Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Enhanced Traveler Information Services Coming to Pennsylvania

Enhanced Traveler Information Services Coming to Pennsylvania

Rendell Signs 4 Bills

From the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor:
HARRISBURG — Gov. Edward G. Rendell signed four bills into law Wednesday, including a change to the state's vehicle code that will save the Department of Transportation approximately $59 million.

House Bill 347 removes the requirement that PennDOT must replace a license plate every 10 years. Instead, replacement is mandatory when the plate cannot be read anymore. Only those plates that have been lost, stolen or have become illegible from a reasonable distance will be replaced. The change is expected to save Pennsylvania's Motor License Fund about $59 million.
The new law also further defines speed-timing devices, waivers to members of the armed forces, and other things.

House Bill 1543 says criminal history record information may be expunged from a person's record when that person petitions for expungement of a summary offense and he or she has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years following the conviction for which expungement is requested.

House Bill 2188 establishes the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act. With the new law, a party in interest, which includes the owner, a lien holder or secured creditor, a resident or business owner within 500 feet of a building, a nonprofit corporation or a municipality or school district where a building is located, may petition the Court of Common Pleas requesting that a conservator take possession of a building if it is in violation of any municipal code requirements, or if it has been declared a public nuisance.

Senate Bill 1114 designates the scenic view adjacent to State Route 40 in Wharton Township, Fayette County, as Blue Star Point Lookout; names a section of West 26th Street in Millcreek Township, Erie County, as the John W. Groters Memorial Highway; designates a portion of Cottman Avenue (Route 73) in the Burholme section of Philadelphia as the Police Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski Memorial Highway; and designates a bridge on Route 259 in Fairfield Township as the Glenn McMaster Memorial Bridge.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Reform group: No pay raise for state officials

A citizens' group that led the fight to repeal the 2005 legislative pay raise is demanding Pennsylvania officials suspend their annual COLA increase.

RockTheCapital.org says the 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment for legislators, members of the Rendell administration and judges is a "stealth" pay raise.

From Eric Epstein, coordinator of RockTheCapital.org:
"At a time when working class families are getting clobbered, the political class is making plans to jet to New York City and whine and dine in the lap of luxury. Those in the 'no whine zone' are prospering. Speaker McCall will be making $122,000, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille will be hauling in $192,000. Rank-and-file lawmakers will have to get by on $78,300 with per diems, a state car, and full benefits."
Epstein said the Dec. 1 pay raise is particularly galling because Pennsylvania elected officials have done such a poor job of managing state revenues.

"No one should be rewarded for creating a $500 million deficit," Epstein said. "Taking a COLA this year is like stealing your children's savings' bonds."

RockTheCapital.org, one of several citizen reform groups that fought to repeal the 2005 middle-of-the-night pay raise, believes that a nonpartisan and independent compensation commission should determine future pay adjustments for elected and appointed officials.

"State government is a publicly held corporation with by-laws that specifically exclude COLAS (Article III, Section VIII)," Epstein said. "If lawmakers want a bonus plan then they need to submit a proposal to taxpayers for ratification."

For more on the group's reform agenda, visit RockTheCapital.org

PA Open Records Office sets copying fees

Below is the first press release from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. I hope it will be the first of many to come as Pennsylvania ushers in a new era of openness and accountability in government.
OPEN RECORDS OFFICE SETS RIGHT-TO-KNOW FEE STRUCTURE

HARRISBURG -- Citizens will pay between 10 cents and 25 cents per page for public records under a fee structure established by the new Office of Open Records, Executive Director Terry Mutchler announced Monday.

"The fee structure established by our office is a reasonable way to ensure citizens have meaningful access to the records of their government and that public bodies are able to recoup the actual cost of the copies," Mutchler said.

The Right-To-Know law, signed by Gov. Edward G. Rendell on February 14, 2008, established the Office of Open Records to implement and enforce the Act. The law, which fully becomes effective January 1, 2009, charged the Office of Open Records with establishing fees pursuant to a right-to-know request.

Under the fee structure, a Commonwealth or Local Agency will be permitted to charge only the actual cost of reproduction for blue-prints, color copies, odd-sized materials and downloading records to computerized discs.

An agency may not charge citizens for the time it takes to determine whether the record is a public record. An agency may not charge for searching or retrieving the documents. An agency also may not charge staff time or salary for complying with a right-to-know request, and an agency is precluded from charging fees to redact, or black out, information that is exempt under the law.

"Nationally, duplication fees are one of the most abused areas of any government access law and, quite often, high fees are just another way to deny citizens access to their government," Mutchler said. "This fee structure guards against that."

Citizens also can choose to inspect records rather than obtain copies, under the law.

The Office of Open Records encouraged Judicial and Legislative agencies, which can set their own fees, to adopt the fee structure set by the Office of Open Records to promote uniformity throughout the Commonwealth.

The complete fee structure and information related to the Office of Open Records and the new law can be found at http://openrecords.state.pa.us

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by President Bush

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by President Bush

RNC: They Said It Flashback! Sen. Robert Byrd on Potential Commerce Secretary Nominee Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)

RNC: They Said It Flashback! Sen. Robert Byrd on Potential Commerce Secretary Nominee Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)

Economic Crisis Makes 'Rubinomics' Irrelevant

Economic Crisis Makes 'Rubinomics' Irrelevant

RNC: [Summers] Obama's Economic Change?

