PA Congressional Delegation Total Sausage Party Now

We have to do better.

Posted in Elections, US House

Blame Jay Paterno

After his failed bid for Lieutenant Governor, Jay Paterno decided that running for state Senate as a write-in was beneath Him, despite efforts to recruit him for the seat.

This deprived Democrats of a top-tier candidate to run against Senator Jake Corman, leaving the new Republican Senator majority leader to run unopposed for the 34th Senate district.

This was a potentially winnable seat for Democrats. Centre County turned out hard for Tom Wolf, and was one of the few places where Wolf might have had some coattails, had a Democrat with a famous name been on the ballot.

It was an awesome opportunity to snuff out a Republican rising star early in his political career, but Jay Paterno wanted to be a prissy biscuit about it. So, you know, fuck that guy.

Posted in Miscellany

Tea Party Garbageman is Your New Shadow Republican Majority Leader

State Senator Jake Corman, who has until just recently put on a more moderate milquetoast public face, was put forth by the right wing nuts as their choice for Senate majority leader, and yesterday the nuts won.

But don’t be fooled by his rural homecoming king looks and soothing timbre. Standing right behind him, jabbing him with a shank he found rooting around in the back of his garbage truck is Senator Scott Wagner, a tea person folk hero who still hasn’t quit his real calling as a garbageman.

Why Republicans are so taken with these kind of Joe the Plumber characters, I’ll never know. Here’s what Wagner has to say about his approach to governing:

“I know about government log jams,” Mullins said. “I’ve dealt with log jams all my life. When something is holding up the processes of our democracy, you’ve just got to get in there with a broom and clean out all that muck that’s been collecting. Just take the stick end of a broom to it and scrape out all that gunk—all that dirt and grease and hair and gristle and chunks of Lord-knows-what, beaks and feet and other what-have-you.”

Oh whoops, looks like I had a quote from The Onion on my clipboard. Here is a not-altogether-different quote from Scott Wagner:

“I’m a full-service senator and garbage man. I know where to get you just about anything,” Wagner said. “I’m a pretty resourceful guy. I tell people in the waste business, if you need a donkey, we’ll get you a donkey.”

Have a nice day!

Posted in Elections, State Senate

The Next Republican Climate Argument

Republicans are extra angry about this new US-China climate deal, because the only argument they had left that was taken seriously among respectable company was that unilateral US action was pointless if the big polluters in the developing world weren’t also going to take action. Now that argument is dead.

What’ll they say next? I’ve been waiting for the day when the argument abruptly changes from pure denial to pure defeatism.

The day Republican politicians start admitting man-made climate change is real the argument will shift to that it’s just too late to do anything about it.

Itsahoaxitsahoaxitsahoax, it’s real and we’re screwed so don’t try.

Posted in Energy, Environment

Tom Corbett’s Environmental Legacy: 500+ Open-Air Frackwater Ponds

In 2005, Pennsylvania had 11 frack water pits. Just eight years later, aerial maps show that number has jumped to 529. It’s unclear how many of these sites store fresh water used for fracking, and how many store the toxic wastewater that results from oil and gas drilling operations.

Also, StateImpact says state government doesn’t keep track of them. Tom Wolf has a huge, huge mess to clean up.

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Posted in Miscellany

Team Sturla

Sorry, gerrymandering does not explain how the House Democrats lost 8 seats when the top of the ticket won by 10 points.

Add up all the excuses you think are valid and it still doesn’t get you to an 8-seat loss.

Time to give Mike Sturla a try as the chief cat herder.

The man is a good communicator (and blogger!), a good policy thinker, and he understands the thing it took the Dermocrats way way too long to figure out in the Corbett era – that the out-of-power party’s primary role is a messaging shop whose main task is making legislative Republicans look bad and create strong contrasts perceptible to voters.

By definition, an 8-seat loss under these conditions means they failed to do that. Sending the same incompetent practitioners back in to do an even harder job would be totally nuts.

Posted in Elections, State House

Lehigh Tea People: Browne and Mensch Have Some ‘Splaining to Do

Members of the local party are upset with Sens. Browne and Mensch for voting against an amendment proposed by Senator Wagner. Wagner’s amendment was in support of “paycheck protection” legislation, which would curtail the ability of labor unions to collect membership dues.

This news comes amidst a battle over leadership of the Senate GOP caucus.

The Senators are both part of the effort, led by Sen. Jake Corman, to replace Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and the current GOP leadership.

Nick Field gives the context that Pat Browne is trying to become Appropriations chair, and Mensch wants to be the Caucus chairman. If they got those jobs, that would be objectively good for the Lehigh Valley’s prospects for punching above its weight in the mad scramble for state resources, but that’s not what the Tea People think!

And good for them. Ideological priors are important for a political party, more important arguably than grubbing for RACP money. But that’s the whole point about Republicans right? The reason you don’t vote to give these dudes any power is that their party’s big animating principles on balance just fail to translate into anything positive that would make regular people’s lives better. They had a chance to pass liquor privatization, which was a rare case of Republicans offering some decent goodies in line with the public interest, but they failed. They didn’t even campaign on it.


Posted in Elections, State House, State Senate

What Shall Jim Cawley Do Now?

Continue his excellent work as a top lobbyist and spokesperson for Pennsylvania’s filthiest extractive industries without skipping a beat, probably.

Posted in Elections, Governor

Tea Party Garbageman: GOP House Leadership Cost Corbett the Election

Quite true: by passing all of his legislative priorities!

Thus do we find [Senator Scott] Wagner, who was elected to his first term a week ago today, telling WPHT-AM host Chris Stigall that lapses by the House GOP leadership helped contribute to Gov. Tom Corbett’s defeat to Democrat Tom Wolf.

“I think that House leadership had something to do with Corbett’s defeat. If Tom Corbett was a product, he was launched in a way that I wouldn’t have launched a product,” he told the station on Monday.

(via John Micek)

Posted in Elections, Governor, State House

PA School Funding “Formula” Systematically Shortchanges Non-White Students

Equal funding per pupil: we don’t have it!

David Mosenkis analyzed the distribution of Pennsylvania’s state education funding, and found a clear statistical relationship between higher percentages of non-white students in a school and lower school funding. Racist, racist, racist.

Dale Mezzacappa explains the details:

Mosenkis followed a simple statistical construct by using a linear formula showing how much a district should get per student based on its poverty rate. His graph shows a “best-fit regression line” through the points. The 50 percent of the districts that fall above the line get more than expected, while the other half that fall below the line get less than expected.

Then he colored the districts yellow or brown based on whether they fell above or below the median in terms of non-White vs. White students. His numbers show that half the state’s 500 districts are 92 percent White or more. The yellow dots are districts that are at least 92 percent White and the brown dots are districts below 92 percent.

Tom Wolf was elected with a clear mandate to correct this disgusting state of affairs. This exciting new lawsuit should help him get it done.

Posted in Miscellany