What’s Ed Rendell Up To?

Just a few minutes ago, Ed Rendell tweeted — or, more precisely, re-tweeted — this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.17.47 PM

That links to our piece last week about how Rendell leads incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey in a hypothetical 2016 election matchup for Toomey’s seat.

So. What’s Rendell up to? Sending a signal? Or having a little fun at Toomey’s expense? The kids call it “trolling,” Ed. And you’re still the Pennsylvania politician who does it best.

Study: In Pennsylvania, Very Rich Getting Richer, Everybody Else Getting Poorer

In Pennsylvania, it really is true that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Actually, strike that: The very rich are getting richer — and everybody else is is getting poorer.

A new study shows that the average income of the state’s families grew between 2009 and 2013, but only because the top 1 percent earned so much more than the other 99 percent of Pennsylvania residents: Everybody else — the bottom 99 percent of Pennsylvania families — saw their collective income decline by 1.1 percent.

The widening income gap was found across the country, but was particularly pronounced in Pennsylvania.

“The pattern is the same across all the states, which is the income is increasingly flowing up,” said Mark Price, an analyst with Pennsylvania’s Keystone Research Center. “It’s worse some places than others.”

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Did Comcast Ghostwrite Politicians’ Letters of Support?

A report at The Verge’s website today suggests Comcast has been ghostwriting letters of support that politicians have filed to back the company’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

On August 21st, 2014, Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, Georgia, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission expressing emphatic support for Comcast’s controversial effort to merge with Time Warner Cable. Not only did the mayor’s letter express personal excitement for the gargantuan deal — which critics say will create a monopoly that will harm millions of consumers — but it also claimed that the entire town of Roswell adored Comcast. “When Comcast makes a promise to act, it is comforting to know that they will always follow through,” Wood’s letter explained. “This is the type of attitude that makes Roswell proud to be involved with such a company,” the letter asserts, “our residents are happy with the services it has provided and continues to provide each day.”

Yet Wood’s letter made one key omission: Neither Wood nor anyone representing Roswell’s residents wrote his letter to the FCC. Instead, a vice president of external affairs at Comcast authored the missive word for word in Mayor Wood’s voice. According to email correspondence obtained through a public records request, the Republican mayor’s office apparently added one sign-off sentence and his signature to the corporate PR document, then sent it to federal regulators on the official letterhead of Roswell, Georgia.

The report goes on to cite a number of instances where officials — including then-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett — submitted letters of support for the merger, letters that barely differed in wording from information provided by Comcast.
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Tom Wolf Does Weather Channel Interview From His Jeep

It's a Jeep thing. You wouldn't understand. | Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It’s a Jeep thing. You wouldn’t understand. Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Gov. Wolf was on the Weather Channel Monday morning talking about the Big Snow coming to the East Coast.

He did the interview with AMHQ‘s Sam Champion by phone from — where else? — his Jeep. This thing is really not going away, huh?

“I’m driving on Route 83 right now in my Jeep,” said Wolf while discussing the effectiveness of PennDOT’s preparations. “I think it’s important that everybody feel comfortable that we’re doing everything possible to make sure that we’re prepared.”

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Kane Grand Jury: Scale Back Reporters’ Shield Law Because Our Job Was Hard

A new grand jury report is calling for weakening the Pennsylvania “Shield Law” that protects journalists from being forced to reveal their confidential sources. Why, you wonder? Surely there must be a good reason for undermining the freedom of the press, right?

Nahhhh.

The report was provided to the news media by a special prosecutor investigating allegations that Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaked material from a different grand jury to the Philadelphia Daily News. Earlier this month, the special prosecutor subpoenaed two journalists at the Philadelphia Inquirer to try to uncover their sources for a report that a grand jury had recommended charges against Kane. The Inky fought back by invoking Pennsylvania’s awesome Shield Law, one of the strongest in our country.

And now the grand jury wants to blow a hole through that law, by adding a “criminal-fraud” exception for grand jury proceedings. Translation: If someone allegedly violates grand-jury secrecy rules while providing information a reporter, that reporter could be compelled to reveal their source.

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