RNC: [Summers] Obama's Economic Change?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Newspaper: Officials should give up pay raise

The Pottstown Mercury is urging Pennsylvania legislators and judges to give up their annual cost-of-living increase in light of the suffering so many fellow Pennsylvanians are facing during the economic slowdown. Pennsylvania legislators are among the highest paid in the country.

From The Mercury's editorial page:
THORNS for a system that continues to reward Pennsylvania lawmakers and state judges while nearly every other sector — public and private — is facing cutbacks. State lawmakers and judges are in line for 2.8 percent cost-of-living raises that will raise the pay for rank and file members of the state House and Senate to just over $78,000 starting next month. Members of leadership will get even more. Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille's salary is going up to nearly $192,000. The pay for county judges will be about $162,000. The same increases are due for Gov. Ed Rendell and his cabinet secretaries. The governor says he might suspend them as part of budgetary belt-tightening. At a time when the mayor of Philadelphia is writing himself a pay cut and other municipal managers are seeing salaries frozen in tight 2009 budgets, the lawmakers in Pennsylvania could make a sacrifice, too. Perhaps they should read the headlines in the state instead of the fine print in their salary package and live in the real world.

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace Calls on Congress to Oppose Anti-Worker Employee Free Choice Act

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace Calls on Congress to Oppose Anti-Worker Employee Free Choice Act

Richard Viguerie: Three Changes in House GOP Leadership Only the Beginning of What Is Needed

Richard Viguerie: Three Changes in House GOP Leadership Only the Beginning of What Is Needed

'Has President Elect Obama's Concept of Change Regressed to Returning Ethically Compromised Players to The White House from Clinton-Gore Administration?'

'Has President Elect Obama's Concept of Change Regressed to Returning Ethically Compromised Players to The White House from Clinton-Gore Administration?'

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Do PA legislators deserve a pay raise?

Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature, the same people who have saddled the state with a potential $2 billion budget deficit, are giving themselves a pay raise.

These are the same people who have failed to take action on the state's transportation and health care needs. The same people who have done nothing to prevent skyrocketing electricity rates once caps expire. The same people who have failed to do anything about property taxes for the past 30 years.

But they will be getting an annual cost-of-living raise, effective Dec. 1.

House and Senate members will receive a 2.8 percent raise, setting lawmakers' base pay at $78,315, according to The Harrisburg Patriot-News.

Pay for the 30 legislative leaders will range from $89,300 to $122,254 after Dec. 1, when the annual COLA raise kicks in, the newspaper says.

The Legislature passed a bill in 1995 that automatically gives its members a pay raise unless a majority votes against the annual COLA. To date, lawmakers have never rejected the money.

Gov. Rendell, his cabinet and state judges will get the same 2.8-percent increase, effective Jan. 1. The governor's salary will rise to $174,956.

From The Patriot-News article:
For lawmakers, who according to their attorneys have no right to forgo the raise, it will keep their fourth-place national ranking in legislative salaries. California at $116,208, Michigan at $79,650, and New York at $79,500 pay more.

Pennsylvania is one of four states that grant lawmakers automatic cost-of-living raises, according to Morgan Cullen of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Obama's Change.gov Website Drops Promise to End Small Business Contracting Abuses

Obama's Change.gov Website Drops Promise to End Small Business Contracting Abuses

RNC: DASCH'ING THROUGH A LOOPHOLE - Obama Exploits Loophole In Own Lobbyist Restrictions to Tap a Lobbying Firm's 'Consultant' as Cabinet Secretary

RNC: DASCH'ING THROUGH A LOOPHOLE - Obama Exploits Loophole In Own Lobbyist Restrictions to Tap a Lobbying Firm's 'Consultant' as Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Economy May Be Down, But the Lawsuit Industry Is Up

The Economy May Be Down, But the Lawsuit Industry Is Up

A third Clinton Administration?

Remember all the hogwash from Barack Obama that electing John McCain would be a third Bush Administration?

So what exactly did voters get when they elected Obama instead? It's beginning to look more and more like a third Clinton Administration.

More than two-thirds of the people named to Obama's transition team are former members of the Clinton Administration. Many are in line to get key posts in an Obama White House.

Obama has already tapped Rahm Emanuel, who worked for Bill Clinton, to be his chief of staff. John Podesta, who is heading the Obama transition, was Clinton's chief of staff.

Obama's choice for attorney general appears to be Eric Holder, a former No. 2 Justice Department official in the Clinton administration.

And now Hillary Clinton is the front-runner to be named Secretary of State?

Didn't voters reject a third Clinton Administration when they passed on Hillary as the Democratic Party nominee?

If Clinton doesn't want the job, it appears that another Clinton retread, Bill Richardson, is in line.

Why is Obama recycling the Clinton White House? You could make the argument that Hillary Clinton is more experienced with foreign affairs than Obama, but I thought the whole point of having Joe Biden on the ticket is because of his foreign policy experience?

Is this change or more of the same?

