Tuesday, January 31, 2006

23: “Closing the Loopholes”

Our heroes from Operation Clean Sweep, Democracy Rising and Rock the Capital have joined forces with local activist Gene Stilp of Stop the Pay Raise, Inc. in his court suit against the legislature and their activities around the pay raise, since repealed. Why is this still going forward, and gaining momentum and support as well, if it has been repealed? Because, there is still business to take care of, primarily to make sure it does not happen again, and to make moot the raise, and subsequent repeal, thereby erasing it entirely. This would force those who have (illegally stolen) money they still have not returned into a bind. They would be forced to repay all monies received under the pay raise. Further, the suit seeks to declare the use of “unvouchered expenses” unconstitutional.

Here is the press release on today’s event in Commonwealth Court:


January 31, 2006
Three central Pennsylvania government reform advocates today filed court papers supporting lawsuits that seek to have the July 2005 pay raise and unvouchered expenses declared unconstitutional. The lawsuits were filed last year by another midstate activist, Gene Stilp.

Russ Diamond, chair of PA Clean Sweep; Eric Epstein, coordinator of Rock The Capital; and Tim Potts, a Carlisle activist, argue that lawmakers violated several provisions of the state Constitution.

“…[T]he secret drafting of major legislation behind closed doors and the ‘unveiling’ of such legislation at the last possible moment prevents legislators from even reading what they are voting on, let alone deliberating in the fashion contemplated by the drafters of the Constitution,” the three argue.

“Further, such a practice deprives citizens of their inherent right of participation in the lawmaking process that affects every aspect of their lives,” they said. “It is simply inconceivable that this debacle [the pay raise] could have or would have occurred had the public been given adequate notice of what became Act 44 and adequate opportunity to weigh in on its merits or demerits.”

Diamond, Epstein and Potts contend that the pay raise violated four parts of the Constitution by:

· Changing the subject of the original bill. The original proposal limited salaries in the executive branch while the final law increased pay for all three branches of state government.

· Failing to have the proposal considered by a committee. Although the final bill emerged from a conference committee, it received no hearings in the appropriate standing committees of the House and Senate.

· Including more than one subject. The law put pay raises for all three branches of government in the same proposal instead of dealing with each branch of government separately.

· Failing to give the proposal three days of consideration in each chamber. The conference committee removed all of the language of the original bill and substituted language that had received no consideration in either the House or the Senate before being brought up for final passage.

“These are some of the most fundamental building blocks of good legislation, no matter what the issue,” said Diamond.

“The failure to uphold these Constitutional protections will only give the people more bad legislation. The pay raise is only the most infamous example,” he added.

The brief filed today also asks the court to reverse previous rulings and declare unconstitutional the practice of giving lawmakers “unvouchered expenses.” Lawmakers have used the device to collect additional compensation prior to elections, despite a constitutional provision that appears to prohibit it.

The state Supreme Court upheld the practice in a 1986 ruling by then-Chief Justice Nix following another pay raise. The three activists join Stilp in asking the court to overturn the 1986 ruling as “an obvious circumvention of the Pennsylvania Constitution….”

“We’re simply asking the legislators to be true to what they put on paper. You cannot simultaneously uphold and break the law,” stated Eric Epstein, coordinator of RocktheCapital.org.

A ruling of unconstitutionality also would end the lawsuit by some state judges seeking to have their own pay raises reinstated.

Following the defeat of state Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro for another 10-year term on the court, the legislature repealed the pay raise. However, some judges have filed their own lawsuit claiming that the repeal resulted in cutting judges’ salaries, which violates another provision in the Constitution.

The brief filed today argues that by ruling the pay raise was unconstitutional, the court can avoid the judges’ lawsuit since they would not have been entitled to the higher salaries in the first place.

“I hope the events of 2005 convince the Supreme Court that its previous rulings have allowed the legislature to go too far in distorting the intent and the plain language of our Constitution,” Potts said.

“To uphold the way the pay raise was passed will put the Supreme Court at odds with the Court of Common Sense and undermine public confidence in the entire judiciary for years to come,” he added.

