Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back Tomorrow

Hi folks, sorry for the lack of posting last night and today. This week has included multiple 2 or 2.5 hour "back to school" events, extremely early / long days at the office and some awfulness that was bad enough at a distance but managed to brush a little closer than I would like. Postings will get back to normal tomorrow. In the meantime, even though it is campaign time, let your loved ones know how you feel and be kind to strangers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Walter Hood and Pittsburgh's Hill District

The October issue of Fast Company has an interesting article on landscape designer Walter Hood ("This Land is Your Land"). Here is one quick description of part of his work there:

With help from a local not-for-profit, Hood collected thousands of color photographs from Hill District residents. When construction begins on the $1.5 million Garden Passage next spring, those images will be embedded in giant glass "curtains" adorning the four terraces along the steps. Hood used a similar technique with historical photos at the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Memorial in San Francisco. "The idea," he says, "is that the community that once existed in this place is brought back through another set of layers, like a great performer taking a final bow." Hence the name of the Pittsburgh piece: Curtain Call.

Further information the projects can be found in "Hill District to rediscover itself via 'greenprint'," by Meredith Skrzypczak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (June 16, 2010).

Yet Another 8th District Poll

from the inbox:

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Vote Vets Action Fund released a poll today showing Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy leading Republican Mike Fitzpatrick among likely voters by 49 percent to 46 percent, with 5 percent undecided.

Murphy enjoys an even wider lead among more likely voters.

Among the 87 percent of respondents who say they will “definitely vote,” Murphy holds a 50 percent to 45 percent lead. Among the 75 percent of respondents who actually voted in the last mid-term election in November 2006, Murphy’s lead expands to 52 percent versus 44 percent for Fitzpatrick.

“The new poll showing Patrick Murphy in the lead confirms what we are hearing when we go door-to-door,” said Anna Pascarelli, a correspondence technician at Express Scripts in Bucks County who belongs to SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “Working families in Pennsylvania’s eighth congressional district know that Republican Mike Fitzpatrick would take us back to the exact same failed policies that wrecked the economy. We need to invest in jobs and move this country forward.”

“Patrick Murphy’s lead is no surprise to us,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of “Veterans know what the people of his district know: Patrick Murphy served his country with distinction in Iraq and that he is now working to fix our economy as a member of the United States Congress. He has a winning record, and that’s reflected pretty clearly in the poll.”

Harstad Strategic Research conducted the telephone survey of 507 likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional district from September 20 to 22, 2010.

No detailed information on the poll was available so it is difficult to compare to other polls for the district.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

About that 8th District Poll ...

The 8th congressional district poll released last week caused a stir. It showed Patrick Murphy trailing Mike Fitzpatrick by a noticeable margin. The race is likely to be close and both campaigns have released polls showing that. When Murphy defeated Fitzpatrick in 2006 it was a squeaker. The rematch looks to be a similar roller coaster. But the latest polls showed a double digit lead for Fitzpatrick. That seemed a little strange to me.

Granted I don't know much (anything) about polling. Granted, also, that I have been following Murphy's campaigns since 2005, and so could not be called completely objective. All the same, I wanted to dig a little into the numbers and see if anything could account for the numbers.

The Franklin & Marshall poll provides demographic data on those polled. The age distribution seemed a little off to me. Those under 45 years old represent only 17% of the poll respondents. The US Census Bureau provides some basic demographic data on Bucks County (2006-2008). The 8th congressional district includes a sliver of Montgomery County and a bit of Philadelphia as well. In fact in 2006 Murphy lost Bucks County, but the other parts of the district put him over. Of poll respondents 95% live in Bucks, 3% in Montco and 3% in Philly (the narrative states that percentages won't always add up to 100).

Looking at the age distribution in Bucks as listed with the census, 31% of the county's residents are under 45. That's nearly twice the percentage reflected in the poll. The poll report listed 35% of the respondents as 65 and older although the census reports that only 13.6 of the population was over 65. Finding numbers for those who actually vote is tricky. I couldn't find anything by congressional district. Professional politicos can probably come up with that data. The closest I could come was statewide statistics. This also comes from the census bureau (excel files available for download). I found voter registration numbers and percentages that actually voted. It is true that those over 45 register and vote in greater percentages than those under 45. To get even wonkier I compared age level voting numbers for 2004 and 2008, though this was only available by region. In the northeast (including Pennsylvania) the only group to vote in greater numbers in 2008 was the 18-24 age group. For the 25-44, 45-64, and 65+ groups voter participation went down between 2004 and 2008. (Project Vote recently released an interesting report on what they call the "rising American electorate" which includes younger voters.)

The poll's emphasis on older voters may not be representative of the county's population. This could skew the results even further if, following the 2004-2008 trend, more younger people come out to vote, though mid-terms usually don't bring out as many voters as presidential years.

The gender representation in the poll seems to match that of the county. The income groupings in the poll deviate in one category from that of the census. The greatest deviation is in the upper income levels. the poll lists 30% of respondents earning over $200K. The county census lists 44%. Of course it is possible that with the economic upheaval of the past year or so that households might have lost income. Plus, 7% of the poll respondents don't know (or, more likely, won't say, what their household income is). Otherwise there is just a difference of a percentage point of two. Generally speaking those with higher incomes and higher education levels vote more frequently than those with less income and education. How they vote probably depends on where their income is from. The excel census files show that nationwide veterans vote in greater numbers than non-veterans (and female veterans in greater number than male; this surprised me). The poll respondents show 14% are veterans, but the county generally has only 9.6% veterans.

I don't know if the deviations between poll respondents and county residents generally would impact the accuracy of the poll. The age breakdown is the one that I think could change the outcome the most, depending on how the younger people vote.

At any rate, I wanted to dig a little deeper into the poll findings and am thus sharing with readers what I found. You are encouraged to review the numbers yourself. Let me also say that I have the highest respect for the team at Franklin & Marshall and am sure the poll reflects the responses from those polled. I'm just not sure those polled reflect the voters in the district in representative proportions.

Catching Up with the WSJ

A few interesting items from last week's Wall Street Journal:

"Tea party's raise gives business pleasure," by Brody Mullins and Naftali Bendavid (9/17). The gist of this is that business leaders are worried that tea party candidates, if elected, will not view tax breaks and other government policies that benefit business with a friendly eye.

"Longing to crash the Tea Party," by Michael M. Phillips (9/18) discusses the interaction of social and fiscal conversatism, referencing the Values Voter Summit.

Center Rock, Inc. of Berlin, PA, is providing the drilling bit technology for the efforts to rescue Chilean miners caught in a collapsed mine. For more details see "Foot-wide shaft reaches miners," by Matt Moffett (9/18)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

(Very Belated) 2nd Quarter FEC Report Roundup

2nd Quarter FEC Reports

The 3rd quarter reports will be out on Oct. 16th; the 2nd quarter reports were released July 16, so this is report is very very late. Many apologies for that. The dual reports for the quarter slowed me down quite a bit. Once I got the hang of combining the data it went much faster.

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 April – June, 2010. However, that time period is reported in two parts, a pre-primary (April 1 – April 28) and a second quarter (April 29 – June 30)

The numbers for each part of the three month period are listed with a + sign between them. The total for the election cycle is given after the /

Watch the itemized (over $250 donations), unitemized (smaller donations), and PAC ratios. Generally, you will find unitemized to be about 10% the amount of itemized and PAC’s either a half or quarter the amount of the itemized donations., 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.

At this point in the election cycle it isn’t easy to see who has donated the maximum amount possible. People can donate $2400 per “election,” which means $2400 for the primary and another $2400 for the general. Someone who donated $4800 cannot give that candidate any more money until after the November election. You can’t donate retroactively so if someone doesn’t start donating until after the primary they can only donate $2400. Everyone have that? No? I don’t blame you – it’s a little complicated, but we’ll do our best to keep it all straight.

UPDATED NOTE: Just about everyone received PAC donations from leadership PACS (usually those of party leaders, like Eric Cantor for the Republicans). Since this was pervasive I didn't mention it in the notes on individual candidates.
6th Congressional District

Manan Trivedi, Democrat

Itemized 30,701.00 + 251,740.19
Unitemized 10,777.50 + 35,731.86
Total of Contributions from Individuals $41,478.50 + 284,472.05 / 689,138.74
PACs 0.00 + 67,400/ 92,050.00
The Candidate: 0.00 + 1,938.46/ 18,320.79
Total Contributions: $41,478.50 + 356,810.51/ 799,509.53
Loans 0 + 36,000 / 36,000
Total Receipts: 41,478.50 + 392,810.51 / 835,509.53
Operating Expenditures: 72,771.50 + 214,570.87 / 505,477.04
Other Disbursements: 0 + 0 / 985.00
Total Disbursements: : 72,771.50 + 214,645.87 / 506,537.04
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 182,099.85
Total Receipts 41,478.50 + 392,810.51
Total Disbursements 72,771.50 + 214,645.87
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 428,971.49

Trivedi’s reports are scrambled and therefore difficult to work with.

