June 19, 2013

Privatization Kills!

Put that in you Milton Friedman pipe and smoke it!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:06 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Related: A national 0.05% BAC limit is on its way.

At that point, why not just make it zero?

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2013 11:50 AM

July 27, 2012

What's That Got To Do With The Price of Tape in America?

For five minutes recently, the floor of the US House of Representatives turned into a TEA Party rally. Rep. Mike Kelly (TPD-PA) courtesy of Breitbart.

"But we don't use red tape." "Oh yes we do. It costs one point seven five trillion dollars."

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:42 PM | Comments (4)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Note to Mitt: Can you please talk like this once in awhile?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 30, 2012 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, yes that sounds good but aren't we in the electoral phase where he needs to "run to the middle" to achieve a plurality? Not that getting government boots off of employers' necks isn't a winning issue but the POTUS' demeanor needs to be more warm, friendly and reassuring. For example, I would have preferred Mitt to congratulate the British people for "what I'm sure will be a fabulous and memorable Olympics" rather than nitpicking - validity notwithstanding - a failing or two of some organizing committee.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow, I lose the ecletic music title yesterday and today brother jg out-pragmatists me. I'm clearly a worthless appendage on this blog -- oh, wait the hosting fees are due!

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2012 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the contrary brother, one of your responsibilities is to keep me grounded in realpolitik. Your cause is aided by two particular single-white-male individuals now interacting with me on a regular basis. Specific identities are unimportant but they don't make thirty-somethings the way they used to. (Or maybe I just don't remember what it was like to be a single 30-something male.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 4:38 PM

December 24, 2011

Joyeaux Noel

NED bless America, girls in pink dresses, and free market capitalism. T-Mobile produces a flash mob production of a Robert Allen / Al Stillman favorite. Go fullscreen and crank it up.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:38 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Awesome. I liked it okay on TV (maybe I was distracted as my beloved donkeys were getting spanked) but I really enjoyed taking a second look here.

And yaay for the free market capitalism reference. I'll go one more if I may. In another fruitless Facebook discussion, I was extolling the virtues of division of labor -- not just for prosperity but for freedom. I don't want to farm or fish or hunt for my food and suspect I would be very very thin were I forced to.

I looked for the "how this came together" video, clicked the wrong one and watched Carly, her dresses and the dress designer, Debra LeClair. Ms. LeClair detailed the time she spent designing each dress, and Ms. Foulkes spoke to the selection process.

Hate to go all "Devil Wears Prada" on you, but thinking of the (well spent if you ask me) millions of dollars to put that pink dress on that young lady makes me appreciate an economy that creates creative jobs. Lotsa dress designers in North Korea? I'm guessin' not.

Posted by: jk at December 24, 2011 8:27 PM

November 30, 2011

And now, in Philadelphia News...

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who was given a nearly $1-million buyout earlier this year, has applied for unemployment.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2011

Brotherly Love Not Extended to Sisters

Gotta tweak our Keystone Staters. Insty reports:


Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

In fairness, two children have been attacked by coyotes right across the highway from me.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2011 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The coverage is so slanted around here. They were conservative coyotes.

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2011 12:45 PM

Brotherly Love Not Extended to Sisters

Gotta tweak our Keystone Staters. Insty reports:


Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

In fairness, two children have been attacked by coyotes right across the highway from me.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2011 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The coverage is so slanted around here. They were conservative coyotes.

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2011 12:45 PM

May 22, 2011

Congratulations!

A fulsome ThreeSources Huzzah to blog friend LisaM on her election to Upper Providence Township Supervisor.

I talk a lot, but am proud to salute a couple of our frequent commenters who do the hard work of standing for office and spreading the ideas we believe.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Noticed this on FB yesterday. Good job! Next it will be Representative Mossie, Senator Mossie, President Mossie!

Posted by: johngalt at May 22, 2011 12:00 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Thanks guys! I've still got a general election to win and a Democratic opponent to overcome, but beating the two-term incumbent and current chairman of the board by 2 to 1 feels pretty darn good!

Posted by: Lisa M at May 23, 2011 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

ThreeSources regrets the error but remains confident in an accurate projection...

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 6:06 PM

December 21, 2010

Stay Classy, Arlen!

One for our Keystone State Brothers and Sister. Timothy P. Carney wasn't really impressed by Senator Arlen Specter's farewell address;

While I rooted heartily for his defeat in 2004 and 2010, I consider him to be stubbornly independent of special interests, which is a rare and laudable thing in Washington.

But then I watched his farewell address -- or as he called it, his "closing argument."

The former Republican and Democratic Senator showed why he was called "Snarlin' Arlen": His closing argument was an angry, petty, mean, self-serving screed that betrayed a total lack of self-awareness.
[...]
Speaking of Bork, this was where Specter showed his petty meanness. He gratuitously brought up Bork in his speech, saying, "Justice Bork -- excuse me ... Judge Bork."


Don't let the door hit your giant ass on the way out, Senator (see, I can be classy too!)

UPDATE: Not just the Examiner -- WaPo piles on:

"Eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism," Specter added.

Specter's speech stood in stark contrast to the soaring, valedictory odes to the Senate that Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and other veteran legislators have delivered in recent weeks. And it was not lost on anyone that, unlike Dodd and Gregg, Specter - who earned the nickname "Snarlin' Arlen" - is not exiting on his own terms.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | Comments (12)
But jk thinks:

Whoa. Dude. This argument is happening on two different threads. At the same time!

I would cite diffraction patterns as proof of an aspect of quantum mechanics that troubles you. The best example is in David Deutch's "The Fabric of Reality" (five stars), but a decent version is on Wikipedia:

The most baffling part of this experiment comes when only one photon at a time is fired at the barrier with both slits open. The pattern of interference remains the same, as can be seen if many photons are emitted one at a time and recorded on the same sheet of photographic film. The clear implication is that something with a wavelike nature passes simultaneously through both slits and interferes with itself — even though there is only one photon present. The experiment works with electrons, atoms, and even some molecules too[citation needed].

