Friday, December 30, 2011

Poll: After all the damage Obama has done, 2012 can only get better

AP-GfK Poll: In 2012, it can only get better - pottsmerc.com

State Sen. Bob Mensch recaps a busy year in Pennsylvania Senate

2011 was a busy year for state Senate - pottsmerc.com

Best Local News Bloopers of 2011

AHEPA Cooley's Anemia Foundation PSA

Put a Cork in the Real Cost of a DUI

Put a Cork in the Real Cost of a DUI

Census Bureau Projects U.S. Population of 312.8 Million on New Year's Day

Census Bureau Projects U.S. Population of 312.8 Million on New Year's Day

Michelle Malkin: The Year in Obama Scandals -- and Scandal Deniers

The Year in Obama Scandals -- and Scandal Deniers - HUMAN EVENTS

Poll: Romney 45% Obama 39%

Rasmussen Poll: Romney 45, Obama 39 - HUMAN EVENTS

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sarah Palin "These Boots Are Made For Walkin"

Trading Jim Gerlach for Joe Pitts

By Tony Phyrillas

There's an old expression that goes something like this: "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family." You can also decide to build a dream house, but you can't pick who your neighbors are going to be. In other words, just when you've settled on where you want to live, Jed Clampett and the Beverly Hillbillies could move in next door and there goes the neighborhood.

Gov. Tom Corbett left something under the tree of many Pennsylvania residents a few days before Christmas — something that many were not expecting or really needed.

In signing Senate Bill 1249 into law on Dec. 22, Corbett helped redraw Congressional boundaries for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents.

For the past 10 years, my congressman has been Republican Jim Gerlach, who has represented Pennsylvania's 6th District since it was created in 2000.

I've been happy with Gerlach and wasn't expecting to find myself in a new Congressional district, but you never know who's going to move in next door.

I've interviewed Gerlach several times over the past 10 years and he comes across as a very knowledgable and practical person. He is considered a moderate in Congressional circles, someone who doesn't always toe the party line. Gerlach has also built a reputation as a very responsive member of Congress who spends a lot of time in his home district. Whether it was a Veteran's Day parade or the dedication of a new bridge, Gerlach was there.

Perhaps it is his relative youth — 56 — or the fact that he would rather spend time with the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania instead of the political elites in Washington, D.C., but Gerlach has done a nice job of representing his constituents over the past decade, something even his political foes grudgingly admit.

I haven't paid too much attention to the redistricting process mandated by the Constitution every 10 years following the release of new Census figures because I wasn't expecting to lose Gerlach as my congressman.

I knew there would be some tinkering with his district because Republicans control both chambers in the state Legislature and they would work to make districts held by incumbent Republicans safer for their fellow GOP members. Because Pennsylvania's population growth is stagnant, the state was forced to drop one seat in the House, down from the 19 seats it held over the past decade. Politicians of both parties generally take care of themselves. They look for the easiest way to meet the requirements for cutting a seat. The best thing that could happen is for an incumbent to retire. That way, his or her district could be carved up among neighboring districts. Since that wasn't happening this year, the next target was the member of Congress with the least seniority. That meant Rep. Mark Critz had a big bull's-eye target on his back. Critz won a special election in 2010 to represent Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District after longtime Congressman John Murtha died in office earlier that year.

Critz will now have to run against another incumbent Democratic Congressman to keep his job.

You can complain all you want about the process of redistricting, but both parties play the same game. If Democrats controlled the state Legislature this year, you can bet they would combine two districts held by Republicans and force incumbents to run against each other.

I would prefer to keep Gerlach as my representative in Congress, but it wasn't my decision to part ways. I fell on the wrong side of the new political boundary of the 6th District. Overnight, I moved into a new Congressional district and didn't even get a chance to pack. It's not the first time it's happened. Before Gerlach, my congressman was Democrat Tim Holden and before that, it was Democrat Gus Yatron.

On Dec. 21, I lived in the 6th District. On Dec. 22, with Corbett's signature, I was moved into the 16th District, which brings me to Congressman Joe Pitts.

Pitts is 72 and has been in Congress since January 1997. He is considered one of the most conservative members in the House and has been recognized by conservative groups as one of the most reliable votes in Congress on fiscal and social issues. The Republican has earned 100% ratings from the American Conservative Union, the Christian Coalition and various taxpayer groups.

Pitts is also one of the few members of Congress who refuses to seek pork barrel funding for projects in his home district.

I've never met Pitts and he doesn't have Gerlach's track record of pressing the flesh in his home district, but his voting record in Congress is impressive. It's like a new neighbor moving in next door. It appears Pitts will be my Congressman until he retires from Congress, so I better get used to my new neighbor.

Tony Phyrillas is the city editor of The Mercury and writes about politics. Email him at tphyrillas@pottsmerc.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas. You can also read his blog Talking Politics at www.pottsmerc.com/blogs

Law Enforcement Fatalities Rise Sharply for Second Straight Year

Law Enforcement Fatalities Rise Sharply for Second Straight Year

Old Age? It's a Matter of Opinion, Poll Says

Old Age? It's a Matter of Opinion, Poll Says

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tony Phyrillas Column: So long Jim Gerlach, hello Joe Pitts

Has this ever happened to you? I woke up one day last week and found myself in a new Congressional district. That's the result of Pennsylvania lawmakers redrawing the political boundaries in place for the past 10 years. I give up Rep. Jim Gerlach after a decade and now have to get used to Rep. Joe Pitts.

So long Jim Gerlach, hello Joe Pitts - pottsmerc.com

AJC Condemns Deadly Terrorist Attacks on Churches in Nigeria

AJC Condemns Deadly Terrorist Attacks on Churches in Nigeria

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Operation Holiday delivers to 237 families

More than 600 children in the Pottstown area enjoyed a brighter Christmas thanks to The Mercury's Operation Holiday appeal, which was funded by $50,000 in contributions from Mercury readers.

