Monthly Archives: August 2012

Happy New Year! Save $1 million a day!

from Democracy Rising PA, 8/30/12

On September 1, it will be 122 days until New Year’s Day. At last report, the General Assembly continues to sit on a surplus of $122 million, and they gave none of it back to taxpayers for this year’s budget. Last year, they gave back $62 million of their $184 million surplus.

Whether you observe Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, the winter solstice, or any other mid-winter celebration, putting $122 million back in the state Treasury would be a good holiday present for taxpayers.

That’s a million dollars a day without having to cut anything.

Lawmakers often say that if they give the money back it will go to Philadelphia or some other purpose supposed to frighten or anger taxpayers. That’s a lie. Unlike its repository in the various House and Senate accounts, money in the Treasury can’t be spent unless the General Assembly appropriates it and the governor approves it. Once in the Treasury, the legislature and governor have to pass a law for it to go anywhere….

continue reading at Democracy Rising PA

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Filed under PA govt & politics

Jobs deficit grows, median income shrinks in Pa.

By Emma Jacobs, Newsworks, WHYY, August 29, 2012

The liberal group Keystone Research Center paints a discouraging picture of Pennsylvania in its latest jobs reports.

The findings, released Wednesday, show lagging employment numbers and declining median household income.

Center economist Mark Price says Pennsylvania’s job numbers are not recovering fast enough to absorb people laid off during the recession and young people entering the job market for the first time.

“One of the more grim facts from the past year is that the jobs deficit has actually increased in the last 12 months by roughly 74,000 jobs. So, essentially, the Pennsylvania labor market is not performing very well,” Price said, “It’s losing ground.”

Price says a weak labor market has held down wages — except among those with the highest income, according to the latest data available from 2010. Price says that the top 1 percent of earners captured three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s income growth.

The report, which now goes out to state legislators, recommends increasing government spending to stimulate job growth and a hike in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax

Bayard Rustin, Mr. March on Washington at 100

by Michael G. Long, Huffington Post, 8/13/12

This year marks the centennial of the birth of Bayard Rustin, one of the most significant yet ignored figures in U.S. history. Rustin was the brilliant strategist of the pinnacle event in U.S. protest politics: the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He was also an openly gay Quaker often cast into history’s shadows by his colleagues in the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.

The story of King and Rustin is particularly shocking.

In 1960, Rustin had arranged for King and the great labor leader A. Phillip Randolph to announce that they would lead nonviolent demonstrations at the national conventions of both parties.

But for reasons still not clear, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., of Harlem, wanted to squash the march on the Democrats. So he enlisted an intermediary to phone King with a threat: Unless the civil rights leader called off the march, Powell would tell the media that King and Rustin were having a gay affair.

They were not; the threat was hollow.

But King was not a profile in courage when confronting potential media coverage of Rustin’s gay sexuality, and because of deep fears of being tainted, he cut Bayard out of his inner circle of advisors. …

Continue reading at Huffington Post

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Filed under Gay & lesbian issues, Rights, Justice, Law

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Republican National Convention Blessing Prompts Debate

by David Gibson, Religion News Service, Huffington Post, 8/26/12

The news that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the nation’s most prominent Catholic prelate, will deliver the closing blessing to the Republican National Convention in Florida next week was seen as a huge coup for Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee. But the move has also prompted a sharp debate within the church over the increasingly close ties between leading bishops and the GOP.

“The cozy relationship between a sizable portion of U.S. bishops and the Republican Party should be cause for concern, and not just among progressive Catholics,” Michael O’Loughlin wrote in a post on the website of America magazine, a leading Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits.

“Cardinal Dolan’s appearance in Tampa will damage the church’s ability to be a moral and legitimate voice for voiceless, as those who view the Catholic Church as being a shill for the GOP have just a bit more evidence to prove their case,” O’Loughlin concluded.

Similarly, David Cruz-Uribe, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a professor of mathematics at Trinity College, wrote on the Vox Nova blog that Dolan’s decision “will only drag the Church further into a partisan divide and fuel the perception (true or not) that the Catholic Church wants to replace the Episcopalians as the Republican party on its knees.”

Conservative Catholics have, not surprisingly, welcomed Dolan’s appearance and hope it augurs well for Romney.

“I now predict that if Mitt Romney wins the White House in 2012 there will be a very healthy relationship between a Romney administration and the U.S. Bishops, led by a close working relationship between Cardinal Dolan and President Romney,” said Thomas Peters, who writes for, which has endorsed Romney and his Catholic running mate, Paul Ryan….

Romney’s selection of Ryan as his running mate has brought an outpouring of praise from several bishops. Some of them like Ryan’s proposals on cutting entitlements and taxes, despite the conflict that other bishops see between those policies and Catholic teaching.

Others, like Dolan, who was archbishop of Milwaukee before coming to New York in 2009, have close personal ties to Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman. Dolan has often taken a softer line on Ryan’s policies than other Catholic leaders, and his praise has grown as Ryan’s visibility has increased.

Dolan recently told a radio program that he is “happy” Ryan is on the GOP ticket and called him a “great public servant.”

“We go way back, Congressman Paul Ryan and I,” Dolan said. …

continue reading at Huffington Post

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