A Reply to Dom Giordano About Mumia Abu-Jamal

I don’t blame Dom Giordano for wanting convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to shut the hell up. But even after reading Giordano’s case for anti-Mumia legislation in today’s Daily News, I’m still worried about what the bill would mean for the First Amendment.

Giordano, bless him, quotes me in making his argument for a bill that would give victims the right to sue offenders for “perpetuating” their anguish long after the crime and conviction are over.

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2 Pennsylvania Lawmakers Involved in Shootout Near Capitol

Pennsylvania State Rep. Marty Flynn was involved in a shootout with robbers near the Capitol in Harrisburg. Flynn exchanged gunfire with several men who allegedly attempted to rob him and Rep. Ryan Bizzarro at 11 p.m. on Wednesday night, a House Democratic spokesperson told the Inquirer.

Flynn and Bizzarro, both Democrats, were returning from a fundraiser and walking back to a house they stay in when in session. Three men were arrested in the incident. The lawmakers were not injured.

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Gun Debate About to Flare Up in Pennsylvania Senate

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The gun debate seems likely to get heated today in the Pennsylvania Senate.

We told you last week about House Bill 1243, which would give the NRA standing to sue local cities and municipalities for having gun laws more restrictive than allowed by the state. When Democrats promised to weigh that bill down with a number of amendments, Republicans withdrew it last week from consideration from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Instead, they’ve taken it directly to the Senate floor. Democrats who oppose the bill say Republicans plan to amend it today to House Bill 1746 — a bill otherwise designed to offer new protections to the state’s domestic violence victims — then “call the question” immediately, so that no debate on that amendment, or additional amendments, will be allowed: Only a quick up-or-down vote that Republicans seem likely to win on straight party representation.

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Hughes: Let Governor Abolish SRC

State Sen. Vincent Hughes is pushing a bill in Harrisburg that would give the governor the power to dissolve the School Reform Commission. Under current law, the SRC has the power to dissolve itself — but nobody else has that power over the SRC.
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Can Tom Wolf Govern Pennsylvania?

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Polls suggest that Tom Wolf will almost certainly be the next governor of Pennsylvania. But will a Governor Wolf actually be able to govern?

It’s not a silly question. If he takes office, Wolf will likely contend with a Republican-led legislature in both houses. (There’s some hope among Democrats that they can flip the Senate, but that still seems a long shot.) One need look no further than Washington D.C. to know that the combination of a Democratic executive and a GOP legislature can produce an excess of gridlock. Voters will presumably want Wolf to enact an agenda, but how far can he get with it?

“Wolf,” said Terry Madonna, professor of public affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, “is going to have his hands full.”

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Mumia Makes Us Crazy

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Let’s concede a few things about Mumia Abu-Jamal right off the top: He’s a bad man. A convicted, apparently unrepentant cop killer. A poseur surrounded by a cult of feeble-minded radical chic. He’s not a man who reasonably deserves to be, say, the commencement speaker at your local college.

But so often, the people who hate him most make everything much worse.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General, Chief Justice Reach Porn Deal

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Pennsylvania’s porn email scandal drags on. On Wednesday, the office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille reached a deal over porn emails. She will turn over the names of judges or judicial employees who had exchanged sexually explicit emails on state accounts.

She won’t, however, give the messages to Castille. She’ll allow him to view the emails and pornographic content, but will only give him copies of the emails “without explicit content,” per the Inquirer. It’s unclear why Kane won’t share the porn with Castille. Does she think he’ll, in turn, start forwarding around these messages again?

To be fair, a judge is involved in this scandal: Judge Seamus McCaffery (of Eagles Court fame) reportedly sent at least 10 messages from a personal email account to the state account of someone in the Attorney General’s office. (“I just wonder why a half dozen private emails, allegedly from Justice McCaffery’s personal computer, are front page news,” a spokesman for the judge said in a statement.)

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Wolf, Corbett Spar in Final Debate

Democratic party candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, left, and republican Gov. Tom Corbett before a debate at the WTAE-TV studio in Wilkinsburg, Pa. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rodney Johnson,WTAE-TV, Pool)

Democratic party candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, left, and republican Gov. Tom Corbett before a debate at the WTAE-TV studio in Wilkinsburg, Pa. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rodney Johnson,WTAE-TV, Pool)

The third and final gubernatorial debate between Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf was held Wednesday at WTAE-TV studios in Pittsburgh. Here’s what the media is saying about the final exchange:

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The Harrisburg Porn Email Scandal, Translated by a Woman

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As a human with a computer, I expect people to mess around on the clock a bit. Amazon, Buzzfeed, Facebook, The Daily Puppy (just me? fair enough): I don’t care if my taxes are paying your salary – desk captives all deserve a little Internet candy.

Noticeably not on that list? Sending misogynistic, pornographic emails to your Harrisburg broworkers.

As an optimist with a naive streak and that pesky liberal tendency to enjoy learning, I’ll listen to arguments against equal pay — there are one or two I almost buy. And I like to think that there are at least some reasonable, benign explanations for the lack of women in leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. The idea of a glass ceiling enforced by the men I’ve studied and worked with — many of whom have hired, promoted and supported me — isn’t, on most days, a satisfying answer.

And yet, the degrading emails sent and/or received by top state officials — including the former head of the Attorney General’s criminal law division, the State Police Commissioner and two members of Governor Corbett’s cabinet — makes me think otherwise.

These weren’t simply inappropriate for the workplace. “Inappropriate” is drinking too much at the Christmas party, pushing gift wrap for your kid’s fundraiser, microwaving salmon at 11:30 a.m. – annoying, sometimes worth a reprimand, but not threatening or humiliating.

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