Another Term for Alan Butkovitz

In all excitement about the DA’s race, a lot of Philadelphians have not paid much attention to the Controller’s race, also on the ballot. My choice in that race, as it was four years ago, is Alan Butkovtiz. Four years ago I wrote this in support of him against an opponent who had a strong record as an independent thinker on budget matters: “If you actually read the reports of our Controllers, as I have for many years, you will see that under Alan Butkovitz, the office of the Controller has done some exemplary work. His report on emergency medical response and the follow up reports are fabulous (and address an issue I care a great deal about and campaigned on in 2007.) He’s revelations of corruption in the Sherriff’s office has led to criminal investigations and civil action to recover millions of dollars. He’s issued many other reports pointing to wasteful spending and sources … Continue reading

About That Letter About Larry

  There is a letter from 12 “former Assistant DAs” calling on voters not to vote for Larry Krasner on the grounds that he has never been a prosecutor, that he has been misleading in criticizing the culture of the District Attorney’s office, and that our safety will be at risk. Not only do I not find the letter plausible, for a number of reasons, large and small, the more I read it and learn about those who signed it the more appalled by it I get. To start with the big reasons. First, we don’t need to take Larry Krasner’s word for the problems in the DA’s office. There is plenty of independent evidence. We know that mass incarceration, especially of black men, is a serious problem across America and the rate of incarceration in Philadelphia is among the highest in the country. We know that the Philadelphia DA’s … Continue reading

Larry Krasner for DA

I generally don’t get involved in electoral politics now. But I’m going to make one exception this year and tell you that I plan to vote for Larry Krasner for DA. And the reason I’m making the exception is that I’m not just a little with him. I feel the same way about him that I did about Helen Gym two years ago and a really special candidate for city council at large in 2007. He is the only candidate I see who can look at the DA’s office with fresh eyes and stop and think about how it can contribute to the well being of the city as opposed to tinkering around the edges of an on-going operation. He’s the only candidate who understands the rot in the PPD and who is willing to do the hard work (and absorb the punishment he will receive for doing it) in … Continue reading

For Hillary Clinton Without Tears

I’m going to try, one last time, to talk without rancor to those of you are thinking of voting for Stein or not voting at all instead of voting for Hillary Clinton. And let me start by saying that every activist I know who has played a role in actually changing public policy in a progressive direction is voting for Hillary. And that includes all of us who voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary. I know an awful lot of them. I know people have fought for civil rights laws; opposed the Vietnam War; made the Clean and Water Act possible; secured increases in the minimum wage; reformed health care; raised taxes on the rich; expanded funding for education at all levels: pre-k, K-12, higher education; enacted the tax soda; brought supermarkets into food deserts; expanded housing opportunity. We are all, without exception, voting for Hillary Clinton. Some of … Continue reading

White Male Rage and Trump’s Appeal

The appeal of Trump is no surprise to anyone who interacts with rightwingers on Facebook. Every day I see the casual racism and sexism, the hatred of immigrants and foreigners, the endless repetition of right wing talking points that have no relationship to fact, the lack of any genuine concern for anyone who has struggled in life, the contempt for people who do have that concern, the dismissal of every government effort to make life better for those who struggle or, for that matter, for shared prosperity as a whole. Not to mention signs of Obama Derangement Syndrome and incipient cases of Hillary Derangement Syndrome. Most of this comes from rude and crude young men, who delight in unfunny insults, many of which have more than a tinge of sexual aggression. It’s not hard to see the male rage at the diminished status of young white men, and sexual frustration, … Continue reading

The Sanders Crusade

The Bernie Sanders campaign, which I’ve critically supported, has now over-reached in a way that makes apparent what was wrong with it all along. And it has reached a moment of truth that will determine whether it will be a long-lasting force that changes our politics for the better or a momentary explosion of energy that leaves behind far less than it should—or even damages our country. Continue reading

On Burning Your Democratic Party ID

So Will Bunch, the Philadelphia Inquirer columnist has burned his Democratic Party registration card because, among other reason “the Democratic Party leadership is far too beholden to Wall Street and other corporate interests to do the real hard work of helping America’s middle class back on its feet.”  Leaving aside just how dubious that and his other claims are, how we should look at Bunch’s act? Maybe it’s because my deepest political aspirations are so radical—and so far from anything anyone who is running for or holding office actually says or acts on—but the notion that being a “registered Democrat” is a reflection of my principles or an expression of my ideals or a matter of conscience strikes me as completely and utterly bizarre. And thus so does quitting the party. I’m a Democrat not because the party reflects my ultimate ideals, aspirations, or principles but because in addition to … Continue reading

How to Play the “Hillary is a Republican” Game

Here is how the “Hillary is a Republican” game is played and why it so absurd. (h/t Nick Alpers whose post got me started and from which I borrowed much of Step One.) Step one: Ignore all the ways that Hillary Clinton breaks with proposals that almost all Republicans support but that are anathema to Democrats: repealing Dodd-Frank; repealing the ACA; block granting Medicaid; turning Medicare into a voucher program; cutting food stamps by 60% and instituting a work requirement to get them; overturning Roe, banning abortion and opposing women’s rights across the board; destroying unions and all workers’ rights; freezing or even eliminating the federal minimum wage; privatizing social security; denying the reality of global warming and opposing cap and trade, a carbon tax, and President Obama’s clean energy plan, instituting Voter ID; reversing pretty much all civil rights legislation; overturning Obergefell and eliminating all protection for the the … Continue reading

Thoughts on March 15

It’s Over With Hillary’s victories in at least four and most likely five of the primaries today, she has effectively won the Democratic nomination for president. Barring a collapse of unprecedented proportions, which could only come about because of some major unexpected event, her pledged delegate lead of 300 is insurmountable. Like Clinton did eight years ago, Sanders will win some caucuses and primaries between now and Pennsylvania. But he’s totally unlikely to win by large enough majorities to overcome or even get that close to Clinton’s pledged delegate lead. And if he can’t do that, he won’t convince many super-delegates to switch to him. It’s over. Sander’s Impact on Our Politics Sanders’s campaign has had a major impact on this race and will have a major impact on the Democratic Party in the future. He’s brought the issue of inequality to the fore in a way that is now … Continue reading

Silver is a Big Loser Which Means Sanders Wins Bigger

The big loser is Nate Silver (and other pollsters). Silver is they guy who kept saying that Trump would collapse and gave Hillary a 99% chance of winning Michigan. That he is the big loser means that Sanders win is Michigan becomes far more important. Sanders supporters have been claiming, wrongly, that the mainstream media is biased against him. It isn’t. But the media has long believed, on the basis of the initial contests and polls, that Sanders had no chance of winning the nomination and assumed, not unreasonably, that he is too far to the left to do so. And Sanders reinforced that notion by calling for a political revolution. If you say you can only win with a political revolution, you better start showing people that you can make one. Losing the base of the Democratic Party, Blacks, by huge margins while failing to cut far into the … Continue reading