Democracy Has Prevailed.

March 31, 2010

Crimes Were Committed

From Huffingtonpost:
In a repudiation of the Bush administration's now-defunct terrorist surveillance effort, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that government investigators illegally wiretapped the phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant.
I know it's too late for a perp walk.

But I'd still love to see it.


Flickr group devoted to the fine art of Teabonics here.

(h/t to Pam Spaulding & JoeMyGod)

Onorato TV Ads Now On Air

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has started to run three TV ads (I saw two during the last hour or so on WTAE News). They began airing yesterday evening. Here they are via PoliticsPA:

PA2010 describes the ad buy as "heavy" and notes:
By starting to run TV ads 48 days before the primary, Onorato is taking advantage of a significant fundraising edge over his Democratic opponents; with well over $6 million in the bank, he has more than the three other candidates in the race put together.

The campaign is expected to stay on the air with TV ads from now until primary day, a dynamic that will almost certainly lead to a significant jump in name recognition for the Allegheny County Executive, who has been holding narrow leads in what most polls have shown to be a wide open race.
I'll just add that I'm sure Lil Mayor Luke is thrilled that Danny Boy takes sole credit for all things good in this area. Also, Onorato apparently single-handedly created our Eds & Meds economy.

I'm hoping that the next round of ads rightfully credit him for suggesting to Andy Warhol that he paint Campbell's soup cans.


Braintrust And The Allegheny Institute

It's been a while. I wonder if they put these in some sort of rotation so as not to invite too much attention. I wonder.

Ok. This shouldn't take long. On today's Tribune-Review editorial page, Richard Mellon Scaife's braintrust tribs again:
It was six years ago that the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy created what it called "the Benchmark City," an amalgamation of four "regional hub cities" of varying populations and geographic locations. The purpose was to gauge how Pittsburgh competed.

But an updated version of that effort isn't very encouraging.
Any time the Trib publishes something (anything) from the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy we should all remember that the institute is more or less bought and paid for by Richard Mellon Scaife.

That there's no mention of the millions of dollars granted to it over the years by the foundations controlled by Scaife (87% of all its foundation grants since 1995 came from Scaife) is textbook conflict of interest. He pays the institute for the research and his editorial staff uses that research as some kind of independent data in an editorial - see?

The Circle Jerk continues.

I do have a few questions about the Institute's "Benchmark City." From the report:
In 2004 the Allegheny Institute undertook a benchmarking project in order to gauge the performance of the City of Pittsburgh on its spending and taxes. Four regional hub cities of varying population and geographic location (Salt Lake City, UT; Columbus, OH; Omaha, NE; Charlotte, NC) were selected. Their statistics were amalgamated into what is termed the Benchmark City. By expanding what we examined to not only include the city government’s practices but also other financial indicators related to debt, authorities, schools, and pensions, we aimed to present a broad and deep view of local government in other places and to see just how well Pittsburgh was able to compete.
Unless I am missing something, they don't really explain why they selected those four cities. Was it random? Once you take a look at the electoral history of those cities' states, it seems to me that there's the possibility that the "benchmark" data might be skewed right.

And once that's done, then of course the conclusion is skewed right.

Take a look at this site.

Utah and Nebraska are solidly "Red" states. McCain carried Utah with 63% of the vote and the state's Governor, both Senators and 2 of the 3 Representatives are Republicans. McCain carried Nebraska with 57% of the vote and of the Governor, Senators and House Members, only one, Senator Ben Nelson, is a Democrat.

And if you consider his behavior in the recent Health Care debate, he's hardly even a moderate Democrat. I think the term is Conservative Democrat.

North Carolina is a "Blue" state if only barely. Obama carried the state with 50% of the vote (to McCain's 49%) and the elected officials seems more or less evenly split. Ohio seems a little more blue - but not by much. Obama carried the state with 51% of the vote and the states elected officials while mixed, lean on the Democratic side.

Pennsylvania, by the way, is bluer than both.

In general the "Blue" states are barely or moderately blue while the "Red" states are firmly red.

What does this mean? It means that the "Benchmark" cities the Allegheny Institute selected are from states that would already tend to reflect conservative values. The same values the Institute would like to see in Pittsburgh. Very subtle framing, no?

Subtle framing OR they fixed the rules of the game to have a better chance at a foregone conclusion.

We report, you decide.

March 30, 2010

Can We Call THIS Domestic Terrorism?

From Talkingpointsmemo:
Nine members of the Christian militia group Hutaree have been indicted on multiple charges involving an alleged plot to attack police, including seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. Attorney in Michigan announced this morning.
If TPM is not your thing, then there's this from the AP:
A ninth alleged member of a Christian militia group that prepared to battle the Antichrist and the U.S. government was arrested after the FBI played recorded messages from family and friends, who urged the man to give himself up, over loudspeakers outside a home in rural Michigan.

Joshua Matthew Stone peacefully surrendered to heavily armed authorities Monday night. His father and seven others believed to be part of the Michigan-based Hutaree appeared in court earlier on charges they plotted to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral — all in hopes of touching off an uprising against the government.
Out of fairness (and we are nothing if not fair) we should point out that this is NOT the Michigan Militia and in fact:
Heidi Beirich, research director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said her group learned about Hutaree last year while compiling its annual list of "patriot groups."

"Their Christian apocalyptic vision is quite different from most other militias," Beirich said. "Most don't put their religion first — they're more concerned with out-of-control federal government."
They're still religious fanatics and they're still terrorists and they're still Americans.

As is this guy:
A 38-year-old Philadelphia man was charged today with threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a profanity-strewn Youtube video that has since been pulled down.

In the video, Norman Leboon says Cantor will "receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer's abominations.
Yea, when you call someone's kids "Lucifer's abominations" you're a religious zealot. And when you make threats based on that zealotry, you're a terrorist.

The Braintrust Has A Rather Short Memory

From today's Tribune-Review editorial page:
Emboldened by its success at ramming through nationalized health care, Obama & Co., once Congress left town for its Easter break, installed organized labor extremist Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.

The administration couldn't get Mr. Becker confirmed the normal way; a bipartisan group of senators blocked his nomination last month. So, President Obama installed Becker through a "recess appointment," giving him a seat on the NLRB through 2011.
It's obvious they definitely do not approve of the use of "recess appointments."

Their next paragraph reads:
(By the way, The New York Times called this action a "display of authority." Had it been a Republican doing the same thing, The Times would have called it an "abuse of power.")
The Trib, of course, would have quoted the Constitution declaring the President had the authority and should do the right thing and make the recess appointment.

How do I know this?

