HIT: The presidential campaign of former Philadelphia congressman and Navy admiral Joe Sestak caused nary a ripple – a poll in Iowa conducted in the middle of November had him at 0% support – so it was appropriate that his decision to end his campaign didn’t exactly generate many headlines either. Within hours of Sestak’s withdrawal announcement last weekend, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock also made public his decision to end his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Bullock was followed in turn by U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who started off in a commanding position after she announced her candidacy in January, but saw interest ebb as the year progressed. Now, Sestak and the other candidates can move on to more constructive endeavors. And as the year winds down and the first votes are closer to being cast in the 2020 presidential election, it is good to see that the field is finally being winnowed.
MISS: It increasingly appears that the theater program at Point Park University in Pittsburgh is going to be marked by timidity and cowardice. After canceling performances of “Adding Machine: The Musical” following complaints by some students and faculty that audiences might not understand that it’s spoofing racist attitudes, students are now apparently feeling uneasy about the scheduled production of “Parade,” a Tony Award-winning musical about the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner in Georgia who was wrongly accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 13-year-old girl more than a century ago. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, students are also demanding that the creative teams for productions include at least one woman and person of color. There’s no question that diversity is a positive thing. But should a quota system be placed on the creation of art? And it’s getting harder and harder to figure out what plays could be staged at Point Park that would not rattle the delicate sensibilities of students who appear to be increasingly infantilized.
MISS: You have to hand it to state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell – the Philadelphia-area Democrat has managed to shake public confidence in both government and the nonprofit sector. On Wednesday, the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged Johnson-Harrell with theft, perjury, tampering with public records and other charges after it was found she was stealing $500,000 from a nonprofit organization she founded in order to pay for luxuries like a Porsche, fur coats, designer clothing and fancy vacations. To her credit, Johnson-Harrell was reportedly going to accept a plea deal while, for the most part, denying wrongdoing and resigned her seat. Johnson-Harrell was elected in March in a special election to replace Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, who was convicted on charges and bribery and other misdeeds. We can only hope that residents of Johnson-Harrell’s district finally get representatives who are not corrupt.
MISS: U.S. Attorney General William Barr made a gobsmacking pronouncement this week when he stated that Americans “have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves – and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” Um, what?! Of course, law enforcement officials deserve respect, but they are not beyond criticism or scrutiny. And all communities deserve police protection, even if they protest the actions of police. Frankly, Barr’s authoritarian world view is frightening.