Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pelosi, Obama Mislead on Abortion Funding in Health Care

Pelosi, Obama Mislead on Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill

Slippery Slope

'The Real Cost of Obamacare'

If the Obama Administration is starting to feel like the movie, "Groundhog Day," you're not far off. After wasting an entire year pushing a government takeover of health care that the majority of Americans oppose, Barack Obama is still peddling the same snake oil.

From Investor's Business Daily:
Health Reform: The linchpin of ObamaCare 2.0 is that 31 million uninsured will be covered at little added cost. But in fact, White House estimates for low costs are based on little more than accounting tricks.

The president's plan "puts our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next 10 years — and about $1 trillion over the second decade — by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse," the White House says on its Web site.

Sound too good to be true? It is.

None of the numbers can be believed. The plan is a result of blatantly dishonest accounting for the real costs of the program, while grossly overstating its benefits. Americans should know the actual 10-year cost is closer to $2 trillion over 10 years, not the $950 billion claimed, when all the actual costs are toted up.

How can there be such a wide gap? Mainly because the president's plan doesn't provide benefits until the second half of the first decade. So it pretends that it will "only" cost $950 billion. But once the program kicks in, the full 10-year cost of benefits will be included — at a real current cost of $2 trillion or more.

Or, as columnist Charles Krauthammer, himself a trained physician, told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly: "It's a trick. The way the Democrats got under (the spending limit imposed by Obama) was by making 98% of the expenditures, the benefits that you and I would get under the bill, occur in the second half of the decade."
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Reform Candidates for PA Legislature

I'm compiling links to Web sites for reform candidates for the Pennsylvania Legislature for posting on my blogs. (No incumbents, please. If you're already in Harrisburg, you're most likely part of the problem.) If you know of a candidate (Democrat, Republican or third party) who is running in 2010 to help clean up the mess in Harrisburg, send me a link to their Web site. I will review all Web sites to make sure the candidates are running on a reform platform. My e-mail address is

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Help a young mom who lost 2 kids to cancer

A young Montgomery County mom who has lost two of her children to cancer needs your help to create a place for families who have experienced grief like she has to find peace, comfort and resources. All you have to do is visit a Web site and vote for her project. This is legit. The full story is in today's edition of The Pottstown Mercury.

From reporter Brandie Kessler:
Erin Curtis is determined to transform the experience of losing two of her three children into hope and healing.

With the help of the Pepsi Refresh Project, which is awarding individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations with $1.3 million this month, Curtis would be able to create a place for families who have experienced grief like she has to find peace, comfort and resources.

Curtis, 29, explained the ordeal she and her partner, Jeff Megonigal went through when two of their children were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.

Their daughter, Avery, died from the disease when she was 17 months old in November 2007. In August 2008, the couple became pregnant with twin boys, Calvin and Nolan.

However, when the boys were just 4 months old, Nolan was diagnosed with ALL, and in March 2009, he, too, died of the disease.

Despite having lost so much, Curtis is full of hope for her future, and the future of her 18 month old son, Calvin, who is healthy.

She is also hopeful that she can fulfill her dream of creating a home to support other families who experience the loss of a child from terminal illness.
Read the full story below:

From mother's loss comes a dream of hope

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Helpful Resources Available for Pennsylvania Crime Victims through New Web Site Designed by Crime Victims

Helpful Resources Available for Pennsylvania Crime Victims through New Web Site Designed by Crime Victims

New Sestak ad takes jabs at Obama, Specter

PA GOP: Rep. Lentz neglects job to campaign in D.C.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Spokesman Mike Barley called on Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz (a 7th Congressional District candidate) to share with voters what campaign activities in Washington, D.C., were more important than addressing the budget challenges facing Pennsylvania.

From a PA GOP press release:
"The Rendell Administration's proposed budget contains a number of proposals that could potentially affect critical services in Rep. Bryan Lentz's district, particularly within the budget at the Department of Public Welfare," Barley said. "With important assistance for many local families on the line, Bryan Lentz chose to ignore his responsibilities as a full-time legislator in order to campaign for higher office.

"Bryan Lentz still has a responsibility to represent the people of Pennsylvania as a legislator, a duty he is ignoring to engage in campaign activities. Pennsylvania doesn't need another politician like Bryan Lentz in Washington, D.C."

Yesterday, State Representative Bryan Lentz skipped three hearings of the House Appropriations Committee where officials from the Department of Aging, Department of Public Welfare, and Department of Insurance testified about budget cuts and their impacts on state programs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oliver North visits Berks County

Oliver North praises Boy Scout values at Hawk Mountain Council dinner

Will change come to PA's 12th Congressional District?

Insider Democrats must walk fine line - Josh Kraushaar -

GOP's Toomey Keeps Big Lead Over Specter, Sestak in Pennsylvania

Doesn't matter who the Democratic nominee will be. Pat Toomey holds a huge lead over Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter and far-left Congressman Joe Sestak, according to a new poll. Pennsylvania voters want change ... and Toomey can deliver it.