What's needed at the U.N., of course, is a fella who represents the best interests of the United States and takes no guff. Democrats are upset that Bolton won't sing "Kumbaya" with the One Worlders, the crowd only too happy to take American money then use it against America.

Valuable time was wasted in the three-month pillorying of a good man. That's why President Bush should, upon congressional recess next week, use the recess power vested in him by Article I, Section 2 (Paragraph 3) of the Constitution to get Bolton on the job until the 110th Congress convenes in January 2007. (sic)

This kind of recess appointment, by the way, is court-tested all the way back to the 1820s. [emphasis added, though hardly necessary]
I guess they were for recess appointments before they were against them.

March 29, 2010

I don't think so

I must have missed the part in the Bible where Jesus was accused of covering up the abuse and rape of thousands of children. Either that or New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan has a somewhat different version of the book.

Joe Hoeffel Denounces Corbett's Health Care Lawsuit

Via the Joe Hoeffel campaign:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel today castigated Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett for “acting against the best interests of Pennsylvanians” by joining fellow right-wing attorneys general in a lawsuit against the new federal health care law.

At a press conference in the rotunda of the State Capitol, Hoeffel said that Corbett “is acting in collusion with a bloc of right-wing state attorneys general to advance an extremist agenda.”

Hoeffel went on to say that this is the fourth time Corbett has joined with his fellow conservative attorneys general to oppose legislation that would protect Pennsylvanians. Passing out a fact sheet detailing his charges, Hoeffel pointed out that on at least three other occasions Corbett has joined with the same 10 AGs to twice oppose protecting the safety of their citizens, protecting consumer rights, and, now, opposing critically needed health care reforms.


The fact sheet distributed by the Hoeffel campaign showed that:
  • In 2008, Corbett joined attorneys general in supporting another lawsuit, supporting the effort to overturn the rights of citizens of Washington, DC, to protect themselves through enacting sensible gun safety legislation. Of the thirteen Attorneys General who filed the frivolous lawsuit against health care reform, eleven -- including Corbett -- opposed protecting the safety of citizens in their states.

  • In 2009, twenty-four attorneys general urged Senate and Congressional leaders to create a federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- an agency directly supporting the core role of state attorneys general. Again, of the thirteen Attorneys General who filed the frivolous lawsuit against health care reform, those same eleven --- including Corbett -- declined to sign this letter to protect the rights of consumers in their states.

  • And late last year, thirty-eight Attorneys General again supported the effort to overturn the rights of citizens to protect themselves through enacting sensible gun safety legislation, this time in Chicago. The bloc of eleven -- including Corbett -- united in opposition to protecting the safety of their citizens yet again.
  • You can read the entire release here.

    someone is owed an apology

    For the all the crap she suffered for this.

    Oh, Woe is Me

    From the New York Times yesterday on Pope Benedict:
    While he did not directly mention the scandal involving sexual abuse of children by priests, parts of his sermon could be applicable to the crisis.

    The pontiff said faith in God helps lead one “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.”

    The Party of Family Values

    And its Chairman:
    Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.
    So that would be:

  • Two women wanting to celebrate their love and monogamy with marriage = BAD

  • Watching two topless women imitating lesbian sex = GOOD enough to warrant reimbursement for their Party's Chairman

  • Must Must Must Read

    They were obviously wearing a wire to this event.

    March 28, 2010

    For all the Cardinals out there

    I created this back in 2005 and you can still pick some up cheap. Just saying...

    Click here to purchase

    (I mean, it was a secret vote, right? Who would know?)

    Suffer the little children


    Um...And They Don't See The Problem?

    So not only are the tea-partiers ignorant on taxes, they're happy to get help from the guv'ment when they need it - all while demanding smaller guv'ment and less guv'ment help for everyone else.

    From the NYTimes:
    When Tom Grimes lost his job as a financial consultant 15 months ago, he called his congressman, a Democrat, for help getting government health care.

    Then he found a new full-time occupation: Tea Party activist.
    A few paragraphs later we find:
    Mr. Grimes, who receives Social Security, has filled the back seat of his Mercury Grand Marquis with the literature of the movement, including Glenn Beck’s “Arguing With Idiots” and Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law,” which denounces public benefits as “false philanthropy.”

    “If you quit giving people that stuff, they would figure out how to do it on their own,” Mr. Grimes said. [emphasis added.]
    Then there's Diana Riemer. She her husband lost his job and now, according to the Times, is a "star of the effort by Freedomworks, a tea-party group."

    But Freedomworks isn't really a "tea-party group." It predates the current "tea party" organizations by a few years (dating as it does to 2004). It's also an astro-turf organization that's received tons of money over the years from the main financial backers of the conservative movement.

    Grassroots, it ain't.

    But back to Diana Riemer:
    Ms. Reimer often wells up talking about her work. “I’m respected,” she said, her voice breaking. “I don’t know why. I don’t know what is so special. But I’m willing to do it.”

    She and others who receive government benefits like Medicare and Social Security said they paid into those programs, so they are getting what they deserve.[emphasis added]
    Here's a little thought experiment. What do you think the tea partiers would say if they learned that, oh I dunno, some community organizer was on some sort of guv'ment benefits like unemployment or Social Security or Medicare?
    Quit yer whinin' and get off yer ass go out and get a job! I shouldn't have to pay for your protests!
    So should it be any different when the community organizer is a part of a multi-million dollar astro-turf organization like Freedomworks?

    Not to mention Riemer has little understanding of Social Security. The money she "paid in" went to benefit those on Social Security at the time. The guv'ment money she gets right now comes from Americans working right now.

    It's a plan to redistribute the wealth for the greater good, isn't it? That's Socialism, isn't it?

    Then there's Jeff McQueen:
    Jeff McQueen, 50, began organizing Tea Party groups in Michigan and Ohio after losing his job in auto parts sales. “Being unemployed and having some time, I realized I just couldn’t sit on the couch anymore,” he said. “I had the time to get involved.”

    He began producing what he calls the flag of the Second American Revolution, and drove 700 miles to campaign for Mr. Brown under its banner. Flag sales, so far, are not making him much. But he sees a bigger cause.

    “The founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor,” he said. “They believed in it so much that they would sacrifice. That’s the kind of loyalty to this country that we stand for.”

    He blames the government for his unemployment. “Government is absolutely responsible, not because of what they did recently with the car companies, but what they’ve done since the 1980s,” he said. “The government has allowed free trade and never set up any rules.” [emphasis added.]
    Um, Jeff? The free trade (or at least the freer trade of the past few decades) occurred when the guv'ment relaxed its rules in an attempt to be less intrusive into the free market system that built this great nation into the shining city on a hill that it's been since God ordained it.

