and it also reminded me I need to have my hair color touched up), but the article is actually on the rehabilitation of the Philadelphia area's abandoned or underutilized industrial sites.

Here is an excerpt:

An initiative by the Community Design Collaborative called Infill Philadelphia, a partnership with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), is attempting to resurrect these lost skeletons as they begin to roll out phase three, which is focused on retooling industrial sites for green, productive uses. Where we might see a structure reminiscent of Philadelphia's industrial glory days, they see vertical farming or the bones for affordable housing units (and new green jobs). They're focusing on the second R of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and pushing to imagine shades of green in otherwise gray swaths of the built environment.

Check out the entire article this Friday..

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Statements on Stimulus Anniversary

A number of statements on the one year anniversary of the stimulus were released today. Here are some of them:

White House:


The Recovery Act at One Year

One year in, the Recovery Act is at work across the country creating jobs and driving economic growth. From major highway projects to green retrofits of military facilities and manufacturing of advanced batteries, more than 55,000 projects across the country have now been funded through the Recovery Act. To get an up close look at some of those projects, click HERE. This is in addition to the nearly $120 billion in tax relief already provided to American families and businesses – with more to come this year - and the billions of dollars in relief provided to shore up state and local government programs like Medicaid and education facing severe budget shortfalls. To see a video of how the Recovery Act is helping cities across the country click HERE.

This is what it looks like, by the numbers:


· CBO: According to the nonpartisan CBO, the Recovery Act is already responsible for as many as 2.4 million jobs through the end of 2009.

· CEA, Other Private Forecasters: Analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers also found that the Recovery Act is responsible for about 2 million jobs – a figure in line with estimates from private forecasters like IHS Global, Moody’s Economy and even the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The Economy

· GDP/Economic Growth: In the fourth quarter of 2009, the economy grew 5.7 percent – – the largest gain in six years and something many economists say is largely due to the Recovery Act. Before the Recovery Act, the economy was shrinking by about 6 percent.

· Job Losses: Job losses for the fourth quarter of 2009 were one-seventh what they were in the first quarter of 2009 when the Recovery Act was passed.

Recovery Dollars

* Spending: Nearly 70 percent of the $499 billion in Recovery Act spending has been obligated to specific programs and projects so far, putting those dollars to work in communities across the country.

* Tax Relief: Nearly $120 billion in tax relief has been provided for working families and businesses through the Recovery Act this year.

This is what is looks like, by the numbers in Pennsylvania:

Total Jobs & Spending

· JOBS CREATED AND SAVED – CEA estimates that 84,000 jobs were created or saved by the Recovery Act in Pennsylvania in 2009

· TOTAL SPEND – Over $12.5 billion in Recovery funds has been made available to Pennsylvania – and more than $6 billion has already been spent.

Investing in Infrastructure

· CONSTRUCTION – 351 transportation projects have been obligated in Pennsylvania, totaling almost $1.4 billion.

· SMALL BUSINESS – 1,370 Recovery Act-backed small business loans have been given to Pennsylvania small businesses, supporting more than $498 million in lending.

Relief to Individuals

· TAX RELIEF – Because of the Making Work Pay tax credit, 4.8 million Pennsylvania working families will collectively receive $2.5 billion in tax relief.

· UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS – More than 1,060,000 Pennsylvania residents have expanded unemployment benefits because of the Recovery Act.

· STIMULUS PAYMENTS – Almost 2.6 million Pennsylvania seniors, veterans and other high-need residents have received one-time economic relief payments of $250, totaling more than $648 million.

Helping States

· TEACHERS – Close to 2,600 education positions were reported as funded by the Recovery Act in Q4 2009 in Pennsylvania – which has received more than $1.3 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF).

· MEDICAID – The Recovery Act has already made over $2.5 billion available to help prevent additional Medicaid cuts in Pennsylvania. The state of Pennsylvania has spent more than $1.6 billion of the available funds.

Organizing for America -- Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Lucas, Organizing for America (OFA)- PA State Director, issued the following statement regarding the anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) today:

“Today we mark the first year of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the incredible impact this legislation has had all across the country. Since President Obama signed ARRA into law, the Recovery Act has helped put tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians back to work in these tough economic times, while creating or saving fully two million jobs nationwide.

“When President Obama took office, the economy was losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month, our nation’s banks were in crisis, and Americans had lost 11 trillion dollars in wealth. Thanks to the President’s leadership on ARRA, things have started to turn around. The Recovery Act has stabilized our economy and helped restore security to those harmed most by the worst economic crisis in a generation. The Recovery Act has kept teachers in the classroom, police officers on the street, and put people to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges and waterways. At the same time, ARRA has kept non-profits doing the critical work they do—even while other resources and donations have dried up.

“While our economy has come a way long towards recovery, we know we have more work to do. In 2010, Organizing for America will be working to support President Obama and Congressional leaders as they put together a new jobs bill that will keep our economy moving in the right direction.”

Philadelphia Trails (In a Good Way)

From the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz announced today that the City of Philadelphia will receive $17.2 million for a bicycle and pedestrian network that will provide new multimodal transportation options for our region. The funds are part of a larger effort to create bicycle and pedestrian commuting opportunities for Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey called GREAT-PA/NJ. Philadelphia’s application was one of just 61 projects that were funded out of 1,380 applications nationwide.

“This regional transportation network will be a unique asset to the Philadelphia area and will transform biking and pedestrian greenways in our region,” said U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who advocated for this important funding. “This new greenway will have a significant impact on our economy, creating jobs in the metropolitan area and enhancing quality of life for our residents.”

