Thursday, April 30, 2009

Groups Challenge California Handgun Ban Scheme

SAF, Calguns Foundation Challenges California Handgun Ban Scheme

PA Department of Education Halts Payments to Agora Cyber Charter School, Citing Fraud and Improper Use Funds

PA Department of Education Halts Payments to Agora Cyber Charter School, Citing Fraud and Improper Use Funds

100 Days of Change for the Family

'Sins of Notre Dame' - Rally to Remove School From Catholic Directory

'Sins of Notre Dame' - Rally to Remove School From Catholic Directory

Attorney General Corbett Announces Arrest of 'Traveling' Internet Predator Who Flew From Texas to Pittsburgh; 206th Arrest By Child Predator Unit

Attorney General Corbett Announces Arrest of 'Traveling' Internet Predator Who Flew From Texas to Pittsburgh; 206th Arrest By Child Predator Unit

Rep. Steve King Hits Lack of English Proficiency

The U.S. loses $65 billion annually in wages and income due to the lack of English skills among immigrant workers in our nation's workforce, according to a group called ProEnglish.

Rep. Steve King Hits Lack of English Proficiency

Stop Taxing Innovation

The Institute for Policy Innovation wants the federal government to stop diverting U.S. Patent and Trademark Office user fees away from the agency.

Stop Taxing Innovation

New Web Tool to Check Status of Property Tax/Rent Rebates

Governor Rendell Introduces New Web Tool to Check Status of Property Tax/Rent Rebates

Senate Immigration Subcommittee Hearing Unfairly Stacked With Witnesses Favoring Amnesty, Says FAIR

Senate Immigration Subcommittee Hearing Unfairly Stacked With Witnesses Favoring Amnesty, Says FAIR

Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Issues Annual Report for 2008

Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Issues Annual Report for 2008

PA Child Abuse Report for 2008

50 children died in Pennsylvania last year as the result of abuse and neglect -- a statistic that is startling and sobering," said Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman, who released the 2008 Child Abuse Report.

"Especially during these times of economic stress, we must all remain committed to protecting the health and well-being of Pennsylvania's children."

According to the report, in 2008, more than 25,000 reports of suspected child abuse were received, an increase of more than 1,600 from 2007, suggesting a heightened awareness among mandated reporters and the general public.

Read more about child abuse in Pennsylvania at the link below:

Secretary of Public Welfare Releases 2008 Child Abuse Report

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rep. Pitts on Obama Debt



Obama Doesn't Make It Through 100 Days Before Running Out Of Money

Debt Day falls three days before 100-day mark

Republican Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) took to the House floor today to explain how much spending and borrowing President Obama and Democrats in Congress have undertaken this year.

For 2009, Debt Day (the day on which the government runs out of revenue and starts borrowing to pay for spending) fell on April 26 -- three days before President Obama's 100th day in office.

Specter Gets Paid

'Talking Politics' - Benedict Arlen Edition

Tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" today at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM for a lively discussion on the defection of Arlen Specter from the Republican Party and the ramifications for both Republicans and Democrats.

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

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

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

Obama piles on public debt

GOP launches anti-Specter Web site

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched a new Web site -- Meet Democrat Arlen Specter -- to help Pennsylvania Democratic voters get to know their new U.S. senator.

Arlen Specter has a long history with the Republican Party and has represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate since 1981 as a Republican. Specter's days with the GOP ended Tuesday when he announced he is switching his party registration to Democrat and would seek re-election in 2010 as a Democrat.

While Specter has attracted substantial support among moderate Pennsylvania Democrats, will the liberal base of the Democratic Party support Specter in 2010 as he seeks the Democratic Party nomination to run for another six-year term in the Senate?

Potential Democratic voters may want to view the YouTube clip of George W. Bush endorsing Arlen Specter in 2004. There's also a clip of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum endorsing Specter.

The Web site includes postings such as "Specter Opposing Democrats And Their Priorities" and "Specter Supported Republican Policies That Democrats Opposed" and one of Specter praising Rush Limbaugh.

It's all designed to give hard-core Democrats second thoughts about supporting a political opportunist like Specter.

(If you're Rep. Joe Sestak or Joe Torsella -- two Democrats considering running against Specter next year -- you can thank the GOP for digging up all this dirt on Specter for you.)

Visit Meet Democrat Arlen Specter at http://www.nrsc.org/meetarlen/DemPolicies.aspx

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

'Generational Theft' by Obama, Democrats

Georgia Congressman Tom Price, who is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, offers a scathing critique of Barack Obama's first 100 days in office.

From a column published at HumanEvents.com:
The President, with a gleeful seal of approval from his liberal allies in Congress, has already managed to bury future generations of Americans beneath a mountain of debt. Sadly, the President’s hallmark policies -- the $787 billion non-stimulus, the meddlesome bailouts, and the budget plan working its way through Congress -- all send a clear signal that attempts at more generational theft will continue for the foreseeable future.

In just 100 days, President Obama has laid the groundwork for the most intrusive federal overreach in the country’s history, all funded with money we simply do not have. This agenda will not proceed uncontested. As President Obama and Congressional Democrats continue to treat taxpayers like their personal ATM, conservatives will continue to offer bold, positive ideas that prove that we are, once again, the party of solutions.
Read the full column at HumanEvents.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Historic Debt Under Obama



As Barack Obama marks his 100th day as president, the United States has witnessed the most debt-riddled first 100 days of any administration in history, according to the Republican Study Committee.

Obama has vaulted far past the debt numbers accumulated by his two predecessors in their first 100 days (in fact past their entire first years!), the RSC says.

In just 100 days, Obama has left future generations $564 billion in new debt. Unfortunately for taxpayers, this is only a preview of what is to come, the RSC says.

More from the RSC release:
As American taxpayers continue to hand over their money to pay for President Obama's reckless spending agenda, it is appropriate to compare his first 100 days to those of previous administrations. The chart above shows the debt accumulated in President Obama's first 100 days compared to those of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Even given the size and scope of President Obama's reckless spending agenda, the figures are sure to surprise. (Source: Bureau of Public Debt)

Obama even blows away the competition when comparing his first 100 days to his predecessors' first full year.

Clinton's 1st YEAR: $312 Billion

Bush's 1st YEAR: $194 Billion

Obama's 1st 100 DAYS: $564 Billion
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Jack Wagner vs. Arlen Specter?

One of Arlen Specter's least-favorite newspapers, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is urging Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, a moderate Democrat, to challenge Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat representing Pennsylvania.

From the editorial:
The Pennsylvania auditor general has been toying with either a run for the Democrats' nomination for governor or U.S. Senate next year. Specter's defection should make up his mind. Given Mr. Wagner's ability to garner statewide votes — his 2008 vote totals outstripped Specter's 2004 vote totals by nearly half a million — Wagner could kick Specter's arse in the primary.

And that, finally, would dispatch Arlen Specter to the dustbin of political history.
Read the full editorial, "Specter bolts: Run, Jack, run!" at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tom Ridge vs. Arlen Specter?

A lot of speculation about what the defection of Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party will mean for the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race.

While conservative Republicans are backing former Congressman Pat Toomey, there's still some doubt about Toomey's ability to win in the General Election.

Bill Pascoe, writing at CQ Politics, suggests the GOP establishment that has backed Specter for the past 25 years, will soon be looking for an alternative to Toomey.

