Saturday, January 31, 2009

McConnell: Democrats didn't get the memo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell exposes the Democrat's bogus stimulus bill in the weekly Republican radio address:

"The task for Democrats in the House was to craft a stimulus plan that was timely, targeted, and temporary. Apparently, they didn't get the memo. The bill they presented -- and which House Democrats approved this week along a party line vote -- looks more like a $1 trillion Christmas list."

To listen to the radio message or read a transcript, follow the link below:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Obama's idea of economic support

State Capitol Roundup

Here's this week's State Capitol Roundup courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147):

Republican Lawmakers Question Governor's $268 Million Surplus

Figures regarding Gov. Ed Rendell's budget deficit continue to rise with recent estimates at the $2.3 billion dollar mark. Despite the deficit, House Republicans stressed this week that the governor has amassed as much as $268 million in unspent money from previous years and pledged only to dedicate $101 million to help put the state back in the black. The presence of "unlapsed" funds is not entirely legal; Rendell's three most recent predecessors showed balances near zero across the board, but in the past five years, balances surpassed the $150 million mark. This week, Rendell warned of potential layoffs of as many as 2,000 state workers and reductions in working hours, while House Democrats hinted at tax increases to address the budget shortfall. GOP lawmakers have consistently fought against tax hikes in the state and will seek to enact cost-cutting measures before any such increase is agreed to. The House will convene at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4, to hear the governor's annual budget address.

House Republican Task Force Holds Hearings on Budgeting Strategies

The House Republican Policy Committee's Budget and Economic Policy Task Force held two hearings this week with discussions ranging from zero-based budgeting to the governor's 2004 Business Tax Reform Commission's recommendations. GOP lawmakers would like to use some of the commission's recommendations to make Pennsylvania more competitive with other states in attracting family-sustaining jobs to the state. With the state's tax revenue continuing to slump, several lawmakers have looked toward a practice known as performance-based budgeting, a strategy used to prioritize funding for proven programs with solid results, as a solution. For more information on how House Republicans are working for Pennsylvanians, visit

Several House Republicans Offer Taxpayer Protection Measures

More than a dozen House Republicans gathered on the steps of the Capitol Rotunda this week to offer suggestions on how to address Gov. Ed Rendell's $2.3 billion budget crisis. Opting to avoid tax increases and protect taxpayers, the lawmakers were led by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) in calling for the enactment of a state budget that includes no new taxes, no new spending and no new borrowing. Also, proposals for state spending limits were aired. Another plan, which has gained momentum following recent reports of fraud and waste at the Department of Public Welfare, calls for the agency to shed 10 percent of its budget. Auditor General Jack Wagner recently found errors in more than 1,600 cases, about 14 percent of enrollments, costing as much as $3.3 million.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Congratulations Michael Steele

Congratulations to Michael Steele, who was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.

I had the pleasure of hearing Steele speak at the 2008 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference and he has the common sense views and the core conservative beliefs to bring the GOP back.

For more praise of Steele, follow the link below:

Bauer Congratulates Michael Steele on GOP Chairmanship

Ralph Nader: Rush Limbaugh is collecting welfare

If you've suspected for years that Ralph Nader has gone off the deep end, this letter he sent to Rush Limbaugh confirms your worst fears.

There's a reason nobody cares what Ralph Nader has to say anymore and why Rush Limbaugh just might be the most influential man in American today.

Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh From Ralph Nader

Albright College to celebrate John Updike

Albright College in Reading, Pa., will celebrate the life and works of Berks County native John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who died this week at age 76.

The event will take place Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 4 p.m. in Kachel Chapel, Teel Hall, and is open to the public.

Updike, who published more than 50 books, including "Rabbit, Run" "Rabbit Is Rich" and "Rabbit At Rest," was awarded an honorary doctor of letters from Albright College in 1982.

Those who attend the celebration are invited to talk about favorite Updike works, read favorite passages, and share thoughts on his life and death, according to a release issued by the school.

Kachel Chapel is in Albright College's Teel Hall, located along Union Street in Reading.

For more information, call the College Relations Office at 610-921-7526. The college's Web site is

A friendly wager on Super Bowl

When Pittsburgh wins the Super Bowl Sunday, a Pennsylvania resident will be chosen for a trip to Phoenix for two to a resort spa plus other gifts.

All Pennsylvania residents are eligible to win. The contest will open on Monday, Feb. 2 at

Gov. Ed Rendell must be confident of a Steelers' win. He's already pushed back the date for his annual budget address to the Legislature so he can attend the victory parade in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell, Arizona Governor Brewer Place Friendly Wager on Sunday's Big Game

It's the least Fannie Mae can do

The government-owned agency that played a big role in the current economic collapse is pushing back foreclusures for 30 days.

Fannie Mae Extends Eviction Suspension Another Month

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blagojevich should move to Pa.

I finally figured out how to spell Blagojevich without having to look it up and look what happens. Poor Ron Blagojevich gets himself impeached.

After a four-day trial, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 on Thursday to convict Blagojevich on the charge of abuse of power. The new governor is Patrick Quinn.

The Senate also voted 59-0 to bar Blagojevich from ever holding public office in the state again. That seems pretty harsh to me.

Maybe Ron Blagojevic should move to Pennsylvania. We don't hold our politicians to such high standards here.

A little thing like an impeachment won't hurt his chance of getting elected in Pennsylvania, which in the words of one veteran political observer is "probably the most corrupt state government in America."

After all, Pennsylvania is home of Congressman John Murtha, former state Sen. Vincent Fumo and the 12 "Bonusgate" defendants.

Blagojevich would fit right in.

There's no disguising it

Charter School Web site launched in PA

This is the other teachers' union, not the union that represents public school teachers and controls the governor and state Legislature.

Teachers Union Launches Charter School Web site

Group: Democrats Will Sink Social Security Trust Fund

The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan seniors advocacy group, is worried that the Obama/Democratic Party stimulus plan approved by the House will send the Social Security Trust Fund into deficit as early as next years.

Economic Stimulus Package Would Place Social Security Trust Fund in Deficit for First Time Ever Next Year

Newspaper: PA lost 1.3% of its jobs in 2008

More evidence that Gov. Ed Rendell's six-year-old policy of handing out large checks to corporations isn't working.

Pennsylvania ranked 20th among states for retaining jobs last year, according to an article the Philadelphia Business Journal.

That's actually an improvement over 2007 when Pennsylvania ranked 36th in job retention, but it still shows that the Rendell idea of stimulating the economy is a bust. The promises of jobs from the companies receiving taxpayer handouts never materializes.

From the Philadelphia Business Journal:
Pennsylvania's nonfarm job count dropped by 76,200 last year to 5.732 million, resulting in 1.31 percent less employment. About 75,000 were lost in the second half of the year. The economic crisis took hold in the fall.

"When you lose as many jobs as we did last year, you have to remember the human story behind the numbers. It is sad for families who are now without a breadwinner, single people who can't make ends meet, or young people who must delay pursuing their career goals," said Christine Tartaglione, D-Philadelphia, the Senate Democratic caucus administrator and chair of the Labor and Industry Committee.
Read the full story, which features two Rendell allies defending the governor's failed policies, at the business journal's Web site.

Catch me on the radio today

"Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" can be heard at 5 p.m. Thursday on WPAZ 1370 AM.

Discussion topics will include the state's runaway fiscal crisis and the Democrats' "stimulus" package approved by the House.

You can call the show at 610-326-4000.

The program is simulcast online at and

Good thing Rendell isn't up for re-election

The labor unions that put Ed Rendell into the governor's mansion in 2002 and 2006 have turned on "Fast Eddie" because he plans to cut up to 2,000 state jobs to address the state's budget crisis.

Ed Rendell Needs to Stop Drinking Gloom & Doom Water on Conservative Talk Radio Shows, Says Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

More than 700,000 people have watched the ad online, but NBC, the low-rated TV network that now caters to the far-left, won't allow the pro-life spot to be telecast during the Super Bowl.

Why would a corporation turned down money during these economic times?

The real reason NBC won't show the ad: It finally settles the abortion debate.

The ad can be viewed at

NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

More uninsured under Rendell

The Rendell administration says there are more than 1 million Pennsylvania residents who lack health insurance.

That's a 7.5 percent increase from the number of uninsured in 2004, the last time the state Insurance Department conducted a survey.

Rendell has been governor since 2003. Why hasn't he done something about the number of uninsured? Why have hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians lost health coverage during Rendell's tenure?

The bottom line is that the uninsured have never been a priority for Rendell.

When he wanted to raise the state income tax in 2003, he got it passed in the Legislature. When he wanted to legalize slots in 2004, he won approval in the Legislature. When he wanted the pay raise approved in 2005, he got the votes. Same goes for his massive budgets that have now put the state into debt.

Making sure working families have health insurance is not a priority for Rendell.

The Health Department says that while nearly 18 percent have been uninsured for more than five years, so it's not like Rendell didn't know about the problem.

And the problem might be worse that what the state is reporting because the survey was conducted a year ago. The economy has gotten worse and more people have lost jobs and health coverage.

More Pennsylvanians Are Without Insurance and Health Care, Insurance Department Survey Shows

Geting the economy on track

The Democrats' Debt Plan

Don't forget to thank your nearest Democratic member of Congress for voting to add $2,700 in debt to every member of your family.

Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt explains why he voted against the Obama "stimulus" bill:

"Just 7% of the trillion dollars in this legislation is slated for immediate use and the rest funds everything from buying bureaucrats cars to refurbishing federal buildings," Blunt says. "That's certainly not a package that will help our economy recover any time soon, but it is a package that our children and grandchildren will be repaying for generations to come."

The Democrats' plan will cost every American more than $2,700, Blunt says in a statement.

"The size of the package passed by the House is staggering compared to past stimulus plans," Blunt says. "When President Franklin Roosevelt was facing 25 percent unemployment during the Great Depression, his entire 'New Deal' proposal would cost just half of the current trillion dollar package after being adjusted for inflation."

Read Blunt's full statement at the link below:

Blunt Votes Against Democrats' Debt Plan

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stimulus already working?

The House of Representatives passed the Obama economic stimulus bill today by a vote of 244-188. Every Republican in the House and 11 Democrats voted against the $819 billion measure loaded with pork projects and expanded government programs that many economists say will have little impact on the nation's economic woes.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, said bill will create few jobs, but "it will create plenty of programs and projects through slow-moving government spending."

Remember how Obama blasted George W. Bush for deficit spending? The Obama bill will send the federal deficit into the stratosphere.

A GOP alternative plan to cut taxes on middle class families was defeated by the Democrats, 266-170.

The Obama plan consists of $544 billion in new federal spending and just $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

So how much will you get? A $500 break for single workers and $1,000 for couples, far less than the Bush "stimulus" checks sent out last year. That government handout failed to slow down the recession or keep tens of thousands of Americans from losing their jobs.

The Obama plan also includes tax refunds for those who don't earn enough to owe federal income taxes. There's another word for that: Welfare.

The only hope to restructure the Obama government expansion bill is in the Senate, but with Democrats holding a solid majority there, don't hold your breath.

Just keep printing more money until the dollar is worthless.

More government waste uncovered in PA

Here's a perfect example of how massive Pennsylvania government has grown, especially in the past six years under Gov. Ed Rendell.

Auditor General Jack Wagner announced today that the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, through its county assistance offices, failed to make proper Medicaid eligibility determinations on more than 1,600 Medicaid applicants between January 2005 and March 2008, resulting in $3.3 million in improper payments made on behalf of ineligible recipients.

"A dollar wasted is a dollar that could have gone to help a truly needy person receive the medical assistance he or she deserves," Wagner said in a statement. "With the commonwealth facing widening budget deficits, the Department of Public Welfare must do all that it can to monitor the state's Medicaid program, to make sure all funds are being spent efficiently, effectively, and for their intended purpose. I strongly urge DPW to take immediate steps to tighten its administration and oversight of this vitally important program to ensure that people who are eligible for Medicaid benefits will be able to receive every dollar they're entitled to for their care."

Read more at the link below:

Auditor General Jack Wagner Says $3.3 Million in Improper Medicaid Payments Issued by State's Welfare Department

PA Reaches $150M Settlement with Countrywide

More than 10,000 Pennsylvania homeowners may be eligible for loan modification, relocation assistance and mortgage foreclosure relief as part of the negotiated settlement, says Attorney General Tom Corbett.

Follow the link below for more information:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Corbett Announces Settlement With Countrywide Financial Corporation Worth More Than $150 Million

Budget crisis tied to Rendell overspending

A guest opinion from state Rep. Curt Schroder, a Republican who represents the 155th House District in Chester County.
Budget crisis tied to Rendell overspending

The news is going from bad to worse for the state Treasury. Gov. Ed Rendell recently announced that Pennsylvania's budget deficit could exceed $2 billion by the end of this fiscal year.

Now, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) is traveling across the state telling citizens that lower than projected sales and income taxes, and the rush of newly unemployed citizens taking advantage of state-sponsored relief programs, are to blame.

Not so fast.

For Rep. Evans to suggest that the nation's economic downturn is the primary reason for our state's budget crisis is disingenuous. It is, however, accurate to say that it is the result of the Rendell administration's propensity to over spend. In fact, Rendell's budgets have routinely increased spending beyond the rate of inflation.

From 2002 to the current 2008-09 budget, state spending increased by 38.6 percent while the rate of inflation rose by only 19.5 percent. Even before the state budget was passed in July, there were signs that revenues were not coming in according to Rendell administration projections.

Several House Republicans strenuously objected to spending increases and the expansion of programs supported by one-time revenues, and Senate analysts were warning of deficits reaching into the billions. Inflated revenue projections and the use of one-time revenue sources are a prescription for fiscal disaster. Just weeks after the budget passed, Pennsylvania was in a financial crisis.

For eight straight months, the administration’s revenue projections have been well below estimates.

By the end of December, the state's revenue shortfall exceeded $814 million. Rep. Evans is telling citizens he will rely on federal economic stimulus money, the state's Rainy Day Fund and tax and fee increases to bail out the Commonwealth.

Economic stimulus money and the Rainy Day Fund would provide only temporary relief.

What Pennsylvania really needs are meaningful spending cuts and sound and sustainable fiscal policy. We cannot allow the mismanagement of the budget to be the excuse for a new tax increase.

'Talking Politics' returns Thursday

"Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" can be heard at 5 p.m. Thursday on WPAZ 1370 AM.

Discussion topics will include the state’s fiscal crisis and the federal “stimulus” plan debated in Congress.

You can call the show at 610-326-4000.

The program is simulcast online at and

200 economists oppose Obama 'stimulus'

POLICY BLOG has a post today about a new ad from the CATO Institute in which 200 leading American economists voice opposition to the Obama "stimulus" package.

You can read the ad in PDF form at POLICY BLOG.

Make sure you let your member of Congress know that another ill-conceived expansion of government is now what the American economy needs. The Democrats pushed though the $750 billion bailout bill last fall and it's been a bust so far.

