Friday, July 31, 2009

PA Lottery Ticket Sales Exceeded $3.08 Billion

Times are tough but Pennsylvania residents are still finding a few bucks to buy lottery tickets. OK, it's more than a few bucks.

Pennsylvania just recorded its second best year for ticket sales in the Pennsylvania Lottery's 37-year history, Secretary of Revenue Stephen H. Stetler announced Friday.

Fiscal year 2008-09 Lottery sales totaled $3.088 billion, which was $1.1 million, or 0.04 percent, less than the previous year, according to Stetler.

"Despite tough economic times, the Pennsylvania Lottery had an extraordinary year and only narrowly missed exceeding last year's sales record," Stetler said in a press release. "Throughout the year, ticket sales were in line with last year and, in some months, slightly ahead. Instant games appear to be the games of choice for many players, as sales in that category set a new record."

Stetler won't go this far, but I give the credit to Gus, the second most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania. Every time I see Gus on a TV commercial, I have to run out to buy lottery tickets.

Read the full press release at the link below:

Pennsylvania Lottery Achieves Near-Record Annual Sales; Record Instant Game Sales

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Ben Stein has Obama figured out

We've Figured Him Out

By Ben Stein

Why is President Barack Obama in such a hurry to get his socialized medicine bill passed?

Because he and his cunning circle realize some basic truths:
The American people in their unimaginable kindness and trust voted for a pig in a poke in 2008. They wanted so much to believe Barack Obama was somehow better and different from other ultra-leftists that they simply took him on faith.

They ignored his anti-white writings in his books. They ignored his quiet acceptance of hysterical anti-American diatribes by his minister, Jeremiah Wright.

They ignored his refusal to explain years at a time of his life as a student. They ignored his ultra-left record as a "community organizer," Illinois state legislator, and Senator.

The American people ignored his total zero of an academic record as a student and teacher, his complete lack of scholarship when he was being touted as a scholar.
Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth. Barack Obama is a super likeable super leftist, not a fan of this country, way, way too cozy with the terrorist leaders in the Middle East, way beyond naïveté, all the way into active destruction of our interests and our allies and our future.

The American people have already awakened to the truth that the stimulus bill -- a great idea in theory -- was really an immense bribe to Democrat interest groups, and in no way an effort to help all Americans.

Now, Americans are waking up to the truth that ObamaCare basically means that every time you are sick or injured, you will have a clerk from the Department of Motor Vehicles telling your doctor what he can and cannot do.

Read the full column at The American Spectator Web site.

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Rep. Pitts receives 'Defender of Economic Freedom' Award

Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) has been awarded the "Defender of Economic Freedom" award from The Club for Growth, a leading free-market advocacy organization.

The award, presented by Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, honors members of Congress who have "a strong voting record on economic growth issues."

Pitts, a Republican, is one of only 13 members of Congress (and the only one from Pennsylvania) to receive a perfect score. (Does it surprise you that all 13 honorees are Republicans?)

"Receiving the 'Defender of Economic Freedom' award is a great honor," Pitts said in a statement. "The best way to get our economy growing again is to free business owners and investors from burdensome government regulations and taxes. More government intrusion into the marketplace is not going to create more jobs."

More from the Club for Growth:
The award is based on certain votes in 2008 that the Club for Growth tracks on its scorecard. The study also included a comprehensive examination of each lawmaker’s record on pro-growth policies and computed an Economic Growth Score on a scale of 0 to 100. A score of 100 indicates the highest support for pro-growth policies. Those lawmakers scoring 90 or higher receive the "Defender of Economic Freedom" award.

The rating examines legislative actions that reflect the Club for Growth's immediate pro-economic growth policy goals, including cutting and limiting government spending, lowering taxes, expanding free trade, regulatory reform, and deregulation.

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What if government ran health care?

State Capitol Roundup for July 31

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

House-Senate Conference Committee Meets on Budget

With the state budget impasse now entering its fifth week, a six-member conference committee has been charged with negotiating a budget agreement. The joint House and Senate committee is comprised of Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-Punxsutawney), House Democrat Leader Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne), Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware), and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen Jake Corman (R-Centre) and Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). The committee met for two days this week. Select members of the committee will be meeting with the governor Friday to attempt to reach a compromise. House Republicans continue to emphasize the need to pass a fiscally responsible budget that is balanced, that recognizes the reality of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression by not increasing taxes, and that keeps government spending under control. If an agreement is not reached soon, the governor has stated that he will ask for the Senate's budget bill as soon as possible to authorize spending for government operations while vetoing all other line items. For the latest budget news, visit

Drilling in Marcellus Shale Carries Enormous Potential if Not Taxed

The governor's proposed tax on natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale would negatively impact the growing industry, according to a study released this week by Penn State University. Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler), chair of the House Oil and Gas Caucus, cited the study to state that the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation alone could generate $13.5 billion in economic activity in the next 11 years. Ellis also reinforced that Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to impose a production tax on natural gas would cause a 30 percent drop in drilling activity and an estimated $880 million loss between now and 2020. Members of the House Oil and Gas Caucus are opposed to the proposed tax at the wellhead on natural gas extracted from areas of the Marcellus Shale. For the latest legislative news, visit


Cash for Clunkers

So let me see if I get this straight. The "Cash for Clunkers" program is the only part of the $787 billion stimulus package that is working, so the Obama administration pulls the plug on it. Is that about right? Makes perfect sense.

House Minority Leader John Boehner made a good point today:

"There are a lot of questions about how the administration administered this program. If they can't handle something as simple as this, how would we handle health care?" the Ohio Republican told The Associated Press.

And this from Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., who has heard complaints from dealerships about how incompetent the government is on a fairly straightforward program.

"The federal government can't process a simple rebate. I've got dealers who have submitted the paperwork three times and have gotten three rejections," Hoekstra told the AP. "What is a dealer supposed to do?"

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Down to earth

Study: 4.1M Pennsylvanians Could Lose Private Insurance Under Obamacare

From a new analysis by The Heritage Foundation of the Obamacare bill making its way through Congress:
An estimated 4.1 million residents in Pennsylvania could lose their private, employer-based coverage if Congress passes a House health reform bill.

Of the estimated 7.6 million Pennsylvanians with private health insurance, 51 percent would transition out of private coverage. Plus, 59 percent of the state's population who get their private insurance from the workplace could have their existing coverage change or disappear under the House health bill.

Also, 32 percent of Pennsylvania's uninsured population would still lack coverage. Of the estimated 1.4 million people without health coverage, the legislation would only reduce the uninsured by 952,600, leaving 447,400 Pennsylvania residents without coverage.
Read more about the study at the link below:

Millions of Pennsylvanians Could Lose Private Insurance, Study Shows

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Special Election for Wonderling seat set for Sept. 29

Voters in the 24th state Senate District will go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to pick a successor to state Sen. Rob Wonderling, who is leaving the Senate for a job in the private sector.

Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnati, who is also Senate Pro Tempore, made the decision to hold a special election instead of waiting until the Nov. 3 General Election.

That means county officials in Montgomery, Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties will have to gear up for two elections within five weeks.

Scarnati's decision was criticized by Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes, a Gov. Ed Rendell appointee.

"At a time when the state is facing a $3.2 billion budget deficit and the legislature is considering dramatic budget cuts, I am greatly concerned that a costly special election was scheduled just five weeks prior to the Nov. 3 general election," Cortes said.

The Department of State estimates the cost of the special election to range from $250,000 to $375,000, all of which will be underwritten by Pennsylvania taxpayers, Cortes said.

If Mensch wins the Senate seat, then another special election will be called to fill Mensch's House seat, Cortes points out.

Wonderling resigned his Senate seat on July 28 to take the job as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

The Republican candidate to succeed Wonderling state Rep. Bob Mensch, who currently represents the 147th District.

There are no announced Democratic candidates.

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There are some things money can't buy ...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Congressional Quarterly: 8 competitive districts in PA for 2010

Congressional Quarterly has released an analysis of the 2010 midterm Congressional elections, listing 100 competitive districts across the country, including eight toss-ups in Pennsylvania.

From the CQ analysis:
With 257 of the 435 U.S. House seats, Democrats are strongly favored to retain their majority in the 2010 elections -- though history points to party losses in the first midterm election of President Obama.

Most of the 435 congressional districts have such well-entrenched incumbents that the 2010 House races there will be landslides. But CQ Politics has preliminarily identified 100 districts, 59 of which are held by Democrats, where the contests should be highly or mildly competitive. Of these, CQ Politics rates three districts, all now held by Republicans, as leaning toward takeover by the challenging party: Louisiana 2nd Dist., Pennsylvania 6th Dist. and Illinois 10th Dist.
The Pennsylvania districts that CQ Politics lists as competitive are the 6th (held by Republican Jim Gerlach, who is not seeking re-election); the 12th (held by Democrat John Murtha); the 7th (held by Democrat Joe Sestak, who probably will not seek re-election); the 3rd (held by freshman Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper); the 4th (held by Democrat Jason Altmire); the 10th (held by Democrat Chris Carney; the 11th (held by Democrat Paul Kanjorski); and the 15th (held by Republican Charlie Dent).

While CQ Politics lists Dahlkemper, Altmire, Carney, Kanjorski and Murtha in the "favored to win" re-election column, it still sees the races as competitive. Same for Dent, who is "favored to win" in the 15th.

Pennsylvania's other 11 Congressional districts are listed in the "safe Democratic" or "safe Republican" columns.

Here's my take on the CQ analysis. The 6th District will go to the Democrats, but the 7th District should return to Republican control. Republicans have a good chance of unseating Dahlkemper, Carney, Kanjorski and Murtha. I don't see Altmire or Dent losing their seats.

The key to a Republican comeback in 2010 is how badly Barack Obama continues to stumble. If the economy is still in shambles, if U.S. foreign policy is still in disarray, if Obama continues to march the country toward socialism, expect huge GOP gains in Congress.

The 2010 Congressional elections will be a referendum on Obama. If "change" doesn't come real fast, look for voters to toss out career politicians like Murtha and Kanjorski to send a message to Obama.

To review other House races, visit CQ Politics online for an interactive map.

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'Talking Politics' with Christopher Freind

Investigative reporter/columnist Christopher Freind will be the guest this week on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

Freind authors hard-hitting investigative reports and writes a commentary column for The Philadelphia Bulletin branded "Freindly Fire". He tackles issues with a fire and passion not often found, and exposes cowards, frauds and hypocrites in politics, business, sports, entertainment and yes - the media.

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

You can also listen to the program online by going to and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the page or you can listen to it at The Mercury Web site at


After A Government Health Care Takeover


There are alternatives to Obamacare

Report: Most States Failing to Use the Web Effectively to Inform Taxpayers About Stimulus Spending

How to Keep Kids Out of Cyber-Trouble: Top Tips for 6 Problem Areas offers timely tips to help protect your children online.

How to Keep Kids Out of Cyber-Trouble: Top Tips for 6 Problem Areas

Beers with Obama

Poll: Just 23% Believe Health Care Costs Will Go Down under Obamacare

Why is Barack Obama expending so much energy on a health care reform bill that will not lower the cost of health care for the average American family?

It's clear most Americans have figured out that Obamacare is the latest big-government plan to move the nation toward socialism.

From Rasmussen Reports:
Americans are fairly evenly divided on the health care reform proposals working their way through Congress, but most remain convinced that the plans will raise costs and hurt the quality of the care they receive.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% are in favor of the reform effort proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats while 49% are opposed. Those figures include 25% who Strongly Favor the plans and 41% who are Strongly Opposed.

The specifics of what will be in a health care reform plan remains hotly debated in Congress at the moment. When a final proposal emerges, it is possible that support could move significantly in either direction.

Currently, 76% of Democrats favor the proposal and 76% of Republicans are opposed. Among the unaffiliated, 35% are in favor and 60% are opposed. Notably, just 16% of unaffiliateds Strongly Favor the legislative effort while 47% Strongly Oppose it.
It's time to pull the plug on Obamacare. We've seen the damage Obama and his minions have done to the economy. Do you want to entrust your family's health to Obama?

Read more from the poll at Rasmussen Reports.

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Senior House Democrat: 'What good is reading the bill…?'

Things have deteriorated so much in Washington since Democrats took control of Congress that the Democratic doormats who populate the halls of Congress don't even have to pretend they know what they're doing. They simply do what Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi tell them.

Via CNS News, check out the video above of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) in his own words:

"I love these members, they get up and say, 'Read the bill,'" said Conyers. "What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?" (CNS News, 7/27/09)

From the Republican Study Committee:
A better question might be, why not take the time to read and understand the bill so the American people can know what's in it before their health care gets taken over by the government? If it takes a senior member of Congress two lawyers to figure out the Democrat health care bill, how are middle class families expected to fare in their search for quality care?

Americans have a lot of questions about the Democrats' plans for health care, but it doesn't sound like they'll be getting any answers from Chairman Conyers.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why the rush?

I have two questions about Obamacare.

If this proposal is so much better than what we have now (80% of Americans have health insurance), why won't Barack Obama and his family, as well as members of Congress and their families, be covered under Obamacare?

If the goal is to cover all Americans and provide them with better health care, why can't we have the same plan that politicians get?

Second, why the rush? Why the artificial deadline of Congress' August recess?

If this is an improvement over the current system, why hide so much of it and push it through Congress before anyone has had a chance to read the 1,000-plus pages of the bill?

We rushed into a bank bailout plan that has failed. We rushed into a bailout of the auto industry that resulted in two of the three major U.S. car companies going bankrupt. We rushed into a "stimulus" package that has failed. We rushed into an energy bill (cap-and-trade) that does nothing to address our energy needs but imposes a huge tax burden on everyone who uses electricity.

So why are we rushing to adopt a "reform" of the health care system without adequate debate?

From a column by in today's New York Post by Michael D. Tanner, a Cato Institute senior fellow and co-author of "Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It" --
Health care represents one-sixth of the US economy, and some of the most important, personal and private decisions in people's lives. Reform will affect everything from jobs to what treatments your doctor can prescribe. It will cost well over $1 trillion over the next 10 years, more beyond that, and impose enormous costs on the economy and higher taxes on millions of Americans. If we get health-care reform wrong, it won't be easy to go back and fix it.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

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Rendell's Bad Bites

The Obamacare Maze

If you think it's tough now dealing with insurance companies and hospitals, wait until the federal government takes over the health care system.

The detailed flow chart above shows the complex health care reform proposal by Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.