Operation Holiday delivers to 237 families (video) - pottsmerc.com

Linus Tells Charlie Brown the True Meaning of Christmas

Linus Tells Charlie Brown the True Meaning of Christmas | NewsBusters.org

Columnist: When is Christmas, anyway?

When is Christmas, anyway? - pottsmerc.com

Christians in Turkey long for Christmas spirit

Christians in Turkey long for Christmas spirit

O Holy Night (The Nativity Story)

Pottstown Mercury readers donate $50,000 to help area needy

Operation Holiday delivers to 237 families (video) - pottsmerc.com

The Sad Plight of Christians in the Middle East

The Sad Plight of Christians in the Middle East

No Room At The Inn; Christianity Dies in Iraq, Afghanistan

No Room At The Inn; Christianity Dies in Iraq, Afghanistan - Investors.com

NBC Relays Palestinian 'Propaganda' from Bethlehem During Christmas

NBC Relays Palestinian 'Propaganda' from Bethlehem During Christmas NewsBusters.org

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Voters leaving Democratic Party in droves

More than 1.7 million voters have left the Democratic Party since Barack Obama was elected president.

Voters are leaving main parties in droves – USATODAY.com

Have Yourself a Very Liberal Christmas

A Barack Obama Christmas Carol (It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like One Term)

Christmas and New Year Proposals Amongst the Most Popular

Christmas and New Year Proposals Amongst the Most Popular

Capitol Christmas Tree Shows Love for Obama, Not Jesus

Capitol Christmas Tree Shows Love for Obama, Not Jesus | NewsBusters.org

NewsBusted 12/23/11

American Crossroads: "Great"

New Law Gives Pennsylvania Insurance Department Expanded Rate Authority for Small Employer Health Policies

New Law Gives Pennsylvania Insurance Department Expanded Rate Authority for Small Employer Health Policies

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Announces Holiday Store Hours

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Announces Holiday Store Hours

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Leading Liberals

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Leading Liberals - HUMAN EVENTS

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Becky Kelley - Where's the Line to See Jesus - OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

Department of Justice Examines Impact of Bullying in Schools

Department of Justice Examines Impact of Bullying in Schools

Obama Administration's Final Hours-of-Service Rule Puts Safety in the Backseat

Obama Administration's Final Hours-of-Service Rule Puts Safety in the Backseat

Gov. Tom Corbett Signs 10 Bills into Law

Governor Corbett Signs 10 Bills into Law

Guest Column: Why Gov. Corbett Didn't Get His Christmas Wish List

By Nathan Benefield

For Christmas this year, Gov. Tom Corbett hoped the legislature would gift wrap three things he could tie a bow on: An education reform package that included school vouchers, state liquor store privatization and legislation addressing gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Unfortunately, the legislature played more Grinch than giver and the consequences of failure to act remain clear. Inaction on school choice traps students in violent and failing schools, where they see a violent act every 17 minutes. Pennsylvania loses jobs and tax revenue because residents spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying liquor in other states. And more jobs lie in the balance as natural gas companies are hedging their bets for future investment given the uncertainty of Pennsylvania's regulation and tax schemes.

Willing to pass the buck to Santa Claus, the General Assembly heads for home for the holiday break having delivered no gifts on any of these issues.

Both the Senate and House passed measures regulating gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. But the House version involves an optional local fee, with funds limited to, for the most part, uncompensated impacts of drilling. The Senate passed a statewide tax they euphemistically call a fee that would fund a variety of programs unrelated to the impact of the natural gas extraction process. The final bill can be only one of these things. Likewise, the Senate passed a school voucher bill the governor supports, but it isn't yet clear if the House will rescue poor kids in violent, failing schools.

Meanwhile, bills addressing the fiscal crisis in the city of Harrisburg, flood damage across the state, and tightening child predator laws following the Penn State scandal all reached the Governor's desk. These unexpected priorities, brought about by crises and national media attention, took time away from other agenda items.

With the Census results in, lawmakers had to redraw both Congressional and state legislative districts this year, or early January at the latest. Both the redistricting commission and the legislative process for Congressional mapmaking are inherently political, and every lawmaker seeking reelection (or higher office) has something at stake. The political reality of the redistricting process ended up consuming all the oxygen in Harrisburg this fall and left other good policy opportunities gasping for air.

While 2011 has been declared the "Year of School Choice" with 18 states creating or expanding school choice programs, Pennsylvania lawmakers punted to next year. In the middle of the year, lawmakers claimed they had no time to pass school choice legislation with budget concerns, but would take it up in the fall. When nothing happened in the fall, it has become "wait until next year."

In contrast, most of the victories in other states occurred early in 2011. Why? Most states have limited legislative sessions, with deadlines for accomplishments. Pennsylvania's full-time legislature and unlimited sessions tend to lead to severe cases of procrastination.

Encouraging the lack of action on issues such as school choice is the political reality that Pennsylvania's two party debate is not between Democrats and Republicans. It is actually between the Union Party and the Taxpayer Party. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the Union Party enjoys a majority in both the House and Senate on key issues where union financial and political power is threatened.

If you want to know why school choice or other union-related bills have stalled, or why politicians in both parties are demanding new and higher taxes, look no farther than lobbying by union bosses. During the last election cycle, the political action committees of the main government and private sector labor unions gave over $23 million to both Democrats and Republicans.

These heavy hitters include the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, and the American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees, which account for nearly 260,000 union members in the commonwealth. The PSEA alone—after raising mandatory dues on teachers and school employees by 11 percent in early 2011—spent $4.2 million lobbying over the past year.

The lesson is this: With the labor unions working as the taxpayers' Grinch, the legislature will fail to deliver not only this Christmas, but for many to come. If Gov. Corbett really wants to put taxpayers, students and workers first, he must use his bully pulpit to overcome a legislature that is reluctant to oppose the Union Party. Only then will his priorities become more than just a wish list.

Nathan A. Benefield is Director of Policy Analysis with the Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org), Pennsylvania's free-market think tank.

Editorial: Guess which party is pocketing most of Wall Street's money?

The party of the rich? Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are being bankrolled by Wall Street.

Guess which party is pocketing most of Wall Street's money? - pottsmerc.com

Comeback America Poll: Most Americans Have a Low Fiscal IQ

It would also appear most members of the Obama Administration have a low fiscal IQ as well.

Comeback America Poll: Most Americans Have a Low Fiscal IQ

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rendell Spending Spree Still Haunts Pennsylvania

Liberals still think Pennsylvania residents don't pay enough taxes, but the state's fiscal woes can be traced to the massive growth in state spending under Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who left a $4.2 billion deficit for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to deal with.

Déjà vu All Over Again: Mid-year Cuts and a Budget Shortfall on Tap for 2012

The Republican Presidential Candidates wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Survey: U.S. No. 1 in Charitable Giving

Global Survey: U.S. Now #1 in Charitable Giving, Rising from Fifth Place

Americans by 2:1 Margin Prefer 'Merry Christmas' to 'Happy Holidays'

Americans by 2:1 Margin Prefer 'Merry Christmas' to 'Happy Holidays'

Obama Takes Over Santa's Workshop

New Report: While Banks Make Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Taxpayers Left Holding the Bill in Interest Rate Swaps

New Report: While Banks Make Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Taxpayers Left Holding the Bill in Interest Rate Swaps

Romney Versus Gingrich: A Comparison

Romney Versus Gingrich: A Comparison

Post Offices Open Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Post Offices Open Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PennDOT: New Teen Driver Law to Take Effect Dec. 27, not Dec. 24

PennDOT: New Teen Driver Law to Take Effect Dec. 27, not Dec. 24

Report Finds Preparedness for Bioterror and Health Emergencies Eroding

Report Finds Preparedness for Bioterror and Health Emergencies Eroding in States Across the Country

At Mid-Year, PA Budget Challenges Persist, Budget Secretary Says

At Mid-Year, State's Budget Challenges Persist, Budget Secretary Says

Gov. Corbett Signs Bill to Toughen Sex Offender Law, Better Protect Children from Predators

Governor Corbett Signs Bill to Toughen Sex Offender Law, Better Protect Children from Predators

Biggest Political Lie of 2011: The Democrat MediScare Campaign

Politifact, the non-partisan fact-checking organization, has selected the Democratic Party's scare tactics over Medicare as the biggest political lie of 2011. You would think that people would wise up by now since Democrats have used the same lie in the past.

Politifact Lie of the Year: The Democrat MediScare Campaign - HUMAN EVENTS

Pink Slip Obama - 2012 Election

PA First Lady Susan Corbett Delivers Holiday Cards to Veterans at the Lebanon VA Medical Center

PA First Lady Susan Corbett Delivers Holiday Cards to Veterans at the Lebanon VA Medical Center

PA First Lady Susan Corbett Delivers Holiday Cards to Veterans at the Lebanon VA Medical Center

PA First Lady Susan Corbett Delivers Holiday Cards to Veterans at the Lebanon VA Medical Center

PennDOT Earns Prestigious National Award for Litter Cleanup Efforts

PennDOT Earns Prestigious National Award for Litter Cleanup Efforts

MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2011: The 24th Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting

Announcing MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2011: The 24th Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting NewsBusters.org

Unreported: Full-Time Employment Barely Up Since Recession Ended

Unreported: Full-Time Employment Barely Up Since Recession Ended NewsBusters.org

Monday, December 19, 2011

NORAD and tw telecom Track Santa Claus on His Worldwide Christmas Eve Journey

NORAD and tw telecom Track Santa Claus on His Worldwide Christmas Eve Journey

Believe in Heroes Promotion at Weis Markets Generates $100,000 Donation for Wounded Warrior Project

Believe in Heroes Promotion at Weis Markets Generates $100,000 Donation for Wounded Warrior Project

A Soldiers Silent Night

Eric Holder Plays the Race Card

Columnist John Hayward: Racial politics and rank incompetence form a nauseating brew.

Eric Holder Plays the Race Card - HUMAN EVENTS

Pennsylvania's Stronger Teen Driver Law to Take Effect Dec. 24

Pennsylvania's Stronger Teen Driver Law to Take Effect Dec. 24

Obama Letter to Wealthy Friends

Obama represents the 1% that so many liberal rail against.

Obama Letter to Wealthy Friends | RNC: Republican National Committee | GOP

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poll: More than half say Obama should not be re-elected

Poll: More than half say Obama should not be re-elected

Columnist: Government Already Blocking Internet Access

Government Already Blocking Internet Access

Pennsylvania Game Commission Applauds Repeal of License Display Requirement

Pennsylvania Game Commission Applauds Repeal of License Display Requirement

6 More Pennsylvania Residents Prosecuted for Welfare Fraud

Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Announces November Welfare Fraud Adjudications

Public Hearing on Table Games at Valley Forge Convention Center Casino Set for January 11

Public Input Hearing to Consider Permitting Table Games at Valley Forge Convention Center Casino Set for January 11th

Obama Bans Bibles at Walter Reed Medical Center

FRC Requests Communications About Walter Reed Bible Ban Under Freedom of Information Act

People of the Year

U.S. Correctional Population Declined For Second Consecutive Year

U.S. Correctional Population Declined For Second Consecutive Year

Obama Caught Lying in '60 Minutes' Interview

Obama Caught Lying in 60 Minutes Interview | Red Dog Report

Opinion: Nation needs leadership; Where is Obama?

Nation needs leadership (12/16/11)

73,000 Visitors to THE CENTRIST

My site counter has recorded 73,000 unique visitors. Thank you for checking out THE CENTRIST and come back again.

Berks Patriots hold toy drive for kids of wounded soldiers

Berks Patriots hold toy drive for kids of wounded soldiers

GOP-led Berks County Commissioners OK budget with no tax increase

County OKs budget with no tax increase

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The ObamaCare Bailout Fund Goes Belly Up

The ObamaCare Bailout Fund Goes Belly Up - HUMAN EVENTS

Resurgent Republicans close gap in key states

Resurgent Republicans close gap in key states – USATODAY.com

Obama-Corzine Were Wrong

Two-Thirds of Americans in the Swing States Give President Obama Negative Ratings

Two-Thirds of Americans in the Swing States Give President Obama Negative Ratings

AHI Condemns Rejection of Bishop's Request to Conduct Liturgy at Historic Monastery in Turkish-Occupied Cyprus

AHI Condemns Rejection of Bishop's Request to Conduct Liturgy at Historic Monastery in Turkish-Occupied Cyprus

Education Reform Group: PA House Fails State's Children

Pa. House Breaks Promise, Fails State's Children

Gov. Corbett Signs Four Bills into Law

Pennsylvana Governor Corbett Signs Four Bills into Law

Pennsylvania Jobless Rate Drops to 7.9%

The unemployment rate for Pennsylvania was 7.9 percent in November, down from 8.1 percent in October.

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation for November 2011

'JAMZ' Christmas Carol' debuts in Mount Penn Dec. 16-17

Footlights Jr., the Antietam Middle School Drama Club, presents its inaugural production of "JAMZ' Christmas Carol" on Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17."JAMZ' Christmas Carol" is a modern-day retelling of the Charles Dickens' classic that follows a pompous rapper down his path of redemption.Both performances begin at 7 p.m. in the Mount Penn Primary Center Auditorium, North 25th Street, Mount Penn.Tickets are just $5 per person and will be available at the door. Gather the whole family for a fun-filled holiday musical.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Poll: 1 in 5 Conservatives Believe Mitt Romney Is Too Liberal

One in Five Conservatives Believe Mitt Romney Is Too Liberal

DEP Announces $1 Million Grant for Electric Car Charging Stations at PA Turnpike Service Plazas

DEP Announces $1 Million Grant for Electric Car Charging Stations at PA Turnpike Service Plazas

Climatology professor doubts global warming claims

David Legates, professor of climatology at the University of Delaware and associate Delaware state climatologist, told a gathering in Chester County that there is no consensus of human causes behind climate issues and some of the data has been manipulated by proponents of global warming.

"Is our climate changing? Are we to blame? It's changing because it always has changed and should be changing," Legates said.

Tea Party group discusses climate change - dailylocal.com

Operation Holiday needs donations to help 601 children

You can help bring a little Christmas cheer to a needy child in the Pottstown area by donating to The Mercury's Operation Holiday program.

Since there are no administrative costs, every penny donated to this charity goes to help the needy.

Operation Holiday needs donations to help 601 children - pottsmerc.com

Poll: 4 in 10 Americans Believe Social Security Retirement Age Will Rise to 80

New GfK Roper Poll Reveals Four in Ten Americans Believe Social Security Retirement Age Will Rise to 80 By 2036

Auditor General Jack Wagner Asks Gov. Corbett To Stop DRPA from Funding Private-Sector Projects

Auditor General Jack Wagner Asks Gov. Corbett To Stop DRPA from Funding Private-Sector Projects

New Leaders of PA Women's, Latino Affairs, African American and Asian Affairs Advisory Commissions

PA Governor Corbett Announces New Leaders of Women's, Latino Affairs, African American and Asian Affairs Advisory Commissions

Reporters are credulous, studies show

The Chump Effect | The Weekly Standard

Columnist: Obama Knew the Depth of the Economic Problems

Obama Knew the Depth of the Economic Problems | The Weekly Standard

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Obama Suspends Presidential Dollar Coin Program

Talk about nickel and dime: Obama has run up $4 trillion in new debt in just three years and he figures he can save a few bucks by ending the $1 coin program.

Administration Gets it Wrong on Presidential Dollar Coin Program

As Americans struggle, the Obamas make do with 37 Christmas trees

Christmas at the Obama White House is a highly-decorated affair. by Andrew Malcolm - Investors.com

The War on the War on Christmas

The War on the War on Christmas | NewsBusters.org

Rick Perry Ad: Politically Correct

DNC Chair Denies Unemployment Has Gone Up Under Obama

Ditzy Debbie Wasserman Schultz strikes again. I guess those 15 million collecting unemployment benefits are faking it?

DNC Chair Denies Unemployment Has Gone Up Under Obama

Pennsylvania Department of State Offers Tips for Smart Charitable Giving at Holidays

Pennsylvania Department of State Offers Tips for Smart Charitable Giving at Holidays

Governor Corbett Announces Confirmations

Governor Corbett Announces Confirmations

Commonwealth Foundation: PA Liquor Bill Won't Help Consumers, Taxpayers

Commonwealth Foundation: PA Liquor Bill Won't Help Consumers, Taxpayers

Honor the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15

Honor the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15 - pottsmerc.com

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top 10 Inconvenient Truths about Global Warming

Top 10 Inconvenient Truths about Global Warming - HUMAN EVENTS

Weekly Republican Address: Speaker Boehner on Middle Class Tax Relief

NewsBusted 12/9/11

Mother treasures every moment with her terminally ill son

All donations to The Pottstown Mercury's Operation Holiday program go directly to needy families. There's no overhead because Mercury employees volunteer their time to administer the program and distribute the food and gift cards. Last year, the newspaper raised $50,000 and helped more than 250 families. With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, the program has raised just under $20,000 but the need is even greater this year. Follow the link below to read how you can help.

Operation Holiday: Mother treasures every moment with her terminally ill son - pottsmerc.com

New push to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania

Proposal addresses concerns of failed measure

Friday, December 09, 2011

CCRKBA Hails 11 Co-sponsors of Bill To Halt U.N. Funding

CCRKBA Hails 11 Co-sponsors of Bill To Halt U.N. Funding

Commonwealth Foundation Calls for PLCB to Stop Wine and Spirits Advertising

Commonwealth Foundation Calls for PLCB to Stop Wine and Spirits Advertising

Opinion: Don't be fooled by the latest jobless numbers

From an excellent op-ed published in the West Chester Daily Local News on the misleading unemployment numbers released by the Obama Administration:
The technical reason the number of unemployed declined is that more than 350,000 people stopped looking for work last week and are no longer being carried on the books. In fact, if the total number of people who have stopped looking for work over the past few years were being counted (either because they are being sustained by endless unemployment insurance benefits or are simply discouraged because the economy IS moribund), the more accurate unemployment figure is closer to 17 percent ... (Table U-6 — Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, from Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The jobless rate has now remained above 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch since monthly records began in 1948. Additionally, there are still 5.7 million long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks and over), which represents 43 percent of the total unemployed and the average duration of unemployment rose to 40.9 weeks, the highest on record.
Don't be fooled by the latest numbers - dailylocal.com

Romney Goes After Gingrich

Opinion: Sen. Casey pushes taxpayer-funded abortions

Sen. Casey pushes taxpayer-funded abortions - pottsmerc.com

Thursday, December 08, 2011

When Will TSA Stop the Madness?

When Will TSA Stop the Madness

TV Ads Call on President Obama to Slow Legal Immigration Until Los Angeles is Working Again



TV Ads Call on President Obama to Slow Legal Immigration Until Los Angeles is Working Again

Physicians' Group Seeks to Intervene against ObamaCare at U.S. Supreme Court

Physicians' Group Seeks to Intervene against ObamaCare at U.S. Supreme Court

Knights of Columbus Continues Battle to Save Jesus Statue

Knights of Columbus Continues Battle to Save Jesus Statue

'Obama Day' on Capitol Hill: 12/8/11

You Stink

Editorial: Montco commissioners' arrest shows shame of past four years

The arrest this week of Montgomery County Commissioner James Matthews, brother of MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews, for lying to a grand jury about government corruption is the culmination of four disastrous years under the leadership of Matthews and sidekick Joe Hoeffel.

Editorial: Matthews' arrest shows shame of past four years - pottsmerc.com

Dauphin County Poaching Case Involves Record-book Buck

Dauphin County Poaching Case Involves Record-book Buck

Greyhound Issues Open Letter to Alec Baldwin

Greyhound Issues Open Letter to Alec Baldwin

DUI Fatalities Cut in Half Since MADD's Founding

Drunk Driving Fatalities Cut in Half Since MADD's Founding

A reason to make the First Amendment part of the season

A guest column by Gene Policinski of the First Amendment Center:
Give the First Amendment – and the nation – a unique gift this holiday season: On Dec. 15, "tweet" your support for this 220-year old guarantor of our basic freedoms.

And don't stop there … round out the holidays by making that 140-character pledge the first step in a New Year's commitment to better understand and defend year-round those precious 45 words that define our core freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

What's the reason to make the First Amendment part of the season?

For one thing, Dec. 15 is the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, beginning with the First Amendment's protection of freedom of expression and freedom of religion. That's an event deserving in its own right of glitter and tinsel.

More urgently, it's a chance to challenge and maybe change a sad result of national surveys the First Amendment Center has conducted since 1997. In all that time, never more than six percent in any year could name all five freedoms unaided.

We live in times in which the First Amendment never has been more on display – or more contested.

There are the yearly Yule concerns over religious-themed songs and carols at public school holiday pageants, but also the miraculous example to the world of multiple faiths in one nation peaceably observing holy days and holidays alongside one another.

There are Occupy Wall Street demonstrators exercising their rights to speak freely, to assemble and to petition the government for change – in the manner of generations of Americans who have taken to the streets to make their voices heard.

The U.S. Supreme Court soon will decide a dispute over what we can see and hear on broadcast TV. Meanwhile, we’re all "a-Twitter" over how private are our personal facts and messages. And the fight goes on over how public are our public records.

The Internet, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter have brought new concerns about smut, identity theft and hate speech, all while also giving us an unparalleled opportunity to talk with our fellow citizens – provided that government does not get in the way.

Has there ever been a time when all five of our First Amendment freedoms were more in play?

The "Free to Tweet" initiative is an unprecedented, day-long online call to the American public to stand up on Dec. 15 for these fundamental freedoms. High school and college students nationwide, ages 14 to 22, get a bonus for participating: Expressing themselves freely with the hash tag #freetotweet on Twitter will mean an opportunity to win one of 22 scholarships each worth $5,000. (Find more details on the initiative and the competition at www.freetotweet.org).

For more than two centuries, the First Amendment has been protecting our right to speak out. Let's do just that on Dec. 15!
Gene Policinski is senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S., Nashville, Tenn., 37212. Web: www.firstamendmentcenter.org. E-mail: gpolicinski@fac.org

What Recovery? Philadelphia-area CEOs and CFOs Say We Are Still in a Recession

What Recovery? Philadelphia-area CEOs and CFOs Say We Are Still in a Recession

Opinion: Newspaper shows its liberal bias

Does paper have a dog in hunt? (12/8/11)

Michael Moore Stops Lying Long Enough to Call Obama Wall Street's Man

Michael Moore Stops Lying Long Enough to Call Obama Wall Street's Man

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Feds run deficit for 38th straight month

Feds run deficit for 38th straight month - Washington Times

PA Partnerships for Children: Pennsylvania's Strategy on Foster Care is Working, New Statewide Report Finds

PA Partnerships for Children: Pennsylvania's Strategy on Foster Care is Working, New Statewide Report Finds

President Obama Challenged to a Televised Debate by Desert Storm Veteran in Confrontational Full Page Washington Times Ad...to Stop Obamacare

President Obama Challenged to a Televised Debate by Desert Storm Veteran in Confrontational Full Page Washington Times Ad...to Stop Obamacare

NCPA Warns of Dangers of Express Scripts-Medco Merger at U.S. Senate Hearing

NCPA Warns of Dangers of Express Scripts-Medco Merger at U.S. Senate Hearing

New Report Exposes Corporate Tax Cheats

New Report: 265 Major, Profitable U.S. Corporations' Tax Avoidance Costs States $42 Billion Over Three Years; Sixty Eight Companies Have at Least One Tax-Free Year

Senate Listens to CCRKBA, Votes 'no' on Obama Court Nominee

Senate Listens to CCRKBA, Votes 'no' on Obama Court Nominee

ProEnglish Grades 2012 Presidential Candidates on Official English

ProEnglish Grades 2012 Presidential Candidates on Official English

Foundation: 1 Act of Violence Every 17 Minutes in PA Schools

Commonwealth Foundation: One Act of Violence Every 17 Minutes in PA Schools

Your daily dose of liberal media bias

Prince George's Co. Executive Johnson Sentenced to 7 Years; Dem Party Affiliation Virtually Unmentioned | NewsBusters.org

Opinion: PA Legislators should give pay raise back

Give the raises back to treasury (12/6/11)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Bruce Castor: The Last Man Standing

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. has had to put up with a great deal of ignominy at the hands of fellow Commissioners Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel over the past four years.

Castor was the top vote-getter in the 2007 election and was expecting to play a major role in leading Montgomery County government. Instead, Matthews stabbed Castor (and county taxpayers) in the back by entering into a back-room, power-sharing deal with liberal Democrat Joe Hoeffel.

The Matthews-Hoeffel regime has nearly bankrupted what was once one of the most fiscally-sound counties in Pennsylvania.

The Montgomery County Republican Committee censured Matthews for his betrayal and told him not to bother running for another term because the party would not support him. The Democratic Party also had enough of Hoeffel and told the career politician he would not be endorsed for re-election in 2011.

On Tuesday came the bombshell news that Matthews is facing criminal charges for a variety of alleged improprieties during his tenure as a county commissioner.

From a story by reporter Jenny DeHuff of the Norristown Times Herald
Alleging that Matthews repeatedly lied to jurors "with impunity," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman unsealed a 69-page grand jury report detailing charges of perjury and giving false statements during a press conference Tuesday morning.

The presentment was the culmination of an 18-month investigation into the inner workings of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. The allegations are extensive, from no-bid contracts with a Matthews-affiliated title insurance company to allegations surrounding his violations of the state's open meetings laws during repeated breakfast meetings at an East Norriton diner.

Ferman identified five areas outlined in the grand jury report, including the alleged use of campaign funds for personal expenses, the county's competitive (or non-competitive) bidding process, allegations of Sunshine Law violations by two of the county commissioners, matters of expenditures through the county's open space program, and a potential conflict of interest involving Matthews and a company called Certified Abstract, which had been given the county’s contract for title insurance.
So what does Bruce Castor, a former two-term county district attorney, think of all this?

DeHuff contacted the only commissioner who will be returning in January and this is what Castor had to say about Matthews, whom he described as a "very arrogant man" -
"Jim Matthews lied to the voters, to his supporters, to his contributors, to the party – those things don't surprise me, but when he lies to a grand jury, that is a crime. My experience is that perjury cases before a grand jury are almost always successful for prosecutors. I cannot recall a perjury charge in any court that I've ever worked in or around that did not result in a guilty verdict, because it's such a rarely used charge. A prosecutor only uses it when they're sure they're going to win."
It appears Bruce Castor will get the last laugh.

NewsBusted 12/6/11

Pennsylvania Governor and Mrs. Corbett Light Capitol Christmas Tree, Honor Heroes

Pennsylvania Governor and Mrs. Corbett Light Capitol Christmas Tree, Honor Heroes

Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Issues Flag Order for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Issues Flag Order for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Pennsylvania casino fined $80,000

$80,000 Fine Levied by The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Against Casino for Permitting Underage Gambling

Gov. Corbett Announces Confirmations, Nomination

Governor Corbett Announces Confirmations, Nomination

Pennsylvania Announces Disciplinary Actions Against Licensed Professionals

Pennsylvania Department of State Announces Disciplinary Actions Taken Against 155 Licensed, Commissioned Professionals, Organizations

Grand Jury: Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews lied under oath

Nothing has gone right for Republican Jim Matthews since he turned his back on voters and made a power-sharing deal with Democrat Joe Hoeffel four years ago.

Matthews' back-room deal led to deficit spending at the hands of Hoeffel, censure for Matthews from the county Republican Committee, which eventually forced Matthews from the GOP ticket.

The Matthews-Hoeffel deal also caused the defeat of the Republican majority on the commissioners' board for the first time in 140 years.

Now Matthews is facing criminal charges.

When you make a deal with the devil ...

Grand Jury: Montco commissioner lied while giving testimony - pottsmerc.com

Rebuilding the America We Love

Antietam Middle School Drama Club Presents "JAMZ' Christmas Carol'

Footlights Jr., the Antietam Middle School Drama Club, presents its inaugural production of "JAMZ' Christmas Carol" on Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17.

"JAMZ' Christmas Carol" is a modern-day retelling of the Charles Dickens' classic that follows a pompous rapper down his path of redemption.

Both performances begin at 7 p.m. in the Mount Penn Primary Center Auditorium, North 25th Street, Mount Penn.

Tickets are just $5 per person and will be available at the door.

Gather the whole family for a fun-filled holiday musical.

610 area code leads PA in telemarketing complaints

610 area code leads state in telemarketing complaints

Monday, December 05, 2011

Press Destruction Of Cain Tells Conservative Blacks: Don't Run Or Else

Investor's Business Daily:
Herman Cain's withdrawal concludes a media hit job that sends out two chilling warnings. To conservative businessmen: Don't dare run for high office. To black candidates: Don't stray off the liberal plantation.
Press Destruction Of Cain Tells Conservative Blacks: Don't Run Or Else - Investors.com

It Just Doesn't Add Up

It must be that "new math" they talk about.

Since 2000, public schools added 35,821 additional staff while enrollment dropped by 35,510, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Read more at The Commonwealth Foundation's Policy Blog.

Barney Frank Has Done Enough Damage

Columnist: Privatize the postal service

George F. Will on why the U.S. Postal Service is doomed:
Labor costs are 80 percent of the USPS' costs (53 percent of UPS', 32 percent of FedEx's), in part because it has negotiated very friendly union contracts. The postal service did that because it is free from the tiresome need to make a profit and its competition is limited by law, which forbids anyone else to deliver a letter that is not "urgent."

Mail volume has declined 20 percent in five years and the decline probably will accelerate, in spite of the odd USPS ads seeking customers by saying letters "don't get lost in thin air," and "a refrigerator has never been hacked. An online virus has never attacked a corkboard." Surely privatization beats depending on the USPS for delivering the intellectual light that irradiates the republic.
Read the full column at the link below:

Privatize the postal service - pottsmerc.com

How school districts waste tax dollars

Here's a perfect example of how Pennsylvania school boards consistently waste taxpayer dollars.

The Scranton School Board recently replaced a politically-connected lawyer who served as the district solicitor for the past 17. But the former solicitor is guaranteed a $25,000-a-year, lifetime pension by the board.

From the Times-Tribune:
Mr. McGrath, Lackawanna County Democratic chairman, worked for 17 years with no contract and at the will of the board. He most recently received almost $60,000 a year in salary, plus $85 an hour for some legal work. He also has a private law practice - McGrath Law Offices in Scranton.
Scranton School District solicitor could collect $25,000 yearly pension - The Times-Tribune

The Debt Generation

Pennsylvania First in Nation to Adopt New Driver License Security Feature

Pennsylvania First in Nation to Adopt New Driver License Security Feature

First Lady Susan Corbett Kicks off a 'Pennsylvania Christmas' at the Governor's Residence

First Lady Susan Corbett Kicks off a 'Pennsylvania Christmas' at the Governor's Residence

Pennsylvania Preliminary 2011 Bear Harvest Ranks Second

Pennsylvania Preliminary 2011 Bear Harvest Ranks Second

Sunday, December 04, 2011

NewsBusted 12/2/11

Columnist: Bitter Residue Remains in Pennsylvania

Columnist Salena Zito on Obama's fading popularity in Pennsylvania:
Six weeks ago, Obama visited Pittsburgh. The union crowd was thin. Enthusiasm was nonexistent; so were local elected Democrats, who opted to shake his hand at the airport rather than stand on stage with him while he talked about jobs. Last week he went to Scranton, home to Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. A no-show in Pittsburgh, Casey again declined to appear with the president.
Bitter Residue Remains in Pennsylvania

Drop in Unemployment a Statistical Fluke?

Investor's Business Daily says the drop in the U.S. unemployment rate from 9% to 8.6% is not much of an improvement.

"On closer inspection, the decline is highly questionable — and doesn't warrant a surge in optimism," the newspaper says.

Drop In Unemployment To 8.6% In November Is Good, But Not As Good As It Looks - Investors.com

Columnist: Even on diet, Pennsylvania lawmakers get fat

John D. Forester Jr.: Even on diet, state's lawmakers get fat

Friday, December 02, 2011

Safe Schools Advocate Appointed for Philadelphia School District

Safe Schools Advocate Appointed for Philadelphia School District

What FACEBOOK and GOOGLE are Hiding

Chester County Treasurer Ann Duke to run for Pennsylvania auditor general

After less than one-year in office, Chester County Treasurer Ann Duke has set her sight on a bigger political office: Pennsylvania Auditor General.

From the West Chester Daily Local News:
"In these tough economic times, it is crucial that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely. I will bring the same commonsense, fiscally conservative reforms I have implemented in the Chester County Treasurer's office to the office of auditor general. We need a principled conservative reformer in the auditor general's office, and that is why I am running."
Read the full story at the link below:

County treasurer talks about her run for state auditor - dailylocal.com

For more information about Duke's campaign, visit her website, http://anndukeforag.com/

Opinion: Stimulus was a failure

Obama's much-heralded stimulus package actually drained $5 trillion from the U.S. economy, killing millions of jobs.

How's that for hope and change?

Stimulus was a failure by the numbers - Lebanon Daily News

Newspaper: Automatic pay hikes carry the wrong message

EDITORIAL: Automatic pay hikes carry the wrong message - Chambersburg Public Opinion

Pa. legislators 'slap' constituents in the face


From an editorial in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the latest pay raise for members of the Pennsylvania Legislature:
The arrival of yet another automatic cost-of-living pay raise is proof positive of state lawmakers' craven disregard for both taxpayers and economic reality.
Read the full editorial - The legislative COLA: Slap! - at the newspaper's website.

November 2011 PA Slot Machine Revenue 6.5% Higher Than in 2010

November 2011 PA Slot Machine Revenue 6.5% Higher Than in 2010

Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Aging Encourage People to Get Flu Shots

Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Aging Encourage People to Get Flu Shots

Demand Pa. legislators justify pay raise

Christmas came early this year for the 253 members of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

An automatic pay increase lawmakers voted themselves kicked in Dec. 1, boosting their salaries by 3 percent, from $79,613 to $82,026 per year.

That's just for the rank-and-file members. Legislative leaders will see their salaries jump from $115,364 to $118,845 per year.

Public service pays — at least in Pennsylvania.

State lawmakers were already the second highest paid in the nation and the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) cements that standing. Act 51, the 1995 law that grants the automatic pay raises, was set up to keep legislative salaries in line with the consumer price index of the Philadelphia area, which is the highest in the state.

Because Pennsylvania has the largest full-time state legislatures in the country, taxpayers are on the hook for $300 million every year to support the legislators and the 3,000 staffers who support them.

Why nobody from the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn't set up an Occupy Harrisburg encampment yet is beyond me. The gap between the political aristocracy and working class Pennsylvanians has never been wider.

The average annual salary for Pennsylvania workers is $43,050, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. State lawmakers will make more than twice what their constituents get paid.

Legislative salaries in Pennsylvania are also out of line with the pay elected officials receive in other states. The average salary for a state legislator in the United States is $34,000.

And it's not just the legislative branch that makes out like bandits in Harrisburg. The same law that gives lawmakers automatic pay raises also covers the judicial and executive branches.

Raises for top executive branch and judicial positions take effect Jan. 1. Gov. Tom Corbett's annual salary will rise to $183,250, from $177,888.

And salaries are just the tip of the iceberg. State legislators enjoy top-of-the-line health benefits paid mostly by taxpayers and lifetime pensions.

Legislators also receive "per diem" expenses that allow them to collect $163 for every day they show up while the General Assembly is in session. That would be like your boss giving you an extra $163 every day you show up for work on top of your salary.

Only a handful of lawmakers defend the pay raises, saying they deserve the money. Most will sheepishly tell you they are forced to take the higher pay by law, but will donate the money to charity or return it to the state treasury. The two state lawmakers who represent Pottstown — state Sen. John Rafferty and state Rep. Tom Quigley — both told me recently they plan to return their pay raises to the state.

Many others will donate the money to a charity of their choice. The problem I have with this maneuver is that why should they get to choose the charity since it's our dollars they're giving away and the lawmakers still qualify for higher pensions because their base salary will now be $82,000 a year.

There was a half-hearted effort made earlier this fall to stop the COLA travesty but a bill introduced by Rep. Brad Roae died in committee. The legislative leadership just couldn't find the time to take a vote to turn down the pay raises.

Eric Epstein, co-founder of Rock the Capital, a citizen watchdog group that advocates good government practices, has been a lone voice crying in the wilderness when it comes to scaling back legislative perks.

"It's time to kill the COLA," Epstein wrote in a recent op-ed. "Act 51 needs to be abolished — or at a minimum — COLAs should be announced one week prior to the general election, so voters can decide if a pay raise is warranted."

Epstein recommends the creation of a Citizens Compensation Commission similar to one in California. It sets compensation rates for state officials and when the fiscal condition of state government requires it, the commission can reduce the salary of government officials.

That's the kind of shared sacrifice the permanent political class in Harrisburg refuses to abide be.

Pennsylvania taxpayers are struggling. Elected officials are thumbing their nose at constituents as they had to the bank to cash their big fat checks.

The only recourse voters have is to vote out incumbents in 2012 when all 203 members of the House and half of the 50-member Senate is up for re-election.

ObamaMotors Flops

APNewsBreak: GM willing to buy back Volts

Newspaper: Yuk, another automatic pay raise

Yuk, another automatic pay raise - Tribune-Democrat

Editorial: PA Legislature should drop unconstitutional pay raise

Gestures insufficient - Opinion - The Times-Tribune

Opinion: Exeter School Board member resorts to 'devious tactic' to cling to power

Bender must recognize his responsibility (12/2/11)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Democrat: Obama will lose Pennsylvania

Longtime Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski, who lost his seat in 2010, says Barack Obama would lose Pennsylvania if the election were held today.

From NationalJournal.com:
If Obama can't win Pennsylvania, which last voted for a GOP presidential candidate in 1988, it's unlikely he'll reach the 270 electoral votes necessary for re-election. A Democratic presidential candidate hasn't won the White House while losing the Keystone State since 1948, according to CBS.
Former Pa. Congressman with Dire Warning for Obama - 2012 Decoded

Newspaper: Obama campaigns on taxpayers' dime

Investor's Business Daily:
President Obama jammed traffic in Manhattan on Tuesday. State business? No, he was raising campaign funds. It's just the latest example of his questionable strategy of running for re-election by taking from the public.

And no, the public was not invited. Three stops the president made were strictly for fat-cat donors who paid as much as $36,000 a plate for the privilege, while reporters weren't even permitted to cover the protests outside the hotels.
Read the full editorial at the link below:

Obama's Campaign Is All About Making The Public Pay For It - Investors.com

Rep. Lou Barletta Introduces Motorist Safety Bill

National Safety Coalition Salutes Introduction of Motorist Safety Bill

Pennsylvania tax collections running $345M behind

From the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue:
Pennsylvania collected $1.7 billion in General Fund revenue in November, which was $63.3 million, or 3.5 percent, less than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $9.4 billion, which is $345.3 million, or 3.6 percent, below estimate.