Hang 'Em High

PA businesses: 'Government cannot tax its way back to prosperity'

The Pennsylvania Business Council, representing organizations whose members employ most of the state's 5 million private-sector workers, weighs in on the state's current fiscal crisis.

Business leaders are worried that Harrisburg politicians will resort to higher taxes to dig themselves out of the financial hole they had a hand in creating.

"We can't have 1991 all over again when the government tried to tax its way back to prosperity," said David N. Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. "Increasing business taxes or business fees to pay for General Fund spending will only exacerbate the economic downturn and cost more jobs. We must get a handle on spending." In 1991, the state turned a $1 billion deficit into $3 billion of spending and new taxes. Most of that new tax burden fell on Pennsylvania's business community making Pennsylvania less competitive and less able to retain and attract jobs to the state."

Follow the link below to read more:

Business Community Addresses Pennsylvania Budget Deficit

WSJ: Stimulus package 'every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years'

The Wall Street Journal sees through the "stimulus" package being railroaded through Congress by Democrats.

It's a massive government spending program that funds liberal programs hat have been proposed for decades.

It won't help the economy, but will add debt to every American family.

Follow the link below to read the full editorial.

RNC: A 40-Year Wish List

$237M in lost tax revenues under current PA system

It's bad enough that government at every levels is drowning in red ink, but the state says more than $200 million in tax revenue goes uncollected by local entities using a hodgepodge of uncoordinated systems.

PA DCED Encourages Local Leaders to Begin Implementing Tax Collection System Reform

School board president says he saw scuffle coming

Reading School Board President John P. Santoro Jr. told a newspaper he wasn't surprised that two of his board members were involved in a physical altercation.

"I've seen this coming," Santoro told the Reading Eagle. "This board is broken."

The incident Santoro was commenting on involved board members Pierre V. Cooper, a Democrat, and Keith Stamm, one of only two Republicans on the nine-member board.

The Eagle reported last week that Cooper became enraged at Stamm during a committee meeting, grabbed Stamm by both arms and threw him to the ground. Stamm told the newspaper that Cooper picked up a chair and was about to hit Stamm with it when others at the meeting restrained Cooper.

Cooper has been cited for harassment by Reading police. Stamm, who was taken to the hospital, is considering legal action. He wants Cooper to pay for his medical treatment and time lost at work, according to news accounts.

At a Monday meeting of the full school board, Cooper apologized for his actions, but did not speak directly to Stamm, according to the newspaper.

Santoro blamed himself for allowing school board meetings to turn confrontational, sometimes involving personal attacks, the newspaper reported.

"I admonished Mr. Cooper, and I admonish all of us," Santoro told the Eagle.

You have to wonder about the example the nine elected school board members are setting in a school district that has been plagued by violence, including several recent stabbings involving students.

Read the full story from Monday's school board meeting at the newspaper's Web site.

Stamm has been blogging for several years about school issues at Keith Stamm, School Director. He has a few short posts about the incident on his blog.

A temp job that pays $500-a-day

Not everyone is suffering during the current recession.

The Reading Eagle reports that David H. Robbins, former superintendent of the Daniel Boon School District, has been hired as interim superintendent for the Wyomissing School District.

Robbins will be paid $500 a day for at least six months. The board can extend his contract while it looks for a permanent replacement for Helen Larson, who resigned effective Feb. 1, from her $145,000-a-year job.

Who in their right mind walks away from a $145,000-a-year job? Larson was halfway through a four-year contract. And who in their right mind pays somebody $500-a-day to be a caretaker?

Oh, I forgot. It's easy to spend other people's money.

As part of her going-away present, Larson will collect her full salary for six more months. Where else can you get paid for not working? Larson and her husband will also have their health insurance paid by the school district until June, 30, 2010, the date her contract was due to expire, the newspaper reports.

Six months salary and full medical coverage. I'd be taking that around-the-world cruise if I were in Larson's shoes.

I have nothing against Robbins or Larson. Who can blame them for taking advantage of a system that allows administrators to strike it rich? I blame the school board for being poor stewards of our tax dollars.

There's nothing unique about Wyomissing's situation. The going rate for "interim superintendents" is $500-a-day. Administrators typically get all sorts of perks when they leave jobs. But six months salary and two years of health coverage? Isn't that excessive when you're asking taxpayers to pick up the cost?

It's just frustrating when you have so many people suffering (75,000 job cuts announced in the past week alone) while others make out so well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rohrer: 'Put Pennsylvania taxpayers first'

While Gov. Ed Rendell is packing for a trip to Florida to watch the Super Bowl, Republican House members held a press conference today to discuss ways to deal with the state's growing fiscal crisis.

The goal of Republican lawmakers is to "combat the state's projected $2.3 billion budget deficit while protecting taxpayers against new or increased state taxes, new state spending or additional state debt," according to a written statement released after the Capitol Rotunda event.

Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer (R-Berks), a longtime critic of Rendell's spending policies, did not attend the press conference, but issued a statement saying he supports the measures and vows to work with fiscally conservative allies "to return financial discipline to the state budget."

From Rohrer:
"After six years of the governor's tax, borrow and spend initiatives, Pennsylvania faces a monumental budget deficit and a lagging economy. It's time to take the state checkbook and credit card out of the governor's hand. He has proven that, without a doubt, he cannot spend money better than the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."
Topping the list of initiatives supported by Rohrer and other fiscally conservative House Republicans is repeal of Rendell's increase in the state Personal Income Tax (PIT).

When Rendell took office in January 2003, the state PIT was 2.8 percent. Later that year, he signed into law a bill that raised the state PIT to 3.07 percent.

"At a time when our economy is struggling, it is more important than ever to allow Pennsylvanians to keep more of what they earn," Rohrer said. "It's hard for families to pay their rent or mortgage, grocery bills, utility bills and other expenses when state government continues to take more and more out of their paychecks."

Other initiatives supported by Rohrer and his fiscally conservative allies would:
* Call for the enactment of a state budget that includes no new taxes, no new spending and no additional borrowing.

* Empower voters by allowing them to approve or reject local tax increases through a ballot referendum.

* Institute state spending limits to control government’s spending appetite.

* Repeal the law that calls for new tolls to be implemented across Interstate 80.

* Reduce welfare spending by 10 percent and use the money to pay for much-needed road and bridge improvement projects across the Commonwealth.

* Eliminate all state discretionary funding or "Walking Around Money (WAMS)."

* Enact a series of business tax reductions.
"We have outlined a plan that would put Pennsylvania taxpayers first," Rohrer said. "In a little more than a week, when the governor delivers his budget address, Pennsylvanians should ask themselves: Who is the governor putting first? Is he doing what's right for taxpayers, or is he looking out for the special interest crowd in Harrisburg and the people who make a living by feeding at the public trough?"

Sarah Palin launches PAC

Sarah Palin is here to stay.

Much to the chagrin of the elite media that despises a strong female leader who espouses traditional America values, Gov. Palin has launched her own Political Action Committee.

The move could be a prelude to a presidential run in 2012 and it can also help the Alaska governor raise money for other conservative candidates.

Sarah Palin's Official PAC is dedicated to "to building America's future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation," according to the Web site.

More on the committee's mission:
SarahPAC believes America's best days are ahead. Our country, founded on conservative principles and the fight for freedom, must confront the challenges of the 21st century with integrity, innovation, and determination.

SarahPAC believes energy independence is a cornerstone of the economic security and progress that every American family wants and deserves.

SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all. Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals.
Visitors can sign up for e-mail alerts, donate to the PAC or learn more about Palin.

The Web site is

Rep. Tim Hennessey issues statement on Coatesville fires

The following statement was released today by state Rep. Tim Hennessey, a Republican who represents the 26th State House District in Chester County. Hennessey's district includes Coatesville, which has been the scene of 30 arson incidents in the past year. The most recent fire consumed 15 homes late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

From Hennessey:
"I understand the combination of fear and anger that many people in our community are feeling. This string of intentionally set fires is robbing our families of the sense of security they demand and deserve. As community leaders and law enforcement personnel work together with local residents to catch the perpetrators, I ask everyone to remember that we are all on the same side in this battle against fear and injustice.

"I am personally committed to providing whatever assistance I can as a state lawmaker to our local leaders and law enforcement personnel. I am equally committed to working with the victims of these terrible incidents to acquire whatever assistance may be available through state programs and services.

"I ask local residents to join me in doing our own part to help combat this community-wide problem. Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and alert local law enforcement officials by calling 610-636-0514 or the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS (215-546-8477) to report any information that may be helpful to their ongoing investigation.

"We are blessed to have brave local firefighters, who have repeatedly put their own safety on the line to battle these fires. I pray for their safety in doing their important work, and ask our community to follow their brave example of working together to combat a common enemy."

IRS is hiring in PA

With the unemployment rate climbing, the Internal Revenue Service has hundreds of job openings, including some in several Pennsylvania locations.

From an IRS announcement released today:
IRS is Recruiting Hundreds of Revenue Officers

PHILADELPHIA - the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is seeking qualified Revenue Officer candidates for positions in the following IRS Office locations in Pennsylvania:

· Altoona
· Bethlehem
· Harrisburg
· Jenkintown
· Lancaster
· Philadelphia
· Scranton

Applicants must apply by February 20th; See for more information on how to apply.

Interested applicants must be a United States citizen and have a bachelor's degree (with superior academic achievement – 3.0 or higher overall or 3.5 or higher in major) or equivalent work experience or a combination of education and related work experience.

Examples of related work experience include:
¨ Reviewing individual/business financial condition, ability to pay debt
¨ Evaluating assets, equity and credit
¨ Collecting delinquent payments
¨ Establishing or operating a small business and/or administering a budget
¨ Counseling individuals on tax filing and paying obligations
¨ Dealing with various legal instruments (i.e.: leases, wills, deeds and trusts)

Revenue officers are trained in both tax law and collection techniques necessary for the collection of delinquent taxes and delinquent tax returns. Duties include conducting research, interviews, investigations and analysis of financial information for assigned cases, often at the taxpayer’s home or business. Revenue officers counsel taxpayers on their tax obligations and determine how they can best resolve their delinquencies, while also ensuring that their rights are protected.

Starting salary varies by geographic area based on costs of living adjustments and range between $38,177 - $44,976.

Individuals interested in a challenging career with excellent benefits, training and strong growth potential are encouraged to apply. Get the details at Application information is available at

Newspaper: Another 'mismanaged state government perk'

State workers and officials are driving around in 16,637 vehicles at a cost to the taxpayers of $73 million to buy, maintain, fuel and insure them.

A report by the Pennsylvania Auditor General questioning the state's management of its vehicle fleet has prompted calls by The Mercury for more accountability.

From an editorial in today's edition:
This latest report offers an example of the damage that Harrisburg's culture of unmanaged spending on state government has wrought on the state coffers.

Wagner and state Attorney General Tom Corbett have been spearheading efforts to clean up the corruption and waste in Harrisburg, but there is still a long way to go.

Now is the time for the Legislature to begin reforming itself first and foremost and initiate a movement of trickle-down honesty, efficiency and watchful spending.

Imagine what the Commonwealth could become if an example of modest sacrifice and accountability came from the state Capitol.

Getting a firm grip on managing the state's fleet of vehicles is a good place to start.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

New Report Addresses How Local Governments Can Successfully Navigate Current Fiscal Crisis

New Report Addresses How Local Governments Can Successfully Navigate Current Fiscal Crisis

Avoiding Madoff-Style Ponzi Schemes: 12 of The Best Resources for Investors

Avoiding Madoff-Style Ponzi Schemes: 12 of The Best Resources for Investors

Job losses mount under Obama

The headlines are coming at us fast and furious:
Pfizer to buy Wyeth for $68B; cut 8,000 jobs

Caterpillar Inc. discloses 20,000 job cuts

Home Depot to cut 7,000 jobs

Sprint Nextel to eliminate 8,000 jobs
Since the liberal media always blamed George W. Bush for job losses during his administration, it's only fair that we now hold President Barack Obama responsible for the rising unemployment rate.

American corporations have announced more than 70,000 job cuts since Obama took office. It appears "hope" won't put food on the table.

Thank you, President Obama for putting more Americans out of work.

And as Obama's draconian environmental policies and anti-trade barriers are put into place in the coming months, tens of thousands more Americans will lose their jobs.

On the bright side, Nancy Pelosi will be shipping out plenty of condoms to the unemployed workers as part of the Democrats' stimulus package.

Let's face it folks. You had a chance to elect a grownup as president in November, but you passed on Sen. John McCain for the cool guy with no experience.

Conservative bloggers dominate 'Influence' rankings

Maybe it's a reaction to the far-left turn the country has taken, but it appears more blog readers are turning to conservative bloggers (at least in Pennsylvania) for information.

Eleven of the Top 20 Most Influential Political Blogs at are conservative. And when you eliminate media-based blogs, there's only six hard-core lefties on this week's list.

* (2)
* GrassrootsPA (3)
* Suburban Guerrilla (4)
* Lehigh Valley Ramblings (5)
* Philebrity (7)
* Comments From Left Field (8)
* Pennsylvania Ave. (9)
* Capitol Ideas (10)
* Gunservatively! (10)
* Save The GOP (10)
* Lehigh Valley Somebody (14)
* page13news (15)
* Capitol Punmanship (16)
* The Pennsylvania Progressive (17)
* The Bitter American (18)
* Philadelphia Will Do (19)
* Pro-Life PA by Sue Cirba (20)

Fiscal crisis? Let's throw a party instead

Pennsylvania is facing a fiscal crisis with a projected $2.3 billion budget deficit. Some state lawmakers have called state finances an economic disaster.

So are state leaders doing to address the crisis?

The Legislature has been on vacation since last October and Gov. Ed Rendell has been moonlighting as a TV analyst after Eagles games. In other words, it's business as usual.

Another indication that Rendell and lawmakers are living in la-la land is the fact that Rendell has postponed his annual budget address to the Legislature by a day in anticipation of a Steelers' Super Bowl win.

Rendell will deliver his annual address on Feb. 4 to allow time for Steelers fans to return from Florida and hold a victory parade on Feb. 3.

Rendell will be attending the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, according to a spokesman. He will probably find his way to Pittsburgh on Feb. 3 if the Steelers win.

So let's continue to fiddle while the state burns.

To be fair, a handful of Republican lawmakers have proposed swift action on the state's fiscal crisis: See Taxpayer Protection and GrassrootsPA for more.

Back for more

Monday, January 26, 2009

No. 1 priority for PA counties is property tax reform

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, which represents all 67 counties in the Keystone State, has released its legislative priorities for 2009.

As in previous years, topping the list of nine priorities is property tax reform.

The association, which bills itself as the voice of county government, says its legislative priorities cover a wide variety of issues, but carry a common theme: "Our communities' needs are many, and cutting funding for critical services at the state level does not automatically result in cost savings."

"Failure to adequately fund mandates, and thus passing responsibility to local taxpayers, shifts the tax burden but does not reduce it," says Jim Kennedy, a Butler County commissioner and president of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.

Property tax reform, which has eluded state lawmakers for more than 30 years, remains the No. 1 priority of county officials, Kennedy says.

"Counties continue to advocate options that will allow county elected officials to select fairer revenue sources, more compatible with local economic conditions, in return for a reduction in property taxes," Kennedy said. "As in previous years, our top priority is tax fairness. We will continue to call on the General Assembly to authorize optional local tax bases such as the sales tax or the personal income tax in return for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in property taxes. But tax fairness also includes measures that affect the tax base and how services are funded, and this is why we are advocating to restore the ability to assess oil and gas interests."

Here's the list of priorities released by the county officials:

1) Tax Fairness
2) Commonwealth Budget Issues
3) Court Administration/District Attorney Funding
4) Clean And Green
5) 911 Services
6) County Recycling Fee Authorization
7) Dedicated And Adequate Funding For Mass Transit, Local Roads And Bridges
8) Marcellus Shale
9) Mentally Ill Inmates/Specialty Courts

You can download an eight-page report with more details on each issue at the Association's Web site,

'The swaggering arrogance of Gov. Ed Rendell'

You know I'm going to enjoy any editorial that begins with the words: 'The swaggering arrogance of Gov. Ed Rendell' ... and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review doesn't disappoint with a commentary on Rendell's sweetheart deal for ousted state Rep. Dan Surra.

Surra, a longtime Rendell ally, was tossed out by the voters in Elk and Clearfield counties in November, but wasn't out of work for long. He entered the Politician Protection Program. Despite a hiring freeze imposed by Gov. Rendell himself, the gov found a job for Surra, who is now helping promote tourism at an annual salary of $95,000.

From the Tribune-Review editorial:
Fast Eddie said his hiring freeze didn't apply to him since he granted himself exceptions. He also told reporters to "get off your butts" and go up to a state woodlands area to ask the people there about Mr. Surra.

Such imperiousness as Pennsylvania faces a $2.3 billion budget deficit, layoffs of state workers and possible tax increases is despicable.

Surra had been the House Democratic Caucus administrator. And as Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, reminds, Surra voted for the 2005 legislative pay-jacking, to increase taxes and for Rendell's bloated budgets.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Bill Gates: Change Limits and Funding Rules for Public Charter Schools

A ringing endorsement for charter schools from the founder of Microsoft.

Bill Gates would like to see more support and less government interference for charter schools.

Charter schools are subject to legislatively-mandated caps in two-thirds of states with charter laws, and charter school students are funded at significantly lower levels than their peers in other public schools, Gates says.

Bill Gates: Change Limits and Funding Rules for Public Charter Schools

Democrats try to undo legislative reforms

Emboldened by their five-seat majority in the state House of Representatives, Democratic Party leaders are moving quickly to undo many of the legislative reforms enacted in Harrisburg over the past two years.

DemocracyRisingPA, the reform watchdog group, has issued an "urgent alert" warning that "when the House resumes session on Tuesday, the Democratic majority will propose new rules that will turn back the clock to the bad old days of the Pay Raise of 2005, the slots gambling law and other stealth lawmaking. A summary - not an actual draft - began circulating in the Capitol at the end of last week, but it is not available to the public on the House web site. Members of the 2007 Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform received a briefing on the changes last Wednesday, according to House sources."

Citizens and media who want to know how their representatives plan to vote and why will have to act fast, DemocracyRisingPA says. "Although the current temporary House rules don't expire until February 6, Democratic leaders plan to rush the new rules to a vote on Tuesday. If House Democrats have their way, it may be the last time citizens are able to ask such questions about any important legislation before it's too late," DemocracyRisingPA says on its Web site.

From the DemocracyRisingPA post:
The Bottom Line

The Democrats' proposals will make it much harder for citizens to know what their government is doing in time to express their opinion either for or against proposed laws. They would repeal reforms adopted with great fanfare just two years ago through the Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform. Among dozens of proposals, House Democrats propose to:

* Render meaningless the rule requiring the House to stop session at 11:00 p.m. unless three-fourths of the members vote to continue.

* Repeal the rule allowing citizens and their representatives at least 24 hours to see amendments before voting on them, at least 24 hours to consider bills after their last amendment, and at least 24 hours before a vote on a report by a conference committee. Conference committee reports, such as every budget and the Pay Raise of 2005, are often the most complicated, controversial and important laws proposed in any session. As in the past, the proposal would allow action after as little as six hours.

* Repeal the rule prohibiting the Rules Committee from amending bills after they have been considered by another committee.
Read more and learn how you can fight the effort to turn back the reform movement at the DemocracyRisingPA Web site.

160,000 visitors

My site counter has recorded 250,000 page views and 160,000 unique visitors in the past two years. Thanks for visiting.

Obama is hiring

Best Movies for Grownups

Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan can ignore this post.

It's award season in Hollywood and the AARP has jumped on the bandwagon with its inaugural "Movies for Grownups Awards."

Here are some of the winners:

Best Movie for Grownups: "Frost/Nixon"

Best Actress 50 and Over: Meryl Streep, "Doubt"

Best Actor 50 and Over: Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"

Best Supporting Actress 50 and Over: Christine Baranski and Julie Walters, "Mamma Mia!"

Best Comedy for Grownups: "Ghost Town"

Best Grownup Love Story: Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, "Last Chance Harvey"

Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up: "Iron Man"

And my favorite category: Best Intergenerational Film: "The Visitor"

(By the way, I have seen "The Visitor" and it's an excellent film. Highly recommended.)

For more categories and the runners-up in various categories, click on the link below.

AARP The Magazine Honors the Best Movies for the 50 Audience With Movies for Grownups(R) Awards

PA Leads Nation in Per Capita Rate of Black Homicide Victims

Pennsylvania's black homicide rate of 36.86 Per 100,000 is nearly seven times national overall homicide rate of 5.38 per 100,000, according to an FBI report.

I'm sure Philadelphia has a lot to do with the state's poor showing.

Pennsylvania Leads Nation in Per Capita Rate of Black Homicide Victimization

Poll: Union Members Oppose Big Labor's Card Check

A new national survey of voters by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace shows opposition coming from an unlikely source - union households.

Read more below:

New Poll: Union Members Oppose Big Labor's Card Check

Experts: Democrat Stimulus Plan A Bust

More evidence that the Obama/Democratic Party "economic stimulus bill" is a sham.

Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips said preliminary estimates show that only $250 billion of the $825 billion stimulus will make it into the economy in 2009, according to the Republican National Committee.

Republican National Committee: Goldman Sachs Echoes CBO Report on Democrat Stimulus Plan

New Law Eliminates Need For PennDOT to Replace License Plates Every Ten Years

New Law Eliminates Need For PennDOT to Replace License Plates Every Ten Years

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Newspaper: Will Rendell, Legislature share our pain?

Gov. Ed Rendell promises "universal pain" for Pennsylvania residents as the state's fiscal crisis deepens to include a $2.3 billion budget deficit for the current fiscal year. The governor said he doesn't want to hear any whining as he prepares to sit down with the Legislature to slash programs and lay off state workers.

Easy for him to say. Rendell still has a well-paying job for another two years. That's more than you can say about tens of thousands of Pennsylvania residents who have lost their jobs or will soon be standing on the unemployment line.

An editorial in The Mercury asks if Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature will be "sharing the pain" they are about to inflict on Pennsylvania taxpayers thanks to years of fiscal management.

From the editorial:
The question ... is whether they will spread the pain into their own legislative chambers or continue with business as usual while services and agencies are dealt cutbacks.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is the most expensive state lawmaking body in the nation. The number of legislators, the level of their salaries and the glut of staff, field offices and administrative expenses last year cost the taxpayers $315 million.

Considering the lack of progress on such pressing matters as tax and school funding reform, legislators would have a tough time justifying $315 million to the citizens of Pennsylvania.
With the exception of passing on a cost-of-living pay raise, Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to draw salaries and benefits the average Pennsylvania workers can only dream about.

More from the editorial:
Pennsylvania legislators need to take a long look in the mirror as they begin this difficult session in Harrisburg. The "pain" that Rendell speaks of must include questioning their own efficiency, the number of legislators and the pay they collect. But, reducing the size of the Legislature is a constitutional question that would take some time.

Meanwhile, there is nothing to prevent reducing the number of offices, eliminating administrative staff and slashing the unnecessary perks that include gifts to constituents which serve only to boost future re-election chances.

Lawmakers' benefits, from transportation reimbursement to health care, should be analyzed for savings. The state of the economy has written a new set of rules; it's time legislators adapt to them as well.

The difficulty in Harrisburg is that no one can make this happen except the lawmakers themselves. And, who in the end, votes themselves a cut in pay or benefits or office help?
Read the full editorial, "State lawmakers must face reality of taxpayers' pain," at the newspaper's Web site.

'Stop the madness in Harrisburg'

This Letter to the Editor, originally published in The Pottstown Mercury, is from a Montgomery County resident who is fed up with the culture of corruption, mismanagement and pay-to-play in Harrisburg.
Stop the madness in Harrisburg

It is time for Pennsylvania citizens to unite. Both Republicans and Democrats have to stop the appointment of defeated state Rep. Dan Surra, D-Elk and Clearfield counties, to the newly created position of senior adviser to the Pennsylvania Wildness Tourism Program at $95,000 a year.

Surra lived off the public coffers for 17 years until he was found out. In an attempt to oust self serving politicos and incur "change," Surra was defeated for his re-election in 2008 for state representative by the citizens of Elk and Clearfield counties. With a Pennsylvania budget crisis and hiring freeze on, Rendell created this ghost position and appointed Surra without interviewing any other people. Surra accepted without reservation.

Rendell and Surra damage a political party and they are abetted by people who don't do anything about it. Every newspaper in the state should be on this. Every voter regardless of party membership should take the time to mail or email their state representative and senator to voice your opposition to this maneuver.

If you don't know your representative, call your township or borough. Google Pennsylvania representatives. If you've got time to e-mail jokes, you've got time to email your representatives.

Stop the madness.


In Obama We Trust?

President Obama nominates a man who didn't pay his taxes to be the next Treasury Secretary and head the IRS? What am I missing here? There are no law-abiding citizens qualified to hold the job? What's next? An illegal alien to head Homeland Security?

Columnist: Obama should follow Reagan lead

Washington Times columnist Diana West is troubled by President Obama's demand for $850 billion in new federal spending to get the U.S. economy moving again.

There's no evidence that massive government spending will boost the economy, West argues. And have we forgotten already how the $750 billion "bailout" Congress approved last fall has failed miserably?

From her latest column:
I found myself wondering how Ronald Reagan, entering office in 1981 with high inflation (12 percent) and unemployment (7.5 percent) higher than today (7.2 percent), and a contracting GDP approached hard times. In what turned out to be his first inaugural address, he, too, used the word "crisis" to describe "the economic ills" Americans were suffering. Noting that these ills were a long time coming and wouldn't go away "in days, weeks or months," he said: "But they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom."

"In this present crisis," he continued, "government is not the solution to our problem."

There's a twist. In this present crisis, according to the Obama administration and its stimulus-package trillions, government isn't just the solution, it's our only hope.

That's change for you.
Read the full column at The Pottstown Mercury Web site.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Democrat gets physical at school board meeting

A Democratic member of the Reading School Board allegedly assaulted a Republican school board member after the pair got into a heated discussion at a meeting.

School Board member Pierre V. Cooper was cited Friday by police for allegedly scuffling with board member Keith R. Stamm during an argument over a proposal to replace the high school principal, according to the Reading Eagle.

Stamm is one of only two Republicans on the nine-member school board.

The newspaper failed to mention Cooper was a Democrat. Do you think the newspaper would have mentioned it if a Republican assaulted a Democrat? I guess in the Age of Obama and under one-party rule in the United States, Democrats can do what they want without consequences.

Stamm was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital. He told the newspaper that he is exploring whether Cooper can be removed from the board. Stamm said he also wants Cooper to compensate him for missing work and for hospital and ambulance bills, according to the newspaper.

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

For another perspective, check out the Berks Conservative blog.

Stamm also mentions the incident briefly at his blog: Keith Stamm, School Director

Friday, January 23, 2009

The problem with liberals

John Stossel, the co-host of ABC's "20/20" and a newspaper columnist, considers himself a "classical liberal."

Unfortunately, far-left Democrats have usurped the liberal political philosophy and mangled into something unrecognizable to "classical liberals" like Stossel.

"Liberals don't want you to have the choice of owning a handgun, a big car or keeping your own money so you can use it as you see fit," Stossel writes. "Liberals want to restrict our choices."

Things are going to get a lot worse now that the far left controls both the White House and Congress.

Stossel writes:
Liberal senators like Dick Durbin, John Kerry and Charles Schumer want speech limited further by the "fairness doctrine." Fairness here means depriving people of the choice of all-conservative radio.

And what's more liberal than voluntary exchange between consenting adults? Free trade lets everyone in the world find the best buys, no matter where they are. It gives us more things for less money. Even Paul Krugman supports free trade. But liberals don't want to allow buyers and sellers to make their own choices. Liberals want trade curtailed.
Stossel's definition of a classical liberal: "I believe people should have the freedom to do anything that is peaceful. That's truly liberal. I want the word back."

Read the full column, "Choice from the liberal side of life," here.

'Life and Death' in Obama's Executive Orders

Gary Bauer on Obama's far-left values:
"It is both sad and infuriating that in the same week that President Obama extended new rights to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and began planning to release men whom we know have murdered Americans, he is preparing to sentence innocent children to death through abortion. The decision to overturn the Mexico City policy means that taxpayer dollars will be given to organizations performing abortions. And all of this will be done at tax-payer expense. This is not the kind of change that keeps America safe or that exports the best of our values."
Bauer Notes Conflict Between Life and Death in Obama's Executive Orders

State Capitol Roundup for January 23

Here's this week's State Capitol Roundup courtesy of Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147):

Task Force to Hold Hearings on Performance-Based Budgeting, Tax Reform

Upon news by the Rendell administration Thursday that the state deficit could reach as much as $2.3 billion by the end of the fiscal year in June, the House Republican Policy Committee's Budget and Economic Policy Task Force, of which Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147th) is an appointed member, will hold two hearings next week, with the discussion Wednesday on performance-based budgeting, a strategy used to prioritize funding for proven programs with solid results. Thursday's hearing will focus on the governor's 2004 Business Tax Reform Commission's recommendations. The commission developed ways to make business taxes fairer, simpler and more competitive with other states in order to attract business and industry and create family-sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania. During this year's budget process, House Republicans are committed to finding ways to reduce the deficit while keeping taxes at current levels for Pennsylvania's working families. For more information on the hearings, visit

Blues Call Off Merger of Health Insurance Giants

Reacting to a report that the Pennsylvania insurance commissioner would deny a plan by Highmark Inc. and Independence Blue Cross - two of the state's largest health insurance providers - to merge, the Blues companies Wednesday called off their plans and withdrew their application to consolidate. The merger has been the focus of public hearings by the House and Senate insurance committees. Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147th) will continue his position on the House Insurance Committee throughout the 2009-2010 Session. Since the proposal was announced in 2007, House Republicans raised numerous concerns that the merger of the two giants would reduce competition in a market where health insurance premiums are continually increasing. If the merger had been approved by the state, the combined entity would have been the state's largest health insurance company. House Republicans are continuing their commitment this session to developing ways to make health care more accessible and affordable through marketplace competition.

Legislative Plan to Invite Citizens to Invest in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania citizens wishing to invest in Pennsylvania would be able to do so under legislation being sponsored by Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks). Under the proposal, residents would be able to purchase "Energy Independence Bonds" for energy infrastructure improvements that will provide cleaner, less expensive electricity, and Keystone Infrastructure Improvement Bonds (KIIB) to address needed improvements to the state's roads, highways, bridges, dams, and water and sewer systems. The bonds, which would be sold in $100 increments and carry a guaranteed rate of return, would provide citizens an opportunity to invest in Pennsylvania, create jobs and improve the state's infrastructure. The investment plan would be similar to the U.S. Savings Bond program.

Rendell promises 'universal pain'

I have this image in my head of Gov. Ed Rendell, dressed in leather bondage gear and carrying a whip, preparing to go medieval on Pennsylvania taxpayers. I may need professional counseling to get over this.

Rendell proclaimed Thursday at a news conference "there will be universal pain" because the state is facing a $2.3 billion budget deficit.

This is the same governor who last July was getting high-fives from legislators after they agreed on a $28.3 billion spending plan for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Despite warnings from a handful of Republican lawmakers and the state's leading think tanks that the budget would soon drown in red ink, Rendell and the Legislature stuck their heads in the sand ... and then went on vacation.

Estimates the current budget will likely end up $2.3 billion in the red are amazing considering that just one week ago, Rendell said the deficit would likely top off at $1.9 billion. And that projection came a few weeks after Rendell said the deficit would max out at $1.6 billion. This guy needs to get a better calculator.

Rendell's plan for digging out of the massive hole he put us in is to ask the Legislature to give back most of the $200 million slush fund it siphoned from the state treasury in recent years, laying off state workers and waiting for Barack Obama to bail the state out with a few billion dollars he has laying around.

But this would stop the bleeding only for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ends June 30. The 2009-10 budget would start off with that very same $2.3 billion deficit that has to be made up with deeper spending cuts or raising taxes.

This is the culmination of Rendell's failed fiscal policies over the past six years. He has increased state spending by nearly $8 billion, borrowed billions more and has nothing to show for all that spending except a fiscal crisis not seen in this state in decades.

"There will be some layoffs and there will be universal pain," Rendell said at the news conference. "I don't want to hear whining. I think everyone has to tighten the belts."

Tough talk from a tax-and-spend liberal who squandered $8 billion since taking office in 2003. Imagine if Ed Spendell had returned that money to Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses instead of handing most of it out to political cronies.

Imagine if Rendell hadn't screwed up the awarding of casino licenses that could have brought significantly more revenue into state coffers. Instead of offering the state's slot parlor licenses to the highest bidder, Rendell's gaming commission awarded the contracts at a fixed price to casino operators, shortchanging the state by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Imagine if Rendell hadn't awarded more than $1 billion in no-bid contracts to lobbyists and politically-connected firms. Just imagine if the Legislature had the backbone to stand up to Rendell's out-of-control spending.

Rendell is sounding like a Republican these days. He actually used the term "zero-growth budget" when asked about the 2009-10 budget. Conservative Republicans have been pushing for "zero-growth" budgets for years, but Rendell and House Democrats have ignored their pleas.

When asked about cutting state programs, many of which he created, Rendell said: "Some of them deserve to be eliminated and probably should be eliminated forever."

Who is this man and what have they done with the real Ed Rendell?

Rendell ruled out an increase in the state income tax, unless the Legislature wants to raise taxes. Yeah, right. All 203 members of the House face the voters every two years. Half the Senate is up for re-election in 2010.

How many incumbents will stick their political necks out and vote to raise taxes? Rendell has two years left in his term and has said he will not run for political office again.

"The Legislature could pass one, but I am not going to submit a budget on Feb. 4 that has a broad-based tax increase in it," Rendell said.

I never thought I'd live to see the day Rendell would say he won't try to raise taxes.

As for getting the Legislature to hand over its $200 million slush fund, good luck with that. Don't forget the Legislature has also set aside $750 million in a rainy day fund. Lawmakers are more likely to tap into the rainy day fund than give up money they control.

Harrisburg insiders defend the leadership accounts as a hedge against tough times when the governor might squeeze lawmakers to get what he wants. Welcome to those tough times.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, told The Associated Press that the Legislature needs to keep a four-to-six-month reserve to maintain its independence. "Beyond that, we are willing to turn over, to turn back" the unspent funds, spokesman Steve Miskin said.

Rendell might twist enough arms to get the Legislature to hand over some of the money but don't bet on lawmakers giving the entire $200 million back, especially with the state Senate solidly in Republican hands for the next two years.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Releases First Wind Energy Annual Report

Pennsylvania Game Commission Releases First Wind Energy Annual Report

Where are all the jobs Rendell promised?

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is now 6.7 percent. Where are all the jobs Gov. Ed Rendell promised would be created when he handed out billions of our tax dollars in the form of corporate welfare over the past eight years?

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: December 2008

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hope is Not a Strategy: A Letter to President Obama

Interesting letter to President Obama from Benjamin Ola Akande, Dean, School of Business and Technology, Webster University, St. Louis, MO, on where the new administration should place its priorities:

Hope is Not a Strategy: A Letter to President Obama

PA Senate GOP to push reform agenda

The Year of Reform -- 2008 -- turned out to be another year of business as usual as the Pennsylvania Legislature grappled with various corruption scandals and ineffective leadership, especially on the Democratic side in the House.

The good news is that the state Senate, controlled by Republicans, is planning to push a variety of government reform measures that never made it to the governor's desk in 2008.

From a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review by reporter Brad Bumstead:
"Passage of the reform measures ... is essential to creating a state government which is open and accountable to the people we take an oath of office to serve," said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, who is lieutenant governor.
For a good roundup of the renewed reform agenda, check out the following stories:

"GOP reform bills would post state spending on Web" in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"State GOP senators pushing 'legislative reform bills'" in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"State senators trying again on legislative reforms" in the Allentown Morning Call

Rush Limbaugh is worried about Obama ... and you should be too

Check out

"$850 Billion, 334 pages, and counting ... somebody needs to read it!"

The fine print in Barack Obama's "American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009" are staggering.

Before we pour more money down a rat hole (remember the $750 Billion Bailout bill that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid foisted on us last year?), send a message to your representatives in Congress to put the brakes on the ill-conceived government expansion that will increase the national debt by nearly $1 trillion.



More Government Printing Presses!

Catch me on the radio today

Tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" at 5 p.m. today on WPAZ 1370 AM.

If you can't receive the radio signal, the one-hour program is simulcast online at and

Rendell now projects $2.3B deficit

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting today that Pennsylvania's fiscal picture has significantly worsened, with the General Fund budget deficit now projected to reach $2.3 billion by June 30.

Gov. Ed Rendell announced at a press conference that continuing job losses and other bad economic news from the ongoing recession have reduced state revenues such as personal income taxes and sales taxes, according to reporter Tom Barnes.

The budget deficit has been a moving target since Rendell first acknowledge last fall that the state's budget was in the red.

Rendell's previous estimates that the deficit would reach $1.6 billion was replaced by another guess that it could top $1.9 billion, Barnes reports.

Rendell now says the deficit will reach at least $2.3 billion, according to Barnes, who says Rendell disclosed two additional steps to erase the added $700 million in deficit.

The first is a handout from the federal government to cover the state's out-of-control Medicaid spending.

Rendell anticipates the state's allocation of federal aid for Medicaid to be more than the previous $900 million over two years -- perhaps as much as $2 billion to $4 billion over a three-year period, Barnes writes.

Secondly, Rendell wants the Legislature to give back $175 million of its current $200 million "budget reserve" that it has been hording in recent years, Barnes say.

Rendell may also propose layoffs or unpaid furloughs for state workers in fiscal 2009-10, which starts July 1, according to Barnes.

Don't you think Rendell wishes he had some of that $8 billion he squandered over the past eight years? That would cover the state's deficit and then some. Can we lay off Ed Rendell for the last two years of his term? And sending the Legislature home would save taxpayers $300 million a year. Anybody have a better idea?

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

The Rendell Double Standard

PA ranked the most pro-life state in U.S.

You wouldn't know it by the outcome of some recent elections, but Pennsylvania ranks as the most pro-life state in the U.S., according to new report by Americans United for Life.

"AUL's annual ranking highlights the significant progress we are making each year toward a more pro-life America," said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, AUL President & CEO. "There is every reason for optimism even in the face of new challenges. Since the election, we have seen a huge outpouring of grassroots support for our work opposing the radically pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as well as hundreds of inquiries about life-affirming legislation."

That doesn't explain why Pennsylvania voted for Barack Obama, the pro-abortion president, does it? And the current governor, Ed Rendell, is also an abortion advocate.

Pennsylvania Most Pro-Life State in America, California Least, According to Americans United for Life State Rankings

Report shows college unaffordable for most in PA

Ed Rendell likes to call himself the "education governor," but the sad truth is that Rendell has done little to improve public education or make higher education affordable during his eight years in office.

A new report says that 75% of future jobs in PA will require education beyond high school, but the study by the PA Partnerships for Children shows college is becoming out of reach for the average Pennsylvania family.

Students graduate with average debt of nearly $24,000, according to the report.

Follow the link below to read more:

Seventy-Five Percent of Future Jobs in PA Require Education Beyond High School

'Bigger is not always better'

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario today praised the decision of the state's two giant Blue Cross insurance carriers to cancel a planned merger.

"Pennsylvania consumers already face one of the least competitive health insurance marketplaces in the country and this consolidation would have made it worse, resulting in fewer choices for consumers and weaker provider networks for consumers who depend on those networks for access to quality health care," said Ario.

What Ario didn't say is that the policies of the Rendell administration and decisions by the state Legislature have led to the poor health insurance climate for Pennsylvania consumers.

Insurance Commissioner Welcomes Withdrawal of Proposed IBC/Highmark Consolidation

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Will Obama free Gitmo terrorists?

In an obvious concession to the far-left, President Barack Obama has taken the first step to closing the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Closing Gitmo "would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice," read the draft executive order, a copy of which was leaked to The Associated Press.

The most obvious question is what will happen to the 245 al-Qaida and Taliban members capture on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Will Obama release them so they can kill more Americans? Will he bring them back to the continental United States? Where will they be housed?

And the broader question Obama has failed to answer: How does the closing make America safer?

"Guantanamo and the incarceration and interrogation of its inhabitants have saved thousands of American lives and untold tragedy," Investor's Business Daily wrote in a recent editorial. "While it has existed, America's enemies have had a harder time plying their trade."

I haven't heard too many members of Congress volunteer to accept the terrorists in their home states once Gitmo is closed.

I have a couple of suggestions for where to move the 245 terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

My first option would be the Yucca Mountain salt mines the government spent billions of dollars tunneling out to store spent nuclear fuel rods. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has blocked the use of Yucca Mountain for its intended purposes. How could Reid object to housing terrorists in Nevada? It's safer than nuclear waste, right Harry?

Another possibility is California, preferably the home district of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who owns vast vineyards. Pelosi could sponsor a work-release program putting the terrorists to work picking grapes.

As for housing them, I'm sure the Hollywood community would embrace their al-Qaida and Taliban brethren. Sean Penn, Barbra Steisand, Tim Robbins and the rest of the Hollywood left could take in the Gitmo prisoners.

If those two options don't suit Obama and the Democrats, how about turning the terrorists loose in the Chicago area? Obama spoke of shared sacrifice in his inaugural address. He can do his part.

All we ask of President Obama

Obama's 'Newer Deal' likely to prolong recession

Casey Research has analyzed key differences between the New Deal and the Obama "Newer Deal" plan.

In 1933, the federal debt was $360 billion in 2008 dollars and 40% of the GDP, the firm says. In 2008, the federal debt was just under $11 trillion and 70% of the GDP, according to Casey Research.

The government is likely to add $3 trillion to the national debt in 2009 alone, the firm says.

Before jumping into another "bailout," Congress needs to take a sober look at Obama's plan for more government spending.

Obama's 'Newer Deal' Likely to Raise Deficit

Uninsured motorists could reach all-time high

A new study predicts 1 in 6 drivers across the United States may be driving uninsured by 2010, according to a recent study from Insurance Research Council

Although the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists decreased nationally, from 14.9 percent in 2003 to 13.8 percent in 2007, the recent economic downturn is expected to trigger a sharp rise in the uninsured motorist rate, the council says.

Economic Downturn May Push Percentage of Uninsured Motorists to All-Time High

Top Dogs

The Labrador Retriever holds the top spot in Pennsylvania and across the country as the most popular breed of dog.

The American Kennel Club announced the "Top 10" most popular AKC registered breeds in Pennsylvania for 2008.

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. Boxer
4. German Shepherd Dog
5. Bulldog
6. Rottweiler
7. Golden Retriever
8. Poodle
9. Pug
10. Doberman Pinscher

To see how Pennsylvania compares to the national Top 10, follow the link below:

American Kennel Club Reveals Philadelphia's Top Dogs

This is not the man we want to be Treasury Secretary

Timothy Geithner's Claims Contradicted by the Facts; Obama Must End 'Distraction' of Nomination as Banking Crisis Deepens

Obama's Gitmo Dilemma

Diminished expectations

The Obama Media kept telling us to expect 5 million people to attend the inauguration of "The Chosen One."

Those estimates were downgraded in the week leading up to Jan. 20. First it was 4 million, then 3.5 million, then 2 million.

The most optimistic estimate of the crowds that gathered in Washington, D.C., was 1 million.

Once again, the hype did not match the reality. Kinda sums up Obama, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wall Street greets Obama with historic drop

Not everyone is happy with the swearing in of President Barack Obama.

The Dow Jones industrial average greeted the inauguration of the new Democratic president by dropping 332.13 points or more than 4 percent.

It was the worst inauguration showing by the blue chip index since the Eisenhower administration.

So much for hope. So much for change.

Barack Hussein Obama

Now that he's been sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, it's OK to use his full name. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to "Barack Hussein Obama" today. Barack Hussein Obama repeated his full name during the oath, including the Muslim middle name of Hussein that was forbidden to be used by the liberal media over the past two years as Barack Hussein Obama sought the White House.

Official portrait of the new president

The official portrait of President Barack Obama posted at at 12:01 p.m. today

1,460 days left until Obama leaves office

Barack Obama is now president. There are 1,460 days left until Obama leaves office. Let the countdown begin.

Poll: Obama should model himself after Reagan

New Poll: Reagan, FDR Lead Presidential Role Models