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2010 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't suggest the universe to be infinite in size or mass. I suggest a potential of an infinite number of universes. Theory yes, but the product of mathematics, not LSD. And many phenomena predicted have been shown to be true.

Quantum Theory actually reduces the number of infinities (undefined results) in other cosmologies. And as strange as it is, it provides theoretical reasons for many of the A is A empiricism you like. I suggest the stability of matter and Hercules' catching the turtle require it.

One thing I appreciate about Once Before Time is the humility of the cosmologists. Bojowald freely admits that the mathematics of Quantum Loop gravity exceeds current skills, and that the theory is in its infancy.

The book details savage competition among scientists and a quest for truth. Curiously, none mention a UN resolution or plebiscite to settle the science.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 11:55 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I caution that mathematics is a tool for understanding reality, not a synonym for it. An infinite number of universes necessitates an infinite mass of universes, unless the mass of every universe is zero.

I don't think most people really grasp what "infinite" really means. It isn't just the inverse of your chances of winning powerball, or of President Obama signing a flat-tax bill. It essentially means, "greater than anything and everything, ever." (And forever is a looooong time. Even more than 13.7 billion years.)

Infinity, like forever, is a value that can exist only in theory.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2010 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

There are an infinite number integers, perfect squares, triangles, &c. ARe these things not real?

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2010 3:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Integers and squares and triangles are real. An infinite quantity of them existing in the material realm is not. Meaning, slips of paper with the integers written on them or cut into squares or triangles.

Quoting Wikipedia again, "In mathematics, "infinity" is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: "an infinite number of terms") but it is not the same sort of number as the real numbers."

This is what I mean by "existing only in theory." It can't exist in the material realm, but only in man's imagination. This is my working theory. I'm still looking for any contradiction of it.

Posted by: johngalt at December 24, 2010 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

[I do love ThreeSources. Where else does a post on Sen. Arlen Specter engender a fierce debate on Quantum Mechanics?]

Fair enough, but I purport that Quantum Theory eliminates far more infinities than it creates. Without it, there is a real, empirical infinite number of lengths between Hercules and the Turtle in Zeno's Paradox.

Infinite to me is without limit. There may not be an infinite number of cardboard triangles, but I can always cut one more. You say there's not an infinite amount of cardboard (I buy everything from Amazon, so I'm not sure). But I say I can cut an infinite number of triangles from one piece of cardboard. And you'll need Quantum Theory to prove I cannot.

Mathematically, however, it is the same. Bojowald suggests a potential universe on the other side of every black hole. You may say there is a finite number of black holes because there is finite mass to create them. I say you're right but there is always one more. Always one more integer, always one more perfect square, always one more triangle.

Always one more universe, with a potential Santa.

Posted by: jk at December 25, 2010 12:29 PM

November 3, 2010

Keystone State

Club for Growth meets the US Senate.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

Awesome..... was a little tight there until the end... the Dem parts of the state reported first.

Posted by: AlexC at November 3, 2010 1:39 PM

September 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

In this age of partisan polarization, Republicans and Democrats found something on which they could agree: Arlen Specter does not belong in the Senate. -- James Taranto
Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | Comments (1)
But Lisa M thinks:

This whole post was so delicious, I found it hard to choose just one quote to pick as a favorite.

Posted by: Lisa M at September 14, 2010 8:51 PM

September 5, 2010

Please No More Taxes

Our brothers and sisters in the Keystone state probably already know about PleaseNoMoreTaxes.org but I just discovered them. Apparently there was a recent video contest to explain why you think taxes should not be raised further. I liked this one.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2010

PA Water Cooler Comes Out for Specter!

Sad to say, I've had the same thoughts...

This is something to worry about. Pat can whip Arlen, but Sestak is the new boy on the block and isn’t saddled with a lot of the anti-incumbent animus that hurts Specter. He can plausibly portray himself as an agent of change. That can be decisive in the Fall. Most people are not going to vote for a conservative like Toomey because of the principles he represents. They will vote against the incumbent because they are fed up with the government in general and Pat has been on the Pennsylvania stage for a while. He’s not the fresh young face he was six years ago.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Specter is dead man walking, politically speaking. Recent sound bites caught him repeatedly addressing Democratic audiences as Republicans. They guy sounds absolutely senile, almost enough to make me feel sorry for him. Almost. They guy is actually quite pathetic in his blind ambition for office and total lack of any principles.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 13, 2010 6:29 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Greatest political ad..... ever?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x97DdZho11k

Posted by: AlexC at May 13, 2010 8:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Up there with the best ac!

We all want to see him get clobbered, I'd just prefer that it was in the General by Rep. Toomey.

Posted by: jk at May 14, 2010 11:50 AM

March 20, 2010

CODE RED Rally in D.C. via Cell Phone Vid

This is cool! Tania Gail of PAWaterCooler.com is going to the Capitol rally today and she's posting live video clips to her website via cell phone. If you click on the image it links to her qik.com page which shows a google map of her location when the video was recorded.

11 minutes ago she posted this clip. "Holy cow, people are coming!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2009

Good News for Keystone State Friends

That blue state has gone at least indigo, if not quite purple. So thinks Julie Mason at the Washington Examiner:

But politics are shifting in Pennsylvania, which is lately drawing comparisons to New Jersey and Virginia, both of which elected Republican governors this year after lining up for Obama in 2008.

"I think the political environment in Pennsylvania has dramatically changed since last year, and now the Republicans are looking increasingly competitive," said Terry Madonna, a political scientist and pollster at Franklin & Marshall College In Lancaster, Pa.


Keep it up, Keystone State blog brothers and sister!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:42 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Is it true that Arlen Spector is thinking of switching parties again?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 4, 2009 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother ac should sell Specter weathervanes. That would be funny.

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2009 6:50 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ooh! That's a great idea. Every Arlen Specter story will be accompanied by a weathervane picture. That's genius.

