Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOP is 3-for-3 in PA special elections

There have been three special elections so far this year to fill vacant seats in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Republicans have won all three seats, two in the Senate and one in the House, by safe margins.

The success the Republican Party has had bodes well for 2010 when all 203 seats in the state House and 25 of the 50 seats in the state Senate are up for re-election.

(The GOP lost its majority in the House in 2006 thanks largely to the backlash over the legislative pay raise and was unable to recapture the majority in 2008 primarily because of the Barack Obama landslide in Pennsylvania. With no major Democratic names on the ticket in 2010, the GOP has a chance to retake control of the House.)

The most recent contest, Tuesday's victory by state Rep. Bob Mensch in the 24th Senatorial District, was by far the GOP's biggest win of the year. Mensch defeated his well-financed Democratic opponent by a 2-1 margin.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason took note of the GOP's undefeated streak in releasing the following statement congratulating Mensch:
"It is clear that Bob Mensch's message of reform and fiscal responsibility resonated with the voters," Gleason said. "We are confident that Bob Mensch will be a great leader for Pennsylvanians living in the 24th Senatorial District and a welcome addition to the state Senate."

"The Republican Party of Pennsylvania was proud to support the Mensch Campaign in this important race. This year, our Party has gone undefeated, enjoying three dominating victories in special elections around the Commonwealth. Our Party feels confident that these victories will provide our candidates with momentum heading into the upcoming statewide judicial elections where we will elect Judge Joan Orie Melvin to serve as our next Supreme Court Justice."
The 24th state Senatorial District consists of portions of Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties. Mensch was elected to fill the term of former state Sen. Rob Wonderling, who resigned earlier this summer.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama's Chicago Olympics



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Political Talk' on WCHE 1520 AM

"Political Talk," a new weekly program offering an inside view of politics and the political process, with an emphasis on and how politics impacts your daily life, airs every Wednesday from 3-4 PM on WCHE 1520 AM and www.wche1520.com

"Political Talk" is hosted by Mike Pincus, a Chester County-based political consultant and strategist who has advised candidates and managed campaigns on all levels of government for the past 30-plus years.

In addition to his campaign work, Mike co-hosts "Talking Politics" with Tony Phyrillas, an award-winning political columnist for The Pottstown Mercury. "Talking Politics" airs every Thursday, from 5-6 PM, on WPAZ 1370 AM, and www.1370wpaz.com. It can also be heard at www.pottsmerc.com

Listeners may call 610-701-WCHE (9243) with comments or questions during the live show.

Mensch wins PA Senate seat in landslide

Voter turnout was small but the victory was decisive.

State Rep. Bob Mensch won a landslide victory over Democrat Anne Scheuring to fill the vacant 24th Senatorial District seat.

Mensch defeated Scheuring by a 2-1 margin. In his home county of Montgomery, Mensch defeated Scheuring by a remarkable 72% to 26% margin. In Lehigh County, Mensch won by a 64% to 30% margin. In Bucks County, Mensch won by a 68% to 29% margin. The tightest race was in Northampton county, where Mensch beat Scheuring by a 53% to 42% margin.

With all 123 precincts reporting results, Mensch finished with 12,496 votes. Scheuring had 5,730 votes. Libertarian candidate Barbara Steever had 660 votes.

After three years in the state House representing the 147th District, Mensch moves to the state Senate, giving Republicans a 30-20 majority.

The 24th Senate District has been vacant since July when former state Rep. Rob Wonderling resigned to become president and chief executive of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

There's no indication when Mensch's seat in the state House will be filled. While Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Republican, got to decide when to hold a special election for Wonderlng's seat, the task of filling Mensch's seat falls to Speaker of the House Keith R. McCall, a Democrat.

With Democrats holding a slim 104-99 majority in the House, don't look for McCall to move quickly on replacing Mensch in one of the safest Republican districts in the state. Don't be surprised if McCall puts off a special election until next year.

One other interesting note. There have been three special elections this year to fill vacancies in the state Legislature and Republicans have won all three races by wide margins. That does not bode well for Democrats heading into the 2010 election cycle when all 203 House seats and 25 Senates seats are up for grabs.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Governor Rendell Proclaims October as Crime Prevention Month in Pennsylvania

Governor Rendell Proclaims October as Crime Prevention Month in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Check out new look of The Mercury

I know a lot of people read newspapers online these days, but there's a two big reasons to actually buy a copy of the The Mercury on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, is unveiling a new look and refined content in tomorrow's print edition.

To celebrate the new changes to the print product, the newspaper is also including a historic 32-page keepsake section that features many historic front pages from the newspaper's nearly 80 years of covering Pottstown and the surrounding communities in Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties.

"We've been working on some changes here at The Mercury — a redesign planned to be unwrapped to readers on Wednesday," says Nancy March, editor of The Mercury. "Some months ago we decided we were about due for an upgraded look. Like a person wearing a hairstyle that went out of vogue in the ’70s, a newspaper can find itself showing age instead of style. We decided it was time to try on a new look and update our appearance. Call it a makeover."

For more about the newspaper's redesign, check out this recent column by March.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rick Scott's Response to the Bipartisan Rejection of Public Option

Voter Registration Deadline Is Oct. 5 for November Election

Voter Registration Deadline Is Oct. 5 for November Election

Deer-Vehicle Collision Frequency Jumps 18 Percent in Five Years

Pennsylvania is No. 3 in the country for most vehicle-deer crashes.

Deer-Vehicle Collision Frequency Jumps 18 Percent in Five Years

Never on a Sunday

At the 90-day mark in the new fiscal year, Gov. Ed Rendell announced he is setting an Oct. 4 deadline ... or maybe Oct. 6 ... for the Legislature to have an approved budget on his desk.

We know how well the Legislature meets deadlines. It took the leaders of three of the four caucuses 80 days into the fiscal year to reach a budget agreement acceptable to Rendell. (House Republicans still don't want any part of the deal.)

So why the new-found sense of urgency on the part of the governor? Because people are beginning to figure out that the "deal" reached on Sept. 18 was just another red herring to distract Pennsylvanians from the ineptness of the governor and Legislature.

"We've had time," Rendell said Monday. "We should be able to get this done, no ifs, ands or buts about it. And there are a lot of people out there who are depending on us to get this done."

The reality is there is no deal. Rendell and the legislative leaders don't have the votes to get the so-called compromise agreement passed in the state House. They've been trying for 10 days to gather enough votes, but they keep coming up short. And every day that goes by, the "deal" loses more support.

Some house members won't vote for the "deal" because of the controversial tax on admission to arts venues, museums and zoos. Others object to the plan on environmental grounds. Some are upset with the proposal to tax games of chance and bingo operations at fire halls.

It's clear that Rendell and the legislative leadership jumped the gun on Sept. 18. While the Senate could probably come up with 25 or 26 votes to pass the budget deal, the votes are not there in the House, where up to 30 Democrats could bolt.

Democrats hold a slim 104-99 majority. Even if 10 Republicans can be bribed into voting for the deal, that's still not enough votes to make up for the Democratic defectors.