In the pre-primary report he had 75 itemized individual donations, and no apparent PAC donations. If the 75, 18 were from out of state. There were two donations of $2400. Many donations came in via Act Blue, an online site for contributing to campaigns all across the country. Occupations of donors were unremarkable except perhaps for the one poet. In disbursements, he had six salaried employees and paid for health insurance. One consulting firm received $26K and a research firm was paid $6300.

In the 2nd quarter report, there were 356 non-memo (direct donations) an d144 memoed donations (such as those through Act Blue). There were 116 out of state donations, though some of these could have been repeated donations from the same person; with a scrambled report it is difficult to tell. Many of the out of state donations were from neighboring states such as New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. There werew 16 donations for $2400, 24 donations over $2400 and an additional 21 for $4800, which means they cannot donate again before the election. Among his donors there is one celebrity name – Nancy Sinatra. I caught some local bigwigs, plus a NYT writer, a song writer, and a teacher. There were 26 PAC donations, ten of which were political organizations. Vote Vets showed their support as did Allyson Schwartz’s We the People PAC. The IBEW is also a donor. Trivedi loaned his campaign another $4k for a total of $36K. In disbursements he had 8 salaried employees, though some were likely part-time, and he paid for health insurance.. He paid over $100K for direct mai

Jim Gerlach, incumbent Republican

Itemized 30,500.00 +156,668.00
Unitemized 6,555.00 + 10,175.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 37,055 + 166,843.00 / $600,859.38
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 19,600.00 + 263,900.00 / 755,308.50
Total Receipts 56,845.09 + 431,055.82/ 1,378,546.17
Operating Expenditures 94,794.67 + 152,517.18/ 846,658.98
Refunds, other disbursements: 2,725 + 0.00/ 39,075
Total Disbursements 97,519.67 + 185,092.18/ 1,054,583.98
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 336,180.71
Total Receipts This Period 56,845.09 +431,055.82
Total Disbursements This Period 97,519.67 + 185,092.18
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 541,469.77

Gerlach’s reports are arranged chronologically.

In the pre-primary Gerlach had 62 individual itemized donations, all but one from Pennsylvania. One was for $2400, two more than $2400 and one for $4800. Most of the donors were CEO types. He had 17 PAC donations, including one from the NRA victory Fund. Rob Wonderling’s campaign fund donated, as did Jacqueline Crahalla’s. In disbursements, there were three salaried employees as well as Campbell Campaigns, a firm that does political work. He hired four fundraisers or fundraising firms and paid them a total of just under $22K. At least one person was reimbursed for health insurance costs. He bought yard signs from two firms, one received $10k and the other just under 1K. the campaign must be confident since it could afford to give $1k to Tim Burns for Congress. He also bought gifts from Harry and David.

In the post-primary, there are 216 individual donations, mostly doctors, lawyers and executives, with a few homemakers thrown in. Only a handful are from out of state. There are 144 PACS, with clusters of medical groups, gambling organizations (Poker Players Alliance, and Dealer’s Election Action Committee), credit industry (Experian and TransUnion), railroads, and aviation. In disbursements there were three salaried employees. In disbursements, Campbell Campaigns was paid around $45,500. His bookkeeper earned about $12K. Another political consulting firm earned $13K, Three fundraising firms earned a total of around $17K.

7th Congressional District

Bryan Lentz, Democrat

Itemized 19,712.13 + 112,028.01
Unitemized 6,212.87 + 17,672.89
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 25,925.00 + 129,700.90/ 685,673.98
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 14,500.00 + 100,250.00/ 336,350.00
Transfers from Other Authorized Committees: 5,700.00 / 5,700.00
Total Receipts 40,425.00 + 235,732.56/ 1,027,805.64
Operating Expenditures 43,197.73 + 47,033.46 / 234,508.40
Other Disbursements: 4,281.00+ 2,281.00 / $6,562.00
Total Disbursements 47,728.73 + 49,914.46 / $241,920.40
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 607,420.87
Total Receipts This Period 40,425.00 + 234,732.56
Total Disbursements This Period 47,728.73 + 49,914.46
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 785,935.24

In the pre-primary Lentz had 60 itemized donations, 5 were from out of state. There were three donations of $2400, three over $2400 and one $4800. There were a lot of attorney, one librarian, and a donation from state rep Babette Josephs. Twelve PACs made donations. In the disbursements, he pad $20K for legal services (those petition challenges), interestingly there is a $2k donation to Connor 4Congress. There were 3 salaried employees. He donated $2281 to the state party.

In the 2nd quarter report, there were 315 itemized donations, 37 of them from out of state. Nine people gave $2400, six over $2400 and 4 $4800. Again a lot of lawyers, two different librarians from the one who gave in the pre-primary (he must be popular with the library crowd). There is a painter, a veterinarian, a biochemist, and the publisher of the Scranton Times. There are 42 PAC donations, including a large donation from the DCCC, two teachers union’s Chaka Chattah, and Allyson Schwartz’s PAC. There are 4 salaried employees. Again there was a $2281 donation to the state party. He paid for lawn signs, fundraising, and other political consulting.

Pat Meehan, Republican

Itemized 48,190.35 +277,210.18
Unitemized 6,230.10 + 18,425.56
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 54,420.45 + 295,635.74 / 1,260,683.69
Political Party Committees 0.00 / 1,000.00
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 11,000.00 + 149,820.00 / 383,320.00
Total Receipts 65,420.45 + 445,490.76 / 1,645,038.71
Operating Expenditures 41,988.59 + 219,406.66 / 516,486.80
Refunds: 0.00 / 4000.00
Other disbursements: 1,000.00 / 1,000.00
Total Disbursements 42,988.59 + 219,406.66 / 521,486.80
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 875,035.95
Total Receipts This Period 65,420.45 + 445,490.76
Total Disbursements This Period 42,988.59 + 219,406.66
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 1,123,551.91

The pre-primary reports was scrambled and therefore difficult to work with, but the 2nd quarter report was arranged chronologically.

In the pre-primary he is listed as having debts to seven vendors for a total of $5591.93; for carpeting, graphic design, Comcast and verizon. In donations there are 62 itemized donations, six are from out of state. There are three for $2400, one for more than that, and three for $4800. There are 11 PAC donations. In disbursements there are two salaried employees. He paid $1835 to El Airlines. He gave Tim Burns for Congress $1k. Two consultants (or consultant groups) were each paid $5K retainers. He bought event invitations and sample ballots. One surprising mention was a whiteboard and marker.

In the second quarter he received 318 itemized individual donations, 55 from out of state. There were 29 for $2400, eight for over $2400, and another nine for $4800. The bookkeeper needs to be a little more careful, some people were listed has having donationed $5800 and $4900, which means a refund is needed. There are a lot of people from credit unions donation (especially TruMark and C. U. Fianncial). He also received donations from a plumber and a racehorse manager. There are 74 PAC listed as donors. Thee is a credit union and banking cluster, a donation from Price Waterhouse, and an assortment of leadership PACs, along with the standard corporate PACs. One surprise was a Teamsters donation. In disbursements, he paid a consultaing firm $17K for press work, another $6 for literature, another firm received $12K, $38 for legal services, a Virginia fundraiswer received $14K, and over $8K for a copier or copier services. the Phillies received $3740 for fundraising expenses (he may have held a fundraiser at a game). There were no debts listed for this time period.

8th Congressional District

Patrick Murphy, Incumbent Democrat (elected 2006)

Individual Itemized 46,375.00 + 360,345.00
Individual Unitemized 5,707.33 + 57,573.37
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 52,082.33 + 417,918.37 / 1,935,609.20
Political Party Committees 0.00 / 1,060.00
PACS 13,100.00 + 99,400 / 692,325.00
Total Contributions 65,182.33 + 517,318.37 / 2,628,994.20
Transfers from Other Authorized Committees 0.00 / 5,000.00
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 74.00 + 1,478.01 / 24,570.64
Other Receipts 0.00 / 5,583.07
Total Receipts 65,256.33 + 518,796.38 / 2,664,147.91
Operating Expenditures 45,508.84 + 82,350.12 / 1,187,442.16
Total Refunds 0.00 + 100 / 1921.20
Other Disbursements 275.00 + 150.00 / 45,927.36
Total Disbursements 45,783.84 + 82,600.12 / 1,235,290.72
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 1,319,740.97
Total Receipts This Period 65,256.33 + 518,796.38
Total Disbursements This Period 45,783.84 + 82,600.12
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 1,775,409.72

In the pre-primary, there were 76 individual itemized donors, 15 from out of state. Two donated $2400, nine over $2400, and three topped out at $4800. There were the usual lawyers, etc. but also a higher education cluster and two psychologists. There were 13 PACs including the National Beer Wholesalers Association. In disbursements there were 4 salaried employees; Murphy paid health insurance costs. He paid the Phillies $3240 for a fundraiser. A fundraising firm received $9200.

In the 2nd quarter, there were 602 itemized individual donations, 203 from out of state. There were 29 donations of $2400, 49 donations of over $2400, and 24 people topped out at $4800. He had one librarian, plus a school nurse snd a few teachers. There was an arts cluster – sculptor, photographer, director, producer, and so on. Again, there was a higher education cluster. From PACs he had 55 donations including space Exploration Technologies. In disbursements there were six employees, and the campaign paid for health insurance. The fundraising firm received $4737, another consulting firm received $7500. The campaign buys a subscription for the Bucks County Courier Times.