Consumer Watchdog Comments on Health Insurer's Self-Serving Support of 'Individual Mandate'

Consumer Watchdog Comments on Health Insurer's Self-Serving Support of 'Individual Mandate'

Holder Nomination Signals Obama's True Anti-Gun Rights Agenda

Holder Nomination Signals Obama's True Anti-Gun Rights Agenda

AAA Anticipates Five Million Stranded Motorists During Holiday Season

AAA Anticipates Five Million Stranded Motorists During Holiday Season

Auditor General Jack Wagner's Audit Finds Serious Weaknesses in State Civil Service Commission's Veterans' Preference Program

This is a Democratic official criticizing the Rendell Administration?

Auditor General Jack Wagner's Audit Finds Serious Weaknesses in State Civil Service Commission's Veterans' Preference Program

Hunters Can Donate Deer to Local Food Banks, Pantries, Soup Kitchens

AG Secretary, Game Commission Director Urge Hunters to Help Feed the Hungry, Share Their Harvest

RNC: Obama's Pardon-Me AG

RNC: Obama's Pardon-Me AG

Federal Register Announces Launch of New Electronic Public Inspection Desk

Federal Register Announces Launch of New Electronic Public Inspection Desk

Pennsylvania Education Officials Announce Efforts to Further Improve School Safety

Pennsylvania Education Officials Announce Efforts to Further Improve School Safety

A reminder to elected officials

A reminder to everyone who holds public office or is paid by taxpayers:

"The First Amendment doesn't exist so we can freely praise our public officials. It exists so we can freely criticize our public officials."

-- Chris Lamb,
Educator, College of Charleston, S.C.

A column Ed Rendell should read

The Wall Street Journal has published an excellent op-ed column by Steve Malanga, a senior editor at the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, about how states got themselves into a fiscal mess.

Are you listening, Ed Rendell?

Pennsylvania has run up a budget deficit of $565 million just four months into the current fiscal year. State lawmakers predict a deficit of $2.5 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

How did we get into this mess? When times were good, Gov. Rendell proposed budgets that increased spending at twice the rate of inflation. Since Rendell took office in 2003, state spending has risen by more than $7 billion. Rendell also borrowed another $3 billion.

Now that times are tough, tax revenues are shrinking dramatically. Rendell has proposed $300 million in cuts from administrative spending, but that won't put much of a dent in a $2.5 billion deficit.

Rendell isn't alone in screwing up his state's bottom line.

From Malanga's column:
From the end of the last recession in 2003 until this year, states collectively boosted general-fund budgets by an annual average of some 6.4%. In just 2006 and 2007 alone they added about $100 billion. During the period from 2003-2008, states also took on 38% more debt, increasing their collective indebtedness to $2.19 trillion.

Now it's cold-shower time. Earlier this year, in the spring, more than half of the states grappled with budget deficits amounting collectively to nearly $50 billion. Since then tax collections have fallen short of projections, producing further midyear budget holes in nearly two dozen states.
To read the full article, visit the newspaper's Web site.

Phyrillas on 'Journalists Roundtable'

I'll be making a return appearance this week to "Journalists Roundtable" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

Among the topics of discussion will be the new leadership in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

The program airs Thursday at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

PCN is Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County, Service Electric Channel 23 in Berks and Lehigh Counties and Comcast Channel 186 in the Pottstown area. Consult your cable guide for the PCN channel in your area.

And don't forget to tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus" Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM. The one-hour show is simulcast at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Montco GOP censures Turncoat Jim Matthews

The Montgomery County Republican Committee has adopted a unanimous resolution censuring renegade county Commissioner Jim Matthews.

"Since I was elected chairman and even while I was campaigning, everywhere I went, I was asked 'What are we going to do about Jim Matthews'?," county GOP Chairman Bob Kerns said in a press release announcing the censure.

"The voters I talk to feel betrayed and the Republican committee members are just devastated by Jim's actions. The voters placed their trust in Jim Matthews and Bruce Castor and the committee members put their hearts into the campaign to elect the Matthews-Castor team last year. This has been a difficult year for everyone," Kerns said.

Matthews rode Bruce Castor's coattails to re-election last November, but on Dec. 18, he announced that he had negotiated a power-sharing agreement with the lone Democrat on the three-member commissioners board. The deal made Democrat Joe Hoeffel vice chairman of the commissioners. Hoeffel then proceeded to hire all sorts of political cronies to lucrative county jobs.

Most votes taken by the board have been 2-1, with Matthews and Hoeffel getting their way over the objections of Castor.

More from Kerns' release:
"Montgomery County's voters pick the person, not the party. It's been that way for two decades and Jim Matthews and Bruce Castor campaigned on a set of priorities that are not being implemented. Instead, we're implementing the major priorities outlined by Joe Hoeffel and Ruth Damsker, but that agenda was rejected by voters in favor of a Matthews-Castor agenda. The voters have to know we don’t condone what’s happening in Norristown."

As an example Kerns cited the Hoeffel promises of hiring a Chief Financial Officer, enacting a $50 million economic development plan, and Hoeffel's record in the 1990s of running up debt and paying for budget items with bond issues.

