Welcome to Capitol Wire, Christopher

This State Capitol post-graduate internship in Harrisburg has taught me plenty already. I spent my first two weeks working with a helluva state government reporter – more than a quarter decade in, and still happy with his life! – and did plenty for him and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

But, the value of this internship – rotating through the state’s five largest newspapers – keeps me moving. So, today I started with the other participant in the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association internship program – Capitol Wire, an online-only, subscription service catering to legislators, lobbyists, state government journalists, advocates, watchdogs and Capitol policy wonks everywhere.

What that means is I am about to get an entirely different level of education on state government.

Because the dirty secret of general interest newspapers is that they are general interest, so readers don’t tend to have in-depth of knowledge on most of the subjects about which they read, so – believe it – the journalists writing on those subjects are rarely experts either.

So, I am trying to navigate my way through a 900-word, in-depth review of a major health insurance initiative by the Rendell administration. Wish me luck.

Image courtesy The Capitol.

Number of Views:4156

Dwight Evans owns the world

Very good story by Brad Bumsted – top notch State Capitol reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – on Philadelphia’s own Dwight Evans.

Evans’ star rises to top of House

HARRISBURG — Over the past year, Rep. Dwight Evans has emerged as the most powerful member of the state House.

“Dwight Evans is the real powerhouse now in the (Democratic) caucus,” said G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the affable Evans, 54, of Philadelphia is the fifth-ranking member on the depth chart of Democrats, who control the House by a one-vote margin.

Read the rest here.

We also learn that Evans loves Dancing with the Stars.

Image WHYY.

Number of Views:2425

Angry Journalist contribution

Of course you know the incredibly despondent Web site AngryJournalist.com.
Well, in order to not break the site’s rules of anonymity, I will just mention that I saw this post.
Angry Journalist #5095:

I am angry that an experienced journalist would have this conversation with a newly graduated intern:

Journalist: “I hate this place.”
Intern: Why do you stay?
Journalist: ”I don’t know what else to do.”

Photo courtesy.

Number of Views:3577

Academic honors during my Temple University career

Relevant academic honors

  • Honors Thesis, Two-Party Politics in Philadelphia, April 2008
  • Named among Top 100 young journalists in the country, UWire, May 2008
  • Commencement Speaker, Temple University’s 121st graduation, May 2008
  • First Place, Collegiate Keystone Press Award for Personality Profile, April 2008
  • Diamond Award, Temple University recognition for leadership, May 2008
  • Pi Sigma Alpha, political science honor society Delta Rho chapter, May 2008
  • Marks and Emma Kohn Memorial Award for excellence in social sciences, April 2008
  • Ted Von Ziekursch Scholarship for journalistic achievement, April 2008
  • Honors Department, Temple University entrant, July 2006
  • Diamond Award, Temple University recognition for student journalism, May 2006
  • Ralph Vigoda Collegiate Journalism Award, May 2006
  • First Place, Collegiate Keystone Press Award for Spot News, April 2006
  • Political Science Honors Department, Temple University entrant, April 2006
Number of Views:4803

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Dog kennel hearing

Coverage for today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

HARRISBURG — Kennel owners told a House committee Thursday that a proposed overhaul of commercial dog laws in Pennsylvania would go too far.

“We don’t support a bill that makes it easy to criminalize largely law-abiding people,” said Rob Sexton, vice president of government affairs for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, which includes members who raise hunting dogs.

Proposed criminal and civil penalties of up to $1,000 against violators are too steep, Sexton said.

“Treating all licensed kennels the same (with fines) would mean financial ruin to many, if not all, kennels.”

Read the rest on Pittsburgh Live. Image courtesy.

Number of Views:3147

About the most racist thing I've seen on TV

I tend to think white liberal guilt causes more use of the word “racist” than bigotry ever could. White self-labeled progressives are more likely to call Fox News peddlers of the extreme than anyone, I think.

But even I was stunned by the senseless blanketing of black America by the news channel.

Yeah, in discussing Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama’s wife Michelle, a producer referred to her as his “baby’s mama.” Of course using a phrase associated with low income, split families – a situation stereotyped as afflicting only blacks – to describe an educated, solidly upper middle class, married couple with degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Princeton universities is beyond insensitive and ignorant.

Hat tip to Whatever for a post on it and my sister for forwarding it.

Number of Views:3727

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Illegal immigration rally

Rally coverage from yesterday for today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

HARRISBURG — As the Pennsylvania General Assembly plunges into its annual budget negotiations, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is focusing on what is becoming his signature concern: immigration reform.

“The illegal alien issue in Pennsylvania is costing taxpayers millions of dollars,” the Butler County Republican said. “So I think the budget season is the perfect time to announce this legislation.”

Metcalfe held a rally in the Capitol on Wednesday to introduce two bills that would levy legal and economic sanctions against local governments that violate federal immigration law by supporting people who come into Pennsylvania illegally, whom Metcalfe has called “illegal alien invaders.”

Read the rest on Pittsburgh Live here. Image from previous rally in Philadelphia, courtesy Diggers Realm.

Number of Views:3121

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Rendell and furloughing payment

This written yesterday for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

HARRISBURG — Nearly all state employees termed “essential” would be paid even if there is no budget in place after the June 30 deadline, a treasury department official said today.

The testimony from Leo Pandeladis, chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury, came in response to questions about Senate-passed legislation that would term all state workers essential in a budget impasse.

The purpose of the hearing was to determine the legal standing for furloughing of “nonessential” state employees by Gov. Ed Rendell if the General Assembly doesn’t pass a budget by the deadline, said state Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola, chairman of the committee.

Rendell last week threatened to furlough more than 24,000 workers at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

Read the rest on Pittsburgh Live.

Number of Views:2616

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Casino grows, financing looms

Written for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

HARRISBURG — The cost of the planned North Shore casino continues to rise and owner Don Barden still does not have enough money in place to finish construction, his spokesman said this morning.

Barden said he’s “not worried” about getting the money when he spoke to members of the state Gaming Control Board at their regular monthly meeting today. He still expects to open the Majestic Star Casino in May 2009.

“It’s moving along at just a terrific pace,” Barden told the board, adding that he could not provide specifics on his attempts to secure financing.

Read more on Pittsburgh Live. Image courtesy.

Number of Views:4765