Archive for November, 2004

Meetup is Tomorrow

November 30, 2004

Meetup is tomorrow. 45 people have confirmed and another 19 might show up. Did you remember to RSVP?

I probably won’t have the agenda totally worked out until tonight, but one new thing just came to my attention: Democracy for America is planning a National Weekend of Action on December 11-12. Think of a community service project for your community.

We’ll also talk about planning for elections in 2005. Want to run for office?

Also Tomorrow Night

November 29, 2004

The PA Hip-Hop Political Convention,
Everybody VOTE and Pittsburgh VIE present
a post-election analysis forum::

“Keeping Young Voters Engaged Beyond 2004”
Tuesday, November 30th, 7pm
Benedum Hall Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh
*co-sponsored by the college Democrats and the college Republicans

Thousands of first-time and young voters across the Pittsburgh area cast ballots in the most historic presidential election in recent time. While the final official numbers have yet to be tallied, a huge increase in new and young voters was evident at polling places throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

A distinguished panel of political organizers, consultants, operatives and elected officials will discuss the impact of the youth vote on the 2004 elections and explore strategies to keep young voters engaged in the civic process.


Two Days Until Meetup

November 29, 2004

The December Meetup is on Wednesday! If you RSVP online you will have a name tag waiting for you when you arrive. Won’t that be neat? Either way, you will be welcome, and don’t forget to bring a phonecard for the troops.

Tuesday night is the monthly Young Democrats meeting at Deja Vu Lounge in the Strip (2106 Penn Ave). Happy hour starts at 6:30pm, then get down to business at 7:15pm.

Thursday night is the Springsteen Flood Aid concert. Even if you don’t have tickets, there is still a way you can help out the flood victims and remind the public of how our Junior Senator Rick “Let them buy insurance” Santorum feels about the issue. Meet at 6:45pm at the corner of Penn Ave and 6th St. Bring some canned food and a sign. Ed has posted some slogan suggestions on Democratic Underground.

DFACorps Phone Cards for Veterans

November 27, 2004

If you are planning to attend Meetup this Wednesday, there is definitely something you can do to help out:

Over at Democracy for America Headquarters, they’ve been asking for suggestions to guide the future of the organization. One suggestion they have considered is to bring back the popular DeanCorps (a grassroots organization that did community service during the campaign).

Reorganized DFACorps will be collecting phone cards for wounded veterans spending the holidays in VA hospitals as well as for soldiers currently serving overseas who otherwise do not have the means to make long distance calls to their families.

This Wednesday at Meetup, Democracy for Pittsburgh will be collecting calling cards (any denomination) for the drive. If you would like to help unite the brave men and women serving our country to their families during the holiday season, please bring along a phone card. The great thing about the phone card drive is that every card donation sent into HQ will be matched by Democracy for America. A $10 phone card automatically becomes $20 worth of phone time!

If you are unable to make it to Meetup on Wednesday, but would still like to participate in the phone card drive you can still do so. Just simply send your phone cards to:

Democracy for America
PO Box 8313
Burlington, VT 05402

Thanks for helping out and hopefully I’ll see you at Meetup!

Selfish Santorum

November 23, 2004

An interesting batch of letters in Monday’s Post-Gazette. Anne Venetti of South Fayette connects the dots:

I find it very interesting that Sen. Santorum couldn’t offer any financial help, or even words of comfort, to the Sept. 17 flood victims. I understand he didn’t want to saddle taxpayers with the cost. He doesn’t seem to have a problem when the cost benefits his family.

The other letters are good, too.


November 21, 2004

Apologies for neglecting Michael Madison’s coverage of the controversy in the Mt. Lebanon School District, which he affectionately title’s SableGate. Briefly, the district superintendent, Margery Sable, resigned with quite an extravagant $500,000 golden parachute. Madison has the story covered in a very Joshmarshallesque way, complete with tips from personal sources and CafePress T-shirts to commemorate the scandal.

