Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another move by Obama to promote abortion

From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

"We are gravely concerned over today's news that the Obama administration may rescind the current federal regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care providers. Efforts to nullify or weaken any conscience protection will undermine our national heritage of diversity and religious freedom, reduce patients' access to life-affirming health care, and endanger the national consensus required to enact much-needed health care reform."

Bishops' Pro-Life Official 'Gravely Concerned' Over Threat to HHS Conscience Protection Regulation

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: January 2009

Pennsylvania's Employment Situation: January 2009

Robbing the 'Community Chest'


From the editorial pages of The Pottstown Mercury:
THORNS to state legislators for paying $13,700 for Bibles and other holy books to keep as souvenirs after their swearing-in ceremonies. A Philadelphia newspaper reported that the Pennsylvania General Assembly purchased 220 Bibles and other holy books as part of a longstanding tradition of giving each person being sworn in their own memento. How about one Bible or alternative holy book that gets used by all? The expense may seem insignificant, but it is an example of the little things that add up to a $316 million legislative budget. Legislators need to take a good look at their own expenses before cutting from state services.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'An affront to citizens'

From the editorial page of The Pottstown Mercury:
THORNS to the state Legislature for a stance that the new Right-to-Know Law does not give the public the right to review correspondence between lawmakers and lobbyists. The House and Senate last week rejected requests by The Associated Press for communications last year between registered lobbyists and the four floor leaders: Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware; Sen. Bob Mellow, D-Lackawanna; Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Greene; and Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson. The caucuses denied the requests last month, after which the AP appealed to House Parliamentarian Reizdan Moore and Senate Secretary Mark Corrigan. Moore and Corrigan are designated as the House and Senate appeals officers. Moore and Corrigan both said lobbyist communications are not covered by the law's definition of the types of "legislative records" the public can get. The four appeals were the first to be handled by the House and Senate under the process established by the Right-to-Know Law that took effect Jan. 1. Again, any affront to open government is an affront to citizens.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, February 27, 2009

PA DEP Finds Air Quality Around Schools to be Safe

PA DEP Finds Air Quality Around Schools to be Safe

Group opposes Obama Cap on Charitable Tax Deductions

AJC Urges Obama Administration to Reconsider Proposed Cap on Charitable Deductions

PA, Ohio Counties Share Workforce, Industry and Economic Needs

Gov. Rendell, Ohio Gov. Strickland Announce Nation's First Interstate Workforce Region

Obama Budget Ignores Fraud and Abuse in Small Business Contracting Programs

Obama Budget Ignores Fraud and Abuse in Small Business Contracting Programs

Correction: Lawrence County Raw Milk Dairy Tests Negative for Campylobacter; Raw Milk Sales Resumed

Correction: Lawrence County Raw Milk Dairy Tests Negative for Campylobacter; Raw Milk Sales Resumed

Obama Lied to Gun Owners, Says CCRKBA; Attack Plan Revealed by Holder

Obama Lied to Gun Owners, Says CCRKBA; Attack Plan Revealed by Holder

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Updates Web Site

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Updates Web Site to Offer Thrifty Tips for Auto Insurance Consumers

ATA Applauds SBA Action on Background Check Reform

ATA Applauds SBA Action on Background Check Reform

Obama strikes back

The day of reckoning is upon us.

The decision 66 million Americans made on Nov. 4, 2008, will now come back to haunt every man, woman and child in the United States.

President Barack Obama, fresh from spending more money in 30 days than anyone else in the history of mankind, has unveiled his 2010 budget.

The highlights? How about $3.55 trillion in federal spending for the 2010 fiscal year, an all-time record.

How about a budget deficit of $1.75 trillion, an all-time record.

How about higher income taxes, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and a cap on military pay.

And let's turn the health care system over to the government, which has done such a fine job with everything else it controls.

The Obama budget includes a $634 billion down payment on expanding health care coverage.

"Everyone agrees that all Americans deserve access to affordable health care, but is increasing taxes during an economic recession, especially on small businesses, the right way to accomplish that goal?" House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, told The Associated Press.

Obama is also planning to spend $250 billion to prop up failing banks on top of the
$700 billion Congress has already approved.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Crap shoot

Poll: PA Taxed to the Max

A new poll commissioned by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review finds that 7 in 10 Pennsylvanians oppose Gov. Ed Rendell's proposal to allow counties to enact another 1 percent sales tax.

From a story by Brad Bumsted:
The responders rejected by a 71 percent to 26 percent margin Rendell's suggestion to give 65 counties an add-on to the state's 6 percent sales tax. Three percent of those polled didn't know. Allegheny County and Philadelphia, which charge a percentage point, would not get to levy more.

The poll by Franklin & Marshall College surveyed 644 adults between Feb. 17 and Sunday. It has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.
While there's no surprise that Pennsylvania residents have no appetite for new taxes, the poll also revealed that 70 percent of those polled opposed another Rendell initiative to study the consolidation of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.

The proposal has received wide editorial support from the state's newspapers and is seen by many as a way to eventually eliminate the hated property tax.

From Bumsted's story:
By a 70 percent to 21 percent margin, with 9 percent unsure, residents said they oppose Rendell's idea to consolidate 500 school districts into 100 as a way to reduce costs.
Read the full story, which also has poll results on Arlen Specter, at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama doesn't do well with facts

A team of five reporters for the Associated Press reviewed Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday and found eight significant factual errors (otherwise known as lies) in the speech.

The AP published a lengthy "Fact Check" article on Obama's fabrications.

Among the whoppers Obama told Tuesday:

"We import more oil today than ever before." The AP says that U.S. oil imports peaked in 2005 and have declined since then.

"We have identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade." The AP notes that Obama is in office for just four years so there's no way for him to predict anything beyond his term.

"Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs." The AP notes that Obama's own economists who pulled the number out of the air have said that "all estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error."

"We will double the nation's supply of renewable energy over the next three years." The AP concludes that Obama's goal "is unlikely to be achieved through the recovery plan alone."

Read the full article, "Obama's words on home aid ring hollow,"

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Lawrence County Raw Milk Dairy Tests Negative For Campylobacter; Raw Milk Sales Resumed

Lawrence County Raw Milk Dairy Tests Negative For Campylobacter; Raw Milk Sales Resumed

RNC Chairman Statement on Minnesota Recount

RNC Chairman Statement on Minnesota Recount

Report: 'Antiquated' Laws in Most States Tilted Against Homeowners Are Fueling the U.S. Home Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis

Report: 'Antiquated' Laws in Most States Tilted Against Homeowners Are Fueling the U.S. Home Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis

RNC Announces New Director of Coalitions

RNC Announces New Director of Coalitions

RNC Chairman on Democrats' Spending Bill

RNC Chairman Statement on House Passing Omnibus Spending Bill: "RNC Chairman Statement on House Passing Omnibus Spending Bill

'Talking Politics' on the radio today

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

Topics for this week's show include the huge debt the Obama Administration is piling on the American taxpayer and the future of newspapers.

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

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

The one-hour show is simulcast at and

Columnist: Obama Selling Snake Oil

Alan Caruba, writing at his excellent Warning Signs blog, believes the honeymoon may be over between the mainstream media and Barack Obama.

There are signs that the Obama Media is no longer buying the snake oil that The Chosen One has been selling for the past couple of years.

From Caruba's post:
Facts are stubborn things. Eventually they cannot be ignored.

I have previously pointed out that this new President's start in office has had what is surely the shortest "honeymoon" on record with both the public and the media. We're not talking about FDR's famous "first hundred days." We are talking 56 days as this is being written.

There is, I suspect, a growing feeling among both the public and the media that this recession, if the White House and Congress had done NOTHING, would have run its course. All recessions do. But Obama came out almost immediately calling it a "catastrophe" in order to gin up support for a "stimulus" bill that surely had been in the works for the last two years that Democrats had control of Congress, but were unable to get passed because of a potential presidential veto by George W. Bush.
Read the full post "Is Obamamania Fading Amongst the Media?" at Warning Signs

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rafferty wants state police barracks reopened

State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44th, has asked Gov. Ed Rendell and the State Police to re-open the Skippack barracks in Montgomery County on a full time basis.

Rafferty thanked State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski for his recent comments at a public hearing in which he stated that the pilot program instituted by Gov. Rendell was not working and said he would ask the governor for an exemption to the hiring freeze to re-staff the Skippack barracks.

"I respect Col. Pawlowski for the courage of his convictions," Rafferty said in a statement.

The Skippack barracks is in Rafferty's district.

State Police began closing the Skippack Barracks for 16 hours every weekday and all weekend in December 2006 in a cost-cutting move.

Between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, a clerk is available to answer phone calls and assist visitors, according to Rafferty. However, after these hours the barracks "go dark" and all calls and visitors are directed to an automated ACC which redirects the caller or visitor to a Consolidated Dispatch Center (CDC).

In other words, it's unlikely you'd find a state trooper at the Skippack barracks if you stopped by for help.

"My concern is for the public safety," said Rafferty, chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee. "People expect that a state trooper or official clerk will be at barracks when they go there,"

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 318 in May 2007 which would have required all State Police barracks to remain open 24 hours a day, every day, Rafferty said, but the was not considered by the Democratic-controlled state House Representatives in the last session.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PennDOT Extends Deadline for Safe Driving Radio Contest

PennDOT Extends Deadline for Safe Driving Radio Contest

FRC Commends Effort to Protect Pro-Life Riders, Prevent Taxpayer Funded Abortions

FRC Commends Effort to Protect Pro-Life Riders, Prevent Taxpayer Funded Abortions

Court Ruling Protects Religious Monuments, Displays

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), the sane alternative to the far-left ACLU, is pleased with a 9-0 Supreme Court decision that will protect permanent markers, including The Ten Commandments, in public areas.

From an ACLJ press release:
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark First Amendment ruling clearing the way for governments to accept permanent monuments of their choosing in public parks.

The decision comes in the case of Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, a critical First Amendment case in which the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) represented the Utah city in a challenge to a display of the Ten Commandments in a city park.

This decision represents a resounding victory for government speech. The decision gives government the right to speak for itself and the ability to communicate on behalf of its citizens. It's a significant decision that clears the way for government to express its views and its history through the selection of monuments - including religious monuments and displays. This decision also puts a bookend on the litigation surrounding the display of the Ten Commandments that's been taking place for years across the country.

The critical question before the Court was, "Can a city decide which permanent, unattended monuments, if any, to install on city property?" Without dissent, the Court said "Yes." We're delighted that the Court upheld the important distinction between government speech and private speech.

The ACLJ asked the high court to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that ordered Pleasant Grove City, UT, to accept and display a monument from a self-described church called Summum because the city displays a Ten Commandments monument donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

In a 9-0 decision announced by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court concluded: "In sum, we hold that the City's decision to accept certain privately donated monuments while rejecting respondent's is best viewed as a form of government speech. As a result, the City's decision is not subject to the Free Speech Clause, and the Court of Appeals erred in holding otherwise. We therefore reverse."

The high court concluded that the government has the right to speak for itself without violating the Constitution. "The Free Speech Clause restricts government regulation of private speech; it does not regulate government speech ... A government entity has the right to 'speak for itself'.... it is not easy to imagine how government could function if it lacked this freedom ... A government entity may exercise this same freedom to express its views when it receives assistance from private sources for the purpose of delivering a government-controlled message."

The ACLJ contended that the Tenth Circuit made a serious error confusing government speech with private speech. In its briefs, the ACLJ argues that "a city's selection of which items to display in a park - like its selection of decorations for government buildings - is government speech, and no private entity can claim a 'Me too!' right of access for its own preferred displays."
The court decision is also heralded by groups that want to install monuments to veterans. See link below.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules 9-0 to Protect Govt. Monuments

Bailout Bill Does What U.S. Government Cannot

Bailout Bill Does What U.S. Government Cannot

Talking to Your Kids About Tough Economic Times

Talking to Your Kids About Tough Economic Times

Economic Stimulus Comes Up Short, Say Turnaround Experts

Economic Stimulus Comes Up Short, Say Turnaround Experts

Business Owners Say Obama Should Reduce Small Business Taxes and Free Up Lending

Business Owners Say Obama Should Reduce Small Business Taxes and Free Up Lending

'Media Malpractice' premieres Feb. 26

The most anticipated political documentary of the year, "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted," will make its debut Thursday at the National Press Club.

"This movie shows as clearly as possible that journalism is dead," says John Ziegler, the writer and producer of 'Media Malpractice.'

Snippets of the film have been available on YouTube for months and have received hundreds of thousands of views.

"The level of detail in this production is staggering and it will remind millions of Americans that they were not presented a fair and honest portrait of the 2008 election because the media wanted Obama to win and they did everything in their power to see that Obama got elected," Ziegler said in a statement.

Here's a prediction. The Obama Media (the very same folks who idolize Michael Moore and Al Gore) will ignore the film. It will not be nominated for any awards. It will not be coming to a theater near you. It will not be reviewed by most newspapers.

You're going to have to search for the the film, but the effort is worthwhile.

If you can handle the truth, learn more about the film at

For more information about the Feb. 26 debut, follow the link below:

Media Malpractice Documentary to Premiere at National Press Club February 26th

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA Honors 6 Distinguished African-Americans

Governor Rendell, First Lady Honor Six Distinguished African-American Pennsylvanians

Pennsylvania Game Commission Releases Official 2008 Bear Harvest

Pennsylvania Game Commission Releases Official 2008 Bear Harvest

PA Commission for Women Helps Lancaster Women Access Health Information

Pennsylvania Commission for Women Helps Lancaster Women Access Health Information

Stimulus Bill Spending Excludes 90% of U.S. Firms

Stimulus Bill Spending Excludes Ninety Percent of U.S. Firms

Gov. Bobby Jindal: 'Americans Can Do Anything'

Governor Bobby Jindal's Republican Address: 'Americans Can Do Anything'

Michael Steele Response to Obama Address

RNC Chairman's Response to President Obama's Address

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mere Monopoly Money

Lowman Henry to Obama: 'Please shut up!'

Lowman S. Henry, writing at Lincoln Blog, has a request for Barack Obama and his administration. When it comes to the economy, "Please shut up!"

Henry says Obama may be the first president in history "to talk us into a recession."

From Henry:
"Every time the President or other top administration officials open their mouths the stock markets take another dive. Now at its lowest point since 1997, the markets have issued a resounding vote of no confidence in the President's policies.

What the markets fear most is uncertainty, and concerns about whether or not the most liberal administration in American history is set to nationalize one or more of the nation's biggest banks have frayed nerves on Wall Street."
The Obama Media won't point fingers at The Chosen One, but the Dow has dropped steadily during Obama's first month in the White House. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index hit 12-year lows on Monday as Obama continues to send mixed signals. It's clear Wall Street has no confidence in Obama or his economic advisers.

Read Henry's full post at Lincoln Blog

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Potential Gun Rights Crisis Under Obama

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation are preparing to battle the Obama Administration over the Tiahrt Amendment.

The groups are urging law-abiding, gun-owning voters throughout the United States may contact their Representatives and Senators and urge them to stand firm on Tiahrt.

Potential Gun Rights Crisis Imminent in Washington, Notes Senior Rights Activist

Dauphin County Raw Milk Dairy Tests Negative for Listeria; Raw Milk Sales Resumed

Dauphin County Raw Milk Dairy Tests Negative for Listeria; Raw Milk Sales Resumed

National Network to End Domestic Violence Praises Landmark Supreme Court Decision

National Network to End Domestic Violence Praises Landmark Supreme Court Decision

U.S. 15th on property rights ranking

From Kelsey Zahourek, executive director of the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), on the release of the group's 2009 report:
"With regard to private property rights, PRA continues to champion the idea that physical and intellectual property are equally important in nature, and must be protected. Property rights contribute to increased levels of stability and provide people with the knowledge and comfort that their property will remain theirs. As property rights continue to face challenges around the world, we hope this study will be a useful tool for policymakers, think tanks, academics, and investors by highlighting the importance of property rights as a key building block for economic growth."
So who comes out on top when it comes to protecting property rights?

You might be surprised to learn that it is not the United States, which didn't even make the Top 10.

From the report, which ranks 115 nations:
Finland leads the country list a third year in a row with an increased score from the previous two years of 8.7 out of the possible 10.

With a score of 8.5, the second position is occupied by Denmark and Netherlands this year. The fourth position is occupied by New Zealand, Sweden, Germany and Norway all with a score of 8.3. This year’s top ten countries are rounded up with Australia and Switzerland (both with a score of 8.2), and Austria, Iceland and Singapore (all with a score of 8.1). Of these countries, Australia moved up to rank 8 in 2009 from rank 11 in 2008 followed by Austria and Singapore both ranked 13 in 2008 to 10 in 2009 with an improved score.

At the bottom end of the ladder of the ranking are Albania, Nigeria, Paraguay, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chad, Venezuela, Guyana, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Angola and Bangladesh.
The United States ranked 15th on the list, tied with the United Kingdom. (And this report was done pre-Obama. Can't wait to see how much the U.S. drops in next year's list.)

You can read the full 80-page report at the link below:

Report: Property Rights Linked to Economic Security

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Capitol South: A lot of reading

Pennsylvania Game Commission HTE Classes Starting to Fill Up

Pennsylvania Game Commission HTE Classes Starting to Fill Up; Game Commission Recruiting Instructors for Hunter Education; Collectible Patch/Print Marks 50 Years of Hunter Education; NRA-Sponsored Youth Education Summit Sign-Up Deadline March 2

Obama's Speech to Congress Will Ignore America's Top Job Creators

Obama's Speech to Congress Will Ignore America's Top Job Creators

Sign the Petition

Americans for Limited Government today launched, an online petition in response to President Barack Obama's $2.8 trillion financial plan to urge Congress to halt what ALG President Bill Wilson termed the "greatest theft in human history."

From a release issued by ALG:
"Throughout 2008, and now into 2009, Congress, the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve have otherwise committed, appropriated, borrowed, and printed some $10 trillion for the largest financial bailout ever," said Wilson.

By Wilson's count the bailout is "astronomical on an order not yet seen: $2 trillion in FDIC assurances, $1.75 trillion in Federal Reserve commercial paper purchases, $900 billion in term auction facility lending, $600 billion to insure money market funds, $600 billion to cover Fannie and Freddie's worthless mortgage-backed securities, $550 billion for discount Federal Reserve loans, $500 billion to insure FDIC deposits, $300 billion for FHA mortgage relief, $250 billion for Citigroup debt, $225 billion for securities loan facility lending, $200 billion for Fannie and Freddie's debt, $112 billion for A.I.G., $700 billion for the TARP, and finally, $787 for 'stimulus.'"

"Now, the Obama Administration wants the American taxpayer to once again take responsibility for the irresponsible by committing more than $2 trillion to keeping delinquent borrowers in homes they can't afford and bailing out banks that were forced by government to make the bad loans in the first place," Wilson added.

Wilson is urging angered citizens to take action in addition to signing the petition by contacting their Congressmen and Senators.

"Congress can put a stop to all of this nonsense, but they will only do so if their constituents keep up the pressure on members," said Wilson.
Sign the petition at

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Columnist: Shrink the beast

Brad Bumsted, writing in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, says the only way to rein in the out-of-control expense of the Pennsylvania Legislature is to take an ax to the beast.

In addition to the 253 full-time elected lawmakers, there are more than 3,000 staff members who work for the Legislature, creating a huge, costly and unproductive bureaucracy the siphons more than $300 million a year from the state treasury.

"We have the second most costly General Assembly and yet we are the sixth-largest state with a population that's at best stagnant and, relative to other states, shrinking," Bumsted writes. "Reducing the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature was snubbed by the Reform Commission two years ago. There are pitfalls to be sure but there is no better time than now to revisit it."

The enormous size of the Legislature prevents the people's business from being done, Bumstead writes.

From Bustead's columnm:
In the House and Senate, there's a Democrat and Republican staffer for almost every position. That means four separate staffs: House Republicans and Democrats and Senate Republicans and Democrats.

The Democrat staffer answers to his Democrat masters. The GOP staffer reports to a GOP boss. It's why there's so much partisan bickering in the place.

It's reasonable for leaders to have partisan staff. They are elected by separate political parties and have their own vastly different ideas. But lawyers? One legal staff could serve the General Assembly like in New Jersey.

Here, each caucus also routinely hires private law firms for specialty issues, like the state attorney general's investigation into legislative corruption. Why are we paying so many high-priced outside lawyers -- and consultants like Casey?

Photographers and writers? One public relations unit should serve them all, not a separate staff for four caucuses churning out glowing news releases and newsletters at your expense.
Read the full column, "Shrink the beast," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally published at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pennsylvania National Guard Soldier Killed in Action

Pennsylvania National Guard Soldier Killed in Action

Pennsylvania Recognizes 'National FFA Week' by Raising Hunger Awareness

AG Officials, FFA Officers Recognize 'National FFA Week' by Raising Hunger Awareness

RNC: Fiscal Farce

RNC: Fiscal Farce: Obama's Fiscal Responsibility Summit Comes After Democrats Add Trillions in New Deficit Spending and Obama Told Voters He Wouldn't Close the Deficit

FairTax Promises Economic Shock Therapy

FairTax Promises Economic Shock Therapy

Pennsylvanians May Donate Part of Tax Refund to Support Juvenile Diabetes Research

Pennsylvanians May Donate Part of Tax Refund to Support Juvenile Diabetes Research

PA OKs Mixed Martial Arts Competitions

Pennsylvania to Allow Mixed Martial Arts

Small Businesses Demand President Obama Keep Campaign Promise

Small Businesses Demand President Obama Keep Campaign Promise

Paris Hilton was robbed

Did I just spend nearly four hours watching the Academy Awards? Or maybe I slept through most of it. Was this the most predictable Oscars telecast ever? No surprises in any category.

What was the point of the show if all the winners were predicted ahead of time? Did we really need to hear that awful speech by Sean Penn, Hollywood's ranking left-wing loon?

It's a shame that the 29th Annual Razzie Awards weren't televised. That would have made for more interesting television.

The Razzies, announced each year by the Golden Rasperry Award Foundation, spotlight the worst movies of the year, but I'm not so sure the 81st Annual Academy Awards and the Razzies didn't get some of their films mixed up this year.

The awful Mike Myers' movie "The Love Guru" won three Razzies, including worst picture, worst actor and worst screenplay. No argument here. It was supposed to a comedy but I didn't even crack a smile during the entire film.

But I have to differ on Razzies for Paris Hilton, who won for worst actress for "The Hottie and the Nottie."

Granted Hilton can't act or sing or dance or put a sentence together ... you get the picture, but "The Hottie and the Nottie" wasn't a bad film. I laughed out loud several times.

Other Razzies highlights: Pierce Brosnan as worst supporting actor for "Mamma Mia!" No argument here.

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was named worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel. Agreed. The movie was dull.

Check out the full list of winners at the Razzies Web site.

I also took exception with the Razzies last year when Eddie Murpy was picked as worst actor, wrost supporting actor and worst supporting actress for his multiple roles in "Norbit," which was a very funny movie.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama and Fiscal Responsibility

Less than a week after increasing the national debt by $1 trillion, the White House is planning to host the first "Fiscal Responsibility Summit."

The inmates are running the asylum.

Republican lawmakers are hoping President Obama comes to his senses and hits the "reset" button on his disastrous economic policies.

"Republicans and Democrats agree that the American people deserve a secure retirement, including affordable health care they can count on, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. "But we all know that vital programs like Medicare and Social Security face serious financial challenges as Baby Boomers get older, people live longer lives and families have fewer children. Republicans genuinely want to work with the President to solve these problems - in a responsible way that does not burden our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt.

Read the full transcript of the GOP's weekly radio address below:

Congressman Dave Camp (MI-04) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Democrats hold U.S. jobs hostage

From American Energy Alliance President Thomas J. Pyle:
"Unlike the $790 billion stimulus package lawmakers just passed, increased offshore activity would fuel our economy without squandering taxpayer funds. In fact, oil and gas is one of the U.S.'s only industries in a position to put money into, rather than take money out of, the government's piggybank.

"With more than 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and over 440 trillion cubic feet of natural gas located right off our shores, exploration in the OCS stands to contribute $273 billion annually to the national economy. That's good news, especially for the 46 states that now face a combined $350 billion budget shortfall for the next three fiscal years. Economic relief wouldn't end there -- America would sustain approximately 1.2 million well-paying jobs each year over the life of production.
Follow the link below to read the full report prepared by the American Energy Alliance:

Over a Million U.S. Jobs Locked Away in 'Off-Limits' Offshore Resources

Cross-posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The streak is over

After a record-breaking six consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the "Weekly Influence Index," TONY PHYRILLAS has dropped to No. 2 this week. You knew it had to happen eventually. What goes up must come down.

I'm pleased to relinquish the top spot to a fellow conservative blogger, Let's see if the merry band of bloggers at PAWatercooler can start a streak of their own at the top.

(And what happened to all the other conservative bloggers in Pennsylvania this week? Nearly all dropped out of the Top 20.)

Here's this week's Top 10, with conservative bloggers highlighted. (1)
Suburban Guerrilla (4)
Capitol Ideas (5)
Lehigh Valley Ramblings (6)
PolitickerPA (7)
Lehigh Valley Somebody (8)
Mark Rauterkus (9)

I also want to welcome The Sanatoga Post, one of the newest blogs to join the site, to the Top 20. The very informative blog is operated by fellow Montgomery County blogger Joe Zlomek. It's holding the No. 16 spot on this week's "Influence Index."

2 more chances to watch 'Journalists Roundtable'

Two more chances to catch the popular "Journalists Roundtable" program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network coming to you from the offices of The Pottstown Mercury this week.

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on cable systems throughout Pennsylvania. It's also shown Sunday at 5 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.

This week's program features Tony Phyrillas, city editor/political columnist for The Mercury; Lisa Mossie, contributing columnist for The Norristown Times-Herald; and Evan Brandt, reporter/columnist for The Mercury.

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County; Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties; and Comcast Channel 186 in the Pottstown area.

Consult your cable guide for the Pennsylvania Cable Network channel in your area.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Corbett: 'Corruption total will be stunning'

When the state's top law enforcement officer says corruption in the Pennsylvania Legislature will "shock the conscience of people" you have to pay attention.

It appears last year's arrest of 12 people connected to the House Democratic Caucus was just the tip of the iceberg in what is shaping up to be the biggest political scandal in Pennsylvania history.

Dubbed "Bonusgate" by the media, the charges against top Democratic officials stem from the awarding of millions of tax dollars to state employees who were doing political work while they were on the clock.

The biggest fish snared so far is former state Rep. Mike Veon, the former No. 2 Democratic leader in the House.

But Attorney General Tom Corbett, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, says charges anticipated later this year will leave Pennsylvania residents "stunned" by the amount of money involved in the corruption probe.

Reporter Brad Bumstead also notes that the Legislature's costs for legal fees related to the investigation has reached $5.8 million so far. In other words, the political aristocracy in Harrisburg has spent nearly $6 million of your tax dollars to defend itself from charges that it illegally spent more than $4 million to hand out bonuses to political operatives.

Only in Pennsylvania.

I hear that the state is planning to build a new maximum security prison to replacing the aging Graterford Prison in Montgomery County. Perhaps it could set aside an entire wing to house current and former members of the Pennsylvania Legislature and their staffers.

Read Bumstead's full story, "Corruption total will be stunning, says Corbett,"
at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Hoffa Denounces Hershey for Exporting American Jobs to Mexico

Hoffa Denounces Hershey for Exporting American Jobs to Mexico

Congressman Dave Camp (MI-04) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Congressman Dave Camp (MI-04) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Friday, February 20, 2009

CNN Rejects Ad Celebrating Obama's Life

CNN Rejects Ad Celebrating Obama's Life

Executive Director to Lead Task Force on Guantanamo Bay Detainees

Attorney General Appoints Executive Director to Lead New Task Force on Review of Guantanamo Bay Detainees

State, Local Agencies Team to Help Pittsburgh-Area Residents Weather Rough Economy

State, Local Agencies Team to Help Pittsburgh-Area Residents Weather Rough Economy

A disappointing start for Obama

While the Obama Media has been working overtime to cover up the various failings of The Chosen One, the Republican National Committee Research Department has documented the first 30 days of the Obama Administration.

It's not a pretty picture. Broken promises, etchics scandals and the stimulus bill from hell.

Arguably the worst presidency since a fellow named Jimmy Carter moved into the White House.

"Obama's first month has been marked by wasteful spending, failed bipartisanship and questionable ethics," the RNC says.

Follow the link below for a comprehensive list of Obama's first 30 days of failure:

RNC: A Disappointing Month

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Experts: Recession will linger into 2010

As if we needed more bad news...

Chief financial officers and senior-level executive Certified Public Accountants believe that the U.S. economic downturn will last longer than previously expected according to a new survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

So why exactly did President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats agreed to raise the national debt by another trillion dollars?

Arleen Thomas, AICPA's senior vice president for member competency and development, said the survey indicates any economic recovery will begin six months later than previously expected.

"As the recession has deepened and pessimism solidified, a majority of CPAs working in business and industry now don't expect an economic recovery before 2010," Thomas said.

If you want to get more depressed, read more about the survey at the link below:

Outlook Dims for U.S. Economic Recovery Before 2010, CFOs and CPA Executives Say

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

The kiss of death

We now have confirmation the Obama stimulus package will not work. The plan has been endorsed by none other than Jimmy Carter, the last Democratic president who puttered around for four years without a clue.

The Associated Press reported that Jimmy Carter is confident the Obama stimulus plan will work:
ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter has voiced support for President Barack Obama's plan to stimulate the economy.

Carter says he has "full confidence" in Obama's proposal and expects it will take about six months for the economy to begin improving.
Who knows more about screwing up the U.S. economy than Jimmy Carter? Up next: Perhaps Obama can take some advice from Carter on dealing with Iran.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Consumer Watchdog to U.S. Senate: Don't Leave Consumers Out of Health Reform Debate

Consumer Watchdog to U.S. Senate: Don't Leave Consumers Out of Health Reform Debate, Public Opposes Mandatory Purchases of Private Insurance & Supports Opening Medicare to Everyone

PA Awards Health Research Grants From Tobacco Settlement Funds

Rendell Administration Announces Health Research Grants From Tobacco Settlement Funds

What's Crazy Harry Reid Up To These Days?

New Nevada Zogby Poll and FAIR Cost Study Show Harry Reid Promoting Unpopular and Expensive Immigration Policies

Attempt to evade PA's cigarette tax foiled

I have visions of Elliot Ness going after store owners in Pennsylvania who sell illegal cigarettes.

Imagine the trouble we'd have if the state legalizes video poker machines.

The moral of the story is don't try to cheat Ed Rendell out of taxes.

He's already spent the money, so he's going to go after you for every penny.

Butler County Store Owner Sentenced for Possessing, Selling Cigarettes Illegally

Flight 93 National Memorial

Governor Rendell, Senator Specter Announce Flight 93 National Memorial Will Be Completed by 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

Lessons From Humpty Dumpty on the Financial Crisis

Lessons From Humpty Dumpty on the Financial Crisis

Thursday, February 19, 2009

AARP Pennsylvania Launches Toll Free Help Line to Aid Consumers During DTV Transition

AARP Pennsylvania Launches Toll Free Help Line to Aid Consumers During DTV Transition

State workers earning six-figure salaries

Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer, who has covered Harrisburg for decades, is having a difficult time understanding why members of the Pennsylvania Legislature, already among the highest-paid in the country, need to keep so many high-paid staffers around.

A recent Associated Press report listed 73 state legislative staffers who earned more than $100,000 in 2008, more than double what the average Pennsylvanian earns — $43,000. Two staffers brought home more than the governor's $174,914 salary, the wire service reported.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is already the most expensive in the nation, with an annual cost of $334 million, according to Baer.

In addition to 253 elected lawmakers, the Legislature employs 3,156 staffers, Baer says. Base pay for rank-and-file lawmakers is $78,315, but the job, with perks and benefits, is really six figures, Baer writes.

From Baer's column:
I never understood why the sixth-largest state needs the largest legislature (technically, New Hampshire's is larger, but part-time; its 424 lawmakers are paid $100 a year), especially given the legislature's performance, venality and, if you believe the state attorney general, level of corruption.

I sure don't understand why we need the largest staff - especially as thousands of regular state workers face layoffs.

Our bloated Legislature has a bloated underbelly.
Read the full column, "Our state lawmakers are tops ... when it comes to staff numbers," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pennsylvania Realtors back Obama mortgage plan

Pennsylvania Can Benefit From Economic Stimulus Plan

Is America Exporting Part of Its Chance for Energy Independence?

Is America Exporting Part of Its Chance for Energy Independence?

Consumer Watchdog Calls on HMO Regulator to Disclose Communications With Insurance Companies Regarding Autism Coverage Denials

Consumer Watchdog Calls on HMO Regulator to Disclose Communications With Insurance Companies Regarding Autism Coverage Denials

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cartoon controversy

This is the editorial cartoon by Sean Delonas published in the New York Post that has caused such an uproar.

"I question the judgment of the editorial editors to move this to print as well as the diversity of its staff that would let them think this passes as comedy," said Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists and vice president of UNITY: Journalists of Color.

YWCA USA calls the cartoon racially offensive.

"I think this cartoon is inflammatory, inappropriate and irresponsible," said Lorraine Cole, PhD, YWCA USA CEO. "It recalls deeply offensive negative stereotypes of African Americans characterized as monkeys and is seemingly directed at our first Black President who championed the economic recovery stimulus bill. It also brings to mind racially charged police brutality incidents involving Black men who were recklessly shot by New York City police officers."

Read more from the groups at the links below:

YWCA USA Decries Racially Offensive New York Post Cartoon

Unity Condemns New York Post Cartoon

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

What's the worst that could happen?

From an editorial in today's Investor's Business Daily:
It's strange that so few mainstream media outlets have pointed out the obvious: The bill Congress hurried to pass late last week without anyone having read the entire 1,434 pages will in fact not stimulate much of anything.

It is a spending bill, pure and simple. Every dollar the government spends must either be borrowed, taken through taxation or printed. Any way you look at it, every dollar comes from the pockets of the people it will be spent on.

The bill adds $10,000 to each American's debt. No matter how you view it, that's a $10,000 hike in future taxes, not counting interest. We've been lectured often that Americans have become greedy and overly indebted. So how does adding still more debt help? Unless there's an explosion of economic activity directly due to this bill, Americans' standard of living will decline — count on it.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

New evidence of Turkish atrocities in Cyprus

Thirty-five years after the illegal invasion and occupation of the island-nation of Cyprus by Turkey, the Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) is calling for the arrests of the perpetrators of The Palekythro Massacre and demands that they be brought to justice.

Thousands of Greek-Cypriot civilians were murdered by Turkish troops during the invasion.

According to reports and recent DNA Testing of remains in illegally Turkish-Occupied Cyprus, some 18 Greeks were slaughtered in Palekythro and the remains of 11 of the dead were recently discovered in an olive grove in the occupied village and identified using DNA matching, CANA says in a statement.

London-based Greek-Cypriot blogger Hellenic Antidote released on You Tube a report from Saturday's RIK news (with English subtitles) on the funeral of Sotira Georgiou, 28, and her two children Mary, 7, and Yiannakis, eight months, murdered in the village of Palekythro during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

View this report here:

Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus reorganizes

Here's the latest news from the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus:
The Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, a bipartisan organization consisting of members of both the state House of Representatives and Senate, has elected its leadership team and created an executive council.

Rep. Marc Gergely, D-Allegheny, will remain the elected chairman and Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York, will remain the elected minority chairman. Reps. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, and Karen Boback, R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming, were also reelected to their positions as treasurer and secretary.

During the reorganizational meeting, the members of the PALSC unanimously approved the creation of an executive council to be appointed by the two chairmen.

"The unanimous adoption of the executive council is yet another example of our commitment to a bipartisan and active leadership," Gergely said. "The Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus is aimed toward delivering results for wildlife and habitat conservation, and the advancement of sportsmen's interest in the political arena. We believe the executive council will further that cause."

The newly appointed members of the PALSC that will join Gergely and Gillespie on the Executive Council include Reps. Neal Goodman, D-Schuylkill, Deberah Kula, D-Fayette/Westmoreland, Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana, Dan Moul, Adams/Franklin, and former chairmen Ed Staback, D-Lackawanna/Wayne, and Gary Haluska, D-Cambria.

The PALSC is one of the fastest-growing caucuses in Harrisburg with membership nearing triple digits. Gillespie said such rapid growth provides the caucus a greater say on sportsmen's issues and helps display the importance of those issues statewide.

"I am excited about our increased membership. It shows that sportsmen’s issues are important throughout the state and having a group of nearly 100 members committed to a common cause will give sportsmen a greater voice as we move through this legislative term," Gillespie said.

Pyle and Goodman echoed their chairmen's enthusiasm.

"I am honored to be appointed to the PALSC Executive Council. The executive council provides an opportunity to increase the awareness of sportsmen’s issues in Harrisburg and deliver for our constituents on these important matters whether they hail from Ford City or Pottsville," Pyle said.

"Our caucus has a significant and growing voice," Goodman added. "As a newly appointed member of the executive council, I look forward to using that voice to deliver on issues important to sportsmen as we strive to conserve our land and protect our rights as sportsmen."

Columnist: PA rewards failure

Reform activist Eric Epstein, writing at his Capitol Domes blog, is not happy Pennsylvania, especially under Gov. Ed Rendell, is continually stepping in to bail out failing companies and out-of-work politicians.

From Epstein's latest post:
Political patronage is as old as the state. Now we're bailing out campaign contributors. Gov. Doesn't-Make-Any-Sense has no problems baling out millionaires who contributed to his campaign.

Pennsylvania needs to:
1. Seriously consider instituting a law banning state employment, contracts or bailouts for campaign contributors over the term of the office of the recipient; and

2. Institute and enforce a period between when the electorate fires a legislator and the same person can accept state employment, contracts, or bailouts.
Read the full post, "Pa.'s new state motto: Nothing Succeeds Like Failure," at Capitol Domes

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

New U.S. Attorney for SE Pennsylvania

The new U.S. Attorney for eastern Pennsylvania is Laurie Magid, who took over as Acting U.S. Attorney last July when Republican Patrick Meehan resigned to prepare to run for Pennsylvania governor.

Attorney General Eric Holder, Obama's far-left appointee, made the decision to promote Magid last week, but it was announced this week.

Conventional wisdom was that Meehan's replacement would be somebody more in line with Holder and Obama, not a Republican holdover.

Perhaps this was part of the deal Arlen Specter made for his vote on the stimulus bill?

It's rare for a new administration to retain U.S. Attorneys or promote someone tied to a Republican administration.

Magid, the mother of three, joined the Department of Justice in 2001 during the Bush Administration.

The Philadelphia resident also served five years on the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing during the administration of Gov. Tom Ridge.

This has nothing to do with her qualifications, but U.S. Attorneys serve at the whim of the president and the posts are often awarded for political reasons. That's why I suspect Specter is involved.

Her biography is posted at the U.S. Attorney's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Deadly in Pink: New Report Warns Big Tobacco Has Stepped Up Targeting of Women and Girls

Deadly in Pink: New Report Warns Big Tobacco Has Stepped Up Targeting of Women and Girls

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Don't Believe What You Hear on Countdown: Keith Olbermann's Factual Errors

Don't Believe What You Hear on Countdown: Keith Olbermann's Factual Errors

RNC Goes On Air In NY-20 Special

RNC Goes On Air In NY-20 Special

'Journalists Roundtable' returns to Pottstown

The popular "Journalists Roundtable" program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network is coming to you from the offices of The Pottstown Mercury this week.

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on cable systems throughout Pennsylvania.

The program will repeat Sunday at 5 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.

The panel for Feb. 19 edition will be Tony Phyrillas, city editor/political columnist for The Mercury; Lisa Mossie, columnist for The Norristown Times-Herald; and Evan Brandt, reporter/columnist for The Mercury.

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County, Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties and Comcast Channel 186 in the Pottstown area.

Consult your cable guide for the Pennsylvania Cable Network channel in your area.

Newspaper: Lay off the PA Legislature

I've been beating the drum for reducing the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature for a long time. I'm glad to see others are joining the chorus.

The Delaware County Daily & Sunday Times says in an editorial that cutting the size of the Legislature might be the smart thing to do in these tough economic times.

From the editorial:
As more and more workers in the state lose their jobs, there is one sure way to ease the tax burden, but it is the one thing this state’s elected representatives refuse to consider.

Pennsylvania should have a smaller Legislature. Honest, caring legislators have tried to make that happen. From 1997 through 2008, attempts have been made for those in General Assembly to reduce the House and Senate through passage of introduced legislation or through a constitutional convention, where the issue of a reduced Legislature could be addressed and put on the ballot. Those efforts did not muster enough votes for passage.

Pennsylvania has 253 members, second only to New Hampshire. Of course, New Hampshire's Legislature meets a limited number of days at $200 a day. That's a far cry from the $340 million price tag put on Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg Hilton crew last year.
The Delco Times also has trouble with the fact that 73 Legislative staffers earn at least $100,000 a year.

From the editorial:
An Associated Press report last week claimed 73 state legislative staffers earned more than $100,000 in 2008, more than double what the average Pennsylvanian earns — $43,000. Two staffers brought home more than the governor’s $174,914 salary.

These are the aides to the men and women voters send to Harrisburg each year.
It's getting harder to justify such exorbitant spending to maintain the political aristocracy in Harrisburg.

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'King Size Combo:' New Report Reveals Broad Toll on Taxpayers by Bailed-Out Bank Goldman Sachs and Its Holdings in Burger King

'King Size Combo:' New Report Reveals Broad Toll on Taxpayers by Bailed-Out Bank Goldman Sachs and Its Holdings in Burger King

Monday, February 16, 2009

Columnist: House Dems kill reform

Brad Bumstead, who covers Harrisburg for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, has a knack for cutting through the BS and getting to the heart of an issue.

Commenting on the recent move by House Democratic leadership to undo the Legislative reforms enacted over the past two years, Bumstead says the members of the entrenched Harrisburg political class "still don't get it."

From his column:
Then on the night two weeks ago when Gov. Ed Rendell unveiled his $29 billion state spending plan and most reporters were paying no attention to the House, the Democrats struck:

• They made it easier and more likely that the House will be able to hold late-night sessions. The 11 p.m. curfew can be suspended with fewer votes.

• Realizing they had erred in approving an amendment by Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair, that prevented legislators from working as lobbyists, the Democrat majority approved a motion that declared Maher's amendment unconstitutional and allowed a handful of Democrat members to continue working at big law firms with lobbying arms.

• They restored the power of the House Rules Committee, a panel controlled by leaders, to serve as a mechanism to kill any bill or alter the face of legislation.

• They weakened the 24-hour rule before the House can vote on legislation. The previous rule was supposed to give lawmakers a chance to read the bills they'd be voting on. "In essence, I don't think we have a 24-hour rule any longer," said Rep. Curt Schroder, a Chester County Republican.

It's clearly a retreat from the measures proposed by the Speaker's Reform Commission and adopted by the House in 2007. And Schroder reminds that some Democrats who served on the reform panel voted for "this destruction of openness."
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

The streak continues: Week 6

The streak continues.

TONY PHYRILLAS has held the No. 1 spot on the "Influence Index" at for six consecutive weeks, a new record.

Here's this week's Top 10 (with conservative blogs highlighted):

Lehigh Valley Ramblings (3)
GrassrootsPA (4)
Lehigh Valley Somebody (5)
Suburban Guerrilla (7)
PolitickerPA (8)
Capitol Ideas (9)
The Pennsylvania Progressive (10)

Let's count to a trillion

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute:
If the irony of using debt-based spending to solve a problem caused by debt-based spending has escaped you (I doubt it has), perhaps these fun facts will put things into perspective:

If you spent $1 every second, you'd have to keep spending for 412,000 years to get to $13 trillion. That means you'd have to start shortly after the time human beings first starting using stone tools and fire to get to $13 trillion today.

$13 trillion in one dollar bills weighs 28 million pounds. That's as much as 87 blue whales or 462 Statues of Liberty.

If you laid 13 trillion one-dollar bills end-to-end they'd reach from the earth to the sun and back...five times over. That's 946 million miles of greenbacks.

The amount we're looking at now—roughly $2 trillion between the Secretary Geithner's new bank bailout plan and President Obama's stimulus package—isn't small potatoes either. So what is $2 trillion?

$2 trillion is bigger than the entire Gross Domestic Product of our neighbor to the north, Canada. In fact, according to the IMF, only Japan, Germany, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy have bigger total economies than the combined bailout/stimulus plan—all other countries on Earth have economies smaller than $2 trillion per year.

Then there's the interest on this staggering debt, which isn't exactly small. Paying the interest on the current $10.7 trillion debt cost Americans $451.1 billion last year alone. How big is that?

That's $1478 dollars in interest for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

That's bigger than the annual budgets of New York ($121.1 billion), California ($111.1 billion) and Texas ($83.8 billion) combined
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Steele blasts Obama for politicizing the Census

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement on the Democrats' politicizing the U.S. Census:
"It is disappointing that President Obama would make the Census about politics rather than an accurate count of the American people by taking control of the process away from career professionals at the Department of Commerce and putting the most partisan chief of staff since H.R. Haldeman in the Nixon Administration in charge."

A failed presidency

I know what the Obamaniacs are saying. He needs more time. Give him a chance. He's stumbled, but will recover.

But there's clear evidence that Barack Obama has no clue.

Our worst fears about electing an inexperienced, unqualified empty suit have been realized.

We need an adult in the White House. But John McCain is stuck over in the Senate.

Has the Obama presidency already failed? The answer is yes.

Alan Caruba chronicles Obama's disastrous first weeks as commander-in-chief in a post titled "One Month Into A Failed Presidency" at his Warning Signs blog.

"The barbarians aren't at the gates, they are inside the gates," Caruba writes. "This isn't just a failed presidency at this point. It is a suicidal one that is threatening to take down the nation with it."

Lack of experience? Yes
Lack of maturity? Yes
Lack of judgment? Yes
Lack of focus? Yes
Surrounded by liars and crooks? Yes
Can the U.S. survive 4 more years of this? No

Hell, Joe Biden is looking and sounding more presidential than Obama.

Read the full post at Warning Signs

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pitts Slams Obama Stimulus

U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District, issued the following commentary regarding the "stimulus" bill passed by House Democrats:
Stimulus bill grows government, turns back reform

By Rep. Joe Pitts

Over the objections of nearly all Republicans, and millions of Americans, Democrats in Congress passed an $800 billion big government, special interest spending bill that will do little to help the economy in the short term, and may end up doing harm in the long term.

The bad provisions in the bill are too great to cover in just one column, though I'm sure we will continue to find more as people get the chance to really read and analyze the bill (the thousand page bill was made available to Congressional Republicans and the public just over 12 hours before the House voted on it).

Among some of the most egregious examples of spending that has little or nothing to do with creating jobs is $2 billion dollars for the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund. This funding will be available to organizations such as ACORN, which has been accused of practicing unlawful voter registration in recent elections.

There is also $8 billion for a high speed rail "gambler's express" program, which will fund at least one project from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

The bill provides billions of dollars to massively expand the federal government. There are billions of dollars in the bill for the renovation, building or expansion of federal government buildings and programs.

One of the provisions that is of great concern to me is $1.1 billion to conduct "comparative effectiveness research" to evaluate the effectiveness of different preventative healthcare interventions. This may sound innocuous, but it means we are spending a billion dollars to set up a board that will inch us one step closer to government run socialized healthcare and rationed care.

In countries with government-run healthcare systems, comparative effectiveness is often used as an excuse to deny patients life-saving medical care on the grounds of cost-effectiveness. Comparative effectiveness research will be used by a board of unelected government bureaucrats who decide on the most cost effective healthcare treatment. In socialized medicine, this then becomes the standard by which the government approves treatments. The problem is, some people respond differently to some treatments or medications than others.

Each of us is unique, and our healthcare needs differ greatly. This is why healthcare decisions are best made by individuals in consultation with their doctor. A treatment that works from many people may not work the same with your body. The healthcare board of the United Kingdom has repeatedly denied breakthrough drugs to citizens suffering with breast cancer, Alzheimer's, and even multiple sclerosis on the grounds of comparative effectiveness. The British government has stripped citizens of the freedom to choose their own healthcare. And Democrats in Congress included a billion in this plan—which is supposed to be about creating jobs—in order to take another step down the road to government run, socialized healthcare.

Additionally, the bill will roll back one of the key reforms Congressional Republicans included in the successful 1996 welfare reform law -- discouraging welfare dependence.

This reform in the 1990s incentivized people to get off welfare and back to work. As a result of the reforms in 1996, U.S. welfare caseloads fell by more than 60 percent as people got back on their feet and off government help. The so-called stimulus plan undermines one of the key aspects of the reform that required individuals on welfare to be engaged in education, training, or job search. Even though numerous studies confirm that high school dropouts are more likely to be on welfare, live in poverty, by unemployed, and lack health coverage, the stimulus bill eliminates the requirement under current law that requires these individuals to participate in GED or other education or training programs ion order to receive welfare.

Why would the majority party want to stop encouraging people who are out of work to pursue education or training that will improve their skills and make them more attractive in the job market?

Obviously difficult economic times may require the government to do more to help families who are out of work, but the Democrats' stimulus bill is taking advantage of the situation by rolling back one of the fundamental tenets of welfare reform and returning it back to its failed model as a check without strings, rather than a temporary program to help needy families get back on their feet.

I opposed the so-called stimulus bill because it was full of big government, special interest spending and has little hope of accomplishing the job creation that our economy so desperately needs to get back on track.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How to spot a RINO

Why Republicans oppose Obama stimulus bill

Among the objections voiced by Republicans to the Obama/Pelosi stimulus: "the bill isn't temporary because it calls for a permanent expansion of government that could add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal budget every year."

Read a transcript of the full GOP response by following the link below:

Senator Lisa Murkowski Delivers Weekly Republican Address

ATR: Did Even One Democrat Read The Bill?

ATR: Did Even One Democrat Read The Bill?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Toll-Free Line and Online Form Available to Report Unsafe Driving, Improper Pennsylvania State Vehicle Use

Toll-Free Line and Online Form Available to Report Unsafe Driving, Improper Pennsylvania State Vehicle Use

The Daily Watchdog

The Center for Public Integrity has launched a new blog called The Daily Watchdog, which will compile investigative reports from around Washington, D.C. -- from the Government Accountability Office to Inspectors General to Congressional oversight committees.

"We'll be compiling these (often-overlooked) investigative reports, so you don't have to go searching for them," the Center said in announcing the new site. "The Daily Watchdog is your go-to resource for the latest results of important federal investigations."

Be sure to bookmark the site and check it often. The Democrats are back in power in Washington, but I'm afraid little has changed.

Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Claims Can Be Filed Online on Presidents Day

Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Claims Can Be Filed Online on Presidents Day

Blunt Votes Against Trillion Dollar Spending Package

Blunt Votes Against Trillion Dollar Spending Package

Broken Obama Campaign Promise Will Kill American Jobs

Broken Obama Campaign Promise Will Kill American Jobs

Here's $5 billion in spending PA can cut

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and his crack economic team couldn't find much fat to trim from state spending, which now tops $60 billion a year.

In announcing his $29 billion 2009-10 General Fund budget last week, the governor proposed $750 million in additional spending despite the fact the state is headed toward a $2.3 billion deficit by June.

Instead of making much-needed cuts in spending, the governor came up all sorts of schemes to increase revenue, including legalizing video poker machines and raising tobacco taxes.

The Commonwealth Foundation, an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, has stepped in to help the governor make some cuts.

"There are billions of dollars in wasteful spending that must be cut immediately in order to restore Pennsylvania's fiscal and economic health," Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, said in announcing the release of a new report, "Government on a Diet: Spending Tips 2009."

The report offers suggestions on how the governor and Legislature can eliminate $5 billion in "unhealthy state government spending that is impeding prosperity and burdening taxpayers."

From a statement issued by Brouillette:
"We can reduce state spending without jeopardizing our most vulnerable citizens. We want the citizens of Pennsylvania to be more aware of how state government is misspending their hard-earned tax dollars, and we hope lawmakers use this report as a guide for ending the economically destructive tax-borrow-and-spend approach."
The report, co-authored by Nathan Benefield and Elizabeth Bryan, identifies wasteful spending on non-core state government functions, including: corporate welfare, "Yellow Pages government" and self-service government.

Examples include:

1. $75 million in tax credits for Hollywood executives to produce films, including $5.7 million in credits for "Zach & Miri Make a Porno."
2. $225,000 for a parade in Philadelphia.
3. $200,000 to restore golf courses.

To obtain a copy of the 24-page report, visit the Commonwealth Foundation Web site or call 717-671-1901

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Compulsive and Problem Gambling in PA

PGCB's Director of Compulsive and Problem Gambling Provides Lawmakers With Update on Agency's Assistance Efforts

'You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can't Make Him Think'

Amazon's #1 Atheist Book is Christian

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pat Toomey blasts Arlen Specter

Former Congressman Pat Toomey, who now heads the Club for Growth, narrowly lost to Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2004 Republican primary in Pennsylvania. How different things would be today if Toomey had knocked off Specter.

Writing in National Review Online, Toomey said the surrender of three "liberal Republicans" to the Democratic stimulus plan not only cost the party, but will damage the nation.

From Toomey's column:
If Senate Republicans had united as their counterparts in the House did, President Obama would have had no choice but to include Republican proposals to cut income-tax rates, along with taxes on businesses and investment. These measures would have encouraged workers to be more productive, freed American businesses currently laboring under one of the highest corporate-tax rates in the world, and encouraged investors to support our ailing financial markets.

To be sure, Republicans would have been forced to accept a large dose of spending, but Democrats would have been similarly forced to accept tax cuts they refused to include in the current bill. That is what a real bipartisan compromise would have looked like — not this $800 billion–plus spending spree that tosses a couple of crumbs to Specter, Collins, and Snowe.

The Senate's compromise bill is as fundamentally flawed as the original version. While its supporters claim it will create millions of jobs, they neglect to mention all the jobs it will destroy. The money for the bill has to come from somewhere — and that will be straight out of the private sector, where it could have been invested far more efficiently and productively, creating jobs in the process. The subsidies for "green jobs" will, perversely, end up destroying jobs as the country is forced to waste money producing overpriced, inefficient energy.
Read the full column, "A Capitulation, Not a Compromise," at National Review Online.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Newspaper: Obama corrupts Constitution

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is not happy with the Obama Administration's attempts to politicize the Census Bureau.

From an editorial in today's edition:
If political hacks control the census, it will corrupt its integrity. That could skew the number of congressmen from the respective states and therefore the Electoral College, and allow the Obama administration to spread around the wealth based on pumped-up demographic data.

It could be another in a series of coupes de grace for our republic. Don't let it happen.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Economic Steroids'

By Rep. Samuel E. Rohrer (R-Berks)

Americans recently learned that Alex Rodriguez, a perennial all-star Major League Baseball (MLB) player, used "performance enhancing" substances to boost his playing abilities. The legendary player, once referred to as A-Rod, has recently been re-branded as A-Roid, a form of chastisement for yet another case in a long string of steroid abuse scandals in recent MLB history.

Unfortunately, baseball isn't the only place where attempting to reach for success by following the quick and easy path has led to disaster. In fact, it would be fair to say that America's current economic condition has been caused by a string of "performance enhancing" economic policies adopted by national leaders in Washington, D.C., both recently and in years past.

Most people agree that the burst of the housing market bubble signaled the beginning of America's current economic turmoil. However, this begs the question: What caused the housing bubble to form in the first place? The answer, in laymen's terms, is "economic steroids."

It all began with a noble, yet not well thought out, concept. In the 1990s, it became popular to suggest that every American - regardless of how bad their credit might be or how low their income - should be able to buy a home. Despite the fact that this illogically suggested that people who were earning minimum wage or even unemployed should be entitled to a mortgage, federal politicians were not willing to let financial reality get in the way of a popular platitude.

Lenders were given their marching orders by the federal government to proceed forward with the universal homeownership agenda. New, more relaxed lending policies were put in place in conjunction with artificially low interest rates and home loans were provided to people who had little or no ability to pay them back.

As more and more buyers entered the housing market, demand went up and so did home values. Americans were witnessing the short-term benefits of performance enhancing economic policies. However, like with steroid use among athletes, the long-term side effects went virtually unnoticed.

Then it happened. Many families that never should have qualified for a mortgage in the first place began to default on their loans. Home values began to sink back in line with reality, where they would have been if economic steroids had not been used to bulk them up.

Leaders in Washington, D.C., who pushed the economic performance enhancers into the market, began blaming the lenders, like a steroid producer pointing a finger of blame at the seller. Similar to most addicts, instead of admitting there was a problem and dealing with it directly, politicians in our nation's capital began looking for ways to disguise the underlying issue.

Like an athlete who refuses to walk away from the inflated statistics they reach through artificially enhanced performance, the federal government was unwilling to live without the over-inflated prosperity caused by the economic steroids. Instead, government decided to double down on a bad bet.

This led to the first federal bailout appropriation of $700 billion. Like a new shot of steroids, this was supposed to "juice" our economy back to its former level. It failed miserably. After taking apparently half a second to reflect on the situation, federal politicians proposed yet another shot of economic performance enhancers. Lawmakers are currently debating how to borrow and spend nearly $1 trillion more to "stimulate" the economy back to its glory days.

Perhaps worst of all, the hard-working Americans who played by the rules - who built up their credit, saved for a down payment and bought a house within their means - will be punished as a result of Washington, D.C.'s, economic steroid addiction. They are the ones who have seen their tax dollars used to purchase defunct companies that only thrived due to an artificially high performing economy. They are the ones who will have to pay back the trillions of dollars in new national debt.

The easy path was to use economic performance enhancers to bulk up our national economy. However, the easy choice and the right choice are seldom one and the same. A better path to follow would have been to build economic growth on the solid foundation of American ingenuity, entrepreneurship and hard work.

America can grow again to the economic heights it once reached. However, it must do so within the constraints of financial reality. National leaders must kick their addiction to economic steroids that promise fast results while diverting attention away from long-term side effects. Instead, it's time to rely on clean, natural economic growth. If politicians in our nation's capital complete economic steroid rehab, American working families can surely succeed.