My Honors Thesis Web site: The Philadelphia Republican Party

Updated: My thesis has now moved to a subdomain here, as explained here.

CHECK OUT A (SEMI) COMPLETED WEB SITE I made for my year-long thesis project that I only finished now, having spent a couple months as a college graduate.

I graduated from Temple in May, with honors I might add, because of that thesis project on which I worked. Despite being a couple months removed from college, I only recently finished the final revisions offered to me by my paper’s adviser, the eminent Dr. Joseph McLaughlin.

Back in April, I announced I had the site running, but now have the final paper available. I hope to add some more features and supplemental info, but for now, it is a nice collection of the research and work I’ve done.

[www.phillypolitics.wordpress.com]

Number of Views:2919

Google Image Search: The next frontier

I'd prefer this for an online image search of my name, of the address I gave at my graduation from Temple in May, but obstacles persist

Today’s journalists need a Web presence. No one is arguing that anymore. Indeed, the brighter and more Web savvy, young journalists have already made the step and are looking to refine the quality and searchability of their product so that when an employer (or future, crazed romantic interest) runs their name in a search engine, the right product comes up.

You want your Web site, clips, appropriate photos, a mature, healthy online persona. Considering I’m part of a generation that will find answers through technology, for ourselves and broader issues, I’ve thought plenty of how to do that, including using online applications, most notably actually giving in and joining Facebook recently.

But, once you get that much figured out – No. 1 Google search for Christopher Wink and among the top for Chris Wink, damn you Blue Man Group founder with the same name – the next step becomes clear: image searches.

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Number of Views:5835

Downtheshore in Wildwood for the weekend

Me with my sister and mother on the Wildwood boardwalk in summer 1991.

Today and through the weekend I will be in familiar territory: downtheshore. Growing up in the rural northwest corner of New Jersey, My family spent each summer in the friendly confines of the Jersey Shore, the boardwalk of Wildwood and the the beaches of the nearby crest.

I fought the waves, played skeeball and wiffleball, ate pizza and funnel cake, and made about the best sand castles in history. I hope to recapture it all this weekend.

There is a 15 percent chance I could be killed in an ironic tram car death, having taunted the yellow trains my entire shore-going life.

Number of Views:2183

Pa. lawmakers seek special session on ethics reform (Philadelphia Inquirer: 7/17/08)

By Christopher Wink and Mario F. Cattabiani | Jul 17, 2008 | Philadelphia Inquirer

HARRISBURG – A week after 289 criminal charges were filed in a wide-ranging government corruption probe, a group of lawmakers yesterday called for a special legislative session devoted solely to restoring the public’s faith in Harrisburg.

“There is a crisis of confidence in Pennsylvania. . . . We must respond with action,” said Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R., Dauphin) who was joined by eight other members of the House and Senate who are pushing for a special session dubbed “Governmental and Ethics Reform.”

Said Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D., York), “We are under a dark cloud. . . . We need to get back to the people’s work.”

The group yesterday called on Gov. Rendell to convene such a session beginning in September. Rendell recently made clear he has no plans of doing so on his own, arguing that the legislative agenda for the rest of the year is already crammed with other key bills.

Anticipating that Rendell might not call a special session, the lawmakers yesterday began collecting signatures of their colleagues to force the issue. A governor must call a special session if the majority of the 203-member House and 50-member Senate ask for one.

In prepared remarks released hours after the news conference, Rendell said he would “happily” call a session if petitioned to do so.

“The fall schedule will be a busy one, as the vital issues of energy conservation, utility rate mitigation, and health care are the primary matters we must address,” he wrote. “But, I believe if we dedicate ourselves to work over the summer to try to reach a consensus . . . we can address all of these issues by the end of the year.”

A week ago today, Attorney General Tom Corbett announced criminal counts against a former top House member, 10 Democratic aides and a sitting lawmaker, alleging they conspired to use millions in public funds and resources for political campaign purposes.

Some believe the charges could revive bogged down reform efforts to improve accountability and transparency in Harrisburg that started after the 2005 pay raise debacle.

Dozens of bills have been introduced in the last 18 months dealing with so-called reform efforts. They range from banning gifts to lawmakers to placing limits on campaign donations to abolishing government bonuses. Some of the bills have passed one chamber only to get bottled up in the other, and could be among the agenda items in a special session.

Such sessions are designed to focus lawmakers’ attention on one topic alone and, in theory, to speed the legislative process. In recent years, special sessions have been called to consider legislation dealing with property taxes, drought relief and energy policies.

