Monday, August 30, 2010

Best line from the Beck rally:

While riding the Metro on Saturday to cover the Beck rally, I overheard a man say, "Next the government will be taking over public transportation."

Friday, August 27, 2010

No Jews, Muslims, Buddhists wanted?

The Facebook page of District 5 of the Westmoreland County (PA) Republican Party has this image for its profile picture:

And Democrats are actually behind in the polls to these people?

Here's link to the page:

UPDATE: The Facebook page has changed its profile picture, but it's still viewable if you click on photos.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Facebook kills "Porn for Toomey" spoof site

When it was revealed that Pat Toomey accepted money from a porn site owner for his run for US Senator from Pennsylvania, the Keystone Progress Action Fund decided to create a spoof Facebook page called "Porn for Toomey." The Facebook page included a photo of a "pornster" named "Randy Bizness" who served as the host of the page.


The Facebook site was clearly marked as a "spoof" site, and was attributed to the Keystone Progress Action Fund as the source of the content. The site included links to a "Porn for Toomey" website, and to a Twitter account,

Read the whole article here:

Monday, August 23, 2010

League of Conservation Voters names Toomey to "Dirty Dozen"

WASHINGTON – Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which works to turn environmental values into national priorities, named former Club for Growth President and Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey to its 2010 "Dirty Dozen" list. Coinciding with the announcement, LCV is launching an online campaign that includes a web video and targeted online advertising, alerting Pennsylvania voters to Toomey’s campaign cash from Big Oil and his dangerous support for oil and gas drilling in Lake Erie, even in the wake of the Gulf Coast catastrophe and the record-breaking Midwest oil spill in the Kalamazoo River. View the web ad here:

“Be it as a member of Congress or president of the Club for Growth, Pat Toomey has made clear that he walks lockstep with Big Oil and other corporate polluters while opposing new energy policies that would set America on the path to a clean energy future,” said Tony Massaro, Senior Vice President for Political Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters. “From drilling for oil in the Great Lakes to opposing legislation that creates clean energy jobs, his extreme views on energy policy put him far outside the mainstream and easily earn him a spot on the Dirty Dozen.”

Toomey’s Big Oil record:

Toomey’s lifetime LCV environmental score is an abysmal 11%. In 2003 and 2004, his last two years in office, he received a 0% score after voting against every major piece of clean energy and environmental legislation.[1]

As a Congressman, Toomey voted against repealing subsidies to Big Oil, against increasing energy efficiency measures and against efforts to help American drivers go further on a gallon of gas.[2]

Over the course of his political career, Toomey has received more than $294,000 from energy interests, including $123,800 from the Oil and Gas industry.[3]

Despite record oil disasters on the Gulf Coast and the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, Toomey continues to support dangerous oil drilling off of America’s coasts as well as in Lake Erie – and as a member of Congress he voted to open the Great Lakes to oil drilling.[4]

Toomey has also made his staunch opposition to comprehensive energy and climate legislation that creates jobs, reduces pollution and increases our national security a key part of his campaign.[5]

LCV's trademark Dirty Dozen program targets candidates for Congress — regardless of party affiliation — who consistently vote against clean energy and conservation and are running in races in which LCV has a serious chance to affect the outcome. Since 1996, more than 60 percent of the Dirty Dozen have been defeated. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Representatives Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Michelle Bachmann (R- MN) and former Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM) are currently on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Former Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA) was the first candidate to be defeated of the 2010 Dirty Dozen. Learn more at

Monday, August 16, 2010

MoveOn Announces New Election Year Push: Fight Washington Corruption

Anti-Corporate Corruption Campaign Launches With More Than 158 Rallies Nationwide, A Pledge Signed By 29 Candidates, and New Battleground Polling Political Action, a group with more than 5 million members, launched a new election year push today to Fight Washington Corruption and to elect politicians who will fight for the Other 98% of Americans, not just the 2% who can afford to hire corporate lobbyists and buy elections. Recent battleground polling shows that 79% of likely voters think it is important that candidates for Congress commit to reducing the electoral influence of corporations.

The first part of MoveOn’s multi-prong election effort launched today with more than 158 rallies in 41 states urging politicians to sign the “Fight Washington Corruption Pledge.” So far, 29 candidates, including incumbents like Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD), and Alan Grayson (FL-8), and key battleground candidates like Jack Conway (KY), Lee Fisher (OH), Paul Hodes (NH), Andrew Romanoff (CO), Alexi Giannoulias (IL), Roxanne Conlin (IA), Manan Trivedi (PA-6) and Mac D’Allesandro (MA-9) have signed the pledge.

