Remember all the grief former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin received from the liberal media when she pointed out that the health care reform bills pushed by Democrats included provisions for the so-called "death panels" to advise elderly Americans on alternatives to medical treatment after they reach a certain age?
Guess what? Sarah Palin was right. The House bill touted by Nancy Pelosi includes end-of-life counseling by government-sponsored "death panels."
From The Associated Press:
It's alive! End-of-life counseling in health bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's alive.
The Medicare end-of-life planning provision that 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said was tantamount to "death panels" for seniors is staying in the latest Democratic health care bill unveiled Thursday.
The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death.
For years, federal laws and policies have encouraged Americans to think ahead about end-of-life decisions, and make their wishes known in advance through living wills and similar legal documents. But when House Democrats proposed this summer to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling, it touched off a wave of suspicion and anger.
Prominent Republicans singled it out as a glaring example of government overreach. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, at the time a lead negotiator on health care legislation, told constituents at a town hall meeting they had good reason to question the proposal.
"I don't have any problem with things like living wills, but they ought to be done within the family," he said. "We should not have a government program that determines you're going to pull the plug on grandma."
U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District, wants to set the record straight about the latest bogus announcement by the Obama Administration that it has "created or saved" 650,000 jobs.
Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that the official count of "created or saved" jobs from the $787 billion stimulus was 25,000. It's amazing what you can do with numbers.
Obama released figures from his economic team stating that more than 40,000 jobs have been "created or saved" in Pennsylvania by passage of the stimulus bill, according to Pitts.
Nationwide 650,000 jobs have been "created or saved" at the cost of approximately $1.2 million each, Pitts says. Economists agree that the figure of jobs "saved" is misleading and is not a legitimate economic measure, Pitts says.
Pennsylvania has lost nearly 200,000 jobs in just the past year alone. Nationwide, more than 15 million Americans are out of work. The unemployment rate in the U.S. stands at a 27-year high.
Rep. Pitts' statement follows:
"Once again the administration is claiming that the wasteful $787 billion stimulus bill has 'saved' a distinct number of jobs. The White House has produced a number that is meaningless. There is no way to count jobs that weren't lost. I could just as easily come up with a formula to count the jobs that have been lost due this Administration’s policies on energy, health, and taxation.
"The truth is, unemployment is nearly two percent higher than the President projected. The administration’s website right now shows only one job saved in the entire 16th Congressional District. I understand that these numbers may be updated later today but they certainly won’t change very much. Right now this website shows that one job was created at the cost of $277,000 in government contracts.
"The government cannot create jobs, but it can make is easier or harder for employers to increase their payroll. With job-killing tax hikes in health care reform and the energy legislation being considered in Congress right now, how can we expect employers to invest in their business with confidence?"
Gov. Ed Rendell signed two more death warrants this week, bringing the number signed during his tenure as governor to 99. And the number of death row inmates executed since Rendell became governor remains at 0.
In fairness, it's not Rendell's fault that nobody has been executed in Pennsylvania for decades. You can thank liberal judges who refuse to uphold the law and allow executions to take place.
Aristotle International, a leading non-partisan provider of political technology and data, has released its annual "Deadwood" voter registration compilation, showing 16,331,707, or 8.9%, of all registered voters are no longer among the living but still eligible to vote.
This would help explain some of the current elected officials we have.
Aristotle International says the number of voters on its "Deadwood" rolls is up 3 percent over the estimate released in October 2008.
Way to go ACORN!
"Deadwood on voter rolls complicates the electoral process and can cause problems like fraud and vote miscounts. It always creates a perception of low voter turnout," said John Aristotle Phillips, CEO of Aristotle. "It gets down to this: by depressing turnout, dead voters make the rest of us look bad."
Six months ago today, Arlen Specter left the Republican Party because polling data showed that he could not win against Pat Toomey. Today, the polls show Pennsylvanians of all political stripes are rejecting his rampant political opportunism and complete lack of principle.
This morning Team Toomey released the video above to commemorate Sen. Specter's six month anniversary as a Democrat.
Poll: 47% Pick Yankees to Win World Series, But More Want A Phillies Repeat
Rasmussen Reports take a break from politics to ask Americans who they think will win the World Series. Unfortunately, most people are picking those damn Yankees.
From Rasmussen Reports:
Forty-seven percent (47%) of baseball fans expect the New York Yankees to win their 27th World Series title this year. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of baseball fans finds that 32% believe the Philadelphia Phillies will defend their title this year while 21% are not sure.
While the Yanks are favored to win, 49% are rooting for the Phillies to win it all for the second straight year. Only 31% will be cheering for the Yankees.
Once again, Yankees fans are the cockiest, with 79% who think their team will take the series. Only 55% of Phillies fans think their team will defend their title.
Among avid baseball fans, those who watch baseball at least once a week during the season, 48% expect the Yankees and 41% pick the Phillies.
A good column by Brad Bumsted of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about how so-called conservative western Pennsylvania Democrats in the state House let down their constituents by supporting the deficit budget pushed by Gov. Ed Rendell and legislative leaders.
Instead of sticking with House Republicans to oppose the 2009-10 budget and higher taxes, the "Blue Dogs" turned into lap dogs, Bumsted writes.
From Bumsted's column:
On the final tax vote, only two Blue Dogs -- Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Vandergrift, and Rep. John Pallone, D-New Kensington -- barked. They were the only Democrats to vote against it.
Most of the Blue Dog Democrats showed in the end they were team players.
They could have rocked the Capitol on Aug. 3 but chose to take an obvious victory.
From their perspective, getting their leaders to declare that the income tax was dead was significant and it truly ended that debate.
It was a pivotal day in the historic budget battle. Some Democrats might think about it again next year when Republicans are campaigning against them, citing their votes for the "$1 billion state tax increase."
Did you catch this item in Monday's "Sound Off" column?
Tony, Tony, wherefore art thou Tony? I see your face almost everyday in the paper and wish I could read your blogs, but don't have access. The last time I persisted and by coincidence several columns by Tony Phyrillas were printed in a short amount of time, then nothing. Must I form a coalition of supporters without the Internet to protest the exclusion of his columns in the paper we pay for?
Thanks for the support. I feel bad about people who don't have a computer or Internet access. And I can't believe politicians are trying to remove more information such as legal notices from newspapers by putting them on government Web site.
Newspapers back Jane Orie Melvin for PA Supreme Court
The biggest race on the Nov. 3 ballot is to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is now split 3-3 among Democrats and Republicans.
The candidates are reform candidate Jane Orie Melvin, a Republican, and Jack Panella, the Democratic Party machine candidate, who is running attack ads against Orie Melvin instead of giving voters a reason to support him.
Three of the state's leading newspapers (and among the most liberal newspapers at that) are urging voters to support Orie Melvin.
Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason congratulated Supreme Court candidate Judge Joan Orie Melvin on receiving the endorsement of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Patriot News on Sunday.
From a Republican Party of Pennsylvania press release:
"Judge Joan Orie Melvin is an incredibly impressive candidate and I am pleased to read that The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Patriot News all agreed," Gleason said. "In their endorsement, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted Judge Joan Orie Melvin's 'outsider's viewpoint' and credited her call to create an independently appointed agency to monitor corrupt judges. Clearly, with the story of the Luzerne County judicial scandal still dominating headlines, Pennsylvania voters are looking to elect a Supreme Court justice that will seek to root out corruption, not stand idly by while it takes place."
"The Philadelphia Inquirer's endorsement also criticizes Democrat candidate Jack Panella for his 'special interest campaign war chest' which has come through sizable donations from trial lawyers and big labor groups. We agree that the donations he has received raise serious questions about whether or not Jack Panella, if elected, will be beholden to these special interest groups who have donated so generously to his campaign."
"Judge Joan Orie Melvin's strong work ethic, distinguished record and judicial temperament make her the only choice for Supreme Court on November 3rd, and I am overjoyed that so many Pennsylvanians, including three of our state’s largest newspapers from the western, eastern and central Pennsylvania, are voicing their support for her campaign."
The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsement of Judge Joan Orie Melvin for Supreme Court reads:
Of the two appellate judges vying for Supreme Court, Joan Orie Melvin of Pittsburgh edges out Jack A. Panella, her Easton colleague on the state Superior Court. Melvin, 53, earned the state bar's highest rating and was cited for being "genial and fair- minded" with a "solid record of performance" on the bench over a 24-year period. ("Editorial: Best judicial choices," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/25/09)
Click here to read the text of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s full endorsement.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsement of Judge Joan Orie Melvin for Supreme Court reads:
The other consideration is one dear to our core principles. If Judge Panella wins this race, the court will be down to six men and one woman (Justice Debra McCloskey Todd). The other female justice, Jane Cutler Greenspan, agreed not to seek a full 10-year term after Chief Justice Ralph Cappy retired last year.
Advantage, Judge Melvin, who would strike a small but important blow for gender balance by keeping the number of female justices at two.
The Post-Gazette endorses Judge Joan Orie Melvin for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. ("Supreme Court: In a duel of two top jurists, it's Judge Melvin," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Click here to read the text of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s full endorsement.
The Patriot News endorsement of Judge Joan Orie Melvin for Supreme Court reads:
But on Nov. 3, voters can choose only one, and after meeting with the candidates and reviewing their records, our choice is Judge Joan Orie Melvin.
She has experience at all levels of the judiciary, having served as a judge in the municipal courts in Pittsburgh, Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County and has been on the Superior Court since 1997. ("Pennsylvania Supreme Court judge: Our choice is Orie Melvin," The Patriot News, 10/25/09)
Click here to read the text of The Patriot News' full endorsement.
A couple of Montgomery County businessmen were spotted chatting with Congressional candidate Pat Meehan at a fundraising event on Wednesday, October 21, at The Café located at 2011 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Meehan, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is seeking the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District. Pictured from left to right: Geoffrey McKernan of Blue Bell, President and CEO, NSM Insurance (headquartered in Conshohocken); Pat Meehan; and Mark O'Connor of Haverford, Co-Proprietor of the Irish Pub and The Café in Philadelphia.
News Item: 23 states report higher unemployment in September.
The Obama Recession continues ... and the state-run media is working overtime attempting to cover up the failing presidency of Barack Obama.
While the president and his loyal minions are wasting their time attacking FOX News for daring to criticize Obama's mounting failures, millions of Americans are losing their jobs while millions more have given up looking for work.
From The Associated Press:
Forty-three states reported job losses in September, while only seven gained jobs, the Labor Department said Wednesday.
Wednesday's report underscores the uneven nature of the recovery. The unemployment rate dropped in some Midwestern states as the manufacturing sector improved. But Florida and Nevada, two of the states hit hardest by the housing slump, reported record-high jobless rates.
Some of the states that lost jobs still saw their unemployment rates improve, as discouraged workers gave up looking for work. People who are out of work but no longer looking for jobs aren't counted as officially unemployed.
That trend was evident nationwide in September, as nearly 600,000 people dropped out of the work force, the department reported earlier this month.
