Posts filed under 'Pittsburgh/PA'

Insight Of The Day

From a Philly Inquirer story about Republican PA-GOV candidate Tom Corbett trying to walk back his comments about how the jobless would rather collect unemployment than work:

The Quinnipiac University poll gave Corbett an edge of 44 to 37 percent over Onorato, with many voters still undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

The previous Quinnipiac poll, released shortly before the May 18 primary, gave Corbett a virtually identical 43-37 advantage in a head-to-head race with Onorato.

“That’s a formula for a victory for Republicans in Pennsylvania if those numbers hold up,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said Tuesday.

That’s right, the party with the most votes usually wins.  That’s some mighty good analyzin’ there, I tell you what.

July 15th, 2010 at 11:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Pittsburgh/PA,Polls,Quotes

Wanker Of The Day

Pennsylvania AG and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett:

Tom Corbett, current Attorney General of the state of Pennsylvania and Gubernatorial Candidate, has subpoenaed Twitter to appear as a Grand Jury witness to “testify and give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of Pennsylvania”.

The subpoena orders Twitter to provide “any and all subscriber information” of the person(s) behind two accounts – @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA – who have been anonymously criticizing the man on the popular micro-sharing service.

According to the subpoena (embedded below), the information that Twitter is ordered to provide includes “name, address, contact information, creation date, creation Internet Protocol address and any and all log in Internet Protocol address”.

Because using your government office to prosecute and harass your political critics isn’t an abuse of power at all…

I hope this wanker goes down hard in November.

May 20th, 2010 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Deja Vu Epic Fail

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

The Pennsylvania State AFL-CIO voted to endorse Senator Arlen Specter for re-election today, David Dayen reports at our News Desk.  The state chapter of the AFL-CIO joins SEIU’s Pennsylvania State Council in supporting Specter.


Arlen Specter didn’t vocally oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.  He single-handedly killed the entire bill.

At the outset of 2009, the Employee Free Choice Act was cruising along quite well. With a big investment from unions and their allies, and a vocal opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business groups, the debate on the Employee Free Choice Act was in full swing in political circles and the news media. While contentious, there was little doubt in my mind some form of significant labor law reform would pass early that year. (Disclosure: I was working for SEIU’s Employee Free Choice Act campaign at the time.)

Then Arlen Specter acted on the only thing he actually cares about: his own political survival. He could feel GOP primary opponent Pat Toomey breathing down his neck. A poll was released in March showing Specter getting crushed in the primary. So Specter made a move he thought would redeem himself with angry primary voters: without warning, Specter announced he would oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. When I say without warning, I mean no one saw it coming. The first person to hear about Specter’s newfound opposition was freaking Grover Norquist, who announced the news to a roomful of conservatives one morning. Grover knew before union leaders knew.


And so today, the unions of almost 1 million working Pennsylvanians have thrown their support to Specter’s re-election, promoting the fallacy that Specter is “the strongest advocate and supporter of…workers’ rights.”

Hey, remember when NARAL and Planned Parenthood told their members to thank Lieberman and Chafee for pretending to oppose Alito’s Supreme Court nomination by voting no on the nomination but yes on cloture?  When are supposedly progressive interest groups going to wake up and stop supporting their enemies and fair-weather friends?

1 comment March 31st, 2010 at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Democrats,Labor,Lieberman,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

Kos Explains Why The Democrats Could Use A Little More Purity

Wow, a congressional Democrat supporting a slightly-more-progressive Democratic primary challenger!  It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s actually exceedingly rare.  As kos writes, congressional Democrats are all about protecting their own, no matter how corrupt or disloyal they may be:

Yet for all their troubles in maintaining their united front on the floor of Congress, elected Democrats have remained united on electoral matters. Note how no one came to Ned Lamont’s aid during the 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary, even though he Lieberman was already a cancer inside the Democratic Party. Even corrupt Democrats get a pass, which cost us William Jefferson’s seat in New Orleans, and could’ve proved troublesome in Al Wynn’s Maryland district until the voters solved the problem by electing Donna Edwards instead.

So for the Democrats, it is significant for [Barney Frank] to endorse a primary challenger. He is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, one of the most powerful, and he’s bucked his establishment to back an insurgent candidate against an entrenched, White House-backing incumbent. Elected Democrats could certainly use some internal pressure for party unity. Gay marriage failed in New York because promised “yes” votes from Republicans failed to materialize. And why did they chicken out? They were all afraid of being Scozzafava’d. DeMint’s support of Doug Hoffman may have cost Republicans the seat, but it preserved marriage discrimination – a tradeoff they would make any day of the week.

We need a little bit of that enforced party unity, and any help we can get from within the caucus helps build credibility for primary insurgents. We need more Barney Franks, particularly one in the Senate, to help provide some much needed tension between elected officials who care about the kind of work Congress does, and a party establishment that is issue agnostic, and cares only about whether an incumbent has an “R” or “D” after their name.

“Joe Sestak is a true Democrat who cares about the working families that have been hit hardest by the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration,” Frank said. “He’ll be a reliable vote for Pennsylvania’s next generation instead of having the same loyal Bush Republican we’ve seen over the past generation. I have to say I don’t think it did our profession any good for someone to announce that he switched parties purely so he could survive.”

That certainly applies in this Pennsylvania Senate race, but Specter isn’t the only suspect Democrat inside our caucus. Far too many are making common cause with Republicans while pretending to be Democrats. A few more primary challenges might convince recalcitrant Democrats to support their party’s top priorities, and a culture that encourages such challenges, even if it angers the DSCC and DCCC, would certainly be welcome, and clearly help Democrats advance their now-stymied policy goals.

Corrupt and conservative Democrats (often one and the same) behave like there are no consequences to their actions because there are no consequences to their actions.  As long as they can continue to be assholes with impunity, they will continue to obstruct needed reforms and make the Democrats look weak at best, corrupt and complicit at worst.

A big tent is fine, but it shouldn’t be so big that it embraces Republicans and crooks, nor so lopsided that its right has more power than its left.

December 8th, 2009 at 06:19pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics

Netroots Nation Joe Sestak Photoblogging

And here is the other half of the not-on-the-stage-at-the-same-time showdown between Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak. Sestak’s manner was aggressive to the point of almost angry (he grabbed or poked Ari Melber’s arm a few times), and he flubbed his lines a few times. He was also rather spectacularly stumped by a question about how he would reach out to the Pennsylvania netroots.

I’m still voting for him, though.

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August 23rd, 2009 at 06:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Netroots Nation,People,Photoblogging,Pittsburgh/PA,Rabid Lambs

Netroots Nation Arlen Specter Photoblogging

Hey look, it’s my new *cough* Democratic senator, Arlen Specter! He actually made a very good case for himself, provided you don’t know anything about his actual legislative record.
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Arlen looks out at the audience and wonders what he’s gotten himself into.

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Reviewing his index cards.

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Behold, he smiles!

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If I blow this up all the way, I can almost read his index card, but it’s just a little too blurry. Phooey.

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Arlen gestures very sincerely.

August 23rd, 2009 at 01:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Netroots Nation,People,Photoblogging,Pittsburgh,Pittsburgh/PA,Specter

Deja Vu

Senate Guru points to some encouraging poll results (caveat: Rasmussen):

13.  What’s that number?  It’s the gap between Specter and Congressman Sestak in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll.  Specter’s lead over Congressman Sestak is only 47-34 according to Rasmussen.  Rasmussen’s last poll, in June, showed the 19-point deficit, a 51-32 result.

Rasmussen also reminds us that Specter still remains “much better known” across the state than Congressman Sestak.  In other words, Congressman Sestak still has plenty of room to grow in terms of name ID as his campaign gets underway, but has already cut his deficit by a third.  Also, this is the very first non-Franklin & Marshall poll (F&M’s numbers were relatively very low for both candidates) to show Specter under 50%.


This poll is bad news for Specter and great news for Congressman Sestak – not just because it shows Congressman Sestak closing the gap, but also because it adds credibility to his campaign.  Specter winning is not remotely a foregone conclusion.  The more that PA-Dem primary voters recognize that, the more open they’ll be to Congressman Sestak’s candidacy, and the less power the Ed Rendell machine will have to stop the political dam from breaking.

This reminds me a lot of Lamont’s campaign against Lieberman three years ago.  Most CT Democrats were desperate for an alternative to Lieberman, and all Lamont really had to do was make sure they knew who he was, and could see him as a viable, more progressive alternative.  Of course, the problem in CT was that Lieberman was able to run as an independent and get the benefit of the Republican vote, where PA affords Specter no such luxury.

It is probably also worth noting that outside of the Democratic party establishment (feh), Specter’s Democratic support is almost certainly a lot thinner than Lieberman’s was.  Lieberman was a Democratic senator (in name, at least) for 18 years, whereas for Specter it will be closer to 18 months.

My prediction is that Specter will attempt the same play Lieberman used in CT: Pretend to be a lot more progressive than he actually is, than revert to form immediately after the election.  Again, though, decades of being an actual Republican will make that a lot harder for him to pull off than it was for Joementum.  Fingers crossed.

August 13th, 2009 at 09:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Lamont,Lieberman,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Specter

Finally, Some Good News

Not on healthcare, but I’ll take what I can get:

Some Pennsylvania insiders believe the Specter campaign’s aggressive pushback is a result of being spooked by Sestak’s strong second-quarter fundraising haul. Between April and June, Sestak’s campaign committee took in roughly $1 million — less than Specter’s $1.7 million but an impressive sum that Sestak operatives note came despite resistance from the Pennsylvania Democratic political establishment, which is backing Specter.

