Friday, January 30, 2009

Praise for Michael Steele

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

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

For more praise of Steele, follow the link below:

Bauer Congratulates Michael Steele on GOP Chairmanship

Blagojevich has a future in PA politics

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

After a four-day trial, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 on Thursday to convict Blagojevich on the charge of abuse of power. The new governor is Patrick Quinn.

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

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

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

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

Blagojevich would fit right in.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama Ignores Existing Federal Economic Stimulus Plans

Obama Ignores Existing Federal Economic Stimulus Plans

Economic Crisis Underscores Need to Improve Social Security Benefits

Economic Crisis Underscores Need to Improve Social Security Benefits

Truckers oppose privatizing roadways

ATA President Discusses Dangers of Congestion Pricing and Privatization of Roadways

RNC Expresses Support for Senator Coleman

Comic Al Franken still hasn't stolen the Minnesota Senate seat.

RNC Expresses Support for Senator Coleman

Thursday, January 29, 2009

NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad



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

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

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

The ad can be viewed at www.CatholicVote.org

NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

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

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

Rep. Schroder: Rendell overspending led to PA fiscal crisis

A guest opinion from state Rep. Curt Schroder, a Republican who represents the 155th House District in Chester County.
Budget crisis tied to Rendell overspending

The news is going from bad to worse for the state Treasury. Gov. Ed Rendell recently announced that Pennsylvania's budget deficit could exceed $2 billion by the end of this fiscal year.

Now, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) is traveling across the state telling citizens that lower than projected sales and income taxes, and the rush of newly unemployed citizens taking advantage of state-sponsored relief programs, are to blame.

Not so fast.

For Rep. Evans to suggest that the nation's economic downturn is the primary reason for our state's budget crisis is disingenuous. It is, however, accurate to say that it is the result of the Rendell administration's propensity to over spend. In fact, Rendell's budgets have routinely increased spending beyond the rate of inflation.

From 2002 to the current 2008-09 budget, state spending increased by 38.6 percent while the rate of inflation rose by only 19.5 percent. Even before the state budget was passed in July, there were signs that revenues were not coming in according to Rendell administration projections.

Several House Republicans strenuously objected to spending increases and the expansion of programs supported by one-time revenues, and Senate analysts were warning of deficits reaching into the billions. Inflated revenue projections and the use of one-time revenue sources are a prescription for fiscal disaster. Just weeks after the budget passed, Pennsylvania was in a financial crisis.

For eight straight months, the administration’s revenue projections have been well below estimates.

By the end of December, the state's revenue shortfall exceeded $814 million. Rep. Evans is telling citizens he will rely on federal economic stimulus money, the state's Rainy Day Fund and tax and fee increases to bail out the Commonwealth.

Economic stimulus money and the Rainy Day Fund would provide only temporary relief.

What Pennsylvania really needs are meaningful spending cuts and sound and sustainable fiscal policy. We cannot allow the mismanagement of the budget to be the excuse for a new tax increase.

Back on Track

The Democrats' Debt Plan

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

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

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

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

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

Read Blunt's full statement at the link below:

Blunt Votes Against Democrats' Debt Plan

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Stimulus Bill Misses the Mark for Education

Stimulus Bill Misses the Mark for Education

National Survey Shows Union Members Oppose Card Check

National Survey Shows Union Members Oppose Card Check

Investigative Project on Terrorism: CAIR's Hamas Ties Prompt FBI Cut Off

Investigative Project on Terrorism: CAIR's Hamas Ties Prompt FBI Cut Off

FAIR: Obama Rushing to Pass the Economic Stimulus Package While Delaying Vital Protections for American Workers

FAIR: Obama Rushing to Pass the Economic Stimulus Package While Delaying Vital Protections for American Workers

Obama Dropped Small Business Stimulus Plan Days Before the Election

Obama Dropped Small Business Stimulus Plan Days Before the Election

Human Relations Commission Invites Nominations for Montgomery County Civil Rights Awards

Human Relations Commission Invites Nominations for Montgomery County Civil Rights Awards

Watch Punxsutawney Phil's Big Prediction Live

Watch Punxsutawney Phil's Big Prediction Live

Ask an Expert Blog at www.score.org

Get Small Biz Advice From the Ask an Expert Blog at www.score.org

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Business group: Obama plan will do little to help economy

"The 'economic stimulus' measure that passed the House includes too much spending that has little to do with helping the economy, and not enough for small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them survive, create jobs and grow their firms," says Karen Kerrigan, president & CEO of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. "We fear this will do little to help the economy."

Kerrigan hopes the Senate can improve the bill before it is sent to President Obama for his signature.

Small Business Group Says House-Passed Stimulus Bill Needs Work

Blunt Votes Against Democrats' Debt Plan

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

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

The Democrats' plan will cost every American over $2,700, Blunt says in a release.

