Rendell not a fan of “The View”

I guess Governor Rendell won’t be joining Whoopi, Joy and the other ladies of “The View” anytime soon. During a “Morning Joe” interview today, the governor said the hit ABC show is beneath the dignity of the President of the United States.

President Obama appears on the popular ABC show Thursday.

I think there are some shows — I wouldn’t put him on “Jerry Springer,” too, right?” he said, according to TVNewser. “I think the president of the United States has to go on serious shows. And “The View” is, you can make a case that it’s a serious show, but it also rocks and rolls a little bit. I’m not sure he has to go on “The View” to be open to questions.”

George Steinbrenner

Another brief pause from Capitol news to note the passing of a Yankees icon. George Steinbrenner died this morning at the age of 80. During his reign, the Yankees won 11 American League pennants and 7 World Series.

Steinbrenner certainly had a temper, but he also knew how to poke fun at himself.

Quick sports break

Let’s take a short LeBreak from government news on this slow July day for a basketball update.

Here are three good takes  from solid sportswriters on how LeBron James has jumped the shark and damaged his reputation during this year’s free agent process.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons calls tonight’s ESPN special “car wreck television,” writing, I don’t think LeBron James has anyone in his life with enough juice to hurl his or her body in front of the concept of “I’m going to announce during a one-hour live show that I’m playing somewhere other than Cleveland.” It’s the best and worst thing about him — he has remained fiercely loyal to his high school friends, but at the same time, he’s surrounded by people his own age who don’t stand up to him and don’t know any better. Picking anyone other than Cleveland on this show would be the meanest thing any athlete has ever done to a city. But he might. Assuming he’s not malicious, and that he’s just a self-absorbed kid who apparently lost all perspective, that doesn’t make him much different than most child stars who became famous before they could legally drink — or, for that matter, Tiger Woods. That’s just the way this stuff works. Too much, too fast, too soon.

Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum argues, the big story, of course, was LeBron, who, drunk on the magnificence of his own LeBron-ness, is utterly clueless of how ridiculous this whole process has been, the monumental amount of self-importance attached to scheduling a one-hour show when you have zero championship rings and, at last glance, were seen folding like a beach chair against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

And the Detroit Free Press’s Mitch Albom critiques both James the news media in his column.

Maybe I’m channeling my crusty Ohio grandpa’s take on the situation, but I agree the whole scenario has become an embarrassment for both sports and journalism. And no, I won’t be watching this evening.
With that — back to Capitol news!

Rendell works on comedy routine

If this is what lame duck press conferences look like, the Harrisburg press corps will enjoy Governor Rendell’s final eight and a half months in office.

Yesterday, Rendell got chippy with reporters who were confused by the amount of land Pennsylvania is leasing out to Marcellus Shale drillers. (Never mind the fact Rendell and a DCNR secretary kept providing different numbers.) “Guys, what happened last night?” he asked. “Do I need to start holding these events in the late afternoon?”

Today, Rendell tried out some new material.

Q: Why are Democratic voters so lackluster about this year’s crop of gubernatorial candidates?

A:”I think it’s because those Democratic voters can’t deal with the reality that they’re losing me.”

Q: How realistic are various candidates’ plans to shrink the size of the General Assembly?

A: “We’d have better luck invading Ohio than doing that!”

Q: What’s your take on the GOP candidates’ education plans?

A: “Republicans don’t talk about improving education!”

And the kicker: Rendell’s risque response to a question about Republican lawmakers’ apparent willingness to accept a severance tax.(It’s worth the full listen)

NPR does Lady Gaga

Need a break from the primary?


“I outed him as a straight person”

Well here’s something a bit different: in the 182nd district, Democrat Babette Josephs says she’s outed her opponent — as straight. Josephs claims challenger Gregg Kravitz is lying about being bisexual.  From the Inquirer: “”I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs said during a fund-raiser at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, as some in the audience gasped or laughed, “and now he goes around telling people, quote, ‘I swing both ways.’ That’s quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy’s a gem.”

Kravitz, who insists he is, in fact, bisexual, responds: “That kind of taunting is going to make it more difficult for closeted members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves. …It’s damaging.”

Leach and Gallagher debate same-sex marriage

A state Senator pushing for legalized same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania took on a staunch opponent of the issue in a Harrisburg debate last night.

Democrat Daylin Leach, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, wants Pennsylvania to join states like Connecticut and New Hampshire in legalizing same-sex marriage. He discussed the issue with Maggie Gallagher, who heads the National Organization for Marriage.

Gallagher argued legalized gay marriage would lead to government crackdowns on institutions like the Catholic Church who oppose same-sex unions, drawing parallels to anti-racist statutes.

Gallagher made it clear she supports government efforts to repress racism – she just thinks opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t belong in the same category. Leach countered that he’s open to strengthening religious protection language in future versions of same-sex marriage bills, but Gallagher said the clause in his current legislation doesn’t go far enough.

She kept returning to the argument that same-sex marriage will have implications for the community.

Gallagher of the National Organization also said children ideally need to be raised in two-parent households, with both a mom and a dad. Leach argued that logic should lead to support for same-sex marriage.

Leach said he agreed with Gallagher that single-parent families aren’t ideal — and that’s why he’s pushing for gay marriage. He noted that he grew up without a father.

A constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman recently failed to clear a Senate committee.

I moderated the debate — you can catch the replay at some point on PCN.

Boxer Blimp

If you liked “Demon Sheep,” you’ll love “Boxer Blimp.”  As the narrator says, “no one knows from whence it came.”

Rendell: Paterson making the right decision

New York Governor David Paterson is expected to appear at a press conference within the next few minutes to announce he won’t seek reelection this year. You can watch a live feed of the presser — which appears to be in the exact same room where Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned two years ago –  on

Governor Rendell appeared on the network earlier today, and said he supports his fellow Democrat’s decision. He said Paterson is “a terribly decent man who cares about the right things and makes difficult decisions for New York. It’s sad to see a decent man step aside, but the right decision for him and the right decision for New York.”

A few minutes with Joe the Plumber

Joe the Plumber (aka Samuel J.Wurzelbacher) headlined state Representative Sam Rohrer’s Mobilize for Liberty event in Harrisburg today, giving the Berks County lawmaker his support a few hours after Rohrer mustered just a dozen votes in the State Republican Committee’s gubernatorial endorsement meeting.

Joe’s endorsement is apparently quite the coup. He says more than 200 politicians have asked for support this year, but so far, he’s only backed five. “I need to talk to candidates before I endorse,” he told me afterwards, explaining that his bar is pretty high. “We have a series of conversations – 20 to 30 minute conversations – and I grill them. I ask them questions about energy, education – make sure they’re straight.” Wurzelbacher says he also vets candidates online.

So why Rohrer? He says they share many of the same values – the Second Amendment, states’ independence, “integrity, honesty.” Plus, “Sam is really favored amongst the tea parties. It takes a lot for them to get behind an individual.”

Wurzelbacher touched on several different points during his speech, and many of them were surprising. He said he doesn’t support Sarah Palin anymore. Why? Because she’s backing John McCain’s re-election effort. “John McCain is no public servant,” he told the room, calling the 2008 Republican nominee a career politician.

I pointed out he’d just be plain old Sam Wurzelbacher of Ohio — Joe the Plumber wouldn’t exist –  without McCain. His response was blunt. “I don’t owe him s—. He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it.”

Wurzelbacher said, “McCain was trying to use me. I happened to be the face of middle Americans. It was a ploy.”

So why’s he still milking the Joe the Plumber image, appearing at conservative events across the country? Wurzelbacher says it’s his duty to take advantage of the platform he’s been given. He wants to talk up the issues he cares about, and encourage the grassroots tea party movement.

Wurzelbacher also told the room to lay off the extreme personal attacks on President Obama.  He said people who question whether Obama was born in the United States or compare him to Hitler “belittle and set back” the conservative movement.  “The birthers, the truthers — if people are trying to bunch them [with tea partiers], that would kill us. That just pushes away Democrats and independents who might come out for our cause otherwise.” He said he actually likes Obama, in some ways. “I think his ideology is un-American, but he’s one of the more honest politicians. At least he told us what he wanted to do.”


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