GOP's Toomey Keeps Big Lead Over Specter, Sestak in Pennsylvania -- Politics Daily

Ron Paul Only Hope to Prevent U.S. Hyperinflation

Ron Paul Only Hope to Prevent U.S. Hyperinflation

Tom Corbett unveils 12-point reform plan

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett has released a 12-point plan to reform state government.

"To create real economic growth in Pennsylvania and put hard-working Pennsylvanians back to work ... we must start from the foundation up and reform the government that guides our economy," Corbett writes at his Web site. "Our government needs to be held to a higher standard to restore taxpayers' trust and confidence and to bring about good government at all levels and in every branch."

Corbett said his campaign will emphasize the need for "an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that finally puts Pennsylvania taxpayers first and gets the state back on track and moving in the right direction."

If elected, Corbett says he will introduce a comprehensive plan and begin the process of reforming Harrisburg and putting the "people" back in the "people's government."

During his first week in office, Corbett will issue executive orders to immediately implement far-reaching reforms that do not require legislative action and will work swiftly with the General Assembly on any reforms needing legislative approval, according to his Web site.

Here are the reforms Corbett is pushing:
1) Reducing the Size & Cost of Government
2) Transparency in State Government
3) Elimination of WAMS & Discretionary Funds
4) Elimination of State Government Paid Per Diems
5) Reducing the State Automotive Fleet
6) Biennial Budgeting
7) Zero-Based/Performance-Based Budgeting
8) Cap the General Assembly "Leadership Funds"
9) Sunset & Audit of State Boards & Commissions
10) Consolidation of Services
11) Health care contributions for Legislators
12) Ban Political Contributions and Gifts During Procurement Process
Corbett offers more details about the reform package at his Web site,

Obama Idea of Compromise

A 20-Page Bill In Plain English to Reduce Premiums and Help Laid-Off Americans

A Twenty-Page Bill In Plain English to Reduce Premiums and Help Laid-Off Americans

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gerlach criticizes return of Obamacare

U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) issued the following statement Monday after the White House outlined its health care reform proposal that the American people have already rejected:
"After the House and Senate crafted legislation in secret last year, the American people demanded a second opinion on health care reform," Gerlach said. "But the White House proposal offers the same $1 trillion prescription that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have been trying unsuccessfully to get the American people to swallow.

"While I am pleased the President has proposed removing the sweetheart deal known as the 'Cornhusker Kickback' for Nebraska, it is disappointing that higher taxes and more invasive government remain the backbone of this plan," Gerlach added. "Workers would pay a new tax on employer-provided health insurance and payroll taxes would climb under the White House plan. The constituents in my district – along with most Americans -- have made it clear that approach is unacceptable."

The New York Times reported that under the White House plan, a family earning about $88,000 a year would pay as much as 9.5 percent of their income toward annual health insurance premiums, or about $8,380 annually. That does not include out-of-pocket costs, such as co-payments or deductibles, according to the paper. And The Morning Call of Allentown cited a statewide poll showing 60 percent of Pennsylvanians want to scrap the House and Senate proposals and consider alternatives. In addition, a majority do not support the government requiring every citizen to buy health insurance.
Gerlach is a co-sponsor of a bipartisan proposal – known as the Small Business Options Health (SHOP) Act – that would increase competition among insurers by allowing consumers to purchase policies across state lines and permitting small businesses to form statewide pools to buy coverage for their employees.

Gerlach also supports the House Republican Medical Rights and Reform Act, which includes provisions to end costly lawsuit abuse and allows doctors and patients to continuing making decisions about the best treatments.

The 'Stimulus' Actually Raised Unemployment - The 'Stimulus' Actually Raised Unemployment

PA State House races feature Republican candidates with almost the same name

I received this amusing press release from the David M. Maloney for Berks 130th Campaign attempting to clear up some potential confusion about a candidate with a similar name running in a separate Legislative district.

Both are Republicans but Dave Maloney is seeking the nomination for the 130th District in eastern Berks County while Dave Molony is seeking the 133rd State House seat in Lehigh County and Northampton counties.

Here's the release:
Just when you thought all politicians were the same; one difference between Pennsylvania State Representative candidates in the 130th and the 133rd Districts could be ... vowels.

Dave Maloney of Pike Township and Dave Molony of Catasaqua, are running for State Representative in two different districts here in Eastern Pennsylvania.

"I met Dave at the House Republican Campaign Committee meeting last month. It will probably be some confusion when we both get to Harrisburg, but I've got a lot more hair than Dave," said Dave Maloney, Boyertown High School alum and former Oley Valley School Board member who is the 130th District candidate.

"We don't really think that the people in Berks and in Lehigh Valley will get confused. But I will say that we do expect to get right to work when we get elected in November and are sworn into the House of Representatives in Harrisburg in January of 2011," said Dave Molony, running for the 133rd.

Dave Maloney said he see the economy and jobs as the issues at the top of the list of concerns for people. "I have never seen business this slow, people hurting so badly. Harrisburg has to knock down all the barriers to letting companies do business and hire for new jobs." He added that he "supports all efforts to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania and bring real accountability to public schools."

"Governor Rendell's budget increase is over two billion dollars. At the same time more people are buying less and paying less income taxes because they are laid off or working part time. How does the governor expect to spend more money when the state has less to spend and a set of huge increases coming down the road from pensions and other promises Rendell made? We need the determination to make hard choices and say no to expanding government programs and spending. It is not possible to tax people into prosperity," Maloney said.
In the photo above, that's Dave Maloney on the left, Dave Molony on the right.

For more on Maloney's bid to replace incumbent state Rep. David Kessler, check out this article or visit Maloney's campaign Web site.

Molony is seeking to replace incumbent Democratic state Rep. Joseph F. Brennan. For more information on Molony, check out this article or visit his campaign Web site.

ATR: Obama Health Plan Is a Net Tax Hike of $629 Billion

ATR: Obama Health Plan Is a Net Tax Hike of $629 Billion

MRC President Brent Bozell: 'God Bless Bloggers'

MRC President Brent Bozell: 'God Bless Bloggers' |

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More lipstick, same pig

George Will sheds light on the 'global warming industry'

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George F. Will examines the growing evidence that most of the "science" behind the theory of global warming is more fiction than science in his latest column.

Here's part of what Will writes:
Global warming alarmists, long cosseted by echoing media, manifest an interesting incongruity -- hysteria and name calling accompanying serene assertions about the "settled science" of climate change. Were it settled, we would be spared the hyperbole that amounts to Ring Lardner's "Shut up, he explained."

The global warming industry, like Alexander in the famous children's story, is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Actually, a bad three months, which began Nov. 19 with the publication of e-mails indicating attempts by scientists to massage data and suppress dissent in order to strengthen "evidence" of global warming.

But there already supposedly was a broad, deep and unassailable consensus. Strange.

Next came the failure of The World's Last -- We Really, Really Mean It -- Chance, aka the Copenhagen climate change summit. It was a nullity, and since then things have been getting worse for those trying to stampede the world into a spasm of prophylactic statism.

In 2007, before the economic downturn began enforcing seriousness and discouraging grandstanding, seven Western U.S. states (and four Canadian provinces) decided to fix the planet on their own. California's Arnold Schwarzenegger intoned, "We cannot wait for the United States government to get its act together on the environment." The 11 jurisdictions formed what is now called the Western Climate Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting in 2012.

Or not. Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer recently suspended her state's participation in what has not yet begun. Some Utah legislators are reportedly considering a similar action. She worries, sensibly, that it would impose costs on businesses and consumers. She also ordered reconsideration of Arizona's strict vehicle emission rules, modeled on incorrigible California's, lest they raise the cost of new cars.

Last week, BP America, ConocoPhillips and Caterpillar, three early members of the 31-member U.S. Climate Action Partnership, said: Oh, never mind. They withdrew from USCAP. It is a coalition of corporations and global warming alarm groups that was formed in 2007 when carbon rationing legislation seemed inevitable and collaboration with the rationers seemed prudent.

Said a spokesman for Conoco: "We need to spend time addressing the issues that impact our shareholders and consumers." What a concept.
Read the full column, "Blinded by science," here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Demino Effect

Poll: Only 28% Say U.S. Headed In Right Direction

If Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats don't make a mid-term course correction soon, they'll end up at the bottom of a steep canyon.

The latest "Right Direction or Wrong Track" survey by Rasmussen Reports finds just 28% of Americans say the U.S. is heading in the right direction.

From Rasmussen Reports:
Just 28% of U.S. voters say the country is heading in the right direction, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This marks the lowest level of voter confidence in the nation’s current course since one year ago and appears to signal the end of a slight burst of confidence at the first of this year.

The majority of voters (65%) believe the nation is heading down the wrong track, a figure that's held roughly steady since mid-November.

At the start of 2010, voters were slightly more optimistic, with 32% saying the country was heading in the right direction. Past polling shows that voters are typically more optimistic at the start of a new year.

Leading up to Barack Obama's inauguration a year ago, the number of voters who felt the country was heading in the right direction remained below 20%. The week of his inauguration, voter confidence rose to 27% and then steadily increased, peaking at 40% in early May 2009. Since then, confidence in the direction of the country has steadily declined.
Read more poll results at Rasmussen Reports.

Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas (No. 3)

Liberal Media 101 - Media Research Center

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PA Protects Additional 3,346 Acres of Prime Farmland

The latest farms to be preserved are located in Berks, Blair, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Cumberland, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Union, Westmoreland and York counties.

State Preservation Board Protects Additional 3,346 Acres of Prime Pennsylvania Farmland from Development

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar Drop Out of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership

BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar Drop Out of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership | CEI

Republican Tammy Gore running in 130th Legislative District

Another potential challenger for Democratic state Rep. David Kessler, who ran on a reform platform but ended up a doormat for Gov. Ed Rendell and the House Democratic leadership. Check out the background of Tammy Gore at the link below.

