Monday, December 31, 2007

Ed Rendell had the worst year ever in 2007

I hear Gov. Ed Rendell is vacationing in Jamaica as the year draws to a close. He could use the rest. Rendell had the worst year ever in 2007, according to me and 52 percent of the readers who participated in my unscientific poll last week.

I asked readers of this blog to pick which of the following Pennsylvania politicians (House Democratic Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, indicted state Sen. Vincent Fumo, Gov. Ed Rendell or ousted House Speaker John Perzel) had the worst year in 2007.

My pick all along was Gov. Rendell. Readers agreed. Here's how the voting tally ended up: Rendell, 52 percent; Fumo, 20 percent; DeWeese, 16 percent; and Perzel, 5 percent.

Coming off a landslide re-election victory in 2006, and helping the Democrats take majority control of the state House for the first time in 12 years, Rendell expected to push through an ambitous big government, more taxes agenda in 2007. None of it happened.

Rendell proposed seven new or expanded taxes. None made it though the Legislature. Rendell proposed an $850 million energy plan, a multi-billion dollar plan to provide health insurance to the uninsured and a proposal to lease the Turnpike to continue sinking money into the state's failed mass transit systems. He struck out on all three.

A personal plea for more gun control measures was shot down the Legislature late in the year and Rendell couldn't even get a smoking ban passed by the time 2007 ended.

Rendell squandered whatever political muscle he had going into 2007. With 2008 an election year for the entire House and half the Senate, forget about any part of Rendell's agenda getting through the Legislature. Lame duck are the two words you will hear most often when Ed Rendell's name comes up in 2008.

Besides the governor's inability to get anything through the Legislature, Rendell had a bad 2007 for several other reasons.

He was embroiled in the scandal involving tainted campaign contributions from Norman Hsu. Initially calling Hsu a "friend," Rendell bowed to pressure and returned tens of thousands of dollars Hsu donated to Rendell's 2006 election bid.

The February ice storm that stranded 1,000 motorists on Interstate 78 also exposed the incompetence and mismanagement of several state agencies under the Rendell administration. Audits of PHEAA and PennDOT also showed how poorly state agencies are run.

Last but not least, the Eagles, which Rendell predicted were playoff bound, finished 8-8 on the season. That's better than Rendell in 2007, but still mediocre.

Here's a brief recap of why the other three politicos had bad years in 2007:

Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Bill DeWeese, was embroiled in scandal throughout 2007, the biggest of which is "Bonusgate," in which state employees spent time working on political campaigns while collecting paychecks from taxpayers. Current and former Democratic legislative leaders are facing criminal indictments in 2008 over the incident. DeWeese could be the biggest fish snared by Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett. When he wasn't answering questions about "Bonusgate," DeWeese proved to be the most ineffective political leader Pennsylvania has had in decades. No major legislation was approved in 2007 in the Legislature, the most expensive in the country.

Sen. Vince Fumo is facing a 139-count federal indictment for fraud and corruption, centered on $1 million in taxpayer money he allegedly used for personal gain. He had enough pull to get this trial moved back beyond the April 22 primary, but he is facing a strong challenge from a reform candidate, Anne Dicker

The most powerful politician in Pennsylvania in 2006, Rep. John Perzel was ousted as Speaker of the House in January mainly by a revolt from his own Republican House members. He was given the title of "speaker emeritus" but Perzel lost most of his influence in 2007. His hopes for the governor's office in 2010 were also dashed. Perzel has dreams of returning as House Speaker in 2009 thanks largely to the incompetence of the Democrats, but Perzel has to get past the half-dozen Republicans who refused to vote for him in 2007.

George Will on Global Warming hysteria

From George F. Will's end-of-the-year column in the latest edition of Newsweek:

In March, when a planned trek by two explorers to the North Pole, intended to dramatize global warming, was aborted because of temperatures 100 degrees below zero, an organizer of the consciousness-raising venture explained that the cancellation confirmed predictions of global warming because "one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability." Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize that should have gone to nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, who proposed saving the planet by limiting — to one — "how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting." At the U.N. global-warming conference in Bali there was Carbon Footprint Envy—the airport did not have space to park all the private jets.

Read the full column -- "2007: Ready, Fire, Aim" -- at Newsweek's Web site,

What did Bill DeWeese know and when did he know it?

Bill DeWeese, Democratic Majority Leader in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, has been making the rounds to various newspapers in recent weeks attempting to distance himself from the growing "Bonusgate" scandal.

DeWeese main argument is that his aides were behind the apparently illegal effort to use taxpayer dollars to pay for political work done on behalf of Democratic legislators.

This reminds me of the Nixon cover-up during Watergate. Nixon insisted that he didn't know what his top aides were doing. That was until tapes surfaced proving that the cover-up went right to the Oval Office.

Brad Bumstead takes a look at where things stand with the "Bonusgate" investigation as we close 2007. What will 2008 bring for Bill DeWeese and other top Democrats? Criminal indictments? You can bet on it.

"How could a $2 million-plus bonus scheme take place under DeWeese's nose without him knowing about it?" Bumstead asks

"It defies all logic and tradition in the General Assembly to think that aides acted unilaterally," Bumstead continues. "One of the guys allegedly at the heart of the e-mail string on bonuses was Mike Manzo. He was close to (former Democratic No. 2 House leader Mike) Veon. But he (Manzo) was DeWeese's chief of staff. He never mentioned the bonuses to his boss?"

Read Bumstead's full column at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Web site,

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rendells planning a dictatorship in 2008?

I had a hard time believing this when I first saw it at two of my favorite blogs, Is This Life? and, but I tracked down the source of the information at state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe's Web site, so it must be true.

Metcalfe posted an article called "Judge Rendell Endorses Dictatorship" in which Mrs. Edward G. Rendell, aka Judge Midge, advocates a dictatorship for her husband, the governor.

Apparently that's the only way Rendell can get his way despite having a Democratic majority in the state House.

Mrs. Rendell's "benevolent dictatorship" comments were made at a Nov. 8, 2007, panel discussion in Philadelphia by The National Association of Women Judges.

Judge Midge told the audience that a "benevolent dictator" like her husband could solve all the state's problems.

"The arrogance of Mrs. Rendell's comments expose the liberal core beliefs of her and her husband that have been evident through the actions of the tax, borrow and spend Rendell administration," writes Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County.

"Elitists, like the Rendells, attempt to lead people to believe that only they themselves know what is best for 'we the people.' When our representative government works by stopping tax increases, socialized medicine, gun control and amnesty for illegal aliens, the liberals cry 'gridlock' because they are not getting their way," Metcalfe writes.

Read the full commentary at Metcalfe's Web site,

More proof the political system is rigged

If you want more proof that the Political Class has usurped the power of the people in Pennsylvania, look no further than the latest ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The court rejected an appeal by citizen activist Gene Stilp asking for an accounting of $300 million in tax dollars hidden in Legislative slush funds. Stilp argued that the Auditor General in Pennsylvania has the authority to audit the Legislative slush funds. The court rejected Stilp's argument.

Imagine that. Pennsylvania taxpayers don't have a right to know how their elected representatives spend tax dollars. I must have a different copy of the Pennsylvania Constitution than the one the state Supreme Court is reading.

This is but the latest example of how the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of Pennsylvania government have conspired to exclude the people of Pennsylvania from their government. Do I have to mention the July 7, 2005, pay raise vote that the three branches conspired on?

This is why activists called on Pennsylvania voters to turn out all judges on the November ballot.

It's also interesting to see the quote by the state's new chief justice, Ron Castille, whose contempt for open government and accountability is evident:

"The fact that Stilp has a different view of the auditor general's authority, or the role of his office, does not make him better situated than the official," Castille wrote in the 14-page decision. "Nor do Stilp's self-serving assertions of his own status, and his gratuitous denigration of elected officials, make him an appropriate party to litigate any question concerning the duties attendant upon an elective office."

The court can issue a ruling without comment, but Castille had to get a personal dig at Stilp. Castille is not much of an improvement from the last chief justice, Ralph Cappy, who was run off the court by Pennsylvania citizens for his undying support of the unconstitutional pay raise he backed.

Read about Stilp's case in this Associated Press story published in The Mercury.

Read: 'Principles Worth Fighting For'

There's an essay by Nathan A. Benefield at the Commonwealth Foundation Web site called "Principles Worth Fighting For" that everyone should read.

Everyone includes all the elected officials in Pennsylvania. The commentary is directed at this ruling class.

"For too long, our legislative leaders have taken the advice of the 'nobles' and worked for their own political benefit, rather than leading on principle," Benefield writes.

