Politics | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh
Leon Ford was shot in the back during a routine traffic stop six years ago, leaving him paralyzed. After years spent speaking out against police brutality, he recently settled a lawsuit with the city of Pittsburgh. He has since become an integral part of the city’s and the country’s police-reform movement.

On Thursday afternoon, Ford sat in his wheelchair at the Allegheny County Courthouse amid thousands protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose.

“This is painful for me,” Ford said. “I fought for six years and I didn’t think this would be happening.”

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 2:37 PM

click to enlarge Rob Rogers (right) speaking with Lynn Cullen on June 7
Rob Rogers (right) speaking with Lynn Cullen on June 7
Rob Rogers doesn’t want to normalize this president.

Over the last few months, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board has pulled several editorial cartoons submitted by Rogers, a longtime cartoonist. Those pieces included criticism of President Donald Trump and his immigration enforcement policies and the NFL’s new national anthem rule that Trump fervently backs.

After initially opting for silence on the situation, Rogers continued going public Thursday with an appearance on Lynn Cullen Live. (Listen to the full interview on Cullen's podcast.)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 2:33 PM

click to enlarge Pat Toomey - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Pat Toomey
It’s been a chaotic year and a half with the Trump administration in the White House and Republicans in control of U.S. Congress. But one area where both Trump and Republicans have been organized and effective is in rolling back financial regulations created in the wake of the Great Recession.

Since 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has seen several regulations stripped by Congress, including a repeal championed by U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley).

Now, a law co-written by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh) has eliminated another CFPB guidance; one that was created to ensure racial minorities aren't taken advantage of by the auto-lending industry. On May 21, President Donald Trump signed into law the repeal of that informal rule. With the guidance gone, consumers in Allegheny County and the entire U.S. shouldn’t expect the CFPB to tackle car companies and auto lenders that upcharge based on race.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 4:33 PM

click to enlarge Pat Toomey - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Pat Toomey
Tweets are gauged by how far they spread and what reactions they receive. A good tweet is typically retweeted far and wide, and also receives thousands of likes, or faves. A bad tweet is one that receives more replies than likes. This phenomenon is called being "ratioed" and it has become generally accepted on Twitter that being ratioed means the tweet is a poor take on an issue.

“The lengthier the [Twitter] conversation, the surer it is that someone royally messed up,” wrote Luke O’Neil on Esquire Magainze’s website in April 2017.

And new data from progressive analytics firm Data For Progress shows that the U.S. Senator with the worst ratio and highest percentage of ratioed tweets is none other than Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh). Data for Progress calculated every U.S. senator’s Twitter ratio by dividing all senators’ tweets by the number of replies they received from Dec. 25, 2016 to April 18, 2018.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 5:52 PM

click to enlarge Sara Innamorato speaks at City Paper's candidate forum on April 12 - CP PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
CP Photo by Aaron Warnick
Sara Innamorato speaks at City Paper's candidate forum on April 12
On May 2, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh canceled its planned candidate forum for the the race for the Pennsylvania House District 21 between Democratic challenger Sara Innamorato of Lawrenceville and state Rep. Dom Costa (D-Stanton Heights).

There were five proposed dates for the forum and Innamorato was wiling to alllow Costa to choose based on his schedule. But, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Costa said he couldn’t make it to any of the five proposed times.

And with the announced cancellation, the Innamorato campaign is calling out Costa and says he is “hiding" from voters.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 1:55 PM

click to enlarge Conor Lamb (left) and Keith Rothfus (right)
Conor Lamb (left) and Keith Rothfus (right)
After U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) won a special election in March to fill a seat vacated by former Congressman Tim Murphy, it set up a battle of incumbents for the newly drawn Pennsylvania 17th U.S. Congressional District, which encompasses all of Beaver County and suburban sections of Allegheny County.

Lamb and U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) will square off in November. The candidates differ on many topics, including starkly different views on organized labor and the government’s role in providing health care.

But in one area, they appear to be on the same page. On April 13, both Lamb and Rothfus voted to alter the Volcker Rule in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. This rule was established after the financial crisis of 2008, and prohibits banks from making risky investments with customers’ money. The bill that cleared the U.S. House, the Volcker Rule Regulation Harmonization Act, would exempt banks with less than $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule. The bill passed by a vote of 300-104, and still needs to go through the U.S. Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump before it becomes law.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge Mike Kelly (left) and Keith Rothfus
Mike Kelly (left) and Keith Rothfus
Since the late 2000s, many congressional Republicans have been critical of the country’s rising national debt. By the early 2010s, a cavalcade of Republican candidates swept into the U.S. House on the message of “fiscal responsibility,” including local U.S. Reps like Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley).

But those budget-deficit concerns appeared to be thrown out the window when representatives like Kelly and Rothfus and voted for the big tax-cut bill last year. According to a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the national budget deficit will be $1.85 trillion higher over the next 10 years than previously projected thanks to the tax-cut bill.

And on top of that, analysis of the tax cuts show that benefits will disproportionately go to the country's wealthiest citizens, and won’t lead to much improvement for low- to middle-income earners. But that doesn’t mean the Congressional Republicans who backed the tax bill will see many negative effects in their personal finances. In fact, a new study shows that U.S. Reps like Kelly and Rothfus will personally reap thousands of dollars in benefits every year thanks to the tax cuts.

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 2:35 PM

Following politics these days is a whirlwind. With the chaos of the Trump administration, it's hard to stay focused on local political races that will more directly affect constituents. Heck, even controversy surrounding local politicians like former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy can distract constituents from other state or municipal political stories.

But City Paper wants to help. On April 12, CP is teaming up with Women for the Future of Pittsburgh (WTF PGH) to host a political forum and game night with political candidates for Pennsylvania General Assembly seats and U.S. congressional seats before the May 15 Primary Election. The event will run from 6-9 p.m. at Spirit in Lawrenceville, and will include plenty of time for candidates to stump their platforms and meet voters. But the event will also include games for the candidates to play as a way to entertain and inform constituents. There will also be a cash bar available.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 5:09 PM

click to enlarge Rally goer at March for Our Lives in Downtown Pittsburgh on March 24 - CP PHOTO BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
Rally goer at March for Our Lives in Downtown Pittsburgh on March 24
In the month since a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. left 17 students and staff dead and several wounded, a renewed effort to reform gun laws has taken hold across the country, and in Pennsylvania.

This year, nearly a dozen pieces of gun-control legislation have been introduced in the Pa. state legislature. Some bills limit the sale and use of assault weapons, ban high capacity magazines and enact stricter gun-ownership laws. Some Pennsylvania elected officials are hoping young voters start to rally behind some of these bills.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 1:49 PM

click to enlarge A sign for Rick Saccone at a home in Sewickely, which is outside of PA-18 - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
A sign for Rick Saccone at a home in Sewickely, which is outside of PA-18
The special election happening today on March 13 has garnered so much attention and excitement that people from across the region are champing at the bit to cast votes for Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) or Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth).

Problem is, only people that live and are registered in Pennsylvania’s 18th U.S. Congressional District can actually vote in the special election. But that isn’t stopping people from heading to their polling places anyway.

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