Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PA should kill the death tax

From an article by Brian Bowling in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Benjamin Franklin once quipped that nothing is certain "except death and taxes," but even he couldn't know a tax on death would be just as certain in his home state.

Census Bureau figures released Monday show that about 2.5 percent of Pennsylvania's 2008 revenue came from "death and gift" taxes, the highest percentage of any state. Death taxes can take one of two forms — a tax on the estate of the deceased or a tax on the amounts inherited by survivors. Until 2003, Pennsylvania had both.

While the state has followed the federal government and a majority of states in phasing out the estate tax, Pennsylvania clings to its 183-year-old inheritance tax.
Most states have eliminated or drastically reduced the "death tax" but not Pennsylvania. Another glaring example of why Pennsylvania should be renamed Taxsylvania.

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

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Hayden Panettiere dives in to save whales

I hadn't given much thought about saving whales, but now that Hayden Panettiere is taking up the cause, count me in.

This is no April Fool's joke. The star of NBC's "Heroes" will be in Australia on April 1 to rally support for a campaign to gather 1 million signatures to save the whales from commercial fishing.

Since the whaling moratorium went into effect in 1986, more than 25,000 great whales, including endangered species, have been killed by Japan, Norway, and Iceland while Japanese fisherman have killed hundreds of thousands of dolphins and small whales in their coastal drive hunts, according to The Whaleman Foundation.

I'm not big on celebrity endorsements, but how can anyone resist Hayden's plea to save the whales?

Find out more about the petition drive at the link below:

Hayden Panettiere in Sydney Australia on April 1 to Ask for 1 Million Petition Signatures to End Commercial Whaling

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Consumer Group to Geithner: Don't Use Financial Overhaul to Deregulate Insurance

Consumer Group to Geithner: Don't Use Financial Overhaul to Deregulate Insurance

The Future of the News: Journalism in a Post-Print World

This announcement from Williams College in Massachusetts caught my attention:
Today the field of journalism is under siege.

In a Time's essay (Feb. 5, 2009), former managing editor Walter Isaacson wrote "the crisis in journalism has reached meltdown proportions."

And, yet, Inside Higher Education recently reported that applications to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism have risen by about 40 percent since last year.

Where are we going to end up?
Answers might come at a forum the college is sponsoring on April 25.

Read the full release at the link below:

The Future of the News: Journalism in a Post-Print World

SAF Sues Eric Holder Over Gun Rights

SAF Sues Eric Holder Over Gun Rights of Non-Resident American Citizens

Rendell aide completes alcohol rehab

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor & Industry Sandi Vito is back on the job after spending two weeks seeking treatment for an alcohol problem that was exposed after Vito was cited by police for public intoxication.

Gov. Ed Rendell welcomed Vito back with a vote of confidence.

"Sandi's personal difficulties are no reflection on her work performance," Rendell said in a statement. "In the past 14 months she has led the Department of Labor & Industry brilliantly. Since 2003 she has been an invaluable leader in reforming Pennsylvania's workforce development system to align it with the needs of business and industry."

Read Rendell's full statement at the link below:

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Welcomes Return of Acting Secretary Vito to Lead Labor & Industry

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pennsylvania Dental Association Cautions Patients: Don't Forgo Dental Visits Because of the Economy

Pennsylvania Dental Association Cautions Patients: Don't Forgo Dental Visits Because of the Economy

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

The federal tax on cigarettes goes from 39 cents a pack to $1.01 per pack starting April 1. Other tobacco products, including cigars, pipes and smokeless chew, will see similar hefty increases.

No April Fooling: Higher Taxes On Tobacco Really Do Reduce Smoking, Says American Lung Association of Upper Midwest

White House Protest Denouncing Obama's Speech at Notre Dame Planned for April 1

Operation Rescue is planning a protest at the White House on Wednesday over the invitation of Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president ever, to speak at Notre Dame, a Catholic university.

White House Protest Denouncing Obama's Speech at Notre Dame and Proposed Change in Abortion Conscience Regs.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to Address Importance of Counting All Latinos in 2010 Census

Does that include the estimated 12 million Latinos who are illegal aliens? Just wondering. We spend billions of dollars providing services to illegals. We should make an effort to count them, too.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to Address Importance of Counting All Latinos in 2010 Census

The most corrupt administration

It's still early, but it's becoming clear that the Obama administration will down in history as one of the most corrupt in the nation's history.

A must-read editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about corruption in the Obama White House, leading all the way to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

The Democrats truly are the party of corruption and continue to sink this country further into an economic abyss, while lining their own pockets.

From the Tribune-Review:
A White House that insists it's part of the solution to our economic crisis doesn't have any credibility when it's harboring one of the poster children for the problem.

That's why President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, should resign.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Mr. Emanuel, as a board member beginning in February 2000, was paid "at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort" and, in our view, coincided with reprehensible corporate behavior.

"On Emanuel's watch, the board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders," the newspaper reports. The goal was to make the mortgage giant look profitable on paper to help maximize annual bonuses for executives, it says.

Passive or active, Emanuel was a part of the problem. That he now is a member of an administration professing to be part of the solution is a farce and a hypocrisy that cannot be reconciled.

It's time for Rahm Emanuel to go.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, March 30, 2009

FRC Action Joins Coalition Effort Opposing Sebelius Nomination

FRC Action Joins Coalition Effort Opposing Sebelius Nomination

PA Legislature moves at turtle's pace

The Pennsylvania Legislature spending time debating whether to make the box turtle the official state reptile is so fitting because any progress in the most expensive, least effective legislature in the country comes at a slow pace, says The Pottstown Mercury.

From an editorial in today's edition questioning the Legislature's priorities:
These are apparently the priorities endorsed by the new House Democratic leadership, Speaker Keith McCall and Majority Leader Todd Eachus. All talk of reform in getting down to business and making the Legislature more accountable has not materialized into action under this leadership.

Truthfully, special designation of a turtle, as opposed to say a fast-moving snake or hopping frog in the amphibian class, actually makes sense.

The turtle could be the official mascot of the Legislature, symbolizing a slow moving body that accomplishes little over a long period of time.

The turtle could be the symbol for the Legislature's attitude toward tax reform: Move slowly, stop for long rests in between steps, and get nowhere.

Voters should expect and demand more from their elected representatives.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Obama taxes, spends, borrows too much'

By Congressman Joe Pitts

President Obama has been spending the last couple of weeks attempting to sell his massive new budget plan. He recently held a prime time news conference in an effort to convince the American people, and, presumably, members of his own party in Congress, to sign up for his big spending, deficit increasing, tax raising budget.

Let me just be clear. The President's budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. This is the most fiscally irresponsible budget in the history of our nation.

It raises taxes on every American family and business. The President has talked extensively about tax cuts for 95 percent of working families, but his cap and trade proposal would more than make up for those cuts with massive tax increases in energy costs that will be passed on to everyone who uses energy in any form.

The levels of spending in the budget are just staggering. During the tenth year of his budget, spending for just one single year would reach $5.1 trillion. In fact, if you add up all of the debt that's been accumulated by the 43 prior Presidents over the last 220 years, it comes to just half of the deficit spending the President is proposing over the next six years.

The administration isn't being honest about the true cost of the budget. They are manipulating the numbers with an overly optimistic economic outlook and unrealistic tax revenue projections. These are the very budget gimmicks the President claims to have done away with. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that the President wants to spend $2.3 trillion more than the White House claims.

There are fundamental philosophical differences at work in this budget debate. The President and his allies in Congress believe that taxing, spending, and borrowing is the best way to reach prosperity. They believe the government can make better choices than you can regarding everything from your healthcare, to the kind of car you drive, to how much energy you conserve.

On the other hand, Republicans believe you cannot tax and spend your way to prosperity. We believe in limited government and personal responsibility. We trust the American people to know what to do with their money better than government bureaucrats. We believe the American people are wise enough to make good individual decisions for their families, their communities, and their nation. We no not believe government bureaucrats need to tell us which doctor to go to, which car to drive, or how to care for our families.

The budget put forward by the White House would reduce the tax deductions some individuals can take on charitable donations. That means a transfer of billions of dollars from charities to the federal government. According to Harvard professor Martin Feldstein, this provision will drain $7 billion a year from the very charities that are needed most during this downturn and deposit it directly in the hands of federal agencies. Obama must never have read Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, where the famous Frenchman described the heart of our strength as a nation is our community and civic organizations that we today call non-profits.

Republicans in Congress know that we cannot oppose the President's plans without having good solid alternatives ourselves. This is why this week we released the Republican Road to Recovery, a document that lays out our principles for getting our economy back on track. It includes a commitment to curb spending, lower taxes, and control the debt. It calls for limiting the federal budget from growing faster than family budgets, providing universal access to healthcare, lowering taxes, and keeping energy and fuel costs low. It calls for an end to the bailouts and reform of our financial system, and keeping the cost of living low by fighting inflation.

During his press conference, the President continually used the word "invest," and spoke about moving toward an era of "save and invest." I don't understand how adding $9.3 trillion to the national debt can be called saving. That sounds like borrowing and spending to me.

When reporters pointed out Republicans' criticism of these new debt levels, all the President could say in defense was that President Bush ran deficits. This is true. Spending too much is one of the reasons Republicans lost control of the White House and Congress. In fact, I voted against a third of my own party's regular spending bills because I thought they spent too much. But that doesn't let President Obama off the hook for his plan, and his deficit spending makes President Bush's pale in comparison. The deficit in the first year of President Obama's budget plan is greater than all eight of the budget deficits during President Bush's administration combined.

This budget does not invest in our future; it spends the prosperity of future generations before they have the opportunity to make it. Much like the so-called stimulus bill, this plan is nothing more than "generational theft."

Rep. Joe Pitts is a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District.

U.S. Needs Full Protection Against North Korea

U.S. Needs Full Protection Against North Korea

RNC Celebrates Women's History Month

RNC Celebrates Women's History Month

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rendell violates his own hiring freeze ... again

Gov. Ed Rendell has made another exception to the hiring freeze he imposed last fall, offering a $102,000-a-year state job to ex-state Rep. Mike Veon's lobbying partner, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Her name is Colleen Kopp and she is Rendell's new senior deputy secretary for legislative affairs.

Veon, the former No. 2 ranking Democrat in the state House, is right smack in the middle of two of the biggest corruption scandals in Pennsylvania political history.

He is facing charges involving the Bonusgate scheme in which millions of dollars were awarded to state workers for allegedly conducting political work on taxpayers' time. Veon has also been charged in a scheme involving misuse of state money to fund a nonprofit organization that received $10 million from the state.

Kopp has not been charged with any wrongdoing. She does, however, have a long association with Veon, including stints as executive director and chief of staff of Veon's legislative staff.

Reporters Brad Bumsted and Debra Erdley said Kopp is the third prominent Democrat hired by Rendell since the hiring freeze was imposed.

From their article:
Rendell hired Colleen Kopp last week, the third high-profile exception he has made to the freeze he implemented in September. He hired defeated Democratic Rep. Dan Surra of Clearfield County for $95,000 a year to oversee a nature-tourism project, and last week agreed to pay Ken Snyder of Philadelphia $100,000 to tout the federal stimulus package. Snyder, a public relations man who consulted for Rendell in 2003, represented a nonprofit pillaged by convicted former Sen. Vincent Fumo.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Obama's Vietnam?

Disturbing editorial in Investor's Business Daily about the flawed Obama strategy in Afghanistan.

At the same time Obama is sending 21,000 more troops to battle the Taliban in Afghanistan, the president is sending another $15 billion to Pakistan, which is harboring the Taliban ... and some guy named Osama bin Laden.

Where is the outcry from the anti-war far left? This is Obama's war now. He can't blame George W. Bush anymore.

From the IBD editorial:
The plan to reward Islamabad with another $15 billion comes as stunning new U.S. intelligence — gathered from electronic surveillance and trusted informants — reveals Pakistan's spy service has been supporting the Taliban.

And they've been doing it with our intelligence, our weapons and our money. In effect, we are funding the Taliban.

Pakistan's secret war has pushed violence in Afghanistan to its highest level since U.S.-led forces invaded in 2001. U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan rose 35% in 2008.

Why would Pakistan's military intelligence destabilize the Afghan government? To limit archenemy India's influence next door. It's now confirmed that the Taliban bombed the Indian Embassy in Kabul with help from Pakistani intelligence, the ISI.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Ed Rendell appoints himself to stimulus oversight board

Let me get this straight. Gov. Ed Rendell has created the Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission and appointed himself to the commission to "ensure that federal stimulus dollars are spent wisely, transparently and in a manner that ensures accountability." Gimme a break!

It's like the fox guarding the chicken coop.

Trust Ed Rendell to make sure tax dollars are spent wisely? This is the man who has increased state spending by spent $8 billion in the past six years and has left the state with a $2.3 billion deficit.

Transparency? Rendell has awarded more than $1 billion in no-bid contracts to political cronies since taking over as governor.

Accountability? I'm still waiting for that "substantial" property tax Rendell promised.

With Rendell watching over the "stimulus" money, we might as well dig a hole and bury the Obama dollars.

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Creates Stimulus Oversight Commission

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This will give the kids nightmares

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

MyWireless.org Consumer Advisory - Beware of a New Form of an Old Scam: 'Missed Calls' from International Area Codes '649' and '809'

MyWireless.org Consumer Advisory - Beware of a New Form of an Old Scam: 'Missed Calls' from International Area Codes '649' and '809'

Another failing grade for Pennsylvania

The American Society of Civil Engineers has given Pennsylvania a "D" on its annual report card reviewing the condition of roads, water systems and critical infrastructure in the state.

Some of the key findings in the report card for Pennsylvania include:
* 50% of Pennsylvania’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
* There are 781 high hazard dams in Pennsylvania. A high hazard dam is defined as a dam whose failure would cause a loss of life and significant property damage.
* 529 of Pennsylvania's 3,196 dams are in need of rehabilitation to meet applicable state dam safety standards.
* 9% of high hazard dams in Pennsylvania have no emergency action plan (EAP). An EAP is a predetermined plan of action to be taken including roles, responsibilities and procedures for surveillance, notification and evacuation to reduce the potential for loss of life and property damage in an area affected by a failure or mis-operation of a dam.
* Pennsylvania's drinking water infrastructure needs an investment of $10.99 billion over the next 20 years.
* Pennsylvania ranked 16th in the quantity of hazardous waste produced and 5th in the total number of hazardous waste producers.
* Pennsylvania’s ports handled 108 million tons of waterborne traffic in 2005, ranking it 10th in the nation.
* Pennsylvania reported an unmet need of $43.2 million for its state public outdoor recreation facilities and parkland acquisition.
* 44% of Pennsylvania's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
* 34% of Pennsylvania's major urban highways are congested.
* Vehicle travel on Pennsylvania’s highways increased 27% from 1990 to 2007.
* Pennsylvania has $3 billion in backlogged road repairs.
* Pennsylvania has $7.18 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs.
The Society says the nation's infrastructure needs now total $2.2 trillion over the next five years -- an increase of 38 percent from just five years ago.

The American Society of Civil Engineers 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, including a link to state-specific report cards is available online at: www.infrastructurereportcard.org

Gov. Rendell has issued a self-serving press release that almost says he hasn't been around over the past six years as the state's infrastructure has deteriorated.

You can read that one at the link below:

Governor Rendell says 'D' Grade for PA's Infrastructure Demonstrates Need for Greater National Investment, Better Planning

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Dancing on newspapers' graves

Everyone knows the newspaper industry is struggling, but there seems to be a growing number of people enjoying the demise of some of the nation's great newspapers.

Who are these people and what do they have to gain?

Randy Siegel, co-founder of the Newspaper Project, argues that many of the people who are sounding the death knell have ulterior motives.

From Siegel's column in The Providence Journal:
As newspaper companies fight for survival and try to rectify many of the mistakes they have made in the last decade, they don’t deserve a break from anyone — their readers, their advertisers, or their competitors. What they do deserve, however, is a little more objective coverage of their problems and more detailed disclosure about the possible motives of those "critics" and "analysts" who are hardly unbiased observers.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

You can find out more about the Newspaper Project at www.newspaperproject.org

There's also an interesting column by Leonard Pitts Jr. that says politicians and government bureaucrats would love to see fewer newspapers because there would be no one left to hold them accountable.

From Pitts' column:
Too many of us fail to understand what that death would mean, believe newspapers provide no service they can't get elsewhere ... Local TV news specializes in crime, weather and sports. CNN has a national purview. Even the Internet primarily synthesizes reporting done in other media.

No, only the local paper performs the critical function of holding accountable the mayor, the governor, the local magnates and potentates for how they spend your money, run your institutions, validate or violate your trust. If newspapers go, no other entity will have the wherewithal to do that. Which means the next Blagojevich gets away with it.
Read "Don't expect sympathy cards from crooks, corrupt politicians," at The Miami Herald's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, March 27, 2009

Capitol Dome Lights to Go Dark for 'Earth Hour'

Capitol Dome Lights to Go Dark for 'Earth Hour'

Clarification Regarding Fees Applicable to Passport Applications Made on Passport Day in the USA - Saturday, March 28, 2009

Clarification Regarding Fees Applicable to Passport Applications Made on Passport Day in the USA - Saturday, March 28, 2009

Karl Rove: Obama could help GOP comeback

Karl Rove: Obama may be the best thing that's ever happened to the GOP

Interesting column by Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal arguing that voters have figured out that Emperor Obama Wears No Clothes.
Something powerful is stirring in the land, and it may not be good news for President Barack Obama, his agenda or the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama said Tuesday night his budget moves America "from an era of borrow and spend" to "save and invest." But people are realizing he would add $9.3 trillion to the national debt, doubling it in six years and nearly tripling it in 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). How can that be "save and invest"?

Many Americans are anxious -- and in some cases angry -- about a set of old issues: deficits, taxes and the national debt. Mr. Obama's radical budget, his administration's slapdash operating manner, and events such as the AIG bonuses have revived animosity over government's size and cost.

In response, tea parties are sprouting up, and opposition is growing to more bailouts, more spending, higher taxes and larger deficits, even among Congressional Democrats.

Last fiscal year, the deficit was $459 billion. For this fiscal year, it was $569 billion when Mr. Obama took office. Under his proposals, another $1.276 trillion will be added to the deficit this year, for a total of $1.845 trillion.
In other words, the American people just remembered why they can't trust Democrats with important decisions. It's a shame we can't go back and elect a real leader, Sen. John McCain, to the White House. His plan, freezing federal spending and cutting taxes for the middle class and businesses, was the right way to go.

Look for a major adjustment, as in a Republican sweep, in the 2010 Congressional elections. That is the first opportunity voters get to correct the mistake they made by electing Barack Obama as president.

Read the full column at the WSJ's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

New PA Plan Outlines Statewide, Regional Priorities for Water

New Plan Outlines Statewide, Regional Priorities to Balance Competing Demands for Water

Moonlighting PA lawmakers exposed

WTAE-TV4 in Pittsburgh has been doing some outstanding investigative reporting on the Pennsylvania Legislature, the most expensive in the country and arguably the most inefficient and corrupt state legislature in the U.S.

The latest investigation by reporter Jim Parsons exposes cases of lawmakers who benefit financially from ties to private interests, often leading to conflicts of interest.

A common example: Lawmakers leasing office space in buildings they own or buildings owned by political allies, all paid for by taxpayers.

From the Team 4 report:
Now, a Team 4 investigation finds many of our full-time legislators in Harrisburg get outside income from private interests -- and sometimes, those interests can conflict with the public's.

Remember, we pay our state lawmakers a minimum of almost $80,000 each to represent us full-time -- but our Team 4 investigation found a majority of lawmakers report income from at least one other source.

And in reading through this annual financial interest statement for each state lawmaker, we also discovered something else: More than one-third of state senators and a quarter of House members sit on legislative committees that oversee the industries from which those same lawmakers reported receiving income, owning stock or serving on a board of directors.

Critics say that's a conflict of interest. But there's no law against it.
You can read the transcript of the report online or watch the actually report by the Team 4 investigation online at the station's Web site, www.thepittsburghchannel.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Information About PennDOT Maintenance Operations Available Online

Information About PennDOT Maintenance Operations Available Online

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rep. Pitts: How Congress Affects the Economy

Americans United for Life Applauds Ruling Directing Missouri to Issue 'Choose Life' Plate

Americans United for Life Applauds Ruling Directing Missouri to Issue 'Choose Life' Plate

Pajamas TV Kicks Off 'Generational Theft Contest' Today

Pajamas TV Kicks Off 'Generational Theft Contest' Today

FRC Action PAC Endorses Jim Tedisco for Congress

FRC Action PAC Endorses Jim Tedisco for Congress

PA Legislature has its priorities in order

Pennsylvania is facing a $2.3 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Thousands of state workers could be furloughed in the next couple of months.

More than 41,000 Pennsylvania residents lost their jobs in February.

Nearly 1 million Pennsylvania residents are without health insurance.

Pennsylvania has the most "structurally deficient" bridges in the United States.

There's a strong possibility the state's slot parlors won't generate enough revenues to trigger any property tax relief this year.

With so many pressing issues, what is the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives up to these days?

What are the legislative priorities the most expensive state legislature in the country is working on? Here's a prime example:
House Bill 621 - An act selecting, designating and adopting the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) as the official reptile for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, passed out of the State Government Committee today. A full House vote is expected next week.
Glad to see House Speaker Keith McCall and Majority Leader Todd Eachus have their priorities in order. Keep up the good work, boys.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wagner accuses Rendell of holding 'fire sale'

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is reviewing the Pennsylvania Department of General Service's agreement to sell the State Office Building in Pittsburgh for $4.6 million, claiming the purchase price amounts to a "fire sale."

The Department of General Services announced Tuesday it was selling the 16-story structure to River Vue Associates LP of Canonsburg.

"I continue to believe this is the worst possible deal for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania," Wagner said in a statement. "It makes no sense for the commonwealth to sell this prized asset -- the signature building of state government in Western Pennsylvania -- for the lowest possible price during the most depressed real-estate market in decades."

Department of General Services Secretary James P. Creedon countered that selling the Pittsburgh State Office Building is in the best interest of taxpayers.

Creedon said he welcomes the audit from Wagner's office.

"We have discussed this decision and engaged in the process to sell the Pittsburgh State Office Building publicly for more than two years," Creedon said in a statement. "While the auditor general seemed to only become interested in this topic during the last month, he is welcome to review any and all of our material and we will fully cooperate with him in that review."

Creedon says the decision to sell the 50-year-old building was based on many factors, including "significant annual operating costs and the substantial costs necessary to rehabilitate the structure."

Engineering estimates show that nearly $65 million in state funds would be needed to thoroughly rehabilitate the building, Creedon said.

The state will save $14 million by selling the building and moving state employees into leased space in downtown Pittsburgh, Creedon said.

Wagner isn't buying it.

"The land alone is worth more than the sale price," Wagner said in a press release, adding that the state has agreed to purchase the City of Pittsburgh's Municipal Courts Building, which is one-fifth the size of the State Office Building and is situated in a less desirable location, under the Liberty Bridge and next to the Allegheny County Jail, for $9 million.

The State Office Building sale is a bad deal, Wagner argues, because "there would not be enough profits from the sale to offset moving expenses and pay for the first year of leases at multiple locations in downtown Pittsburgh, saddling taxpayers with an additional spending burden."

Read Wagner's press release at the link below:

Auditor General Jack Wagner Will Review State's Agreement to Sell Pittsburgh State Office Building

Read Creedon's response at the link below:

DGS Secretary Says Sale of Pittsburgh State Office Building Is in Best Interest of Taxpayers

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tony Phyrillas on the radio today

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

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

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

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

PennDOT sponsors 'Pick It Up PA Days'

PennDOT Seeks Volunteers to Build on Roadside Cleanup Success

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The post office is looking for a bailout

Guess who's looking for a bailout?

Postmaster General John Potter told Congress today the U.S. Postal Service will run out of money this year without help from the government.

The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion last year and expects a bigger loss this year, Potter said. The agency is projecting a $6 billion loss in 2010.

How the hell do you lose that much money when you're a government monopoly?

Potter is asking Congress for permission to cut Saturday mail delivery to save $3.5 billion, but it still doesn't get the Postal Service out of the red. Maybe Potter can hire some of the executives at AIG.

If you need any further proof that the government can't do its most basic jobs, look no further than the Postal Service.

So of course, Barack Obama wants the government to do more, including taking over the health system in this country.

Picture yourself waiting in line to see a doctor just like you wait in line to buy stamps.

Stop the madness.

U.S. Postal Service Details Economic Viability Strategy

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

WSJ on Arlen Specter

To put Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to oppose the Democrats' card check bill into perspective, check out the "The Power of 41" editorial in the Wall Street Journal:
If anyone were still in doubt as to the importance of a Senate filibuster, we'd point them to Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter's announcement yesterday that he will not support "card check." Maybe Big Labor won't be able to up-end the economy, after all.

Mr. Specter's decision means Republicans now have 41 votes against "card check" -- legislation that would do away with secret ballots in union organization elections. The Pennsylvanian was the only Senate Republican to have previously voted in favor of a debate on the bill, and as such had been the target of a furious lobbying fight by unions and the business community. Yet to be seen is whether Mr. Specter's decision will inspire any number of swing state Democrats to follow his lead, and thereby neutralize an issue for which they are getting pilloried by their home-state business communities.
It's a shame Specter couldn't come to his senses when the Obama trillion-dollar stimulus bill was up for a vote earlier this year.

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

PA Gaming Control Board Fines Casino for Underage Gambling Violations

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board issued fines totaling $29,000 to a casino operator and a vendor for separate violations.

The most serious fine, $24,000, was levied against Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., operators of Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack in Bensalem, for two separate instance of allowing underage gambling to occur.

PA Gaming Control Board Fines Casino for Underage Gambling Violations

ADL Calls Oliphant Cartoon 'Hideously Anti-Semitic'

This drawing by far-left editorial cartoonist Pat Oliphant, published in newspapers today, has drawn the ire of the Anti-Defamation League.

Read the ADL's press release condemning the cartoon at the link below:

ADL Calls Oliphant Cartoon 'Hideously Anti-Semitic'

Argall to help pick successor

The Pennsylvania Republican Party has released the names of 17 conferees who will gather Thursday in Schuylkill County to pick a candidate for the May 19 special election to fill the vacant 124th state House seat in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

The seat became available when state Rep. David Argall won a special election to fill the 29th state Senate seat held by the late Sen. James Rhoades.

One of the 17 conferees is a familiar name: None other than Sen. David Argall, who held the 124th House seat for the past 24 years.

Here's the full list of conferees:

Berks County:
Martha Bertolet
Sandra Christman
Ernest Comisac
David Hunsberger
Joseph Rudderow
Michael Stevens
Jason Valick

Schuylkill County:
Frances Adams
David Argall
Rudy Gherghel
Micah Gursky
John Halabura
Carole Miller
Tom Nickels
Nick Sanko
Adolph Slovik
Diane Thompson

Here's some background on the conference provided by the state GOP:
Due to the fact that this State House District is made up of more than one county, PA GOP Bylaws dictate that the State Party preside over the conferee meeting. Each of the counties that comprise the 124th House District, both Berks and Schuylkill counties, are represented by their respective number of allotted conferees based on the electoral results of last year's presidential race. Conferees must be registered Republican electors that reside in the 124th House District. County Party Bylaws dictates the counties' conferee selection processes.

During the conferee meeting, each candidate will have the opportunity to make a short presentation. After each candidate has an opportunity to be heard, the conferees will vote to nominate a candidate to fill our Party's position on the ballot. A nominated candidate must secure a majority plus one of the votes cast to earn the nomination. No proxies will be permitted at this meeting, and only conferees will be permitted to vote.

Any registered Republican, 21 years or older, who has resided in the 124th State House District for at least one year may seek the Party's nomination. All candidates interested in seeking the Party's nomination must contact Republican Party of Pennsylvania Political Director Chad Weaver by calling 717-234-4901, ext. 118 or by e-mailing cweaver@pagop.org
While there will be a Democratic candidate on the ballot, this is a heavily Republican district and the GOP nominee will probably end up winning the seat, especially with Argall's endorsement.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Viguerie decries Notre Dame honors for Obama

A noted Catholic university invites a pro-abortion politician to speak at its spring commencement. What's wrong with this picture?

The Obama/Notre Dame scandal is part of a wider pattern, says ConservativeHQ.com President Richard Viguerie, "not just in Catholic institutions. One institution after another has failed the American people. Wall Street, the National Media, Corporate America, Washington, Hollywood, and leaders of most religious organizations have betrayed the American people who look to them for guidance. In turn, Americans have lost confidence in the leaders of these institutions."

Read more from Viguerie at the link below:

Richard Viguerie: Notre Dame Honor for Obama is Part of a Collapse in American Institutions and Their Leaders

The entitlement class

Excellent editorial in the Allentown Morning Call contrasting the penny-pinching by Pennsylvania taxpayers to make ends meet in these tough economic times while the political class in Harrisburg continues to squander public dollars.

From the editorial:
Taxpayers understand what it means to pinch pennies. And, they grasp that in this economy, doing so is a must. It's too bad more people in state government don't get it.

Pennsylvanians are trying to economize and spend smarter so it is outrageous that in Harrisburg it's still business as usual. These elected officials and public employees need shorter leashes.
Taxpayers had a golden opportunity to reign in the professional political class in Harrisburg last November, but swept up by Obama fever, too many voters cast party-line votes and sent the same people back to the Legislature.

It's clear that the "new" Legislative leadership is just an extension of the Perzel/DeWeese era. House Democrats, especially, are abusing their privilege and sticking taxpayers with the bill.

The next opportunity to storm the gilded palace known as the state Capitol won't come until 2010.

Read the full editorial, "Harrisburg spenders send a message of entitlement," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Rohrer introduces 10th Amendment Resolution

Following up on a successful rally in Harrisburg to promote state's rights, Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks, has introduced the 10th Amendment Resolution in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

"Together, we sent a strong signal to federal and state lawmakers that we expect them to live up to their commitment to defend the U.S. Constitution," Rohrer said of the 10th Amendment Rally on March 16.

To track the status of the 10th Amendment Resolution – House Resolution 95 – visit www.legis.state.pa.us (In the top-right corner of the Web site there is a box titled "Find Legislation By." Click on the circle to the left of "Bill #" and type in "HR 95" to view the legislation and track its progress.)

State Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Berks/Lebanon, plans to introduce a similar resolution in the Pennsylvania Senate.

You can learn more about the state's rights movement at Rohrer's Web site

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Meehan reports $700,000 in campaign coffers

From the Patrick Meehan camp:
The Meehan for Pennsylvania Committee announced today it has raised over $700,000 to date.

"I am grateful for the tremendous support we have received up to this point. It is clear that Pennsylvanians are hungry for a change in leadership, and I'm pleased that our message of fiscal responsibility, ethics reform and accountability in government is resonating," said Pat Meehan. "I look forward to continuing to explore a run for governor and to visit with Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth to listen to their concerns and ideas to best develop a strong plan that tackles Pennsylvania's many challenges."
Meehan, the former U.S. Attorney for Southeastern Pennsylvania, is one of three high-profile Republicans exploring a run for Pennsylvania governor in 2010. The others are PA Attorney General Tom Corbett and Congressman Jim Gerlach, PA-6.

For more information about Meehan, visit www.MeehanforPA.com

Obama Giving Federal Small Business Money to Fortune 500 Firms

Obama Giving Federal Small Business Money to Fortune 500 Firms

PA DEP Offers Energy Workshops Statewide To Help Small Businesses Improve Efficiency, Cut Costs

The workshops will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on the following dates at these locations:

* April 2 at Gannon University, Waldron Campus Center, Yehl Ballroom, 124 West 7th St., Erie
* April 29 at Penn College of Technology, Thompson Professional Development Center, Mountain Laurel Room, 1 College Ave., Williamsport
* May 6 at Connelley School, Auditorium, 1501 Bedford Ave., Pittsburgh
* May 19 at Elizabethtown College, Brossman Commons Student Center, Event Space Room, 1 Alpha Dr., Elizabethtown
* May 27 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Crimson Event Center, Corner of Maple Street and Pratt Drive, Indiana
* June 2 at Bucks County Community College, Penn Hall Room 257, 275 Swamp Road, Newton
* June 3 at Wilkes University, Henry Student Center Ballroom, 84 West South St., Wilkes-Barre

For more information, check out this DEP press release at the link below:

PA DEP Offers Energy Workshops Statewide To Help Small Businesses Improve Efficiency, Cut Costs

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One Question for Obama

From the American Small Business League:
As America slides deeper and deeper into recession, 27 million small business owners want President Barack Obama to answer one question at his press conference Tuesday.

Why are you allowing Fortune 500 firms to participate in government economic stimulus contracting programs designated for small businesses?

Since 2003, over a dozen federal investigations have been released, which found billions of dollars in federal small business contracts have been diverted to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of other large businesses around the world.

A recent investigative story by the Washington Post found up to 38.5 percent of all federal small business contracts were actually going to Fortune 500 firms alone.
Read the full release at the link below:

Small Businesses Want President Obama to Answer One Question

Capitol South - March Madness

A.L.L. Condemns Obama Appearance at Notre Dame University

A.L.L. Condemns Obama Appearance at Notre Dame University

Dems Mess With Winning Formula

After eight years in the wilderness, the Democratic Party figured out how to retake power in Washington with the 2008 election of Barack Obama.

So what is the party working on now?

A commission will now recommend new ways for the party to pick its candidates.

Perhaps to avoid ending up with another embarrassment like Obama?

"This Commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate," said DNC Chairman Tim Kaine.

So what are you saying, Tim? A bunch of elitist party bosses and special interest groups picked Obama in 2008?

The Democratic Change Commission will address three issues: 1) changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held 2) reducing the number of superdelegates and 3) improving the caucus system, according to the Democratic National Committee.

The 35-member commission must issue its report and recommendations to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee no later than January 1, 2010.

For more, follow the link below:

Gov. Kaine Names Democratic Change Commission to Recommend Changes to 2012 Presidential Nominating Process

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

35,000 visitors

My site counter has reached a new milestone: 35,000. Thanks for checking out THE CENTRIST. Come back again.

Pro-Lifers Plans at Notre Dame: Keep Obama from Speaking

Pro-Lifers Plans at Notre Dame: Keep Obama from Speaking

New Ad: Obama and Liberals Shouldn't Be 'Shocked'; American Issues Project Highlights the Hypocrisy of 'Change' Amidst AIG Bonuses and Overall Spending

New Ad: Obama and Liberals Shouldn't Be 'Shocked'; American Issues Project Highlights the Hypocrisy of 'Change' Amidst AIG Bonuses and Overall Spending

GOP to nominate candidate for vacant 124th state House seat

The Pennsylvania Republican Party is holding a nomination session Thursday at 6 p.m. in Schuylkill County to find a candidate to represent the party for the special election to fill the vacated 124th House District seat in the state Legislature.

The special election will be held on Tuesday, May 19, in conjunction with the regular primary election in Pennsylvania.

The 124th House seat is open after Rep. David Argall won a special election to fill the 29th state Senate District seat.

Argall has held the 124th House seat for the past 24 years and the seat should stay in Republican hands.

"Dave Argall's big victory earlier this month gives our party a tremendous amount of confidence heading into this election," Pennsylvania GOP Executive Director Luke Bernstein said. "Like the nomination process we conducted in the 29th State Senatorial District late last year, we will again run an open and transparent conferee process. Good candidates win these races and I am confident that the Republican Party will select the best candidate to represent this district."

The Pennsylvania Department of State has determined that candidates' paperwork must be filed no later than Monday, March 30, to run for the 124th House seat.

Here's some more details about Thursday's event from the PA GOP:
Because the 124th House District is made up of more than one county, both Berks and Schuylkill counties, PA GOP Bylaws dictate that the state Party preside over the conferee meeting.

Conferees must be registered Republican electors that reside in the 124th House District.

County Party bylaws dictate the counties' conferee selection processes. Conferees are allotted based on the electoral results of last year's presidential race and distributed proportionally to each county. We have informed each county that there will be ten Republican conferees from Schuylkill County and seven Republican conferees from Berks County. Once the Party receives the names and the conferees are verified, the party will release a complete list of all seventeen conferees.

During the conferee meeting, each candidate will have the opportunity to make a short presentation. After each candidate has an opportunity to be heard, the conferees will vote to nominate a candidate to fill our Party's position on the ballot. A nominated candidate must secure a majority plus one of the votes cast to earn the nomination. No proxies will be permitted at this meeting, and only conferees will be permitted to vote.

Any registered Republican, 21 years or older, who has resided in the 124th State House District for at least one year may seek the Party's nomination.

All candidates interested in seeking the Party's nomination must contact Republican Party of Pennsylvania Political Director Chad Weaver by calling 717-234-4901, ext 118or by emailing cweaver@pagop.org so that we can ensure that every interested candidate receives all the details of the process.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Back at No. 1

After one week at No. 2, TONY PHYRILLAS has returned to its familiar spot at No. 1 in the Weekly Influence Index published by BlogNetNews.com/Pennsylvania

If you're keeping score, TONY PHYRILLAS has held the No. 1 spot for 9 of the past 11 weeks, including a record-setting six weeks in a row.

Here's this week's Top 10

Save The GOP (2)
Pawatercooler.com (3)
GrassrootsPA (4)
Lehigh Valley Somebody (5)
Capitol Ideas (6)
Suburban Guerrilla (7)
Lehigh Valley Ramblings (8)
Comments From Left Field (10)

Obama fundamentals

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rendell nominates Philly lawyer to PA Turnpike Commission

Does Ed Rendell know anybody other than Philadelphia lawyers?

There's a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and Rendell nominates A. Michael Pratt, a Philly lawyer, to fill the four-year term.

I think there should be a moratorium on any more Philadelphia lawyers serving in any government capacity in Pennsylvania.

Rendell's pick is subject to Senate confirmation.

Operation Rescue Founder to Open Office Near Notre Dame; 'Our Mission: Derail the Plans for Obama to Speak at Commencement.'

Operation Rescue Founder to Open Office Near Notre Dame; 'Our Mission: Derail the Plans for Obama to Speak at Commencement.'

Fumo verdict has a long reach

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin, the target of an FBI corruption investigation, gave himself an extended leave of absence on Saturday.

Gov. Ed Rendell handed Rubin a permanent leave on Monday, removing him from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission effective immediately.

Rubin has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but his name came up during the corruption trial of former sate Sen. Vince Fumo, who was found guilty last week of 137 charges.

Rubin, of Philadelphia, has served on the Commission since June 1998 and was elected chairman in 2003.

Read Rendell's letter to Rubin at the link below:

PA Governor Rendell's Office Releases Letter to Mitchell Rubin

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA Awards $6.6 Million to 24 Airports

PA Governor Rendell Announces $6.6 Million Investment in 24 Airports

Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Do you get the idea that our nation and state are in deep dodo?'

Camp Hill citizen-activist Bill McIntyre has been perusing the newspaper headlines lately and is having some doubts about the people running Pennsylvania and the United States, too.

Here is his latest mailing to "Friends of Responsible Government" and members of the Executive, Legislative & Judicial Branches of PA Government:
Dear Friends,

"Obama's plan: $9.3 trillion in red?" appeared as the lead headline at the top front page in today's Harrisburg Patriot-News. Another headline read "Rendell sees stimulus money as state's 'lifeline'" and appeared at the bottom of the page.

Headlines are defined as the most important items of news in a newspaper or broadcast news media. A well composed headline will draw the readers and/or listeners attention to the article that follows. Some headlines across the state that have caught my attention since my last letter were:

"Auditor General Wagner to audit liquor control board contract"

"Governor hires $100K publicist to tout stimulus money"


"Fumo found guilty on all 137 counts"

"Fumo corruption case expands; others could be investigated"

"Pennsylvania lawmakers have history of criminal prosecution"

"Losses top $28 billion for 2 state pensions"

"Legislators want 'equitable' budget cuts"

"E-mail may tie DeWeese to scandal"

"DeWeese, Dems play tug-of-war with case file"

"Rendell says LCB deal should be investigated"

"President of PHEAA's fundraising arm fired"

"Former PHEAA head wants severance package"

It just goes on and on!

Do you get the idea that our nation and state are in deep dodo? We have mortgaged our future and future generations. Yet, government continues to grow and to spend beyond our means to pay for it all. One headline that caught my eye was "Speaker's pen gift adds $4,000 to Pa. red ink" by Eric Heyl of the Tribune-Review.

Eric wrote - "As is customary for new speakers, McCall rewarded all 203 well-compensated House members with a gift from their leader. He bought them each an $18.95 desktop pen set and purchased seven spare sets – spending nearly $4,000. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday."

I would have been impressed with Speaker McCall's generous gesture had he paid for the pens himself. Eric's article continues – "McCall's annual salary is $122,245, but he's having the public pick up the tab for the pens. McCall essentially is attempting to expense an outrageous and unnecessary expenditure, one that his bosses – state taxpayers – shouldn't tolerate."

With a projected $2.3 billion deficit in this year's budget, every penny counts. Speaker McCall evidently didn't listen to his grandmother who might have told him, like my grandmother told me; if you watch your pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. With our projected budget shortfall, $4,000 is pennies, precious pennies!

A very concerned,
Bill McIntyre
About spending ourselves into bankruptcy

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obama's Worst Nightmare

Where are the adults?

The bumbling start of the Obama Administration should come as no surprise considering Obama's age and minimal political inexperience, argues Alan Caruba in an excellent commentary titled, "Electing a Child to be President"

From Caruba's column:
His record as a one-term Illinois legislator is replete with "present" votes that revealed little about his political positions. He did not even wait to complete a full term as a U.S. Senator before almost immediately beginning to run for the highest office in the land.

In terms of political leadership, he is a child among grownups and a petulant one at that.

His first months in office have demonstrated an astonishing lack of judgment regarding those who he appointed to office, many of whom were revealed to be tax cheats and others who have since demonstrated a distinct lack of competence or preparation for positions of critical importance. Why, for example, would he appoint a longtime political operative like Leon Panetta to be the Director of the CIA?
Read the full post at Warning Signs

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Mystery Solved

RNC Launches New Web Video: 'Mystery Solved'

State Capitol Roundup

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

Lawmakers Question Governor's Authority to Shift Program Funding

Reps. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) and Mario Civera (R-Delaware) are questioning the governor's authority to unilaterally shift state funding to programs other than those for which it was originally intended. Citing the state constitution, state law and existing case law, the lawmakers say they stand prepared to work with the governor to address changing budget needs through the legislative process. Additionally, the lawmakers urged the governor to produce a new budget proposal that reflects the use of federal stimulus funds. House Republicans have repeatedly urged the governor to use funds from the federal stimulus package for capital investments and job creation for out-of-work Pennsylvanians. For details, visit PAHouseGOP.com and click on "State Budget News."

$100,000 Price Tag for Part-Time Public Relations Consultant Tough to Swallow

Ironically, the same day the governor's state worker furlough plan was released, it was revealed that the governor hired a $100,000 part-time consultant. Ken Snyder, a Philadelphia political strategist and media consultant was hired to publicize Rendell's plan for using the federal stimulus funds. Republican members questioned the new use of tax dollars when the state should be cutting back on spending. The administration continues to dole out lucrative contracts and deals to well-connected individuals. Earlier this year, numerous lawmakers expressed concern when Rendell hired a former member of the House Democratic leadership team to a newly created, $95,000-a-year position at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

GOP Lawmakers Question Gaming Control Board's Travel Expenses

Several House and Senate Republicans gathered this week to demand answers for extravagant travel arrangements for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) at taxpayers' expense. Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) and Sen. Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) led the event, further criticizing the PGCB for seeking a funding increase at a time when state agencies have been asked to trim expenses. Despite an ongoing travel ban, officials from the PGCB made numerous international trips, namely to Italy where members stayed in luxury hotels, dining poolside at a cost of as much as $799 a day for food and accommodations. Other trips included visits to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macao and a number of U.S. cities. In the coming weeks, Vereb and Orie both intend to introduce proposals to create a searchable database for all travel by state employees.

Legislation to Reduce Wasteful Spending and Return Tax Dollars Introduced

House Republican Whip Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) joined forces this week to introduce legislation that would eliminate spending on wasteful government programs and cut taxes for hard-working middle class families and small businesses. While the proposal would return money back to those who need it most and encourage business development, Gov. Ed Rendell characterized the plan to cut taxes as "ludicrous." House Republican Leader Sam Smith noted that if the governor labels tax cuts during a budget crunch as ludicrous, he should also label his own attempts to increase spending by more than $700 million as the same.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA Auditor General Jack Wagner says PLCB Contract Review Will Focus on Bidding Process, Conflicts of Interest

PA Auditor General Jack Wagner says PLCB Contract Review Will Focus on Bidding Process, Conflicts of Interest

Additional Benefits Now Available to Unemployed Pennsylvanians

Governor Rendell Says Additional Benefits Now Available to Unemployed Pennsylvanians

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama enlists ACORN to help with 2010 Census

The Obama Administration is turning to ACORN, the radical group responsible for injecting voter fraud into the 2008 election, to help out with conducting the 2010 Census.

What can possibly go wrong?

Plenty, according to Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason, who issued the following statement:
"ACORN's actions last year certainly did little to earn the public's trust and I am sure that most Americans are concerned about this group's ability to deliver an accurate count," Gleason said. "News first broke that the President wanted to move the U.S. census into the White House, now he is enlisting the help of ACORN, a group that is widely believed to be consistently breaking the law. President Obama is trying to interject politics into the 2010 U.S. census, hoping to increase the reach of his Party throughout the country. It will be tough to trust ACORN's counts or any data they submit.

"With the economy in decline it is sad to see that the President is so concerned about the 2010 census. I also find it even more troubling that the Census Bureau wouldn't be willing to offer these jobs to the many hard-working men and women already looking for a job, rather than do political favors for groups that helped elect our current president."
Read more about the controversy, read "Obama blamed for ACORN's role in census" by Mike Wereschagin, in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Also check out this post at NetRightNation.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Pitts: American people deserve 100% of AIG money returned

Look Who's Talking

Win Up to $2,500 by Entering the Please, No More Taxes! Video Contest

From our friends at The Commonwealth Foundation, who are always looking out for the taxpayer:
Need some extra cash? There's plenty of time left to enter the Please, No More Taxes! video contest!

The first-prize video will earn $2,500, while second and third-prize winners will receive $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Entries will be judged based on how well they incorporate humor, creativity, persuasiveness, and accuracy.

Videos must be uploaded at http://www.youtube.com/group/nomoretaxes by 11:59 p.m. on April 5th. Winners will be announced on “Tax Day,” April 15th, 2009.

For complete contest rules and details on how to submit a video entry, visit PleaseNoMoreTaxes.org

Another Rendell Crony Lands State Job

Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason is wondering why Gov. Ed Rendell is violating his own hiring freeze for a $100,000-a-year consultant to publicize how Rendell plans to spend the $18 billion the governor expects to receive in stimulus dollars from the federal government.

"Gov. Rendell's decision to hire a consultant to spread the word about his spending initiatives is outrageous," Gleason said in a statement. "Gov. Rendell proves once again that the taxpayers never win. He is using Pennsylvanians' tax dollars to publicize the egregious spending he is doing. Even more troubling is the fact that he gave the contract to a former employee. At a time when ethics are being questioned in Harrisburg, the governor's actions will do little to assure weary Pennsylvanians. So much for a hiring freeze!"

More from Gleason's press release:
According to a report from the Associated Press, Gov. Rendell is paying a former employee, Ken Snyder, $100,000 to publicize the programs he funds with the billions of federal economic stimulus dollars the state expects to receive.

Gleason concluded, "Democrats at every level continue to fail our nation on the economy. In the midst of an economic crisis, our President has spent more time filling out his NCAA basketball bracket and appearing on late night television than he has dealing with the fact that his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner continues to make costly mistake after mistake. Here in the Keystone State, Governor Rendell is using the stimulus dollars to launch a media campaign to better his image in the media. I am not sure this is the 'change' people were looking for when they cast their ballots last November and I guarantee Rendell's publicist will do nothing to help our economy get back on track."
For more on the Pennsylvania Republican Party, visit its Web site, http://www.pagop.org/

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Debt Heads: Americans Follow Record $11 Trillion National Debt on Twitter

Debt Heads: Americans Follow Record $11 Trillion National Debt on Twitter

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Author: Obama Likely to Continue Neo-Con Policies

Obama Likely to Continue Neo-Con Policies According to Author of New Book

Bauer: Obama proves he's soft on terrorism

Bauer Calls Plans to Release Terrorist in the U.S. 'An Outrage...Confirming Our Worst Fears'

FRC Action Urges Senators to Vote No on Kagan Confirmation

Another radical nominated by Barack Obama to a key post in his administration is expected to be ratified by the Senate.

FRC Action Urges Senators to Vote No on Kagan Confirmation

Rendell stands by gambing board

So let me get this straight. Because the slot parlors in Pennsylvania are raking in the money, it's OK for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to violate the governor's ban on travel outside the state.

Typical liberal logic for you.

An investigation by a Pittsburgh television station revealed that state employees were staying in luxury hotels and getting more than $300 a day for meals.

In one case, a gaming board official traveled to a conference in Las Vegas after announcing his resignation. In another case, five top Gaming Control Board officials flew to Rome, Italy, for an international gaming conference and stayed at a luxurious hotel costing $434 per night, says WTAE-TV 4.

Check out the full report at the station's Web site.

Rendell imposed a ban on out-of-state travel as a cost-cutting measure last fall when it became clear the state was headed for a budget deficit.

The projected deficit is now $2.3 billion.

Read Rendell's full statement, saying it's OK for some to ignore the ban, at the link below:

Governor Rendell's Office Issues Statement on Gaming Control Board Travel

It's obvious Rendell isn't serious about the massive budget deficit he created. He's planning to leave the mess for the next governor to clean up.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA Insurance Department Approves First-Ever 'Green' Discount for Homeowners Insurance

PA Insurance Department Approves First-Ever 'Green' Discount for Homeowners Insurance

The maturity question

Here we go again.

Republican lawmakers suggest an alternative to Gov. Ed Rendell's tax-and-spend agenda that has sunk the state into a $2.3 billion fiscal hole and how does the governor respond?

With a patented Ed Rendell Temper Tantrum, complete with childish name-calling.

From an article by Brad Bumsted in today's edition of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

HARRISBURG — Republican Rep. Mike Turzai "must be nuts" for seeking a state tax cut when the state needs more revenue, Gov. Ed Rendell said Tuesday.

Turzai of Bradford Woods yesterday suggested reducing the state's 3.07 percent personal income tax to 2.99 percent, and more deeply cut the Department of Community and Economic Development's budget than Rendell proposed in February.

"It's ludicrous," said Rendell. He said it might mean a $20 tax break for most people.

With the state facing a $2.6 billion deficit and people losing jobs during the recession, the last thing Pennsylvania needs is Turzai's plan, Rendell said. "It's about creating more jobs and putting more money back into the economy," he said.

Turzai, the minority whip, fired back: "I think the governor is nuts for having overspent the last six years. He increased spending by 40 percent while the inflation rate increased 20 percent. He's absolutely nuts for mortgaging the future of our kids and grandchildren. He's borrowed over $6 billion that we will pay back to the tune of $10 billion, all to satisfy his insatiable appetite (for spending)."
Check out what POLICY BLOG has to say about Rendell's tactics, Who's Really "Nuts" on Economic Policy?

For more background on the GOP proposal, check out my earlier post, A GOP alternative to Rendell path of fiscal ruin

GrassrootsPA also has a response to the governor from House GOP Leader Sam Smith posted at its site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Blocking Obama's radical agenda

Moderate Democrats are vowing to block Obama's radical agenda.

For more, check out "Bayh's New Gang of 15 May Put Brakes on Obama Agenda" at POLITICAL MACHINE and "Some Dems want brake in Obama plans" at POLITICO

'Talking Politics' on the radio

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

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

Among this week's topics:

Is the Obama Administration the most incompetent ever?

Is the Fumo conviction the tip of the iceberg in Pennsylvania corruption?