It doesn't take so-called political expert Terry Madonna to tell you the winds have changed.

You just look at the election results from November.

6 of 7 statewide judicial races went R. There's a statewide registration deficit of 3 million for Republicans! Republicans turned out, the Democrats stayed home. Plain and simple.

Posted by: AlexC at December 4, 2009 11:02 PM

October 12, 2009

Play ball!

For a blog with PA and Colorado ties there's been a surprising silence about the NLDS between the Rox and Phillies, the only one of four first-round series not to end in a sweep. It's about time somebody changed that.

Dagny and I left the big girls with Opa and took the baby to the game last night. We were just as ready and willing to bundle up the night before but the baseball powers that be (Pelosi and Reed?) somehow decided that yesterday's 30.0 degree first pitch was sufficiently better than Saturday's 26.6 degrees that they gave us a start time of 8:07 PM MDT (10:07 pm Eastern.) Great. After the four and a quarter hour game we arrived back at the farm around 2 am, the same time the game ended on the east coast.

Today's first pitch will be warmer (it's 44.1 and rising at the moment) and in the daylight at 4:07 local time. But the weather isn't the story, Rockies pitching is. Losing Jorge DeLaRosa in his last regular season start was a body blow. Hammel has done well this year, being one of five Rox pitchers with 10 or more wins this season, but I'd have preferred to see him start a road game instead given his bipolar performances home vs. away.

I wasn't confident going in last night but still felt the home team would pull it out at the end. The magic never struck. The hill was too steep. While Phillies fans moan that Lidge walked two in the ninth, freezing Coors Field partisans howled on every first pitch ball and each of the eight, yes EIGHT, bases on balls given up last night by the pitchers we have come to rely on since June 5th. Today, however, I'm more confident. As Tulo says, those other games were never "must win." This one is. This team has pride and today's starter has the goods. The Phillies go back home today but the Rockies invite themselves along for a one-game playoff tomorrow. Winner-take-all.

I'm leaving shortly to witness the spectacle.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (7)
But AlexC thinks:

Lidge makes me nervous! Prefer not to discuss to not jinx it!

Posted by: AlexC at October 12, 2009 9:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, congrats to the Phils. I will be pulling for them all the way.

I saw the box score with a '0' in the bottom of the ninth, turned off the computer and thought all night that the Rockies had won. Ignorance was blissful for awhile...

Posted by: jk at October 13, 2009 10:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Sorry jk, what you really wanted to see in the bottom of the ninth was an "x."

Confidence reigned throughout the game. First inning homer for the Phillies? No problem. The Rox delivered Roctober magic with 3 runs in the 8th for a 2 run lead. Huston Street had first pitch strikes that led to the first two outs of the ninth but with two on and two stikes to Howard, the last pitch was too good. For Howard, that is.

Congratulations Phillies. You out "Roctobered" the Rockies. I'm still unsure who I'll root for the rest of the way but the Phillies have a leg up in that dagny said she'll kill me if I root for the Dodgers. Hey, there's always the American League. Former Rockie Brian Fuentes closes for the Angels.

Posted by: johngalt at October 13, 2009 1:38 PM
But jk thinks:

And I might kill if you resort to the AL. Despite Ricardian elegance, I can't handle the DH.

Posted by: jk at October 13, 2009 2:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's settled then. Gee, that was easy!

Posted by: johngalt at October 13, 2009 2:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, it would be more difficult for me to enforce my threats than Dagny hers...

Posted by: jk at October 13, 2009 4:07 PM

June 25, 2009

Stimulating Refunds

This is awesome.

Senator Specter said that he will not be "voluntarily" returning the five thousand donations made to him when he was a Republican.

So the Club for Growth will be helping out those thousands.

In an advisory opinion request to the Federal Election Commission made public by the agency today, Club for Growth asked for approval for its PAC to mail individual donors of Citizens for Arlen Specter with information on how to request a refund, including a preprinted form letter and envelope addressed to the Senator’s campaign. The FEC is required to reach a decision within 60 days, and the mailing would follow soon after.

"Senator Specter agreed to return the contributions he received before switching parties, and we want to help him make good on that commitment,” Club President Chris Chocola said. “It’s easy to request a refund with a preprinted letter and envelope, and I expect a lot of people will want their money back.”

Posted by AlexC at 7:16 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

hehehehehe

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2009 8:19 PM
But Keith thinks:

A free enterprise solution to a knotty problem. SALUTE! I hope whoever at Club for Growth thought of this is getting a lot of Attaboys this morning!

Posted by: Keith at June 26, 2009 11:34 AM

Try Not to Cry

I know ThreeSourcers will be racked with grief to hear then Senator Arlen Specter (Opportunist - PA) is in trouble, but these things happen:

The strong backing of Democratic Party leaders has done little to change slumping public support for the party's newest convert, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. Only 28 percent of all those surveyed say that he deserves re-election, according to the latest Keystone Poll, and double that number say it's time for a change.

Specter's party switch, announced April 28, has hurt his job-performance ratings among Democrats as well as Republicans, according to a telephone survey of 498 registered voters, conducted last week by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College.

Back in March, before the switch, roughly half the voters in each party said that Specter was doing an "excellent" or "good" job in the Senate.


Poor guy.

Hat-tip: @jimgerahty

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

hehehehehe

Posted by: AlexC at June 25, 2009 4:18 PM

May 21, 2009

They Look Great Together

Blog Brother AC shares an email from VP Biden, endorsing "My Friend Arlen."

Have a paper bag handy before you click...

Posted by John Kranz at 6:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2009

File Under "Duh"

BREITBART: WASHINGTON (AP) - Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter disclosed plans Tuesday to switch parties, a move intended to boost his chances of winning re-election next year that will also push Democrats closer to a 60-vote filibuster-resistant majority.

"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," Specter said in a statement posted on a Web site devoted to Pennsylvania politics and confirmed by his office. Several Senate officials said a formal announcement could come later in the day or Wednesday.


