Happy Weekend, All.
The World War II era conjures plenty of vivid images in the American imagination. From the famous “Kiss” in Times Square to the U.S. Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, there are no shortage of indelible images from that seminal time in our history.
None, however, may as indelible as that of the iconic Rosie the Riveter, and the famed “We Can Do It,” poster by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller honoring the millions of American women who worked in factories and shipyards during the war, where they made the armaments that fueled the American war effort.
This week, in a rare show of bipartisanship, President Donald Trump signed legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and other lawmakers, creating the Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal, honoring those surviving “Rosies” who were so pivotal to the war effort.
The bipartisan legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. along with every other woman member of the Senate, with 76 Senate co-sponsors in all. In the House, the bill was backed by U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, along with U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Casey’s office said in a statement.
“Millions of women helped support our troops during WWII, whether they worked on assembly lines, addressed the troops’ medical needs or tended to ships and farms. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ have set an example of the ‘We Can Do It’ spirit for decades, and this recognition of their tremendous service and patriotism is long overdue,” Casey said in a statement released by his office.
So amid the flood of bad news from Washington this week, here’s one bright spot.
Our usual countdown of the week’s Top 5 Most-Read Stories starts below.
Take care of yourselves — and be kind to each other.
John L. Micek, Editor
If there’s one calling card of Donald Trump’s presidency, it’s been his unremitting attack on the institutions of government. From the State Department to the Pentagon, no agency has escaped the soon-to-be former president’s Twitter rage. Trump’s assault on what he calls ‘the deep state,’ abetted by the whack-job disciples of the odious QAnon conspiracy theory, has inflicted long-term damage on the public trust’s in government. And repairing it will be one of the many challenges that President-elect Joe Biden will face when he takes office in January.
But it’s fair to say that Trump has reserved particular scorn for the judicial system, as he’s assailed the lineage of American-born judges and launched attacks so blistering that U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was prompted in 2018 to launch a rare public defense of the independence of the federal judiciary after Trump dismissed a judge who’d ruled against his asylum policy as an “Obama judge.”
“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a statement at the time. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”
So after all those attacks, it’s been particularly gratifying to see judges across the country, but particularly in Pennsylvania, step up over these last few weeks and basically laugh the administration’s groundless claims of election fraud clean out of their courtrooms.
Republicans who control the state Senate ignored requests for comment from the Capital-Star and other news organizations on Monday, even as another lawmaker who attended a hearing in Gettysburg last week tested positive for COVID-19.
State Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, announced on Facebook Monday that she had tested positive for the virus, PennLive reported. She is the second lawmaker to test positive, after it was revealed that the Nov. 25 event’s organizer, Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, had to leave a West Wing meeting with President Donald Trump after being told he had tested positive hours after that hearing concluded.
“I am grateful that my symptoms are minor,” Ward’s post stated, according to PennLive. “I am adhering to the Senate’s COVID-19 Mitigation Policy and my last interaction with the public was on Wednesday, November 25, during which time I wore a mask. I felt it was appropriate to share this information publicly.”
Ward was seated two seats away from Mastriano, separated only by incoming Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, during a four hour-plus session on alleged voting irregularities on Election Day.
Supporters of President Donald Trump circled the Pennsylvania Capitol for, potentially, the last time Monday in hopes of shaking the uninterested Republican-controlled state Legislature into stopping the commonwealth from giving its 20 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.
Republicans in the House and Senate have been saying since before the election they have no mechanism to change the presidential outcome.
While GOP leadership talked of auditing the election, such a proposal was shot down by lawmakers on a legislative research committee. Also, neither House or Senate Republicans issued any subpoenas to compel testimony before legislators on voting irregularities.
Seeing their tepid approach, Monday’s rally-goers, about 100 in all, put their state legislators on notice that they would remember in 2022.
“I will make it my personal mission to see to it that every one of these people who stand against us right now get primaried by a credible challenger,” said Bobby Lawrence, a Franklin County GOP committee person and organizer of Monday’s protest.
WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania state Auditor Eugene DePasquale has filed the paperwork for a rematch against Rep. Scott Perry in 2022.
But it might not be what you think.
After DePasquale’s much-hyped but ultimately disappointing campaign against Perry this year, he might have reason to run it back. These kinds of grudge matches are not uncommon, after all. Uphill challengers often use a first, failed run to introduce themselves to the district and raise their name recognition, before polishing off an incumbent on a second go around.
And with Pennsylvania projected to lose a Congressional seat in an upcoming round of redistricting, whatever new district is drawn around Harrisburg well may be more friendly for Democrats than the current one, which sent Perry back to Congress by a margin of almost 26,000 votes.
The campaign didn’t comment on whether any of that is the case, however, declining to comment on whether the filing, made late last month, means Pennsylvanians should expect DePasquale to run again next election cycle.
It’s been nine years since Pennsylvania Democrats last controlled a chamber of the General Assembly.
With Gov. Tom Wolf’s election in 2014, the party regained its grip over the executive branch. In his four years in office, Wolf has readily wielded his veto pen to quash Republican legislation including a 20-week abortion ban.
But he’s found himself stonewalled on many Democratic policy priorities such as raising the minimum wage.
Yet Democrats can point to a number of big political wins — most notably a new congressional map in 2018 — that can be traced back to the party’s takeover of the state Supreme Court in 2015.
The majority-Democrat court has also ruled against Republican priorities in several cases, infuriating GOP leaders and prompting efforts to change the court.
And that’s the week. Enjoy your weekend. We’ll see you all back here on Monday.