Forget about Rendell's latest deadline. It will come and go. I'm thinking Halloween before a real budget agreement is reached.

Check out more on the unraveling of the "budget deal" at POLICY BLOG

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Ron Paul on 'The Daily Show'

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul will be making a return appearance on The Daily Show Tuesday, Sept. 29 to talk about his latest book, "End The Fed," which challenges the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve.

From www.CampaignForLiberty.com:
The Congressman's latest release recently entered the New York Times' bestseller list at number six, mirroring the success of his previous book, "The Revolution: A Manifesto."

"End The Fed," has served as a rallying point for supporters of Paul's bill, H.R. 1207 The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, meant to shed light on the practices of the nation's central bank. Last week, the House Financial Services Committee held hearings on bringing more transparency to the Fed, this development came after increased support and a super-majority sponsorship of the bill in Congress.

The success of Congressman Paul's book and the "Audit The Fed" movement has given him a greater platform to spread his message of sound money and economic stability to the public, which seems to be growing ever more receptive since the economic crisis of last year.

The episode will air on Tuesday at 11:00 pm EDT, and again Wednesday at 7:00 pm EDT.
For more information on monetary policy go to www.CampaignForLiberty.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, September 28, 2009

Video: All the Tax Hikes Considered for Obamacare

Catch a Falling Czar...

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Center turns the spotlight on another of Obama's radical advisers in this guest opinion:
Catch a Falling Czar...

Other issues may have taken a backseat to health care this summer, but now that the kids are back in school, parents have another subject on the brain--education. Earlier this month, President Obama turned more than a few heads with his back-to-school telecast, and parents are right to be concerned about what the administration will do for an encore. Most, including FRC, are hoping that the President's future plans won't include Safe Schools "czar" Kevin Jennings.

More than three months ago, we exposed the truth about Jennings, a long-time proponent of a radical, pro-homosexual agenda in schools. At the time, our concerns were met with little more than a yawn from the mainstream media. But today, as more Americans rage on about the shocking comments of "green jobs" czar Van Jones (who was forced to resign), the spotlight is back on the President's special-subject appointees. And in Jennings's case, it's better late than never. Fortunately, more press outlets like FoxNews.com and Lou Dobbs are picking up the drumbeat, and the Washington Times ran an editorial today demanding answers about Jennings's appointment.

Of course, one of the most shocking pieces of news about Jennings is a story he's told himself (in different ways at different times) about a young student who came to him and confessed that he was having sex with older men in a bus station restroom. Instead of reporting the high-risk behavior to the boy's parents, school administrators, or the police, Jennings's only response was, "I hope you knew to use a condom." If the President hand-picked Jennings to serve in educational leadership, the public has a right to know whether he violated reporting laws and covered up child sexual abuse. At the very least, he should know that making schools safe doesn't mean making them safe for homosexual predators.

Rep. Pitts: Where Did The Jobs Go?

Where Did the Jobs Go?

By Congressman Joe Pitts

About 8.5 percent of Pennsylvania's workforce is unemployed. Nationally, nearly one in ten workers is unemployed. All of us know people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their bills. This is the real face of the recession, and Congress has done a poor job addressing it.

At the start of the year, Congress passed a $787 billion "stimulus" bill, which President Obama promised would create or save 8 million jobs. I doubted it at the time, and I'm sorry to say that I was right. For that amount of money, the government could simply have given 8 million people $98,000 each. It is indeed a huge amount of money. If you spent $1 million every day, seven days a week, it would take more than 2,000 years to reach the price of the "stimulus" bill. Sadly, much of that colossal sum has been spent on corporate welfare, state government bailouts, and pet projects. Apparently forgotten, the unemployed are still out of work. Unemployment has only increased, and is projected to keep climbing.

If the "stimulus" didn't work, what should we have done? That's a fair question to me and other critics of the President's spending. To answer that, we have to be clear about where jobs come from in the first place and why they disappear when times get bad.

Frame's Motor Freight is a 140-year-old trucking company in Chester County. It was founded in 1870 when freight was still hauled in wagons pulled by horses. Frame's announced this week that it was going out of business. The reason? The West Chester Daily Local News reported that Bud Temple, Frame's owner, said the sour economy was "part" of the reason — "as well as the rising cost of insurance, the cost of fuel and the overcapacity of the trucking companies compared to the amount of freight that needs to be hauled."

Running a successful business is difficult. Every business wants to grow and add jobs, but to do so they must first navigate a long list of obstacles: taxes, liability insurance, regulation, the costs of things like fuel and raw materials, and competition.

Short of hiring more postal workers and park rangers, the government cannot simply "create" new jobs. What it can do is make it easier, or harder, for businesses to prosper and hire. I'm sorry to say the actions of Congress and the White House this year have provided a strong disincentive to adding jobs.

The national energy tax or "cap and trade" bill passed by the House; the current push for federally run, regulated, and mandated health insurance; and the expiration of the 2001 tax cuts are the political equivalents of standing on Main Street with a bullhorn shouting: "Do not hire!" Each throws gasoline on the fire of unemployment.

When the "cap and trade" bill was introduced, a bipartisan majority of the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission sent a memo to Congress warning, "We are far from convinced that the negative impacts this legislation could have on our state's economy are fully understood." They predicted the bill could cost the Commonwealth 66,000 jobs as the price of electricity shoots up. (Go to www.house.gov/pitts to see my ideas for protecting the environment through clean energy.)

The health "reform" bill the House of Representatives may soon pass would give struggling businesses a Hobson's choice between offering a benefit they can't presently afford or paying an eight percent payroll tax they can't afford either. Either way, many will be forced to layoff workers to comply. (There are better ways to make sure their workers can get health insurance.) The bill also does absolutely nothing to reign in frivolous and excessive litigation, keeping insurance costs high and preventing job creation.

In 2001, Congress reduced taxes for every American — including those wealthy enough to start and expand businesses and create jobs. Eager for more money to spend, Congress and the President plan to let those tax cuts expire next year. This will amount to the largest single tax increase in American history and create yet another strong disincentive to entrepreneurship and job creation.

Jobs are not created by government. Prosperity isn't either. Jobs and prosperity are created by risk-taking entrepreneurs, successful businesses, and hardworking Americans who take pride in what they do. Government can make this process easier or government can make this process harder. Sadly, this President and this Congress have made it much harder at a time when America could least afford it.

Rep. Joe Pitts is a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District, which includes parts of Berks, Chester and Lancaster counties.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Another Obama Apology



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

The Mercury endorses Mensch for state Senate

The editorial board of The Pottstown Mercury believes it's a bad idea to hold a special election for the vacant 24th Senate District seat five weeks before the General Election, but since the election is scheduled for Tuesday, one candidate is clearly best qualified to join the Senate -- State Rep. Bob Mensch.

From the newspaper's endorsement editorial:
Of the three (candidates), Mensch is the clear choice for the seat.

