Medicare blowback, the Katz documentary and a big Easter basket of data

    Remember a couple of years ago when Congress was debating the health care law and Democrats were getting ripped by angry voters at town hall meetings? It seems the Paul Ryan budget may have put the town meeting shoe on the other foot.

    Freshman Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta is among those who got an earful at an American Veterans post in the Poconos last week.

    Marin Cogan’s piece in Politico notes that Barletta’s presentation on the national debt was interrupted by a man who asked, “As a senior, did I not pay for these Medicare and Social Security benefits? Didn’t I give Washington my dollars so that as a senior I could live on them?”

    Barletta also got heat from some conservatives who think he wasn’t enough of a budget hawk. Read Cogan’s piece here.

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    Tonight on Channel 6, you can see the pilot episode of former mayoral candidate Sam Katz’s anticipated documentary series, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. Katz hopes to generate enough interest and funding from this 30-minute film to fund an eight-episode series.

    I’ve seen this one, and it’s well worth your time. It focuses on the period after the civil war, when much of the city we recognize today was built. It’s on at 7:30.

    Katz, by the way, is one candidate who really, really isn’t running for mayor. While John Street and Tom Knox have changed their voter registration to preserve political options for November, Katz remains a Democrat. That means he can’t run as an independent in the fall.

    Finally, hearty praise is due the mostly young, enthusiastic computer geeks who’ve produced the new website Open Data Philly with links to all kinds of useful information about the area, from locator maps for city services to campaign finance records. Read Shai Ben-Yaacov’s story in Newsworks here.

    It was unveiled at one of dozens of events planned for Philly Tech Week, which you can learn more about here.

    I did notice one rich irony at Open Data Philly website. For past election returns, the site links you not to the Philadelphia city commissioners, which actually runs elections in the city and certifies results. Their website has no returns at all.

    Instead the link is to Campaign Scientific, a website maintained for years by Stephanie Singer, Democratic leader of the 8th ward in center city and currently a candidate for city commissioner.

    In fact, when you hit the Open Data Philly link for returns, you get a page which says in part, “Stephanie Singer, Candidate for Philadelphia City Commissioner, provides this website as a service to the community. To support her candidacy, please donate or volunteer. Thank you!”

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