Mike Fitzpatrick, Republican

Individual Itemized 43,730.00 + 287,361.00
Individual Unitemized 8,919.00 + 22,805.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 52,649.00 + 310,166.00 / 813,248.62
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 11,100.00 + 39,775.00 / 110,235.00
Total Contributions 63,749.00 + 351,941.00 / 925,483.62
Other Receipts 0.00 + 412.27 / 435.00
Total Receipts 63,749.00 + 352,353.27 / 925,918.62
Operating Expenditures 127,059.91 + 96,951.48 / 261,255.61
Refunds to Individuals/Persons 0.00 + 400.00 / 600.00
Total Contribution Refunds .00 + 400.00 / 600.00
Total Disbursements 127,059.91 + 97,351.48 / 261,855.61
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 472,372.13
Total Receipts This Period 63,749.00 + 352,353.27
Total Disbursements This Period 127,059.91 + 97,351.48
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 664,063.01

In the pre-primary, there were 62 itemized individual donations, six from out of state. Of these, six were for $2400, three for over $2400, and two for $4800. Teletronics must have held a fundraiser as there were several donations from employees there. Central Bucks Urology had another cluster of donations. There were five PACS. In disbursements, he spent over $14K for catering at one place, $3400 at another.. He paid one consulting firm about $18K, another $3K. The biggest expenditure is $158K to LN consulting of Harrisburg

In the 2nd quarter report, there were 386 itemized individual donations, 37 were from out of state. There were 17 donations of $2400, nine over $2400, and 13 people topped out at $4800. He received donations from a writer at the Spokesman Review. There were clusters of employees from Mignatti Companies and Carroll Engineering. A number of CEOs and executives donated and there was a also a pharmacy cluster. The campaign lists 24 PAC donations. Two of them, ACE Group PAC and the Ace Cash Express PAC, would seem related, though I did not do a thorough check to be sure. A mortgage bankers pac also donated. In disbursements. LN Consulting was again the big winner, receiving nearly $48K, A printer was paid $9K.

13th Congressional District

Allyson Schwartz, Incumbent District (elected 2004)

Individual Itemized 49,532.28 + 188,313.00
Individual Unitemized 7,546.01 + 9,001.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 57,078.29 + 197,314.00 / 1,387,258.21
Political Party Committees 0.00 + 13.73 / 133,38
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 25,900 + 146,186.45 / 824,262.13
Total Contributions 82,978.29 + 343,514.18 / 2,211,653.72
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 0.00 / 8,530.41
Other Receipts 0.00 + 6008.38 / 50,149.69
Total Receipts 82,978.29 +349,522.56 / 2,270,333.82
Operating Expenditures 41,807.86 + 72,233/ 676,936.95
Refunds to Individuals/Persons 708.05 + 800 / 3,683.05
Other Political Committees (such as PACs) 0.00 / 1,000.00
Total Contribution Refunds 708.05 + 800.00 / 4,683.05
Other Disbursements 2,570.00 + 46,275.00 / 288,915.00
Total Disbursements 45,085.91 + 119,308.00 / 970,535.00
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 3,051,184.98
Total Receipts This Period 82,978.29 +349,522.56
Total Disbursements This Period 45,085.91 + 119,308.00
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 3,319,291.92

In the preprimary there were 122 individual itemized donations, 25 of them from out of state; two were for $2400, six were over $2400, and one topped out at $4800. As usual this is a very tidy report, very organized. Among donors there were a lot of health professions and organizations, including a nurse midwife. There are the standard lawyers and executives. There is also a cluster of donations from people who work at non—profits. Eighteen PACs donated money. In disbursements there are two salaried employees and payments for health insurance. One fundraising firm received around $7K. She paid $8900 in website fees.

In the 2nd quarter there are 277 itemized donations, 67 were from out of state. A total of 11 people donated $2400, 27 doanted over $2400, and 12 topped out at $4800. The congresswoman must have been traveling – there are several donations from the Pittsburgh area. There is a cluster of donations from people in the medical and health fields. At least two firms, Berger & Montague, and also Morris Iron and Steel, must have had fundraisers as several employees from those firms show up. There are donations from 93 PACs, many from the medical area, as well as some unions. In disbursements, the fundraising firm received another $7K. There are legal fees of $11K. The campaign paid $25K to the DCCC and $5K to Emily’s List.

Dee Adcock

Individual Itemized 23,450.00 + 39,150.00
Individual Unitemized 5,255 + 9,636.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 28,705 +48,786.00 / 123,947.00
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 20.10 + 1,350.00 / 1,370.10
Total Contributions 28,725.10 / 50,136.00 / 125,317.10
Loans made by the candidate 0.00 + 275,000 / 360,000.00
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 0.00 / 1,399.72
Total Receipts 28,725.10 + 325,136.00 / 486,716.90
Operating Expenditures 20,767.97 + 92,776.93 / 201,344.25
Refunds to Individuals/Persons 0.00 / 100.00
Total Disbursements 20,767.97 + 92,776.93 / 201,444.25
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 44,956.45
Total Receipts This Period 28,725.10 + 325,136.00
Total Disbursements This Period 20,767.97 + 92,776.93
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 285,272.65

In the pre-primary Adcock loaned himself $85,000. There were 23 donations from others, one from out of state. Of those 23, 6 were for $2400. In disbursements, he paid six people. A consulting firm received $4K; the campaign paid $1655 for legal fees.

In the 2nd quarter the campaign listed $7K in debts and a total of $360K in loans. there were 59 individual donations, two from out of state. There were five donations of $2400, four for more than that and one topped out at $4800. A cluster of donations from Sandmeyer Steel indicates a corporate fundraiser. Adcock’executive assistant donated to the campaign and is also on the campaign payroll. In other disbursements there were six salaried employees. A consulting firm received $19K. Another firm received about $8500. He paid $7200 for radio ads. One printing firm was paid $16K and he paid $4k to the county Republican party for printing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Report on the Rising American Electorate

In the 2008 elections young and minority voters came out to the polls in unusually large numbers. Will those voters turn about again in 2010? We'll see in November. In the meantime, Project Vote has produced a report called "What happened to hope and change?" by Lorraine C. Minnite The survey is of people who voted in 2008.

From their website:

The report, by Project Vote research director Lori Minnite, provides new information on attitudes toward government and government spending by American voters. The telephone poll was conducted in July and August and includes responses from 1,947 Americans who cast ballots in 2008, with special samples drawn of black voters, low-income voters, and voters under the age of 30. This allowed Project Vote to make reliable comparisons among these three groups, self-identified Tea Party sympathizers, and all 2008 voters.

The full report is a 29 page pdf.

From the executive summary:
In contrast to the population that identifies themselves as sympathetic to the "Tea Party"
• More voters agree that, "government should work to provide for the needs of all citizens" than they do with the statement that, "government should do no more than provide national defense and police protection, so that people are left alone to earn whatever they can."
• A majority favor requiring wealthy Americans to pay more social security taxes and taxes on investments.
• A clear majority believe that to address the federal budget deficit, combat operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan should be ended.
• A clear majority think government should spend more or the same on income security programs such
as food stamps.
• A strong majority think government should spend less on tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.
• A strong majority trust the federal government to ensure that banks and credit card companies treat
customers fairly and to protect consumers from fraudulent business practices.
• A strong majority believe the minimum wage should be raised.
• They overwhelmingly plan to vote in 2010.

and also:
Black votes, low-income votes, and younger voters surveyed said:
• A strong majority approve of Barack Obama’s job performance.
• A majority support government spending to stimulate job growth.
• They strongly favor ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• A strong majority agree that government should work to provide for the needs of all citizens.
• A strong majority believe the federal government should work to ensure that all able and willing
Americans have work.
• They overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage.
• They overwhelmingly plan to vote in 2010.


Progressive Kick to Match Taylor and Painter Donations

Progressive Kick has picked state-level candidates around the country and will match donations to those candidates made on Progressive Kick's Act Blue site. There are two Pennsylvania state rep candidates from this part of the state on their list. Rick Taylor (D-151) is running for his third term. I happen to know his 41st birthday is coming up (he's having a combined birthday / Eagles watch party this weekend -- see his facebook page for details.) The other is Mark Painter, the Democratic candidate for the 146th district.

Manan Trivedi Update

Dr. Manan Trivedi, Iraq War vet and candidate for the 6th congressional district, has two new ads out. One takes aim at a fancy fundraiser his opponent held. (It was a golfing event so Trivedi goes out to a public driving range and asks supporters to donate one dime for every yard of distance he can hit the ball.)

The second ad takes his opponent to task for questioning Trivedi's absence from the district while he was a battalion surgeon in Iraq.

