NatGas foes are just like Chairman Mao? Wait? What? | Thursday Morning Coffee

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Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Umm … so … yeah … this happened:

Nazi comparisons? So yesterday.

Today, if you really want to insult someone, you compare them to Chairman Mao, a murderous madman who made both Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin look like rank amateurs at mass murder. As the Washington Post reported in 2016, Mao, the granddaddy of Communist China, was responsible for the deaths of up to 45 million people because of his “Great Leap Forward” program.

“Yesterday (March 19) was a sad day in Harrisburg, PA. A group of virulent anti-fossil fuelers (maybe 200 or so) attended a staged rally where several shameful members of the state legislature, including Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman, and Tom “token RINO” Killion advocated shutting down the legal, legitimate, fully functioning and safely operating set of pipelines known as Mariner East 1 & 2 – just to pander to their kook voting base,” an outfit calling itself Marcellus Drilling News wrote in an amusingly incoherent piece posted to its website.

Pipeline critics did, in fact, rally in the Capitol rotunda on March 19. And residents from Dinniman’s and Killion’s suburban Philly districts did attend the event, according to published reports. Dinniman’s office also cranked out a video press release touting the event.

The author(s) of the March 20 piece, who compared drilling opponents to Mao (without explanation, or, apparently, a glimmer of historical knowledge) continued: “A counter-rally was held by Republican legislators (i.e. adults) who support the Mariner East pipelines.”

The story (now a couple weeks old, we admit) was called to our attention by a bit of Twitter clapback that Dinniman issued Wednesday in the direction of his critics, who claim backing from the natural gas industry (as the ad in the right column of the website makes clear).

If Dinniman has a black list, we want to be on it …

Our Stuff.
After Tuesday’s Democratic win in W.Pa’s 37th Senate District, Elizabeth Hardison takes a look at what has to happen if Democrats want to flip the state Senate in 2020. Spoiler: It’s the Battle for the ‘Burbs.
Hardison also has a look at the Senate version of the Don’t Call It A Nuclear Bailout They’ve Been Here For Years bill.
We take a look at a new Pew poll concluding that Americans are woefully under-informed on basic principles of science.

On the Opinion side of the house, two scholars say the U.S. Supreme Court should listen to mathematicians as it takes up gerrymandering cases.

A law firm with political clout complained to the Wolf administration about a Philly judge. Three months later, she got the hookThe Inquirer reports.
PennLive takes a look at the debate over whether consumers should be asked to bail out Three Mile Island and other nuclear plants.
The consent decree between warring healthcare titans, UPMC and Highmarkwill expire on June 30, a judge has ruled. The Post-Gazette has the story.
The Tribune-Review looks back on the Stanton Heights Tragedy, in which three Pittsburgh police officers were fatally ambushed, a decade later.

Here’s a very scenic #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

Local Syrians protested Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell’s refusal to raise the Syrian flag outside City Hall, The Morning Call reports.
Sunoco has agreed to a settlement after a leak at the Mariner East I pipeline, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports.
PoliticsPA previews this weekend’s annual Keystone Leadership Conference.
Oklahoma wants Johnson & Johnson to disclose its opioid marketing documents, reports.
Roll Call wonders whether character still matters in the 2020 presidential race.

He Said What?
“In keeping with the letter of the law, Congress should see as much as it can. The Attorney General should not breach the requirements of the law and not issue things that should not be given out.” 
— U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, during a tele-town hall with constituents on Wednesday night. Perry voted with the rest of the House in favor of making Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report public. But Perry told constituents Wednesday that he had “some mixed emotions” about that vote.

What Goes On.
Senate Democrats 
fan out across the state, holding events in Philadelphia, Wilkinsburg, Reading and Scranton to commemorate the assassination of Martin Luther King, and to address issues of poverty and economic insecurity.

It’s a full day for Pennsylvania’s chief executive. At 11 a.m., the Gov. Tom Wolf marks the first anniversary with the Pa. Overdose Information Network with an event at PEMA HQ in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County. At 3 p.m., Wolf is off to Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena to tout the benefits of STEM education at a student robotics competition.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
11:30 a.m:
 Reception for Sen. Pat Browne
11:30 a.m.: Reception for House Speaker Mike Turzai — at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C.
Hit both events, and give at the max, and you’ll part with a mere $3,000 today – not counting gas and parking in Washington D.C.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to longtime Friends O’the BlogTravis Kreider and Steve Chizmar, both of whom celebrate today. Congrats and enjoy the day, fellas.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one that popped up on shuffle last night at the gym that we hadn’t heard in ages. It’s emo-god Andrew McMahon and ‘Cecilia and the Satellite.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Chicago got past St. Louis in  a shoot-out, as ‘Hawks legends Tony and Phil Esposito suited up, winning 4-3.

And now you’re up to date.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.


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