- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Rick Santorum is so easy to write about, and does bizarre thing after bizarre thing, that is almost hard to fathom. Consider his remarks over the weekend, where he said he wanted fines for Hurricane Katrina victims who did not leave New Oreleans (video interview in the link). Obviously, as expected, Santorum now contends that he meant fines aimed at those who could leave, but chose not to.
Who in the world would have the bright idea to criticize Katrina survivors, and otherwise denigrate their plight? The Republican Party and its supporters, thats who. (Seriously, check out that link.)
And, as the Inquirer article states, the Bob Casey campaign sent out an email lashing out at Santorum for his remarks, with Santorum's inevitable defense and return of fire towards Casey.
I once said that Bob Casey has to provide a real alternative to Rick Santorum; that he could not just sit there and watch Rick hang himself. I am now beginning to wonder if my assumption was incorrect.
Rally IN Philly!
The Pennsylvania coalition (Pennsylvanians for a Fair and Independent Court) is holding a “Supreme Court Rally” in Philadelphia next Thursday, September 8, at 4:30pm on Independence Mall. Details about the rally are below, please circulate this information.
When: Thursday, September 8th at 4:30p.m.
Where: Independence Mall (In front of Specter’s office) 600 Arch Street Philadelphia
While Senator Specter is in Washington D.C. overseeing the judiciary hearings for John Roberts, we will be demonstrating in front of his office, making sure he hears from Pa.!!!!
What’s At Stake?
Civil Rights Rights of the Disabled
The Right to Privacy Religious Freedom
Reproductive Rights Worker’s Rights
In 2002, the Pennsylvania Department of Health required all Pennsylvania counties to report the names of individuals who tested positive for the HIV virus to the state. In many places in the state, these names were also published monthly in local newspapers. Of 67 counties, Philadelphia was the only one that refused to comply with this requirement.
Philadelphia AIDS activists and advocates convinced Mayor Street and Council to to oppose names-based HIV reporting. For two years, the City Health Department refused to turn over HIV data to the state until finally a compromise was forged that allowed the city to provide HIV tests results to the state via a unique, non-names, code-based system (you can read more about this in a 2001 City Paper article here).
Now, just a few years later, The Philadelphia Board of Health has decided to implement a names-based HIV reporting system in the city after all.
Click "read more" below to learn why.
Tribute to Change Honoring City Councilman David Cohen and Florence Cohen
WHAT: Conference call to brief bloggers on Tribute to Change event honoring Florence and David Cohen.
WHEN: Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 8:30 pm.
WHO: Christie Balka, Executive Director, Bread and Roses Community Fund; Ben Waxman, Writer, Young Philly Politics
WHY: The Cohens have been voices of conscience in City Council through six mayoral administrations, consistently advocating on behalf of those who have the least amount of money and clout in Philadelphia.
On Monday, September 12 from 6-9 pm, Bread and Roses Community Fund www.breadrosesfund.org will present the Paul Robeson Social Justice Award, given to those who have worked for fairness and equality throughout their lifetimes, to the Cohens at its annual Tribute to Change.
HOW: To access the conference call dial 1-866-857-2280. When prompted to do so, dial the following pass code: 1223606. If you experience any technical difficulty call 215-696-0827.
a. What is Bread and Roses Community Fund?
b. What is the Tribute to Change?
c. Who are Florence and David Cohen?
d. Why writing about this event matters.
We must drive home the point that the Democratic Party stands for responsible government. Our President built up a great budget surplus, theirs gave it away to his friends. We responded to the 9/11 attacks by working through the important questions of how to better protect our country from terrorist attacks, they worked through questions of how to protect corporations from lawsuits. The ship of state is being run aground by a gang of giggling children at the helm. As the adults here, we must step in and alleviate the suffering that they have caused.
I urge you join our Pennsylvania Democratic/progressive work crew.
Pennsylvania Democratic and progressive volunteers are joining together to form a work group that will be going to Nashville, TN to help with the relief efforts in 35,000 person tent city that is being built there for the survivors of this natural and man-made disaster. As a volunteer you would need to commit to a full week, Sept. 14 - 21, plus travel time. We will live in the tent city for that week. We will receive specific training when we arrive, and any relevant special skills you have will be put to good use. We are responsible for our own travel costs. Most of us will be driving, which will take about 12 hours each way, so the full commitment is from the afternoon of Sept. 13 to the morning of Sept 22.
Because we are driving, we will also be taking much-needed supplies, so please let me know if you can help collect toys or toiletries or clothes for donation.
John Street deserves some real credit in that as far as I can tell, he was the first Mayor of a City not particularly close to Katrina's path that offered real shelter for some of its victims. And, as early as tomorrow, some of the victims may arrive.
"FEMA has finally come through," a slightly frustrated Mayor Street said after touring the refitted Wanamaker School in North Philadelphia. "We're going to receive people. This is a very, very good thing."
Earlier yesterday, Street had been critical of the federal government's response in New Orleans and of what he saw as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's sluggishness in sending evacuees to Philadelphia.
Yesterday, with nearly a quarter-million Katrina evacuees already in Texas and more still pouring in, Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered emergency officials to airlift some to other states that have offered help.
Two quick thoughts:
The Inquirer has an article today that discusses all the potential Mayoral candidates, and their fundraising efforts a full two years out:
A half-dozen likely Democratic candidates are recruiting staff and consultants, raising money, and seeking to lock down support from ward and neighborhood leaders.
"You'd think it's next week almost," City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller said of 2007.
Veterans of city politics say the mayoral scramble is the earliest they can remember. Some Democrats worry that intraparty elbow-throwing could complicate efforts to generate a healthy vote next year for Gov. Rendell's reelection and the party's U.S. Senate candidate.
Two main factors are driving the competition, say analysts and advisers: the estimated $10 million cost of a run, and the lack of an obvious front-runner.
"This thing's been going on for almost a year, all kinds of jockeying and talk," said lawyer Marty Weinberg, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1999.
Click "Read More" to see the rest.
The Real Storm of the Century: Economic Justice in the US and a Local Opportunity to Fight Back by Protesting Wal-MartSubmitted by Ray Murphy on Fri, 09/02/2005 - 5:14pm.
Will Bunch broke media silence in today’s Daily News in a story that explicitly deals with the racial and economic justice caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (click here to read). While everyone whose life has been disrupted by this storm can claim some sense of tragedy, it is clear that mostly black, low-income New Orleans residents have been hardest hit and will likely suffer the most in coming months and years.
The City of New Orleans’ experience should serve as a wake-up call for Philadelphia. In our own fair city, poverty is on the rise and the gap between downtown developers and the working poor in our neighborhoods gets bigger and bigger every day. That kind of divide means that disaster is inevitable here too.
And the reality is that not enough of the progressive community cares.
Click Read More below to see why.
Right now, if anyone has any Philly news, feel free to write about it. I just cannot get much past the fact of what is going down in Lousiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. So, for now,a couple things.
1) I know (and take pride in) that a lot of readers of Young Philly Politics are not regular bloggers. That said, there a couple of really important pieces out there in the blogosphere that are incredibly illuminating. First, Will Bunch has a series of posts about the disaster, all hard to take, but important to read, including "How the poor got trapped in New Orleans." Second, check out Hunter's diary from Daily Kos, which summarizes this ever worsening disaster, the cause of the levee breaking, and the botched reponse that is leaving people from the richest country in the world dead of goddamn dehydration: Unforgiveable.
2) I am curious how we should respond as concerned citizens from this region. Obviously, we can donate money to the Red Cross, or ACORN, or whomever you choose. But what else? How do you think we can constrcuctively respond?
I know, for example, that Upenn is going to let some students from Tulane and other schools attend Penn for a semester, with the students paying Tulane or whomever the tuition, presumably to help them rebuild. Penn staff are also going to be allowed to take three weeks paid vacation to volunteer in affected areas. Those are two good things. But, what else?
What can we do? We talk about Philly problems, and they can certainly be bad. But, when we have American citizens dying from a lack of clean water, mostly because they had the temerity to be poor, sick, or old, nothing else really seems to matter too much.
As I read more and more about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the South and on New Orelans in particular, I can’t help but think how disaster impacts those with the least resources so much harder than anyone else.
There is no doubt that the hurricane has had a tragic consequences for everyone, but watching those low-income New Orleans residents stuck in their uninhabitable city because they have no place to go or means to get there is truly tragic. A friend of mine who lives in Mississppi wrote to me in an email today that what is going on in Katrina’s wake is “the ugly side of america's growing class divide, clearly displayed for the world to view.”
So, when I got an email today from ACORN asking to contribute to their relief fund, I got out my battered credit card and gave $25.
It’s great to provide people with immediate relief, but giving to ACORN also allows us to invest in the future for poor and struggling folks who don’t have anyone else to look out for them. ACORN has a track record as a group that knows how to organize low-income communities for action, and I bet there has never been as great of a need for good organizing in New Orleans as there is now.
Click here to see more about ACORN’s plan for hurrican relief and plans to organize for the future.
The Bank of Wal-Mart?
The Bank of Wal-Mart sounds like something from an episode of The Simpsons, but it may soon be a reality. The company has applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for insurance for a proposed bank in Utah, one of the few states that allows commercial firms to operate banks.
Meanwhile, Utah is reviewing Wal-Mart's application for a bank charter. A coalition of labor unions, community groups, small bankers and other Wal-Mart critics has been urging the FDIC to hold hearings around the country before deciding the merits of Wal-Mart's application, and to compel Wal-Mart to disclose more information on how its new enterprise would affect local economies.
The small bankers also worry that the Wal-Mart bank, though based in Utah, could begin operating chapters in other states, threatening local lending institutions nationwide. And they worry about mixing commerce and banking. "If I'm the Wal-Mart Bank, how enthusiastic am I going to be about lending money to Wal-Mart's competitors?" asks Steve Verdier, senior vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. Even apart from the fair competition issues, he thinks, Wal-Mart's bank could wreak havoc on the economy: "Just think if Enron had opened a bank."
Gas prices soared again today supposedly due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina--I say supposedly because I wonder if inevitable price increases were simply sped up in order to take advantage of an opportunity to remove political heat from the Bush/Rove administration for their bad energy policy much as they tricked the media and the public into blaming 9/11 for a recession that had been going on for months before the attacks occurred in 2001.
Republican conspiracy theories aside, there’s no denying that prices are only going to continue to go up. Despite these price increases, gas prices in Europe and many other parts of the world are still higher per gallon than in the US, but unlike many other countries, the US has systematically defunded public transit, avoided funding alternative fuel source research and done nothing policy-wise to encourage the purchase of smaller cars.
Thankfully, one of our state’s Democratic leaders is trying to reverse these trends.
Young Philly Politics’ own, the always young at heart, State Representative Mark Cohen announced today that he is seeking co-sponsors for three bills he will introduce to promote and increase the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Pennsylvania.
Click read more below to see Cohen’s plan.
While I closely follow Philadelphia politics, most of my time is actually spent at a small college in central Pennsylvania. Going to school in one of the most conservative areas of our state has been quite an educational experience. Think that the rural areas and cities have nothing in common? One common thread is apparent anger over the legislative pay raise.
Much has been written about the issue on this site and many others. While I certainly understand the frustration people feel, progressives must consider some of the conservative impulses present within the movement against the legislative pay raise. As more and more people start calling for the raise to be overturned, I think it’s extremely important that we know exactly who we’re getting into bed with.
Click "Read More" to find out why I'm so concerned.
I, like many of the readers of this blog, am pretty "poor," in that middle-class student with lots of loans type of way. I just gave $25 to the Red Cross, to at least help out a little bit with the effort to help mitigate the horrific, and I mean horific, damage in New Orleans.
The water is still rising. 80 percent of New Orleans is under water. Highways in and out of New Orleans have now been destroyed under the weight of water. Mississippi death tolls are expected to be in the hundreds. Tulane Hospital, with 1000 patients, is filling with water. In short, it is goddamn Armageddon, and getting worse by the hour.
People will be hungry, homeless, and devastated.
Donate something here. If you do, leave a note in the comments.
Unions take Wal-Mart to court of public opinion
By Michael Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The battle to organize Wal-Mart workers has moved from the shop floor to the public domain as labor unions struggle to achieve their first victory in organizing the world's largest retailer.
Groups targeting Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) have broadened their efforts by putting public pressure on the retailer rather than trying to organize individual stores in hopes of rallying support to unionize the retailer.
Labor experts say this strategy of using the Internet, the media and a grass-roots campaign has helped unions frame their debate and win some initial skirmishes in the court of public opinion.
This new push comes after the United Food and Commercial Workers union has failed to organize a single Wal-Mart store and highlights the need for labor to try new tactics, such as media campaigns aimed at winning the public's hearts and minds.