Monday, June 29, 2015

Report on Pennsylvania Wage Theft

A report on wage theft in Pennsylvania was released this past week.  Prepared by the Social Justice Lawyering Clinic at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University Beasley School of Law.  In response to the report, Community Legal Services is calling on the City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania to take action to protect workers.

Entitled Short Changed:  How Wage Theft Harmed Pennsylvania's Workers and Economy, the report is available at:  Wage theft is defined as:  

Wage theft, the illegal non-payment or under payment of wages, is a pervasive problem hurting hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers across the state each week.
Researchers based their report on a 2009 study of low wage workers in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers.  The report offers statistics on the occupations most affected by wage theft, the ways that wages are stolen (for example, unpaid overtime, or refusing to pay workers who are required to travel as part of their job for travel time), and regional statistics for wage theft in Pennsylvania.  

Those who are not sympathetic to the cause of workers might consider the tax revenue lost when employees are not paid all they are owed.

You can read more at Life Under $10.10,

Sunday, June 28, 2015

AccessMatters on Marriage Equality

from the inbox:

[PHILADELPHIA, PA – June 26, 2015]: Today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. According to the decision, states must also recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in the country. 

“History was made earlier today with this landmark decision,” said Melissa Weiler Gerber, President and CEO of AccessMatters. ”Now everyone has an equal right to marry whomever they love.”

AccessMatters applauds the Supreme Court for recognizing marriage equality as a fundamental constitutional right: “No union,” states an excerpt from the closing paragraph of the majority opinion, “is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. ... [The challengers] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Beyond granting same-sex couples the right to marry, this decision also grants these couples all of the federal benefits—hospital visitation rights, tax deductions and exemptions, access to spousal health insurance benefits, spousal social security, Medicare, and disability benefits, to name just a few –that are part and parcel of being married in the United States. 

The Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell case is also a victory for the health of our communities.  Research has shown, bolstered by groups like the American Medical Association, the positive impact of marriage on health. This correlation between marriage and health is equally true for gay and lesbian married couples.

In view of the Supreme Court’s decision, AccessMatters remains committed to the work of addressing LGBT-related health issues. Through our research, trainings, and education programs, we will continue to ensure that LGBT consumers feel safe and welcome in our Network of over 70 health centers. As a safety net provider that serves the most vulnerable populations, we will also continue our efforts to decrease LGBT-related health disparities in the Philadelphia area and beyond.

“Today’s decision marks a victory for supporters of marriage equality, LGBT families, and for the health of our communities,” said Weiler Gerber. “AccessMatters is proud our nation has taken this important step forward. We are now one step closer to transforming access to sexual and reproductive health and ensuring health equity for all.”


AccessMatters is the catalyst for providing access to sexual and reproductive health care for teens and adults in need reaching over 200,000 individuals annually. For more information about AccessMatters programs, visit, @AccessMatters4U on Twitter, and @AccessMatters on Facebook.

Summer White House Interns for Summer 2015

from the inbox, a description of White House internships and a list of summer interns from Pennsylvania:

A White House Internship provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. Interns work in one of several White House departments, including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the Office of Communications, the Office of Digital Strategy, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, the Office of the Staff Secretary, the Presidential Personnel Office, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Agarwal, Megha Hometown: Los Altos, CA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Bailey, Donnell Hometown: New Orleans, LA; Franklin & Marshall College, PA
Dolan, Andrew Hometown: Erie, PA; University of Pittsburgh, PA
Foley, Sean Hometown: Dunmore, PA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Garcia, Nicolas Hometown: Haines City, FL; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Gur, Alon Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; Yale University, CT
Hart, Camille Hometown: Westbury, NY; The Pennsylvania State University, PA
Hayes, Jelani Hometown: Moreno Valley, CA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Heo, Jason Hometown: Newburgh, IN; Swarthmore College, PA
Hopkins, Brendan Hometown: Blue Bell, PA; Yale University, CT
Johnson, Keishawn Hometown: West Orange, NJ; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Kay, Megan Hometown: State College, PA; The Pennsylvania State University, PA
Koren, Ariel Hometown: Jacksonville, FL; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Levy, Maxwell Hometown: Atlanta, GA; University of Pennsylvania, PA

Merken, Christopher Hometown: Radnor, PA; University of Delaware, DE
Meyer, Jane Hometown: Cold Spring Harbor, NY; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Mirabile, Dominic Hometown: Phoenixville, PA; The Pennsylvania State University, PA
Noll, Gregory Hometown: Nazareth, PA; The Pennsylvania State University, PA
Rooney, Sarah Hometown: Sewickley, PA; Georgetown University, D.C.
Tifft, Emily Hometown: Elmira, NY; Villanova University, PA
Tolsdorf, Marjorie Hometown: McLean, VA; University of Pittsburgh, PA

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Quick Book Look: Power Forward by Reggie Love

Reggie Love, President Obama's "body man" wrote a book that was published earlier this year.  Power Forward:  My Presidential Education would make a good graduation present or birthday gift for a young man who is interested in sports and politics.  For my taste it  has too much of the former and not enough of the latter.  There were a few behind the scenes stories about then-candidate Obama but not really enough to satisfy someone steeped in politics.

All the same it is an entertaining story and has a believable story of a young man's journey.  There are a lot of life lessons involved.  High school and college students who have volunteered on campaigns might find it particularly enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Andy Warren in the 8th

Andy Warren, who was a Bucks County Commissioner for many years (as a Republican), and ran for Congress in 2006 (as a Democrat) is running for the 8th congressional seat again this year (as a Republican).  You can read more at "Warren enters 8th race" by James McGinnis in the Bucks County Times (6/21/2016).

No mention of a website.  It might be tricky. is taken, so is  Both and might be taken but there isn't a public site at those addresses.  I tried a few other likely website addresses but didn't see anything.

Mike Parrish in the 6th

from the inbox, campaign website:

Today, Mike Parrish, former Army Aviator and Colonel in the United States Army Reserves announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District.  The entrepreneur and father has been a strong advocate for veterans in Southeastern Pennsylvania for the past 15 years.   Currently, Mike serves as finance chair of the Chester County Democrats.   He released the following statement:

“There is a fundamental lack of leadership in Congress today. Politicians are putting their own interests and narrow ideology first, and as a result, the challenges facing everyday Americans are no longer the priority.   Congress isn’t tackling the tough problems of affordable education, job creation and small business investments; and Congress is AWOL when it comes to caring for our veterans.  America needs leaders who value their constituents more than party alliances.

“My father always told me to  ‘Put Up or Shut Up.’   I’m ready to start the next chapter of service to my country.  I’m running for Congress to provide strong leadership and help create more economic opportunities for Southeastern Pennsylvanians.   My 30 years of military and business experience give me a unique perspective to help address these challenges.

“Education is the key to innovation.   The US Army empowered me with a level of education that every American has the right to attain.  It’s time we focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  We have to give our children a stronger educational foundation.  They’re tomorrow’s leaders…the next generation of workers, innovators and entrepreneurs.  College has to be more affordable, so everyone can have the same opportunities I have had.

“We have to help small businesses gain access to best business practices, innovation and capital, to enable them to grow.  As a small business owner myself, I know how important that is for job creation.   And we need to cut wasteful spending so we can invest in high-tech and medical research, something Pennsylvanians do better than anyone.

 “I’ve been an advocate for Veterans my entire life, as a member of Congress, I will make the decisions necessary to ensure that the brave men and women who have served our country are held in the highest esteem.  Our local VA office, one of the largest in the country, is under federal investigation.  We need more than rhetoric to fix these systemic problems.”

It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve my country throughout my career and I hope to continue to make a difference in the United States Congress.”

Campaign Bio:

About Mike Parrish After graduating from West Point in 1985, Mike Parrish spent 14 years on active duty as an Army Aviator in leadership assignments around the globe. Upon leaving active duty as a member of the Army Acquisition Corps in 1998, he transitioned to the Army Reserves, where he continues to serve today as a Colonel.  Mike has over 30 years of senior leadership experience growing and acquiring various technology-related businesses globally.  Most recently, Mr. Parrish has been Chairman & CEO of several publicly-traded companies and was founder and CEO for an environmental services business, which was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine's “HOT 100,” highlighting the top 100 start-ups in America for 2004, as well as by INC magazine, as the 7th fastest-growing private environmental company on its INC500 list for 2006 and 2007.  Before that,Mike held various executive leadership positions within several General Electric Companies. Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as well as a Master's in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the past President of the West Point Society of Philadelphia and served on the advisory boards of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resources Center, USO of Southeast Pennsylvania/New Jersey and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Mike lives in Malvern Pennsylvania, and has three children ages 13, 9 and 6.

My Right Hand

As one gets older health issues tend to crop up.  About a year and half ago I was diagnosed with a serious health problem, and may write about this later, that has led to some major life changes. It's all under control at the moment but it does impact blogging.

The past few weeks I've had limited use of my right hand and arm due to another issue.  If I can't write, type, or sew my usefulness to the universe is significantly reduced.  It seems to be easing up so we'll give this another try.