Some legislators believe the call for a special session on reform is nothing more than a needless headline-grabber.

“If there was the true desire to move on these reform issues we could come back next week and do it,” said Steve Miskin, press secretary to House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson).

Advocates for the special session spoke minutes after another news conference on the topic of reforming Harrisburg wrapped up on the Capitol steps.

A group of 17 Democrats seeking House seats endorsed a slate of policies they dubbed the Pennsylvania Candidate Platform for Reform, or PennCPR. Members of the group pledged, if elected, to cut legislative perks, reduce the influence of lobbyists and increase transparency of campaign funding, among other things.

The agenda, said Paul Drucker, who is running for Chester County’s 157th House seat, is “designed to bring reform efforts off of life support.”

“We are tired of having to explain the embarrassing stories that are coming out of the Capitol,” said Drucker, a Tredyffrin lawyer.

See it on Philly.com.

Number of Views:2360

Inquirer: Double byline on ethics reform rally

BY CHRISTOPHER WINK AND MARIO F. CATABIANI

HARRISBURG – A week after 289 criminal charges were filed in a wide-ranging government corruption probe, a group of lawmakers yesterday called for a special legislative session devoted solely to restoring the public’s faith in Harrisburg.

“There is a crisis of confidence in Pennsylvania. . . . We must respond with action,” said Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R., Dauphin) who was joined by eight other members of the House and Senate who are pushing for a special session dubbed “Governmental and Ethics Reform.”

Said Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D., York), “We are under a dark cloud. . . . We need to get back to the people’s work.”

The group yesterday called on Gov. Rendell to convene such a session beginning in September. Rendell recently made clear he has no plans of doing so on his own, arguing that the legislative agenda for the rest of the year is already crammed with other key bills.

….

Read the rest on Philly.com.

Image of a completely unrelated speaking engagement by Gov. Rendell Chief of Staff Greg Fajt courtesy here.

Number of Views:2007

Saddam Hussein: 29 years since coming to power

What a quick and tumultuous rise to power.

Twenty-nine years ago today in 1979, Saddam Hussein replaced the resigning president of Iraq and went on to further consolidate his power.

It was the beginning of nearly three decades of tickle fights with the international community. In April 2003 he was dislodged from power and on Dec. 30, 2006 he was hanged for charges of genocide.

Number of Views:5406

Inquirer: Plans for rebuilding I-80

This ran today for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The coverage is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association (PLCA).

HARRISBURG – Months before the federal government could approve even a plan to make I-80 a toll road, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says it knows how it would spend part of the money.

Within a decade, the commission says, it would resurface more than 200 miles of I-80 across northern Pennsylvania – most of which has not been fixed in 30 years.

Additionally, it would replace 62 bridges along I-80 that officials believe are in poor condition or are too low, according to a list of projects unveiled by the commission yesterday.

Read the rest on Philly.com.

Number of Views:1981

A recent addition to Couch Surfing

I HAVE GIVEN IN ON ANOTHER HOLDOUT OF MINE, THIS one on CouchSurfing.com, after catching a lot of flak for recently joining the Facebook, having avoided it throughout university.

One signs up, offers up a couch or a place to sleep in exchange for the same treatment elsewhere. Avoid hotels and even hostels and get a local view of wherever you’re visiting. The most frequent concern is one with safety, and, like I’ve seen with hitchhiking, there is some truth to it, but, more often, there is the opportunity for cheap travel and profound interaction.

In preparation for future travels on a limited income, I thought now was the time to finally get on board with another social networking device online.

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Number of Views:3290

Time magazine: Could newspapers be nonprofits?

In a file photo a Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper vending machine is seen in Philadelphia, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Could newspapers be nonprofits?

Check this recent Time magazine article:

Enter Pro Publica, a non-profit news organization devoted solely to investigative journalism and funded to the tune of $10 million a year by California-based philanthropists Herb and Marion Sandler. With a staff of 18 journalists (10 additional reporters have yet to begin), the group hopes to release their stories for free through exclusive deals with major media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic and 60 Minutes, among other potential partners. On June 22, its first major story — about Al Hurra, a U.S.-funded Middle Eastern TV network that has broadcast anti-American propaganda — aired in conjunction with the famed CBS news program. Such an approach has already been criticized by the Miami Herald‘s Edward Wasserman, who inquired July 7, “why was Pro Publica using its philanthropic funding to, essentially, subsidize the cost of a segment for 60 Minutes, the most financially successful news show in the history of U.S. Television?”

Hat tip to Sean Blanda.

Photo courtesy of Day in the Life.

Number of Views:3801