“We appreciate the work that Congresswoman Schwartz did to make this project happen,” said Patrick Starr, Senior Vice President for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. “Congresswoman Schwartz is a champion for sustainable initiatives throughout the Pennsylvania region and her efforts along the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway have been particularly notable.”

“Residents will benefit greatly from this network of trails and street improvements—using them to commute to work, go to the local grocery store, or for recreation. It will also significantly improve access to the riverfront along the North Delaware,” Schwartz said.

The funds were provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s TIGER Discretionary Grant funding program. The Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery grant program was included in the Recovery Act to spur national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation. Projects funded include improvements to roads, bridges, rail, ports, transit and intermodal facilities.

Chris Doherty to Run for State Senate

From the inbox, an email from Chris Doherty's campaign:

I have decided, after a great deal of thought and conversation with my family, to end my campaign for governor and, instead, run for the Pennsylvania State Senate.

When I got into the governor's race last year, my priorities were to focus on creating jobs, getting the economy here in Northeast Pennsylvania back on track, and moving us past the old politics that have plagued our region and our state. We received a tremendous reception everywhere we went, and I was very encouraged by that response.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, running for statewide office means spending most of the day raising money. I'd rather be working on the challenges facing Northeast Pennsylvania.

My commitment to job creation, economic growth, and changing the way government operates is unwavering. So when the opportunity to advance those issues by running for the state senate became available, I was immediately interested.

Not only is it an opportunity to promote job creation initiatives and economic growth in the Northeast, but it's also an opportunity to pick up the torch for our region. Cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh don't need to worry about getting their fair share, but someone needs to fight for Northeastern Pennsylvania. By representing the 22nd senate district, I plan to make sure we're not forgotten.

I grew up in Scranton as one of 11 kids, and now that I'm raising six kids of my own, I am more committed than ever to making this the best state in the country for families.

Running for the state senate is a unique opportunity to continue the work I started when I was first elected mayor while continuing to make sure our community has the strongest possible representation in Harrisburg.

I look forward to the campaign ahead, and I hope you'll continue to be a part of it.

Lois Herr on Women's Campaign Forum Endorsement List

Lois Herr is on the list of candidates endorsed by the Women's Campaign Forum. Here is their write up:

Lois Herr is running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 16th District. Active in the Democratic Party, Herr was the endorsed 2004 and 2006 Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District. She was elected a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and is an elected local committee leader for the Democratic Party and member of the State Democratic Party Committee. In 2006-07 she served as Executive Director of the Lancaster County Democratic Committee and was a volunteer coordinator for the congressional campaign in 2008. Herr is experienced in business, government, and academia. She speaks and writes about marketing, corporate governance, and women's rights/responsibilities. During her years with highly respected companies, she gained solid experience in marketing, operations, finance, executive training, corporate planning, and communications/publications. For more information, visit Lois Herr's website.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anthony Williams and the Governor's Race

State Sen. Anthony Williams is flirting with the idea of running for governor. For more details see John Baer's Daily News Column, "Tony Williams for Gov?". Note this statement:

He says he has $500,000 in the bank and has pledges for another $500,000. He says the money isn't from his Senate campaign committee (which shows about $80,000 on hand) or the top sources that traditionally fund it - trial lawyers and unions.

This sounds great but there's no way to verify. Williams hasn't filed a campaign finance report since 2008. He hasn't filed papers to run for governor. Sen. Williams is, at this point, all talk and no substance. Show me the money, and where the money came from. Until then his claims amount to smoke and mirrors.

Health Care II: Fix It and Pass It

There is a new online advocacy campaign called FixItAndPassIt!, which can be found on The goal of the project is to press for a reconciliation fix and to pass the Senate health bill. One can't happen without the other, as there are no votes in the House otherwise for the Senate bill as it currently is without the reconciliation fix.

Health Care I: Melanie's March

From the inbox:

On Wednesday February 17th at 12pm EST, hundreds of health care reform activists and supporters will kick off “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” – an eight-day walk from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC in honor of one health reform advocate who recently lost her battle with breast cancer after her insurance company refused to pay for the treatment her doctors said she needed.

During her illness, Melanie Shouse was a tireless campaigner for health care reform for all Americans, and the marchers will be bringing Melanie’s message to Congress that not one more person should have to suffer or die for lack of health care in our country.

The “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” group will arrive in Washington, DC the day before President Obama’s Health Care Summit. As the summit is set to begin, the marchers—and supporters expected to number in the hundreds—will be there to tell lawmakers enough is enough!

They will deliver the message that Members of Congress have had plenty of time to discuss and debate health care over the past year, and now it's their job to make it happen. It’s time to get it done and get it done right. Congress must deliver the change people voted for.

The March starts with a rally at the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia and proceeds through University City and Southwest Philadelphia, ending the first day with a vigil at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park. The group will hold rallies in Wilmington and Baltimore and host meet-ups for local residents in small towns along the way. Supporters and press can track the walk online at

Road to Recovery Graphic

There is a really cool graphic showing job additions / losses during the past few years. Take a look at:

Accompanying text:

One year in, the evidence is clear – and growing by the day – that the Recovery Act is working to cushion the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and lay a new foundation for economic growth.

* According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Recovery Act is already responsible for as many as 2.4 million jobs through the end of 2009
* As a result, job losses are a fraction of what they were a year ago, before the Recovery Act began

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

* Cut taxes for 95 percent of working families through the Making Work Pay tax credit
* Cut taxes for small businesses
* Provided loans to over 42,000 small businesses
* Funded over 12,500 transportation construction projects nationwide, ranging from highway construction to airport improvement projects
* Made multi-billion dollar investments in innovation, science and technology that are laying the foundation for our 21st century economy
* Provided critical relief for state governments facing record budget shortfalls, including help to prevent cuts to Medicaid and creating or saving over 300,000 education jobs

Economists on the left and the right have stated that the Recovery

Cost Cutting Outlined in Murphy Report

From the inbox:

The Murphy Report from Congressman Patrick Murphy

from the inbox:

Each year, hundreds of billions of dollars go toward paying for our national defense. Now, as we fight two wars abroad, and have a federal budget limited by our increasing national debt, it is imperative that we make sure each defense dollar is being spent wisely and well. For too long Washington has been wasting taxpayer dollars on equipment and weapon systems that are outdated and obsolete. We must ensure that our troops have the resources they need while improving and strengthening our national security. In this issue of the Murphy Report, I want to share with you what I've been doing to trim wasteful spending.

Some programs, like the Loran-C satellite system, have been deemed unnecessary for nearly thirty years. Last July, Senator John McCain said: "Here we are, 28 years later, trying to terminate a program that literally every agency of government is trying to kill." I am proud to report that we terminated this program - saving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars - and the satellite officially went dark on February 8th.

Listed below are a handful of terminations we were able to accomplish in FY2010 which, in total, will save taxpayers over $10.2 billion:

* The termination of the Multiple Kill Vehicle. This will save over $4 billion from 2010 through 2015. The Multiple Kill Vehicle program requirements are uncertain and the program is already behind schedule and over budget.
* Terminating the F-22 Raptor program, saving taxpayers nearly $3.5 billion per year. In the past few months, our military leaders have made it very clear that the F-22 is a program they no longer want or need, and it hasn't flown a single mission over Iraq or Afghanistan.
* Replacement of the Transformational Satellite with more Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites. This switch is estimated to save approximately $1.5 to $2.5 billion through 2015.

Please know that during this tough recession, as families across the country are scaling back their budgets, I am taking a hard look at where our money goes in the federal budget. These savings are a good start, but more needs to be done. As I continue my work, I never forget that I need to be a prudent steward of taxpayer dollars.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


From the inbox:

SEPTA Special Fares Promotion

Please see details below regarding SEPTA’s discounted fares as part of the “Spread The Love” promotion with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Parking Authority. This information is intended to clear up any confusion regarding SEPTA’s special fare offers for Regional Rail trips on weeknights beginning Friday Feb. 12th and continuing through next week, as well as half-price cash fare discounts available on the Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford Line throughout this President’s Day weekend and the following weekend. This promotion does not include discounts for any other SEPTA services, including buses, trolleys and the Norristown High Speed Line.

Details related to this promotion are available on SEPTA’s Web site at


* Beginning 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12th and valid every weeknight through Friday, Feb. 19th, passengers can enjoy discounted fares – with pricing at discounted levels normally available only on weekends -- for all Regional Rail trips inbound to Center City.
* Discounted weekend fare pricing remains in effect on Saturdays and Sundays as usual.
* Weekend discounted fares for trips inbound to Center City on Regional Rail are as follows: $6 for Zone 1 & 2 stations; $8 for Zone 3 stations; $9 for Zone 4 & 5 stations; $15 for Zone 6 stations.
* Tickets for these discounted trips can be purchased in advance and on board trains.
* Parking at Regional Rail stations is free on weekends.


* Cash fare for the next two weekends, as well as on President’s Day, is $1, which is half off the regular cash fare of $2.
* This special pricing is available on these days: Saturday, Feb. 13th; Sunday, Feb. 14th; Monday, Feb. 15th (President’s Day); Saturday, Feb. 20th; Sunday Feb. 21st.


* This promotion does not include any discounts for City and Suburban bus and trolley routes or the Norristown High Speed Line (Route 100).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

GOP Health Care Alternative

At the Republican response to the State of the Union address Gov. McDonnell of Virginia said viewers could find Republican solutions to today's problems at I checked it out.

The health care alternative links to an amendment to HR 3962 sponsored by Rep. Boehner of Ohio. It is 219 pages long. According to the statement of purpose the bill is intended to

take meaningful steps to lower health care costs and increase access to health care coverage (especially for individuals with preexisting conditions) without 1) raising taxes, 2) cutting Medicare benefits for seniors, 3) adding to the national deficit, 4) intervening in the doctor-patient relationship or 5) instituting a government takeover of health care. (p. 1)

The first 14 pages set out some basic guidelines. One of these says insurance companies cannot set annual or lifetime spending caps. It also says:
If a health insurance issuer determines to nonrenew or not continue in force, including rescind, health insurance coverage for an individual in the individual market on the basis described in section 2742(b)(2) before such nonrenewal, discontinuation, or rescission, may take effect the issuer shall provide the individual with notice of such proposed nonrenewal, discontinuation, or rescission and an opportunity for a review of such determination by an independent, external third party under procedures specified by the Secretary.

INDEPENDENT DETERMINATION.—If the individual requests such review by an independent, external third party of a nonrenewal, discontinuation, or rescission of health insurance coverage, the coverage shall remain in effect until such third party determines that the coverage may be nonrenewed, discontinued, or rescinded under section 2742(b)(2). (p. 13-14)

Is that a rescission panel?

Among the strategies for cutting health care costs are giving bonuses to states that cut per capita premium costs, create or contract out the development of health care plan finders to help citizens find health care plans.

The section of small businesses takes up 63 pages (pp. 51-114), nearly 25% of the entire bill. I don't know enough to comment on what is said here.

Children can be covered on parent's policies until age 25 and spouses can be automatically enrolled.

Nearly 30 pages (118-146) are devoted to allowing Americans to buy health care coverage across state lines. To me the key provision here is on pages 129 and 130 that policies sold across state lines be labeled (in 12 point bold type):
"This policy is issued by [ ] and is governed by the laws and regulations of the state of [ ], and it has met all the laws of that state as determined by that state's department of insurance. This policy may be less expensive than others because it is not subject to all of the insurance laws and regulations of the state of [ ], including coverage of some services of benefits mandated by law of the state of [ ]. Additionally, this policy is not subject to all of the consumer protection laws or restrictions on rate changes of the state of [ ]. As with all insurance products, before purchasing this policy, you should carefully review the policy and determine what health care services the policy covers and what benefits it provides, including any exclusions, limitations, or conditions for such services or benefits."
In other words, selling across state lines means you can buy a policy created in a state that has lower standards than yours. The insurance is cheaper because it is lower quality.

There are six pages on medical savings accounts. Medical Liability Reform takes up pages 150-168. I don't know enough about this topic to comment in any details.

In keeping with their view of limited government, this bill allows health insurance companies to charge policy holders more or less (by 50%) depending on their participation in wellness programs.

Suppliers and providers applying to be approved by medicare will pay an application fee to cover background checks. There is a section that appears to call for digitizing medicare medical records to track waste and fraud.

While the bill does call for no federal funds to be used for abortions it does have exceptions to this rule for rape, incest or "the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performance, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself." (p. 174).

The last 34 pages are devoted to "biosimilar biological products." Wikipedia will give you a basic explanation of this, but in uneducated layman's terms it allows for creation of generic-like forms of things like insulin. There are medical complexities to this. You'll have to read it yourself to decide if this section is pro or con biosimilar. If this term sounds familiar it is because there was a press flap over HR 1548 (Pathways for Biosimilars Act) because lobbyists had asked members of Congress (from both parties) to insert comments on the bill into the congressional record. (See "In House many spoke with one voice: lobbyists" by Robert Pear)

In any event, roughly 15% of the Republican health care plan deals with licensing of biosimilars.

That is, in brief summary, what I could get out of the GOP Health Care Alternative Plan, and I encourage you to review it for yourself.

Hoeffel Endorsed by Philly's 9th Ward

From the inbox:

Democratic committee members from Philadelphia’s Ninth Ward unanimously endorsed Joe Hoeffel for governor of Pennsylvania at their meeting this week.

The Ninth Ward, which includes the Chestnut Hill section of the city and most of Mount Airy, is a key ward in Philadelphia and is known for its high turnout on election day.

Ninth Ward Leader John O’Connell said his committee people are extremely responsive to their voters, and pride themselves on studying the candidates and endorsing those who exhibit the best record and are most closely aligned with their political philosophies.

"Our voters expect us to pick the candidate with the best track record and accomplishments, rather than simply picking the perceived favorite,” O’Connell said. “We’ve seen Joe fight for working people and progressive values as a congressman, county commissioner, and state representative. We know he’s the best choice for governor."

Hoeffel is currently a Montgomery County commissioner and served three terms in Congress in addition to serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Obama Statement on Senate Confirmations

From the inbox:

Statement by the President on Senate Confirmations

Today, the United States Senate confirmed 27 of my high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months.

At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination. In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process.

Instead, many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator's state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people.

And so on Tuesday, I told Senator McConnell that if Republican senators did not release these holds, I would exercise my authority to fill critically-needed positions in the federal government temporarily through the use of recess appointments. This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate.

While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Few Newsy Bits

A few assorted newsy bits from the inbox:

Bryan Lentz, Democratic candidate in the 7th congressional district has posted an entry on Daily Kos on high speed rail. Worth a read.

The upcoming special election in the 12th congressional district is getting a lot of press. Check out Chris Cizzilla of the WaPo and Shira Toeplitz of CQ-Roll Call.

The Bucks County Democrats are having a field day with a comment Mike Fitzpatrick made a week ago. Fitzpatrick is a former county commissioner and congressman who is running again this year, in a rematch of the 2006 election he lost to Patrick Murphy. The county party created a short web ad that is getting press at the Inky's Commonwealth Confidential blog and the Morning Call's Pennsylvania Ave blog.

Two Todd Stephens Updates

Todd Stephens, an assistant district attorney in Montgomery County, has announced that he is seeking a rematch against State Rep. Rick Taylor in the 151st district. According to "Rematch sought for Taylor, Stephens," by Rich Pietras (2/07) on

Stephens lost to Taylor by 431 votes in 2008 and hopes to give the GOP back the district it had controlled before Taylor pulled an upset over Eugene McGill in 2006. Before that Taylor victory, the GOP held a House stronghold on the district that dated back to 1940.

Stephens was also in the news in the Inquirer, "Two Montco prosecutors fined in 2009 slaying case" by Derrick Nunnally (2/05). He and another ada were fined $350 for playing a tape before the court without first giving the defense a transcript as the judge had ordered.

New Reading Material

The Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative has released a report on Mayor Michael Nutter and also on sales tax has been released. It is a 13 page pdf. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Halfway through his four-year term as mayor, Michael Nutter continues to get generally high marks from city residents after a tough economic year dominated by a prolonged budget crisis. Fifty-three percent of Philadelphians approve of the job he is doing as mayor, compared to 32 percent who disapprove. This is an improvement since April 2009, when his job approval rating was 47 percent and disapproval was 39 percent.

Metropolis has some analysis of this.

Governor Rendell released his initial budget plan today. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has a review of it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hoeffel Updates

A few updates from the Joe Hoeffel for Governor campaign.

Pennsylvania NOW and Philadelphia NOW have endorsed Joe.

His first web ad, on health care is up.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Chris Doherty's Baseball Connection

Joe Hoeffel’s connection to the Green Bay Packers (his grandfather was a coach for the team) is common enough knowledge to be in his wikipedia entry. You may not know that another Democratic gubernatorial candidate has an ancestor with a notable sports connection.

Chris Doherty, currently the mayor of Scranton, is the great grandson of Hugh Ambrose “Hughie” Jennings, who played baseball and managed teams in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He played for the Baltimore Orioles (with John McGraw), the Brooklyn Superbas, and the Philadelphia Phillies, and managed the Detroit Tigers. Under his guidance the Tigers won three pennants in a row, 1907, 1908, and 1909. Jennings is the subject of Ee-yah: The Life And Times Of Hughie Jennings, Baseball Hall Of Famer by Jack Smiles. The book outlines not only his baseball career but his childhood as the son of immigrant coal miners in Pittston.

A 1915 New York Times article .paints this picture of young Jennings as

Back in the summer of 1891, a young chap with carmine-colored hair and a face sicklied all over with polka dots, was catching for a baseball team representing Leighton, Pa., where he had signed that spring. Leighton was, at that time, a beautiful place of 3,000 inhabitants, but this young man was lost in that community, for of the 3,000 residents, all were Dutch except two, an Irish saloon-keeper and his sister, and Hughie Jennings, having considerable Irish blood coursing through his system, was a welcome addition to this very small Irish colony.

His managerial style was described in 1920 as “puts everything out in front,” “doesn’t believe in behind-the-scenes stuff,” “believes in keeping initiative and aggressiveness alive.” Outing Magazine in 1909 said of him:
The nine works for Jennings because it loves him. It respects him, it respects his ways. If feels ashamed to lose. He has infused into it an esprit de corps based not on wages but on compelled admiration for its leader.

He died in Scranton in 1928. According to his obituary he had been very active in city affairs, Trader’s Bank, Knights of Columbia, Elks, Kiwanis, St. Peter’s Cathedral, and others.

In addition to baseball skills he is also credited with popularizing two phrases, “Eh-yah,” which was said to mean something like “watch out!” and “attaboy,” which is still used today.

Mayor Doherty’s mother Grace was Jennings's grand-daughter; he has continued family tradition by naming one of his sons Hughie. Chris Doherty is an avid baseball fan. Over the course of several years Doherty and his family visited every major major league baseball stadium, finishing in 2006.


“’Attaboy,’ our best tribute is now laid to Hugh Jennings,” New York Times Feb 19,1928

“Big Daddy,” Times Leader, Aug 7, 2005 [review of Eh-yah, by Jack Smiles]

Brown, Stacy, “Mayor completes stadium tour,” Times-Tribune Sept, 3, 2006.

“Hugh Jennings dies after long illness,” New York Times Feb 1, 1928

“Hugh Jennings: Why his team wins,” Outing magazine Aug. 1909.

“Jennings started career as catcher,” New York Times, Apr 25, 1915.

Mathewson, Christy, “Good managers are never easy to find,” New York Times Feb 15, 1920

Remarks on the Death of John Murtha

Assorted remarks from the inbox:

Chris Doherty:

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty today released the following statement on the passing of Congressman John Murtha.

“Pennsylvania lost one of its giants today. Congressman Murtha was one of the last great titans of the United States Congress who had the experience and the record of accomplishment to earn the respect of both the most conservative and progressive of his colleagues.

“From his heroism on the battlefield to his fierce advocacy for his constituents, Congressman Murtha never backed away from a fight. He had a firm sense of what he wanted to accomplish, and he refused to let anything stand in his way.

“We will miss his representation in Congress and his friendship here at home. My thoughts and prayers and those of my entire family go out to Congressman Murtha’s friends and relatives on this very sad day.”

Pres. Barack Obama:
Michelle and I were deeply saddened today to hear about the passing of Congressman John Murtha. Jack was a devoted husband, a loving father and a steadfast advocate for the people of Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years. His passion for service was born during his decorated career in the United States Marine Corps, and he went on to earn the distinction of being the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress. Jack’s tough-as-nails reputation carried over to Congress, where he became a respected voice on issues of national security. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife of nearly 55 years, Joyce, their three children, and the entire Murtha family.

Tim Kaine:
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine released the following statement on the passing of Congressman John Murtha.

“Today we mourn the loss of a great American figure who dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. Congressman Murtha had a storied 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps and in 1974 he became the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress.

“Just the other day, Congressman Murtha became the longest serving Pennsylvanian in the history of the House of Representatives. During his career, he worked hard to bring tens of thousands of middle class jobs to western Pennsylvania. His legacy as a fighter for his causes and his constituents will be remembered long after his passing.
“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the Congressman’s wife, his children and his grandchildren.”

Rep. Paul Kanjorski:
Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) provided the below statement on the passing away of Congressman John Murtha.

“As we mourn the loss of Congressman Murtha, I pass along my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Today, an era of Pennsylvania’s history has sadly ended as the nation and Pennsylvania has lost one of its most determined and tireless public servants.

“Jack was a friend and colleague who I have looked up to throughout my time in Congress for his dedication to our country and our military troops, his strength to work in a bipartisan way, and his passion for his work and the Pennsylvanians he represented. Throughout his career in public service, Jack has been a symbol of the hardworking Pennsylvanians through the Commonwealth.

“While prone to criticism in Washington for his knack for securing federal funding for his Congressional district, that federal funding helped create thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians and aided with needed economic development in his district. He was elected to help his district, which is exactly why we, as Members of Congress, are all elected. Jack was able to effectively balance the needs of his constituents with the needs of the country.

“The legacy that he has left will surely live on as a symbol of the great work that one man can do and as something that we can all strive to achieve. As the leader of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, and as a close friend, he will be sorely missed.”

Below is a statement for the Congressional Record that Congressman Kanjorski submitted on Friday on behalf of many Members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation. On Friday, Congressman Murtha became the longest serving Member of Congress ever from Pennsylvania.