In his third year as a state legislator, he is demonstrating commitment and leadership for both his constituents and the state at large.

He has supported tax reform, champions smart business growth, and voted against last year's state budget that set the stage for the current $3 billion deficit.

He doesn't bear the stigma of the 2005 pay-raise since he was not then a member of the Legislature. And, close to home, he is involved with finding solutions for problems such as the bridge closures in Lower Frederick.

Mensch was previously a township supervisor in Marlborough, and his efforts toward regionalization among municipalities for planning and preserving open space are deserving of high marks.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rohrer says WAMs will be used to buy votes

Legislative leaders and Gov. Ed Rendell should not use taxpayer dollars to "buy" rank-and-file lawmakers' votes for a tax increase, says state Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks.

Rohrer believes recent media reports show that is exactly what could take place as Pennsylvania moves toward enacting a state budget.

"Harrisburg political leaders should not use your tax dollars to bribe their colleagues into voting to take more of your tax dollars," Rohrer said in a written statement.

While details about the $28 billion budget deal struck by legislative leaders and Gov. Rendell are murky at best, several media reports suggest possibly $100 million or more in legislative earmarks - known as "walking around money" grants (WAMs) - could make it into the final budget framework, Rohrer says.

Rohrer's concern surrounds a longstanding process where legislative leaders use WAMs to "buy" votes from rank-and-file lawmakers. In exchange for their votes on a controversial issue, rank-and-file lawmakers receive pork-barrel funding for projects in their district. The strategy is used by legislative leaders to ram rod unpopular legislation - including tax hike proposals - through the General Assembly.

"If this is allowed to happen, it would be double trouble for taxpayers," Rohrer said. "First, they'd have to pay for a pork-barrel project and then they'd have to turn around and pay for the tax increase."

Rohrer said he anticipated political leaders may try to use this strategy when the governor began talking about a Personal Income Tax (PIT) increase several months ago. That is why Rohrer introduced on June 22 a measure - House Bill 1751 - to prevent "vote buying" in the General Assembly.

"This is exactly why I introduced my bill in June," Rohrer said. "When a proposal like a tax increase cannot pass on its merits, legislative leaders attempt to buy the votes using tax dollars. Eliminating state earmarks would be the most significant change we could make in the budget process. Not only would it save millions of dollars by eliminating wasteful pork-barrel projects, but it would also save taxpayers billions of dollars through the avoidance of tax increases now and in the future."

Rohrer's bill is currently in the House State Government Committee, where it was referred after being introduced in the House more than three months ago.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Reporter jumps out of airplane





Here's proof that reporters at The Pottstown Mercury will go to any length (or height) to get the story. Staff writer Brandie Kessler jumped out of an airplane from 10,000 feet Saturday as part of the Community Day festivities at the Pottstown Municipal Airport. And she lived to talk about it ... and write a first-hand account of the experience. Pick up a copy of Sunday's edition of The Mercury for stories and some incredible photos from the ground and from the air. Also check out The Mercury's Web site, www.pottsmerc.com, for video of the event. That's Brandie above with tandem instructor Chuck McElwee of Keystone Skydiving Center. The top photo was taken by videographer Ali Abdullatif. The bottom photo was taken by Kevin Hoffman of The Mercury.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

State Capitol Roundup

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

Republicans Call for Reform While Awaiting Budget Details

House Republicans are calling for reform in the budget process as House Democrat and Senate staff finalize details for the three-caucus budget agreement recently announced. Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) maintains that the $27.945 billion, three-caucus plan needlessly raises taxes, contains more spending than the Commonwealth can afford and also completely drains the emergency Rainy Day Fund and the MCare Fund, leaving Pennsylvania ill-equipped to face future challenges. With these concerns in mind, Rep. Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) has requested that House Speaker Keith McCall (D-Carbon) take immediate action to appoint a bipartisan Speaker's Commission on Budgetary Reform. Grell has outlined some of the duties of the commission, including establishing fixed time lines and milestones in the budget process and affording greater involvement in the process by every member of the House. For the latest budget-related news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

House Republican Initiatives Included in Proposed Budget Agreement

A revenue-generating tax amnesty proposal developed by Rep. John Bear (R-Lancaster), calling for a 90-day tax amnesty period to be declared by the governor during the 2009-10 fiscal year, is a key component of the three-caucus budget agreement. The proposal would generate an estimated $190 million for the Commonwealth. In addition, a plan introduced by Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana) that would expand environmentally safe natural gas harvesting on state forest lands is also being considered. The Commonwealth would receive up-front payments to lease the land and royalty payments based on the amount of natural gas harvested from the property, and the plan would help create 7,000 new private-sector jobs. In Reed's bill, the state would share some of the new dollars with local governments and conservation districts. However, initial reports suggest budget negotiators are planning to use all of the new revenue to fill the state budget. Although these proposals are being considered, House Republicans remain concerned that the three-caucus budget plan raises taxes unnecessarily and spends too much. For the latest budget news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Effort to Halt Adoption of Graduation Exams

As public opposition to adopting high school Graduation Competency Assessments (GCAs) or the Keystone Exams grows, bipartisan legislative opposition has also increased. There are currently 161 House members that are co-sponsors of House Resolution 456, which would halt the implementation of the exams until official policies are enacted legislatively. While the administration continues to press forward with the exams, House Republicans maintain the need to focus on enhancing the overall quality of K-12 education - not overly burdening high school seniors. Another concern is the estimated $200 million it would cost to institute the exams, when the state faces a $3.2 billion budget deficit. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission is set to decide whether or not to move forward with the plan after the state Board of Education last month approved the tests. The future of the exams faces an uphill battle, as the tentative three-caucus budget agreement does not contain funding for the exams, but the issue remains a priority for the governor. For the latest legislative news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Compliments of U.S. taxpayers



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Bucks County newspaper endorses Mensch for state Senate

The Doylestown Intelligencer has endorsed state Rep. Bob Mensch in Tuesday's special election to fill the 24th Senate District seat vacated by former state Sen. Rob Wonderling.

Part of the 24th District includes Bucks County, where the Intelligener is located.

From the newspaper's endorsement editorial:
(Mensch) remains a relatively fresh voice in the Legislature - hardly part of the entrenched and oft-maligned Harrisburg leadership - and his business background (28 years with AT&T) is a definite plus. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t look down on the business community but sees it as a vital component of Pennsylvania’s economic well-being. He promises to continue advocating for business interests and believes a position in the Senate, where Republicans hold a majority, would offer him a better platform to do so.
It should be noted that the Intelligencer is one of the most liberal newspapers in the state and rarely endorses Republicans.

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

Mensch has been endorsed by numerous regional and state business organizations, law enforcement agencies and taxpayer groups. He is also endorsed by Wonderling, who is now CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Also, check out the Bucks Right blog for more on Mensch's lightweight Democratic opponent, whose entire political experience consists of nine months on the Lansdale Borough Council.

(P.S. - I have it on good authority that The Mercury, the most widely read newspapers in the Montgomery County portion of the 24th District, will be endorsing Mensch over the weekend.)

