Wednesday, December 31, 2008

RNC Statement on Minnesota Senate Recount

RNC Statement on Minnesota Senate Recount

Resolve to be Ready with www.ReadyPA.org

Pennsylvanians Urged to Include Emergency Preparedness in New Year's Resolutions

ATF Publishes List of 238 Explosive Materials Subject to Law

ATF Publishes List of 238 Explosive Materials Subject to Law

MADD Reminds America to Start 2009 Safely

Ring in the New Year With a Sober Designated Driver

Expert sees flaws in PA open-records law

Not everyone is overjoyed with Pennsylvania's new open-records law, which kicks in Jan. 1, 2009.

While many within the state have praised the new Right-To-Know Law, an expert in open government from a neighboring state isn't ready to pop the champagne.

"I don't think that this is a panacea," Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York Committee on Open Government, told the Elmira Star Gazette. "It may be an improvement, but there are in my opinion lots of areas in which the law could have been drafted more effectively."

Freeman told the newspaper that Pennsylvania's new law leaves too many exceptions.

Freeman compared the Pennsylvania law with an existing one in New York and found several exemptions in the Keystone State law that N.Y. doesn't have:

* Complaints submitted to an agency, work papers underlying an audit, draft minutes and other records. In disclosing complaints, New York agencies can withhold the name.

* Pennsylvania exempts performance evaluations and the employment application of someone not hired by an agency. In New York, some information on a performance evaluation and an employment application can be withheld, Freeman said.

* The Pennsylvania law states that it does not supersede or modify the public or nonpublic nature of a record established in federal or state law, by regulation or judicial order or decree. New York law covers exemptions under statutes but not agency regulations.
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

The newspaper editorialized about the new Pennsylvania law, saying it's a step in the right direction:
But considering that Pennsylvania has had some of the weakest Freedom of Information laws in the land for more than 50 years, this seems like a good start.

It's now up to the public agencies to abide by the new law and the Office of Open Records to truly advocate for the public's right to know.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Space Program: Time to Raise a Warning Flag

Our Space Program: Time to Raise a Warning Flag

Sarah Palin vs. The Princess

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wasn't "experienced" enough to suit the far left when she was picked as John McCain's VP running mate.

But New York socialite Caroline Kennedy is "experienced" enough to hold a U.S. Senate seat.

Gabriel Garnica examines the latest example of liberal hypocrisy in an excellent post at Family Security Matters Web site.

Garnica writes:
To listen to the likes of New York City's Mayor Bloomberg or School Chancellor Joel Klein, Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be New York Senator because she has raised her kids well, is bright, worked for Obama, cares about issues, is Ted Kennedy's niece, has new ideas and wants to get things done in Washington. I am disappointed that none of Caroline's supporters have mentioned her good dental habits. The bottom line, to no surprise, is that if you are conservative you are either a warmongering lunatic, an arrogant rich person, or a religious fanatic hick whose experience will be questioned at some level and in some way at every turn. If you are a favored liberal, of course, you are a noble saint out to right the wrongs, save the world and free the poor and voiceless from their bondage.

There are those who argue that there is a much lower standard of experience for Congress as compared to the Vice-Presidency and that fact is certainly reasonable. However, when any degree of experience is selectively bashed or praised depending on the candidate's political affiliation, the entire experience argument falls flat on its face and is revealed as simply so much political compost concealing the lowest disgust for the target’s political and social positions.
Read "Liberals, With Your Hypocrisy so Bright, Won’t You Prove My Point Tonight?" at Family Security Matters.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Auditor General Jack Wagner Faults Department of Education for Administrative Deficiencies in Classrooms for the Future

Auditor General Jack Wagner Faults Department of Education for Administrative Deficiencies in Classrooms for the Future

No. 1 in teacher strikes

Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in teacher strikes despite having some of the highest paid teachers in the country, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"No less than 42% of all teacher walkouts nationwide occur in the Keystone State, leaving kids sidelined and parents scrambling to juggle work and family, potentially on as little as 48 hours notice required by state law," the newspaper notes in an editorial published today.

A measure to restrict teacher strikes already passed in 37 states has been blocked repeatedly by Gov. Ed Rendell and Democratic state legislators.

The newspaper wonders if the $500,000 in campaign contributions Rendell received from the state's largest teachers' union has something to do with Rendell's reluctance to curb strikes.

