Saturday, January 31, 2009

Where did bailout money go?

State Capitol Roundup for January 30

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

Republican Lawmakers Question Governor's $268 Million Surplus

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

House Republican Task Force Holds Hearings on Budgeting Strategies

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

Several House Republicans Offer Taxpayer Protection Measures

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


Friday, January 30, 2009

Congratulations Michael Steele

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

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

For more praise of Steele, follow the link below:

Bauer Congratulates Michael Steele on GOP Chairmanship

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Ralph Nader: Rush Limbaugh is collecting welfare

If you've suspected for years that Ralph Nader has gone off the deep end, here's proof.

The letter below shows why nobody cares what Nader has to say, but Rush Limbaugh just might be the most influential person in America right now.

Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh From Ralph Nader

A friendly wager on Super Bowl

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blagojevich should move to Pa.

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

After a four-day trial, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 to convict Blagojevich on the charge of abuse of power.

The new governor is Patrick Quinn.

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

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

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

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

Blagojevich would fit right in.

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NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

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

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

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

The ad can be viewed at

NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

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The Gitmo Flop

The Democrats' Debt Plan

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

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

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

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

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

Read Blunt's full statement at the link below:

Blunt Votes Against Democrats' Debt Plan

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More uninsured under Rendell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stimulus already working?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just keep printing more money until the dollar is worthless.

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More government waste uncovered in PA

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

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

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

Read more at the link below:

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

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Obama plan for auto industry

Sarah Palin looks to 2012

Sarah Palin is here to stay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Web site is

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Children at play

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

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

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

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

Follow the link below to read more:

Business Community Addresses Pennsylvania Budget Deficit

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200 economists oppose Obama 'stimulus'

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

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

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

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rep. Tim Hennessey issues statement on Coatesville fires

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

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

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

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

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


What fiscal crisis? Rendell wants to party

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

So are state leaders doing to address the crisis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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No. 1 priority is property tax reform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, January 26, 2009

'The swaggering arrogance of Gov. Ed Rendell'

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

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

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

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

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

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Best Movies for Grownups

Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan can ignore this post.

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

Here are some of the winners:

Best Movie for Grownups: "Frost/Nixon"

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

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

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

Best Comedy for Grownups: "Ghost Town"

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

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

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

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

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

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


Democrats try to undo legislative reforms

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

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

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

From the DemocracyRisingPA post:
The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

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Obama takes shape

Beware of Obama stimulus bill

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

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

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

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Columnist: Obama should follow Reagan lead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama's $441 Million Bailout of International Abortions

State Capitol Roundup for January 23

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

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

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

Blues Call Off Merger of Health Insurance Giants

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

Legislative Plan to Invite Citizens to Invest in Pennsylvania

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


Friday, January 23, 2009

High expectations

Audit faults supervision of PA vehicle fleet

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner has faulted the Department of General Services for "weak leadership, incomplete record-keeping and little accountability" in how 16,000 state vehicles were being assigned and maintained.

"With the commonwealth facing a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, DGS must seize the wheel and take control of Pennsylvania's vehicle fleet, to save taxpayer dollars and to ensure the public that the privilege of operating a state vehicle is not being abused," Wagner said in releasing his findings.

Wagner said reforms must address three main deficiencies: program decentralization, lack of proper documentation, and lack of transparency.

He recommended eight steps that DGS should take to improve leadership and accountability.

Follow the link below to read more about the state's mismanagement of 16,637 vehicles. It's your money.

Auditor General Jack Wagner Calls for Greater Control of State's Administration of its 16,637 Vehicles

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Obama OK with using taxpayer funds to promote abortion

In case you forgot that Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate to ever seek the presidency, he is expected to rescind current U.S. policy that prohibits U.S. foreign aid to be used to promote abortions overseas.

Obama Administration Quick to Exploit Women in Developing Nations Says Americans United for Life Action

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Report: Obama bailout package will spark inflation

For those who think the economy can't get any worse now that George W. Bush has been replaced by Barack Obama, guess again.

If the $750 billion bailout approved by Congress and signed by Bush last fall didn't work, what makes you think that a similar $850 billion government bailout proposed by Obama will work now?

U.S. bailout package will spark inflation and shift the burden to foreign investors: CIBC World Markets

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Nobody told George Bush

Liberal media ignores pro-life march

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has a good point about the mainstream media ignoring pro-life events, such as the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., where 200,000 Americans protested abortion-on-demand.

From Perkins:
The media considers a dozen war protesters newsworthy, but why not 200,000 pro-life witnesses? As those of you who have visited Washington, D.C. on January 22 know, the tradition of the press ignoring America's biggest pro-life event is almost as old as the March itself. Over the years, the scant coverage hasn't deterred us. Instead, we have banded together to find new ways around it. One of the most popular vehicles has been the rise of the conservative blog.

Today, FRC hosted a power-packed line-up of the who's who in the online pro-life community, many of whom are changing the face of the abortion debate over the heads of the "mainstream" media. Along with a standing-room-only crowd, the fourth annual Blogs for Life conference attracted some key Hill leaders, including speakers Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa). It was also the subject of a feature article in today's Washington Times.

Speaking of making a difference, a core group of Republican members marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by making pro-life speeches in the House chamber last night. We applaud them for remaining faithful to their convictions and representing the majority of Americans who believe that our inalienable rights include the right to life.
For more on the March for Life, check out this story in the Washington Times.

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Hope is Not a Strategy: A Letter to President Obama

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

Hope is Not a Strategy: A Letter to President Obama


Where are all the jobs Rendell promised?

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

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: December 2008

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rendell debt projected at $2.3B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rush Limbaugh is worried about Obama

Waiting for miracles

Study: College no longer affordable in PA

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

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

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

Follow the link below to read more:

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

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'Bigger is not always better'

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

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

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

Insurance Commissioner Welcomes Withdrawal of Proposed IBC/Highmark Consolidation

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 2 of the Obama presidency

Will Obama free Gitmo terrorists?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fasten your seatbelts

Where's the hope? Where's the change?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

So much for hope. So much for change.


Now that he's been sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, it's OK to use his full name.

As Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to "Barack Hussein Obama" Tuesday, Barack Hussein Obama repeated his full name during the oath, including the Muslim middle name of Hussein.

Remember how the liberal media would not use Hussein over the past two years as Barack Hussein Obama sought the White House?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

W moves back home

Let the countdown begin

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


A successful presidency

President Bush left office today.

There have been no terrorist attacks on American soil for the past 2,686 days.

That alone makes it a successful presidency.

Thank you President Bush, his administration, all our men and women in uniform and everyone who works for the Department of Homeland Security for keeping us safe.

Let's pray the Obama administration can do half the job that Bush has done.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Government-approved publications

Is this what your local newsstand will look like after the Obama coronation Tuesday? Any truth to the rumor Obama will set up a Ministry of Truth to review all publications in the United States?

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Join the resistance

350,000 Americans have already signed an online pledge to resist Obama's far-left agenda.

To find out more, follow the link below:

In a Sea of Obama Love, There's a Voice of Patriotic Resistance

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Justice Served: Bush Frees Compean, Ramos

On his last full day in the White House, President George W. Bush has corrected one of the biggest travesties of justice ever by granting clemency to two former U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a Mexican drug dealer.

Bush commuted the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were made scapegoats by open boarder advocates who want to encourage illegal immigration.

The two agents were serving 10-year prison terms for the 2005 shooting.

From The Associated Press:
(Ramos and Compean) were convicted of shooting admitted drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he fled across the Rio Grande, away from an abandoned van load of marijuana.

The border agents argued during their trials that they believed the smuggler was armed and that they shot him in self defense. The prosecutor in the case said there was no evidence linking the smuggler to the van of marijuana.

The prosecutor also said the border agents didn't report the shooting and tampered with evidence by picking up several spent shell casings.

The agents were fired after their convictions on several charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon and with serious bodily injury, violation of civil rights and obstruction of justice. All their convictions, except obstruction of justice, were upheld on appeal
The Bush decision has drawn widespread praise.

"FAIR, and all Americans who value justice and the sacrifice of the men and women who protect our nation, are gratified by President Bush's decision, on his final day in office, to commute the sentences of former Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean," stated Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

"President Bush certainly saved the best for last," said Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly, who has consistently worked for the past two years to disclose little-known facts about this case through her weekly columns. "We are overjoyed and relieved that these two brave men will be freed from prison and finally returned home to their families."

President George W. Bush Grants Commutations

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One more day

Teachers' union is hurting education

Matthew J. Brouillette, a former high school history teacher, coach and school board member, knows something about the public education system.

As president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, Brouillette spends much of his professional time researching the impact the state's largest teachers' union has on Pennsylvania schools.

Writing recently in The Mercury, Brouillette says there's no disputing the fact that the political agenda pursued by the Pennsylvania State Education Association has caused a great deal of harm to teachers, children and taxpayers.

"I know first-hand the challenges inside and out of the classroom," Brouillette writes in a guest column. "Until we address the systemic problems associated with who controls public education and how we deliver it, simply spending more money will fail to improve our schools."

From Brouillette's column:

Even Albert Shanker, the late American Federation of Teachers labor union president, recognized the need for systemic change when he candidly said: "It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."

In spite of the inherent problems noted by Shanker, most public schools are able to teach our children to read, write, and figure. But when comparing the academic performance of our students to those in other countries, it's clear our current system is failing both our children and our nation.
Brouillette offers several solutions to improving our schools and invites the teachers' union to become part of the solution.

Read the full op-ed at the newspaper's Web site.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Rendell defends patronage hiring

And you wonder why Pennsylvania is facing a potential $2 billion budget shortfall?

Gov. Ed Rendell continues to defend the hiring of political crony Dan Surra to a $95,000 patronage job despite a hiring freeze that has left 5,000 other state jobs unfilled.

Rendell himself admitted this week that the state's General Fund deficit will likely reach $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion by the the end of June. Republican lawmakers say the deficit could top $2.1 billion.

"Everyone has to understand that what has happened leaves us no option," Rendell said this week. "We're going to have to cut virtually every program that there is."

But giving a $95,000-a-year-job to an ousted state lawmaker is not among the cuts Rendell is willing to make.

Reporter Brad Bumstead has more on Rendell's hypocrisy and "Go to hell" attitude toward Pennsylvania taxpayers in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

From Bumstead's article:
"Let me stress, I reserved the right when I announced the hiring freeze to make exceptions," Rendell told reporters while visiting the Pennsylvania Farm Show. During a speech at the farm show, he boosted his predicted budget deficit for 2008-09 from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion.

Rendell said he did not create a special job for Surra, but he acknowledged the DCNR job was not posted and others weren't considered.
The Democratic governor's decision to hire Surra, a Democrat who failed to win re-election to the state House of Representatives in November, has been universally panned by the state's newspapers.

From The Pottstown Mercury:
THORNS to Gov. Ed Rendell for creating a job for a former state legislator, violating a hiring freeze imposed during the current state budget crisis ... Rendell also has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from the budget to help offset a projected $1.7 billion shortfall this fiscal year. Creating a job for an ousted legislator in this fiscally-stressed environment was a slap in the face to state taxpayers. The governor should know better.

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PA releases first 'State Of The Industry' Report

PennDOT Releases List of Candidate Projects for Anticipated Federal Stimulus Program

Senate President for a Day

Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44th, presided as Senate President for the day during the recent swearing-in ceremony for 24 new state Senators in Harrisburg.

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Check out

Break The Bailout!

Check out this Web site to learn how the politicians (Democrats and Republicans) and Wall Street types are screwing the American taxpayer again:

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No more credit for Uncle Sam

State Capitol Roundup for January 16

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

Rendell Ally Hired During Hiring/Pay Freeze, Lawmakers Express Concern

Several lawmakers are questioning the governor's decision to hire a former legislator and member of the House Democratic leadership team. Dan Surra, a recently defeated lawmaker who previously represented Elk and Clearfield counties, began his work in a newly created position at a salary of more than $95,000 a year, in the midst of Rendell's recently imposed hiring and pay freeze. A number of GOP lawmakers have sent a letter to Gov. Ed Rendell asking that Surra's hire be rescinded. The position is a special advisor with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which has been forced to leave 11 positions vacant since the governor instituted the hiring freeze in response to the state's estimated $1.9 billion budget deficit. In a separate bid to cut costs last summer, DCNR discontinued posting lifeguards at state park swimming areas.

