Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PA disciplinary action against licensed professionals

You may not be aware of this, but Pennsylvania licenses and regulates many types of professionals, including accountants, barbers, car dealers, chiropractors, dentists, doctors, funeral directors, optometrists, pharmacists and others.

When they violate the terms of their licenses or otherwise break the law or mistreat customers, the state can issue fines, suspend licenses or revoke licenses.

From a press release issued by the state:
The Pennsylvania Department of State took disciplinary actions against 94 licensed or commissioned professionals from February through March 2009.

A comprehensive list of sanctions imposed by the 27 boards and commissions under the department's Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs is available at the Department of State's Web site, www.dos.state.pa.us

New and archived disciplinary actions can be accessed by clicking on "Professional Licensure" under the "Areas of Interest," then selecting "Disciplinary Actions" from the left-hand side of the Bureau of Professional and Occupation Affairs page.

Each entry includes the name of the respondent, the license number (if any), the respondent's last known business address registered with the bureau, the sanction imposed, a brief description of the basis for the disciplinary or corrective measure and the effective date.

Anyone who suspects unlicensed activity by an individual or facility, or who has been a victim of unethical treatment, can file a complaint online or by calling the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs at 1-800-822-2113.

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The Obama war strategy

Liberal chattering

Besides, it's unconstitutional

Two prominent attorneys offer another reason the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 -- also known as "card check" -- should be rejected by Congress: It's unconstitutional.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey argue that the card check legislation that denies workers the right to a secret ballot violates the First Amendment and probably the Fifth and 14th Amendment due process clauses too.

From their column:
There can be little doubt that the act of voting on important issues is a form of symbolic speech, residing at the very core of the interests protected by the Constitution. The secret ballot has not only been adopted in federal and state elections, it is recognized as a fundamental human right in a number of international instruments. This includes the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a party, that requires secret
ballot voting as "guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors."Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

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Taxes just might kill you in Pennsylvania

From an article by Brian Bowling in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Benjamin Franklin once quipped that nothing is certain "except death and taxes," but even he couldn't know a tax on death would be just as certain in his home state.

Census Bureau figures released Monday show that about 2.5 percent of Pennsylvania's 2008 revenue came from "death and gift" taxes, the highest percentage of any state. Death taxes can take one of two forms — a tax on the estate of the deceased or a tax on the amounts inherited by survivors. Until 2003, Pennsylvania had both.

While the state has followed the federal government and a majority of states in phasing out the estate tax, Pennsylvania clings to its 183-year-old inheritance tax.
Most states have eliminated or drastically reduced the "death tax" but not Pennsylvania. Another glaring example of why Pennsylvania should be renamed Taxsylvania.

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

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Rendell official back at work after stint in alcohol rehab

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor & Industry Sandi Vito is back on the job after spending two weeks seeking treatment for an alcohol problem that was exposed after Vito was cited by police for public intoxication.

Gov. Ed Rendell welcomed Vito back with a vote of confidence.

"Sandi's personal difficulties are no reflection on her work performance," Rendell said in a statement. "In the past 14 months she has led the Department of Labor & Industry brilliantly. Since 2003 she has been an invaluable leader in reforming Pennsylvania's workforce development system to align it with the needs of business and industry."

Read Rendell's full statement at the link below:

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Welcomes Return of Acting Secretary Vito to Lead Labor & Industry

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Newspaper: Rendell's latest hire worked for Mike Veon

Gov. Ed Rendell has made another exception to the hiring freeze he imposed last fall, offering a $102,000-a-year state job to ex-state Rep. Mike Veon's lobbying partner, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Her name is Colleen Kopp and she is Rendell's new senior deputy secretary for legislative affairs.

Veon, the former No. 2 ranking Democrat in the state House, is right smack in the middle of two of the biggest corruption scandals in Pennsylvania political history.

He is facing charges involving the Bonusgate scheme in which millions of dollars were awarded to state workers for allegedly conducting political work on taxpayers' time. Veon has also been charged in a scheme involving misuse of state money to fund a nonprofit organization that received $10 million from the state.

Kopp has not been charged with any wrongdoing. She does, however, have a long association with Veon, including stints as executive director and chief of staff of Veon's legislative staff.

Reporters Brad Bumsted and Debra Erdley said Kopp is the third prominent Democrat hired by Rendell since the hiring freeze was imposed.

From their article:
Rendell hired Colleen Kopp last week, the third high-profile exception he has made to the freeze he implemented in September. He hired defeated Democratic Rep. Dan Surra of Clearfield County for $95,000 a year to oversee a nature-tourism project, and last week agreed to pay Ken Snyder of Philadelphia $100,000 to tout the federal stimulus package. Snyder, a public relations man who consulted for Rendell in 2003, represented a nonprofit pillaged by convicted former Sen. Vincent Fumo.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

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Sen. Gregg on Obama's deficit spending, dramatic move to the left

Friday, March 27, 2009

Obama Island

State Capitol Roundup for March 27

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

Proposals to Increase Health Care Accessibility Road Blocked

Three Republican-sponsored proposals that would have helped the uninsured obtain quality and affordable health care services failed in the Democrat-controlled House. Reps. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks) and Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster), who chair the House Republican Policy Committee's Health Care Task Force, expressed frustration that commonsense solutions are being road blocked. The measures included proposals by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) to offer grants to health care facilities for upgrading equipment that would reduce medical errors; Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny) to retool the state's AdultBasic Program by applying sliding income scales to cover more of the uninsured; and Rep. Tom Killion (R-Delaware/Chester) to offer an affordable, basic insurance policy.

Lawmakers Push for Legislative Oversight of Federal Stimulus Funds

House Republican lawmakers gathered this week to call for legislative oversight over the acceptance and distribution of more than $9 billion in federal stimulus funds. House Bill 993, sponsored by Rep. Curt Schroder (R-Chester), would require the Legislature to approve all highway and transportation projects using stimulus funds. Additionally, Schroder is authoring House Resolution 165 to require the House and Senate to approve or reject stimulus money slated for Pennsylvania. Other measures include House Bill 991 from Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) to create a stimulus oversight council and House Bill 992, authored by Reps. Tim Krieger (R-Westmoreland) and Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland), to require that state agencies show the Legislature how stimulus funds are intended to be spent before the money is distributed.

House Republicans Unveil 'Energize PA' Proposal to Tap Marcellus Shale

House Republicans have unveiled a comprehensive alternative to the job smothering "severance tax" on natural gas proposed by Gov. Ed Rendell. The "Energize PA" plan would open 390,000 acres of state forest land to drilling during the next three years, providing at least $260 million per year for state and local governments as well as conservation districts. Drilling companies would pay a minimum of $2,000 per acre under the plan, a percentage of which would be used to address the state's growing budget deficit. The plan also has the potential to create 7,300 new private-sector jobs in the state's emerging Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling industry, a stark contrast from the 53,000 jobs estimated to be lost if Rendell's plan is implemented. The Marcellus Shale formation has been estimated to contain enough recoverable natural gas to supply the entire country for at least two years.

Legislation to Require Ignition Interlocks for DUI Offenders Reintroduced

Legislation recently reintroduced by Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks) to require ignition interlocks on vehicles of first-time DUI offenders was the subject of discussion in the House Transportation Committee this week. If passed, offenders would be required to operate their vehicles with the interlock device for a minimum of six months. Depending on the individual's blood alcohol content at the time of arrest, the period could climb to a maximum of one year. In 2007 alone, there were more than 53,000 drunk driving arrests on Pennsylvania's roads. The Pennsylvania State Police estimate that 535 deaths were caused by drunk drivers in that year. Current law in Pennsylvania requires ignition interlock systems for only second-offense DUI convictions.


Columnist: Some want newspapers to fail

Everyone knows the newspaper industry is struggling, but there seems to be a growing number of people who are enjoying watching the demise of some of the nation's great newspapers.

Randy Siegel, co-founder of the Newspaper Project, argues that many of the people who are sounding the death knell have ulterior motives.

From Siegel's column in The Providence Journal:
As newspaper companies fight for survival and try to rectify many of the mistakes they have made in the last decade, they don’t deserve a break from anyone — their readers, their advertisers, or their competitors. What they do deserve, however, is a little more objective coverage of their problems and more detailed disclosure about the possible motives of those "critics" and "analysts" who are hardly unbiased observers.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

You can find out more about the Newspaper Project at www.newspaperproject.org

There's also an interesting column by Leonard Pitts Jr. that says politicians and government bureaucrats would love to see fewer newspapers because there would be no one left to hold them accountable.

From Pitts' column:
Too many of us fail to understand what that death would mean, believe newspapers provide no service they can't get elsewhere ... Local TV news specializes in crime, weather and sports. CNN has a national purview. Even the Internet primarily synthesizes reporting done in other media.

No, only the local paper performs the critical function of holding accountable the mayor, the governor, the local magnates and potentates for how they spend your money, run your institutions, validate or violate your trust. If newspapers go, no other entity will have the wherewithal to do that. Which means the next Blagojevich gets away with it.
Read "Don't expect sympathy cards from crooks, corrupt politicians," at The Miami Herald's Web site.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fractured Fairy Tale

Catch me on the radio

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

"Talking Politics" can be heard every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. You can call the station at 610-326-4000 with questions or comments.

If you can't pick up the station's signal, you can listen to the program on your computer. The show is simulcast at www.pottsmerc.com and www.1370wpaz.com


'State Lawmakers' Outside Income, Private Interests' exposed

WTAE-TV4 in Pittsburgh has been doing some outstanding investigative reporting on the Pennsylvania Legislature, the most expensive in the country and arguably the most inefficient and corrupt state legislature in the U.S.

The latest investigation by reporter Jim Parsons exposes cases of lawmakers who benefit financially from ties to private interests, often leading to conflicts of interest.

A common example: Lawmakers leasing office space in buildings they own or buildings owned by political allies, all paid for by taxpayers.

From the Team 4 report:
Now, a Team 4 investigation finds many of our full-time legislators in Harrisburg get outside income from private interests -- and sometimes, those interests can conflict with the public's.

Remember, we pay our state lawmakers a minimum of almost $80,000 each to represent us full-time -- but our Team 4 investigation found a majority of lawmakers report income from at least one other source.

And in reading through this annual financial interest statement for each state lawmaker, we also discovered something else: More than one-third of state senators and a quarter of House members sit on legislative committees that oversee the industries from which those same lawmakers reported receiving income, owning stock or serving on a board of directors.

Critics say that's a conflict of interest. But there's no law against it.
You can read the transcript of the report online or watch the actually report by the Team 4 investigation online at the station's Web site, www.thepittsburghchannel.com

(H/T GrassrootsPA.com)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Pennsylvania is facing a $2.3 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Thousands of state workers could be furloughed in the next couple of months.

More than 41,000 Pennsylvania residents lost their jobs in February.

Nearly 1 million Pennsylvania residents are without health insurance.

Pennsylvania has the most "structurally deficient" bridges in the United States.

There's a strong possibility the state's slot parlors won't generate enough revenues to trigger any property tax relief this year.

With so many pressing issues, what is the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives up to these days?

What are the legislative priorities the most expensive state legislature in the country is working on? Here's a prime example:
House Bill 621 - An act selecting, designating and adopting the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) as the official reptile for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, passed out of the State Government Committee today. A full House vote is expected next week.
Glad to see House Speaker Keith McCall and Majority Leader Todd Eachus have their priorities in order. Keep up the good work, boys.


Auditor General to review PA 'fire sale' of state office building

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is reviewing the Pennsylvania Department of General Service's agreement to sell the State Office Building in Pittsburgh for $4.6 million, claiming the purchase price amounts to a "fire sale."

The Department of General Services announced Tuesday it was selling the 16-story structure to River Vue Associates LP of Canonsburg.

"I continue to believe this is the worst possible deal for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania," Wagner said in a statement. "It makes no sense for the commonwealth to sell this prized asset -- the signature building of state government in Western Pennsylvania -- for the lowest possible price during the most depressed real-estate market in decades."

Department of General Services Secretary James P. Creedon countered that selling the Pittsburgh State Office Building is in the best interest of taxpayers.

Creedon said he welcomes the audit from Wagner's office.

"We have discussed this decision and engaged in the process to sell the Pittsburgh State Office Building publicly for more than two years," Creedon said in a statement. "While the auditor general seemed to only become interested in this topic during the last month, he is welcome to review any and all of our material and we will fully cooperate with him in that review."

Creedon says the decision to sell the 50-year-old building was based on many factors, including "significant annual operating costs and the substantial costs necessary to rehabilitate the structure."

Engineering estimates show that nearly $65 million in state funds would be needed to thoroughly rehabilitate the building, Creedon said.

The state will save $14 million by selling the building and moving state employees into leased space in downtown Pittsburgh, Creedon said.

Wagner isn't buying it.

"The land alone is worth more than the sale price," Wagner said in a press release, adding that the state has agreed to purchase the City of Pittsburgh's Municipal Courts Building, which is one-fifth the size of the State Office Building and is situated in a less desirable location, under the Liberty Bridge and next to the Allegheny County Jail, for $9 million.

The State Office Building sale is a bad deal, Wagner argues, because "there would not be enough profits from the sale to offset moving expenses and pay for the first year of leases at multiple locations in downtown Pittsburgh, saddling taxpayers with an additional spending burden."

Read Wagner's press release at the link below:

Auditor General Jack Wagner Will Review State's Agreement to Sell Pittsburgh State Office Building

Read Creedon's response at the link below:

DGS Secretary Says Sale of Pittsburgh State Office Building Is in Best Interest of Taxpayers

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The AIG Business Model

More corruption charges

Breaking news on the corruption front involving the Pennsylvania Legislature.

From an article by Brad Bumsted and Debra Erdley in today's edition of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Additional charges of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest were filed against former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon today, accusing him of using a Beaver County nonprofit for his personal and political benefit, the state Attorney General's Office said.

Attorney General Tom Corbett is holding a news conference in Pittsburgh to announce the latest phase of his investigation of possible corruption in the Legislature.

Charges were filed against Veon, 52, formerly of Beaver Falls, and former district office staffer Annamarie Peretta-Rosepink, 46, for their use of the Beaver Initiative for Growth. Veon and former Sen. Gerald LaValle, D-Rochester, funded the nonprofit with more than $10 million in state grants over a decade.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

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U.S. Postal Service asking for bailout

Guess who's looking for a bailout?

Postmaster General John Potter told Congress today the U.S. Postal Service will run out of money this year without help from the government.

The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion last year and expects a bigger loss this year, Potter said. The agency is projecting a $6 billion loss in 2010.

How the hell do you lose that much money when you're a government monopoly?

Potter is asking Congress for permission to cut Saturday mail delivery to save $3.5 billion, but it still doesn't get the Postal Service out of the red. Maybe Potter can hire some of the executives at AIG.

If you need any further proof that the government can't do its most basic jobs, look no further than the Postal Service.

So of course, Barack Obama wants the government to do more, including taking over the health system in this country.

Picture yourself waiting in line to see a doctor just like you wait in line to buy stamps.

Stop the madness.

U.S. Postal Service Details Economic Viability Strategy

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That sinking feeling

Census count begins

More than 140,000 Census workers will begin canvassing across the United States on March 30 in an effort to verify 145 million addresses.

What can possibly go wrong?

Census Workers to Verify Addresses in the U.S.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The pot calling the kettle black

Coalition Applauds Specter for Opposing Card Check Bill

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace is pleased with Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to oppose the job-killing EFCA (aka Card Check) bill.

"CDW appreciates Sen. Specter's principled decision to protect worker privacy and secret ballot elections," said Brian Worth of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

Without Specter's support, the Democrats don't have the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass the bill.

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace Applauds Senator Specter for Opposing Anti-Worker Card Check Bill

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Judge: Flipping the 'finger' is free speech

One man's obscene gesture is another man's Constitutional right to free speech, according to a federal judge.

From The Associated Press:
A federal judge says a man who flipped his middle finger at a Pittsburgh police officer shouldn't have been cited for disorderly conduct.

David Hackbart, of Pittsburgh, made the gesture at another driver in April 2006, then made the gesture again when he heard someone yelling at him — realizing only later the second person was a police officer.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on Hackbart's behalf saying the gesture is protected speech and U.S. District Judge David Cercone agreed in a 19-page decision filed Monday.

Still to be determined at an upcoming trial is whether city police were improperly trained. The ACLU claims city police have filed 188 citations for similar offenses in 2005, 2006 and 2007. A trial date is pending.


Pro-Lifers Plans at Notre Dame: Keep Obama from Speaking

Why would anyone invite the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history to speak at a Catholic university?

Pro-Lifers Plans at Notre Dame: Keep Obama from Speaking

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Taken for a ride

1 Question for Obama

From the American Small Business League:
As America slides deeper and deeper into recession, 27 million small business owners want President Barack Obama to answer one question at his press conference Tuesday.

Why are you allowing Fortune 500 firms to participate in government economic stimulus contracting programs designated for small businesses?

Since 2003, over a dozen federal investigations have been released, which found billions of dollars in federal small business contracts have been diverted to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of other large businesses around the world.

A recent investigative story by the Washington Post found up to 38.5 percent of all federal small business contracts were actually going to Fortune 500 firms alone.
Read the full release at the link below:

Small Businesses Want President Obama to Answer One Question

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Obama's 'gallows humor'

If you missed the Barack Obama interview on "60 Minutes" the other night, you missed one of the most disturbing television events of all time.

Without a teleprompter to read from, Barack Obama fumbled his way through the segment with CBS News correspondent Steve Kroft, but also exhibited a disturbing laugh when Kroft asked about the sagging U.S. economy.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review called Obama's performance "shocking" and more proof that Obama, the media-created celebrity, doesn't have a clue about the presidency.

From the editorial:
The economy continues to struggle. Americans keep losing their jobs. Politicians keep insisting we can spend our way back to prosperity. The administration proposes stealth tax increases. Wealth redistribution is far outpacing wealth creation. And Barack Obama is nervously chortling, one minute striking an optimistic tone and the very next talking of a new depression.

Can you imagine a similar performance from Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression? Or John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis? Or Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War?
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.


Deja Vu All Over Again

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rendell fires PA Turnpike chairman

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin, the target of an FBI corruption investigation, gave himself an extended leave of absence on Saturday.

Gov. Ed Rendell handed Rubin a permanent leave on Monday, removing him from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission effective immediately.

Rubin has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but his name came up during the corruption trial of former sate Sen. Vince Fumo, who was found guilty last week of 137 charges.

Rubin, of Philadelphia, has served on the Commission since June 1998 and was elected chairman in 2003.

Read Rendell's letter to Rubin at the link below:

PA Governor Rendell's Office Releases Letter to Mitchell Rubin

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Do you get the idea that our nation and state are in deep dodo?'

Camp Hill citizen-activist Bill McIntyre has been perusing the newspaper headlines lately and is having some doubts about the people running Pennsylvania and the United States, too.

Here is his latest mailing to "Friends of Responsible Government" and members of the Executive, Legislative & Judicial Branches of PA Government:
Dear Friends,

"Obama's plan: $9.3 trillion in red?" appeared as the lead headline at the top front page in today's Harrisburg Patriot-News. Another headline read "Rendell sees stimulus money as state's 'lifeline'" and appeared at the bottom of the page.

Headlines are defined as the most important items of news in a newspaper or broadcast news media. A well composed headline will draw the readers and/or listeners attention to the article that follows. Some headlines across the state that have caught my attention since my last letter were:

"Auditor General Wagner to audit liquor control board contract"

"Governor hires $100K publicist to tout stimulus money"


"Fumo found guilty on all 137 counts"

"Fumo corruption case expands; others could be investigated"

"Pennsylvania lawmakers have history of criminal prosecution"

"Losses top $28 billion for 2 state pensions"

"Legislators want 'equitable' budget cuts"

"E-mail may tie DeWeese to scandal"

"DeWeese, Dems play tug-of-war with case file"

"Rendell says LCB deal should be investigated"

"President of PHEAA's fundraising arm fired"

"Former PHEAA head wants severance package"

It just goes on and on!

Do you get the idea that our nation and state are in deep dodo? We have mortgaged our future and future generations. Yet, government continues to grow and to spend beyond our means to pay for it all. One headline that caught my eye was "Speaker's pen gift adds $4,000 to Pa. red ink" by Eric Heyl of the Tribune-Review.

Eric wrote - "As is customary for new speakers, McCall rewarded all 203 well-compensated House members with a gift from their leader. He bought them each an $18.95 desktop pen set and purchased seven spare sets – spending nearly $4,000. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday."

I would have been impressed with Speaker McCall's generous gesture had he paid for the pens himself. Eric's article continues – "McCall's annual salary is $122,245, but he's having the public pick up the tab for the pens. McCall essentially is attempting to expense an outrageous and unnecessary expenditure, one that his bosses – state taxpayers – shouldn't tolerate."

With a projected $2.3 billion deficit in this year's budget, every penny counts. Speaker McCall evidently didn't listen to his grandmother who might have told him, like my grandmother told me; if you watch your pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. With our projected budget shortfall, $4,000 is pennies, precious pennies!

A very concerned,
Bill McIntyre
About spending ourselves into bankruptcy

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

'Obama's budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much'

From Gov. Haley Barbour, who delivers the weekly Republican address:
"In this budget season we have choices. While states are controlling spending and balancing their budgets, the Obama budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. It's not the right choice for America."
Read a transcript of the full address at the link below:

RNC: Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

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Adult supervision needed

The bumbling start of the Obama Administration should come as no surprise considering Obama's age and minimal political inexperience, argues Alan Caruba in an excellent commentary titled, "Electing a Child to be President"

From Caruba's column:
His record as a one-term Illinois legislator is replete with "present" votes that revealed little about his political positions. He did not even wait to complete a full term as a U.S. Senator before almost immediately beginning to run for the highest office in the land.

In terms of political leadership, he is a child among grownups and a petulant one at that.

His first months in office have demonstrated an astonishing lack of judgment regarding those who he appointed to office, many of whom were revealed to be tax cheats and others who have since demonstrated a distinct lack of competence or preparation for positions of critical importance. Why, for example, would he appoint a longtime political operative like Leon Panetta to be the Director of the CIA?
Read the full post at Warning Signs

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Mystery Solved

State Capitol Roundup for March 20

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

Lawmakers Question Governor's Authority to Shift Program Funding

Reps. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) and Mario Civera (R-Delaware) are questioning the governor's authority to unilaterally shift state funding to programs other than those for which it was originally intended. Citing the state constitution, state law and existing case law, the lawmakers say they stand prepared to work with the governor to address changing budget needs through the legislative process. Additionally, the lawmakers urged the governor to produce a new budget proposal that reflects the use of federal stimulus funds. House Republicans have repeatedly urged the governor to use funds from the federal stimulus package for capital investments and job creation for out-of-work Pennsylvanians. For details, visit PAHouseGOP.com and click on "State Budget News."

$100,000 Price Tag for Part-Time Public Relations Consultant Tough to Swallow

Ironically, the same day the governor's state worker furlough plan was released, it was revealed that the governor hired a $100,000 part-time consultant. Ken Snyder, a Philadelphia political strategist and media consultant was hired to publicize Rendell's plan for using the federal stimulus funds. Republican members questioned the new use of tax dollars when the state should be cutting back on spending. The administration continues to dole out lucrative contracts and deals to well-connected individuals. Earlier this year, numerous lawmakers expressed concern when Rendell hired a former member of the House Democratic leadership team to a newly created, $95,000-a-year position at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

GOP Lawmakers Question Gaming Control Board's Travel Expenses

Several House and Senate Republicans gathered this week to demand answers for extravagant travel arrangements for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) at taxpayers' expense. Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) and Sen. Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) led the event, further criticizing the PGCB for seeking a funding increase at a time when state agencies have been asked to trim expenses. Despite an ongoing travel ban, officials from the PGCB made numerous international trips, namely to Italy where members stayed in luxury hotels, dining poolside at a cost of as much as $799 a day for food and accommodations. Other trips included visits to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macao and a number of U.S. cities. In the coming weeks, Vereb and Orie both intend to introduce proposals to create a searchable database for all travel by state employees.

Legislation to Reduce Wasteful Spending and Return Tax Dollars Introduced

House Republican Whip Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) joined forces this week to introduce legislation that would eliminate spending on wasteful government programs and cut taxes for hard-working middle class families and small businesses. While the proposal would return money back to those who need it most and encourage business development, Gov. Ed Rendell characterized the plan to cut taxes as "ludicrous." House Republican Leader Sam Smith noted that if the governor labels tax cuts during a budget crunch as ludicrous, he should also label his own attempts to increase spending by more than $700 million as the same.


What if Obama didn't have his teleprompter?

Obama's nutty plans for 2010 Census

The Obama Administration is turning to ACORN, the radical group responsible for injecting voter fraud into the 2008 election, to help out with conducting the 2010 Census.

What can possibly go wrong?

Plenty, according to Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason, who issued the following statement:
"ACORN's actions last year certainly did little to earn the public's trust and I am sure that most Americans are concerned about this group's ability to deliver an accurate count," Gleason said. "News first broke that the President wanted to move the U.S. census into the White House, now he is enlisting the help of ACORN, a group that is widely believed to be consistently breaking the law. President Obama is trying to interject politics into the 2010 U.S. census, hoping to increase the reach of his Party throughout the country. It will be tough to trust ACORN's counts or any data they submit.

"With the economy in decline it is sad to see that the President is so concerned about the 2010 census. I also find it even more troubling that the Census Bureau wouldn't be willing to offer these jobs to the many hard-working men and women already looking for a job, rather than do political favors for groups that helped elect our current president."
Read more about the controversy, read "Obama blamed for ACORN's role in census" by Mike Wereschagin, in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Also check out this post at NetRightNation.com

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Look Who's Talking

PA GOP blasts Rendell for hiring 'budget publicist'

Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason is wondering why Gov. Ed Rendell is violating his own hiring freeze for a $100,000-a-year consultant to publicize how Rendell plans to spend the $18 billion the governor expects to receive in stimulus dollars from the federal government.

"Gov. Rendell's decision to hire a consultant to spread the word about his spending initiatives is outrageous," Gleason said in a statement. "Gov. Rendell proves once again that the taxpayers never win. He is using Pennsylvanians' tax dollars to publicize the egregious spending he is doing. Even more troubling is the fact that he gave the contract to a former employee. At a time when ethics are being questioned in Harrisburg, the governor's actions will do little to assure weary Pennsylvanians. So much for a hiring freeze!"

More from Gleason's press release:
According to a report from the Associated Press, Gov. Rendell is paying a former employee, Ken Snyder, $100,000 to publicize the programs he funds with the billions of federal economic stimulus dollars the state expects to receive.

Gleason concluded, "Democrats at every level continue to fail our nation on the economy. In the midst of an economic crisis, our President has spent more time filling out his NCAA basketball bracket and appearing on late night television than he has dealing with the fact that his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner continues to make costly mistake after mistake. Here in the Keystone State, Governor Rendell is using the stimulus dollars to launch a media campaign to better his image in the media. I am not sure this is the 'change' people were looking for when they cast their ballots last November and I guarantee Rendell's publicist will do nothing to help our economy get back on track."
For more on the Pennsylvania Republican Party, visit its Web site, http://www.pagop.org/

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Win Up to $2,500 by Entering the Please, No More Taxes! Video Contest

From our friends at The Commonwealth Foundation, who are always looking out for the taxpayer:
Need some extra cash? There's plenty of time left to enter the Please, No More Taxes! video contest!