The chart identifies at least 31 new federal programs, agencies, commissions and mandates that accompany the unprecedented government takeover of health care in America.

"Why should any patient be forced to give control of their health care over to this Faustian pit of Washington bureaucracy?" asked Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), the lead House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee.

"This government takeover has only one guaranteed result: to tell Americans what doctors you can see, what treatments you deserve and what medicines you can have."

These new levels of government bureaucracy, agencies, organization and programs will all be put directly between the patient and their health care.

This is why Obama and Nancy Pelosi are trying to rush the 1,018-page bill through Congress before anyone has a chance to read it or property debate it. Don't let them railroad your family's health care. Stop Obamcare now.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Castor drops bid for state Senate seat

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. announced today he will not seek the Republican nod for the soon-to-be-vacated 24th District state Senate seat held by Republican Rob Wonderling.

Castor was one of three Montgomery County politicians competing for a chance to fill Wonderling's unexpired term in a special election this fall.

Castor's surprise announcement leaves state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147th, as the likely choice to run on the GOP ballot.

The other potential GOP challenger, former state Rep. Jay Moyer, announced late Monday he's dropping out. Moyer endorsed Mensch and said he wants to concentrate on another run for the 70th House District seat that he lost in 2008.

Castor said he received plenty of encouragement from residents of Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery counties about a 24th Senate District run, but he decided to finish his term as a commissioner in Montgomery County, which is facing a fiscal crisis under the leadership of Democrat Joe Hoeffel and GOP turncoat Jim Matthews.

"If I were to run in the Special Election I would vacate my seat as a commissioner at a critical point in the budget process, leaving my colleagues to adopt a budget with no third commissioner in place or with a new commissioner who had little or no time to study the budget before being asked to act on it," Castor said in a written statement. "I do not believe that is fair to the citizens of Montgomery County to create such a situation and at this time I believe the best way I can serve the citizens is to remain a commissioner and a vocal critic of the policies that have led us to this point while offering my own suggestions on a better way to govern Montgomery County."

Castor was the top vote getter in the 2007 election to fill three Montgomery County commissioner seats. Hoeffel finished second and Matthews came in third thanks to a last-minute push by Castor to get Matthews re-elected at the request of party leadership.

Instead of joining Castor to form a GOP majority on the board, Matthews made a deal with Hoeffel to form a power-sharing arrangement, where Hoeffel supported Matthews as commissioners' chairman in return for obtaining unprecedented control of county government by a minority commissioner.

Hoeffel has hired all sorts of Democratic Party cronies to high-paying county jobs in the past 18 months.

"For 18 months, I have warned that the spending policies pursued by the county commissioners would lead to an unavoidable budget crisis," Castor said in a written statement. "Last year my colleagues used $16 million of our savings and failed to fund $7 million in pension obligations to our county employees in order to balance the budget. They do not have that option this year. The Finance Department projects a $50 million plus budget shortfall for 2010 while reminding us that the pension obligation will come due at the end of this year -- an obligation my fellow commissioners failed to budget for and now do not have the funds to meet. I cited this failure as one of my principle reasons for voting against the 2009 county budget.

Castor is the lone voice of fiscal reason on the commissioners' board and said he will work to inform Montgomery County taxpayers about the irresponsible spending by the Hoeffel-Matthews regime.

"This year we face a mounting deficit that my fellow commissioners will attempt to blame on the economy, Harrisburg, Washington, and just about anyone and anything else they can," Castor said. "But the fault lies in their reckless pursuit of cronyism, patronage and borrow and spend governance using tax dollars to fuel their appetite. This year may be the most critical budget deliberations in the history of Montgomery County. I believe I have an obligation to see this budget process to completion and that is what I intend to do."

The 24th District Senate seat will become vacant on Aug. 1 when Wonderling steps down to take a new job as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Republicans should be able to hold Wonderling's seat in a special election this fall and again in 2010 when a full four-year term is up for grabs.

Democrats have had trouble finding a candidate. The leading contender, state Rep. Bob Freeman, D-136th Dist., bowed out last week after a poll showed Freeman losing to both Castor and Mensch.

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Department of Aging Urges Citizens to Report Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults

Calls to the Elder Abuse Hotline, 1-800-490-8505, can be made anonymously.

Department of Aging Urges Citizens to Report Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults

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Rendell and reality are far apart

Gov. Ed Rendell released a rambling statement today about the state's budget impasse, blaming the Republican-controlled state Senate for blocking his efforts to raise the state income tax by 16 percent.

Contrast Rendell's rant with the most recent survey of voters and you'll see that Rendell is not dealing with reality.

GOV. RENDELL: "GOP Senators are isolated in their position. The people of Pennsylvania are fed up with their government right now, and I'm fed up that the majority party in the state Senate shows so little regard for getting the job done."

REALITY:Gov. Ed Rendell's job approval rating has shrunk to its lowest level ever, 39 percent, and voters see him as most responsible for the state's budget mess, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Also, 63 percent of voters reject Rendell's call to raise the state income tax temporarily to balance the budget, the Quinnipiac poll says.

More from the Quinnipiac poll:
Only 28 percent of voters approve Rendell's handling of the state budget and only 33 percent approve of his handling of the economy.

"Voters clearly don't want their taxes raised to solve the budget mess," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Given a choice between raising taxes to maintain the level of services, or cutting spending and leaving taxes the same, 55 percent favor spending cuts and 35 percent say raise taxes."
To read more of Rendell's nonsensical statement, follow the link below.

Governor Rendell Says to Senate Republicans: 'Get Real'

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Obama Fairy Tales

PA Ranks 13th in Per-Pupil School Spending

Despite a $3.2 billion budget deficit, Gov. Ed Rendell says Pennsylvania needs to spend more on public education. But new U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Pennsylvania is already among the leaders in per-pupil spending among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Pennsylvania spent $23.8 billion on public education in the 2006-07 school year, the most recent figures available, according to the Census Bureau.

Public schools in Pennsylvania spent $11,098 per pupil in 2007, compared to the national average of $9,666, according to the Census Bureau.

Pennsylvania ranked 13th in the nation in per-pupil spending, behind 11 other states and the District of Columbia.

From the new report, Public Education Finances: 2007:
On average, each state spent $9,666 per pupil in 2007, a 5.8 percent increase over 2006. Of total public school financing, state governments contributed 47.6 percent, followed by local sources, which contributed 44.1 percent, and federal sources, which made up the remaining 8.3 percent.

"Public school systems have to balance income and expenses, just like other publicly run entities," said Lisa Blumerman, chief of the Governments Division at the Census Bureau. "This survey shows us the unique blend that each school system applies to utilize the financial resources it has available."

In total, public school systems received $556.9 billion in funding from federal, state and local sources in 2007, a 6.9 percent increase from 2006. Total expenditures were $559.9 billion, a 6.3 percent increase.
You can download a PDF version of the report from the Census Bureau Web site.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

State Capitol Roundup for July 24

An abbreviated State Capitol Roundup from Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147):

State Budget Bill Heading to House-Senate Conference Committee

In the midst of the longest state budget stalemate in nearly 20 years, the state budget bill is on its way to a House-Senate conference committee. Three members from the House and three from the Senate will make up the committee, which will cooperatively work to negotiate the $2 billion difference between the House and Senate versions of the plan. Republicans are optimistic that no personal income tax increase will be included in the final budget, citing the lack of public and legislative support from all four caucuses to institute it. House Republicans remain committed to supporting a balanced budget plan that will prioritize funding for the core functions of government, not raise taxes, and force government to live within its means. This is the seventh consecutive year that Pennsylvania has not had a budget in place by July 1, the official start of the new fiscal year. For the latest budget news, visit


Pawlenty: Obama is scamming the American people


Poll: Obama job approval below 50%

What goes up must come down, but how quickly the might Obama has fallen.

From Rasmussen Reports:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 30% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-eight percent (38%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8.

Just 25% believe that the economic stimulus package has helped the economy.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve.

Overall, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Today marks the first time his overall approval rating has ever fallen below 50% among Likely Voters nationwide. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Democrats continue to approve of the President’s performance while 80% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 37% offer a positive assessment. The President earns approval from 51% of women and 47% of men.
Read more about Obama's job approval at Rasmussen Reports.


Obama steps in it

Law Enforcement Alliance calls Obama on 'unseemly assault on police'

Ted Deeds of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America:
"Every once in a while politicians on the extreme far left of the political spectrum let something slip that shows how out of step they are with not only the American people but the rest of their party. The President's assault on police by playing the race card is one such example."
Read the full statement below:

Law Enforcement Alliance Takes on President Obama for Unseemly Assault on Police

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pat Toomey on health care debate

'How To Stop This Rush To Failure And Fix What Really Needs Fixing'

They rushed through a TARP bailout for banks that is full of fraud, waste and mismanagement.

They rushed through a $787 billion "stimulus" bill that is full of pork spending and has failed to create any jobs.

They rushed through an energy bill that is really a huge energy tax in disguise.

Now Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats want to rush through a $1.5 trillion government-run health care overhaul.

Haven't we learned anything from the mistakes of the past six months?

Paul Howard, director of the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and Tarren Bragdon, chief executive officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, want to know why the rush to turn health care over to the government.

From their column in Investor's Business Daily:
Rather than fix the system's underlying problems (the tax treatment of health insurance and perverse payment systems in the Medicare and Medicaid programs), Democrats stand poised to heap more taxes, fees and regulations on private businesses and insurers. The only hope for fiscal sanity is the public's growing unease with Congress' profligate spending.

The Congressional Budget Office scored the original Kennedy-Dodd bill (from the Senate health committee) costing $1.5 trillion over 10 years, with similar tallies for other bills in the House and Senate.

The oddity is that White House experts suggest that as much as 30% of all health care spending — about $700 billion annually — in the U.S. is wasted every year, more than enough to pay for health coverage expansions and still have plenty left to pay down the deficit.

So where's the savings in Democrats' legislation?
Read the full column, "How To Stop This Rush To Failure And Fix What Really Needs Fixing," at the newspaper's Web site.

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Inconvenient Truths About How Obamacare Will Affect You and Your Family

The Institute for Health Freedom wants Americans to know what's included in the Obamacare bill making its way through Congress:
* Eliminates Existing Private Insurance Coverage (i.e., Eliminates Your Choice of Insurance that Is Not "Acceptable" to the Federal Government, But Is Just Fine With You and Your Family)

* Includes the AMA-Backed/Insurance Industry-Backed Mandate for Individuals to Purchase Health Insurance

* Denies Coverage for Unlicensed Alternative Providers

* Paves the Way for Use of Machine-Readable Health-Plan ID Cards for Everyone

* Establishes a "Real Time" Data System (to Determine Financial Responsibility and Eligibility for Health Care)

* Promotes Child Home Visits

* Moves 83.4 million people from private to public insurance

* Includes a Single-Payer Health-Care Amendment

* Requires Everyone to Buy a Health Plan Essentially Written by the Federal HHS Secretary
Read more at the link below:

Mandate for Health Insurance: Inconvenient Truths About How It Will Affect You and Your Family

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Obama Puts Politics Before Principle in Abortion Coverage

Government-paid abortions is a major part of the health care reform Barack Obama is pushing. Explain to me again how that will help reduce the cost of health care for the average American?

Has anyone in Congress read the 1,018-page Obamacare bill?

Obama Puts Politics Before Principle in Abortion Coverage, Says Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice President

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American Legion: Veterans want no part of Obamacare

The national commander of the nation's largest veterans service organization says military and veterans health care should not be part of any national health care bill.

Reacting Barack Obama's urgent call for immediate Congressional approval of a government-run health care system, American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein issued the following statement:
"While The American Legion appreciates the complexity of the health care reform challenge facing the President and Congress, on behalf of our nation's 26 million veterans and the nearly 2 million personnel now on active duty in more than 130 countries, we urge Congress to ensure that veterans' and military health care not be part of any national health care bill. They should be exempt in the legislation."

Rehbein added, "Our nation must maintain its long standing tradition that veterans' and military health care systems will remain independent and focused on our most deserving citizens.

"The American Legion has a proud tradition of securing and preserving the earned benefits of America's veterans," continued Rehbein. "Ensuring timely access to quality health care for today's military and veterans is of paramount concern. These are the citizens who have borne our battles in previous wars as they still are in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have earned our care the hard way. We, as a nation, have an obligation to ensure that their health care is not compromised," he concluded.
With a current membership of 2.6 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and the mentoring of youth. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
For more information about the American Legion visit its Web site,

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In case of emergency ... raise taxes

Libertarian Party opposes Obamacare

Why the rush?

America's third largest party urges Congress to take its time deliberating the proposed government takeover of the nation's health care system amid pressure from the Obama White House to quickly adopt the troubled proposal with minimal debate and most members of Congress not having read the bill.

From a release issued by the Libertarian Party:
Libertarians oppose the plan, which deepens the federal budget deficit and leads to the rationing of basic health care.

"As confidence in President Obama's plans for a federal government takeover of medicine plunges, the White House is pressuring legislators to rush to judgment while the plan can still be salvaged," said William Redpath, Libertarian National Committee Chairman. "We urge Congress to deliberate this massive government takeover carefully, take their time to allow Americans to read the full bill and then vote down this legislative disaster."

A poll conducted independently by the Gallup organization, not for any party or group, and released today shows disapproval of the Obama plan tops approval among adults by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin. Among political independents, the gap grows. Fifty-five percent of independents disapprove of Obama’s plan. Only 40 percent approve.

"The more we find out about the Democrat plan, whether it's the language on page 16 outlawing private insurance or Section 440 empowering government to visit your home and monitor your parenting, the more obvious it becomes why President Obama wants as little transparency as possible. As we saw during the rush to the Iraq war, nothing good can happen when the president demands Congress give him what he wants immediately and without debate," said Redpath.
The Libertarian Party is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting

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'Talking Politics' with Bruce L. Castor Jr.

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. will be the guest on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus" at 5 p.m. Thursday on WPAZ 1370 AM

Castor will discuss the county's fiscal problems under the leadership of Jim Matthews/Joe Hoeffel and his interest in running for the state Senate.

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

You can also listen to the program online by going to and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the page or you can listen to it at The Mercury Web site at


Rasmussen: 53% now oppose Obamacare

Barack Obama will use a prime-time televised news conference tonight to salvage his government-run health care plan. Good luck with that.

From Rasmussen Reports:
The health care reform legislation working its way through Congress has lost support over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% of U.S. voters are at least somewhat in favor of the reform effort while 53% are at least somewhat opposed.

Today's 44% level of support is down from 46% two weeks ago, and 50% in late June.

Opposition has grown from 45% in late June to 49% two weeks ago and 53% today. As in earlier surveys, those with strong opinions are more likely to oppose the plan rather than support it. The current numbers: 24% strongly favor and 37% strongly oppose.
The tide has turned. The more Americans learn about Obamacare, the less they like it. That's why Obama and Pelosi are trying to ram the bill through Congress before the August break. Like the stimulus bill and the cap-and-trade energy tax, the fewer membes of Congress who read the bill, the better chance it has of passing.

Read more numbers from the Rasmussen poll at Rasmussen Reports.

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Video: The Squeeze

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Poll: 54% say Obama taking nation in wrong direction

The honeymoon is officially over. On the six-month anniversary of start of Barack Obama presidency, a new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds a majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Asked if they would say the country is heading in the "right direction" or in the "wrong direction," 54% of Americans say the nation is headed in the "wrong direction." That's up from 46% in June.

I love the headline on AP's story on their own poll: "Great hopes for Obama fade to reality"

The reality is that Obama has made more mistakes in six months than presidents make over eight years. On the economy, social issues and foreign policy, Obama has made one disastrous decision after another.

And despite having the mainstream media run interference for him, the American people have finally figured out that Obama is all style and no substance.

From the Associated Press story by Nancy Benac and Trevor Tompson:
In Obama's case, the problems he's confronting domestically and internationally are legion, and his ability to blame them on his predecessor is fading. Challenges still abound in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unemployment, at 7.6 percent in January, hit 9.5 percent in June and is expected to keep rising well into next year. Almost 4 percent of homeowners with mortgages are in foreclosure, and an additional 8 percent are at least a month behind on payments — the highest levels since the Great Depression.
The president is deep into the debate over how to overhaul the nation's health care system, and people are nervous about how their own insurance could be affected. Obama's critics are accusing him of conducting a risky "rand experiment" that will hurt the economy and could force millions to drop their current coverage.
And it's not just Obama who is slipping in the polls.

The job approval of the Democratically-controlled Congress — already historic low levels — continues to slide, dropping 6 percentage points to 32 percent, according to the poll.

Read the full poll results at the AP-GfK Poll Web site

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Rendell approval numbers tumble

Highlights from the latest Quinnipiac University poll:
* Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's job approval rating has shrunk to its lowest level ever, 39 - 53 percent negative, and voters see him as most responsible for the state's budget mess.

* Voters also reject 63 - 33 percent the governor's call to raise the state income tax temporarily to balance the budget.

* State Attorney General Tom Corbett has the best name recognition among Republican contenders in the 2010 Governor's race, while there is no clear leader in the Democratic field.

* Rendell is most to blame for the budget stalemate, 30 percent of voters say, while 17 percent blame the Republicans in the Legislature; 11 percent blame the Democrats and 28 percent blame everyone equally.

* Pennsylvania voters disapprove 57 - 27 percent of the job the State Legislature is doing, close to the all time worst score of 60 - 26 percent October 5, 2005.
Read the full survey results at the Quinnipiac University Web site.

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Try to follow along

Members of Congress who pledge to read health care reform before voting on it

Let Freedom Ring, a free-market advocacy group headed by former Chester County Commissioner Colin Hanna, has set up a Web site where members of Congress can sign a pledge to read health care reform legislation before voting on it.

This is a big deal considering nobody in Congress who voted for the failed "stimulus" bill bothered to read it before voting to support it.

So far, just 72 members of Congress have signed the Responsible Healthcare Reform Pledge, but more are being added daily.

From Pennsylvania, four Republicans -- Reps. Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach, Joe Pitts and Todd Platts -- have signed.

Are you surprised that not a single Democrat from Pennsylvania has signed the pledge? Why should they? They rubber-stamped everything Barack Obama sends down the pike. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

For more information, check out

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Obama Reform = Rationing

Report: Bailouts could cost U.S. $23 trillion

From a disturbing report by Eamon Javers in Politico about Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats leading the U.S. to economic suicide:
A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion, the U.S. government’s watchdog over the effort says – a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.

If the feds end up spending that amount, it could be more than the federal government has spent on any single effort in American history.

For the government to be on the hook for the total amount, worst-case scenarios would have to come to pass in a variety of federal programs, which is unlikely, says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the government’s financial bailout programs, in testimony prepared for delivery to the House oversight committee Tuesday.

The Treasury Department says less than $2 trillion has been spent so far.
Read the full story at POLITICO and call your representatives in Congress and tell them they will be out of a job in 2010 if they continue to follow Obama over a cliff.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Doug Pike has deep pockets for Congressional run

CQPolitics is reporting that Democrat Doug Pike has kicked in $510,000 of his own money to finance his run for Congress in Pennsylvania's 6th District.

From a story by reporter Greg Giroux:
Pike, who is vying to succeed Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach, a 2010 candidate for governor, gave his campaign $510,000 in this year's second quarter, or about 77 percent of his total receipts of $664,000. That was the most money raised in the reporting period by a non-incumbent 2010 candidate for the House.

When Pike, a former editorial writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, announced his candidacy in early April, Democratic officials said that he would be willing to part with $1 million of his own money on the race.
Although this is his first run for political office, Pike is a son of former New York Rep. Otis G. Pike (1961-79), a Florida retiree who, according to Giroux, gave $1,000 to his son's campaign.

Pike is the first, and so far, the only announced Democratic candidate, but that won't last much longer. An opportunity to run for an open Congressional seat doesn't come around too often.

The only announced GOP candidate for the 6th Congressional District is Chester County state Rep. Curt Schroder, but the field is expected to increase as we get closer to 2010.

Read the full story, "Personal Money Spikes Pike's Fundraising," at CQPolitics

For more about the Pike, visit his official campaign Web site,

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Bad Medicine

Surprising voter turnout totals from 2008

Remember all the media hype about Obama bringing out tons of voters to cast ballots in the historic election of 2008? It didn't happen.

The share of eligible voters who actually went to the polls in November 2008 declined from November 2004, according to new U.S. Census figures.

A total of 63.6 percent of eligible voters, or 131.1 million people, cast ballots in the contest between Barack Obama and John McCain last November. The voter turnout in 2004 for the George W. Bush-John F. Kerry showdown was 63.8 percent.

While the total number of votes cast was higher by 5 million, the turnout was down, especially among older white Americans, according to the Census Bureau.

This is a case where people voted with their feet and none of the above resulted in Barack Obama as president. How's that "hope and change" working out for you now?

"The 2008 presidential election saw a significant increase in voter turnout among young people, blacks and Hispanics," said Thom File, a voting analyst with the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division. "But as turnout among some other demographic groups either decreased or remained unchanged, the overall 2008 voter turnout rate was not statistically different from 2004."

Read more from the new report, Voting and Registration in the Election of 2008, at the link below:

Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election, U.S. Census Bureau Reports

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40 years ago today

Poll: Cost, not universal coverage, tops health care concerns

This is directed at Barack Obama and his merry band of socialists in Congress.

A new Rasmussen poll finds that 61% of voters nationwide say that cost -- not universal coverage -- is the biggest health care problem facing the nation today.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 21% believe the lack of universal health insurance coverage is a bigger problem.

More from Rasmussen Reports:
Only 10% believe the quality of care is the top concern, and two percent (2%) point to the inconvenience factor of dealing with the current medical system.

Given a choice between health care reform and a tax hike or no health care reform and no tax hike, 47% would prefer to avoid the tax hike and do without reform. Forty-one percent (41%) take the opposite view.

The opposition is stronger when asked about a choice between health care reform that would require changing existing health insurance coverage or no health care reform and no change from current coverage. In that case, voters oppose reform by a 54% to 32% margin.
It's time for every American to contact their members of Congress and tell them to put a stop to Obamacare. This is a case where the "cure" is far worse than the disease.

For more poll results, visit Rasmussen Reports.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Libertarian Party: Sotomayor wrong on gun control

As many suspected, liberal Judge Sonia Sotomayor does not believe the Second Amendment protects a citizen's right to own firearms.

From a press release issued by the Libertarian Party:
America's third largest party reiterated its opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of federal judge Sonia Sotomayor after the nominee refused to give a firm answer on whether individuals have the right of self-defense.

"Is there a constitutional right to self-defense?" Sotomayor asked when questioned by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) whether or not the Constitution guaranteed him the right of self-defense. "I can't think of one. I could be wrong."

"Whether you agree with her position or not, Judge Sotomayor has had no problem stating that things not directly found in the Constitution are 'settled law.' That's why it's troubling that when confronted with a constitutionally-enshrined principle she disagrees with, the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of one’s rights, things are suddenly muddled and up for debate," said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.

"The Libertarian Party is the only party that never compromises in its defense of our Second Amendment-guaranteed rights. That's why we have opposed Judge Sotomayor's nomination from the moment we reviewed her troubling anti-gun record. Judge Sotomayor's answers Wednesday further show she believes the law should flow from her own personal biases and not the literal wording of the Constitution," said Ferguson.

Judge Sotomayor is the latest in a long line of hardline anti-gun activists nominated by President Obama to government positions where they would have the power to infringe on gun rights. Libertarians also opposed the nominations of anti-gun Attorney General Eric Holder and anti-gun State Department legal adviser Harold Koh.

"The Libertarian Party will hold accountable at the ballot box any senator who votes to confirm Judge Sotomayor. America's nearly 90 million gun owners come from all walks of life and political beliefs – and they decide their vote on this issue. Libertarians look forward to speaking with them about the LP's fundamental belief in gun rights, and their senator's voting record on it," said Ferguson.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Rep. Joe Pitts talks to Fox News about Democrats' hidden abortion mandate

Give Obama the hook

Specter to vote 'yes' on Sotomayor

As if Pennsylvania residents needed another reason not to re-elect Arlen Specter.

Despite her clear lack of a basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution, Sonia Sotomayor will be the first 'wise Latina' confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a Democrat, issued the following statement today on the nomination of Sotomayor to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States:
"Judge Sonia Sotomayor brought to the Judiciary Committee hearings an outstanding record academically, as a prosecutor and as a commercial lawyer plus 17 distinguished years as a federal judge. At the hearings she displayed intellect, restraint and judicial demeanor. As the third woman and the first Hispanic, she will add needed diversity to the Supreme Court."

"I intend to vote for her and urge my colleagues to do the same."

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10 Most Dangerous Foods to Eat While Driving from

A recent survey revealed that more than 70 percent of drivers eat while driving and 83 percent drink beverages even though both practices could lead to accidents. has published a list of the 10 worst foods to eat while driving:

1) Coffee. Even with a travel lid, hot coffee can find its way out of the opening when you hit a bump.
2) Hot soup. Many people drink it like coffee and run the same risks.
3) Tacos. Any food that can disassemble itself will leave your car looking like a salad bar.
4) Chili dogs. Huge potential for drips and slops down the front of clothing.
5) Hamburgers. From the grease to the toppings, it could end up on your hands and the steering wheel.
6) Ribs and wings. What's more distracting than licking your fingers?
7) Fried chicken. More greasy hands. You've got to wipe them off while you're driving.
8) Jelly donuts. It's not possible to eat one without watching the center ooze out.
9) Soda. Carbonation. Fizz in the nose. Lids that leak. Disaster.
10) Chocolate. Try to clean melted chocolate off the steering wheel without swerving.

10 Most Dangerous Foods to Eat While Driving from

Federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on July 24

Millions of workers in 30 states, including Pennsylvania, will see more in their paychecks soon ... if they still have jobs. U.S. companies have slashed at least 500,000 jobs a week since Obama became president.

Federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on July 24

Report: Mixed progress for PA women

The Pennsylvania Commission for Women has released its 2009 Status of Pennsylvania Women Report.

The findings?

Over the past four years, Pennsylvania women have made great strides in statistical measures of health, education and economic status, but continue to earn less than Pennsylvania men on average, find work in lower-paying jobs, and remain largely absent from the state political scene, according to the report.

"This one-of-a-kind report provides a non-partisan, in-depth look at what the women of this commonwealth face, including all of the good news and all of the bad," said Commission for Women Executive Director Leslie Stiles. "We are pleased at how far women have come in terms of achievements and goals, but this report clearly details how much farther we have to go."

The report can be downloaded from the commission's Web site at, or a hardcopy can be requested by calling the Pennsylvania Commission for Women at 717-787-8128.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ed Rendell thinks you should pay higher taxes

Costello interested in Gerlach seat

Another Chester County Republican officeholder is interested in running for Jim Gerlach's Congressional seat.

A day after state Rep. Curt Schroder, R-155, announced he is a candidate for the seat now held by Gerlach, Chester County Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello said Wednesday he is exploring a run for Congress.

Gerlach announced Tuesday he will no seek a fifth term so he can pursue the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania governor in 2010.

Costello, an attorney in Phoenixville, was elected Chester County Recorder of Deeds in 2007. He is also the former chairman of the East Vincent Township Board of Supervisors.

"I have a serious interest in the 6th District Congressional seat, and in the coming weeks I'm going to continue to talk to the taxpayers and community and party leaders who I know are equally concerned about the excessive spending in Washington and the ramifications for future generations," Costello said in a prepared statement. "We need to create jobs and promote economic development in the Tri-County region by eliminating regressive business taxes and reducing health care costs for employers so they can begin to grow and prosper again. As Recorder I see first-hand the impact of regional real estate trends on families and seniors and the only way to stimulate the housing market is to stimulate the job market."

Costello used the announcement that he is thinking about running for Gerlach's U.S. House seat, to take a few shots at the big-government atmosphere in Washington, D.C.

"I think the stimulus bill was too much money, spread over too long a period of time, and has been ineffective in lowering unemployment and getting the economy moving again because a majority of the dollars didn't go to a failing transportation and infrastructure system and small businesses who are struggling to keep the lights on," Costello said. "I don't think expansion of government welfare programs is the correct response to our current problems."

More from a press release issued by Costello:
An attorney with the O'Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C., law firm, practicing in their real estate and business departments, Costello also emphasized he has familiarity with the 6th Congressional District.

Born in Phoenixville, and a graduate of Owen J. Roberts high school, Ursinus College, and Villanova law school, Costello remarked, "I am familiar and know the Chester, Montgomery and Berks county region well. My experience as an attorney advocating for economic development projects, and understanding how to get projects done, is a positive attribute to a congressional candidacy in these times. And my elective office experience as a countywide Republican elected official is one I am proud of."

"I know this district well, and having volunteered on each of Congressman Gerlach's campaigns, I know what it will take to keep this a Republican district. I have the energy to run an aggressive campaign, and the experience and intelligence to be a strong, thoughtful candidate with common sense ideas that reflect this diverse district."

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Empathy joins the court

Columnist: 'Economy Is Even Worse Than You Think'

First Joe Biden, then Barack Obama and now Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke are fessing up they don't know what they're doing when it comes to the U.S. economy.

The Federal Reserve predicted today that unemployment will top 10 percent, despite earlier assurances from Obama that it would not go higher than 8 percent if his stimulus package was approved.

With more than 15 million Americans out of work and an additional 500,000 losing their jobs every week, there's no end in sight for the Obama recession.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Mort Zuckerman, chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report, says the unemployment picture is much worse than the government is letting on.

From his column:
Job losses may last well into 2010 to hit an unemployment peak close to 11%. That unemployment rate may be sustained for an extended period.

Can we find comfort in the fact that employment has long been considered a lagging indicator? It is conventionally seen as having limited predictive power since employment reflects decisions taken earlier in the business cycle. But today is different. Unemployment has doubled to 9.5% from 4.8% in only 16 months, a rate so fast it may influence future economic behavior and outlook.

How could this happen when Washington has thrown trillions of dollars into the pot, including the famous $787 billion in stimulus spending that was supposed to yield $1.50 in growth for every dollar spent? For a start, too much of the money went to transfer payments such as Medicaid, jobless benefits and the like that do nothing for jobs and growth. The spending that creates new jobs is new spending, particularly on infrastructure. It amounts to less than 10% of the stimulus package today.
Read the full column, "The Economy Is Even Worse Than You Think," at the newspaper's Web site.

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Catch me on radio & TV Thursday

You can listen to me on the radio and watch me on TV on Thursday.

I'll be making another appearance "Journalists Roundtable" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network Thursday at 8 p.m. (The program repeats Sunday at 5 and 11 p.m.)

PCN is Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County; Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks and Lehigh counties; and Comcast Channel 186 in the Pottstown area. Consult your local cable guide for the PCN channel in your area.

You can also hear me on the radio on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

The one-hour broadcast is simulcast online at and


Rendell Signs 7 Bills Into Law

The most significant bill on the list is House Bill 89, which amends the Crimes Code to expand the offense of sexual abuse of children to include intentionally viewing child pornography.

See the complete list at the link below:

Governor Rendell Signs 7 Bills

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Curt Schroder to seek Gerlach seat in Congress

Just hours after U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach announced he will not seek re-election to Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional seat, a fellow Chester County politician announced plans to run for Gerlach's seat.

State Rep. Curt Schroder, R-155th Dist., is seeking the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District, which includes portions of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties and a sliver of Lehigh County.

"I have decided to enter this race to ensure that the values that built our country remain for our children, that we encourage the policies of entrepreneurism, limited government and to preserve the economic future of our nation," Schroder said in a written statement.

Schroder added, "America's greatness comes from free enterprise and hard working families, not government bailouts and bureaucracy. I will bring my passion for public service and Pennsylvania values to Washington to better our community and nation."

Gerlach, who is giving up a shot for a fifth term in Congress to run for Pennsylvania governor in 2010, first won the 6th District seat in 2002 but has had a difficult time holding the seat against well-financed Democratic opposition.

Gerlach typically loses the Montgomery County portion of the district, but does well in the more conservative areas of Chester and Berks counties.

Schroder, a fiscal and social conservative, will probably employ the same strategy if he wins the GOP nomination. He's already taken shots of the growing deficits of the Obama administration.

"This binge of bailouts and borrowing will come to an end if I have anything to say about it!" Schroder said.

Here's some background information about Schroder released by his campaign:
A lifelong resident of Chester County, Schroder grew up in the Downingtown area and now lives in East Brandywine with his wife, Deanna, and two children, Mark and Kristen.

After graduating from Downingtown High School in 1979, Curt attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Summers were spent working in the steamy environs of the Davey Paper Company where he earned money for the next year of college. After graduating from IUP in 1983, Curt went to Widener School of Law’s evening division in Wilmington Delaware at night while working for the Philadelphia law firm German, Gallagher and Murtagh during the day. Schroder practiced law with German, Gallagher after graduating law school and passing the bar exam.

First elected to the state House in 1994, Schroder has been an effective advocate for legislative issues and a champion for our communities in Harrisburg. During his time in the legislature, Curt has been a leader in many issues including health care and government reform. Schroder lead efforts to reform medical malpractice and preserve our health care system. Schroder also spearheaded efforts to reform the PA General Assembly and preserve the secret ballot rights of workers.

Schroder believes strongly in community service and serves in a number of community organizations. He serves on the Boards of Brandywine Hospital and Brandywine YMCA. He previously served on the Chester County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board and as a member of the East Brandywine Township Planning Commission.

Schroder has received numerous honors for his work in the House and here at home. He was presented with Leadership Awards from both the Hospital and Healthcare Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Delaware Valley Health Care Council, the 2004 Friend of Family Medicine Award from the Academy of Family Physicians, and Legislator of the Year from the Pennsylvania Orthopedic Society.

Schroder received the first Matthew J. Ryan Legislator of the Year Award in 2004 from the Chester County Chamber Foundation. He was named Legislator of the Year by the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce in 2002 and again in 2006. Schroder was honored as the Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1998 by the Downingtown Chamber of Commerce for his work in revitalizing the Borough. In 2007, Curt was named the first recipient of the Sen. Robert. J. Thompson Public Service Award by the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce and was also presented with the Citizenship Award from the Pennsylvania VFW for his commitment to fostering patriotism. More recently Curt Schroder received recognition from the Upper Uwchlan and West Vincent Township Police Departments for his work on the Route 100 Safety Corridor Project.
No word yet on a "Schroder for Congress" Web site, but you can learn more about his tenure in the state House of Representatives at You can also follow Schroder on Facebook.

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Jim Gerlach is making a big mistake

I like Jim Gerlach. He's been my Congressman for the past 7 years. I voted for him in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. He's done a good job. I've met him on several occasions. He's smart and affable. He knows the issues and has done a good job taking care of his constituents. I'd vote for him for just about any political office.

Having said that, I believe Gerlach is making a huge mistake giving up his 6th District Congressional seat to run for Pennsylvania governor in 2010. It's not that he wouldn't make a good governor. He'd be a big improvement over Ed Rendell, the current tax-and-spend liberal occupying the governor's mansion. The problem with Gerlach's decision is that he has no chance of winning. He'll never make it past the GOP primary next spring.

Tom Corbett will be the Republican nominee for governor in 2010. Corbett has proven himself in two statewide runs for Attorney General. Gerlach is not known outside SE Pennsylvania and can't raise the kind of cash Corbett can to make a successful run for statewide office.

Gerlach may be testing the waters in 2010 for a future statewide run for governor or Senate, but in the meantime, he's is going to give up a Republican seat in Congress to a Democrat.

That's the part that bothers me about Gerlach's decision. The 6th Congressional District (parts of Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties) has been trending Democratic in recent years and only Gerlach, a fiscal conservative with moderate social views, can hold the seat.

Without Gerlach on the ballot, Democrats will have the edge in winning the 6th Congressional seat in 2010 ... and Republicans may never get it back.

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Gerlach makes it official: He's running for PA governor

Here is the press release issued today announcing Congressman Jim Gerlach's decicion to run for Pennsylvania governor:
Gerlach Pledges to Create Jobs, Cut Government Spending & Waste and Make Pennsylvania the Leader in America's Energy Independent Future

Exton, PA - Jim Gerlach, a western Pennsylvania native and four-term United States Congressman from Chester County, will run for the Republican nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania next spring. Gerlach is the only Republican to formally declare his candidacy for Governor.

"The economic challenges Pennsylvania faces over the coming years demand proven, fiscally conservative leadership, and a successful record of dealing with a wide-range of tough issues. From cutting state spending, income taxes and welfare rolls, I have been on the front lines for years fighting for smaller government and greater efficiency in Harrisburg and Washington. Our next Governor must employ those values and put them to work in Harrisburg, and make Pennsylvania a competitive place to do business so we can create jobs and put families back to work. It's that simple," said Gerlach.

"The debate in Harrisburg of raising state income taxes by 16 percent, creating a new tax on one of the most promising energy industries in Pennsylvania, and increasing spending in one of the worst budgets in a generation show the need for new leadership. I cannot sit back and Pennsylvania taxpayers cannot afford to allow the proponents of larger, unsustainable government to prevail. One of my top priorities will be to enact results-based budgeting with performance benchmarks on state spending. This will insure that taxpayers aren't funding failing government programs year after year without seeing any return on the investment of their hard-earned dollars. My campaign will focus on restoring fiscal sanity to Harrisburg, increasing accountability and cutting waste, creating jobs and making Pennsylvania the leader in America's energy independent future," Gerlach continued.

"It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the residents of the 6th Congressional District for more than six years. But I believe the best place for me to improve the lives of Pennsylvania's taxpayers, families and seniors is as Governor. It is not a decision I made lightly. However, it became clear after careful deliberation with my wife Karen, our six kids, friends, constituents, party leaders and grassroots folks across the state who want to re-energize our state Republican Party, give voters a choice next spring and create a bright economic future for the next generation of Pennsylvanians."

To date, Congressman Gerlach has secured over $1 million in financial commitments for his gubernatorial run on top of the $200,000 in exploratory funding raised since February. In addition, 100% of his federal campaign funds are transferable to his statewide gubernatorial campaign committee. A formal statewide announcement tour and kick-off fundraising events are being planned for the near future.

"I did not want to wait any longer to make this announcement. I know our team will need plenty of time to formalize our support and organize the campaign's infrastructure. In addition, I know full well how competitive a 2010 open seat congressional race will become, and I owe it to our Party's candidates to ensure they have enough time to raise the money and support to be successful," added Gerlach.

Gerlach is in Washington, D.C. as debate begins on Democrat plans to put government bureaucrats in charge of the nation's healthcare system. Back in February, Gerlach voted against the bloated federal stimulus package and was the first in Pennsylvania to call on Governor Ed Rendell to establish a stimulus oversight commission to protect and monitor billions of dollars in federal aid from waste, abuse and mismanagement.

For more on Gerlach, visit his campaign Web site,

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Compelling Life Story

Rendell 'clearly becoming unglued'

Lowman S. Henry offers an interesting analysis of Gov. Ed Rendell's mental status as the state's budget impasse enters Day 14 and Rendell is unable to drum up support for a massive tax hike to dig his way out of a fiscal hole.

From Henry's latest post at Lincoln Blog:
The governor is clearly becoming unglued. He is acting like a junkie who can't get his next fix. Which is exactly what he is: a spending junkie. The governor is used to the legislature rolling over and funding his insatiable appetite for spending.

But this year is different. This year, Republicans - and not a few Democrats - are refusing to cave into the governor's demands for new taxes in the midst of an economic recession.

As a result, Rendell is becoming hysterical.

Obviously 4,000 state employees are not going to be laid off. And, if that many could be laid off the question that pops up is: were they even needed in the first place?
Read the full post at Lincoln Blog.

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Monday, July 13, 2009 launches

Tom Knox is a Democrat running for Pennsylvania governor in 2010. Although he was not successful in his bid to become mayor of Philadelphia last year, Knox may have latched on to an issue that could jump-start his gubernatorial campaign.

Knox wants to prevent the scheduled lifting of caps on electricity rates that could send utility bills skyrocketing for Pennsylvania homeowners and businesses.

From an e-mail the Knox for Governor campaign sent out:

Pennsylvania is about to raise your utility bill 65%. It's true. Even though we are in the middle of a recession, Pennsylvania is about to deregulate its electric utilities. And, every expert agrees this will increase consumers' electrical rates by 65%.

I don't know about you, but I'm not going to just sit by and watch struggling middle class families be squeezed even further by higher utility rates. So, if you are as upset as I am, you must act right now.

Please sign the petition and tell Pennsylvania's state legislature not to raise your utility rates:
Knox goes on to say that in every state where deregulation has been tried, it has failed.

From his e-mail: If you don't want your utility rates to go up 75%, then I need you to join with me and tell the Pennsylvania state legislature to stop this utility rate hike. What you do right now really matters. You have the power to stop this rate hike, put an end to deregulation and protect Pennsylvania's families, but it will only happen if we all join together and demand it.

We must act now - sign the petition today:
Stopping this rate hike, which would be the equivalent to the "biggest tax increase in Pennsylvania history," is just common sense, good government, Knox says.

Pennsylvania already has some of the highest electricity costs in the nation, Knox says. "Deregulation would be disastrous."

I know this guy is a Democrat, but I can't argue with his desire to protect Pennsylvania's beleaguered taxpayers, who have suffered enormously under Ed Rendell.

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Rendell caught lying ... again

Q: How can you tell if Gov. Ed Rendell is lying? A: His lips are moving.

Rendell has spend a lot of your tax dollars riding around the state on a bus to lie to constituents about Senate Bill 850, which reduces state spending and eliminates the need for a tax increase.

The Commonwealth Foundation has caught Rendell ... repeatedly ... lying about the impact of SB 850 on public education.

Read more at POLICY BLOG

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How about a 'voluntary' tax hike?

There's a big debate in Pennsylvania over Gov. Ed Rendell's call for a "temporary" 16 percent increase in the state's personal income tax, which is paid by workers and businesses. Rendell says the increase would only last three years and would raise $4.5 billion, enough to cover the $3.25 billion deficit Rendell ran up this year with some spare change to spend on bigger state government.

The problem with Rendell's "temporary" tax hike is very few people are interested in paying it. Senate and House Republicans in the state Legislature have vowed to fight Rendell on the "temporary" tax hike.

I have an alternative. How about a "voluntary" tax hike?

Since Rendell claims that people want to pay more, here's the opportunity to prove it.

Under my plan, the state will raise taxes only for those who want to give more of their income to Harrisburg. We probably won't be able to collect $4.5 billion, but it's a start.

I'm taking names of Pennsylvania residents who would like to pay more taxes:

1) Ed Rendell
2) Joe Hoeffel
3) Keith McCall
4) Dwight Evans

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just Tax It!