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

The one-hour show is simulcast at www.pottsmerc.com and www.1370wpaz.com

White House Makes Correct Decision On Veterans Insurance Proposal

White House Makes Correct Decision On Veterans Insurance Proposal

PennDOT Offering Free Seat Belt, Traffic Safety Programs to Schools During Enforcement Wave

PennDOT Offering Free Seat Belt, Traffic Safety Programs to Schools During Enforcement Wave

RNC Chairman Steele Names Political Director

RNC Chairman Steele Names Political Director

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Three New Military Museum Exhibits Showcase History of National Guard in Pennsylvania

Three New Military Museum Exhibits Showcase History of National Guard in Pennsylvania

GOP alternative to failed Rendell policies

We've tried it Ed Rendell's way for six years and look where it's gotten us: Massive budget deficits, high taxes and a lower standard-of-living for most Pennsylvanians.

Rendell is offering more of the same for the coming fiscal year: Higher spending and higher taxes.

House Republicans have a better idea: Reduce state spending, eliminate waste and cut taxes for workers and business owners.

Eliminating spending on wasteful government programs and giving money back to hard-working middle-class families and small businesses need to be top priorities for the 2009-10 state budget, Republican Whip Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) said Monday at a Capitol press conference.

"We need to bring fiscal sanity back to Pennsylvania's state government," Turzai said. "The governor's proposed cuts were a good starting place, but don't go nearly far enough. We need to make significant changes to the Commonwealth's budget and reprioritize spending on the programs that benefit our citizens the most."

Monday's presentation focused on additional cuts under the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and rolling back the Personal Income Tax (PIT) to 2.99 percent from the current 3.07 percent level.

Turzai plans to roll out additional cost-saving measures over the next couple of weeks.

From a press release issued by Turzai and Quigley:
During his 2009-10 budget address, Gov. Ed Rendell proposed eliminating 24 DCED programs, saving $135.6 million. Turzai proposes eliminating another eight programs to save an additional $169.8 million. The programs eliminated under Turzai and Quigley's proposal are: the Opportunity Grant Program, Infrastructure Development, Community Conservation and Employment, Infrastructure and Facilities Improvements Grant, Economic Advancement, Community and Regional Development and World Trade PA. By eliminating these programs, the state can reduce more than $300 million from last year’s expenditures and return that money back to Pennsylvania’s middle-class families and small businesses.

"With the state of our economy, the best thing we can do to improve our situation is to get money back in the hands of the people," said Quigley. "Reducing the PIT and increasing the buying power of Pennsylvania's families will raise confidence and allow people to spend more, which will help to pull us out of this slump."

"Small businesses and middle-class families are hurt the most during tough economic times," Turzai added. "Reducing the PIT to 2.99 percent will help Pennsylvania's families and small businesses better survive this economic downturn. As is often said, we cannot tax ourselves into prosperity. Now is the time to reduce taxes, put tax dollars back in the pockets of hard-working tax payers and improve Pennsylvania’s economy."
For more information, visit Turzai's Web site at www.RepTurzai.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

PA to Track Consumer Complaints for Shoddy Home Improvement Projects

State Rep. Curt Schroder (R-Chester County) reminds residents that all contractors doing more than $5,000 of home improvement work annually must be registered with the state, effective July 1.

From a release issued by Schroder:
In an effort to provide residents with better information when choosing a contractor, details of the contactors' registration will be placed on contracts, promotional materials and business cards so that consumers may use the information to reference a statewide database of complaints.

Every year, thousands of Pennsylvanians file consumer complaints about home improvement contractors who take money and fail to perform satisfactory construction or repairs. These complaints typically increase during the spring, when homeowners are more likely to hire contractors to perform various projects.

There are several things consumers should look out for to protect themselves from disreputable or fraudulent home improvement contractors.

Unsolicited, traveling contractors who come to a home and point out specific problems should be met with caution. If they arrive in an unmarked truck or van and refuse to provide proof of insurance or references it is safe to say they are not reputable contractors.

Frequently, these scams begin with a claim to have just finished a job, and then offer a great deal on leftover material. They also employ high-pressure sales tactics like limited-time offers.

When hiring a contractor, homeowners should obtain a written contract that includes a start and finish date and a three-day right-to-cancel notice. Penalty clauses for late completion have also proven helpful in ensuring timely projects. Individuals should never sign a blank contract or hire a contractor that does not have a business card or local phone number and address. Also, final payments should be withheld until work is finished and homeowners are completely satisfied.

More information on the registration program and the complaints database is expected to be available in the near future as the attorney general's office continues with the program's implementation. For more information on consumer protection, or to file a complaint with the attorney general's office, visit Schroder's Web site at www.CurtSchroder.com

Moderate Dems turn on Obama

Opposition has emerged to the far-left policies of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

Moderate Democrats in the U.S. Senate have formed a working group to oppose the liberal ideologues who are running the White House and House of Representatives.

Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced the coalition this morning on the Joe Scarborough program on MSNBC.

"We care for our country more than our party," Bayh said.

A formal press conference will make the group official with 15 Democrats forming a centrist coalition that will serve as a firewall to far-left agenda and screwball economic policies pushed by Obama and Pelosi.

The loyal opposition was supposed to come from Senate Republicans, but the defections of Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins ended any hope Republicans could put a stop to the Obama agenda.

This is welcome news in a country that has lurched toward socialism since Obama took office.

This is also a very shrewd political move by Bayh, who is positioning himself to challenge Obama in 2012. This country is teetering on the brink of economic collapse thanks to Obama's ill-advised economic policies and The Chosen One is looking more like a one-term failure a la Jimmy Carter.

Democrats won't make the same mistake by renominating a failed president. Look for Bayh to steer the party back from the left-wing abyss.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'The Enemy Within'

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, is sly whispers rustling through the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city; he infects the body politics so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."

— Marcus Tullius Cicero,
Roman orator, statesman 42 BC

Substitute "political party" for "nation" in Cicero's famous admonition and you begin to understand the problems facing the Republican Party.

The GOP has been betrayed from within. Before it can rebuild and begin the process of returning to power, it must purge itself of the traitors that have damaged the party from within.

Who are the traitors? You can begin with a list of RINOs in the U.S. Senate who have repeatedly sold out the party.

From Human Events.com:
As part of HUMAN EVENTS ongoing campaign against Republicans in name only (RINOs) we have compiled a list of the Top 10 Most Liberal Republican Senators based on the American Conservative Union Ratings for 2008 (110th Congress, second session. The ratings all compare rather unfavorably with that of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), chairman of the Repubican Steering Committee. Sen. DeMint’s score was a perfect 100)

On the conservative scale, the ten lowest-scoring senators are:

1. Olympia Snowe, Maine: (ACU Rating: 12)
(Only one point higher than liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton who the ACU scored an 11, and an astonishing 4 points lower than Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid's 16.)

2. Susan Collins, Maine: 20
(Collins received the same score as liberal Claire McCaskill, and 4 points lower than Russ Feingold's 24)

3. Arlen Specter, PA: 42 (Only 10 points higher than Mary Landrieu's 32)

4. George Voinovich, OH: 52

5. Lisa Murkowski, AL: 58

6. Mel Martinez, FL: 60

7. John McCain, AZ: 63

8. Richard Lugar, Ind: 63

9. Robert Bennett, UT: 64

10. Thad Cochran, Miss: 68
Interesting that the No. 1-2-3 Senators with the worst voting record betrayed the party (and the American people) by supporting the $1 trillion Obama/Pelosi "stimulus" bill.

And what does it say about a party when its most recent presidential candidate has one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate?

(H/T Save the GOP)

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS