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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

  • Help end world hunger
  • Saturday, July 11, 2009

    PENNSYLVANIA FOCUS: Blogs, Biodiesel, Progressive Candidates, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events

    Joe Sestak for US Senate...and on a related note: Sestak Calls Out Specter on Swiftboating


    Lefty Blogs Pennsylvania: a roundup of Progressive News in Pennsylvania

    Progress Pittsburgh is building a broad coalition of progressives to transform the governance of our city. Decades of mismanagement by directionless leadership and regressive machine politics have put our city at the brink of collapse. We need a transformation: new vision, new blood, and a new democratic process. We are working to make this transformation happen.

    The Pennsylvania Progressive, brining you Pennsylvania News and Politics from a...well, PROGRESSIVE view.

    THE HUDDLER: A Pittsburgh blog, political rag, cyber tabloid, and place to hear the word on the street, from the outside looking in.

    PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES RUNNING IN PENNSYLVANIA: Here is the slate of candidates endorsed by Progressive Majority:

    Rose Jacobs: Candidate for Bensalem School Board (Incumbent)

    Rose Jacobs is a retired school teacher and former member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Rose is a past president and present member of the Bensalem Association Dedicated Gifted Education, the Bensalem High School Home and School Association and has been awarded Parent of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education. Rose had her first campaign volunteer experience in 1964 for Lyndon Johnson and recently volunteered for the Patrick Murphy for Congress Campaign and Obama for President. In spite of conservatives on the board having a tradition of patronage hiring, Rose has been able to push qualified candidates to diversify the teaching staff. Rose believes that the staff should reflect the cultural diversity of the rapidly changing and diversifying student population.

    Carol Jones: Candidate for Bensalem School Board (Incumbent)

    Carol Jones is a retired public school teacher, social activist and was one of the four progressives who won in 2005. Carol is an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Bensalem Democratic Organization and a member of Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers. As a retired math teacher, Carol was instrumental in getting traditional math courses back into the curriculum to address the high remediation rate that Bensalem High School graduates were experiencing in college. Whereas, the Interactive Math Program left many students with low SAT scores; traditional math has delivered higher scores and better math skills. Other important initiatives include full-day kindergarten, the introduction of Japanese and Chinese to the language curriculum and innovative technologies.

    Carol McGuire: Candidate for Bensalem School Board (Incumbent)

    Carol McGuire is a member of the Bensalem Township Education Association, Pennsylvania State Education Association, National Education Association and Education Support Personnel Association. Carol has been very active in candidate recruitment and helping other progressives get elected due to her dissatisfaction with the previous school board chair. The board made decisions without input from parents, community members or students. Carol has been a leader of the candidates and has organized door-knocking schedules and serves as the team motivator. As a school board director, Carol instituted the wellness and fitness policy for the district in order to bring the district in compliance with state requirements. As the board liaison for the co-curricular committee, which works with parent suggestions to get youth involved in clubs and athletic activities, Carol is very visible at school events as a parent and board director.

    Richard Salzman: Candidate for Bensalem School Board (Incumbent)

    Richard is an IT specialist and member of Teamsters Local 837. His community involvement includes serving on the Bucks County All American Soap Box Derby, Vice-President of the Bensalem Village Association, Habitat for Humanity, Bensalem Boy Scout Troop 130, Cub Scout Troop 301 and Girl Scouts of Bensalem. Richard is dedicated to helping the Bensalem School District become one of the best in the state by working hard to get the whole slate of candidates elected to the mayor's Office, township council and school board. Richard believes that a cooperative relationship will provide the leadership, creativity and ideas needed to improve schools without raising taxes in the Township.

