thomast's blog

PA House passes resolution making 2012 "Year of the Bible"; Reps. Cohen and Vitali move for reconsideration

I learned through a Move On email yesterday about HR 535, which was unanimously passed on January 24. The resolution declares 2012 as the "Year of the Bible" in Pennsylvania, in a way that not only recognizes the influence of the Bible, but crosses the line into advocacy for its purported messages. The petition is here; feel free to go sign it and skip the rest. But if you're interested, I'll tell you why I think this is important.

My ballot for the 2010 Primary

I'm mostly posting this to refer Facebook friends who frequently ask me for voting advice to (and maybe they'll stay and check out more of YPP).

I've not been following this spring's procedings as closely as is my usual habit - I'm feeling a little hopeless about electoral politics as the Obama administration continues to let progressive voters down on important issues like DADT and executive overreaching.

Hoeffel for Governor

Table of endorsements and recommendations for 2009 Democratic Primary

Since the Take Back Our City coalition/site seems not to be a going concern in this cycle, I put together my own spreadsheet of endorsements and recommendations. I thought others might find it helpful. I included Liberty City, Neighborhood Networks, NOW, Philly ADA, and Philly for Change. I also included the two Bar Associations' ratings and the endorsements from the Inquirer, Tribune, and Daily News, though I couldn't find any judicial endorsements from the DN - please comment with link if you see them.

If I missed an organization or media outlet that you think I should have included, feel free to comment here or by e-mail from the top-left cell of the spreadsheet.

SEPA Candidates List needs help: who's running in PA House 197, 201, 149, 162?

On Jan. 11, Clout named five Philadelphia PA House reps likely to face challenges in the primary: Rosita Youngblood, Harold James, Jewell Williams, John Myers and W. Curtis Thomas.

Since then, they've mentioned Kenyatta Johnson, running in the 186th against Harold James, and Lewis Thomas III, running against W. Curtis Thomas in the 181st. Thanks to Derek & Dan for pointing out Byron Davis's campaign in the 198th. But no word yet on who might be running against Jewell Williams in 197 or John Myers in 201.

Out in the suburbs, Rep. Daylin Leach, D-149 (MontCo), is running to fill the PA Senate's 17th Distict seat left open by Connie Williams' retirement. But I haven't yet found any names of candidates running to replace Leach in the 149th. I'm also looking for candidates in the open 162nd, to be vacated by Ron Raymond, R-DelCo.

If you've got any news on these or other races, please enter the info in the wiki or drop me an e-mail.

PS: Mad props to the 182nd District for grokking the wiki! Babette challengers Peggy Banaszek and Larry Farnese each added their own listing, and a Babette supporter filled hers out a bit. So don't be shy - add a listing for your favorite candidate today!

Announcing the 2008 Southeastern PA List O' Candidates!

Proving that flattery will indeed get you somewhere, when Ray wrote me last week and said nice things about my list of Council candidates from last year, and asked me if I would do it again, I agreed.

I decided to go a different route this time and really empower the hive-mind of the political junkie community, and so I built the list on a wiki, which means that folks can go and directly edit the lists of candidates when there's new information. Indeed, I'm sure that the lists are not complete, and am asking for everyone's help in making them more so.

So please check out the Southeastern Pennsylvania Candidates List for 2008 and see what's going on this year as petitions are circulating. Please add any info you've got or send me an e-mail. Comments here work, too.

As of this writing, I still have a bunch of copy-paste work to do for PA House incumbents running for re-election. But if you know of challengers, please add them!


No means no: Vote NO on retaining rapist-protector Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni

If you like, you can head over and read RussDiamond's ranting about PACleanSweep and their plan to defeat all the judges up for retention. But this isn't about that.

I have to confess that I typically vote against retention unless I have a specific reason to vote for a judge, because I think retention elections are dumb. I haven't decided what I'll do this time; I don't really align myself with PACleanSweep.

However, PACleanSweep or no, you must vote no on retaining Teresa Carr Deni. She just made a catastrophic ruling so activist and with such blatant disregard for the law and the roles of the legislature and jury that she is clearly not competent to sit on the bench.

She decided that a prostitute, who had agreed to have sex with two men for a certain amount of money, and who was then gang raped at gunpoint by five men and given no money, was not a victim of rape but merely a victim of "theft of services".

The law is quite clear: rape is having sex with a victim by forcible compulsion. And once there's a gun in her face and she's saying no, that is forcible compulsion. Doesn't matter how she makes her living, doesn't matter what was said before. These jerks were forcibly compelling this woman to have sex, and in taking the decision away from the jury, this judge ignored the law.

You can read about this appalling disgrace at Feministe or

PACleanSweep believes that all the judges have violated the Constitution and thus proven themselves unfit to sit on the bench. That may be, but it is certainly a more esoteric argument than this one, where the law, the allegations and the subsequent gross dereliction of duty are absolutely clear.


YPP Team for IssuesPhiladelphia Quizzo?

I probably can't participate in a YPP team, as I've invited my office mates to create a team. But there should definitely be a YPP team (or more - 4 per team) at the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia's IssuesPhiladelphia Quizzo night.
Tuesday, June 19th 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Barristers Bar & Grille 1823 Sansom Street

I got an e-mail from Philadelphia Forward that they're recruiting a team, too.

First take on the PFC At-Large Candidates' Forum

Philly for Change had a good event today with 10 of the 19 candidates currently slated to be on the Democratic ballot for the At-Large race. The audience was somewhere around 40, which included a number of campaign managers (though of course in this race they've each got four more votes beyond the one that's presumably committed, so they're just as worth educating).

Here's my quick summary & ranking — I'm working on a longer report:

I think I'm going to be sick...

From Mayorpalooza:

Milton Survives!
Our man on the City Council beat, Patrick Kerkstra, phones in from the elections office to report a piece of earth-shaking judicial news: Milton Street will be on Philadelphia City Council ballots come May 15!

Nobody even went after the forgeries or residency. Milton & Carol are on; Brown, Paulmier and others are off. What a system.

Breakdown of challenges

Good next-day reporting on the challenges continues from Josh, and now the DN (via the Next Mayor), and the Inky have stories. Surprisingly different accounts of a few of the challenges from the different sources. Inky also errs when saysing "Although ballot challenges once required scrutinizing thousands of petition signatures, most of this year's challengers used a previously ignored tactic that has proved deadly of late: Claiming candidates omitted information from financial-disclosure forms accompanying their petitions." (Update: OK, with Paulmier information and multiple challenges per candidate in the Fourth, this is probably true.)

The break down, with a few comments:

What's in a domain name?

So I've been googling and anywho'ing all the council candidates for my list, and I even decided to get a domain: - maybe I'll get a cheap hosting plan and put this stuff up there in a more straightforward format, and do a little campaign blogging. I've called a few candidates, who have mostly been very helpful and forthcoming with their contact information, and I've had a couple of interesting conversations with candidates that I previously knew nothing about.

Anyway, I hunted down Donna Reed Miller's campaign by calling her regular council office (which I'd wanted to avoid, believing firmly that incumbents shouldn't be campaigning out of their government offices). Once I was talking to campaign HQ, I was somewhat surprised to find out that she does in fact have a campaign Web site: (though the campaign worker who took my call had to put me on hold for a few minutes to find the URL). It is a fabulous example of bad mid-90's Web design, but it's there. But I'm wondering: How much could she get from the RIAA for the domain name?

UPDATED Full list of City Council candidates - need help with contact info

I've updated my list of candidates for the 2007 City Council race based on Josh Cornfield's reporting of who filed and some additional research I've done. I'm still missing contact information for a lot of candidates, and would love any help from folks who know the individual campaigns. I've reached out to those that have e-mail addresses on Committee of Seventy's lists. I pulled campaign committee contact info for most incumbents off of the City Controller's campaign finance reports, but some of them are c/o accountants or otherwise don't seem like current campaign contact information.

Please see the list below/after the jump or visit the full spreadsheet at - please leave any new information in the comments here or at

Many thanks!

Unofficial City Council candidates list

I've compiled a list of candidates for the 2007 City Council race from a variety of sources, thinking that it might be useful for those planning candidate fora, distributing information or questionnaires, etc. I feel relatively confident about the list of names I have so far, but am missing a lot of information for most candidates.

Please see the list below/after the jump or visit the full spreadsheet - please leave any new information in the comments here or at

Many thanks!

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