I find it very encouraging that the peabrained party establishment is not going to be able to starve Sestak out of the race.  Probably because so many Democrats really really hate Specter and are appalled by the idea of him pretending to represent their party.

July 20th, 2009 at 05:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Specter

Wanker Of The Day

Arlen Specter slams primary opponent Joe Sestak for not registering with a political party while an active duty admiral.  I would say that he misleads by ignoring Sestak’s military service, but he does refer to it… as a “lame excuse for avoiding party affiliation.”

It amazes me that anyone could mistake this prick for a Democrat.

July 10th, 2009 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Specter,Wankers

Run, Joe, Run!

Please say okay, Joe’s family:

Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak is planning to run against Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010 but those familiar with his thinking caution no announcement is imminent and that he could well change his mind on the race.

“I have heard from people close to him that he is in but will not announce for months because he does not need to announce yet for a fundraising bounce,” said one senior Pennsylvania-based Democratic operative of Sestak.


Polling suggests that Specter would start the primary as a decided favorite. A survey done for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in early May showed Specter leading Sestak 56 percent to 16 percent. A poll done for a labor-backed 527 group, however, showed significant softness in Specter’s numbers when voters are informed of some of the votes he made as a Republican.


Sestak, sort of, confirmed that he is going to challenge Specter during an interview on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” moments ago. “My intentions are to get in this race pending a final family decision,” said Sestak. He added that he looked at the Senate race as a “deployment” (Sestak is a lifelong military man) and needed final sign off from his family before making a final decision to run.

I suspect that a lot of Specter’s current polling advantage has to do with name recognition and his successful branding as a “moderate.”  If Sestak can raise awareness of just how big a Republican wanker Specter is, this could very well play out a lot like Lamont/Lieberman in 2006, except Sestak isn’t as liberal as Lamont, and – even more importantly – PA law does not allow primary losers to run as independents.

May 28th, 2009 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Specter

Run, Joe, Run!

I really liked Sestak’s answers in yesterday’s FDL Blue America session.  Not only was he more progressive than I thought, but he also refused to be intimidated by either Democrats or Republicans.  Here’s his response when I asked him what he’d say to Reid or Rendell if they asked him to drop out:

I will probably say the same thing I said to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when I informed them that I was getting into the 7th District Race 3 years ago, and they told me “they don’t want me”…and called back the next day to say that again, saying they already had someone else in the race. I said I had called to inform them, not to ask permission, although I respected their opinion. I do respect the Democratic leadership but this is really about us in PA and how it affects the nation. While we may disagree, I think we can still do it respecting one another.

And here’s what he said when asked whether the possibility of a less insane Republican candidate like Tom Ridge would affect his decision to run:

I honestly believe that you run for something, not against someone. Therefore, any decision I make will be predicated on running for the right things, not because of who else is in the race.

I also liked his response when asked what would dissuade him from running:

If Arlen Specter truly embraces the principles and policies necessary for good governance and the economic, health, energy/environment, education, and defense securities needed by Pennsylvanians and by our nation…and we believe he will stick to them for the full 6 years.

So unless he’s completely gullible and clueless, he’s running.

May 4th, 2009 at 07:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Specter

Specter Makes His Pitch To PA Democrats

D-Arlen lays out what he has to offer the Democratic party:

Gregory: It was reported this week that when you met with the President, you said, “I will be a loyal Democrat; I support your agenda.” Let me test that on probably one of the most important areas of his agenda and that’s healthcare. Would you support healthcare reform that puts up a government-run public plan to compete with a private plan issued by a private insurance company.

Specter: No. And you misquote me, David. I did not say I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that. And last week, after I said I was changing parties, I voted against the budget because the budget has a way to pass healthcare with 51 votes,which undermines a basic Senate institution to require 60 votes to impose cloture on key issues.

Yes, I believe this is just the sort of message that will appeal to PA Democratic primary voters.  ‘Cuz if there’s anything us PA Democrats hate, it’s loyal Democrats.  They ruin everything.

3 comments May 3rd, 2009 at 07:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

You Might Be An Unprincipled Hack If…

…Even David Broder doesn’t buy your I-did-it-all-for-the-centrism narrative:

But much as Specter’s decision reflects an increasingly serious weakness in the Republican Party, there is no escaping the fact that it is also an opportunistic move by one of the most opportunistic politicians of modern times.

The one consistency in the history of Arlen Specter has been his willingness to do whatever will best protect and advance the career of Arlen Specter.