    But I am guessing these folks watch a lot of Fox "News" and so they must be well informed, right?

    March 27, 2010

    Why Was Nothing Done?

    From the NYTimes:
    They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

    They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

    This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.
    In answer to the question at top:
    Among the supervisors was John Conway, now the deputy administrator of workers’ compensation for the State of Wisconsin. Mr. Conway, the students and others collected affidavits from 15 to 20 former students about Father Murphy’s violations. They were granted a meeting with Archbishop William E. Cousins.

    “In my extreme naïveté,” said Mr. Conway in an interview on Friday, “I told them the archbishop would take care of this.”

    He said they were surprised to find the room packed with people, including several nuns and teachers from the school, two priests who said they were representing the apostolic delegate in Chicago, and Father Murphy himself.

    Arthur Budzinski and Gary Smith, two more victims of Father Murphy, said in an interview last week that they remember seeing Archbishop Cousins yell, and Father Murphy staring at the floor. The deaf men and their advocates were told that Father Murphy, the school’s director and top fund-raiser, was too valuable to be let go, so he would be given only administrative duties.

    They were outraged. They distributed “Wanted” posters with Father Murphy’s face outside the cathedral in Milwaukee. They went to the police departments in Milwaukee, where they were told it was not the correct jurisdiction, and in St. Francis, where the school was located, Mr. Conway said. They also went to the office of E. Michael McCann, the district attorney of Milwaukee County, and spoke with his assistant, William Gardner.

    A criminal priest was an oxymoron to them,” Mr. Conway said. “They said they’ll refer it to the archdiocese.” [emphasis added.]
    The archdiocese and the Church as a whole did little if anything about Father Murphy. And as many as 200 boys were abused. By just one priest.

    I'll give Christopher Hitchens the last word here.
    It's the rape and torture of children.

    March 26, 2010

    Hey, Look At This!

    I normally don't blog on letters-to-the-editor. But this screamed for attention.

    From today's P-G:
    I find it hard to believe that 1970s domestic terrorist William Ayers will be the keynote speaker today at the Spring 2010 Conference of the University of Pittsburgh's Council of Graduate Students in Education. I would think that in the interest of education, intellectualism and ethics, the council would be concerned about the unethical life of its honored guest.

    Bill Ayers was the co-founder of the radical Weather Underground, a self-described communist revolutionary group that participated in a series of bombings in the early 1970s, including the 1974 bombing of Pittsburgh's Gulf Tower. Mr. Ayers admits to participating in bombings at a New York City police headquarters in 1970, the U.S. Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. Federal conspiracy charges against him were dropped in 1974 because of illegal surveillance.

    Surely the University of Pittsburgh group could have found some other speaker who has values and loves our country, instead of a criminal. By paying this person to speak, is it honoring his behaviors? Why have someone from Chicago education circles speak on educating students? Have you seen the statistics of Chicago schools? [emphasis added.]
    Something about this stuck in my head. The memory clicked back to to this from the Trib. The third paragraph of the editorial reads:
    Mr. Ayers admits to participating in bombings at a New York City police headquarters in 1970, the U.S. Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. Federal conspiracy charges against him were dropped in 1974 because of illegal surveillance.
    Notice anything?

    I'd think there were filters over at the P-G for stuff like this.

    Good For Them

    They don't condone the violence:
    Republicans and Tea Party activists condemned the threats and violent actions directed at a host of lawmakers this week in the wake of the passage of health care reform, but warned Democrats not to make a political issue out of it.

    Top Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said on Wednesday that they do not condone the violence, which has included broken windows at campaign offices, threatening phone calls and faxes, and a severed gas line at the home of a lawmaker's brother.

    "I do not condone violence," Cantor said on Capitol Hill on Thursday. "There are no leaders in the building, no rank and file members that condone violence, period."
    Cantor, however, went on to be come the punchline du jour.


    By trying to blame it on the Democrats:
    House Minority Whip Eric Cantor just gave a brief speech accusing Democrats of using reports of recent threats of violence for political gain, and saying someone shot a bullet through the window of his campaign office this week.
    That last part, the bullet, is the joke.


    Take a look at the press release from the Richmond Police:
    The Richmond Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism at the Reagan Building, 25 E. Main St., Richmond, Virginia. A first floor window was struck by a bullet at approximately 1 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23. The building, which has several tenants including an office used by Congressman Eric Cantor, was unoccupied at the time.

    A Richmond Police detective was assigned to the case. A preliminary investigation shows that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman.
    A bullet that hit a window in Republican U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor’s office building was fired randomly into the air, police said Thursday.
    Which is to say, that Cantor was not the target.

    And here's the punchline:
    “It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain,“ Cantor told reporters.
    Ha. Funny.

    March 25, 2010

    More Trouble For The Pope

    From the NYTimes:
    Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

    The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal. [emphasis added.]
    Deaf boys???

    To be clear, this is not about Catholicism. It's about the abuse of power. It's about the hypocrisy of an institution that seeks to impose its own brand of sexual morality while covering up the rapes of deaf children for the sake of protecting itself from scandal.

    Tell me again why we should treat any statement on sex from the Catholic Church with any credibility?

    No really I want to know.

    When Do We Start Calling This Domestic Terrorism?

    From The AP Via HuffingtonPost:
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the severing of a gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello's brother following the posting of his address online by Tea Party activists.

    The activists are upset with the Virginia congressman's vote in favor of the health care reform.

    At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that at least 10 members of Congress have requested extra security due to recent threats.
    Talkingpointsmemo has a map. Some details:
    • Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), who is on the map above, today said he confronted Minority Leader John Boehner over an interview in which Boehner said Driehaus would be a "dead man" if he voted for the bill. "I think it's really important for folks around here, especially leader Boehner, to understand that his words have consequences," Driehaus said.
    • Sarah Palin posted on Facebook a map of her own -- showing cross-hair graphics over the districts of vulnerable Democrats who backed the health reform legislation. Earlier she tweeted "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' Pls see my Facebook page."
    Then there's this bit of news:
    Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) released the following statement today about acts of vandalism in her district. Here's the full text:

    There were two events in my district during the last week that were alarming to me and I have reported them to the proper authorities. There was a brick thrown through my Niagara Falls district office and a voice mail referencing snipers that was left on the answering machine of my campaign office. The U.S. Capitol Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police departments are all aware of these incidents and are still investigating.
    Bricks thrown through windows. Physical intimidation. Acts of Vandalism. Death Threats.

    Unless the GOP renounces this they own it. All of it.

    Until further notice, this is the New GOP.

    March 24, 2010

    Digging deeper into Onorato's LGBT voting record

    When Sue of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents wrote a guest post last week about PA gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato's voting record on LGBT issues at The Pennsylvania Progressive she thought that Onorato had never actually cast a vote on LGBT issues.

