Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December Dog Licenses in Montco

from the inbox:

Montgomery County Treasurer Jason Salus today announced that beginning December 1st, residents are able to purchase their 2017 dog licenses through his office. 
According to Salus, Pennsylvania state law requires all dogs three months and older be licensed by January 1st of each year. “If your dog is lost, a license is their ticket home. It helps animal control and shelters identify dogs to return them home safely,” said Salus. 
An annual dog license is $8.50, or $6.50 if the animal is spayed or neutered. Lifetime licenses are available for dogs that have permanent identification like a microchip or tattoo. Additionally, older adults and people with disabilities may be eligible for discounts. Owners who do not purchase a license could face state fines and penalties of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog. 
“One of the goals of my office is to make getting a dog license fast and easy,” said Salus. “Licenses can be purchased or renewed online, through the mail or at a number of satellite locations across the County. Salus added, 
“Licenses make a great stocking stuffer – don’t forget your pets this holiday season!” Licenses may be purchased at the Treasurer’s office which is located on the sixth floor of One Montgomery Plaza in Norristown or online at

Leary Nominated to Social Security Administration

The White House released a list of nominations that have been sent to the Senate.  Among them is Michael P. Leary, of Pennsylvania, to be Inspector General, Social Security Administration, vice Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr., resigned.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wadlington a Champion of Change

 On Friday September 30, the White House will recognize ten individuals from across the country as White House “Champions of Change” for extracurricular enrichment, afterschool, and summer programming for marginalized girls, including girls of color.  One of the ten is from Pennsylvania:

Cheryl Ann Wadlington – Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaCheryl Ann Wadlington is the Founder and Executive Director of The Evoluer House in Philadelphia. Under Wadlington’s leadership, The Evoluer House has delivered award-winning empowerment programs over the past 12 years to more than 1,200 teen girls of color experiencing unique social and emotional challenges and barriers to success. The Evoluer House works to equip the most underserved and hard-to-reach girls in Philadelphia with essential tools to become college-bound and career-ready and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. As a testament to its success, 100% of Evoluer House graduates finish high school on time and 90% go on to attend a four-year college. Cheryl is also a fashion and beauty journalist, personal growth consultant, author, and motivational speaker.

Porterfield a Champion of Change

This Friday eleven people will be honored this Friday at the White House as Champions of Change for College Opportunity.  One of the eleven is from Pennsylvania:

Daniel R. Porterfield– Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D. has served as president of Franklin & Marshall College since 2011. Under his leadership, Franklin & Marshall has developed a distinctive student talent strategy built upon a significant increase in their need-based financial aid budget. Through his work, Franklin & Marshall has seen record application numbers and an increase in the academic profile, diversity, and selectivity of incoming classes. In addition, lower-income and first-generation students at F&M consistently achieve the same average GPA as the student body as a whole and maintaining higher retention and graduation rates. Porterfield sits on the boards of the College Board and the Lenfest College Scholarship Foundation. He has received awards for his work from the KIPP and “I Have A Dream” foundations and in 2016 was named one of the “Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly. Prior to leading Franklin & Marshall, Porterfield served as a Senior Vice President at his alma mater, Georgetown University. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and earned his Ph.D. at The City University of New York Graduate Center.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Things to Do: State of Women's Health

from the inbox:

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Union League of Philadelphia, Lifecycle WomanCare (LWC) will host their second annual health forum on the State of Women’s Health.  The forum will feature keynote speaker Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Schwank and two panel sessions with policymakers, leaders, and experts in women’s health issues.  

At the event health expert panelists and Senator Schwank will discuss important health issues facing women today.  Because 2016 is such a significant election year, participants will focus on the critical impact that public policy has on women and families’ health and well-being.  Topics at the event will include:  integrative care; accessibility and other disability challenges; environmental and occupational health; maternity, lactation and reproductive rights; health disparities; employment accommodations and family and medical leave; violence; midwifery and collaborative partnership models of care; and economic family issues.  

"In an election year such as this, it is critically important to have open dialogue about major issues of health and welfare being faced by women and families today, and bring to light innovative policy approaches that can play a significant role in helping our families," said Kathryn Boockvar, Executive Director of Lifecycle WomanCare.  "This important event brings together some of the nation’s and region’s most innovative thought leaders on these issues, and our unique audience-interactive program allows the audience, as well as the experts, consumers, and practitioners, to interact and participate, in order to identify and deliver the most effective solutions out there."  