Color this pragmatist concerned. Specter will be tough impossible to beat and he brings seniority and wily skills to the other side. We've lost a thorn but gained a tumor.

UPDATE: Good stuff as you'd imagine at PA H2O dS/dt>0 (keep scrolling). They're running toward the jubilant over there. We will see.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | Comments (11)
But Keith thinks:

And I have to call "bovine effluvia" on Specter's own spin. This is a guy who, a mere six weeks ago, said that he chose not to switch parties "because he is a Republican." Now he says: "no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation."

(1) No matter how loyal he is to the party? When in the sphincter of Hell could that phrase possibly have been applied to Specter?

(2) Is he trying to tell us that, out of a sense of duty to state and nation, he is switching allegiance to the party that has done more to harm the nation than all of America's enemies in history have succeeded in doing, combined? Does he actually think that anyone not related to him by blood is stupid enough to believe that?

Political expediency - no more, and no less. But past all that, I wish him well, and offer him my congratulations. See what I mean here:

http://stand.blogtownhall.com/2009/04/29/congratulations,_arlen_specter.thtml

Posted by: Keith at April 29, 2009 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Let us not conflate the [non-]question of whether Senator Specter is a complete git with the question whether this is bad for the GOP.

I think our Keystone State friends at PSH20dS/dt>0 are whistling past the graveyard to think that a Democrat Senator Arlen Specter will somehow be better for liberty than a RINO one. And it looks like most of the ThreeSourcers are joining in.

RINOs cast at least one good vote every session for leadership. Now is a pretty bad time time to be losing seats. But I am glad you all are having a good time.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2009 5:38 PM
But Keith thinks:

jk: you make a good point, and I appreciate your call for cooler heads to prevail. I'd propose we discuss this in terms of unemotional reason.

(1) Did we lose a filibuster-proof Senate? I tend to think not; my suspicion is that Republican Specter would have voted with the Dems for closure on a lot of issues.

(2) Which of Specter's votes change as a result of his change in party affiliation? I don't think we see a lot here; my sense is that Democrat Specter will vote pretty much like Republican Specter did.

(3) He's already announced his (weak) intention to continue voting against card check and the end of secret ballots on unions. Does he change on this? Future uncertain; try again later.

(4) A Toomey-Specter primary fight would have cost a lot of money for the GOP, and Toomey would have almost certainly have emerged the winner. We've just avoided those costs. With luck, we'll have the opportunity to see a bloody and expensive Specter-Sestak primary on the other side. Money not spent in the primary can be spent in the general, and the presumptive Toomey-Specter fight moves from the primary to the general. The key here is having the best conservative candidate run in the primary.

I understand PA has had a shift in the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in recent years, but I'm not yet convinced that translates into a leftward lurch of the state's electorate - just that the Republicans haven't given them a reason to register in their column. Specter depended on a significant crossover vote in the past; it would be up to the right candidate to energize voters.

I'm no expert on PA politics, and would gladly entertain the thoughts of someone who was...

Posted by: Keith at April 29, 2009 6:57 PM
But jk thinks:

And I appreciate the optimism! I'll even toss one your way: losing Specter's seniority will give his plum committee assignment to a more Republican Senator.

I suspect we do lose our pal Arlen on card check. That is my biggest worry. As for saving the primary money, dang, you are an optimist! Specter owns that seat in the general up to and well past his death. Getting knocked off in a Democratic primary would be pretty comical, but Toomey's chances against him in a statewide race are lim->0 (you pick the epsilon).

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2009 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Even if jk is more righterer than the rest of us, just think of it as "a tough investment now toward a brighter future for our children."

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2009 7:16 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While I agree with JK in the voting principle that "party trumps person" as a rule, I have to go with JG on this one. Putting principles aside in an effort to cling to power is exactly what got us in this fix. The Republican brand was damaged by Democrat-like spending. With Republicans like Specter, Snowe and Collins, the filibuster firewall was illusory anyway, as we saw in the stimulus fight. Burnishing the brand at this time without much actual loss, as Keith noted, is worth it to me. I also don't count Toomey out in the general. A lot can happen between now and then.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 30, 2009 3:09 PM

April 19, 2009

Fly Murtha Airways!

I don't think this is quite what Mister Madison had in mind. At the John Murtha Airport, the screeners outnumber the passengers -- but Federal Jack keeps it in operation.

Inside the terminal on a recent weekday, four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staff members and supervisors, all suited up in gloves and uniforms to screen six pieces of luggage. For three hours that day, no commercial or private planes took off or landed. Three commercial flights leave the airport on weekdays, all bound for Dulles International Airport.

The key to the airport's gleaming facilities -- and, indeed, its continued existence -- is $200 million in federal funds in the past decade and the powerful patron who steered most of that money here. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is credited with securing at least $150 million for the airport. It was among the first in the country to win funding from this year's stimulus package: $800,000 to repave a backup runway.

The facility, newly renamed the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, is a testament to Murtha's ability to tap streams of federal money for pricey, state-of-the-art projects that are rare among regional airports of comparable size.


Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2009

Rare Props for Senator Specter

You read that right. Instapundit links to a Jennifer Rubin piece that claims Specter's vote may kill card check:

But things haven’t worked out as planned for Big Labor. Red state Democrats were balking. Democratic operative Lanny Davis has been peddling alternatives in hopes of gaining support for the bill.

Then today Sen. Arlen Specter, whose vote would be needed to cut off the anticipated filibuster in the Senate, uncorked what appeared to be a knockout blow to Big Labor. He finally signaled his opposition on the floor of the Senate after weeks of speculation and the emergence of primary challengers. He announced that he would not support cloture, although he left the door open for more modest amendments to federal labor law.


Sometimes you gotta love pragmatism. This guy infuriates you 20 times a year. But, every now and then, he gives you a leadership vote or stuns you with a little Republicanism. Had Pat Toomey (may the Club for Growth bless his holy name!) won the primary, He would've likely lost the election and PA would seat one more union stooge. And we'd have card check.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2008

The Coveted Rendell Endorsement

Some guy named AlexC at Pennsylvania Water Cooler is less than enthused about his Governor's "gutsy" endorsement for Senator Clinton:

Besides, nothing says “let’s move forward” like “Four more years of President Clinton.”

Posted by John Kranz at 7:20 PM

December 13, 2007

There Really Are Two Americas

Jalopnik.com

Philadelphia, PA - December 10, 2007) Lexus drivers in the Greater
Philadelphia Region now can have priority parking at the Wachovia
Center as part of a new sponsorship package between Lexus and arena
owner Comcast-Spectacor.

Workin' families can park their Acuras in the lot and walk, I guess. Just another reason I'm joinin' Team Edwards.

Hat-tip: PA Water Cooler, some guy named Alex-something...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

That's OK,...I park my '01 Taurus on a small South Philly street and, for the price of a SEPTA token, I get there just as quickly!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at December 15, 2007 9:07 PM
But jk thinks:

When John Edwards is President, Trek, those SEPTA tokens will be free.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2007 11:02 AM

November 7, 2007

It Worked On Trekmedic...

Neither of our baseball teams won the world series, but our Keystone State friends have something to inspire pride: their tax dollars produced this adorable video and its airtight arguments for considering a health care career.



So is the bear's name "Jihad?" I don't speak hip-hop.

Hat-tip: Club for Growth

Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Yeah, jk,...we've heard all about the $4100 blunder. But, no!, its not jihad,..its G-Hog, as in "Groundhog." As in Punxatawney Phil and "Gus" his cousin and shill for the PA Lottery!

And what exactly worked on me????

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at November 9, 2007 10:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I assumed you saw this chaming video and decided on a health care career -- another big win for government!

G-Hog, go G-hog! Now I get it!

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2007 12:46 PM

October 25, 2007

Senator Santorum Gets a Life

Not mentioning whether he misses the World's Most Deliberative Body, Opinion Journal Political Diary turns to John Fund to answer "Whatever happened to Rick Santorum?"

The former two-term senator from Pennsylvania is proving that defeated officials can mine a wealth of opportunities beyond politics. Yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer announced that he will become a columnist for the largest newspaper in the Keystone State. His column will be called "The Elephant in the Room" and focus on cultural and foreign policy issues rather than politics.

Mr. Santorum is busy in other areas. He is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington think tank. When I caught up with him at a recent Becket Society dinner, he told me most of his work there revolved around warning about the threat of Islamic terrorism. He may even go to Hollywood to get his message out. He has talked with Steve McEveety, who produced the Mel Gibson megahits "Braveheart" and "The Passion of the Christ," about a movie idea.

His film would center around three Iranian brothers who pursue different life paths. One eventually comes to the U.S. as a terrorist. While the film would be an action-packed thriller, Mr. Santorum told me he thought it could also be used to carry an educational message.


I've conceded that Santorum was not my favorite Republican, but a lot of people around this blog devoted much blood and treasure to his re-election, and the country would have been far better off had they succeeded.

UPDATE: DB Light from PA Water Cooler links to Don Surber's advice for the Senator.

First, don’t tell anyone but this is the easiest gig in the world. You get paid to piss people off. Not much, but it beats pissing people off for free.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Glad to see Tierney's finally getting on the RIGHT track here. I guess the only way to make a major paper profitable again is to start telling both sides of a story for a change. And you're right, he might not be everyone's cup of tea, but he beats the hell out of a Democrat any day in my book!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 25, 2007 10:29 PM

October 20, 2007

I Can Almost Smell Camden...

tasty.jpg Blog brother AlexC is not only a superior writer and thinker, he is a gentleman of the highest order. Prompt payment of our wager arrived yesterday afternoon.

What Tastykake may lack in spelling, it has in flavor and regional charm. The packaging is attractive, and the references to Philadelphia are great. I cannot think of anything like it out here.

Thanks, ac -- other Colorado bloggers better hurry over to get some before we eat them all -- did I mention they are really good?

Go Rockies! See ya next year, Phils!


Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | Comments (4)
But AlexC thinks:

I trust that had had the Phils triumphed, my Colorado sourced bull balls would have come in a collectible tin!

Tip #1 - Consume with a glass of whole milk.

Tip #2 - For easy peeling of the wrapper on the kakes which have a iced topping, flip over and rub the iced side (wrapper still on) on a table. It just works.

Posted by: AlexC at October 20, 2007 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. I was going to go easy on you and offer Rocky Mountain Chocolates as an alternative. Thanks for the tips.

Posted by: jk at October 20, 2007 2:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Reelecting Nagin was a major disappointment, but I wonder if the State is now seeing exactly what and where the corrupt government has brought them. Senator Landrieu is in trouble as well.

(I'm not calling Landrieu corrupt, but she is a part of the Democratic machine politics that has provided every opportunity for corruption.)

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2007 5:18 PM
But Charlie on the PA Turnpike thinks:

Apropos of pretty much nothing, and n spite of knowing I am about to subject myself to flames, I wanted to point out the following:

I grew up in NYC eating Tastykake; they used to have a large plant on Flushing Bay in Queens. This was well known to me, as it sat several hundred yards from Shea Stadium (in Corona).

So while The Mets deserve all the flames for entering this years record books (bass-ackwards), there was a time these delectable treats were baked in NY.

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Turnpike at October 22, 2007 7:53 AM

October 11, 2007

Five 200,000s or three 333,333s?

Gotta credit this Pittsburgh counterfeiter for high hopes:

The likeness of Grover Cleveland is on this fake $1 million bill. Cleveland's portrait is on the genuine $1,000 bill, which has been out of circulation since 1969.
If you're going to spend counterfeit money, it might help to use a denomination that actually exists.

An unidentified man who asked a Giant Eagle cashier to make change for his $1 million bill learned that lesson the hard way, Pittsburgh police said Monday.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

Everyone knows grocery stores can't break a million. A hundred-thou, probably.

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 4:36 PM

September 19, 2007

Competing with Coke & Pepsi

Sometimes you have to wonder.

Ray Murphy @ YoungPhillyPolitics is incensed, incensed, that Coke and Pepsi are taking (well paying for) regular ol' Philly tap water, putting it in a bottle, slapping a label on it, and marking up the piss out out it.

Half a cents worth of tap water is now worth a dollar and a half.

According to the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company website, our local plant is the fourth largest nationwide with over half a billion dollars in annual sales. Both Pepsi and Coke have reported that bottled water sales are among the fastest growing in their companies and may soon catch up or even overtake the sale of carbonated beverages. That means there are a lot of potential water consumers in Philadelphia.

The simpler way to profit off of water is to tax Pepsi and Coke at a higher rate for their water usage. I had some trouble figuring out the PWD’s business tax rate (hello Philadelphia, can we get some good city websites up or what?), but for consumers, it costs about $17 in taxes for 600 gallons of water. Philly Coke’s website says it serves about 5 million consumers a year. If one-third of these people buy one 20 oz. bottle of water a year, we’re talking at least 278,437 gallons of water sold annually.

I don’t really care how we make money off of water, but the point here is that in these cash strapped times, we are stupid if we don’t.

Our water supply is currently being exploited by Coke and Pepsi. As the largest municipality collecting and cleaning water for drinking in the region, Coke and Pepsi can’t really get the tap water they need for Dasani and Aquafina anywhere else but Philly (and shipping tap water from other places would likely cut too deeply into their bottom line). That means that whether we tax them more, or bottle our own water, Philadelphia is in a good place to be able to better take advantage of a natural resource.


Admittedly, I am not a degreed economist, but I'm sure this is a catastrophically bad liberal idea, but I repeat myself.

I'll say it slowly. (Please read along slowly for full effect)

1) If the city of Philadelphia can not control crime within it's own boundaries, how in the hell is it supposed to compete with two massively global companies that have had their horns locked for years?

2) If the city of Philadelphia charges big soda more for water, they can go bottle tap water somewhere else. There is nothing special about what Trenton flushes into the Delaware River. Really. Nothing.

Bonus part of that is when they close their bottling plants in the city and move them outside of the city limits, the city loses wage tax collection, property taxes, etc... a win-win!

Never mind that whole issue of a government specifically targetting two industrial consumers of water to the exclusion of the other industrial consumers. How many gallons of water go into a box of Oreos from the Nabisco bakery? ... what about my precious Tasty-Klair Pie? or a case from the Yards Brewery? *

Ideas like this are nicely nucleated examples of liberal progressive thinking.

... and it goes without saying that if you buy bottled water that's municipal sourced, you're a dope, no matter who puts a screw top on it.

Get a Nalgene bottle and fill it before you leave the house... and use the bottle again, and again, and again. It takes two liters of water to make a one liter plastic bottle, btw.

See? You can be conservative and environmentally conscious!

* Note: I'd list more water consuming businesses within city-limits, but great business friendly ideas like this have chased most out into the suburbs, or the south or Mexico.

Posted by AlexC at 8:09 PM | Comments (6)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I read somewhere that the City of Pittsburgh almost saved the world from bad beer when they tried to close Iron City because the brewer wasn't paying their water bill. (Water being the source and closest taste to IC).

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 19, 2007 11:19 PM
But jk thinks:

I love it. He goes to the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company website and finds everything he needs, goes to the city website and can't find anything -- then says that government should tell private business how to operate.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2007 10:32 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Second-best-case scenario: the companies stay put despite the taxes, but they must pass the additional taxes on to consumers. Instead of paying $1.50 for bottled water, consumers must now pay $1.65 or whatever, so sales will decrease. Thing is, the Laffer Curve can also work in reverse, so those sales could very well drop and take the tax revenues along with them.

Best-case scenario: the companies stay put, they pass the additional taxes on to consumers, and sales remain the same. But because a consumer now spends $1.65 on a 20-oz. bottle water when he spent $1.50 before, that's 15 cents taken away from other purchases. By definition it must come from *somewhere*, and it adds up to anything from a supersize option on fast food to a notepad to a restaurant meal. Now *those* companies will experience an equivalent sales decline, which means they must cut back on man-hours. Of secondary importance is the lost tax revenue. Now, this is the absolute best possible scenario, and it's also the most improbable. It won't happen for a simple reason: economies never, ever shift toward industries or sectors that are taxed higher.

A lot of people subscribe to the economic fallacy that charging more can be good, because it means the sellers (and in this case, government as a tax receiver) has more money to spend, and this supposedly spurs economic growth. On the surface it looks good, but it cannot avoid the fact that buyers have finite incomes. If I spend $1.65 on bottled water instead of $1.50, or when Henry Ford paid workers enough to afford the cars they made (an economic urban legend), that money must come from somewhere else. I'll spend less on other purchases if I'm to buy bottled water in the same quantity and frequency, and because Henry Ford's customers must spend more on the cars, they'll spend less on other things. True economic output does not increase -- unless the central bank prints more dollars so we can spend more, which is, of course, inflationary.

The lesson, as always, is to remember what Bastiat taught us. Look for the unseen.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 20, 2007 11:22 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I should add that I stick to bottled water, even if it's ultimately tap water, as a matter of taste and sanitation. I prefer spring water, but I'll still buy Dasani. To me, there's no choice between "free" water from a Grand Central Terminal fountain and paying $1.65 at any of the vendors. When government says it purifies, filters and UVs tap water, I wonder how well. When Coca-Cola says it does those, I actually trust it more, not because it's interested in protecting me, but because it wants to keep my business.

Oh, and by the way, liberal idiots like Murphy and Gavin Newsom can give themselves edemas with plain old tap water.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 20, 2007 11:33 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Who drinks brand label water? Progressive elitists ... I'm with W.C. Fields on this one. My hydration comes from a bottle of scotch, thnx.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at September 20, 2007 12:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I think it's a mistake to compare bottled water to tap water. The substitution is bottled water vs. Coke. The price comparison is a lot less extreme and it represents substitution better: convenient, disposable, &c.

"Freakonomist" Steven Levitt has an interesting piece discussing that Coca Cola now advertises that Diet Coke is 99% water -- after trying to hide that fact for years.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2007 1:23 PM

September 10, 2007

Hsu Fly Pie II

Hillary! has decided to dump $850K (yes, nearly a million) of Hsu-sourced money.

It makes one wonder how much Hsu-sourced money has found it's way into the Pennsylvania political system.

That's hard to tell from the Campaign Finance website, but it does find interesting things like $500 to the Republican National State Elections Committee.

Ahem.

Posted by AlexC at 8:41 PM

July 13, 2007

Pennsylvania Prescription

I need a signed note to post in the Pennsylvania section, but there's a WSJ editorial today on Governor Rendell's health care plan -- so it's my beat after all. Wrong Prescription, begins with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell claim "that Jesus, Moses and Muhammad would back his plan for universal health care" (I guess Buddha was holding out for interstate competition with reduced state mandates).

The plan failed as part of the government shutdown budget, but the Governor has vowed a more incremental approach of expanding SCHIP and Medicare (he's been reading ThreeSources). So far, brave PA Republicans have staved it off.

Republicans also pointed out that Mr. Rendell's plan did nothing to address such cost increasers as medical liability or mandated insurance benefits. It would probably make the problem worse with regulations like guaranteed issue (so wait until you're sick to buy insurance) and premium price controls. Republicans offered an alternative consumer-driven plan, focusing on health savings accounts and a health-care tax credit, so the choice wasn't only Mr. Rendell or the status quo.

Now the Governor's plan is being sliced into at least 47 separate pieces of legislation. Mr. Rendell says he can cut $7.6 billion out of health spending first, but this is likely fictional because the calculations are based on charge data, not actual costs. "If we're ever going to have accessible health insurance for all Americans," Mr. Rendell recently noted, "we have to begin containing costs. If costs continue to spiral out of control, there is no way the government can afford to pay for it." A purer expression of the liberal health-care mentality would be hard to find.


Nope. "If costs continue to spiral out of control, there is no way the government can afford to pay for it." Sounds like a good bumper-sticker...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM

April 15, 2007

Weather Blogging

It's been raining.

Quite a bit.

img_0361.jpg
It's safe to say that fishing on the East Branch of the Perkiomen won't be "right" for a while.

A couple of miles downstream, here's the Perkiomen Bridge in Collegeville.
img_0368.jpg
Brand new in 1799, the bridge cost $60,000. In the dark days before PennDOT, the state held a lottery to raise the necessary funds to build it. It's one of the oldest bridges in regular use in the state.

Favorite anecdote:

1867: Toll house erected on the Perkiomen Bridge. Local citizens throw the gate into the creek and burn the toll house.

Our national attitudes have really mellowed in one hundred and forty years.

Posted by AlexC at 7:46 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, you ain't kiddin. 3.08 inches today in Pottstown, according to Wunderground's KPTW.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2007 9:35 PM

December 12, 2006

PA Watercooler

I'd like to take the time to announce a new project of mine.

PaWatercooler.com

It's a NRO Corner style blog focusing on Pennsylvania politics.

I'll still be posting here, naturally, but I've put together a team of bloggers from all over Pa to write about Pa centered goings on.

thanks.

-alex

Posted by AlexC at 1:57 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Looks great, brother AC! Now -- of course -- available from the ThreeSources blogroll.

Don't be a stranger 'round here. You're just going to have to spend twice as much time on your computer...

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2006 2:07 PM
But AlexC thinks:

thanks, but there aren't 37 hours in a day!

Posted by: AlexC at December 12, 2006 2:45 PM

November 6, 2006

Election Predictions I

My call in Pa.

Governor Unfortunately Ed Rendell. Former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann never caught on with the state, pardon the pun. 10 pts.

Senate Rick Santorum in a squeaker. If it's 2 pts, it's alot.

Congress:

PA-06: Jim Gerlach, my congressman will be re-elected by 3 pts over liberal Lois Murphy.

PA-07: Curt Weldon, done in by scandal to pride of the nutroots, Joe Sestak.

PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick beats Patrick Murphy about a handful... 4-ish.

House and Senate remain Republican, which means the Democrats lose.

Posted by AlexC at 10:10 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Brave man. You doing a final House and Senate tally?

I'll go along with Santorum as the surprise of the night. My head says no, my heart says yes. I also like Steele's chances in MD to pick up a Senate seat. I think Ford is a goner in TN. GOP keeps one of Talent in MO, or Burns in MT. We may not even be rid of Sen. Chafee.

Feeling good about the Senate but not the house: 220(D+I) - 215R. The Blue Dog Democrats will keep the Pelosi-Conyers-Rangel axis in line and the troops will not be defunded. Extending the tax cuts becomes a huge issue in 2008.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2006 11:18 AM
But AlexC thinks:

My score?

Gov: Right on winner, wrong on score (20 pts)

Senate: Wrong on winner, wrong on score (18 pts), this one hurts the most.

Congress:
PA-6: Right on winner, Gerlach's lead now is 0.4%, about 700 votes out of 204,000 cast.

PA-7: Right on winner

PA-8: Wrong on winner, wrong on score. Dem Murphy leades Fitzpatrick 0.6%, 1,500 out of 251,000 votes.

Posted by: AlexC at November 8, 2006 10:50 AM
But AlexC thinks:

oh, the House falls, and the Senate is on the brink.

Not a good day for Alex.

Posted by: AlexC at November 8, 2006 10:52 AM

November 2, 2006

Bobby Casey - Answering the Tough Questions

Steven Morse of the Daily Pennsylvanian tries to get some answers from Bob Casey and his spokesman Larry Smar on the John Kerry situtation.