    Sheldon Per: Candidate for Bensalem Mayor (Challenger)

    Sheldon Per is know in Bensalem as ''Coach Per,'' and now he is running for mayor of Bensalem. Coach Per recently retired from Bensalem High School where he served as the director of athletics and extracurricular activities. He is a retired National Education Association member. Coach Per received various awards of recognition during his tenure at Bensalem High School, including Coach of the Year five times. He is also involved with many local civic groups: NAACP, Fairless Hill Masonic Lodge, Historical Society of Bensalem, The Rotary Club, Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees and the Bensalem Democratic Organization. Coach Per's extensive network has to be put to work in order to challenge the three-term conservative mayor. Progressive Majority started working with the Bensalem Democratic Organization in 2006 to recruit and train candidates to win office. Through much hard work and changing demographics, the organization has outpaced the conservatives registering 2,500 new voters. Progressive Majority has provided on-going, in-kind assistance with campaign plans, fundraising strategies and messaging.

    Carolyn Comitta: Candidate for West Chester Mayor (Open Seat)

    Carolyn Comitta is running for mayor of West Chester, Chester County. Carolyn is currently a West Chester Borough Council member, a member of the National League of Cities and a member of the Pennsylvania League of Cities. As chair of the Borough Council's Public Safety Committee, Carolyn has been recognized nationally for cutting-edge public policy. Carolyn works as a member of World Information Transfer, Inc., promoting health and environmental literacy in conjunction with the United Nations. The mayor's office has been held by conservatives since 1992 and has never been held by a woman. Since 2007, progressives have dramatically increased democratic registration in West Chester - so much so, that there are now more registered Democrats than Republicans and Independents combined.

    Bryan Allen: Candidate for Bensalem Township Council (Incumbent)

    Bryan Allen was able to win the Bensalem Township Council seat in 2005 with the support and as a member of the Bensalem Democratic Organization. The Township Council consists of five seats where Bryan served as the only progressive and the only Democrat. The conservative strong hold in the county is threatened by the persistent organized effort of progressives, and Bryan will face stiff opposition. Bryan is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local #1776. Bryan is running with two other Democrats to take over the Township Council.

    Robert Framo: Candidate for Bensalem Township Council (Challenger)

    Robert will bring strong analytical and problem solving skills to Bensalem Township Council. He currently works as a vice president for inventory logistics for royal china & porcelain. Robert decided to get more involved in local politics when he took on the role as campaign organizer in Bensalem for the Obama Campaign and displayed extraordinary organizing skills and understanding of the political process during that campaign. Robert is also active in the community, recently raising money for the food bank to help residents in these tough economic times.

    Alternative Energy and Sustainable Agriculture in Pennsylvania:

    Some stats from Repower America:

    * The Pennsylvania Solar Park, a 10.6-megawatt array of 50,000 photovoltaic solar panels in Nesquehonig, Carbon County, will be the nation's second largest solar PV farm to date.

    * The 34.5-megawatt Casselman Wind Power Project near Garrett, PA will generate enough clean, renewable wind energy to sustain 10,000 homes in the tri-state area of southern Pennslyvania, northern West Virginia and western Maryland

    * Pennsylvania has an alternative energy portfolio standard that requires all public utilities to generate 18% of their electricity from alternative energy resources by 2021, with at least 8% from renewable energy and 0.5% from solar.

    Alternative energy and YOUR energy bill: YOU can be part of the solution for America by signing up to purchase your energy through a Green Power Provider. My wife and I have been doing this in NYC for years. All our energy usage is provided through wind energy generation on American farms. So we use clean energy AND help American farmers. It costs us three cents per kilowatt-hour more per month, but we feel great about it. Although our actual energy may come from anywhere, we are paying to purchase wind energy for the energy grid. Each state has different programs available, usually through yuor existing energy provider right on your existing energy bill. To find such options in Pennsylvania, go here and pick your energy provider from the list. If you need help, you can email me and tell me who you get your bill from (don't give me any other info!) and I can tell you who to contact to go green through that energy provider. Or you can do the same thing using Renewable Energy Certificates through an organization that works with utility companies, though in this case it is a separate bill. One off the cheapest (.4-1 cent per kilowatt-hour), but still e-Green certified, ways to do this is through Good Energy. Or, for about half a cent per kilowatt-hour you can purchase renewable energy certificates through Carbonfund.org. ANY of these ways you do it, you are helping the environment, helping America, and helping cut carbon emissions.

    Biodiesel of Pennsylvania
    We believe alternative energy is the way of the future! Biodiesel is AMERICAN made fuel that helps keep our air clean and helps out farmers...not Saudi billionaires.

    Biodiesel of Pennsylvania, Inc.
    61 Cat Drive
    White Deer, PA 17887
    570 538 1041 office
    Email: kalin_at_biodieselpa.com

    We are located one mile off the Route 80 / Route 15 intersection: Coming off Route 80 (major East/West highway) go North on Route 15; drive about one mile. Take the White Deer exit. At bottom of ramp, make a RIGHT. Go about 200 meters. On the RIGHT you will see our Biodiesel of Pennsylvania sign with pretty fir tree landscaping. Our large modern facility is right there on Cat Drive.

    Please contact us if you are:
    * A fleet manager and would like more information about adding Biodiesel to your fleet.
    * A municipality looking to comply with upcoming changes mandating use of biodiesel.
    * A heating and oil firm looking to satisfy customers who demand biodiesel.
    * A biodiesel marketer looking for fuel.

    Pennsylvania Incentives for Renewable Energy:

    From the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency:

    Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS), created by S.B. 1030 on November 30, 2004, requires each electric distribution company (EDC) and electric generation supplier (EGS) to retail electric customers in Pennsylvania to supply 18% of its electricity using alternative-energy resources by 2020.* Pennsylvania's standard provides for a solar set-aside, mandating a certain percentage of electricity generated by photovoltaics (PV). Pennsylvania's AEPS also includes demand-side management, waste coal, coal-mine methane and coal gasification as eligible technologies.

    H.B. 1203 (2007) provided a more detailed solar schedule, clarified the force majeure clause, confirmed REC property rights for generators, added solar thermal to Tier I, clarified that AEPS RECs cannot have been retired for other purposes, and expanded the definition of customer-generator. Revised rules addressing these changes and other necessary clarifications became effective in November 2008.

    Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Municipal Solid Waste, CHP/Cogeneration, Waste Coal, Coal Mine Methane, Coal Gasification, Anaerobic Digestion, Other Distributed Generation Technologies

    Applicable Sectors: Investor-Owned Utility, Retail Supplier
    Standard: 18% during compliance year 2020-2021 (8% Tier I and 10% Tier II)
    Technology Minimum: Solar PV set-aside of 0.5% for June 1, 2020 and thereafter
    Credit Trading: Yes

    Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is a nonprofit organization working to improve the economic and social prosperity of Pennsylvania food and agriculture. We work with the farmers that grow our food, the consumers that eat the food, and those concerned with the ecological well-being of our environment and natural resources.

    Alternative Energy Resources in Pennsylvania: a short summary of alternative energy resources for Pennsylvania. For more information on each technology, visit the State Energy Alternatives Technology Options page.

    Here are some important progressive groups and events in Pennsylvania:

    Progressive Majority Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania is the quintessential battleground state — it has been a swing state in every presidential election for more than 70 years. And it is a state where deep political work must be done to reverse the stranglehold conservatives have on the government, build a durable political infrastructure, and tip the state for progressives once and for all.

    Pennsylvania is the slowest-growing of any major state in the nation. Since few new people move in, progressives must build lasting political relationships that address people's core needs and take into account their core values. Pennsylvania is a conflicted state — voters hold conflicting views on economic and social issues in different parts of the state. In short, a "one size fits all" political strategy will not work here.

    That's why Progressive Majority's long-term, state-based approach to candidate recruitment and development is so well-suited to meet this challenge. Our work to identify community leaders and activists, authentic candidates who care about what's best for people and who will lead on a local agenda, is what's needed here.

    Progressive Majority has leadership programs and can help progressive candidates run an efficient and successful campaign. You can sign up for email updates here.

    Critical Mass
    Monthly at 5:30 PM on the fourth Friday
    Where: Dinosaur, Carnegie Library, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    Description: Critical Mass is a celebration of bicycling as a pollution-free mode of transportation. Critical Mass is not an organization nor it is affiliated with any organization, it's an unorganized coincidence. It's a movement ... of bicycles, in the streets.