From the WSJ editorial:
For too many teachers, the motto seems to be: When in doubt, walk out. The burden of enduring a strike then falls on families in which both parents need to work. The disruption is used as negotiating leverage by the unions, which know that parents will besiege school districts with calls begging them to settle. This amounts to a form of legal extortion. If Pennsylvania's teachers want to educate kids about justice and equity, they can start by ending a strategy that uses students as pawns to extract more taxpayer dollars.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Argall vs. Lukach for 29th Senate seat

As expected, state Rep. David Argall, the former No. 2 man in the House Republican Caucus, is the GOP nominee to run for the vacant 29th District Senate seat.

His Democratic opponent is Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Steven Lukach. (The 29h Senatorial District includes parts of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.)

The special election to fill the vacant seat will be held on March 3. The 29th Senate District seat opened up when incumbent Sen. James Rhoades died in a car crash just weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

There was no surprise that Argall won the GOP nomination. He's a career politician who has collected favors through the years from Republican leaders. What may come as a shock is how close the race for the GOP nod ended up.

Argall defeated Christopher Hobbs, a Pottsville attorney and son-in-law of the late Sen. Jim Rhoades, by 30-27 on the final ballot to clinch the victory, reports Hank Clarke of The Clarke Report blog.

Argall is loathed by conservatives because of his voting record. He supported the July 2005 pay raise and has backed Gov. Ed Rendell's massive spending plans throughout the years.

If Argall wins the special election, as he is favored to do, Republicans will hold a 30-20 majority in the state Senate. Argall has the advantage of name recognition throughout the 29th District while Lukach is an unknown outside Schuylkill County.

If Argall manages to blow it, the GOP margin will be the same as it was over the past two years, 29-21.

"I am confident that Dave will be a great candidate and when elected he will fight hard for the people of the 29th State Senatorial District," said Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Robert Gleason Jr. "The late Senator Jim Rhoades was a leader who was well-respected as a man who knew how to get things done for the constituents he was elected to represent, and I am confident that Dave will carry on that tradition when he is elected on March 3rd."

Clarke said in a recent blog post that Lukach matches up well against Argall, but my money is on Argall. He'll get plenty of support from the state Republican Party and the Senate GOP Caucus.

The state Senate is the last stronghold for the GOP in Pennsylvania. I don't see see the Republicans allowing the 29th Senate seat to get away.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Governor Rendell Ceremonially Signs Bill to Improve Patient Safety

Governor Rendell Ceremonially Signs Bill to Improve Patient Safety

Worker Advocate: Solis Nomination Slap in the Face to America's Independent Minded Workers

Worker Advocate: Solis Nomination Slap in the Face to America's Independent Minded Workers

Statement by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on the Selection of Hilda Solis for Secretary of Labor

Statement by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on the Selection of Hilda Solis for Secretary of Labor

Unions expect payback from Obama

They Said It!, Says Republican National Committee

Never a good sign

FRC Mourns the Passing of Paul Weyrich

FRC Mourns the Passing of Paul Weyrich

RNC Chairman Duncan Statement on Passing of Paul Weyrich

RNC Chairman Duncan Statement on Passing of Paul Weyrich

Obama Economic Policy Snubs Small Business

Obama Economic Policy Snubs Small Business

FRC Praises Issuance of Conscience Protections

FRC Praises Issuance of Conscience Protections

Gary Bauer Applauds the Legacy, Mourns the Passing of Paul Weyrich

Gary Bauer Applauds the Legacy, Mourns the Passing of Paul Weyrich

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Talking Politics' on WPAZ 1370 AM

"Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" returns to WPAZ 1370 AM Thursday from 5-6 p.m.

You can join the conversation by calling the station at 610-326-4000.

If you can't pick up the radio signal, the one-hour program is simulcast at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

Auditor General Jack Wagner Praises Pennsylvania Firefighters Who Attended Fall Workshops for VFRA Training

Auditor General Jack Wagner Praises Pennsylvania Firefighters Who Attended Fall Workshops for VFRA Training

Violent Crime Rate in 2007 at About the Same Level in 2005

Violent Crime Rate in 2007 at About the Same Level in 2005

There's Nothing Like Fraud for the Holidays

There's Nothing Like Fraud for the Holidays

Fed Action Creates Best Interest Rates in 50 Years, Realtors(R) Report

Fed Action Creates Best Interest Rates in 50 Years, Realtors(R) Report

Members of Congress Due to Award Themselves $4,700 Raise in 2009

Members of Congress Due to Award Themselves $4,700 Raise in 2009

Lose 41 Pounds in 5 Minutes - Stop Your Junk Mail With 41pounds.org!

Lose 41 Pounds in 5 Minutes - Stop Your Junk Mail With 41pounds.org!

Commerce's NTIA Urges Pennsylvania Consumers to Apply for TV Converter Box Coupons by December 31

Commerce's NTIA Urges Pennsylvania Consumers to Apply for TV Converter Box Coupons by December 31

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RNC Chairman Statement on Need for Illinois Special Election

RNC Chairman Statement on Need for Illinois Special Election

Richard Viguerie: In Dangerous Times, New York Needs a Real U.S. Senator

Richard Viguerie: In Dangerous Times, New York Needs a Real U.S. Senator

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, Troubled at PSERS' Bonuses, Renews Call for Elimination of Bonuses in State Government

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, Troubled at PSERS' Bonuses, Renews Call for Elimination of Bonuses in State Government

New Survey Shows Children Have Fewer Problems When They Live in Intact Married Families That Worship Weekly

New Survey Shows Children Have Fewer Problems When They Live in Intact Married Families That Worship Weekly

Nearly $1 Million to Raise in Just 8 Days; Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army Issues Red Kettle Report

Nearly One Million Dollars to Raise in Just Eight Days; Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army Issues Red Kettle Report

Gingrich Calls on RNC to Pull 'Destructive' Ad

Gingrich Calls on RNC to Pull 'Destructive' Ad

Donating Blood Can Help Fill Your Holiday Stockings

Donating Blood Can Help Fill Your Holiday Stockings

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rep. Joe Pitts: Union shortsightedness killed auto bailout

By Congressman Joe Pitts

Congress was just brought back to Washington for a second lame duck session to address the dire situation of the Big Three domestic auto manufacturers. The executives from the Big Three were back on Capitol Hill, explaining what the collapse of their businesses would mean for the American economy.

This is no doubt a serious situation. There are many American jobs tied to the domestic auto manufacturing industry. The collapse of the Big Three would have grave consequences for the health of the economy at large, especially at a time of rising unemployment.

The American auto manufacturers have a fundamentally flawed business plan, conceived during a different time, when both their customers and competitors behaved differently than they do today. They have too many product lines that dilute research and development, and perhaps most importantly, they have staggering labor and legacy costs. They need total reorganization, but they don’t want that in the form of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Big Three executives believe that no one wants to buy a car from a company that has declared bankruptcy. We wouldn’t be able to test this theory unless the companies were in bankruptcy, but this notion puts everyone in a very difficult situation. Chapter 11 is a well constructed process that allows companies to escape pressure from creditors and restructure their business models in a way that provides for future competitiveness, without completely shutting down and laying off their entire workforce.

The House of Representatives passed a version of an auto bailout on Wednesday night on a mostly party-line vote, with Republicans opposing a plan that would hand over $14 billion in taxpayer money without forcing the kind of difficult reform that has the chance to make the manufacturers competitive again.

In the Senate, where the minority has more power, negotiations continued as reluctant Republicans Senators attempted to hammer out a deal that would make domestic auto manufacturers viable. Senator Bob Corker, from Tennessee, had created an alternate plan to the House passed version. The plan would have required concessions from all parties involved, including a huge reduction of debt owed to creditors, and a concession by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to bring their pay in line with the pay of other employees of other companies that build cars here in the United States.

This last provision became the sticking point that broke down negotiations. Senator Corker wanted the union to agree to concessions that would take effect by March 31. The UAW wanted to push that date back until 2011. I find it ironic that the same union officials that share a great deal of responsibility for creating a situation in which the Big Three cannot compete were willing to torpedo a possible deal in order to eke out two more years of artificially high wages.

Any objective observer would agree that what the Big Three need is the very process laid out by Chapter 11: time to keep creditors at bay while they restructure their businesses in a manner that will make them competitive. A large part of this restructuring will involve bringing the presently inflated salary of UAW employees into line with what their competitors are paying. The UAW were offered a chance to save union jobs by allowing the big three to reorganize and reduce debt, without the stigma of a Chapter 11 filing. Yet they walked away from the table in order to preserve two years of unsustainable salary levels. This seems incredibly short sighted to me.

I drive an American car because I believe in American built products. I want to see these businesses succeed. But without a plan that demands serious, structural changes I cannot support handing out billions of dollars of taxpayer money to simply sustain a business plan that is not viable.

Congressman Joe Pitts is a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District in Berks, Chester and Lancaster counties.

5,000 visitors to Mount Penn GOP

My site counter has recorded 5,000 visitors to MOUNT PENN GOP in the past two years. Thanks for visiting ... and come back again.

Guest column: Trouble with a Capital 'D'

By Tony Perkins
Family Research Council


It's been two years since Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) pronouncement that Democrats would make this "the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history."

