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Do they know it’s Christmas

I was at this show on the Philadelphia side – I even got to attend the Paul McCartney press conference. Live Aid:

The Gingrich who stole Christmas

Deck the halls

From the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, another great holiday video:


Threatening another government shutdown in three days.

I sometimes kid the Onion for taking a lame approach to political satire — for trying to sink battleships with a BB gun. However, its social satire is often right on the money. More here.

Wendell Potter

“If it wasn’t for Joe Lieberman, we probably would have had a public option.”

Governor Tom Corbett’s Classy Staff

Phone call this morning…

Me: Hi, I’m calling ask the governor veto SB 732. Kermit Gosnell’s crimes didn’t occur because of safety standards, but because the state wasn’t doing its job to begin with. Rape and domestic violence victims will be harmed.

Corbett staff member: I’ll let the governor know of your support for the abortion industry. CLICK.

I called back immediately, furious. The people who answer the phones in a politician’s office are interns: they are not empowered to speak for the politician. This is the same in every office, in every state whether it’s arch-conservative Tom Corbett or far-left Dennis Kucinich. Their job is to answer the phone, take comments, and pass the comments along. That’s it.

But there was no answer, so I called back a third time, a different voice answered the phone.

After explaining angrily what had just happened, I said “I want to know the name of the young man who just hung up on me.”

“We don’t have that info, sir,” the kid on the other end said.
“Then transfer me to the chief of staff.” There was a brief silence as I was put on hold, and then the kid came back saying “he’s in a meeting.”

“Voicemail, please.”

“Umm… he doesn’t have voicemail.” That was bullshit obviously, so I left my name and number, with a request for a call back.

So i called back a few more times over the course of the day. I want this little snot reprimanded or fired, because he can’t be trusted to do his job. With an attitude like that -uncalled for dismissive back talk to a constituent- I cannot assume that he passed my comment along to the Governor. He demonstrated his political bias, and in doing so left me feeling disenfranchised.

Corbett’s Director of Correspondence is Mike Downing. I’m waiting for him to call me back.

Debtors prison

Remember when that was all just a distant memory?

NPR just ran a story called “Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars.” As they report, ”Here’s how it happens: A company will often sell off its debt to a collection agency, generally called a creditor. That creditor files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. A notice to appear in court is supposed to be given to the debtor. If they fail to show up, a warrant is issued for their arrest.” Marie Diamond has more.

This is increasingly common across the country. My colleagues Matt Stoller and Bryce Covert have both written about debtors being jailed for failure to appear in court. Debtors’ prisons are illegal, and some point out that this is really jail for a summons problem, not a payment. But I haven’t had a full vision of the practice until I read this excellent working paper by Lea Shepherd of Loyola Chicago law school, “Creditors Contempt” (h/t creditslips). Beyond laying out the problems with the current system, which gives a disproportionate amount of the coercive powers of the state to creditors, this paper also has implications for another topic I’m interested in — the class bias of the submerged state.
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Hallelujah corporations

PA redistricting maps

Looks like they re-drew the 7th district house by house to protect Rep. Pat Meehan — that is, house by white house. Doesn’t look like there’s one black vote to pester him in his new district! I’m sure he’s much more comfortable that way.

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