You can read the full article here.

Benefield also publishes the excellent Policy Blog, which anyone serious about Pennsylvania politics and government should be reading every day.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jim Matthews named one of the 'Biggest Losers of 2007', one of the most popular political sites in Pennsylvania, has an interesting post today naming Jim Matthews, turncoat Montgomery County commissioner, one of the "Biggest Losers of 2007."

Matthews is the registered Republican who won re-election to a new four-year term on the three-member Montgomery County Board of Commissioners by riding the coattails of Republican Bruce Castor. Matthews announced last week that he is forming an alliance with liberal Democrat Joe Hoeffel, the third member of the commissioners' board, to share power.

Read more about Matthews' betrayal of Republican voters in this earlier posting or at The Mercury's Web site.

Here's why Chris Freind named Matthews a loser:

"This Montgomery County Commissioner was elected last month as a Republican, along with top vote-getter Bruce Castor, then stabbed Castor in the back by announcing his alliance with, and allegiance to, Democrat Joe Hoeffel. This isn't about partisan politics, and it's not even about issues. It's about loyalty and honor, and voters abandon people who lack these qualities. Matthews is finished, and Castor will rise again. I threw out an open-ended question last week: Who would want to share a fox-hole with Matthews? Interestingly, no one responded. People who have character and loyalty know better—and ironically, so do fellow traitors. Matthews has pleased none and alienated all. Can't wait for his next trick."

Read the entire list of losers at

Lance Rogers wants Connie Williams' state Senate seat

Someone named Lance Rogers wants to be the next state senator for Pennsylvania's 17th Senatorial District, currently held by Sen. Connie Williams, a Democrat who announced she will not see re-election after nearly a dozen years in the state Senate.

Rogers, an attorney and current Lower Merion Township commissioner, has set up an exploratory committee and raised more than $100,000, according to a press release issued Thursday. That's pretty good considering Williams announced she wasn't running just a few days ago.

Rogers is seeking the Republican nomination to run for the state Senate.

"Over the last few weeks I have given a lot of thought to my candidacy for the state Senate, and to date have raised over $100,000 for my exploratory committee," Rogers says in the release. "I have also received overwhelming support and encouragement from numerous members of the community and Republican Party leaders asking me to run. I plan to make a final decision on my candidacy after the new year, one that will be based solely on the office where I believe I can be the strongest advocate for lower taxes, smarter government, my neighbors and our communities."

Williams is the latest big name politician bailing out of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

In a letter to her friends and supporters, Williams wrote that while she has enjoyed her 11 years in the Senate, "the time has come, however, for someone else to have the incredible opportunity that I have had. I will finish this term, which ends Nov. 30, 2008, and do not intend to run for reelection.

Williams' legislative career began in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1997, where she served as representative to Pennsylvania's 149th Legislative District. She held the position until running in a special election for the seat of retiring state Sen. Richard Tilghman.

Williams said that she would pursue an extensive agenda in 2008, including uncompleted legislative activity on election reform, open records and an energy independence strategy.

The 17th Senate District covers Bridgeport, Conshohocken, East Norriton, Haverford, Lower Merion, Narberth, Norristown, Plymouth, Radnor, Upper Merion and West Conshohocken.

There's going to be a lot of jockeying in Montgomery and Chester counties over the next few months to replace several high-profile politicians who are not returning to Harrisburg. Stay tuned.

10 callers in 50 minutes

If you didn't get a chance to listen to WPAZ 1370 AM Thursday afternoon, you missed a good show.

Being the end of the year, I expected to be doing a monologue for the entire 50 minutes I was on the air (you have to allow for news, weather and traffic breaks during the one-hour slot). But to my pleasant surprise, I had 10 callers during the hour.

Only two of the callers were familiar voices (people who called the show before.)

Three of the callers wanted to discuss how Gov. Ed Rendell is planning screw state retirees in 2008 by cutting back on their health coverage. Odd that Rendell would take away benefits from retirees when he's also pushing to cover all Pennsylvanians, isn't it?

Thanks to everyone who called in with questions or comments. It makes the hour go by much faster when you call.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rep. Doug Reichley ignores constituents on tax relief

State Rep. Douglas Reichley, R-134th Dist., recently announced that a survey found that his constituents rate property tax relief as the No. 1 issue they want the Pennsylvania Legislature to deal with.

The survey results were based on a poll Reichley took using his district newsletter.

"Holding down property taxes was overwhelmingly number one; controlling health care and prescription drug costs was second, which was closely followed by reducing the growth of state spending," according to Reichley.

So how does Rep. Reichley explain to voters in the 134th District why he is not supporting House Bill 1275, the School Property Tax Relief Act of 2007?

Only 44 members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors of HB 1275. Reichley is not one of them.

Where does your state legislator stand? See my list of "The Missing" in a previous post.

It's time to hold your representatives accountable. Make sure they hear from you and the message should be loud and clear: Eliminate property taxes now or voters will eliminate your job in 2008.

Listen to Tony Phyrillas on the radio today

Tony Phyrillas, The Mercury's award-winning political columnist, will host a one-hour call-in radio show from 4-5 p.m. today on WPAZ 1370 AM.

Phyrillas will review his picks for the top news stories of 2007 and also reveal which Pennsylvania politician had the worst year ever.

Listeners can call with comments or questions during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.

You can also listen to the radio broadcast on your computer by logging on to and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the home page.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

An end to junk mail?

Millions of people have signed up for various Do-Not-Call lists to stop annyoing telemarketing calls, but did you know you can also sign up for a service that reduces the amount of junk mail you receive?

I don't know about you, but I throw out half the mail I get because it's solicitations for credit cards or insurance quotes or magazines.

You can go to a Web site and request that your name be removed from solicitations from the major credit card and insurance companies for the next five years. That alone probably will reduce the volume of junk mail in half.

The site is

You can also call this number: 888-567-8688 to make a similar request.

Legislators 'still clueless after all these years'

From Tim Potts' latest e-mail newsletter:

Still Clueless After All These Years

Calkins Group Capitol Reporter Kori Walter on Sunday disclosed that lawmakers throughout PA, including many first-term so-called "reform" lawmakers, have spent more than $1 million on ads that feature themselves talking about tax rebates for senior citizens and college savings programs for kids. The ads ran on such programs as "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on MSNBC and "Hannity & Colmes" on Fox.

Such ads became controversial last spring when taxpayers learned that lawmakers had spent $6 million on the "public service announcements," or PSAs. The cost covers buying advertising time on television to run the ads, which f eature lawmakers talking about government programs. Most of the $6 million was spent in the 2006 election year when all incumbent House members and half of the incumbent Senate members were up for re-election.

In a March article, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted former House Majority Leader Robert Butera , a Republican who served as counsel to the Speaker's Reform Commission, calling the PSAs "an outrage."

"They're terrible, and voters resent it ... it's wrong. You cannot justify spending $1 on them. You can't justify this," Butera said.

Nevertheless, both the Reform Commission and the full House voted to keep them.

The worst offenders in 2006 were the House Republicans, who spent $4.4 million, followed by the House Democrats at $1.6 million.

Responding to the competition, House Democrats spent the most in 2007 at $850,000 while House Republicans cut their spending to $173,000. Senate Democra ts spent $47,000. Senate Republicans, who pledged in March to stop spending on PSAs, lived up to their promise and spent nothing on the ads. CLICK HERE for Walter's full story in the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Similar reports by Walter appeared in other Calkins papers across PA.

First-term lawmaker Tim Mahoney , D-Fayette, defended the program because of the response he received to the ads. He said that more than 1,000 seniors contacted his office, qualifying for average tax rebates of $385.

First-term lawmaker Deberah Kula, D-Fayette-Westmoreland, had a more narcissistic defense, claiming that people respond better to ads that feature famous people such as herself.

When you do the math, the money spent on the ads could have provided Mahoney's average tax rebate to another 2,779 seniors.


1) Who's more likely to be watching the programs where the ads appeared, low-income seniors in need of help or politically aware citizens whose votes lawmakers want in 2008?
2) Would it be more cost-effective to use other media that are more directly targeted to those who would benefit from the programs?
3) Would it be more cost-effective to have employees of human service agencies, both public and private, make phone calls to those who might need the help? (They're already being paid to help those in need. They know the programs and how to apply. And they're not running for re-election in 2008.)
4) Why should members of the legislative branch be doing the outreach and application work of agencies in the executive branch, an obvious violation of the separation of powers?
5) With former Rep. Mike Veon out of office in 2007, who will House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese , D-Greene, blame for this year's excesses?
Read the full newsletter at

Which Pa. politician had the worst year ever?

Which Pennsylvania politician had the worst year ever in 2007? Take a second and vote in the poll at the top left of this page. You have four choices, listed in alphabetical order:

1) Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Bill DeWeese, embroiled in scandal throughout 2007, the biggest of which is "Bonusgate," in which state employees sent time working on political campaigns while collecting paychecks from taxpayers. Current and former Democratic legislative leaders are facing criminal indictments in 2008 over the incident. DeWeese could be the biggest fish snared by the attorney general. When he wasn't answering questions about "Bonusgate," DeWeese proved to be the most incompetent political leader Pennsylvania has had in decades.

2) Sen. Vince Fumo is facing a 139-count federal indictment for fraud and corruption, centered on $1 million in taxpayer money he allegedly used for personal gain. He had enough pull to get this trial moved back beyond the April 22 primary, but he is facing a strong challenge from a reform candidate, Anne Dicker

3) The most powerful politician in Pennsylvania in 2006, Rep. John Perzel was ousted as Speaker of the House in January largely by a revolt from his own Republican House members. He was given the title of "speaker emeritus" but Perzel lost most of his influence in 2007. His hopes for the governor's office in 2010 were also dashed.

4) Gov. Ed Rendell came off a landslide re-election victory in 2006, but lost his political magic in 2007. The lame duck governor has been unable to get any of his initiatives past the Legislature even though Democrats now control the House. Revelations about mismanagement and waste in state agencies are coming out daily. Rendell had to return money from indicted Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu. And Rendell has been tabloid fodder over his relationship with a blonde lobbyist for the film industry and out-of-control anchorwoman Alycia Lane.

I have my picks, which I will share with you later in the week.

Phyrillas hosts radio call-in show Thursday

Tony Phyrillas, The Mercury's award-winning political columnist, will host a one-hour call-in radio show from 4-5 p.m. Thursday on WPAZ 1370 AM.

Listeners can call with comments or questions during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.

You can also listen to the radio broadcast on your computer by logging on to and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the home page.

Phyrillas will review his picks for the top news stories of 2007 and also reveal which Pennsylvania politician had the worst year ever.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Christmas Story

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David,)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

— The Gospel According to Luke 2:1-20

Jesus is the reason for the season

"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him.

His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth — His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life."

— This excerpt is from a sermon by Dr. James Allan Francis in "The Real Jesus and Other Sermons," a collection published in 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia.

I am again devoting space to this message because so much of Christmas has been subverted by the American Civil Liberties Union and the secular progressives.

As more Americans come to realize how much of a threat the ACLU and its financial backers have become to the American way of life, it's worth pausing to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is not a winter festival. It is not a designation of a retail season. It is not about Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, red-nosed reindeer and colorful lights. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior to billions of people. It is the second most important date in the Christian calendar, second only to the resurrection of Jesus, celebrated at Easter.

The commercialization of Christmas is not a new phenomenon. But the all-out attack on this most holiday day by the ACLU and its secular stormtroopers has reached a fever pitch.

Why are children being forced to immerse themselves in something called Kwanzaa (a harvest festival invented by a radical California college professor in 1966) but students are not allowed to study the historic and cultural significance of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Why is Christmas an officially recognized federal holiday but no mention of it is allowed in schools. ACLU-apologists can spin it any way they want, but Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

What can or I do to confront this anti-Christian tide? A few small things go a long way. Wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays."

Don't patronize stores that put up "Season's Greetings" banners instead of "Merry Christmas" signs. Display the Nativity on your front lawn instead of Santa or Rudolph or Frosty. Rent "The Nativity Story" from the local video store. Attend a church service this Christmas.

Stand up to the secular fringe. The United States is a nation where 85 percent of the people are Christian. You are the majority. Stand up for your rights for a change. Demand that your local school board restore Christmas to an equal footing with "harvest festivals."

When it comes to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, it's time for Christians to stop turning the other cheek and stand up to the secular progressives.

Turncoat Matthews calls Castor 'inflexible' on job for crony

The more we learn about Jim Matthews, the less there is to like.

So it was Bruce Castor's fault that Jim Matthews rushed into the arms of Democrat Joe Hoeffel.

Matthews keeps digging a deeper hole for himself as he attempts to explain his treacherous alliance with the liberal Hoeffel.

In an interview with veteran Montgomery County courthouse reporter published in The Mercury, Matthews said he decided to betray 85,000 Montgomery County voters (not to mention 247,000 registered Republicans) because Castor didn't like the idea of giving the juicy county solicitor's job to one of Matthews' cronies.

Governor Phyrillas? President Phyrillas?

This is a message left by a reader of The Mercury on the newspaper's Sound Off line. Obviously, we are dealing with a man of extreme intelligence here. Governor Phyrillas? President Phyrillas? That has a certain ring to it.

"I had the pleasure of speaking for 20 minutes to Tony Phyrillas and I just want to say what a fantastic job he’s doing in reporting the disgusting way that Gov. Rendell and all the crooked lawyers in Harrisburg are trying to get what they want for themselves. It takes a lot of time and effort to do all the research that Tony does and it would be nice if a man like him would run for governor or president because the man really cares about people."

House Democrats continue 'campaigning on the taxpayer's dime'

Pennsylvania House Democrats continue the disgraceful practice of producing and airing "public service announcements" to the tune of nearly $825,000, according to a report in the Beaver County Times.

This is tax dollars used to promote incumbent politicians.

"They just basically are campaigning on the taxpayer's dime," Russ Diamond, founder of PACleanSweep told reporter Kori Walter. "If somebody needs a program, they will find it. They don't need to see a commercial in the middle of (MTV's) "The Real World” to figure it out."

From Walter's story: One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-10th Dist., appeared on television more than 1,200 times in 2007 — and it cost taxpayers nearly $74,000, according to House Democratic records.

Here's a breakdown by Caucus that ran with Walter' story:


Public service announcement spending by legislative caucuses in 2007:

* House Democrats: $824,507

* House Republicans: $173,232

* Senate Democrats: $46,681*

* Senate Republicans: $0

Read the full story here.

Which Pennsylvania politician had the worst year ever in 2007?

I already know the answer, but I'm curious what others think. Which Pennsylvania politician had the worst year ever in 2007? Take a second and vote in the poll at the top left of this page. You have four choices, listed in alphabetical order:

1) Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Bill DeWeese, embroiled in scandal throughout 2007, the biggest of which is "Bonusgate," in which state employees sent time working on political campaigns while collecting paychecks from taxpayers. Current and former Democratic legislative leaders are facing criminal indictments in 2008 over the incident. DeWeese could be the biggest fish snared by the attorney general.

2) Sen. Vince Fumo is facing a 139-count federal indictment for fraud and corruption, centered around $1 million in taxpayer money he allegedly used for personal gain. He had enough pull to get this trial moved back beyond the April 22 primary, but he is facing a strong challenge from a reform candidate, Anne Dicker

3) Rep. John Perzel was ousted as Speaker of the House in January largely by a revolt from his own Republican House members. He was given the title of "speaker emeritus" but Perzel went from the most powerful politician in Pennsylvania in 2006 to one of 203 House members in 2007. His hopes for the governor's office were also dashed.

4) Gov. Ed Rendell came off a landslide re-election victory in 2006, but lost his political magic in 2007. He has been unable to get any of his initiatives through the Legislature. Revelations about mismanagement and waste during his administration are coming out daily. Rendell had to return money from indicted Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu. And Rendell has been tabloid fodder over his relationship with a blonde lobbyists for the film industry and a out-of-control anchorwoman Alycia Lane.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Can the Montgomery County Republican Party be saved?

Over the next two weeks, we will find out the answer to an important question. Is the Republican Party in Montgomery County bigger than three men? Who is in charge of the party? The voters, the elected committee members, the financial contributors? Or is the party "owned" by three men who have their own agenda?

This message is for Republicans, specifically those living in Montgomery County. Will you allow the party to be hijacked by three men?

I see the actions of Jim Matthews, Ken Davis and Bob Asher as no different than those of playground bullies. They want their way. They're willing to step on anyone to get what they want. They think nothing of mortally wounding the Republican Party that gave these men their power in the first place.

They've spit on the Republican Party committee members who helped Matthews get elected as a county commissioner, helped Davis win two terms as the county party chairman and helped Asher, a convicted felon, get elected as a national committeeman.

It's time for the GOP faithful -- all 247,000 --- to put this trio in its place.

Can the Montgomery County Republican Party be saved?

It can if Republican voters by the thousands tell Matthews, Davis and Asher that the party is bigger than the egos of three men. If Matthews, Davis and Asher aren't willing to do what the voters decided Nov. 6 -- entrust Montgomery County government to a Republican majority headed by Bruce Castor -- then the trio has to step aside.

If that doesn't happen between now and Jan. 7, when the Montgomery County Commissioners hold their reorganization meeting and select a chairman and vice chairman, then the Republican Party must sever all ties with Matthews, Davis and Asher. They've left the party by their renegade actions. It's time for 247,000 registered Republicans to walk away from them.

Without your votes, your willingness to volunteer for the party's candidates and your financial generosity, there is no Montgomery County Republican Party. Matthews, Davis and Asher are nothing without you.

If you want to send them a message, here's how to contact Matthews, Davis and Asher. (And you might want Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason to know that Montgomery County will not be part of a Republican Party that has been hijacked by three megalomaniacs.)

Contact Jim Matthews at or call the commissioners' office at 610-­278­-3020

Contact Ken Davis at or

Contact Bob Asher at

Contact Robert A. Gleason, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, at the party's Web site, or call 717-234-4901 ext. 126

Conservative newspaper will publish second issue

There was some doubt earlier this month if The Pennsylvania Republican, a conservative monthly newspaper, would survive beyond its inaugural issue because of the anemic response from readers.

Only 75 subscribers signed up for the first issue, way short of Publisher Chris Voccio's goal of reaching 900 subscribers before launching his venture, which is not affiliated with the Republican Party.

But Voccio is pressing on. The second issue of The Pennsylvania Republican will see the light of day this week, according to Voccio.

The newspaper has managed to attract 110 paid subscribers so far, a jump of almost 50percent since the first issue, Voccio boasts on his blog.

"I was pleased with this as we backed off our marketing efforts after Thanksgiving knowing that folks attention was on Christmas, where it should be, and not on politics or policy" Voccio said.

The January issue is 28 pages and FlipBook sneak-peak version will be loaded soon at the newspaper's Web site,

The January issue features articles from the Allegheny Institute, the Lincoln Institute and the Commonwealth Foundation, as well as new contributors Peg Luksik and Joe Leonardi.

Double-dipping on pensions

The Mercury in Pottstown takes a shot at school officials double-dipping on taxpayer-paid pensions in today's editorial page. This is a serious problem and is a prime example of why school spending is out of control. Pennsylvania doesn't need 501 school districts, doesn't need 501 superintendents earning six-figure salaries and certainly doesn't need these superintendents abusing the system by collecting pensions at the same time they're collecting paychecks from beleaguered taxpayers. Here's the editorial 'thorn' from today's paper:

THORNS for a system of government pensions that allows highly-paid school officials to collect a salary and a pension at the same time, all at taxpayer expense. Critics say the practice is an abuse of a state law that is supposed to be used only to fill vacancies in emergency situations. Supporters of the 2004 law, including the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the state’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System, say allowing retired school employees to continue working for as long as a year after their retirement helps schools fill unexpected vacancies or difficult-to-fill jobs. But state Rep. Karen Beyer, a former school board member who serves on the House Education Committee, said this week that the practice often amounts to “double-dipping” and she plans to introduce legislation to stop such abuses. In the private sector, employees get just one paycheck for the work they do. Seeing tax dollars go to pay two salaries to a school official is a tough pill to swallow.

Rendell plays politics with health care

Excellent op-ed piece in today's edition of the Allentown Morning Call about Gov. Ed Rendell's propaganda campaign to steer Pennsylvania toward a Hillary Clinton-style system of socialized medicine.

Two state lawmakers -- Rep. Doug Reichley (R-134th Dist.) and Rep. Craig Dally (R-138th Dist.) take Rendell to task on his administration's strong-arm tactics to force Pennsylvania businesses to pay for the health care of uninsured residents.

Here's a couple of questions nobody has asked Rendell: Why has the number of uninsured workers in Pennsylvania nearly tripled since Rendell became governor? And why did the governor wait into his fifth year in office before addressing this "crisis"?

Read the full commentary by Reichley and Dally here.

Charley Reese on the War Against Christmas

I've been writing for years about the far left's assault on Christmas, but Charley Reese, syndicated columnist, has beaten me to the punch this year.

I agree with just about everything Reese has to say in this op-ed piece titled, "Merry Christmas" about how a small, but vocal minority tries to ruin Christmas for the majority of Americans.

"Tolerance does not mean surrendering our own values and traditions," Reese says. "Protecting the rights of minorities does not mean surrendering our own values and traditions. No minority has the right to impose its wishes on the majority.

"Americans had better wake up to the fact that what makes a country are the people and their culture, not geography. Don’t let lame-brained intellectuals tell you that you have to be ashamed of America’s history, its culture and its traditions."

Read the full column here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Royer wants a rematch in 156th Dist.

Let's hope Shannon Royer has found 30 Republican voters in the last two years.

Royer narrowly lost the 2006 race for the 156th state House District seat in a race that eventually tipped the balance of power in Harrisburg to the Democrats.

A former Legislative aide, Royer wants to atone for his lackluster showing by challenging Democratic state Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith in 2008.

Royer, who lost to McIlvaine Smith by a razor-thin margin of 28 votes in 2006, announced his candidacy this week at Chester County Republican headquarters.

McIlvaine Smith, a major disappointment since her arrival in Harrisburg, hasn't announced her plans, but why would anyone walk away from a $76,000-a-year job that requires you to do nothing? McIlvaine Smith doesn't even have to decide how to vote. She does exactly what the party leadership tells her.

It's hard to say of Royer would have made any difference, but voters in the 156th District know he can't be any worse than McIlvaine Smith. And with all the corruption allegations and scandals facing the Democratic House leadership, odds are that the Republican Party will regain control of the state House in 2008. So why not have a state representative that is a member of the majority?

Royer told the West Chester Daily Local News that he intends to run on a "common sense" platform of lowering state spending, shrinking the size of the state legislature, and making sure education, not welfare, is Pennsylvania's biggest expense.

He criticized the Democrat-controlled state legislature for "increasing borrowing to $1 billion in debt service" and promoting a 2008 budget that called for spending at "two times the rate of inflation," the newspaper reported.

He compared watching the Democrats' performance in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this year to watching "a slow moving train wreck."

He grouped McIlvaine Smith with those train wreck Democrats, although he did not offer any criticism of her individual voting record, according to reporter Dan Kristie.

Perhaps Mr. Royer should review some of my earlier blog entries about how ineffective McIlvaine Smith has been.

After criticizing the state Legislature's 2007 performance, Royer outlined initiatives he would promote if elected to the House, Kristie reports.

Here's more from Kristie's story:

Royer said he would decrease the size of state government; implement term limits for legislators; work to cap spending so that it matches the rate of inflation; and make sure educational spending outpaced welfare spending.

He also said he would try to get the state to convene a constitutional convention in which "regular citizens" and not politically well-connected types would participate.

He talked about working on property tax reform that would give "relief to our most vulnerable residents: senior citizens," and income tax reform that would let "families keep more of their hard earned money."

He concluded, "I want to help restore people's faith in our house of representatives." (Hallelujah, don't we all!)

Chester County Commissioner Carol Aichele and West Chester Mayor Dick Yoder spoke at Royer's campaign announcement, and during each of their remarks they dwelt on the very narrow margin by which the candidate lost in 2006.

"I owe Shannon an apology," Yoder said. "I truly do, because I didn't work hard enough the last time. I could have gotten those votes."

No kidding.

The 156th District, which includes West Chester, the townships of East Goshen and West Goshen, and the southern portion of East Bradford, has been in Republican hands for decades, but a smug Chester County Republican Party let it slip through its fingers.

It appears Republicans won't make that mistake again.

Three cheers for the 'truth'

I like it when people agree with me. Here's a letter published in the TriCounty Record, a community newspapers in Morgantown, Pa., about a recent column I did on the global warming hysteria pushed by Al Gore and his cult following.

Three cheers for the 'truth'


As inconvenient as it may be for Al Gore's pocketbook, Chicken Little and his followers (elitists, that is) stand to loose mega-bucks when their scam begins to unravel about them.

As journalist Tony Phyrillas so eloquently stated in a guest column in Nov. 20 issue of the Record, the majority of 'drive-by' media sources are in bed with the alarmists, and "fanning the flames of Global Warming Hysteria."

They even use the term "consensus" when referring to the scientific world. The majority of the "drive-by" journalists are ignorant of the fact that the two terms, science and consensus, are diametrically opposed. Science is ongoing and ever-changing, and never reaches consensus, lest we reach earth's edge and all fall off!

Is man contributing to climatic change? Of course! Is life on the planet threatened? Certainly, but by Islamic terrorism, not global warming. While we are in the midst of a true global crisis, one that is threatening the very existence of all mankind. We face a fanaticism that feeds on and is supported by mad men with titles like dictator, president and prime minister (don't forget monster), and the left-wing loonies need a fabricated crisis to bring attention and research mega-dollars into their ego-tainted coffers.

Rather than join the ranks of patriots, or join with civilized societal leaders, or show backbone in the honest execution of their elected offices, they must create a substantial diversion to fuel their insatiable appetite for control and power.
Chicken Little, who sits in the hen house of some of the largest corporations, is well positioned to become a financial equal to (Warren) Buffet, albeit not even close in the integrity department.

I consider myself an environmentalist. I respect God's great Earth, and I do my share to keep it tidy. I try to give more than I take, and pick up after other non-caring homo sapiens.

I am also too smart to fall for the left's radical agenda. I'm apprehensive about the safety of our great nation, and for the future of my grandchildren and their children. I'm apprehensive about liberalism in our culture, the low morals of some of our society, and the non-citizen illegals who are bleeding our medical system dry.

All of this is taking place while Al and his cronies are propagating a scam of huge proportion that, when truth be told, the recorded differential in earth temperatures has risen about one degree on average over the past 100 years.
By the way, did I mention global terrorism? Our brave men and women in uniform have taken the fight to those who have started it (on Clinton's watch, incidentally), to their turf, giving their all to protect ours.

And while they do their best, the linguini-spined leaders in charge of the homeland are letting it fall to the leftist elites, who have far more important agenda's to mind.

Tom Shappell

An Open Letter to Jim Matthews

Chris Freind has penned an "Open Letter to Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews" posted at, "Pennsylvania's Marketplace of Ideas."

Freind, a columnist for The Philadelphia Bulletin, asks some pertinent questions about Matthews' betrayal of 85,000 Republican voters in Montgomery County by giving liberal Democrat Joe Hoeffel a much larger role in county government than voters wanted.

Freind makes an interesting observation about Matthews' future: "Who will want to share a foxhole with Jim Matthews? The silence is deafening. Don't be surprised if Bruce Castor -- remember him; he was your running mate -- becomes more powerful than you and Hoeffel combined. The electorate is funny that way. They may not care about greed, corruption or even bad policy, but they don't take well to traitors."

It's worth reading. Click here to see the full letter.

Failed Democratic Congress leaves town

I'd like to bring your attention to an excellent analysis of the first year of Democratic control of Congress published in The Washington Post.

I don't normally read the liberal newspaper, but it's hard even for Kool-Aid drinking liberals to pretend that the Pelosi-led House or the Reid-led Senate did any better than their GOP predecessors.

From ending the Iraq War to cleaning up corruption to stopping pork spending, Democrats failed to deliver in 2007. And don't expect to see any improvement in 2008.

It's not about replacing Republicans with Democrats. It's about replacing failed career politicians with people who will work for change. That transcends party lines, but it's hard to get that message across to Democrats, most of whom are still living in the 1950s.

Read the article by Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane by clicking here.

Two words for Jamie Lynn Spears: Birth control

I don't watch "Zoey 101" on Nickelodeon. Then again, I'm not a 12-year-old girl, which I'm told is the target audience of the show. (For the record, I am a big fan of "SpongeBob SquarePants")

I have a few thoughts on the news that Jamie Lynn Spears, the star of "Zoey 101" and the younger sister of professional train wreck Britney Spears.

The 16-year-old TV starlet told OK magazine she was "shocked" to find herself with child.

It's a shame that no one in Jamie Lynn's entourage ever talked to her about birth control. I won't even say anything about her "parents." From everything I've read, they're a couple of sponges who live off their children. I doubt they would make the time between facials and trips to Rodeo Drive to talk to their girls about birth control.

But there's got to be a manager and a publicist and personal assistant out there. These people may soon be out of jobs because I'm sure Nick is not planning a one-hour special called "Zoey Gets Knocked-Up."

Nick isn't going to renew a show about junior high school kid who gets pregnant. And what kind of future will a 16-year-old unwed mother have in Hollywood? Her target audience is pre-teens and I like to think that most parents don't want their pre-teens buying merchandise or watching a show about Spears.

There's an interesting column by AP writer Beth J. Harpaz, "How Do You Break The News About 'Zoey' to a 10-year-old?"

Even the stodgy Philadelphia Inquirer weighs in today on the Spears pregnancy.

Let's look on the bright side. Jaime Lynn Spears is a "D" list star in the pre-teen universe. Imagine the scandal had "Hannah Montana" gotten pregnant. Teen girls all over the country would have been jumping off buildings.

More wasted tax dollars courtesy of PennDOT

Earlier this year, I wrote about Ed Rendell's Katrina moment when the Rendell administration failed to respond to thousands of stranded motorists on Interstate 78 during a freak Valentine's Day ice storm. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency were exposed for their incompetence when they failed in the most basic functions they were set up for.

When the Rendell administration is done (unfortunately we have to wait until the end of 2010 for that), I predict it will be remembered for its incompetence.

PennDOT is mess. It's a $6 billion mess. A new report by the state auditor general found that PennDOT contractors hired to produce licenses and ID cards were not properly monitored and trained.

Read the editorial in today's edition of The Mercury about the auditor general's findings.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What others are saying about Traitor Jim Matthews

Here's a sampling of comments on the Jim Matthews/Joe Hoeffel Alliance, aka Axis of Evil, culled from e-mail I've received or interesting postings left on Web sites such as Is that a picture of Matthews hanging his head in shame?

1) "The disintegration of the Montgomery County Republican Party is now official, and Democrats have gotten their long sought after share of power in a suburban Philadelphia county court house. Democrats had high hopes of capturing a majority on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners in last November's election, however incumbent Commissioner Jim Matthews eked out a narrow victory seemingly keeping the GOP in charge. But this week, the Democrats won by intrigue what they could not win at the ballot box. Matthews has entered into an unholy alliance with Democratic commissioner-elect Joe Hoeffel who will now share in power, decision-making, and patronage. Left out in the cold is Republican commissioner-elect Bruce Castor. The move by Matthews is treasonous. Last spring it was Castor who received the most votes in endorsement balloting by the Montgomery County Republican Committee. In the November election it was again Castor who received the most votes, with Hoeffel and Matthews trailing. Clearly it is Castor who has the most party and voter support to implement his reform agenda. He has now been marginalized." -- Political commentator Lowman Henry

2) "I have been a loyal Republican ever since I first voted for Ike by absentee ballot from Korea. Now I feel betrayed by idiot Jim Matthews. He is a traitor, a liar, a nincompoop, an imbecile, a senile old ignoramus who should be tarred and feathered and run out of the County on a rail. I did not vote for Joe Hoeffel and when I cast my ballot for a Republican ticket I certainly did not expect to be stabbed by a Republican who has the audacity to support a Democrat for vice chairman. If Hoeffel has any political sense at all, he will turn down the job. The voters of Montgomery County are not stupid, they chose a Republican majority and they deserve to have their wishes carried out. I sincerely hope that you can negotiate with the traitor and make him realize the folly of his actions."

3) "No real Republican and no reformer and no conservative can support Traitor Jim Matthews or Asher or Davis. Who supports them will demonstrate that he or she is as much a sellout as Traitor Jim. If you want to be a Democrat, register Democrat. If Bruce decides to lead,and if he changes political strategy, he can re unite. Meanwhile the Snake and the Socialist will be making decisions that affect 800,000 residents of Montgomery County, 1/2 billion budget. 1000s of workers…not good."

4) "Will Jim Matthews change his name to Benedict Arnold Matthews?"

5) "How does Matthews justify what he did to the folks who elected him? This is not a Castor thing, this is a Republican thing. People worked their butts off to elect the two Republicans. And Matthews betrayed THEM, not Castor. So, what is Matthew’s response? Bruce was in flexible? How about the written stuff giving lie to that statement? Matthews needs to learn that repeating a lie often enough does not make it true."

6) "The Montco party chairman should be removed immediately for allowing this to happen. Jim Matthews is a traitor and he owes every Republican who spent time working for Lynn Swann and him during the Governor’s race an apology. He owes me an apology for this action given that I volunteered my time for his campaign to help stop Rendell. Now he is linking arms with the most LIBERAL member of Congress PA had for quite some time before Schwartz took office. I will contact Mr. Matthews privately as well. It is clear to see why Republicans will continue to lose statewide elections when people like Jim Matthews continue to put their own financial interests above their constituents."

7) "There has and will always be some power struggles within the party. But, in the past these issues were settled by the County Chairman and never in public. That is where the problem starts and ends. Mr. Davis, in my opinion, as chairman has never demonstrated any leadership and has only won re-election by appointing new committee people at the 11th hour. This is despite his repeated promises to change the by-laws. He is and will always be a puppet for Mr. Asher, who by the way has lost all is sound political wisdom. Mr. Davis has led the Republican Party down the tube and now with his blessing Mr. Matthews will do the same to County Government. The Matthews/Hoeffel team was not chosen to lead our County, but I agree Mr. Matthews must never have passed Politics 101. Mr. Asher, at one time, was a sound thinking politician who served well as County Chairman. It is a known fact he does not like Bruce Castor for whatever reason. And, the look on his face when Bruce won the endorsement said it all. However, Mr. Asher has always found a way to get even and the Matthews/Hoeffel team is it. Thank goodness for the wisdom of the Montgomery County voters when they elected Bruce Castor. At least there will be one sound thinking voice on the Board.

8) "Matthews' enmity for Bruce must be stronger than his desire to succeed, and he's thrown away all his work over the last several years, and will never be elected to any office again. But more than that, if we think about the future dynamics for the next four years, what Republican will listen to him, or respect him as a leader? And what Democrat will care about an ineffective turncoat Republican. In effect, Matthews will doom himself to a position with no power -- indeed the emperor will have no clothes."

9) "Then again, there are some who think the new Matthews-Hoeffel alliance might merely be an example of politics at its pettiest. It's no secret that Matthews and Castor, although both Republicans, don't always agree, so it could be that Matthews is teaching the former county district attorney a lesson in power politics. At any rate, Matthews' action is sure to have consequences. Many county Republicans are more than displeased about his lying down with a Democrat, and there are already rumblings about making him pay for his perceived disloyalty. To some he has committed an act of political treason, tricking those who worked hard to place and keep him in office." -- Columnist Lou Sessinger

Read more comments at and

50,000 visitors to TONY PHYRILLAS

With 12 days left in the year, my goal of attracting 50,000 visitors to this site in 2007 was pretty much a sure thing.

I wasn't expecting to reach the milestone today.

However, the recent news by Alicia Lane, wayward TV news anchor-babe, and Jim Matthews, political traitor, sent my site counter into overdrive in the past 24 hours.

I've been averaging 250-300 visitors a day for most of the year, but I've recorded more than 600 visits in the past 24 hours. I'd like to thank the new Montgomery County Axis of Evil, Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel, for sending so many readers my way. Or maybe it was Alycia Lane.

(And a personal note to the left-wing loon who left a message about my wife sitting at home and logging on to this site 50,000 times, we don't have Internet service at the house. That blows your theory out of the water, doesn't it?)

Al Gore and the Global Warming conspiracy

Pete du Pont, the former governor of Delaware, and the current chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, has a fascinating column in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal in which he claims that the Global Warming hysteria perpetuated by Nobel Prize winner Al Gore is a conspiracy by Third World countries and developing nations like China to hinder the U.S. economy while they promote their own.

Makes more sense to me that the Global Warming hoax. Read Pete du Pont's column at

Another reason property taxes are so high

The newspaper in Altoona did an analysis of school superintendent contracts. The Altoona Mirror looked at most of the state's 501 school districts.

The newspaper obtained the actual contracts of all the superintendents and has them posted at its Web site.

"In addition to the already-publicized salaries are benefits and perks that often last into retirement," according to the newspaper.

That means taxpayers often end up paying for mistakes made by their elected school board members, who turn into doormats when it comes to handing out salary and perks to superintendents.

You have to read this scandalous report. Here's the link to the newspaper's Web site,

The newspaper's findings about excessive compensation for school administrators are similar to what I wrote about in January 2007 in a column titled, "The Other Half of the School Tax Problem"

Jim Matthews' treachery against GOP

I have a full column today analyzing the betrayal of the Republican Party by Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews in today's edition of The Mercury.

You can read the online edition by going to The Mercury Web site at

You can read more details about the new Axis of Evil formed by Matthews and liberal Democrat Joe Hoeffel in a story by Montgomery County Courthouse reporter Margaret Gibbons.

There's also lively discussions taking place at both and

A quick perusal of the dozens of comments left at those sites shows nearly universal condemnation of "Turncoat" Jim Matthews.

Montgomery County voters rejected the Joe Hoeffel-Ruth Damsker platform of bigger government and higher taxes when they elected the Republican team of Bruce Castor and Jim Matthews as a majority on the three-member county commissioner board. Matthews went against the will of the people in making a deal to share power with Hoeffel.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jim Matthews betrays Republican voters

It appears "Republican" Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews has sealed his deal with the devil.

How is Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Ken Davis going to weasel out of this one? His candidate will share power with a liberal Democrat after Montgomery County voters made it clear they want Republican control of the Board of Commissioners?

There's no place for Matthews and Davis (and their puppet-master, Bob Asher) to hide.

Read more about Matthews alliance with Joe Hoeffel in today's edition of The Mercury.

Matthews may think he's won something by giving Hoeffel a say in county government, but Matthews has lost what little credibility he had with voters. He has also set in motion the Democratic takeover of county government in four years. Matthews is now a political pariah. Matthews will never win another election, in Montgomery County or statewide. Voters simply can't trust this guy.

You don't make a deal with Democrats when your party wins majority control. This is Politics 101 and Matthews has flunked. We're dealing with liberal Joe Hoeffel, Ed Rendell's pal.

Matthews accused Hoeffel of "picking your pockets with higher taxes" during the campaign. In one campaign ad, Matthews said "Hoeffel is proud he raised our taxes." What happens when Hoeffel wants to raise taxes? Will Matthews provide the second vote?

And didn't Joe Hoeffel accuse Matthews of corruption? What does that say about Hoeffel's character if he's now willing to work with Matthews?

It appears Matthews and Hoeffel were made for each other. Career politicians without a shred of integrity between them.

It's time for the rank-and-file GOP to kick Matthews, Davis and Asher out of the Republican Party. They want to get into bed with a liberal Democrat? Fine. But don't pretend you're Republicans. The trio has already slapped every Republican voter in the face by making the deal with Hoeffel.

Alycia Lane story has legs

For the second day in a row, the lead story in the Philadelphia Daily News is the misadventures of Alycia Lane, the TV news anchor-babe charged with punching a New York City policewoman over the weekend.

This is the kind of story that tabloid newspapers die for. The question is how long can the Daily News splash Lane's attractive face on its front page?

The latest news about our little Alycia is that shortly after she was released by NYC police, she placed a call to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Now this really hurts. Nobody has done more than I have over the past two years to keep Ed Rendell's name in the spotlight and I don't have the governor's cell phone number.

What does Alycia Lane have that I don't? (See photo for clues).

"Sources" confirmed to the newspaper that Layne, the knockout, 35-year-old news anchor, telephoned the governor around 5 p.m. Sunday, the same day she was arrested for allegedly going postal on a New York City policewoman.

Rendell's spokesman Chuck Ardo told the Daily News that Lane called the governor to "make sure he knew her side of the story because he is an opinion-maker and runs around in influential circles."

The revelation that Lane called Gov. Ed may be the final straw for Lane, who is on "vacation" from the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, but will probably be going on an extended leave of absence to resolve her legal troubles. Don't bet on Lane returning to KYW TV 3.

Even if she manages to stay out of jail, she's embarrassed the station. I'm sure station managers are already going through audition tapes to find a younger (and better-behaved) anchor-babe to fill Lane's slot.

Don't be surprised if Lane lands one of those tabloid TV shows. They don't have problems hiring "bad girls." Other career moves for Lane? Is that celebrity boxing show still on the air?

(Photo credit: Philadelphia Daily News, Jennifer Midberry)

Ron Paul has friends in Pennsylvania

Ron Paul for President signs have been popping up all over Berks County in the past few days.

As far as I can tell, Ron Paul is the only candidate running on either side of the aisle who is getting this kind of grassroots support in Pennsylvania, which won't hold its presidential primaries until April 22, 2008.

If you're looking for more information on the maverick Texas Congressman, check out Ron Paul's Web site.

The question is whether anyone will remember who he is by next April, when both parties will have settled on their presidential nominees.

That's Ron Paul reacting to a crowd waiting for him Sunday at Western Seafood in Freeport, Texas, minutes after supporters re-enacted the Boston Tea Party 234 years after the original revolutionary event. More than 500 people gathered for the rally to support Paul and raise money for his campaign.
(Photo credit: The Brazosport Facts, Dan Dalstra)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Unholy alliance between Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel?

Wild rumors flying around that Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews has worked out a secret power-sharing deal with Democrat Joe Hoeffel, an Ed Rendell confidant who finished second in the race for three open seats on the Board of Commissioners. Matthews finished third.

The odd-man out of the unholy alliance between Matthews and Hoeffel would be the top vote-getter, Bruce L. Castor Jr., who gave up his office as Montgomery County District Attorney to run for county commissioner when it appeared the Democrats had a good chance of taking majority control of the county government for the first time in more than 130 years.

Will Matthews stab Castor in the back? He's done it before. What about the 85,000 voters who supported Castor in the Nov. 6 election? There's a reason why Matthews is often referred to as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). Why would a Republican share power with a liberal Democrat he spent months attacking before the election?

Matthews and the people pulling his strings, Montgomery County Party Chairman Ken Davis and moneyman Bob Asher, have been working for years to splinter the Republican Party in Montgomery County. A Matthews-Hoeffel alliance would destroy the party and open the way for a Democratic takeover.

Below is a letter Castor sent to Matthews Sunday outlining how Castor would like the reorganization of county government to go. There's a possibility of a last-minute meeting tonight to avert Jim "Benedict Arnold" Matthews' scheme to give Democrats control of county government.

Having received no response from Matthews, Castor sent an e-mail to Matthews on Monday seeking a meeting. The text of the e-mail is also printed below.

I've been warning Montgomery County Republicans that the party has been hijacked by Matthews, Davis and Asher, who have their own agenda (and that does not necessarily mean it's in the best interest of the Republican Party.)

There's a press conference scheduled for Tuesday where Matthews and Hoeffel are expected to announce their deal.

A Matthews-Davis-Asher deal with Democrats would destroy what little credibility the trio has with GOP voters. Matthews isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but even he must realize that forming an alliance with a liberal Democrat would end any hopes Matthews has of ever winning statewide office.

And if Matthews and Hoeffel emerge with some sort of power-sharing coalition, it would be a final nail in the Montgomery County Republican Party's coffin.

Here's Castor's Sunday memo:

TO: The Honorable James R. Matthews
FROM: Bruce Castor
DATE: December 16, 2007
RE: Reorganization

In three weeks you and I have the responsibility of taking the helm of county government. The voters selected us to form the majority government in Montgomery County. We have had several discussions about the reorganization, and below is how we last left the issue. I have not heard from you since before Thanksgiving, and while we certainly have time, the clock is ticking. Obviously, it is imperative that you and I work together over the next few weeks to reach some kind of agreement that is acceptable and fair to both of us. As you have repeatedly stated, making a deal with the other side is completely unacceptable for either of us. In fact, I told the minority commissioner-elect that directly.

You have expressed in each of our meetings that you would like to serve as chairman, you would select the county solicitor, and you want Peter Leis to remain as the county’s Human Resources director. Obviously, those are the three most important positions in county government under our direction. I likewise expressed a desire to serve as chairman and select the county solicitor. Traditionally, the recipient of the most votes in the election becomes chairman and names the solicitor. Despite that longstanding tradition, I am willing to support your desire to be chairman for the sake of unity and compromise.

I reiterate from our last discussion that we must reach an agreement that establishes a spirit of cooperation, fairness and compromise. There has been intense speculation in the press as to whether we will be able to govern together as a team. I can think of nothing worse than you and me beginning this administration in disagreement on the key positions in the government. The voters chose a Republican majority, and we have an obligation to implement their wishes.

I propose that if you are chairman, I select a solicitor acceptable to both of us. If I am chairman, I will support your choice for solicitor.

With you serving as chairman, I am willing to support any of the following candidates for solicitor: Carolyn Carluccio, Bob Sander, Tim Woodward or Frank Bartle. Each brings strength and extensive experience to our administration and would enhance our ability to govern effectively. If none of these candidates are acceptable to you, I propose we discuss additional names. There are many fine lawyers in Montgomery County. Surely there is one on which we both could agree.

I have no objection to Peter Leis continuing to serve as the county's Human Resources director. He is your very close friend, and from what I know and can tell, has done a capable job. The minority commissioner-elect during the campaign stated his desire that we conduct a search for another Human Resources Director. I propose to resist that effort.

If we reach this compromise I will be supporting two of your three stated objectives and asking only in return we identify a mutually agreeable individual to serve as our legal counsel. If that is not acceptable to you, I am willing to serve as chairman and allow you to select the solicitor.

When are you available to discuss these proposals? I have sent this memo to you via e-mail and hand delivery to make certain you receive it. As a universally respected party leader, Alma Jacobs has offered to mediate and help us resolve these matters and therefore I have copied her. Our party and the voters of our county have given us the responsibility to govern together effectively. We agreed to do that. Honor dictates we carry out those wishes.

Thank you for your consideration.

cc: Hon. Alma Jacobs

Text of Castor's e-mail to Matthews send Monday:


I know you received my e-mail yesterday and a hard copy today. I attach an additional copy for your convenience. A copy of this e-mail will go out to our list as evidence of how serious we are about cooperating.

As I have not heard from you, and there are many wild rumors flying around, I consider it imperative that we meet or correspond soon to work out the reorganization. As far as I am concerned, everything is on the table and we have three weeks to put something workable together. I understand that we may be meeting tonight at the Aviation Club. I'll be there for sure.

It has been my position all along that the committee and the voters chose a Republican majority. We simply must implement their wishes. To that end, we both have repeatedly pledged that under no circumstances would either of us agree to any reorganization issue with support only from Joe Hoeffel. I take that pledge very seriously. So I ask you outright: Can we agree that neither of us will make a deal with Hoeffel on anything?

Everything else can be worked out but that issue is not an issue of you or me it is an issue of Republican or Democrat.

A refusal to deal with Hoeffel on important re-organization issues guarantees that the will of the people prevails and that we have a Republican majority government. Everything else can be worked out, but only after we have a firm agreement that we will not negotiate with the other side on how we run the government. That is what the public expects from us, or they wouldn't have put us in the majority. Even if we could agree on nothing else (which won't happen), we still would be running the government together (as co-chairmen or alternating chairman or something) without empowering the Democrat. Empowering Joe Hoeffel would be a disaster this time as it was the last time.

I look forward to meeting with you tonight and in the future to iron out these important governmental issues.



Philly TV anchor-babe Alycia Lane punches cop?

Alycia ... Alycia ... Alycia

I'm so disappointed in you. What were you thinking, girl? Who do you think you are? Paris Hilton? Lindsey Lohan? Britney Spears?

Alycia Lane, the hottest TV news anchorwoman in Philadelphia, is making news again instead of reporting it.

When we last talked about the stunning, 35-year-old brunette, she made national headlines in May when she sent bikini photos of herself to a former colleague. Unfortunately, the wife of Lane's former co-worker intercepted the e-mailed photos and raised a ruckus.

Alycia made headlines across the country for the indiscretion, which she laughed off as a prank among old pals. Who hasn't received pin-up photos from former co-workers? Well, me for one.

Our Alycia has graduated from "marriage-wrecker" to possible felon. This one is going to be harder to explain away.

Alycia Lane allegedly punched a female New York City cop, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, the city's tabloid daily that lives for these kind of stories.

Here's part of what the newspaper is reporting today:

The Daily News exclusively reported Lane's arrest yesterday on She was nabbed at 2:04 a.m. at 17th Street and 9th Avenue in lower Manhattan, said New York City police spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves.

Lane, 35, her current honey, Q102 morning host Chris Booker, and another couple were in a cab behind a slow-moving unmarked cop car, the New York Post reported. One of the males jumped out and headed to the police vehicle, screaming, "I don't care if you're a cop, drive faster!" the newspaper said.

The officers got out and identified themselves to Lane and company, and Lane began to take photos, according to the paper. The female cop asked her to step back and that's when Lane lost it, according to the Post.

A station source said Lane's iPhone was confiscated by cops as evidence.

Lane was charged with one count of assault with intent to cause physical injury to an officer, Nieves said.

The 10th Precinct officer suffered laceration wounds to her face, Nieves said.

Lane was released on her own recognizance by 5 p.m. yesterday. No bail was set.

Alycia Lane is news co-anchor for the 6 pm and 11 pm newscasts on KYW-TV Channel 3, the CBS affeliate in Philadelphia. How long she keeps her job is anyone's question.

Viewers don't mind eye candy when it comes to getting their local news, and they've been following Lane's busy love life with glee. But punching a cop? That's another story.

This is local news, Alycia, not CourtTV. Are you auditioning for the next edition of "Anchorwomen Gone Wild"?

Lane, through her attorney, maintains she never hit anyone. She has pleaded not guilty. A hearing was scheduled for April 3.

I can't wait to see how Channel 3 plays the Lane story. Do they ignore it and look like fools? Will the other TV stations in Philly run with it? The big story on Action News is ... the arrest of Alycia Lane. Stay tuned.

Two weeks at No. 1 for TONY PHYRILLAS

The view looks nice from up here.

For the second week in a row, TONY PHYRILLAS is ranked the No. 1 Most Influential Political Blog in Pennsylvania by, the blogosphere's front page.

I don't think you realize how hard it is to hold on to the top spot. It's happened before, but it's a rare feat. Also note that 15 of the 20 spots are held by liberal bloggers. In addition to the mainstream media, the education system and the entertainment industry, liberals are working hard to dominate the blogosphere.

BlogNetNews'"Blogosphere Influence Rating" combines a variety of data sets to determine which blogs are most powerfully influencing the direction of the Pennsylvania political blogosphere, according to the site.

The exact method BNN uses to calculate influence scores must remain proprietary in order to prevent attempts to game the system.

BNN's methodology takes into account the fact that all Internet data is profoundly limited in its reliability by using multiple data sets that, when combined, reveal a fair picture of activity in the blogosphere, according to the site.

Here's this week's Top 20 rankings:

Pennsylvania's Most Influential Political blogs
This Week's Rank ... Blog Name ... Previous Rank
2 10
4 Suburban Guerrilla 3
5 Save The GOP - not ranked
6 Lehigh Valley Ramblings 2
7 Booman Tribune 18
8 Pennsyltucky Politics 4
9 PSoTD 5
10 Attytood 11
11 The Carbolic Smoke Ball 14
12 Above Average Jane 7
13 The Pennsylvania Progressive 13
14 Comments From Left Field 8
15 Is this Life? 19
16 Phillybits 17
17 The Lehigh Valley Political Blog 16
18 20
19 Capitol Ideas - not ranked
20 PowerBlog! 9

Noose is tightening around House Democrats

Another nail in the coffin of the Democratic leadership of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the there is clear evidence that House staffers paid by taxpayers were working on political campaigns.

The 1-vote majority that Democrats hold in the House was probably going to be lost in 2008 anyway, but the corruption within the Democratic leadership in the House should sweep in a large GOP majority and dare we mention his name, the return of John Perzel.

The newspaper says the illegal activity can be traced back to 2004. Most people thought the campaign work on taxpayer time began in 2006.

Click here to read the Post-Gazette story about damaging e-mails that link the House leadership with illegal activity.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rubley pal may seek 157th District seat

The Daily Local News in West Chester is reporting that a longtime friend of Rep. Carole A. Rubley is considering running for the 157th House District seat being vacated by Rubley in 2008.

Judy DiFilippo, chairwoman of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, told the newspaper Thursday she is considering a run for the state Legislature.

DiFilippo told reporter Dan Kristie she will probably be ready to announce her intentions within "a week to 10 days."

Rubley, who has represented the 157th District for 15 years, announced Wednesday she will not seek reelection in 2008.

Rubley and DiFilippo, both Republicans, are longtime friends, according to the newspaper. They served together on Tredyffrin's Board of Supervisors, and DiFilippo worked for 2½ years as a legislative assistant for Rubley, the paper reported. That's Rubley on the left and DiFilippo on the right at a retirement luncheon hosted by Rubley for DiFilippo after she stopped working in Rubley's district office.

Rubley all but anointed DiFilippo as her successor on Thursday.

"I think Judy is fabulous," Rubley told Kristie. "She'll be a strong advocate for good land-use planning, and she'll help protect the rights of local government."

DiFilippo has served as a Tredyffrin supervisor for 18 years and is the chairwoman of Chester County's planning commission. She also co-chairs the Landscapes II Committee, which is revamping Landscapes, the county's master plan for land use and preservation.

The 157th District includes the townships of Schuylkill and Tredyffrin and the borough of Phoenixville in Chester County and parts of Lower Providence and West Norriton townships in Montgomery County.

While Democrats are salivating at the chance of two open House seats in GOP-dominated Chester County (Rep. Art Hershey is also retiring), the edge for both vacant seats has to go to Republican candidates.

The inability of Democrats to win any countywide offices on Nov. 6 shows that they're still not strong enough to tip the GOP domination in Chester County.

And don't make any long-term plans if you're freshman state Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith, who won the 156th District seat by 34 votes in 2006. A strong Republican candidate could easily take back the seat (and possibly return control of the House to Republicans after the 2008 election cycle.)

So keep an eye on Chester County.

Rendell: The check is in the mail

Excuse me if I don't jump up and down at the news that Gov. Ed Rendell's budget secretary says there is enough revenue coming in from casinos to begin offering property tax cuts in 2008 or 2009.

We've heard these promises before.

In 2002, Rendell, candidate for governor, promised to cut everyone's property taxes by 30 percent standing on his head.

In his first year in office, Rendell developed amnesia about property taxes. Instead, he increased the state income tax by 10 percent.

In 2004, Rendell promised property tax relief when he signed Act 72 into law. It didn't happen.

In 2005, Rendell developed amnesia again, but he did impose the $52-a-year payroll tax on just about every worker in the state.

In 2006, Rendell promised property tax relief when he signed Act 1 into law. Act 1 would have raised the income tax in return for lowering property taxes. Voters didn't buy into the tax-shift scheme. Another failed attempt at tax relief.

Here we are at the end of 2007 — five years into Rendell's term — and not one penny from gambling has been returned to Pennsylvania residents as property tax cuts.

The Legislature, which has House Bill 1275 (the School Property Tax Elimination Act of 2007) before it, failed to act on it before adjourning for its 32-day Christmas vacation.

Now we have a prediction from Rendell's budget chief that some homeowners will see property tax cuts at the end of 2008 or sometime in 2009 because gambling revenues have reached the minimum level to trigger tax cuts.

The operative word here is minimal. The state's six operating slot parlors have kicked in $506 million so far into a fund set up for property tax relief. The fund needs to reach $570 million by April in order for the state to begin distributing money to homeowners.

But Rendell promised $1 billion in tax relief when he signed the bill bringing casino gambling to Pennsylvania.

It will take several more years to reach that level. And we're talking about a few hundred dollars in tax reduction. So if you pay $3,000 in property taxes each year, you might get back $300. In the meantime, there's nothing to prevent your local school district from raising property taxes by hundreds of dollars ... year after year.

So pardon me if I don't do a jig. The promise of property tax cuts through gambling revenues is a mirage.

The only way to reform Pennsylvania's antiquated property tax system for funding public education is total elimination, which is what House Bill 1275 proposes.

Only 44 legislators (mostly Republicans) in the 203-member House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of HB 1275 so far.

If you live in any of the following Southeastern Pennsylvania counties, you might want to ask these legislators why they won't support the elimination of property taxes. None of the following are listed as co-sponsors of House Bill 1275:

BERKS COUNTY — David Kessler (D-130); Doug Reichley (R-134); Tim Seip (D-125)

BUCKS COUNTY — Paul I. Clymer (R-145); Gene DiGirolamo (R-18); John T. Galloway (D-140); Chris King (D-142); Anthony J. Melio (D-141); Bernie O’Neill (R-29); Scott A. Petri (R-178); Marguerite Quinn (R-143); Katharine M. Watson (R-144)

CHESTER COUNTY — Thomas Killion (R-168); Duane Milne (R-167); Chris Ross (R-158); Carole Rubley (R-157

DELAWARE COUNTY — William F. Adolph Jr. (R-165); Mario J. Civera Jr. (R-26); Robert C. Donatucci (D-185); Thomas H. Killion (R-168); Thaddeus Kirkland (D-9); Bryan R. Lentz (D-161); Nicholas A. Micozzie (R-163); Ron Raymond (R-162); Greg Vitali (D-166); Ronald G. Waters (D-191)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Lawrence Curry (D-154); Michael Gerber (D-148); Robert Godshall (R-53); Kate Harper (R-61); George Kenney Jr. (R-170); Daylin Leach (D-149); Kathy Manderino (D-194); Jay Moyer (R-70); Thomas Murt (R-152); Josh Shapiro (D-153); Rick Taylor (D-151); Mike Vereb (R-150)

For more information about HB 1275, visit the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition Web site at

If you want to see genuine property tax relief in Pennsylvania, you have to pressure your state legislators (especially the Democrats) to support House Bill 1275.