Russ Diamond, 717-383-3025; chair@pacleansweep.com
Eric Epstein, 717-541-1101;
Tim Potts, 717-243-8570; 717-571-9471;
I have posted a copy of the brief on the PA Laws blog in three parts. All are indexed and all have links the next section, the previous section, the index, and back to this blog.

In conclusion, I wish these gents luck, and note, they are fighting a battle in a court that is made up of judges who were part of the original pay raise deal (in fact, Chief Justice Ralph Cappy was complicit in the construction of the pay raise!), and several of whom have since filed suit to reinstate the raise – for themselves!

I guess there is no conflict of interest there, eh?


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” THE CENTRIST

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006: “
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

22: "An Evolutionary History of the world..."

[nb: This has been kicking around the internet for a while. But it works for me.]

Humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer & would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in winter.

The 2 most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into 2 distinct subgroups: Liberals and Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as "the Conservative movement."

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as 'girliemen.'

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy and group hugs and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided. Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.

Another interesting revolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, military people, athletes and generally anyone who works productively outside government. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history:

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to respond to the above before simply laughing and forwarding it. A Conservative will be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other "true believers".

And I posted this as soon as I got it!

[Editorial Cartoon Source: Glenn McCoy by Glenn McCoy, ©2006 Belleville News-Democrat]


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 28, 2006

21: "A Call for Official Action"

Close friend W. G. Davis over in Gettysburg has written to the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett. He has also sent the same letter, an open letter, to the Gettysburg and Hanover newspapers. Here is the letter:

An Open Letter to the Pennsylvania Attorney General:
The Honorable Tom Corbett, Harrisburg

Mr. Attorney General,
I am a taxpaying citizen of this Great Commonwealth. I am formally and directly requesting that you file charges of "Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received", and/or "Theft by unlawful taking or disposition" in Commonwealth Court against all members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Courts, and the Pennsylvania Governor's office who have illegally retained money collected under the now repealed pay raise passed by the legislature in July, 2005.

It is my belief that those who have thus far refused to return the money that the legislature repealed in good faith last November, are in violation of the criminal code of Pennsylvania.

Thank you,

William G. Davis
Gettysburg, PA

Here’s hoping it does some good. Shame and guilt have failed to register on these crooks, perhaps a criminal complaint will do the job. That’s one way to pry them out of office!

Sharpen up your resumes, you clowns, the Circus is hiring down in Florida where it winters!

“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!”


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006: “THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

20: “PACleanSweep to Make Historic Announcement

CENTRIST is always amazed and awed by courage, whenever it manifests itself. That’s why we were floored when we read the press release below. Russ Diamond at Operation Clean Sweep (and others like, Tim Potts at Democracy Rising) should be commended for maintaining the courage, integrity, and perseverance in keeping the fire stoked while holding the feet of the legislature to it. Such undaunted courage and leadership has led to a movement among the voters, and an unprecedented challenge to the legislators of our Commonwealth. All 230 members of the House, and half the 50 members of the Senate are up for re-election. A large number of them have already decided not to run. The following announcement should stun you, and hopefully, galvanize you into action. It is not too late!

PACleanSweep to Make Historic Announcement

PACleanSweep Candidate Announcement
Monday, January 30, 2006, 11:00 a.m.
Capitol Rotunda Harrisburg PA

ANNVILLE, PA [01.26.06] - PACleanSweep will make history next week when it introduces over 70 candidates for the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the Capitol Rotunda. The non-partisan grassroots organization has been working to raise, interview and approve challengers to incumbent lawmakers across the Commonwealth since it was founded last July.

"A revolution is about to begin in Pennsylvania," said Russ Diamond, PACleanSweep founder and chair, "and this group of candidates is just the opening salvo. We have a backlog of candidates who are seeking our support. Each is committed to the restoration of honor, dignity and integrity to a legislature which has become self- serving, unresponsive and out of touch with ordinary citizens."

"There are currently over 140 candidates who have signed our declaration, and we continue to receive new declarations in the mail every day. There's no telling how many will be in the field for the May 16th primary."

Fallout from last year's pay raise debacle has sparked citizen action, voter outrage, an unprecedented legislative reversal and the defeat of a Supreme Court justice - a Pennsylvania first. PACleanSweep hopes to raise the largest number of legislative challengers in recent history.

In addition to submitting the PACleanSweep Declaration, the candidates to be introduced at the Rotunda have completed a personal and political profile and have been interviewed by members of the organization's Board of Directors over the last three weeks. A list of these candidates will be posted at www.PACleanSweep.com on Tuesday, January 31.

The announcement allows voters two weeks to become familiar with candidates before petitioning begins on February 14 for the May primary election. Republican and Democrat candidates for the House of Representatives must gather 300 signatures from registered voters in their party to have their name appear on the primary ballot. Senate candidates need 500.

The public is encouraged to attend.

About PACleanSweep:
PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to defeating incumbent elected officials in Pennsylvania and replacing them with true public servants. For more information, please visit

For More Information contact:
Russ Diamond

Or Contact
Jerry Kelley
PACleanSweep Media Relations Director


70 Candidates vetted, and another 70 plus in the process. There are 228 combined seats up for grabs in both houses. That leaves 88 candidates to go for the legislature. And the call is out to make the primaries open this year, by asking the party state committees to withhold endorsements until after the primary. They likely won’t, but then, what do you expect from the machines that keep sending us bozos to fill the seats in the Capitol, on the bench, and in the Governor’s mansion. Do your part! Contact Russ at Operation Clean Sweep. Run for office!

"Let's kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!"

Now, about that Governor’s race…


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006:THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

19: "Senator Teddy vs. His Women"

You know, I only saw this item in one place on the web. The MSM missed it entirely! It seems pseudo-ethicist, and all around nice guy Senator Ted Kennedy announced “he will quit the Harvard Alumni "Owl Club" that bans women...the Club was barred from Harvard in 1984...Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito was criticized for past membership in a similar Princeton club...”, according to Harrisburg Online. The Dems handling of Judge Alito, with implied smears, especially by Senator Teddy, were pathetic, ritualistic sh*t-throwing, that they have perfected over the years. What they did to Judge Alito, and to his wife, is unforgivable.

But Senator Teddy, a master of hypocrisy, has certainly never let his own behavior stop him, and has piled up a record of dead and destroyed women behind him, like Mary Jo, and Joan. Now we find out he’s been a member of a misogynistic fraternal organization at that nest of liberals, Harvard, for decades. In fact, Harvard disowned the club two decades ago, but it apparently never occurred to Senator Teddy that the club might be a bad thing.

But remember, this is the man who abandoned Mary Jo Kopechne to a watery death lo these many years, and who abandoned his wife to alcoholism (that perhaps he had something to do with), and who apparently ran a loose enough ship at home when his nephew, William Kennedy Smith allegedly raped a guest one night on the property, while Senator Teddy sat without his pants on a sea wall with another couple. (Boggle!!!).

After this history of his dealings with women, he apparently felt complacent enough to slur the reputation of Judge Alito to a point that Mrs. Alito had to leave the hearing room in tears. Imagine her, sitting there hearing her man called a racist and knowing it is not true, and being unable to do anything about it.

But Senator Teddy is a product of his party. It is a party that has abandoned all pretense of decency, respect, and decorum; that puts on a face of ugly hatred anytime a TV cameraman’s lights go on. They have totally destroyed the concept of “loyal opposition”, and disgraced the American political process. And they are led by Senator Teddy, a male beldam who has failed at almost everything in his life except getting elected.

They smear by inference and by accusation. Unfortunately for her, Senator Hillary has now joined the party by casting allegations against Bush. She even went so far as to call the Republican led Congress “a plantation”! Such comments not only slur by accusation, but smear by inference, and this one went far too far.

But lacking a message, the Democrats have no other method of grabbing face time on the tube, or getting their names in the print media. We do not see the Dems being praised in the media for proposing great legislation, or on TV for creating a policy that benefits America. We only see them crowing that Bush lied, or Bush broke the law, and never a lick of proof!

And they do not learn from their mistakes. Senator John, the “other liberal from Massachusetts”, did nothing but attack during his recent run for President. No one, repeat, no one, knew what he stood for, or what his policies were. When the press tried to pin him down, he waffled. He was good at attacking, however. Loyal Democrats in the big cities near big waters trudged to the polls on election day and cast their votes for their candidate – and went home to watch him lose, because he had no message other than hate! He had no message about Iraq, only that Bush had botched it and he’d do a better job.

Still, the Dems only message is hatred of Bush, and accusations, and obstruction to anything the Republicans try to get through Congress. The one thing the Dems can’t stand more than not being in the White House is not being in control of Congress, where they had a four decade run from the fifties to the mid-nineties. During that period of time, they largely ignored the Republicans, and established rules for the operation of the House and Senate that they now find to be intolerable. If it is a “plantation”, it is one built solely by the Democrats!

What concerns the CENTRIST the most is how someone as obviously misogynistic as Senator Teddy is allowed to get away with it for decades. The press knows. Everyone knows, but Senator Teddy. But I guess if you are a liberal, it’s okay to be a misogynist.

[Source: Dana Summers, by Dana Summers, Tribune Media Services, Inc, © 2006]
[Source: Glenn McCoy, by Glenn McCoy, Bellville News Democrat, © 2006]
[Source: State of the Union, by Carl Moore, Creators Syndicate, © 2006]


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006: “
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 16, 2006

18: “The Odor From the Capitol Is Worsening!”

It seems as though our repugnant Pennsylvania General Assembly has descended to new depths. Now they are going after the media in Pennsylvania, apparently in retribution for the pressure applied by the media over the past six months to right the outright theft of taxpayer funds by that legislature in their Midnight Pay Raise.

Here is an investigative report from WTAE, ABC-TV 4 in Pittsburgh, at

The article can be found at:

Team 4: 'All-Out Assault' Planned On Media, Lawmaker Says
POSTED: 3:56 pm EST
January 13, 2006
UPDATED: 6:30 pm EST January 13, 2006
The following report by Team 4 investigator Jim Parsons first aired on Channel 4 Action News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2006.

Team 4 has a voicemail recording of Democratic State Rep. Tim Solobay, of Canonsburg, saying that state lawmakers are preparing an all-out assault on the media. Solobay hints that the first volley is a bill that would start charging sales tax on all advertising in Pennsylvania.

Solobay left the voicemail message for editor Cody Knotts, who works at The Weekly Recorder, in Claysville, Washington County.

In the message, Solobay says, "But you know, for the most part, the majority of the legislative feeling about the media right now is if there's something they can do to screw them, you can imagine it may occur."

"That got my blood boiling because the Legislature thinks they're invulnerable," said Knotts.

Like many newspaper editors in Pennsylvania, Knotts wrote prolifically last year about the 16 percent pay raise that lawmakers took, and then gave back under heavy media pressure.

Then, last month, he learned of a bill in Harrisburg that would hit the media hard -- lifting the sales tax exemption on advertising, along with some other services.

Knotts said the plan would cause some businesses to stop advertising.

"We don't have a big profit margin," said Knotts. "We're sitting at around 3 or 4 percent, maybe, and it's going to cut that down to where we're losing money and then how can we stay in business."

Media executives in Pennsylvania, including those at WTAE-TV, have been lobbying lawmakers to kill the advertising tax.

Knotts called Solobay.

"So, I called Tim and said, 'You know, I think this is a mistake.' He called back with that response about what it was really about," said Knotts. "So, I don't know. The newspaper might be a business you want to get the hell out of right now, because there seems to be quite a vendetta from what I'm hearing on the senior staff and everything else."

"The legislative agenda, maybe not come this spring, but I bet you can guarantee right after November, there'll be an all-out assault on the written media," Solobay said. "Let me tell you, I'm just kind of telling you what I'm hearing."

"When the idea and the real plan behind it is, 'We're going to screw the media,' that's a problem, because their goal is to shut people up. They want to be able to give themselves 16 percent pay raises and not have a complaint from the media about it. They don't want to have anybody in the public speak up," said Knotts.

"There's no vendetta against the media that I've seen. I don't think it exists. I don't see it in any legislation," said State Sen. Jay Costa.

Costa is a sponsor of the advertising tax bill, but he says it now appears that the media's lobbying campaign has worked.

"Well, I think in light of what we're hearing from people who are very concerned about the impact of the expansion, we're looking at some other ways maybe to try to drive out property tax relief," said Costa.

Solobay is in South Carolina, but Team 4 spoke with him by phone.

He acknowledges that he did leave the voice mail message on Knotts' phone, but now says he didn't really mean what he said about a vendetta in Harrisburg against the media.

Copyright 2006 by ThePittsburghChannel. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. If you have been looking for a backlash such as this after the taxpayer revolt last November that cost Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro his seat on the bench, here it is.

Make no mistake about it, the General Assembly, in particular, the leadership (such as it is), and the judiciary, are angry at voters for forcing the issue!

Well, hello, Dolly! They haven’t seen anger like they are about to in May. The continuing saga of the “unvouchered expenses” (the early taking of the pay raise) that still is with us because a high number of legislators insist on keeping the money, needs to come to a quick end.

With that in mind, Centrist is calling for the following action:

  • The Pennsylvania Attorney General needs to enforce the repeal of the pay raise, and arrest any legislator who has not repaid the early “unvouchered expenses”, charging them with ‘felony theft by unlawful taking’.
  • The Pennsylvania Attorney General needs to charge the leadership in both houses of the legislature with conspiracy to commit fraud, and obstruction of justice, for their concerted effort to not recover the repealed funds.
  • The Pennsylvania Attorney General needs to enforce the clerks of both chambers to immediately halt all paychecks, and expense moneys going to any legislator who has not repaid the “unvouchered expenses”.
It is time to send a very loud and clear message to the legislature of Pennsylvania, a message that will resound from the Governor’s Mansion to the township offices:

Enough bull! Do the people’s business, and not yours! Stop playing games with the people’s money! Leadership of both houses MUST resign their leadership positions immediately. Their constituents ought to pressure them to resign their seats immediately. Either way, vote them out, election by election.


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006:
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

17: “Is Congress Asleep?”

A passing comment tonight on Fox News (Brit Hume on his Special Report) grabbed this blogger by the throat, and sent him scurrying to the Internet Search pages. The remark was to the effect that, “…everyone knows everybody’s phone records are for sale for a couple hundred dollars.”

Here is an article from the Chicago Sun Times from January 5, 2006. If this doesn’t scare you into action, you are already dead meat!
Your phone records are for sale

January 5, 2006

BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company.

Some online services might be skirting the law to obtain these phone lists, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for legislation to criminalize phone record theft and use.

In some cases, telephone company insiders secretly sell customers' phone-call lists to online brokers, despite strict telephone company rules against such deals, according to Schumer. And some online brokers have used deception to get the lists from the phone companies, he said.

"Though this problem is all too common, federal law is too narrow to include this type of crime," Schumer said last year in a prepared statement.

The Chicago Police Department is looking into the sale of phone records, a source said. Late last month, the department sent a warning to officers about Locatecell.com, which sells lists of calls made on cell phones and land lines.

"Officers should be aware of this information when giving out their personal cell phone numbers to the general public," the bulletin said. "Undercover officers should also be aware of this information if they occasionally call personal numbers such as home or the office, from their [undercover] ones."

Test got FBI's calls in 3 hours
To test the service, the FBI paid Locatecell.com $160 to buy the records for an agent's cell phone and received the list within three hours, the police bulletin said.

Representatives of Data Find Solutions Inc., the Tennessee-based operator of Locatecell.com, could not be reached for comment.

Frank Bochte, a spokesman for the FBI in Chicago, said he was aware of the Web site. "Not only in Chicago, but nationwide, the FBI notified its field offices of this potential threat to the security of our agents, and especially our undercover agents," Bochte said. "We need to educate our personnel about the dangers posed by individuals using this site and others like it. We are stressing that they should be careful in their cellular use."

How well do the services work?
The Chicago Sun-Times paid $110 to Locatecell.com to purchase a one-month record of calls for this reporter's company cell phone. It was as simple as e-mailing the telephone number to the service along with a credit card number. The request was made Friday after the service was closed for the New Year's holiday.

'Most powerful investigative tool'
On Tuesday, when it reopened, Locatecell.com e-mailed a list of 78 telephone numbers this reporter called on his cell phone between Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. The list included calls to law enforcement sources, story subjects and other Sun-Times reporters and editors.

Ernie Rizzo, a Chicago private investigator, said he uses a similar cell phone record service to conduct research for his clients. On Friday, for instance, Rizzo said he ordered the cell phone records of a suburban police chief whose wife suspects he is cheating on her.

"I would say the most powerful investigative tool right now is cell records," Rizzo said. "I use it a couple times a week. A few hundred bucks a week is well worth the money."

Only financial info protected?
In July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission seeking an end to the sale of telephone records.

"We're very concerned about Locatecell," said Chris Jay Hoofnagle, senior counsel for the center. "This is the company that sold the phone records of a Canadian official to a reporter 'no questions asked.' "

Schumer has called for legislation to criminalize the "stealing and selling" of cell phone logs. He also urged the Federal Trade Commission to set up a unit to stop it. He said a common method for obtaining cell phone records is "pretexting," involving a data broker pretending to be a phone's owner and duping the phone company into providing the information.

"Pretexting for financial data is illegal, but it does not include phone records," Schumer said. "We already have protections for our financial information. We ought to have it for the very personal information that can be gleaned from telephone records."

Copyright © The Sun-Times Company All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Now, I don’t know about you, but it is long past time for Congress to wake up and do something about this, NOW! Stop the posturing and pass legislation making it a class A felony to sell, rent, give away, loan, or transfer in any way the records of citizens of this nation - phone, internet, medical, credit card, banking, or business. The only exceptions being credit records to licensed, regulated credit bureaus, and law enforcement (with a warrant).

It will require VERY stiff penalties. How about 10 years imprisonment in a high security prison, no parole, no time off for good behavior, ten full years, and a $500,000 fine.

Frankly, this is a greater threat to your civil rights, and Constitutional protections than anything the NSA is doing.

This needs to be done fast! Call your Congressmen and Senators today! Demand immediate, bilateral, bi-cameral action to stop this intrusion immediately!

Sheesh! Where was Congress on this anyway, asleep? More likely just lining up for their face time on TV.

Get them working for you again!


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

Copyright © 2006: “
THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 06, 2006

16: "Beyond Repugnance"

THE CENTRIST finds it extremely difficult to contain his revulsion at the further actions of the man who has disgraced the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Thanks to good friends Tim Potts at
Democracy Rising PA, and Russ Diamond from Operation Clean Sweep, here is the latest in the ugliness inside our Capitol Building, heaping shame upon this once great Commonwealth. I expect, like me, you will find this beyond repugnance.

Dear Friends,

In place of the usual Pay Watch essay, below is the story of what happened in the General Assembly on Tuesday. Russ Diamond, founder and chair of PA Clean Sweep, covered the Senate. Democracy Rising PA covered the House. We think it speaks for itself.


“The General Assembly …shall meet at twelve o’clock noon on the first Tuesday of January each year….” --PA Constitution, Article II, Section 4

Inside the General Assembly, this Constitutional requirement is known simply as “First Tuesday.” So at the appointed hour on January 3, Kathleen Daugherty and I as co-founders of Democracy Rising PA, along with Barry Kauffman of Common Cause/PA, convened in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Representatives.

If you had tuned your television to the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), you would have seen House Speaker John Perzel bang the gavel and bring the House to order. He immediately recognized “the gentleman from Washington County Mr. Daley” (Rep. Peter J. Daley II, D-Donora), who moved that the House adjourn the session day that had carried over the Christmas and New Year’s break.

The Speaker intoned that the motion had passed on a voice vote, and then convened First Tuesday as required by the Constitution. The House recessed at 12:05 p.m. after recording 57 actions on 26 bills by voice vote.

That’s what you were allowed to see because PCN can’t control the cameras. What you didn’t see was that Speaker Perzel was having visual and auditory hallucinations.

There was no Mr. Daley. In fact, not a single elected Representative other than the Speaker was in the chamber. So when the “ayes” out-polled the “nays,” it was by the slimmest of margins – that is, zero. And by this same margin, other business occurred by voice vote without a single voice voting. The constitutionally required session was a fabrication and a fraud.

Our Representatives and Senators take an oath to “obey” the Constitution. The Constitution requires them to show up for work on exactly one day a year. Yet despite abundant work to do and an oath taken on a holy book to do it, only the Speaker among 203 Representatives was there.

If lawmakers can’t exhibit integrity in the small things, why should we have confidence that they will exhibit integrity in the large things?

Tim Potts, Co-Founder, Democracy Rising PA
Across the rotunda there were actual Senators on the floor, but only a handful. By my count, less than one-third showed up for work on the one day the Constitution requires the General Assembly to convene.

After the Senate was brought to order at 12:10 p.m., a few House bills were logged and Majority Leader Brightbill was recognized. The purpose was to nominate the Senate Pro Tempore, Robert Jubelirer, for re-election to his post.

The nomination was peppered with accolades and seconded by Senators O'Pake and Wenger. There were no other nominations. Senator Jubelirer was unanimously re-elected and sworn in by his wife, a Commonwealth Court judge.

This was an occasion I shall never forget. Standing between enormous portraits of George Washington at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1863 was Senator Jubelirer swearing to "support, obey and defend" our Constitution in 2006. In the wake of July 7, the moment was utterly surreal.

He then accepted the gavel from the Lt. Governor and proceeded to address the few Senators present. During his speech, he referred to First Tuesday as "ceremonial." And this is when I began to understand.

What I began to comprehend is that on a "ceremonial" day, when the General Assembly only superficially "convenes," it is perfectly logical to swear to "support, obey and defend" a document which for the rest of the year seems more like something to be poked, prodded and cajoled in search of loopholes and shortcuts to benefit those doing the cajoling.

Ironic, isn't it?

Our Constitution is not merely ceremonial. The mandates within shouldn't be only technically met. Supporting, obeying and defending the plain language of the document ought to be a year-round vigil. Our most fundamental law must be returned to its rightful place - shielding liberty from abuse by limiting the power of those who govern.

This is what Pennsylvania wants. This is what Pennsylvania needs. This is what Pennsylvania demands.

And in 2006, Pennsylvanians will settle for nothing less.

Russ Diamond, Founder and Chair, PACleanSweep.com

Tim Potts, Co-Founder
Rising PA
P.O. Box 618, Carlisle, PA

Friends, these two men are doing marvelous work exposing the cretins who have turned the Pennsylvania legislature into a three ring circus. Any visitor to the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg should expect to see trapeze artists swinging from the heights inside the rotunda, and peanut shells on the floor, while the legislators appear as trained, barking seals, arrayed on the floor under the rotunda.

These clowns we have so carelessly elected and re-elected to the legislature have no shame, no remorse, no conscience, and certainly they accept no personal responsibility for their heinous acts.

CENTRIST demands the immediate resignations of Perzel, Jubelirer, et al from their positions of leadership in the legislature. Won’t you join me? Contact your newspapers, write letters to the editors, demand they resign their leadership positions immediately!

Most self-respecting, honorable men and women would step up when their leaders are openly breaking the law, and strip them of those positions. And here is a golden opportunity, since Perzel clearly committed fraud upon the Commonwealth, and abused his position of Speaker of the House, and Jubelirer elected himself without enough members present to make the election valid. Here is the opportunity for members of the floor of both chambers to finally show they have courage and ethics, and take actions when next convened to demand a new election in both houses, and THROW THE BUMS OUT! All of them! Perzel, Jubelirer, Mellow, Brightbill, Smith, Fumo, DeWeese, O’Pake, and Piccola! These men have conspired to steal from the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (the Midnight Pay Raise). Now they flout the very Constitution they swear to uphold.

But try to find enough “self- respecting, honorable men and women” in that legislature.

Start in May. Vote them out. Continue in November. Vote them out.

Out! All of them! They are beyond repugnance. Let God sort them out!


"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. " Albert Einstein

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THE CENTRIST”. All Rights Reserved.