Monday, March 31, 2008

4,119,213 Democrats in Pennsylvania

There's more Democrats running around Pennsylvania these days than you can shake a stick at.

Preliminary figures released by the state last week showed Democratic Party registration topping 4 million in Pennsylvania for the first time.

Updated figures released Monday show 4,119,213 registered Democrats in the Keystone State.

And that number will probably grow some more.

The latest totals reflect ongoing work by county officials to process registration applications that were filed or mailed in by the March 24 deadline, according to The Associated Press. State officials said it is likely to take another week or two to finish the job, the news service says.

The number of Democrats grew by 235,000, or 6 percent, since last November's election.

Republican Party enrollment dropped by 1.5 percent to 3,197,586, according to state officials.

The number of independents slipped by 3 percent to 953,562, the AP says.

A Democratic governor, a Democratic U.S. Senator, a Democratic majority in the state House, 12 Democratic U.S. House members out of a total of 19 in the Pennsylvania delegation. This state is turning a little too blue for my taste.

Clinton-Obama not the only race on April 22

While everyone is looking at the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama race on April 22, there will be hundreds of other names on the ballot on Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania.

While the lesser-known candidates are being overshadowed by the epic struggle between Clinton and Obama to win the Democratic nomination for president, it's the other names on the ballot who will have a bigger impact on the everyday lives of voters.

The Associated Press released a story over the weekend reminding voters that "Legislative races could redraw lines of power" because all 203 seats in the state House of Representatives and half of the 50-member state Senate will be elected in 2008.

While not all of the Legislative races will be decided in April (many incumbents are running unopposed until the fall), it's important for voters to look at the entire ballot, not just the top of the ticket.

Nine sitting Republican lawmakers and 17 Democrats have primary challenges this year, all in the House — far fewer than two years ago — while none of the 25 senators whose terms expire this year face intraparty opposition, the AP reports.

The Mercury reminds voters in an editorial today that they can help continue the revolution against the Harrisburg status quo, pointing out that 55 new lawmakers were sent to the state Capitol in 2006.
Voters responded by unseating 24 incumbents, and the atmosphere became so poisonous that 31 others retired voluntarily.

The pay raise fervor has cooled, but now incumbents have to worry how voters will react to a new crop of controversies that include the law to add tolls on Interstate 80, the arrest of a politically connected owner of a Poconos casino on charges he lied about contacts with underworld figures, and last summer’s budget stalemate that briefly shut down large parts of state government.

Governor Rendell Proclaims 'Financial Education Month' in April

Governor Rendell Proclaims 'Financial Education Month' in April

Economy Slows Charitable Giving, Fundraising in 2007

Economy Slows Charitable Giving, Fundraising in 2007

Poll: Voters Unaware of Candidates' Immigration Positions

Poll: Voters Unaware of Candidates' Immigration Positions

Fixing Pennsylvania's flawed gambling law

Four years after he rushed a casino slots bill through the Legislature, Gov. Ed Rendell is reluctantly agreeing to fix some of the flaws in the gambling legislation.

The 2004 bill that opened the way for 51,000 slot machines in Pennsylvania was another of those middle-of-the-night pieces of legislation the Pennsylvania Legislature has become famous for.

There's nothing like allegations that the mob has infiltrated a Pennsylvania casino to get Rendell's attention.

Thanks to pressure by Republican lawmakers, Rendell is finally coming around on much-needed fixes to the original bill.

Read more in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which ran an article, "Rendell proposes closer examination of slots license applicants" by Tom Barnes.

Also check out this week's column by Brad Bumstead of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

GOP Reps. Doug Reichley of Lehigh/Berks, Mike Vereb of Montgomery, Curt Schroder of Chester and others have introduced House Resolution 652, which would set up a panel and give it subpoena power to compel testimony from gaming board members, state police and others, according to the newspaper.

Republicans want to go much further in closing some of the loopholes in the law.

Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin/York) and Rep. Reichley unveiled a joint legislative package Monday that establishes a number of necessary fixes to Pennsylvania's Gaming Law and implements recommendations made by the Fourth Dauphin County Grand Jury.

The lawmakers called on the General Assembly to close the loopholes that continue to exist in the law in an effort to keep organized crime out of gaming and make both structural and procedural reforms to Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board, according to a press release.

A major component of the legislative package involves creating a Division of Gaming Enforcement under the Attorney General, where it would have the complete authority of a law enforcement agency in carrying out investigations, the release states.

Other key components of the legislation include decreasing the number of board members from seven to five and limiting their outside employment. The legislation would also amend the casino ownership licensing process and procedures that the board follows by requiring public hearings on the qualifications of applicants and tightening the license and permit disqualification criteria.

Under the new bill, felons would be prohibited from holding a gaming license. People proven to be associated with organized crime and career criminals would also be prohibited from holding a license.

"Such inadequacies in our gaming law prevented a thorough background check before a license was awarded to a Mount Airy casino owner who was later charged with lying about his connections to organized crime figures," Piccola said. "If we do not correct this statute, we are hanging out a sign telling organized crime: Welcome, open for business, Pennsylvania."

"The disclosures of the past few months have robbed our citizens of the perception that the licensing process was conducted with honesty and integrity," Reichley said. "Let me underscore that this is a sound beginning on what should be a bi-partisan effort to amend the current law. There will certainly be some aspects of this legislation with which some members in the House or Senate disagree, but we need to begin the process of improving the current law immediately."

Benefit set for police officer's family

Chester County police officers and firefighters are working to help the family of Joshua D. Wuertz, a police officer and firefighter who died in January.

Wuertz died Jan. 19 at age 34 at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia after a long battle with leukemia. He is survived by his wife, Shannen A. (Blevins) Wuertz, and their daughter, Lillyen.

Officer Wuertz worked for many years in the North Coventry Police Department and was also a firefighter for the Glenmoore Fire Company in Chester County.

The North Coventry Police Department is holding a fundraiser at the Norco Fire Company from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

The police department is selling $25 tickets for the Beef-N-Beer event. Money raised at the event will be donated to Wuertz’s family.

To purchase tickets for the event, contact North Coventry police at 610-323-8360.

Power shift among Chester County voters?

Interesting article in The West Chester Daily Local News about how the stampede to register for the Democratic Party primary may impact other races in the fall.

More than 4 million Pennsylvania voters have registered with the Democratic Party in anticipation of the April 22 showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

But how will the "new" Democrats vote in the fall when congressional seats and races in the Pennsylvania Legislature will be determined?

Although county voter services employees are still dealing with piles of registration forms that came in during the past few weeks, estimates say that from the beginning of this year, the number of Democratic voters in the county will have increased by 10,000," according to reporter Dan Kristie.

"It's a little too early to tell what this will add up to in November," Congressman Jim Gerlach, R-6th, told the newspaper. "Voters around here are pretty darn independent. In each race, they look at the candidates themselves."

As evidence, Gerlach pointed to the Chester County numbers from the November 2006 election, during which he greatly outperformed Republican senatorial incumbent Rick Santorum and Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, according to the newspaper.

Bob Roggio, the Democrat challenging Gerlach in the general election, predicted the presidential primary battle and the publicity that comes with it will be good for his party and possibly his candidacy.

"I've actually talked to people in the district offices, and I’m not getting the feeling at all that people are just changing to vote in the primary," Roggio told the newspaper "A lot of these changes are permanent."

Read more about the power shift in Chester County in The Daily Local News.

Play Ball!

It's cloudy, damp and starting to rain. It must be Opening Day for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The National League East defending champions open the 2008 campaign today at 3 p.m. against the Washington Nationals.

NL East defending champs ... do you know how long I've waited to say that? I've been a Phillies fan since the Danny Ozark days back in the early 1970s.

Drum roll, please ... here are my predictions for the National League East:

1) Phillies
2) Mets
3) Braves
4) Nationals
5) Marlins

GOP leader donates to a Democrat?

Only in Montgomery County can a candidate for Republican Party county chairman donate money to a Democratic Party candidate.

Montgomery County-based blogger Bill Shaw reveals at Writemarsh that Jim Vlahos, the Pottstown-area GOP leader who wants to be the next Montgomery County Republican Committee chairman, donated $250 to Michael Nutter, the Democrat who won the 2007 race for Philadelphia mayor.

Two questions immediately come to mind. Why would a Pottstown-area resident donate money to a Philadelphia mayoral candidate? And why would a Republican leader donate money to a Democratic candidate?

Vlahos has a lot of explaining to do to the GOP committee members who will be picking he next party chairman.

Here's what Bill Shaw has to say about Vlahos:
Now, I believe that every American has the right to do with their money what they please. But let's be serious, folks. I truly question his wisdom in doing this and then wanting to run for Chairman of the Republican Party. Also, one of our own MCRC bylaws strictly prohibits us from helping anyone outside of the Republican Party in their elections.

"What a great example for county leadership - I'll help Republicans when it's convenient. Otherwise, everybody is fair game. We've had to suffer 4 years of a chairman whose loyalties have been questioned because of his lobbying business and his need to keep good relationships with the democrats. Do we want more of the same?"
The other announced candidate for Montgomery County chairman is Bob Kerns, whom Shaw is supporting:
"Kerns, on the other hand, is pure Republican. He has no business or political ties to the Democratic Party."
The Republican Party has been on a death march under the current leadership of Chairman Ken Davis, Bob Asher and Jim Matthews.

Davis, a longtime foe of Bob Kerns, hasn't publicly endorsed a successor, but it's pretty clear he won't be backing Kerns, who has vowed the unify the party after four years of dissension under Davis.

Montgomery County GOP leaders must choose wisely in May or there will be no Republican Party left to lead.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Patriots counter anti-war crowd

Chester County is getting a reputation as home for the fringe element, far left anti-war protesters and atheists who want to remove all Judeo-Christian symbols from the public square.

But there are patriotic Americans living in Chester County. These men and women support U.S. troops fighting abroad and want to see a U.S. victory in the war against terrorism.

For 30 consecutive Saturdays, the Chester County Victory Movement has gathered to counter the so-called "peace protesters" who have become a fixture outside the Chester County Courthouse in West Chester.

It began with one person, Rich Davis, five years ago and has grown to 25-30 people who gather on Saturday mornings to show support for American soldiers.

"We form a Wall of Red, White, and Blue and show our open support for our troops and their noble mission," Davis says.

Check out more about the group at its blog,

I applaud organizer Rich Davis, a retired U.S. Naval veteran, and the rest of the American Sheep Dogs for standing up for U.S. troops.

Friday, March 28, 2008

State Capitol Roundup for March 28

Here's the weekly State Capitol ROUNDUP courtesy of Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147). It doesn't matter that the Legislature is still on its Easter vacation, lawmakers are finding things to keep themselves busy:

Gaming Reform Legislation Unveiled

House Republicans are urging their colleagues to make needed changes in order to restore integrity to the state's expanding gaming industry. Recently, Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) introduced legislation that would create a new Bureau of Gaming under the control of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). The new agency would be charged with performing all the existing duties of the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement, which is an arm of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). By doing this, legislators would be separating investigation and enforcement duties from the licensing authority, removing a key conflict of interest. On Monday, House and Senate Republicans will unveil additional legislation designed to keep organized crime out of gaming, as well as additional structural and procedural reforms to the Gaming Control Board.

No-Bid Contracts Being Awarded by State Cause Concern

In response to public outcry over the more than $1 billion awarded by Gov. Ed Rendell to companies not participating in the state's competitive bidding process, House Republicans are investigating the issue and are planning to take appropriate action. Legislation is being drafted that would prevent the award of contracts worth more than $100,000 without additional vetting. Another bill would amend the state's Right to Know law to require information about the contracts and why they were not put through the bidding process to be posted online. According to the Department of General Services, $246.3 million in no-bid contracts have been approved so far in 2008. That number does not include a recent $400 million award for the management of the state's data center in Harrisburg. Legislators are displeased with the recent development and have pledged to address the problem.

Committee Votes to Study Pay Inequity Between Genders

The House Labor Relations Committee recently voted to study how men and women working in the Commonwealth are compensated for their labor. Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks), who sponsored the House resolution, was pleased by its success in committee. Watson noted that according to the National Committee on Pay Equity, Pennsylvania falls in the middle third of all states when it comes to pay equity between the genders. In 2005, it is estimated that average full-time male employees made $41,386. In the same year, women were paid $31,858. These numbers evidence a stark divide, according to Watson, who added that the resolution also calls for recommendations on how to address the issue legislatively. House Resolution 281 will now go to the House floor for consideration.

Weather Channel founder dispels global warming hype

If you're tired of the hype by climate change extremists (I'm talking to you, Al Gore) and would like to read a common sense perspective on the issue, may I recommend two articles posted on The New American magazine Web site.

This month's cover story, "2008 Climate Debate," is about the global warming hysteria perpetuated by the far left media.

From the article by William F. Jasper:
However, for many of the world’s leading scientists in the fields of meteorology, climatology, physics, astrophysics, and related sciences, the science is far from settled, Al Gore’s media accolades notwithstanding. Over the past few years, more than 19,000 American scientists have signed a dissenting petition coauthored by Dr. Frederick Seitz, renowned physicist and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Arthur Robinson, president of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine ( The petition urges political leaders to reject the Gore-supported Kyoto Protocol or other similar proposals that would mandate draconian tax and regulatory measures aimed at virtually all human economic activity.
The magazine also features an extensive Q&A with John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel. Here's a sampling from the interview:
THE NEW AMERICAN: As someone who has been in weather broadcasting for pretty much its whole history, are you concerned about global warming?

John Coleman: I'm only concerned about people who are going hysterical about it. How many billions of dollars is our government going to spend to combat something that isn’t real? That has my attention.

THE NEW AMERICAN: Are you saying there hasn’t been any warming?

Coleman: Well, there are absolutely normal climate fluctuations — little ice ages, then warm-ups. Historically the Earth has vacillated through all of these. Solar cycles change dramatically. Ocean currents change. They all have a significant impact on climate.

The psychology of voting

I received an e-mail from a New York University student who is conducting a research study on how people pick a president as part of his work toward a degree in psychology.

Matthew Schottland is conducting a Web survey as part of his study.

Schottland assures me that the project is not to sell anything, make a profit, or promote any sort of political agenda.

I can't say anything more about the project without influencing the study results, but I did take the survey and I'm still in one piece.

If you're interested in taking the survey (it takes about 10-15 minutes), follow this link to the survey site:

Conservative likes what he sees in Berks Democrat

Imagine how much of a difference we would have in the Pennsylvania Legislature if Democrats would support reform candidates instead of sending career politicians back to Harrisburg over and over again.

Most of incumbents legislators ousted since 2006 have been Republicans. Democrats continue to vote straight party and support the status quo candidates.

In contracts, check out this critique of a Candidates Night event by Bob Guzzardi of the Conservative Reform Network.

Guzzardi praises reform candidate who happens to be a Democrat. Rich Stine is one of three Democrats seeking their party nomination in the April 22 primary for the 187th House District.

Rep. Carl Mantz, a Republican elected in 2006, is giving up on the Legislature after one term and won't seek reelection.

While Guzzardi has some complimentary remarks about the Democrat seeking the 187th House seat, he had nothing good to say about two Berks County incumbent lawmakers, Rep. Doug Reichley, R-134, and Rep. David Kessler, D-130.

Guzzardi writes:
"A reliable vote for Republican Leadership and Ed Rendell, Reichley is a Perzel agent. Rep. Kessler (incumbent Democrat David Kessler 130th) also presented. Not an independent, original or interesting idea between the two of them."
Read the full post, "Rich Stine, Democrat, willing to work; willing to learn; unpretentious and authentic" here.

The Lehigh Valley Political Blog also weighs in on Guzzardi's comments in a post today.

Highlights of Bill Clinton visit to Pottstown

About 2,000 people showed up Thursday to hear former President Bill Clinton campaign for his wife, Hillary Rodhmam Clinton.

The Mercury has extensive coverage of the visit in today's edition. You can also view a video and photos, along with several stories posted on The Mercury Web site,

And if you're a die-hard Clinton fan, you can also order reprints of photos published in the newspaper by going to the Photo Files blog.

Sen. Bob Casey backs Obama

Three weeks after stating he would not pick sides in the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton contest in order to maintain party unity, Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has endorsed Barack Obama.

What prompted Silent Bob to speak on the presidential race?

Casey told a Pittsburgh rally this morning that "I believe in my heart that there is one person who's uniquely qualified to lead us in that new direction and that is Barack Obama."

Wasn't Obama that person three weeks ago? Who knows what goes on in the mind of Silent Bob Casey, Pennsylvania's junior senator?

"I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America," Casey said.

Casey, who like Obama was elected to the Senate in 2006, is a strange political animal. He disagrees with Obama on a number of key issues, including abortion and gun control, but somehow can see past those differences to support the junior senator from Illinois.

See my earlier post, Silent Bob maintains his silence. says Casey's backing of Obama is a betrayal of Casey's father, former Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey Sr.

"The most pro-life Democrat in the Senate has endorsed the most pro-abortion Democrat in the Senate for President of the United States. Shame on you, Bobby!" says John Lewandowski.

The New Republic thinks Casey's endorsement is a big deal for Obama.

The Casey endorsement does add one more "superdelegate" in Obama's camp, but some other Pennsylvania political heavyweights, Gov. Ed Rendell, Congressman John Murtha and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, are backing Hillary Clinton.

Obama trails Clinton in Pennsylvania polls by double digits, but he's just starting to campaign in the state with a six-day bus trip kicking off in Pittsburgh.

Also, the latest Gallup Poll has Obama leading Clinton nationally by 50 percent to 42 percent. You can see the full poll results at

The Pennsylvania primary, in which 158 delegates are at stake, is on April 22.

Castor fires back at Matthews-Hoeffel regime

The Castor-Matthews feud continues in Montgomery County.

Responding to recent comments by Montgomery County Commissioners' Chairman Jim Matthews in The Philadelphia Bulletin, GOP Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. fired off a lengthy letter to the editor to set the record straight about the many excesses in Montgomery County government since Matthews and Hoeffel formed a pact to run the commissioners' board.
"What the Democrats could not win at the polls, Matthews awarded them by making a deal that denied the voters the government they elected - he hijacked the election pure and simple," Castor writes.
Democratic Commissioner Joe Hoeffel also feels the sting of Castor's rebuke:
Hoeffel ran on a platform of "cleaning up the government." Instead he and Matthews have flooded the government payroll with their cronies and buddies. One of Hoeffel's key allies was hired for $90,000 to work PART TIME. That's right, $90,000 to work 5 days out of every 10. If that were a full-time job he'd make $180,000 a year - more than Governor Rendell. That makes him the highest paid employee in the county, paid more then the commissioners or the District Attorney.
With "Matthews' complicity, the Democrats are running amok," Castor says in the letter, pointing out spending on consultants and hiring of political cronies.
"The money they are wasting, the games they are playing, and the shenanigans that occur every day at the court house are done at the expense of our residents," Castor writes. "Men, women, children, seniors, veterans and others who have come to expect the very best from Montgomery County are losing out because of the rampant egos, cronyism and patronage of the Matthews-Hoeffel regime."
Castor says in the letter that he's working hard to represent the taxpayers of Montgomery County:
"In just three months I have cast more "no" votes than Ruth Damsker, my predecessor as 'minority commissioner' cast in her entire eight years. I was elected to do the right thing by the people of Montgomery County, regardless of party, and that is what I will continue to do."
Read the full letter at The Bulletin's Web site.

'The Disgrace of Liberalism'

An outstanding essay titled "The Disgrace of Liberalism" posted at the American Thinker blog by J.R. Dunn, comparing the state of American politics in 2008 with 1968.

A few highlights from Dunn:
"2008 marks the end of liberalism as a governing force in the same way that 1968 marked the end of liberalism as a political doctrine."

"2008 is being promoted as the year of the Democrats. Under the circumstances, it's difficult to see this as anything but media hype. Weak as the Republicans may be, they do boast such figures as Schwarzenegger, Jindal, Crist, and Coburn among many others, not to mention a presidential candidate who, whatever his drawbacks, is a different order of being than the opposition."

"Liberalism will stagger on. It still has control of all those urban political machines, along with the unions and bureaucracies. But it has no future. Personality cults and ideology will take you only so far. We may yet live to see this albatross removed from the nation's back."

Lawyer plans write-in campaign for state Legislature

Margaret Gibbons is reporting today in The Times-Herald that Republican lawyer Lynn Lechter is planning a write-in campaign for the 149th House seat being vacated by Rep. Daylin Leach, a Democrat.

Lechter, a 55-year-old lawyer from Upper Merion, needs 300 write-in votes in the April 22 primary election to get her name on the ballot in November, according to Gibbons.

"All voters deserve a choice on Election Day," Lechter told Gibbons. "As it stands today with no Republican on the ballot in the 149th District, voters will be left with no choice for state representative in the general election. Voters deserve better."

Upper Merion businessman Mike Fiore had filed nominating petitions in Harrisburg to run as the GOP candidate for that seat on the last day of the extended candidate filing period in February, Gibbons says, but he subsequently withdrew from the contest but it was too late for another candidate to replace him on the ballot.

Upper Merion Democrat Tim Briggs, a lawyer who worked as campaign manager and campaign treasurer for numerous other Democrats including Joseph M. Hoeffel III, is running uncontested in his party's primary election, Gibbons says.

Leach is giving up the House seat to run for the 17th Senate District seat now held by Connie Williams, who is not seeking reelection. Leach's GOP opponent will be either Lance Rogers or Lisa Paolino, who are competing in the April 22 primary.

Ironically, Lechter lost to Connie Williams in 2000 when Williams won the 149th House seat.

The 149th District includes Upper Merion, Bridgeport, West Conshohocken and a part of Lower Merion.

Newspaper blasts Hoeffel for patronage hirings

Democrat Joe Hoeffel spent much of 2007 campaigning against the Republican patronage machine in Montgomery County government. So what does Hoeffel do when he's elected to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners? He hires some of his Democratic Party pals for county jobs.

The Mercury gives Hoeffel "Thorns" on its editorial page today.

With the help of turncoat Republican Jim Matthews, Hoeffel has provided jobs for three Democratic candidates who lost their bid for election to county offices last November. That's three hiring of political pals in three months. How much more can Montgomery County taxpayers stand?

Nobody should be surprised that a Democrat would renege on campaign promises. Let's not forget all those Dems who ran for Congress in 2006, complaining about all the pork spending by Congressional Republicans. What do the Democrats do when they get elected? They spend even more taxpayer dollars on pork projects.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Salary list of all Pennsylvania teachers, school administrators

With the Stop Teacher Strikes Inc. Web site still down, I found the link to the salary list for Pennsylvania teachers by going directly to the Asbury Park Press Web site and navigating to, the Asbury Park Press's public records Web site.

If you're wondering why a New Jersey newspaper would post Pennsylvania teacher salaries, it did it for comparison purposes with New Jersey teacher salaries. Salaries for both New Jersey and Pennsylvania teachers rank among the top 10 in the nation, the newspaper notes.

The titles and salaries for the 151,000 teachers and administrators in the Keystone State are available at under the "New Jersey Schools" section.

You can search by county or by school district or by the name of the teacher, principal or superintendent, but be prepared to spend time on the Web site. It took a long time to load and the search function is also slow.

Demand for teacher salary list crashes Web site

Stop Teacher Strikes Inc., the non-partisan citizens group working to ban teacher strikes in Pennsylvania, appears to be a victim of its own success.

The group posted a list of 120,000 Pennsylvania teachers and their salaries, but interest in the information has been so great that it crashed the group's Web site.

Once word started getting out that teacher salaries were available online thanks to posts at GrassrootsPA and POLICY BLOG, so many people went to the site that it crashed the server.

So, give it a few days if you want to find out how much teachers in your school district are getting paid. (Hint: The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania is $54,027.)

The online database was created by the NJ-based Asbury Park Press newspaper. It includes the 2006-2007 salaries of teachers working in all 501 public school
districts in Pennsylvania, according to Simon Campbell, founder of Stop Teacher Strikes Inc.

"Freedom of information has combined with freedom of the press to shatter the union-promoted myth of the underpaid teacher in Pennsylvania," Campbell said in a press release announcing the database.

Campbell continued:
"Presidential and state legislative candidates hunting for teacher union money and votes are hiding under the table, when it comes to issues like ending teacher strikes and forced unionism in Pennsylvania. From 2000 to 2007, 82 (60%) of the nation's 137 teacher strikes occurred in Pennsylvania with 162,000 innocent children affected over the last five school years. Pennsylvania retains the dubious distinction of being the teacher-strike capital of the United States, while thirty-seven (37) other states prohibit teacher strikes. Recent strike threats such as those seen at Cumberland Valley and Northwest Area school districts cost taxpayers millions of dollars because paying a monopoly union not to strike is like paying a bank robber not to rob your bank."
Campbell has been working for years to bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of states, which prohibit strikes by teachers.
"Public employees seeking to become President or employees hired locally by school districts are all public servants. Ejecting innocent children from school for personal financial gain is totally unacceptable. Every candidate for federal, state and local office must be held accountable for this abuse of children. They either support teacher strikes or they do not. There is no middle ground. Pennsylvania's voters should ask every candidate where they stand -- and should not tolerate any political double-talk."
Despite the propaganda from the teachers' unions, Pennsylvania teachers are among the top paid in the country, Campbell says.
"Pennsylvania's teachers rank among the highest paid in the nation (top 20%), and enjoy fantastic benefits and job security. Meanwhile everyday families struggle to pay Pennsylvania's escalating school property taxes -- caused in no small part by the massive political clout of the National Education Association (NEA) and their powerful 185,000 member state affiliate, the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA)."

StopTeacherStrikes Profiles 120,000 Pennsylvania Teacher Names and Salaries

StopTeacherStrikes Profiles 120,000 Pennsylvania Teacher Names and Salaries: ""

GOP candidates back elimination of property taxes

The No. 1 issue facing Berks County voters is the elimination of property taxes.

Republican candidates seeking legislative seats this year have heard that message loud and clear.

Speaking at a candidates' forum sponsored by the Brandywine Taxpayers Association, candidates Aaron Durso, Billy Reed, Richard Gokey, Gary Day, Allen Cerullo and Stephen Fuhs vowed to support the elimination of property taxes if they are elected to the state Legislature.

Durso, Reed and Gokey are seeking the GOP nomination in the 130th House District. Day and Cerullo are seeking the GOP nod in the 187th House District. Fuhs is seeking the GOP nomination in the 11th state Senate District.

Read the full story, "Taxation tops the agenda at Berks County candidates forum" in the Reading Eagle.

Williams rips Sestak on FISA bill

Craig Williams, a Republican seeking to unseat first-term Democrat Joe Sestak from the U.S. House, goes on the offensive on Sestak's support of changes to FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Read the full story, "7th District candidate rips Dems on FISA bill" in The (Delaware County) Daily Times.

Sestak, who bragged about his military background while running n 2006, has supported many Democratic Party measures to weaken the United States' ability to combat terrorism. Sestak has also been one of the leading Democrats in Congress pushing for wasteful pork spending over the past two years. Sestak also supports U.S. surrender in the Iraq War.

The 7th Congressional District covers parts of Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

For more about Williams, a former federal prosecutor and Marine combat veteran, visit his campaign Web site,

That sinking feeling ... for Democrats

A new poll comes out every day, but the news is not good for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Rasmussen Reports – Sen. McCain continues to lead both potential Democrat opponents

McCain = 51%
Obama = 41%

McCain = 50%
Clinton = 43%

To read the full poll, click here.

And the longer the Democrats battle for the nomination, the bigger the split within the party.

Rasmussen Reports – Twenty-two percent of Democrats say Clinton or Obama should drop out

Democrats who believe Clinton should drop out = 22%

Democrats who believe Obama should drop out = 22%

Democrats who aren’t ready for the race to end = 62%

To read the full poll, click here.

Another polls finds 48 percent of voters have a negative image of Hillary Clinton. How do you win the presidency with just 42 percent of the vote?

Democrats appear to have done it to themselves again: Snatch defeat from the mouth of victory.

Meet Barry Obama

A couple of weeks ago I was on a radio program and one of the callers wanted to know my opinion on Sen. Barack Obama changing his name from "Barry" Obama. The host and I looked at each other and shrugged shoulders. We never heard of Sen. Obama referred to as Barry Obama before.

Turns out the caller knew more than we did. This week's cover story in Newsweek magazine is called "When Barry Became Obama."

You can read the story online if you don't subscribe, but it details Obama's struggle for identity during his college years. He grew up as "Barry" Obama, but decided to return to his traditional African name.

From the article:
"It's clear that he was trying to fit in somehow, but not in the way of his father's generation. He wanted to be taken seriously, perhaps to rebel against the compromises blacks and others were expected to make in a white-dominated society. But more generally, he was also looking for a community that would accept him as he was, inside and out."
Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rendell to Legislators: Spend more!!!

Gov. Ed Rendell sent the letter below to every member of the Pennsylvania Legislature today. Read the entire letter if you like, but I can summarize it for you in a couple of lines: Even though Pennsylvania is headed for tough economic times and Pennsylvanians are struggling to survive financially, the state should spend more tax dollars on a variety of projects to benefit the governor's well-to-do friends and business associates.

Rendell appears to be teetering on delusional. Pennsylvania residents are worried about high gas prices, the cost of feeding their families and keeping their jobs, but the governor wants to take the state deeper into debt so his fat-cat campaign contributors can continue to benefit at the expense of taxpayers. Did you hear about the $1 billion in no-bid contracts Rendell awarded to politically-connected firms in the past five years? You paid for that.

It's time to put a stop to Rendell's out-of-control spending, a $7 billion increase since he took office in 2003. Rendell now wants $28 billion in spending for the fiscal year starting July 1. How about a decrease in state spending for once? Pennsylvania taxpayers have to tighten their belts. Why not state government?

And where's the tax relief Rendell and lawmakers promised in 2004 when they approved casino gambling in Pennsylvania?

All members of the state House and half the Senate face re-election in 2008. The issues are clear. 1) Eliminate property taxes. 2) Curb state spending. 3) No hidden hidden increases in taxes and state fees. If your lawmaker won't do that for you, it's time to replace him or her.

March 26, 2008

The Honorable General Assembly of Pennsylvania

Dear Members:

In the last two months Pennsylvania has been jarred by significantly negative news.

In January of this year the Commonwealth hit a historic record of more than 5,811,000 jobs, but in February the Commonwealth's economy reversed course and 8,000 jobs were eliminated. While our state remains on track to have a substantial budget surplus by the end of this current fiscal year, it appears that we are now faced with the harsh reality that the economic downturn has officially arrived in Pennsylvania.

Events over the last two months have also forced us to face another harsh reality – important parts of Pennsylvania's infrastructure are beginning to crumble and we need to repair them as quickly as we can.

On February 8th PennDOT discovered that the decking for the southbound lanes of the Birmingham Bridge in Pittsburgh had partially fallen off their supports and dropped eight inches. The entire bridge had to be closed while temporary supports were added to fortify the bridge and keep it operable pending full repair of the supports. The total bill for the repairs may be as high as $7 million.

Just five weeks later, on March 17th, engineers discovered that one of the columns supporting an elevated section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia had a dangerous crack that required a three mile stretch of the nation’s largest superhighway to be closed for three days while temporary supports were put in place until a total rebuild can commence. PennDOT estimates that the cost of properly repairing all of the I-95 bridges in the Philadelphia region will be a stunning $3 billion.

These are just two examples of a much larger problem. PennDOT estimates that the total repair bill for all of the state’s deficient bridges is nearly $11 billion.

Despite the gravity of these problems, there is an answer, one which I outlined to you during my budget address – implementation of the Pennsylvania economic stimulus and infrastructure renewal program I proposed to you on February 5th.

I am writing now to ask you to enact immediately the following parts of that program. These measures will stimulate our economy at a time when stimulus is most needed by creating jobs and generating new business for Pennsylvania manufacturers and suppliers. At the same time, these measures will enable us to quicken the pace of repairing critical components of our state infrastructure:

1. Authorizing the appropriations needed to implement the Rebuild Pennsylvania program

2. Extending Pennsylvania’s KOZ legislation

3. Creating the Jonas Salk Legacy Fund

4. Passing the Energy Independence Package

5. Increasing Pennsylvania’s Job Creation Tax Credit

6. Providing new funding for the Businesses in our Sites program

7. Raising the debt ceiling of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program

8. Enacting the Protect Our Progress Rebate

If we are serious about helping our citizens deal with the effects of the current economic downturn and protecting the safety of Pennsylvanians by working immediately to repair our infrastructure, we must work together in a bipartisan effort to enact these programs as soon as possible.

The people of Pennsylvania cannot wait until we conclude the 2008-09 budget negotiations for us to consider this agenda. This would delay the provision of economic relief our citizens need now, and defer infrastructure repairs that could endanger their safety.

I urged action on the Protecting our Progress package of bills in my budget address to the chambers on February 5th. I am writing today to urge you to act with wisdom and haste to protect our economy from further deterioration and with great hope that we can grow this economy and increase prosperity for the families of the Commonwealth.


Edward G. Rendell

Williams signs no-tax pledge; Sestak in hiding

Craig Williams, the Republican running in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, has signed the Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge."

Williams says he will not support any tax increases on the middle class if he is elected to Congress.

His opponent, incumbent Democrat Joe Sestak, refuses to sign the pledge and supports higher taxes, according to the Philadelphia Bulletin.

Williams says the 7th District needs a fiscal conservative instead of a tax-and-spend liberal like Joe Sestak.

"The federal budget is full of waste and pork barrel spending that drive up taxes on American workers and seniors," Williams said in a written statement. "One of my main priorities in Congress will be to return fiscal discipline to our nation's capital and to fight hard to keep the hard-earned money of my neighbors in their own pockets."

Williams said the tax-and-spend record of his opponent shows how out of touch he is with voters in the 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties.

Williams pointed to Sestak's vote last week on the federal budget as a prime example of how residents have lost their voice in Congress.

The budget, which was approved by the House of Representatives with Sestak's support, increases federal government spending through a $683 billion tax increase that includes reinstituting the marriage penalty tax, slashing the per child tax credit, and increasing income tax rates.

During debate on the bill, Sestak also voted against a moratorium on Congressional earmarks. (Source: Roll Call Vote 140).

"Failure to extend these tax cuts will result in the single largest tax increase in the history of the country," Williams said in a release. "The tax increases Joe Sestak approved in this budget are projected to increase taxes by an average of $2,796 per taxpayer in the 7th Congressional District. Married couples will see the marriage tax penalty return, families will see their per child tax deduction reduced and low and middle income families will see their income tax rates increase. I will stand up and fight for lower taxes, while Joe Sestak has made it clear that his priority is increased federal spending."

Sestak, a one-issue candidate (opposition to the Iraq War) won the 7th District seat in 2006.

Analysis of the Democrat budget resolution by The Heritage Foundation shows that the tax increases that would be imposed on residents of the 7th Congressional District are the third highest of all Pennsylvania Congressional Districts. In addition to the $2,796 per taxpayer increase, the budget resolution is also projected to result in the loss of 2,216 jobs in the Seventh District, a per capita personal income loss of $1,662, and a $303 million loss to the local economy. (Source:

Williams said he will seek to permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and will oppose all new tax increases.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge signed by Williams has also been signed by 194 Members of Congress and 41 U.S. Senators. Not surprisingly, Joe Sestak is not one of the signatories. A copy of the pledge and list of signers is available from the Americans for Tax Reform Web site at

Williams is a former federal prosecutor, Marine combat veteran, and former active duty Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For more information about Williams, visit his campaign Web site,

E-mail controversy in Montco

This isn't a county government, it's a soap opera.

A day doesn't go by without another controversy involving Montgomery County government.

The latest flap involves e-mails.

Reporter Peggy Gibbons says there's a brewing controversy over political e-mails sent on taxpayer time.

The dispute involves Montgomery County government's Web editor, an attractive young woman hired last year at the request of former Montgomery County Commissioner Tom Ellis, a Republican who was forced to drop his bid for re-election last year by Bruce L. Castor Jr., who was the district attorney and is now a county commissioner.

Ellis is a candidate for Pennsylvania Treasurer. Marina Bradley, who was described by Ellis as a "family friend" (wink, wink), is still employed as the county's Web editor.

Back to the e-mail flap. Bradley sent an e-mail to another county employee about attending a seminar, but added some comments about Democrats. The e-mail was forwarded to several people in the county administration building, including Clerk of Courts Ann Thornburg Weiss, a Democrat.

Gibbons said some bloggers got wind of the dispute and accused Weiss of demanding that the county's information technologies department provide her with copies of all e-mails sent from her employees’ work computers.

Weiss denied making the request, according to Gibbons.

"I have never looked at any employee's e-mail or asked that any e-mail be retrieved other than one that was initially provided to me," Weiss told Gibbons.

Weiss also took a shot at the unnamed bloggers. For the record, I'm not one of them, but I'm curious to know who they are.

"This (misinformation put out by the bloggers) is so sad, so pathetic," Weiss told Gibbons.

Read the full story in today's edition of The Mercury.

Washington Post exposes 'liberalism' of Barack Obama

Is there something in the bottled water liberals are drinking these days?

First The New York Times splashes a big headline about how liberal Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been during their time in the Senate.

Now The Washington Post, another liberal icon, runs a story headlined, "In Obama's New Message, Some Foes See Old Liberalism"

From the article by Alec MacGillis:
The double-barreled attack has presented Democratic voters with some persistent questions about Obama: Just how liberal is he? And even if he truly is a new kind of candidate, can he avoid being pigeonholed with an old label under sustained assault?

Despite being rated the most liberal senator in 2007 by the National Journal, Obama has sought to confound easy categorization. While his record and platform mostly adhere to a left-leaning Democratic model, he has cast them as a common-sense response to the Bush administration. His ability to appeal to independents and even Republicans has been one of his main attractions for Democrats eager to retake the White House, and a cause for concern among some GOP leaders.
Are the Times and the Post trying to swing the election to the Republicans?

You don't want voters to know that the Democratic Party is about to nominate another liberal for president. Just look at the fate of these famous Democratic Party liberals: John Kerry, Al Gore, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey. All liberal, all losers.

See my earlier post, "NY Times ruins it for Democrats"

Details of Bill Clinton's Pottstown visit

Bill Clinton will campaign for his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Thursday morning at Pottstown High School in Pottstown.

The former president will address a crowd at the high school's Strom Gymnasium, 750 N. Washington St., starting at 10 a.m.

The event, titled "Solutions for America," is free and open to the public.

No tickets are required, but entry to the gym is on a first-come basis, so plan to get there early on Thursday.

For more info on Clinton's visit, check out The Mercury.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NY Times ruins it for Democrats

What's up with The New York Times?

Are there no more military secrets the newspaper can reveal to this country's enemies? No leaks about U.S. intelligence gathering in the war on terror the newspaper can splash across its front page?

The Times, arguably the most liberal newspaper in the United States, has really done it this time.

It reveals to the world (at least the few liberals who still read the newspaper) that Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton are both liberals.

The cat's out of the bag now. Thanks, New York Times for handing the election to Sen. John McCain.

There's a lot of names you can call politicians, but liberal is crossing the line.

Does The New York Times know that most Americans won't vote for a candidate identified as a liberal. It's true. Think John Kerry, Al Gore, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey. It goes on and on.

But there it is in black-and-white on the pages of the New York Times: "Obama's Test: Can a Liberal Be a Unifier?"

The newspaper says Obama's message of uniting the country flies in the face of his longstanding liberal voting record.

"Can such a majority be built and led by Mr. Obama, whose voting record was, by one ranking, the most liberal in the Senate last year?" the newspaper asks.

The NY Times also takes a shot at Hillary Clinton: "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has worked hard in the Senate to moderate her liberal image and forge working relationships with Republicans. But with her husband’s tumultuous presidency still fresh in some voters’ minds, she is often cast as a hyperpartisan Democrat who would try to achieve her ends by beating the Republicans at the same brutal (and often futile) competition that has dominated Washington for years."

The article goes on to reveal that "A recent analysis of key votes by The National Journal concluded that Mr. Obama had the Senate’s most liberal voting record in 2007; Mrs. Clinton ranked 16th. But of the 267 measures on which both senators voted, the National Journal analysis found that they differed on only 10."

And for all the talk of "change" and ending "politics as usual," the newspaper says that Obama and Clinton are doormats when it comes to voting independently in the Senate: "Congressional Quarterly said Mr. Obama voted with his party 97 percent of the time on party-line votes last year; Mrs. Clinton did so 98 percent of the time."

So there's no real difference between Obama and Clinton ... and both are liberals.

Nice going, New York Times. Your earlier smear job on McCain and that blonde lobbyists (a story criticized by the paper's own public editor) and now the revelation that the Democratic Party is about to nominate another liberal hands the presidential election to the Republicans.

Group renews effort to eliminate property taxes

A guest column today from David Baldinger of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition on the group's effort to get property tax elimination off the back burner in the state Legislature.

The Real Faces of the Issue

I recently came across a quote from former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner that truly describes the political situation in Harrisburg: "Politics is the only business where doing nothing other than making the other guy look bad is an acceptable outcome."

Gov. Warner's statement accurately describes the reason why the school property tax elimination issue continues in limbo in Harrisburg: self-serving political gamesmanship that ignores the needs of the people in favor of political gain. But if you're willing to participate, today's Action Item can be a great help in moving the property tax issue past the games and into the forefront of the Harrisburg agenda.

There have been recent announcements from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where lawmakers tout their agenda for healthcare reform, energy reform, and leasing the Turnpike — all designed to grab headlines before the elections. But NOTHING is being said about property tax reform because NOTHING is being done about what is probably the most urgent issue facing Pennsylvanians today.

It's my opinion that many lawmakers tend to view these issues in the abstract, seeing them simply as pawns to be played on the chessboard of Harrisburg election year politics rather than considering how these problems affect the lives of the people that they supposedly represent.

It's time to show the lawmakers the REAL faces of the property tax issue to let them know how their political games affect the lives of REAL people!

The Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition and Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations are collecting real-life stories of folks who are in distress from relentlessly increasing school property taxes. These stories will be compiled into one document to be presented to legislative leaders and the governor as examples of how their procrastination on this issue is destroying the lives of Pennsylvania homeowners – both working families and retirees.

During the next few days PLEASE send a paragraph or two to the PTCC that tells how out-of-control school property taxes are affecting your and your family's quality of life. You may sign the letter if you choose or submit it anonymously, but please at least indicate your county of residence. If you have neighbors or friends who are experiencing financial difficulties because of the property tax problem, please have them send their stories as well.

Send your letters to

The compilation as submitted to the lawmakers will be posted on the PTCC Web site when it's completed.

David Baldinger
PTCC Administrator

Hillary Clinton shocker: 'I'm human'

Responding to growing criticism about her "sniper fire in Bosnia" fantasy scenario, Hillary Clinton admitted Tuesday that she made the whole thing up.

"So I made a mistake. That happens. It shows I'm human, which for some people is a revelation."

My memory isn't what it used to be, but I think I'd recall taking sniper fire while my helicopter landed in a war zone. Even if it was 10 years ago.

So the Democrats have to pick from a woman who couldn't remember whether she came under enemy fire during a visit to Bosnia and a man who spent 20 years attending a church where the pastor routinely would spew anti-American rhetoric, but couldn't recall hearing any of it.

And the Democrats have the nerve to make fun of John McCain's age. also has something to say about Hillary Clinton's fantasy life.

Protesters give peace movement a black eye

You gotta love this story in The West Chester Daily Local News about two protesters arrested at a peace rally in Chester County.

I guess peaceful resolution of conflicts only goes so far with some peace activists.

The arrests came after a confrontation between the Chester County Peace Movement and the Chester County Victory Movement, according to the newspaper.

Read "Protesters arrested at dual rallies," at the Daily Local's Web site.

Pennsylvania overrun by Democrats

You can't turn a corner without running into a Democrat these days in Pennsylvania.

More than 161,000 Pennsylvania residents have registered as Democrats since last November, bringing the total number of registered Democrats in the state to 4,044,952.

That's an all-time record for any party in this state.

Registered Republicans in Pennsylvania number 3,215,478.

There's another 900,000 independent or third-party voters in the state, too.

Democratic Party officials are jumping for joy at the registration numbers, but don't get too excited. A lot of people want the opportunity to vote for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton on April 22.

The numbers that matter will be the ones after the primary election. How many voters will stay registered Democrats and how many will vote in November if their candidate doesn't win the primary?

And don't discount John McCain's appeal to independent voters or conservative Democrats for the November election.

Republicans are also planning a big push to get Republicans to come back to the party after the April 22 primary. The Montgomery County Republican Party has set up a Web site to facilitate switching registration back to the GOP at VOTE GOP

Candidate Forum on Wednesday

Berks County residents have an opportunity to meet candidates seeking state and federal offices at a Candidates Forum sponsored by the Brandywine Taxpayers Association.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, at the American Legion Hall, 133 Centre Ave., Topton.

Congressional candidates and candidates seeking seats in the state Legislature in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary are scheduled to attend. Representatives of the Clinton, Obama and McCain campaigns will also be there.

Refreshments will be served.

Everyone is invited.

For additional information and/or directions, call 610-987-6897

73,000 visitors to TONY PHYRILLAS

Honestly, I don't know that many people. The site meter is moving right along, recording 105,000 page views and 73,000 unique visitors to TONY PHYRILLAS since January 2007. Thanks for spending time here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Montco GOP falling on hard times

What has four years of leadership under Ken Davis done for the Montgomery County Republican Party?

It's left the once-dominant party deep in debt and struggling to remain the majority party in Montgomery County.

Davis doesn't deserve all the blame. He had help destroying the party from Bob Asher, the National GOP Committeeman, and Jim Matthews, the one-time Republican county commissioner, who joined forces with Democrat Joe Hoeffel to sink the GOP's 2007 election slate.

The Davis-Asher-Matthews Axis of Evil has left the Montgomery County GOP in shambles.

Davis, who has less than two months to go on his current two-year term, sent a letter to county Republicans last week begging for money.

Specifically, the letter asks the county's GOP state lawmakers, other GOP elected officials and the party's leaders to step up their ticket sales to the county committee's annual fundraising Spring Reception, according to reporter Margaret Gibbons.

(The $150-a-person reception is scheduled for March 27 at Presidential Caterers in East Norriton.)

From Gibbons' article:
"With one week to go until our annual Spring Reception, I report to you that ticket sales are lagging," Davis said in the letter that went out to all "ticket sellers." "Unless we see a significant increase in activity, I have concerns about our ability to fund many of the pre-election activities to which we are committed for candidates and campaigns and Election Day work."
Hmmmm. I wonder why Republicans have lost enthusiasm for the party? Could it be incompetent, uninspired leadership at the county level? Could it be Matthews' betrayal of Republican voters when he made Democrat Joe Hoeffel vice chairman of the commissioners' board?

Could it be Davis and Asher working behind the scenes to install puppet leadership for another two years?

Montgomery County Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. offered his opinion on why the party has hit rock bottom.

Castor attributed the fundraising problem to Matthews' controversial power-sharing pact with Hoeffel.

"When I reach out to people to contribute, they are so disgusted that the will of the voters was reversed by Jim Matthews and his 'power-sharing' arrangement with Democrats that they want to wait and see if the GOP can recover," Castor told Gibbons.

"Our party has a great story to tell and, once a new (party chairman) is elected, I am confident things will improve both election-wise and financially for the Republican Party in Montgomery County," Castor told Gibbons. "That is, so long as a chairman is elected who represents a major departure from the style of leadership of the last four years."

Castor is backing the chairmanship candidacy of Upper Gwynedd GOP Municipal Chairman Robert J. Kerns.

The only other announced candidate for the county organization's top job is Pottstown Area GOP Leader Jim Vlahos, whom many identify with the Davis-Matthews-Asher faction, according to Gibbons.

Attacks by both Davis and Matthews on other members of the county GOP, including himself, have also hurt the party, Castor told Gibbons.

"When our own elected leaders sound like the Democratic Party chairman, it's going to erode the confidence of your donors and it will impact contributions," Castor told Gibbons.

Read "GOP needs more funds to stay out of debt" at The Times-Herald Web site.

Pennsylvania county needs women

There are 67 counties in Pennsylvania, and apparently women hardly set foot in some of them.

Forest County, which is located in the northwest corner of the state, is definitely man's country, according to The Pittsburgh-Tribune Review, which ran a terrific story over the weekend about the lack of women in Forest County.

What else does a man need besides a gun and a dog?

Forest County, which has less than 6,500 full-time residents, issued just 281 marriage licenses last year -- and 4,654 dog licenses, according to the newspaper.

Less than 38 percent of Forest County's residents are female, according to a 2006 U.S. Census estimate.

Men are drawn to the rural county by the hunting and fishing opportunities, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says.

The newspaper actually found a few women to interview for the story, including Amy Barron, manager of the Forest Hills Restaurant and Bar near Tionesta.

The largest town in Forest County is Tionesta, the county seat, with a a population of 592. The biggest employer in the county is the State Correctional Facility at Forest, an all-male state prison near Marienville.

I know you're not going to believe this, but Forest County has a Web site. And if you're looking for tourism information, visit this site.

Read "Men 'call the shots' in Forest County" here.

Hoeffel-Matthews open Patronage Job Employment Agency

Check out this terrific post at WRITEMARSH! about how unsuccessful Democratic Party politicians are landing lucrative jobs with Montgomery County government under the leadership of Commissioners Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel, who made a secret power-sharing deal in January.

Part of that deal may have been to give career politician Hoeffel a free hand to hire Democratic pals for county patronage jobs.

Margaret Gibbons, the dean of Montgomery County political reporters, recently wrote about jobs offered by Matthews/Hoeffel to three losing Democratic candidates: Peter Amuso (the losing candidate for county district attorney), Kelbin Carolina and Ed Cheri.

From Gibbons' story:
Amuso is the third unsuccessful Democratic county candidate last year to surface this year to do some work for the county.

New Democratic County Controller Diane Morgan hired unsuccessful treasurer candidate Kelbin Carolina as a $43,241-a-year senior accountant in her office. New Democratic Coroner Walter I. Hofman hired unsuccessful sheriff candidate Edward F. Cheri to the $36,338-a-year post of deputy corner.

Democrats, who as far back as the Civil War had never won any contested elected row office job in the county, won five out of nine row office posts last year.
Read the WRITEMARSH! post here.

Read Gibbons original story in The Times-Herald here.

Also of note: Now that Kelbin Carolina is gainfully employed by Montgomery County, he has the time and resources to run for the Pennsylvania Legislature. Carolina is challenging first-term Republican state Rep. Mike Vereb in the 150th District.

So not only has Jim Matthew's betrayal of the Republican Party allowed Democrats to infiltrate Montgomery County government, but Matthews' duplicity is now assisting Democrats seeking seats in the state Legislature. As Bill Shaw writes on his blog, "Thanks, Jim."

Do they allow recall elections in Montgomery County? I'm sure Republicans would like another crack at Turncoat Jim Matthews.

Obama promises terrorists he'll surrender Iraq

You gotta love this statement issued today by Sen. Barack Obama on the "milestone" of 4,000 American deaths in the Iraq War.

After he gets through the obligatory condolences to the families, Obama once again sends a signal to al-Qaida that he will abandon Iraq as soon as he takes office as president.

Read the surrender proclamation for yourself:
"It is with great sadness that we have reached another grim milestone in Iraq, with at least 4,000 of our finest Americans having been killed. Each death is a tragedy, and we honor every fallen American and send our thoughts and prayers to their families. It is past time to end this war that should never have been waged by bringing our troops home, and finally pushing Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future. As we do, we must serve the memory of all who have died as well as they served our country, by providing support for their families, caring for our troops and veterans, and upholding the American values which our fallen heroes exemplified through their service."
I don't know. This guy just doesn't strike me as "commander-in-chief" material. Not that Hillary Clinton is any better. She's also promised to abandon Iraq as soon as she takes office in 2009.

Democrats should know what happens when you abandon an ally in the middle of a war. Take a look at Vietnam after the Democratic Congress pulled out all U.S. military support in 1975. Millions of people in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were slaughtered by the communists. What do yo think will happen in Iraq if the U.S. leaves too soon?

'Put the blame on Congressional Democrats'

The Democrats have controlled both house of Congress for 15 months now and what do they have to show for it? Record-high gasoline prices for consumers. A teetering stock market. A housing market in rapid decline. Layoffs. Food prices sending millions of Americans to food pantries to feed their families.

All of this is happening under Democratic leadership. And what are the solutions that Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha are offering the American people? None. They're too busy spending billions on Congressional pork projects.

The letter to the editor below was published in The Mercury. The writer makes a good case about how the liberal media keeps blaming Bush for everything under the sun, while giving the Democrats who control Congress a free pass.

If things are bad now, imagine what this country would look like if Democrats also contolled the White House. Recession? Try Depression.

Put the blame on Congressional Democrats

In the Feb. 27 edition of The Mercury, someone (anonymously, of course) had a piece written in Sound Off asking if anyone had seen that fuel oil is up to $3.30 per gallon and therefore 100 gallons would now cost $495.

The person also blamed this on the Republicans and, I'm sure, President Bush. I would imagine he or she said that because the politically correct thing to do at this time in the United States is to blame the Republicans, and in particular President Bush, for all the things with which the liberals don't agree. I will explain in this article how wrong many have become in that way of thinking.

First of all, unless it was done by some new way of mathematics of which most of us are not aware, when you multiply $3.30 by one hundred it adds up to $330 and not $495 as was stated by the anonymous caller. Perhaps this is the root cause of many of the Democrats' problems; they don't even know basic math or English, which could lead to many other problems that I read about when they speak.

Secondly, and this is very important, the president of the United States, no matter who he is, doesn't have final say in decisions that are made for this country. The elected Congress, which is composed of the senators and representatives of both parties, must agree with nearly everything the president wants to do, including when Mr. Bush wanted to go into Iraq and remove the tyrant Saddam Hussein and his WMDs from that country.

Mr. Bush received 100 percent approval from all in Congress, including John Kerry, "Hilarious" Clinton and all the other Democrats, most of which have done an about face and now decry that move. (The WMDs, by the way, were sent to Syria while the United Nations took more than eight months to finally show up and look for them.)

Now that we have lost almost 4,000 people in Iraq, which is less than 7 percent of the total lost in Vietnam, the Democrat-induced war in the 1960s and 70s, the two-faced liberals want to get out of Iraq immediately before the whole job is complete.

There have been very many upgrades in that country, like new schools, roads, etc., that we don't read about in the newspapers because the more popular thing to do is bash the Republicans and never give them their just due credit.

Thirdly, with the price of oil up and the economy down, why is it that the liberals place the blame on Mr. Bush? Unless my memory serves me incorrectly, the Democrats have had control of Congress since January 2007. Before the Democrats were elected, they made all kinds of promises to us once they got control, but here it is only one year later and oil and gasoline prices are at their highest in history, the economy is on a down swing and we're headed for a recession, for the first time in U.S. history we have one out of every 100 people incarcerated, and the price of wheat has gone through the roof! Just try to imagine what the price of a pizza is soon going to cost!

As was stated previously, since the president must get approval for his decisions how can the blame for all those things be put on him? The Democrats are in control now!

It reminds me of how the liberals elected Ed Rendell for governor twice and we all see the wonderful job he's done here in Pennsylvania! Not! He, like most of the other Democrats in office, are out for themselves and couldn’t care less what the taxpayer thinks.

Mr. Bush cares about this country and we can hear it in his voice when he speaks. Rendell cares only about how fat he can line his pockets and how much money he can suck out of us taxpayers. Now he has even gone public and claimed that Pennsylvania voters are racists! What a great governor!

In November, we will have another presidential election, and unless John McCain gets a good running mate I will either vote for Barack Obama or I won't vote. I will pray to my God and Savior if "Hilarious" Clinton gets the Democratic nod that He will have mercy on us because this country will be in big trouble if that happens.

With the Democrats in control of both houses she will become this great country's first dictator and only God Himself will be able to help us, if He chooses. Remember this; the United States is not mentioned anywhere in the final battle of Armageddon, but that's another problem in itself.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bill Clinton coming to Pottstown

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to visit Pottstown on Thursday, March 27, presumably to campaign for his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I was hoping we'd get Chelsea Clinton instead.

With five weeks left until Pennsylvania's April 22 primary, don't be surprised if Hillary Clinton herself pops into Pottstown for a visit.

No details yet on the time and place of Bill Clinton's campaign event in Pottstown, but it will be one of several stops scheduled Thursday as the former president criss-crosses the Keystone State trying to rally support for Hillary.

In addition to Pottstown, Bill Clinton is slated to visit Reading, State College and Harrisburg on the same day.

If you can't wait to see Hillary Clinton in person, she will be on the other end of Montgomery County Monday. Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to visit Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell for a "Pennsylvania Women for Hillary" event.

The public is invited. Doors for the 1:15 p.m. speech in the Recreation Facility Gym open at 11:30 a.m. and the event will last until 2:45 p.m.

Barack Obama appears to have written off Pennsylvania. He has no scheduled visits to the state this week. Last I heard, Obama was in Oregon.

It's a shame that the Illinois senator is giving up on the Keystone State. A win here would cripple Hillary Clinton's chances for the nomination.

There's only 8 states left and Pennsylvania is the biggest electoral prize. Obama has to prove he can win in big industrialized states if he wants to persuade those superdelegates that he can go all the way in Novemember.

Reporter Michael Hays has a full story in Monday's edition of The Mercury.

And if you want a chance to vote in the Clinton/Obama contest, today is the last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania or to change your party affiliation to cast a ballot in the Democratic Primary. Find out more on The Mercury's Web site.

No. 1 blogger in Pennsylvania

No. 1 again?

Yes faithful readers, TONY PHYRILLAS is the No. 1 ranked blog on the "Most Influential Political Blogs in Pennsylvania" listing for the second week in a row.

It's the second time in 2008 that I've finished No. 1 in back-to-back weeks, but who's counting?

Well, if you must know, I've held the No. 1 spot four of the past five weeks ... and finished in the TOP 5 every week so far in 2008.

I'm pleased to see my buddies at right behind me in the No. 2 spot and WRITEMARSH! finishing in the Top 5. The rest of the list is populated by typical liberal blogs.

For the full list, go to

Here's this week's TOP 10:

Pennsylvania's Most Influential Political blogs
Rank Blog Prev

2 6
3 The Carbolic Smoke Ball 7
4 Suburban Guerrilla 4
6 Pennsyltucky Politics 15
7 The Pennsylvania Progressive 3
8 Pennsylvania Ave. 11
9 Comments From Left Field 9
10 Attytood 5

$1 billion in no-bid contracts handed out so far by Ed Rendell

Hey, big spender!

If things don't work out for Hillary Clinton this November and Ed Rendell doesn't get to go to Washington as a member of the Clinton cabinet, I have another suggestion for Gov. Rendell's next job.

Ed Rendell has a future with Halliburton, the multinational corporation that has been criticized for receiving billions in no-bid contracts from the U.S. government.

You see, the governor, affectionately known as "Ed Spendell," has awarded $1 billion in no-bid contracts since taking office just five short years ago.

That revelation comes courtesy of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which meticulously added up all the contracts Rendell has awarded to friends, business associates, former law partners and political contributors.

"What is beyond the pale is the level at which the Rendell administration has engaged in this," state Rep. Doug Reichley, R-Lehigh, told reporters Brad Bumstead and Jim Ritchie.

State lawmakers say Rendell's heavy use of no-bid contracts, often in secret and some to his former law firm, must be investigated, according to the newspaper.

Read the full story here.

County 911 chief's wife snared in prostitution sting

What is going on with people who work for 911 emergency call centers these days?

A couple of weeks ago, we learned that 911 dispatchers in Montgomery County held a holiday party where alcohol and sex toys were exchanged during working hours on county property. Photos of dispatchers holding booze and sex toys were posted on the Internet, leading to a county investigation. That led to the firing of a supervisor and unspecified disciplinary action against other county employees.

Now we have the wife of the director of Chester County's Department of Emergency Services arrested for prostitution.

Theresa Atkins, 49, of the 100 block of Woodgate Lane in Paoli, was charged March 19 as part of a prostitution ring operating in Philadelphia, according to the West Chester Daily Local News.

Her husband, Edward J. Atkins, has headed the county's 911 department for about 10 years, the newspaper reported.

Theresa Atkins was one of five women who allegedly worked for different escort services that charged from $200 to $400 per hour for sex, according to the Daily News. All five women charged with prostitution.

Read the full story at the Daily Local Web site,

Obama's troubling disconnect

The luster is wearing off Sen. Barack Obama. This could explain why he's trailing Sen. Hillary Clinton badly in the latest polls in Pennsylvania.

Fascinating op-ed piece in The Mercury by Colin Hanna, a former Chester County commissioner, who is troubled by Sen. Obama's handling of the Rev. Wright controversy.

Hanna concludes that "Sen. Obama is arguably the least experienced candidate ever to have a serious chance of winning the Presidency. To dismiss that deficiency, he proposes that judgment is a more relevant requirement for our highest office than experience, and that he has demonstrated superior judgment. Yet the lack of judgment that he demonstrated in failing to dissociate himself from the hate-mongering of Rev. Wright is troubling."

Read "Barack Obama's troubling disconnect" here.

Hanna now operates Let Freedom Ring Inc., a non-profit, public policy group based in West Chester, Pa.

Visit the group's Web site at

Friday, March 21, 2008

Paolino launches first TV ad in state Senate race

Endorsed Republican Lance Rogers may be raking in the backing of party leaders and fellow politicians, but Lisa Paolino is taking her message directly to the people of Pennsylvania's 17th Senatorial District.

The Paolino for Senate Committee announced it has launched its first TV ad with five weeks to go until the Pennsylvania's April 22 Primary Election.

The 30-second spot, entitled "Message," is the first by a candidate in the race, according to Paolino's camp.

It will air on local cable stations across the 17th Senate District, comprised of 11 towns in Delaware and Montgomery counties.

Television advertising is rare for state legislative races, especially a primary contest. But this race is drawing a lot of interest. It's a rare opportunity for Republicans to take a Senate district that was considered a safe Democratic seat. Republicans hold a 29-21 majority in the 50-member state Senate.

In the ad, Paolino, declares that "Harrisburg is a mess" and needs a new look, according to a press release. Paolino goes on to say that it's time to send "a clear message to Harrisburg …we're going to make a change for the better."

She pledges to continue to work to "protect open space, hold the line on taxes and hold corrupt politicians accountable."

The ad can be viewed online at or on her Web site,

The 17th Senate District is held by Democrat Connie Williams, who is not seeking re-election. The only Democrat running for the seat is state Rep. Daylin Leach.

Paolino is facing Lance Rogers in the April 22 primary.

The 17th State Senate District is comprised of Radnor and Haverford townships in Delaware County, and the towns of Bridgeport, Conshohocken, West Conshohocken, Narberth, Norristown, East Norriton, Lower Merion, Plymouth and Upper Merion in Montgomery County.

'Founding Fathers were men of faith'

A debate has been raging in recent weeks on the editorial pages of The Mercury about the so-called "separation of church and state." The letter below is in response to an earlier letter by a "secular progressive" who contends that the United States is not and never was a Christian nation. I think Mr. Hallman makes a convincing case otherwise. Here's the letter:

Founding Fathers were men of faith

I feel compelled to respond to the letter: "Founders were not Christian" in Readers' Views on Feb. 26. The letter stated that our founders were not Christian and suggested that early presidents and patriots were deists. A definition of deism states this: "...belief in the existence of God as the creator...who after setting it in motion abandoned it...and exerted no influence..." In judging the faith of our founders and their belief regarding God’s influence on our nation, it might be interesting to note some excerpts from the documentation of some colonies, colleges and statesmen. My primary source is Benjamin Morris, a 19th century historian.

Preamble to Connecticut's Constitution: "Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God, by the wise disposition of His Divine Providence, that we are dwelling in this land... Article I: "The Scriptures hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform."

Rhode Island Charter: "The colonists are to pursue with peace and loyal minds their sober, serious, and religious intentions in...edifying themselves and one another in the holy Christian faith..."

New Hampshire's Address to the King: "Our predecessors removed themselves...into this remote region and wilderness, in pursuance of the glorious cause proposed: the glory of God...and the spreading of the gospel among the heathen."

Pennsylvania's First Legislative Act: "Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the...end of government, and, therefore, a venerable ordinance of is principally make and establish such laws as shall best preserve true Christian and civil liberty..."

Harvard Rules: "The president or professor...must declare his belief in the Scriptures...and promise to open and explain the Scriptures to his pupils with integrity and faithfulness, according to the best light that God shall give that, through the blessing of God, it may be conducive to their establishment in the principles of the Christian Protestant religion."

Charter for Yale: "Whereas, several well-disposed and public-spirited persons, out of their sincere regard to, and zeal for upholding and propagating the Christian Protestant religion...have expressed their earnest desire that...youth may be instructed in the arts and sciences, who, through the blessing of Almighty God, may be fitted for public employment both in Church and State."
Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: "With a firm reliance on Divine Providence, we mutually pledge ourselves..."

Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention: "In the beginning of our contest with Great Britain...we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard...and answered. Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this great truth - God governs in the affairs of men. I firmly believe this..." Franklin ended with a motion to start each session of the Constitutional Convention with prayer and Bible reading. It is interesting that in 1962-63, the Supreme Court found a practice initiated in the Constitutional Convention to be unconstitutional.

George Washington's Inaugural Address: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency..."

George Washington in his personal prayer diary: "O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father, I acknowledge and confess...the weak and imperfect performance of my duties of this day...Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast prescribed in The Holy Word, and direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

I realize each person must come to his own conclusion about our founders, but I have concluded that they thought God to be very involved in their new nation, that God had not abandoned them in the conduct of their affairs.

I agree with the letter's reference to Jesus' statement: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." I would admonish all to do that and especially remind everyone not to ignore the second clause: Giving glory to God.

A good place to start is to praise God for His creation of an amazing universe, for placing humanity on His wonderful earth, and for giving this nation a great spiritual heritage.