The U.S. jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent in September, a 26-year high, from 9.7 percent. Some economists estimate it would have topped 10 percent if there had been no change in the labor force.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati has appointed Sen. John C. Rafferty, Jr., (R-44) to chair the powerful Senate Transportation Committee.
Rafferty, who has served in the Senate since 2003, replaces former Sen. Rob Wonderling, who resigned earlier this year.
"I look forward to using this new position to help improve our transportation system, which is crucial to protecting public safety and also expanding our economy," Rafferty said in a written statement. "Transportation issues affect every resident in Pennsylvania, whether it involves a daily commute to work or a bus ride on the public transit system or the movement of goods. Our goal is to have a modern, efficient system that meets the needs of its users."
Scarnati said Rafferty was chosen because of his knowledge of the issue and his interest in taking on new transportation challenges.
"As a member of the committee, John demonstrated a broad understanding of the major issues we are facing regarding transportation, and as chairman I know he will work well with the members, the House and the Administration to improve our vast transportation network," Scarnati said in a written statement.
Rafferty's Senate district stretches across Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties. His elevation to the chairman's seat should help move Southeastern Pennsylvania transportation projects to the front-burner.
PA Auditor General Faults Rendell on Vendor Contracts
Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner has released an audit criticizing the Rendell Administration for $592 million in contracts with Deloitte Consulting.
Rendell wasted taxpayer dollars in awarding the contracts, Wagner says.
From a statement Wagner issued with the release of the audit:
"With the state facing billion-dollar budget deficits because of our national economic crisis, the state must do all that it can to make every dollar count -- and to make sure that every dollar is accounted for," Wagner said.
"I have always believed that taxpayers are best served when the contracting process is transparent and truly competitive; when the execution of contracts follows clear lines of accountability; and when the results of the contract meet performance benchmarks that are clear and measurable. This is a textbook case of what happens when accountability, competition and transparency are not present in the daily operation of state government.
"The Department of General Services, which has primary responsibility for bidding contracts and monitoring the performance of vendors, simply fell down on the job with regard to Deloitte Consulting."
The site includes information about the 24th Senate District, pending legislation, state laws, agencies and programs, special sections of interest to senior citizens, veterans and kids, as well as links to other governmental and civic organizations.
"There is a wide variety of information available on my Web site," Mensch said in a written statement announcing the launch. "The Internet is a good way to keep constituents informed about what is going on in state government and tell them about programs that are available. The Web provides an excellent way for busy people to keep track of what's going on in state government and how it affects their everyday lives - when it is convenient for them."
Mensch, a Republican who spent three years in the state House, won a special election on Sept. 29 to fill the remainder of former state Sen. Rob Wonderling's term.
Bob Mensch was sworn in today as Pennsylvania's newest state Senator, giving the Republican Party a 30-20 majority in the chamber.
Mensch, who represented the 147th House District over the past three years, is now the state Senator representing the 24th Senate District.
Mensch won a special election on Sept. 29 to complete the term of former state Sen. Rob Wonderling, who resigned to become president/CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The 24th Senate District covers about 240,000 residents in Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties.
Mensch was sworn into office during a 3 p.m. ceremony in the Senate Chamber.
"I look forward to continuing the work I started as a state Representative to develop legislation and policies that improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians and promote economic development and create new jobs," Sen. Mensch said in a written statement. "We are in a crucial time in the Commonwealth as we work to restore our economy. We must work to keep young people here. It is essential that we take whatever steps necessary to make Pennsylvania a good place to live, work and raise a family."
As a member of the House of Representatives, Mensch authored legislation amending the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law, along with bills focused on health care quality improvement.
A native of Pennsburg and resident of Marlborough Township since 1975, Mensch is married to his wife of 38 years, JoAnn, who together have raised two children, and now enjoy being grandparents to 14 year old Zackary. He holds a business degree from Valley Forge Military College.
No decision has been made on a date for a special election to fill the remainder of Mensch's House term.
Harris Poll: Americans Give Obama Negative Ratings on 12 Key Issues
If this was a report card, Barack Obama would be flunking out of school.
The latest Harris Poll shows a majority of Americans give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of a dozen major issues.
Among the lowest numbers are for Obama's handling of unemployment, the federal deficit and the war in Afghanistan.
From the Harris Poll:
As President Obama's overall approval rating continues to slide, he cannot find much solace in Americans' opinions on his handling of 12 different issues as he does not have a positive rating on any of these.
The top one for President Obama is reducing the threat of terrorist attack with 41% giving his job on this a positive rating, down from 49% who said so in August. Two in five Americans also give the President positive marks on the environment (40%, down from 43% in August) and education (40% up from 37% in August).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,293 adults surveyed online between October 5 and 12, 2009 by Harris Interactive.
President Obama is dealing with two different wars - one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan - and the American public is not pleased with his handling of either of them. In August two in five U.S. adults (42%) gave the president positive marks on his handling of the war in Iraq. Currently, that number has dropped to 34% while 66% give President Obama negative ratings on this war. The numbers for Afghanistan have gone down even more. In August, two in five (41%) gave the president positive ratings on the war in Afghanistan but now just one-quarter of Americans (27%) give him positive marks while 73% give him negative ratings.
The president has also spent a great deal of time trying to win the American public's support for his health reform plan but does not seem to be making much headway on this issue. Just three in ten Americans (31%) give President Obama positive ratings on his handling of health care while 69% give him negative ratings. In August, over one-third (35%) of U.S. adults gave the president positive ratings on this issue.
Looking at economic issues at least two-thirds of Americans give him negative ratings on all of these issues. On the economy overall, 67% give the president negative marks while one-third (33%) give him positive ones. In September, 40% gave President Obama positive marks on his handling of the economy. More specifically on his handling of regulating the financial system three in ten Americans (31%) give the president positive ratings while 69% give him negative marks. In August, 37% of Americans gave the president's job on this positive marks.
When it comes to the issue of taxes, three in ten Americans (29%) give the president positive marks on his handling of this issue while 71% give him negative ratings. Just one-quarter of Americans (26%) gives the president's handling of employment/unemployment a positive rating, down from 31% who felt this way in August. And, his lowest number is on the federal budget deficit where almost four in five Americans (78%) give President Obama negative marks and only 22% give him positive ratings.
The President needs a win, whether it is health care reform, some good economic numbers that matter to the American people or a change in Afghanistan. But, until he has something that resonates with the American public in a positive light, there is a sense that a negative attitude will permeate over all issues. One thing to note, education has actually ticked up a little and the White House had put forth their new education initiatives recently. Maybe this is the one issue that they should focus on for the near term, as long as they don't take their eye off of the economy.
Rep. Quigley to Host Town Hall-Style Conference Call
Rep. Tom Quigley, R-146th Dist., will host a town hall meeting via telephone for residents of the 146th District at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
"I am hosting this town hall meeting via the telephone to give everyone I represent a chance to ask questions about what is happening in Harrisburg with the recent passage of the state budget and how state laws are impacting our community without having to leave their home," Quigley said in a press release.
At approximately 7 p.m. on Oct. 20, automated calls will be placed to residents of the 146th District inviting them to participate in the hour-long call.
Quigley stressed that at any point during the phone call, people will be given the chance to ask questions by pressing *3, and he will try to get to everyone's inquiries during the allotted hour.
Individuals unable to participate in the call who have questions regarding state matters can contact Quigley's district office at 610-326-9563.
Consumer Watchdog lists Top 5 health care 'time bombs'
"If this bill becomes law, consumers will find themselves still at the absolute mercy of private insurance companies," said Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog. "Premiums and co-pays will be uncontrolled, even as patient rights are eliminated. Congress must stand up to the corporate lobbies and add better consumer protections, or pay the price in voter anger at being stuck with a bait-and-switch reform."
Consumer Watchdog said the proposal's top 5 health time bombs are:
* Elimination of a public health insurance option; * Evasion of state patient-rights laws; * Weak "employer mandate;" * Omission of price regulation of insurance; * Lack of recourse to hold insurers accountable.
Pennsylvania employers shed another 10,300 jobs in September, according to new employment figures released today by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.
The Rendell Administration is attempting to put the best possible spin on the continuing bad news by pointing out that Pennsylvania's 8.8% unemployment rate "remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which rose one-tenth of a point to 9.8 percent."
Doesn't that make you feel better, especially if your unemployment benefits are about to run out?
The bottom line is that Ed Rendell, Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats have done a terrible job dealing with economic issues, resulting in record unemployment.
From the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry:
Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted civilian labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work -- rose by 9,000 in September to 6,368,000.
Employment was unchanged in September, while resident unemployment rose by 9,000.
The Pennsylvania labor force was down 55,000 from September 2008.
Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.8 percent in September.
The state rate remained below the United States' unemployment rate, which rose one-tenth of a point to 9.8 percent.
Pennsylvania's rate was up 3.2 percentage points from September 2008, while the U.S. rate was up 3.6 percentage points in the 12-month period.
Pennsylvania's seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs count dropped by 10,300 jobs in September.
The majority of the job losses were among service providing industries, however, the Professional and Business Services sector added 2,700 jobs.
Pennsylvania job count was down 198,100, or 3.4 percent, since September 2008. Nationally, jobs were down 4.2 percent over the same time period.
The IRS office in Philadelphia is warning Pennsylvania residents about a cam e-mail that sends malicious software to recipients' computers.
Play it safe. Delete any e-mail that references the IRS. The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers.
From a press release issued by the IRS:
In recent weeks, a phony e-mail claiming to come from the IRS has been circulating in large numbers. The subject line of the e-mail often states that the e-mail is a notice of underreported income. The e-mail may contain an attachment or a link to a bogus Web page directing taxpayers to their "tax statement." In either case, when the recipient opens the attachment or clicks on the link, they download a Trojan horse-type of virus to their computers.
Malicious code (also known as malware), of which the Trojan horse is but one example, can take over the victim’s computer hard drive, giving someone remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send them to the scammer. The scammer will then use whatever information they gather to commit identity theft, gain access to bank accounts and more.
The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers about their tax accounts. Anyone who receives an unsolicited e-mail claiming to come from the IRS should avoid opening any attachments or clicking on any links. People can report suspicious e-mails they receive which claim to come from the IRS to a mailbox set up for this purpose, email@example.com. Those who believe they may already be victims of identity theft should find out what do by going to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Web site, OnGuardOnLine.gov
You too can be a Nobel Prize winner, says columnist Gil Spencer.
Here's how his hilarious new column starts out:
Only one of these actually happened...
1. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
2. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to ... President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his dream of a carbon-free Iran and his pursuit of a peaceful nuclear energy program. The committee also commends Mr. Ahmadinejad for keeping the peace in his country after rioters took to the streets demanding excessive and unreasonable democratic rights.
3. And the winner is ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his promises to aid the poor people of his country and advocating a "socialism for the 21st century" that includes nationalization of industries and greater government control over the media. He has been an outspoken critic of cowboy foreign policy as practiced by the yet-to-be-convicted war criminal, George W. Bush.
Curt Schroder raises $100,000 for Congressional bid
Chester County state Rep. Curt Schroder, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, announced Tuesday he has raised more than $100,000, exceeding his fundraising goals over the past six weeks.
"I am humbled by the outpouring of local support that I have received," Schroder said in a press release. "Over 320 individuals helped us raise nearly $110,000, the overwhelming bulk of which came in during the last 30 days."
Schroder emphasized that the bulk of his contributions came from individuals within the 6th District and not from far flung national PAC's representing special interests or a personal check.
"Clearly the taxpayers in our region know me, my record and what I stand for. They know that as their Congressman I will go to Washington and place their interests first"
Taking a shot at one of his opponents, Steven Welch, who doesn't live in the 6th District, Schroder noted: "I have lived in the 6th District since its inception and the Downingtown area my entire life. I understand the values, needs and priorities of the people who live here. The out-pouring of grass roots support clearly demonstrates that the people who live here recognize that"
Schroder has represented Chester County's 155th District in the state Legislature since 1994.
The 6th District Republican nomination is up for grabs in 2010 after incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach announced he would not seek a fourth term. Instead, Gerlach is running for governor of Pennsylvania.
While Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats prepare to enact the largest tax in U.S. history on American consumers at the behest of global warning alarmists, there is growing evidence that the Earth has been cooling for the past 30 years. That's right. Cooling. Not warming, as Al Gore would have you believe.
From a new editorial in Investor's Business Daily:
Al Gore wasn't there to throw out the first snowball, er, baseball, so he might not have noticed that Saturday's playoff game between the Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies was snowed out — in early October. The field should have been snow-free just as the North Pole was to be ice-free this year.
It seems that ice at both poles hasn't been paying attention to the computer models. The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic last week and reported a substantial expansion of "second-year ice" — ice thick enough to have persisted through two summers of seasonal melting.
According to the NSIDC, second-year ice this summer made up 32% of the total ice cover on the Arctic Ocean, compared with 21% in 2007 and 9% in 2008. Clearly, Arctic sea ice is not following the consensus touted by Gore and the warm-mongers.
This news coincides with a finding published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last month by Marco Tedesco, a research scientist at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology. He reported that ice melt on Antarctica was the lowest in three decades during the ice-melt season.
Each year, millions of square miles of sea ice melt and refreeze. The amount varies from season to season. Despite pictures taken in summer of floating polar bears, data reported by the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center at the beginning of this year showed global sea ice levels the same as they were in 1979, when satellite observations began.
So why are Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi pushing for a cap-and-trade bill that will impose higher energy taxes on American families? You might want to ask your representatives in Congress that very same question.
To fully grasp the absurdity of Brack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, you have to review how the selection is made. It was recently revealed that the deadline for nominations came just 12 days into the presidency of Barack Obama, so The Chosen One was not selected based on his first 9 months in office, but on his first 12 days as president.
Tommy De Seno takes a look at Obama's first 12 days in the White House according to his public schedule to see what he did to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize in a priceless post at FOXNews.com
Some of the highlights of his first 12 days include "lunch with Joe Biden" and throwing a Super Bowl party. How's that for furthering the cause of world peace?
State Sen. Jane Orie has some explaining to do. Americans for Tax Reform chides the Allegheny County Republican, the Senate majority whip, for breaking her pledge to not raise taxes. Ms. Orie was a signatory to ATR's Taxpayer Protection Pledge but voted for new taxes last week. To paraphrase the axiom, if you give her time, she often succeeds in living up to her hypocrisies. Or as the German proverb goes, "When the fox preaches look to your geese."
Orie is not alone. Half the Senate Republicans voted to support a budget that increases taxes on many Pennsylvanians even though they promised to oppose all tax hikes.
Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) released the following statement regarding his rejection of Pennsylvania's latest budget deal, which will imperil the future fiscal strength of the Commonwealth:
"Everyone in Pennsylvania is breathing a collective sigh of relief that this budget is almost complete, but in reality the fiscal irresponsibility of this budget could cause it to be reopened in the near future. Revenues continue to fall short of expectations and the Commonwealth is down $140 million from its projected revenue collections so far this year. This deal is a case of the state writing a check it cannot cash, and the taxpayers will be held liable when that check bounces.
"I am happy that our community service providers and schools will finally receive their funding, but the struggles they have faced since July were completely unnecessary. Those organizations could have been funded, but the governor chose to veto their support from the 'bridge budget' in August.
"What the people need to recognize is that this budget completely depletes Pennsylvania’s reserve funds. While the stock market has improved, unemployment is still very high, and our Commonwealth has not seen a full economic recovery. It could be years before we totally rebound from this unprecedented recession, so it is unwise to exhaust our Rainy Day Fund and other reserves. This budget puts us on a collision course with a future tax increase because, without any savings, that will be our only option to resolve future deficits.
"Every worker in Pennsylvania should be concerned about the impact this budget will have on their employer. Because it raises taxes on businesses, they will be unlikely to increase salaries or hire new employees. This will perpetuate the economic cycle we are, leaving unemployment high and consumer spending low. Raising taxes on employers is ill advised during a recession, and could have been avoided if the fiscally responsible House Bill 1943 had been considered. That legislation would have ensured our economic health for years to come."
'Absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize'
From a scathing commentary by Michael Binyon in The Times of London over the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama:
The award of this year's Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.
Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.
Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.
Read the full column, "Absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize," at the newspaper's Web site.
NEWS FLASH: Pa. Legislature sends $27.8B budget to Rendell
It took 101 days into the new fiscal year, but the country's most expensive state legislatures has finally agreed on a budget for 2009-10.
From Marc Levy of The Associated Press:
A $27.8 billion state budget was on its way to the desk of Gov. Ed Rendell following a lopsided vote of approval from the Senate — a giant step toward ending Pennsylvania's 101-day budget stalemate, the nation's longest this year.
The 42-7 Senate's vote followed House approval on Wednesday.
The Senate voted without debate moments after signing off on a companion bill to tap more than $1.5 billion from the state's reserves. That bill still awaited House approval.
Rendell has said he would sign the appropriations bill, but it was unclear whether he would do so before the House passes the companion bill.
The appropriations bill cuts overall spending by more than 1 percent, while boosting spending on operations and instruction in public schools by $300 million, or 5.7 percent, a level that Rendell insisted upon.
The politically divided Legislature has been stymied by how to resolve a multibillion-dollar, recession-driven shortfall.
The final agreement relies on a blend of federal budget aid, transfer from reserve funds, spending cuts and nearly $500 million in new taxes on sales of cigarettes, little cigars and businesses that pay the capital stock and franchise tax.
The plan also relies on legalizing and taxing table games at the state's slot-machine casinos and leasing more state forest land to natural gas exploration companies.
When I first saw the headline "Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize," I thought it was an April Fools joke. Then I looked the calendar and figured out it was not a prank. It's still a joke, but it really happened. Then I remembered that this is the same outfit that gave Jimmy Carter and Al Gore the same prize. That explains a lot.
Here's reaction to the news from around the blogosphere:
From Another Black Conservative: This has to be the most absurd thing I have ever seen in all my life. Obama has done absolutely nothing to earn the award and his efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons has all the potential for an epic failure.
From Legal Insurrection: My initial reaction to Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize was that this was Obamamania gone wild. That's part of it. But I think there is more to it. The internationalists have tied Obama's hands. Will Obama continue ordering drones to bomb houses in Pakistan? Will he listen to the military as to how to win in Afghanistan? Is there any choice but to consent to an Iranian nuclear weapon? Will the Peace Prize winner take all military options off the table?
From NW Republican: Not that I ever thought that Obama would not some day win the Nobel Peace prize. But this one? Now? Don't you think that this instance de-legitimizes the entire award? Something tells me that perhaps deep inside the bowls of the White House there are some folks who are a bit embarrassed over this.
From Warning Signs: Giving the prize to Barack Hussein Obama has rendered it a joke. In office less than a year, Obama has, in the words of a recent Saturday Night Live satirical skit, done "nothing" to deserve what once was one of the highest international accolades anyone could receive.
State Rep. Curt Schroder (R-155th Dist.) voted against the long-awaited state budget that passed by a 107-93 vote in the House on Thursday.
Schroder offered the following statement on his vote:
"I could not vote for this bill. Like last year's budget, it contained inflated revenue projections and relied too heavily on stimulus funding and one-time revenues. By passing this legislation, the House is making the same mistake it made a year ago that resulted in a $3.5 billion revenue shortfall.
"This budget drains the state's Rainy Day Fund and the Health Care Providers Retention Fund. Without these critical reserve accounts we will be unable to cushion an expected revenue shortfall next year. It also, for the first time, dips into the principal reserves in the tobacco settlement fund. With revenues already $140 million below projections for the year, I believe we will face another deficit next June.
"The House Republicans had proposed a budget that is slightly leaner, balanced, did not raise taxes, funded essential state programs and services, and ensured that the state would live within its means, but it was not considered by the Democrat leadership in the House. Instead, we were forced to consider a budget bill that raises taxes by more than $1 billion during a recession.
"On the bright side, we prevented an increase in the Personal Income Tax, sales tax, taxes on small games of chance and the arts, among others."
The measure goes back to the Senate for concurrence on House amendments to the bill.
Gerlach: PA budget impasse a 'national embarrassment'
Jim Gerlach, a Republican candidate for governor, said on Thursday that Pennsylvania's broken budget process has become a national embarrassment.
On the 100th day of the state's budget impasse, Gerlach said this would never happen if he was sitting in the governor's mansion.
"We do not need to waste any more time playing political games and pointing fingers," Gerlach said in a written statement. "This dysfunctional process has resulted in a 100-day delay in enacting a budget. The Harrisburg culture of putting self-interest ahead of the public interest must end. The families of Pennsylvania understand the importance of paying your bills on time and not spending more than you can afford. For far too long Harrisburg has ignored these basic principles.
"That's why I was the first candidate for governor to propose moving to a a two-year budget cycle to cut costs, increase accountability and avoid the annual budget soap opera, which for the last seven years has resulted in increased government spending and higher taxes. And we must stop rewarding politicians in Harrisburg for failure. If the state cannot meet the Constitutional requirement of enacting a budget by July 1st of each year, then the Governor, his Cabinet and lawmakers should lose a day's pay for every day the fail to pass a budget."
In September, Gerlach released a 17-point "Pledge to Pennsylvania" that is a contract to protect taxpayers and send a very clear message that the days of rewarding failure, ignoring runaway spending and tolerating a lack of accountability in Harrisburg are over.
U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey announced today that his campaign has raised more than $1.5 million for the third quarter of 2009.
To date, the campaign has raised more than $3.1 million from more than 20,000 contributors since Toomey announced his Senate candidacy five-and-a-half months ago, according to the Toomey for Senate Campaign.
Toomey already has 33 percent more contributors than the total number of donors amassed during the entirety of his 2004 Senate run, the campaign reports.
The most recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Toomey leading both incumbent Democratic Senator Arlen Specter and Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak in general election matchups.
"I am honored by the thousands of people who have contributed to my campaign," Toomey said in a press release. "People all across Pennsylvania are rallying to our message of fiscal responsibility and political balance. They are concerned about the reckless bailouts, extreme policies, and out-of-control debt resulting from one-party control of Washington, and they believe that the country deserves better than that. Together, I believe we will win the fight for fiscal sanity, responsible government, and economic growth."
PA launches Web Site to commemorate 150th Anniversary of Civil War
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission today unveiled plans for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, including the launch of www.PACivilWar150.com
The Commission also announced a full slate of special events and traveling exhibits "highlighting the state's paramount role in the war."
Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is a unified, statewide alliance that will attract visitors and enrich their experience county by county through remarkable programming for the sesquicentennial commemoration, according to a Commission press release.
"While many of the great battles of the Civil War were epic in nature, the story of this war in Pennsylvania is much more than just tactics and strategy," said Barbara Franco, executive director of PHMC. "The Civil War also is the story of individual soldiers and of women and children struggling to survive in small towns and family farms all across the state and of African Americans working to abolish slavery and join the United States Colored Troops."
More highlights from PA Civil War 150 launch event in Harrisburg:
· PACivilWar150.com, a dynamic Web site that unlocks the incredible personal stories of Pennsylvanians both on the battlefield and at the home front, the vast Civil War collections of the state's museums and historical societies, and the state’s numerous heritage tourism attractions and trip-planning resources.
· Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show, a traveling museum experience based in a 53-foot tractor trailer that will bring interactive exhibits and unique programming to all 67 counties in the state from 2011 to 2015. The Road Show will encourage residents and organizations in each locality to share their stories and artifacts in conjunction with the traveling exhibition.
· Additional initiatives include a digitization project under the direction of Penn State University that aims to unearth and organize Civil War collections in an online format to preserve primary source materials and make them accessible to the public and to scholars. The Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh also will coordinate the publication of two books: Pennsylvania Civil War in Photographs, a collection of rarely seen photos from the Civil War era, and Pennsylvania African Americans in the Civil War Era, an account of the African American experience during the same time period.
If a growing number of House members that signed a discharge petition for H. Res. 554 have their way, every single bill in Congress will be held for least 72 business hours Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) prior to passage for a mandatory review by each house.
The discharge petition initiated by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR2) has obtained 182 signatures, including the bill's sponsor, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA3). Walden did so on the same day the Senate Finance Committee explicitly voted against allowing 72 hours to review ObamaCare once it was finally written.
Only 7 of Pennsylvania's 19 House members have signed the petition: Reps. Charlie Dent, Bill Shuster, Glenn Thompson, Todd Platts, Joe Pitts, Jim Gerlach and Tim Murphy. All 7 are Republicans.
What about your member of Congress? What are they hiding? Why do they want to rush through votes before anyone has a chance to read the bill?
For a complete list of the members of Congress who signed the petition, click here.
Brad Bumsted, the outstanding state capitol reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has been writing a lot lately about the costly "per diems" being collected by Pennsylvania legislators as they work to pass a state budget.
In addition to their regular salary, state lawmakers collect a $158 daily allowance for showing up in Harrisburg and with the state budget impasse going on for three months, lawmakers have been raking in the bucks.
From a new column by Bumsted:
Even when they are not voting on the House floor, most state legislators collect per diems worth $158 for food and lodging.
Those per diems may be for committee hearings, when they are summoned by the speaker or caucus leader, or just for staying an extra day in Harrisburg and working in their offices.
Some of them spent a lot of days in their offices over the past few months.
House and Senate members of both parties, about 170 in all, racked up $532,000 in per diems in July and August during the first two months of the ongoing budget impasse. It's money taxpayers would not have had to shell out if the budget had been completed on July 1, as required by law. And that's a conservative figure because some lawmakers didn't submit their per diems yet.
The situation is growing out of control now that Gov. Ed Rendell wants the Legislature to stay in Harrisburg until a budget is passed.
That prompted Bumstead to consider alternatives to "per diems," including the possibility of Pennsylvania taxpayers taking in lawmakers "like signing up for a foreign exchange student."
Vereb Proposal to Reform Pennsylvania's Gaming Industry Passes House
Rep. Mike Vereb, R-150th Dist., released the following statement regarding the Pennsylvania House of Representatives' unanimous passage of his proposal to reform background checks of members of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board:
"Tonight we had the opportunity to fix a major flaw in the original gaming law concerning the conduct of background checks. If we are going to expand Pennsylvania's gaming industry to include table games, we need to make sure that reforms are put in place so that past mistakes are not repeated. It is important for background investigations to be conducted by trained law enforcement professionals. Moving background investigations of the four highest executive positions on the board to the Pennsylvania State Police will ensure a more thorough vetting process. My legislation also puts more integrity into the process by banning any direction or communication between the investigators and the board or its employees regarding an open background investigation.
"The need for reform is by no means over; however, my legislation is a good first step. I applaud my House colleagues for taking the initial step toward gaming reform. I have been pushing for gaming reform since I first came to the House in 2007. I look forward to continuing to work with House members from both sides of the aisle in continuing to fix Pennsylvania's fractured gaming law."
Vereb's amendment, which was inserted into Senate Bill 711, mandates that background checks of potential board members, including the four highest executive positions, be conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police.
The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania doesn't have a voice in the Pennsylvania Legislature, but party officials want to say loud and clear they disapprove of the way Democrats and Republicans are handling the state's finances.
From a statement issued by Doug Leard, head of media relations for the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania on behalf of party Chairman Michael Robertson:
Last year, Pennsylvania general fund tax revenues fell below $25,000,000,000. Our representatives in Harrisburg ignored the revenue shortage and spent over $28,000,000,000. Instead of facing reality for the upcoming year and joining taxpayers in tightening their fiscal belts, our representatives have proposed a general fund 2010 budget of $27,950,000,000.
To make matters worse, while most "budget" references are to the general fund portion of the budget, state government's total operating budget exceeds $61,000,000,000.
Where will the money come from? Increased taxes for one. The most recent budget plan retroactively increases the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT) – the tax which Governor Rendell had said was the most harmful to the Pennsylvania economy In addition, we would be charged a sales tax for admission to performing arts programs (such as music concerts and theaters) and other cultural venues (such as museums, parks and zoos). Smokers will also pay an additional tax for cigarettes.
But, these taxes will not be enough to meet Harrisburg's hunger for spending. So, Governor Rendell and legislators appear to be counting on federal bailout dollars and may exhaust Pennsylvania's Rainy Day Fund to delay facing economic reality until next year.
Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard, stated "Harrisburg's approach to belt tightening is like the man who comes home from work and tell his wife 'Times are tough at work – no bonus this year and 10% pay cuts across the board. Boy, it’s hot today. Let's put in a pool.'"
Based on recent budget proposals, The Commonwealth Foundation, an independent, non-profit research and educational institute, projects a budget deficit of $846,000,000 next year that will grow to $14,400,000,000 in 2012 as federal stimulus money disappears and pension obligations for Pennsylvania's School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) come due.
The Libertarian Party denounces both the Republicans and Democrats along with their bankrupt vision of spending, taxing and regulating Pennsylvania into even deeper hardship. If voters want to escape from this budgetary death spiral, the only option is Libertarian Party candidates for the General Assembly. After all, the status quo has proven yet again to be no choice at all.
This is what happens when Pennsylvania legislators stay up past their bed time.
In a late-night vote Friday, House Democrats pushed through a Tax Reform Code bill that increases taxes on Pennsylvanians by nearly $2 billion.
The measure passed by a 103-98 margin, with all House Republicans except Dennis O'Brien voting "No." Two western Pennsylvania Democrats -- John Pallone and Joseph Petrarca -- also voted "No."
House Republicans were quick to criticize their tax-happy colleagues who supported House Bill 1531. From state Rep. Tom Quigley, R-146:
"Raising taxes during a recession is a disaster waiting to happen, and this bill would raise an additional $1 billion in taxes. Taxes strangle growth and will only keep the Commonwealth from a full economic recovery. These taxes are the antithesis of what is needed to create jobs, increase personal income for our hard-working families and boost consumer confidence.
"This bill is another blow for education, the supposed budget priority of our governor. Not only was all funding for education vetoed from Senate Bill 850 in August, but now the Democrats are trying to reduce funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC). This tax credit allows businesses to contribute to educational programs, including non-public schools, that are not provided for in our state budget. Non-public students are already going without textbooks because of this administration, and now they are going to have to make due with even less.
"The House Republicans have put forth a responsible and balanced budget proposal, in House Bill 1943, that would not negatively impact our economy, as this bill certainly will. I am hopeful that when this bill fails in the Senate, the fiscally sound House Republican plan will finally be considered."
Rep. Curt Schroder (R-155) issued a press release late Friday stating that it appears Gov. Ed Rendell and certain House and Senate leaders are repeating the mistakes in the tentative state budget agreement that got Pennsylvania in the financial mess it is in now.
From Schroder's release:
"This budget does not solve our problems," said Schroder. "It increases spending, relies on one-time revenues and taxes businesses and citizens at a time they can least afford it. Passage of this budget will ensure another budget fiasco next year."
On Sept. 18, Gov. Ed Rendell and three of the four legislative caucuses reached a tentative $27.9 billion state budget agreement without the participation of the House Republicans, who several weeks ago, put forth their own $27.5 billion plan. The Republican plan cut spending below last year's level, did not raise taxes, covered essential government services, provided increased funding for education and preserved the state's Rainy Day Fund. Further, the plan was balanced and sustainable, but House Democrats, who hold the majority and therefore the control in the House, refused to consider it. Instead, House Republicans were left out of the budget process.
"Three months into the new fiscal year, Pennsylvania is the only state without a budget, and the budget being proposed calls for increased spending in a down economy. Ironically, it is awash in walking-around-money or WAMs," said Schroder. "This budget proposal cuts funding for libraries, social services and education. To include grants for legislators' pet projects is an affront to every group getting its funding slashed. It taxes museums, concerts and other cultural events, cigarettes and small games of chance. It expands gambling and drains the Rainy Day Fund, which leaves us without money to cover essential services should we come up short again next year.
"The most disturbing thing is the stealth, secretive way this deal was reached. We will be asked to vote on this deal within days, yet we have not seen the line-item details," said Schroder. "As I see it, the proposed budget will only serve to prolong the pain being experienced by Pennsylvania citizens, and it offers little hope for economic recovery anytime soon," he said.
Tony Phyrillas is the managing editor and political blogger at The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. Phyrillas has won several national and state awards for commentary, including first place for column writing in 2010 by the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors. Phyrillas has been featured on National Public Radio and The New York Times and is a frequent commentator on radio and television programs. He co-hosted 'Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus' on WPAZ 1370 AM from 2008 to 2009.