House Republican Task Forces Hit the Ground Running

Several recently formed task forces under the House Republican Policy Committee, led by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), have gotten to work and are wasting no time in addressing the issues Pennsylvanians care about most. This past week, the task forces officially met to discuss plans for the upcoming legislative session. The task forces are charged with the development of comprehensive strategies to address several key issues affecting the Commonwealth: state spending, education and job training, energy, health care, infrastructure, and reforming state government. In the coming weeks, the task forces will continue to meet and deliver recommendations aimed at controlling state spending. For additional details, visit

Tougher Teen Driving Laws Proposed

Legislation to protect young drivers in the state of Pennsylvania and make roads safer for all motorists is set to be reintroduced by Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks). The proposal would make several notable changes to the existing law including: additional behind-the-wheel training, a restriction on the number of passengers a junior driver could transport, and increased enforcement powers for police concerning junior drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts. As many as 32 other states have enacted legislation to limit the number of passengers a teen driver can carry. Recent studies suggest that the fatality rate for teenage drivers is more than four times that of adults.

State Assistance Available to Those Struggling with Heating Bills

Assistance to individuals who are unable to afford home-heating costs this winter remains available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (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 and provides assistance to those in danger of losing heat due to emergencies. Eligibility for this year was expanded to 210 percent of the Poverty Income Guideline. As a result, an additional 80,000 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. For more information, call LIHEAP toll-free at 866-857-7095 or visit


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Reform advocate Eric Epstein, a veteran observer of the Harrisburg scene, is not impressed with the "new" Democratic House leadership in the state Legislature.

Epstein is very familiar with Rep. Todd Eachus, the new House majority leader.

From Epstein's Capitol Domes blog:
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Legislature's "new" majority leader, Todd Eachus, announced that the House of Representatives was under "new management." The same day, the "new" majority whip, Bill DeWeese, introduced HB 21 to promote table games at Pennsylvania casinos. The next day, Dan Surra, former majority caucus administrator, landed a "new" job during a hiring freeze.

Alakazamm! Whoosh! Everything is fine.

Wait a minute. I think we've seen this magic act before.

Who is the new magician?

Eachus voted to increase his salary 22 percent from $69,648 to $85,102, defended the pay grab and kept the money. Mr. New Management never paid back the unconstitutional pay raise.

Eachus is a protégée of indicted former Whip Mike Veon. In fact, it was Mr. New Management who retired Veon's campaign debt. "Mike's contribution as a leader to our collective effort meant a lot to us," said House Majority Policy Chairman Eachus of Luzerne County, who chairs the campaign committee. But the committee's other three leaders -- Reps. Joe Preston, Dan Frankel and Jennifer Mann -- apparently had no knowledge of the two payments
As that great British philosopher Pete Townshend once said, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Read Epstein's full blog posting, "Todd Eachus: New boss, same magic tricks," at Capitol Domes.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

'Virginity auction' a hoax?

The more I read about Natalie Dylan, the 22-year-old college student who is auctioning off her virginity, the more I'm beginning to suspect it's part of an elaborate hoax.

I don't think Ms. Dylan is planning to have a one-night stand for money to pay for her education. I think it's a publicity stunt.

From a story in an Australian newspaper, The Herald-Sun, that claims an unnamed 39-year-old Australian businessman is now the highest bidder for Natalie's chastity:
She was inspired in the bizarre money-making scheme by her sister Avia, 23, who lived comfortably during her own degree course after working as a prostitute for just three weeks.

"I was quite shocked at the time when Avia told me she was prepared to sleep with people for money," said Natalie.

"But Avia was determined to raise some money quickly and she researched it all and told me how it could be done safely through a legal brothel.

"She is very beautiful and confident and so she attracted a lot of clients and made several thousand dollars in just three weeks."

Natalie began researching prostitution for her own degree course, as well as how virginity was prized in different cultures.

"I looked at other cases of where women had been paid for their virginity and realised that men were willing to pay large sums in return," she said.
Do you get the idea that it's an academic exercise? Don't you think that Ms. Dylan is planning to write her thesis on the subject or probably a book? Can film rights to her story be far behind?

And what's with the racy photos of Ms. Dylan circulating around the Internet? How many college students post these kind of photos online unless they're trying to get publicity?

I think Ms. Dylan has had her 15 minutes of fame.

A Democrat who makes sense

This doesn't happen very often, so pay attention. I have something nice to say about a Democrat.

I came across a very good blog called Right Democrat after the proprietor left a comment on one of my blog posts. Right Democrat has been around since June 2005 and it appears to be based in Ohio.

Postings are a little light (137 in 2008 compared to 2,896 on my blog last year, but when Right Democrat does post, it's always interesting stuff.)

This is how the anonymous proprietor bills his/her site:
Right Democrat is the voice of Democrats who believe in economic populism and social traditionalism. This site is dedicated to revitalizing the mainstream populist wing of our party. For too long, both parties have ignored the concerns of working and middle class Americans. The Democratic Party must embrace mainstream values. We need to appeal to people of faith. It is imperative that Democrats win back the values and national security voters. Democrats can then build a governing majority around on issues like health care, education, protecting Social Security, fair trade and defending the rights of workers and consumers.
Who can argue with such a common-sense viewpoint?

Check the blog out at

It's not often you find a worthwhile blog that isn't published by a conservative.

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Bush's Last Press Conference

State-run media under Obama

The corrupt liberal media has reared its ugly ahead again.

Imagine if a Bush cabinet nominee failed to pay his taxes or hired an illegal alien to work for him. The outrage from the liberal media would be deafening. Imagine the wall-to-wall coverage of the "scandal" on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC until the nominee dropped his or her bid for a cabinet post.

But this is 2009 and the corrupt liberal media is propping up the shaky Obama administration, which has been plagued by incompetence and scandal during the transition.

Instead of calling for the immediate withdrawal of Obama Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner, the corrupt liberal media is working with the Obama transition team to bury the story and get Geithner confirmed by the Senate.

We're in a whole new era, folks. There will be no criticism allowed by the state-run media once Obama takes control of government next week.

The state-run media will work with the president and his minions to provide only essential information that the proletariat needs to continue its allegiance to the state.

There are a few voices of dissent. Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media, is appalled that the corrupt liberal media has excused Geithner's failure over a period of years to pay a variety of taxes and to make sure those he hired as domestic help had legal status in the U.S. The media is parroting the Obama excuse that it was an "honest mistake."

In a column, Kincaid says, "Based on the documents that have come out, he [Geithner] is either a tax cheat or a dummy when it comes to his basic personal finances and tax matters. Do we want either one as head of the Treasury Department?"

From Accuracy in Media:
Kincaid suggests poor coverage of the scandal by NBC News may be related to the fact that Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and chief executive officer of NBC parent company General Electric (GE), is on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose president is Timothy Geithner.

"It is also interesting to note that a subsidiary of GE, GE Capital, is getting some of the federal bailout money that Geithner, if he is confirmed, will have a role in managing," Kincaid notes. He asks, "Conflict of interest, anyone?"

He adds, "Another member of the board of the New York Fed is Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, who serves on the board of the Washington Post Company. This is the media conglomerate whose media properties include the Washington Post newspaper, Newsweek, and Slate."

"Connections like this help explain why Geithner's tax problems won't become a scandal or even much of a controversy for major elements of the media," the AIM editor concludes.
Read Kincaid's full column, "Why Are the Media Protecting Geithner?," at the Accuracy In Media Web site.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is the best Obama can do?

We all know about Gov. Bill Richardson's withdrawal as commerce secretary because of a grand jury investigation into a pay-for-play scheme involving New Mexico state contracts.

Now we learn that Timothy Geithner, the Wall Street tycoon that Barack Obama picked as his treasury secretary, neglected to pay $42,000 in back taxes. Obama calls Geithner's failure to pay his taxes an "innocent mistake." Who hasn't been there?

Also, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Obama's pick to run the Homeland Security Department, hasn't bothered to complete her home state's security plan in the six years after she took office.

Maybe we could send a message to Osama bin-Laden and ask him to hold off on plans to attack us for a few years until the Obama administration is up and running.

Joe Biden's foot-in-mouth disease. Hillary Clinton's past. CIA Director-nominee Leon Panetta's total lack of experience with intelligence matters.

I feel safe, don't you?

This is the best and brightest the Democratic Party has to offer? Is this the best Obama can do?

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Keeping an eye on PA Legislature

Those very helpful folks at The Commonwealth Foundation have launched a new Web site to help Pennsylvania residents keep an eye on the state Legislature. provides "concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Pennsylvania House and Senate," according to the site.

Visitors can search bills and votes by legislator, category or keyword.

Guests can also post comments about bills and discuss other state policy issues on the Web sites' forums. People have already left comments on Judicial Elections, Transparency and Mandatory Minimum Sentencing. also features handy links to other Web sites that offer information about public policy issues.

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'Talking Politics' on the radio

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

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


Police: Sen. Rhoades killed by drunken driver

The untimely death of Pennsylvania state Sen. James J. Rhoades has taken an even more tragic turn.

The driver of the pickup truck that struck Rhoades' vehicle head-on on Oct. 17, 2008, was driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Thomas Senavitis, 45, Lehighton, had a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit, police announced today.

Rhoades, 66, a seven-term Republican from Schuylkill County, died of multiple injuries on Oct. 18, 2008. His wife Mary was seriously injured.

Police have charged Senavitis with DUI, vehicular aggravated assault while under the influence, vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and several traffic violations.

The Associated Press reports that Senavitis denied any responsibility for the crash at his arraignment Wednesday. Senavitis maintains he was not drunk at the time of the crash, according to the AP. He is being held on $25,000 bail.

Rhoades was re-elected posthumously to an eighth term in November.

A special election will be held March 3 to fill his seat. The Republican candidate is state Rep. David Argall. The Democratic candidate is Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Steven Lukach.

The 29h Senatorial District includes parts of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.

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Vote of confidence for Obama?

Coalition: PA needs more nuclear energy

Armed with a new poll that says Pennsylvania residents support the expansion of nuclear power to meet future energy needs, a statewide coalition has formed to promote nuclear energy.

The coalition is made up of community leaders, technical experts and others who believe nuclear energy is vital to Pennsylvania's future.

The group's goal is to advocate for nuclear energy and increase awareness of the environmental and economic benefits it brings to Pennsylvania, according to a press released announcing the launch of PA Energy Alliance.

Pennsylvania is the nation's second largest producer of nuclear energy and gets more than one-third of its electricity from this carbon-free source, says the Pennsylvania Energy Alliance for Generating Reliable Electricity for Our Energy Needs (PA Energy Alliance).

The alliance released the results of a statewide poll showing that a large majority of state residents believe nuclear energy is important to meeting the nation's electricity requirements.

The poll of 800 Pennsylvania residents, conducted by Terry Madonna Opinion Research last September, found that:
-- Over 82 percent of respondents believe nuclear power is important to
meeting America's energy needs;

-- 82 percent believe nuclear power is a reliable source of electricity;

-- 73 percent believe nuclear power will lead the country to greater independence from foreign energy sources;

-- Over 66 percent believe nuclear power is safe;

-- Nearly 60 percent believe nuclear power will lead to increased national security;

-- 57 percent believe the use of nuclear power will reduce the effects of global warming.
The survey specifically asked about two of the state's nuclear plants - Three Mile Island in Dauphin County and Limerick Generating Station in Montgomery County.

Three-fourths of those surveyed said they have a favorable opinion of the nuclear plants.

"Our poll found that overwhelming majorities in Pennsylvania believe that nuclear energy is safe and reliable, that it will help reduce the effects of global warming, and that it will lead to greater energy independence and increased national security," said G. Terry Madonna. "Of particular note is that these views are held by Pennsylvanians who live near nuclear energy plants, as well as those who do not."

The PA Energy Alliance includes community and business leaders, public officials, scientists and others who support energy policies "that meet the state's needs, protect our environment and improve our economy."

A primary goal of the Alliance is the continued safe operation of the state's five nuclear plants, according to the group.

Karen Walsh, former deputy chief of staff to U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., is the executive director of the PA Energy Alliance.

Initial administrative funding for the coalition comes from Exelon Corp., which operates nuclear plants in Pennsylvania.

Among the most notable members of the coalition: Pete Duncan and Dave Hess, former secretaries of the Department of Environmental Protection; Forrest J. Remick, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State University; Former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark S. Schweiker; and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

To join the coalition or learn more about the PA Energy Alliance go to

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

U.S. ranks 6th in world in economic freedom

Maybe we're just used to being No. 1 in everything, but I find it troubling that the United States finished no better than 6th in the 2009 "Index of Economic Freedom" published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation.

And with the Barack Obama administration taking over and Democratic control of Congress, look for the U.S. to slip even further in coming years.

The 10 freedoms measured by the Index are: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labor freedom. Ratings in each category were averaged to produce the overall Index score.

Here are the Top 10 countries:

1 Hong Kong
2 Singapore
3 Australia
4 Ireland
5 New Zealand
6 United States
7 Canada
8 Denmark
9 Switzerland
10 United Kingdom

To view the full ranking of 183 nations in each of the 10 categories, visit

North America Leads World in Economic Freedom, 2009 Index Finds


Woman sells virginity to pay for college

Has it come to this? Everyone complains about the high cost of a college education, but one young lady in California is taking it to the extreme.

Natalie Dylan, 22, a self-proclaimed virgin, is willing to have sex with the highest bidder in her quest to pay for her master's degree in women's studies.

There's plenty of interest so far. More than 10,000 men have bid on the opportunity to deflower Ms. Dylan. The bidding has reached $3.7 million.

For more on this story, check out The Telegram newspaper Web site.

H/T Without Objection


If govt. discourages smoking, who will pay tobacco taxes?

The National Association of Tobacco Outlets predicts that Pennsylvania would lose between $95 million and $106 million in revenues if Congress increases the federal excise tax on cigarettes and tobacco products.

The total loss of revenues to all 50 states is estimated at somewhere between $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion, according to the association, which represents businesses that sell tobacco products.

Congress is considering raising the federal tax on tobacco by 61 cents to fund the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"The politicians in Washington who are pushing for a punitive 156 percent increase in cigarette taxes and even higher tax increases on other tobacco products will exacerbate the current deep recession through the loss of up to 117,000 union and non-union jobs and at least $1.8 billion annually in lost revenues for the states," said Tom Briant, the association's executive director.

Massive Tobacco Tax Increase by Congress Spells Even More Economic Disaster for Jobs and State Economies

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

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Area lawmakers to host health expo

Two SE Pennsylvania lawmakers are hosting a "Disease and Disability Resource Expo" to help provide constituents with a healthy start to the new year.

Sponsored by state Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R44th, and state Rep. Mike Vereb, R-150th, the Expo is planned for Saturday, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Arcola Intermediate School, 4000 Eagleville Road, Eagleville.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and promote the many resources available to residents living with, or those who know someone living with a range of diseases and disabilities from cognitive to physical, youth to elderly.
The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, go to or


Blaming Israel?

Rendell rewards ousted legislator with $95,000-a-year job

This is wrong on so many levels.

Facing a projected $1.7 billion budget deficit, Gov. Ed Rendell imposed a hiring freeze last fall, which was a sensible thing to do.

But apparently the hiring freeze doesn't apply to career politicians tossed from office by voters. Especially when that lawmaker is a longtime political ally of the Democratic governor.

The Associated Press reports that Rendell made an exception to the hiring freeze and created a new job for former state Rep. Dan A. Surra, a Democrat who represented Elk and Clearfield counties before losing his re-election bid in November.

The new job title is "senior adviser" for the the "Pennsylvania Wilds" tourism program, which promotes outdoor activities in northern Pennsylvania.

The job pays -- are you ready for this? -- $95,000 a year — which is about $20,000 more than the starting salary of a Pennsylvania legislator. Surla was making $89,000 last year as a member of the Democratic Caucus leadership, so it's still a substantial pay raise, paid for by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania

Rendell's press secretary told the Associated Press the new job for Surra is a wise investment for Pennsylvania taxpayers. Surra's primary responsibility will be to balance the region's tourism with the surging interest in drilling for natural gas, Chuck Ardo told the wire service.

Let's review. The voters kick Surra out after 17 years in Harrisburg, but Gov. Rendell rewards the veteran politician with a cushy state job and a $6,000 pay raise. Surra can now pad his generous state pension with even more taxpayer dollars.

Only in Pennsylvania. Only under the "pay-to-play" politics that Rendell brought to Harrisburg six years ago.

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RNC: Dems put politics above the people

From a statement issued by the Republican National Committee:
Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have placed Washington politics above the people of Illinois or transparency. Democrats had every opportunity to strip Governor Blagojevich of his power to appoint a U.S. Senator, but ultimately they accepted a Blagojevich appointee rather than risk losing a Senate seat in a special election.
RNC Statement on Democrats Seating Blagojevich Appointee

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Ed Rendell will give you nightmares

Pennsylvania tourism officials are trying to maximize the state's hold on Groundhog Day with the debut of a new Web site,

Be warned: The site takes forever to load. And how this site is supposed to attract tourists to Pennsylvania is beyond me. But then again, I'm one of those people who has a hard time justifying spending other people's money especially tax dollars on a ridiculous Web site.

Let's just say the Rendell administration's latest waste of taxpayer money on "groundhog dreams" will probably give you nightmares.

(Apparently I'm not the only one who feels that way. Check out this post -- We spent taxpayer money on this #@!$? -- at POLICY BLOG

To see the original state press release, follow the link below:

Governor Rendell: New Groundhog Adventures Debut on

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George W. Bush's final days

Look for Obama to play the same games

Isn't O'Hare Airport in Chicago? Isn't Barack Obama from Chicago?

How much do you want to bet that Obama sneaks this multi-billion dollar pork project through Congress?

The new Obama motto: "The more things change, the more they stay the same"

Read more at the link below:

The Next Giant Taxpayer Pork Project is on the Runway

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Obama a comic book hero?

The cult of personality surrounding Barack Obama has gone from the ridiculous to the absurd. Obama as superhero? Gimme a break!

Did you hear the news that Marvel is featuring 'The Chosen One' in a special edition of Spider-Man comics?

Your heard right. Obama and Spider-Man team up to save the world.

From an Associated Press account:
The comic starts with Spider-Man's alter-ego Peter Parker taking photographs at the inauguration, before spotting two identical Obamas.

Parker decides "the future president's gonna need Spider-Man," and springs into action, using basketball to determine the real Obama and punching out the impostor.
Obama thanks him with a fist-bump.

Obama has said that as a child, he collected Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comic books. His Senate Web site used to have a photo of him posing in front of a Superman statue.
Amazing Spider-Man Issue #583 goes on sale Jan. 14 for $3.99. Don't be surprised if the comic book sells out.

And keep an eye out for the Obama breakfast cereal coming soon to a store near you.

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'Top 10 rules for new legislators'

Brad Bumstead, the veteran Harrisburg reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, offers some advice for the 34 freshman state legislators sworn in last week.

While the lawmakers go through an extensive orientation program, Bumstead's advice should be taken to heart.

"For the most part, don't emulate the freshmen class of 2007-2008," Bumstead writes. "Elected in the aftermath of the 2005 pay raise debacle, the 50-plus member class was expected to be the catalyst for wide-ranging reform. With a few notable exceptions -- like Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Uniontown, on open records and Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery County, who is bulldogging the Gaming Control Board -- that class was largely a bust."

Some other good advice offered by Bustead:
Don't take dinners from lobbyists or other members who get lobbyists to pick up the tab. It's another step on the road to corruption. Meet with lobbyists in your office during business hours.

Don't overdo it with press releases. Few news outlets use them. Wait until you really have something important to say. Less is better.

Never vote for a bill increasing your pay or benefits. If you hear it's happening, speak out against it ahead of time -- not afterward.
Check out Bumstead's "Top 10 rules for new legislators" at the newspaper's Web site.

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