Look at the comments, stupid

Man, who doesn’t have a blog.

Any newspaper that can even be tossed in the conversation has someone adding to it. There is no end to the number of jerks like me doing much of the same, with less experience and knowledge but increasingly more interest than the more professional.

The question, of course, is if any of it is working. One of the simpler answers, I’d say, is, well, look at the comments. If they’re improving, you’re improving.

Continue reading Look at the comments, stupid

Capitol Ideas: Interview with state Senate reading clerk

A Q&A session for the Allentown Morning Call, posted last week on Capitol Ideas, the state government blog by John L. Micek.

Name: Rob Green
Reading Clerk, 1994; Assistant Director of Pages, 2006
Alvernia College, Communications, 1990

Q: What are your favorite parts of the job?
A: My favorite part is when they’re going at it and they’re really getting into the debate. I don’t mind staying late mostly because that’s when the action is. You get to see things first hand. You pay attention more. I didn’t have a lot of government classes in college – they were all early [laughs]. But in this job, you see things happen so closely and get to know the personalities.

Q: What is your least favorite part?
A: Well, [laughs] I guess … No. No least favorite. … Oh, I know… I don’t like when I have to read the long resolutions, like when someone retires. You usually get them cold, and they’re always long, so it gives you more of a chance to screw up.

Capitol Ideas: Farm Show wind turbine

A recent post on Capitol Ideas, the popular state government blog by Morning Call reporter John L. Micek.

Behold The Power Of Wind.

The wind turbine near the Exposition Center on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex has been blowing for nearly two years, but with interest in energy conservation growing, its popularity may have never been higher.

“It serves as an example of this emerging technology,” said Patrick Kerwin, the executive director of the Farm Show Complex. “It’s a demonstration project to show that wind does produce real electricity and work well.” More…

Read the rest on Capitol Ideas.

How the Harrisburg bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer tricked me

I believe there is some line of thought that only those who like you enough will take the time to prank you. If this is true, it is entirely possible that the Harrisburg bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the largest and oldest metro dailies in the country, loves me.

Late last month, I was working on a large story for the Inquirer when influential Harrisburg correspondent and noted… prankster (the kindest way to put this, I think) Mario Cattabiani told me to drop everything and get on an assignment. He and his fellow Inqy Harrisburg staffers were launching a state government blog at the behest of their editors – which I already knew – and it was going live that day – news to me.

The editors didn’t want to seem to be biting off on the series of already established Harrisburg government blogs so they wanted to profile one of the more respected bloggers and suggested John L. Micek of the Allentown Morning Call, who hosted the popular Capitol Ideas.

Continue reading How the Harrisburg bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer tricked me

Morning Call: Wine shipment legislation stalls

There are bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau that age better than this.

State lawmakers might close the books on yet another legislative session before they come to grips with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized the direct shipment of wine to consumers.

”There’s a lot of things going on” during the upcoming brief legislative session this fall, said Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, who’s been leading the charge to make it easier for oenophiles to get their hands on their favorite vino.

”This is America,” said Gregg Amore, owner of Amore Vineyards and Winery in East Allen Township. ”You should be free to ship regardless of where you live.”

Read the rest on TheMorningCall.com.

Photo courtesy of PhilaFoodie.

Capitol Ideas: BlackBerry as legislative tool

HARRISBURG _ State Sen. Robert C. Wonderling was among the first lawmakers to use a handheld wireless device as a legislative tool, in 2002.

“Modern public service is to be as accessible as possible,” said the Montgomery County Republican. “I do that with my BlackBerry.”

In between appointments, Wonderling scrolls through articles from state, national and regional newspapers, answers constituent e-mails, and reviews his upcoming schedule. This modern legislator – with BlackBerry on his hip – is distinct from the Mr. Smiths who came to Harrisburg in decades past. While considered a leading advocate for technology use in the General Assembly, Wonderling isn’t alone.

Read the rest on Capitol Ideas.

Morning Call Front Page: I-80 tolling locations released

BY John L. Micek and Christopher Wink | A1 story, below the fold

HARRISBURG – Carbon and Monroe counties would each be in line for one of the nine cashless toll sites on Interstate 80 under a plan announced Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

The sites proposed for Monroe would sit somewhere between Exit 293 for Scranton and Exit 298 for Scotrun and between Delaware Water Gap Exit 310 and the New Jersey state line, according to a map the commission released.

In Carbon County, the Turnpike Commission is mulling a site between Hickory Run State Park Exit 274 and Exit 277 for the Northeast Extension. There’s an alternate site between Mountaintop Exit 262 and White Haven/Freeland Exit 273.

Turnpike Commission officials said they’re gathering public comment and will decide by this fall the locations of all nine of the proposed toll gantries they want to build along the 311-mile highway.

Read the rest on MCall.com.

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

Capitol Ideas: Blog post on Republican auditor general candidate

A press conference held by Republican Auditor General candidate Chet Beiler on July 31, 2008. (Photo by Christopher Wink)

Who said blog clips aren’t worth anything? Here’s one for Capitol Ideas, the popular state government blog by Morning Call reporter John L. Micek.

Republican Chet Beiler wants to be Pennsylvania’s auditor general and used the phrase “tax dollars” often enough today to prove it.

Flanked by supporters, Beiler stood in the Capitol rotunda this morning, and challenged Democratic incumbent Jack Wagner to meet him for a series of discussions of the issues.

Standing in front of a banner that promised Beiler, of Manheim, Lancaster County, said he’ll spend his time “protecting your tax dollars.” He also vowed that “wherever tax dollars go, I will be there.”

Read the rest on Capitol Ideas.

Watch out for the stronger voice in blog style, my friends, and please note the forlorn-looking boy in the right of my photograph – taken with my cell phone.

Rendell conference call on Obama campaign

Senator Barack Obama (R) (D-Il) is greeted by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell before speaking during a Democratic Unity Rally at Temple University's McGonigle Hall October 21, 2006 in Philadelphia. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

The Barack Obama presidential campaign’s focus on Pennsylvania is “unprecedented” Gov. Ed Rendell said in a news conference call I listened in on during this my first day with the Allentown Morning Call for my post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

Rendell was a noted booster for Obama’s primary opponent Hillary Clinton, but long maintained he would support whoever was the Democratic candidate. Rendell said “90 percent” of Clinton supporters are with Obama and getting “more excited” for Obama everyday.

“Pennsylvania is generally and typically a battleground state. Democrats have done well but absolutely can’t take it for granted,” said Steve Hildebrand, the national deputy Obama campaign manager. Aside from Florida, he added, Pennsylvania has the largest number of electoral votes that the campaigns are considering real battlegrounds.

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