Joe Sestak:
Congressman Joe Sestak (PA-07) released the following statement on the passing today of Congressman John Murtha:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Murtha family at this very difficult time. His service to our nation in Congress reflected an unyielding commitment to his constituents, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our nation. However, he holds my greatest respect for the courage he showed in serving as a United States Marine and subsequently becoming the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress. In doing so, he gave a voice to millions of men and women who fought in an unpopular war and were not afforded the respect and care they earned and deserved.

It was a privilege to work with him on a number of issues, and I am especially appreciative of the help he gave me as a mentor, whether it was on an approach within the halls of Congress, specific legislative items, or coming to my District to assist at key events. We should all be grateful for his commitment to public service for his District, Pennsylvania and this nation.”

PA Students to White House

From the inbox:

Students from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Central High School will be among 120 high school students from across the country to attend and participate in a music workshop at the White House hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The workshop is entitled “Music that Inspired the Movement,” and it will take place on Wednesday, February 10th from 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. ET. It will be led by several performers from the 2010 White House Music Series concert “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” which will also take place on Wednesday. As developed by the Grammy Museum, the students participating in the workshop will learn about the continuing relevance of music from the Civil Rights Movement to today’s generation and its original impact in the 1960s. This event will be streamed live on

Robert Santelli, the executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, and Smokey Robinson, the legendary Motown singer, will facilitate the workshop. John Legend, John Mellencamp, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon – one of the original Freedom Singers in the 1960s, who traveled around the country carrying stories in song of local Civil Rights Movement campaigns to national audiences – and Toshi Reagon will perform. This workshop will be held in the State Dining Room and students all over the country are invited to watch the workshop live and submit questions for the performers and facilitators leading up to the event. Several questions received through the online form will be answered at the workshop and following the event. Questions may be submitted prior to the workshop at The livestream embed code will also be available on this webpage.

The 2010 White House Music Series concert “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” will be a concert celebrating Black History month and it will also take place on February 10. Participants include Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Howard University Choir, and The Freedom Singers, featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett and Toshi Reagon. Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah and Joanne Woodward will be guest speakers for this concert which will feature songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings. The President will make opening remarks at this concert held in the East Room of the White House. This concert will be pooled press and streamed live on starting at 5:15 p.m. ET.

The concert will be televised on February 11th at 8:00 p.m. ET on public broadcasting stations nationwide as part of WETA Washington, D.C.’s “In Performance at the White House” series. NPR will also produce a one-hour concert special from this event for broadcast nationwide on NPR Member stations throughout the month of February, beginning February 12th. The special will be available on

First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the White House Music Series last year with a Jazz Studio, and since then has hosted a celebration of Country Music, a Fiesta Latina and a celebration of Classical Music. Many of these events included evening performances as well as daytime educational workshops designed to educate and inspire talented young people to use their gifts to develop a future for themselves in the arts community whether as a hobby or as a profession.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

4th Quarter 2009 FEC Report Round Up

Okay, here we go again. First off, you can browse these reports yourself at As always I apologize in advance for any errors or misinterpretations. I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant, just an interested observer and these thoughts should be taken as such.

This quarter covers Oct – Dec., 2009.

All of the candidates with lengthy reports arranged them in alphabetical order, which makes them much easier to review. Many thanks. At this point in the campaign individual donors can give up to $2400 for the primary election or up to $4800 for the primary and general elections. Once someone reaches $4800 they cannot donate any more money to that candidate.

If there are two numbers one is for the quarter, the other for the election cycle to date.

Watch the itemized (over $250 donations), unitemized (smaller donations), and PAC vs individual ratios. Generally, you will find unitemized to be about 10% the amount of itemized and PAC’s either a half or quarter of that, at least for incumbents. In open races or in challenger’s reports, there are usually fewer PAC donations. They like to stick with people they are fairly certain are going to win.

6th Congressional District

This once open race is now more complicated. Current Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach has ended his campaign for governor and decided to run for re-election. What this means as far as back from the party establishment is open to interpretation. Now there are two Democrats and three Republicans including Gerlach in the running. The party had seemed to be lining up behind Schroder but Gerlach’s former chief of staff is working for Welch.

Doug Pike, Democrat
Itemized 90,905.00
Unitemized 13,410.44
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 104,315.44/ 367,846.07
PACS 11,500.00 / 28,000.00
The Candidate 340,469.05 / 962,248.18
Total Contributions 456,284.49 / 1,358,094.25
Other Receipts 1,091.08 / 2,210.12
Total Receipts 457,376.38 / 1,360,304.37
Operating Expenditures 95,575.17 / 25,821.54
Total Disbursements 95,575.17 / 25,821.54
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 745,681.62
Total Receipts 457,376.38
Total Disbursements 95,575.17
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 1,107,482.82

One important thing to note is that of the total 1,35 million Pike has raised, nearly 1 million of it has come from his own pocket. He has raised just under $400,000 from other sources. Of the individuals contributing about half are from out of state. About 7 donors donated $2400, and an additional 6 donated $4,800 that means they cannot donate any more this election. Most contributors are the standard doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. There was a cluster of those in the writing trade, writers, editors, agents, and an out of state newspaper gossip columnist, plus a retired librarian and a photographer. The CEO of Pepsi and an executive at Hill & Knowlton are also in the mix. Politically I saw former congressman Pete Kostmayor and Philadelphian Happy Fernandez. Only 8 PACs donated, including Patrick Murphy’s leadership PAC. In disbursements, he had 7 paid staffers (this includes part-time and people who work only briefly); he paid health insurance. Campaign costs include 3,800 for research service, and a whopping $15K for media consulting.