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Meet Real Members of Congress



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Inflation Could Spell End of U.S. Financial System

This is scary stuff. If the policies of Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are not stopped, we will see the collapse of the United States.

From the National Inflation Association:
It took 25 years for our national debt to double from $257 billion in 1950 to over $533 billion in 1975. Most recently, our national debt has more than doubled from $5.8 trillion in 2001 to its current level of $11.8 trillion in just eight years. Our national debt is now growing three times faster that it did decades ago, which means we should expect a very minimum of three times faster inflation.
Inflation Could Spell End of U.S. Financial System

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, September 25, 2009

Indoctrination 101



This is indoctrination at its worst. And this is a public school, supported by tax collars. Does the separation of church and state apply when your church is Government and your deity is Barack Obama?

If you can't make out the sound, here is a transcript of the lyrics (2nd song sung to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" -

Song 1:
Mm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said we must be fair today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said red, yellow, black or white
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

Yes!
Mmm, mmm, mm
Barack Hussein Obama

Song 2: (sing to the Battle Hymn of the Republic - everyone!)
Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say "hooray!"

Hooray, Mr. President! You're number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans
To make this country's economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we're really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So continue ---- Mr. President we know you'll do the trick
So here's a hearty hip-hooray ----

Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!

(H/T NetRightNation.com)

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meet Rick Sanchez, liberal crybaby



Save the fake indignation Rick. You're just sore because nobody watches CNN any more. Rick, you're a tool for the Obama administrations, reading talking points sent directly to CNN by the Obama Propaganda Ministry.

H1N1 Flu: Are Parents Underestimating Risk to Kids?

H1N1 Flu: Are Parents Underestimating Risk to Kids?

Rohrer: Rendell made disparaging remarks about Americans

State Rep. Sam Rohrer (R-Berks) today condemned Gov. Ed Rendell's comments Tuesday night on a nationally televised cable program where the governor suggested Americans suffer from a lack of optimism and confidence.

From a press release issued by Rohrer:
"The governor should not confuse his plummeting poll numbers with an overall lack of optimism in America," Rohrer said. "Just because Pennsylvanians no longer have confidence in him does not mean they do not have confidence in America."

The controversy surrounds comments Rendell made Tuesday night on an episode of CNBC's "Mad Money" program with host Jim Cramer.

On the show, Rendell said, "This country used to have a great optimistic attitude that we could do anything, roll up our sleeves and use American creativity, ingenuity and innovation and get anything done. I think to a great extent we've lost that Jim. We need a confidence boost."

A video clip of Rendell's comments can be viewed at http://www.cnbc.com/id/32969286

Rohrer compared the tone of Rendell's comments to former-President Jimmy Carter's now infamous "malaise" speech, which he delivered on July 15, 1979. In that speech, which Carter delivered during the middle of an energy crisis and economic turmoil, Carter blamed the problems on a "crisis of confidence," adding that, "The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America."

"Governor Rendell seems to believe in the Carter doctrine: when government fails, blame the people," Rohrer said. "Americans do not lack confidence in themselves. They lack confidence in some of their elected leaders.

"The answer to Jimmy Carter's malaise was Ronald Reagan's optimism. If Americans have lost confidence in anything it is in some of their elected leaders - like Rendell - who have promised to solve all their problems using the strong arm and heavy hand of government.

"Excessive government suffocates confidence, depriving it of the liberty it needs to breathe. Americans can accomplish anything when the shackles of a repressive government are removed. Unfortunately, American government today seems to be moving away from the basic principles of our Founding Fathers' republic and towards a form of government that hampers individual freedom and collective progress.

"Americans don't need a confidence boost in themselves. They need elected leaders who earn the public's confidence. The governor should not blame his failures and the failures of nationally elected leaders in Washington, D.C., on the American people."

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Legislative failure' in PA

Why do Pennsylvania voters tolerate such incompetence on the part of the state Legislature? Especially when taxpayers shell out more than $300 million a year to pay for the most expensive state legislature in the country.

Look at what the Pennsylvania Legislature has been up to in recent years:
* The pay raise fiasco of 2005.
* The Bonusgate scandal.
* The Vince Fumo trial and conviction.
* A 2009-10 budget that is more than 80 days late.
What's it going to take to break the camel's back? While one-third of the Legislature has been voted out in the last two election cycles and new leadership has emerged in most of the caucuses, it's still business as usual in Harrisburg.

From an editorial in The Pottstown Mercury:
A year ago, the Legislature adopted an unrealistic budget that set up a deficit which now tops $3 billion. This time around, they took their good ol' time rather than rush the procedure.

But did they do a better job? And will voters remember their ineptitude?

Two questions to be answered in time.
Read the full editorial at the link below:

Issues of legislative failure remain in state - The Mercury Opinion: Pottstown, PA and The Tri County areas of Montgomery, Berks and Chester Counties (pottsmerc.com)

Posted using ShareThis

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

More late night humor

'Talking Politics' on WPAZ 1370 AM

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

Topics will include Pennsylvania's budget agreement winners and losers and Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel entering the race for Pennsylvania governor.

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

If you can't receive the radio signal, you can listen to the broadcast online at www.pottsmerc.com or www.1370wpaz.com'

NEWS from the PA Family Support Alliance

NEWS from the PA Family Support Alliance

New Consumer Protection Agency Must Be Independent

New Consumer Protection Agency Must Be Independent

Check out BankruptingPA



The Commonwealth Foundation has launched a new Web site and public service campaign called BankruptingPA to educate taxpayers about "wild and unaccountable government spending."

The Foundation is looking for feedback to help it choose the most effective message and imagery to make this effort as successful as possible, says Commonwealth Foundation CEO Matthew J. Brouillette.

Visit the new Web site at www.BankruptingPA.com, click on the "VOTE" buttons n the right side of the page and leave comments or criticisms.

"Time is of the essence. Please help us ensure BankruptingPA is successful," Brouillette adds.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Somebody is looking out for the American people



Republican Leadership Press Conference - September 23, 2009

Participants:
- Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
- Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)
- Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN)
- Republican Conference Vice Chair, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Montco GOP calls on Hoeffel to quit Elections Board

Montgomery County Republican Chairman Bob Kerns has asked Democratic County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel to step down from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Hoeffel announced this week that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania governor in the May 2010 primary election.

"Joe Hoeffel chairs the Montgomery County Board of Elections and can act in that capacity to advantage his candidacy for governor, Kerns said in a written statement. "He needs to step down immediately and allow for an alternate to be appointed in his place."

County commissioners who have run for office have traditionally resigned from the Elections Board "and I think Hoeffel needs to step down now," Kerns said.

"Elections should be free and fair. Hoeffel needs to step aside immediately to ensure he’s not setting the table for himself," Kerns said, noting that Hoeffel remained on the Board of Elections when he was a candidate in a contested election to be a Hillary Clinton delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The President Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas has the legal authority to appoint a replacement to the Board of Elections once Hoeffel steps aside.

Hoeffel has been criticized frequently over the past two years for politicizing Montgomery County government. Under Hoeffel's tenure, several losing Democratic candidates have been hired to well-paying county jobs, prompting charges of cronyism.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Spotted in a college parking lot in Berks County



Colleges are hotbeds of liberalism, but this vehicle was spotted in the parking lot at Penn State Berks Campus near Reading, PA. There is hope for the next generation, after all.

Poll: 60% give Obama negative marks on economy

A new Harris Poll shows growing discontentment over Barack Obama's handling of the economy.

Three in five Americans (60%) rate the job the president is doing on the economy as negative while two in five (40%) rate his job as positive, according to The Harris Poll.

The numbers are virtually unchanged from last month when 39% rated President Obama's economic job performance as positive and 61% rated it as negative, according to The Harris Poll.

More from The Harris Poll of 2,334 adults surveyed online between September 8 and 15, 2009 by Harris Interactive:
Confidence in the White House

Confidence in the White House and the Administration to produce policies to help fix the economic crisis has dropped in the past month. In August, over half of Americans (53%) had confidence while 47% did not have confidence. One month later, over half of Americans (52%) now are not confident that the Obama Administration can produce policies to help fix the economic crisis while 48% are confident they will.

Financial conditions ahead

Overall, two in five Americans (40%) expect the economy to improve in the coming year while just over one-third (36%) say they expect it to stay the same and one-quarter (24%) believe it will get worse. In August, almost half (46%) of Americans believed the economy would improve in the coming year.

When it comes to household's financial situation, about half of Americans (48%) believe it will remain the same in the next six months while one-quarter (23%) say it will get better and three in ten (29%) believe it will get worse. This is almost unchanged from last month when 48% said it would remain the same, 24% said it would get better and 28% of Americans believed their household's financial situation would get worse.

The job market

When it comes to the job market, attitudes are mostly negative. Two-thirds of Americans (68%) say the current job market in their region of the country is bad while just one in ten (10%) say it is good and 22% believe it is neither good nor bad. Last month, 71% of Americans said the job market in their region was bad and 8% said it was good. Those in the West and Midwest are most negative about the job markets in their region (77% and 70% saying it is bad respectively) while 15% of Southerners say it is good.
Full data tables and methodology are available at www.harrisinteractive.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

New AJC Film Highlights Iranian Nuclear Threat



New AJC Film Highlights Iranian Nuclear Threat

Abortion Opponents Launch Massive Grassroots Mobilization in 212 Cities

Coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign runs September 23-November 1

Abortion Opponents Launch Massive Grassroots Mobilization in 212 Cities

Mensch Earns Support of State, Regional Business Groups

The business community is lining up behind state Rep. Bob Mensch for the special election on Sept. 29 to fill the 24th Senatorial District seat vacated by former state Sen. Rob Wonderling.

Groups backing Mensch include ChamberPAC, the political arm of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry; the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB); the Southeastern Pennsylvania Area Chambers of Commerce (SEPAC); the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Pennsylvania Business Council

"With an economy in crisis, it is essential to have someone in office who understands what it will take to move Pennsylvania forward," said Gene Barr, PA Chamber vice president of government and public affairs.

Barr said Mensch understands the concerns of job creators and has voted consistently for policies that promote economic growth and job creation.

"Bob Mensch has been a strong supporter of legislation to improve Pennsylvania's small business climate by voting to lower taxes, eliminate needless government regulation, and make health care affordable for small business," said Lucien Calhoun, Chairman of the NFIB's Pennsylvania (SAFE) Save America's Free Enterprise Trust, citing some of the reasons for his organization’s support.

Those sentiments were echoed by Ken Russell, the Board Chairman of SEPAC. "Bob Mensch understands what is required to improve the business climate in the state, including addressing increasing health care costs and promoting sound energy policies," said Russell.

Tim Phelps, President of the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce, stated that in addition to his legislative record, Mensch also brings real-world knowledge to the legislature. "He brings a valuable insight to the legislature with his experience as a business professional," said Phelps, who noted Mensch worked at AT&T for 28 years.

"We need more lawmakers in Harrisburg with business backgrounds, who have seen first-hand the effects government policies have on businesses and their ability to create jobs and prosper," said David W. Patti, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council. "He will be a welcome addition to the Pennsylvania Senate."

"One of my top priorities in the Pennsylvania Senate will be to rebuild our state's economy and create new jobs by addressing burdensome taxes and regulations," said Mensch. "We need to fight the brain-drain and the out of state loss of college-educated workers critical to the new economy. We also must invest in our transportation infrastructure for the movement of people and goods, encourage private sector investment in alternative energies, and revitalize main street business districts. Working together, we can help jumpstart the state and regional economy and put more Pennsylvanians back to work."

Mensch is running on a platform of returning fiscal responsibility to Harrisburg, opposing tax increases on working families and seniors, improving the state's economic environment and job creation, and enhancing local open space preservation efforts.

In addition to the endorsements from the business community, Mensch has also picked up key endorsements from law enforcement and the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations.

Visit Mensch's campaign Web site at www.electmensch.com

In case of presidency in flames ....



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pennsylvania DCNR Secretary Touts Volunteer Efforts as National Public Lands Day Approaches

Pennsylvania DCNR Secretary Touts Volunteer Efforts as National Public Lands Day Approaches

Brouillette: Senate GOP can still protect taxpayers

Senate GOP can still protect taxpayers

By Matthew J. Brouillette

Earlier this year, state Senate Republicans drew a line in the sand, stating they would not support a budget that: 1) spends more than last fiscal year; 2) includes broad-based tax increases; or 3) puts Pennsylvania on an unsustainable spending path.

So how does their promise square with the $27.95 billion budget deal brokered with House and Senate Democrat leaders?

In July 2008, the General Assembly and Gov. Ed Rendell enacted a $28.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2008-09, despite clear warnings that such a level of spending would lead to a multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall. And even when the warnings quickly became reality, the state continued spending at virtually the same pace. In other words, while state tax revenues fell under $25 billion, Harrisburg still spent more than $28.2 billion in fiscal year 2008-09.

Thus, the over-spending of $3.2 billion in the last fiscal year is the only way the Senate GOP can claim that a $27.95 billion budget deal for fiscal year 2009-10 meets its first objective. Regardless, what is more troubling is the plan to continue spending far more revenue than what the state expects to receive in fiscal year 2009-10, hence the myriad of tax increases needed to generate even more spending money for Harrisburg.

Do the tax increases agreed to by the Senate GOP leaders violate their second objective of "no broad-based tax increases"? Not according to how they've chosen to define "broad-based" taxes. Apparently, the definition somehow excludes the hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes that will be paid through a retroactive increase of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT).

In 2006, even tax-happy Gov. Rendell admitted the CSFT "hits Pennsylvania businesses-particularly manufacturers-hard. I am convinced that accelerating the phase out of this tax will do more to help Pennsylvania workers than any other business tax change we can afford to make at this time." Now he and legislative leaders want to raise it?

The reality, of course, is that higher businesses taxes are not paid by businesses at all. This multi-billion dollar tax increase will be passed on and paid by consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services, and by employees in form of reduced wages and benefits. If this is not "broad-based" then what is?

The CSFT isn't the only tax being raised by the Senate GOP. But since smokers are only 20 percent of the population, raising taxes on them could technically meet their "no broad-based tax increases" objective. However, research shows that the cigarette tax hits low-income and minority Pennsylvanians the hardest, and Pennsylvania's own experience demonstrates it is an unreliable and declining revenue source (as the tax increases, smoking declines — and revenue with it). So while non-smokers believe this tax will not affect them, the reality is that shortfalls in cigarette tax revenue will eventually be filled with higher broad-based taxes in the near future.

Economic modeling projections from the Pennsylvania State Tax Analysis Modeling Program (PA-STAMP), developed by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, suggest the retroactive increase of the CSFT and the 25-cent per-pack increase in the cigarette tax will cost Pennsylvanians more than 7,800 jobs by 2012.

Although increasing taxes during a recession is bad enough, it is the increased level of spending to $27.95 billion that puts Pennsylvania on a rickety bridge to the future.

Spending at this level requires draining the Rainy Day Fund, using up one-time revenue sources, and cashing in on federal stimulus dollars that will vanish in 2011. Thus, in a few years, when the multi-billion dollar increase in payments for state and teacher retirees' pensions comes due, Pennsylvania will be faced with another multi-billion dollar budget gap. Filling that gap would require utterly unrealistic economic growth, deep spending cuts, or — the most likely outcome — even higher taxes on workers and job creators.

Lt. Governor and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati got it right on June 17 when he said, "The last thing we can afford to do is raise taxes on working people and job creators who are already struggling to make ends meet." Unfortunately, while Pennsylvanians are losing their pay, health care benefits, and even their jobs, the budget he — along with the House and Senate Democrat leaders — now supports will take even more.

By even the Senate GOP's own standards, this $27.95 billion budget deal falls short. It will continue to move Pennsylvania down an unsustainable path by further perpetuating Harrisburg's over-taxing and over-spending. The good news, however, is that the budget deal is not finalized, leaving the Senate GOP another opportunity to craft a spending plan that protects taxpayers and strengthens our economy.

Matthew J. Brouillette is president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org), an independent, nonprofit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Newspaper: Radicals Wrote Failed Stimulus

Despite daily pronouncements by the Obama Administration and its media allies that the recession is over, some 15 million Americans are out of work. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being shed every month.

The $787 billion "stimulus" package approved by Democrats and signed into law by Barack Obama was supposed to create millions of new jobs. It hasn't. What went wrong? It's becoming clear that the "stimulus" package was nothing of the sort. It wasn't designed to stimulate the economy. It was intended all along as payment to the far left that got Obama elected president and gave Democrats majorities in Congress.

From an editorial in Investor's Business Daily:
"If the stimulus isn't working, perhaps it's because it was largely written by a collection of leftist interest groups called the Apollo Alliance that counts among its directors a co-founder of the Weather Underground."

From the editorial: The Labor Department reported Friday that 42 states lost more jobs than they gained in August, and that 14 plus Washington, D.C., reported unemployment rates of 10% or more.

Michigan's rate rose to 15.2%, highest in the nation. Nevada, represented by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is second with 13.2%. California, home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is tied for fourth with Oregon at 12.2%.

Clearly, the stimulus bill that no congressman read is not working. As it turns out, no congressman may have written it either. It's largely the creation of a coalition of leftist organizations called the Apollo Alliance, whose primary interests are saving the Earth, environmental justice and redistributing wealth. They are not friends of job-creating capitalism.

Welcome to government of the activist, by the activist and for the activist.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PSU prof earns $500,000 'no strings attached' fellowship

Beth Shapiro, a 33-year-old evolutionary biologist at Penn State, is among the 24 MacArthur Fellows announced today.

Shapiro, an assistant professor of biology at PSU, was recognized for her work using molecular phylogenetics and biostatistics to reconstruct the influences on population dynamics of extinct or severely challenged species.

She receives receives $500,000 in "no strings attached" support from the Foundation over the next five years to continue her research.

"This is a remarkable group of original and creative people, each quintessentially a MacArthur Fellow, and all brimming with promise to improve our world in myriad ways. They are illuminating our evolving planet, saving lives, building solutions to vexing problems, creating new technologies, revealing war's wake, and illuminating beauty and mystery for us all," said Daniel J. Socolow, director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.

Read more about the 24 honorees at the link below:

Photos: 24 New MacArthur Fellows Announced

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pennsylvania DEP Issues Violation Notice to Cabot Oil and Gas

Pennsylvania DEP Issues Violation Notice to Cabot Oil and Gas

'The Abortion Bailout Bill Of 2009'

Rep. Doug Reichley: Budget deal 'not in the best interest' of many PA residents

Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Berks/Lehigh), Republican vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement Monday following the announcement Friday of a tentative budget agreement between Gov. Ed Rendell and three of the four legislative caucuses:
"I think all Pennsylvanians welcome the end of the embarrassing spectacle of our budget impasse over these last three months. Not only are we the last state in the nation to reach a budget agreement, we were also the only state in the country where the governor was proposing to increase spending in the midst of the worst economy in 70 years. Regrettably, the agreement reached by the governor and Senate Republicans, House Democrats, and Senate Democrats is not in the best interest of the many residents of our state who are struggling with job losses and lower household incomes.

"The governor and these three caucuses have brokered a deal where many businesses will look at a retroactive increase in the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax. This 53 percent increase will then be continued over the next three years, instead of permanently phasing out the tax as was currently stated in law.

"Individual consumers will see a 25 cent increase per pack in the cigarette tax, a new tax on small cigars, a new 20 percent tax on the proceeds from small games of chance, such as raffles and punchcards, and a new sales tax on the ticket price for admission to concerts, museums, and zoos.

"In addition to these new taxes, the concocted plan calls for taking every last cent out of the $750 million Rainy Day Fund, and raiding the state medical insurance fund which is meant to protect health care providers from disastrous litigation awards. This is not a prescription for fiscal stability either this year or next year when we may be faced with similar budget shortfalls.

"What is even more troubling than the tax hike binge is the absolute lack of detail being provided to the general public. We still do not know how libraries, hospitals, service providers, and school districts will be impacted. The governor was pleased that an additional $300-plus million of state tax dollars will be invested in education as well as his other pet programs, but the question remains whether those funds will be distributed equitably or primarily used to benefit Philadelphia, as has happened in the past.

"For five months, House Republicans have proposed budget plans calling for greater reductions in spending than agreed to last week. Our plan balanced the budget without raising a single tax on businesses or individuals. Unfortunately, the governor has convinced the other caucuses to increase taxes and maintain spending at last year's $28 billion budget level.

The governor and the other three caucuses have made their deal. Now let them put up the votes to raise taxes and spending."
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Dems push Internet gambling tax to pay for health care

Democrats are pulling out all the stops to push for government-run health care. A Democratic senator thinks government regulation and taxing of Internet gambling could help pay for part of the massive cost of Obamacare.

An amendment offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) would dedicate Internet gambling tax revenue generated through implementation of the currently pending Internet Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267) to increase low-income subsidies provided through the America's Healthy Future Act of 2009, according to a group called the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.

I wonder if Obamacare will cover addiction to Internet gambling?

A PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis shows that collecting taxes on regulated Internet gambling would allow the U.S. to capture up to $62.7 billion over the next decade, says the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.

"We applaud Senator Wyden's proposal to collect and put to good use tens of billions in Internet gambling revenue that would otherwise be lost in the underground marketplace," said Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. "The Senate Finance Committee should approve the resolution, finally putting to an end a failed prohibition on Internet gambling that leaves Americans unprotected and unlicensed offshore operators as the only beneficiary in a thriving marketplace."

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267), introduced in May by House Committee on Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), would establish a framework to permit licensed gambling operators to accept wagers from individuals in the U.S., says the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.

Is this the same Barney Frank who presided over the financial collapse of the past year? And just one more question: If Obamcare will cost at least $1 trillion, how is $62 billion going to cover the cost? I'm sure Barack Obama and Barney Frank have it all figured out.

Senator Proposes Use of Internet Gambling Revenue to Help Fund Health Care Reform

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rate Regulation for Health Insurance: Biden, Obama Administration Should Look to CA's Model Law Which Has Saved Drivers $62 Billion Since 1988

Rate Regulation for Health Insurance: Biden, Obama Administration Should Look to CA's Model Law Which Has Saved Drivers $62 Billion Since 1988

Consumers Ask Court to Stop DIRECTV from Taking Disputed 'Cancellation Fees' Out of Bank Accounts, Credit Cards

Consumers Ask Court to Stop DIRECTV from Taking Disputed 'Cancellation Fees' Out of Bank Accounts, Credit Cards

Candy and Fruit Flavored Cigarettes Now Illegal in United States; Step is First Under New Tobacco Law

Candy and Fruit Flavored Cigarettes Now Illegal in United States; Step is First Under New Tobacco Law

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gerlach seeks audit of ACORN

U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach is one of 28 members of Congress who signed a letter sent to the Inspector General of the Housing and Urban Development asking for a review of how the liberal activist group ACORN used taxpayer funds.

Gerlach (PA-6th District) wants HUD officials to make sure ACORN is held accountable for every dollar of taxpayer funding it has received, according to a press release issued Monday.

From Gerlach's press release:
In a letter to HUD Inspector General Kenneth M. Donohue, Gerlach requested a comprehensive audit of ACORN's finances to give the public some peace of mind that their hard-earned tax dollars have not subsidized corrupt or illegal activity.

"In the wake of new, but not unfamiliar, reports of criminal and illicit activity involving ACORN, I believe it is imperative that this organization’s finances be reviewed and investigated by your Department to determine whether improper and illegal use of federal dollars has occurred since ACORN first began receiving federal funds in 1994," Gerlach wrote.

The letter signed by 26 Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee and GOP Congressmen Mike Pence of Indiana and Pete Sessions of Texas.

Video of ACORN employees in New York and Maryland giving illegal advice to two filmmakers posing as a prostitute and a pimp prompted the U.S. Census Bureau to end its partnership with ACORN on Friday. The Senate voted 83-7 on Monday to cut off Housing and Urban Development funding slated for ACORN.

ACORN – which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- has been the focus of voter-registration fraud investigations in recent years.

Locally, two ACORN workers in March 2008 pleaded guilty in Berks County Court and were sentenced to jail for creating phony voter-registration forms in order to collect cash from the organization, according to the Reading Eagle.

In July, Dauphin County election officials have investigated over 100 suspicious voter-registration applications submitted by ACORN

And In September 2006, nearly 100 fraudulent voter registration applications were filed in Delaware County, prompting the District Attorney’s Office to issue an identity theft alert. All 100 applications were filled out by four individuals working for ACORN.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

White House admits snub of FOX News

Barack Obama made the rounds on five network news shows over the weekend, but skipped FOX News, which is the most watched news network in the country. If you're wondering why, check out this story from The Washington Examiner.

White House dismisses Fox News as ?ideological outlet,? renewing feud | Washington Examiner

Shared via AddThis

Law enforcement backs Mensch for state Senate

Republican state Senate candidate Bob Mensch has picked up the endorsement of the Pennsylvania State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police Lodges in Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery Counties.

Mensch, a two-term member of the state House is seeking the vacant state Senate seat in the 24th Senate District held by former state Sen. Rob Wonderling. A special election is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29, to fill the remainder of Wonderling's term, which runs through the end of 2010.

"It is our privilege to stand with Fraternal Order of Police Lodges in Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties to present you our highest endorsement for your special election campaign to the Pennsylvania State Senate," said Les Neri, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge, representing more than 41,000 law enforcement officers across Pennsylvania. Neri noted that Mensch has "always been an active supporter of the law enforcement community, the officers, and their families."

"I have the utmost respect for the men and women who serve in law enforcement and put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe," said Mensch. "The members of the Fraternal Order of Police are on the front lines in the fight against crime and it is an honor to have their endorsement and support."

Mensch has supported legislation that would add 10,000 police officers to the streets in local communities and cities throughout Pennsylvania. The bill would provide funding to local counties, in the form of block grants, and empower local municipalities to decide how best to spend the money and select how many additional officers are needed.

"Putting more police officers on the streets allows law enforcement to be more proactive in preventing crime in our communities," said Mensch. "Numerous studies have shown that the more police officers we have on the street, the more crime rates go down. We need to provide local municipalities with the support they need to keep our neighborhoods safe."

Mensch has taken a leadership role on a number of other legislative initiatives that help keep our communities safe or are priorities of the Fraternal Order of Police, including:

· House Bill 1144, legislation to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. The bill targets some of the main methods in which prescription drugs are diverted to street and motorcycle gangs and other drug dealers, groups that are increasingly trafficking and selling controlled prescription drugs.

· Mensch is an original co-sponsor of House Bill 1926, legislation that will strengthen Megan’s Law registration and restrictions for sex offenders.

· He is a co-sponsor of House Bill 1758, legislation that would increase the amount of state death benefits to the survivors of firefighters and police officers who die in performance of their duties.

Mensch has also received major endorsements from business organizations and citizen taxpayer groups across Pennsylvania.

For more information on Mensch visit his campaign Web site at www.electmensch.com


Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Truth About Green' to Hold Nation's First Green Tea Party

'Truth About Green' to Hold Nation's First Green Tea Party

PA Insurance Commissioner Urges Consumers to Be Ready for Hurricanes, Severe Weather

PA Insurance Commissioner Urges Consumers to Be Ready for Hurricanes, Severe Weather

Pennsylvania DCNR Acquires 708-Acre Tract for Addition to Delaware State Forest

Pennsylvania DCNR Acquires 708-Acre Tract for Addition to Delaware State Forest

Rep. Pitts: 'Another Government Takeover'

Believe It or Not, Another Government Takeover

By Congressman Joe Pitts

We're all painfully aware of how the government in the past year has dangerously inserted itself into the financial industry, the auto industry, and is now looking to do the same with healthcare. This week, however, we saw another government takeover that received very little press. Legislation passed by the House would effectively make the government the sole lender for students looking to finance their higher education.

H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, would eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan program which provides almost 75 percent of all student loans. This program has operated for more than 40 years as a source of private capital backed by government guarantees.

In 1993, the Clinton administration created the government-owned and run Direct Loan program to provide student loans. The idea behind the program was to create a non-profit "competitor" in the student loan market. If that idea sounds familiar, it's the same rhetoric many are using to make the case for a government-run, public health insurance plan.

The Direct Loan program is only about 20 percent of the market right now. Since the bill would eliminate FFEL loans on July 1, 2010, the federal government would have to quintuple the amount of loans processed by the Direct Loan program in less than a year. In all likelihood, such a significant change could mean chaos for schools and students.

During a time of recession, this bill will mean employment changes for thousands. Currently, 30,000 Americans jobs — 3,000 in Pennsylvania — are connected to the FFEL program. Should this bill be signed into law, most of these jobs would be lost within the next year. Conversely, the government would have to ramp up hiring at an extraordinary rate. Jobs would be moved from across the country to Washington. The logistical challenges would be daunting.

Despite its name, this bill is far from fiscally responsible. In order to smooth the passage of this bill in the Senate, Democrats are trying to pass it under rules intended for legislation that reduces federal spending. By using a host of budget gimmicks, Democratic leaders have claimed billions of dollars in savings. With the gimmicks removed, the true cost of this bill to the American taxpayer is near $50 billion.

Additionally, the American taxpayer will bear a much greater responsibility for defaulted loans. While private companies have an incentive to make sure loans are paid back, the government can always shuffle losses onto the taxpayer.

Eliminating choices and competition is no way to improve service for students and parents. Currently, students have options and lenders who are responsive and courteous can win more customers. When the government is the only choice, service will slow and bureaucracy will increase.

There is no reason to upset a delicate market that students rely on to fund their education. If loans are not approved in a timely manner, students may not be able to begin school on time.

There is a bipartisan solution to this problem. Just last year, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly supported the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act. Extending this act would maintain access to student loans while saving taxpayers more than $13 billion over the next five years.

This week's debate over student loans has repercussions for healthcare reform. Americans want reform, but they want costs controlled and no more deficit spending. If Democratic leadership is willing to bend the rules to pass this bill, they will certainly do the same with healthcare legislation. We don't want, or need, another government takeover of either student lending or healthcare.

Rep. Joe Pitts represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District in Berks, Chester and Lancaster counties.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Beer Institute Members Support Campaign to Reduce Underage Drinking

Beer Institute Members Support Campaign to Reduce Underage Drinking

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You do know you're on TV, right?



Everyone occassionaly blurts something out that they later regret, but on live television? ... Especially when you've been the top anchor in New York City for decades. Ernie should know better.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Jimmy Carter Meltdown



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Reaction to state budget deal

Gov. Ed Rendell said Friday night that there are no winners or losers in the compromise that ended Pennsylvania's 80-day-old budget impasse.

Don't believe him. There are always winners and losers in every budget agreement and this one is no exception.

If you smoke, you're going to pay more. If you support the arts in Pennsylvania, you are going to pay more. (The deal expands the state sales tax to cover tickets for concerts, museums, theaters, etc.)

If your church or nonprofit group uses bingo or other small games of chance as fundraisers, you're going to have to pay the state under a new tax inlcuded in the deal.

If you're a business owner, you're going to continue paying some of the highest business taxes in the country. And so on.

Although details are sketchy, (Rendell purposely declined to reveal many details until the rank-and-file state lawmakers are briefed next week), The Commonwealth Foundation offers some instant analysis based on what we do know.

The budget deal includes $821 million in tax increases and fails to address at least $1.7 billion in deficit spending from last years' budget, according to the Foundation.

The state's "Rainy Day Fund" will be exhausted with legislative leaders agreeing to spend the entire $775 million to balance the budget, according to the Foundation.

That's a risky move because the economy isn't getting any better and we could sitting on another huge budget deficit next summer.

Read more at the Foundation's POLICY BLOG

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, September 18, 2009

PA Liquor Control Board Opens Annual Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest For PA's K-12 Students

PA Liquor Control Board Opens Annual Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest For PA's K-12 Students

The Joker Card



Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

More bad poll numbers for Obama

And the hits just on keep on coming. I'm surprised the far left hasn't started calling people who answer opinion polls the wrong way "racists" or maybe that's coming next as the Obama administration continues to stumble.

The latest Harris Poll numbers are nothing but bad news for the White House.

For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama's negative rating exceeds his positive score, according to a poll conducted between Sept. 8-15. Those who think the country is on the wrong track have risen while those who think it is moving in the right direction have fallen, according to Harris Interactive.

Some of the key results of this Harris Poll include:
-- President Obama's rating is now 49% positive, 51% negative, compared to 51% positive and 49% negative in August. While the month-on-month change is not statistically significant, the latest numbers are significantly worse than his ratings in all the other Harris Polls conducted since his inauguration. In May his ratings were 59% positive, 41% negative.

-- While Democrats still have overwhelmingly positive views of the president, and Republicans are overwhelmingly negative, a majority of Independents (by 54% to 46%) now give the president negative ratings. And 21% of Democrats give him negative marks.

-- The 58% to 42% majority which now thinks that the country is on the wrong track is more negative than the 54% to 46% majority who believed this in August. However, the new numbers on this question are virtually the same as they were in June and July.

-- When asked to name the two most important issues for the government to address, fully 55% now mention health care, which is well ahead of the economy (36%). In May when this question was last asked, the economy (45%) topped the list well ahead of health care (31%).

-- It is interesting to note the decline in those mentioning the economy from 64% last October to 59% in January, 50% in March and only 36% now. It seems that many people are not as frightened by the economic crisis now as they were 11 months ago and earlier this year.
How do Obama's ratings compare with previous presidents' ratings after eight months in office? Not so hot.

The Harris Poll, which has has been rating presidents regularly since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House, found that Obama's positive rating of 49% is slightly lower than those of most of his predecessors at this time in their presidencies.

With the exception of President Johnson, who enjoyed a positive rating of 67% in September 1965, all the other presidents had positive ratings approximately eight months after they were inaugurated of between 48% (President Clinton in 1993) and 56% (George H.W. Bush in 1989), according to Harris.

The lower a president's job rating, the more the opposition and the media tend to attack and criticize him, and it becomes harder for the president to rally his supporters or to twist arms in Congress, according to Harris. If Obama's ratings continue to slip, it will be harder for him to pass hotly contested legislation, and in particular, health care reform, concludes Harris.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS