Monday, June 30, 2008

Constable has friends in high places

Three elected officials -- all Democrats -- have written letters asking a judge to grant a private investigator's license to a former Montgomery County constable who had his own brush with the law last year.

The elected officials -- state Sen. Connie Williams, D-17th Dist., state Rep. Daylin Leach, D-149th Dist., and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Jane Dellheim -- are among seven citizens who filed affidavits with the court, certifying in their opinions, that Steven David Sokoloff is "honest, of good character," and "competent," according to reporter Carl Hessler Jr., who works for The Mercury.

Williams, who is retiring at the end of the year, Leach, the Democratic nominee for Williams's state Senate seat, and Dellheim each filed affidavits on behalf of Sokoloff's June 5 application for the private investigator license, according to court records reviewed by Hessler.

Under state law, those who apply for private detectives' licenses must submit notarized affidavits of reputable citizens to support the application, Hessler says.

In the affidavits, Williams, Leach and Dellheim certify they've known Sokoloff for at least five years and that they are not related to or connected to Sokoloff by blood or marriage, Hessler says.

Sokoloff, 57, of Ardmore, filed a petition for a private investigator license on behalf of Private Detectives Inc., according to Hessler. Sokoloff is listed in court documents as the president, secretary and treasurer of the company, which was incorporated on April 16, 2008, Hessler says.

Sokoloff acted as a deputy constable in Lower Merion from Jan. 5, 2004, until Oct. 18, 2007, when he resigned in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to pursue potential criminal charges of official oppression against him for his alleged improper arrest of a West Norriton businessman in connection with an unpaid parking ticket, according to court papers.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman filed a petition in court on Monday asking a judge to deny Sokoloff's application for a private investigator license, according to Hessler.

Ferman argued in court papers that Sokoloff's actions while a deputy constable, his alleged false arrest of the businessman, constituted "malfeasance, misfeasance and acts of oppression," Hessler reported.

Ferman alleged Sokoloff "lacks the good character, integrity, honesty and competence" required for a private investigator license, according to the court records examined by Hessler.

Democrats joke about high gas prices

An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Monday says that 9 in 10 Americans have been hit hard by skyrocketing gas prices and have had to adjust their lifestyle because of the high costs of gas.

That 10th person must be one of those well-to-do Barack Obama supporters. Or it might be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who gets to shuttle around the country on a taxpayer-paid airplane.

Democrats still don't get it about gas prices, which have risen 50 percent in the past six months.

Further proof that Democrats are clueless when it comes to the plight of working Americans comes in the form of a radio ad sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that makes a joke out of high gas prices.

The ad buy features a comedian imitating President Bush and joking about gas prices.

U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, a Pennsylvania Republican, issued a statement Monday saying the suffering of American families is not a laughing matter.

"Pennsylvania families' real pain and suffering over high gas prices isn't funny and isn't a joke," Gerlach said in a written statement. "The DCCC just doesn't get it - $4.00 gas is really hurting America's working families and political jokes like this won't hide their Party's inaction on this issue, or lower the price of gas. Bi-partisan solutions are needed, and needed now."

In a national radio address over the weekend, Gerlach noted that Democrat plans to raise taxes on oil companies will only raise gas prices for families even higher, since higher taxes get passed through to consumers, according to his campaign staff.

Gerlach stressed innovation, conservation, and most importantly, increasing our own domestic energy supply through safe off-shore drilling, says the Jim Gerlach for Congress Committee

Gerlach's press release also offers this stunning fact: Gas prices have increased 75% since Democrats took control of Congress, and the energy package referenced in the DCCC attack ad was the exact same one supported by Barack Obama and half of the Democratic leadership in the House in 2005. Democrats and Republicans need to come together in a bi-partisan effort to lower gas prices.

"My opponent opposes off-shore drilling and believes we need to tax consumers further," Gerlach said. "That 'head-in-the-sand' energy plan will push gas prices dramatically higher tomorrow and in years to come. At the end of the day, I think we can both agree that making jokes about gas prices during these tough times is inappropriate, and I call on my opponent to publicly condemn the DCCC ad."

Nothing fair about 'Fairness Doctrine'

Liberals control most television news (ABC,CBS,NBC,PBS,CNN and their various affiliates), where most Americans say they get their news from.

Liberals control most of the major newspapers in the United States.

Liberals control the public education system and higher education.

Liberals control the Democratic Party.

But it isn't enough. There is still dissent out there. Fox News dominates cable news. Conservatives have won control of talk radio. Conservatives also have a foothold on the Internet, although the most visited sites are usually liberal, and the far left spends way too much time attacking conservative sites and attempting to intimidate or silence them.

In short, liberals want to stamp out all opposition. (For more on the history of liberal oppression, check out Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism blog at The National Review Web site.)

If the Democrats continue to build on their Congressional majorities and if a Democrat is elected president, the far left is promising to stifle opposition viewpoints in the U.S.

The tool the far left will use is a government crackdown called the "Fairness Doctrine," a term only George Orwell would love.

Liberals won't be satisfied until they can silence talk radio and take control of the blogosphere.

Investor's Business Daily warns on its editorial pages that the "Fairness Doctrine" is the latest example of despotism by the far left.

From the IBD editorial:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to restore the "Fairness Doctrine" regulating political speech — proof that in the Internet Age, Democrats have lost the communications war.

Under a President Obama and Democratic Congress, a Fairness Doctrine could mean all three branches of government, plus the media, would be under the iron-fisted control of big-government, anti-national security liberals.

Despite losing the war of words to Republicans on low taxes and strong defense, Democrats would win politically with a law regulating national debate.
Read the full editorial, "Fairness Despotism," at the IBD Web site.

Rendell Flood Tax Plan Explained

The most powerful man in America

No, it's not George W. Bush. Or Dick Cheney. It's not even Rush Limbaugh.

Attorney Vincent G. Gioia, writing at The New Media, makes a persuasive case that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy now has the power of life or death over many Americans.

Kennedy is the swing vote on the nine-member Supreme Court, which has four solid conservatives and four committed liberals. Kennedy, as we witnessed in recent weeks, is the deciding vote in cases involving gun control, the death penalty and abortion.

In his column, "Is American Law Now Determined by One Man?" Gioia argues that the Supreme Court has usurped too much power in our system of government.

Gioia writes:
Recent history is replete with judicial action overturning the will of a majority of voters and citizens in our country. When the judiciary has the power to impose their social views on the public regarding how people should act and think, then the Constitutional prescription of three equal branches of government is meaningless. The most tragic part of the story is that the brave men who created the United States of America gave everything to design a brilliant unique government with checks and balances so that no one branch could dominate the others and the country. Yet now we have judges around the country that put themselves above the law by making law on their terms. Sadly the U.S. Supreme Court, the final arbiter of what does and does not conform to the Constitution, is a part of this coup d'e tat. Justices who don't respect the Constitution as worded are determined to change our government by fiat and it only takes five of them to do that.
Food for thought as Americans prepare to elect a new president, who will most likely nominate at least three new justices to the Supreme Court. It's clear Barack Obama would stack the court with more liberal activists who would use the court to impose their social agenda on the rest of us. John McCain has pledged to nominate justices who've actually read the Constitution.

Read the full column by Gioia at The New Media

Congress is keeping gas prices high

Congress is about to take its Fourth of July break (and will soon shut down for the summer) without having done anything to bring down high gas prices.

One of the quickest ways to improve the current energy crisis is to remove tariffs against the import of sugarcane ethanol (which is plentiful and much cheaper than corn-based ethanol).

The Democrats who control Congress have refused to lift the tariff so far.

Read more about the campaign below and start getting the word to your representatives in Congress that their jobs are on the line this November if they continue to do nothing about rising gas prices.

4th of July Campaign Introduces Alternative to High Gas Prices

Why are Europeans building American military fuel tankers?

I must have missed the news the first time around, but the Pentagon has awarded a contract to build 179 airborne fuel tankers to a European contractor instead of Boeing Co., which is based in the United States.

Why are we giving defense work to foreigners? Why are we sending American jobs overseas?

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, who wrote a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense objecting to the deal, says that awarding the contract to Boeing would have provided 44,000 jobs in 40 states.

Read more about this outrage (including Wagner's letter) at the link below.