LWC, founded in 1978 as a 501c3 non-profit organization, delivers high-quality and empowering women’s healthcare in the greater Philadelphia region.  LWC has served tens of thousands of families and has become a leading hub and a voice for a lifelong and partnership-based approach to healthcare.

The 2016 Keynote Speaker is Pennsylvania State Senator Judith L. Schwank of District 11 Sen. Schwank is CoChair of the Bipartisan Pennsylvania Legislature's Women's Health Caucus, as well as a member of the Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee.    

Last year, she spearheaded legislation in key areas impacting women and family health and wellbeing.  These have included addressing the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic; increasing the effectiveness of funding of services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; including postpartum depression as an "at risk" category allowing for early intervention tracking and services; prohibiting surprise balance-billing of unaware patients; and criminalizing former intimate partner internet harassment (“revenge porn”). She also led thPA Agenda for Women’s Health, to promote family-friendly working conditions, economic fairness, healthy lives, and support for victims of domestic violence

where she works to ensure the unbiased and fair delivery of justice and application of laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  
The 2016 panelists include:

Breakfast Panel  (8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)

Workshop Panel (10:30 a.m. – noon)

Panel Moderator

Tickets to the event are $60 for the Breakfast Panel program, and $85 for the full Breakfast Panel, Workshop Panel, and networking sessions, and are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.  Tickets can be purchased at  Sponsorship opportunities are also available for businesses and individuals. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: Making Ideas Matter by Dwight Evans

Making Ideas Matter:  My Life as a Policy Entrepreneur by Representative Dwight Evans with William Ecenbarger.  Philadelphia: Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, 2013.

State Representative Dwight Evans is currently the Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, defeating incumbent Chaka Fattah in the primary. This book was published before his congressional run, but after previous unsuccessful runs for higher office. It is a slim volume (181 pages with an index) providing a history of State Rep. Evan's political career.  The first chapter is biographical, telling the story of his childhood and upbringing. He points out that after getting a part-time job in high school he didn't take money from his mother again, allowing her to focus on his younger siblings.

The rest of the book concerns his work as a state legislator and his personal life is not really mentioned again. Most of the chapters concern a particular subject -- one on education, another on the importance of access to healthy food choices. Others are on aspects of political culture -- there is a chapter on Walking Around Money (WAM) and how it can be used to leverage cooperation from political colleagues.

Evans outlines a number of projects he worked on,priorities he followed, strategies he used to reach out to fellow Democrats as well as Republicans, and how he developed rapport with legislators from other parts of the state to overcome overall hostility towards the Philadelphia area.

There is a focus on his work as chair of the Appropriations Committee, and his disappointment when he lost that position. He writes about his own personal values and how they informed his behavior, expectations of staff, and political behavior, and what happens to politicians who lose their moral compass.

He writes a lot about developing and maintaining relationships, not only with political allies but as ways of reaching across the aisle or to the far corners of the state. He writes about empowering staff (including giving staff the ability to tell him no), and holding them accountable for their work and ethics as well.

Evans only seems to write about one fault and that is the inability to tell his story effectively when running for mayor or governor. He wishes he could have continued as chair of Appropriations and that he could have helped a non-profit he had worked with maintain control of his district's main high school.

This book does explain how State Rep. Evans created some of the coalitions that passed legislation he wanted. It is a first person account and therefore does not include some of the context or reflection that a third person account might have. The writing is fast paced and easily read. The book could easily have gotten bogged down in self-congratulation or unnecessary details. As you might expect from a policy wonk, there are a lot of acronyms, but otherwise it avoids many of the pitfalls that other books of this kind fall into. Co-author William Ecenbarger is a former reporter and I credit his influence with a great deal of the book's readability.

Baring some sort of disaster Mr. Evans will be elected to Congress in November and his tenure in the state legislature will end. I hope that at some point a scholar writes a definitive history of his time there. I'm sure there are a lot more stories to be told. The book left me wanting more, which is surely the sign of a well-written book.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

SEPTA Updates

from the inbox:

 New schedules for SEPTA’s City, Suburban and Victory Transit divisions go into effect beginning Sunday, September 4 and Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Most timetable adjustments are minor and are designed to account for seasonal changes in ridership and to improve customer service. However, SEPTA would like to alert passengers to the following service changes:

 • Route 15: Trolleys return to service between 63rd Street and Girard Avenue and Frankford and Delaware Avenues following summer bus substitution due to a track renewal project. Buses will continue to operate on the portion of the route between Frankford and Girard Avenues and Richmond and Westmoreland Streets.

• Route 40: Added morning and afternoon weekday service. • Route 56: Added morning and afternoon weekday service.

• Routes 201, 204, 205 and 206: These routes will continue to operate on their current schedules as published online at Schedules are subject to change with Regional Rail interim schedule changes and will be updated online.

• Norristown High Speed Line: Trains will operate on the current summer schedule until the end of the service day on Sunday, September 18, when the Radnor Station improvement project will be completed. A new schedule will go into effect beginning at the start of the service day Monday, September 19. Service information will be published on the System Status section of SEPTA’s website ( prior to September 19.

New transit schedules are available at SEPTA customer locations and online at Riders can also access real-time service information by using the official SEPTA App available as a free download for both Apple and Android devices, and by following the @SEPTA Twitter feed. #

Monday, August 29, 2016

Shaughnessy Naughton Update

Shaughnessy Naughton, who was a primary candidate for the 8th congressional district, sent out an email announcing her new professional direction.  Here is part of her statement:

In the months since the primary, I’ve reflected on what we achieved together and the work that lies ahead.
I ran because I believed that we need new perspectives in Congress. As a scientist, entrepreneur, and business leader, I didn’t fit the template of a conventional politician. And public service, like business, wasn’t my first career choice.
But I saw a deficit of leadership that remains unfilled. For decades, Congress has shortchanged NIH funding, ignored climate change, and listened to special interests instead of scientists.
My mission to advocate for STEM priorities didn’t end in April. That’s why I’ve joined the board of 314 Action, a grassroots organization founded to empower the STEM community to affect public policy.

Rite of Passage: Students Become Voters

The American Association of State Colleges & Universities sponsored a report, released last April, called Graduating Students Into Voters.  Ideas42 prepared the report, a 25 page pdf, outlining reasons college students may not vote (not sure of the process, don't know how to register, feel disconnected), and how to increase political participation among college students.  It is very interesting reading.  (The pdf can be found here:

In my house voting is a requirement of anyone over 18 living at home or taking parental money for college.  It's a form of rent.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Latest EpiPen Issue

Nearly three years ago I wrote two posts about the increasing price of EpiPens (post in Oct 2013 and in Nov 2013).  The topic is back in the news as the price has continued to go up.  One issue is that there is no generic equivalent for an EpiPen.  Mylan, the company which produces the EpiPen, raised the price again recently, just before a generic was expected to be approved ("Mylan raised EpiPen's Price Before the Expected Approval of a Generic," by Andrew Pollack, New York Times 8/24),  However, the generic was not approved.  Matt Egan of CNN Money reports that one may be available next year.

The CEO of Mylan, Heather, Bresch, appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box to try to diffuse the bad press (see video embedded in linked Slate article).  What I found most startling in her remarks was her comment that "we have passed legislation in 48 states ...." Really?  Mylan passed legislation?  Who elected Mylan to do anything?  What she meant, of course, is that Mylan lobbied for legislation and perhaps even wrote it.  There would have been campaign donations to key state legislators.  So, yes, Mylan probably does feel that it passed legislation.  And that should give us all pause.

On a personal note I refilled our family's EpiPen prescription this week.  It still just costs me $10 for a 2-pack. I work in a union shop and we have good health insurance.  With Mylan's increase, though, it is no doubt costing the insurer a lot more and that will mean higher premiums all around.

Friday, July 15, 2016

News Programs Need a Daycare Rule

Daycares and child care centers often have rules on potty training.  Some won't take kids that aren't potty trained.  I've heard the phrase "3 sh*ts and you're out" as a rule. As I watch what are supposed to be news shows that rule comes to mind. I think if a pundit or spokesperson publicly states something that is provably wrong more than three times their contract should be cancelled.  Surely it is possible to write something like that in, a truth clause, or make it part of a morals clause. It is so disheartening to watch people over and over again flat out lie or dissemble and then appear again the next night with no penalty.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The "Other" Talk

I have always referred to my children as the "little janes."  Some people have assumed this meant I had only daughters, but I was using "jane" as a last name in this context.  In fact, one of my children is male.  He is an adult now and, at least for the present, not living in my house.

I've had "the other talk" with all of my children but reinforced it more often with my son.  It goes something like this:

Unless asked for specific information, there are three acceptable answers when questioned by the police:  "Yes, Officer;" "No, Officer;" and "I don't know, Officer." If pulled over when driving, keep both hands on the wheel, visible at all times.  Don't make any sudden movements.  Do not try to make jokes. If any movement is required explain in advance what you will be doing and why, and move slowly. If the police stop you walking down the street, stop immediately, keep hands out of pockets, stand still, no sudden movements, no jokes. If a police office tells you to sit down or lay down, do it without asking questions or making comments, hands visible. An officer has to assume you are armed and dangerous or potentially under the influence or mentally unstable. Their lives depend on starting with an assumption of the worst possible scenario. Give them the time and space to decide you are not an immediate threat.

The boy is tall and hit a growth spurt right around the time Pennsylvania passed some form of "castle doctrine."  I told him if he went trick or treating that fall (or any fall thereafter) he couldn't wear a mask or anything that covered his face.  Hats were okay provided his face was still visible. I told him that while he might still think of himself as a kid, he was as tall as a grown man and people who didn't know him would react to him as such. Someone seeing him walking around a house on Halloween (or any other night) might assume he was a burglar.

He went with me to a couple of political events and on the way to one I was pulled over. It was a teachable moment. After it was all over I talked with him about why I thought I hadn't gotten a ticket. What I did and did not do when interacting with an officer.

I know several of the police officers in our local force; some are my neighbors. Their jobs are difficult and often provide no margin of error. There was a shootout one street over a few years ago and an officer was injured. It is a dangerous, thankless, poorly paid job.  I've also noticed that the drivers I see pulled over on our local streets are African American far more often than our demographics would suggest.

My family is on the very pale /translucent end of the pigmentation spectrum. We are very white. I cannot imagine the stress African American parents feel when that talk with their children. It is surely more involved than the one I had with mine. As we see all too often in the news, someone who follows all the rules of "the talk" can still be shot.

We need to find a way to help police officers do their job without injuring or killing people who are simply going about their business. We need to make sure racial prejudices don't factor into law enforcement decisions. In the meantime, parents all over country will be having the "other" talk with their kids, especially their sons.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Call for LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

from the inbox:

Pennsylvania remains the only state in the northeast that lacks laws that would protect citizens from being fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Senator Bob Casey and members of Governor Tom Wolf’s administration met in Pittston yesterday to address the need for non-discrimination laws at both the federal and state level.  LGBT Pennsylvanians deserve to live in a state that is inclusive and welcoming for everyone. Governor Wolf has already signed executive orders protecting commonwealth employees. It is now up to Congress and the state legislature to pass bills that will protect all Pennsylvanians.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

White House Summer Interns from PA

Last week the White House Internship Program announced  the participants for the Summer 2016 session. The mission of the program is to make the White House accessible to future leaders around the nation and to prepare those devoted to public service for future leadership opportunities.

Here are people on the list who are from or going to school in Pennsylvania:

Alarco Alarco, Claudia Hometown: Silver Spring, MD ; Villanova University, PA
Black, Cara Hometown: Bucks County , PA; Georgetown University, D.C.
Casey, Amy Hometown: Wayne, PA; College of the Holy Cross, MA
Cholli, Neil Hometown: Chelmsford, MA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Gerstel, Dylan Hometown: Ridgewood, NJ; Swarthmore College, PA
Kiernan, Christopher Hometown: Chevy Chase, MD; Lehigh University, PA
Krulik, Sarah Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; University of Rochester, NY
Lee, Joshua Hometown: Wellesley, MA; University of Pennsylvania, PA

Maz, Rebecca Hometown: Radnor, PA ; American University, D.C.
Miller, Jordan Hometown: Chappaqua, NY; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Moreno-Rosa, Salomon Hometown: Amherst, MA; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Powell, Lindsay Hometown: Brooklyn , NY; Carnegie Mellon University, PA
Rooney, James Hometown: Pittsburg, PA; Georgetown University, D.C.
Serota, Jonathan Hometown: Brookville, NY; University of Pennsylvania, PA

Sheasley, Jamie Hometown: King of Prussia, PA ; American University, D.C.
Shulman, Sabrina Hometown: Washington, D.C.; University of Pennsylvania, PA
Smitham, Eleni Hometown: Bethesda, MD; Haverford College, PA

SEPTA Refunds and Credits

Our friends at SEPTA are doing their best to ensure we have a safe, comfortable, and timely ride to wherever we are going.  The altered schedules that started today are an inconvenience and SEPTA is offering refunds and credits to passholders:

– Due to the impact on customers from the Silverliner V portion of the rail fleet being taken out of service over a structural defect, SEPTA will provide refunds and credits for customers who have purchased Weekly and Monthly Regional Rail TrailPasses.

The refunds and credits are for customers who purchased Weekly Regional Rail TrailPasses for the week starting Monday, July 4, and those who bought Monthly Regional Rail TrailPasses valid July 1-31.

To receive refunds, customers will have to mail their passes to SEPTA no later than Thursday, July 7. Envelopes must be post-marked July 7 or earlier. A check will be sent to the address provided by the customer. Please note “Silverliner V Pass Refund” on the envelope, place the refund-eligible Regional Rail TrailPass inside and mail it to:

SEPTA P.O. Box 58609 Philadelphia, PA 19102-8849

For customers who want to continue using their TrailPass this week and for July, SEPTA will offer a credit on a future purchase. The credits can be redeemed on any pass purchase made through Monday, Oct. 10. These are the credits SEPTA is making available for TrailPass holders:

Weekly Regional Rail TrailPass Credits (passes valid the week that began Monday, July 4):

 Zone 1, 2 and Cross-County Weekly TrailPasses: $5 credit

 Zone 3 and Anywhere Weekly TrailPasses: $10 credit

Monthly Regional Rail TrailPass Credits (passes valid July 1-31):

 Zone 1 and Cross-County: $20  Zone 2: $25

 Zone 3: $30

 Anywhere: $35 For more information, visit

Monday, July 04, 2016

Regional Rail Changes Start TOMORROW!!!

If you take Regional Rail on a regular basis be forewarned that due to needed repair on about a third of the railcars there will be fewer trains and a reduced schedule, starting TOMORROW!

Monitor this page for schedule updates:

Also, a special shout out to the so far unknown SEPTA employee who noticed the structural issue before a disaster happened.  Thank you!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Article on Jared Solomon Campaign

The Philadelphia Citizen has published a nice article on Jared Solomon's primary state house race against Mark Cohen.  "Insurgency in the Northeast," by Larry Platt (3/15/16) is available online at:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Roslyn Film Festival

The 10th annual Roslyn Film Festival will be held this Saturday, March 19th.  This year's films are:

1. Gift Horses (David Block)
2. Out of the Depths (RJ Nestor and David Scoville)
3. Rockabilly High School (Win Heckert)
4. The Cubicle: How Norman Works In a Box (Michael Ofenheim)
5. Blaze of Glory (Bob Sweeney)                                 
6. Centralia: America's Lost Town (Joe Sapienza II)
7. The Leg That Just Kept Living (Win Heckert)

Tickets are $5.00 and there is a red carpet entrance.  Put on your party clothes are imagine you are at the Oscars!

(Proceeds benefit the Roslyn Fire Company).

Ellen Malcolm at the Free Library

Ellen Malcolm, founder of Emily's List, will be speaking about her new book at the Philadelphia Free Library on Thursday, March 24th.  Tickets are $15.00 ($7.00 for students).  