In 2004, when some in the GOP caucus challenged his elevation to the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter assured them that he would not use the post to block any of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. And despite his sometimes liberal record, he voted for both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Just a few weeks ago, when he was still calculating how he might survive a Republican primary against Toomey, he announced that — despite his friendship with labor — he would not support the so-called card check legislation that is the No. 1 priority of the unions.

This is the man who now has the strongest claim upon the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania.

Specter has been welcomed to the Democratic Party by President Obama and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the most influential Democrat in Harrisburg. That makes it unlikely that Specter will face any serious challenge in next year’s Senate primary. And, if his health holds up, he will be a strong favorite against Toomey in the November election.

So, once again, Specter is likely to reap political rewards from his maneuvering. But the Democrats should be open-eyed about what they are gaining from his return to his original political home.

Specter’s history shouts the lesson that he will stick with you only as long as it serves his own interests — and not a day longer.

Broder is giving D-Arlen entirely too much credit – he won’t even stick with the Democrats now that he is one.  His defection may be a messaging disaster for the Republicans, but it’s going to be a practical disaster for the Democrats.

1 comment April 30th, 2009 at 06:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

Will The Specter Cross Over?

I’m trying to decide whether or not this would be a good thing…

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) does not have the fall-back option of running as an independent should he lose his 2010 primary election, giving the senior lawmaker strong incentive to abandon his party this year.

Specter faces an extremely difficult primary race against former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the conservative firebrand who lost his bid to oust Specter from his seat in the 2004 GOP primary by a mere 17,000 votes (out of more than a million cast).

Pennsylvania political experts say that Specter would likely face a more difficult challenge in 2010 because the Republican primary electorate in Pennsylvania has become more conservative.

“I think he has a lot of problems,” said Terry Madonna, a professor of political science at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. “I think this is the test of lifetime.”

Madonna estimated that between 150,000 to 200,000 centrist Republicans switched registration to the Democratic Party in the 2008 election cycle, leaving the remaining GOP electorate more conservative.

The Pennsylvania Department of State reported more than 130,000 switches from the GOP to the Democratic Party before the 2008 primary contest between President Obama and former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

The massive exodus of centrist-leaning voters from the Pennsylvania GOP leaves Specter’s right flank extremely vulnerable — fiscal and social conservatives have long viewed him as a bête noire.


“A candidate who loses in a primary cannot run as an independent in the general election,” said Leslie Amoros, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State.”


Should Specter stay with his party and lose to Toomey, it would create a tempting pick-up opportunity for Democrats.

Democratic strategists say that Toomey would be an easier candidate to defeat because of his outspoken conservatism, especially after Democratic voter registration jumped dramatically in 2008.

On the one hand, I pretty much hate Specter’s guts.  His M.O. is to talk a good game, eloquently denounce Republican insanity or outright criminality… and then vote in favor of it.

On the other hand, it’s possible that he’s been voting against his own conscience out of fear of his own party, either in the form of primary challenges, or of being stripped of his Judiciary chairmanship back when Republicans were in the majority.  With that pressure removed, Specter might very well be more liberal than a lot of his Democratic colleagues.  It would also give the Democrats the magical 60 a year or two early.

I’m more than a little skeptical about that 60 number, which is really only meaningful if the planets are aligned just so: Al Franken has to get seated; Joe Lieberman has to behave, along with feckless conservative Democrats like Pryor, Lincoln, Landrieu, DiFi, Webb, and the Nelsons; and (sadly) Teddy Kennedy has to either stay healthy enough to vote or step aside.

From Specter’s perspective (perspecterive?), switching parties and running as a Dem makes sense, in much the same way that it made sense for Lieberman to run as a Dem in CT until he was finally exposed.  He’d have a tough time in a general election as a Republican, but he’d cruise to victory as a Democrat.  From my perspective, I’d rather have a progressive Democrat than a moderate or conservative one – we already have more than enough of those.  Yes, it’s tempting to get to 60 early, but if it’s not going to be a solid 60, it’s just not worth it.  Plus it’ll make Obama and the Democrats look even more pathetic every time Mitch McConnell eats their lunch.

One final caveat: The story lays out lots of reasons why it makes sense for Specter to jump parties, but provides no other evidence that he’s even considering it.  So this is all just idle specterlation.

2 comments March 8th, 2009 at 12:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter

PAlin Sports Geography Fail


According to a source in the audience Sarah Palin got a big arousing boo when she took the [stage] in Erie just minutes ago. Palin was not properly prepared and congratulated the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Any local could have told her that wasn’t the local team of choice.

Yeah, PA may not be as big as Alaska, but it’s a big enough state to have baseball teams on either side of it, and Erie is firmly on the Pittsburgh Pirates side of the state, and could care less about the Phillies.  Way to rub it into the fans whose team hasn’t had a winning season in 16 years.

(h/t emptywheel)

October 30th, 2008 at 08:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Palin,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Sports


This could have been a great picture with a real camera…

I didn’t actually think I would end up at the Obama rally in Pittsburgh today, because the invite said it was at 3PM.  But since people were still filing in when I got off work, I figured what the hell.

Unfortunately, since I didn’t think I would be there, I didn’t bother to take my camera along, so I couldn’t get any decent photos at all.  And my Treo battery was almost dead, so I couldn’t even attempt to liveblog it (which probably would have been a bad idea on a cellphone anyway).  Oh, and I was sitting behind a flatulent toddler.  But, um, other than that, it was great! The audience was fired up, as you might expect.

Best quote, after he said something about McCain: “Don’t need to boo; just vote.”  My favorite part, though, was when Obama returned to the theme of his 2004 keynote address, which has become especially relevant now: That despite what the Republicans say to try to divide us and make us hate and fear one another, we are still all Americans, and every part of America is, in fact, America.

Republicans have been calling Democrats un-American for as long as I can remember, and they’ve rarely been called on it, and never paid a price for it.  Until this year.

Michelle Bachmann calls Obama and some indeterminate number of congresscritters anti-American, and ends up trying to backtrack as she finds herself suddenly trailing an unknown opponent who racked up a million dollars in donations in just a few days after she let her McCarthy freak flag fly.

Sarah Palin refers to the “real America” and the “pro-America” parts of the country, and ends up backtracking and trying to explain herself.  As the McCain campaign sinks lower and lower into the gutter, so do its poll numbers.  Sowing fear and hate and division is becoming toxic and shameful rather than just admirable hardball politics, and the Republican Atwater/Rove gameplan is no longer effective as a result.

Now that is the change we need.

October 27th, 2008 at 07:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Obama,Pittsburgh/PA

My Liberal Media

Headline in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Liberals a sideshow in Denver. And it just goes downhill from there…

The liberal — at least the variant most commonly found in late-20th-Century America, the one who would regulate business, support broad racial, ethnic, sexual and religious tolerance and expand government programs, and, yes, taxes, to help the poor — seems to be something of an endangered species here at the Democratic National Convention.


[O]ver the next four nights, Democratic Party centrists rather than liberals will dominate the convention’s prime-time speaking spots, with speeches from governors and senators from the mountain states of Colorado, Arizona and Montana. — whose combined electoral votes are being targeted by the Obama campaign as a key to victory in November.

The convention’s keynote speaker tomorrow night is Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor and current U.S. Senate candidate, an early supporter of the Iraq war who worked well with Republicans while governor and is not considered a liberal.

Perhaps even more tellingly, another speaker that night is U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, whose father, the Gov. Bob Casey — a staunch abortion opponent — was not even permitted to address the convention in 1992.


Liberalism, like any ideology, has waxed and waned as a force in American political life over the years, but its most recent decline has been more than 40 years in the making, noted Thomas Sugrue, a professor of history and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 split apart an already fractured coalition of New Deal liberals — black and white Americans both — a coalition forged in working class cities like Detroit but one that had struggled with unresolved issues of racial identity and politics over the years.

Today, that split between working class whites and blacks remains — just look at the vote in Pennsylvania and other states full of conservative white Democrats, he said.

Liberalism, however, may not even be a factor in voter distrust of Mr. Obama, who is perceived less as a libereal than as an out-of-touch elitist who can’t relate to the ordinary American voter, Mr. Sugrue said.


[E]ven as Democrats have captured gubernatorial and Senate offices in Virginia and in Western states like Colorado, Montana and elsewhere, “you could argue that a shift to Democrats doesn’t mean a shift to liberalism,” said Dan Myers, a longtime political reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer who is now a host and producer at National Public Radio’s Denver station, KCFR.


“Is the Democratic party shifting from being the party of Ted Kennedy to Jim Webb, from liberal lions like Sen. Carl Levin to moderates like Evan Bayh of Indiana?” asked Mr. Sugrue. “In some ways, that’s the contest that’s going to play out this year and in the next few years.

“The John Testers of Montana, the Mark Warners of Virginia, these are the folks we used to call ‘Blue Dog Democrats,’ the ones from the right wing of the Democratic party. Today, some might argue they’re the future of it.”

It’s always irritating to see these Liberalism In Decline stories in the media, but it’s even more irritating to realize that they’re a fairly accurate description… of the Democratic Party.  As for Americans in general, I’m pretty sure that after eight years of seeing the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of modern conservatism at work, most of them are more than ready to go in the opposite direction, especially if it means universal healthcare and genuinely serious foreign policy.

Unfortunately, the Democrats continue to insist on using, “You know, the Republicans have a point” as their starting position, which is absolutely the last thing they should be saying after the Republicans have so decisively proven that they have no idea what they’re talking about.  I fear that they will pay the price at the polls, and we will pay the price everywhere else.

And yet, they never figure out why they lose.  It’s one of the many things the Democrats and Republicans have in common – they attribute all their failures to not being conservative enough.

August 25th, 2008 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Obama,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Wankers

More Credit Where Credit Is Due

Hooray for my representative!

Internet access may not be as important as water. But it’s now right up there with hot water.

Yet given how important broadband is to the future of our economy, our educational system, even our democracy, there is amazingly little public discussion about it.

For too long, that conversation has been happening behind closed doors among self-appointed experts, deep-pocketed lobbyists and politicians who either believe the Internet is “a series of tubes” or don’t use it at all.

A notable exception is U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who’s helping to bring the entire Federal Communications Commission to a public hearing tomorrow at Carnegie Mellon University.

He voted the right way on FISA, too.

For those of you who want to attend:

The FCC hearing on the future of the Internet will start Monday, July 21 at 4 p.m. in McConomy Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University. For more information:

July 20th, 2008 at 04:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Coolness,Democrats,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Technology

The PAmary

I have a very simple, two-part take on tonight’s primary results:

1) Hillary did not win by nearly enough.  The clock is running out, and she needs to make up a lot of ground on Obama to remain plausibly viable.  She didn’t.

2) All the bullshit scandals that the media hyperventilated about do not appear to have damaged Obama at all.  Not unless he was actually poised to win in a landslide and “Bittergate” destroyed his momentum.

That second point is potentially huge.  If voters are finally starting to tune out the media when they obsess over inane non-stories and manufactured Democratic scandals, then the Republicans are in a world of hurt come November.

1 comment April 22nd, 2008 at 10:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Obama,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics

Feel The Hillmentum!

Don’t count Hillary out yet!

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will reportedly endorse Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The blog of the Boston Globe first reported the pending endorsements, which two Clinton campaign officials have confirmed.

The Clinton campaign earlier today said she is expected to be joined Friday evening by “two special guests” during a rally at Soliders & Sailors Military Museum and Memorial in Oakland. One campaign official today told the Trib that Onorato and Ravenstal are the guests.

Ravenstahl and Onorato could not be reached directly for comment.

Pennsylvania will surely be hers now.

March 13th, 2008 at 10:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics

RIP, Myron Cope

Alas, I cannot find any YouTube videos of Myron in action.

WTAE does have un-embeddable videos of him singing “Can’t Touch This” (in full MC Hammer regalia), “Achy Breaky Heart,” and… “Macarena.” And if that’s not enough for you, there’s a bunch of audio clips here and here.

My first memory of Myron Cope is from over 16 years ago, my first winter in Pittsburgh. He appeared on the local news around Christmastime to perform his surreal rendition of “Deck The Halls,” with a chorus something like “Fa gha gha gha gha, gha gha gha gha.” I heard lots of him after that – he was kind of everywhere. He punctuated his speech with a language all his own, words and phrases like “Yoi!”, “Double yoi!”, “Hm-HA!”, and “okel dokel.”

One of my fondest Myron Cope moments that may have amused only me was several years ago, when I was listening to the NFL draft on the radio, God only knows why. The Steelers had just drafted an offensive tackle named Leon Searcy in the first round, and the very first Pittsburgh media person to get Searcy on the phone was… Myron Cope. Imagine this poor kid, wondering what his new home will be like, and the first person he talks to (after the coach and/or GM) is Myron. I can’t imagine what kind of city of madmen he thought he was headed to.

Goodbye, Myron. I’ll miss you, you one-of-a-kind crazy bastard.

Oh, and William F. Buckley died too, but I don’t really have anything to say about him. But Rick Perlstein does.

February 27th, 2008 at 08:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Pittsburgh/PA,Sports

We’re Number 9!

Yet another feather in Pittsburgh’s cap:

Residents of Minneapolis and Seattle are the most bookish and well-read, according to results from a new survey released today of the most literate American cities.

The survey focused on 69 U.S. cities with populations of 250,000 or above. Jack Miller of Central Connecticut State University chose six key indicators to rank literacy. These included newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

Overall, the top 10 most literate (and wired) cities included:

1—Minneapolis, Minn.
2—Seattle, Wash.
3—St. Paul, Minn.
4—Denver, Colo.
5—Washington, D.C.
6—St. Louis, Mo.
7—San Francisco, Calif.
8—Atlanta, Ga.
9—Pittsburgh, Pa.
10—Boston, Mass.

Minneapolis, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Denver and Washington, D.C., have made the top 10 every year since 2003, when the survey first launched.

Woohoo!!! We are totally a city of nerds.

Pittsburgh is also the 9th-most walkable city in America.