Republican Gore running in 130th Legislative District

Obama at the Winter Olympics

'Fed up with government? Get 300 signatures and get on ballot for change'

Can you do a better job than your current state legislator or representative in Congress? Well, here's your chance. Starting today, you can circulate nominating petitions to get on the May primary ballot.

From an editorial in today's edition of The Pottstown Mercury:
Fed up with government?

Tired of state lawmakers failing to enact property tax reform or fix the problems ailing Pennsylvania?

Concerned that public servants are corrupted by petty politics?

Have some ideas on how to fix things?

Here's your chance.

Today begins this year's election cycle. This is the first day to begin circulating petitions to get on the primary ballot in the spring on the way to taking office next January.

It just takes some money for a filing fee and some time to collect names on a nominating petition.

Of course there's more to gaining or holding public office, but the point is that the opportunity is available to just about anyone, so there is no real excuse to spend another year as a backseat legislator.

In Pennsylvania, every one of the 203 seats in the state House of Representatives is up for grabs, as are 25 of the 50 state Senate seats.

Voters in Pennsylvania will also be electing a U.S. senator and congressmen in every district in the state.

The signature requirements and filing fees vary, depending on the office being sought. Information on the requirements are available on the Department of State Web site,
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

CF Appeal: Rendell Wants 74 New Taxes!

You gotta hand it to the folks at the Commonwealth Foundation for the cleverness of their latest appeal for donations.

"I ask that you let Gov. Rendell know what you think of his plan for 74 new taxes by sending a contribution of $0.74 to $74 to his biggest adversary - the Commonwealth Foundation," writes Matthew J. Brouillette, President & CEO of the independent, non-profit research and educational institute that develops and advances public policies based on the nation's founding principles of limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility.

From Brouillette's appeal:
Harrisburg just doesn't get it. Governor Rendell is pushing for 74 new taxes to feed his endless appetite for your money. No, that's not a typographical error: 74 new taxes!

Here are just some of the 74 items Rendell now wants to place a 4% Sales Tax upon: basic television, candy and gum, caskets and burial vaults, coal, firewood, bank fees, non-prescription drugs, water and sewage supplies, school buses, and laundry and dry-cleaning services. The list goes on and on.

With a straight face, Governor Rendell claims his state budget proposal includes no broad-based tax increases. In fact, however, Rendell's plan contains even more than 74 new taxes!

Rendell also wants to "adjust" the corporate tax code, extracting more money from small businesses. Job creators will respond by laying off workers and passing their heavier tax burden onto consumers through raising the price of goods and services.

It's as if Governor Rendell is trying to destroy job growth in our Commonwealth and prevent people from making ends meet.

Governor Rendell's 74 new taxes will result in a net tax increase on all Pennsylvanians of $530 million next year and $900 million every year thereafter. With PA in the throes of recession, hard-working Pennsylvanians certainly can't afford to feed Harrisburg's spending addiction!
If you want to contribute to the Commonwealth Foundation, here's how to do it online.

Gerlach: Time for Welch to bow out

With a new poll in hand showing incumbent Congressman Jim Gerlach holding a commanding lead over GOP primary challenger Steve Welch, the Gerlach campaign is urging Welch to drop out of the race.

A poll released by the Gerlach for Congress campaign shows a 61-point lead over Welch, with the four-term Republican Congressman leading in a head-to-head match up by a 71% to 6% margin.

With Gerlach securing party support and holding a monetary advantage, the only purpose Welch can serve by staying in the race is to help a potential Democratic opponent in the fall, the Gerlach camp argues.

From the Gerlach for Congress campaign:
"Republican voters in southeast Pennsylvania know Jim very well and they have already reached the conclusion that he is doing a good job in Congress and should be returned to Washington for another term," said Chris Wilson, the campaign's pollster. "With solid numbers like these, Jim is a virtual lock to win the Republican primary. Any primary challenge to Jim Gerlach at this point would only serve Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in Washington."

Among the data, Wilson Research Strategies found that Gerlach's Republican support is strongest among the most conservative voters, making it nearly impossible to challenge him "from the right." Additionally, Republican primary voters who disapprove of Congress (87%) do not blame Jim Gerlach for the problems in Washington, since 86% of those voters approve of Gerlach's job performance in Congress. Therefore, this is not an anti-incumbent electorate.

"Even among those voters who have heard of Steve Welch, Gerlach is leading 67-15%," added Wilson.

Since Jim Gerlach's decision to seek re-election January 8th, a number of national publications have written that Pennsylvania's 6th District seat is now more likely to stay in Republican hands, with one commentator stating that Gerlach "saved that seat for Republicans ... I think they would have lost it otherwise." Still, Democrats are ecstatic after learning of Welch's decision to challenge Gerlach in the primary. The National Journal said it forces Republicans into a "potentially costly, and damaging, primary" that could be "damaging to the GOP hopes of holding the seat." wrote the news of his primary challenge was "a lift for Democrats."

Despite having to start virtually from scratch after winding down his federal campaign account last year in anticipation of a campaign for Governor, Gerlach announced at the end of January that he had secured more than half a million dollars in financial commitments in just three weeks for his primary election campaign, a number that has grown each day.
For more on the poll, click here.

For more on Gerlach, visit his campaign Web site.

Activists unveil Mount Vernon manifesto

Conservative leaders gathering in Virginia Wednesday will sign on to a broad statement of principle aimed at giving a coherent framework to the grass-roots energy roiling the right.

"The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant," reads a portion of the statement provided to POLITICO by its organizers. "Some insist that America must change, cast off the old and put on the new. But where would this lead — forward or backward, up or down? Isn't this idea of change an empty promise or even a dangerous deception?

"The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is not movement away from but toward our founding principles," says the statement, which seeks to define those principles as "constitutional conservatism."

The statement marks an effort by a group of leading conservatives to put their stamp on a movement that in the past year has been overtaken by a populist uprising against the Obama administration and growing federal spending, if little else.
Activists unveil Mount Vernon manifesto - Ben Smith -

Rendell's Sales Tax Expansion Would Hurt Many Businesses

Rendell's Sales Tax Expansion Would Hurt Many Businesses

Monday, February 15, 2010

Imploding UN Global Warming Forecasts on Front Page of Washington Post

Imploding UN Global Warming Forecasts on Front Page of Washington Post |

PA GOP Endorsements for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senate

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania has voted to endorse Pat Toomey for United States Senate, Tom Corbett for Pennsylvania Governor and Jim Cawley for Lieutenant Governor.

From a PA GOP release:
"At such a critical juncture in the history of our Commonwealth and our country, it's important that our Party puts forth highly qualified candidates who will promote and implement the Republican principles of limited government and personal responsibility within our government," Gleason said. "We are excited to have found these highly qualified candidates in United States Senate candidate Pat Toomey, gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett and lieutenant governor candidate Jim Cawley."

"As a former small business owner, Pat Toomey has an innate understanding of the problems facing our nation's financial system. During his time in Congress and later in the private sector, Pat Toomey became a champion of the type of common-sense, free-market solutions that will create jobs, grow our economy and protect our freedoms. Pat Toomey is exactly the type of strong independent voice that we need in Washington today.

"Attorney General Tom Corbett's name has become synonymous with government reform in Pennsylvania. Tom has spent a lifetime fighting to protect the citizens of this Commonwealth from public corruption and criminal predators, and I am excited to support his bid to take that watchdog mentality to the Governor's mansion.

"Jim Cawley, Bucks County Commissioner, has established a solid record as an innovator who has worked to save taxpayers millions of dollars. Jim's experience will add a great deal to our Party's ticket this year."

"With a strong and energized grassroots network, we are excited to get to work electing Tom Corbett for Governor, Jim Cawley for Lieutenant Governor, and Pat Toomey for the United States Senate."

GOP Criticizes Obama Over Trails for Terrorists

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blizzard of Lies II: Global Warming Snow In Dallas Shatters Record

Blizzard of Lies II: Global Warming Snow In Dallas Shatters Record |

From our Global Warming Desk: Snow in 49 States

From The Associated Press:
Forty-nine states have snow now, from the Gulf Coast’s Redneck Riviera to the skyscrapers of Dallas. The lone holdout? Hawaii.

Although snow falls every winter on Hawaii's two tallest volcanoes, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said there was no snow in the state Friday.

Snow had even fallen in the Florida Panhandle and along the South Carolina coast.

However, snow has been lighter than usual in New England. Forecasters say El Nino has driven many of this year's storms southward.

Weather service meteorologist Brian Korty says it’s extremely rare to have so many states with snow.

Funeral Services for Sheriff John Durante

Funeral arrangements have been set for Montgomery County Sheriff John Durante, who passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 60.

A viewing will be held Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Emil J. Ciavarelli Family Funeral Homes Inc., 516 Fayette St., Conshohocken.

A viewing also will be held at the funeral home on Thursday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at Sts. Cosmas and Damian Church, 209 W. Fifth Ave., Conshohocken. Interment will be at St. Matthew's Cemetery in Conshohocken.

Flags at all Montgomery County buildings will fly at half-staff through Thursday in remembrance of Sheriff Durante.

"John was a person dedicated to public service, his family, friends and Montgomery County," said Montgomery County Republican Committee Chairman Bob Kerns. "He will be deeply missed as a friend and member of our Montgomery County GOP family. Our sympathy goes to his loved ones during this time of grief."

For more on Durante's 10-year tenure as Montgomery County Sheriff, check out this article by reporter Carl Hessler Jr. in The Pottstown Mercury.

For more on Durante, visit his Facebook memorial page.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rendell Leaves Behind A Fiscal Mess

By Tony Phyrillas

Look up the word "chutzpah" in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Gov. Ed Rendell next to it. Chutzpah, which means "unmitigated gall, audacity or nerve," is the perfect description of Rendell, who has run up massive deficits during his two terms as governor and now is warning his fellow Pennsylvanians that we have to deal with the fiscal crisis.

In this case, "we" means you and I — the beleaguered taxpayers of Pennsylvania — not Rendell, who will leave the governor's mansion after eight years of fiscal mismanagement to collect a huge taxpayer pension as his reward for screwing up the state’s finances.

It was classic Ed Rendell Tuesday as the governor delivered his eighth — and thank God, his final — budget to the Pennsylvania Legislature. Having run out of things to tax, Rendell proposed expanding the state sales tax to cover more items. Rendell and his lockstep Democrats in the Legislature have repeatedly opposed expansion of the sales tax to cover services when it was attached to a plan to eliminate property taxes. That's what Republican state Rep. Sam Rohrer has been pushing for years.

But now that Rendell has run out of opportunities to raise other taxes, he needs the expanded sales tax to fund his proposed $29 billion spending plan — and pay for years of deficit spending.

Despite running up huge deficits in the past two budgets, Rendell wants to increase state spending by another $1.1 billion for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The first rule of holes is when you're in one, stop digging. Rendell plans to dig so deep that the next governor will never get out from the fiscal abyss "Fast Eddie" has created.

Rendell wants to pay for the new spending by using $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds, which may or may not be approved by Congress. (Just imagine what will happen to "stimulus" handouts when Republicans take back control of Congress in November.)

And Rendell is leaving with a final "up yours" to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Having presided over a massive expansion of state spending over the past eight years — $9 billion and counting — Rendell warned lawmakers that Pennsylvania is facing a "fiscal tsunami" — a potential $5.6 billion deficit from the 2011 expiration of federal stimulus money and the ticking time bomb of public pension obligations.

For eight years, Rendell has ignored the growing pension crisis, which will result in massive property tax increases for Pennsylvania residents in 2012. That wallop will come after the 2011 deregulation of electricity rates, which will raise most residential bills by at least 30 percent.

You can't spend what you don't have, but Rendell and most legislators flunked Economics 101. Rendell, with the Legislature in tow, has been spending money the state doesn't have for years. The chickens will come home to roost. Unfortunately for Pennsylvania taxpayers, Rendell will have flown the coop.

Rendell wants to reduce the state sales tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent, but expand it to more than 70 services currently exempt (lawyer and accountant fees, dry cleaning, for example) and items such as firewood, candy, gum, bottled water, magazines and personal hygiene products. (Groceries, clothing and prescription drugs would remain exempt from the sales tax under Rendell's plan).

Rep. Rohrer has proposed a similar plan, but it would lead to the elimination of the state's onerous school property taxes. Most taxpayers, especially senior citizens on fixed incomes, would come out ahead under Rohrer's plan. Rendell simply wants more money from taxpayers to cover his deficit spending.

The state finished with a $3.25 billion deficit for the 2008-09 fiscal year, which led to a 101-day budget impasse over Rendell's 2009-10 spending plan. And what did Rendell and the most expensive legislature in the country come up with for the current fiscal year? A budget that was in the red from Day 1. The state is looking at a minimum $500 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

In addition to expanding the sales tax, Rendell wants to extend the tobacco tax to include cigars and smokeless tobacco products and enact a new severance tax on natural gas extraction. Both proposals were rejected by the Legislature last year.

Will any of these taxes pass? Rendell is prohibited by the state constitution from seeking a third term as governor. He's a lame duck. He can propose all the tax hikes he wants, but the Legislature will have the final say. All 203 members of the state House and half of the 50 members in the state Senate face the voters in 2010. How many of them are going to vote for one of the largest tax increases in Pennsylvania history?

Pennsylvania voters are already in a foul mood. A recent Franklin & Marshall College poll found only 16 percent of registered voters say the Legislature is doing a good job. How much lower will that number go if the Legislature goes along with Rendell's tax hikes? How many lawmakers will sacrifice their careers for Ed Rendell?

Tony Phyrillas writes about politics for The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa. Check out his daily blog here. You can also e-mail him at

Spotted on a lawn in Berks County

Punxsutawney Phil must have paid a visit to Berks County. At the rate the snow is falling, he'll be completely covered ... until spring.

Rep. Quigley questions Rendell call to increase spending

Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) released the following statement in response to Gov. Ed Rendell's annual budget address to the Pennsylvania Legislature:

"There were two aspects of the governor's speech that I was in agreement with, including the call to get this budget passed on time and the need to plan for the financial difficulties Pennsylvania will face in years to come. We cannot view our state budgets as documents that address only a single fiscal year, but must craft them with an eye on the future economic health of Pennsylvania.

"I differ with the governor on how best to address the pending funding cliff we face when the federal stimulus money ceases. Pennsylvania can do a better job of controlling spending. The governor is calling for a spending increase of $1.2 billion, while the state is up against a projected $525 million shortfall for the fiscal year. I do not believe such a spending increase is sensible at this time. We have to budget based on the conditions at hand, which means facing the fact that our citizens cannot afford a tax increase and our state cannot afford to raise spending."

Global Warming Buries East Coast

Following a weekend blizzard that dumped 30 inches of snow on Washington, D.C., forcing the federal government to shut down, the Obama Administration announced the formation of a new federal climate change agency.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announced Monday that NOAA will set up the new Climate Service to operate in tandem with NOAA's National Weather Service and National Ocean Service, according to The Associated Press.

It's a good thing Obama moved quickly on the climate change threat. Another massive snowstorm with blizzard conditions is headed for the East Coast Wednesday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Obama Rolls The Dice

PCN coverage of Rendell Budget Address

A week after Punxsutawney Phil made his annual appearance, another Pennsylvania icon, Gov. Ed Renell, will pop up on Tuesday to deliver his annual Budget Address to a joint session of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Will we have another six months of deficit spending?

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will have comprehensive coverage of the event.

Live coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. at the PCN studios with former PA Lt. Gov. Mark Singel of The Winter Group.

Live coverage of the Governor's Budget Address before a joint session of the House and Senate starts at 10:30 a.m.

An encore presentation of Rendell's speech has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday for those of us who still have jobs and need to work during the day to support Rendell's massive spending plan.

PCN will hold an open phone session following the live budget address. Viewers can dial toll-free at 1-877-PA6-5001 to share their thoughts.

PCN will provide budget reaction from lawmakers following the address.

Rendell will be the guest on the LIVE PCN Call-In program beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Viewers can dial toll-free at 1-877-PA6-5001 to speak directly with the governor.

Through the coming weeks, PCN will provide extensive coverage of the 2010-11 fiscal year state budget proceedings. Check for programming details.

Fleetwood councilwoman seeks state office

A second Republican is seeking the GOP nomination to run in the 130th State House District.

Fleetwood councilwoman seeks state office

Poll: 75% 'angry' at government

Another reason for Democrats to worry in 2010.

Poll: 75% 'angry' at government - Andy Barr -

Why Hasn't Obama Had a White House Press Conference Since July?

Why Hasn't Obama Had a White House Press Conference Since July? |

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Scott Brown has more experience than Barack Obama

Here's something scary. Before being sworn in to the U.S. Senate today, Scott Brown had more political experience as a Massachusetts legislator than Barack Obama did as a state lawmaker in Illinois before he entered the U.S. Senate in 2005. (Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004.)

Brown served six years in the state House and six years in the state Senate in Massachusetts before pulling off the "Massachusetts Miracle" by winning Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat.

I think this makes Scott Brown more qualified to be president.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas

Click on the link to watch the latest Talking Politics Video Q&A with Tony Phyrillas

- The Mercury Video > Video-politics: Pottstown, PA and The Tri County areas of Montgomery, Berks and Chester Counties (

Posted using ShareThis

6th Congressional District debate canceled

Due to inclement weather, and for the safety of the candidates, audience and volunteers, the Pennsylvania Conservative Council, is canceling the District 6 Debate scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, at Great Valley High School. The debate will be rescheduled at a future date. Offers Tools to Prepare for Winter Storms, Other Emergencies Offers Tools to Prepare for Winter Storms, Other Emergencies

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Obama Monument

Rafferty backs bill to keep doctors in Pennsylvania

From state Sen. John Rafferty:

Seeking to keep doctors in Pennsylvania, state Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr. R-44th Dist., joined medical representatives at a Harrisburg news conference Wednesday to push for legislation he is sponsoring that would create an MCARE Commission to oversee the future disbursement of MCARE Funds.

Rafferty was joined by Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, president of the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society, who said the legislation is crucial to keeping young orthopaedic surgeons in the state and make health care available for more state residents.

Under Senate Bill 1174, the MCARE Commission will consist of representatives from the physician and hospital communities, the four legislative caucuses, the administration and a medical student.

"The major focus of this legislation is to allow practitioners who pay into this fund to control its disbursements and to keep insurance rates at a high level to protect doctors and patients," Rafferty said. "The MCARE fund should not be used as a checking account to be tapped by the Administration when state funds are low. Those who pay in should be able to determine how it is used."

Rafferty said his legislation would also ensure that future physicians will have a part in decisions, since they will pay the MCARE liabilities for their entire careers.

The MCARE Fund is a medical liability coverage fund run by the state of Pennsylvania. Currently, physicians are required to have $500,000 in primary liability coverage plus $500,000 in excess coverage above that. They can get the first $500,000 layer either in the private market or through the Joint Underwriting Association. They get the second layer from the MCARE Fund.

The MCARE Abatement Program subsidizes 100 percent of the MCARE surcharge for high-risk specialty surgeons and 50 percent of the MCARE surcharge for other healthcare providers. The program is the keystone of the medical liability reforms enacted during 2002 and 2003.