If you don’t live in the Mt. Lebanon School District, you still might find the story serves as a useful parable:

A small group of establishment insiders are entrusted with stewardship of an extraordinary economy — in this case, the schools of Mt. Lebanon; historically, Pittsburgh as a whole. Decisions are made and implemented regarding the future of that economy, on behalf of the citizens and in what they are told is their best interest — but without their real participation. (The decisionmakers, of course, are the School Board of Mt. Lebanon and, for Pittsburgh, the Allegheny Conference. Decisions rest on the assumption that all is well, the economy will continue to prosper, the population can afford its cost, and the citizens shouldn’t complain — because, after all, this is a special place. We have had more than our share of Pittsburgh exceptionalism; it may be exceeded by Mt. Lebanon exceptionalism.

Yet the economy changes, and the population changes too, and eventually the citizens wake up to find that their “stewards” have been asleep at the switch, spending money they didn’t have and refusing to respond to perfectly legitimate demands for reform. Pittsburgh is in the functional equivalent of bankrutpcy. Mt. Lebanon is hardly in bankruptcy, and its schools are hardly failing. And yet . . .?

What happens next?

I think it is time for the citizens of Pittsburgh to take their city back. Are you with me?

More Tax Cheating

November 21, 2004

I’ve been out of town and unable to provide more Santorum updates, but Pittsburgher Ed (a.k.a. “corporatemedia”) has been keeping tabs on our junior senator.

Two items of interest:

1. Santorum has received an Act 50 county tax reduction on his Penn Hills house under the auspices that it is his primary residence. He has recently stated in public that he is not living full-time at that house.

2. Nick Trombetta, the “CEO” of the Cyber Charter School, donated $2,000 — the maximum allowed by law — to Melissa Hart’s campaign.

Read more (complete with news item links) at Democratic Underground.

Give the Money Back!

November 18, 2004

Realizing that any investigation would reveal that he is not, in fact, living in Penn Hills, our junior senator has withdrawn his children from the cyber school and will homeschool them as before.

Why did he do that?

Where the Santorum children go to school is not really an issue. As their parents, Rick Santorum and his wife can educate them however they please. The issue is the funding: it didn’t seem right that the citizens of Penn Hills should be subsidizing the tuition of non-resident children.

In his public statement, Santorum has admitted that he was accepting money from the school district that he had no right to take. The only remedy to the situation is to return the money to the school district.

Since Santorum only earns the standard U.S. Senator salary of $157,000 a year, I would not object if he wanted to pay the Penn Hills School District back in installments.

Growing Greener Meeting Thursday

November 16, 2004

If you can’t wait until December 1st for the next DFA Meetup, Joy recommends showing up to the “Southwest Growing Greener II meeting in Allegheny.” She says:

If they all show, this would be a place to meet and deal with a number of elected officials that most of us usually don’t see in person. Even if your ecological interest level is moderate, consider attending. If we want to make change, we need to get to know more of the current players in our
political landscape.

Follow the link for details and directions.


Sanctity of Marriage

November 16, 2004

Good News! SB 296 was passed unanimously yesterday after the Birmelin and McNaughten amendments were withdrawn. The bill concerns adoption procedures; the amendments were supposed to expand the state’s current gay marriage prohibition law to also ban civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any other arrangements.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to call your state legislator.

While we’re on the subject, can somebody tell me why conservatives think gay marriage is the cause of all their marital problems? Conservatives who insist that their motives are not just bigotry point to Scandanavia as an example of how gay marriage somehow leads to an increase in single parenthood.

Aside from a weak understanding of cause-and-effect, why aren’t conservatives pursuing policies that would directly produce the results they want? Where are the calls for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a lifelong commitment? At the very least they could put an end to no-fault divorce. And why not deny unmarried parents the tax deductions that married parents are granted? Conservatives should provide incentives for single parents to get married.

Why are they so focused on denying equal rights to homosexual couples when they could do so many other things to solve their problems?


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