The pledge calls for candidates to publicly support specific solutions to eliminate the culture of corruption in Washington: overturning Citizens United, passing the Fair Elections Act, and reducing the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington, DC. All three of these solutions proved very popular in the battleground poll being released today.

You can see more information about the pledge here:
You can see the politicians who have signed here:

MoveOn also released new Survey USA polling today that shows these are winning issues for Democrats because they resonate with key swing voters and motivate the base.

You can see a summary memo of the polling here:
You can see the full polling results here:
The polling, done in twenty-two battleground House and Senate races, shows that:
· 89% of likely voters believe that it is important that a candidate commits to reducing the influence lobbyists have over the way laws are written, with 68% believing such a commitment is very important.

· Among Republicans, the numbers are 87% and 63%, respectively; among Independents, 89% and 68%.

· And 57% of voters, including 54% of Independents, agree that making the economy work for ordinary Americans requires taking on corporate lobbyists, with only 22% of voters (and 24% of Independents) disagreeing.

The pledge is part of a broader campaign, titled the Other 98%, that will work this fall to elect leaders who will fight for the majority of Americans and not just the top 2%. This will be MoveOn’s major push this election cycle. Joining MoveOn in this campaign are partners SEIU, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Common Cause, Color of Change, CREDO, Public Campaign, Progressive Campaign Change Committee, The Nation, True Majority, People for the America Way, and Public Citizen.

For more on the campaign, please visit:

This is an issue that not only is taking off with voters, but with politicians too. Congressman John Lewis, in expressing support for the pledge, noted that from the long fight leading up to the Voting Rights Act of August 1965 to today, the cause of his career has been to promote equality of rights within the political process.

“Today we face another threat to our democracy, the unbridled influence of money, particularly corporate money, on our political process. I join you in your fight to break these ties.”

To see John Lewis’ full letter, please visit:

“Our members worked for change in 2006 and 2008, and have realized that the primary obstacle to achieving the change we urgently need is the overwhelming influence that corporations have enjoyed in Washington for decades” said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of “Corporations are not people, corporate money is not free speech and democracy will only work for the Other 98% of Americans when everyone has an equal voice.”

Who can we blame for job losses?


"Obama's America," tweets Republican political consultant Patrick Ruffini, linking to this map of economic devastation.

Fairly or not, Ruffini raises an interesting question: How much unemployment can we blame on the Obama administration? Economist Rob Shapiro dug into some Bureau of Labor Statistics data and came back with the best numbers I've seen on the subject. He separated job losses into two buckets: Those that happened before the stimulus, which was Obama's major effort to deal with joblessness, and those that happened after the stimulus. Here's what he found:

From December 2007 to July 2009 – the last year of the Bush second term and the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy – private sector employment crashed from 115,574,000 jobs to 107,778,000 jobs. Employment continued to fall, however, for the next six months, reaching a low of 107,107,000 jobs in December of 2009. So, out of 8,467,000 private sector jobs lost in this dismal cycle, 7,796,000 of those jobs or 92 percent were lost on the Republicans’ watch or under the sway of their policies. Some 671,000 additional jobs were lost as the stimulus and other moves by the administration kicked in, but 630,000 jobs then came back in the following six months. The tally, to date: Mr. Obama can be held accountable for the net loss of 41,000 jobs (671,000 – 630,000), while the Republicans should be held responsible for the net losses of 7,796,000 jobs.

Northwest PA Catholics United members defend Rep. Dahlkemper's cote on healthcare reform bill

Northwest Pennsylvania Catholics United Members Defend Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper’s Vote on Health Care Reform Bill

Posted August 16, 2010

People of Faith Aim to “Set the Record Straight” about Abortion Funding Myth

Local members of the group Catholics United joined other members of the faith community at a public gathering today to support Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper's vote for health care reform, and to debunk the false claim that the reform act allows federal funding of abortion. This event responded to an earlier event held by the Republican-affiliated Susan B. Anthony List, which falsely claims that elective abortions are being funded through health care reform legislation passed earlier this year.

Read the entire story here:Northwest Pennsylvania Catholics United Members Defend Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper’s Vote on Health Care Reform Bill

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Philadelphia Inquirer: Ballot challenges filed against Pennsylvania candidates

Philadelphia Inquirer: Ballot challenges filed against Pennsylvania candidates

By Joelle Farrell, Thomas Fitzgerald, and Tom Infield
Inquirer Staff Writers
It's one thing for an independent or third-party candidate to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania.
It's another for the candidate to stay there.

Powers that be in the Republican and Democratic Parties were behind legal challenges in Commonwealth Court on Monday against the ballot eligibility of several candidates for governor and Congress.

The Republican State Committee said it had done "research" for a trio of citizens who challenged the election petitions of three Libertarian Party contenders - Marakay Rogers, running for governor; Douglas M. Jamison, for the Senate; and Kat Valleley, for lieutenant governor.

Read more:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lorenzo A. Canizares: The Rationale for State-Owned Banks

The Rationale for State-Owned Banks
By Lorenzo A. Canizares

Michigan has an unemployment rate of 14 percent, and has been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. Verg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing, the state’s capital, and a leading democratic candidate for governor, proposes to relieve the state’s economic ills by opening a state-owned bank. He says the bank could protect consumers by making low-interest loans to those most in need, including students and small-businesses; it could also help community banks by buying mortgages off their books and working with them to fund development projects.

Bernero’s proposal should be seriously considered given the political state of the nation right now since Republicans and Wall Street have combined forces to impede any possibility of the Obama administration fixing the economic problem created by their recklessness. Their strategy is to dictate by stalemate, the Party of “NO,” using that filibuster! Consequently, Bernero’s words ring even louder “Hundreds of jobs-creating projects are still on hold because Michigan businesses and entrepreneurs cannot get bank financing. We can break the credit crunch and beat Wall Street at their own game by keeping our money right here in Michigan and investing it to retool our economy and create jobs.”

Ellen Brown, a litigation Attorney from Los Angeles turned researcher who has done superb work letting the nation know about the state of North Dakota’s thriving economy, says “Bernero joins a growing a list of candidates proposing this sensible solution to their state’s fiscal ills. Local economies have collapsed because of the Wall Street credit freeze. To reinvigorate local business, Main Street needs a heavy infusion of credit, and publicly-owned banks could fill that need.”

Where are we now? We have a severely depressed economy – and that depressed economy is inflicting long-term damage. The national unemployment rate is 9.5% as of 7/2/10, or 15 million people. The rate jumps up to 16.6% if we count part-time workers that need full-time jobs and those who stopped looking. Plus 6.8 million have been out of work longer than six months. Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman says “Every year that goes by with extremely high unemployment increases the chance that many of the long-term unemployed will never come back to the work force, and become a permanent underclass. Every year that there are five times as many people seeking work as there is job openings means that hundreds of thousands of Americans graduating from school are denied the chance to get started on their working lives.”

The time is ripe for state-owned banks. The American people, the vast majority of them, have identified Wall Street as the main enemy. Many Americans that poll against Obama are doing so on the belief that he is too chummy with Wall Street. According to a Gallup poll released in mid-June the number of Americans that see themselves as conservatives rose to 42%. This poll has to be put in the context that many Americans view the Wall Street “feast” as a result of liberal policies that have allowed this kind of economic behavior. The American people realize that Wall Street has us in a barrel. Obama and the Democrats are paying dearly for prevailing political misconceptions that Obama’s policies have produced record deficits while not providing jobs. Somehow the nation has been allowed to forget that Republicans cut taxes twice while starting two wars. It’s in the Democrats self-interest to find ways to energize the economy without having to beg cooperation with those that want them to fail.

Back to Ellen Brown, in an article published 3/18/10 for Yes! Magazine she states she had been tracking candidates in five states running on a state bank platform and one state (Massachusetts) has a bill pending. One month later, there are three more bills on the rolls – in Washington State, Illinois and Michigan – and joining Bernero as a candidate of proponents is Gaelan Brown of Vermont, who is running for the State Senate. That brings the total to seven candidates in as many states (Florida, Oregon, Illinois, California, Washington State, Vermont and Idaho) campaigning for state-owned banks, including three Democrats, two Greens, one Republican (yes, Virginia there are still a few decent Republicans left), and one Independent.
Gaelan Brown says on his website, “Vermont should explore creating a state-owned bank that would work with private VT-based banks, to insulate VT from Wall Street corruption, and to increase investment capital for VT businesses, modeled after the very successful state-owned bank of North Dakota.”

The time has come to undress the crown prince, the Bank of North Dakota. This is how Ellen Brown describes it “The Bank of North Dakota, currently the nation’s only owned state bank, is the model (with variations) for all the other proposals on the table. The Bank of North Dakota acts as a “banker’s bank,” partnering with other banks in “participation loans” which allow them to compete with larger banks. In a participation loan, the community bank originates the loan and takes responsibility for it, while the participating banks contributes funds and shares in the risk and profits. The Bank of North Dakota also makes low-interest loans to students, farmers and businesses; underwrites municipal bonds and provides liquidity for more than 100 banks around the state.” It is important to add for naysayers’ sake that the Bank of North Dakota was founded in 1919. Last year North Dakota had the largest surplus it ever had. It was the only state adding jobs when others were losing them. In March 2009, when 46 of 50 states were in fiscal crisis, the Council of State Governments noted that North Dakota was in the enviable position of discussing tax cuts and looking for ways to spend its surplus. North Dakota’s riches have been attributed to oil, but many states with oil are floundering. The sole truly distinguishing feature of North Dakota seems to be that it has managed to avoid the Wall Street credit freeze by owning and operating its own bank.