"When Hoeffel left the Board of Commissioners in 1998 he left us with hundreds of millions in debt and just $12 million in the bank. Our AAA bond rating was threatened. It was a disaster. Hoeffel and Matthews are pursuing policies that will put us right back in the same hole. This year alone they are looking to raid the county’s dwindling savings to pay for their programs. It's not the way Republicans would run this government. Jim Matthews got elected in 1999 and again in 2007 by pointing out what a disaster Hoeffel was as a commissioner in the 1990's. Now he's forming a government with him and implementing Hoeffel's agenda? It makes no sense and our committee and the voters are confused and hurt,” Kerns said.
Since taking over control of the county party in the spring, Kerns said he attempted to "bring Matthews back to the table."

"I did meet with him in early summer in the hopes of bridging the divide between he and his Republican colleagues in county government. He made it clear that he was not interested in any kind of reconciliation. I continued to pursue the matter through intermediaries throughout the fall," Kerns said in the release.

“At some point, we have to decide to move on and accept that, based on his actions, he is not a Republican anymore. No matter how often Jim insists he is a Republican, you are ultimately judged by how you govern and your record, not your words," Kerns said.

Kerns said on Election Day many committee members reported incidents where voters stopped to express their disgust with Matthews on their way into the polls.

"In the end, Jim's actions are the actions of an individual, not the Party. That is the message I hope people take away from this resolution. The party is standing up and making its position clear. We don't agree with Jim, we don't condone what he's doing as a Commissioner and he's not representative of our Party as long as he's engaging in this behavior. Don't blame the Party for the actions of one man," Kerns concluded.

A total of 56 Republican municipal leaders, area leaders and executive committee members attended Monday's Leadership Conference, where the censure vote against Matthews was taken.

National Report Ranks Pennsylvania 26th in Protecting Kids From Tobacco

National Report Ranks Pennsylvania 26th in Protecting Kids From Tobacco

Transparent Campaigns

Republican National Committee: Transparent Campaigns

Monday, November 17, 2008

We want our money back!

Norquist Sends Letter to Treasury Applying for $700 Billion in TARP Funds

Guest column: Blame deficit on Rendell overspending

By Rep. Curt Schroder

It is interesting to see that Pennsylvania's budget deficit is being blamed on "the global economic meltdown." If only it were that simple. I respectfully disagree with this premise.

Pennsylvania's budget deficit, which analysts predict could reach as high as $2.5 billion by the end of the current fiscal year, was not created solely by the economic downturn as some would have you believe. Instead, it is the result of years of overspending in Harrisburg.

Gov. Ed Rendell's budgets have routinely increased spending beyond the rate of inflation. Now, to quote one controversial clergyman, "The chickens are coming home to roost!"

From 2002 to the current 2008-09 budget, spending increased by 38.6 percent while the rate of inflation only rose by 19.5 percent.

Long before indicted Sen. Vince Fumo issued his warnings of budget chaos, this shortfall was becoming obvious to anyone not in a state of denial. Even as the current budget was passed in early July, Senate budget analysts were warning of billion-dollar deficits.

To the 31 House Republican members who voted against the budget in July, the economic downturn was evident. The state was already producing revenues below monthly projections and the pattern continues now in its sixth straight month.

In fact, the revenue projections upon which the 2007-08 budget was premised were inflated and unrealistic. The greatest problem with the current budget is that it depends on millions of dollars in one-time revenues. This is money drained from different pots in state government for one-time use. It will not be available for future budgets, even though future spending is predicated on its existence.

Inflated revenue projections and the use of one-time revenue sources are a prescription for fiscal disaster. Those of us who raised such concerns were blithely told "you can't predict the future" even though the entire budget relies on predictions of monthly revenue.

It is not enough for the governor and legislative caucus leaders to sit down behind closed doors to discuss ideas for saving and economizing. This entire budget, and the house of cards on which it is based, must be reopened. It needs to be re-examined from top to bottom by the General Assembly - the elected body of the taxpaying citizens of Pennsylvania.

There is no shortage of ideas worth exploring. We should use this opportunity to force some tough decisions and finally come to grips with unnecessary spending on programs that either don't work or only serve a narrow special interest. If we do not act now, Pennsylvania will face its own fiscal crisis of Wall Street proportions.

State Rep. Curt Schroder is a Republican who represents the 155th House District in Chester County.

No State Bailouts!

59 Groups Representing Millions of Taxpayers Tell Congress: No State Bailouts!

Pennsylvania's Brain-Dead Voters

Countdown to PA Deer Season Has Begun

Countdown to Deer Season Has Begun; Local White-Tailed Deer Information Available On-Line; Don't Forget to Submit A Harvest Report Card

RNC: Obama's Good Counsel?

RNC: Obama's Good Counsel?

Six-Point Plan to Restore Respect to Congress From Dismal 12-23% Approval, Lower Than Bush

Six-Point Plan to Restore Respect to Congress From Dismal 12-23% Approval, Lower Than Bush

Friday, November 14, 2008

Abbott and Costello (I mean Pelosi and Reid) are on the case

The comedy team of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are on the case.

The very same people who pushed through the bailout package through Congress have now appointed a three-member Congressional Oversight Panel to let them know what the hell is going on with the U.S. economy.

I feel better already. How about you?

Wait a minute. Wasn't is Congress that basically sank the U.S. economy in the first place? Maybe we should panic.