The first-prize video will earn $2,500, while second and third-prize winners will receive $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Entries will be judged based on how well they incorporate humor, creativity, persuasiveness, and accuracy.

Videos must be uploaded at http://www.youtube.com/group/nomoretaxes by 11:59 p.m. on April 5th. Winners will be announced on “Tax Day,” April 15th, 2009.

For complete contest rules and details on how to submit a video entry, visit PleaseNoMoreTaxes.org

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'Talking Politics' on the radio today

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

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

Among this week's topics:

Is the Obama Administration the most incompetent ever?

Is the Fumo conviction the tip of the iceberg in Pennsylvania corruption?

"Talking Politics" can be heard every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM.

The one-hour show is simulcast at www.pottsmerc.com and www.1370wpaz.com


Good Obama, Bad Obama

RNC raised $5.1 million in February

The No. 1 reason Democrats won the White House and Congress in 2008 was money. They had more of it, lots more than the Republican Party.

If the GOP is to retake Congress in 2010 and put a stop to the Obama follies, it's going to need a ton of cash.

New Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is off on the right foot. The RNC reports raising $5.1 million in February and is now debt free.

RNC Announces February Fundraising Numbers


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

PA to track consumer complaints for shoddy home improvement projects

State Rep. Curt Schroder (R-Chester County) reminds residents that all contractors doing more than $5,000 of home improvement work annually must be registered with the state, effective July 1.

From a release issued by Schroder:
In an effort to provide residents with better information when choosing a contractor, details of the contactors' registration will be placed on contracts, promotional materials and business cards so that consumers may use the information to reference a statewide database of complaints.

Every year, thousands of Pennsylvanians file consumer complaints about home improvement contractors who take money and fail to perform satisfactory construction or repairs. These complaints typically increase during the spring, when homeowners are more likely to hire contractors to perform various projects.

There are several things consumers should look out for to protect themselves from disreputable or fraudulent home improvement contractors.

Unsolicited, traveling contractors who come to a home and point out specific problems should be met with caution. If they arrive in an unmarked truck or van and refuse to provide proof of insurance or references it is safe to say they are not reputable contractors.

Frequently, these scams begin with a claim to have just finished a job, and then offer a great deal on leftover material. They also employ high-pressure sales tactics like limited-time offers.

When hiring a contractor, homeowners should obtain a written contract that includes a start and finish date and a three-day right-to-cancel notice. Penalty clauses for late completion have also proven helpful in ensuring timely projects. Individuals should never sign a blank contract or hire a contractor that does not have a business card or local phone number and address. Also, final payments should be withheld until work is finished and homeowners are completely satisfied.

More information on the registration program and the complaints database is expected to be available in the near future as the attorney general's office continues with the program's implementation. For more information on consumer protection, or to file a complaint with the attorney general's office, visit Schroder's Web site at www.CurtSchroder.com

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Rep. Pitts: 'This is legislative malpractice'

Government-sponsored vice

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today released a report to the General Assembly on the growing problem of underage and high-risk drinking in the state.

I never understood why Pennsylvania has a monopoly on alcohol sales in the state.

One the one hand, the state promotes alcohol consumption to increase revenues. On the other hand, the state spends money to help enforce anti-drinking laws and get help for people who have a drinking problem. Same goes for gambling (lottery, slot parlors).

Why does the government promote certain vices (gambling, drinking) but not others (drugs, prostitution)?

PLCB Issues Report on High-Risk, Underage Drinking Among Pennsylvania's Youth

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In Ponzi We Trust

Moderate Democrats stage palace coup

Opposition has emerged to the far-left policies of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

Moderate Democrats in the U.S. Senate have formed a working group to oppose the liberal ideologues who are running the White House and House of Representatives.

Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced the coalition this morning on the Joe Scarborough program on MSNBC.

"We care for our country more than our party," Bayh said.

A formal press conference will make the group official with 15 Democrats forming a centrist coalition that will serve as a firewall to far-left agenda and screwball economic policies pushed by Obama and Pelosi.

The loyal opposition was supposed to come from Senate Republicans, but the defections of Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins ended any hope Republicans could put a stop to the Obama agenda.

This is welcome news in a country that has lurched toward socialism since Obama took office.

This is also a very shrewd political move by Bayh, who is positioning himself to challenge Obama in 2012. This country is teetering on the brink of economic collapse thanks to Obama's ill-advised economic policies and The Chosen One is looking more like a one-term failure a la Jimmy Carter.

Democrats won't make the same mistake by renominating a failed president. Look for Bayh to steer the party back from the left-wing abyss.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A GOP alternative to Rendell path of fiscal ruin

We've tried it Ed Rendell's way for six years and look where it's gotten us: Massive budget deficits, high taxes and a lower standard-of-living for most Pennsylvanians.

Rendell is offering more of the same for the coming fiscal year: Higher spending and higher taxes.

House Republicans have a better idea: Reduce state spending, eliminate waste and cut taxes for workers and business owners.

Eliminating spending on wasteful government programs and giving money back to hard-working middle-class families and small businesses need to be top priorities for the 2009-10 state budget, Republican Whip Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) said Monday at a Capitol press conference.

"We need to bring fiscal sanity back to Pennsylvania's state government," Turzai said. "The governor's proposed cuts were a good starting place, but don't go nearly far enough. We need to make significant changes to the Commonwealth's budget and reprioritize spending on the programs that benefit our citizens the most."

Monday's presentation focused on additional cuts under the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and rolling back the Personal Income Tax (PIT) to 2.99 percent from the current 3.07 percent level.

Turzai plans to roll out additional cost-saving measures over the next couple of weeks.

From a press release issued by Turzai and Quigley:
During his 2009-10 budget address, Gov. Ed Rendell proposed eliminating 24 DCED programs, saving $135.6 million. Turzai proposes eliminating another eight programs to save an additional $169.8 million. The programs eliminated under Turzai and Quigley's proposal are: the Opportunity Grant Program, Infrastructure Development, Community Conservation and Employment, Infrastructure and Facilities Improvements Grant, Economic Advancement, Community and Regional Development and World Trade PA. By eliminating these programs, the state can reduce more than $300 million from last year’s expenditures and return that money back to Pennsylvania’s middle-class families and small businesses.

"With the state of our economy, the best thing we can do to improve our situation is to get money back in the hands of the people," said Quigley. "Reducing the PIT and increasing the buying power of Pennsylvania's families will raise confidence and allow people to spend more, which will help to pull us out of this slump."

"Small businesses and middle-class families are hurt the most during tough economic times," Turzai added. "Reducing the PIT to 2.99 percent will help Pennsylvania's families and small businesses better survive this economic downturn. As is often said, we cannot tax ourselves into prosperity. Now is the time to reduce taxes, put tax dollars back in the pockets of hard-working tax payers and improve Pennsylvania’s economy."
For more information, visit Turzai's Web site at www.RepTurzai.com

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Corporate role model

Senator David Argall

After spending the past 24 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, it's going to take time to get used to David Argall as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate.

