Political Notes: Words, Action and What’s Acceptable


Cindy Sheehan's recent foray into the City of Brotherly Love netted her more than just the endorsement of City Council; it also sparked the ire of the Zionist Organization of America.

The military mom and Iraq-war protester – who became a media sensation this summer when she camped outside of President George W. Bush's Texas ranch in a bid to get the administration to call home the troops – stopped in Philadelphia two weeks ago. Waiting for Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in action in Iraq, was a Sept. 15 resolution introduced by at-large Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown praising her anti-war efforts.

In a letter to Brown, who's a Democrat from Wynnefield, executive director of the ZOA's Greater Philadelphia District Steve Feldman denounced Sheehan and urged the City Council to withdraw the resolution.

"The death of any family member as the result of war is tragic … . But some of those who have suffered great losses and who oppose the war have other agendas," wrote Feldman, who went on to refer to an anti-Israel quote attributed to Sheehan.

Sheehan reportedly said earlier this summer: "You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine, and you'll stop the terrorism."

"While freedom of speech and freedom of association are rights that we hold dear," continued Feldman," the words and actions of some individuals and organizations place them beyond acceptable discourse and alliances."

In Again, Out Again

Former Democratic state Treasurer Barbara Hafer turned down another bid for public office last month when she refused to challenge U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-District 18).

The one-time Republican – Hafer ran against Democrat Bob Casey for governor in 1990, but switched parties in 2003 to back Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell – earlier this year dropped out of the race against Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Casey's son, Bob Casey Jr., is instead challenging Santorum.

In an interview with the Washington Observer-Reporter, a Pittsburgh-area newspaper, Hafer, who left office in January, said she didn't want to take time away from her consulting business.

As the paper reported, "It was a matter of trying to go through the analysis of how much I could do for the business, and if I could keep the business going while running," she said. "The business is too young, and my clients are very important to me."

He Should Stick to the Politics

Halfway through his second term in Harrisburg, state Rep. Daylin Leach (D-District 148) has managed to earn a reputation for cool-headedness and an ability to stay under the radar. But a short-lived Web log of some of rants and raves, which he maintains is an outlet for his other desire in life – to be a stand-up comedian – made headlines recently over some of its less-than family friendly postings.

The Lower Merion and Upper Dublin legislator reportedly posted to the Internet more than 200 humor columns that he had privately written over the past eight years on a variety of subjects.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, many of the columns contained sexual references to girls' and women's body parts, as well as politically incorrect statements about ethnic minorities.

Just days after the blog's debut at www.leachvent.com, the legislator removed all of the columns. In a Sept. 1 explanation posted to the Web site, Leach, an attorney by trade, said that politics and comedy were his two passions in life.

"Humor helped me get through a difficult childhood, and has frequently enabled me to keep perspective whenever I get discouraged," he said. "My comedy has always been first and foremost just that – comedy. I was simply trying to make other people, and myself, laugh."



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