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.

Patriot-News: Rendell criticism brief

A brief in Friday’s Patriot-News:

A group of local state Republican lawmakers accused the Rendell administration of attempting to spin the Commonwealth Court ruling on furloughing state workers during a budget impasse.

Wednesday’s ruling by Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt said when a budget impasse extends past the July 1 deadline, the governor can choose between furloughing state workers or requiring them to work without pay until a spending plan is passed.

The statement issued Thursday by Reps. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin, Jerry Nailor, R-Cumberland, Mark Keller, R-Franklin, and Glen Grell, R-Cumberland, said the ruling is not a vindication of Gov. Ed Rendell’s decision to furlough state workers if the budget is delayed… More.

Brief in tomorrow’s Patriot-News. Photo courtesy of

Patriot-News: Howard Dean in Harrisburg

Photo from Dean's Declaration of Candidacy speech Burlington, VT 23-June-2003. (Courtesy: Wikimedia)

This for the Harrisburg Patriot-News, in today’s edition.

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, spelled out the Keystone State’s importance for Barack Obama during a stop in Harrisburg on Friday.

“We must win Pennsylvania,” Dean said at SciTech High. “Pennsylvania is very important to us. … Only you can win it.”

Dean spoke before about 200 supporters, who broke out in chants for Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Dean’s comments about Pennsylvania’s importance for Obama aren’t an exaggeration, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College.

“As much as party chairs are noted for their hyperbole, this time Howard Dean is absolutely accurate,” Borick said.

“Obama is successfully opening doors in states like Colorado, Nevada and, to a lesser extent, New Mexico,” Borick said. “But all that would be washed away if he is not able to win Pennsylvania.” More.

This clip featured in today’s Patriot-News. I filed a Web brief right after the event. Photo from Wikimedia.

False Story — Rendell named vice-presidential nominee

I was tricked into writing this story by the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association in the Harrisburg, Pa. state capital newsroom on Aug. 15, 2008. This article is not true. All those interviewed were in on the joke.

Sen. Barack Obama embraces Philadelphia City Councilman Bob Brady and is applauded by Gov. Ed Rendell before speaking during a Democratic Unity Rally at Temple Universitys McGonigle Hall October 21, 2006 in Philadelphia. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Sen. Barack Obama embraces Philadelphia City Councilman Bob Brady and is applauded by Gov. 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)

By Christopher Wink | Harrisburg Patriot-News | Aug. 15, 2008

Gov. Ed Rendell will be named Sen. Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate, a high-ranking source in the administration told the Patriot-News.

“Next Monday could be a very exciting day for Pennsylvania,” said Mary Isenhour, the commonwealth’s Democratic Party executive director. She wouldn’t corroborate the offer or Rendell’s acceptance of the position, but confirmed the governor was meeting with high-level Democrats in Washington D.C. Friday.

Continue reading False Story — Rendell named vice-presidential nominee

Patriot-News: Brief on Comcast and Big Ten Network partnership

Blurb for tomorrow’s Patriot-News:

JUST THE FACTS Penn State fans who happen to be Comcast subscribers are now able to view the Big Ten Network on basic cable, which means no additional charge on your cable bill. BTN will broadcast the first game of Penn State’s football season on Aug. 30, when the Nittany Lions host Coastal Carolina. BTN will also air the Sept. 20 matchup with Temple and a conference game yet to be determined. The network’s Big Ten Tonight show will air a Penn State football practice at 9 p.m. Thursday, and Big Ten Tonight will preview Penn State’s season at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25… More.

Patriot News: Breaking news on Howard Dean Harrisburg appearance

Quick Web item for Patriot-News on an appearance in Harrisburg by Howard Dean:

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Pennsylvania is a “must win” today after a speech in Harrisburg.

The half-hour address to 200 people – most of whom were students at SciTech High where the speech was held – focused on the importance of voting. He also labeled Democratic nominee Barack Obama the “candidate of change” and called Republican candidate John McCain a “continuation of the George Bush presidency.”

“John McCain wants to be the president of the past,” Dean said. “Barack Obama wants to be the president of the future.” More…

Read the rest on Patriot-News. Full-length story tomorrow. Photo from Wikimedia.

Patriot-News: Domestic violence programs seek funding

My byline in today’s Patriot-News:

Five years ago, Jeane Decker made a call that she says every woman in Pennsylvania should be able to make.

Unemployed and in danger of losing her home, the mother of two had recently left an abusive marriage. She called the Women’s Resource Center in Scranton for help. She received comfort, advice and transitional housing for her and her children.

“That is where life as I now know it began,” Decker said.

Such programs, though, are scrambling for money, Decker and advocates for domestic violence services told the House Judiciary Committee in the Capitol on Tuesday.

Group representatives extolled legislation that would increase their funding by raising the state’s marriage license fee and creating a similar charge for filing divorce or annulment paperwork.

The bill won’t pass this legislative session, which ends on Nov. 30, said committee Chairman Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, but he said he would reintroduce it next year… More.

Posted on B1 of the Patriot-News today.

Photo courtesy of the University of Westminster.

Patriot News: Mayor Stephen Reed and Obama brief

Republicans are criticizing Mayor Stephen Reed’s proclamation calling last Thursday “Campaign for Change Day,” in Harrisburg, a theme tied to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“The people of Harrisburg who were counting on their elected officials to work on their behalf are unfortunately in for a rude awakening,” Blair Latoff, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said Monday.

Continue reading Patriot News: Mayor Stephen Reed and Obama brief

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