"The moderate-to-liberal David Brooks-reading Republicans who form the core of the Pennsylvania GOP establishment aren't about to hand over their U.S. Senate nomination to the conservative Toomey," Pascoe writes. "There's too much at stake, and it has little to do with a seat in the U.S. Senate."

From Pascoe's column:
Knowing how moderate GOP establishment types think, I'll wager they've already reached out to some major moderates.

But I'm willing to bet there's a bigger play about to unfold -- a call to former two-term Gov. Tom Ridge.

Ridge is a serious man, who left a serious footprint.
I'm not sure Pascoe realizes Ridge moved out of Pennsylvania years ago, but there's no denying Ridge is a proven vote-getter, having won two terms as Pennsylvania governor before resigning to become the nation's first Secretary of Homeland Security.

After the disastrous administration of Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who has left Pennsylvania in a fiscal hole of historic proportions, Pennsylvania residents will be looking to elect a Republican governor in 2010. And with the Democratic majority in the state House dogged by the biggest corruption scandal in the state's history, voters may end up sending a Republican majority to the Legislature, too.

The reason the top-of-the-ticket U.S. Senate race is so important is that redistricting will occur after the 2010 Census and that means the party in power in Harrisburg will get to redraw Congressional and Legislative seats.

With so much at stake, Pascoe argues the GOP party bosses will not take a chance on Toomey. They would rather have a "moderate" like Tom Ridge, somebody closer to Arlen Specter, who has held the Senate seat since 1981.

While many Pennsylvania GOP figures harshly criticized Specter for his defection to the Democratic Party, Ridge released a wishy-washy statement praising Specter: "In no way does his departure from the Republican Party diminish his long record of service to his country and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

It sure sounds like Ridge and Specter have a lot in common.

Ridge would attract independents and Democrats and would negate any appeal the 80-year-old Specter would have with many of those same Pennsylvania voters. In other words, Ridge would mop the floor with Specter.

But is he willing to move back to Pennsylvania? And could he beat Pat Toomey in a Republican primary?

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pew Safe Credit Cards Project Statement Urging House to Pass the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights

Pew Safe Credit Cards Project Statement Urging House to Pass the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights

GovBenefits.gov expands outreach

GovBenefits.gov expands outreach to meet increased public need for information about government assistance and benefit programs

Bauer Notes Obama's 100 Mistakes, Misstatements and Missteps in His First 100 Days

Bauer Notes Obama's 100 Mistakes, Misstatements and Missteps in His First 100 Days

Obama Judicial Nominee Opposed By Coalition of Disability Rights Organizations

Obama Judicial Nominee Opposed By Coalition of Disability Rights Organizations

Pew Analysis Finds Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Subsidies Greater Than TARP's

Pew Analysis Finds Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Subsidies Greater Than TARP's

100 Days of Failure

Nancy Salvato, senior editor of the online political magazine The New Media Journal, does an excellent job of recapping the first 100 days of the failed Obama Administration.

From her post:
As President Obama ends his first 100 days in office, we are left with the images of his deep bow to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, his hearty handshake with Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan "strongman" President and his silence upon Daniel Ortega, the former Sandinista Nicaraguan President's diatribe about terroristic U.S. aggression, and the list goes on. The honeymoon is over. It is obvious that the man holding the highest office in the land is enacting a socialist agenda and will use any excuse to move his ideas forward. He has exhibited no real understanding or respect for the Constitution, the highest law of the land. Isn’t ironic that he deems himself a "Constitutional Scholar"?
Read the full column, "In Just 100 Days," at this link.

Free Father Mattaos!

Another example of Christian persecution at the hands of an Islamic government.

Free Father Mattaos!

Free Treatment for Breast Cancer Available in Pennsylvania

Free Treatment for Breast Cancer Available in Pennsylvania

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Dems can't trust Specter, either

Arlen Specter earlier this year on why Pennsylvania Republicans need to support his re-election in 2010:
"If we lose my seat they have 60 Democrats, they (Democrats) will pass card check, you will have the Obama tax increases, they will carry out his big spending plans. So the 41st Republican, whose name is Arlen Specter, is vital to stopping tax increases, passage of card check and the Obama big spending plans."
Arlen Specter today after announcing he is switching to the Democratic Party in a last-ditch effort to save his political career:
"I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party. I am not prepared to have my 29 year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate."
Let's face it. This guy will say anything, do anything to save his own skin. His loyalty is to himself, not to the voters who elected him. He's two-faced an lacks principles. The Democrats can have him.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Poll: 53% Say Next President Likely to Be a Republican

Some not-so-good news for Barack Obama and his media supporters, who are busy celebrating The Chosen One's 100 days in office.

From Rasmussen Reports:
For the first time since Barack Obama was elected president last November, more than half of US voters (53%) say it is at least somewhat likely that the next occupant of the White House will be a Republican.

Thirty-one percent (31%) say it is Very Likely. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it is not very or not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twelve percent (12%) arent sure.

This is not an expectation related to the 2012 election. It is a question about the President following Obama which could happen in either 2012 or 2016.

Naturally, there is a partisan divide -- 77% of Republican voters say it's likely the next president will be from their party. Just 39% of Democrats agree. Still, that's an increase among both parties from previous surveys. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 47% now say a GOP president is likely, while 33% think not.

Just after Obama's election, 50% of voters said the next president is likely to be a Republican ... Forty-six percent (46%) of voters now say President Obama is governing like a partisan Democrat, down four points from last month.

But the new finding is still higher than those in surveys during Obama's first few weeks as president. Thirty-five percent (35%) believe the president is governing on a bipartisan basis, and 18% are undecided.
Read more poll results at the Rasmussen Reports Web site.

And more good news for the GOP. Rasmussen Reports says that "for just the second time in more than five years of daily or weekly tracking, Republicans now lead Democrats in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot for the 2010 elections."

Read those poll results here.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tom Ridge has nice things to say about Arlen Specter

Statement By The Honorable Tom Ridge On Senator Arlen Specter

Specter is not out of the woods yet




From a March 6, 2009, post at this blog:
Specter's only option for retaining his Senate seat is to switch his party affiliation to Democrat. The question is, would the Democrats take him back?
Well, I guess we found out the answer Tuesday.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele issued the following statement:
"Let's be honest: Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don't do it first."
Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason suggested Specter give back campaign contributions he received from Republicans now that he's abandoned the party.

Keep this in mind, also from my earlier post:
Pennsylvania is trending blue and the Democrats could win the Senate seat without Specter, so why take a GOP retread when the Dems could run a younger, more liberal candidate. If Specter can wheel-and-deal his way to the Democratic Party nomination, it sets up a November 2010 showdown between Toomey and Specter. And that's a toss-up.
Avoiding a primary fight against the GOP's Pat Toomey is not the end of Specter's problems.

Can Specter win the Democratic primary in 2010? Stay tuned.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Senator Specter: Switching Parties or Coming Home?

Senator Specter: Switching Parties or Coming Home?

