Monday, January 30, 2006

Three bits from the weekend

  • The Sunday Inquirer had a front-page look at recently elected Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Palumbo (who much to our frustration got one of the highest vote-counts last fall, due mainly to his ownership of a popular restaurant, despite being declared unqualified by the bar (prev. here)), and specifically at his dubious involvement with a strip club that resides in one of his buildings. Palumbo has always claimed that he was merely a landlord for the establishment, but a closer look reveals that he has substantial personal and financial entanglements with the club's owner, and might even come into possession of it subsequent to a legal dispute. Pennsylvania judges are forbidden from having either direct or indirect financial involvement with any bar, so this could be a nontrivial mess for him.

  • Sunday's Inquirer also had a prominent piece looking at Lynn Swann's prospects for the gubernatorial race from the perspective of other athletes who've entered politics. I was surprised how many were familiar names, from Bill Bradley to Jack Kemp. The piece discusses the tricky mix of high name-recognition with an easy suspicion that the candidate has nothing of substance to offer in the political realm, putting the burden on him to prove otherwise.

  • On Saturday I went to the forum sponsored by Neighborhood Networks for the three Democratic candidates for Senate. Bob Casey decided not to come, but Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals were there, and the discussion was very engaging. This was my first real chance to hear either of them discuss policy and their campaigns, and neither seemed like the misguided dreamer that the press would have you believe; both were thoughtful and well-spoken, both had a good sense of what they could hope to do with the job they were running for, both were serious about developing a statewide machine to help propel them to primary victory and provide a basis for the general election. And both felt that there were needs at city, state, national, and global levels that were being ignored by the current government and were being given short schrift by the Democratic leadership in their focus on the self-fulfilling nonsense of "electability." I guess that Sandals impressed me more, but Pennacchio had a better effect at inspiring the crowd, so he might be better placed to do the uphill work of giving a crown prince a run for his money....

    Lots of the small-group discussion that followed focused on the question of whether NN should endorse any candidate for the primary, a question that is not yet settled. However, the people (some 150) in attendance were clearly heartened to find that they had much better options than they had feared, and that there might be a worthy opportunity here, at the very least, for sending a message to the party leadership that its voters don't like being told whom to choose.

    Update: Don't miss Albert's photo-essay on the event, which captures the feel pretty well. Thanks to him, as ever, for giving us all a fabulous look into the events we can't attend in person.


Post a Comment

<< Home