The program was renewed annually three times. In late December 2007, however, it became evident that the General Assembly could not agree on how to allocate the MCARE Fund's surplus, and the MCARE Abatement Program was not renewed by the year-end deadline.

If the MCARE phaseout schedule contained in Act 13 remains, in a few short years physicians may be required to carry $1 million of private market coverage while continuing to pay MCARE annual assessments. This eventual outcome creates a huge medical liability burden for society members and puts in place a significant barrier to recruiting the best and brightest young orthopaedic surgeons to Pennsylvania. SB 1174 will finally put physicians in the decision loop in regard to their money.

Career Politician Alert: Tom Caltagirone

Tom Caltagirone has spent the past 34 years in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

The Reading Democratic is planning to run for an 18th term in the state House in 2010.

If you like the way Harrisburg is run, then by all means, keep sending Caltagirone back to the Legislature. If you're tired of high taxes, uncontrolled spending and all the corruption, then stop returning the same people to Harrisburg.

Let's get real. If somebody hasn't done the job in 34 years, why should voters give them another two years?

Politicians are like diapers. They're full of doo doo and need to be changed frequently.

Caltagirone says he has work yet to do for Berks

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jon Stewart vs. Bill O'Reilly

POLITICO: Stewart: Fox 'sells the clearest narrative' - Michael Calderone - Stewart: Fox 'sells the clearest narrative'

Is Pat Meehan the next Scott Brown?

Time magazine says former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, who is seeking Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional seat, could be the next Scott Brown, the Republican who orchestrated the Massachusetts Miracle in winning a U.S. Senate seat.

From an article by Sam Jewler:
Pat Meehan presents himself like a character from a crime show — a tough, GOP establishment candidate who made his name as a Bush appointee in the position of US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. There he targeted terrorism, gangs, and the cronyism culture of Philadelphia government, a plus in Pennsylvania's 7th District, which has only had three Democratic congressmen since 1900. Decorated war veteran Bryan Lentz, the Democratic candidate, is a Pennsylvania state representative entering the race in an election cycle unfriendly to him. He faces Meehan, whose toughness persona may outshine his own, and who — importantly in this political climate — has no fiscal policy background to assail. The incumbent in this seat is popular Democrat Joe Sestak, who is leaving to mount a challenge for Arlen Specter's Senate seat. The district went for Obama by 13 percentage points in 2008, but Pennsylvania Democratic ambivalence could help Meehan. The question is whether District 7 will vote liberally, like it did the last two cycles, or conservatively, as it did for the previous two generations.
See who else made the list, "Republican Surprise: 10 More Scott Browns," at the magazine's Web site.

Magic Number - $5.08 Trillion

PA Game Commission Encourages Participation in 'Great Backyard Bird Count'

PA Game Commission Encourages Participation in 'Great Backyard Bird Count'

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meet Pia Varma

Find out more at

Groundhog Day in PA: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Wintry Weather

Groundhog Day in PA: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Wintry Weather

Pennsylvania Business Community Says 'No State Budget Groundhog Day'

From the Pennsylvania Competitive Council:
More than 30 business organizations representing nearly 5 million non-farm, non-government private sector jobs assembled in the state capitol rotunda on Groundhog Day to say, "We don't want to wake up morning after morning to the same news in 2010!" The Groundhog Day reference to the Bill Murray movie that made Punxsutawney world famous was used by business leaders to remind lawmakers and Governor Rendell that another late budget with increased spending and higher taxes would not be acceptable to them.

"In 2009, we suffered a protracted budget process that went 101 days beyond the deadline. The gap between spending and expected revenues was filled with new and additional taxes that will cost the Pennsylvania business community about $2 billion over the next five years before modest – but much needed – tax reforms really take effect," said Pennsylvania Business Council President & CEO David W. Patti.
Read the full release at the link below:

Pennsylvania Business Community Says 'No State Budget Groundhog Day'

Monday, February 1, 2010

16 Lies in 7 minutes: State of the Union Video Breakdown

6th Congressional District debate set for Feb. 6

The Pennsylvania Conservative Council, a non-partisan grassroots organization based in West Chester, Pa., will host a debate among Republican candidates vying to represent Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District.

Incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach and challengers Walt Hufford, Pat Sellers and Steve Welch are expected to participate in the forum, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Great Valley High School, 225 Phoenixville Pike, Malvern.

Superior Court Judge Paul Porreca of Millville, N.J., will moderate the debate.

"This is a great opportunity to have the candidates speak directly to the constituents of District 6 and for voters to become engaged in the political process in its very earliest stages," said Greta Scriboni, executive director of Pennsylvania Conservative Council.

"Voters know that there is a lot at stake and they really want the chance to get a closer look at the candidates. They want to hear first hand what the candidates have to say about how they are going to get our state and country headed in the right direction," said Bud McCullough, one of the event coordinators.

To pre-register for the debate see the events registration form at

Attendance is free and open to the public; seats will be assigned on a first-come basis.

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Conservative Council Web site or call Greta Scriboni at 610-517-4170.