Deployed Military Personnel Encouraged to Vote by Absentee Ballot in May 19 Primary

Deployed Military Personnel Encouraged to Vote by Absentee Ballot in May 19 Primary

Obama's Broken Promise: No Tax Hikes on Those Making Less Than $250,000

Obama's Broken Promise: No Tax Hikes on Those Making Less Than $250,000

American Life League: 'Pro-Life' Senators Appoint Radically Pro-Abortion Sebelius as H.H.S. Secretary

American Life League: 'Pro-Life' Senators Appoint Radically Pro-Abortion Sebelius as H.H.S. Secretary

Is Obama in charge?



Late Tuesday, the White House announced it was launching an investigation of the Air Force One PR stunt on Monday. Obama vowed it will never happen again. How did it happen in the first place? Who took the president's plane for a joy ride? Is anyone in charge in the Obama White House?

While The New York Times, the official propaganda arm of the Obama Administration, downplays the story, New York's tabloids appropriately put the Air Force One flyover story on Page 1 of Tuesday's editions.

Imagine the coverage if George W. Bush had pulled a bonehead move like this.

Read the New York Post coverage, "AIR HEADS IN DC TERRORIZE CITY," at the newspaper's Web site.

Check out the New York Daily News coverage at the newspaper's Web site.

Check out the YouTube video of panicked civilians below.



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pat Meehan on Specter defection

Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, a Republican who is exploring a run for Pennsylvania governor, issued the following statement today upon learning of Senator Arlen Specter's decision to switch parties and become a Democrat:
"I am as disappointed with Senator Specter's decision to join Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi as I was with his stimulus vote. I see opportunity and hope in Pennsylvania's future and want to fight within the party to bring discipline to government spending and restraint to taxation."

Rep. Gerlach on Specter's party switch

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) released the following statement after U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010:
"Senator Specter's stunning decision removes the checks and balances in the legislative process at a critical time for our great nation. The senator's decision practically guarantees that the majority will use their legislative might to ram through initiatives without taking any time to consider reasonable alternatives that produce better legislation for the American people.

Just a few weeks ago, Senator Specter said he decided to remain in the GOP because 'as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That's a very important principle in the operation of our government.'

Today's announcement is a clear breach of that principle and most disappointing."

Rep. Pitts on Specter's defection

Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16th) released the following statement today after Senator Arlen Specter announced he would switch to the Democratic Party.
"I am deeply disappointed that Senator Specter would choose to align himself with so many of the irresponsible policies we are seeing the Democrats attempting to implement in Washington," Pitts said. "From a trillion dollar energy tax, to government-run healthcare, to a $3.6 trillion budget and deficit spending as far as the eye can see, I am saddened that Senator Specter has chosen to align himself with the party that has brought us these kinds of irresponsible policies."

New Study: Drivers More Distracted than They Realize

New Study in NSC Journal of Safety Research Suggests Drivers More Distracted than They Realize

Fast-Track of Socialized Healthcare Imminent

Fast-Track of Socialized Healthcare Imminent

REP SCHRODER ON 'CARD CHECK'

School board seeks voluntary wage freezes

One of the few sectors the recession has not impacted is public education, where school districts continue to spend at twice the rate of inflation and teachers continue to receive generous pay raises.

One Chester County school district is trying to address skyrocketing expenses by asking its administrators, including principals, to forgo pay increases.

Owen J. Roberts School Board President Edward Kerner has asked all school district administrative employees to voluntarily freeze their salaries for the 2009-10 school year, reports The Pottstown Mercury.

From an article by Laura Catalano:
"We are all aware of the difficult economic environment that has developed over the past year. All reports indicated that the recession is not abating and is the worst since the Great Depression," Kerner said, reading from his statement. He further noted that many district taxpayers have suffered job losses and wage freezes, while others "have seen their retirement nest eggs suddenly shrink."

He pointed out that the board has been working to "reduce spending so our taxpayers can afford to remain in their homes."
Owen J. Roberts School District Superintendent Myra Forrest has already requested that her salary be frozen at its present level of $164,807 for the 2009-10 school year.

The school board does not have the authority to impose a wage freeze because school administrators are covered under something called Act 93 in Pennsylvania, which means that the board can only ask for a voluntary freeze.

Forrest said 47 of the 50 administrators in the OJR school district fall under Act 93.

The proposed wage freeze, which was initiated by district taxpayers who presented the school board with a petition, is supported by The Mercury in an editorial.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama at 100 Days: Small Business Still Looking for Commitment and Help

Obama at 100 Days: Small Business Still Looking for Commitment and Help

AAA Applauds Teen Safe Driving Bill

AAA Applauds Teen Safe Driving Bill

The dumbest administration ever?

I wonder which Obama Administration rocket scientist came up with this one?

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall of this meeting: Let's have a Boeing 747 fly low toward the New York City skyline and let's have a couple of military jets trail the airplane. And let's not tell New Yorkers that this is just an exercise so we can see how many people will panic.

Was everyone in the Obama Administration in a coma on Sept. 11, 2001?

Click on the link below to see video of the latest lame-brained stunt by the Obama administration.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090427/pl_afp/usmilitaryaviationexerciseapology

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

The biggest spending spree in American history



As Barack Obama approaches his 100th day as president, the United States has witnessed the most debt-riddled first 100 days of an administration in American history, according to the Republican Study Committee.

Obama has vaulted far past the debt numbers accumulated by his two predecessors in their first 100 days (in fact past their entire first years), the RSC says. In just 100 days, Obama has left future generations 564 billion dollars in new debt. Unfortunately for taxpayers, this is only a preview of what is to come, the RSC says.

More from the RSC release:
As American taxpayers continue to hand over their money to pay for President Obama's reckless spending agenda, it is appropriate to compare his first 100 days to those of previous administrations. The chart above shows the debt accumulated in President Obama's first 100 days compared to those of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Even given the size and scope of President Obama's reckless spending agenda, the figures are sure to surprise. (Source: Bureau of Public Debt)

Obama even blows away the competition when comparing his first 100 days to his predecessors' first full year.

Clinton's 1st YEAR: $312 Billion

Bush's 1st YEAR: $194 Billion

Obama's 1st 100 DAYS: $564 Billion
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, April 27, 2009

Argall backs referendum on property taxes

The newest member of the Pennsylvania Senate wants to give Pennsylvania voters an opportunity to have a say on property taxes.

Property tax reform has been debated the Legislature for more than 30 years without any results. Efforts to eliminate property taxes have stalled in both the House and Senate, with legislative leaders reluctant to change the current system of funding public education.

Sen. David Argall, R-29th Dist., wants to give taxpayers a chance to tell lawmakers exactly what they want done with property taxes.

Senate Bill 818 and House Bill 637 would allow voters to decide between the current property tax system and the three most popular property tax replacement proposals in the General Assembly, based on the number of co-sponsors for legislation in the House and Senate, Argall said at a press conference Monday.

The property tax proposals would be placed on the November ballot. Voters would then be given the opportunity to choose between the three proposals or leave the current property tax structure intact, Argall said.

"I have introduced legislation that would allow voters to bring real property tax reform, through the touch of a button in the voting booth in November," Argall said.

While the referendum is non-binding, it should show legislators who have consistently opposed property tax reform that most Pennsylvanians support some form of property tax relief, said Rep. Tom Quigley, R-146th Dist., who is a co-sponsor of Argall’s bill in the state House.

Co-sponsors of Argall's legislation in the Senate include: Sens. John Rafferty, Michael Waugh, Michael Brubaker, Kim Ward, Richard Alloway and Rob Wonderling.