So far, she and her colleagues have yet to make good on that promise, and there is absolutely no indication that liberals will lead a revival of integrity anytime soon. Corruption has spun its web in America's highest halls of power, entangling both parties and bringing unprecedented disgrace to the nation's elect.

The parade of allegations has wound its way through the offices of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.), and, more recently, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who received a $40,000 campaign contribution from Fannie Mae during an alleged relationship with one of its executives.

This week, the attention turned to Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) for potentially inventing tax loopholes for wealthy oil companies.

The Democrats' trouble is even trickling down to eye-popping state scandals.

Following former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (N.Y.) down the path to public humiliation is current Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), the object of outrage after allegations that he tried to "sell" Sen. Barack Obama's vacant senate seat.

Although Obama's transition leader John Podesta insisted weeks ago that Obama was launching a new "Transparency Policy" for his administration, we have yet to see evidence of it.

While investigators say Obama hasn't been implicated in the criminal probe, the next President has been surprisingly mum on questions about Blagojevich and their relationship.

As Americans cast a weary eye toward their leaders, Obama's party owes the American people the candor they promised-if, for no other reason, than to make good on his guarantee of "change."

If Democrats seek to expand government, perhaps they should first earn our trust with the authority they have. With more power comes more corruption. Considering the latest public betrayals, the argument for limited government has never been stronger.

For more about Family Research Council, visit the group's Web site, http://www.frc.org/

RNC: What We Don't Know

RNC: What We Don't Know

Obama Mad-Lib

Businesses on Pennsylvania's Tax Delinquent List Now Owe $6.5 Million in State Levies

Businesses on Pennsylvania's Tax Delinquent List Now Owe $6.5 Million in State Levies

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The GOP Has Some Fight Left

The GOP Has Some Fight Left

Leading State Officials Urge Reforms to Voting System

Leading State Officials Urge Reforms to Voting System

Strategic Plan for the Future of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department

Treasurer Wiessmann Releases Strategic Plan for the Future of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department

Door Open for Communities to Improve Water Infrastructure, Rendell Says

Door Open for Communities to Improve Water Infrastructure, Governor Rendell Says

Recycle those old political signs

If you're like me and have a stack of old political lawn signs sitting in a corner of the basement, somebody can take them off your hands and put them to good use.

A group called Walk and Bike Berks County is collecting used lawn signs and plans to recycle them.

From a post at the group's Web site:
Do you have used yard signs and posts sitting in your garage or basement? Are they in fair to good condition? Then we would love to have them.

Donate them to WalkBikeBerks today! Call 610-779-9702 to speak to our President, Michele Barrett.

Rather than filling our landfill with used yard signs, allow us to recycle them.

We need whatever you have -- political campaigns, yard sale, real estate, or advertisements -- no matter the message or design, we can use your yard signs now. We will spray paint the signs and use them to promote our own campaigns* -- BIKE TO WORK (May) and INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY (October).

Thank you for your generosity.

More good reasons to eliminate property taxes

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how high property taxes have turned the Buffalo, N.Y., region into "property-tax hell."

Pennsylvania should learn a lesson from its neighbors to the north.

From the article by Steve H. Hanke and Stephen J.K. Walters:
When every U.S. county is ranked according to its average property-tax bill as a percent of home values, nine of the worst 10 are in upstate New York.

All housing markets are local and local government policies can have an enormous impact on property values. Higher property tax rates, for example, inevitably send home values downward. Why? A $6,000 tax bill adds $500 to a monthly mortgage, and simultaneously reduces the amount a buyer would be willing or able to pay for a home. Cut the tax bill and you help struggling homeowners hold onto their houses. And lower taxes allow would-be buyers to spend more for homes.

High property taxes also discourage investment in new homes. Builders won't build where property taxes drive buyers away.

The problem of heavy property taxes crushing fragile upstate economies has not gone unnoticed, just unsolved. A special Commission on Property Tax Relief, supported by Democrat Gov. David Paterson, recommended in August that local property tax increases be capped at 4% annually or 1.2 times the inflation rate -- whichever is less.

That wouldn't have cut taxes, but it would have moved New York toward a less oppressive tax system. And for a moment, it seemed that the idea might even take off when the state Senate passed a tax-cap bill earlier this year. But the state Assembly voted instead to raise marginal tax rates on incomes above $1 million and use the proceeds to pay for property tax relief for low-income homeowners. That standoff all but killed tax reform.
Read the full article at the newspaper's Web site.

Did you catch the part about how property taxes can add up to $500 on monthly mortgage payments? Looking for a way to stimulate the housing market and rebuild the economy? Eliminate property taxes!!!

To learn more about efforts to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania, check out the Web site of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

RNC Chairman Calls on President-Elect Obama to Disclose Communication Concerning Governor Blagojevich

RNC Chairman Calls on President-Elect Obama to Disclose Communication Concerning Governor Blagojevich

Ramos and Compean Day of Support Has Record Number of Grassroots Americans Calling for a Commutation

Ramos and Compean Day of Support Has Record Number of Grassroots Americans Calling for a Commutation

Obama Breaks Another Promise

Obama Will Allow Fortune 500 Firms to Receive Federal Small Business Contracts

Pennsylvania Accomplishes Largest Competitive Bond Sale Since National Credit Troubles Began

Pennsylvania Accomplishes Largest Competitive Bond Sale Since National Credit Troubles Began

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ethics Group Says Obama Cannot Distance Himself From Blagojevich

Ethics Group Says Obama Cannot Distance Himself From Blagojevich

RNC Chairman: Why won't Obama condemn Chicago-style corruption?

RNC Chairman Responds to President-Elect Obama Concerning Governor Blagojevich

Richard Viguerie on Rod Blagojevich: 'There's Still Time to Save America From Becoming One Big Chicago'

Richard Viguerie on Rod Blagojevich: 'There's Still Time to Save America From Becoming One Big Chicago'

'Talking Politics' with state Sen. John Rafferty

State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44th Dist., will be the guest on “Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus” Thursday at 5 p.m. on WPAZ 1370 AM

Rafferty, who represents portions of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, will discuss the state’s fiscal woes, the recent controversy of the Legislative pay raise and his goals for the coming legislative session.

Listeners can call the program at 610-326-4000.

The program is simulcast at www.1370wpaz.com and www.pottsmerc.com

Fick to lead Berks County GOP

The revolving door keeps spinning at the Berks County Republican Committee.

For the third time in as many years, a new chairman will lead the Berks County GOP faithful.

Reading lawyer Andrew F. Fick is the new party chairman, replacing Mark Gillen, who held the post for a little more than a year.

The 41-year-old Spring Township resident told the Reading Eagle he will emphasize party unity and rebuilding the party's grassroots network.

Larry Medaglia Jr., a former GOP chairman, told the newspaper that Fick will re-energize the party:
"He is able to recognize that problems are not solved from the top to the bottom but are solved from the bottom up," Medaglia said.

Fick said his goals include to help fill 228 committee vacancies in Berks and to review and update the party's Web site, berks.mygopsite.com.
The Berks County Republican Committee is actually in better shape than its counterparts in neighboring counties like Chester and Montgomery.

While the Berks GOP hasn't been able to score many significant victories against entrenched Democrats, it has held its own while neighboring counties have lost the registration race to Democrats.

Poor showings by Republican candidates in Chester and Montgomery counties also led to the Democrats taking back the majority in the state House after 12 years of GOP control.

Fick's biggest challenge will be to attract younger people to get involved in the party. Typical party gatherings are a sea of gray with most members in attendance in their 60s and 70s.

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

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Honors Military Families for Their Sacrifices

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Honors Military Families for Their Sacrifices

Average Americans Without Health Insurance Are Young and Healthy With Above Average Incomes

Average Americans Without Health Insurance Are Young and Healthy With Above Average Incomes

Obama Clashes with Santa on Gun Rights Christmas Card

Obama Clashes with Santa on Gun Rights Christmas Card

Agriculture Secretary Reminds Pennsylvanians to Apply for 2009 Dog License

Agriculture Secretary Reminds Pennsylvanians to Apply for 2009 Dog License

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is Obama's Eligible To Serve As President?

Mr. Obama's Eligibility to be Aired Monday at the National Press Club

When You Have School Choice ...

Charter High Schools are 5% of High Schools Nationwide, But 18% of the Top 100 High Schools, According to U.S. News and World Report Survey

Defend your right to celebrate Christmas



The American Center for Law and Justice, the sane alternative to the far-left ACLU, has updated its Christmas Resource Center with the latest legal updates on your rights to celebrate Christmas.

The center was created in response to militant atheists who have attempted in recent years to ban public celebrations or even acknowledgement of Christmas.

The Web site includes sample letters to send to school districts, local and county governments and public venues on the legality of Christmas displays and your rights to express your religious beliefs.

PennDOT Invites Comment on Public Participation Plan

PennDOT Invites Comment on Public Participation Plan

Thursday, December 4, 2008