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

Blunt Votes Against Democrats' Debt Plan

Economic Stimulus Package Offers Little Help to Seniors in Poverty

Economic Stimulus Package Offers Little Help to Seniors in Poverty

'Put Pennsylvania taxpayers first'

While Gov. Ed Rendell is packing for a trip to Florida to watch the Super Bowl, Republican House members held a press conference Tuesday to discuss ways to deal with the state's growing fiscal crisis.

The goal of Republican lawmakers is to "combat the state's projected $2.3 billion budget deficit while protecting taxpayers against new or increased state taxes, new state spending or additional state debt," according to a written statement released after the Capitol Rotunda event.

Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer (R-Berks), a longtime critic of Rendell's spending policies, did not attend the press conference, but issued a statement saying he supports the measures and vows to work with fiscally conservative allies "to return financial discipline to the state budget."

From Rohrer:
"After six years of the governor's tax, borrow and spend initiatives, Pennsylvania faces a monumental budget deficit and a lagging economy. It's time to take the state checkbook and credit card out of the governor's hand. He has proven that, without a doubt, he cannot spend money better than the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."
Topping the list of initiatives supported by Rohrer and other fiscally conservative House Republicans is repeal of Rendell's increase in the state Personal Income Tax (PIT).

When Rendell took office in January 2003, the state PIT was 2.8 percent. Later that year, he signed into law a bill that raised the state PIT to 3.07 percent.

"At a time when our economy is struggling, it is more important than ever to allow Pennsylvanians to keep more of what they earn," Rohrer said. "It's hard for families to pay their rent or mortgage, grocery bills, utility bills and other expenses when state government continues to take more and more out of their paychecks."

Other initiatives supported by Rohrer and his fiscally conservative allies would:
* Call for the enactment of a state budget that includes no new taxes, no new spending and no additional borrowing.

* Empower voters by allowing them to approve or reject local tax increases through a ballot referendum.

* Institute state spending limits to control government’s spending appetite.

* Repeal the law that calls for new tolls to be implemented across Interstate 80.

* Reduce welfare spending by 10 percent and use the money to pay for much-needed road and bridge improvement projects across the Commonwealth.

* Eliminate all state discretionary funding or "Walking Around Money (WAMS)."

* Enact a series of business tax reductions.
"We have outlined a plan that would put Pennsylvania taxpayers first," Rohrer said. "In a little more than a week, when the governor delivers his budget address, Pennsylvanians should ask themselves: Who is the governor putting first? Is he doing what's right for taxpayers, or is he looking out for the special interest crowd in Harrisburg and the people who make a living by feeding at the public trough?"

IRS is hiring in PA

With the unemployment rate climbing, the Internal Revenue Service has hundreds of job openings, including some in Pennsylvania.

From an IRS announcement released today:
IRS is Recruiting Hundreds of Revenue Officers

PHILADELPHIA - the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is seeking qualified Revenue Officer candidates for positions in the following IRS Office locations in Pennsylvania:

· Altoona
· Bethlehem
· Harrisburg
· Jenkintown
· Lancaster
· Philadelphia
· Scranton

Applicants must apply by February 20th; See www.usajobs.opm.gov for more information on how to apply.

Interested applicants must be a United States citizen and have a bachelor's degree (with superior academic achievement – 3.0 or higher overall or 3.5 or higher in major) or equivalent work experience or a combination of education and related work experience.

Examples of related work experience include:
¨ Reviewing individual/business financial condition, ability to pay debt
¨ Evaluating assets, equity and credit
¨ Collecting delinquent payments
¨ Establishing or operating a small business and/or administering a budget
¨ Counseling individuals on tax filing and paying obligations
¨ Dealing with various legal instruments (i.e.: leases, wills, deeds and trusts)

Revenue officers are trained in both tax law and collection techniques necessary for the collection of delinquent taxes and delinquent tax returns. Duties include conducting research, interviews, investigations and analysis of financial information for assigned cases, often at the taxpayer’s home or business. Revenue officers counsel taxpayers on their tax obligations and determine how they can best resolve their delinquencies, while also ensuring that their rights are protected.

Starting salary varies by geographic area based on costs of living adjustments and range between $38,177 - $44,976.

Individuals interested in a challenging career with excellent benefits, training and strong growth potential are encouraged to apply. Get the details at http://www.jobs.irs.gov/home.html. Application information is available at www.usajobs.opm.gov

Palin looks to 2012

Sarah Palin is here to stay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Web site is http://www.sarahpac.com/

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Bay Buchanan, Others Argue Immigration Control Vital for the Future of the GOP

Bay Buchanan, Others Argue Immigration Control Vital for the Future of the GOP

Electronic Health Records: The Time is Now

Electronic Health Records: The Time is Now

'Another mismanaged state government perk'

State workers and officials are driving around in 16,637 vehicles at a cost to the taxpayers of $73 million to buy, maintain, fuel and insure them.

A report by the Pennsylvania Auditor General questioning the state's management of its vehicle fleet has prompted calls by The Mercury for more accountability.

From an editorial in today's edition:
This latest report offers an example of the damage that Harrisburg's culture of unmanaged spending on state government has wrought on the state coffers.

Wagner and state Attorney General Tom Corbett have been spearheading efforts to clean up the corruption and waste in Harrisburg, but there is still a long way to go.

Now is the time for the Legislature to begin reforming itself first and foremost and initiate a movement of trickle-down honesty, efficiency and watchful spending.

Imagine what the Commonwealth could become if an example of modest sacrifice and accountability came from the state Capitol.

Getting a firm grip on managing the state's fleet of vehicles is a good place to start.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rep. Tim Hennessey issues statement on Coatesville fires

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

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

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

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

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

Latino Voting in 2008: Part of a Broader Electoral Movement

Latino Voting in 2008: Part of a Broader Electoral Movement

A conservative Democrat in the U.S. Senate

FAIR Urges Sen. Gillibrand to Resist Special Interest Pressure to Change Her Stance on Immigration Policy

PA Game Commissioners Propose 2009-10 Seasons and Bag Limits

PA Game Commissioners Propose 2009-10 Seasons and Bag Limits

Board of Game Commissioners elects new officers

Board Elects Isabella President; Board Takes Steps to Protect Wildlife; Board Takes Steps to Prepare for Electronic License Sales; Agency to Gather Data on Mentored Youth Hunting Program; Board Finalizes Change for Special Snow Goose Season; Board Sets Future Meeting Dates

PA OKs 25-year mining lease near Latrobe

Deep-Mining Lease Near Latrobe Approved by Board; Land Exchange Approved by Board; Settlement Nets Agency 1,100 Acres in Monroe County; Board Approves 397-Acre Addition to SGL 317 in Union County; Board Takes Action on Other Wildlife Habitat Management Items

Conservative bloggers dominate 'Influence' rankings

Maybe it's a reaction to the far-left turn the country has taken, but it appears more blog readers are turning to conservative bloggers (at least in Pennsylvania) for information.

Eleven of the Top 20 Most Influential Political Blogs at www.blognetnews.com are conservative. And when you eliminate media-based blogs, there's only six hard-core lefties on this week's list.

* TONY PHYRILLAS (1)
* Pawatercooler.com (2)
* GrassrootsPA (3)
* Suburban Guerrilla (4)
* THE CENTRIST (5)
* Lehigh Valley Ramblings (5)
* Philebrity (7)
* Comments From Left Field (8)
* Pennsylvania Ave. (9)
* Capitol Ideas (10)
* Gunservatively! (10)
* Save The GOP (10)
* POLICY BLOG (13)
* Lehigh Valley Somebody (14)
* page13news (15)
* Capitol Punmanship (16)
* The Pennsylvania Progressive (17)
* The Bitter American (18)
* Philadelphia Will Do (19)
* Pro-Life PA by Sue Cirba (20)

Tax Analysts Announces 'New Directions in Policy'

Tax Analysts Announces 'New Directions in Policy'

Marcellus Shale Driller Heats Up Homes in Pennsylvania With $50,000 Donation

Marcellus Shale Driller Heats Up Homes in Pennsylvania With $50,000 Donation

Property tax reform top priority for PA counties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can download an eight-page report with more details on each issue at the Association's Web site, http://www.pacounties.org/

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pittsburgh Sees Economic Boost for Super Bowl Weekend

Imagine the impact on the state's economy if the Eagles hadn't chocked against the Cardinals.

Pittsburgh Sees Economic Boost for Super Bowl Weekend

This is not change

Obama Will Give Small Business Contracts to Fortune 500 Firms and Venture Capitalists

Newspaper: Rendell is 'despicable'

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

American Life League Statement on Pelosi's State-Enforced War on Preborn Babies

American Life League Statement on Pelosi's State-Enforced War on Preborn Babies

PA DEP Lifts Drought Watch in 29 Counties

The affected counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Tioga, Venango, Warren, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.

PA DEP Lifts Drought Watch in 29 Counties

Additional Weeks of Emergency Unemployment Benefits Available in PA

Governor Rendell Says 13 Additional Weeks of Emergency Unemployment Benefits Provide Immediate Lifeline for Thousands of Families

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace New Ad: 'Big Labor's Got a Problem'

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace New Ad: 'Big Labor's Got a Problem'

PA has $25M in Green-Energy Development Funding

Job-Creating, Green-Energy Development Funding Available, Governor Rendell Says

Governor Rendell Signs Execution Warrants for Mikal Moore and Ronald Francis Puksar

Governor Rendell Signs Execution Warrants for Mikal Moore and Ronald Francis Puksar

PA offers tax credit for volunteer emergency workers

By Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr.

Under the Volunteer Retention and Recruitment Tax Credit -- Act 66 of 2008 -- volunteer fire, rescue and ambulance workers may receive a tax credit for active service.

The provision, which was included in the 2008-09 state budget, provides a $100 credit against state personal income tax liabilities for volunteer fire and emergency medical service workers for the 2008 tax year.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I voted to move this measure to the full Senate which then passed it. More than 90 percent of municipalities in Pennsylvania rely on volunteer firefighters and first responders and it is hoped that this will help with recruitment and retention of our important emergency first responders.

A comprehensive report prepared by a bi-partisan group of legislatures, local government officials and emergency response representatives listed the top priorities and what legislative action needed to be taken.

With so many fire companies losing members, the number one priority was retention and recruitment strategies. In the last 25 years, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped by more than half, from more than 150,000 to less than 70,000 today. We need to do something to keep them.

It is vital that Pennsylvania play a larger role in maintaining the viability of volunteer emergency service organizations. According to a Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services study, the value of services provided by our volunteer first responders is estimated at $6 billion. Without these dedicated volunteers, the cost to the Pennsylvania taxpayers for firefighters' salaries and benefits would be staggering. The cost of funding a tax credit for first responders is nowhere near that figure.

Pennsylvania's volunteer fire, rescue and ambulance personnel may qualify based on activities performed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2008. Applicants must be designated as "active volunteers" based on a point system prepared by the State Fire Commissioner and EMS Director.

Volunteers must earn a minimum of 50 points during the calendar year to be eligible for the tax credit. Points are accumulated based on response rates, attendance at training courses and meetings, sleep-in and standby times and holding elected and appointed positions, as well as for lifetime memberships and certifications, military leave and related administrative and support activities.

SB 1314 originally called for $100 tax credit in 2009, increasing each year by $100 until it reached $500 a year; it would be retained each year thereafter. But before the final budget was passed, it became a one-year tax credit, moved up to the current tax year and put into the tax reform code.

This is an important first step, but must once again be addressed in the legislature this session. In fact, work already is underway to re-introduce a fire tax credit package to include tuition credits at state-owned universities and community colleges and for employers of first responders.

These first responders are the backbone of the community and deserve something for their hard work and service.

The money situation trimmed this to a one-year tax credit this year. But even this was extremely important since it marked the first time there has ever been a tax credit for first responders.

This was precedent-setting and the Senate felt it vital to get the tax credit on the books, even if only for one year, and then with it in place, come back this session and get a permanent package in place.

Eligible volunteers must file a PA-40 Schedule OC-V form along with their 2008 State Personal Income Tax Return to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue posted the OC-V tax form on their Web site (www.revenue.state.pa.us) along with the other 2008 tax documents. The form can also be obtained by calling the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 1-800-363-2050.

The deadline is April 15, but with limited funding, qualified first responders should apply as soon as possible.

My deepest gratitude to all our first responders. Thank you.

State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr. is a Republican who represents the 44th Senate District in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.

Senator Collins to Oppose Treasury Secretary Nominee's Confirmation

Senator Collins to Oppose Treasury Secretary Nominee's Confirmation

Reaction to Gillebrand Proves Democrats Still Party of Gun Control, Says CCRKBA

Reaction to Gillebrand Proves Democrats Still Party of Gun Control, Says CCRKBA

SCORE Launches the 'Accelerate Your Success Program' to Help Small Businesses Recover from the Recession

SCORE Launches the 'Accelerate Your Success Program' to Help Small Businesses Recover from the Recession

Rick Warren is everywhere!

Purpose Driven Connection Magazine Hits National Newsstands with Timely Content:

Democrats try to undo legislative reforms

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

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

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

From the DemocracyRisingPA post:
The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

28,000 visitors

My site counters has recorded 28,000 visitors to this site. Thanks for the visit.

Rendell is sounding like a Republican

I have this image in my head of Gov. Ed Rendell, dressed in leather bondage gear and carrying a whip, preparing to go medieval on Pennsylvania taxpayers. I may need professional counseling to get over this.

Rendell proclaimed Thursday at a news conference "there will be universal pain" because the state is facing a $2.3 billion budget deficit.

This is the same governor who last July was getting high-fives from legislators after they agreed on a $28.3 billion spending plan for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Despite warnings from a handful of Republican lawmakers and the state's leading think tanks that the budget would soon drown in red ink, Rendell and the Legislature stuck their heads in the sand ... and then went on vacation.

Estimates the current budget will likely end up $2.3 billion in the red are amazing considering that just one week ago, Rendell said the deficit would likely top off at $1.9 billion. And that projection came a few weeks after Rendell said the deficit would max out at $1.6 billion. This guy needs to get a better calculator.

Rendell's plan for digging out of the massive hole he put us in is to ask the Legislature to give back most of the $200 million slush fund it siphoned from the state treasury in recent years, laying off state workers and waiting for Barack Obama to bail the state out with a few billion dollars he has laying around.

But this would stop the bleeding only for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ends June 30. The 2009-10 budget would start off with that very same $2.3 billion deficit that has to be made up with deeper spending cuts or raising taxes.

This is the culmination of Rendell's failed fiscal policies over the past six years. He has increased state spending by nearly $8 billion, borrowed billions more and has nothing to show for all that spending except a fiscal crisis not seen in this state in decades.

"There will be some layoffs and there will be universal pain," Rendell said at the news conference. "I don't want to hear whining. I think everyone has to tighten the belts."

Tough talk from a tax-and-spend liberal who squandered $8 billion since taking office in 2003. Imagine if Ed Spendell had returned that money to Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses instead of handing most of it out to political cronies.

Imagine if Rendell hadn't screwed up the awarding of casino licenses that could have brought significantly more revenue into state coffers. Instead of offering the state's slot parlor licenses to the highest bidder, Rendell's gaming commission awarded the contracts at a fixed price to casino operators, shortchanging the state by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Imagine if Rendell hadn't awarded more than $1 billion in no-bid contracts to lobbyists and politically-connected firms. Just imagine if the Legislature had the backbone to stand up to Rendell's out-of-control spending.

Rendell is sounding like a Republican these days. He actually used the term "zero-growth budget" when asked about the 2009-10 budget. Conservative Republicans have been pushing for "zero-growth" budgets for years, but Rendell and House Democrats have ignored their pleas.

When asked about cutting state programs, many of which he created, Rendell said: "Some of them deserve to be eliminated and probably should be eliminated forever."

Who is this man and what have they done with the real Ed Rendell?

Rendell ruled out an increase in the state income tax, unless the Legislature wants to raise taxes. Yeah, right. All 203 members of the House face the voters every two years. Half the Senate is up for re-election in 2010.

How many incumbents will stick their political necks out and vote to raise taxes? Rendell has two years left in his term and has said he will not run for political office again.

"The Legislature could pass one, but I am not going to submit a budget on Feb. 4 that has a broad-based tax increase in it," Rendell said.

I never thought I'd live to see the day Rendell would say he won't try to raise taxes.

As for getting the Legislature to hand over its $200 million slush fund, good luck with that. Don't forget the Legislature has also set aside $750 million in a rainy day fund. Lawmakers are more likely to tap into the rainy day fund than give up money they control.

Harrisburg insiders defend the leadership accounts as a hedge against tough times when the governor might squeeze lawmakers to get what he wants. Welcome to those tough times.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, told The Associated Press that the Legislature needs to keep a four-to-six-month reserve to maintain its independence. "Beyond that, we are willing to turn over, to turn back" the unspent funds, spokesman Steve Miskin said.

Rendell might twist enough arms to get the Legislature to hand over some of the money but don't bet on lawmakers giving the entire $200 million back, especially with the state Senate solidly in Republican hands for the next two years.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Columnist: Lessons from Reagan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

32 Million Adults Still Won't Be Able to Read, Write, or Apply for Jobs

32 Million Adults Still Won't Be Able to Read, Write, or Apply for Jobs

President Obama's Reversal of Mexico City Policy 'Very Disappointing,' Says Pro-Life Committee Chair

President Obama's Reversal of Mexico City Policy 'Very Disappointing,' Says Pro-Life Committee Chair

PA Fish and Boat Commission Seeking Candidates for at-Large Boating Seat

PA Fish and Boat Commission Seeking Candidates for at-Large Boating Seat

Pennsylvania Asks Experts, Public to Help Shape Recommendations to Address Climate Change

Pennsylvania Asks Experts, Public to Help Shape Recommendations to Address Climate Change

National Thought Leaders Urge Obama Administration to Address Education Crisis

National Thought Leaders Urge Obama Administration to Address Education Crisis

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dems ruin it for 'classical liberals'

John Stossel, the co-host of ABC's "20/20" and a newspaper columnist, considers himself a "classical liberal."

Unfortunately, far-left Democrats have usurped the liberal political philosophy and mangled into something unrecognizable to "classical liberals" like Stossel.

"Liberals don't want you to have the choice of owning a handgun, a big car or keeping your own money so you can use it as you see fit," Stossel writes. "Liberals want to restrict our choices."

Things are going to get a lot worse now that the far left controls both the White House and Congress.

Stossel writes:
Liberal senators like Dick Durbin, John Kerry and Charles Schumer want speech limited further by the "fairness doctrine." Fairness here means depriving people of the choice of all-conservative radio.

And what's more liberal than voluntary exchange between consenting adults? Free trade lets everyone in the world find the best buys, no matter where they are. It gives us more things for less money. Even Paul Krugman supports free trade. But liberals don't want to allow buyers and sellers to make their own choices. Liberals want trade curtailed.
Stossel's definition of a classical liberal: "I believe people should have the freedom to do anything that is peaceful. That's truly liberal. I want the word back."

Read the full column, "Choice from the liberal side of life," here.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Democratic school board member cited for assaulting Republican board member

A Democratic member of the Reading School Board allegedly assaulted a Republican school board member after the pair got into a heated discussion at a meeting.

School Board member Pierre V. Cooper was cited Friday by police for allegedly scuffling with board member Keith R. Stamm during an argument over a proposal to replace the high school principal, according to the Reading Eagle.

Stamm is one of only two Republicans on the nine-member school board.

The newspaper failed to mention Cooper was a Democrat. Do you think the newspaper would have mentioned it if a Republican assaulted a Democrat? I guess in the Age of Obama and under one-party rule in the United States, Democrats can do what they want without consequences.

Stamm was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital. He told the newspaper that he is exploring whether Cooper can be removed from the board. Stamm said he also wants Cooper to compensate him for missing work and for hospital and ambulance bills, according to the newspaper.

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

For another perspective, check out the Berks Conservative blog.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

State Capitol Roundup

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

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

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

Blues Call Off Merger of Health Insurance Giants

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

Legislative Plan to Invite Citizens to Invest in Pennsylvania

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

Weekly Republican Radio Address

House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH-08) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

FRC Condemns President Obama's $441 Million Bailout of International Abortions

FRC Condemns President Obama's $441 Million Bailout of International Abortions

Friday, January 23, 2009

Illinois State Rifle Association Demands Legislative Inquiry into 'Unacceptable' Backlog of Firearm ID Requests

Illinois State Rifle Association Demands Legislative Inquiry into 'Unacceptable' Backlog of Firearm ID Requests

Auditor General Calls for Greater Control of PA's 16,637 State Vehicles

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

Report: Obama bailout package will spark inflation

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

Media ignores pro-life march again

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

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

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

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

Governor Rendell Introduces Plan to Further Reduce New York City Reservoir Levels

Governor Rendell Introduces Plan to Further Reduce New York City Reservoir Levels

Pennsylvania to Offer Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy Kits Beginning Feb. 2

Pennsylvania to Offer Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy Kits Beginning Feb. 2

ReadTheStimulus.org

"$850 Billion, 334 pages, and counting ... somebody needs to read it!"

The fine print in Barack Obama's "American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009" are staggering.

Before we pour more money down a rat hole (remember the $750 Billion Bailout bill that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid foisted on us last year?), send a message to your representatives in Congress to put the brakes on the ill-conceived government expansion that will increase the national debt by nearly $1 trillion.

Read more at ReadTheStimulus.org

H/T POLICY BLOG

Print more money!

Hope is Not a Strategy: A Letter to President Obama

Hope is Not a Strategy: A Letter to President Obama

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No Policies From Obama to Stop Diversion of Federal Small Business Contracts to Fortune 500 Firms

No Policies From Obama to Stop Diversion of Federal Small Business Contracts to Fortune 500 Firms

Say 'No' to Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

Taxpayer Movement Urges Chairman Obey to Say 'No' to Funding Abortion

Obama Gives the Unborn a 24-Hour Reprieve

President Obama Gives the Unborn at Least a 24 Hour Reprieve, Postpones $441 Million Bailout of International Abortions, Says Family Research Council

Rush Limbaugh is worried about Obama

Catch Tony Phyrillas on radio

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

If you can't receive the radio signal, the one-hour program is simulcast online at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

Pennsylvania Most Pro-Life State in America, California Least

Pennsylvania Most Pro-Life State in America, California Least, According to Americans United for Life State Rankings

75% of Future Jobs in PA Require Education Beyond High School

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

Insurance Commissioner Welcomes Withdrawal of Proposed IBC/Highmark Consolidation

Insurance Commissioner Welcomes Withdrawal of Proposed IBC/Highmark Consolidation

RNC Chairman on March for Life

RNC Chairman on March for Life

PA Game Commission Announces Final Phase of Transition to Point-of-Sale Electronic License System

PA Game Commission Announces Final Phase of Transition to Point-of-Sale Electronic License System

36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Blunt Marks Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Signs Letter in Defense of Pro-Life Legislation

Report: Thousands of PA High School Graduates Head to College Unprepared

New Higher Education Data Shows Thousands of Pennsylvania High School Graduates Head to College Unprepared

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What will Obama do with Gitmo prisoners?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Europeans cheer closing of Gitmo

The European Commission is pleased with President Barack Obama's decision to close the terrorist prison camp at Guantanamo in Cuba. And we all know how much Europe has done to support the War on Terror, don't we?

European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot, responsible for Freedom, Justice and Security, issued the following statement on Guantanamo:
"I strongly welcome that one of the first actions taken by President Obama has been to turn the page on the sad episode of the Guantanamo prison. As European Commissioner for Justice, this is a strong symbol for me. I have confidence in the United States and light will now be rapidly shed on the situation of prisoners at Guantanamo. These persons must be subject to a lawful and just process to finally establish the true nature of their actions. Of course, the fight against terrorism must remain a major priority for the United States and Europe. We must be united in this fight, but always in the absolute respect of human rights. To establish contact with the new American administration, I plan to visit the United States in the near future."

Not enough to do in Harrisburg?

Just two weeks after being sworn in to a four-year term in the Pennsylvania Senate, Lawrence M. Farnese Jr. has landed another job.

Either the $78,315 starting salary for a state Senator isn't enough for Farnese to make ends meet or he doesn't anticipate having enough to do in what many critics say is a part-time job in the Legislature. (With benefits, the typical compensation package for each of Pennsylvania's 253 lawmakers is $150,000 a year.)

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports today that Farnese has joined the Philadelphia law firm of Archer & Greiner as "of counsel."

From Philadelphia Business Journal:
Archer & Greiner said Farnese's new position will allow him the flexibility he needs to devote his full-time attention to representing the 1st District in Philadelphia.

His practice revolves around complex commercial litigation, including copyright/trademark infringement, protection of corporate trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty disputes and construction-related litigation.
Read the full story at the Journal's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Fasten your seatbelts

So much for hope, so much for change

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

So much for hope. So much for change.

***

Now that he's been sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, it's OK to use his full name. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to "Barack Hussein Obama" Tuesday.

Barack Hussein Obama repeated his full name during the oath, including the Muslim middle name of Hussein that was forbidden to be used by the liberal media over the past two years as Barack Hussein Obama sought the White House.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Timothy Geithner's Claims Contradicted by the Facts; Obama Must End 'Distraction' of Nomination as Banking Crisis Deepens

Timothy Geithner's Claims Contradicted by the Facts; Obama Must End 'Distraction' of Nomination as Banking Crisis Deepens

Actuaries Laud Obama Medicare and Social Security Message, Call for Bipartisan Solution

Obama talks a good game, but what are the chances of getting Social Security and Medicare reforms through a Democratic Congress?

How about slim and none and slim just left town.

Actuaries Laud New President's Medicare and Social Security Message, Call for Bipartisan Solution

Sen. Brownback, Rep. McMorris Rodgers to Speak at Blogs for Life 2009

Senator Sam Brownback and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Speak at Blogs for Life 2009

National Movement to Protect Secret Ballots in State Constitutions: Save Our Secret Ballot Launches in GA, OK, SC, SD and ND

What about Pennsylvania?

National Movement to Protect Secret Ballots in State Constitutions: Save Our Secret Ballot Launches in GA, OK, SC, SD and ND

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush frees U.S. border agents who shot Mexican drug dealer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President George W. Bush Grants Commutations

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rendell scheme to cut taxes with gambling is a bust

Daniel R. Reynolds, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer, says that after five years in operation, Pennsylvania's much-ballyhooed gambling venture has turned out to be a bust.

"Expanding gaming in Pennsylvania is simply an additional de facto tax - on top of the state lottery implemented many years ago," Reynolds writes.

Gov. Ed Rendell's promises of substantial property tax relief have never materialized, Reynolds says.

From Reynold's column:
There is work to be done on the issue of taxation in Pennsylvania, but it is not the work that Rendell, Fumo, and their brethren in Harrisburg have done - and that, in the end, can benefit only casino operators. Lawmakers must lead for the good of the entire public, not just a segment of it, and abolish the property tax as a means of funding public education in Pennsylvania.

The residential property tax is a regressive tax - that is, it taxes poor people at higher rates than it does rich people. Because of their lower property values, poor communities are forced to implement higher property taxes to raise enough money to fund their schools. And communities with high property values can afford to keep their property taxes lower.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

How smart is Obama?

Jason A. Trommetter, a libertarian blogger from the Harrisburg area, wonders why the mainstream media takes everything Barack Obama says at face value and doesn't question his qualifications or ability to handle the job he will inherit in just a few days.

"The media elite think George W. Bush is dumb as a tack, Dick Cheney was the brains of the operation for the last 8 years," Trommetter writes about the double standard imposed by the liberal media. "They view their Messiah, Barack Obama, as a genius without demanding any proof of how smart he is."

Think about it. What has been the consensus of the intelligence of some of our recent presidents from the mainstream medial perspective? Gerald Ford, Republican, was dumb. Jimmy Carter, Democrat was smart. Bill Clinton was really smart. George W. Bush is a moron.

As Trommetter points out in his blog post, Bush released his college transcripts showing he was an excellent student. What about Obama? What do we know about his academic performance? Nothing. He won't share that with us and the lap dog liberal media won't ask. (Bush even had better grades than Al Gore and John Kerry, the intellectual giants the Democrats ran against W. in 2000 and 2004.)

Trommetter also compares Bush leadership skills (and John McCain's) against Obama's and finds "The Chosen One" lacking in that area, too.

Trommetter ends his post with some pointed questions to the Obama-maniacs:
1) You've demanded that Republican candidates release their college transcripts to prove how smart they are. Why haven't you demanded to see Obama's college transcripts?

2) Obama has not shown me any leadership qualities. He gives a good speech, but that doesn't make him a leader. Why do you think he's qualified to lead?

Read the full post, "Double Standard" at New Trommetter Times blog.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Join the Resistance

350,000 American citizens so far have pledge to resist Obama's "Post-American Agenda."

To learn more or join the resistance, follow the link below:

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

Obama Stimulus Plan Breaks Campaign Promise to Small Businesses

Obama Stimulus Plan Breaks Campaign Promise to Small Businesses

CatholicVote.org Launches Ad Pro-Life TV Ad Campaign

CatholicVote.org Launches Ad on BET

Something familiar about Todd Eachus

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

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

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

Alakazamm! Whoosh! Everything is fine.

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

Who is the new magician?

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

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

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rendell keeps digging deeper hole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's pray for atheists

Gil Spencer, who writes for the Delaware County Daily & Sunday Times in Primos, Pa., is troubled by atheists who are demanding that Barack Obama not say the words "So help me God" when he takes the oath of office Tuesday.

From Spencer's column:
It is very important that when Barack Obama takes the oath of office next week, he doesn't say, "So help me God!"

At least it is very important to a couple-dozen anti-religion activists, including our very own "freethinker" Margaret Downey.

They have gone to court to ask a judge to ban the mention of "God" from the inaugural ceremony.

"When an invocation of 'So help me God' is uttered, it empowers the religious community to demean atheists," Downey said in an interview. "It ... reinforces the notion that America is only comprised of God believers."

And it's not, you know. Shocking as it may seem, there are actually some people in this country who don't believe there is a God. And hearing the president of the United States profess his belief that there is (or pretending to) is very hurtful to the feelings of the un-superstitious.

Atheists, as a group, are very sensitive. Or at least they pretend to be.

Today, Downey remains a career atheist who hires herself out for what she bills as "fun-filled presentations which always include visuals, door prizes, props ..." etc. (I’ve heard of "prop comics" but not "prop atheists.")

Her goal has always been publicity. And by joining the cult of losers who pretend the very mention of the word "God" is an affront to our Constitution and demeaning to them personally, she's gotten it.

God bless her.
Read more of Spencer's ruminations at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, January 16, 2009

President Bush Forgot to Acknowledge His Greatest Achievement

President Bush Forgot to Acknowledge His Greatest Achievement

Rendell slaps taxpayers in the face

There was a time, not very long ago, when Ed Rendell could do no wrong in the eyes of The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board.

Despite breaking most of his campaign promises and plunging the state into a fiscal crisis, glowing editorials about Fast Eddie routinely graced the newspaper's opinion page.

Recent changes in personnel appear to have brought even the die-hard liberals at the Inky to their senses. The newspaper is beginning to acknowledge what a disaster Rendell has been for Pennsylvania.

And his hypocrisy is no longer being excused.

A perfect example is an editorial about Rendell hiring longtime political crony Dan Surra, a former state representative bounced from office by his constituents, to a lucrative patronage job that pays $95,000.

Patronage is nothing new in Harrisburg, but when the state budget is hemorrhaging red ink and the governor has imposed a hiring freeze, handing out do-nothing jobs to career politicians will get noticed.

From the Inky editorial:
In September, faced with a worsening budget deficit, Rendell ordered state agencies not to fill about 5,000 vacant jobs. He also told department heads to cut their budgets by 4.25 percent.

In December, as the recession took hold, Rendell froze wages for more than 13,000 nonunion state employees.

"I am asking all commonwealth employees to pull together during this difficult time," the governor said.

But times were not too tough for Rendell to create a $95,000-a-year state job out of thin air for a fellow Democrat.
The newspaper wants Rendell to reverse his decision and send Surra packing.

"At a time when the governor is demanding sacrifice from everyone else, he should follow his own advice," the newspaper says. "Creating dubious jobs for out-of-work pols in the middle of a budget crisis is a slap to taxpayers."

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Check out www.breakthebailout.com

Break The Bailout!

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

House Economic Recovery Package Fails to Provide Emergency Food for Hungry Americans

House Economic Recovery Package Fails to Provide Emergency Food for Hungry Americans

ScrapTheftAlert.com launched

ISRI Introduces ScrapTheftAlert.com

National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass

National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass

Pennsylvania National Guard at Presidential Inauguration

Some 1,300 Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers and airmen will join a team of 10,000 National Guard members to provide security, traffic and crowd control and crises response during the 56th presidential inauguration.

Pennsylvania National Guard to Support Presidential Inauguration

Pork Project for Obama's Home State

Economic Woes Don't Touch O'Hare Expansion

Thursday, January 15, 2009

OneRail Coalition Pushes Rail Investment

Advocates for Environment, Freight and Passenger Rail and Transportation Reform Unite to Promote Rail Investment

Guard Against Identity Theft

Rendell Administration Unveils Updated Tools to Help Consumers Guard Against Identity Theft

Obama's judgment worries me

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

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

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

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

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

I feel safe, don't you?

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

1,200 Alleged Incidents of Human Trafficking Reported in the U.S.

More Than 1,200 Alleged Incidents of Human Trafficking Reported in the U.S.

FRC to Host Blogs for Life 2009

FRC to Host Blogs for Life 2009

U.S. only 6th in 'economic freedom'

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

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

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

Here are the Top 10 countries:

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

To view the full ranking of 183 nations in each of the 10 categories, visit www.heritage.org/index

North America Leads World in Economic Freedom, 2009 Index Finds

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Driver charged in death of state senator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS