Thursday, March 17, 2005

Whack Job PA Dot Com

I'm wondering if this conference is something ripe for protest. It's called the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, but it's a whack job right wing meeting in Harrisburg, PA with Ann Coulter as the dinner speaker. Anyone able to keep their food down after that surely qualifies as a mutant or something. They claim to be the heart of the conservative coalition in Pennsylvania, but by the looks of the panels that means the conservative coalition in Pennsylvania is wholly bought and paid for by the extreme Christian right. Check out this session:

Michael Geer
President – Pennsylvania Family Institute


Joseph Pitts
U.S. Representative

Gibson Armstrong
State Senator

Bill Devlin
Urban Family Council

Michael V. Ciccocioppo
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Randy Wenger, Esq.
Alliance Defense Fund

The Pennsylvania Family Institute of Mr. Geer claims to be non-partisan, but provides a speaker to head this session at a conference that is clearly partisan. Their web site makes it clear they are a branch of the extreme conservative movement in their stressing the issues of choice, prayer, and other issues.

Congressman Joe Pitts represents Lancaster, Berks and Chester counties, and is proud of his work whining about the Supreme Court refusing the Florida Schiavo case in January and his "unbigoted" support of the Marriage Protection Amendment, but as much as he claims that view is not bigoted, he's done not one positive thing in his years in Congress for gay people.

State Senator Gibson Armstrong represents Lancaster, a fairly conservative area, so it's not surprising to see his extreme stances on issues. What he's most proud of lately is his intimidation of State University Presidents on the issue of whether conservative students are getting to say whatever they please on campus, a completely bogus issue. David Horowitz got caught on this issue by Media Matters this week, simply making up stories to support himself. And, coincidently, Armstrong fails to cite sources for the tales of horror in Academe he tells.

Bill Devlin of the Urban Family Council has been famous around Philadelphia for his anti-gay diatribes for at least ten years. Enough said.

Michael V. Ciccocioppo, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is also heavily involved in the Schiavo mess in Florida. Need I say more?

Finally, among the right wing extremists, is Randy Wenger of Alliance Defense Fund, a religious group of attorneys whose main goal is to advocate for anti-choice and anti-gay issues throughout the country. Don't take my word for it -- go to their web site.

I'm all the way in Philadelphia, and will not be around to protest this conference in Harrisburg or anything, but it would be interesting to get a tape recorder into these meetings. What, for instance, does Ann Coulter say when the audience is a group of slack-jawed admirers? What do these minions of hate say when it's just to each other? The problem is finding a fair-minded person willing to stomach their rhetoric long enough to record it, and that's a difficult task.