And, of course, Pittsburgh is the most livable city in America. You heard me.

(h/t Caro Kay)

1 comment December 29th, 2007 at 04:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Pittsburgh/PA

Run, Al, Run!

By way of Atrios, another tidbit of happy Gore nostalgia, showcasing his deep and abiding connection with the great state commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its people.

I fear we shall not see his like again.

May 1st, 2007 at 11:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Gore,Pittsburgh/PA

In Your Face, Shelbyville!

Didn’t really see this coming:

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl doesn’t remember the last time Pittsburgh was rated No. 1 in the country by “Places Rated Almanac.” That was in 1985, and he was only 5.

But he grew up in “America’s Most Livable City,” and last night said he was glad to hear that the latest edition of the almanac has again put Pittsburgh No. 1.


David Savageau, who has been compiling the “Places Rated Almanac” since 1981, said he was hoping that this year’s edition would have a surprise No. 1 that might create the kind of buzz the 1985 rankings did.


Mr. Savageau continues to use the same formula to rate the 379 metropolitan areas he surveys. There are nine categories: housing affordability (cost of living); transportation; jobs; education; climate; crime; health care; recreation; and ambience (museums, performing arts, restaurants and historical districts).

The seven-county area that makes up Pittsburgh failed to finish in the top 20 in any of the categories, ranging from a competitive 21st in recreation and 29th in education to a less-than-stellar 111th in housing and 135th in climate. But when the numbers are added up, the one that counts is the final total.

“To tell the truth,” Mr. Savageau said, “I was rooting for New York. It’s a city, like Pittsburgh, that has a lot of predispositions against it. But I found New Yorkers to be among the nicest people in the whole country, and there’s such an incredible number of things to do there. But it has liabilities, such as the cost of living.”


This is the seventh edition of the “Places Rated Almanac,” and Pittsburgh hasn’t always finished first, dropping as low as 14th in 1997 and 12th in 1999, the last year that the listings were done. But the city is the only one to finish in the top 20 every time.

That’s… kinda cool. Although as a transplanted New Yorker, I would have been perfectly happy if New York had placed first…

(h/t Ol’ Froth)

3 comments April 27th, 2007 at 12:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Pittsburgh/PA

Oh. Joy.

And I was just wondering how I would ever live without him…

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, a moderate [HA!!!] who has often clashed with the Bush administration and his fellow GOP lawmakers, said Monday he plans to seek a sixth term in 2010.

“There are a lot of important things to be done and finally after being here to acquire some seniority, I’m in a position to do that,” said Specter, 77. “I’m full of energy and my wife doesn’t want me home for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Good thinking, Arlen. As long as there’s still some Constitution left standing, your work is not complete. Look at that stupid Constitution! It’s mocking you! Mocking you, I say! You show that Constitution who’s boss!

Specter said he has fundraisers planned, including a large one April 4 in Philadelphia.

“It’s an enormous task, and that’s why I’m starting early,” said Specter, noting that he spent $23 million in his 2004 race.

Can we please get a tough, mean progressive to run against this wanker? We’ve got two years to come up with somebody, right? How about some of the new blood, like Joe Sestak or Pat Murphy?

Whoever it is, they must call Specter on his consistent pattern of speaking out against the Bush administration’s rampant criminality, and then actively facilitating it.

March 19th, 2007 at 06:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

Save Our Santorums

It’s a sad commentary on my connectedness to PA politics that I learned about this through an NYT editorial:

Under current Pennsylvania law, people can vote once they leave prison. But a bill pending in the Legislature would disenfranchise those on parole or probation. The bill would go further and bar convicts from voting until the dates when their maximum sentences would expire ? even if they had been fully released from the system much earlier.

Pennsylvania, a swing state that will hold some critical elections this fall, is being barraged by legislation, championed by Republican lawmakers, that would raise voting barriers, especially for groups that tend to be Democratic. One measure would institute one of the most restrictive voter-identification laws in the nation, in a state that currently requires only first-time voters to prove their identities. Pennsylvanians ? who have been at the forefront of fairness in voting rights issues ? should not allow partisanship to erase that legacy.

Wow, they’re pulling out all the stops – they must be really worried for Santorum, eh?

(Do governors have veto power? You know, like little mini-preznits?)

1 comment February 10th, 2006 at 09:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Life In Pittsburgh

Courtesy of Ol’ Froth, who heard this on his police scanner:

(car#) County, (address). Complainant says a man, possibly a teenager, came to his house dressed as a chicken.

Well, alrighty then. (I have an alibi, I swear)

Perhaps this will help you to visualize. And possibly give you nightmares for the rest of your life.