Argall was sworn in today to a four-year term to replace Sen. James Rhoades, who was killed in a car crash last October. Rhoades' name remained on the November ballot and he won re-election posthumously.

Argall won a special election to represent the 29th Senatorial District, which includes all of of Schuylkill and parts of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties.

Argall rose to the No. 2 position in the House Republican Caucus.

He's now the most junior member of the Senate, but his arrival gives the Republicans a 30-20 majority in the 50-member chamber. Argall will be given some plum committee assignments.

His Senate bio has already been posted, but Argall must be posing for a new photograph since the site is missing one.

A special election for Argall's vacated House seat in the 124th District will be held on May 19, which is the same day as the primary election in Pennsylvania.


Obama reaches out to 'moderate' Taliban

GOP questions Rendell's ability to spend stimulus money

When Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell wants to get his way, he's never allowed a little thing like the state Constitution stand in his way.

With billions of federal dollars being funneled into the Pennsylvania and the state dealing with its own budget deficit, House Republican leaders are questioning Rendell's authority to shuffle state funds to programs other than those for which it was originally appropriated by the Legislature.

House Republican Leader Rep. Sam Smith and Rep. Mario Civera, the Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman, are wondering if Rendell has overstepped his Constitutional authority. The GOP leaders are also asking the governor to submit a new budget proposal that reflects the federal stimulus dollars coming to the state.

Smith and Civera sent a letter to Rendell on Monday listing their concerns. (I'm sure Rendell is perusing the letter as we speak.)

"Without judging the merits of the governor's emergency relief proposals,: the GOP leaders have serious questions about the governor's expansion of state programs without the Legislature's approval, according to a press release they issued along with the text of their letter to Rendell.

In the letter, Smith and Civera cite Shapp v. Sloane, 395 A.2d 595 (Pa. 1978), which reinforced the "doctrine of separation of powers functions." The GOP leaders also cited Article III, Section 24, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, as well as Act 117 of 1976, which reinforces their contention that "the General Assembly is responsible for enacting programmatic legislation and appropriating the necessary funds to implement the programs."

Read the full letter at the House Republican Caucus Web site.

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RNC: No Pot O' Gold?

There is no pot of gold at the end of the Obama rainbow, says the Republican National Committee, which predicts massive deficits, high inflation and tax increases if Obama's economic follies are followed.

RNC: No Pot O' Gold?

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Catholic bishops: Obama moving toward 'despotism'

Monday, March 16, 2009

Newspaper: Dunce cap for Rendell

Very little of what Gov. Ed Rendell does or say gets past the editorial board of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The newspaper took exception to a comment Rendell made last week equating increased food stamp usage as an indirect economic stimulus.

From the editorial:
Where does one begin with such mental midgetry? Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, begins with a highly technical economics term -- "goofy."

Aside from urging taxpayer teat suckling among those perhaps not truly in need, aside from urging spendthriftiness and dependence over frugality and independence, it also requires the government "to spend money that it will first have to borrow," reminds Dr. Haulk, a Ph.D economist.

"If Rendell wants to help folks, he should be pressing for government spending reductions in Harrisburg and leading the charge for lower taxes at every level of government," Haulk says. "Letting people keep more of their own money allows them to create stimulus in ways they see fit."
Read the full editorial, "Preschool economics: 'Goofy' Eddie," at the newspaper's Web site.

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Pennsylvania Names 'Best 50 Women in Business'

The list of honorees includes 1 from Berks County, 4 from Chester County and 5 from Montgomery County.

Follow the link below for the full list:

Gov. Rendell Names 'Best 50 Women in Business'


$1 billion available to hire new cops

The federal government is offering $1 billion for local police departments to hire new officers, but there is a catch. After three years, the local departments will have to pick up the costs.

U.S. Department of Justice Makes Available $1 Billion in Recovery Act Funds for COPS Program


More Americans Hiding Their Money From Obama

Is it just me or do you get the sense the editors of Newsweek magazine get together with the Obama administration to plan each week's edition?

Look at the cover of the latest issue, hitting the streets Monday. It might as well say "Obama wants you to spend."

The cover story says Americans better start spending real soon or the entire economy, which consists primarily of consumer spending thanks to the inept trade and labor policies adopted by Congress, will collapse.

Anyway, the story that caught my attention isn't about consumer spending. It's the one on page 32 about Swiss bank accounts.

One single bank -- UBS -- holds the secret bank accounts of 46,000 Americans, worth an estimated $18 billion, according to Newsweek. (I wonder how many of the 46,000 voted for Obama?)

And that's just one bank in one country. Imagine how much wealth Americans are hiding in overseas accounts. The reason people put their money into foreign accounts is to avoid paying taxes. And with Barack Obama promising to raise taxes, more Americans are expected to move their money offshore.

From the article:
Lately, the Feds have tried to crack down on these rich Americans as tax evaders (generally, the depositors do not pay any taxes on the income from these accounts). The Swiss, not surprisingly, have been resisting. For more than three centuries, Swiss bank secrecy has offered safe haven to the wealthy, some of them unsavory types — Nazis, dictators such as Saddam Hussein and, allegedly, Islamic terrorists. At a time when the rich are coming under close and unsympathetic scrutiny, the details starting to come out about the way the Swiss banking game is played are eye-popping, if not infuriating. Judging from documents and testimony examined by NEWSWEEK, Swiss bankers, like spies, practice what is known in the espionage business as tradecraft — elaborate and often clever steps to evade detection.
You can read the full story, "Cracking the vault," at Newsweek's online edition.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

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Fumo verdict: Open season on corrupt politicians

Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty
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Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty ...

That's what 137 guilty verdicts looks like. A jury has found former state Sen. Vince Fumo, a Philadelphia Democrat and longtime political ally of Gov. Ed Rendell, guilty of all 137 counts in his five-month-long corruption trial.

The verdicts may not mean much to the average Philadelphia resident, but should send shock waves down the spines of Harrisburg politicians.

Taxpayers are fed up with self-serving professional politicians. Pennsylvania residents have had it with corruption. Vince Fumo, at age 65 and with a bad heart, probably will spend the rest of his life behind bars. And he'll going to have plenty of company.

Don't be surprised if the 12 "Bonusgate" defendants start looking for a plea bargain in return for testifying against the bigger fish up the food chain.

In today's climate, you don't want to take your chances with jurors who are looking to punish the people who have lined their own pockets at taxpayers' expense.

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Nothing But Hype


A reminder from state Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks:
This Monday at 12:00 noon, we will be holding our 10th Amendment – State of Independence - Rally. I want to remind you again of this event so that if you have not yet decided to join with us that you would consider doing so now. It's not too late. Sometimes, it's easy to think that such gatherings don't mean much. Let me assure you that this is not so. The greater the number of people who attend this event, the greater the message that will be sent.


