Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bipartisan support for Lackawanna College

From The Pike County Press:

If all goes according to plan, Lackawanna College will be opening the door to a 16,000 square foot addition to its operations in the Hawley Silk Mill in October, thanks in part to $1.5 million recently procured for renovation of the building by state Senators Lisa Baker and Bob Mellow, as well as $100,000 obtained by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter for science lab equipment.

Nice to see PA Senator Baker (R), PA Senator Mellow (D) as well as US Senator Arlen Specter (D) all in agreement about an issue.

April 22: Earth Day!

This message was posted on Senator Specter's Facebook page:

This 40th Earth Day is an important milestone. The environmental movement that rose to national prominence in 1970 has resulted in cleaner air and water for all Americans and has saved millions of lives.

Today is also the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Week, which I am proud to say started in Philadelphia in 1970. Environmental regulation has come a long way since that time, when, as District Attorney of Philadelphia, I had to resort to an 1860 law to bring a public nuisance suit against a contractor who was spraying asbestos at a construction site, endangering workers and passers-by.

This year is also the 40th anniversary of the historic Clean Air Act and of the founding of the EPA. The Clean Air act is a vital tool in combating air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The air in Pennsylvania is cleaner than it was 40 years ago, but it could be cleaner still. I have long supported clean coal technology, and my decisive vote for the stimulus package has been a major boon to Pennsylvania’s wind, solar, and hydropower industries.

I look forward to continuing my work to clean the Commonwealth’s air, to protect its water resources, to maintaining its leadership in renewable energy, and to passing legislation to control greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

-Senator Specter

Pike County Sample Ballots availible

You can review the sample ballots now:

  1. Start with the Pike County homepage (
  2. Click the "elections" link on the right side of the page, in the "County Departments" section.
  3. You should have all the sample ballots for Pike County listed on the screen. Select the voting district (for instance: "Porter Township") from the correct column (Democrat or Republican) and see how the ballot will look!
Please take a look at this before you go to the polls on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What you see is less than what you got?

The National Review Online finds what looks like a newspaper headline in Sestak's new ad to be a letter to the editor by a Sestak supporter. Jim Geraghty writes:

(Sestak's ad is) "...mostly a standard-issue biographical ad, with a bit of Top Gun–style footage of a younger Sestak on an aircraft carrier."

But the ad features a newspaper headline, "Sestak Works Hard to Create New Jobs." For an aspiring senator in this economic environment, that's about as good a headline as you can wish for, and I wondered which newspaper wrote that.

It turns out it's the headline on a letter to the editor in the Delaware County Daily Times; the letter writer shares the name of the chief attorney in the Philadelphia office of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FactCheck on the biggest Health Care Law whoppers

From FactCheck:

We’ve seldom seen a piece of legislation so widely misrepresented, and misunderstood, as the new health care law. We stopped counting the number of articles and items we turned out on the subject after the total reached 100.

Some of that is understandable. The debate went on for more than a year, while the different House and Senate bills changed their shape constantly. The final law was the product of an awkward two-step legislative dance that first enacted the Senate’s version, then quickly amended it with a reconciliation "fix." No wonder people are confused.

And even now the misrepresentations continue. The new law is no longer a moving target, but some opponents persist in making false or exaggerated claims about it. Our inboxes are filled with messages asking about assertions that the new law:

  • Requires patients to be implanted with microchips. (No, it doesn’t.)
  • Cuts benefits for military families and retirees. (No. The TRICARE program isn’t affected.)
  • Exempts Muslims from the requirement to obtain coverage. (Not specifically. It does have a religious exemption, but that is intended for Old Order Amish.)
  • Allows insurance companies to continue denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. (Insurance companies have agreed not to exploit a loophole that might have allowed this.)
  • Will require 16,500 armed IRS agents to enforce. (No. Criminal penalties are waived.)
  • Gives President Obama a Nazi-like "private army." (No. It provides a reserve corps of doctors and other health workers for emergencies.)
  • "Exempts" House and Senate members. (No. Their coverage may not be as good as before, in fact.)
  • Covers erectile-dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. (Just as it was before the new law, those no longer in jail can buy any insurance plan they choose.)
  • Provides federal funding for abortions. (Not directly. But neither side in the abortion debate is happy with the law.)

For details on these claims about the new law, please read our Analysis section.

I am sure none of this will satisfy those believing in conspiracies of the "Fact" that Obama is out to get them. This is another example of the need to "Read Widely". Listen to some right wing radio, read a liberal newspaper, watch Jon Stewart and Fox News. Look up source material on and Do your job as a citizen and educate yourself on the issues before you repeat some rumor.

Get the facts, and then help others find the facts too. We will all be better for it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The New Health Insurance Reform Law: What It Does For You This Year

Starting immediately and throughout the coming year, our families, small businesses, seniors, and young Americans will begin to feel the real and positive impact of health insurance reform. The following interactive graphic will show you the benefits of the new law that begin within the first year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two more adds out for Specter

Two new ads:

"Working People"


From the Specter2010 YouTube channel.