Ellen R. Malcolm is the founder and chair of the Board of EMILY’s List, the largest resource for women in politics. Dedicated to helping women candidates win election to every level of political office, its over 3 million members community have helped elect 19 pro-choice female Democratic U.S. senators, 110 U.S. representatives, and 11 governors. Malcolm was also president of the voter-registration advocacy group ACT, national co-chairwoman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 election campaign, and a member of the National Park Foundation Board of Directors. Including exclusive interviews with many of the country’s top female politicians, in-the-trenches stories of some of the toughest election fights in the past three decades, and Malcolm’s own story of frustration, dedication, and triumph, When Women Win is the inside story of the rise of American women in elected office.In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6ABC Action News morning edition

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Leanne Krueger-Braneky a Rising Star

Emily's List has a list of six women they have identified as candidates for the Gabby Giffords Rising Star Award, given to an extraordinary woman in state or local office.  One is Pennsylvania State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky.  You can vote for her on an Emily's List web page.  (Be forewarned you have to provide an email and zipcode to vote so you'll end up on at least one mailing list)

Rebecca Ross Haywood Nominated for US Court of Appeals

from a White House press release:

Today, President Obama nominated Rebecca Ross Haywood to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

“Throughout her career, Rebecca Ross Haywood has shown unwavering integrity and an outstanding commitment to public service,” said President Obama. “I am proud to nominate her to serve on the United States Court of Appeals.”

Rebecca Ross Haywood:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Rebecca Ross Haywood is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania, where she has served as Chief of the Appellate Division since 2010.  As part of the office’s Management Team, she regularly consults on and reviews filings for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  In addition, Haywood frequently practices before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and confers with trial attorneys on cases before the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Haywood was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and raised in the neighboring town of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania.  She received her A.B. cum laude in 1990 from Princeton University.  She then attended the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as an Associate Editor on the Michigan Law Review and obtained her J.D. magna cum laude in 1994.  After graduating from law school, Haywood clerked for the Honorable Alan N. Bloch of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 1996.  From 1996 to 1997, she worked in the Pittsburgh office of the law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue (now Jones Day).  Haywood served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1997 to 2001, where she handled civil matters, including representing federal agencies in employment and medical malpractice cases.  From 2001 to 2003, she once again clerked for the Honorable Alan N. Bloch.  In 2003, Haywood returned to the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where she was promoted to Appellate Chief in 2010.

During her time in the United States Attorney’s Office, Haywood has been actively involved in workplace management and training, serving as a member of the executive and training committees since 2011, as well as serving as the coordinator for prevention of workplace harassment from 2004 to 2010.  In addition, she is actively involved in the community and regularly speaks to students and legal organizations about the law and her career.

Shapiro Statement on Finances

from the inbox:

 The campaign for Josh Shapiro, candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General, released the following statement in response to attacks by Stephen Zappala: 

“Once again the Zappala campaign is grasping at straws in the face of Josh Shapiro’s strong position, not surprising for a campaign that could only raise $8,031 in donations under $250. We’re proud that Pennsylvania’s teachers, nurses, the largest Fraternal Order of Police and Governor Wolf have all backed Josh Shapiro for Attorney General. Josh is the only progressive in the race and unlike his opponents Josh will stand up to the frackers who pollute our drinking water, take on scammers that target seniors and consumers, and is someone we can always trust to defend the rights of each and every Pennsylvanian."  --- Joe Radosevich, Shapiro Campaign Manager

 The Shapiro campaign reported $10,179 in contributions under $50 and $29,131.18 in contributions between $51 and $250

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Senate Resolution 27

I'm not sure what to make of this.  A resolution was introduced in the Pennsylvania State Senate on February 25th, Senate Resolution 27.  The primary sponsor is Sen, Kitchen, with Farnese, Vance, Yudichak, Greenleaf, Brewster, Haywood, and Rafferty as co-sponsors.

This is the gist of the resolution:

Directing the Advisory Committee on Public Health Law of the Joint State Government Commission to study the issue of youth vaccinations and immunizations to determine whether any amendments should be made to the Commonwealth's public health law.

The full text of the resolution does not really provide any context or background.  So I cannot tell if it is a cover for people who don't like vaccinations or a ploy to add more required or recommended vaccinations.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


George Matysik, executive director of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, is encouraging supporters to contact Mayor Kenney and express their appreciation for Kenney's interest in investing in parks and recreation.  On twitter use the hashtag #FeeltheFern

Philly School Substitute Numbers

Our friends at NewsWorks have put together a very useful list of daily substitute teacher fill rate by school.  Some schools only get 1% of the substitute teachers they need, other get nearly 80%.  Take a look.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Zivtech Launches New App

Philadelphia is home to a number of innovative tech firms. One of them, Zivtech, an open source web and app development agency, launched a new app this week.  Here is an abridged press release:

Zivtech,  is proud to announce the launch of a new web development tool that changes the game for the whole team. Probo, a continuous integreation app, allows a team to deploy features quickly, with no negative impact on an already functioning system. The people driving the request, such as business owners, project managers, marketers and IT, are now part of the process from the beginning.