Manan Trivedi, Democrat

Itemized 77,356.00
Unitemized 15,281.99
Total of Contributions from Individuals 92,637.99 / 203,730.85
PACs 8,100.00 / 11,100.00
The Candidate: 2,205.88 / 15,408.16
Total Contributions: 102,943.87 / 230,239.01
Total Receipts: 102,943.87 / 230,239.01
Operating Expenditures: 101,320.40 / 119, 493.45
Other Disbursements: 185.00 / 985.00
Total Disbursements: 101,505.40 / 120,478.45
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 121,943.16
Total Receipts 102,943.87
Total Disbursements 101,505.40
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 123,381.63

As with his previous report, there are a lot of ActBlue donations, including some small ones, that alternate with the group ActBlue note on the report which makes it difficult to track. However, I would guess that perhaps a third of Trivedi’s donations are from out of state. About 8 have donated $2400 which means they cannot donate any more for the primary election; another 6 have donated $4800 which means they cannot donate any more for the primary and general combined. As Dr. Trivedi is a physician it is not surprising to see that a number of doctors have donated to his campaign. There are also a number of donors with Indian looking names. No celebrities of note but he received donations from a wide range of occupations, from the CEO of the zoo to a Bank of America receptionist. Local politicos Connie Williams and Bob Roggio also donated to his campaign. He received money from 6 PACs. Trivedi’s personal contributions are just over $15,000. On the disbursement side, there were 6 paid staffers, most short-term. He paid $3k for general campaign consulting, $12K to another firm that seems to specialize in new media, and around $15K for campaign research.

Curt Schroder, Republican

Itemized 52,642.04
Unitemized 13,521.00
Total of Contributions from Individuals 66,163.04 / 160,079.90
Political Party Committees 150.00 / 550.00
PACs 11,975.00 / 26,174.99
Total Contributions: 78,288.04 / 186,804.89
Other Receipts: 226.06 / 309.92
Total Receipts: 78,514.10 / 187,114.81
Operating Expenditures: 34,640.57 / 56,442.29
Refunds: 300.00 / 300.00
Total Disbursements: 37,440.57 / 59,242.29
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 86,798.99
Total Receipts 78,514.10
Total Disbursements 37,440.57
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 127,872.52

Only a negligible number of Schroder’s donors (less than 5) are from out of state. Only one donated $2400, another $4800. There are a number of physicians among his donors, along with a range of other occupations. Nothing noteworthy in the PAC donations. Schroder seems to have outsourced all campaign expenses to Hallowell & Branstetter, paying them over $20K with no other staff or campaign management costs listed. It will be interesting to see what happens now the Gerlach is back in the race.

Steve Welch, Republican

Itemized 90,012.73
Unitemized 462.93
Total of Contributions from Individuals 90,475.66 / 104,705.66
PACs: 2500.00 / 2500.00
The Candidate: 150,000.000 / 158,913.32
Total Contributions: 242,975.66 / 302,118.98
Loans Made or Guaranteed from Candidate: 0.00 / 500,000
Total Receipts: 242,975.66 / 802,118.98
Operating Expenditures: 101,272.55 / 149,151.53
Total Disbursements: 101,272.55 / 149,151.53
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 511.264.34
Total Receipts 242,975.66
Total Disbursements 101,272.55
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 652,967.45

Welch has really gotten his act together. Of the approximately 178 donors, 68 are from out of state. A total of 10 people donated $2400, and 2 gave $4800. A preponderance of donors are businesspeople, as one might expect. Mr. Welch’s reports list donations under $250, which is not required, and employers / occupations are not listed for them. Three PACs made donations. He had about 4 people working on his website, and paid for Facebook ads. Two employees (or consulting firms) are paid well. Two or three other employees. He buys the Wall Street Journal for his campaign office.

Jim Gerlach, incumbent Republican

This is an unusual report as Gerlach was running for governor for most of the quarter. He started with $34,463.44, raised $1678.74, spent $30,844.15, which leaves him with $5,298 on hand. Since his gubernatorial campaign did not end with a significant surplus, Gerlach has a lot of catching up to do.

Howard Cohen, Republican

Cohen raised 89,363.00, quite a bit from out of state, with 14 donations of $2400, and a $9K loan from the candidate. With disbursements of a little over $15K, he has $83,342 cash on hand.

Walt Hufford, Republican

Hufford raised a little over $10K, spent $4815, with a debt of almost $25K, has $30,584 on hand.

7th Congressional District

Bryan Lentz, Democrat

Itemized 156,474.00
Unitemized 23,385.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 179,859.00 / 367,129.00
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 115,000.00 / 148,100.00
Total Receipts 294,859.00 / 515,229.00
Operating Expenditures 53,213,21 / 55,587.27
Total Disbursements 53,213,21 / 55,587.27
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 218,045.94
Total Receipts This Period 294,859.00
Total Disbursements This Period 53,213,21 / 55,587.27
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 459,691.73

In with the standard array of professional occupations, including a lot of lawyers, I saw a nurse practitioner, a teacher, a handful of people in film (no celebrities), and another handful of people affiliated with green companies or environmentalism. (Lentz held a symposium on green jobs last fall.) A total of 7 people have donated $2400 and another 11 have given $4800. Approximately 20% of the itemized donations came from out of state. I didn’t see any famous names but politico Connie Williams donated. A little more than a third of his money came from 57 PACs. Of the 57, 18 were from the campaigns or leadership PACs of other candidates or officials; Lentz is amiable and appears to have made friends. A number of other PACs are occupational, such as the National Elevator Constructors PAC. He’s been fairly frugal with disbursements. He has 3 paid staff but no payments for health insurance that I can see yet. It might be too early for that. He’s spent $6500 on website development.