4 comments January 15th, 2006 at 01:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Pittsburgh/PA,Quotes,Weirdness


Well. Just got back (well, when I started writing this, anyway…) from Howard Dean’s appearance at the Church Brew Works here in Pittsburgh, and it was a most excellent time, I must say. The food was good, the company was excellent – I sat at a table with both a fellow Liberal Drinker and a fellow Atriot (spork_incident, who I found to be a charming and erudite companion – I think Hoyt stopped by our table briefly as well, but he didn’t recognize us, and I wasn’t sure enough to say anything) – and El Medico Dean was fired up and brought lots of red meat, and he hit almost every possible target.

Money line of the night was early: “The Republicans have brought a culture of corruption to Washington,” and he hammered at an overarching theme that the Democrats are the party with real morals and convictions. Some other noteworthy highlights, not necessarily in any kind of order, including chronological:

  • He challenged Bush to fire Rove, and show that he values the cover and safety of an undercover agent working for our security more than he values protecting a loyal crony and political operative.
  • He took a swipe at Santorum, referring to him as one of Virginia’s senators, and also pointed out DeLay’s ethics deficiencies as further examples of Republican “moral values”.
  • He made the point (in defense of Bob Casey, Jr.) that he would much rather have a pro-life Democrat in his corner than a pro-life Republican – because pro-life Democrats at least care about children after they’re born. And, of course, he mentioned that there were fewer abortions under Clinton than Bush.
  • He emphasized that Democrats must campaign and try to compete everywhere, not just in blue states and swing states. We can’t just write off Mississippi, or we’ll guarantee that we’ll never win there.
  • He spoke of the need to count every vote – he expressed admiration for the Oregon law that prohibits use of any voting system that cannot be recounted by hand, and asked How Dare Republicans make a show of trying to attract blacks and Latinos while at the same time trying to repress their votes.
  • He pointed out Bush’s cocoon and imperial arrogance in a very interesting way, saying that when he was governor of Vermont, he considered the people his boss, that even the ones who didn’t vote for him still paid his salary. But President Bush, by contrast, will not even allow any of the 48% of the country who voted against him to participate in any of the town hall meetings he’s been holding all across the country, and Dean drew a line from that to the incredible political incivility that has taken over this country.
  • He also shared an anecdote about when he asked a young evangelical Christian woman why she supported him – she said she disagreed with most of what he stood for, but the Texas Republicans had screwed over her family’s healthcare, and she (and other evangelicals) placed a great value on convictions, especially in positions of high office, and she felt Dean had them, and Republicans didn’t (he also disparaged the notion that Democrats should be centrist “Republican Lite”).

I thought the convictions anecdote was telling, and seemed like it might be the start of a strategy to pre-emptively inoculate for whoever runs in 2008, so they don’t get the same politically-expedient-waffler tag that Gore and Kerry got stuck with. Someone else (spork_incident, I believe) also observed that this appeared to be a concerted effort to encroach on the Republicans’ own turf, by appealing to morality and convictions, and trying to make common cause with pro-lifers. Hopefully it will be enough to peel off some non-insane evangelicals, although I won’t bet money on it.

Basically, if this is the message and strategy Dean wants the Democratic party to adopt, then I feel pretty good about it. The only major theme I’m sorry he didn’t cover was The War On Terror – the Republicans have done a shite job at it before and after 9/11, and they need to be called on it, repeatedly. I would have liked to hear more about the Downing Street Memos and how Bush lied us into war, but Plamegate at least touches on that indirectly. I also would have liked to see him follow Hillary’s lead and address the lapdogginess of the media, but that’s maybe just my obsession, and might not have been appropriate or necessary for a fire-up-the-faithful address like this one.

And I realize this is a bit strange, but spork_incident backs me up (or at least humors me) on this: When Howard smiles, he looks a bit like the middle-aged, Monsieur Verdoux/Limelight-vintage Charlie Chaplin.

5 comments July 19th, 2005 at 09:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Coolness,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Favorites,Libby/Plame,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Terrorism


I was taking one of my usual sky pictures (kinda mediocre, IMO) when this pigeon flew into the frame just as I clicked the shutter. Kinda cool, although it would’ve been even cooler if I had my aperture cranked down a bit for more depth of field.

And immediately after taking this picture, I was accosted by a strange but friendly man who spat a lot, and had lots of things to say about local history and wind resistance and stonecutting and money and ninja fighting techniques. A photographer had an impact on his life and helped him make some money, and my camera and I triggered an association with that. He also marveled at how photographers see angles and shapes that others don’t, which is precisely what fascinates me about photography – that challenge to capture the unseen beauty that hides within the seen.

It was one of those conversations where one part of you keeps telling you to escape, while the other part just has to stay through to the end, to find out where it’s all heading…

4 comments May 26th, 2005 at 06:48pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh,Pittsburgh/PA,Weirdness

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