3 Reasons We Need to End the Pennsylvania Death Penalty



First of all, much praise to the Inquirer and City Paper. They’re among the publications joining the ACLU to sue the state to get information on the supplier of Pennsylvania’s lethal injection drugs. Journalism is all about getting information to the public, and sometimes a little extra pressure is needed: It’s good to see that both papers can still find ways to bring that pressure.

It would be better for everybody, though, if the suit weren’t needed.

It would be better for everybody if Pennsylvania didn’t have a death penalty at all.

Let’s skip the moral objections for now, because everybody has a moral stance on the issue — either for or against — and at this point, passionate moral arguments probably aren’t going to move the needle. So let’s talk about good governance. Because the death penalty — in Pennsylvania — and elsewhere, is lousy governance:

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Magazine Says Pa. Governor Race Is “Likely Democratic”


Less than two months to the election, and Tom Wolf’s defeat of Tom Corbett is increasingly looking like a sure thing.

PoliticsPA points to Governing magazine, which every year offers election forecasts. The magazine has changed its forecast of the Pennsylvania governor’s race from “leaning Democratic” to “likely Democratic,” and seems likely to be the only Republican-held governorship to change hands this year.
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Philadelphia Election 2015: Who Wants to Be Mayor?

Illustration by James Boyle

Illustration by James Boyle

Used to be that the mayoralty of Philadelphia was a job worth taking a risk for, a gig deserving of a little personal sacrifice. Frank Rizzo wanted a third term so badly that it just might have killed him. John Street, probably the most powerful Council president in the city’s modern history, surrendered that clout to run for mayor. And Michael Nutter was the longest of long shots when he gave up a steady paycheck and his Council seat in July 2006, nearly a year before the primary.

Now, though, what you mostly hear from the field of potential 2015 candidates — a shifting array of names including city controller Alan Butkovitz, City Councilman Jim Kenney, city managing director Rich Negrin, State Senator Anthony Williams, former D.A. Lynne Abraham, attorney Kenneth Trujillo, former Nutter press secretary Doug Oliver, Frank Rizzo Jr. and three-time mayoral candidate Sam Katz — are all the reasons not to run, at least not yet. Some are waiting for Council president Darrell Clarke to decide if he’s in or out. Half the city’s political class is convinced Clarke is the best man for the job right now. Clarke himself seems considerably less certain.
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Law Firm Asks Court to Forgive Bob Brady’s $450,000 Debt

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

It seems a bit late to make a donation to Congressman Bob Brady‘s failed 2007 mayoral campaign — but not, perhaps, if you’re a well-heeled law firm.

The Legal Intelligencer reports today that the firm Cozen O’Connor is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to let it forgive $450,000 owed by Brady from when the firm defended him from Tom Knox‘s challenge to his spot on the Democratic ballot that year. Stephen Cozen argued on behalf of his firm. (Earlier reports put the tab at $500,000.)
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Men Are (Still) Pigs


Oh, that’s right: Men are pigs.

Forgive a little bit of gender-based self-loathing. (And please, denizens of the Men’s Rights Twittersphere, please spare me your inevitable cries of “misandry!” Your whining undermines your claims to machismo.) But the news has been replete with examples lately of why feminism exists — and is needed — and why we men still need a few lessons in how to treat all people with a little more respect.

Just to pluck two examples from our local headlines:

• Monday, of course, brought us the TMZ video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancée unconscious last winter at the Revel Casino.

• And last week we heard about the good ol’ boys in then-Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office trading dirty emails and creating enough of a frat house atmosphere that the office had to pay out a $15,000 settlement to a female agent who felt discriminated against because she wouldn’t play along. Corbett has said he found out about the emails only after he became governor.

But jeepers, what is this, 1960?

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Jersey Lawmakers Call for Review of Ray Rice Case

New Jersey lawmakers are calling for a review of a prosecutor’s actions — and possibly changes to state law — to discover why suspended NFL player Ray Rice was shown leniency despite video showing the viciousness of his attack on his then-fiancée. The video was released to the public this week by TMZ.

Rice entered a “pre-trial intervention” program after the incident, allowing him to avoid charges and eventually to expunge his record of the arrest. The process must have the approval of a judge, and Atlantic County prosecutors say Rice was treated no differently from other first-time offenders.

The Courier-Post reports that Senate President Stephen Sweeney “asked Acting Attorney General John Hoffman ‘to look at the law itself to see if it should be re-written or revised. This should include a review of who qualifies for PTI and when it is allowed.’”

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