Friday, May 25, 2007


I have proposed a state university for Philadelphia because state university tuition is so much lower than is tuition for Temple or Penn State, and a state university in Philadelphia would open up four year college attendance to people who are now unable to afford it without great difficulty.Penn State has at times offered college courses in Philadelphia, and, for all I know, may be doing so today. But there has been no talk of which I have been aware of having a branch campus here.One problem for any college expansion is the cost of aquiring land here; hopefully, someone can be found to donate land or sell to the state at an affordable price for a state university, and the same would be true for Penn State if it ever decided to expand here.

July 20, 2007


I held my second meeting today with two high-ranking officials of the State System of Higher Education about my idea to have a state university in Philadelphia. This is important because state university tuition is only half the tuition of Temple University, and the trend is that it will be even a lower percentage of Temple University's tuition in the future.One of the officials strongly agreed with me that a state university in Philadelphia could dramatically expand college attendance among low and moderate income students here. He promised me that he would produce a plan to create a state university in Philadelphia, and also one to bring course offerings from existing state universities to Philadelphia. I believe the need for affordable college education is so great here that both should be done. I would additionally favor making Community College of Philadelphia a four year institution, but that is a separate issue with separate bureaucratic structures.The high-ranking state official told of a recent study in Pittsburgh which found that the higher and higher rate of college attendance had left about three thousand students there without a reasonable chance of going to college there; there is some sentiment that Pittsburgh needs a state university as well.There is no question that the three state related colleges--Temple, Penn State, and the University of Pittsburgh--are "better" than the state universities in terms of selectivity of admissions, variety of course offerings, books in libraries, endowments, value of buildings, etc. But all the signs of academic excellence have the price of raising total costs, and thus making the education unaccessible to people who cannot afford the tuition or the risk of taking out loans.
Where should a new state university in Philadelphia be located, both in terms of a neighborhood and specific buildings that may be available? Ideally there would be someone willing to donate or sell at a low price land and buildings with empty space nearby that could be used.My gut sense is that the area betweeen Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University would be a good place to start looking. There is a lot of vacant space there, and a new state university there would tend to spur even more residential development than is planned at the current time. Further, the closeness to Philadelphia's two largest undergraduate institutions would enable a synergy that would make it easy to widen options for recruiting faculty members, enabling Temple graduate students to teach, and creating a greater student presence for extracurricular activities.I would welcome other ideas, either implementing my gut sense or suggesting other alternatives.What courses should it offer? The high-ranking state education official said business, education, and communication courses were the most popular. What do you think should be added?How can a campaign be developed to get the legislature to support expanded state university presence in Philadelphia? Obviously, it will require a lot of organization of both Philadelphians and others. I would welcome nominations of people and organizations to be involved.Would you be interested in helping get this off the ground? If so, respond here or send me a private message.The sad fact is that all or virtually all of the state colleges were added to state control after they failed as private institutions. In retrospect, the state should have tried to take over Philadelphia's campuses of Antioch University and Spring Garden College when they failed, but no such movement occurred.We cannot undo the past, but we can take bold strides ahead to create a better future.

May 24, 2007


College is not for everybody, but it should be for many more people in Philadelphia than it is. Philadelphia needs more people in the national job market, both to gain the ability to go elsewhere if that is in their individual best interest, and for the city as a whole to gain the ability to attract many more employers here in the interest of all residents.There are a lot of wonderful people attending college in Philadelphia who come from all over the state of Pennsylvania, and all over the East Coast, and--in small but growing numbers--all over the United States and the world. There is just one little segment of humanity that is an ever smaller percentage of the Philadelphia college population, and that is people who went to high school in Philadelphia.Community College of Philadelphia should not be the sole meaningful option available in Philadelphia for the vast majority of Philadelphia high school students. I am proud that it started from scratch in the 1960's, and has far more undergraduate students than the Philadelphia campuses of Penn, Temple, LaSalle, Holy Family, Philadelphia University and various other places combined--but it is not the total answer for Philadelphia's problems. There is absolutely no reason why Philadelphia cannot have both a state university and a community college just like Delaware County does. Philadelphia is an important part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it is paradoxically both the county with the greatest financial needs and the county with a great amount of business and financial activity.Tony Payton's plan--which I would love to support--for free tuition for many students starts out with an estimated price tag of $350 million a year state wide. Expanding Pennsylvania's state university system would cost a small fraction of that.And no, in this cynical age, I have no contributors, friends, relatives, or associates looking to unload land for a state university. Nor do I know of any union pushing for this project at this time.What I have is a very strong desire to create new opportunities for hard pressed Philadelphia families similar to the opportunities that already exist in many of the rural areas of the state. There is a similarity between the economic problems of rural Pennsylvania and the economic problems of Philadelphia, but there is one distinction: our economic problems are far more deeply rooted and far more difficult to solve.If we want a city with greater potential than now exists, we need a city with more to offer than now exists. A state university is one such addition that Philadelphia urgently needs.

June 20, 2007


We should try to minimize the opportunity costs of getting a college education. Opportunity costs deal with foregone income as a result of pursuing a college education.A way to minimize opportunity costs is to maximize opportunities for working adults to attend college during the evening. When my mother earned her undergraduate degree in economics from George Washington University, evening classes were far less common that they were when I earned my law and MBA degrees that way.But, even today, with evening education offerings--and Internet college credit offerings--more numerous than ever before, there are still gaps in opportunities in various programs. Identifying these gaps and trying to fill them will open up the doors of college and graduate school to many--if they can afford the options offered.

July 7, 2006


I certainly favor greater state subsidy of scholarships and aid to state related schools (Temple, Penn State, and University of Pittsburgh), all 14 schools affiliated the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, all Pennsylvania community colleges.Further, I believe we need to open up a state school in Philadelphia (the closest popular option is West Chester State University, which is also the hardest SSHE school to get into precisely because of its popularity), and to establish 4 year community colleges around the state, as some other states have done.Why have we not done that so far? It costs money. Pennsylvania's $26 billion budget is considerably less than New Jersey's $31 billion dollar budget, even though New Jersey is a much smaller (and less fiscally responsible) state. How can we get Pennsylvania's commitment for higher education up where it should be? Incrementally, the way we do everything else. We need concerned citizens to speak out on the extremely college costs in Pennsylvania in order to create a climate of opinion where constructive change is possible over the long run.

July 6, 2006


A couple of months ago, I attended a fascinating lecture at USP on the implications to values of privacy and individual rights of the latest pharmaceutical research, which will be increasingly developing drugs based on individual personal characteristics, including race, sex, age, etc.I was impressed that USP was aware of the tensions that can exist between scientific research and public values, and was inviting the public to be informed as well as the students of science.While Penn is a giant school with strengths across the board, there certainly is plenty of room in the East Coast education market for a school which can build on its pharmaceutical tradition and offer quality education in the sciences. Its nearness to Penn and Drexel creates a lot of opportunities for synergy in research, teaching, and student interaction.As one who has graduate degrees from two private institutions that are nowhere near being in Penn's league (Penn was my undergraduate college; I got a law degree from Widener and an MBA from Lebanon Valley College), I found that a smaller institution can give a student advantages in greater focus, and more intense interaction with a smaller group of people. A smaller institution can also take a more personal interest in its students.I look forward to continued progress by USP.

June 28, 2006

Friday, May 18, 2007


The sudden resignation of Congressman Mark Foley raises questions of who knew what, when. It appears that a number of Congressmen, including some Congressional leaders, knew about Foley's sexual advances for some time and took no action.

It is time for a strong institutional response. Members of Congress, whatever their sexual orientation, ought not to be about the seduction or exploitation of minors. The sad parade of scandals in this area over many years must stop.

Past efforts to regulate sexual behavior of members of Congress have run aground because of legitimate privacy concerns. People who do not want government in everybody's bedrooms do not want government investigating sexual behavior. It is feared that investigations of the sexual behavior of members of Congress could be the beginning of sexual investigations of a lot of other people. But when a member of Congress seeks or accomplishes a sexual relationship with a minor, that is something different. That is inherently exploitive of the minor.

Minors are not disposable people. Sexually exploiting them, or attempting to sexually exploit them, can do long term emotional and psychological damage to them. They by definition cannot be consenting adults.

Congressional ethics rules should be amended to prohibit attempts to sexually solicit minors, to ban the direct sexual solicitation of minors, and to ban sexual contact with minors.
Any member of Congress who cannot live with such a ban should find some other way to make a living. Congressional pages, young Congressional interns, high school students, all should be be protected from the misdirected attentions of members of Congress and Congressional staff.
We have heard a lot about family values. It is long past time for Congress to demonstrate that it values the safe and secure emotional development of children.

Congress must not let the weaknesses of 1% or less of its members discredit Congress as an institution. When a minor meets a member of Congress, or corresponds with a member of Congress, his or her family and friends have a right to believe that minor is dealing with a person who behaves in a responsible and appropriate way.

Both the House and Senate should amend their rules to ban sexual solicitation of minors before going home to face the voters. If they are so immobolized that they cannot take this simple step to deal with this recurring institutional shame, they will not retain the trust they need to function successfully.

September 29, 2006



A military draft will create many new problems. It will be tremendously expensive and require more borrowing, cuts in existing programs, tax increases, or some combination of two or three of them. Rangel's proposal--the only one in a long time--costs over ONE TRILLION dollars a year because it takes the absurd position that everyone has to serve whether needed or not.The armed forces with the draftees will be less effective than they are now because the troops will be less well motivated. That is why leaders of all the branches of the armed forces have long opposed the draft. Many in the military spoke out against the draft before it was allowed to expire in 1973.A lot of people who will never be drafted will be worried that they will be drafted. So will their loved ones. Some will be so worried that they will leave our country. Others will merely threaten to leave our country.A lot of people will be hiring lawyers to get them through whatever exemptions are created along with the draft. Those with more money for lawyers and appeals if necessary will be ultimately far less likely to be drafted.A lot of people will be trying to shoehorn their religious convictions into whatever religious convictions turn out to be exempt from the draft.There will be a lot of disruptive anguish, angst, and actions at high schools, colleges, and other places where draft-eligible people hang out.We need an end to the War in Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz, in selling the war, said the U.S. would be out of Iraq in 90 days if we went in and toppled Saddam Hussein. The way things are going, we will be quite lucky to avoid 90 months in Iraq, and 90 years there is not impossible.We do not need a draft. A draft says that people exist for the government. Like most people, I believe that government exists for the benefit of the people.Just about every nation in the world has either emulated the U.S. and abolished its draft or greatly reduced the draft's role in the military. Even in Israel, a small country at odds with much larger countries, there are many military and non-military voice for abolishing its draft.Some day, military drafts will be as rare as slavery is today. The closer we get to a draft-free world, the less likely it will be that American lives will be lost in war. The more that being a soldier is voluntary, the more that those who want soldiers to enlist will have to sell the soldiers and the country at large as to the merits of the battles and wars to be fought.

September 4, 2007


Restoring the draft is a bad idea, whether it is advocated seriously or as a means of protest. A better idea would be to get rid of draft registration and the machinery that makes it seem like a credible option.It is a bad idea because it creates unmotivated soldiers, and a bad idea because it is ridiculously expensive and inherently controversial to implement. It is a bad idea because it devalues human life and asserts that human lives are at the mercy of government control. Only if we are fighting a foe as evil as Hitler--killing millions of people and threatening to kill many, many millions more--could a draft be justified in my mind.Yea, implementing a draft would increase anti-war sentiment. And increasing the number of people in poverty would increase anti-poverty sentiment. And eliminating college scholarships would increase the number of people demanding lower tuitions. And reducing medical access would increase the number of people demanding uinversal health care.But I am convinced that it is a mistake to believe that we can improve things by making them worse. What making them worse usually does is reduce hope and limit the will to meaningfully fight for change. It is the demonstrated ability to win improvements that leads to more successful fights for further improvements.Eliminating the draft in 1973 was a major reform of American life--led in the Senate by 2008 Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel-- that everyone should be proud of. It asserted that the lives of citizens belong to the citizens themselves, and not to the government. It asserted that a foreign policy with military components has to have the backing of individual soldiers. It set limits on the kind of military adventurism that our national leaders could engage in.Our eliminating the draft led many other countries to do likewise. Today, virtually every country in the world that still has a draft also has a movement to end the draft. I would hope that within the next 20 or 30 years every country on earth would be free of a military draft; it would be a great step forward for humanity if that could happen.

August 16, 2007


The one bad thing about Jack Murtha's well deserved prominence as a critic of our tragic folly in Iraq is that it calls attention to his position as a supporter of restoring the military draft, and lends that position more credibility than it deserves.

Murtha's most recent statement was that Bush has so totally screwed up the war in Iraq that a draft might be needed. He was one of only two members of the House to vote for military draft restoration when House Republicans, scared that issue would cost Bush the election in 2004, forced a vote on the issue to undermine Democratic charges that the Bush Administration favored draft restoration.

I played a small role in forcing that vote when I got Philadelphia anti-draft leader Beverly Cocco--a moderate Republican with two teenage sons who works as a crossing guard and is an attractive and extraordinarily persuasive media spokesperson on this issue--in touch with people who got her national television coverage for her views. Beverly Cocco briefly became the most controversial crossing guard in America, as the Republican blogosphere, fearful of seeing her emerge in the Kerry campaign, treated her as a major Democratic spokesperson and ludicrously tried to trash her reputation. The extraordinary Republican overreaction to her appearance on national television helped fuel the House vote against draft restoration.
Restoring the military draft is strongly against the interests of the United States,and the interests of young Americans, no matter whether it is sold as means of protesting the war in Iraq or strengthening American ability to intervene at will in foreign conflicts abroad.
I am completely against military draft restoration no matter what its rationale is. I do not believe that it is a worthwhile solution for increasing male enrollment on college campuses (to avoid the draft), for increasing the number of men engaging in worthwhile alternative service programs (also to avoid the draft), or for increasing equality between men and women (if the draft is reinstated with women included.)

The endless search for liberal rationales to justify an expensive, militarily counterproductive, and extraordinarily disruptive and threatening presence in the lives of many scores of millions of people over time only serves to raise questions about the ability of the Democrats to govern effectively.

It is not true that a draft more equitably assigns the burdens of military risk across demographic categories of Americans. A lower percentage of American casusualties in Iraq are black than was the case in Vietnam, even though the black percentage of America has risen somewhat over the years.

Restoring the draft was one of the signature issues of the Democratic Leadership Council in its early days in the mid-1980's. When the Democrats regained control of the Senate after a six year hiatus in 1986, Senator Sam Nunn announced that hearings on draft restoration would be held promptly. I was one of many thousands of Americans who immediately contacted the Senate and asked to testify.

Senators in both parties were stunned at the depth of public outrage at Senator Nunn's statements. Senate Democratic leaders hastily announced that they would oppose restoring the draft, and no hearings would be held on the subject.

Senator Nunn would later somewhat re-evaluate his position as a staunch advocate of military responses on a global scale, and lead Democratic opposition to Goerge H.W. Bush's invasion of Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

Countries throughout the world have abolished military drafts. If I do not live to see the day when every country everywhere has abolished its military draft, I am sure that some younger members of the Daily Kos community will do so.

Military drafts inherently assert that people exist to serve governments instead of governments existing to serve people. They give governments the right to decide how young people will spend precious years of their lives, and give governments the right to decide what risks to life and health they must endure. They give governments a coerced army to advance foreign policy goals, and reduce the need to persuade citizens of the worth of these goals.

President Lyndon Johnson's vast and unequaled domestic achievements--he was a major leader for expansions of civil rights, economic opportunites, and health care accessibility--were swallowed up by his vigorous prosecution of the War in Vietnam and his unquestioning support of the military draft.

Johnson famously read no books about Vietnam, but only read governmental reports, which tended to be limited in scope and self-congratulatory. Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers--a critical study of the American role in Vietnam commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara--out of desperation to get indisputable realities into the discussion as to our Vietnam policies.

Without a draft guaranteeing an endless supply of soldiers, the Johnson Administration would have under far more pressure to fully evaluate the assumptions behind a deeply flawed policy. The draft encouraged official hubris, and led to tragic misjudgements. It was a rare time in American history when many, many thousands of students and college professors were far better informed on foreign policy issues than was the White House or the State Department.
The military draft would have been defeated for reauthorization in the House of Representatives in 1971 if not for the failure of a few liberal Democrats to be in Washington on the day it came up. In 1973, it was killed due to a Senate filibuster on a reauthorization bill led by Democratic Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, a strong critic of the War in Vietnam. Gravel, defeated for re-election in 1980, has re-emerged in his late 70's as an anti-Iraq war protest candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008.

Restoring the military draft appeals to the idealism of shared sacrifice, the idealism of men willingly dying for their country, the idealism of no man's ambitions being greater the national interest.

Many idealists are wonderful people. But all idealisms are not created equal. Some idealisms have harmful and deadly consequences so great that they are far more threatening than helpful to public interests.

The draft was necessary for the winning of World War II, but it is not necessary to achieve any military or valid social purpose today. It deserves burial as a serious public policy option. To paraphrase George Santayanna, we must remember the past so that we do not have to relive it.

September 14, 2006


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The state subsidies of prescription cost do not cover all prescriptions and that the cost of advertising drugs contributes to higher costs.I support both state and federal legislation to deal with these problems. Because Pennsylvania is the home of many prescription drug companies, it is especially difficult to get state legislative action. But I believe Governor Rendell's desire for great bulk state pruchasing of prescription drugs has merit as an attempt to lower drug costs for more people.

May 5, 2007



Anyone stealing money from the welfare system should be criminally prosecuted. Pennsylvania has had an elected Republican attorney general--Leroy Zimmerman, Ernie Preate, Mike Fisher, and now Tom Corbett--since 1980. Prosecutions for welfare theft by the State Attorney General's office have been few and far between, suggesting that there might not be much of a problem here.Pennsylvania's unemployment is at a thirty year low because of a combination of wise decisions--from cutting corporate taxes, to building up Pennsylvania's infrastructure, to encouraging new businesses, to reaching out especially to businesses on the cutting edge of modern technology, and to (I know conservatives will hate this) raising the state's minimum wage above the absurdly low federal level, thus drawing more people into the workforce.We all have an interest in seeing that Pennsylvania's welfare system is run as well as possible. Investigations of the welfare system are legitimate and appropriate.Nevertheless, it has been my experience that playing the welfare card is an especially intense old standby when Republicans are losing elections and fear they are losing ground. Welfare is just another example of the tiresome racial politics that has kept too many people's attention away from issues far more important to the interests of the middle class and the longterm public interests of us all.I believe that the results of the Philadelphia mayoral election will show that many thousands of Philadelphians are moving far beyond the ancient and longstanding politics of racial resentments. To whatever degree welfare probes are about exploiting political code words, there should be intense self-examination among the welfare probers.

April 30, 2007



Immigrants are moving into houses almost everywhere, because there are so many millions of them.Anyone worried about immigrants as neighbors will be worried pretty much wherever one lives.I grew up sandwiched between immigrants from Russia and Switzerland on the south of by family home, and immigrants from the Ukraine on the north of my family home. I learned a little bit about the world without leaving my block.People basically have a choice with migration of blacks and immigrants to neighborhoods: they can panic and put their home up for sale at fire sale prices, and thus help cause the problems they fear. Or they can take a deep breath, relax, and try to talk to their new neighbors. If they take the latter course--my recommended course--they will increase their chances of both increasing the the value of their neighborhood and get to know some interesting and worthwhile people.

April 29, 2007



The public policy problem with legalization is that many drugs are inherently dangerous; the legal problem is that they are illegal under federal law and the states have no power to trump federal law in this case. But making the drug trade less attractive may be a goal people in the legislature and our communities could rally around. We need would a series of ideas and programs to give the concept some weight.

Decriminalization of individual drug purchases without legalization of drugs would not make the drug trade less attractive for drug dealers. It would expand the market for illegal drugs and thus the profitablility of illegal drugs.Making the drug trade less attractive would have to move in the opposite direction of making it less profitable by finding new ways to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Improved education about them, better rehabilitation, greater use of legal substitutes and other things that could reduce demand would undermine the profitability of selling drugs.

July 21, 2007


Anyone frustrated at difficulties in cracking down on drug dealers should try to involve the drug unit of the D.A.'s office. Their presence tends to both reassure recalcitrant witnesses and to help focus an overworked and underappreciated police force on the need to crack down on a given area.Assistant D.A,'s specializing in drug prosecution also can be very good at spotting patterns, and focusing both residents and police on the specific proof needed to gain criminal convictions that stick on appeal in a given case.Another group of enforcement personnel you might want to involve is the Department of Licenses and Inspections, who might help shut down a drug house if it is supposed to be used for some legitimate commercial purpose.The Philadelphia Police Department is Philadelphia's number one law enforcement agency, but it is neither all-powerful nor all-responsible for the city's crime. Adding other agencies to your community's efforts can help the Police Department reach peak effectiveness.

April 27, 2007



Does it make sense to put a casino in Norristown along its riverfront or someplace else in Montgomery County? Does it make sense to put a casino someplace in Chester County? These are hitherto unasked questions that may be of relevance in the years ahead.State legislation has given the City of Philadelphia two stand-alone casino licenses. The mayoral administrations of Ed Rendell and John Street both lobbied for these licenses, as did the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and the Philadelphia Hotel Association. Many thousands of temporary construction jobs and long-term casino operation jobs were promised to the city as a result. So was city revenues from gambling proceeds (4% of all money bet) and wage taxes from the jobs as well as business taxes from the casinos themselves.Now the Philadelphia City Council, acting unanimously, has three times voted for legislation impeding casino development. A public opinion poll has shown a slight plurality of Philadelphians think the casinos are more trouble than they they are worth.I suspect that a referendum on the casinos would produce a majority for them, because such a referendum would produce heavy pro-casino advertising and mobilization. But, however a referendum would turn out, it is clear that many Philadelphians are worried about the negative effects--traffic congestion, extra alcohol consumption, competition with other businesses, taking of relatively limited (although now underutilized) waterfront space--that are believed to go with casinos.The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its citizens have an economic stake in casino development as a revenue raising tool to reduce property taxes and the city of Philadelphia's wage tax. Philadelphia appears to be a good location for casinos because of its population and its accessibility to the Philadelphia and New Jersey suburbs and I-95.But Philadelphia is not the only option. The casinos located in Bucks and Delaware counties have been doing business at a level far in excess of projections, and do not appear to have generated significant local controversy. Surburban households, generally on an individual basis and in the aggregate, have significantly more disposable income than do Philadelphia households.And the fact is that the racetrack at Philadelphia Park in Bucks County long outlasted the racetrack at Liberty Bell Park in Northeast Philadelphia, which is now the site of the Franklin Mills shopping center, one of Pennsylvania's premier shopping locations.The Philadelphia suburbs continue to gain in population, while the City of Philadelphia continues to lose population as household size shrinks despite the creation of new middle class and upper middle class housing.Philadelphia is the smallest geographically of all Pennsylvania counties. Space considerations in Philadelphia are of less importance in other areas of Pennsylvania.So I think suburban alternatives are worth considering. Such consideration may lead Philadelphians to re-assert their desire for casinos, just as Philadelphia's eagerness to have the Barnes Museum has led to a re-evaluation of Lower Merion's complaints about traffic congestion there and anguished local pleas that Philadelphia is stealing its artistic treasures.Or, conversely, such consideration may lead to a consensus that suburban locations are indeed better for casinos in Pennsylvania than urban locations, and that placing casinos there is in the interest of the suburbs as well as in the interest of Philadelphia itself.

April 25, 2007



If Roe v. Wade is reversed (I am too optimistic to say "when" Roe v. Wade is reversed) then the legislatures of all 50 states will have a chance to outlaw abortion. Pennsylvania is one of the states that could outlaw abortion, although I think it is unlikely that it would happen.What pro-choice groups and individuals should be doing is planning now. Who will be calling and emailing others to contact their legislators? Who will be contacting the press? Who has conscientious objection to contacting legislators? Who can persuade such people that such qualms are wrong? Who can call press conferences? What lists of voters and financial supporters are available? Who lives in each legislative district, especially districts with legislators with bad ratings from pro-choice groups?Centrists and those to the left of center, in my judgment, often become paralyzed by issues of procedure and process and stategy. There is a core doubt that the First Amendment really, truly applies to them and that contacting elected officials really means anything. Right-wing groups often get their way because their members either have a stronger sense of personal efficacy or are more easily pressured to act.NOW is the time to work out all these issues. If Roe v. Wade is reversed, we can sure that within weeks--possibly within days or even within hours--bills will be introduced in legislatures around the country abolishing the right to have an abortion and, in some cases, even criminalizing abortions. Those who are pro-choice are not then going to have a heck of a lot of time to engage in detailed strategizing and hand holding supporters who are fearful that contacting elected officials is somehow non-productive, counterproductive, undignified, morally compromising, or a matter of such complexity that only hired lobbyists and Phds in Political Science can do it.The simple, honest truth is that people who participate in attempting to influence elected officials and elections in general have a lot of power to do good or not to do good. Hopefully, over time this group of self-selected influentials will be more representative of the general public than it is today. Right now, the group of people willing to contact legislators on public policy issues has a strongly right of center cast--even in many overwhelmingly Democratic districts. That has to change somewhat if choice is to be preserved around the country and in Pennsylvania.

March 18, 2007