Friday, August 31, 2012

Quick Thoughts on the RNC

Blogging has been light this week as, like most of you, I've been watching some of the speeches at the Republican convention.  Here are a few comments on the speeches I saw; they are purely my opinion, going from memory so some of the details may be wrong.

Ann Romney -- I didn't care for her speech.  I didn't like Mitt more after hearing it.  Nor, actually, did I like Mrs. Romney any more after hearing it.  There was little in it I could relate to.  The Romney's marriage is by all accounts a loving one and that speaks well of them.  But she didn't talk about making decisions in the family -- not necessarily monetary decisions, as they've said this was not necessarily a struggle for them, but other household decisions or childrearing decisions.  It was either in her remarks or in a film shown that night, but Mitt was referenced as being like a 6th child.  Marriages in which the husband is regarded as one of the kids are not marriages of equals.  She told us how the two of them feel about each other and it appears to be a real love story, but she didn't tell me anything about what kind of president he would be.  The best "wife's speech" I remember hearing was that of Laura Bush.  She had me when she said something along the lines of "let me tell you about my husband just as if we ran into each other at the store."  She was being her husband's advocate, telling the world what he would do for the country.  I felt that Mrs. Romney was telling me how much her husband adored her, which is great for her but doesn't do anything for anyone else.  Nothing in Ann Romney's speech got me like Laura Bush's did.

Chris Christie -- I liked this speech.  It was well-written with some really good one liners that I think would make great talking points for the GOP.  Do not take this as a statement of support for the NJ governor; it is not.

Condi Rice -- I only caught part of this but it was good.  She speaks well and with authority.

Paul Ryan -- Also well-written and delivered.  I don't like what he said but he said it well.   I had some issues with some facts he presented.

Clint Eastwood -- Train wreck

Marco Rubio -- Great job, good narrative

Mitt Romney -- The words were okay.  Some passages were quite good.  Some of his facts were iffy.  But I didn't like it and that was mostly in the delivery.  Watch it with the sound off -- the tilting head, the eyebrows, the condescending smile, the doe-y, dewy eyes; the body language is that of an old man patronizing a child.  He didn't strike me as presidential at all.  Also, any time a man says his wife's work is more important than his I hear is as code that she did all the childcare and did not work outside the home.  He never had to miss a meeting because a kid was sick and his wife had a more important meeting.  He never had to cut out of work early for a parent teacher conference.  He's never had to do "the juggle."  Anyone who's never had to do "the juggle" cannot possibly relate to the problems of my household and many households.  He talked about having a women lt. gov. and many women on his cabinet in Massachusetts.  Were any of those women raising children at the time?  What was that like?

Appeals to women -- it was clear that all speakers and party spokespeople have been given marching orders to praise women.  That's nice but I'm not buying it.  Who doesn't like their mother?  What married man won't speak well of his wife?  Let's see the policy points that support all that.  Want to help small business owners?  Find a way for them to get health insurance for themselves and their employees.  Want to help stay at home parents (moms AND dads)?  Talk about how Mrs. Romney went back to college and finished her degree after her children were born -- what time management & child care strategies did they use?  How did they pay for it?  Talk about how her health problems and how that affected their family.  I'm less interested in whether or not Mitt curled up in bed with her when she was sick (part of her speech) than in what they did if she was too ill to fix dinner or shop for food-- who took care of it then?  If the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act includes a clause saying health insurance companies can't charge women more then talk about that.  Talk about all the volunteer work women do on behalf of their families and communities, about the value of it, and why companies should offer some flexibility in schedules to allow for it.  Don't just say "oh, my wife did all the childcare so I got to act like a kid myself."  That's not helping.  Women, like men, need time and money.  Your wife and mother might want your love and respect but that's not doing anything for the rest of us.  I'd like fair salaries, opportunities for job growth and education, health care, and an even playing field for business opportunities. 

Those are my 2 cents.

Update SEPTA Info for This Weekend

from the inbox:

 SEPTA is reminding those attending this weekend’s Made In America concert about extra service that will be available on subways, trolleys and shuttle buses from remote parking.

The best resources for travel to-and-from the concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are SEPTA’s subways – the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford Line. These lines are easily accessible for riders throughout the region, with stops located just a short walking distance from the concert site. SEPTA will be providing music fans with extra trips on both of these lines, as well as on some connecting transit services, including the Norristown High Speed Line and City Trolley routes.

There will also be bus service from a remote parking site, and a number of bus detours will be in effect due to road closures on and around the Parkway.

For ease and convenience of travel, concert-goers who may normally use Regional Rail are urged to take advantage of these extra transit services. Regional Rail trains will run on regular weekend schedules, with most lines operating hourly. By comparison, subway trains will run every five minutes with the additional trips this weekend. Also, due to the large number of people who will be leaving the concert at the 11 p.m. finish both nights, late-night Regional Rail trains could quickly reach capacity – meaning SEPTA may not be able to accommodate Regional Rail riders who stay until the end of the shows.

Subway & Trolley Service
 Broad Street Line & Market-Frankford Line: Trains will run every five minutes before, during and after performances.

 Trolleys: Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will run every five-to-10 minutes.

 Norristown High Speed Line: Service will run every 20 minutes during peak travel times, including after the shows.

 SEPTA will add token sales at the following subway and trolley stations: Fern Rock, Race-Vine, Spring Garden, City Hall, 15th Street, 46th Street, 19th Street and 22nd Street.

Remote Parking Shuttle Bus Service: SEPTA will operate shuttle bus service between the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, located at 5201 Parkside Avenue, and the concert site.
 From the Mann, shuttle buses will run every 30 minutes from noon until 5 p.m., and then every 60 minutes between 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

 At the conclusion of the shows, shuttles will depart from Kelly Drive at 25th Street for the return trip to the remote parking site at the Mann. Concert-goers using the remote parking site need to board the shuttles by 11:45 p.m.

 Regular SEPTA fares apply for all trips on the Made In America shuttle buses. SEPTA will be selling two-packs of tokens, which cost $3.10, at the Mann. Regular one-way cash fare is $2. One-Day Convenience Passes, which offers eight trips in one day on any bus, trolley and subway at $7, will also be available for purchase.

Bus Detours
 Due to road closures, Bus Routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43 and 48 will be re-routed around the Parkway. Detour updates will be available through the System Status feature on SEPTA’s Website at

Other Labor Day Weekend Events
 There will be extra service on the Broad Street Line for Bruce Springsteen concerts at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, Sept. 2 and Monday, Sept. 3. On Friday, Aug. 31, additional trips will run on the Broad Street Line for the 7 p.m. Villanova-Temple game at Lincoln Financial field, and there will be extra service on the Market-Frankford Line for the Penn’s Landing concert and fireworks celebration.

 SEPTA has a special section online with details about travel all major Labor Day Weekend events at

Customer Service Extended Hours & Additional Sales Locations
 SEPTA Customer Service Call Center hours will be extended from 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday. Representatives can be reached by calling (215) 580-7800.

 The 30th Street Station Customer Service Office will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

For more information, including schedules, fares and trip-planning tools, visit

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Schwartz on Ryan

from the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), the number two Democrat on the House Budget Committee released the following statement regarding U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention.

“Paul Ryan's speech tonight reinforced that this election is about two choices between two very different views for America. There are fundamental questions voters should be asking Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney about their views for America.

When Ryan said, ‘we will not duck the tough issues,’ voters should ask him why he has walked away time and again from bold, bipartisan plans to reduce trillions in the federal deficit in a fair and balanced approach.

Voters should ask Paul Ryan where they will find an additional $6,400 to pay for health care costs if his plan for ending Medicare as we know it is enacted.

Voters should ask Paul Ryan how giving a lower tax rate to a billionaire than a small business owner helps our economy.

Voters should ask Paul Ryan why even in cases of rape, incest, and the life of a mother, a woman should be restricted from making the personal decision that is best for her and her family.

And, voters should ask themselves whether the answers to these questions means a better America for themselves, their families, their community, their country.

Moving our country forward means ensuring it moves forward for everyone, not just a select few. The policies embraced by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would turn the clock back on America's greatness as a nation of opportunity and hope for all of us. The choice this November could not be more clear or more important.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New CAFE Standards

from the inbox:

The UAW congratulates the Obama administration, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency on the publication of the final rules regulating Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for light-duty vehicles, model years 2017-2025.

The final rules have the full support of the UAW. 

UAW President Bob King said, "These new standards will help propel the auto industry forward by giving American families long-term relief from volatile fuel prices.  Lowering the total cost of driving will make automobiles more affordable and expand the market for new vehicles."

"The standards will also provide certainty for manufacturers in planning their investments and creating jobs in the auto industry as they add more fuel-saving technology to their vehicles.  Bringing this additional content to market requires more engineers and more factory workers, expanding employment in the industry," King added.

A 2012 study by the BlueGreen Alliance, "Gearing Up," found that the standards finalized today will lead to the creation of 570,000 new jobs by 2030, largely because consumers will spend less on fuel and more on other goods and services.

"This new standard caps off a remarkable set of achievements by President Obama to save the domestic auto industry and put it on a path to long-term prosperity," said King. "Cleaner vehicles that significantly reduce our nation's oil consumption are good for the auto industry and its workers, good for the environment and good for our nation's economy."

SEPTA Service for Made in America Concent

from the inbox:

 SEPTA will bolster a number of services over Labor Day Weekend for the Made In America concert, which will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2.

The best resources for Made In America travel are SEPTA’s subway/subway-elevated routes, the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford Line. These lines are easily accessible for riders throughout the region, with stops located just a short walking distance from the concert site. SEPTA will be providing fans with extra trips on both of these lines, as well as on some connecting transit services, including the Norristown High Speed Line and City Trolley routes.

For ease and convenience of travel, concert-goers who may normally use Regional Rail are urged to take advantage of this extra transit service. Regional Rail trains will operate on regular weekend schedules, with hourly service on most lines.

Also, due to the large number of people who will be leaving the concert at the 11 p.m. finish both nights, late-night Regional Rail trains are expected to quickly reach capacity – meaning SEPTA may not be able to accommodate Regional Rail riders who stay until the end of the shows.

By comparison, service on the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford Line will run every five minutes before, during and after the performances. Trips will operate with similar frequency on City Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36, all of which provide travel to-and-from Center City.

Trains on the Norristown High Speed Line will run every 20 minutes during peak travel times, including after the shows. The Norristown High Speed Line connects with the Market-Frankford Line at 69th Street Transportation Center, providing quick and convenient travel between Center City and the suburbs.

In addition to extra transit service, SEPTA is making a number of other event-travel preparations.

Remote Parking Bus Service SEPTA will provide bus service to-and-from remote event parking at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Regular SEPTA fares will apply for these trips. Further details on the hours of operation for this bus service will be available closer to the event.

Bus Detours Due to road closures, Bus Routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43 and 48 will be re-routed around the Parkway throughout the Made In America event. Full details on these and other possible detours will be available through the System Status feature on SEPTA’s Website at

Service for Other Major Upcoming Events SEPTA will add trips on the Broad Street Line for Bruce Springsteen concerts on Sunday, Sept. 2 and Monday, Sept. 3. Trips will run every 10 minutes during the hour leading up to the shows, which are both scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, Aug. 31, SEPTA will deploy extra trains on the Market-Frankford Line for the Sheila E concert and fireworks at Penn’s Landing, and trips will be added to the Broad Street Line for the 7 p.m. Temple-Villanova football game at Lincoln Financial Field.

SEPTA will also be ready for Eagles fans heading to the Linc on Thursday, Aug. 30 for the final preseason game against the Jets. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:35 p.m., and SEPTA will run Sports Express trips on the Broad Street Line every 10 minutes starting shortly after 5 p.m.
SEPTA has a special section online with details about travel for all major Labor Day Weekend events at

Customer Service Extended Hours SEPTA is extending Customer Service hours to accommodate riders travelling during this event-filled holiday weekend. Representatives will be available by phone at (215) 580-7800 from 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday. The 30th Street Station Customer Service Office will also be open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

For more details, including schedules and fares, visit

Politics and Women II: Tom Smith

Tom Smith is the Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania.  Today he said something to a reporter that he might regret.  He said he was opposed to abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.  The reporter asked him, in a hypothetical situation, how he would approach a woman in his family if she found herself in that situation.   His reponse:

Asked by a reporter how he would counsel a daughter or granddaughter who had been impregnated by rape, Smith said: "I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. . . . Don't get me wrong; it wasn't rape."

Pressed as to what he was talking about, Smith responded: "Having a baby out of wedlock." After that, he seemed to struggle to articulate what he meant.

"That's similar to rape?" a reporter asked.

"No, no, no," said Smith, who was referring to a daughter's decision to have a child outside marriage. Then he added, "But, well, put yourself in a father's position. Yes, I mean, it is similar."

Pressed later about whether he was saying that having a baby while unmarried was analogous to having a baby as a result of rape, Smith said, "I never said that. I didn't even come close to that." ("No abortions for rape victims, says GOP Senate candidate," by Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer 08/27/12

You can listen to the exchange yourself, via a link on Keystone Progress.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Politics and Women I: Sandra Fluke

This statement from Sandra Fluke arrived last week:

In a recent statement that was both factually inaccurate and horribly offensive, Republican Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said that victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan tried to distance themselves from the remark -- but the fact is they're in lockstep with Akin on the major women's health issues of our time. Just this morning, the Republican Party voted to include the "Human Life Amendment" in their platform, calling for a constitutional ban on abortions nationwide, even for rape victims. Several Romney supporters and advisers stood silently by while this vote took place, and the Los Angeles Times reports that the platform "was written at the direction of Romney's campaign."

President Obama spoke out in response to Akin's comments: "What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women."

This controversy is not an accident, or a mistake, or an isolated incident. It's a reflection of a Republican Party whose policies are dangerous for women.

There is a clear choice for women in this election: Stand with President Obama.

I entered this national debate on women's rights in February, when, as a Georgetown Law student, I testified before members of Congress on the issue of contraception.

Without knowing me or my story, Rush Limbaugh called me a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his radio show.

Many Americans stepped forward to tell me they agreed with me, and supported my right to speak out without being verbally attacked. President Obama stood with us.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand? He didn't even condemn the remark, instead saying only: "It's not the language I would have used."

Since that moment, I'm even more resolved to continue the fight to make sure every single woman -- and every man who cares about the women in his life -- knows exactly what's at stake in this election. The Republicans are frighteningly clear on these issues.

The party platform itself includes a "salute" to states that have pushed "informed consent" laws, such as those that force women seeking an abortion to first undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound.

Just last year, Paul Ryan joined Todd Akin and more than 200 other Republicans in co-sponsoring legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape, limiting which victims of rape were "legitimate" enough to receive financial assistance for access to abortion care.

Mitt Romney famously says he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood if he had the chance. And both Romney and Ryan pledge to go back to a system where insurance companies can discriminate against women and charge us more than men for the same health insurance.

Akin's comments shouldn't be surprising. But this isn't about him -- just like it was never about me.

President Obama has told us what he's fighting for: "I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons."

Republicans, led by Romney and Ryan, have made it clear that they want to make our decisions for us.

President Obama trusts us to make our own.

It's as simple as that. Join me and stand with him today:


Sandra Fluke

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Murphy: Boockvar is a Fighter, a Mother, and a Leader

Kathryn Boockvar, Democratic candidate for the 8th congressional district, formally opened her Bristol campaign office today.  Around 50 people attended, which made for a full office.  These are rough  notes from the public comments at the event, followed by some personal observations.  This is not intended as a full transcript.  As always I apologize for any errors or misconceptions.  Voters with questions should contact the campaign.  Boockvar's campaign website is

 Patrick Murphy, who represented the district from 2006 to 2010, introduced her. 

Murphy said Boockvar would represent the families in this ear.  He knows her personally and professional and there would be no stronger representative of our families and seniors.  She’s a fighter, a mother, and a leader.  Washington, DC is polarized; people refuse to talk to each other.  There is an article in today’s Inquirer on health insurance rebates due to the new health care law.  It did away with discriminating based on pre-existing conditions and discriminated against women. 

Her opponent wants to go back to discriminating against women.  There is a clear contrast.  The economy is not bleeding jobs like it was at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency.  We need to create meaningful jobs.  There used to be 15,000 jobs at US Steel down the road.  Then it was a brownfield.  Now it houses the 5th largest solar field in the United States, people are manufacturing wind turbine and solar panel components. 

Congressman Fitzpatrick was the deciding vote on CAFTA.  He said he wouldn’t vote for it then buckled under pressed and voted for it.  Kathy Boockvar won’t be pressured by Democrats or Republicans; she will do the right thing.  Fitzpatrick voted against tax credits to keep jobs in the United States.  It is up to us to fight for our values.  Give Kathy a chance.

The political polarization is a disgrace.  As John McCain said, “Country First.”  The Republicans this eyar said their goal above all was to make Barack Obama a one term president.

Kathy is one of us.  She will fight for civil rights, our families, and our seniors.

Kathryn Boockvar then addressed the crowd.  She thanked Murphy, campaign staff, volunteers, interns, and fellows. 

Paul Ryan, Todd Akin, and the RNC draft platform are extreme, and far from the center.  Fitzpatrick and Ryan want to end Medicare as we know it.  They want to redefine rape and support the Tea Party agenda.
American should take care of the middle class families before taking care of millionaires and billionaires.  We need to create good paying jobs and send our kids to college. 

I’ve spent my career fighting for Pennsylvania families.  I’ll take that to Washington and make Congress and Congress a common sense.  It is not enough to have a vision.   Making a vision a reality takes hard work.  We need to end tax breaks for billionaires and special interests. 

You are my eyes and ears and boots on the ground.

Personal notes:   Murphy is clearly very popular with his neighbors in Bristol.  He brought his children with him, and was dressed casually.  It is one of the few times I've seen him when he wasn't wearing a suit.  The crowd was anxious to greet him, ask about his family, and talk about local matters.  They weren't asking political favors; they just like him.

Boockvar's volunteers are devoted to her.  The campaign staff greeted me when I came in and steered me towards the food (woot!).  The volunteers talked about how wonderful they think Boockvar is and one woman told me how much she enjoyed spending time on the campaign.  

I like going to events in Lower Bucks County because the people there are just so darn nice.  It's not always easy to find locations; one way streets abound and if you aren't familiar with that specific neighborhood it can be tricky to maneuver.  But it's always well worth the effort.   

Boockvar seems at ease with people.  She walked around the room greeting people, many of whom wanted to be photographed with her.  Her daughter was in attendance and frequently went to stand by her mother. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Speers Film at Local Festival

from the inbox:

Dan Speers returned from two deployments in the Iraq war, during which time he spent 15 months sleeping curled around a semi automatic weapon, in constant danger of attack by Al Qaeda. When he came home to Philadelphia, he decided to become a filmmaker, and this weekend, on August 26th, at 6:30 p.m., his short film Infinite premieres at The Trocadero as part of a film festival. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Legal Issues in Raising a Child Conceived During a Rape

Shauna Prewitt wrote a heart-wrenching essay that was on the CNN website today.  "Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over," presents the issues she faced when raising a child conceived when she was raped.  She chose to have the baby and not to give it up for adoption but to raise it on her own.  Prewitt is a lawyer and wrote an article for the Georgetown Law Journal, "Giving Birth to a “Rapist’s Child”: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded toWomen Who Become Mothers Through Rape," in 2010.

It is not easy reading but really provides a lot of information on the legal hurdles involved.  She writes about state laws that can require women to notify the men who raped them that they have fathered a child.  Some states do not require this if the woman puts the baby up for adoption, but do if she keeps the baby.  Looking at the footnotes it appears that Pennsylvania is among them, but I have not done the legal research to confirm this.

Given that in America people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, women who keep a baby conceived in rape may have to provide visitation rights to the rapist until he is convicted, if he is convicted.  If he isn't convicted those visitations and custody issues can continue.  Ending someone's parental rights can be (and should be, in most circumstances) difficult; but in these cases it is easy to understand the women's wish to do so.

The examples in the article are painful to read but this article provides information on a topic that we seldom hear about, and explains some of the legalities involved.  I hope some of our state legislators will review it and pursue legislative solutions to some of the problems women in this situation have.    

Poor Word Choices

Must be something in the water.  Elected officials are opening mouth, inserting foot at an amazing rate.  Our friends at PoliticsPA mention two such incidents in their Morning Buzz today. 

Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach's campaign sent out a press release saying of his opponent, Dr. Manan Trivedi, " The listening tour actually allowed him to quickly get a handle on just what voters in this foreign district care about most."  The use of the word "foreign" is controversial as Dr. Trivedi is the son of Indian immigrants.  Trivedi served as a battalion surgeon in the Iraq War.

State Rep. Mark Cohen, while being asked during a radio interview about the nearly $40,000 he received in per diems in 2011, said the interviewer, "hates legislators the way the Nazis hated Jews.”  [deep sigh]

It's a lesson we all have to learn repeatedly, so let's go over it again:  think before speaking.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer Session on PCN

PCN and PLS are joining together on a program called "Summer Session:  Get the Scoop on What Legislators Do When They Aren't in Harrisburg."  The program will be broadcast on PCN on Saturday, August 25th at 9 p.m. and again on Sunday, August 26th at 3 p.m.

Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night, 2012

The22nd  annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates’ Comedy Night, a benefit for Variety, the children’s charity, was held this evening at Finnegan’s Wake.   Since this is primarily a political blog I didn’t take notes on the speakers who aren’t running for office.  As always, this is not intended to be an exact transcript, just rough notes I took at the event.  It would be impossible to capture every joke, especially the longer, more involved story jokes, but I made an effort to provide some idea of each candidate's routine.  Text implies a direct joke, notes in brackets are condensations or gists.  Actions or extraneous activities are in italics, as are candidates' names.  Read your local newspapers for more exact accounts of the event.

Tom Smith, Republican candidate for Senate

[he had slides, with his face imposed on or added to stock or iconic photos] 

I am new to politics and most people in Philadelphia aren’t familiar with me.  My father died when I was 20 and I had to look after the family so I couldn’t go to college but I sent my daughters.  [shows a slide of what he would have looked like if he had gone – his face superimposed on someone wearing a college tshirt holding a beer mug].  

 My wife is with me, as you can see I left her get a new dress for the event [American Gothic painting with Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s photos in it].   

I worked in a coal mine [Smith’s face on the front of Thomas the Tank Engine, pulling a load of coal].   

I had big dreams [his face added to a picture of the Beverly Hillbillies].  My wife and I adopted four children so a family could stay together.   

People say I am a Tea Party candidate but there are a lot of things about me you don’t know [his face added to an Occupy Pittsburgh group photo].

Congressman Bob Brady, Democrat, 1st district

Incumbents do comedy every day, make fools of ourselves every day.  This is for the kids. 
[tells a joke about an attorney going to a brothel].   
[Tells a pee and poop joke at Bykofsky’s expense]. 

Sen. Bob Casey, Democrat

[Makes fun of himself for being dull, cites a NYT article that says he shows excitement with extra eyebrow activity]

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Democrat, 13th district, sent a surrogate, Neil Deegan. 

Top 10 reasons Allyson can’t be here tonight:
Still at PennDOT waiting for her voter id card
Getting new copy of the congressional ladies’ room key made for Kathy Boockvar
Prepping Mayfair office to hand over to Bob Brady
Painting bike lane in front of Stu’s house
Getting mani pedi with Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi
Measuring drapes for Corbett’s office
Looking at Pat Toomey’s office
Needed a haircut for the DNC.

Kathleen Kane, Democratic candidate for Attorney General

[joke about thinking Finnegan’s Wake was an actual funeral wake]
[joke about doctors]

In Scranton the obituaries are the Irish social pages.  People clip them out and put then on the refrigerator.   They often have headlines, like “101 Year Old Woman Dies Unexpectedly.” 

I took my son to an Eagles game.  We saw empty seats up front and moved up to them.  They were next to an older man.  He told us he and his wife had season tickets for years but she died a few days ago.  I asked if a family member didn’t want to come with him.  “Oh, no,” he said, “they’re at the funeral.”

George Badey, Democratic candidate for 7th congressional district

[told “the neighborhood I grew up in was so tough” jokes – it is now in Brady’s district] 

I went to high school in South Philly.  Pat Meehan went to the Chestnut Academy.

Chris Christie is in the hospital.  He has that flesh eating bacteria.  He only has 13 years to live.

Fidel Castro’s successor will be his idiot son, Fidel W. Castro.

Bill Clinton and the Pope died but there was a mix up and Clinton went up and the Pope went down.  When the mix up was fixed and the Pope was going up and Clinton down they passed and the Pope told Clinton he was looking forward to meeting the Blessed Virgin.  Clinton said “You just missed her.”

David Freed, Republican candidate for Attorney General

Thanks to Kathleen Kane for picking up the tab.
I went to college with Cecily Tynan.
Fan of Philly sports teams [joke about the 1996 Phillies being bad team].

People say I am too close to Gov. Corbett – he wrote my jokes.  [fakes a phone call from Corbett].  “Hello, Governor?  Yes, Risa Vetri Ferman’s here – she’s sitting right next to me.  No, she still won’t run for Attorney General.

[joke about Ed Rendell telling people the statue of Billy Penn is of him]

[calls Daily News columnist John Baer a gossip columnist]

Kathy Boockvar, Democratic candidate for 8th congressional district

I want to show that I can be funny on purpose and not just by accident.

I wanted to find a job more popular than being in congress but the TSA didn’t have any opening and Elliott Spitzer already has a co-host.  

Things more popular than congress right now:
Chick Fil A’s new branch at the Sea of Gaililee
Paris Hilton
The idea of being abducted by aliens
The oil industry
Bank of America
BP Oil during the Gulf oil spill

John Featherman, Republican candidate for 1st congressional district

[several jokes about being Jewish and being married to an Asian woman].  Two Chinese people had a white baby but everyone knows two Wongs don’t make a white. 

A union friend wanted to find a whorehouse where the prostitutes got to keep more of the money than the madam.  They finally found one and the union friend asked for a pretty young blonde but the proprietor said he had to take 62 year old Ethel, because of seniority rules. 

Intermission with comedian Joe Conklin who told some good jokes and did impressions of political figures.  He also gave a shout out to the girls from Club Risque and said they were the only ones there with bigger [breasts] than Bob Brady.

Congressman Pat Meehan, Republican, 7th district

Stu thought the Variety Club was a dating service.

My opponent George Badey is a mummer.  He wants to go to Washington, wear satin pants, a feather boa and lipstick.  J. Edgar Hoover already did that.

Anthony Wiener got in trouble for sexting.  He was trying to decide whether or not to resign.  He was in, he was out, he was in, he was out, now he’s holding his own.  Bill Clinton oversaw Wiener’s wedding.   
When the scandal broke he called Clinton to apologize – for what, copyright infringement?

Three political figures were driving through Kansas and ended up in Oz.  [missed the name, possibly George W. Bush?] went looking for a heart, Joe Biden for a brain, and Bill Clinton said “Where’s Dorothy?”

There is an auction for a restaurant gift card which Emerald Capital bids more than the card is worth, then ups that bid when Stu includes a gift basket.

Dr. Manan Trivedi, Democratic candidate in 6th district

When I ran in 2010 I spoke at this event and told a lot of jokes about being an Indian-American.  I won’t do that this year.  [fakes a telephone call and answers in stereotypic Indian accent] “Dell Technical Support.  This is … Mike …. In …. Kansas City.”  

My wife is from a very traditional family.  When they heard I wouldn’t be a full-time doctor while I am running for office they asked for three chickens back. 

Jim Gerlach and Paul Ryan work out together – they practice their Atlas Shrugged poses.

[spelling bee joke]

Unlike Todd Akin, I know when my time is up.

Special guest, comedian Steve Young tells jokes

Congressman Jim Gerlach, Republican, 6th district, sent surrogate Kori Walter, district director.

Mitt Romney bet me $10,000 that I wouldn’t do this. 

[He told several jokes that fell flat and asked if the audience was drinking enough.  As he left the stage Stu told him you never blame the audience if your jokes don’t get a laugh, always use self-deprecating humor.]

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, Republican, 8th district

[Fitzpatrick was taking two of his daughters to college this weekend and so wasn’t sure he would be able to attend; a surrogate, Andre [did not catch last name], was there just in case, but Fitzpatrick told his own jokes]

One night in Washington a robber held me up and said “give me all your money.”  I told him I was a congressman and he said  “In that case give me all my money.”

Is Mitt Romney here tonight?  Coming in I thought I saw a car with a dog carrier on top.”

[discusses his Irish heritage, family from county next to Limerick.  Says Limerick known for a particular kind of poem.  Tells three.  One about Paul Ryan has a line “grandma just must go.”  One about Romney being robotic but “I saw him cry when he sold his 3rd yacht.”  The last one is about Obama and says he will be a judge on American Idol next year.]

Jim Foster, Independent candidate in 2nd district

[Mostly talks about himself, jokes about Chaka Fattah, and says West Mt. Airy is Stepford on the Wissahickon]

Robert Mansfield, Republican candidate for 2nd district, sends surrogate Ned Green.

[says he met Mansfield in the 1990’s on another political campaign, Mansfield was homeless then].  Says Mansfield isn’t there because he has a lot of injuries from being in Iraq and is seeing a brain specialist today.

Personal notes:  Smith, Casey, Schwartz / Deegan, Kane, Trivedi, and Boockvar did well.   I was surprised by the Republican candidates telling Romney / Paul jokes.  That seems unusual.

There were a lot of jokes / comments at Congressman Chaka Fattah's expense.  That is because two years ago he was a presenter and gave an awful, mean-spirited rant.  He wasn't there tonight.  This would have been an opportunity for him to do something self-deprecating and make a comeback but he didn't.  (Hint:  There's always the Star Trek, evil twin/ goatee trick that Community has picked up on.)

It was nice to see two women on the stage.  Maybe one of these years Congresswoman Schwartz will join us in person?  Kathleen Kane's routine had a homespun, Lake Woebegone feel to it.  Boockvar was a little edgier.

The girls from Club Risque paraded from one side of the room to the other about three times, which is the standard from the other years I've attended, but this year they were wearing clunky shoes and the sound was disruptive.