Co-sponsors in the House include: Reps. Matthew Baker, Robert Belfanti, Kerry Benninghoff, Karen Beyer, Paul Clymer, Thomas Creighton, Garth Everett, Richard Geist, Jaret Gibbons, Keith Gillespie, Mauree Gingrich, Robert Godshall, Neal Goodman, Seth Grove, Sue Helm, Tim Hennessey, David Hickernell, Scott Hutchinson, Rob Kauffman, Mark Keller, Sandra Major, Bob Mensch, David Millard, Thomas Murt, Donna Oberlander, Scott Perry, Jeffrey Pyle, Tom Quigley, Mario Scavello, John Siptroth, Timothy Solobay, Curt Sonney, Rosemarie Swanger, W. Curtis Thomas and Randy Vulakovich.

Argall is the newest member of the state Senate, which has a 30-20 Republican majority. Argall, who spent 24 years in the House, was elected in March to fill the Senate seat formerly held by the late James J. Rhoades.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama Gets Ahead of Teleprompter

Columnist: Dems dismiss anti-tax fervor at their own peril

Salena Zito, who covers politics for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, warns Democrats and their media allies that the disdain shown for hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans who took part in the Tea Parties could cost them in the future.

"Everybody complains about taxes and government spending, but nobody does anything about them," Zito writes in a new column. "Perhaps that's because whenever they do something, they're often labeled as racists, right-wing extremists or worse."

More from Zito's column:
Obama's campaign promised change and hope, yet so far, his presidency mostly has been about ramping up government programs and spending -- not necessarily the change people thought they would get.

"In short, I think people are just feeling disillusioned and duped by politicians who keep promising solutions and delivering more problems," says Lara Brown, a political scientist at Villanova University.

She thinks politicians and the media are behaving arrogantly by dismissing what is going on.
Zito adds this cautionary note for Barack Obama and the Democrats, who arrogantly assume they've amassed a permanent majority in Washington:
Our society moves forward only when it experiences setbacks; oddly, those setbacks ensure our perseverance. And the United States is a democracy that flourishes on free speech and the right to gather in protest.

Dismissals of today's anti-tax protests are a little like dismissals of Ross Perot when he ran for president in 1992: His anti-tax, anti-big-government message -- not Bill Clinton -- is what really beat George H.W. Bush.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Where would Obama be without the media?

Howard Kurtz, who covers the media for The Washington Post, says a new study shows that the television networks provided more coverage of Barack Obama's first 50 days in the White House than they did in a similar time period for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined!

From Kurtz's Media Notes blog:
The networks have given President Obama more coverage than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined in their first months -- and more positive assessments to boot.

In a study to be released today, the Center for Media and Public Affairs and Chapman University found the nightly newscasts devoting nearly 28 hours to Obama's presidency in the first 50 days. (Bush, by contrast, got nearly eight hours.) Fifty-eight percent of the evaluations of Obama were positive on the ABC, CBS and NBC broadcasts, compared with 33 percent positive in the comparable period of Bush's tenure and 44 percent positive for Clinton. (Evaluations by officials from the administration or either political party were not counted.)

On Fox News, by contrast, only 13 percent of the assessments of Obama were positive on the first half of Bret Baier's "Special Report," which most resembles a newscast. The president got far better treatment in the New York Times, where 73 percent of the assessments in front-page pieces were positive.

A striking contrast: Obama's personal qualities drew more favorable coverage than his policies, with 32 percent of the sound bites positive on CBS, 31 percent positive on NBC and 8 percent positive on Fox.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Reformed gamblers?



The appointment of Greg Fajt, Gov. Ed Rendell's chief of staff, to replace Mary DiGiacomo Colins as chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has not instilled confidence in the editorial board of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

From a recent editorial:
Pennsylvanians haven't exactly hit the jackpot with the state's continually spinning, always controversial Gaming Control Board. They've received lots of lemons along the way.

Loose licensing. Board employees at odds with the law. "Transparency"? What's that? And talk of a possible FBI and/or state grand jury investigation doesn't exactly instill confidence in this enterprise.

What's needed, now, is an advocate for the public interest, not an arrogant bureaucracy that has gambled away its credibility.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Summing up Obama: A boorish amateur'

Montgomery County resident Ray Chernaskey does a good job of summarizing the failed presidency of Barack Obama in this Letter to the Editor published in The Pottstown Mercury.
Summing up Obama: A boorish amateur

To all the liberals, Democrats, and uninformed who supported President Barack Hussein Obama:

How's this working out so far? He can't fill his cabinet without appointing tax cheats (including the head of the Treasury Department), several appointees decided he was an empty suit and declined his offer. He appoints an attorney general that says America is racist (a ridiculous statement since the U.S. has done more for equal rights than any country in the world and race issues are 30 years old. He runs around Europe apologetic for the U.S. and pandering to extremist Muslims, appoints a moronic economic advisory chief from "Cal Berserk-ley" who wants to socialize our economy, and appoints another staffer who says America is a disgrace and tortures people (again uninformed and moronically ideological).

The liberals and Dems screamed about the President Bush economic deficit. Have they and the press pulled their heads out of their derrieres and looked up lately? A deficit that is astronomically and exponentially more voluminous than anything ever seen in American history (Obama has now spent more money in his first 100 days than America spent in the last collective 200 years!).

And for those who repeatedly bash President Bush (obvious "Bush Derangement Syndrome"), may I remind you that we were under 5 percent unemployment two years ago; then the Democrats took over Congress. The rest is history. Look it up. Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Christopher Dodd are the real culprits for this sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Barney Frank's gay lover was an executive at Fannie Mae and was severely influenced by the urban redevelopment position of Frank to write, accept, and package very bad loans in the "spirit" of community investment for the underprivileged (a.k.a. — Aren't responsible and can't pay).

And now the worst and reason for this letter. America is being held hostage by a barbaric bunch of thugs from Somalia! The same savages that killed U.S. personnel and hung them in effigy in Mogadishu. Savages with AK47s at the best who think they can pirate an American flagged ship —hasn't happened in 200 years. Why do they think they can do this? Because the U.S. has a weak, spineless, apologetic, appeasing president that the world knows whom they can take advantage. Do you think Somalia thugs would try this on President Bush, Reagan, or even Clinton? North Korea launces a rocket over Japan and our fearless leader asks the U.N. to admonish them? Oh, that always works. Can you imagine how hard Putin is laughing right now?

But Cambridge, Berserk-ley, Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco (the city that won't let the Marines recruit), and an unbelievably naive American public elected a guy who is in way over his head because he is cool. For crying out loud, he is still campaigning; (when did a real "presidential quality" person go on late night television?) — very chief executive-like. He is boorish and an amateur. In addition, supporters forget or ignore, that he come from Chicago, Ill. — the most corrupt political city and state on the planet.

I love America. I love our Constitution and system of government, but this time America made a huge mistake. If you are not old enough to remember the President Jimmy Carter debacle, fasten your seat belt, you are in for a ride that you will not believe. I hope you ultimately feel the embarrassment for America that I now feel. And I haven't even mentioned our president's Marxist disposition or the insane corporate bailouts. Are we a capitalistic economy anymore?

Our president got a huge reception in Europe. Who cares? Does America want to be Europe? I say no. What works in Europe? It is chic, but pathetic. Can you imagine a world without America's contribution? Think about it, where would the Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa (where President Bush is given credit for saving a million lives with his AIDs policy) and every nation that has a tsunami, earthquake, or uprising be without America. Maybe America is made up of saps, I don't know.

We got what we voted for but not what we deserve. Smarten up America!

RAY CHERNASKEY
Gilbertsville
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wine Week Comes to Pennsylvania

Wine Week Comes to Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Evaluation of Air Quality Program

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Evaluation of Air Quality Program

Pay Discrimination Is Illegal, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Reminds Public

Pay Discrimination Is Illegal, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Reminds Public

50,000 Letters Sent to Notre Dame Alumni Re: Obama; In Letter, Bishop Gracida Urged Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon to Refuse Award

50,000 Letters Sent to Notre Dame Alumni Re: Obama; In Letter, Bishop Gracida Urged Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon to Refuse Award

The 'Green' Letter



Al Gore keep warning us about global warming. With more than 60 percent of Americans classified as obese, we're in a lot of trouble.

O'Pake, Folmer want to keep you in the dark

State Sen. Mike O'Pake's hometown newspaper takes the veteran Democratic lawmaker to task for supporting a bill that would lift the requirement that public agencies advertise their legal notices in newspapers.

Senate Bill 419 "would open the door for abuses that could cost taxpayers much more than the cost of those ads," argues the Reading Eagle.

From a recent editorial:
Less than a year after Pennsylvania finally passed an Open-Records Act that was worthy of the name, some in the state Senate - including State Sen. Michael A. O'Pake - have taken a step that would undermine the transparency of government at every level in the commonwealth.

O'Pake, a Reading Democrat, is a co-sponsor of legislation that would end the requirement for the state, counties, municipalities and school districts to advertise their public notices in newspapers of general circulation. Instead, they would be allowed to post such legal notices on government Web sites.
O'Pake isn't the only area state Senator who supports the misguided bill.

Sen. Mike Folmer, a Republican who up to now been a strong supporter of reform and open government, also backs the Senate move to keep taxpayers in the dark.

From the editorial:
Folmer, a Lebanon Republican, said he also supports the bill because government agencies across the commonwealth could save as much as $23 million annually in advertising, according to a study from the Harrisburg campus of Penn State University.
But the amount saved is insignificant compared to the billions government spends (and wastes) every year. One of the few ways taxpayer know how their money is spent is through legal notices.

"We understand and applaud almost any effort to save public dollars, especially now when so many people are out of work. But this effort would save money at the expense of openness, which could cost the taxpayers much more in the long run," the editorial concludes.

Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site and write to O'Pake and Folmer and urge them to reconsider their support of SB 419.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The dangers of deficit spending

Veronique de Rugy, writing in the May issue of Reason magazine, notes that the federal deficit is three times higher than it was under Ronald Reagan, who is still blamed by Democrats for raising the national debt to historic levels.

From de Rugy's column:
Now, three decades later, Democrats have changed their minds about the dangers of deficit spending. In February 2009, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the deficit will reach $1.2 trillion this year — roughly 8.3 percent of GDP. That giant increase is attributable mainly to Washington's September 2008 bank bailout and the federal takeover of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And that figure assumes that the 2009 budget issued last year by the Bush administration will stay at its proposed level, which it surely won't. The calculation does not include the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and it doesn't include the chunk of the new $787 billion stimulus bill that will be spent in 2009. Add all these numbers together, and the deficit swells to $2 trillion, or roughly 13.5 percent of GDP (see Figure 1).

This is by far the highest share of the economy that deficits have taken up since World War II. It is well over twice the record set by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Yet we don't see Democrats denouncing the deficit explosion on the network news, like they did two decades ago.
A senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, de Rugy believes there will be severe consequences to the Democrats' unchecked spending:

From her column:
Deficits certainly do matter if you care about shrinking the size of the state. Budget gaps are a kind of Ponzi scheme. Any year the federal government spends more money than it collects in tax revenue, we have a budget deficit. That means the citizens through their taxes authorize politicians to spend a certain amount yet the government spends more.

The plan is to pay this additional spending back with future taxes, just as Bernard Madoff figured he'd pay off early investors with dollars from pigeons he conned down the road. As with any Ponzi scheme, there will inevitably come a time when the con is exposed, along with all the participants' losses.

John Maynard Keynes, the 20th century's preeminent defender of deficit spending, famously quipped, "In the long run, we are all dead." Keynes did not give much guidance, though, on how we would pay for the funeral.
Read the full column at Reasononline

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Media spins Obama approval numbers

Should anyone be surprised that the Obama Media is misleading the American public about The Chosen One's job approval numbers? After all, this is the same media that helped elect Obama.

Judith Apter Klinghoffer, writing for George Mason University's History News Network blog, says that the Gallup poll shows Obama's 56 percent job approval rating trails that of George W. Bush's 62 percent approval for the same time in his presidency.

Yet, the Obama Media continues to report that Obama is riding high in the polls.

Shockingly, Obama's approval numbers after three months in office rank 7th when stacked up against the last nine presidents.

From Klinghoffer's post:
Gallup reports that 56% of the public believes that Obama is doing an excellent/good job. Gallup reported 62% approved of George W. Bush's job performance after the first 100 days. MSM tells us how popular Barack Obama is but the numbers tell a different story especially when used comparatively. Comparing the Gallup poll taken following the first 100 day of George W. Bush and Barack Obama is rather informative especially given the highly contentious nature of the 2000 election.
Read the full post here.

Another recent polls shows the bipartisan divide on Obama's job approval numbers. While Democrats continue to fawn over Obama despite record unemployment, massive government debt and the continued collapse of the economy, Republicans do not believe Obama is doing a good job after three months in the White House.

From the IBD/TIPP Poll:
Some 69% of Democrats give him an A or a B for handling the federal budget, while a solid 66% award him an A or a B on the economy. Only 17% of Republicans, by comparison, give him an A or a B on the budget. And 54% give him a D or an F. On the economy, 25% of GOP backers grant him an A or a B, 49% a D or lower.
See more results at the Investor's Business Daily Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

100 Mistakes

The New York Post has compiled a list of 100 mistakes made by Barack Obama in his first 100 days as president.

Why stop there? These are the 100 mistakes we know about. This has turned out to be the most secretive administration since Nixon occupied the White House. And then you have the mainstream media working overtime to cover up Obama's incompetency.

Can this nation survive another 1,365 days of an Obama presidency?

I dare Obama supporters to look at the list and refute a single item. It's time to put down the Kool Aid, stick your head out of the sand and admit what a monumental mistake was made on Election Day.

In addition to compiling the list of Obama blunders, The New York Post asked for guest commentaries on Obama's 100 days of failure from such luminaries as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, FOX News TV/radio host Glenn Beck, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, former Bush White House Spokesperson Dana Perino and Col. Ralph Peters.

You can review the New York Post list of mistakes at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Former Veon aide promoted by Rendell

Just because your former boss has been indicted in the biggest corruption scandal in state history doesn't mean you can't rise to a top position in the Rendell Administration.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Colleen Kopp, the former aide and lobbying partner of ex-Rep. Mike Veon, has been promoted to the post of Rendell's secretary for legislative affairs.

The promotion comes about a month after Kopp joined the Rendell Administration as deputy legislative secretary.

Kopp is not facing any charges in the Bonusgate corruption case, but her name was mentioned in a recent grand jury report that led to the arrest of Veon and 11 other members of the House Democratic Caucus, according to reporter Brad Bumsted.

Kopp was hired by Rendell in March to a $102,000 state job despite a hiring freeze Rendell imposed last fall.

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

State Capitol Roundup

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

Time to End Pay-to-Play, Republican Lawmakers Say

Government contracting procedures must be cleaned up, and House Republicans introduced a bill this week aimed at effectively ending pay-to-play politics in Pennsylvania. The pay-to-play remedy is part of the much larger "Pennsylvania's Agenda for Trust in Harrisburg" (PATH) plan. Specific proposals include: creating a seven-member board to oversee how the state awards contracts; prohibiting the use of sole-source, emergency, legal and insurance work from campaign contributors; requiring a competitive bidding process for legal contracts; expanding open record requirements; and prohibiting the executive and legislative branches from hiring lobbyists as consultants. House Republicans are responding to numerous allegations of pay-to-play relationships between the Rendell administration and several campaign donors who later received lucrative, no-bid contracts. For additional information, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Governor Rendell Joins Republicans' Gaming Reform Effort

With the support of the governor, Attorney General Tom Corbett, other members of the law enforcement community, and gaming industry experts, House Republican Gaming Oversight Committee Chairman Curt Schroder (R-Chester) this week urged House Democrats to immediately take up gaming reform measures. The impending departure of Gaming Board Chairman Mary DiGiacomo Colins offers the best opportunity to push the board in a new direction. Republicans want to ensure law enforcement agencies' involvement in gaming investigations, ban felons from operating or working at casinos, and open the licensing process up to the public. The state's 5-year-old gaming law has been the subject of persistent debate, during which glaring deficiencies have come to light. The proposals offered by House Republicans are the product of several years' worth of hearings and public input.

Lawmakers Rally to Protect Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Dozens of lawmakers gathered this week to present a united front against any infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms in the protection of themselves, their families and their homes. The rally comes on the heels of Gov. Ed Rendell's announcement that additional gun restrictions are needed, including allowing municipalities to adopt their own regulations and requiring owners to report any lost or stolen handguns. House Republicans have already taken strong action to punish those who commit violent crimes through the adoption of Act 131 of 2008. Any further legislation, House Republicans say, must address the criminal element while continuing to uphold the rights of law-abiding citizens.

House Acts to Discourage Distracted Drivers

An amendment to penalize distracted driving resulting from activities such as using a cell phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup was approved by the House this week. The amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester), was approved by a vote of 179-16. A similar amendment that contained an outright ban on motorists' use of hand-held cell phones was defeated; opponents argued it did not cover all distractions, would have been difficult to enforce, and it could have made it illegal to use a cell phone even if the vehicle was not in motion. House Bill 67, which also makes changes to the state's graduated licensing system, must now be voted upon in its entirety by the House. If passed, distracted drivers could face a $50 dollar fine in addition to penalties relating to the primary traffic offense for which they were stopped.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cap and Trade is a Wealth Transfer Program

By Congressman Joe Pitts

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has begun consideration of a cap and trade plan that would regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It would be more accurate to call it a cap and tax plan because it is nothing more than a tax on the energy that every American uses to go about their daily lives.

As a member of the Committee, I have serious concerns about the plan for several reasons, including the fact that we still don’t have actual bill text that we can use to analyze the true cost of the bill. But most importantly, I believe this plan is a job killer and nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth from consumers to government bureaucrats.

I believe we should be good stewards of this earth and its resources, but especially in the midst of a recession, this plan will amount to a massive new energy tax on American families that we cannot afford. Everything from making dinner in your oven, to heating the water for your morning shower, to commuting to your job each day, will all become more expensive overnight with this cap and tax plan.

And President Obama intends to use the money from the tax to spend not on advancing a clean energy economy, but on instituting universal healthcare.

Instead of creating the biggest of big government programs to transfer trillions of dollars of money from energy consumers to the federal government, we ought to be allowing the market to bring forward successful, clean, alternative energy technologies.

My Democratic colleagues aren’t even serious enough about reducing greenhouse gases to consider nuclear power—a reliable, clean option for energy generation. We should be moving forward with all of the practical solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including nuclear energy and waste-to-energy, a proven clean technology that has been successful in Lancaster for decades. We can reduce greenhouse gases and increase this nation’s energy security, but we can’t get there by relying solely on wind and solar power. We need to use wind and solar in conjunction with nuclear, hydro, biomass, waste-to-energy and others.

Though we obviously don’t have a complete bill to analyze, we can make at least an educated guess about how devastating this plan would be for our economy. Cap and trade legislation from the last Congress that attempted to regulate greenhouse gases (called the Warner-Lieberman plan) would have resulted in aggregate real GDP losses of nearly $5 trillion and 900,000 jobs lost in the first 20 years after enactment. And the Waxman-Markey draft we are currently considering in committee is even more sweeping than the Warner-Lieberman plan. Plainly, the economic consequences will be worse.

We can’t tax our way to a successful new energy economy. We need to move forward with a clean energy plan that helps, not hurts our economy.

As former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich pointed out during his testimony before the committee this week, we should be paving a way forward with incentives, not punishment. This cap and tax plan is a massive punishment for everyone in America that uses energy—that is, everyone in America. Instead, we should be crafting policies that create incentives to bring on-line new nuclear plants, hydrogen storage technology, more cost-effective wind and solar technology, smart-grid technology, and more efficient electricity transmission.

We don’t need to wash trillions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money through the federal bureaucracy in order to get to a clean energy economy. The alternative to a job-killing, big government cap and tax plan is to create incentives and let the market pick the winners.

Rep. Joe Pitts represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District.

Rally against Card Check set for Harrisburg

State Rep. Curt Schroder (R-Chester) and state Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48) will hold a rally Monday morning in Harrisburg to expose the "detrimental impact the proposed federal Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will have on employee rights and businesses."

The bill would take away a worker's right to a secret ballot when unionizing and subject employers to binding contract arbitration, according to Schroder.

The bill, also known as Card Check, is backed by Big Labor and Congressional Democrats. Business groups across the country have said the bill would cost tens of thousands of American jobs because companies forced to unionize will probably take their businesses oversees.

A special guest at the 10:15 a.m. rally at the Capitol Rotunda will be U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District.

Representatives from about 40 employers, organizations and Pennsylvania workers are expected to attend the rally.

Before the rally, Schroder and Folmer will participate in a statewide media conference call with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 9:30 a.m. in the Capitol Media Center.

Cardinal Rigali Praises House Re-Introduction of 'Pregnant Women Support Act,' Urges Co-Sponsorship

Cardinal Rigali Praises House Re-Introduction of 'Pregnant Women Support Act,' Urges Co-Sponsorship

Obama job approval rating among Republicans just 30%

The Pew Research Center has an exhaustive analysis of Barack Obama's job approval numbers as he approaches 100 days in office.

Obama's 63 percent approval rate matches that of another Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, who also registered a 63 percent approval rate at the same period of his presidency. And we all know how well Carter's presidency fared, don't we?

Ronald Reagan's job approval numbers reached 67 percent after 100 days in office in 1981, according to Pew.

From the Pew survey:
Obama's job approval stands at 63%, while 26% disapprove of the way he is handling his job as president. His approval rating is up slightly from March (59%). Opinions about Obama's performance remain highly partisan. Fully 93% of Democrats approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, compared with just 30% of Republicans. Independents' opinions fall in between, with 58% expressing positive views of his performance and 27% negative opinions.
The numbers that jump out are the approval ratings among Democrats and Republicans. There really are two Americas.

More from Pew:
Pew Research previously found a greater partisan gap in Obama's early job approval ratings than in the ratings of past presidents. That continues to be the case. Obama's approval rating among Republicans (30%) is about the same as Bill Clinton's at a comparable point in his first year (25%), but Democratic approval -- particularly strong approval -- is much higher than it was for Clinton. Fully 79% of Democrats very strongly approve of Obama's job performance; only about half as many Democrats (39%) expressed very strong approval for Clinton at this stage in 1993. Obama's highly positive ratings from members of his own party also surpass Bush's 71% very strong approval among Republicans in April 2001.
For more numbers and comparisons with previous presidents, click here.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

24/7 coverage returning to Skippack State Police Barracks

State Senator John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44th, has announced that Pennsylvania State Police has agreed to re-open the Skippack State Police barracks in Montgomery County on a full-time basis, effective May 2.

For more than two years, Rafferty has been pushing Gov. Ed Rendell and State Police officials to reverse their decision to institute a pilot program in which the State Police began closing the Skippack barracks for 16 hours every weekday and all weekend.

Between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, a clerk was available to answer phone calls and assist visitors, Rafferty says, but after these hours, the barrack would “go dark” and all calls and visitors were directed to an automated Consolidated Dispatch Center. The program began in December 2006.

"My concern has always been about public safety. People expect that a state trooper or an official clerk will be at barracks when they go there." said Rafferty, chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

Rafferty, whose district includes the Skippack barracks, held public hearings on the issue.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Rafferty's Senate Bill 318 in May 2007 requiring all State Police barracks to remain open 24 hours a day, every day, but the bill was not considered in the Democratically-controlled state House last session.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Berks County authorities say woman faked cancer to collect money

The sad part about this story is that people who legitimately need help may not get it because the public is becoming more cynical, especially when they read about this kind of scam. As part of her sentencing, this woman should personally apologize to every person who donated to her.

From The Pottstown Mercury:
A Berks County woman who received more than $12,000 in donations after detailing her supposed battle with cancer in the news media was charged Wednesday with theft by deception after it was revealed she did not have cancer and was not using the donated money for medical purposes.

Jenna C. Esslinger, 25, of Blandon, was arraigned by District Judge Dean R. Patton Wednesday after surrendering to Berks County Detectives at the judge's court. Esslinger is charged with limitations on activities of charitable organizations by disclosure requirements and misrepresentation, forgery and theft by deception.

The Berks County District Attorney's office began the investigation in March. She had been featured last fall in stories in The Mercury and the Reading Eagle, and she had solicited the Lions Club for funds to help with the cost of her medical expenses.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

35 girls from eastern PA to be awarded Girl Scouts highest award

35 Girls from Eastern PA to be Awarded Girl Scouts Highest Award: The Gold Award

Sebelius Places Interests of Late-Term Abortionists Ahead of Unborn Children

Sebelius Places Interests of Late-Term Abortionists Ahead of Unborn Children

800 attend Expo in Pottstown

No one is sure if it was an appearance by Tony Phyrillas or the offer of free lunch, but the Fourth Annual Healthy Lifestyles Expo sponsored by state Rep. Tom Quigley attracted about 800 people.

Quigley said the 2009 event easily topped last year's attendance of 600.

On second thought, it must have been me because there was free lunch offered last year, too.

I had the privilege of addressing a standing-room only crowd at Montgomery County Community College West Campus in Pottstown on April 17 as part of the Expo events.

With the exception of a couple of Obama campaign workers in the crowd who attempted to hijack the program, I enjoyed talking to the crowd about state and national politics.

'Presidential Poison'

From an editorial in The Wall Street Journal on Barack Obama's decision to conduct a witch hunt involving Bush Administration decisions on the War on Terror:
Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama's victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he'll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway's political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow. And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and Arlen Specter have hardly been profiles in courage.

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.
Read the full editorial, "Presidential Poison," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pennsylvania's flawed gambling law

Five years after Gov. Ed Rendell signed the bill bringing slot parlors to Pennsylvania, lawmakers are still trying to fix all the problems with the flawed bill that was rushed through the Legislature under cover of darkness.

So why is the Legislature even considering Rendell's plan to legalize video poker machines? If the state can't enforce the current law, why expand gambling?

A bipartisan group of state Senators has unveiled a "gaming reform package" to provide stricter oversight and greater accountability. Shouldn't that have been included in the original bill?

From a press release issued by state Sen. Rob Wonderling:
Stressing that Pennsylvania needs to take the lead now to more tightly regulate the gaming industry and provide greater accountability and transparency, a bipartisan group of Senators today unveiled a wide-ranging package of reform bills.

“Gaming is here to stay in Pennsylvania, so it is incumbent upon us as public officials to ensure that the industry is strongly regulated and free of criminal activity and conflicts of interest,” said Senator Wonderling.

Senator Wonderling’s bill, Senate Bill 734, would provide gamblers who participate in a total rewards program offered at casinos with a monthly statement of their winnings and losses. Casinos use the total rewards program to track the amount of money and time gamblers spend in order to determine the value of complimentary services they provide to their patrons.

"Often times, individuals who regularly gamble may not be aware of the amount of money they are losing each month. A monthly statement may serve as a wake-up call to possible gambling addicts and their families that their losses may lead to financial ruin," said Wonderling. "It is my hope that these statements will allow those who are addicted to gambling to get help before it is too late."

Among the measures are bills to more tightly regulate the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, protect against conflicts of interest, and prevent criminals from obtaining gaming licenses. Other measures would put the State Police or Attorney General in charge of licensing investigations, rather than the Gaming Board, and establish tighter financial suitability rules for license applicants. The bills would also require detailed audits and crack down on transportation costs.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Americans United for Life Disappointed by Oklahoma Governor's Veto of Bill Banning Destructive Embryo Research

Americans United for Life Disappointed by Oklahoma Governor's Veto of Bill Banning Destructive Embryo Research

FDA Fails to Consider Risks of Over-the-Counter Plan B

FDA Fails to Consider Risks of Over-the-Counter Plan B

Welcome to the mainstream media

PennDOT Offers Sobering Reminder to Students, Parents as End of School Year Approaches

PennDOT Offers Sobering Reminder to Students, Parents as End of School Year Approaches

Tune in to 'Talking Politics' on the radio

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

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

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

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

Rohrer named GOP chairman of House Finance Committee

The odds are good that property taxes will again be a priority in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Sam Rohrer (R-Berks), who has led the fight to eliminate the state's onerous property tax, has been named the new Republican chairman of the House Finance Committee.

Rohrer takes over the chairmanship from former Rep. Dave Argall, who recently vacated his House seat after he won a special election to fill a vacant seat in the Pennsylvania Senate.

"I am honored to become the new Republican House Finance Committee chairman," Rohrer said in a statement. "In our current economic situation, I am fully aware of the heavy responsibility that this position entails. I pledge to work tirelessly in order to get Pennsylvania's financial house in shape, and ensure that the interests of the taxpayers of this Commonwealth are fully represented in all fiscal and tax policy bills that come to my committee."

The Finance Committee deals with revenue issues and determines where money is available for use for state appropriations, Rohrer said.

"Before we decide how to spend taxpayer dollars, we need to know where those dollars are coming from and the impact on the taxpayer and economy those taxes will create," Rohrer said. "We can only spend what we have, and I will take my role very seriously in making sure that our spending does not outstrip the tax revenue that the Commonwealth will raise. I feel privileged to work on such an important component of our government and I will fight for the rights of our taxpayers across the Commonwealth. As we deal with tax codes changes, serious pension shortages and declining revenue for the state, we must understand that our fiscal decisions are going to impact not just this generation, but generations to come."

Rohrer has served in the state House for the past 12 years and has a statewide reputation as a champion for eliminating property taxes. More recently, he has also taken up the cause of supporting the 10th Amendment, which limits the federal government's authority over states.

Rohrer has served as the Republican chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee since November. He previously served as the chairman for the House Game and Fisheries Committee, and as a member of the Education Committee, as well as a 12-year member of the House Appropriations Committee.

For more about Rohrer, visit his legislative Web site, www.samrohrer.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

From the people who brought you the guy in the groundhog suit ...

Quick: Name the Pennsylvania's state game bird!

If you answered the Ruffed Grouse, congratulations.

If the Pennsylvania Tourism Office has its way, everybody will soon know about the Ruffed Grouse.

The tourism office has launched an entire campaign around the previously unheralded bird, with the debut of www.savvygrouse.com, a blog "by people who are passionate about exploring Pennsylvania and sharing their experiences. "

Your tax dollars at work, folks.

PA Tourism Blog Launched at 'savvygrouse.com'


Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama storm troopers could be in our future

Thomas Sowell, writing in Investor's Business Daily, offers a frightening on the Obama Administration's labeling of military veterans and conservatives as potential enemies of the state.

Sowell believes the growing control of the federal government over all aspects of citizens' life should be the main concern of all Americans.

Of particular concern is a plan Obama spoke of last year to create a federal police force under his control.

From Sowell's column:

All this activity takes on a more sinister aspect against the background of one of the statements of Barack Obama during last year's election campaign that got remarkably little attention in the media. He suggested the creation of a federal police force, comparable in size to the military.

Why such an organization? For what purpose?

Since there are state and local police forces all across the country, an FBI to investigate federal crimes and a Department of Justice to prosecute those who commit them, as well as a Defense Department with military forces, just what role would a federal police force play?

Maybe it was just one of those bright ideas that gets floated during an election campaign. Yet there was no grass-roots demand for any such federal police nor any media clamor for it, so there was not even any political reason to suggest such a thing.

What would be different about a new federal police force, as compared with existing law enforcement and military forces? It would be a creation of the Obama administration, run by people appointed from top to bottom by that administration — and without the conflicting loyalties of those steeped in existing military and law enforcement traditions.

In short, a federal police force could become President Obama's personal domestic political army, his own storm troopers.

Perhaps there will never be such a federal police force. But the targeting of individuals and groups who believe in some of the fundamental values on which this country was founded, and people who have demonstrated their patriotism by volunteering for military service, suggests that this potential for political abuse is worth watching, as Obama tries to remake America to fit his vision.

Read the full column, "Bigger Menace May Be Gov't, Not Extremists," at the newspaper's Web site.


Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Miss USA exposes liberal intolerance

Have you been following the recent controversy at the Miss USA contest? A Christian contestant who was the front-runner was denied the crown by somebody called Perez Hilton, who I think is a long-lost relative of Paris Hilton.

Carrie Prejean - Miss California 2009 - was supposed to win, but ended up as first runner-up when some judges didn't like her answer to a question about gay marriage. Why that question was asked in the first place is beyond me. This is a beauty contest, not a political debate. Prejean stated that marriage should be between one man and one woman, which is the same answer Barack Obama gave last year during the campaign trail. I don't see anyone taking Obama's crown away, do you?

Here's what Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has to say about the latest example of Christian-bashing for the far left:
Carrie Prejean has been victimized by this flagging production in a vain attempt to generate interest through controversy rather than substance," stated Perkins. Prejean's Christian beliefs were no secret to the organization; she quotes a biblical passage in her official bio on the Miss California USA website, citing Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," as a daily source of inspiration. This fact, combined with so-called "celebrity blogger" Perez Hilton's reputation for outlandishness and homosexual activism, make the origins of this entire firestorm suspect. "Mr. Hilton attempted to transform this event into his own personal political soapbox so he could mock the traditional values Miss California holds dear. Based on her home state's recent vote on Proposition 8, a majority of the Californians she represents feel the same as she does.
Read the full release FRC at the link below:

Miss USA Pageant Guilty of Cheap Ratings Stunt at Expense of Miss California's Reputation


Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Next up for Tea Party movement

Lowman S. Henry, chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute, ponders the future of the Tea Party movement in his latest commentary.

Henry writes:
Millions of Americans turned out, some in pouring rain, on April 15th - tax day - to protest the big spending ways of Washington. It was a legitimate, spontaneous grassroots uprising the likes of which the nation has seldom seen, except perhaps in opposition to a foreign war. The trillion dollar "stimulus" bill, rapid expansion of the government control into the private sector, and the massive piling up of debt have combined to shock the middle class into action.

The mainstream news media by and large tried to ignore the tax day tea parties. But conservative media, such as Fox News and talk radio along with a more sophisticated on-line presence revealed the breath, depth, and extent of the tea party movement. It was real America - the folks who actually work, produce and drive our economy - taking the first steps toward reclaiming control of a government that has fallen into the hands of a socialist regime.

And the Obama administration, at least publically, seemed to not care. Apart from the abiding arrogance that is the hallmark of the new presidency the administration need not care too much - at least not yet - because the protest is as much against Republicans as it is against them. The fact is both parties have broken the sacred trust we the people put in them to run our government and neither has done much to restore confidence in their ability to lead.
Henry believes the Republican Party can tap into the energy of the Tea Party protesters and build a winning coalition for the future.

From his column:
I spoke last week to a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who told me it was absolutely essential that the GOP harness the energy of the tea party movement to invigorate it at the grass roots level. But, not only was there no outreach from the party at the tea party events, party leaders like Cronyn and Gleason went out of their way to alienate the very people they need to rebuild their depleted grassroots ranks.

The Congressman was, of course, absolutely correct in his assessment of the situation. Let me add that as much as the Republican Party needs the tea party protestors, the tea party protesters need the Republican Party. The GOP is the only vehicle capable of channeling the outrage into political action that will result in real change in Congress.
Of course, there's still a possibility the current inept leadership of the Republican Party will blow it, Henry says.
The problem is the actions of party leaders like (Texas Sen. John) Cronyn and (Pennsylvannia GOP Chairman Rob) Gleason only serve to drive a wedge between the official party and millions of potential new members who could inject a much needed burst of energy and enthusiasm into the ailing elephant. Obama realizes this, which is why at least for now he really isn't all that concerned.
Read the full commentary at Patownhall.com


Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS