Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How many more days to go?

Disdain for Washington elite

A must-read editorial from The Wall Street Journal on the failure of the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass the bailout plan.

From the editorial:
The 228-205 defeat reflects badly on all concerned, starting with the Democrats who run the House. The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in that fundamental task.

Her highly partisan speech on the floor -- blaming "right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation" for the financial distress -- is no excuse for Republicans to vote no. But it is indicative of the way she has governed for the past two years -- like Tom DeLay without the charm. The cynics are saying Ms. Pelosi deliberately tanked the bill by giving 95 Democrats a pass, knowing failure would hurt John McCain, and given her track record we can see why people would believe it.
Read the full editorial, "The Beltway Crash" at the newspaper's Web site.

And don't forget you have a choice about Congress on Nov. 4: Change or more of the same.

Labels: , ,

RNC Launches New Ad: 'Worse'

If you think the economy is bad now, imagine what it would look like under President Barack Obama.

From a new campaign ad sponsored by the Republican National Committee:

Under Barack Obama's plan, the government would spend a trillion dollars more, even after the bailout.

A trillion dollars.
Who pays?
You do.
New taxes.
New spending.
New debt.

Barack Obama's plan: It will make the problem worse.
Follow the link below to watch the ad on YouTube

RNC Launches New Ad: 'Worse'

Labels: , ,


Congress earns its 10 percent approval rating

A must-read editorial from The Wall Street Journal on the failure of the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass the bailout plan.

From the editorial:
The 228-205 defeat reflects badly on all concerned, starting with the Democrats who run the House. The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in that fundamental task.

Her highly partisan speech on the floor -- blaming "right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation" for the financial distress -- is no excuse for Republicans to vote no. But it is indicative of the way she has governed for the past two years -- like Tom DeLay without the charm. The cynics are saying Ms. Pelosi deliberately tanked the bill by giving 95 Democrats a pass, knowing failure would hurt John McCain, and given her track record we can see why people would believe it.
Read the full editorial, "The Beltway Crash" at the newspaper's Web site.

And don't forget you have a choice about Congress on Nov. 4: Change or more of the same.

Labels: ,

Wall Street Wizards

Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama tax plan exposed

Sen. Barack Obama continues to repeat his line about reducing taxes on "95 percent of Americans" when even the most elementary understanding of economics tells you that is impossible.

But Obama, his surrogates and the sycophants in the liberal media continue to spread the lie.

Veteran political observer Michael Barone, writing in U.S. News & World Report, gives the best explanation of what Obama tax policy is all about.

From his column:
So the economic argument may focus on something voters do understand—taxes. Here, Barack Obama can argue that he represents change. He wants higher taxes on high earners and promises "tax cuts" to 95 percent of taxpayers. Actually, they're refundable tax credits, which means cash payments to the 40 percent or so of households who don't pay income tax. But those refundable tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, so his proposal amounts to, as my American Enterprise Institute colleagues Alex Brill and Alan Viard have written, "marginal rate hikes in disguise" on those with incomes as low as $27,000.

Gaining traction. The best argument against higher rates on high earners has come from Sarah Palin in her acceptance speech, in a line obviously not written by her speechwriter. "My sister Heather and her husband have just built a service station that's now opened for business—like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they going to be any better off if taxes go up?" Note that she doesn't say that Heather and her husband will be paying higher taxes themselves. She's arguing that higher taxes will hurt the economy and will hurt the little gal and guy.
Read the full column, "Democrats Might Not Benefit From Economic Distress," at the magazine's Web site.

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My bailout plan is better

Congress is working on a plan to spend $700 billion to bail out greedy corporate CEOs and Wall Street speculators.

I have a better idea. I would like to see Congress send a check for $50,000 to every American household. Let's bail out working people instead.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 140 million households in the U.S. So multiply 140 million by $50,000 and you come up with $700 billion, the exact amount Congress wants to spend to bail out corporations.

If you send the money to working Americans, you know where it went. People can pay off part of their mortgages, start a college fund for their kids, buy a new car or make repairs to their homes. At the very least they can use the money to heat their homes this winter.

That money goes right back into the economy and helps prevent a recession.

If you sink $700 billion into corporate America, you have no accountability for that money.

Let's send Congress home this weekend and hold a national referendum. Let the American people decide.

Do we bail out the American worker who is the victim of corporate greed and government collusion or do we bail out the very people who created the crisis?

(Also check out my earlier post on mounting government debt.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 26, 2008

State Capitol Roundup for Sept. 26

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

Committee Approves Alternative Energy Legislation

Legislation designed to help promote private investment in alternative energy advanced out of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week. Special Session House Bill 55, which is sponsored by Rep. Michele Brooks (R-Crawford/Mercer/Lawrence), would direct the Department of Environmental Protection to establish tax incentives for the planting of switchgrass or other bioenergy crops to restore areas of vegetation that were destroyed by surface mining. Switchgrass and a number of other plants can be used in the production of ethanol, an additive to fuel that offsets some of a driver's gasoline usage. The bill, which would apply to all surface mining activities in the state, now heads to the full House for consideration.

Legislation to Restore Integrity to State Government Contracting Unveiled

Republican-sponsored legislation to stop "pay-to-play" politics and restore integrity to how the government awards contracts has been introduced in the House this week. The administration's prevalent use of no-bid or "emergency" contracts has led to possibly qualified employers from being shut out of the process - and most likely has cost taxpayers additional money. Reps. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery), Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) and Doug Reichley (R-Lehigh) have introduced a package of bills designed to improve transparency and accountability during the government procurement process. For more information, go to PAHouseGOP.com

House Legislation to Combat Violent Crime Seeks Senate Attention

Following another fatal confrontation between police officers and criminals in the City of Philadelphia, House Republicans are continuing their push to deliver responsible legislation to combat gun crimes. House Bill 1845, which is being co-sponsored by a number of GOP lawmakers, was approved earlier this year with the full support of the House. Under the legislation, individuals in possession of a firearm with an altered serial number would face tougher penalties. Additionally, heightened penalties for straw purchases and for lying on federal paperwork to buy a gun are key components of the proposal. Unlawful seizures of firearms during emergencies would also be prohibited, and members of the U.S. military deployed overseas would be eligible for a license to carry a firearm upon return. For more news about legislative public safety efforts, visit GOPPublicSafety.com


The ship is sinking

Don't tell Al Gore, but the Earth is cooling

Terrific editorial in today's edition of Investor's Business Daily once again exposing the charlatan Al Gore.

On the same day Gore was spewing more hot air about his junk science of global warming, real scientists at NASA released information that says the Earth is entering a period of global cooling.

From the editorial:
On the same day Gore spoke, scientists involved in NASA's Ulysses project reported that the intensity of the sun's solar wind was at its lowest point since the beginning of the space age — one more indication that the sun, the biggest source of energy affecting the Earth, is getting quiet.

The weaker solar wind appears to be due to changes in the sun's magnetic field, but the cause is unknown. Sunspots, which normally fluctuate in 11-year cycles, are at a virtual standstill. In August, the sun created no visible spots. The last time that happened: June 1913.

The results of the Ulysses spacecraft's mission, according to Jet Propulsion Laboratory project scientist Ed Smith, show that "we are in a period of minimal activity that has stretched on longer than anyone anticipated."

The consequences for Earth are enormous. The lack of increased activity could signal the start of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event that occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. It leads to extended periods of severe cooling such as what happened during the Little Ice Age.
Read the full editorial, "The Day The Earth Cooled," at the newspaper's Web site.


GOP's best friend: Joe Biden

Veterans could pick the next president

The national commander of the nation's oldest veterans' group, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, has issued a call to America's 23.5 million veterans and 2.2 million uniformed personnel and their families to make sure they are registered to vote for the Nov. 4 election.

That's a potential of 50 million votes up for grabs, says Glen Gardner.

Veterans understand better than anyone what's at stake in making sure the best person is elected president. In 2004, 74 percent of U.S. veterans cast ballots, compared to 63 percent turnout among the general population.

I'm not sure if this has national implications, but I've spoke to two veterans in the past couple of weeks about the presidential race. Both are registered Democrats. Both told me they are planning to vote for Sen. John McCain on Nov. 4.

I have a feeling that the majority of veterans, regardless of party affiliation, will support one of their own over a 47-year-old Chicago community organizer with no military experience.

McCain understands veterans and their families and I believe he is more likely to look out for their best interests.

Labels: , ,

Make Some Room

Taxpayers group: Obama promises will cost $293 billion

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation has been adding up the cost of all the campaign promises made by Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain since January.

The bill so far? Sen. Obama's promises would cost American taxpayers $293 billion in annual federal spending, according to the latest NTUF candidate cost analysis.

Sen. McCain's promises would cost $92.4 billion, the group says.

From a release issued by NTUF:

Though it appears that Obama's platform cost has dropped since NTUF's last update on June 3 ($343.6 billion), excluding a previously unavailable savings estimate for reducing troop levels in Iraq ($90.5 billion annually), Obama would actually boost annual federal outlays by $383.4 billion - a 12 percent jump from June, Brady noted. Obama's annual spending platform has increased by about 34 percent since January 29 (when it was $287.0 billion).

Likewise, McCain's spending total has jumped by 37 percent since June 3 ($68.5 billion) and by more than 13 times the amount he was backing in January ($6.9 billion).

"If eight months on the campaign trail can mean an increase of tens of billions of dollars in yearly federal outlays, imagine what four - or potentially, eight - years in office could bring," says Demian Brady of the NTUF. "Both candidates have talked about reducing wasteful spending, but neither has been specific enough."
Pretty scary numbers, especially when you consider the federal government is about to sign a check for $700 billion to bail out the nation's financial institutions.
Oh well, there's always Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. The tax group says Barr promises to cut federal spending by $200 million. That's right, cut spending, not increase it. Too bad he doesn't have a chance of winning.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breaking the bank

Liberal energy politics

The Wall Street Journal wants voters in Pennsylvania and Ohio to pay close attention to what Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, have to say about America's energy future.

Both states stand to benefit if America turns more to clean coal technology to break the grip of foreign oil. But Biden slipped again during a recent speech. If you listen closely to what Obama and Biden have to say about energy, they're more concerned with global warming and imposing a carbon tax on Americans than they are with finding clean, reliable and affordable energy alternatives.

From the WSJ editorial:
Mr. Biden, then, only stated an obvious if politically unutterable truth. The real costs of green ambitions won't be paid by well-heeled coastal liberals, but will fall disproportionately on the Southern and Midwestern states that depend on coal for jobs and power. The blue-collar voters of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and so forth will get hurt most -- notwithstanding Mr. Biden's campaign reinvention as the scrapper from Scranton.
Read the full editorial, "Biden's Coal Slaw," at the newspaper's Web site.

Labels: , , ,

A few words about Congress

Charley Reese, one of my favorite columnists, has retired because of health issues. I'm going to miss his writing. Below is one of my favorite Charley Reese columns, featuring one of the best assessments of Congress I've ever read. It's worth reading again in light of the current financial collapse, which happened while almost everyone in Congress slept. Read the column and do something on Nov. 4 that will benefit you and the rest of this country: Vote out every incumbent member of Congress.

The Congress of the United States is without a doubt, to use one of the vice president's favorite phrases, the most incompetent, inept, cowardly and corrupt legislative body on the world stage.

The members of Congress do not do their duty. One reason they don't is because they are the biggest time-wasters on the planet. Flipping around C-SPAN the other night, I saw a congressman take the floor to lament the fact that there was a shooting in a small Missouri town. Dearly beloved, there have been shootings in small Missouri towns long before Missouri's most famous son, Jesse James, roamed the state. And lest anyone take this as a slam against Missouri, there have been shootings in small towns in every state of the union. Such affairs are not worthy of Congress' time.

Then another congressman took the floor to eulogize a colleague who just died. Heck-fire, man, go to his funeral or send his family a sympathy card. Don't waste time spreading heifer dust on the floor of the House. Those who knew him will either lament or smile, depending on their opinion of him, and the vast majority of Americans who never heard of him don't give a flip. Americans die every day, and death is a matter for private grief, not official congressional bloviating.

You see, Congress, which takes more time off than most malingerers, doesn't do its job even when it does show up for work. The members have a budget to pass, and they almost never pass it on time. They have oversight duties to perform, which they rarely perform because they are too busy grandstanding about matters that are none of their business, such as the health habits of baseball players or cigarette smokers.

Generally speaking, Congress doesn't show up on Mondays or Fridays, which leaves its members only three days a week to get their work done. Of course, they claim to be working even when they are not present, but what they mean is they are out campaigning and raising money for their re-election. If they really were working, then the legislative process would move faster, instead of like a molasses-coated ox trudging along in mud up to its belly.

The spectacle of the members of Congress jumping to their feet to applaud President George W. Bush at his State of the Union speech tells you all you want to know about their intelligence and courage, both of which are virtually absent. Bush's speech should have been called the state of his ego and delusions.

At the most recent congressional election, the American people gave the Democrats a majority in both Houses and learned rather quickly that a majority of Democrats are just as cowardly and worthless as a majority of Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has turned out to be an airhead, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a timid whiner. Neither of them could lead a two-float parade.

The Constitution quite plainly spells out a limited number of areas that Congress has the authority to act. The operative word is "limited." Congress does not have the authority to legislate on any topic it pleases. One of its most important duties is to set the budget. People often blame the president because he submits a budget. That is only a formality, however. The president has no power to authorize any spending or to levy taxes. The budget is the job of Congress, so you can squarely and fairly blame Congress for every penny of the mammoth budget deficit.

Congress also has the sole duty to declare war, a duty it has shirked since 1941. The authority to declare war does not mean passing a resolution authorizing the use of force. No such authority is needed if American forces are attacked, and if they are not attacked, no president has the authority to launch an undeclared war of aggression.

These 435 members of the House and 100 senators are (expletive) away your birthright. You ought to be angry about that.

Labels: ,

What Biden brings to the ticket

'Talking Politics' on the radio

With just 40 days until Election Day, the race for the White House is heating up.

For the latest on how the race is shaping up, tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

You can join the conversation by calling the station at 610-326-4000.

"Talking Politics" can also be heard online at http://www.1370wpaz.com/ and http://www.pottsmerc.com/


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Taxpayers get the shaft again

McCain puts country first over politics

Sen. John McCain today called on Sen. Barack Obama to join him in suspending their political campaigns for a few days to deal with the economic crisis facing the nation.

Obama has rejected McCain's offer.

Who is putting country first? Who is putting politics first? Americans should ask themselves those questions.

Remarks by Sen. John McCain:
America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, every corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

Labels: ,

Heavy Load

Joe Biden: Don’t Know Much About History

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"

— Sen. Joe Biden,
Democratic vice presidential nominee
There's so much wrong with those two sentences, I just don't know where to begin.

OK, let's start with the stock market crash. It happened in October 1929, four years before Franklin D. Roosevelt took office. The president at the time was Herbert Hoover.

Regardless of who was in the White House at the time, it would have been impossible for the president to address the nation "on television" because television wasn't introduced until 10 years later and didn't find its way into most American homes for another 25 years.

Radio was the medium of mass communication at the time. I guess Sen. Biden, 65, doesn't remember those "fireside chats" FDR held during his years in the White House.

So Sen. Biden didn't know who the president was during the stock market crash and he didn't know that TV would not be introduced until 1939. What else doesn't he know?

This guy is supposed to be the smartest man in the Senate? That doesn't say much for the rest of the Senate, does it?

And the Democrats have the nerve to make fun of Sarah Palin.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something doesn't add up

Rendell wants to raise the gas tax

After six years of fumbling around to find a way to pay for fixing Pennsylvania's crumbling roads and bridges and subsidizing mass transit, the Rendell administration may fall back on its favorite option: Raising taxes.

Rendell's plan to make Interstate 80 a toll road was rejected by the federal government. His backup plan, lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a Spanish firm, has met stiff resistance in the state Legislature.

So what's a tax-and-spend career politician to do? Raise the gas tax, of course.

Pennsylvania residents already pay 32.5 cents per gallon, one of the highest tax rates in the country. Rendell said the gas tax would have to go up at least 10 cents a gallon to raise enough money to fund transportation needs.

"To make up the shortfall, we're looking at a gas tax increase," Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Where else are we going to find the money for the shortfall in transportation funding?"

Republican lawmakers say the state can find the money in its existing revenues to repair roads and bridges and fund mass transit.

State spending has increased nearly $8 billion since Rendell became governor in 2003, but little of that money has been used for transportation.

Read more about Rendell's gas tax plans in today's edition of The Tribune-Review.

Labels: , ,


Treasurer's race draws little attention

Here's a prediction: The next Pennsylvania Treasurer will be from Montgomery County.

Few Pennsylvania residents could name the candidates for state Treasurer, but the office has been a stepping stone to higher office.

Just look at what Bob Casey Jr. was able to accomplish, leaping from state Treasurer to U.S. Senator in 2006 by defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

It's a high-profile office that doesn't involve a lot of heavy lifting, bit it keeps you name in public and allows you to campaign on the state's dime, which is what Casey did so well.

So who will be the next state Treasurer? The Nov. 4 race pits former Montgomery County Commissioner Tom Ellis, an attorney who specializes in public finance matters, against Democrat Rob McCord, a former Congressional aide who also has a background in finance. McCord also lives in Montgomery County.

The winner of the race could come down to voter turnout and whether voters vote along party lines.

Read more about the candidates in this Associated Press story posted on The Mercury Web site.


Monday, September 22, 2008

'Politicking at its worst' on energy bill

A veteran Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania exposes the sham energy bill being pushed by Democrats in Congress to fool voters long enough to get past the November elections.

From an op-ed published in The Mercury by U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts:
In an effort to quell the public's increasingly loud call for action on the issue, (Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats) have offered up a piece of legislation that represents election year politicking at its worst. This bill, which was railroaded through the House, allows for offshore drilling — something that has become increasingly popular in opinion polls with the high price of gas. But it would also make the exploration contingent on states' approval while barring states from sharing the revenue. This provision nearly ensures no oil exploration would happen.

In fact, this provision would keep more offshore exploration off limits than if Congress simply allowed the current ban to expire on Oct. 1.
Read the full column, "A 'no-energy' energy bill thanks to Democrat," at the newspaper's Web site.

Labels: , ,


Leave the campaign buttons at home

If you show up at the polls on Nov. 4 sporting a T-shirt, hat or button supporting your favorite candidate, you will be asked to remove or cover up the item, says the man in charge of conducting elections in Montgomery County.

"It's pretty clear, under the state Election Code, that no electioneering is permitted in the polling place," Montgomery County Voter Services Director Joseph R. Passarella told The Mercury, explaining his department solicitor's take on the situation. "There really is no gray area here."

Passarella's comments were backed by the three elected county commissioners, who also serve on the county board of elections.

The county's position differs from a recent ruling by state officials, who issued a letter to all 67 Pennsylvania counties at the behest of the American Civil Liberties Union, the far left advocacy group.

Passarella emphasized the state department's opinion is advisory only. Under the law, counties are responsible for regulating their polling places, he said.

So leave the campaign buttons at home on Election Day.

If you don't comply with the rules, constables will be on hand to assist you in removing the campaign paraphernalia.

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

Labels: ,

Changing the rules on Election Day?

The Rendell Administration and the ACLU are working to give Barack Obama an advantage on Election Day in Pennsylvania.

Rendell recently had one of his cabinet appointees send a letter to the state's counties saying that it's OK for voters to wear clothing or buttons showing their support for a candidate (presumably Obama) at the polls on Election Day.

Two things wrong with that position. State law prohibits "passive electioneering" and the state cannot impose its will on Pennsylvania counties, which are in charge of running their own elections.

Each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties can choose to enforce the existing ban on "passive electioneering" but Rendell and the ACLU are trying to confuse people and promote the Obama campaign.

That's a sign of how desperate the Democrats are getting about Pennsylvania, which could decide the 2008 presidential race. Why does the Rendell/ACLU position help Obama? Many of Obama's supporters are first-time voters or college kids who may not be familiar with voting laws. They are more likely to come dressed up in their Obama paraphernalia.

Pennsylvania Republicans are going to court to get a ruling on the existing state law, but that move isn't really necessary. It's up to individual counties to enforce the law, which means elections officials can force people to remove Obama campaign buttons or T-shirts or hats before they are allowed to enter a polling site.

From a Philadelphia Inquirer story:
"We strongly believe Pennsylvanians should be able to look to the polling place as a safe harbor, free of any type of electioneering, without any outside influences," Robert Gleason, chairman of the state Republican Party, said at a Capitol news conference.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

And if you see any "passive electioneering" at your polling site, make sure you contact county officials right away.

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Catch 'Journalists Roundtable' on Sunday

The Pennsylvania Cable Network's "Journalist Roundtable" program has a Pottstown flavor this week.

The one-hour program was taped at The Mercury and features city editor Tony Phyrillas and reporter Evan Brandt. Also on the panel is Phil Heron, editor of The Delaware County Daily & Sunday Times.

"Journalists Roundtable" is shown Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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

Check your cable guide for the PCN channel in your area.


Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain-Palin plan Monday visit to SE PA

This just in from the Craig Williams for Congress Campaign regarding a scheduled visit to Delaware County by Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
DREXEL HILL – Craig Williams said today that Monday's planned visit to Media, Delaware County, by Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain and his running mate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, has energized voters. His campaign headquarters has been flooded with local residents wanting tickets for the rally, as well as offering to volunteer for both the McCain and William campaign.

"The suburbs -- specifically Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties -- are going to be key battlegrounds in this Presidential campaign," said Craig Williams, the Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District. "If John McCain and Sarah Palin win Pennsylvania, it is virtually assured that they will be the next President and Vice President of the United States. And if he wins Pennsylvania, it will be largely because of the results here in Delaware County."

Williams said that this will be the first time he has met with Sarah Palin again since she was selected by Sen. McCain to serve as his running mate. He has had the opportunity to get to know Palin over the years and first met her during her run for Governor of Alaska when his brother worked on her campaign. Most recently, he sat down with her for a meeting during her visit in July to Philadelphia for the National Governor's Association meeting. A few days later he held a joint press conference with Palin during his visit to Alaska to promote increased domestic oil exploration on the North Slope.

"I think suburban voters – men and women alike – see a lot of themselves in Sarah. This is a woman who identifies with the needs of working-class families, who was involved in her own kids' education as a member of the PTA, who went and sat at her kids’ sports games. She's like us. She's middle-class America, and she brings those views of the average American to the job of government. She bucked the Republican Party leaders in Alaska over ethics and corruption issues. She cut waste out of the government budget. And she went after oil executives and companies who were not recovering oil on the land they leased from the state government. She's a straight shooter who stands up for what she believes is right."

John McCain and Sarah Palin will be appearing in Media this Monday, September 22nd, at the Delaware County Courthouse. Gates to the event are scheduled to open at 2:30 p.m. and the program is expected to commence at 4:30 p.m. Local residents can pick up tickets for the event at the Pennsylvania Victory office in Drexel Hill, PA, located at 5035 Township Line Road. Tickets will be distributed all weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the Delaware County Republican Party Headquarters in Media. Individuals with questions can call 610-789-7077 for more information.
(That's Craig Williams with Gov. Palin in a photo taken during a visit to Alaska over the summer.)

Labels: , ,

Never a good sign

State Capitol Roundup for Sept. 19

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

House Leaders Plan to Closely Monitor PA Budget, Economy

In light of recent efforts by the Rendell Administration to curtail state spending, House Republicans are calling for a bi-partisan effort to monitor the state's fiscal health and the resulting impact on the General Fund budget. Throughout budget negotiations, House Republicans repeatedly voiced concerns relative to increased state spending in the face of a possible economic down-turn. Recently released information from the Department of Revenue shows that August tax collections were $117.5 million below projections. The administration has since called for spending cuts amounting to some $200 million and a statewide hiring freeze for approximately 5,000 state jobs. Rep. Mario Civera (R-Delaware), Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has already called upon his counterparts to participate in regular meetings to assess the state's fiscal status and determine if it is necessary to make adjustments to the budget. Democrat Chairman Evans agreed to the meetings. With such an agreement in place, lawmakers remain guardedly optimistic that the state can safely weather the economic storm.

Dubious Severance Package to Former Gaming Board Director Suspended

The generous severance arrangement between former Gaming Board Executive Director Anne Neeb and existing Gaming Board officials has been temporarily suspended according to the state Department of Treasury. Numerous House Republicans, who have repeatedly questioned the legality of the agreement, hailed the decision to have the attorney general's office review the arrangement as a victory. Under the terms of her contract, Neeb was set to receive only four month's worth of her $180,000 salary. However, according to an eight-page "separation agreement" Neeb was to receive a salary continuation of $15,000 per month through Sept. 6 (a total of $60,000), medical benefits through September, and a lump sum payment of $60,000.

House Approves Legislation Making Revisions to State Dog Laws

The House voted to overhaul existing laws surrounding the treatment of dogs in the Commonwealth this week, approving two proposals that are before the state Senate for consideration. House Bill 2525 makes several changes to how dog kennels are operated. If enacted, the new law would require that kenneled dogs be given significantly larger cages with solid bottoms, access to exercise areas outdoors, annual visits to the veterinarian and limit cage stacking. Several amendments designed to protect law-abiding breeders from being disproportionately affected by the new laws were blocked during debate. House Bill 2532, which requires that surgical procedures such as debarking and tail-docking be performed only by a veterinarian, also received unanimous approval.


A whole new ballgame

PA Congressional delegation leads call to strip Olympics from Russia

Four Pennsylvania members of Congress are among the first to sign a Congressional resolution calling for Olympic officials to pull the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from Russia as punishment for Russia's recent invasion of its tiny neighbor, Georgia.

U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Bill Shuster (R-PA), the co-chairs of the House Georgia Caucus, introduced a Congressional resolution Friday calling on the International Olympic Committee to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled for Sochi, Russia.

"Russia's invasion of the sovereign, democratic nation of Georgia gives the global community serious pause," Rep. Shuster said in a written statement. "Russia's belligerent interference in dealing with regional disputes and the inner-workings of its close neighbors proves that it is not a worthy host for the Olympic Games."

The Congressional delegations wants the International Olympic Committee to move immediately to designate a new host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

In addition to Schwartz and Shuster, the resolution has support from Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Rep. Joe Pitts R-PA.

Other members of Congress who have signed the resolution as of Friday include Thaddeus McCotter, Scott Garrett, Steve King, Phil Gingrey, Artur Davis and Daniel Lipinski.

Click here to read the full No Russian Olympics in 2014 Resolution (H.Con Res. 421)

Labels: ,

Why is this man smiling?

Chesco GOP improves Web site

The Republican Committee of Chester County has launched a redesigned Web site for Chester County voters, according to the West Chester Daily Local News.

The Web site, called Chester County's Online Republican Headquarters, contains video clips of political issues, a national news feed from GOP.com, Chester County Republican news, a listing of upcoming Republican Party events and a list of Republican candidates running for office in 2008, the newspaper says.

Volunteers can also aid the Republican Committee by registering for events and making donations to the Republican Party, the newspaper says.

The Web site, www.republicanccc.com, also contains a listing of polling places and information on registering to vote, the newspaper says.

And here's something interesting: A blog, Eye On The Media, takes a look at the coverage by reporters and editors of political issues affecting Chester County voters, according to the newspaper.

Labels: ,

Cleaning up the mess

'Crippled liberal thinking'

Excellent letter published in the West Chester Daily Local News about the hysterical left's attacks on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The writer dissects the far left's illogical thinking over the abortion issue. It appears the only qualification a woman should have to run for office, at least if you listen to the left, is that she has had an abortion.
A stretch of logic

On Sept. 1, you published a letter regarding Sarah Palin from Valerie Anne Mahgoul. I can't imagine a more clear demonstration of crippled liberal thinking than was exposed in that brief letter concluding Palin is an untrustworthy gambler based on her decision to have a child at age 44. Mahgoul opens with an effort to provide herself cover by noting she has a disabled child of her own. My sympathy is with her as she struggles with that difficult burden, but it has little bearing on her point or the life of Palin's Down syndrome baby.

The letter drips with condescension. I presume the reference to "professional woman" is to make a distinction between Palin and those huddled masses unfamiliar with family planning. "Responsible decisions regarding reproduction" is apparently not to be confused with actually wanting another child, or recognition that some people find contraception morally offensive or even that contraception sometimes fails.

Making sure we are aware that this baby is the Palins' fifth indicates the writer's attitude about "responsible" as much as does her concern about the odds of Down syndrome.

To then ascribe the birth of this wanted and loved baby as an indicator of a gambling mentality incompatible with governance is a stretch of logic suitable for someone who has contributed to the campaigns of Ed Rendell, Joe Sestak and who was a recipient of a disbursement from the Hillary campaign.

Greg Leibel

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lawmakers want to re-open Rendell's red-ink budget

State Rep. Sam Rohrer (R-Berks), State Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) and House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today called on Gov. Ed Rendell and the Legislature to re-open "and make substantial spending reductions" to balance the state's $28.3 billion 2008-09 General Fund budget.

The lawmakers were joined by Commonwealth Foundation President Matthew Brouillette and several other economic experts at a Harrisburg press conference.

Below a press release issued this afternoon by Rohrer:
"On July 4, 2008, I joined in the debate on the House floor against final passage of the 2008-09 state budget based on the following projections that were ultimately dismissed by Majority Leader DeWeese, House Majority Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans and several others as premature and pessimistic:

1. The $28.3 billion spending plan that was approved by the General Assembly on Independence Day is effectively unconstitutional because it is demonstrably out of balance ignoring clear financial data and accurate economic forecasts.

2. This year's budget is problematic because it will predictably force the legislature to completely defund the Commonwealth's already largely depleted $740 million Rainy Day Fund next year with no justifiable emergency or fiscally responsible reason for doing so.

3. This year's budget is fiscally out of balance because without dispute the roughly 4 percent spending increase is more than twice the rate of actual revenue growth (1.7 percent) over the previous 12 months.

4. Spending in this year's budget is built on the extremely flawed assumption of nearly 4 percent economic growth over the next twelve months, when at best economic experts are predicting no more than 2 percent.

5. While there may be no broad-based new tax increases or fees in this year's budget, next year Pennsylvania taxpayers, at minimum, could be asked to foot the bill for a $600 to $900 million budgetary shortfall.

6. Even statements from Senate Democrat Appropriations staff and the Senate Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman place the deficit at between $800 million and $2 billion!

"Nearly 80 days later, a dramatic $117.5 million August 2008 revenue shortfall and an unprecedented, yet absolutely insufficient executive order from the governor for state agencies to reduce spending by just $200 million, absolutely nothing has changed about the projections I presented except they are now our state's rapidly approaching economic reality.

"With all due to respect to yesterday's pledge on the House floor from both the Democrat and Republican Appropriations chairmen to 'meet and monitor revenue levels on a monthly basis,' the time for talking is past. The time for action and specific spending reductions is now.

"Immediately re-opening the budget and realistically re-organizing our fiscal priorities is critical to allow both the legislature and the governor the ability to direct where these specific cuts need to occur. It will also allow state government agencies ample time to adjust to the inevitable line item and government service reductions that must occur now rather than later to avoid saddling our children and grandchildren with insurmountable debt for decades to come.

"Again, time and immediate action are of the essence. The legislature and executive branch responsible for crafting and adopting this Rainy Day fund-raiding, tax increase-guaranteed spending plan must take the responsibility for balancing the unbalanced budget they enacted on July 4 today, rather than sitting idly by and allowing the next legislature to take the fall when next summer's billion dollar tax increase becomes unavoidable."

Labels: , , , ,

Choice Cuts

Take the Barack Obama Test

The conclusion: Obama and I -- We just disagree

I stumbled across a Web site designed to help voters figure out if Barack Obama is their kind of president.

I decided to take the test to see how far apart Barack Obama and I are on the major issues of the day.

I answered 52 questions and the computer matched my responses to positions Barack Obama has taken on issues.

Turns out I disagree with Obama on 49 of 52 questions. I'm surprised there are three things Obama and I agree on.

To take the Barack Obama Test yourself, visit www.barackobamatest.com


Catch me on radio, TV today

For those who just can't get enough of me, this is your lucky day. You can listen to me on the radio and watch me on TV today.

At 5 p.m., you can tune in to the the weekly broadcast of "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" on WPAZ 1370 AM. The program can also be heard at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

This week's topic will be election preparations and deadlines. The head of the Montgomery County Voters Services Bureau will be our guest for the hour. You can call the station during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.

At 8 p.m., I will be a panelist on "Journalists Roundtable" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. This week's show was taped at The Mercury in Pottstown. The other members of the panel are Evan Brandt, reporter for The Mercury, and Phil Herron, editor of the Delaware County Daily Times.

"Journalists Roundtable" will be shown again Sunday at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

'Journalists Roundtable' returns to Pottstown

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

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova is shown 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 the Sept. 18 program will be Tony Phyrillas, city editor/political columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown; Phil Heron, editor of the The Delaware County Daily Times; and Evan Brandt, reporter 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 78 in the Pottstown area.

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

A letter from Gen. David Petraeus

The Delaware County Daily Times has an interesting editorial today that incorporates a letter to his troops from Gen. David Petraeus, who was promoted to take charge of Central Command.

Here is the text of Petraeus' letter:
"To the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq:

"It has been the greatest of privileges to have been your commander for the past 19 months. During that time, we and our civilian and Iraqi partners have been engaged in an exceedingly complex, difficult, and important task. And in the face of numerous challenges, we and our partners have helped bring new hope to a country that was besieged by extremists and engulfed in sectarian violence.

"When I took command of Multi-National Force-Iraq in February 2007, I noted that the situation in Iraq was hard but not hopeless. You have proven that assessment to be correct. Indeed, your great work, sacrifice, courage, and skill have helped to reverse a downward spiral toward civil war and to wrest the initiative from the enemies of the new Iraq.

"Together, Iraqi and Coalition forces have faced determined, adaptable, and barbaric enemies. You and our Iraqi partners have taken the fight to them, and you have taken away their sanctuaries and safe havens. You have helped secure the Iraqi people and have enabled, and capitalized on, their rejection of extremism. You have also supported the Iraqi Security Forces as they have grown in number and capability and as they have increasingly shouldered more of the responsibility for security in their country.

"You have not just secured the Iraqi people, you have served them, as well. By helping establish local governance, supporting reconstruction efforts, assisting with revitalization of local businesses, fostering local reconciliation, and conducting a host of other non-kinetic activities, you have contributed significantly to the communities in which you have operated. Indeed, you have been builders and diplomats as well as guardians and warriors.

"The progress achieved has been hard-earned. There have been many tough days along the way, and we have suffered tragic losses. Indeed, nothing in Iraq has been anything but hard. But you have been more than equal to every task.

"Your accomplishments have, in fact, been the stuff of history. Each of you should be proud of what has been achieved and of the contributions you continue to make. Although our tasks in Iraq are far from complete and hard work and tough fights lie ahead, you have helped bring about remarkable improvements.

"Your new commander is precisely the right man for the job. Gen. Ray Odierno played a central role in the progress achieved during the surge. He brings tremendous skill, experience, and understanding as he returns to Iraq for a third tour and takes the helm of MNF-I just seven months after relinquishing command of MultiNational Corps-Iraq. I have total confidence in him, and I will do all that I can as the commander of Central Command to help him, MNF-I, and our Iraqi partners to achieve the important goals that we all share for the new Iraq.

"Thank you for your magnificent work here in the 'Land of the Two Rivers.' And thank you for your sacrifices - and for those of your families - during this crucial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am honored to have soldiered with you in this critical endeavor.

"With great respect and all best wishes,

David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army
Commanding Officer,
Multi-National Force-Iraq"
To read the full editorial, check out the newspaper's Web site.

Financial Storms

'Talking Politics' on radio Thursday

Montgomery County Voter Services Director Joseph R. Passarella will be the guest on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

Passarella will be available to answer any questions about registration deadlines and the voting process during the live, one-hour radio program.

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

"Talking Politics" can also be heard online at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rendell orders budget cuts, hiring freeze

Less than three months after signing a record $28.3 billion General Fund budget that critics said would sink the state into red ink, Gov. Ed Rendell has ordered a series of measures to prevent a fiscal collapse.

Rendell ordered most state agencies to reduce spending by 4.25 percent and eliminate all out-of-state travel. He also imposed a hiring freeze, leaving about 5,000 vacant state jobs unfilled. State agencies that provide public safety, health and education services will have to make smaller cuts, Rendell said.

The cost-cutting measures are expected to save the state about $200 million by the end of the current fiscal year, Rendell said.

The fiscal year runs from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The state started noticing problems almost as soon as the fiscal year began. August tax collection revenues fell short of projections by $117 million. (The state actually missed its revenue projections in three of the last six months.) With the national economy in a downturn, the state could running in the red for months.

Critics warned that the state would run a deficit of up to $1 billion for the 2008-09 fiscal year, but the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Rendell's budget and the governor signed the massive spending plan in July. (Only 33 lawmakers -- 32 Republicans and 1 Democrat -- in the 253-member General Assembly voted against Rendell's bloated budget.)

After the budget was passed, one leading newspaper, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, editorialized that every lawmaker who supported the spending plan should be thrown out of office in November.

State Rep. Sam Rohrer wrote an op-ed column in July criticizing the Rendell budget: 'Rendell-a-nomics' will lead to massive tax hike next year

Also check out this July 3 post: Surprise: Pa. facing $1B budget deficit and this post from July 5: Questions remain about PA budget

Don't be surprised if Rendell comes back asking for a tax hike after the November election.

Labels: , , ,

No more lipstick

Reformer Curt Schroder 'gets a pass'

Curt Schroder, who has served in the state Legislature since 1995, has rubbed the Harrisburg establishment the wrong way in recent years, but he hasn't suffered any political consequences, says Daily Local News columnist Jim Callahan.

Schroder, a Republican who represents the 155th House District in Chester County, did not face a primary opponent and won't have to worry about re-election on Nov. 4 since the Democratic Party couldn't find anyone to run against him.

That's surprising since Schroder was one of the "gang of six" who led a revolt against House Speaker John Perzel in January 2007, denying Perzel another term as leader of the state House.

Perzel has been known to fund candidates to run against people who cross him, regardless of their party affiliation.

Fed up with abuses of power and the direction of the House under Perzel, Schroder and five other Republicans wanted change, Callahan writes.

The GOP revolt (and a similar uprising against Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese) left the Speaker's post in the hands of Dennis O'Brien, a little-known Philadelphia Republican who was elected House Speaker mostly by Democrats.

O'Brien promised to usher in "The Year of Reform," but very little was accomplished in that area during his tenure.

"We've made progress, but no, I'm not completely satisfied," Schroder told Callahan.

Read the rest of the column, "A political rarity: Schoeder gets a pass," at the newspaper's Web site.

Labels: , ,

PA GOP predicts Congressional gains

Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Robert Gleason says the GOP could pick up at least four or five Pennsylvania Congressional seats on Nov. 4.

That's bold talk considering Republicans lost four Congressional seats in 2006.

Gleason told PolitickerPA.com the Sarah Palin bounce could help Pennsylvania GOP Congressional candidates. An energized GOP base could help bring four or five traditionally Republican seats back in the fold, Gleason says.

Some of the key races to keep an eye on include the 7th Congressional District, where Republican Craig Williams could beat first-term Democrat Joe Sestak; the 10th Congressional District, where Republican challenger Chris Hackett could oust first-term Democrat Christopher Carney; the 11th Congressional District, where Republican Lou Barletta could topple Democratic Paul Kanjorksi.

A couple of interesting posts at other blogs today. GrassrootsPA reports Rep. Joe Sestak received a dismal grade from a fiscal watchdog. The Clarke Report says that incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Holden has lost favor with voters in the 17th Congressional District. His opponent is Republican Toni Gilhooley.

And don't forget about the 12th Congressional District, where the worst member of Congress, Democrat John Murtha, is facing a strong challenge from Republican Bill Russell.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 15, 2008

'It's Sarah Palin's principles, stupid!'

Conservative icon Richard Viguerie says it's not Sarah Palin's gender or her fresh face that has catapulted her to the top of the political arena. It's her principles, Viguerie argues.

Republicans who think they can ride Palin's popularity to victory on Election Day without standing for the same principles are in for a rude awakening, Viguerie says.

Palin is "popular because she holds to the core beliefs of the coalition that elected Ronald Reagan in two landslides -- on taxes, spending, the role of government, and traditional ideas of right and wrong," Viguerie argues.

Read the full commentary by Viguerie, "It's Sarah Palin's principles, stupid!" at ConservativeHQ.com

Labels: ,

State Capitol Roundup for Sept. 15

Here's the latest installment of State Capitol Roundup courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147:

Feds Deny State's Application to Toll I-80

The U.S. Department of Transportation has rejected the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's application to toll Interstate 80. According to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, the application to implement tolls along the I-80 corridor was denied because it did not meet the technical and statutory requirements set forth by the federal act. Business owners and residents living along the I-80 corridor voiced their concerns to legislators, noting the likelihood that traffic would be diverted onto local, non-toll roads, leading to increased maintenance costs for secondary roads; and the crushing impact tolling would have had on local economies. According to the Rendell administration, it is highly unlikely that the application will be resubmitted. For the latest legislative news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

House Committee Examines Options for Looming Rate Cap Expirations

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee met this week to discuss ongoing efforts to protect consumers from drastic price swings following the expiration of electricity rate caps that are already taking place. Customers of the Pennsylvania Power Company saw their bills increase by as much as 30 percent following the expiration of the northwestern Pennsylvania utility's rate caps last year, but many fear increases could be as high as 60 percent in some areas. Proposals to phase in price hikes as a means to minimize the impact on consumers were promoted during the hearing by some lawmakers. Others are calling for an extension of the rate caps, a proposal that several lawmakers have expressed a willingness to support if no other means of protecting consumers can be agreed upon.

House Transportation Committee Focuses on Public-Private Partnerships

The House Transportation Committee held a public hearing early this week to gather testimony on a wide range of topics, though the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) to capitalize a drastically underfunded transportation budget quickly became the focus. A P3 is a contractual arrangement between a public agency and a private-sector entity to deliver a public service. Currently, 23 states have authorized the use of P3s to provide an infusion of private-sector capital to accelerate the maintenance, improvement and expansion of roads, bridges and other infrastructure. A proposal for a 30-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that is expected to generate as much as $1.1 billion is also pending approval and is being considered in light of the recently denied plan to toll I-80. For the latest legislative news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Republican Policy Committee Turns Attention to Economic Competitiveness

The House Republican Policy Committee heard testimony from numerous small businesses and statewide industrial organizations this week, in its ongoing effort to craft policy that would increase Pennsylvania's economic competitiveness. The hearing focused on three major policy initiatives that would make the state more friendly to employers-implementation of a single-sales factor apportionment formula, reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax rate and removing the cap on net operating loss carry-forwards. High business taxes have repeatedly been indicated as key factors that lower the Commonwealth's economic competitiveness. Regulatory obstacles, such as the high costs of energy and health insurance and skilled workforce shortages, were also highlighted as economic concerns during the hearing.


Storm Surge hits home

Call to Action for Pennsylvania Taxpayers

From David Baldinger of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition:
Dear Friends,

Welcome to September and I hope that all of you had a nice summer. This month the General Assembly returns to work after their summer recess and it is time for us to get busy again.

As you know, the School Property Tax Elimination Act, House Bill 1275, has been bottled up in the Appropriations committee by the House majority leadership since its introduction last November.

On July 3, Representative Sam Rohrer filed a Discharge Resolution signed by 26 of his colleagues to have the bill released from committee and onto the House floor for debate and an up-or-down vote. A Discharge Resolution is a procedural maneuver used to force a bill from committee when the committee has refused to act on the bill.

On Monday, September 15, Representative Rohrer will announce the Resolution on the floor of the House. After a waiting period of 48 hours the full House can vote on the resolution; a majority vote is necessary to release the bill from committee. This vote could come as early as Wednesday, September 17.


Please contact your Representative by phone, e-mail, or letter as soon as possible to let him or her know that you expect them to vote in favor of the Discharge Resolution to allow HB 1275 to the House floor for debate. Further, be sure to firmly but respectfully let them know that your vote in November will be predicated solely on their approval of this resolution. You can find contact information for your Representative by clicking the "Find Your Legislators" link in the left column of the PTCC home page at http://www.ptcc.us

There is NO GOOD REASON for any Representative to oppose this resolution. Voting for the resolution does not obligate them in any way to vote for HB 1275's passage – it merely allows the bill to come to the House floor for an open and honest debate and a straight vote. The ONLY reasons for opposing this resolution would be orders from a Representative's party leadership and pure partisan politics. For an issue as important as property tax elimination this is not a valid excuse.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Also during the coming weeks there is a good possibility that HB 2199 will come to the House floor for a vote. This bill is the companion legislation to the School Property Tax Elimination Act that calls for a constitutional amendment to forever abolish property taxes as a method for funding public education. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it must be passed by two succeeding sessions of the General Assembly. Because of this, it is vitally important to our efforts that HB 2199 is passed before the end of this year.

Since HB 2199 is a very short and uncomplicated piece of legislation it is possible that it could be passed by both the House and Senate before the end of this legislative session. Your help will be needed again when this bill comes up for a vote, so stay tuned.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That's all for now. Please continue your support of our grassroots effort for property tax elimination. Together, we WILL win!

Please feel free to contact me at pataxpayers@gmail.com with questions, comments, or concerns.

David Baldinger
PTCC Administrator

Labels: ,

Pottstown makes The New York Times

We're on the map.

The Borough of Pottstown, population 23,000, has made the pages of The New York Times.

The article focuses on how states deal with voting rights for felons.

Pottstown was recently in the news after the Obama Campaign put a sign on its downtown Pottstown storefront window encouraging felons to register to vote (and presumably support Barack Obama.)

The sign was taken down two days after I posted a blog entry questioning why the Obama campaign would encourage felons to register in an urban setting like Pottstown when it doesn't do the same in more affluent communities.

The Mercury editorialized about the controversy and our award-winning cartoonist, Alan MacBain produced one of his best entries.

The story also got the attention of Election Journal.org

This is what The New York Times wrote over the weekend: Last month, Obama campaign workers took down a sign at their headquarters in Pottstown, Pa., that said "Felons can vote," because it might have sent the wrong message.

"The fear is that it might cost them more votes to be portrayed as the candidate of the felons than it could gain them," said Anthony C. Thompson, a New York University law professor and Obama campaign adviser. "This is a mistaken belief, in my view, when there are tens of millions of citizens with criminal records."

You can read the full article at the newspaper's Web site.

Labels: ,

Montco commissioners on the road again

The Montgomery County Commissioners are taking their show on the road this week.

The commissioners are planning their second evening meeting of the year on Thursday.

It replaces the normal morning session in Norristown. Those meetings are sparsely attended.

The goal of the evening meeting is to give Montgomery County residents an opportunity to see their elected county officials in action.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18, at Old Mill House, Central Perkiomen Valley Park, 1 Plank Road, Schwenksville.


They're baaack!!!

Hold on to you wallet. The most expensive state legislature in the United States is back in session.

Fresh from a two-month vacation, the Pennsylvania Legislature reconvened for its fall session today. The Legislature is expected to work another nine to 16 days this year before taking a two-month holiday break.

So what important legislation is on the agenda today? Property tax reform? Fixing the state's deteriorating roads and bridges? Health care for the state's uninsured? Reforming what many observers consider the most corrupt state government in the country? None of the above.

The state Legislature is looking at changing he state's dog laws today.

For more on what to expect in Harrisburg, check out Capitol Ideas and POLICY BLOG

One other thing to look for in the next few weeks: More Bonusgate indictments.

Coincidentally, the grand jury that recommended charges against 12 people connected to the House Democratic Caucus over the summer also reconvenes today.

Read Brad Bumstead's column, "Here Comes The Other Shoe," at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Web site.

Labels: ,

Friday, September 12, 2008

If you want equal pay for women, don't go to work for Barack Obama

"Do As I Say, Not As I Do" should be the campaign theme of Sen. Barack Obama.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that compensation figures for Obama's legislative staff show that Obama pays women just 83 cents for every dollar his male staffers earn.

And this is the guy who criticized the Republicans for not supporting equal pay for women?

Based on calculations by LegiStorm, a Washington, D.C. watchdog group, Obama's 28 male staffers divided among themselves an average of $54,397. In contrast, Obama's 30 female staffers split $45,152, on average among themselves.

Among Obama's five best-paid advisers, only one was a woman, notes the Republican National Committee. Among his top 20, seven were women, the RNC says.

John McCain's 17 male staffers averaged $53,936 in pay. His 25 female employees averaged $55,878.

Among [McCain's] top-five best-compensated staffers, three are women, according to the RNC. Of his 20-highest-salaried employees, 13 are women, the RNC says.

The Republican National Committee had this observation on the disparity between what Obama pays women on his staff:
On average, according to these data, women in John McCain's office make $1.04 for every dollar a man makes. In fact, all other things being equal, a typical female staffer could earn 21 cents more per dollar paid to her male counterpart -- while adding $10,726 to her annual income -- by leaving Barack Obama's office and going to work for John McCain.

Labels: , ,

New Web site debunks Sarah Palin smears

An hour doesn't go by without a liberal newspaper, TV network or blog coming up with another smear of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. (And we're not even talking about the Obama campaign, which has sent an army of lawyers and investigators to Alaska to dig up dirt on Gov. Palin.)

Palin's popular appeal has discombobulated the Democratic Party and their media allies.

They don't know what to make of John McCain's vice presidential running mate, so they work round-the-clock to dig up dirt on Palin.

That's where Fight The Palin Smears.com comes in. The new Web site is dedicated to setting the record straight about far-left attacks on Gov. Palin.

Check out the site at http://www.fightthepalinsmears.com/

Labels: , ,

Bill O'Reilly offers advice to Sarah Palin

Bill O'Reilly has some advice for Sarah Palin on how to deal with the elite media, which is gunning for Palin because she's stealing the spotlight from media darling Barack Obama.

"I would tell Sarah to be Sarah: Feisty, down-to-earth and funny," O'Reilly says in a new column. "Don't try to be Henry Kissinger. Just demonstrate a grasp of the issues and a determination to look out for the folks. The key phrase for Palin should be 'Here's what we want to do.' Then, using simple terms, state that."

More advice from O'Reilly:
Right now, Americans voters want to be reassured that their jobs are safe and that some crazy terrorist won't blow up their neighborhood. Palin has dealt with economic issues successfully in Alaska. On national security she has no record. But I'm sure there are things she wants to do in order to keep her five children safe. Just say them.

The elite media has little in common with everyday Americans, and Palin should just laugh off their attempts to demean her. She can best capitalize on her incredibly fast start by simply keeping it simple. Nice goes a long way in life — also, in politics.
Read the full column at www.billoreilly.com

Obama pays female staffers less than male counterparts

Talk about a gender gap. This isn't going to help Barack Obama among women.

Compensation figures for Obama's Senate staff reveal that Obama pays women just 83 cents for every dollar his men make, according to a watchdog group called LegiStorm.

Obama's 28 male staffers earn an average of $54,397 a year, but Obama's 30 female employees were paid an average of $45,152 a year, according to the group.

Among Obama's five best-paid advisors, only one was a woman, according to the Republican National Committee. Among histop 20, seven were women, the RNC says.

Does Oprah know about this?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget

Poll: Palin boosts McCain in Pa.

A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Sen. John McCain in a statistical tie with Sen. Barack Obama in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Obama still leads in Pennsylvania, 48 percent to McCain's 45 percent, but that is withing the poll's statistical margin of error, so the race is essentially tied in the Keystone State, according to Quinnipiac.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute measured boosts for McCain in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida since the announcement of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate.

According to the poll, McCain leads Obama in Florida by a 50-43 percent margin. In Ohio, Obama leads by a 49-44 percent margin.

"Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin apparently is attracting white women likely voters to Arizona Sen. John McCain, helping him pull away from Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in Florida and narrow the gap with the Democrat in Pennsylvania, even as he is slipping slightly in Ohio," according to a press release issued by Quinnipiac University pollsters.

The release also notes that "No one has been elected President since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College."

With Florida looking safe for the GOP, a win in Ohio or Pennsylvania by McCain could tip the election to the Republicans.

Since Aug. 26, McCain's support among white women is up four percentage points in Ohio and five points in Pennsylvania, and dropped two points in Florida, where it was high to start, the release says.

"White women, a key demographic group in any national election, appear to be in play, with some movement towards Sen. McCain in Pennsylvania and Ohio," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Obviously Gov. Sarah Palin is having the impact that Sen. McCain hoped when he selected her."

To read the full poll results, visit the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Web site.

Labels: , , , ,

The most corrupt members of Congress

Two members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation are among the Top 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress, an annual list published by CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), a watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C.

One is a Democrat, Rep. John Murtha, who represents the 12th Congressional District.

The other is a Republican, Rep. Tim Murphy, who represents the 18th Congressional District.

Neither man is a stranger to corruption allegations. Murphy and Murtha made the 2007 CREW list of the most corrupt members of Congress. Murtha also made the CREW "Dishonorable Mention" list in 2006 before graduating to "Most Corrupt" status in 2007 and 2008.

To learn more about Murtha and Murphy and why they made the corruption list, you can visit the CREW Corruption Web site, http://www.crewsmostcorrupt.org

Both Pennsylvania Congressmen are facing opponents in the Nov. 4 election.

Voters in the 12th and 18th Congressional Districts should take a serious look at the records of the incumbents and decide if they want to send these men back to Washington.

For more on Murtha's opponent, William Russell, visit his campaign Web site.

For more on Murphy's opponent, Steve O'Donnell, visit his campaign Web site.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PAGOP: What Does Obama Have Against Women?

Did Sen. Barack Obama call Gov. Sarah Palin a "pig" during a recent campaign speech? Obama denies it, but a lot of people don't believe him.

Whether he meant to refer to Gov. Palin as a pig or not is not the real question here. It's all about Obama's judgment, especially under pressure. Polls now have the Republican ticket even with the Democrats and Obama is losing support among women. The Obama campaign is getting desperate.

If Obama meant to call Gov. Palin a pig, that was a dumb move on his part. Would he call Sen. John McCain a pig?

Here's what the Pennsylvania Republican Party has to say about the controversy:
HARRISBURG – Republican Party of Pennsylvania Vice-Chairman Joyce Haas, National Committeewoman Christine Toretti and Deputy Chairwoman Renee Amoore were appalled by the derogatory comments Barack Obama made towards Governor Sarah Palin and question why he decided to disrespect this successful woman. In response, they released the following joint statement:

"Barack Obama needs to understand that the comments he made today are unacceptable. We find his reference to Sarah Palin as a pig incredibly distasteful and believe that these types of comments have no place in this election. We call on Obama and his running mate Joe Biden to stop leveling personal insults against Governor Palin and instead keep the discussion focused on the important issues facing our nation.

"We believe Obama should apologize immediately to Governor Palin and stop attacking our candidate because she is a woman."

According to Politico, Barack Obama made the following comments in reference to Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin: "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig." ("Obama, Dems sharpen personal attacks on Palin," Politico, 9/9/08)

Labels: , ,

New Report Shows 20,000 Children in Foster Care in PA

President of the World

A new poll of residents in 22 countries, including most of Europe, finds more people want to see Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

You know what I always say. If the Europeans are in favor of something, it can't be good for the U.S.

All Countries in BBC Poll Prefer Obama to McCain

Labels: ,

Fidelis Debuts CatholicVote.com

I haven't checked out the site yet, but I can't imagine it would be very favorable to the Obama-Biden Abortion-on-Demand Ticket.

Fidelis Debuts CatholicVote.com

Labels: , ,

Pennsylvania Treasurer Joins Call for Municipal Pension Reform

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

McCain supports school choice

Only one candidate for president supports school choice, which is the only way to improve the American education system.

Sen. John McCain delivered these remarks to the Republican National Convention last week showing his support for breaking the public education monopoly that has led to decades of failing schools:
"Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have that choice and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucracies. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I'm President, they will."
For more information on school choice issues, including charter schools, cyber schools and home schooling, visit SchoolChoiceSaves.org

Labels: , ,

Is 16 too young to drive?

A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report concludes that allowing 16-year-olds to drive is costing thousands of lives in the U.S.

Pushing the age back one or two years would save many lives, not to mention millions of dollars in health costs and property damage, the study concludes.

Many other nations won't issue a license until someone turns 17. In Europe, the minimum driving age is 18.

Follow the link below to read more:

Put Off Driver Licensure to Save Lives

Obama/Biden Earmark Makeover

Another case where Sen. Barack Obama's rhetoric doesn't match reality. He talks about changing Washington, but the junior Senator from Illinois had no qualms about seeking pork projects for his home state during his brief time in the Senate. As for Biden, he knows how to play the game in Washington.

Republican National Committee: Obama/Biden Earmark Makeover

Labels: ,

'I Don't Vote for Tax Hikers!'

At least half the people listed on the Nov. 4 ballot are planning to raise your taxes. It's up to you to decide if they can carry out their plans to take more money from you.

The nation's largest citizens' taxpayers group is asking voters to send a message to all candidates: "I Don't Vote for Tax Hikers!"

If you vote for Sens. Barack Obama/Joe Biden, be prepared to send more of your money to Washington, D.C. The Obama/Biden team plans to raise Social Security taxes and taxes on businesses and investment.

If you vote for any Democrat for Congress, be prepared to send more of your money to Washington, D.C. With a veto-proof majority, Democrats will support higher taxes on working Americans.

If you vote for most of the Democrats running for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, be prepared to send more of your money to Harrisburg. (Only 1 Democrats out of 102 in the state House voted against Gov. Ed Rendell's $28 billion deficit budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year. All Democrats in the Senate support Rendell's budget. Many experts predict the state Legislature will have to raise taxes in 2009 to make up for Rendell's deficit.)

Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Asks Citizens to Join Effort and Declare, 'I Don't Vote for Tax Hikers!'

Labels: ,

Monday, September 8, 2008

New York Post endorses John McCain

Election Day is still more than 55 days away, but the The New York Post has made up its mind on which candidate should be elected the next president of the United States.

It's John McCain, according to the Post editorial board.

The Post is the first major U.S. newspaper to pick sides in the upcoming election, months before most newspapers typically publish endorsement editorials. In 2004, the left-leaning Philadelphia Inquirer published 17 consecutive endorsement editorials for John Kerry, but most newspapers usually wait until a few days before the election to endorse.

Here's why the Post believes McCain should be elected president:
McCain's lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent, freshman Sen. Barack Obama.
From the Post editorial:
McCain has been in Washington for many years now, but he is not of Washington. He knows where the levers of power are located - and how to manipulate them - but he is not controlled by them.

McCain's selection of the charming, but rock-solid, outsider Sarah Palin as his running mate underscores the point.

Neither plays well with others.

And this is an unalloyed asset at a time when special interests - lobbyists, lawyers and organized labor chief among them - wield enormous influence in the nation's capital.

McCain's Democratic opponents, Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden, lead a party constructed of special interests - public-employee unionists in particular.
The newspaper goes on to make the case that McCain is better than Obama on national security, taxes, trade and energy.

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

Labels: , ,

Americans to Congress: 'I Can Do Better'

A new poll finds the majority of Americans believe they can do a better job of addressing the nation's problems than their elected representatives in Congress.

Under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Democratic-controlled Congress has earned a 9 percent approval rating in the most recent national polls.

Now if American voters would actually do something about the do-nothing Congress and vote out incumbents (including Democrats), we might get somewhere.

Follow the link below to read the results of a new national poll by Sacred Heart University Polling Institute showing how little respect Americans have for Congress.

Americans to Congress: 'I Can Do Better' According to National Poll

Labels: ,

Obama's legislative record? 0 for 59 so far

Sen. Barack Obama has introduced 59 bills during his short time in the U.S. Senate. How many of those bills became law? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

When it comes to legislative experience, it appears Sen. Obama is spinning his wheels.

Senator Obama's Priorities - WashingtonWatch.com