The Pennsylvania Chaos Continues [Updated]

Ay yi yi.  Pass the damn asprin, because the chaos in Pennsylvania continues.

As many know, Dems in PA acheived a one vote victory in the State House.  But, just as we thought we had it all wrapped up, a dumbass, selfish State Rep from Reading, PA, said that he was going to vote for the Republican, John Perzel.

But, now in a twist, the Dems won the House!

Maybe.

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An Effective Minimum Wage Increase

First, winning feels great.  I was 11 years old when Clinton won in 1992.  And then we started losing.  A lot.  Hell, even when Clinton won the second time it was not like he did it with a progressive mandate.  So, yeah, this feels weird, but pretty damn awesome.

In any case, as most know, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid will likely introduce a minimum wage increase within the first 3 or 4 days of the Democratic takeover.

In all likelihood, the minimum wage will pass.  But, rather than fight this battle again in 4, 8 or 12 years, why don't we do something to make it a little more effective?

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Dan Savage Coming to Kick Santorum's Ass

Largely Cross Posted from Young Philly Politics

Sometime a year or two ago, Ray Murphy and I had lunch at the Reading Terminal, one of Philly's big meeting places.  He said he wanted to get my opinion on something and voila!, he brought out a proposal that he made to start a group called Philadelphians Against Santorum.  Basically he was going to create a turnout machine, based on voter-to-voter contact, all designed to crush Santorum.

I was impressed by the idea.  But I am also impressed by someone wanting to invent a cookie tree.  Some things you just don't think are realistic.  Anyway, I gave it very little chance to actually happen.  Not because I doubted Ray, but it just seemed like a bizarrely big task, that I couldn't see someone simply deciding to do.

Well, I was wrong.

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Yo Philly! Progressive Election Weekend Kickoff

Yo Philly:

In the buildup to next week's elections, Young Philly Politics, the blog aimed at young and young-at-heart progressives is having a Happy Hour/Party/Candidate Meet and Greet.  The night will be a chance to have fun, see each other face to face, meet other progressives, and hear from three candidates that need and deserve the support of the progressive community. We had somewhere in the range of 75 people at the last Happy Hour, and with our co-sponsor, Philly for Change, and I expect we will have even more for this one.

The three candidates that we have chosen to strongly support, for a number of reasons are: Valerie McDonald-Roberts for Lt. Governor, Anne Dicker for State Rep., and Tony Payton for State Rep.  Invite whomever, show up, have fun, party with other progressives, and learn how you can help make the difference over the final few days!

The Details: TONIGHT, May 12th, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Khyber (upstairs), 56 S. 2nd St, in Old City.

In the extended entry, a quick look at three future progressive stars of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:

The last party was a lot of fun. This one will be as well, as we hear from the rising stars of the progressive PA community.

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Paging those Funny Liberals: MockSantorum!

My friend, and fellow Young Philly Politics blogger, Ray Murphy, recently started a wonderful group:  Philadelphians Against Santorum.  Philly Against Santorum (PAS) is a group that is aiming to do what Moveon did in Philly in 2004:  pump local turnout by going door to door, and ensure Santorum goes down in flames.  Ray was the Philly chief for Moveon in 2004, so, he is eminently qualified to undertake such a huge task.

And, now, fellow bloggers, PAS needs your help:  Ray has launched a contest, (with prizes!) and I think many on MyDD and the entire liberal blogosphere would be wonderful participants:  It is called MockSantorum.

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PA-08: Pat Murphy is the genuine article

Cross Posted at Young Philly Politics

Today at school, I met Patrick Murphy for the first time.  Murphy spoke to a group of law students about both his experiences in Iraq, which were pretty incredible, and his campaign.  

Before I get into this deeper, which I do below, I want to stress one thing:  Patrick Murphy is the real deal.

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Just another reason Ed Rendell is better than Lynn Swann

(Crossposted at Young Philly Politics)

At YPP, none of us shy from criticizing our own party.  That said, as the Gov. race heats up, I think it is worth highlighting important differences between Ed Rendell and Jerry Seinfeld Lynn Swann.

So, today, a semi-regular feature will begin over at YPP:  A random compilation of Why Rendell is better.

Today's reason why Rendell is better:  Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, Kathleen McGinty.

One highlight of Ed Rendell's time as Mayor, as well as his three years as Governor, is his willingness to hire smart people, and get out of the way as they do their job.  In this sense, Rendell has less of an ego than many politicians, and it serves him really well.  This gives us capable public servants like Mike Diberardinis, Donna Cooper and Kathleetn McGinty.

We hear about McGinty today, because she just did something that I doubt any DEP Secretary would do in a Swann administration:  Set tough new rules for mercury emissions.

From the Inquirer:

The new regulation would make Pennsylvania the fifth state - and among the first major coal-producing states - to impose emissions reductions that are stricter than those set by the federal government.

The Pennsylvania proposal would require the state's 36 coal-fired plants to reduce emissions by 80 percent in four years and 90 percent by 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a 70 percent cap on emissions by 2018, although full compliance is not expected until years later.

"The federal rule is woefully inadequate in protecting public health," DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty said in an interview yesterday.

Pennsylvania's coal-fired power plants - two of which are in the Philadelphia suburbs - produce most of the state's 5.7 tons of mercury emitted each year. Pennsylvania is second behind Texas in the amount of mercury released from power plants and other sources, such as factories, and accounts for 10 percent of mercury emissions total nationwide, according to 2003 federal data.

This is great news.  Mercury is a toxin that is incredibly dangerous.  It is basically cumulative, in that once it gets into your body, it stays there, and just keeps building up, and leads to all sorts of bad outcomes.  Of course, industry is -surprise!- against this.  They give two main reasons why they are against tougher PA regulations, neither of which I am particularly swayed by.

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Just one more poll showing Casey killing Santorum

One reason why I LOVE Philadelphia?

Sure, we got parks, beautiful architecture, nightlife, the rivers, history, and all that.  But, right now, the biggest reason why I love my City?  George Bush has a an 18 percent job approval rating within Philly.  Seriously, 18 percent!  I love Philly so much sometimes.

Other interesting poll findings:

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Welcoming Jerry Falwell and Rick Santorum with a Philadelphia Salute

As many know, right-wing nuts Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Rick Santorum are coming to Philly for "Justice Sunday III," where they have a meeting in a Church, blame Democrats for ruining the world, and instruct us that is there is a God out there, surely what is on his mind is not the billions of poor people in the world, but putting Sam Alito into the Supreme Court.

Why are they coming to Philly specifically?  Because the Rev. Herb Lusk, of North Philly's Greater Exodus Baptist Church, invited them in.  Lusk, unlike virtually every other Philadelphian, is an admirer of President Bush, and a recipient of his pork.  In fact, Lusk apparently "admires" Falwell and Dobson.  As such, I thought that in the extended entry, I would go through a few of Dobson, and Falwell's greatest hits.  And, to Senator Santorum, I have to say- just as you seem to be trying to moderate your image (with the ol flip-flop on Intelligent Design), I thank you for reminding us who you really are.  

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Action: Take 60 seconds to Keep College Affordable

A friend of mine is a member of a professional organization of College admissions counselors. He passed along to me that in the legislative fury of the past couple of days, two of awful bills have passed the House, and are about to be voted on before the US Senate.  The long and short of it is that College is about to, yet again, become more out of reach for everyday Americans.

They are asking people to take 60 seconds, and let their Senators know what to do.  This is especially critical if you live in a State with a Senator up for election in 06.

Take 60 seconds and let them know...  And the full message on why the bills are so terrible is below the fold.

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