    But she's dug a little deeper and discovered that's not actually the case.

    Turns out that Danny Boy voted against domestic partner benefits in 1999 as a City Councilman.

    Moreover, in 1998 he was the sole nay vote to adding gender identity and expression to a City human relations ordinance.

    You can read it all here.

    NOTE: Steel City Stonewall Democrats will hold their endorsement vote this Sunday. Details here. You can join the group on Sunday -- you do not need to be gay to join; good allies are welcome -- and vote that same day (as I will for Joe Hoeffel and Joe Sestak).

    Free the Slaves

    (h/t to Digby)

    Who asked you, Corbett?

    PA Attorney General Tom Corbett says,
    "Stop in the name of partisan campaign..the law."

    Dear Attorney General Corbett:

    I know you're a Republican running for Governor, but Pennsylvania is a BLUE state that voted for Barack Obama for President who ran on health care reform so, please, STOP YOUR FUCKING PARTISAN POLITICS.

    That is all.

    Pittsburgh, PA


  • Petition to Stop Tom Corbett here.

  • Joe Hoeffel on Corbett's move here.

  • PA Sen. Daylin Leach & others' letter to Corbett here (which notes that if the lawsuit is successful, "it will cost Pennsylvania approximately 102 Million Dollars in the 2010-2011 fiscal year and billions more in the short term.")

  • George Washington on health care reform’s constitutionality here.
  • Obama brings the funny


    March 23, 2010

    Deal me in!


    Rob Roger's great take on the day here.

    Jason's Got A Problem (Part II)

    From the newly refurbished Early Returns 2.0:
    Irate at Rep. Jason Altmire’s vote against the health care legislation, Jack Shea, the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, said he is considering a challenge the McCandless Democrat in either the primary or general elections.
    Seems that Jason the Dino had a few conversations with Shea that seem to conflict with his vote.

    First, there's Jason's weaselly:
    Describing Mr. Shea as “a friend,’’ Mr. Altmire said, “The conversation that he is referring to took place in November,'' after Mr. Altmire’s initial vote against the House version of the health care legislation.

    “At that time I said, ‘look I’m going to keep at this. I have every expectation that we’re going get to something that I can vote for’ … we didn’t get to a place were I could do that.’’
    What conversation? Here's Jack:
    [Shea] said that his consideration of a challenge was a response not just to the Mr. Altmire’s health care vote itself but also to his belief that Mr. Altmire had misled him and other labor leaders on his plans on the legislation.

    “He didn’t keep his word,’’ Mr. Shea said. “I’m not the only one that he committed to. He told [Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President] Bill George the same thing. He told [USW President] Leo Gerard. … What he said very plainly was, at the end, the final bill, he would be there.

    Referring to the failed health care push during the Clinton administration, when Mr. Altmire, as a congressional staffer worked with the administration’s health care task force, Mr. Shea claimed that the congressman had assured him that, “He said he was around [when] they walked away empty handed he wasn’t going to do that again.’’
    We know Jason's lost the P-G but has he lost labor, too?

    Jason the Dino's got a problem.

    Jason's Got A Problem

    I caught this in yesterday's P-G:
    When history came calling, Jason Altmire turned away.

    The two-term congressman from McCandless voted against his party's long-fought effort to reform health care in America.

    He stood with insurance companies that raised premiums by 30 and 40 percent, tea party protesters who mistake decibels for decency and wild-eyed Republicans with a zeal to bring down a president.

    By claiming to want a better bill, he stood as a defender of the status quo, which leaves millions without health coverage, denies insurance for pre-existing conditions and causes headaches for employers and misery for working-class families.

    By voting no, Jason Altmire turned his back on his president and his party, and today he stands as a Democrat in name only.
    Jason the DINO has a problem.

    And this is it. From Talkingpointsmemo:
    So who were the 34 House Democrats that voted against the health care bill -- and what are the politics for them back home? A close look at the list shows a heavy tendency towards Democrats who come from districts carried by John McCain in 2008 -- though not completely so.
    McCain carried Jason's district by 10% according to the chart at TPM. It also gives Jason a PVI rating of R+6.

    Not that that excuses Jason, of course. He had the opportunity to do the right thing and he blinked. He blinked (my guess) because he didn't want this issue to hang over his head when Mary Beth Buchanan challenges him in his R+6 district in November.

    What I thought amazing about the P-G's editorial is how little slack they cut Jason:
    People in high office seldom get such a clarifying moment -- when their voice and their vote matters to the nation and to posterity. We have seen such moments with the dawn of Social Security, the declarations of war on Japan and Germany, the court rulings to end racial segregation. Jason Altmire looked his moment straight in the eye and couldn't muster the backbone to embrace change.
    Jason Altmire has officially lost the P-G. What do you say next about a candidate once you've pointed out their political cowardice? A candidate who'd go with weaselly political expediency over being on the right side of history?

    Jason, looks like you're on your own in November, my friend.

    March 22, 2010

    Tell Me Again

    Remember this?

    There's more.
    The Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.

    In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church's interests ahead of child safety.

    The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.
    I'll ask it again: Tell me why we should treat any comment on sexual morality from our friends from the Holy See with any sort of credibility?

    What We Missed

    With all the HCR posting, here's some things we missed:

  • Rally Today to Support Grocery Workers Fighting For Contract for More Than a Year
    When: Today, Mar 22, 1:30 p.m.
    Where: Kuhn's Market, 700 Beulah Rd., Wilkins Twp. PA 15145
    Who: United Food and Commercial Workers local 23 and community groups

  • It's that time of the month...
    On the Spot is asking you to donate a box of supplies for girls in and around Pittsburgh who don’t have access.

  • Help Prevent Teen Dating Violence: PA House Bill 2026, “Demi Brae Cuccia Law”
    Via my PA Representative, Harry Readshaw: "If it becomes law, teen dating violence education would be integrated into middle and high school curriculums. School districts would have to develop an anti-dating violence policy. Age-appropriate education would inform students about the danger of teen dating violence and how they can recognize its warning signs and protect themselves from becoming a victim...You can directly help by signing an online petition on the web site of the bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre County"

  • Labor Board Rules In Favor of Workers United SEIU In Aramark Mellon Arena Worker Case
    Now Aramark has no excuse for not negotiating.

  • Ohmigod!

    Ok, so I woke up this morning with a teensy tiny headache (no big deal, I'm human I get headaches). So I went into the bathroom to get some aspirin and what do you think I found?

    An IRS agent barring the door, informing me that my request for an aspirin was being denied.

    He added that since to the guv'ment take over of "our" health care system last night, my life was no longer my own, my healthcare decisions were no longer my own and since I had the temerity to think I could make my own diagnosis without waiting to hear back from a guv'ment sanctioned health care professional (he said the wait was only 4-6 weeks for something as simple as a headache), I was required to attend a guv'ment reeducation camp in Montana for a week. At my own expense, of course.

    When I inquired how the IRS agent got into my house, I was told "But I'm from the guv'ment and I'm here to help."

    Peeking outside, I saw a fleet of silent unmarked helicopters in the air. On patrol for political undesirables, no doubt.

    March 21, 2010

    HCR Passes

    HRC passes House.

    Rethugs effort to recommit fails.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi gavels bill.

    President Barack Obama speaks.

    "Obama's Waterloo." NOT.

    More On Scaife's Trib.

    An astute reader pointed me in the direction of another Trib editorial:
    The U.S. Senate must help America get to the bottom of the post-9/11 anthrax attacks.

    The FBI hasn't produced convincing answers. It had to pay damages to former government scientist Dr. Stephen Hatfill for wrongly labeling him a "person of interest."

    It can't convict the government scientist it now blames, Dr. Bruce Ivins, because he took his own life amid FBI hounding.

    And a National Academy of Sciences review of FBI scientific evidence, which the FBI itself ordered, isn't finished.

    Yet the Obama Justice Department says it's a closed case.

    As Cliff Kincaid of America's Survival Inc. ( notes, the FBI seems hellbent on exonerating al-Qaida. And left-leaning mainstream media have focused on domestic, preferably right-wing suspects -- despite evidence that al-Qaida strove to add anthrax to its arsenal.

    So the Senate must follow the House's lead and require the intelligence inspector general to determine whether credible evidence exists of a link between a foreign entity and the anthrax attacks.

    Mr. Kincaid chillingly points out that the FBI's handling of the case raises doubts about both its own practices and U.S. readiness for biological terror attacks. Without solid answers about the anthrax attacks, those doubts will only grow.
    And my astute reader prodded me:
    Look up America's Survival -- hell, look up Cliff Kincaid -- and you'll see what a RMS creation this study was.
    Ok. Let's.

    First the foundations controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife:
    • The Sarah Scaife Foundation granted $150,000 in 2008.
    • The Sarah Scaife Foundation granted $60,000 in 2007.
    • The Carthage Foundation granted $110,000 in 2007.
    • The Carthage Foundation granted $60,000 in 2006.
    That $380,000 right there.

    Media Matters lists only five "funders" for America's Survival, Inc and "America's Survival":
    • Armstrong Foundation
    • Carthage Foundation
    • Sarah Scaife Foundation
    • Richard and Helen Devos Foundation
    And of those, Armstrong and Devos only granted $11,000. The rest is from Scaife.

    The circle-jerk continues.

    Dems Now Have Votes in House to Pass HCR

    And, it only took letting Bart Stupak slap women's health around for a few months and then having a Democratic President sign an executive order that basically reaffirms the odious Hyde Amendment.


    1. Now, with even Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) on board, does this make Jason Altmire the loneliest Democrat in all of PA? (That would be a yes.)

    2. Now that Stupak is satisfied, are the Catholic Bishops? (That would be a big, fat NO).

    3. Does Lil Ricky Santorum's special knowledge about the state of Stupak's soul extend to anyone else? (Never underestimate the power of Santorum.)


    Déjà vu

    Republicans' Amazing Power of Prognostication!

    Sound familiar? Via Congress Matters:
    On the 1993 deficit reduction package:
    Rep. Robert Michel (R-IL), Los Angeles Times, 5/28/93:
    They will remember who let loose this deadly virus into our economic bloodstream.
    On jobs:
    Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), 5/27/93:
    ...your economic program is a job killer
    On Medicare:
    Rep. Durward Hall (R-MO), 4/8/65:
    ...we cannot stand idly by now, as the Nation is urged to embark on an ill-conceived adventure in government medicine, the end of which no one can see, and from which the patient is certain to be the ultimate sufferer.em>
    On Social Security:
    Rep. John Taber (R-NY), 4/19/35:
    Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers and to prevent any possibility of the employers providing work for the people.
    Many, many more quotes here

    Lil Ricky Santorum Attempts to Schiavo HCR

    Looks like Lil Ricky is getting nostalgic for the good old days of Terri Schiavo. If he really cared, he'd take the short drive from his home in Virginia (right after Mass of course) to DC and chain himself to the doors at the Capitol so no one could get in to vote on the wicked, wicked abortion bill today.


    Maybe he can threaten to throw himself off the dome...

    WOW - The Trib This Morning Does Itself Proud

    Can they even get away with something like this?

    From today's Sunday Pops:
    There seems to be a profound mistrust of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress," says political guru Charlie Cook. "(It's) a sense that, at best, this president and Congress lack an understanding of small business. But among many, it goes much further than mistrust. They see Democrats in Washington as hostile forces that could implement policies that would effectively destroy their businesses," Mr. Cook adds. Translation: All that "change" has been shaken from their pockets and now President Hope is going after the paper money.
    Now, who do you think the "they" are in that passage? Just reading the passage you'd think that Charlie Cook was talking about the electorate in general, right?


    Here's the column Richard Mellon Scaife's braintrust misquotes. And here's the specific paragraph they misquote:
    But privately, some business leaders and bankers say that beyond small-business owners' concerns about the direction the economy and the durability of this recession, political concerns have crept in. There seems to be a profound mistrust of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, a sense that, at best, this president and Congress lack an understanding of small business. But among many, it goes much further than mistrust. They see Democrats in Washington as hostile forces that could implement policies that would effectively destroy their businesses.
    Cook's talking about the distrust among "some business leaders and bankers." The "they" isn't the everyone but a small segment of the population. If there's any doubt, here's Cook's last paragraph:
    In short, even inadvertently, Democrats have made their own job harder by alienating the one group of people they want to be hiring and turning the unemployment rate around.
    And all that aside, make sure you swallow whatever morning coffee you're sipping before you read the very next sentence from Charlie Cook. It's right after the sentence the Trib misquoted:
    While I don't think that is true -- and Democrats are quick to say it's important to get health care costs under control, with their unsustainably high increases jeopardizing the ability of almost any business to make money -- a lot of these business owners simply don't see it that way, or they choose not to see it that way.
    So what the Trib uses as a quote from Charlie Cook, Cook doesn't actually believe. Can they actually do that?

    March 20, 2010

    True Americans

    Read this:
    Tea partiers and other anti-health care activists are known to get rowdy, but today's protest on Capitol Hill--the day before the House is set to vote on historic health care legislation--went beyond the usual chanting and controversial signs, and veered into ugly bigotry and intimidation.

    Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and fellow Congressional Black Caucus member Andre Carson (D-IN) related a particularly jarring encounter with a large crowd of protesters screaming "kill the bill"... and punctuating their chants with the word "nigger."
    And then there's:
    And that wasn't an isolated incident. Early this afternoon, standing outside a Democratic whip meeting in the Longworth House office building, I watched Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) make his way out the door, en route to the neighboring Rayburn building. As he rounded the corner toward the exit, wading through a huge crowd of tea partiers and other health care protesters, an elderly white man screamed "Barney, you faggot"--a line that caused dozens of his confederates to erupt in laughter.
    Great group of folks, huh?

    Tea-Party: Anti-Tax And Yet Tax-Ignorant

    Turns out that the Anti-Tax "Tea Partiers" don't know much 'bout taxes.

    And who says so? I can hear my good friends on the other side of the blogger aisle cluckling that this piece of gossip is probably from the DailyKos or the Huffingtonpost or the

    Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

    It's from

    Now I can hear them clucking that it's probably just some moonbat liberal who lucked onto the magazine's website for a one-shot deal.

    Wrong again, it's Bruce Bartlett, domestic policy advisor to Ronald Reagan, and Treasury official under George H. W. Bush and he has a weekly column at

    Here's what he says he did:
    On March 16 the Tea Party crowd showed up for yet another demonstration on Capitol Hill in Washington. Curious about the factual knowledge these people have regarding the issues they are protesting, my friend David Frum enlisted some interns to interview as many Tea Partyers as possible on a couple of basic questions. They got 57 responses--a pretty good-sized sample from a crowd that numbered between 300 and 500 people.
    David Frum? He's another conservative. Resident Fellow at AEI and speech writer for George W Bush.

    And what did Bartlet's interns find?
    The first question that was asked concerned the size of government. Tea Partyers were asked how much the federal government gets in taxes as a percentage of the gross domestic product. According to Congressional Budget Office data, acceptable answers would be 6.4%, which is the percentage for federal income taxes; 12.7%, which would be for both income taxes and Social Security payroll taxes; or 14.8%, which would represent all federal taxes as a share of GDP in 2009.

    Not everyone follows these numbers closely, and Tea Partyers may have been thinking of figures from a few years ago, before the recession when taxes were higher. According to the CBO, the highest figure for all federal taxes since 1970 came in the year 2000, when they reached 20.6% of GDP. As we know, after that George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress cut federal taxes; they fell to 18.5% of GDP in 2007, before the recession hit, and 17.5% in 2008.

    Tuesday's Tea Party crowd, however, thought that federal taxes were almost three times as high as they actually are. The average response was 42% of GDP and the median 40%. The highest figure recorded in all of American history was half those figures: 20.9% at the peak of World War II in 1944. [emphasis added]
    The TP crowd got more wrong:
    Tea Partyers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same.

    As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it's hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year. In fact, 40% of Obama's stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800.

    According to the JCT, last year's $787 billion stimulus bill, enacted with no Republican support, reduced federal taxes by almost $100 billion in 2009 and another $222 billion this year. The Tax Policy Center, a private research group, estimates that close to 90% of all taxpayers got a tax cut last year and almost 100% of those in the $50,000 income range. For those making between $40,000 and $50,000, the average tax cut was $472; for those making between $50,000 and $75,000, the tax cut averaged $522. No taxpayer anywhere in the country had his or her taxes increased as a consequence of Obama's policies. [Emphasis added.]
    So The Tea Party crowd is wrong about taxes, I get it.

    Hey, they watch alotta Fox "News" don't they?

    March 19, 2010

    Rep. Jason Altmire's New Campaign Song


    Jason Altmire says he'll vote NO on health care reform

    You pay for my family's health insurance.

    From the web site of Rep. Jason Altmire (D Health Care/UPMC Lobby-PA). Read it and weep, folks:
    "I ran for Congress in large part because I believe we need to find a way to bring down the cost of health care. I also ran for Congress with a simple promise: I would do my best to represent my district and to give western Pennsylvania a voice in Washington, not the other way around.

    "I regret that this year-long process of debating health care reform has resulted in a final product that I cannot support. The cost of inaction on health care is great, but it would be an even bigger mistake to pass a bill that could compound the problem of skyrocketing health care costs.

    "Simply moving money around within the existing system, rather than enacting real delivery system reform, might change who pays the bill, but it does not improve the quality of care or reduce costs for families, small businesses, or the federal government. It creates a system of winners and losers, rather than reforming the system in a way that lets everyone win. It is estimated that after passage of this bill, federal health care expenditures would likely increase above what they would under current law.

    "It has become clear that the vast majority of my constituents want me to oppose this bill. Particularly hard hit would be western Pennsylvania’s Medicare beneficiaries, which many experts believe would experience dramatic premium increases with enactment of this bill.

    "I am acutely aware that my decision to vote against the health care bill will disappoint some of my constituents and alienate supporters of the bill. The politically easy vote would have been to vote with my party. But I was not sent to Congress to take the easy way out or to vote the way they want me to vote in Washington. I was elected to represent my district and give western Pennsylvania a voice in Congress. I strongly believe that a vote in opposition to the health care bill is consistent with the views of the district I represent, and is the correct vote based on the impact of the bill on my constituents and the overall health care system."
    He voted against HCR -- and for Stupak -- last time around.

    Iraq War = Horrible Mistake.

    So says Republican Member of Congress Dana Rohrabacher (via the Cato Institute):
    In a Thursday panel at Cato on conservatism and war, U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and John Duncan (R-Tenn.) revealed that the vast majority of GOP members of Congress now think it was wrong for the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003.
    Rohrabacher (who voted for Authorization to use Military Force in 2002) is even quoted as saying:
    I will say that the decision to go in, in retrospect, almost all of us think that was a horrible mistake.
    Their party is still filled with birther/tenther crazies, but at least some of them now recognize that the war in Iraq was a. horrible. mistake.

    Will they be apologizing anytime soon to the 4300+ families of the servicemen and women who died for their horrible mistake?

    Will dubya?

    Of course not.

    Progressives = Cancer!

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Conservative Libertarian
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Political HumorHealth Care Reform

    Great web site, Mary Beth!

    Someone sent me a screen capture last night from Republican Mary Beth Buchanan's own campaign web site (You guys know just what to get me for my birthday!):

    Yes, I know the poll is unscientific and I know that the numbers have changed today, but how funny is it that the web site for a Republican running for Congress showed at the time that 50% of the people wanted to have "socialized medicine"?

    I hope you're listening, Jason Altmire!

    And, by all means, 2pj readers should feel free to freep this poll (though be aware that the questions seem to rotate).

    March 18, 2010



    The Tribune-Review Still Doesn't Get It

    From today's Thursday Wrap:
    This is outrageous!: A White House task force draft report contends that "climate change" has wrought "pervasive, wide ranging" effects on the United States, including "increasingly severe floods, droughts, wildfires and heat waves, along with rising sea levels ... ." This is the same kind of garbage-laced exaggeration that forced an advertising watchdog group in Britain to ban government ads claiming the same thing. Americans should not stand for such pure fiction.
    As we pointed out yesterday, that "advertising watchdog group" the Trib is referencing actually presented the IPCC as the "mainstream scientific consensus." Oh, and they misrepresented what the group said. The ads were criticized for not pointing out the "uncertainties" already included in the IPCC report - not for claiming that climate change will be increasing severe floods.

    In case my good friends at the Trib wanted to educated themselves over that watchdog group's report, here's one thing they say about an ad they didn't have a problem with:
    We considered that the imagery of flooding in the TV ad, together with the claim "There was once a land where the weather was very very strange. There were awful heat waves in some parts and in others terrible storms and floods was presented in a context which visually referenced a UK town and UK countryside.

    We referred to the IPCC report (2007) which stated that climate predictions for the future for Europe, based on current trends, suggested that there would be an increased risk of inland flash floods and more frequent coastal flooding, as well as an increased risk of heat waves. We also noted the joint "UK Climate Science Statement" issued by the Meteorological Office (the UK's Weather Centre), the Natural Environment Research Council and the Royal Society (November 2009) based on the IPCC's review of published climate science together with further scientific evidence, available to Government, which had been collected since the last IPCC report. The joint statement said "Year on year the evidence is growing that damaging climate and weather events - potentially intensified by global warming - are already happening and beginning to affect society and ecosystems. This includes: In the UK, heavier daily rainfall leading to local flooding such as in the summer of 2007; increased risk of summer heat waves such as the summers of 2003 across the UK and Europe; around the world, increasing incidence of extreme weather events with unprecedented levels of damage to society and infrastructure ... Sea level rises leading to dangerous exposure for populations ... These emerging signals are consistent with what we expect from our projections, giving us confidence in the science and models that underpin them. In the absence of action to mitigate climate change, we can expect much larger changes in the coming decades than we have seen so far".
    Huh? But I thought that advertising watchdog group in Britain debunked all that!

    They didn't. They rely on the IPCC as the scientific consensus and the Trib's wrong on climate change. Again. The Trib compounds yesterday's silly with today's even sillier. Don't they do any research into what they write? Any? At all?

    There's an adage that goes something like: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

    I think they should stop digging.

    Here's the White House Task Force Report, in case you were curious (and I strongly suggest to my friends at the Trib to read it. They can contact me if they're having trouble with the big words).

    March 17, 2010

    Silly, This is Just Silly

    The Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is really reaching today - and again they didn't do their homework. Take a look at this paragraph from today's midweek briefing:
    Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that two government-commissioned advertisements designed to raise awareness of climate change exaggerated the global warming threat. "In definitely asserting that climate change would cause flooding and drought, the adverts went beyond mainstream scientific consensus, the watchdog said," reports London's Daily Telegraph. Al Gore must have written the ads.
    Let's do some digging. Here's the piece from the Daily Telegraph:
    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the adverts – which were based on the children's poems Jack and Jill and Rub-A-Dub-Dub – made exaggerated claims about the threat to Britain from global warming.

    In definitely asserting that climate change would cause flooding and drought the adverts went beyond mainstream scientific consensus, the watchdog said.
    Advertisements based on nursery rhymes? THAT'S what this is about?? Fine.

    Let's take a look at what the ASA wrote regarding these "adverts" (they're labeled "b" and "c"):
    We considered that the use of well-known UK nursery rhymes and their associated imagery in the press ads referenced a UK setting. We noted that the IPCC report, based on a number of different emissions scenarios and using modelled climate projections, stated that it was "very likely" that "hot extremes, heatwaves and heavy precipitation events" would increase globally, where "very likely" referred to a greater than 90% probability, although we also noted the report did not make direct predictions for future climate patterns in the UK. The report discussed likely regional changes and stated that, at present, it was "likely" that heat waves and heavy precipitation events had become more frequent over most land areas and that, in relation to Europe, based on current trends, there would be an increased risk of floods and heat waves. The report stated that the risk of summer drought was "likely" to increase in central Europe, that extremes of daily precipitation were "very likely" to increase in northern Europe and that it was "more likely than not" that there would be an increase in average and extreme wind speeds in northern Europe, where "very likely" referred to a greater than 90% probability, "likely" referred to a greater than 66% probability and "more likely than not" referred to a greater than 50% probability. We considered readers would understand storms to consist of a combination of rain and wind. Because, in a European context, there was a probability of greater than 90% for some events but a probability of greater than 50% for other events and because all statements about future climate conditions were based on modelled predictions, which the IPCC report itself stated still involved uncertainties in the magnitude and timing, as well as regional details, of predicted climate change, we concluded that the claim "Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heatwaves will become more frequent and intense" in ad (b) and the claim "extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense" in ad (c) should have been phrased more tentatively to reflect that. However, we considered that the imagery of UK flooding in ad (b) and of a drought in ad (c) were not themselves (and particularly not in the context of a nursery rhyme "what if" presentations) exaggerated or misleading.
    That's a lot of words. Luckily, the Telegraph sums things up nicely. Did you want to see the very next paragraph from the Telegraph? Here it is:
    It noted that predictions about the potential global impact of global warming made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "involved uncertainties" that the adverts failed to reflect.
    Wait wait, this is too funny. It turns out that the mainstream consensus the ASA is using is (now wait for it):

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The problem with the adverts is that they went beyond what the IPCC (ie the "mainstream consensus) said.

    Funny that the Trib missed that part, eh?

    A Win For Equality

    In case you missed it, 8 out of 14 PA Senators on the Judiciary Committee voted to table SB 707.

    Great job to everyone who called/emailed committee members!

    And, kudos to the 20+ bloggers who participated in Blog for Equality Day.

    Here We Go Again: Onorato Challenging Hoeffel's Petitions

    Via the Trib:
    Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has challenged the nominating petitions of Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel, one of his competitors in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

    Hoeffel's campaign called the attempt to knock Hoeffel off the ballot "cowardly."
    I called it "Douchebaggery" back when Acklin did it to Harris. I'll stand by that designation in this case too.

    March 16, 2010

    What Digby Said

    'Human rights are not "issues" to be finessed in order to procure votes.'

    Ms. Mon & Ms. Clark

    Two new blogs by two local women at two MSM:

  • Ms. Mon's Salon
    Frances Monahan (Ms. Adventures on the Mon, This Just In @ Pittsburgh City Paper) is also now blogging at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (Thanks for the shout out!)

  • Jeanne Clark
    Jeanne K. Clark (PennFuture & President of the Squirrel Hill chapter of NOW) is now blogging at Ms. Magazine.
  • .

    Tell Me Again

    Why we should have to pay attention to the Catholic Church's pronouncements on sexual morality?

    Point one:
    Ireland's senior Roman Catholic, Cardinal Sean Brady, said Monday he would not resign despite admitting he helped the church collect evidence against a child-molesting priest and never told police about the crimes.

    Brady, as a priest and Vatican-trained canon lawyer in 1975, said he interviewed two children about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Rev. Brendan Smyth. He said both children were required to sign oaths promising not to tell anyone outside the church of their allegations.

    Smyth went on to molest and rape scores of other children in Ireland, Britain and the United States before British authorities in neighboring Northern Ireland demanded his arrest in 1994. The Irish government of the day collapsed amid acrimony over why Smyth was not quickly extradited to Belfast
    Point two:
    Disgrace already hung over the Rev. Marcial Maciel when he died in 2008 at the age of 87. In 2005, beset by burgeoning charges that he had sexually abused young seminarians for decades, the Mexican priest had resigned as head of the Legionaries of Christ, one of the Roman Catholic Church's most powerful clerical orders. In 2006 the Vatican — which under the late Pope John Paul II had been one of Padre Maciel's staunchest allies — made him give up public ministry and confine himself to a life of "prayer and penitence."

    But last week in Mexico, where Maciel founded the ultraconservative Legion in 1941, the scandal took an even unholier turn. On March 3, one of Maciel's mistresses, Blanca Lara, and two of Lara's grown sons told MVS Radio that Maciel had sexually abused his own children. It "started when I was 7 years old," said one son, José Raúl González, now in his early 30s. "I was lying down with him like any boy, any son with his father. He pulled down my pants and tried to rape me." The abuse, González said, got worse after that and lasted years. His brother Omar said he too had been sexually abused by Maciel, starting at age 8. (The sons never took Maciel's surname.) Says Maciel victim Juan Vaca, 72, a former priest and adjunct psychology and sociology professor at Mercy College in New York: "This simply confirms what sort of personality we [were] dealing with: a malignant narcissist."
    Point Three:
    The priest at the center of a German sexual-abuse scandal that has embroiled Pope Benedict XVI continued working with children for more than 30 years, even though a German court convicted him of molesting boys.

    The priest, Peter Hullermann, who had previously been identified only by the first letter of his last name, was suspended from his duties only on Monday. That was three days after the church acknowledged that the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, had responded to early accusations of molestation by allowing the priest to move to Munich for therapy in 1980.

    Hundreds of victims have come forward in recent months in Germany with accounts of sexual abuse from decades past. But no case has captured the attention of the nation like that of Father Hullermann, not only because of the involvement of the future pope, but also because of the impunity that allowed a child molester to continue to work with altar boys and girls for decades after his conviction.

    Benedict not only served as the archbishop of the diocese where the priest worked, but also later as the cardinal in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. Yet until the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising announced that Father Hullermann had been suspended on Monday, he continued to serve in a series of Bavarian parishes.

    In 1980, the future pope reviewed the case of Father Hullermann, who was accused of sexually abusing boys in the Diocese of Essen, including forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The future pope approved his transfer to Munich. On Friday, a deputy took responsibility for allowing the priest to return to full pastoral duties shortly afterward. Six years later, Father Hullermann was convicted of sexually abusing children in the Bavarian town of Grafing. Father Hullermann's identity was revealed Sunday, when a man whose marriage he was scheduled to perform in the spa town of Bad Tölz stood up in the pews and began shouting as the head of the congregation was speaking in vague terms about the scandal.
    Can someone explain this to me?

    March 15, 2010

    Dollars to Donuts: This is Asinine

    Are you fucking kidding me?


    Blog for Equality Day 2010: Oppose Discrimination in the PA Constitution!

    It's baaaack!

    Pennsylvania State Senator John Eichelberger (R-PA-30th) and some other bigots have introduced yet another "marriage protection" bill: SB 707.

    It's scheduled to be voted on in the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

    The only things bills like this one do is "protect" and enshrine inequality and therefore must be protested.

    As I wrote back in 2008:

    The subject of the "equality" of this day is an attempt to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman as part of a "Marriage Protection Amendment."

    First, let's throw out any straw man arguments: we are talking about the legal institution of marriage. We are not speaking about any particular religion's take on the subject -- they are free to define marriage exactly as they want.

    What we are talking about is a legal contract between two adults. A contract that, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, confers over 1,000 protections and benefits to couples who enter into it. A contract that is currently only available to heterosexual couples. This despite the fact that there are already thousands of families in Pennsylvania headed by gays and that society has determined that encouraging stable, monogamous relationships is healthy for children in these and all families.

    Moreover, Pennsylvania already prohibits same-sex marriage so this bill is a waste of time and resources.


    1) Make sure that this divisive, hateful initiative never becomes a reality in Pennsylvania by emailing the Senate Judiciary Committee members here and letting them know that you oppose discrimination in our constitution.

    2) Call the Senate Judiciary Committee members (phone numbers here) and tell them to vote NO on SB 707.

    You can click here to see what other Pittsburgh bloggers have to say on this issue.

    Blog For Equality.

    A couple of years ago, I snarked:
    I am just so grateful to the Pennsylvania legislature for acting to protect the institution of marriage from those despicable homosexual hordes. I mean if my gay friend Sue - and don't get me wrong, I don't hate teh gays, some of my best friends are gay - but if she were allowed to marry her partner it would disturb my life in many many many frightening ways. Ways I can not now imagine without some horrific soul-crushing shudder.
    But it seems that the reason for that blog for equality day is back. This is the text a few in our illustrious State Senate want to add as an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution:
    Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid and recognized as a marriage in this Commonwealth.
    Other sections of the Declarations of Rights revolve around guaranteeing the rights of Pennsylvanians or otherwise limiting the power of the state.

    Like the first one:
    Section 1
    All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.
    Or the last one:
    Section 28
    Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual.
    So how does defining marriage in such a way that it limits the rights of gay Pennsylvanians fit into the spirit of the first or last section?

    Every Pennsylvanian deserves to be treated like every other Pennsylvanian. That includes the right to marry.

    It's only fair.