Auditor General Jack Wagner Again Urges Secretary of Defense Gates to Award Tanker Contract to American Company

Rendell 0-for-6 on state budgets

Gov. Ed Rendell and leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislature announced a tentative budget agreement Monday morning for the 2008-09 fiscal year, but the budget won't be signed until after the June 30 deadline passes.

So Rendell is now 0-for-6 in meeting the Constitutional deadline to have a signed budget before the fiscal year begins on July 1. For those keeping score, Rendell has presented six budgets to the Legislature and all six have missed the deadline.

If Rendell had not taken an "unofficial" six-week leave of absence from his duties as governor to campaign full time for Hillary Cinton in March and April, would the budget have passed on time?

The tentative spending plan, which will probably be voted on by July 3 because the Legislature wants to take its Fourth of July holiday, means Pennsylvania will spend $28.2 billion in its general fund budget for the coming fiscal year.

That's more than $1 billion more than it spent in the current fiscal year. State spending under Rendell has increased by nearly $8 billion.

The $28.2 billion budget is a 3.8 percent increase over the past year's spending plan, but ... and this is a big but ... it includes plans to borrow more than $2 billion to satisfy the voracious appetite for more government spending.

Borrowing money is a hidden tax because taxpayers will not only have to pay back the initial amount, but the interest will mean taxpayers will probably get stuck with a $4 billion bill ... long after Rendell leaves office.

Rendell deserves most of the blame for another late budget, but the other culprits are the voters of Pennsylvania. More than 100 incumbent state lawmakers had opposition in the April 22 primary election, but only one legislator(a Philadelphia Democrat) was ousted by the voters.

That sent a message to the career politicians who rule Harrisburg that it was business as usual and they could waste time without feeling any repercussions from the voters.

So blame yourself for not kicking out the established political class and get ready to pay more for state government.

Newspaper: School board showed favoritism for Obama

The very liberal Reading Eagle took a swipe at the Reading School Board on its editorial pages Sunday over the board's decision not to charge Sen. Barack Obama for a political stop earlier this year.

The Obama campaign held a rally at Reading High School but was not charged a rental fee or asked to reimburse the district for any other costs involved with opening the school's gymnasium complex on a weekend.

The district superintendent and the majority of school board members (7 of the 9 members are Democrats) said the event was educational so they waived the fees.

It should be pointed out that very few Reading students were in attendance at the rally.

The district's solicitor, who works at the pleasure of the school board, ruled that the board did not violate any laws by waiving the fees.

But the Reading Eagle argues that district taxpayers should not have gotten stuck with the bill for the event.

"It would be difficult to make the case the board acted illegally, but it placed an undue burden on taxpayers," the newspaper said.

Read the full editorial here.

Rendell Announces More Judicial Nominations

Gov. Ed Rendell has nominated five people -- one woman, four men -- to fill vacancies in the county courts in Allegheny, Bradford, Bucks, Luzerne and Montgomery counties.

All five nominees are subject to Senate confirmation.

Governor Rendell Announces Court of Common Pleas Nominations

'How Can We Trust Obama?'

Interesting editorial in Foster's Daily Democrat about Barack Obama's inability to show any consistency on issues:
Barack Obama's position on the issues is a work in progress. When he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president he was saying one thing. Now that he has a lock on it, he's doing some 180 degree turns.

Change is the theme of Obama -- change to suit what is politically convenient. ...
Read the full editorial at the link below.

RNC: How Can We Trust Obama?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Is saving a few cents in gas worth your life?

We've all seen reports on TV or read stories in newspapers about the growing trend in "hypermilers," people who've figured out ways to save a few cents by optimizing fuel consumption.

But some of the techniques are dangerous, says AAA.

AAA Advises Hypermilers to Avoid Dangerous Fuel-Saving Techniques

'Pennsylvania through rose-colored glasses'

A must-read op-ed piece by Richard C. Dreyfuss, senior fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg about what's really going on in Pennsylvania and how politicians are constantly trying to spin the truth to suit their purposes.

And nobody is a bigger spin-master than Gov. Ed Rendell. You can guarantee that anything Rendell supports is bad for Pennsylvania residents.

"A review of three current Pennsylvania projects reveals that many in the Rendell administration are giddy with a sense of unbridled capitalism and optimism regarding the future of the state," Dreyfuss writes. "So much so that they almost seem to minimize the role of government."

Check out Pennsylvania through rose-colored glasses in The Mercury.

Legal notices keep the public informed

There's a movement in the Pennsylvania Legislature to change the law requiring government entities to place notices of meetings and public hearings in newspapers with widespread readership in a particular area.

Some in the legislature want the legal advertisements or public notices to be posted online or to run in merchandisers.

It's clearly an effort by the Legislature to punish newspapers for their watchdog role of state government and to deny the public information about important decisions.

Read the editorial in The Mercury about the pending changes to the law designed to keep you in the dark.

Obama will say anything to get elected

Barack Obama continues to change his position on major issues such as gun control, energy, terrorism and public financing of political campaigns.

For a weekly recap of the Obama Subterfuge Campaign, follow the link below.

RNC: This Week in Change II - Obama Adopts Most Politically Expedient Position on Important Issues, Again

Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever

Barack Obama is so far from the mainstream on abortion that even liberals have distanced themselves from the junior senator from Illinois.

Far left columnist Nat Hentoff, a longtime supporter of abortion, said in a recent column that Obama's views on abortion are so extreme that he could not vote for Obama on that one issue alone.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council notes that Obama's recent comments about the importance of fatherhood contradict his stated position on abortion.

Read more at the link below.

Tony Perkins Asks Barack Obama: When Does Life Begin?

Disunity Day - Can the Clinton/Obama Rally Cover Up Their Attacks Over The Past Year?

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will smile for the cameras today, but do you get the feeling that Hillary Clinton may not vote for Barack Obama this fall?

Click on the link below for a sampling of Hillary Clinton attacks on Barack Obama's record.

Republican National Committee: Disunity Day - Can the Clinton/Obama Rally Cover Up Their Attacks Over The Past Year?

Before you buy that used car ...

Carfax is offering consumers an opportunity to check the history of used cars that may have been damaged by the flooding in the Midwest. So before you buy that next used car, follow the link below to the Carfax Web site and make sure your next vehicle wasn't floating down the Mississippi River this spring.

Consumer Alert: Be on the Lookout for Waterlogged Wrecks from Midwest

Oil prices up 45% so far this year

Unless you're a member of Congress who doesn't have to pay for gasoline or Barack Obama, who has so much money, he's giving a lot of it to Hillary Clinton, you've probably been hit hard by rising gasoline prices.

Thanks to 25 years of inaction by Congressional Democrats, the United States finds itself over a barrel.

There are a few things you can do.

First, go to the American Solutions Web site and sign the online petition to demand Congress lift the ban on drilling for new oil.

Then tell your Democratic Congressman that his or time is up. Vote them out in the November election unless you want to spend more at the pump.

Finally, you can send the clearest message of all in November by rejecting Barack Obama's old-style liberalism of higher taxes and more government regulations.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama's Own Words on Biting His Tongue Regarding Hillary Clinton

The quote at the link below says volumes about Barack Obama's true feelings about Hillary Clinton.

Republican National Committee: Barack Obama on Biting His Tongue Regarding Sen. Clinton

'Destroying America a gallon at a time'

I love this letter originally published in The Mercury from a Boyertown man who wonders if there are forces working to destroy America from within. The writers' conclusion? America's political leaders have done more damage than any terrorist attack.

'Destroying America a gallon at a time'

If I was a terrorist and I wanted to destroy our American way of life, I would not use planes, bombs and bullets to kill people. That's too risky; you might get caught or killed, or both. The real terrorists figured a way to do it easier. They can destroy our country easier without using our old methods of pure fire power. The real terrorists would do it without firing a shot and lay the blame where it can't be found. So here's what I would do if I was a terrorist:

1) I would increase the cost of my oil to any country I supplied.

2) By increasing the cost of my oil, the currency of that country would be devalued and would be worth less, causing everything else to be more expensive.

3) Devaluating the money would in turn reduce everyone's property value, forcing them to pay a mortgage which would be higher than the value of their property.