Pelosi and Reid Announce Three Members of Congressional Oversight Panel

Obama's Job Application Includes Questions on Gun Ownership

Obama's Job Application Includes Questions on Gun Ownership

Will Obama push compulsary unionism?

By Jessica Runk

Along with the rest of the nation, Pennsylvania is struggling to rebound from the recent economic turmoil. Unfortunately, being a compulsory union state puts the Commonwealth at a marked disadvantage.

Twenty-two states have a right-to-work law, protecting their workers from being coerced to join a union as a condition of employment. But Pennsylvania denies the right to reject union membership and dues payments, marginalizing workers and businesses across the state.

The benefits of living in a right-to-work state are manifold: these states typically have higher rates of growth in employment, personal income, and population.
Compared to right-to-work states, Pennsylvania and other compulsory union states rank consistently lower across several economic indicators (the Commonwealth ranks lower than even other non-right-to-work states).

The job markets in right-to-work states demonstrate remarkable growth relative to Pennsylvania, as shown by the graph above. Pennsylvania has also experienced a rise in personal income growth drastically slower than that of right-to-work states.

Contrary to myths promulgated by advocates of compulsory unionism, residents of right-to-work states have higher average incomes (adjusting for cost of living) than those in forced unionism states.

Right-to-work states have also seen higher rates of growth in per-capita income from 2002-2007.

With compulsory unionism and a state and local tax burden in Pennsylvania well above the national average, it is no wonder people are moving out of the state to more promising and prosperous ones.

According to the U.S. Census, Pennsylvania lost 28,000 net residents to other states from 2000-2006. United Van Lines classifies Pennsylvania as a high "outbound" state, meaning more moves out of the state than into it.

In 2007, 57 percent of shipments were moves out of Pennsylvania. In contrast, right-to-work states are experiencing a population influx as residents find their stronger economies appealing.

Pennsylvania can become prosperous again, but a few changes must be made to the way the state treats businesses, employers, and workers.

First, Pennsylvania needs to enact a right-to-work law, which would free all employees from union intimidation. It would also allow workers to keep more of their hard-earned money, rather than being subject to forced, automatic dues deductions.

Second, the growth of government spending, regulation, and taxation must be lowered. These steps will help make Pennsylvania an attractive place to live and work once more.

Jessica Runk is a research associate with the Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org), an independent, nonprofit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner Finds Deficiencies Still Exist in Department of Public Welfare's Administration of LIHEAP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner Finds Deficiencies Still Exist in Department of Public Welfare's Administration of LIHEAP

Gun Owners not Welcome on Obama's White House Team

Gun Owners not Welcome on Obama's White House Team

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More of the same in Harrisburg

Little is likely to change in Harrisburg based on last week's election results in the state Legislature, says The Pottstown Mercury.

With Democrats adding to their one-vote majority in the House, expect the same moribund leadership that has led the Legislature in the past two years.

From an editorial in today's edition of the newspaper:
The election is over, but now begins the power play to determine leadership posts in the next legislative term -- and it's business as usual with lawmakers jockeying for the pay and prestige that come with top leadership positions in the General Assembly.

The power play for leadership posts on the state level comes at a time when borough and city leaders are grappling with massive revenue shortfalls as ripple effects of the nation's economic crisis. Pottstown Borough Council last night heard a presentation for a budget that would eliminate 13 positions and drastically slash funding for fire companies, parks and other borough services.

But, in Harrisburg, it's business as usual. The 315 million-dollar monster that is the state Legislature just keeps rolling along. Little changed in the election on the state legislative front. And, little is changing now as the play for power positions goes into full swing.

Another day, a lot of dollars: Business as usual.
Read the full editorial, "Power Play Is On For Leadership Posts," at the newspaper's Web site.

Richard Viguerie on the road back for conservatives

Richard Viguerie, in Conservatives Betrayed, Foresaw Collapse of GOP and Describes the Road Back for Conservatives

RNC: Transitioning on Lobbyists

RNC: Transitioning on Lobbyists

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Grateful Nation Pauses to Remember



"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." — Winston Churchill, August 20th, 1940

Read the full message that accompanies this cartoon at GetLiberty.org

Help sponsor 'Talking Politics' on radio

"Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" has been on the air since mid-July. The audience has been growing each week and we're receiving a steady stream of callers each week.

The initial 13-week commitment from our sponsors has expires and there are openings for new sponsors.

If you're interested in having your business promoted in Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties, the contact information for WPAZ 1370 AM is below. "Talking Politics" can be heard every Thursday from 5-6 p.m. on WPAZ and is simulcast at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

In the meantime, Mike and I would like to thank our initial sponsors for making the show possible:

The Basile Corporation, Douglassville

Garner & Bauer Attorneys At Law, Pottstown

Nutritional Foods Inc., Pottstown

Ron Black Agency, Royersford

If you're interested in advertising on "Talking Politics," contact:

WPAZ 1370 AM
224 Maugers Mill Road
Pottstown, PA 19464
Phone: 610-326-4000
Fax: 610-326-7984

Email: Jay Warren - jay.warren@1370wpaz.com

Governor Praises Veterans for Their Service, Sacrifice

Governor Rendell Praises Veterans for Their Service, Sacrifice

Such As The Mammoth

RNC Launches New Web Site: 'RepublicanForAReason.com'

RNC Launches New Web Site: 'RepublicanForAReason.com'

Veteran's Day Tips for Military Packages, Cards and Letters

Veteran's Day Tips for Military Packages, Cards and Letters

Monday, November 10, 2008

Firearms Industry Addresses Rising Gun Sales; Obama Administration Showing Anti-Gun Cards Early

Firearms Industry Addresses Rising Gun Sales; Obama Administration Showing Anti-Gun Cards Early

Richard Viguerie: Conservatives Deserve Credit for Resignations of Blunt, Putnam

Richard Viguerie: Conservatives Deserve Credit for Resignations of Blunt, Putnam

Rendell Calls on Senate to Return to Harrisburg

Governor Rendell Calls on Senate to Return to Harrisburg, Work with House to Address Critical, Unresolved Health Care Issues

Election Season Provided 'Wake-up Call' for Traditional Media, Panel of Journalists Says

Election Season Provided 'Wake-up Call' for Traditional Media, Panel of Journalists Says

Say 'Thank you' to American troops

An appeal from Berks Enduring Freedom to send a "thank you" to American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Have you ever wanted to say "Thank you" in a tangible way to those men and women who serve our country? If so, here is a great opportunity.

Berks Enduring Freedom, a local organization, needs our help. They are sending about 1,100 boxes of donated items to about 550 troops from Berks County who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have received tens of thousands of new items (food, hygiene supplies, books, CDs, etc. – it is an amazing assortment) from local businesses and individuals, but now everything needs to be packaged for shipping.

It is easy work, and quite unglamorous. Zara and I went on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for a total of about 3 hours, and we spent our time putting small food packages (instant oatmeal, Cheese-It and Goldfish crackers, etc.) and hygiene supplies (tissues, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc.) into zip-lock baggies. They also have a craft room where Zara made cards and wrote a letter to be included in the boxes. Volunteers are needed Monday through Thursday this week to help prepare the boxes, and especially at night on Wednesday and Thursday. The hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

On Friday from 8 a.m. to noon all the boxes must be loaded onto trucks for shipping. Currently they have only a few people lined up to carry boxes.

The warehouse (heated, lighted, wheelchair accessible, with bathrooms) is very easy to get to; it is located in the same building as Grainger, 4201 Pottstown Pike (Route 61) next to Bob Fisher Chevrolet. If you are coming south from Leesport it is on the left after the Tuckerton traffic light; coming north from Reading it is on the right. Everyone (about 8 to 10 people) was very friendly and down to earth. One of the aspects that I really liked was that they put us to work immediately – no wasted time. They also have good food donated by local eateries if you want a snack or meal while you are there.

Additional information can be found at http://www.berksenduringfreedom.com/ or by calling Simone Sauers at 610-682-0428 or Dory at 610-683-8197, or Steve Johnson, Home 610.779.0289 or Cell 610.207.6250

Zara and I had a great time doing this together, and you will too. Please help if you can, even for one hour. Thank you.

Steve Johnson

'The American Veterans and Servicemembers Survival Guide'

'The American Veterans and Servicemembers Survival Guide'

CCRKBA Asks Democrats: 'Has Party's Anti-Gun Mask Come Off?'

CCRKBA Asks Democrats: 'Has Party's Anti-Gun Mask Come Off?'

Deadline Approaching for Grants to Preserve PA's History, Heritage

Deadline Approaching for Grants to Preserve PA's History, Heritage

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My sentiments exactly

PA GOP on the rocks

How low can the Pennsylvania Republican Party go?

That's the question conservative commentator Lowman Henry asks in a terrific op-ed published by The Pottstown Mercury.

Check out "Pa. GOP hits rock bottom" at the newspaper's Web site.

Radio Address by President Bush to The Nation

Radio Address by President Bush to The Nation

Friday, November 7, 2008

Berks County GOP chairman steps down

The revolving door at the Berks County Republican Committee is turning again.

Mark Gillen, who has served as party chairman since June 2007, is leaving his post, according to the Reading Eagle. A new chairman will be selected next month.

Gillen is stepping down because he and his family are planning a long-term mission trip to Mexico, says reporter Mary Young.

There was high hopes for Gillen when he accepted the top party nod last year, but his extensive travel schedule kept him out of Berks County for long periods of time.

The Republican Party has made strides during Gillen's tenure, taking back majority control of the Berks County Board of Commissioners in November 2007 and holding on to all of its legislative seats in 2008. Gillen also revived the Berks GOP Web site, which was dormant for several years.

But the party has been unable to unseat any incumbent Democratic state legislators from Berks County and for the first time since 1964, a Democrat won Berks in the presidential race when Barack Obama beat John McCain in the county on Tuesday.

Gillen told Young he is not backing a successor.

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

Service Employees Outraged Over Rendell Spending

Service Employees Outraged Over Rendell Spending

Despite Opting for 'Change,' Voters Proved Cautious on Fiscal Issues, Taxpayer Group's Analysis Finds

Despite Opting for 'Change,' Voters Proved Cautious on Fiscal Issues, Taxpayer Group's Analysis Finds

Latino Vote a New Force in Shaping the Election 2008 Political Map

Latino Vote a New Force in Shaping the Election 2008 Political Map

Poll: 89 Percent of Muslim Voters Picked Obama

Poll: 89 Percent of Muslim Voters Picked Obama

RNC: More Partisan Players

RNC: More Partisan Players

Women's Vote Clinches Election Victory: 8 Million More Women Than Men Voted for Obama

Women's Vote Clinches Election Victory: 8 Million More Women Than Men Voted for Obama

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Republican National Committee: Obama's Broken Promise

Republican National Committee: Obama's Broken Promise

Blunt Announces He Will Not Run for Whip in 111th Congress

Blunt Announces He Will Not Run for Whip in 111th Congress

Liberal media has Obama's back

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," has decided to play softball with President-elect Barack Obama.

This is what Matthews said this morning on his own network: "I'm going to do everything I can to make this presidency work."

Sounds like Matthews understands the role of TV journalists perfectly, doesn't it?

Let's give Matthews a pat on the back for honesty. MSNBC (and all the NBC networks) have been part of the Obama Campaign for nearly two years. At least Matthews is willing to admit it publicly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election recap on 'Talking Politics'

Tune in to this week's "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" to hear analysis on the 2008 election, including how Tony and Mike did predicting the outcome of 26 races.

The show can be heard Thursdays at 5 p.m. o WPAZ 1370 AM, simulcast at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

You can call in with questions or comments during the live broadcast at 610-326-4000.

The Chosen One must choose

Richard Viguerie: All Republican congressional leaders should resign... or grassroots conservatives will withhold support from the GOP

Richard Viguerie: All Republican congressional leaders should resign... or grassroots conservatives will withhold support from the GOP

The SNL Effect: 'Saturday Night Live' Political Skits Make Real Impact on Voters

The SNL Effect: 'Saturday Night Live' Political Skits Make Real Impact on Voters

Voters' Resounding Call for 'Change' Did Not Include Wanting More Lawsuits

Voters' Resounding Call for 'Change' Did Not Include Wanting More Lawsuits

Don't Blame Me!

The Morning After

Some good posts from conservative Pennsylvania bloggers on the morning after Democratic sweeps in national and state offices.

POWERBLOG! says it's time for Republicans to ponder the future of their party.

Page13News says this was the "It's All About Me" election.

That's Rich says there's no crying in politics.

WRITEMARSH! says Obama's victory is all about selling hope and packaging.

The Clarke Report says nothing much changed in Schuylkill County politics.

Ohligarchy says abandon hope.

Penn Patriot Online says Obama's win is the official end of the Reagan Revolution.

and TONY PHYRILLAS on Tom Corbett surviving the Democratic tide and positioning himself for a run at governor in 2010.

Richard Viguerie: America Rejects Big Government Republicanism

Richard Viguerie: America Rejects Big Government Republicanism

Monday, November 3, 2008

Experience matters

Fascinating editorial in Investor's Business Daily that makes the argument that when it comes to a successful presidency, experience does matter.

From the IBD editorial:
Of all our presidents since World War II, the three who ranked highest among all American presidents in a 2005 survey of scholars by the Wall Street Journal were:

• Ronald Reagan: No. 6 of 43 presidents, inaugurated within weeks of his 70th birthday.

• Harry Truman: No. 7, inaugurated at age 60.

• Dwight Eisenhower: No. 8, inaugurated at 62.

The three youngest presidents since WWII were:

• John Kennedy: ranked No. 15, inaugurated at 43.

• Bill Clinton: No. 22, inaugurated at 46.

• Jimmy Carter: No. 34, inaugurated at 52.

Our next president will face a resurgent Russia run by Vladimir Putin and his KGB friends, Iran and its nuclear program, and al-Qaida and other terrorists who want an atomic weapon. Do we want to elect another young president, possibly a Carter or a Neville Chamberlain type, who will get fooled by our dangerous enemies who are masters of deceit?
American voters have a clear choice to make on Nov. 4: The most inexperienced candidate to ever seek the White House in Barack Obama or a tested and proven leader in John McCain.

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

PA Voter Registration Surpasses 8.75 Million, Sets New Record

PA Voter Registration Surpasses 8.75 Million, Sets New Record

Vote NO on Tuesday

You may have heard me on WHYY radio or another National Public Radio station speaking on why Pennsylvania voters should vote "NO" on the water/sewer bond referendum on Tuesday's ballot.

If you're not sure why you should reject the question, see my earlier post.

Also check out this post at PAWaterCooler about the real agenda for putting Pennsylvania deeper in debt.

Do you trust Ed Rendell to spend more of your money wisely? This is the man who has pushed through $7 billion in new spending since 2003 and has increased state debt by more than $3 billion.

Pennsylvania is already $565 million in the red under Rendell's current budget and we're only four months into the fiscal year.

Vote "NO" on Tuesday to send Rendell a message that enough is enough.

Predictions for Nov. 4

If you haven't had a chance to tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus," you've been missing out on some of the best political talk on radio.

The program airs every Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM and can also be heard online at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

My co-host, Mike Pincus, is a political consultant and strategist with more than 30 years experience. He's helped get dozens of people elected to local, county, state and national offices.

On a recent show, Mike and I took a stab at predicting the outcome of some of the races on the Nov. 4 ballot in SE Pennsylvania. Below is a recap of our predictions.

Keep in mind that these predictions are not how we would vote, but how we expect the races to turn out. (There are some third-party candidates on the ballot, but we're ignoring them since they don't have a chance of winning).

PRESIDENTIAL RACE
John McCain (R) vs. Barack Obama (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict McCain will win.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN PENNSYLVANIA
John McCain (R) vs. Barack Obama (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict McCain will win.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES
Pennsylvania 6th District
Incumbent Jim Gerlach (R) vs. Bob Roggio (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Gerlach will win.

Pennsylvania 7th District
Craig Williams (R) vs. Incumbent Joe Sestak (D)
Phyrillas predicts Williams will win. Pincus predicts Sestak will win.

Pennsylvania 8th District
Tom Manion (R) vs. Incumbent Patrick Murphy (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Murphy will win.

Pennsylvania 13th District
Marina Kats (R) vs. Incumbent Allyson Schwartz (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Schwartz will win.

Pennsylvania 15th District
Sam Bennet (D) vs. Incumbent Charlie Dent (R)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Dent will win.

PENNSYLVANIA STATEWIDE ROW OFFICES
Attorney General
Incumbent Tom Corbett (R) vs. John Morganelli (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Corbett will win.

Treasurer
Tom Ellis (R) vs. Rob McCord (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict McCord will win.

Auditor General
Incumbent Jack Wagner (D) vs. Chet Beiler (R)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Wagner will win.

See More predictions for Nov. 4 for Legislative races.

More predictions for Nov. 4

If you haven't had a chance to tune in to "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas and Mike Pincus," you've been missing out on some of the best political talk on radio.

The program airs every Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM and can also be heard online at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

My co-host, Mike Pincus, is a political consultant and strategist with more than 30 years experience. He's helped get dozens of people elected to local, county, state and national offices.

On a recent show, Mike and I took a stab at predicting the outcome of some of the races on the Nov. 4 ballot in SE Pennsylvania. Below is a recap of our predictions.

Keep in mind that these predictions are not how we would vote, but how we expect the races to turn out. (There are some third-party candidates on the ballot, but we're ignoring them since they don't have a chance of winning.)

PENNSYLVANIA SENATE

11th Senate District
Incumbent Mike O'Pake (D) vs. Stephen Fuhs (R)
Phyrillas predicts Fuhs will pull off an upset. Pincus predicts O'Pake will win.

17th Senate District
Daylin Leach (D) vs. Lance Rogers (R)
Phyrillas predicts Rogers will win. Pincus predicts Leach will win.

19th Senate District
Incumbent Andy Dinniman (D) vs. Steve Kantrowitz (R)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Dinniman will win.

PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE

13th House District
John Lawrence (R) vs. Tom Houghton (D)
Phyrillas predicts Lawrence will win. Pincus predicts Houghton will win.

26th House District
Incumbent Tim Hennessey (R) vs. Fern Kaufman (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Hennessey will win.

61st House District
Incumbent Kate Harper (R) vs. Frank Custer (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Harper will win.

70th House District
Incumbent Jay Moyer (R) vs. Matt Bradford (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Moyer will win.

128th House District
John Woodward (D) vs. Incumbent Sam Rohrer (R)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Rohrer will win.

130th House District
Richard Gokey (R) vs. Incumbent David Kessler (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Gokey will win.

146th House District
Incumbent Tom Quigley (R) vs. Jim Predergast (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Quigley will win.

147th House District
Incumbent Bob Mensch (R) vs. Albert Van Atglen (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Mensch will win.

149th House District
Lynn Lechter (R) vs. Tim Briggs
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Lechter will win.

150th House District
Incumbent Mike Vereb (R) vs. Korbin Carolina (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Vereb will win.

151st House District
Todd Stephens (R) vs. Incumbent Rick Taylor (D)
Both Phyrillas and Pincus predict Stephens will win.

156th House District
Barbara McIlvaine Smith vs. Shannon Royer (R)
Phyrillas predicts Royer will win. Pincus predicts McIlvaine Smith will win.

157th House District
Guy Ciarrocchi (R) vs. Paul Drucker (D)
Phyrillas predicts Ciarrocchi will win. Pincus predicts Drucker will win.

For more predictions, check out pevious post, Predictions for Nov. 4

This is your captain speaking

Rendell deficit tops half-billion dollar mark

The red ink continues to flow in Pennsylvania as Gov. Ed Rendell is busy campaigning for Barack Obama or working his part-time job as an Eagles' TV analyst.

The Legislature, which rubber-stamped Rendell's deficit budget back in July, is busy campaigning for re-election.

What does it all mean for Pennsylvania residents? The budget deficit has reached $565 million in just four months. A projected General Fund deficit approaching $3 billion next year is likely. That will necessitate the biggest tax increase in Pennsylvania history -- after most of the current lawmakers are safety re-elected.

You can send a message to Rendell by voting out most of the incumbents who supported his deficit budget.

The October tax revenues for the state came in $283.4 million below projections. That's the fourth month in a row that the state took in less than it spent. The deficit keeps growing as we go deeper into the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Follow the link below for more on the state's tax revenue shortfall.

Pennsylvania Revenue Department Releases October Collections