Want to be a Judge in Philadelphia Courts? Get in line to buy some votes!

There are those who are jaded who will say that, “Of course, this thing happens all the time.”  And there are those who will say that Philadelphia and corruption go together like a bagel and cream cheese, but the practiced described herein is not illegal.  And now that I see some of my peers (Emily’s peers, actually) running for Judge, well, I just don’t know.  But, in the meantime, here’s some facts for you from today’s Inquirer:

“It’s ‘the process,’ ” said Ladov, among 45 candidates for 10 spots on Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court. The 10-year term comes with a $164,602 salary.

Eleven candidates are vying for one slot on Municipal Court, a job that lasts six years and pays $160,793.

“Either you fold your arms across your chest and say you don’t like the process and, therefore, ‘I am not going to be involved and not going to serve the people,’ ” Ladov said, “or you say, ‘This is the process. If I get elected, I can do good, and I can make a meaningful contribution.’ “

She chose the latter, and she is paying thousands of dollars to hire two “consultants,” including still-influential former U.S. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers, jailed in 1981 in the Abscam scandal, and a 30-year ward leader, John Sabatina, who works to persuade other ward leaders to back his judicial candidates.

“I’m working 24 hours a day trying to make sure these people get covered all over, from wards to churches to wherever there can be an asset to their candidacy,” said Sabatina, who also is helping three other would-be judges this year. For his work, they pay him $20,000 to $35,000 apiece.

Shannyn Moore – This is your moment

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Have you ever been to Alaska?  It is truly the most beautiful part of this country.  Denali (Mt. McKinley) is pretty much the biggest protrusion on the planet.  The wildlife and natural wonders are as big as the massive territory Alaska occupies.  And though it was many years ago that I visited, I was so taken with the people, the food and everything about the place.  It felt so amazing and so different and so far away, but it also felt like I was still home, even more so than the times I’ve visited Canada.  Maybe it’s my legal training, but there’s something about being within the bounds of the USA, even if not the ‘lower-48’.

Shannyn Moore is a writer and radio host I had never heard of until Sarah Palin decided to dump a bucket of crazy all over the political news cycle.  Palin abruptly resigns for no discernible reason and then gets her lawyer to threaten Shannyn Moore, thus elevating anything Ms. Moore had to see from the level of opinion and anlysis to national news story.  If we were talking about any other failed vice presidential candidate, I would think there was some scheme at work, some nefarious plot to draw our attention away with spectacle and distraction.  But Sarah Palin is not like the stage magician who shows you a puff of smoke with his right hand while deceptively making the trick happen with her left.  I can’t give her (or her lawyer) that much credit.

So now, thanks to Palin’s threats of defamation and protracted and expensive (and frivolous) litigation, all of the sudden tens of thousands of people who didn’t know Ms. Moore’s name are now regular readers and commenters on her blog.  Now a story of corruption that no one really cared about or reported on (except, perhaps a handful of concerned Alaskans, including Ms. Moore) is front and center.  Why?  Because the pit bull with lipstick started barking again.

So my hope is that Ms. Moore will now have an opportunity to become another progressive voice of reason in our national discourse.  She already has a presence at Huffington Post and her circulation should only grow wider from here.  GOPer and hard-line conservatives can Governor Mrs. Palin bringing a new voice into the fold – one that is strong and brave and proud of her heritage as an Alaskan; one that reminds me how lucky I am to live in a country that includes such an amazing place.