4) This would force people to sell their property for less than it is worth because they could no longer pay the mortgage or the property tax. (Berks County alone has over 8,700 homes on the auction block.)

5) If they were in the business of moving produce or products around the country by truck, the cost of my fuel would force them to sell their trucks because it would no longer be profitable for them to run. I would then buy the trucks at a cheap price and ship them to other countries.

6) I would give tax breaks to "outsource" all factory jobs to off shore countries to insure that the local population would no longer be able to find good paying jobs.

7) I would make education no longer affordable. Terrorists will not tolerate educated people (history shows that educated people are the first ones to be eliminated).

8) I would make healthcare difficult to obtain and let the insurance and drug companies set the rules and prosper.

9) I would listen to your phone calls and monitor your e-mails regardless of any Constitutional rights. "Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security." Benjamin Franklin
10) I would then give myself big tax breaks and sit back and watch everyone fight over the crumbs.

But we live in the greatest country in the world in which our fathers and our grandfathers fought to make sure that this would never happen here. Would it? God bless America.


Special interest dollars heading to Barack Obama

Sen. Barack Obama has campaigned against the "special interests" who control Washington.

But when it comes to taking millions in campaign contributions from Big Labor, it's OK with the Obama camp.

Hypocrisy? You bet.

Obama is planning to bring Chicago-style politics to the presidential race. It's not what he says. It's what he does.

Read more about Obama's love affair with Big Labor at the link below.

RNC: Obama's Big Labor Love

Cato Institute: Supreme Court 'rediscovers Second Amendment'

The Cato Institute applauds Thursday's Supreme Court ruling affirming the right of United States' citizens to bear arms, but warns that there are many other legal challenges to the Second Amendment making their way through the courts.

Read more at the link below.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Gun Ban

Congress mulls 'Pump Act' bills against oil speculators

You always have to be leery of unions supporting something since 99 percent of unions are in the hip pocket of the Democrats, but the PUMP legislation before Congress is worth taking a look at.

There's no doubt that oil speculators have driven up the price of gas. But Congress has to come up with a comprehensive solution, including drilling for new oil and allowing new nuclear plants to be commissioned.

Teamsters Support 'Pump Act' Bills to Tackle High Fuel Costs

'A major victory for all Americans'

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decisions recognizing that the Second Amendment means exactly what it says is a significant victory for all Americans, regardless if they own guns.

But it also shows that determined liberals can undermine the U.S. Constitution. The four liberals on the court said the Constitution is subject to their interpretation and the Founding Fathers didn't know what they were doing.

If Barack Obama is elected president, he will stack the court with far left extremists who will shred the Constitution to further the liberal agenda.

Firearms Industry Hails Victory in Supreme Court Second Amendment Case

Obama backs D.C. gun ban struck down by Supreme Court

If you're on the fence about the 2008 presidential race, Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on the Washington, D.C., gun ban, should help you make up your mind.

The four liberal members of the Supreme Court, voted to uphold the ban despite the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of the "right to bear arms."

If Barack Obama is elected president, he will appoint more liberals to the court and a liberal Supreme Court will start taking away Constitutional rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Founding Fathers.

John McCain has promised to appoint judges who will uphold the Constitution instead of trying to legislate from the bench.

So the 2008 election comes down to which person you want appointing Supreme Court justices. Barack Obama would use the court to further his liberal agenda. John McCain would nominate judges who've actually read the Constitution and would leave legislating to elected state legislatures and Congress.

Read more about Sen. Obama's oppose to gun rights at the link below.

Republican National Committee: Obama's Supreme Mistake On Guns

Karl Rove on Obama's Arrogance

Karl Rove, who has seen a lot in politics, says he's never seen anyone as arrogant as Barack Obama.

Rove, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says Obama's use of a mock-up of the Presidential Seal shows the hubris of a man who believes he is entitled to be the next president of the United States.

The November election is just a formality to Obama, according to Rove. All voters need to do is show up to crown Prince Obama as president.

"Most people saw in the seal something else - chutzpah - and he's stopped using it. Such arrogance - even self-centeredness - have featured often in the Obama campaign," Rove writes.

Follow the link below to read the full op-ed.

RNC: It's All About Obama

New Web Site:

Does Barack Obama have a plan to lower gas prices and make the U.S. energy independent? The answer is "No" (unless you consider taxing oil companies the way to lower gas prices).

The Republican National Committee has launched a new Web site to chronicle Obama's dead-end energy policy.

Follow the link below to see what Sen. Obama opposes today.

RNC Launches New Web Site: ''

Obama says no to lower gas prices

No new drilling for oil. No to construction of nuclear plants. No to clean coal technology.

Yes to high gas prices (which should go higher, according to Sen. Barack Obama). Yes to a global warming tax on American workers. Yes to dependency on foreign energy.

That pretty much sums up Barack Obama's energy plan.

Follow the link below to more from "Dr. NoBama" on any energy proposal that will help out working Americans.

Republican National Committee - Dr. NObama: Why Does Barack Obama Continue to Say No to Energy Solutions That Will Help Americans?

Study says hospitals showing patients the door

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (admit it, you never heard of this agency before) has released a report saying that it has documented 800 cases where Pennsylvania hospitals discharged patients without providing them with property instructions.

That can jeopardize patient safety, the report concludes.

"Discharge is a critical time period when a patient who is leaving the hospital must know and understand how to take care of themselves once they are at home," Dr. Ana Pujols-McKee, chair of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. "The data we received shows there are a lot of issues that must be addressed to improve the discharge process so that patients are not at risk of harm once they go home."

Read more about the study at the link below.

Data from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Shows Incomplete Discharge Processes May Lead to Patient Harm

Rendell discovers old people in Pennsylvania

After five years in office, Gov. Ed Rendell has finally figured out there's a lot of old people in Pennsylvania.

A new report details the challenges of running a state when one in four residents will be 60 years of age or older by 2020.

You don't have to read the report to figure out that fewer workers will have to support the massive state government that Rendell has built over the past five years.

You don't have to read the report to realize that the tax burden on working Pennsylvanians is already too great thanks to Rendell.

You don't have to read the report to figure out that most of the state's young people are leaving because they can't afford to live in Pennsylvania anymore.

And you don't have to read the report to realize that an older population will put a greater strain on government resources.

It took Rendell five years to figure all this out?

Thanks to Ed Rendell's taxing policies and massive growth in state spending ($8 billion since 2003), most elderly Pennsylvanians are struggling to hold on to their homes.

If you want to read the Pennsylvania 2020 Vision Report, follow the link below.

Governor Rendell Says '2020 Vision Report' Outlines Challenges Facing State Government as Pennsylvania's Population Ages

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

School board gives Obama a free pass at taxpayer expense

Seven of the nine members of the Reading School Board are Democrats.

They also appear to be Barack Obama supporters.

The board decided not to charge the Barack Obama campaign anything for a campaign stop at a school district building. (A nearby school district charged Hillary Clinton's campaign about $6,000 for a similar appearance.)

It's not that Obama couldn't afford the rental fee. The Obama camp raised $250 million in its quest to win the Democratic Party nomination.

So why should taxpayers get stuck with the bill for a political appearance?

The two Republican members of the Reading School Board would like to know.

Board member William F. Cinfici told the rest of the board that he believes waiving usage fees for Obama represents an "in-kind donation to the campaign from the district, which is illegal and unfair to city taxpayers," according to the Reading Eagle.

The other Republican board member, Keith Stamm, didn't comment at Monday's meeting, but has questioned the special treatment of Obama in the past.

Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

It's bad enough that the national media is already working on behalf of the Obama campaign. Governing bodies like the Reading School District shouldn't be throwing around tax dollars on political campaigns.

Jerry Springer to host 2008 Miss Universe Pageant

The Miss Universe Pageant has always had a reputation problem. It was always considered the more risque version of prim and proper Miss America. But now that the program has announced that Jerry Springer and Spice Girl Mel B will host this year's pageant, all bets are off.

Let the chairs fly, girls.

'America's Got Talent' Host Jerry Springer and Spice Girl Mel B to Host the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant Live from Vietnam on July 13

More dirt on Obama top aide Eric Holder

Obama Asked to Drop Eric Holder From Veep Selection Committee Because of Role in Health Care Task Force Cover-Up

Another reason why school taxes are so high

Four months after approving pay raises ranging from 6 to 18 percent for district administrators, the Pottstown School Board unanimously approved a second set of raises for those very same administrators.

When the February pay raises and the annual increases for the other non-teacher staff are included in the total, the overall addition to the payroll budget from both sets of raises is $116,934.78, according to reporter Evan Brandt.

If you're wondering why school taxes are so high in Pennsylvania, look no further than free-spending school boards.

The vote to grant the raises was unanimous, as in all nine school board members turning their backs on taxpayers.

The elimination of property taxes would go a long way to providing a simpler and fairer way to fund public education, but until controls are placed on school boards, the problem will never end.

School boards are routinely led by the nose by high-paid administrators. If these people want to make more, let them go into the private sector and compete for higher salaries instead of always burdening taxpayers.

Read the full story about the generous pay raises in Pottstown in today's edition of The Mercury.

Highway Users Lead Call for Increased Oil Supply

Why is gas so expensive?

Could it be because the Democrats in Congress have prevented American oil companies from drilling for new oil?

Could it be that the Democrats in Congress have blocked new refineries?

Could it be that the Democrats in Congress have blocked construction of nuclear power plants?

It's a question of supply and demand. By restricting the supply of oil, the Democrats who control Congress have backed the U.S. into an economic corner.

The only short term solution to the oil crisis is to expand the supply. The Democrats are preventing us from doing that.

It's time to remove the road blocks. It's time to vote out Democrats.

Highway Users Lead Call for Increased Oil Supply

Survey: $5 Gasoline By Labor Day

A new survey says most Americans expect gasoline to cost $5 a gallon by Labor Day.

The Democrats who control both houses of Congress still haven't gotten the message. The only way to bring down gas prices in the short run is to vote out every Democrat in the House and Senate (and elect John McCain as president.)

That's the only way the American voter can send a clear message that the current path orchestrated by the Democrats will lead this nation into another Depression.

Survey: $5 Gasoline By Labor Day - Are Most Americans Now Expecting It?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About the Pennsylvania Turnpike

The good folks at The Commonwealth Foundation have launched yet another Web site to help Pennsylvania residents stay informed about various state issues.

This one deals exclusively with the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

(Previous sites include PADietPlan, Taxpayer Protection and SchoolChoiceSaves.)

The news Web site is

The goal is to provide facts and figures as the Pennsylvania Legislature debates Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to turn over operation of the Turnpike to a company from Spain for the next 75 years.

Report: Church and state divide is getting narrower

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.

It contains some very interesting observations about religious life and political life in the United States and how the two often mingle.

The second report of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds:

-- Although many Americans are highly religious, they are not dogmatic in their faith. Seventy percent of Americans with a religious affiliation say that many religions - not just their own - can lead to eternal life.

-- This does not mean, however, that Americans take religious matters lightly. Most, in fact, say they rank the importance of religion very highly in their lives, and a plurality wants to preserve the traditional beliefs and practices of their faith, while only a small minority wants to accommodate their religion to modern culture.

-- There is tremendous diversity of religious beliefs and practices in the U.S. Important religious differences exist between the major religious traditions, but there are also important differences within religious traditions.

There's also a ton of information that can be useful to both the Democratic and Republican parties for the upcoming presidential election.

Follow the link below to read more highlights from the study:

New Report from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Finds Religion in U.S. is Non-Dogmatic, Diverse and Politically Relevant

Dear Sen. Obama: 'Quitting Isn't That Easy'

Follow the link below to read a letter published in the Chicago Tribune about Sen. Barack Obama's plan to surrender Iraq as soon as he becomes president.

'Quitting Isn't That Easy'

Newspaper: Rendell flood tax would soak taxpayers

You have to keep a good eye on Fast Eddie Rendell. He's always shuffling the deck, always moving the cups around so you never know where the ball is.

While he's talking about getting his $28.3 billion general fund budget past the Legislature, Rendell is always looking for new ways to raise taxes or pass on fees to Pennsylvania residents.

Rendell recently floated the idea of a 20-cent tax for every $100 in property insurance premiums to help pay for the state's flood-control projects.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has never fallen for one of Rendell's tax schemes, reminds readers what the new tax is all about and says it's never a good idea to give Rendell more money to spend:
Fast Eddie's flood tax would apply to all business and residential property insurance -- regardless of whether the property is in a flood-prone area.

Then why not use revenue from the existing Johnstown flood tax -- the 18 percent tax on alcohol enacted in 1936 supposedly to raise money for those flood victims? Today that revenue ends up in the state's general fund.

How many millions of dollars -- or is that billions of dollars -- have been generated by that tax? Has the state government spent every last dollar of it to prevent flooding?

If not, why?

And why should the state's responsible property owners, whose land is not prone to flooding, be forced to subsidize less-responsible land owners who choose to build on flood plains?
Read the full editorial here.

The Best Political Cartoonist in Pennsylvania

'Clueless' Democrats in Montco

Veteran Montgomery County political reporter Margaret Gibbons calls the Montgomery County Democratic Party "clueless" in her most recent column.

Gibbons writes:
How else can you account for the fact that a controversial fundraising letter was sent to well-known Republican activist Brian Miles?

Miles, chairman of the Whitpain Township GOP Committee, just last year was involved in a Web site domain battle with the Democrats' two commissioner candidates. How could Miles' name pop up on a list of possible campaign donors to the county Democrats?

If the Dems are going to be big-time players, they are going to have to pay attention to details.
Gibbons also questions whether the Democrats have brought "pay-to-play" politics to the county courthouse.

Read the full column at The Mercury's Web site.

10 reasons to blame Democrats for gas prices

HT to Page13News for directing me to a post at American Thinker by William Tate on why Democrats are the main reason for high gas prices in this country.

It's a Top 10 countdown similar to what David Letterman does, but in this case, there's nothing funny about the mess the Democrats have made.

Read 'Top 10 reasons to blame Democrats for soaring gasoline prices' here.

More 'Property Tax Madness'

The Philadelphia Inquirer has published the second of its three-part series on the antiquated property tax system Pennsylvania uses to fund public education.

Entitled "Property Tax Madness," the first part examined the disparity of property tax assessments in the suburbs. Part 2 looks at the city itself. The third part will be about New Jersey.

It's worth a look at the Inquirer's Web site. There's also a calculator to figure out your tax burden and a breakdown of the taxes by municipality.

For more on efforts to abolish proprety taxes, check out the Pennsylvania Cyber Taxpaers Coalition Web site.

Obama Suggests Female Clinton Supporters Will 'Get Over It'

I wouldn't be the farm that Hillary Clinton supporters will "get over it" when it comes to how the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign treated their candidate. Obama shouldn't count on those 18 million Clinton voters. Many will sit home in Novemember or vote for John McCain. I've spoken to two lifelong Democrats (one who is a current office holder) and they both told me they would never vote for Barack Obama.

Republican National Committee: They Said It! - Obama Suggests That Female Clinton Supporters Will 'Get Over It'

Obama keeps Clinton pardons scandal alive

Leave it to Barack Obama to remind us how currupt the Clinton administration was. Why would Obama put a Clinton operative on his vice presidential search team? Aren't there any honest Democrats left?

They Said It Flashback!

When will Obama offer real solutions to rising gas prices?

Tax the oil companies to provide tax rebates for the middle class? What fantasy world is Barack Obama living in? The oil companies own Congress. And there's not enough money in oil company profits to provide $1,000 rebates to every working American. And isn't that socialism? Transfer the wealth? How far to the left is Obama taking the Democratic Party?

Read more about Obama's unworkable schemes to deal with the energy crisis below.

The Facts Have Changed

Friday, June 20, 2008

Poll: Gerlach holds big lead in 6th Congressional District

The Jim Gerlach for Congress Committee released a poll Friday that shows the Republican Congressman pulling out to a 26-point lead over his Democratic challenger.

Gerlach is seeking his fourth term as the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, which covers parts of Berks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.

The moderate Republican narrowly won the 6th District seat in 2002 and has struggled to hold it in the last two election cycles.

But the poll by Public Opinion Strategies shows Gerlach may breathe easier against a weak Democratic challenger in Bob Roggio.

Pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies noted that Gerlach's favorable-unfavorable rating of 58-20% is the highest it has ever been since his first campaign in 2002, Gerlach staffers maintain. Newhouse noted that in contrast, President Bush's approval rating is at just 27%.

"This poll strongly indicates that despite the challenging political environment, a few more Democrat voters and gas prices that are way too high, folks in this district see Jim Gerlach as a proven champion for change," Mark Campbell, Gerlach's political director, said in a written statement. "Far left hate groups for the last three cycles have run millions of dollars worth of ads against him. The fact is, voters recognize that Jim Gerlach is an honest, hard-working Congressman who works across party lines to get things done and achieve commonsense results."

The Jim Gerlach for Congress Committee is also gloating at the news that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced its third round of "Red to Blue" candidates, a program that "highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support."

Roggio was not included in this group, but instead labeled an "emerging candidate," a 4th tier category, the Gerlach camp notes.

Gerlach has been ranked by non-partisan publications, including the National Journal and Congressional Quarterly, as one of the most independent Republican members of the House of Representatives, the Gerlach campaign says.

David Brooks on 'The Two Obamas'

David Brooks, writing in The New York Times, says Barack Obama "is the most split-personality politician in the country today."

From Brooks' column:
This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator... He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.

But he's been giving us an education, for anybody who cares to pay attention. Just try to imagine Mister Rogers playing the agent Ari in "Entourage" and it all falls into place.
Brooks also refers to Barack Obama as "Fast Eddie" in several places throughout the column. Those of us in Pennsylvania know that "Fast Eddie" is the popular nickname for Gov. Ed Rendell.

So what happens if Obama picks Rendell as his vice presidential running mate? Which one is the real "Fast Eddie"?

Read Brooks' full column by following the link below.

RNC: The Two Obamas

Politicians should 'feel the pain'

One of the reasons our elected representatives aren't too concerned about high gas prices is that they don't pay for gas ... or in most cases for their vehicles to get to and from work. We pick up the cost of transportation, including gasoline, for politicians.

As the letter writer below suggest, these public servants don't have a good feel for how much pain working Americans are feeling. If we took away their free cars and free gas, they might get the point.

The letter was originally published in the Reading Eagle.
Let officials feel the pain


Government officials should not be provided with gasoline credit cards and vehicles paid for by the taxpayer.

Let those officials feel the pain of high fuel costs.

I believe that something would be done if lawmakers had to pay for their own transportation.

Brian B. Stufflet

Veteran steals $85,000 from fellow Battle of the Bulge survivors

Some examples of stealing are worse than others. Taking advantage of the elderly is always bad. Stealing from charities is low. Having somebody you trust steal from a charitable organization made up of World War II veterans leaves you shaking your head.

An 82-year-old man pleaded guilty in Chester County Court of stealing $85,000 from the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge group in which he was a member. He used some of the money to buy a car for a girlfriend, according to authorities.

"The men who stand here today fought on a battlefield that was the one of the bloodiest in history," Edith T. Nowels, whose brother died at the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest in December 1944, said outside a courtroom with other members of the organization, who had come to see their former colleague be sentenced, reports the Daily Local News in West Chester.

"These men did not deserve to have one of their comrades pull such an atrocity as Earle Hart did," Nowels, who edits the organization's newsletter, told the newspaper. "This organization has been ruined and embarrassed because of what Earle Hart did. To have this happen, it's just... It is unforgivable."

Earl Hart, 82, of Berwyn pleaded guilty to a single count of misappropriation of entrusted funds and was sentenced to one year's probation and ordered to pay $85,269.80 in restitution to the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge (VOBB), according to the newspaper.

Read the full story in The Daily Local News.

State Capitol Roundup for June 20

Here's the State Capitol ROUNDUP, a weekly summary of events in Harrisburg, courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147th Dist.):

Budget Underfunded by $280 Million, Over Spenders Eye Rainy Day Fund

Just 10 days remain for legislators and the governor to reach an agreement on the 2008-09 state budget. While House Democrats have positioned their bloated and unbalanced spending plan for a vote next week, the Republican-led Senate passed a leaner $27.9 billion plan that increases funding by just 2.8 percent over the current fiscal year. House Republican Appropriations Committee officials say the Democrat's spending plan is out of balance because they added $147 million in spending to the plan last week. State revenue is declining and the once projected $427 million surplus is now expected to be between $280 million and $350 million, prompting House Democrats to begin eyeing the state's $724 million Rainy Day Fund. Republicans feel the Rainy Day Fund should only be used for a true economic emergency. With a budget surplus, Republicans think the state should hold off using emergency funds. For more information, visit

Hearing Focuses on Graduation Testing

The House Education Committee recently held a hearing on a proposal requiring high school students to pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in English, math, science and social studies before being permitted to graduate. House Republicans have several reservations about such a plan, pointing to the high cost-$15 million for the development of the exams, as well as the long-term costs to school districts. They are also concerned that any move by the state to regulate graduations would undermine the authority of school boards, which are better able to address local educational issues. Finally, the added stress of an additional round of exams could also have negative effects on students already dealing with university applications, job hunting and pursuing positions in the military.

Health Care Proposals See Action

Legislation sponsored by Rep. John Evans (R-Erie/Crawford) has advanced out of the House Insurance Committee, acknowledging the state's dwindling access to health care professionals. Evan's proposal, House Bill 1824, would provide state funding for community-based health centers that offer numerous medical services such as pediatrics, obstetrical and gynecological care, as well as family education. The proposal is part of a broader legislative package being promoted by House Republicans to ensure access to quality, affordable health care. If passed, it is estimated that the supplemental funding contained within the legislation would allow an additional 55,000 residents to immediately benefit from these services. For more information on this plan, visit

'Rendell and his band of merry liberals'

I love this letter published in the Reading Eagle about Gov. Ed Rendell's misguided priorities.

The majority of Pennsylvania residents want to see property taxes eliminated and the only thing Rendell and the Legislature have been able to accomplish so far this year is to ban smoking in most public places.
Other issues more important


Gov. Ed Rendell and his band of merry liberals could better serve their constituents by eliminating property taxes than exerting their will against smokers ("Legislator succeeds with smoking ban after repeated tries," Reading Eagle, June 14).

It’s akin to fiddling while Rome burns.

Surely there are more important issues, such as property-tax relief, that should occupy the time of the legislators.

Joseph B. Koch
South Heidelberg Township

Why Tom Manion is running for Congress

Retired Marine Col. Tom Manion, who lost his son Travis in Iraq, explains why he is running for Congress in a moving video posted at his campaign Web site.

Following the tremendous response received from the trailer of "Letters from Travis," Part 1 of "Letters from Travis" was released Friday, according to the Tom Manion for Congress Campaign.

"Letters from Travis," a four-part video series, tells the uniquely-American story of Tom and Travis Manion, and how Travis Manion's death in Iraq was the inspiration for Tom to run for Congress in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District.

I don't live in the 8th Congressional District, but Tom Manion is the kind of person this country needs in Congress.

Read more about the campaign here.

Alycia Lane update

The Latina Bombshell has struck again.

Alycia Lane, former newsreader at CBS 3 in Philadelphia and a woman who has a habit of making the news instead of just reading it on TV, has filed her long-threatened lawsuit against her former employer.

Lane lost her $700,000-a-year anchorwoman job earlier this year after she was arrested in New York City for allegedly punching a female cop. (Most of the serious charges have already been dismissed, although the case has not been resolved yet).

That incident followed an earlier one in which she e-mailed bikini photos of herself to a former male colleague. The man's wife intercepted the photos and all hell broke loose. Lane, whose nickname is "The Latina Bombshell," also made a tearful appearance on Dr. Phil to talk about her divorce.

Both Philadelphia newspapers are all over the lawsuit.

Read Philadelphia Inquirer's coverage here.

Read the Philadelphia Daily News coverage here.

It's the cover story in the Daily News, which appropriately, is a tabloid.

Legislators at your service

Rendell announces 4 new picks for court vacancies

After his first four nominations were rejected by the Republican-controlled state Senate, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has come up with four new names to fill vacancies on the state's appeal courts.

The Senate turned down Rendell's original picks because GOP leaders said the four were middle-aged white guys from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Senate Republicans wanted to see more diversity on the state's highest courts.

Rendell has nominated Jane Cutler Greenspan, who serves as a judge on the Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia, to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She may be from Philly, but at least she's a woman.

For one of two vacancies on the state Superior Court, Rendell nominated Robert A. Freedberg, President Judge of the Northampton County Common Please Court. Bingo. Northampton County is not Philly or Pittsburgh. We may have a winner.

The other Superior Court nominee is John M. Cleland, President Judge of McKean County Common Please Court. Rendell gets extra credit for remembering that McKean County is part of Pennsylvania. I need to get my map out.

The final nominee, to Commonwealth Court, is Johnny J. Butler, Butler is a private practice attorney in Philadelphia. Butler is African-American.

Two picks from Philly? Give Rendell some credit. He's been involved in the Philadelphia legal community most of his life.

A woman, an African-American and two judges from parts of the state most people never heard of is much more likely to get Rendell's picks confirmed.

Read more about the nominees at the link below.

Governor Rendell Announces Nominations for Pennsylvania Statewide Appellate Courts

Charley Reese on why Obama can't win

Charley Reese, one of the most astute political columnists in the country, believes Sen. Barack Obama has little chance of winning the presidency.

"I don't think he will ever see the inside of the White House except as a visitor," Reese writes in a recent column. "He has two things going against him. He's African-American, and he's way too liberal for most Americans."

Barring a gargantuan blunder by the Republican candidate, John McCain, those two factors will put Obama on the short end of the vote count, Reese argues.

Athough no one is going to admit to being prejudiced to a pollster or a journalist, race is a factor in America, Reese says.

"I believe there remains a substantial number of people who simply will not vote to put an African-American in the White House," Reese says.

Besides the race factor, Obama is way too liberal for mainstream Americans, Reese argues.

"There is not a stupid idea about gun control that Obama hasn't supported either verbally or with his vote," Reese writes. "The Second Amendment was not written for duck hunters. It was written for self-defense and for defense against tyranny. Obama ought to talk to some of the people who survived the civil-rights revolution about how they stayed up all night with their private firearms to protect their families. He ought to research the old Jim Crow laws, which banned blacks from owning certain kinds of firearms."

As much as he dislikes John McCain (and Republicans in general), Reese says he cannot support Obama.

"If my choice is between a guy who may bomb Iran and one who shows such contempt for the Constitution as to support gun control, then the Iranians need to start working on their bomb shelters," Reese writes. A man ignorant of or contemptuous of the Second Amendment cannot be trusted to obey any of the Bill of Rights. He cannot be trusted to appoint sensible judges. Americans need to send a clear message to all politicians that our rights are non-negotiable."

Read the full column at The Mercury's Web site.

School principal charged with shoplifting loses job

Why would somebody making $102,000 a year shoplift $25 worth of items from a supermarket?

A middle school principal in a rural Berks County school district is out of a job because of her arrest for shoplifting.

The Schuylkill Valley School Board voted 6-3 to terminate Judith Sargent after Sargent, 57, was accused of taking items from Redner's Warehouse Market on Feb. 28, according to the Reading Eagle.

Sargent was recently accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition program, which allows first-time offenders to clear their records by successfully completing a probationary period, the newspaper says.

Even with her criminal record expunged, most school officials sign a morals clause when they're hired. And stealing is part of that agreement.

Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Taylor Swift needs a date for the prom

What's wrong with this picture?

She's young, she's beautiful, she's wealthy. She can't get a prom date?

I saw the headline "Taylor Swift Needs A Prom Date" in a local newspaper today and started worrying about the 18-year-old country music star. Who wouldn't want to take Ms. Swift to the prom?

It turns out it's just a publicity ploy for an MTV show where Swift, who hails from Berks County, will escort a lucky contestant to a prom.

"Once Upon A Prom" will be shown at 3:00 PM ET/PT Saturday on MTV.

Read more about the program here.

Obama Continues With His Plan to Break His Promise on Public Financing

Sounds like Barack Obama will rival John Kerry for the Flip-Flop Hall of Fame. Obama is just another politician. Follow the money to see all the radical groups that are financing the Obama campaign.

Republican National Committee: Public Outcry - Obama Ignores Criticism, Continues With His Plan to Break His Promise on Public Financing

'Obama is all fluff'

Another letter published in The Mercury that I agree with even though it sounds like it came from a Democrat. Not everyone has been swept up on Obama-mania. Watch how the Clinton Democrats vote. They will determine the outcome of the 2008 presidential election and so far, they're not flocking to Obama.
Obama is all fluff, no substance

The Democratic Party had an excellent chance to win the presidency in 2008, but it shot itself in the foot by endorsing Barack Hussein Obama.

All of the Democrats that I have spoken to have unanimously declared their intent to vote Republican for Sen. John McCain. They don’t feel he's that great but is the lesser of two evils.

For the most part, they feel that Obama’s speeches are all fluff — no substance — and that once he’s put up against McCain in a debate, he will fall short. Also, the consensus is that his wife would be a disaster as a first lady and that Rev. Jeremiah Wright would be back in good graces if and when Obama is elected president.

As a commentator said, "You don't sit across the dinner table for 20 years without knowing your wife's feelings for our country," nor would you sit in the congregation "amening" to the rants of Rev. Wright for 20 years and now, all of a sudden, disagree with him to placate the voters.

Beware of a wolf in sheep's clothing.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Three chances to catch me on TV

The "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network is coming to you from Pottstown this week.

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on cable systems throughout Pennsylvania.

The program will repeat Sunday at 5 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.

The panel for June 19 program consists of Tony Phyrillas, city editor/political columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown; Nick Lawrence, host of "Great Talk Radio" on WPAZ 1370 AM and Phil Heron, editor of the The Delaware County Daily & Sunday Times.

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County, Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties and Comcast Channel 78 in the Pottstown area.

Consult your cable guide for the Pennsylvania Cable Network channel in your area.

Montco GOP reorganizes, launches new Web site

Montgomery County Republican Chairman Robert J. Kerns has shuffled the deck to install his own leadership team and the party has redesigned its Web site and relaunched it at

The Montgomery County Republican Committee has a new slimmed down executive committee to help Kerns guide the "minority" party back to its previous status as the county's dominant political party.

Kerns, who took over as chairman in May from embattled Ken Davis, announced this week that the new composition of the executive committee will give a greater voice to the party's committee members, says reporter Margaret Gibbons.

The new executive committee includes the party's 15 area leaders, Gibbons says.

In addition to Kerns, party Vice Chairwoman Sharon Thomas of Pottstown and Treasurer Dr. Robert Griffith, the executive committee will include five chairman appointments, Gibbons says.

Kerns told Gibbons that, in the past, there were no limits to the number of chairman appointments and this diluted the impact of the committee members through their area leaders.

Under Ken Davis, the previous GOP executive committee had some 50-plus members, Kerns told Gibbons.

"I promised a 'bottom up' approach to decision making instead of everything coming from the top down," Kerns told Gibbons "This is part of that new approach to leadership in the party."

The five members appointed by Kerns to serve on the executive committee are: Lower Merion Township Commissioner Jennifer Brown, county GOP Finance Chairman Vahan Gureghian of Lower Merion, Whitpain GOP Chairman Brian Miles, former Upper Merion area leader Robert Montemayor and Douglass GOP Chairman Marcy Toepel.

Chuck Norris to Congress: 'Get Off Your Gas, And Drill!'

Do you get the feeling that Hollywood tough guy Chuck Norris is the next celebrity primed for a political career? Look out, Arnold. Chuck Norris could be angling for governor of California.

Norris, who was featured prominently in the Mike Huckabee campaign, is now pushing for the Democrats in Congress to repeal the ban on domestic and off-shore drilling for oil.

From an op-ed by Norris in Investor's Business Daily:
As oil and gas prices skyrocket, Congress continues to play the blame game. In April 2006, with the Democrats poised to take over Congress with Nancy Pelosi at the helm, she released a statement saying, "With skyrocketing gas prices, it is clear that the American people can no longer afford the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress." She followed that with a commitment, "Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging." So, has the Democrats' common-sense plan worked? Average gas prices were about $2.50 a gallon at the time. Now they're $4 a gallon and rising. Some crackdown plan.
Read the full column at the IBD Web site.

Gun control advocates don't get it

The nation's largest gun control advocacy group is gloating over the fact that so-called "guns-on-campus" bills have been defeated in 15 states so far.

The measures were introduced after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in which a gunman killed 32 people in April 2007.

Two states, Michigan and Ohio, are still considering enacting legislation to permit guns on college campuses.

Do you get the sense that gun violence is a game for some of these "advocacy" groups?

There was an incident in Japan earlier this month where a man stabbed 17 people on a crowded Tokyo street, killing 7 of them. (One of the arguments the gun control lobby always trumps up is that you can't kill a lot of people unless you have a gun.)

Where were the calls to ban knives?

It's not the weapon. It's the lunatic using the weapon, whether it's a gun, a knife or a club.

That's where the gun control lobby and far left politicians like Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell don't get it.

How come nobody is proposing a "one-knife-a-month" bill in the Pennsylvania Legislature?

If the liberals who decry gun violence would just enforce existing gun laws, violence would be reduced in this country. Instead, they worry about the rights of criminals. They refuse to support hiring more police officers.

Read more about gun control at the link below.

Guns-on-Campus Bills Fail at State Level Across U.S.

'Non-essential' PA workers sue Rendell over furloughs

You didn't think those 25,000 "non-essential" state workers were going to put up with the threat of job furloughs by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell without a fight, did you?

Three unions representing state workers facing a July 1 furlough if the state Legislature does not approve a new budget by June 30 filed a lawsuit Thursday.

The unions want Commonwealth Court to decided whether Gov. Rendell has the authority to continue to employ all Pennsylvania workers who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Rendell said he is forced to furlough state workers if there's a budget impasse or the state would face millions in daily fines by the federal government.

Republican Legislative leaders argue that the furlough threat is a bargaining ploy by Rendell, who has failed to show any court cases that say the state could be fined by the federal government if it continues to pay workers after the budget deadline has passed.

"An annual furlough is no way to pass a budget," said David R. Fillman, executive cirector for Council 13 of AFSCME. "The governor is under no legal requirement to implement a furlough without a budget and, once again, our members are stuck in the middle of a political tug-of-war."

If all this sounds like deja vu all over again, you'll recall that Rendell furloughed the "non-essential" state workers for one day in 2007, but after a budget agreement was reached, all 25,000 workers were paid for the missed day of work under an agreement Rendell worked out with the Legislature.

So the "furlough" turned out to be an extra day of paid vacation courtesy of Rendell and the Harrisburg bunch with the Pennsylvania taxpayer picking up the tab.

Read more about the lawsuit (including a copy of the letter the unions sent to Rendell) at the link below.

State Employees Union Files Lawsuit

Gallons Per Mile or Miles Per Gallon

Interesting article in the latest issue of Science magazine that argues that car manufacturers should be using a better measure of fuel efficiency to help consumers pick vehicles that can save them money.

Instead of "miles per gallon," the standard should be measured in "gallons per mile," according to researches from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Read more at the link below.

Gallons Per Mile Would Help Car Shoppers Make Better Decisions

1 million petition Congress to drill for American oil

More than 1 million Americans have signed an online petition at American Solutions for Winning the Future demanding that the Democratic majority in Congress repeal the ban on drilling for domestic oil offshore and in Alaska.

But the 236 Democrats who control the House of Representatives and the 51 Democrats who control the Senate are preventing domestic drilling for oil, forcing the price of gas to record levels.

If you want to pay $4.00 a gallon for gas, keep voting Democrats into Congress. (If you'd like gas prices to go even higher, then make sure you vote for Barack Obama for President. If Obama follows through with his promises to impose higher taxes on oil companies, the price of gas will go even higher.)

If you want gas prices to drop, start voting out Democrats.

One Million Americans Petition Congress to Drill for American Oil

Bush to Dems on oil drilling: 'There is no excuse for delay'

Here are highlights of President Bush's remarks on June 18 calling on Congress to allow more drilling for domestic oil:
For many Americans, there is no more pressing concern than the price of gasoline. Truckers and farmers and small business owners have been hit especially hard. Every American who drives to work, purchases food, or ships a product has felt the effect. And families across our country are looking to Washington for a response.

High oil prices are at the root of high gasoline prices. And behind those prices is the basic law of supply and demand. In recent years, the world's demand for oil has grown dramatically. Meanwhile, the supply of oil has grown much more slowly. As a result, oil prices have risen sharply, and that increase has been reflected at American gasoline pumps. Now much of the oil consumed in America comes from abroad -- that's what's changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. Some of that energy comes from unstable regions and unfriendly regimes. This makes us more vulnerable to supply shocks and price spikes beyond our control -- and that puts both our economy and our security at risk.

In the long run, the solution is to reduce demand for oil by promoting alternative energy technologies. My administration has worked with Congress to invest in gas-saving technologies like advanced batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. We've mandated a large expansion in the use of alternative fuels. We've raised fuel efficiency standards to ambitious new levels. With all these steps, we are bringing America closer to the day when we can end our addiction to oil, which will allow us to become better stewards of the environment.

In the short run, the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil. And that means we need to increase supply, especially here at home. So my administration has repeatedly called on Congress to expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal -- and now Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction. Congress must face a hard reality: Unless Members are willing to accept gas prices at today's painful levels -- or even higher -- our nation must produce more oil. And we must start now. So this morning, I ask Democratic Congressional leaders to move forward with four steps to expand American oil and gasoline production.

First, we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match America's current oil production for almost ten years. The problem is that Congress has restricted access to key parts of the OCS since the early 1980s. Since then, advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills. With these advances -- and a dramatic increase in oil prices -- congressional restrictions on OCS exploration have become outdated and counterproductive.

Republicans in Congress have proposed several promising bills that would lift the legislative ban on oil exploration in the OCS. I call on the House and the Senate to pass good legislation as soon as possible. This legislation should give the states the option of opening up OCS resources off their shores, provide a way for the federal government and states to share new leasing revenues, and ensure that our environment is protected. There's also an executive prohibition on exploration in the OCS. When Congress lifts the legislative ban, I will lift the executive prohibition.

Second, we should expand oil production by tapping into the extraordinary potential of oil shale. Oil shale is a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat or other process(es). In one major deposit -- the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming -- there lies the equivalent of about 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil. That's more than three times larger than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. And it can be fully recovered -- and if it can be fully recovered it would be equal to more than a century's worth of currently projected oil imports.

For many years, the high cost of extracting oil from shale exceeded the benefit. But today the calculus is changing. Companies have invested in technology to make oil shale production more affordable and efficient. And while the cost of extracting oil from shale is still more than the cost of traditional production, it is also less than the current market price of oil. This makes oil shale a highly promising resource.

Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress are standing in the way of further development. In last year's omnibus spending bill, Democratic leaders inserted a provision blocking oil shale leasing on federal lands. That provision can be taken out as easily as it was slipped in -- and Congress should do so immediately.

Third, we should expand American oil production by permitting exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR. When ANWR was created in 1980, Congress specifically reserved a portion for energy development. In 1995, Congress passed legislation allowing oil production in this small fraction of ANWR's 19 million acres. With a drilling footprint of less than 2,000 acres -- less than one-tenth of 1 percent of this distant Alaskan terrain -- America could produce an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil. That is roughly the equivalent of two decades of imported oil from Saudi Arabia. Yet my predecessor vetoed this bill.

In the years since, the price of oil has increased seven-fold, and the price of American gasoline has more than tripled. Meanwhile, scientists have developed innovative techniques to reach ANWR's oil with virtually no impact on the land or local wildlife. I urge members of Congress to allow this remote region to bring enormous benefits to the American people.

And finally, we need to expand and enhance our refining capacity. Refineries are the critical link between crude oil and the gasoline and diesel fuel that drivers put in their tanks. With recent changes in the makeup of our fuel supply, upgrades in our refining capacity are urgently needed. Yet it has been nearly 30 years since our nation built a new refinery, and lawsuits and red tape have made it extremely costly to expand or modify existing refineries. The result is that America now imports millions of barrels of fully-refined gasoline from abroad. This imposes needless costs on American consumers. It deprives American workers of good jobs. And it needs to change.

So today I'm proposing measures to expedite the refinery permitting process. Under the reformed process that I propose, challenges to refineries and other energy project permits must be brought before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals within 60 days of the issuance of a permit decision. Congress should also empower the Secretary of Energy to establish binding deadlines for permit decisions, and to ensure that the various levels of approval required in the refinery permitting process are handled in a timely way.

With these four steps, we will take pressure off gas prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline. We will strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. We will benefit American workers by keeping our nation competitive in the global economy -- and by creating good jobs in construction, and engineering, and refining, maintenance, and many other areas.

The proposals I've outlined will take years to have their full impact. There is no excuse for delay -- as a matter of fact, it's a reason to move swiftly. I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past. Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If congressional leaders leave for the 4th of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act. And Americans will rightly ask how high oil -- how high gas prices have to rise before the Democratic-controlled Congress will do something about it.

I know this is a trying time for our families, but our country has faced similar strains before and we've overcome them together -- and we can do that again. With faith in the innovative spirit of our people and a commitment to results in Washington, we will meet the energy challenges we face -- and keep our economy the strongest, most vibrant, and most hopeful in the world.

Who would call Ed Rendell a buffoon?

I know what you're thinking. I've changed my name and started submitting letters to the editor under a pen name. Wrong. A more plausible explanation is that there are other people in Pennsylvania who haven't been fooled by Ed Rendell's charm.

Take for example the letter to the editor below originally published in The Mercury. I've called Ed Rendell a lot of names in the past five years, but "buffoon" is not one of them.
Gov. Rendell lacks credibility

Regarding Evan Brandt's June 2 article on Pennsylvania bridges, let me say that I am in agreement with the repair or replacement on all deteriorated bridges. I believe that our governor immediately assured Pennsylvania citizens following the August 2007 collapse in Minneapolis that all Pennsylvania bridges were safe.

Since then we had the I-95 bridge in Philadelphia discovered by chance. Now a report by Rendell's staff, who hopefully didn't miss any defective bridges, that we have more deteriorated bridges than any other state in the country. It is apparent that all reports of Rendell's comments in August 2007 go unmentioned when he released his present statement on the bridges.

Further proof that our puffed-up governor will say anything that he thinks the public wants to hear. The key to success — Machiavellianism 101 as per University of Pennsylvania coupled with a minor in equine excrement. This buffoon became a governor of the masses of buffoons. If he could direct his expertise in political knavery toward picking a presidential nominee, public safety and football commentary, the world would be a better place to live.


Is Obama eligible to serve as president?

There's a lot we don't know about International Man of Mystery Barack Obama.

And we better learn more about him over the next four months.

One of those nagging questions is whether Obama is a native-born United States citizen, one of the few Constitutional requirements to serving as president.

Questions still persist about where Obama was born.

See Stop The ACLU blog and Obama Watch blog for more.

We have to blame somebody

As much as we all hate insurance companies, I'm not sure the medical community doesn't have a role in skyrocketing costs of health care in this country.

But a bunch of doctors and nurses marching through the streets is more sympathetic than a group of health insurance executives doing likewise.

Nurses, Doctors, Patients to Protest Health Insurers on National Day of Action - June 19th

Tainted tomatoes found in Pennsylvania

At least four of the 227 cases of Salmonella linked to tainted tomatoes have been reported in Pennsylvania so far.

So hold the tomato on that BLT until this latest food scare is cleared up.

What shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone is that the contaminated food was brought in from abroad. It's bad enough we're importing food, but that food is making us sick.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Investigates Salmonella Cases Linked to National Outbreak

Obama concerned about Osama's legal rights

How can you take Barack Obama seriously as a presidential candidate when his overiding concern is not to keep America safe from terrorists, but to make sure that people like Osama bin Laden are treated fairly should he be captured by U.S. forces?

Somewhere in a cave in Pakistan, bin Laden is rooting for Obama to win the White House so he can come out of hiding.

RNC Statement on Obama's Comments Concerning Osama bin Laden

Obama Muslim Snub

Did you hear what happened in Michigan?

Barack Hussein Obama may have lost favor with the state's large Muslim population.

Two women dressed in traditional Muslim garb were refused permission to sit behind the stage at an Obama speech because Obama's operatives were afraid of the image of Muslims appearing as a backdrop to their choreographed event being sent around the world.

The women are demanding a personal apology from Obama, who has repeatedly denied his Muslim heritage, and the women want to be seated behind the candidate at a future campaign event.

It's pretty clear the Obama campaign is ultra sensitive to links their candidate has to the Muslim community. Obama refuses to use his middle name "Hussein" and talks about how his grandmother raised him but never speaks about his Muslim father.

Read more about the incident at the Chicago Sun-Times Web site.

There's also an interesting take on the controversy at Blonde Sagacity blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Any chance government can spend less?

This may come as shocking news to Gov. Ed Rendell and the Democrats who control the state House, but there's no law that prevents government from spending less than it did the previous year.

Rendell just has to look eastward to New Jersey, where Gov. Jon Corzine has agreed to a $100 million cut in his proposed state budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. New Jersey has the same June 30 deadline to adopt a budget and while there might be some more haggling, legislative leaders and Corzine have agreed to a $32.9 billion spending plan.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Rendell is still pushing his $28.3 billion budget. State Rep. Dwight Evans, the Philadelphia Democrat who runs the House Budget Committee, wants to see a $28.5 billion budget approved.

But Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to adopt a $27.9 billion budget -- $400 million less than what Rendell is asking. That's a 2.8 percent increase over the current budget and is more in line with inflation. Rendell wants to increase state spending by 4.2 percent.

Now that the cards are on the table, it's time to start haggling.

Here's an idea. While every Pennsylvania taxpayer has had to tighten his or her belt because of rising energy costs and stagnant wages, why can't politicians live within their means?

Why can't they find $400 million in waste and fraud to cut from the $28.3 billion general fund budget or just put off some of their pet projects for another year?

Just once, I'd like to see Rendell and the free-spending Democrats learn to do with less. Just once, I'd like to be able to keep a few dollars in my pocket instead of turning the money over to Ed Rendell.

Everyone wants to be Miss Pennsylvania

When was the last time anyone watched the Miss America pageant? Can you even find it on TV anymore? Low ratings forced the pageant off network TV years ago.

It bounced around a bunch of cable channels including Country Music Television, it was moved to Las Vegas and I think it was turned into some sort of reality show. Not sure if contestants had to eat worms or anything like that.

Despite the apathy pageants are receiving from TV viewers, there appears to be a lot of interest in the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. The Associated Press even moved a story the other day saying 27 women were vying for the Miss Pennsylvania crown.

The winner of the state pageant will represent Pennsylvania in the Miss America competition.

In addition to the crown and the shot at Miss America, the state winner gets a $7,000 scholarship. The state winner will be crowned July 12 at Nazareth Area High School, Nazareth, PA.

Here's a list of the 27 contestants:

— Miss Allegheny Valley: Courtney Blackhurst
— Miss Armstrong County: Kendria Perry
— Miss Butler County: Brooke Miller
— Miss Cambria County: Tiffani Boyd
— Miss Central Pennsylvania: Ekanem Akpakip
— Miss Crawford County: Shauna Nicole Rice
— Miss Golden Triangle: Brittny Lynne Sparrow
— Miss Greater Berks County: Brina Courtney Morgan Williams
— Miss Greater Johnstown: Carmen Bloom
— Miss Greater Juniata Valley: Anna Welsh
— Miss Jewel of the West: Melissa Frances Pierce
— Miss Keystone: Lexie-Olivia Grant
— Miss Lehigh Area: Amy Anderson
— Miss MidState: Rachel Henry
— Miss Moraine State: Courtney E. Thomas
— Miss Northeast: Andrea Helfrich
— Miss Northwest: Ashley Rebekah Duespohl
— Miss Philadelphia: Brintha Vasagar
— Miss Richland Area: Lucy Hazelet
— Miss River City: Katelyn Koval
— Miss Southeastern Pennsylvania: Jenna Renee Knopsnyder
— Miss Southwestern Pennsylvania: Shannon Doyle
— Miss Steel Valley: Kelsey Lynn Pitini
— Miss Susquehanna Valley: Sarah Timm
— Miss Three Rivers: Jessica Megliss
— Miss White Rose City: Amanda Lee Sellers
— Miss York County: Randi Levendusky

For more information, visit the pageant's Web site at