Sunday, April 22, 2012

Correction and Update on Attorney General’s race

I was contacted today by Patrick Murphy’s political and communications director with online information that the Westboro Baptist Church had picketed Catherine Baker Knoll’s funeral.

I apologize to Patrick. I tried to confirm his account before I wrote my blog, but had not succeeded.

I’m delighted to make the correction – I was, as I said, shocked at what Patrick had said. I am pleased that he didn’t misspeak about the picketing.

However, Patrick was wrong in his remarks at the Allegheny County Democratic Dinner when he said Catherine was pro-choice. She was not, and I know she would want that record corrected. She was a strong woman who had to take on the male establishment every time she ran, and she did it on her own terms. It is only right that we remember her as she was.

I still firmly believe that Kathleen Kane is a far better choice for Attorney General and deserves better treatment than she has received by the men of the party. Similarly, the attacks on Rep. Babette Josephs and Cong. Allyson Young Schwartz are beyond the pale.

There is not one woman on the endorsed slate in Allegheny County, and if Kathleen does not win the Primary, we will have an entirely male slate statewide. Yet our hopes of winning in November depend largely on women’s votes. We cannot always hope that the Republicans declare war on women to drive women voters into the Democratic column. We actually have to provide a home for women, and that means on all levels, in leadership, and on the ballot.

Once again, I apologize to Patrick. However, Kathleen Kane will make a far better Attorney General.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why Kathleen Kane is the only choice for PA Attorney General

I am very concerned that -- in a year when we have an opportunity to bring women into the Democratic Party in huge numbers -- we might, once again, have an all male statewide ticket. That's one of many reasons I'm supporting Kathleen Kane. I am also concerned that two of our strongest incumbent women, leaders on all Democratic issues and outstanding supporters of women's rights -- Allyson Young Schwartz (PA's only female member of Congress) and State Representative Babette Josephs -- are under attack by male candidates. This is highly unlikely to happen to male incumbents with their stature, and level of activity in defense of all of us.

But it's more than my preference for women candidates, and the need to attract women voters, vitally important as that is. I've met with both Kathleen and Patrick Murphy, and I believe Kathleen has superior experience, and is much more likely to win the general -- a race we have never won, and for which we have consistently nominated  white men from the eastern part of the state. That pattern clearly is not working.  And despite what you might have heard, Kathleen and Patrick have identical positions on the social issues I care about. She is also able to self-finance, which is a huge plus in the general.

It is also apparent to me that part of the background of this race is Obama vs. Hillary redux. Kathleen was a strong Hillary supporter and Patrick for Obama. And it was clear by the way that every male elected official lined up behind Patrick, that the national party had given marching orders to support Patrick. But even with all that arrayed against her, Patrick was still unable to win the state party endorsement. And although Hillary is legally prevented from being involved in politics, Bill Clinton has been stumping hard for her.

I actually went into this very open to supporting Patrick Murphy, because I respected his courage as a member of Congress, especially challenging don't ask don't tell, and had met and spoken with him several times. (Kathleen has also reached out to me early.) But his conduct and that of his campaign have left a very sour taste - they have been much more involved in character assassination than in discussing Patrick's credentials for this office.  In addition, his total lack of knowledge about what the Attorney General can and cannot do, and his insistence on making promises that cannot be kept -- running more for Congress than AG -- have shocked me. (See, for instance, the video of both candidates at the debate sponsored earlier this year by the ShadysideDems, the 14th Ward Democractic Committee, and the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club.)

But Thursday night, Patrick's presentation at the Allegheny County Democratic Committee dinner -- which was in tribute to women -- was beyond the pale. First off, none of the three things he promised he would do as AG were actually things that an AG can do. Then, his discussion of Catherine Baker Knoll's funeral -- as a way to show how courageous and pro-woman he is -- was shameful.

He stated Catherine was pro-choice. That wasn't true.He said there were picketers at her funeral because she was pro-choice. That wasn't true. And he said he confronted the picketers. I don't know how that can be true.
I've checked with many people who were at Catherine's funeral. Not one remembers any picketers. And it was fully public knowledge that Catherine was strongly anti-abortion -- always was.

I don't know why Patrick would say these things in a room full of people who knew it was untrue. Did he deliberately lie to make himself look good?  Or has he deluded himself into not remembering the past properly? Or does he think he is so charming and entitled that no one would call him on his misstatements?

But whatever the reason, it was truly shocking. And it has moved me from simply supporting Kathleen and urging others to support her, to urging anyone I know to please campaign for her, and tell your friends to vote for her.

Anyone who would campaign in the reckless manner that Patrick Murphy has is not someone who should be the Commonwealth's chief law enforcement officer.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Congressional, religious leaders oppose pill

(April 1, 2014 – Washington) - The Speaker of the House, Majority Leader of the Senate and several other political leaders joined religious leaders today in condemning the ongoing development and marketing of Viagra, a medication for impotent men.

“This is an absolute outrage,” said House Speaker Jane Boehner at a hastily-called press conference on Capitol Hill. “This so-called medical advance goes against the very fabric of family values. I intend to convene a special committee to investigate how this came about -- and if any federal funds were involved, you can be sure that prosecution will follow!”

“Erections have caused problems since God made the world,” said Senate Minority Leader Midge McConnell. “Impotence is God’s way of protecting us, and we have no right to interfere. If God had wanted men’s erections to be necessary, she would not have provided us with non-vaginal orgasms.”

Representative Christine Smith, self-appointed leader of the pro-limp caucus, vowed to seek legislation to stop the use of the drug. “Even though the extremists of the FDA insist on licensing this drug, there are still things we can do,” Smith explained. “Our first item will be to insist on spousal consent. No man has the right to erections without the written consent of his wife -- after all, she’s the one who will have to deal with it."

Senator Rhonda Blunt also vowed to pass legislation against Viagra. “Those desperate men who think they need this poison must be protected,” she vowed. “If they won’t take advantage of all the loving and gentle pro-limp counseling centers, we must insist that they are fully informed of their risks. I will be introducing legislation mandating informed consent, and a 24-hour waiting period before the prescription is filled. We will also require prostatic sonograms and rectal probes. We must make sure that these men know all the risks:  unfulfilled fantasies, ejaculatory failure, deflated ego and loss of their manhood -- before they take this poison. And they have a right to meet the pill pusher at least 24 hours before having this noxious potion thrust upon them.”

“Erections are NOT health care,” thundered former Senator Regina Santorum, who is actively courting pro-limpers as part of her year 2012 presidential campaign. “As God is my witness, not one dollar of federal money -- not one dollar of Medicaid and Medicare money – not one dollar of insurance money, will go to pay for this poison when I’m president. Innocent taxpayers must not be forced to pay for this toxin.”

The members of Congress were joined by Bonnie Kuhar, President of Pharmacists for Limp. She began by holding up a quote from Pope Beatrice:  “Erections are the ultimate evil in society. They are a cancer that invades our families, and cause untold havoc. All women of good will have an obligation to stop erections -- to save the family of women.” She also announced that her organization had received $1.5 Million from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to persuade all pharmacists “not to participate in this medical travesty.”

Other pro-limpers around the nation vowed even stronger action. Randi Terry vowed to shut down any drug store providing Viagra. “We will close them down,” she vowed. “We will picket, blockade and invade. We will hound the pill pushers at their work, their homes, their country clubs, and their churches. We will do whatever is necessary to stop this virus of erections from spreading!”

Responding to the attacks on Viagra, Senator Bernard Boxer vowed to protect every man’s right to erections. “The Supreme Court has spoken. Erections are a basic human right. No matter what the women in power – the majority of our elected officials – try to do, men will have erections. We cannot outlaw erections, but we can make them medically safe and supervised. We will NOT return to the bad old days when impotent men were condemned to dealing with their problems alone:  over a magazine, in the dark and afraid.”