Sestak gets challenger kicked off Primary ballot


UPDATED: Sestak knocks Vod Varka off ballot

By Alex Roarty
PoliticsPA Staff Writer

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Vod Varka on Tuesday was kicked off the May 18 primary ballot after a petition challenge from fellow Democrat Joe Sestak, a move that could help the former Navy admiral defeat incumbent Arlen Specter but also leave him vulnerable to criticism over the hardball tactic.

A Commonwealth Court judge ruled that Vod Varka’s petition contained fewer than the 2,000 valid-signature threshold necessary for ballot placement, meaning a write-in campaign is his only option left.

Vod Varka’s campaign had been almost completely off the radar until he unexpectedly filed enough signatures, at the time at least, to be placed on the ballot. The Western Pennsylvania native’s platform consisted mostly of conservative ideas, such as lowering government spending and ending gun control laws, and he had drawn support from some “Tea Party” groups.

Although he was unlikely to receive more than a tiny slice of the total votes cast, Vod Varka’s removal from the ballot could help Sestak win a greater share of voters bent on voting out Specter.

But Sestak might also have opened himself up to criticism because his own campaign against Specter was built on the premise that Democratic voters deserved a choice in the primary. The Specter campaign had already called Sestak’s challenge “a vivid example of old style back-room politics as usual.”

UPDATE: Sestak attorney Manly Parks defended the petition challenge, saying the minimum-signature law was in place to make sure candidates who appeared on the ballot had sufficient support.

“We certainly believe it’s entirely appropriate and fair that every candidate demonstrate that they reach that threshold,” he told PoliticsPA. “Otherwise, you’re just creating exceptions for people not to have to comply with the elction code.”

Still, the Specter campaign criticized Sestak for Vod Varka’s removal and once again took aim at his staffers’ salaries, which has been one of the incumbent’s favorite issues this campaign.

“The people, specifically Democratic Primary voters, should have decided whether Mr. Vodvarka was worthy of support, not Joe Sestak and the court system,” said Specter camapign manager Chris Nicholas in a statement. “And Cong. Sestak was happy to pay big bucks to his lawyers to knock a regular guy like Joe Vodvarka off the ballot, but he’s not willing to pay the minimum wage to his own campaign employees.”

First ad is out in the PA Senate Primary

See the ad on YouTube.

From this morning's Morning Call:

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter ended an advertising standstill with his Democratic primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, with a television ad featuring four former Bethlehem Steel workers.

Specter premiered the first TV ad of the 2010 Senate race on his campaign's Web site late Tuesday night. It's expected to be telecast in select media markets today.

The ad shows four men sitting around a table reminiscing about their steelworking days. When the plant shut down, they no longer qualified for their pension plans. Specter, they say, won back the pensions for 100 steelworkers.

''If Arlen Specter could do this for us, imagine what he can do for the rest of the downtrodden and mistreated workers in Pennsylvania,'' Joe Long, a fourth-generation steelworker, says in the spot.

This first commercial of the campaign is an effort by Specter to remind voters what he has done for the state in his 30 years in office. Sestak, of Delaware County, will need to show what Specter hasn't done.

When asked, Sestak said he was having final meetings about his ads this week. The launch of Specter's ad will probably force Sestak to react quickly.

At the start of the year, Sestak had $5 million on hand that could buy him significant radio and TV airtime as he aims to raise his visibility.

Sestak has trailed Specter by about 20 points in most public opinion polls but is still largely unknown to many Pennsylvanians. A poll released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports put Sestak just two points behind Specter, a possible indicator of how close this race could get as the May 18 primary nears.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A little humor on April 1st

As Alex Roarty writes in PoliticsPA:

The state Democratic Party issued a press release Wednesday afternoon claiming Toomey’s effort to win a seat in the U.S. Senate is actually just an effort to sell his book, “The Road to Prosperity,” which was released last year and includes in detail the candidate’s economic philosophy.

The release, which was clearly tongue-in-cheek, cited a video from his campaign that showed a stack of the books standing on his office bookshelf.

I watched Toomey video, it was funny to see all the fresh copies of his book stacked in the background. (I wonder how much he contributed to his own sales numbers.) What was disturbing was the tag line of his message:
"...and we'll take back our government."
Take it back from who?

I've always viewed the government as the will of the people. We are our government. That does not mean that I love everything our government does, It it does mean that I have a responsibility to make it the best government possible.

Participate in the primary this May 18. Get out there and vote for the best candidate.

Do your part in making sure our government reflects the citizenry.

As I love to say:
Learn, Educate, Vote.
We get the government we deserve.

If you are not registered to vote, do it NOW.
April 19 Last day to REGISTER

May 11 Last day to apply for an absentee ballot

May 14 Last day for BOE to receive absentee ballots ...

May 18, 2010 PRIMARY DAY!!! GO VOTE!