    Pittsburgh Green Drinks
    3rd Friday of every month
    Check the website for locations & guest speakers:

    Steel-City Stonewall Democrats Happy Hour
    Monthly at 17:15 on the fourth Tuesday
    Where: Images 965 Liberty Avenue downtown

    Liberty City Stonewall Democrats

    Peace Vigil Every Saturday, 10:30 AM
    Intersection of Lincoln Hgwy & Oxford Valley Roads
    Business Route 1 & Oxford Valley Road at the Closed Transmission Station
    Langhorne, PA
    Organized by Lower Bucks for Democracy

    Here are a few Democracy for America groups in Pennsylvania:

    Gettysburg Area DFA Meetup: will be held at the Lutheran Theological Seminary on Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg the first Wednesday of each month. We gather at 6:30 pm to chat and enjoy refreshments. Our meeting begins at 7:00 PM at the Seminary's Valentine Hall, Room 206 -- across from the Seminary Library. There is parking both in front of Valentine Hall (off Springs Ave) and in the Seminary lot next to the Library. Contact Elaine Jones for more information: elainelynchjones_at_gmail.com

    Western PA DFA Monthly Meeting: second Thursday of each month, 6:00 PM, Rudy & Son Restaurant, 1641 Mercer - Grove City Rd

    Philly for Change Meeting: first Wednesday of the month at 7pm. Find out more about the group at www.phillyforchange.com

    Next, here are some Drinking Liberally chapters in Pennsylvania: second Thursday of each month,

    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
    * Third Thursday of each month, 7:00 pm onward
    * The Orchards Restaurant, 1580 Orchard Dr
    * Ask for the Drinking Liberally group and you'll find us.
    * Hosted by Alice Elia, chambersburg (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
    * Second Thursday of each month (next meeting December 13), 6:00 pm onward
    * O'Rorke's Eatery & Spirits, 44 Steinwehr Avenue (second floor)
    * New Location
    * additional parking in National Park Service Visitor Center lot behind restaurant
    * Hosted by Eileen H. Potemra, gettysburg (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    * Every Tuesday, 7:30 pm onward
    * Lancaster Brewing Company, 302 N Plum St (corner of Walnut and Plum)
    * Hosted by Jeff Fulmer, Monz Wenner and Cher Rineer, lancaster (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Center City
    * Every Tuesday, 6:00-9:00 pm
    * Tangier, 1801 Lombard St (at 18th St)
    * Hosted by Brendan Skwire, philadelphia (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Mount Airy
    * Every Thursday, 6:30-9:00 pm
    * Mermaid Inn, 7673 Germantown Ave
    * Hosted by Adam Zion, mtairy (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Reading, Pennsylvania
    * Second and fourth Thursday of each month, 6pm onward
    * Canal Street Restaurant & Pub, 535 Canal St (a few blocks past RACC along the riverfront)
    * NEW LOCATION!!! Great local beer from Legacy Brewing Co. & a large selection of wines by the glass.
    * NO Thanksgiving meeting, obviously. Enjoy your holiday and all those awkward political conversations with ornery family members!
    * Hosted by Kim Stahler and Dan Sauder, reading (at) drinkingliberally.org

    State College, Pennsylvania
    * First and third Tuesday of each month, 5:30 pm onward
    * Hi-Way Pizza, 428 Westerly Pky
    * Hosted by Nancy Crane, statecollege (at) drinkingliberally.org

    West Chester, Pennsylvania
    * First Thursday of each month, 8:00 pm onward
    * Ryan's Pub, 124 W Gay St (On Gay St. between Church & Darlington)
    * We are still on the once a month format and we have changed the venue to Ryan's. We'll be meeting up on the 2nd floor near the bar.
    * Remember, no need to feed the meters in town after 5pm- save that cash for drinks!
    * Hosted by Jonathan Long, Daniel Tyman and Jamie Manos, westchester (at) drinkingliberally.org

    York, Pennsylvania
    * Fourth Wednesday of each month, 7:00 pm onward
    * The First Capital Dispensing Company, 57 N Pershing Ave (We usually secure a large table or two in the back room.)
    * Hosted by Phyllis Wise, Roland Rode and Craig Thomas, york (at) drinkingliberally.org


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