Probo CI grew out of a need to accelerate the development process internally; once the product was built, there was a demand to share it with a greater audience. Probo is also much less expensive than other CI tools. Not only is the open source code available at no cost, but a basic account with 1 GB of disk space is free. With a total of five pricing tiers, there’s a size that works for every business, from startup to enterprise.

Probo is different from other CI tools on the market in that it does not tear down your environment, but instead posts a link so that the entire team can review new features or bug fixes. Project manager can always see how tasks are progressing and developers can get immediate client feedback. Probo is designed to be easy to extend and easy to wire into a broader devops ecosystem. It’s the only automated testing tool with quality assurance (QA) and user acceptance testing (UAT) built right in.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Patrick Murphy to be Sworn in as Undersecretary of the Army

Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq War veteran to serve in Congress, represented Pennsylvania's 8th district (Bucks County and part of Montgomery County and Philadelphia) for 2 terms,  This Wednesday he will be sworn in as the 32nd Undersecretary of the Army and Chief Management Officer.  He was confirmed as Undersecretary by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year.  On January 7th, President Obama asked him to serve as Acting Secretary of the Army.  He is currently responsible for a $143 million dollar budget and approximately 1.4 million soldiers and Department of the Army civilians, which would rank as a Fortune 10 company and behind only Wal-Mary in total personnel.

As Acting Secretary he has testified before the Senate and has traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Texas, and other places, as well at the Walter Reed National Medical Center, to visit with military personnel. The Undersecretary serves as the Army’s principal adviser on matters related to the management and operation of the Army, including development and integration of the Army Program and Budget. As the Chief Management Officer (CMO) of the Army, he advises the Secretary on the effective and efficient organization of the Army’s business operations and initiatives for the business transformation of the Army.  Whle in Congress he co-authored legislation including the 21st Century GI Bill, the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and Hire Our Heroes legislation

Emerge PA Women on the Ballot

Emerge Pennsylvania is an organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office in order to increase the number of women in public office.   The first Emerge state group started in 2001.  Over that time, of the Emerge graduates who ran for office, 70% won.

The Emerge Pennsylvania women on the ballot in 2016 are:

•       Mary Ellen Balchunis - 7th Congressional
•       Carolyn Committa - 156th State House
•       Barbarann Keffer - 163rd State House
•       Elaine Schaefer - 165th State House
•       Diane Cornman-Levy - 168th State House
•       Movita Johnson-Harrell - 190th State House

Friday, February 19, 2016

Montco Walkability Study

from the inbox:

The Montgomery County Commissioners adopted Walk Montco, a new countywide walkability plan, at their February 18 meeting. The plan corresponds to the goals of Montco 2040: A Shared Vision, Montgomery County’s new, award-winning comprehensive plan. Montco 2040 advocates for more sidewalks and pedestrian-oriented developments to improve transportation quality and expand options. 

 Walkability continues to be a key aspect of the growth and redevelopment of downtowns, residential neighborhoods, office parks, and retail destinations in the county. Walkability is not only good for the built environment, but essential for physical health. Walkable streets help decrease local traffic volumes, increase access to available public transit, and increase opportunities for healthier lifestyles. They support mobility for everyone throughout all stages of life and create safer communities, especially for children, the elderly, and those with mobility limitations. Walkability also has positive environmental benefits in that a reduction in vehicle trips equates to fewer vehicle emissions.

The entire study is lengthy, a little over 80 pages, and is available here:   It's a thorough, well done plan, with a lot of illustrations and graphs.  Walkability is an important concept; as a relatively new diabetic I can attest to walking as one of the easiest, and certainly the cheapest, form of exercise around.  The best way to incorporate walking into a daily routine is for it to be a part of that routine - walking to work, to public transit, to the store, to school.  For that to happen there need to be safe walkways between these points.

Kudos, Montco!