Friday, Sept. 24th Trivedi is holding a blood drive at his field office in Ardmore, in conjunction with the Red Cross, to help ease the communities vital need for blood. Throughout the summer blood reserves across Eastern Pennsylvania have reached critically low levels. Trivedi will himself give blood, as well as helping the others who give blood after they've donated.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Statement from John Toth

from the inbox:


All my life, I have lived by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Navy taught me to be responsible for my own actions, to have the integrity to stand up when I see wrongdoing, and perhaps most importantly, to speak truth to power.

Unfortunately, Frank Farry has decided to live by a different Golden Rule. To Frank, it is silence that is golden.

In 2008, Frank ran a campaign that attacked his opponent for refusing to call out Representative Bill DeWeese, who was under investigation at the time and who was later arrested for corruption. Candidate Farry said that it was not enough to criticize behind closed doors. In 2010, though, Representative Farry is singing—or NOT singing—from a different song sheet.

Integrity sometimes requires you to do things that are painful. Integrity sometimes requires you to do things that are not politically expedient. Pennsylvania needs legislators willing to stand-­‐up for what is right, not stand mute, captive to their own hypocritical self-­‐interests. You've gotta be willing to point the finger when you see wrongdoing, even if it needs to pointed at your own party. Frank Farry just
can't seem to do that.

Instead he continues to stand silent. Painfully silent.

In 2007, when the Attorney General started investigating Farry’s powerful political ally, Representative John Perzel, Frank said nothing.

In 2008, when Perzel's home was raided, Frank said nothing.

In fact, EVEN AFTER THE RAID, Frank collected $21,000 in campaign contributions from his friend John Perzel.

All the while, Frank thundered away at his then-­‐Democratic opponent for not speaking
up about Bill DeWeese. Frank was able to find the courage to speak when it concerned his opponent and the opposite party.

But in 2009, when Frank Farry’s political patron was brought to court in handcuffs to face corruption charges, Frank said nothing.

Not a word.

Not even a peep from Frank about John Perzel or the $21,000 in campaign contributions.

Frank hasn't uttered a single word of protest or complaint regarding Representative John Perzel despite his arrest and disgrace for allegedly ripping-­‐off taxpayers.

That's wrong.

Has he returned the money received from Perzel. Nope.

That's wrong, too.

I call upon Frank Farry to stand up for integrity and speak truth to power. Call upon Representative John Perzel to resign and return or contribute to charity the $21,000.

Have the courage of your convictions.

The hypocrisy has to end. I’m not afraid to call for the resignation of each and every legislator who has been arrested on corruption charges. That includes Republicans as well as Democrats.

That’s what doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means. That’s accountability—and I hope that my constituents will hold me accountable for my actions, just as I am holding Frank accountable for his inaction.

I'm not afraid to say that. But Frank is. And that's a key difference between the two of us.

Joe Biden Parties at Penn State

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Penn State next week to encourage students to vote. In 2008 younger voters and minorities voted in larger numbers than usual and Biden wants to encourage them to do the same in 2010. For details see "Joe Biden to speak at Penn State Tuesday," by Marc Levy, Lebanon Daily News 9/23

Schwartz on Health Care Reforms

from the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz announced that several important consumer protections of health care reform will go into effect today. These provisions will end insurance company abuses and put families and their doctors back in control of their own health care.

“Today, important provisions of the health care reform law will go into effect. These new consumer protections will help families obtain better care, lower health care costs, and increase the security of their coverage.

“While the debate on this bill was long and arduous at times, these reforms are now a reality and making a difference in the lives of families, individuals and businesses in my district and across the country. I worked hard to ensure that some of these provisions were included in the final law to give families peace of mind that they won’t go bankrupt if someone they love gets sick, to give patients more choices and better quality of care, and to put consumers in control of their health care.

“Along with many significant provisions already underway, today, even more great changes will go into effect. It is now law that no child can be denied insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I introduced this bill, championed it throughout health care reform, and I am so proud to say that we finally achieved this protection for families.

“In addition, all insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping people’s coverage when they get sick and all plans must allow young adults to remain on their parent’s coverage until their 26th birthday, bridging the gap between college and the workplace.

“These benefits will put an end to some of the most egregious insurance company practices and help families feel more secure about their health care coverage.”

Other reforms going into effect today will improve the quality of insurance and prevent consumers from getting stuck with sky-high medical bills:

· All insurance plans are prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on coverage—so people with costly diseases won’t see their coverage evaporate when they are most ill.

· All employer plans and new individual plans are restricted from setting annual limits on coverage.

· All new plans must have an effective internal and external appeals process—so if consumers want to appeal a decision their insurance company makes, the appeal isn’t lost in corporate bureaucracy.

Many important changes are already making a difference for Pennsylvanians.

* Every state now has a high-risk insurance program, providing coverage for people who were previously denied because of a pre-existing condition.
* Seniors who reach the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ are receiving $250 checks in the mail to help them afford their medications.
* Early retirees are benefiting from a program that helps their employers continue their health coverage.
* And four million businesses are eligible to receive tax credits to help with the cost of providing coverage to their employees.

Over the next several years, this new law will continue to reform the health insurance marketplace—creating health insurance exchanges where consumers can comparison shop for coverage; offering tax credits to help working families afford coverage; reducing families’ health care costs; and reducing the federal deficit.”

For more information about these provisions and other ways that health reform will help you, please visit

Ruth Damsker on the State Senate

from the inbox:

Ruth Damsker, former Montgomery County Commissioner, stood alongside her fellow State Senate candidates at a Harrisburg press conference and expressed her disappointment with the failure of the Republican Senate to pass a budget on time or to pass revenue-generating legislation such as the False Claims Act (SB 1113).

“Last year the budget was passed 101 days late, and when the budget was passed this year, it left huge holes on the revenue side,” Damsker said. “Stewart Greenleaf needs to answer for his role in that process.”

Damsker’s opponent is 32-year incumbent Stewart Greenleaf who, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has the authority to advance the False Claims Act. The bill would allow taxpayers to recover penalty monies when fraud has been committed.

“In the current economy, it is unacceptable to allow such revenue-generating legislation as the False Claims Act to languish in committee. Other states with similar legislation have recovered millions of dollars, but because of a lack of leadership in the Pennsylvania Senate, we are missing out on this revenue.”

Ruth Damsker is the Democratic nominee in the 12th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Montgomery and Bucks Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. She was married to the late Dr. Jeffrey Damsker for 35 years; her 3 sons are physicians and her daughter is a teacher. She is the proud grandmother of 5 young children and lives in Upper Gwynedd.

Statements on Passage of Small Business Bill

The inbox received a number of statements on final passage of the small business bill.

Pres. Obama:

The small business jobs bill passed today will help provide loans and cut taxes for millions of small business owners without adding a dime to our nation’s deficit. After months of partisan obstruction and needless delay, I’m grateful that Democrats and a few Republicans came together to support this common-sense plan to put Americans back to work. I look forward to signing the bill on Monday.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-13)
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz voted for legislation today that will boost lending for small businesses and provide targeted tax relief so businesses can expand, hire and fuel our economy. The Small Business Lending Fund Act passed by the House today offers eight new tax incentives to small businesses, closes tax loopholes that reward corporations that ship jobs overseas, and is expected to create 500,000 jobs by encouraging the development of small businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and with the right tools they can create a stronger business climate that encourages growth, innovation and job creation,” Schwartz said. “With increased access to capital and new tax cuts, our nation’s small businesses will be able to put more Americans back to work and help build long-term economic growth.”

The Small Business Lending Fund Act will help America’s 27 million small businesses create new jobs with $12 billion in tax cuts. It will make local businesses more competitive with big corporations by leveraging up to $300 billion in private sector lending for small businesses, along with state grants for small business lending.

The legislation takes another step to end job outsourcing by ending tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Joe Sestak, current congressman from 7th district, candidate for Senate
U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak today hailed final passage of the Small Business Jobs Act, a bill that will provide $12 billion in tax credits for small businesses, increase access to capital, and create half a million jobs. The small business legislation had been stalled in the Senate for months, having initially passed the House with Admiral Sestak's support on October 29 and again on June 17. Following today's final vote by the House, the measure goes to the White House to await President Obama's signature.

"We need to put people back to work and get our economy moving by investing in small businesses and the middle class," said Joe. "This bill is an important first step. Working families are looking for leadership, not obstruction. Pennsylvania deserves a senator who will place the middle class ahead of Wall Street, not one who's only interested in standing up for big business and the super-rich."

As Vice Chairman of the House Small Business, Admiral Sestak has long been a leading advocate for small business owners and employees. He understands that small businesses create 80 percent of all new jobs and employ 99 percent of the private sector workforce.

That's why he has been a strong supporter of this legislation, which will reward those who invest in small businesses and help entrepreneurs compete with large businesses. It's also why he has proposed an additional small business tax credit that could create 5 million jobs in just 2 years, along with a significant package of investment incentives and loan guarantees that will help jumpstart growth.

Yet, despite the clear benefits of this legislation for small businesses and those who want to work, Congressman Toomey remains silent about the bill, even in the face of bipartisan support.