Pat Meehan, Republican

Itemized 494,288.21
Unitemized 9,602.61
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 503,890.82 / 707,939.89
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 75,950.00 / 83,450.00
Total Receipts 579,840.82 / 791,389.89
Operating Expenditures 93,175.69 / 93,782.75
Refunds: 3,400.00 / 3,400.00
Total Disbursements 96,575.69 / 97,182.75
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 210.942.01
Total Receipts This Period 579,840.82
Total Disbursements This Period 96,575.69
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 694,207.14

There’s no question that Meehan brought in more money from more people with a higher in state percentage. About 10% of his donors were from out of state. However, more of his are tapped out. A total of 35 people donated $2400, and 37 donated $4800 – those 37 cannot donate again but could suggest that their friends do so. Meehan knows a lot of Indian chiefs – there were a lot of occupational listings such as CEO, president, VP, and executive. However, he also had a Honda salesman. There are a lot of bankers and insurance people listed. The president of the Phillies also donated. There are 29 PAC donors listed. Of these 7 are political campaigns or leadership PACS. However, on his individual donations page he lists several LLP’s and an additional 7 political pacs. I don’t know if those were separated out again as donations from individuals or what. In disbursements he lists one paid staff person but there are monthly retainer fees for 4 other people that may be staff but listed differently for accounting purposes. He paid $10K for pr and material drafting, $16K for website hosting, etc., One odd note, there is a $160.50 payment to Meehan for Congress for photo rights. Doesn’t he own the right to his own photos? There is probably more to the story; it just looked strange. He has $5k in debt.

Joe Sestak isn’t running for Sestak’s congressional campaign still has over $4 million on hand.

8th Congressional District

Patrick Murphy, Incumbent Democrat (elected 2006)

Individual Itemized 212,500.00
Individual Unitemized 17,655.47
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 230,155.47 / 1,048,334.51
Political Party Committees 0.00 / 1,160.00
PACS 91,150.00 / 414,325.00
Total Contributions 321,305.47 / 1,462,819.51
Transfers from Other Authorized Committees 2,000.00 / 5,000.00
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 1,292.72 / 19,064.45
Other Receipts 1,901.02 / 3388.76
Total Receipts 326,499.21 / 1,491,272,72
Operating Expenditures 100,447.08 / 943,048.05
Total Refunds 0.00 / 1821.20
Other Disbursements 2,550.00 / 45,502.36
Total Disbursements 102,997.08 / 990,371.61
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 624,251.51
Total Receipts This Period 326,499.21
Total Disbursements This Period 102,997.08
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 847,753.64

Murphy should keep an eye on his in and out of state donor ratio. Over half of his donors (which does not necessarily mean more than half of his money) came from out of state. A lot of his donations were repeat contributors adding small amounts to what they had already donated, or mid-level donors giving $250 or so. Only 4 people completely maxed out at $4800, with an additional 21 reaching the $2400 threshold. As with most reports there are your standard doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs (executives of one kind or another). Among the more unusual occupations represented are toymaker, singer / songwriter, midwife, and beer writer. He has donations from two college presidents or chancellors, Teresa Heinz, and the president of the Philadelphia Eagles. Of the 53 PACs that donated only 1 is a leadership PAC. The other are a variety of occupational and interest organizations; perhaps the most noteworthy is the Anheuser Busch PAC. In disbursements, there are 6 salaried employees and he pays for health insurance. There is nothing unusual in the other payments. The only remaining debt is one that has been lingering for some time, for a copier machine lease.

assorted Republicans
Former congressman Mike Fitzpatrick announced his campaign too late to be required to file a quarterly report. Judith Algeo raised a little over $6K and has a little over $5K on hand. Dean Malik raised a little over $28K, $12 from the candidate, and 5 donations of $2400. He had no expenditures. Rob Mitchell raised almost $9K, spent nearly $17K, has about $24,500 on hand with a debt of $32,646.

13th Congressional District

Allyson Schwartz, Incumbent District (elected 2004)

Individual Itemized 192,425.00
Individual Unitemized 8,331.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 200,756.00 / 896,018.08
Political Party Commitees 6.39 / 93.28
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 142,829.42 / 532,052.68
Total Contributions 343,591.81 / 1,428,164.04
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 2,941.72 / 8,391.81
Other Receipts 7,206.34 / 36,858.11
Total Receipts 353,739.87 / 1,473,413.96
Operating Expenditures 100,936.84 / 411,136.77
Total Contribution Refunds 0.00 / 2,175.00
Other Disbursements 7,180.00 / 239,120.00
Total Disbursements 108,116.84 / 652,431.77
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 2,594,852.26
Total Receipts This Period 353,739.87
Total Disbursements This Period 108,116.84
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 2,840,475.29

Schwartz’s out of state contributions are neglible. Her PAC vs individual ratio is a little high this quarter. She can also revisit donors, with only 17 donating $2400 or more and only 9 donating $4800. There is nothing unusual about her group of donors, other than a strength among people in the health field. She does have good civic associations, with donations from executives at the Please Touch Museuam, Museum of Art, WHYY, PennPraxis, and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The support of medical professionals also shows in the number of health related PACs in the 85 that donated to her. In disbursements she paid health insurance for her staff. There are 2 salaried employees, $11K for a fundraising consultant, some housekeeping matters (car payments, storage fees, and some auditing). She donated a little over $6K to political groups, mostly in Philadelphia. I think there might be an amendment though, due to some donation overages.

Damian Dachowski, Republican challenger

Dr. Dachowski raised a little over $12K, spent nearly $13K, and has a little more than $22k on hand.

Dee Adcock, Republican raised $3350, spent $15K, with almost $3K on hand with a debt of $15K.