Other states are crying uncle. They need find ways to help their own people. They need to liberate themselves from the economic limitations imposed by Wall Street financial recklessness. There is a MAJOR difference between seeking profits and unbridled greed. Our nation developed the world’s largest middle class because we created the regulations to keep unbridled greed under control. We need to find our way again or all hell might break loose.

Lorenzo A. Canizares: The Litmus Test

The Litmus Test
By Lorenzo A. Canizares

All kinds of excuses are flying around trying to disparage the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren for the head position at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Warren, a law professor at Harvard University, picked by President Obama to be Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel which was created to investigate the banking bailout, has developed a reputation as an incorruptible force and has become one of our nation’s most respected defenders of the middle/working class.

Elizabeth Warren is widely recognized as the inspiration behind CPFB. Her prodding and resilience got the American people an agency that if properly run could significantly benefit our lives. But, a coalition of greedy bankers and pliable Democrats are trying to fend her off. Their main argument is that Elizabeth Warren has no management experience. We must assume that chairing the Congressional Oversight Panel, a bipartisan body, doesn’t count as experience. How many objections were raised regarding experience when Michael Brown “Brownie” was selected to head FEMA? The real reason objections are being raised against Warren is that bankers can’t trust her to side with them in their pursuit of their economic benefit no matter what the cost is to the society at large.

The main danger to Warren’s nomination is coming from the Democratic side. We have the New Democratic Coalition (NDC) with their Chair, Joseph Crowley, who were in the forefront of emasculating the Financial Reform Bill. The NDC, as per the Washington Spectator 7/15/10 edition says, have been working on behalf of the big banks since the House Financial Services Committee began shaping the legislation last year. They were responsible for blackmailing the outcome of the legislation if the Blanche Lincoln’s derivatives provision was not watered down. How many of the NDC 43 house votes do you think Warren would get after their being wined and dined by executives from JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs?

By no means, I want to imply that if Warren is defeated it will be just because Blue Dogs Democrats can’t stand her sight. The Republicans are back to their old quest of reducing the tax cuts for the super-rich. The Obama administration want to let those tax cuts for the super-rich expire, but Republicans want to make them permanent. Imagine if the Obama administration has Warren in a relevant position as defender of the interest of the Middle Class and Working Class? The Republicans would have a serious problem trying to defend themselves from somebody who has a thorough understanding of their vast array of tricks and traps. The lost revenue from allowing the taxes to continue at the Bush/Cheney rate will be at least $650 billion in ten years.

Yes, the forces against Elizabeth Warren are powerful, but they are far from unbeatable. As Zach Carter from AlterNet has stated “No Democrat is eager to buck President Barack Obama’s appointment to this agency (CFPB), whoever it may be, and lawmakers from both parties are hesitant to speak out against Warren.” They might hate Warren for her courage and decency, a female Pat Tillman, but they won’t dare to attack her directly. They will have to depend in morally challenged individuals on their way to pasture like Sen. Chris Dodd (CT-D). As Zach Carter has so brilliantly stated “Elizabeth Warren is not a voice of Progressives or Democrats; she’s a voice for working families.”

Behind the scenes, bank-friendly politicians are working overtime trying to keep Warren from coming up for a vote. But, if Warren is nominated, when it comes time to actually vote, they aren’t going to vote against her.

This is one of the most important decisions that the Obama administration has had to face. By appointing Warren to head the CFPB Obama will be telling 98% of the American people that he is unquestionably on their side. That he understands what we are going through, and certainly then there will be real hope that we are taking concrete steps to improve our economy.

Elizabeth Warren is our nation’s Litmus Test!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PA's high risk insurance pool starts tomorrow

Pennsylvania's High Risk Pools, or the PA Fair Care Program, starts accepting applications tomorrow.

To qualify you will need to have been without health insurance for 6 months, have a pre-existing condition over which you were denied coverage or over-charged and live in PA legally.

You can apply on line at after 8:30 AM tomorrow, August 4th.

PHAN will be running a call at 10:00 AM to help people with that process.

We will now also be running two additional calls around PA Fair Care at 12:00 Noon and 3:00 PM.

For dial-in number or more information email Athena at