"The powers delegated by the Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite…" James Madison

Whereas I have no reliable estimate as to the number of citizens who will be with us, I have been very encouraged as we are hearing from people across the Commonwealth. Certainly, there is no better way to begin "drawing the line" than looking to our Constitution for direction and to the 10th Amendment in particular. So, please plan on coming and bringing others with you. We need to send a strong message to the Members of the General Assembly, the Governor, and to the media about this important nationwide concern.



WHEN: MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009 AT 12:00 NOON
For more information, visit samrohrer.org


Friday, March 13, 2009

Rendell cabinet official to seek alcohol treatment

Scant coverage in the political blogosphere of the news that a top Rendell Administration official has been charged with public drunkenness. With one exception, there was no mention of Sandi Vito's legal troubles among left-wing bloggers in Pennsylvania.

Imagine the outrage if Ms. Vito was a Republican.

Vito, awaiting Senate confirmation as Pennsylvania's next Labor Secretary, was charged with public drunkenness after an incident at a Harrisburg hotel bar on Wednesday.

Vito, 43, issued a statement Thursday apologizing for the incident, which involved a dispute about whether Vito should take a cab home after she had been drinking at the hotel, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

"I am deeply embarrassed and profoundly humiliated by my actions last night," Vito said. "My behavior was inexcusable. I did not have a car and was intent on walking to my nearby home. In retrospect, I understand that the authorities were merely considering my safety when they insisted I take a cab rather than walk."

The Associated Press reports today that Vito is entering an alcohol treatment program.

Vito was appointed by Rendell as Acting Secretary of the Department of Labor & Industry on Feb. 4, 2008. She is awaiting confirmation from the Republican-controlled Senate to run the Labor Department until the end of Rendell's term.

Before going to work at Labor & Industry, Vito served as chief of staff to State Sen. Christine Tartaglione, a Philadelphia Democrat. She previously held the post of political director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

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Even George McGovern opposes 'Card Check'

PA's confusing anti-idling law

The state is spending $90,000 to education truckers and bus drivers on the state's confusing idling law.

DEP to Fund Anti-Idling Law Education


Bristol Palin: Another Statistic

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says 8 out of 10 fathers don't ever marry the teen mother of their child.

Hello Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin.

"Marriage and birth patterns among teens have changed over time, shifting from a general trend of marrying before pregnancy, to marrying as a result of pregnancy, to becoming pregnant and not marrying," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "Even though many unmarried teen mothers have high expectations for eventually marrying the father of their child, few ever do."

Read more at the link below:

Teens, Relationships, and Marriage

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Support builds for sovereignty resolution

The Constitutional Organization Of Liberty (COOL) is supporting a resolution currently being circulated in the Pennsylvania Legislature to reassert state sovereignty against an ever-expanding federal government.

The 10th Amendment Resolution has been introduced in the state House by state Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks, and will be introduced in the Senate by state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Berks/Lebanon.

"The time has come for Pennsylvania to stand up to a federal establishment that is usurping state authority on an almost daily basis, often using our own tax dollars to blackmail us into doing what the federal government thinks we should do," Laurel Lynn Petolicchio, COOL Chairman for 2009, said in a statement. "It is time that the Keystone State took a leading role in protecting and preserving the rights of both the state and the citizens of the state," she said.

Rohrer and Folmer are hosting a rally in the state Capitol Rotunda Monday at noon to drum up support for their resolution.

From the COOL release:
"When our country was founded, our Fathers envisioned a form of government in which the federal government served as an agent of the states – not the states serving as an agent of the federal government," Folmer said. "Today, federal legislation and funding compel states to serve the federal government, a total reversal of the structure originally intended."

Rohrer said: "For too long, Congress and the president have been encroaching on policy areas that ought to be decided by the states. This rally is the equivalent of posting a 'no trespassing' sign."

Herb Braden, who serves as a board member on COOL as well as chairman of Lebanon County based Citizen's Caucus, said it was time to stop the usurpation of power by the federal government.

"Starting in the 1930's, with the New Deal, the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution has been incorrectly used by Congress as a tool to diminish the powers assigned to the States in the 10th Amendment," Braden said. "We citizens must prepare to use the ballot box to curtail or stop this arrogant usurpation of State powers."

According to Petolicchio, Pennsylvania is now among at least 20 states across the nation that have either introduced or issued resolutions reasserting their rights under the Tenth Amendment, and that the movement seems to be growing.
The Constitutional Organization Of Liberty is a non-partisan, conservative political action committee organized to re-educate the citizens of Pennsylvania about the U.S. Constitution and America's founding documents. In the past year, COOL has hosted multiple educational courses, including the Institute On The Constitution and A More Perfect Union.

For more information about COOL, visit the group's Web site: www.ReclaimLiberty.com

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Modern Day Marie Antoinette

PA earns a 'C' in mental health report card

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released a new report, "Grading the States," assessing the nation's public mental health care system for adults.

The national average grade is a D.

Pennsylvania earned a "C" grade in the report, an improvement over the "D" the state earned in 2006.

Fourteen states improved their grades since NAMI's last report card three years ago. Twelve states fell backwards. Oklahoma showed the biggest improvement, rising from a D to a B. South Carolina fell the farthest, from a B to a D, according to NAMI.

The Alliance warns that state budget cuts are threatening mental health care overall.
"Mental health care in America is in crisis," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Even states that have worked hard to build life-saving, recovery-oriented systems of care stand to see their progress wiped out."

"Ironically, state budget cuts occur during a time of economic crisis when mental heath services are needed even more urgently than before. It is a vicious cycle that can lead to ruin. States need to move forward, not retreat."
Check out how your state did on the report card at this link.

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Turn off his microphone

Congressman Joins Campaign to Demand Balance from Liberal Media

'Talking Politics' on the radio today

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

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

"Talking Politics" can be heard every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM.

The one-hour show is simulcast at www.pottsmerc.com and www.1370wpaz.com


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

10th Amendment Rally set for Harrisburg

Two leading conservative state lawmakers are inviting all Pennsylvania residents to attend a rally Monday in Harrisburg to defend the state's sovereignty from continued encroachment from Washington.

Politicians in Washington, D.C., have been exerting undue influence on the states and it's time for them to stop, say Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer (R-128) and Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48), both of whom represents portions of Berks County.

The rally, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for noon Monday in the Capitol Rotunda. For more information or driving directions to the state Capitol, Rohrer's Web site at SamRohrer.com

"If you think the size and scope of the federal government has far exceeded our Founding Fathers' intentions, then we hope you come out Monday to support our cause," Rohrer said in a statement. "For too long, Congress and the president have been encroaching on policy areas that ought to be decided by the states. This rally is the equivalent of posting a 'no trespassing' sign."

Rohrer has introducing a resolution in the state House of Representatives to defend Pennsylvania's sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Folmer will introduce a sister resolution with language identical to Rohrer's in the Senate.

"When our country was founded, our Fathers envisioned a form of government in which the federal government served as an agent of the states – not the states serving as an agent of the federal government," Folmer said in a release. "Today, federal legislation and funding compel states to serve the federal government, a total reversal of the structure originally intended. This rally seeks to remind federal officials of their constitutional limitations while affirming Pennsylvania’s 10th Amendment rights."

The lawmakers' resolutions are part of a larger national trend of state lawmakers who are reasserting the sovereignty of their independent states under the 10th Amendment.

At the rally, Rohrer and Folmer will be joined by lawmakers from other states who have introduced similar measures in their own state legislatures.

Find out more about the national effort at The Tenth Amendment Center Web site, http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/

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Union members expose 'Card Check' tactics

Libertarians: 'What is Obama ashamed of?'

The Libertarian Party is blasting Barack Obama for breaking more promises by holding a secret signing ceremony of the $400+ billion pork-spending bill approved by Congressional Democrats.

From a press released issued today by the Libertarian National Committee:
America's third largest party asked Wednesday why President Obama enacted the $490 billion FY09 omnibus spending and its over 8,500 earmarks behind closed doors, and despite campaign promises to end earmark abuse.

"President Obama's decision to hide from the media while signing this bill isn't just a violation of his promise of transparency, it's an attempt to avoid questions about breaking another promise to end earmark abuse," said Libertarian National Committee Communications Director Donny Ferguson.

"He promised to end earmarks. He promised transparency. He promised fiscal responsibility. He didn't mean a word of it. More and more Americans realize his crippling taxes and crushing debt are prescriptions for prolonged economic suffering. Now he has to hide behind closed doors to sign his pork-stuffed plan to explode wasteful spending," said Ferguson.

Libertarians support an economic renewal plan centered on tax and regulatory relief for employers, preserving the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that blunted previous recessions and greatly simplifying the tax code for employers and taxpayers. Polls such as Rasmussen show voters prefer the Libertarian approach over the Republican and Democrat plans to increase government spending.
You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org

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Obama's New Best Friend

State workers fire back at Rendell

The president of SEIU Local 668, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, has a few choice words for Gov. Ed Rendell, who earlier this week gave state workers an ultimatum: Find ways to reduce costs or face furloughs and/or layoffs.

Kathy Jellison said in a statement that the governor is "negotiating though the press" and "not being honest with taxpayers."

Jellison said the union has "repeatedly given (Rendell) suggestions on ways to cut the budget, and he has ignored all of our ideas. Instead, he wants to focus on the most extreme option - laying off workers."

State workers are upset with Rendell because he has awarded more than $1 billion in outside contracts since he became governor in 2003. "Many of those contracts cover work that had been done by state employees," Jellison says.

"The first thing the governor can do to stop wasteful spending in the state budget," Jellison said, "is to cut out some of the private contracts he has given to outside companies to do work that our members can do better and at a lower cost."

While Rendell is threatening to implement a system of "rolling furloughs" to reduce personnel costs, the union wants the state to offer early retirement options to workers.

The ball is in Rendell's court.

Read Jellison's full statement at the link below:

SEIU Local 668 Says Governor's Threats Hurt Citizens of Pennsylvania

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The imperfect president

Barack Obama announced he will sign the $410 billion stop-gap budget bill approved by the Democratic Congress even though the bill contains billions in pork-barrel projects.

Obama acknowledge the earmarks, saying it was an "imperfect" bill, but he was forced to sign it to keep the government going.

He also confessed that he was breaking his own campaign promise to eliminate earmarks. Apparently, he had his fingers crossed when he made that promise.

Obama said "99 percent" of the bill is legitimate spending, so that's good enough for him as he lowers the standard for reform and ethical government even further.

In his defense, Obama said earmarks have been part of the Washington culture for decades, including the years Republicans controlled Congress. In other words, two wrongs do make a right, according to Obama.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had this to say about the Democratic spending package, loaded with more than 8,500 pork projects:
"President Obama will break his pledge to go through every line of the budget if he signs this omnibus spending bill. Like the stimulus bill and budget, this spending bill contains too much taxing, spending, and borrowing. Left unchecked, the Democrats' spending spree will grow our national debt and ultimately result in more taxes. Hard-working Americans deserve better from its leaders than the Democrats' tax-and-spend agenda."
Obama did promise not to sign the next pork-laden budget bill Congress sends his way ... unless he changes his mind again. Welcome to the liberal world ... where principles don't matter, where 99 percent is good enough.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rep. Joe Pitts says 'Card Check' will kill more jobs

Rep. Joe Pitts is an original cosponsor of The Secret Ballot Protection Act (H.R. 1176), which would protect the rights of workers to have secret ballot elections when determining whether to form a union. It prevents unionization based solely on "card check," a process that requires only a simple majority of worker signatures on cards without any privacy in order to unionize a workplace. The Secret Ballot Protection Act also bars recognition of a union that was formed without a secret ballot election.

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New PA Web Site Helps Find Lowest Prescription Drug Prices

'Let Us Read the Bill' campaign launched

Do you get the feeling members of Congress don't know what they're voting on?

The Institute for Policy Innovation has joined the Sunlight Foundation in the "Read the Bill" initiative designed to educate the public on the importance of Congress posting all proposed legislation online "to ensure both elected officials and citizens have the chance to read and understand legislation 72 hours before it is debated."

From an Institute for Policy Innovation release:
"Forty-two and a half seconds per page -- that's how long members of Congress were given to read, understand, evaluate and consider all the implications for the largest spending bill in history - the so-called 'stimulus' package," said Bartlett Cleland, director of the IPI Center for Technology Freedom.

"Even worse, the public never had a chance to access the language of the bill before passage," said Cleland.

Unfortunately, the recent stimulus bill was not the first legislation to fly through Congress with hardly a review. Too much groundbreaking legislation has done the same over the years with little to no time for a responsible, thorough assessment.

"By definition this is information that we, the people, own -- not to mention that we also pay for the repercussions," said Cleland.
For more information on "Read the Bill," visit www.ReadTheBill.org

For more on the Institute for Public Innovation, follow the link below:

Institute for Policy Innovation: Let Us Read the Bill

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Renewed effort to end teacher strikes in PA

This just in from the office of state Rep. Todd Rock, R-90:
House Republicans, Public School Lockout Victims to Reintroduce Strike-Free Education Act

What: With approximately 22 Pennsylvania public school districts at risk for an immediate teachers strike; and an additional 126 public school districts facing the possibility of a strike before the end of the year, State Representative Todd Rock (R-Franklin) will officially reintroduce his legislation to protect every Pennsylvania child's right to an uninterrupted Strike-Free public education.

Also offering support for the Strike-Free Education Act (House Bill 1369) will be State Representatives Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) and Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster); Simon Campbell, President of Stop Teacher Strikes, Inc.; Jill Basile, strike-impacted public school parent, Souderton Area School District; Rebecca Heller, School Board Director, Berwick Area School District; and Frank Scavo, School Board Director, Old Forge School District.

When: Wednesday, March 11
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Where: Capitol Media Center

LIVE WEBCAST: Log on to RepRock.com or RepMetcalfe.com beginning at 9:55 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

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