"It's clear that Congressman Toomey is more committed to his extreme ideology than to working families in Pennsylvania," said Sestak campaign spokesman Jonathon Dworkin. "He's shown that he can always be counted on to support Wall Street at the expense of the middle class. But he refuses to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats and even moderate Republicans in support of tax breaks for small businesses. He just doesn't seem to understand ordinary Pennsylvanians."

In the past, Congressman Toomey has opposed tax credits for small businesses and voted to provide $43 billion in incentives for companies that ship American jobs overseas. He voted to slash the Small Business Administration budget in half, all the while defending $1.6 billion in unmerited bonuses for bailed-out executives and supporting at least $650 billion in deficit spending to extend tax breaks for the super-rich.

"Toomey's Republican colleagues held up the important provisions of this bill twice - in October and again in June. Without these actions, the fee elimination and expanded loan guarantees would expire and the vital tax cuts would be obstructed, and the job creation benefits will not materialize," said Dworkin. "If he was in the Senate, Toomey's voting record indicates he'd be its second-most conservative member - so we can only guess how much longer he'd delay this essential bill. He's so eager to join in the obstructionism that he's falsely claimed to have filibustered a different bill on the House floor - despite the fact that such a procedure doesn't even exist in the House. We don't need more obstructionism and blind ideology. We need real, practical solutions."

Congressman Paul Kanjorski:
Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) voted for H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act, which passed in the House by a vote of 237-187. The legislation is expected to create 500,000 new jobs throughout the country by helping to encourage growth and hiring at small businesses that are struggling during these difficult economic times. The legislation will specifically impact almost one million small businesses in Pennsylvania, according the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) by enabling community banks to lend to financially stressed small businesses, which will help them expand and hire more employees. It will also provide needed tax cuts for small businesses to help them use that capital to further their operations and grow. This legislation is fully paid for and will reduce the deficit.

“Too many small businesses throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and the country are struggling,” said Congressman Kanjorski. “Many local business owners have told me that they are unable to get the loans they need to continue and expand their operations. As a result, their businesses remain stagnant and they are unable to grow and hire. My priority is to boost our economy, create jobs, and encourage small business growth. Our nation’s community banks are the primary source of funds used by the small businesses which are an essential component to a thriving economy. By lending an additional $30 billion to community banks, the federal government is working to ensure those banks are able to lend to small businesses, so that those businesses can then grow and hire more employees.”

H.R. 5297 works to create jobs and encourage growth and investment in small businesses by:

* Expanding the availability of credit to small businesses through a lending fund
The bill creates a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to provide small, community banks with needed capital to help increase lending to small business. During these difficult economic times, many banks have curtailed lending and small businesses are unable to access the capital they need to maintain their operations, grow, and hire more employees. The lending fund will help rectify this problem.

* Increasing investments in small businesses through grants and SBA loans
The bill invests $1.5 billion in grants to support $15 billion in new small business lending through already successful state programs. It also expands access to SBA loans by eliminating fees on many loans and raises the cap on loan limits for many loans from $2 million to $5 million. It increases government guarantees on many loans from 75 percent to 90 percent through the end of the year, reducing the risk for banks to lend to small businesses because those loans are backed by the government. Additionally, the bill increases microloan limits from $35,000 to $50,000.

* Encouraging small business investments, growth, and hiring through tax cuts
The legislation provides tax cuts to help give small business more cash so that they grow and hire more employees by doubling and enhancing small business expensing for write offs such as equipment and machinery in 2010 and 2011, and allowing small businesses to write off 50 percent of the cost for new equipment investments in 2010.

* Promoting entrepreneurship and the creation of more small businesses through tax cuts
The bill doubles the tax deduction for start-up expenditures for new small businesses to $10,000 and creates tools to help small businesses gain access to the international market.

* Advancing fair competition for small businesses
The bill improves tax fairness by preventing small business from incurring significant costs from taxes aimed at large corporations, allows self-employed taxpayers to deduct health costs for payroll tax purposes, and closes loopholes that too often send government contracts to multinational corporations rather than small businesses.

PA2010 Video of Lentz / Meehan Debate

PA2010 has some video clips of last night's Bryan Lentz (D) / Pat Meehan debate (R), candidates for the open 7th congressional district. If you have a chance, watch the closing statements.

Fitzpatrick Parties in NJ

Most candidates will hold fundraisers in a number of places, their home districts, Washington, D.C., and so on. But I do find it odd that Mike Fitzpatrick, Republican candidate in the 8th congressional district, is hopping across the river to hold a fundraiser on the Battleship New Jersey, docked on the Camden waterfront. The battleship itself is wonderful. I've taken a couple of tours in the past few years, and encourage others to do the same -- combine it with a trip to the aquarium for a day out. There's a nice cafeteria across the street from the aquarium or walk down to the Victor Pub for lunch. There are some nice boats on the Pennsylvania side of the river, though, too, and I wonder why he decided to leave the state to raise money.

(For details see an announcement on his campaign Facebook page.)

PA Health Care Stories

The White House has put together some state-specific statistics on health care. Pennsylvania's site is here.

Sierra Club Endorses Murphy

Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) got a significant boost on the campaign trail with an endorsement from the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s largest environmental organizations.

The Sierra Club had endorsed Murphy’s opponent, former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, when the two first faced off back in the 2006 election.

“Mike Fitzpatrick is all for creating jobs – in China,” said Robin Mann, President of Sierra Club. “He talks a good game about growing the economy, but his opposition to clean energy initiatives will keep U.S. factories shuttered and outsource good-paying jobs to China.”

“This wasn’t always the Mike Fitzpatrick we knew, or thought we did,” said Dennis Winters, Chair of Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania Chapter. “The Sierra Club endorsed Mike in 2006 because he was actually one of the few Republicans to co-sponsor the bill to curb climate change. But when political winds changed, Mike went right along with them. It’s hard to believe, but Mike now claims he doesn’t even believe global warming is real. Regardless of where you stand on the issues, we want a Representative who keeps his word, and Mike Fitzpatrick has broken his promises at every turn.”

Murphy thanked the group for their endorsement, reiterating his commitment to moving our economy forward and ensuring America remains the world’s leader in green jobs and renewable energy.

“If Fitzpatrick has his way, we’ll be seeing a lot more ‘Made in China’ and a lot fewer ‘Made in America’ green energy jobs,” said Murphy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Schwartz & Co Introduce Life Sciences Research Bill

from the inbox:

U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Devin Nunes (R-CA), and Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation today that will provide tax incentives for small and mid-sized businesses to invest in life sciences research and development on a targeted basis. The Life Sciences Jobs and Investment Act of 2010 provides an opportunity to enhance medical innovation, life sciences education and job creation in the United States.

Investing in Life Sciences in the United States means:

* Hiring additional scientists, researchers, and comparable personnel engaged in life sciences research;
* Making new investments in research at American universities and post-graduate institutions, state-sponsored incubators, and comparable scientific organizations; and
* Investing in new laboratory and related life sciences research facilities.

“Research and development in life sciences generates high quality jobs and keeps America on the cutting edge of global competitiveness,” Schwartz said. “This legislation will help direct funds to universities and research centers, as well as to private companies that would build additional research parks here in America. Investing in this research is particularly beneficial for Philadelphia, where the life sciences sector is responsible for creating one out of every six jobs and generates 15 percent of all economic activity.”

“Research and development in life sciences is vital to our economic recovery,” Pascrell said. “Encouraging life science research and development will allow our nation to harness the vast resources of our highly-educated workers and develop the next generation of medicine and pharmaceutical technology that will be exported to the world. This is a $29 billion industry in New Jersey. Creating national policy to foster this industry’s growth across the nation will help encourage the billions of dollars in new jobs and construction projects that we expect will be generated by the search for better pharmaceuticals.”

"In my home state of Texas, the life sciences field is growing—but faces steep barriers, including sky-high research costs that may take years, if not decades to get back,” Brady said. “This is why I support tax code changes that will help fuel growth and investment in this field and the development of the next generation of innovative biotechnology medicines and medical devices to ensure that the United States remains the world’s top innovator of life-saving medicines."

The legislation offers businesses two opportunities to create incentives for investment in life sciences research and development. Businesses will either have access to additional tax credits for life sciences research and development or tax advantages to make it more attractive for them to bring their foreign investments back to the U.S.

Amy Gutmann Meets with Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden hosted a roundtable with college presidents at the White House this morning to draw attention to the $18-billion in stimulus money going to university research.

from the press release:

Amy Gutmann, the president of the University of Pennsylvania said stimulus funding has created 1,100 jobs at the University, including 700 in research and 400 in construction. The money is being used to study “new ways of gathering data to unlock the secrets of Alzheimers;” to map the markers of cancer on the human genome; to identify genes linked to heart disease; and to pinpoint risk factors for ALS, among other things. She said the university has conducted a study that estimated each of the 1100 jobs created by the stimulus money has created four more jobs regionally and nationally.

Shannon P Meehan on PTSD

This came in via email, with permission to post. Shannon P. Meehan is running for the state legislature in the 163rd district. I'm not sure this op-ed will help him in the race but it's an important subject for all of us to think about.

Since the recent end to US combat operations in Iraq , I have been thinking a great deal about what this means to soldiers that fought in this war. I wonder how the journey will be for all these soldiers trying to find the way home. It has prompted me to write the following:

Today marks a special anniversary for me. September 22nd, 2007. I was an Army officer, leading my platoon through the city of Baqubah , when my foot caught a trip wire and detonated an IED just three yards behind me. Though the blast left me with both physical and cognitive injuries, I survived.

Today, September 22nd, 2010, I woke in my bed, lying with my wife and eight-month old son. It is exactly three years since the blast, and it is almost a year since my medical retirement from service. In that time, from the rehabilitation in Texas to the trek back to Pennsylvania , I have not yet found my way home. The war has stayed with me. The Iraqi families we saved. The ones I failed. I carry the memory of those killed, both US and Iraqi. I lie here with my family and wonder why my life was spared three years ago. I question if my life was worth the lives of those we lost, and those I took.

Just three months prior to my injury, I called an artillery strike on an IED factory in pursuit of enemy forces. After the strike, I learned there was an innocent family inside the house I had just destroyed. Though we had followed protocol, a tragedy occurred. The event devastated us, and I spiraled into a deep depression. To this day, I am haunted by my actions, fully realizing that my own suffering is insignificant compared to the real tragedy. I cannot imagine the terror that family must have felt moments before the mortars struck, tearing life from earth. I cannot imagine it, but I often try.

Now, staring out our bedroom window, I wonder how any of us can ever leave this war. Recognizing the Iraqi family I destroyed will forever live in the silence I called down upon them, I at least hope my voice rising out of that terrible silence can help bring us home.

I imagine we all must find our own way. For me, I have learned that sharing my story has helped to heal me. Speaking honestly about my experiences has allowed me to make sense of them and flesh out much of what was just beneath the surface. I first shared the stories with my family, and now I share them across the country.

By sharing, I see the understanding it has lent others. People can see the challenges soldiers face, not only on the frontlines, but also on the home front. They can see the hardships both our families at home and the Iraqi families must endure.

I have seen the connection it has made with other veterans. It has shown many of them that it is okay to confess their pains. Whether it is through sharing with many or just a few simple whispers to one’s spouse, soldiers should tell their stories however they can, and we should be waiting to hear them.

I remember meeting one veteran after a radio show in Virginia . He had been listening to the broadcast, and drove to the station to meet me. He thanked me for sharing and immediately went into his own experience from Vietnam . He too had been responsible for civilian casualties. As he explained, he began to tremble. I could see pain just behind his tearing eyes. The tragedy was still raw inside him, lying just beneath his surface. I asked him if he had ever shared this story before, and he had not. For over 35 years he had remained silent, not even telling his wife, but he now felt he could.

In such stories I find some redemption, and a way home. But for the first time, on this difficult anniversary, I have found another reason.

Still in bed, I see that my son has opened his eyes. I watch as he squirms and giggles. I cannot help but smile. In him, through all the guilt inside me, I see a reason to return. With just a smile, he overwhelms the ringing in my ears, the pains that remain in my body, and the sadness that once consumed me. He shows me that beyond the thin air between me and Iraq on this day – a place I lingered much too often – life goes on. Behind his eyes I see this life, and in his life I see that flash of light that can show me the way home.

By: Shannon P. Meehan
Captain Shannon P. Meehan (Ret.) was a leader of a tank platoon for the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army. He is the author of "Beyond Duty," written with Roger Thompson, a chronicle of his experiences in Iraq .

Captain Shannon P. Meehan (Ret.) was a leader of a tank platoon for the storied 1st Cavalry Division of the U. S. Army.[1] He graduated from VMI with distinction, having also studied at Oxford University, and earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and an Army Commendation for Valor, among other honors while serving in Iraq.[2] He is the author of “Beyond Duty,” written with Roger Thompson, which chronicles his experiences in Iraq.[3] Through speaking engagements across the country, Meehan has become a spokesperson for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder.[4]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Philadelphia Neighborhood Wins Grant

from the inbox:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 21 nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education will receive Promise Neighborhoods planning grants. With the one-year grants, the recipients will create plans to provide cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children.

“I applaud each of the Promise Neighborhood applicants for their leadership,” President Barack Obama said. “They are galvanizing their communities to help offer our children a pathway out of poverty. The winners announced today will deliver a broad array of services to help all young people thrive academically, earn their high school diploma, go on to college, and reach for their dreams.”

“Communities across the country recognize that education is the one true path out of poverty,” Secretary Duncan said. “These Promise Neighborhoods applicants are committed to putting schools at the center of their work to provide comprehensive services for young children and students.”

The planning grants of up to $500,000 will support the work in a diverse set of communities in major metropolitan areas, small and medium-size cities, rural areas, and one Indian reservation. The President has requested $210 million in his fiscal 2011 budget, including $200 million to support implementation of Promise Neighborhood projects and $10 million for planning grants for new communities.

One Pennsylvania neighborhood was on the list:

# Universal Community Homes (Philadelphia)

Monday, September 20, 2010

More Remarks on the Florida Loophole

On Friday this came to the inbox:

Today, retired Army Captain Shannon Meehan, the Democratic nominee for State Representative in the 163rd House District, called on Representative Nick Micozzie to support and strongly urge action on House Bill 2536 closing the deadly “Florida Concealed Carry Loophole.” This loophole allows criminals who have been denied a permit to carry a concealed weapon by Pennsylvania law enforcement to apply for, and be granted, the same permit from the State of Florida . This past Sunday saw the use of a weapon obtained in this manner, by a man who had his Pennsylvania permit revoked for a 2005 confrontation with police, to kill an 18-year old alleged car robber.

“This is a direct instance in which inaction over gun legislation has cost a young man his life, and it serves as a resounding call to legislators to close this deadly loophole,” said Meehan. “As a platoon leader in Iraq , my soldiers and I worked tirelessly to disarm those who were a threat to us and their community, and I call on Representative Micozzie to side with the people he represents and law enforcement of Pennsylvania in supporting this bill.”

Unsurprisingly Joe Grace of CeaseFirePA is also in favor of closing the "Florida loophole:"

In the wake of a gun murder committed this week in Philadelphia by a Pennsylvania man armed with a .40 caliber handgun and a Florida concealed carry gun permit – whose Pennsylvania permit was previously revoked by authorities based on his arrest for a violent crime – CeaseFirePA today sent a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, urging the Attorney General to take immediate action to close the Florida concealed carry loophole in PA law before further gun violence occurs.

“As Attorney General, you have the authority to change Pennsylvania’s firearms reciprocity agreement with Florida, and either end that agreement or renegotiate a stronger agreement with Florida that ensures Pennsylvanians who would otherwise be denied a permit under PA’s concealed carry requirements would not be able to obtain and use a Florida permit to carry a concealed gun in Pennsylvania,” CeaseFirePA board president Phil Goldsmith and executive director Joe Grace wrote in the organization’s letter to Corbett. “We urge you to exercise your authority immediately and close this dangerous loophole in state law.” CeaseFirePA’s letter is attached to this email.

CeaseFirePA’s letter also urged Attorney General Corbett to support PA House Bill 2536, legislation introduced to close the loophole in PA law under which PA residents, whose permits to carry concealed firearms were previously revoked or denied by PA law enforcement, are going online or by mail to obtain concealed carry permits from the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Brief Report on the Upper Dublin Democrats Picnic

The Upper Dublin Democrats held a picnic today. While I was there I counted about 50 people in attendance, though not all at the same time. State representatives Rick Taylor, Josh Shapiro, and Mike Gerber came out to meet constituents. State Senate candidate Ruth Damsker also attended, as did Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel. There may have been others that I missed. It was a potluck dinner and I tried mandel bread which is like a biscotti but softer. Very good.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Woodrow Wilson Versus the Insurance Companies

Insurance companies have been standing between doctors and their patients for years, decades even. Nor are the rich and powerful immune. Note this passage from
Starling of the White House: The story of the man whose Secret Service detail guarded five presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt, as told to Thomas Sugrue, by Col. Edmund W. Starling. NY Simon & Schuster, 1946:

There were a lot of overhead pipes and one of the soldiers told him to grab one. He did, but unfortunately the one he chose was carrying the exhaust and was very hot. It burned the palm of his right hand severely and he had to go to the White House immediately to have it dressed and bandaged.

It was two weeks before he was able to use his hand again, but the insurance company showed little sympathy. He carried an accident policy, but the company held that he was not incapacitated, since he could sign bills with his left hand. (pp. 109-110)

Steeler on a Presidential Commission

More than a dozen new members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will be sworn in at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

The Commission will work to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through increased access to, and participation in, Federal programs in which they may be underserved, by providing advice to President Obama and the co-chairs of the White House Initiative, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Among the new commissions members is Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Also on the list is Wharton grad Dilawar A. Syed

Obama on Elizabeth Warren

I [heart] Elizabeth Warren and was very pleased as this announcement:

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody.

Before we begin I just want to mention a report that was released by the Census Bureau yesterday about what happened to wages during the last decade. It revealed that between 2001 and 2009, the incomes of middle-class families fell by almost 5 percent.

I want to repeat that. Between 2001 and 2009, the incomes of middle-class families fell by 5 percent.

