Saturday, February 28, 2009

'Washington is in a state of denial'

"Washington is in a state of denial," says Sen. U.S. Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., delivering the weekly Republican address. "Our spending habits haven't gotten better, they've only gotten worse."

In case you missed it, Barack Obama proposed the most massive government spending plan since World War II even though the U.S. is in its worst recession since the Great Depression.

From Burr's address:
The president submitted to Congress the single largest increase in federal spending in the history of the United States, while driving the deficit to levels that were once thought impossible. If we just look at what our debt spending will cost us in interest payments alone, we are talking about 4 trillion dollars over the next 10 years, more than a billion dollars of interest payments every day. Think of that 4 trillion as a finance charge on your credit card bill -- you have to pay, but you get nothing for it in return. This finance charge obligates more than $52,000 for every family in America over the same 10-year period."
For a transcript of the speech or links to view it on YouTube:

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Weather Emergency Preparedness Week

Visit for tips to be better prepared for any weather-related emergency.

Governor Rendell: Weather Emergency Preparedness Week Is March 1-7

Columnist: Obama Speech Filled with Rhetoric, Wishful Thinking

"For those who listened carefully and understand how sustainable jobs and prosperity happen, the President's speech was a terrible disappointment," says Robert L. Hale, a columnist for The Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation.

Hale picks apart Obama's speech and finds 14 fundamental errors in the presidents economic policies, criticizing the president for "wishful rhetoric" and his "clear misunderstanding of how markets work."

Some of Hale's 14 points include:

The President said: "In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans." Hale comments: "Does it seem a realistic that two percent of Americans are going to pay off a federal debt estimated to be between $12 trillion and $19 trillion?"

The President said: "We have done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last thirty days than we have in the last decade." Hale replies: "What has been provided is health care insurance -- not health care reform. Nothing has been done to reform a health care system that is bloated by massive Medicare and Medicaid mismanagement.

The President said: "...we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills." Hale replies: "As a builder for more than 30 years, I can state unequivocally this is a fiction. It is simply cannot be done.

The President said: "I'm proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks." Hale comments: "Yet news reports identified up to 9,000 earmarks in Congress' $410 billion omnibus spending bill."

The President said: "The ability to get a loan is how you finance the purchase of everything... and [how] businesses make payroll." Hale responds: "Businesses do not make payrolls with loans. Those that do, don't stay in business; they fail."

The full column can be read at the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation's Web site,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pennsylvania Unemployment Rate Hits 7%

Pennsylvania unemployment rose by 38,000 in January, according to new figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

That federal stimulus money can't come fast enough.

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: January 2009

State Capitol Roundup for Feb. 27

Here's this week's State Capitol Roundup courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147th District:

Gaming Reform Initiative Unveiled

Citing the need to refocus the activities of the Gaming Control Board and reduce partisan issues, House Republican Leader Sam Smith this week called for a change to the state's gaming law that would phase-out legislative appointments to the board. In the future, House Republicans plan to introduce a package of bills to fix, clarify and focus the state's Gaming Law and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Since passage of the 2004 law expanding the state's gaming industry, the licensing process has been mired in controversy, having approved licenses in instances where background checks were purposefully altered and where an owner owed more than $11 million in personal gambling debt.

Halt in Development of High School Graduation Tests Sought

Several House Republican lawmakers are now urging Pennsylvania Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak to halt any further action on the development of a new system of graduation requirements. Last year, plans to establish a new test as a prerequisite for graduation were met with resistance in the General Assembly, largely due to the high price tag of developing a new test. Additionally, another standardized test would unfairly burden students, who need the time to accomplish their studies and plan for their continued educations or lives after high school. Many lawmakers are not opposed to the idea of graduation requirements, but would rather see further refinement of the existing competency tests.

Lawmaker Envisions Inheritance-Tax-Free Pennsylvania

State Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams/York) has introduced legislation that would eliminate Pennsylvania's inheritance tax, which is imposed on the transfer of goods to an heir when an individual passes on. Pennsylvania is one of only nine states that collect such a tax. It is calculated as a percentage of the value of the assets transferred, while the percentage is determined based upon the relationship of the heir to the decedent and his or her date of death. Attempts to repeal the tax have been undertaken in the past, but have been unsuccessful in recent years due to the lack of bi-partisan support. For the latest legislative news, visit

Another Brilliant Idea

RNC: Obama Budget Full of Gimmicks and Deception

RNC: Welcome Back Rosy, Have Democrats Traded One Form of Deception for Another in the Budget Process?

More secrecy in PA Legislature

From the editorial page of The Pottstown Mercury:
THORNS to the state Legislature for a stance that the new Right-to-Know Law does not give the public the right to review correspondence between lawmakers and lobbyists. The House and Senate last week rejected requests by The Associated Press for communications last year between registered lobbyists and the four floor leaders: Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware; Sen. Bob Mellow, D-Lackawanna; Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Greene; and Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson. The caucuses denied the requests last month, after which the AP appealed to House Parliamentarian Reizdan Moore and Senate Secretary Mark Corrigan. Moore and Corrigan are designated as the House and Senate appeals officers. Moore and Corrigan both said lobbyist communications are not covered by the law's definition of the types of "legislative records" the public can get. The four appeals were the first to be handled by the House and Senate under the process established by the Right-to-Know Law that took effect Jan. 1. Again, any affront to open government is an affront to citizens.

Another example of wasteful spending in PA

From the editorial pages of The Pottstown Mercury:
THORNS to state legislators for paying $13,700 for Bibles and other holy books to keep as souvenirs after their swearing-in ceremonies. A Philadelphia newspaper reported that the Pennsylvania General Assembly purchased 220 Bibles and other holy books as part of a longstanding tradition of giving each person being sworn in their own memento. How about one Bible or alternative holy book that gets used by all? The expense may seem insignificant, but it is an example of the little things that add up to a $316 million legislative budget. Legislators need to take a good look at their own expenses before cutting from state services.

A must-have bumper sticker

You can actually order the bumper sticker (One for $5, three for $12) at the Tennessee Republican Party Web site.

(H/T Bluftooni)

Over in 'Fumo World'

Also check out the editorial about the Fumo corruption trial in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Issue

It's not exactly the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, but one of the most anticipated magazines of the year is out. If you can afford to buy a car, make sure you check out the latest issue of Consumer Reports.

CR Annual Auto Issue: Best Values, Top Picks and More

Obama Intel Chief Works for Chinese Government?

This should not come as a surprise. The vetting process Obama used to find a tax cheat to run the IRS apparently slipped up again.

Exclusive: Obama Intel Chief Works for Chinese Government, Says Aaron Klein of World Net Daily

'Problem Gambling Awareness Week'

The Rendell Administration, which legalized slot parlors in 2004, is marking 'Problem Gambling Awareness Week' for all those Pennsylvania residents who spend too much time at those very same slot parlors. Go figure.

Pennsylvania State Highlights Education, Treatment Services During 'Problem Gambling Awareness Week'

Council Deplores Obama's Expected Action Against Conscience Protections

Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, released the following statement:
"For President Obama to do this would be a huge blow to religious freedom and First Amendment rights. No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist in violation of their religious or ethical convictions. However, President Obama intends to stop regulations to enforce conscience protection statutes. In doing so, he will open the door to discrimination against the choice of healthcare workers who do not want to be complicit in abortion or other controversial practices. These regulations would have ensured that healthcare workers are not forced to participate in the performance or promotion of abortion against their will.
FRC Deplores Obama's Expected Action Against Conscience Protections

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Put It On Obama's Tab

Most Americans Believe Corporate America Needs New Moral Direction

A new survey commissioned by the Knights of Columbus finds 76% of Americans believe that corporate America's moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction and a majority of Americans gave a grade of D or F in ethical matters to the financial and investment industry.

The interesting thing about this study is that business executives surveyed agreed with the general public.

Read more results at the link below:

Majority of Public Believes Corporate America Needs New Moral Direction

Semi-Automatic Rifle Ban Would Reduce Jobs, Not Crime

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
Responding to Attorney General Eric Holder's comment yesterday that the Obama Administration will attempt to reinstate a ban against semi-automatic rifles, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reminded Congress and all Americans that such a ban would cause jobs to be lost in a difficult economy, have no effect on reducing crime and would deprive millions of law-abiding sportsmen and gun owners of their Constitutional right to own the firearm of their choice.

Holder made his comments in connection with criminals supplying illegal guns from the United States to drug dealers in Mexico.

"The problem of criminals breaking the law to acquire firearms and illegally smuggling them across the border is not remedied by legislation that would violate the rights of Americans to own semi-automatic firearms," said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF, the trade association of the firearms industry.
Semi-Automatic Rifle Ban Would Reduce Jobs, Not Crime

Obama Lied to Gun Owners

From the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama deliberately and repeatedly lied to America's 90 million gun owners across the country when he insisted that he would not try to take away anyone's firearms.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, reacting to yesterday's remarks by Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder that the president will seek to reinstate the ban on semi-automatic firearms, said Obama "knew he was lying to the nation because his own Web site touted his plan to revive the gun ban and make it permanent."

"We warned America that Obama's 'support' for the Second Amendment was empty rhetoric," he stated, "and now Holder's disclosure has confirmed it. Obama was lying, and now gun rights may be dying."
Read the full statement at the link below:

Obama Lied to Gun Owners, Says CCRKBA; Attack Plan Revealed by Holder

Consumer Reports Names Most Reliable Used Cars

Below are Consumer Reports' picks in five categories:

Small Cars: Honda Civic, Toyota Echo, Scion xB, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, Mazda 3, Mazda Protege, Subaru Impreza

Family Cars: Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Toyota Camry (except '08 V6), Subaru Outback (6-cyl.), Nissan Altima

Minivans: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey

Small SUVs: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander

Midsized and large SUVs: Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, Infiniti FX35, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX4, Lexus GX, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Tribeca, Nissan Xterra ('05 - '08), Toyota Sequoia

Click on the link below for more from Consumer Reports:

Consumer Reports Names the Most Reliable Used Cars

Obama delivers: Higher taxes, cuts in Medicare, more bailouts

The day of reckoning is upon us.

The decision 66 million Americans made on Nov. 4, 2008, will now come back to haunt every man, woman and child in the United States.

President Barack Obama, fresh from spending more money in 30 days than anyone else in the history of mankind, has unveiled his 2010 budget.

The highlights? How about $3.55 trillion in federal spending for the 2010 fiscal year, an all-time record.

How about a budget deficit of $1.75 trillion, an all-time record.

How about higher income taxes, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and a cap on military pay.

And let's turn the health care system over to the government, which has done such a fine job with everything else it controls.

The Obama budget includes a $634 billion down payment on expanding health care coverage.

"Everyone agrees that all Americans deserve access to affordable health care, but is increasing taxes during an economic recession, especially on small businesses, the right way to accomplish that goal?" House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, told The Associated Press.

Obama is also planning to spend $250 billion to prop up failing banks on top of the
$700 billion Congress has already approved.

Poll: PA residents already taxed to the max

A new poll commissioned by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review finds that 7 in 10 Pennsylvanians oppose Gov. Ed Rendell's proposal to allow counties to enact another 1 percent sales tax.

From a story by Brad Bumsted:
The responders rejected by a 71 percent to 26 percent margin Rendell's suggestion to give 65 counties an add-on to the state's 6 percent sales tax. Three percent of those polled didn't know. Allegheny County and Philadelphia, which charge a percentage point, would not get to levy more.

The poll by Franklin & Marshall College surveyed 644 adults between Feb. 17 and Sunday. It has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.
While there's no surprise that Pennsylvania residents have no appetite for new taxes, the poll also revealed that 70 percent of those polled opposed another Rendell initiative to study the consolidation of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.

The proposal has received wide editorial support from the state's newspapers and is seen by many as a way to eventually eliminate the hated property tax.

From Bumsted's story:
By a 70 percent to 21 percent margin, with 9 percent unsure, residents said they oppose Rendell's idea to consolidate 500 school districts into 100 as a way to reduce costs.
Read the full story, which also has poll results on Arlen Specter, at the newspaper's Web site.

A spending problem?

Secret Ballot Protection Act Introduced in Congress

It won't go far in the Nancy Pelosi-controlled House or the Harry Reid-controlled Senate, but an alternative bill has been introduced in Congress to help protect the right to a secret ballot in the workplace.

Pro-Worker Senate and House Members Introduce Secret Ballot Protection Act

Survey: Union households want secret ballots

The only people who support the plan to eliminate secret ballots to unionize are corrupt Big Labor bosses and their Democratic Party counterparts.

Most Americans, even union workers and thos who supported Barack Obama, want to keep the right to a secret ballot, according to a survey by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace: Big Labor Ignores Worker Rights ... Again

'Talking Politics' on the radio today

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

Topics for this week's show include the huge debt the Obama Administration is piling on the American taxpayer and the future of newspapers.

You can call the station at 610-326-4000 with questions or comments.

"Talking Politics" can be heard every Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM.

The one-hour show is simulcast at and

8 lies Obama told on Tuesday

A team of five reporters for the Associated Press reviewed Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday and found eight significant factual errors (otherwise known as lies) in the speech.

The AP published a lengthy "Fact Check" article on Obama's fabrications.

Among the whoppers Obama told Tuesday:

"We import more oil today than ever before." The AP says that U.S. oil imports peaked in 2005 and have declined since then.

"We have identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade." The AP notes that Obama is in office for just four years so there's no way for him to predict anything beyond his term.

"Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs." The AP notes that Obama's own economists who pulled the number out of the air have said that "all estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error."

"We will double the nation's supply of renewable energy over the next three years." The AP concludes that Obama's goal "is unlikely to be achieved through the recovery plan alone."

Read the full article, "Obama's words on home aid ring hollow,"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where was Dick Cheney?

I was flipping through the TV channels Tuesday night when I came across Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress. It took my brain a few seconds to process the image of Obama, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi at the podium. First I thought I was watching a skit on "Saturday Nigh Live" but that couldn't be the case because it wasn't Saturday. The reality is finally setting in. These are the people we put in charge of the country? These are now the No. 1-2-3 leaders of the United States? An inexperienced community organizer/lawyer five years removed from the Illinois state legislature? A gaffe-prone career politician from Delaware? A 69-year-old Valley Girl?

PA forms Food Safety Council

Gov. Ed Rendell has announced the formation of the new Governor's Food Safety Council to provide better oversight of Pennsylvania's food supply from the field to the dinner table.

The council will focus on food safety, with members advising the governor on "direction for security protocols and practices at all stages of the food supply," according to a release from the governor's office.

The council will also help facilitate coordination among federal, regional, state and local efforts.

Governor Rendell Forms Food Safety Council to Protect Public Health, Food Supply

Rafferty wants state police barracks reopened

State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44th, has asked Gov. Ed Rendell and the State Police to re-open the Skippack barracks in Montgomery County on a full time basis.

Rafferty thanked State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski for his recent comments at a public hearing in which he stated that the pilot program instituted by Gov. Rendell was not working and said he would ask the governor for an exemption to the hiring freeze to re-staff the Skippack barracks.

"I respect Col. Pawlowski for the courage of his convictions," Rafferty said in a statement.

The Skippack barracks is in Rafferty's district.

State Police began closing the Skippack Barracks for 16 hours every weekday and all weekend in December 2006 in a cost-cutting move.

Between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, a clerk is available to answer phone calls and assist visitors, according to Rafferty. However, after these hours the barracks "go dark" and all calls and visitors are directed to an automated ACC which redirects the caller or visitor to a Consolidated Dispatch Center (CDC).

In other words, it's unlikely you'd find a state trooper at the Skippack barracks if you stopped by for help.

"My concern is for the public safety," said Rafferty, chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee. "People expect that a state trooper or official clerk will be at barracks when they go there,"

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 318 in May 2007 which would have required all State Police barracks to remain open 24 hours a day, every day, Rafferty said, but the was not considered by the Democratic-controlled state House Representatives in the last session.

Definition of Shovel-Ready

When Snake Oil isn't selling anymore

Alan Caruba, writing at his excellent Warning Signs blog, believes the honeymoon may be over between the mainstream media and Barack Obama.

There are signs that the Obama Media is no longer buying the snake oil that The Chosen One has been selling for the past couple of years.

From Caruba's post:
Facts are stubborn things. Eventually they cannot be ignored.

I have previously pointed out that this new President's start in office has had what is surely the shortest "honeymoon" on record with both the public and the media. We're not talking about FDR's famous "first hundred days." We are talking 56 days as this is being written.

There is, I suspect, a growing feeling among both the public and the media that this recession, if the White House and Congress had done NOTHING, would have run its course. All recessions do. But Obama came out almost immediately calling it a "catastrophe" in order to gin up support for a "stimulus" bill that surely had been in the works for the last two years that Democrats had control of Congress, but were unable to get passed because of a potential presidential veto by George W. Bush.
Read the full post "Is Obamamania Fading Amongst the Media?" at Warning Signs

Report on Validity of Local Graduation Assessments in PA

The Penn State College of Education has completed a systematic study of 418 Pennsylvania school districts' local graduation assessments.

To see how your school district did on the evaluation, follow the link below to view the full report:

Penn State Faculty Report on Validity of Local Graduation Assessments in Pennsylvania

Rolling the Dice

Court Ruling Protects Religious Monuments, Displays

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), the sane alternative to the far-left ACLU, is pleased with a 9-0 Supreme Court decision that will protect permanent markers, including The Ten Commandments, in public areas.

From an ACLJ press release:
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark First Amendment ruling clearing the way for governments to accept permanent monuments of their choosing in public parks.

The decision comes in the case of Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, a critical First Amendment case in which the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) represented the Utah city in a challenge to a display of the Ten Commandments in a city park.

This decision represents a resounding victory for government speech. The decision gives government the right to speak for itself and the ability to communicate on behalf of its citizens. It's a significant decision that clears the way for government to express its views and its history through the selection of monuments - including religious monuments and displays. This decision also puts a bookend on the litigation surrounding the display of the Ten Commandments that's been taking place for years across the country.

The critical question before the Court was, "Can a city decide which permanent, unattended monuments, if any, to install on city property?" Without dissent, the Court said "Yes." We're delighted that the Court upheld the important distinction between government speech and private speech.

The ACLJ asked the high court to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that ordered Pleasant Grove City, UT, to accept and display a monument from a self-described church called Summum because the city displays a Ten Commandments monument donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

In a 9-0 decision announced by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court concluded: "In sum, we hold that the City's decision to accept certain privately donated monuments while rejecting respondent's is best viewed as a form of government speech. As a result, the City's decision is not subject to the Free Speech Clause, and the Court of Appeals erred in holding otherwise. We therefore reverse."

The high court concluded that the government has the right to speak for itself without violating the Constitution. "The Free Speech Clause restricts government regulation of private speech; it does not regulate government speech ... A government entity has the right to 'speak for itself'.... it is not easy to imagine how government could function if it lacked this freedom ... A government entity may exercise this same freedom to express its views when it receives assistance from private sources for the purpose of delivering a government-controlled message."

The ACLJ contended that the Tenth Circuit made a serious error confusing government speech with private speech. In its briefs, the ACLJ argues that "a city's selection of which items to display in a park - like its selection of decorations for government buildings - is government speech, and no private entity can claim a 'Me too!' right of access for its own preferred displays."
The court decision is also heralded by groups that want to install monuments to veterans. See link below.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules 9-0 to Protect Govt. Monuments

Should Judges Control US Immigration Policy?

The Center for Immigration Studies, an independent research organization that examines the impact of immigration on the United States. is concerned that judges are shaping the nation's immigration policy by arbitrary decisions on what to do with illegal aliens.

Where is Congress in all this? Under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, Congress has buried its head in the sand since 2006.

Follow the link below to read a new report, "Plenary Power: Should Judges Control U.S. Immigration Policy?"

Should Judges Control US Immigration Policy?

Obama Speech Ignores 98% of U.S. Firms

Perhaps the American Small Business League should change its name.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats continue to ignore the needs of small businesses, which are the backbone of the U.S. economy.

From a statement issued by the American Small Business League:
The stimulus bill signed last week by President Obama was designed primarily to create and preserve jobs. Yet not one line of the bill contains specific language to direct any of the stimulus bill's spending to the 98 percent of American firms that create over 97 percent of all new jobs.
Obama's Speech Ignores 98 Percent of U.S. Firms

Sen. Rafferty: Hard times ahead

The Owen J. Roberts School Board in suburban Chester County invited state Sen. John Rafferty to a recent meeting to learn more about prospects for additional state funding for education.

Rafferty, a Republican who represents the 44th Senate district in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, offered a sobering assessment of future funding from Harrisburg, warning board members to prepare for rough times ahead.

"It's going to be a tough year," Rafferty cautioned the board, according to an article in The Pottstown Mercury.

In other words, school districts shouldn't be looking to the state for bailouts.

He warned that Pennsylvania's projected budget deficit of $2.3 billion could be even worse than anticipated at $2.6 billion, and rise next year to as much as $5 billion.

He noted that as much as 83 percent of the state's 2009-10 budget is devoted to three key areas: education from pre-kindergarten to college, Medicaid and the Department of Corrections.

Rafferty also said Gov. Rendell's proposal to consolidate the state's 500 school districts is something that won't happen for years, if at all.

"I don't think it's going to happen any time quickly and I don't think it's going to happen here," Rafferty said, adding that smaller districts in western Pennsylvania would most likely benefit from consolidation.

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

Your tax dollars at work

A gem from a recent column by Margaret Gibbons, who covers Montgomery County government for The Doylestown Intelligencer:
I think the county courthouse and government were open for business on Jan. 6 but I could be wrong.

I was flipping through the county Democratic newsletter and checked out the photos taken during the Jan. 6 inauguration of Harrisburg lawmakers.

What to my wondering eyes should appear but a slew of county Democratic officials including Commissioner Joseph M. Hoeffel III, Controller Diane Morgan, Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, Prothonotary Mark Levy, First Deputy Prothonotary Bonnie O'Kane, Second Deputy Prothonotary Milly Mitchell and, of course, Hoeffel bud James W. Maza, the county's $90,000-a-year part-time deputy chief operating officer.

How did the county ever survive such a brain-drain that day?
Read the full column, in which Gibbons also takes shots at Montgomery County Republicans, at the newspaper's Web site.

Making the best of a bad situation

A bailout for the rest of us

Bailout Bill strikes again. This time it's at Union Station, where he is handing out cash to strangers.

"People need money and we're here to give it to them," says Bailout Bill, Founder of "Times are tough and the government is taking a long time to get their act together, so while they're letting politics get in the way of helping people, we're here to give bailouts to as many people as possible."

How long would it take Obama to hand out $1 trillion in cash to everyday Americans?

Bailout Bill Does What U.S. Government Cannot

Good thing Ed Rendell isn't teaching math

Class is in session. Professor Ed Rendell is teaching a course in government, specifically how the state's budget process works.

Do we really want Ed Rendell teaching kids about budgeting? The governor has managed to increase state spending by $8 billion in the past six years and has left the state in a $2.3 billion hole.

We don't need tomorrow's leaders to follow Rendell's example of managing money.

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Teaches Online Class to High School Students Statewide

Survey Finds Crime Top Problem Facing Philadelphia

Crime is the No. 1 issue on the minds of Philadelphia residents, according to a new survey.

Among the findings of the poll commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia Research Initiative:

* When asked in an open-ended question what factors they like least about living in Philadelphia, 45 percent of participants say crime or violence. Next comes dirty streets and trash -- named by 8 percent.

* Of those who say they would move out of the city if they had the chance, 36 percent list crime as the number-one reason, followed by a preference for a suburban lifestyle (10 percent) and concern about their children's schools (8 percent).

* Asked whether they feel safe outside in their neighborhoods at night, 37 percent say they do not -- with 24 percent saying they feel "a little unsafe" and 13 percent "not safe at all."
Pew Survey Finds Crime Top Problem Facing Philadelphia

Pass 'Go' and Collect Billions

Survey: 53% of Americans Say Family Skimped on Medical Care Because of Cost

Everyone agrees our health care system is broken, but is more government control and government rationing the way to fix it? That's what Obama is pushing.

Isn't the system broken largely because of government interference?

More Than Half of Americans Say Family Skimped on Medical Care Because of Cost in Past Year; Worries About Affordability and Availability of Care Rise

Blunt: Dems offer tax hikes, budget gimmicks

Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt:

"Tax hikes during a recession or budget gimmicks are not the answers our nation needs. American families are making tough decisions and exercising real fiscal responsibility. The government must exercise that same level of discipline and there is no better time to start than right now."

Read Blunt's full statement or watch a video of his remarks at the link below:

Blunt Response to President Obama's Address

Gov. Bobby Jindal Answers President Doom-and-Gloom

The American people voted for "hope and change" and got "doom and gloom" instead after Democrats took power.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal offered a more optimistic vision of America after President Obama's speech to Congress.

From Jindal:

"A few weeks ago, the President warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said 'we may not be able to reverse.' Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover - or that America's best days are behind her. This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery...overcame the Great Depression...prevailed in two World Wars...won the struggle for civil rights...defeated the Soviet menace...and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man - and the American spirit will triumph again.

We can have confidence in our future - because, amid today's challenges, we also count many blessings: We have the most innovative citizens...the most abundant resources...the most resilient economy...the most powerful military...and the freest political system in the history of the world. My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my dad said years ago, Americans can do anything."

Follow the link below for a transcript of Jindal's full speech:

Governor Bobby Jindal's Republican Address: 'Americans Can Do Anything'

RNC Chairman: Bipartisanship is a two-way street

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele:

"After last year's State of the Union, then-candidate Barack Obama asked the nation to imagine a time when a President's agenda would draw standing ovations from both sides of the aisle. That sort of bipartisanship is an admirable goal -- and one that unfortunately continues to elude Washington. The Democratic leadership in Congress must be willing to work with Republicans to stop out-of-control spending, promote the creation of jobs, and to keep our troops properly funded.

"Now would be a good time for this young Administration to ask the Democrat leaders in Congress to actually consider working in a bipartisan way to solve the real problems Americans are facing."

Read Steele's full statement at the link below:

RNC Chairman's Response to President Obama's Address

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'Media Malpractice' premieres Feb. 26

The most anticipated political documentary of the year, "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted," will make its debut Thursday at the National Press Club.

"This movie shows as clearly as possible that journalism is dead," says John Ziegler, the writer and producer of 'Media Malpractice.'

Snippets of the film have been available on YouTube for months and have received hundreds of thousands of views.

"The level of detail in this production is staggering and it will remind millions of Americans that they were not presented a fair and honest portrait of the 2008 election because the media wanted Obama to win and they did everything in their power to see that Obama got elected," Ziegler said in a statement.

Here's a prediction. The Obama Media (the very same folks who idolize Michael Moore and Al Gore) will ignore the film. It will not be nominated for any awards. It will not be coming to a theater near you. It will not be reviewed by most newspapers.

You're going to have to search for the the film, but the effort is worthwhile.

If you can handle the truth, learn more about the film at

For more information about the Feb. 26 debut, follow the link below:

Media Malpractice Documentary to Premiere at National Press Club February 26th

Who's the boss in Harrisburg?

John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call has an interesting take on the recent revelation that 73 staffers working for the Pennsylvania Legislature make at least $100,000 a year, which in most cases, is much more than their bosses get paid.

Whether the money is well spent is one factor, but Micek's story raises the question of how many staffers the 253 elected lawmakers need.

From Micek's story:
Critics of big government and other reformers question why the Pennsylvania Legislature needs scores of staffers -- many well paid -- when other states make do with far less.

The 203-member House had 2,245 employees as of Dec. 31, a ratio of 11.05 employees per lawmaker, records show. The 50-member Senate had 911 employees, or 18.22 staffers per lawmaker.

"Given our economy, obviously bigger isn't always better," said Matthew Brouillette, president of the conservative Commonwealth Foundation, a Harrisburg think tank often critical of government spending. "The people out of [the Capitol] I've tried to hire, I can't afford. The private sector isn't providing the kinds of salaries they're getting on the Hill."

Pennsylvania's median family income was $48,562 prior to the recession.
It also appears that the only way to get rid of these high-paid staffers is criminal charges, which is what happened with the Bonusgate corruption probe. Otherwise, politicians come and go, but a permanent (and well-paid) bureaucracy appears to be calling the shots in the Legislature.

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

Also check out an earlier post on the subject.

Capitol South - 1100 pages

Memo to Obama: Please shut up!

Lowman S. Henry, writing at Lincoln Blog, has a request for Barack Obama and his administration. When it comes to the economy, "Please shut up!"

Henry says Obama may be the first president in history "to talk us into a recession."

From Henry:
"Every time the President or other top administration officials open their mouths the stock markets take another dive. Now at its lowest point since 1997, the markets have issued a resounding vote of no confidence in the President's policies.

What the markets fear most is uncertainty, and concerns about whether or not the most liberal administration in American history is set to nationalize one or more of the nation's biggest banks have frayed nerves on Wall Street."
The Obama Media won't point fingers at The Chosen One, but the Dow has dropped steadily during Obama's first month in the White House. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index hit 12-year lows on Monday as Obama continues to send mixed signals. It's clear Wall Street has no confidence in Obama or his economic advisers.

Read Henry's full post at Lincoln Blog

Abortion double-standard

I like this letter published in The Pottstown Mercury. The writer gets to the heart of the abortion debate in just two paragraphs. Can any of pro-abortion people answer the woman's question?
Abortion double-standard

I was reading an article in The Mercury on Feb. 12 about a woman from Louisiana who was accused of dropping her newborn baby into a lake. It stated that she will be charged with first-degree murder.

What puzzles me is that a doctor can perform a partial birth abortion on a full term baby and isn't charged with anything. I see absolutely no difference between the two.


Cosmic Karma: NASA global warming satellite crashes

How's this for Cosmic Karma?

A $280 million satellite designed to monitor global warming from space crashed today shortly after takeoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California.

Taxpayers took a bath on the NASA mission, but $280 million is pocket change compared to the cost of the global warming hoax perpetuated by Al Gore and other far-left extremists.

There's a terrific editorial in today's edition of Investor's Business Daily exposing many of the lies the global warming hysterics have been spewing for years.

"The global warming speculation has more holes in it than Al Gore's oversized carbon footprint has square miles. Deeply infected with statistical and common sense problems, the climate change argument is beginning to crumble," the newspaper writes. "Doom has been overdone."

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

Monopoly Money

Cops: Boy, 6, makes knife threat at school

Just days after we read about the 11-year-old boy in western Pennsylvania who shot his father's pregnant girlfriend, we have some more disturbing news about a child involved in a violent act.

A 6-year-old boy in the Boyertown area walked into a boys bathroom Monday morning and swung a pocket knife at four other boys, according to both state police and the Boyertown Area School District.

No one was injured during this incident, which occurred at approximately 10 a.m.

"He did have a knife in the bathroom," Superintendent Harry Morgan said when reached Monday afternoon.

Morgan called an incident of this nature "very rare." The superintendent could not comment on the student's previous history.

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

PA: Sharing Local Services Can Save Taxpayers' Money

Local governments could save millions of dollars and stabilize tax rates if they shared services, a Department of Community and Economic Development official said today.

"We're hearing how Pennsylvania municipalities are furloughing employees, cutting services or taking other drastic measures to pay their bills," DCED Deputy Secretary Ken Klothen said at the first-ever Commissioners' Forum on Inter-Governmental Cooperation in Lackawanna County. "If they shared services, the financial pain would not be so great.

So why don't we see more regional cooperation? Because everybody wants to be the mayor of Mayberry. Too many local officials feel they should make decisions for their communities for life.

Sharing Local Services Can Save Taxpayers' Money, DCED Official Says

Report: U.S. ranks 15th in protecting property rights

From Kelsey Zahourek, executive director of the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), on the release of the group's 2009 report:
"With regard to private property rights, PRA continues to champion the idea that physical and intellectual property are equally important in nature, and must be protected. Property rights contribute to increased levels of stability and provide people with the knowledge and comfort that their property will remain theirs. As property rights continue to face challenges around the world, we hope this study will be a useful tool for policymakers, think tanks, academics, and investors by highlighting the importance of property rights as a key building block for economic growth."
So who comes out on top when it comes to protecting property rights?

You might be surprised to learn that it is not the United States, which didn't even make the Top 10.

From the report, which ranks 115 nations:
Finland leads the country list a third year in a row with an increased score from the previous two years of 8.7 out of the possible 10.

With a score of 8.5, the second position is occupied by Denmark and Netherlands this year. The fourth position is occupied by New Zealand, Sweden, Germany and Norway all with a score of 8.3. This year’s top ten countries are rounded up with Australia and Switzerland (both with a score of 8.2), and Austria, Iceland and Singapore (all with a score of 8.1). Of these countries, Australia moved up to rank 8 in 2009 from rank 11 in 2008 followed by Austria and Singapore both ranked 13 in 2008 to 10 in 2009 with an improved score.

At the bottom end of the ladder of the ranking are Albania, Nigeria, Paraguay, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chad, Venezuela, Guyana, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Angola and Bangladesh.
The United States ranked 15th on the list, tied with the United Kingdom. (And this report was done pre-Obama. Can't wait to see how much the U.S. drops in next year's list.)

You can download the full 80-page report by following the link below:

Report: Property Rights Linked to Economic Security

Obama Auto Team Drives Foreign Cars

This might go a long way to help explain the struggles of the Big Three American automobile manufacturers.

Most of the limousine liberals Barack Obama brought in to help salvage what's left of the U.S. automakers drive foreign-made cars, according to The Detroit News.

That's right. Sixteen of the 18 people advising Obama on the future of the auto industry drive foreign cars or don't even own a car.

From The Detroit News:
Steve Rattner, the managing partner of a $6 billion New York hedge fund who will lead the Treasury Department's auto efforts, has three imports and one domestic vehicle.

He owns a 2008 Lexus LS 460 sedan, a 2007 Audi S4 convertible, a 2006 Mercedes-Benz R350 sport-utility vehicle and a 2005 Lincoln Town Car, according to public records.

The co-chairs of the task force -- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers -- both own foreign automobiles.

Geithner owns a 2008 Acura TSX, registered in New York. He once owned a 1999 Honda Accord and a 2002 Acura MDX, according to public records.
Read the full story, "Auto team drives imports" at the newspaper's Web site.

When you stop and think about it, this makes perfect sense in Obamaworld. This is the president brought in a treasury secretary who didn't pay his taxes to run the IRS.

(H/T page13news)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Taming the beast that is the Pennsylvania Legislature

Brad Bumsted, writing in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, says the only way to rein in the out-of-control expense of the Pennsylvania Legislature is to take an ax to the beast.

In addition to the 253 full-time elected lawmakers, there are more than 3,000 staff members who work for the Legislature, creating a huge, costly and unproductive bureaucracy the siphons more than $300 million a year from the state treasury.

"We have the second most costly General Assembly and yet we are the sixth-largest state with a population that's at best stagnant and, relative to other states, shrinking," Bumsted writes. "Reducing the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature was snubbed by the Reform Commission two years ago. There are pitfalls to be sure but there is no better time than now to revisit it."

The enormous size of the Legislature prevents the people's business from being done, Bumstead writes.

From Bustead's columnm:
In the House and Senate, there's a Democrat and Republican staffer for almost every position. That means four separate staffs: House Republicans and Democrats and Senate Republicans and Democrats.

The Democrat staffer answers to his Democrat masters. The GOP staffer reports to a GOP boss. It's why there's so much partisan bickering in the place.

It's reasonable for leaders to have partisan staff. They are elected by separate political parties and have their own vastly different ideas. But lawyers? One legal staff could serve the General Assembly like in New Jersey.

Here, each caucus also routinely hires private law firms for specialty issues, like the state attorney general's investigation into legislative corruption. Why are we paying so many high-priced outside lawyers -- and consultants like Casey?

Photographers and writers? One public relations unit should serve them all, not a separate staff for four caucuses churning out glowing news releases and newsletters at your expense.
Read the full column, "Shrink the beast," at the newspaper's Web site.

Scary stuff

Knowing what we know now about Barack Obama's first 30 days as president, if the election were held today, would John McCain win? I think so. I believe millions of Obama voters are sobering up and beginning to realize what a terrible mistake they made on Nov. 4, 2008. They fell for the Obama charm and didn't realize the kind of damage he would do to the United States.

From a Colin McNickle column in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
History will show that the Obama-Dimmycrat Socialist Complex "Stimulus" Plan led us into a second Great Depression. At least one esteemed (or is it "steamed"?) economist thinks it will be in full force by the end of the second quarter. After all, it's the usual consequence of such massive interventionism.

As late Austrian economics pioneer Ludwig von Mises reminded in 1940, "Interventionist measures lead to conditions which ... are actually less desirable than those they are designed to alleviate.

"They create unemployment, depression, monopoly, distress. ... (And) if they stubbornly persist in the attempt to compensate by further interventions for the shortcomings of earlier interventions, they will find eventually that they have adopted socialism."

Why do we continually refuse to learn from history?

Small Businesses Demand Obama Keep Campaign Promise

Good luck with that.

Small Businesses Demand President Obama Keep Campaign Promise

Call the exterminator

Is this any way to win a war?

It's only the beginning folks, as the Obama Administration works to undo the success of the Bush Administration in keeping America safe from terrorist attacks over the past 7 years.

The release of Binyam Mohammed, who has been held at Guantanamo since 2004, was announced today by the Department of Justice.

It's the first of Obama's new "Amnesty for Terrorists" program that will release 245 of the world's most dangerous terrorists so they can fight again and kill American citizens.

Is this any way to win a war?

United States Transfers Binyam Mohammed to United Kingdom

'The World's Biggest Economic Jumper Cables' is running full-page ads today in several newspapers promoting a national sales tax to replace the complicated and burdensome income tax.

"We're just saying in print what a lot of Americans feel -- the FairTax can solve the economic crisis," said spokesman Ken Hoagland.

If the U.S. is looking for a real stimulus to jump-start the economy, a national retail sales tax is the way to go, the group argues.

"The United States becomes the most favorable business climate in the world when we eliminate corporate and capital gains taxes," Hoagland said. "That means job creation, capital formation and a stock market that goes up in stead of down.Even better, the positive effects of the FairTax are almost immediate."

Read more about the group's efforts at the link below:

FairTax Promises Economic Shock Therapy

Obama's Fiscal Farce

RNC: Fiscal Farce: Obama's Fiscal Responsibility Summit Comes After Democrats Add Trillions in New Deficit Spending and Obama Told Voters He Wouldn't Close the Deficit

'Halt Greatest Theft in Human History'

Americans for Limited Government today launched, an online petition in response to President Barack Obama's $2.8 trillion financial plan to urge Congress to halt what ALG President Bill Wilson termed the "greatest theft in human history."

From a release issued by ALG:
"Throughout 2008, and now into 2009, Congress, the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve have otherwise committed, appropriated, borrowed, and printed some $10 trillion for the largest financial bailout ever," said Wilson.

By Wilson's count the bailout is "astronomical on an order not yet seen: $2 trillion in FDIC assurances, $1.75 trillion in Federal Reserve commercial paper purchases, $900 billion in term auction facility lending, $600 billion to insure money market funds, $600 billion to cover Fannie and Freddie's worthless mortgage-backed securities, $550 billion for discount Federal Reserve loans, $500 billion to insure FDIC deposits, $300 billion for FHA mortgage relief, $250 billion for Citigroup debt, $225 billion for securities loan facility lending, $200 billion for Fannie and Freddie's debt, $112 billion for A.I.G., $700 billion for the TARP, and finally, $787 for 'stimulus.'"

"Now, the Obama Administration wants the American taxpayer to once again take responsibility for the irresponsible by committing more than $2 trillion to keeping delinquent borrowers in homes they can't afford and bailing out banks that were forced by government to make the bad loans in the first place," Wilson added.

Wilson is urging angered citizens to take action in addition to signing the petition by contacting their Congressmen and Senators.

"Congress can put a stop to all of this nonsense, but they will only do so if their constituents keep up the pressure on members," said Wilson.
Sign the petition at

Democrats block 1.2 million new jobs

From American Energy Alliance President Thomas J. Pyle:
"Unlike the $790 billion stimulus package lawmakers just passed, increased offshore activity would fuel our economy without squandering taxpayer funds. In fact, oil and gas is one of the U.S.'s only industries in a position to put money into, rather than take money out of, the government's piggybank.

"With more than 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and over 440 trillion cubic feet of natural gas located right off our shores, exploration in the OCS stands to contribute $273 billion annually to the national economy. That's good news, especially for the 46 states that now face a combined $350 billion budget shortfall for the next three fiscal years. Economic relief wouldn't end there -- America would sustain approximately 1.2 million well-paying jobs each year over the life of production.
Follow the link below to read the full report prepared by the American Energy Alliance:

Over a Million U.S. Jobs Locked Away in 'Off-Limits' Offshore Resources

And the winner is ... Paris Hilton

Did I just spend nearly four hours watching the Academy Awards? Or maybe I slept through most of it. Was this the most predictable Oscars telecast ever? No surprises in any category.

What was the point of the show if all the winners were predicted ahead of time? Did we really need to hear that awful speech by Sean Penn, Hollywood's ranking left-wing loon?

It's a shame that the 29th Annual Razzie Awards weren't televised. That would have made for more interesting television.

The Razzies, announced each year by the Golden Rasperry Award Foundation, spotlight the worst movies of the year, but I'm not so sure the 81st Annual Academy Awards and the Razzies didn't get some of their films mixed up this year.

The awful Mike Myers' movie "The Love Guru" won three Razzies, including worst picture, worst actor and worst screenplay. No argument here. It was supposed to a comedy but I didn't even crack a smile during the entire film.

But I have to differ on Razzies for Paris Hilton, who won for worst actress for "The Hottie and the Nottie."

Granted Hilton can't act or sing or dance or put a sentence together ... you get the picture, but "The Hottie and the Nottie" wasn't a bad film. I laughed out loud several times.

Other Razzies highlights: Pierce Brosnan as worst supporting actor for "Mamma Mia!" No argument here.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was named worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel. Agreed. The movie was dull.

Check out the full list of winners at the Razzies Web site.

I also took exception with the Razzies last year when Eddie Murpy was picked as worst actor, wrost supporting actor and worst supporting actress for his multiple roles in "Norbit," which was a very funny movie.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

'Journalists Roundtable' today on PCN

Two more chances to catch the popular "Journalists Roundtable" program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network coming to you this week from the offices of The Pottstown Mercury.

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on cable systems throughout Pennsylvania. It's also shown Sunday at 5 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.

This week's program features Tony Phyrillas, city editor/political columnist for The Mercury; Lisa Mossie, contributing columnist for The Norristown Times-Herald; and Evan Brandt, reporter/columnist for The Mercury.

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County; Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties; and Comcast Channel 186 in the Pottstown area.

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

Nothing lasts forever

After a record-breaking six consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the "Weekly Influence Index," TONY PHYRILLAS has dropped to No. 2 this week. You knew it had to happen eventually. What goes up must come down.

I'm pleased to relinquish the top spot to a fellow conservative blogger, Let's see if the merry band of bloggers at PAWatercooler can start a streak of their own at the top.

(And what happened to all the other conservative bloggers in Pennsylvania this week? Nearly all dropped out of the Top 20.)

Here's this week's Top 10, with conservative bloggers highlighted. (1)
Suburban Guerrilla (4)
Capitol Ideas (5)
Lehigh Valley Ramblings (6)
PolitickerPA (7)
Lehigh Valley Somebody (8)
Mark Rauterkus (9)

I also want to welcome The Sanatoga Post, one of the newest blogs to join the site, to the Top 20. The very informative blog is operated by fellow Montgomery County blogger Joe Zlomek. It's holding the No. 16 spot on this week's "Influence Index."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A whole new way to buy a car

State Capitol Roundup

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

Budget Testimony Paints Bleak Economic Picture for State

The first week of budget hearings held by the House Appropriations Committee involved discussions of several notable issues, including the Gaming Control Board, Department. of Transportation, and the administration's economic research firm, Global Insight. Global Insight predicted the state's unemployment rate will continue to increase in Pennsylvania until at least December 2009. Once the national economy begins to turn around, the firm said Pennsylvania's economy will lag behind by approximately 12 to 18 months. These dire economic projections underscore calls by House Republicans to cut spending and re-evaluate programs in the face of a $2.3 billion deficit.

Hearings Provide Few Answers for Gaming Industry Questions

The governor's push to expand gaming in the state by legalizing video poker machines was given a serious look during hearings held by the House Appropriations Committee with the Department of Revenue, Pennsylvania Lottery, Gaming Control Board, State Police and the Attorney General. Unfortunately, none of the agencies that testified were able to answer basic questions about the governor's proposal for video poker machines. None of the testifiers were able to discern a difference between video poker and slot machines. Ed Trees, the director of the Lottery Fund, acknowledged that slots parlors and the proposed gaming expansion plan would have a negative impact on the Lottery Fund.

Lawmaker Unveils Proposal to Establish Budget Timeline, Prevent Furloughs

State Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) has introduced several proposals to streamline the Commonwealth's annual budgeting process. Under the first proposal, the House of Representatives would be required to pass a general appropriations bill by June 1, and the Senate would be required to pass the same bill in some form by June 15. A final product would need to be passed by June 30. In the event of a missed deadline, the pay for legislators of the offending chamber or chambers would be docked. Another proposal would also prevent future furloughs of state employees in the event of a budget impasse. In previous years, the threat of furloughs has largely been used to serve a political purpose by creating pressure to take up initiatives unrelated to the budget.

LIHEAP Still Open to Those Seeking Help with Home Heating Costs

Assistance to individuals struggling with home-heating costs this winter remains available through Pennsylvania's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Eligibility for this year was expanded to 210 percent of the Poverty Income Guideline. As a result, an additional 80,000 residents are eligible to receive help through the cash grant portion of the LIHEAP program. A family of four with an annual income of up to $44,443 can qualify for LIHEAP. LIHEAP, which is funded by the federal government and run by the state Department of Public Welfare, helps low-income households pay their heating bills. For more information, call LIHEAP at 866-857-7095 or visit Rep. Mensch's Web site at

Fiscal Responsibility Summit

Less than a week after increasing the national debt by $1 trillion, the White House is planning to host the first "Fiscal Responsibility Summit."

The inmates are running the asylum.

Republican lawmakers are hoping President Obama comes to his senses and hits the "reset" button on his disastrous economic policies.

Read the transcript of the GOP's weekly radio address below:

Congressman Dave Camp (MI-04) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Friday, February 20, 2009

Peppermint Patty moves to Mexico along with 300 U.S. jobs

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa denounced the Hershey Food Corp. for closing its plant in Reading, PA, a move that cost 300 jobs for the already struggling Pennsylvania economy.

Hershey will make candy in Monterey, Mexico.

The Hershey plant in Reading made York Peppermint Patties and 5th Avenue bars.

"Pennsylvania lost nearly 60,000 jobs in the last quarter of 2008 and the estimate for the month was well over 30,000 jobs lost," Hoffa said. "When are we going to tell companies like Hershey that enough is enough?"

And why didn't Gov. Ed Rendell make any effort to keep the jobs in Pennsylvania? Does he have something against chocolate?

To read Hoffa's full statement, follow the link below:

Hoffa Denounces Hershey for Exporting American Jobs to Mexico

AG stunned by PA corruption

When the state's top law enforcement officer says corruption in the Pennsylvania Legislature will "shock the conscience of people" you have to pay attention.

It appears last year's arrest of 12 people connected to the House Democratic Caucus was just the tip of the iceberg in what is shaping up to be the biggest political scandal in Pennsylvania history.

Dubbed "Bonusgate" by the media, the charges against top Democratic officials stem from the awarding of millions of tax dollars to state employees who were doing political work while they were on the clock.

The biggest fish snared so far is former state Rep. Mike Veon, the former No. 2 Democratic leader in the House.

But Attorney General Tom Corbett, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, says charges anticipated later this year will leave Pennsylvania residents "stunned" by the amount of money involved in the corruption probe.

Reporter Brad Bumstead also notes that the Legislature's costs for legal fees related to the investigation has reached $5.8 million so far. In other words, the political aristocracy in Harrisburg has spent nearly $6 million of your tax dollars to defend itself from charges that it illegally spent more than $4 million to hand out bonuses to political operatives.

Only in Pennsylvania.

I hear that the state is planning to build a new maximum security prison to replacing the aging Graterford Prison in Montgomery County. Perhaps it could set aside an entire wing to house current and former members of the Pennsylvania Legislature and their staffers.

Read Bumstead's full story, "Corruption total will be stunning, says Corbett,"
at the newspaper's Web site.

CNN Rejects Ad Celebrating Obama's Life

In these tough economic times, you have wonder how any news organization would turn down revenue from a potential advertiser.

I guess liberal media bias does trump the bottom line.

Follow the link below to read about the latest example of the Obama Media overlooking its own self-interest to continue promoting the Obama presidency.

CNN Rejects Ad Celebrating Obama's Life

Group exposes 'stimulus' as a Democratic pork bill

The American Issues Project has launched a television ad campaign that highlights the failure of the pork-laden "stimulus" bill to stimulate the economy.

From Ed Martin, the group's president:
"Washington is, once again, out of touch with the American people. Congress has used the anxiety of the American people as a vehicle for appeasing special interest groups and financing their pork projects back home. This type of spending has no place within emergency legislation intended to jump-start the economy."
The ad, which is running on FOX News, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNBC and FOX Business Network, also showcases examples of the billions spent on pork projects -- including golf carts, fish hatcheries and remodeled federal offices -- and targets Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer for his claim on the Senate floor that "the American people really don't care" about "porky amendments."

Read more about the group's efforts at the link below:

New Ad 'Every Single Day' Says the Excessive Spending Spree Must Stop

Construction industry pans Obama 'stimulus' package

Wasn't this rush to pass a "stimulus" bill supposed to be about jobs? Putting Americans back to work to fix our infrastructure? So how did Barack Obama and the Democrats screw it up?

From an op-ed by Mark A. Casso, Esq., president of the Construction Industry Round Table:
When the leaders of an industry like the design and construction community, represented by the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT) can go from near universal support of the original stimulus package with its proposed targeting of timely infrastructure expenditures and some measure of tax relief - to a nearly universal concern (84% responding to a CIRT poll that the final package that passed into law is off target and not timely) - something drastic has occurred.
Read the full commentary at the link below:

Not All Spending Is Equal, Says CIRT

30 Days In The Hole

While the Obama Media has been working overtime to cover up the various failings of The Chosen One, the Republican National Committee Research Department has documented the first 30 days of the Obama Administration.

It's not a pretty picture. Broken promises, etchics scandals and the stimulus bill from hell.

Arguably the worst presidency since a fellow named Jimmy Carter moved into the White House.

"Obama's first month has been marked by wasteful spending, failed bipartisanship and questionable ethics," the RNC says.

Follow the link below for a comprehensive list of Obama's first 30 days of failure:

RNC: A Disappointing Month

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Survey: No Economic Recovery Before 2010

As if we needed more bad news...

Chief financial officers and senior-level executive Certified Public Accountants believe that the U.S. economic downturn will last longer than previously expected according to a new survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

So why exactly did President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats agreed to raise the national debt by another trillion dollars?

Arleen Thomas, AICPA's senior vice president for member competency and development, said the survey indicates any economic recovery will begin six months later than previously expected.

"As the recession has deepened and pessimism solidified, a majority of CPAs working in business and industry now don't expect an economic recovery before 2010," Thomas said.

If you want to get more depressed, read more about the survey at the link below:

Outlook Dims for U.S. Economic Recovery Before 2010, CFOs and CPA Executives Say

Take a Breath Before You Upload That!

Take a Breath Before You Upload That! WebWatch Publishes Guide on Social Media Privacy, Photos and Video

Proof stimulus won't work

We now have confirmation the Obama stimulus package will not work. The plan has been endorsed by none other than Jimmy Carter, the last Democratic president who puttered around for four years without a clue.

The Associated Press reports today that Jimmy Carter is confident the Obama stimulus plan will work:
ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter has voiced support for President Barack Obama's plan to stimulate the economy.

Carter says he has "full confidence" in Obama's proposal and expects it will take about six months for the economy to begin improving.
Who knows more about screwing up the U.S. economy than Jimmy Carter? Up next: Perhaps Obama can take some advice from Carter on dealing with Iran.

Stimulating conversation

The Obama "stimulus" plan will be the topic of conversation on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

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

"Talking Politics" can be heard every Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM. The one-hour show is simulcast at and for those who can't get the radio station's signal.

The "stimulus" bill also dominated the discussion of this week's edition of "Journalists Roundtable" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, featuring Tony Phyrillas on the panel.

'Journalists Roundtable' on PCN tonight

The popular "Journalists Roundtable" program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network is coming to you from the offices of The Pottstown Mercury this week.

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova airs Thursdays 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 Feb. 19 edition will be Tony Phyrillas, city editor/political columnist for The Mercury; Lisa Mossie, columnist for The Norristown Times-Herald; and Evan Brandt, reporter/columnist for The Mercury.

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County; Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties; and Comcast Channel 186 in the Pottstown area.

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

PA Protects Additional 4,682 Acres of Farmland

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Preservation Board has approved the preservation of an additional 4,682 acres on 48 farms through the state's nationally recognized Farmland Preservation Program.

The latest preserved farms are in the following counties: Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, Perry, Westmoreland and York.

Preservation Board Protects Additional 4,682 Acres of Prime Farmland From Development

National Population Group Calls for 2010 Census to Be Free of Political Interference

Responding to news accounts that President Barack Obama is attempting to politicize the 2010 Census to benefit Democratic political candidates, a national group that focuses on population issues has written to the president demanding that the Census be conducted "without political interference."

"For more than 220 years the decennial U.S. Census has been conducted above and beyond politics and the results have been an integral part of shaping our democracy. Now, as America prepares to carry out our 23rd census, it is absolutely critical that we follow that tradition and keep it nonpartisan," says Negative Population Growth President Don Mann.

National Population Group Calls for 2010 Census to Be Free of Political Interference

Pennsylvania Exports Up 18 Percent in 2008

Here's some rare good news about the state's economy under Gov. Ed Rendell: Pennsylvania businesses exported more goods in 2008 than the year before, and Pennsylvania exports have more than doubled since Rendell took office in 2003, the state's top exporting official said today.

That doesn't make up for the fact that more Pennsylvanians are leaving the state each year or that property taxes have doubled for many homeowners since Rendell took office or that more than 75,000 jobs have been lost in Pennsylvania in 2008, but let's look on the bright side: Rendell's term ends in less than two years.

Pennsylvania Exports Up 18 Percent in 2008

Rendell the con artist

It appears I'm not the only person who isn't impressed with Gov. Ed Rendell's tenure. Check out this Letter to the Editor published in The Pottstown Mercury.
Rendell is a master con artist

We have a governor who is a master of the shell game con. In one breath he announces he's going to make hard and drastic, perhaps permanent, cuts in some programs and in the next breath proposes a budget with nearly a $2 billion increase. He claims he's counting on federal funds from the economic stimulus package but shouldn't that money, whatever the amount, be returned via a Personal Income Tax cut to the Pennsylvania citizens who paid it in the first place?

If he hadn't increased the state budget every year he's been governor, the state wouldn't be in a deficit situation to begin with. Now he's looking at the stimulus package as simply one more way to increase spending.

I'm counting on my spokespeople, state Sen. John Rafferty and state Rep. David Kessler, to say "No!" and to insist on a realistic barebones budget.

In these harsh economic times Pennsylvania needs a zero based budget which totally eliminates every spending program that isn't absolutely necessary.

The question is whether our legislature has the fortitude to not cave in like they've done year after year during Rendell's entire term of office.


Is that a stain, Senator?

How do you say 'CHIP' in Spanish?

Pennsylvania has launched a new Web site to encourage 85,000 uninsured Latinos to sign up for CHIP.

CHIP Launches New Web Site Serving Pennsylvania's Fast-Growing Latino Population

Has Obama decided where he stands on NAFTA?

Free trade? Protectionism? Who knows where Obama stands.

RNC: Trading Positions: After Two Years on the Campaign Trail and a Month in the Oval Office, Do We Finally Know President Obama's Position on NAFTA?

They love Obama in Canada

RNC Statement on Obama's Canadian Trip

Democrats push for caps on health insurance

Yes, Olympia Snowe is one of the sponsors of a bill to cap lifetime health insurance coverage, but let's not kid ourselves. Like Arlen Specter, she's no Republican.

Lifetime Caps Bill Introduced

We can't even hold honest elections

New Study Finds Election Law Litigation Remains at More Than Double Rate Before 2000 Election; More Cases Shift From State Court to Federal Court

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

State workers who make six-figure salaries

Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer, who has covered Harrisburg for decades, is having a difficult time understanding why members of the Pennsylvania Legislature, already among the highest-paid in the country, need to keep so many high-paid staffers around.

A recent Associated Press report listed 73 state legislative staffers who earned more than $100,000 in 2008, more than double what the average Pennsylvanian earns — $43,000. Two staffers brought home more than the governor's $174,914 salary, the wire service reported.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is already the most expensive in the nation, with an annual cost of $334 million, according to Baer.

In addition to 253 elected lawmakers, the Legislature employs 3,156 staffers, Baer says. Base pay for rank-and-file lawmakers is $78,315, but the job, with perks and benefits, is really six figures, Baer writes.

From Baer's column:
I never understood why the sixth-largest state needs the largest legislature (technically, New Hampshire's is larger, but part-time; its 424 lawmakers are paid $100 a year), especially given the legislature's performance, venality and, if you believe the state attorney general, level of corruption.

I sure don't understand why we need the largest staff - especially as thousands of regular state workers face layoffs.

Our bloated Legislature has a bloated underbelly.
Read the full column, "Our state lawmakers are tops ... when it comes to staff numbers," at the newspaper's Web site.

Uproar over New York Post cartoon

This is the editorial cartoon by Sean Delonas published in the New York Post that has caused such an uproar.

"I question the judgment of the editorial editors to move this to print as well as the diversity of its staff that would let them think this passes as comedy," said Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists and vice president of UNITY: Journalists of Color.

YWCA USA calls the cartoon racially offensive.

"I think this cartoon is inflammatory, inappropriate and irresponsible," said Lorraine Cole, PhD, YWCA USA CEO. "It recalls deeply offensive negative stereotypes of African Americans characterized as monkeys and is seemingly directed at our first Black President who championed the economic recovery stimulus bill. It also brings to mind racially charged police brutality incidents involving Black men who were recklessly shot by New York City police officers."

Read more from the groups at the links below:

YWCA USA Decries Racially Offensive New York Post Cartoon

Unity Condemns New York Post Cartoon