In the words of today’s Wall Street Journal, this “lost decade” was the worst for families in half a century -- a decade that obviously ended in a devastating recession that made things even worse.

We know that a strong middle class leads a strong economy. And that's why, as we dig our way out of this recession, we've set our sights on policies that grow the middle class and provide a ladder for those who are struggling to join it. And that's why I am urging the leaders of the other party to stop holding middle-class tax cuts hostage and extend this relief to families immediately. They need it. They need our help. And that's why we're here today.

Part of what led to the financial crisis were practices that took advantage of consumers, particularly when too many homeowners were deceived into taking out mortgages on their homes that they couldn’t afford. But we also know that these practices predated the crisis, and we also know that these practices don't just exist in the housing market.

For years, banks and mortgage lenders and credit card companies have often used fine print and confusing language and attractive, front-end offers to take advantage of American consumers. We’ve seen banks charge unreasonable overdraft fees. We’ve seen credit card companies hit folks with unfair rate hikes. We’ve seen mortgage lenders offer cheap initial monthly payments and interest rates that later skyrocketed. All this has cost middle-class families billions of dollars -- tens of billions of dollars -- that they could have used to pay the bills or make the mortgage, or send their kids to college.

And I have to say when Michelle and I were first starting a family, we had to navigate a lot of these financial decisions -- whether it was buying a first home, or paying off our college loans, or putting a lot of debt on credit cards. And obviously, we were better off than a lot of families, but we still often found ourselves confused or finding ourselves in tough situations as a consequence. So we’ve got a pretty good idea -- I’ve got a personally good idea of how this can be difficult and sometimes confusing for the average consumer.

And that's partly why even when I was still in the U.S. Senate, I took such a great interest in the work of the woman standing next to me. I have known Elizabeth Warren since law school. She’s a native of Oklahoma. She’s a janitor’s daughter who has become one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class. She has seen financial struggles and foreclosures affect her own family.

Long before this crisis hit, she had written eloquently, passionately, forcefully, about the growing financial pressures on working families and the need to put in place stronger consumer protections. And three years ago she came up with an idea for a new independent agency that would have one simple overriding mission: standing up for consumers and middle-class families.

Thanks to Elizabeth’s efforts, as well as the dedication and persistence of the person to my right, Secretary of Treasury Geithner, as well as leaders in Congress like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, that agency will soon become a reality.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was one of the central aspects of financial reform, will empower all Americans with the clear and concise information they need to make the best choices, the best financial decisions, for them and their families.

Never again will folks be confused or misled by the pages of barely understandable fine print that you find in agreements for credit cards or mortgages or student loans. The bureau is going to crack down on the abusive practices of unscrupulous mortgage lenders. It will reinforce the new credit card law that we passed, banning unfair rate hikes and ensure that folks aren’t unwittingly caught by overdraft fees when they sign up for a checking account. It will give students who take out college loans clear information and make sure that lenders don’t game the system. And it will ensure that every American receives a free credit score if they are denied a loan or insurance because of that score.

Basically, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be a watchdog for the American consumer, charged with enforcing the toughest financial protections in history.

Now, getting this agency off the ground will be an enormously important task, a task that can’t wait. And that task is something that I’ve asked Elizabeth to take on. Secretary Geithner and I both agree that Elizabeth is the best person to stand this agency up. She was the architect behind the idea for a consumer watchdog, so it only makes sense that she’d be the -- she should be the architect working with Secretary of Treasury Geithner in standing up the agency.

She will help oversee all aspects of the bureau’s creation, from staff recruitment to designing policy initiatives to future decisions about the agency. She will have direct access to me and to Secretary Geithner, and she will oversee a staff at the Treasury Department that has already begun to work on this task.

She will also play a pivotal role in helping me determine who the best choice is for director of the bureau. And given the importance of these economic issues, I also want Elizabeth to have a role as a White House advisor as well as advisor to Secretary Geithner on consumer issues.

Elizabeth understands what I strongly believe -- that a strong, growing economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class. And that means every American has to get a fair shake in their financial dealings.

For years financial companies have been able to spend millions of dollars on their own watchdog -- lobbyists who look out for their interests and fight for their priorities. That's their right. But from now on, consumers will also have a powerful watchdog -- a tough, independent watchdog whose job it is to stand up for their financial interests, for their families’ future. And I am proud that we got this done, and I'm equally proud that Elizabeth Warren will be helping to make her original vision a reality.

So we are extremely proud of you, Elizabeth. Good luck.

MS. WARREN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Thank you, everybody.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Radnor Township Democrats Picnic

The Radnor Democrats held a Rally for Change last Saturday, September 11. About 40 people attended. Several candidates stopped by to talk with people. These are my notes from their public comments. As always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Chairman George Badey served as mc and did a find job. He pointed out some local elected officials, including township commissioners John Fisher and John Nagle.

Joe Sestak could not attend but asked Joe Hoeffel to speak on his behalf. Hoeffel pointed out Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman David Landau. Hoeffel said people are angry because of the economy. Republicans spout simple theories: cut taxes, “starve the beast.” We have to energize our base. We believe in individual freedom and the magic of the market. We want to life all boats.

Bryan Lentz, currently a state representative and candidate for the 7th congressional district. He said don’t believe the headlines about trouble for the Democrats. The Democratic party gave us civil rights and protect the environment. The Republicans used to talk about balancing the budget and avoiding foreign entanglements. Now it’s run up deficits, given tax cuts to the rich, and they get into every entanglement. The Republicans are talking about their friends – corporations, drug companies and insurance companies are spending money to keep me out of office. They are paying for ads against me. That is a badge of honor. I got into politics to protect people. Between now and election day how many people can you call, how many doors can you knock on. We wont’ outspend corporations. The only counter to corporate spending is us, talking to people. I want to invest in education, protect the environment, and stick up for people who can’t stick up for themselves. As your self, who do you want sticking up for you.

State Rep. Greg Vitali said we hold the state house now and don’t want that to change. Republican candidate for governor Tom Corbett will lease out state forest land and not tax Marcellus Shale extraction. for a change let’s work to keep things the same.

Walt Waite, candidate for Bryan Lentz’s state house seat said he had knocked on about 6,000 doors. It is important that we hang on to these seats. We want to help people. If you have a problem you should fix it today. If you wait until tomorrow it will take longer and cost more.

David Landau, chair of the Delaware County Democrats said Radnor is showing up how to win elections on the local level. We need that infrastructure. The key is to get the Democrats out.

My thanks to the gentleman who sent me directions.

New Yorker on the Stimulus

From "Second Helpings" by James Surowiecki:

But, by any reasonable measure, the $800-billion stimulus package that Congress passed in the winter of 2009 was a clear, if limited, success. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it reduced unemployment by somewhere between 0.8 and 1.7 per cent in recent months. Economists at various Wall Street houses suggest that it boosted G.D.P. by more than two per cent. And a recent study by Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder, economists from, respectively, Moody’s and Princeton, argues that, in the absence of the stimulus, unemployment would have risen above eleven per cent and that G.D.P. would have been almost half a trillion dollars lower. The weight of the evidence suggests that fiscal policy softened the impact of the recession, boosting demand, creating jobs, and helping the economy start growing again.

PA Energy Clean Energy Projects

blogger's note: There is a 22 page pdf outlining specific Pennsylvania projects. I just skimmed it for now but saw some things that deserve closer scrutiny later.

Pennsylvania Clean Energy Investments under the Recovery Act Highlighted in New Energy Department Report

Report details progress driving clean energy innovation, building domestic manufacturing capacity, and helping families and businesses save money through energy efficiency

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced the release of a report detailing the broad range of clean energy projects underway in Pennsylvania funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Recovery Act is investing $90 billion in clean energy nationwide, including $1 billion in Pennsylvania, as part of the Obama Administration’s unprecedented commitment to rebuilding a strong, sustainable 21st century economy. To download a copy of the report, visit

“Our investments in clean energy under the Recovery Act are benefiting every state in America,” said Secretary Chu. “The Recovery Act funding for projects like modernizing our electrical grid, improving the efficiency of our homes and businesses, and building new advanced vehicle and renewable energy manufacturing facilities is creating jobs now while laying the groundwork for America’s new industrial revolution.”

Under the Recovery Act, the private sector is joining with the federal government, universities, states and local communities to move the country toward a clean energy future. These unprecedented investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced vehicle manufacturing, the smart grid, and research, development, and deployment of the latest innovative energy technologies will help the U.S. to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, improve our energy security, and reduce carbon pollution.

Our clean energy investments here in America are improving U.S. economic competitiveness, supporting the growth of new green industries like advanced battery manufacturing, solar and wind energy, and carbon capture and sequestration, and creating new jobs across the country. By 2012, we expect our commitment to clean energy to lead to more than 800,000 jobs nationally. More information about Recovery Act-supported jobs in Pennsylvania is available at

The report released today on the Recovery Act projects in the state includes information about the Department of Energy’s $12 billion investments in energy efficiency, including low-income home weatherization, local initiatives to launch new conservation and renewable energy projects, and technologies that will significantly reduce the energy use in our homes, businesses and industry. The Recovery Act is investing a total of nearly $471 million in Pennsylvania to advance local energy efficiency efforts and support the development of a long-term, sustainable energy efficiency and retrofit industry.

The Recovery Act is also enabling the growth of the renewable energy industry in America. In addition to investments in the research, development, and deployment of solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other renewable energy technologies, the Recovery Act is enabling more than $5 billion in tax grants to more than 1,000 renewable energy projects across the country. These projects are leveraging more than $15 billion in total private capital investments to expand the clean energy industry and generate more than 11 gigawatts of new, clean renewable energy. This includes 29 renewable energy projects in Pennsylvania that are supported by nearly $212 million in federal investment. The tax grant program has already funded enough renewable energy projects nationally to power more than one million homes; that is enough clean energy to power the homes of everyone living in Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Cincinnati combined. According to an April 2010 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on these awards, these projects are supporting more than 51,600 construction jobs and 3,860 permanent jobs.

The Recovery Act also includes $2.3 billion in tax credits for more than 180 clean energy manufacturing projects across the country. These projects include new manufacturing facilities to make solar energy components, wind turbines, and high efficiency appliances, among others – including 7 facilities in Pennsylvania. These investments under the Recovery Act are helping to achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. renewable energy generation capacity and U.S. renewable manufacturing capacity by 2012.

Investments in advanced vehicles and the smart grid are also playing an important role in America’s clean energy development. The Recovery Act is investing $4.5 billion in smart grid technologies, including nearly $244 million in Pennsylvania, which is helping to modernize and upgrade America’s electricity system, improve the reliability and efficiency of the electrical grid, and provide consumers with more information about their energy use. More than $3.4 billion nationally is also being invested in developing and deploying the next generation of advanced vehicles, including vehicles powered by electricity, biomass, and other alternative fuels. The state is receiving more than $60 million to build a sustainable transportation sector, helping to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and limit carbon pollution.

These unprecedented investments under the Recovery Act are helping to make the U.S. a global leader in clean energy, improve America’s energy security, and address climate change.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trivedi's Statements on Health Insurance Reform

from the inbox:

One week from today, on September 23rd, many pieces of the recent health insurance reforms will go into effect. As the nation prepares to take advantage of these reforms, Dr. Manan Trivedi, Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, released the following statement:

"In a week, many of the best pieces of the recent health insurance reforms will go into effect. As I have stated in the past, certainly there were flaws in the Affordable Care Act. As I have also stated, this legislation did not go far enough to control costs. There is so much work ahead of us to bring health costs down and ensure the law is effectively enacted, but as a physician, I know there are good elements in those reforms.

"Congressman Jim Gerlach has recently called for 'repeal and replace.' Don't be fooled. Once they throw out all of the progress that was made in this law, they will leave us without any reforms, back in a reality where insurance companies would be brought back into the center of our health care, standing between patients and doctors, not providing preventive care, rescinding coverage when a patient gets sick, and denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. We would return to a system that is the most expensive in the world while still leaving 50 million uninsured. Instead of scrapping our achievements, let’s take the best of the reforms and continue to work to cut costs and cover more. ‘Repeal and replace’ is an excuse for those Washington politicians who are unwilling to do the hard work necessary to make this law better. As a physician, when a patient comes to me with an ailment that may seem difficult to cure, I don’t kick them out the door and ask for an easier patient to deal with. I fix the situation in front of me and that is exactly what Congress should begin to do immediately.

"The next, crucial step for our health system is to get a handle on rapidly rising costs in healthcare. The dirty secret in medicine, which I have seen firsthand, is that 30% of everything we do does absolutely nothing to improve your health. We can save ourselves and our nation so much money, if only we can figure out where that 30% is. That’s why I will rein in costs over the long-term by supporting comparative effectiveness research—studies that will help us really figure out what works and what doesn’t work in healthcare. We also must expand health information technology, better utilize chronic disease management programs, standardize best practices and focus more on wellness, all of which have been proven to reduce costs and improve quality.

"Next Thursday, more people in our nation will be healthier at a more affordable rate. These reforms are first steps toward higher quality, more affordable health care for all. Rather than knocking them all down, we must build upon them by ensuring that all aspects of the reforms are executed efficiently and that our future strides focus squarely on bringing down overall health care costs."

Manan Trivedi is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District. He is a primary care physician, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, and an Iraq War veteran from Berks County.

To learn more about Dr. Trivedi's position on health care, click here:

To learn more about the health insurance reforms coming into effect Sept. 23rd, click here:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trivedi Teletownhall

Dr Manan Trivedi, Democratic candidate for the 6th congressional district held a teletownhall meeting on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. I listened in and these are my notes from the call. They are not intended as a complete transcript. As always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

MT: Hello and welcome. I’m an Iraq War veteran and primary care doctor running for Congress.

survey: what counties are people calling from: Berks, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery (counties that are in part included in the 6th congressional district)

I was born and raised in Berks County.. Proud product of the public schools. Went to college and medical school in Boston then joined the Navy. [blogger’s note: the connection was lost at this point and it took a minute or two to re-connect so I missed part of his biography]

My #1 focus is to promote job growth.

survey: what is your most important issue: jobs, social security, Wall Street reform, clean energy, health care, foreign policy / veterans issues

Q: getting close to retirement, paid into social security, now they’re telling me they’re going to reduce benefits or make me work longer?

MT: This is an important issues, a promise to all generations. I’ve pledged not to cut benefits or increase age. My mom is in her late 60’s. We need to stop borrowing from the trust fund.

Q: What do you propose to do about job growth. Every politician had platforms that go nowhere.

MT: My #1 focus is jobs. We need to get the economy on track. My parents worked at an apple juice company. They lost their jobs when the factory closed and their pensions were raided. My #1 focus is small businesses that want to grow. The industry of the future is clean energy. Make sure those are American jobs not foreign jobs. My wife went to MIT. Many of the people who when to school with her and work with these issues say we can do it. Infrastructure – We need better infrastructure. Route 422 is a parking lot at rush hour. We need light rail. It isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue but an American issue.

Q: What are you planning to do for Veterans and do about the Iraq War?

MT: We need to do more for our veterans. Right now these guys are spread too thin. Use metrics – are we going in the right direction. We should take care of our veterans. issues like post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are very real and need to be addressed. We need to make the process easier.

Q: Are you from here? [incumbent Republican Jim] Gerlach says you aren’t.

MT: These are lies. I was born and raised in Berks County. Born in Reading, raised in Fleetwood. I was away on active duty in Iraq and proud of my service. Proud to be back here know and raising a family here.

Q: People are hurting really bad around here. What are your ideas; how will you create jobs?

MT: It is my #1 issue. Our website ( has my comprehensive jobs plan. It focuses on small business, clean energy, infrastructure, cracking down on illegal immigrants, and ending tax credits to businesses that move jobs overseas.

Q: How will you make sure Wall Street never does this to us again?

MT: This is a mess. These Washington guys take beaucoup bucks form these [Wall St] guys. When there’s trouble they bail out their buddies. This is a problem that affects everyone. We need to keep better track of these, more transparency.

Q: Deficit. Balance budget. As a freshman how will you get Pelosi’s attention?

MT: We need more fiscal discipline in Washington. I’m proposing a pay cut for members of Congress. Cut the fat in the federal budget. Start with not renewing tax cuts for top 2%. End tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs. Look at the rest of the budget. Listen to the suggestions of Defense Secretary Gates regarding what can be cut in Defense. As for Pelosi, I’m not going to lie and say freshman congressman can change the world. In medicine we look at evidence based medicine. We need evidence based policies in Washington. See what works to fix the economy.

Q: We should take care of our country first and not send so much money overseas.

MT: We need to invest in American and American jobs. Focus more of our resources in America. Shouldn’t give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

Survey: If you like what you’ve heard and want to get involved press 1.

Q: I recently read that you want to turn more health care over to the government.

MT: I’m not in favor of socialized medicine. The new health care reform law is not socialized medicine. I am in favor of the bill but it needs improvement. We need to get costs under control. 30% of what we do in medicine doesn’t make any difference at all. If we can get that down, cut excessive tests, it will save money. Incentivize best practices.

Q: My mother is an 8th grade English teacher. A new bill on teacher accountability is based on assessment. My mom has learning support children. Their scores are lower than the students in other classes.

MT: This is a big issue. There is not better investment that education. [blogger’s note: I missed who he is quoting] “If you want to know what the economy will like in 20 years, look at education today.” We shouldn’t encourage teachers to teach to the test. My best teachers made me think outside the box. Teacher assessment can’t be just be test scores.

Q: War in terrorism. 5K were killed at the World Trade Center but 4.8 million (??) have died from smoking. cost / benefit, guns vs butter.

MT: I’m not a pacifist. War is necessary. I served in Iraq. We are spending excessively on Iraq. We could have spent that $ on health care or education. We should support the Dept. of Defense but not spend frivolously. We need to spend more on health care and education.

Trivedi ended the call with a Phillies update and told those who did not have a chance to ask a question to leave a message at the end of the call or go to the website,