    While other journalists were inside the event watching Gov. Rendell get the crowd pumped, I chose to wait outside for Mr. Casey's arrival. As he entered, I tried to ask a couple of questions about the now-infamous John Kerry comments. Casey rebuffed me, saying he would address this issue later. Because Casey is a politician, I was skeptical. So I decided to ask a Casey aide about the matter. He said that the only person authorized to speak on the record was the Casey campaign's Communications Director, Larry Smar.

    Larry Smar is a man that I have left phone calls and e-mails for in the past. He has never returned my messages. Nor has he returned the repeated voice mails and e-mails of other Daily Pennsylvanian staff members. Since the beginning of this campaign, the Casey strategy has been to shy away from the media, as they are up significantly in the polls and have little to gain from speaking with us.

    Once again, Smar refused to answer my questions. Even as a member of the media, I never had a problem dealing with communications directors until yesterday.

The glare that Smar gives Mr Morse is priceless... then there's the "using a file folder to block the camera." Niiiiiiiiice.

Then he accuses the University of Pennsylvania student of working for Viriginia Davis, spokeswoman for Rick Santorum.

Stephen Morse asked the toughest question of all. "Who cancelled Kerry's appearance? Kerry or Casey."

Watch the video to find out.

Posted by AlexC at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

He looks too young to have had the word "smarmy" coined after him, but he is keeping the dream alive.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2006 12:30 PM

October 31, 2006

Making Conservatives

So we're watching the local evening news tonight before trick or treating.

I'm not really paying attention, but my 3 1/2 year old old sees a Lois Murphy (D) ad attacking incumbent Jim Gerlach.

She says "Daddy, Lois Murphy has a dirty little secret."

"What?"

"She has a dirty secret. What is it?"

I have no idea what she's talking about.

But now I do.

I found the NRCC ad on YouTube.

"Veronica, I found out what Lois Murphy's dirty little secret is."

"What is it?"

"She wants to raise daddy's taxes."

"....."

"Raise daddy's taxes."

"What are taxes?"

"If she gets her way, we'll have less money. Less for clothes, less for toys, less for stuff."

*an astonished sigh*

Another conservative cemented.

I'm working on teaching her that "Republicans cut taxes and kill terrorists."

She's not homeschooled (no plans to), but you can see why liberals hate homeschooling.

Posted by AlexC at 10:02 PM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Oh, Alex ... I love you. Really, I mean it in a sort of platonic non-threatening sort of way. Ahem ... yes. Anyways, I've conditioned my kids to call a spade a spade when I ask them to eat their veggies. When they balk, I inquire 'What are you? Some sort of commie!?' They reply, 'No, youre a dummy-democrat-head!'

Ahhh, the spite is tangible.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at November 1, 2006 2:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep. You definitely have to home school them. They'd be in the principal's office daily, and then say the same thing to him! errr, HER. (Sorry, I forgot to use the proper PC gender nonspecific pronoun.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2006 12:27 PM

October 28, 2006

Give Till It Hurts

The Young Conservatives of Pa have a pretty good record of mixing it up in Pennsylvania politics. The body count after the Pa payraise is the most recent example.

The Young Conservatives of Pa 527 group is looking to continue educating voters in the waning days of the Senate race.

You can hear radio-based lesson here. (go look, they're funny)

Donate here!

Finally, a 527 you can trust!

Posted by AlexC at 12:07 AM

October 19, 2006

Canadian Invasion

Sort of.

    A candidate for Pittsburgh City Council said yesterday that his lack of United States citizenship is no bar to taking office.

    David Schuilenburg of Summer Hill said he is a Canadian but a legal permanent resident of the United States. He said he started the naturalization process, which leads to citizenship, last month.

    He said there is no bar to a noncitizen running for office.

    "If we're going to fight for democracy abroad, we should practice it at home," he said. Voters he's interviewed "are just happy that there's a breath of fresh air that's coming through."


Surprisingly, he's not a Democrat.

Independant.

Posted by AlexC at 1:49 PM | Comments (2)
But Dave thinks:

Actually I am! As usual, the media always seems to leave certain things out, like in my case that I am running as a democratic-independent, and 4 of 5 other candidates are also former democrats well, with in actual fact only 1 republican running. The reason is because the seat we are vying for is was vacated by now Mayor Ravenstahl, and who ever wins will be fulfilling the rest of his previous term as city council member. However, because it occured so close to the general election date, the department of elections is holding a special election, and as such no primary was held to choose from among us to put on the November ballot. Instead, the parties had their own nomination meeting, and anyone who still wanted to run had to de-register from the party temporarily so as to be on the ballot under some other party or organization.

:-p

Dave

Posted by: Dave at October 22, 2006 6:10 AM
But jk thinks:

Good luck to a point, Dave!

I certainly wouldn't hold your Canadian citizenship against you. Are you a legal resident of Pittsburgh without being an American citizen?

I am a little leery, however, of your spoken affiliation with the Democratic Party, but I live in Colorado.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2006 1:10 PM

Cheese Wit or Witout

Round 1.

    The battle for cheesesteak supremacy -- usually fought with beef, onions and cheese -- has moved out of the kitchen and into the courthouse.

    Pat's King of Steaks, a South Philadelphia institution since the 1930s, is suing Rick's Steaks for trademark infringement.

    The two eateries involved, located less than two miles apart, each are owned by a grandson of Pat Olivieri, purported inventor of Philly's favorite sandwich.

    Scott Pollack, the lawyer for Pat's, said Wednesday that the businesses are not connected in any way -- even if the owners are. Pat's owner Frank Olivieri never gave permission for cousin Rick Olivieri to use the trademarks in his advertising and signage, Pollack said.

    ''Obviously, Pat's Steaks is very, very famous. It's known all over the country and the world,'' said Pollack.

    The lawsuit filed Monday by Pat's claims that Rick's has been illegally trading on Pat's name, its crown logo and trademarked phrases, including ''Pat's King of Steaks Originators of the Steak Sandwich.'' It seeks unspecified damages and an order preventing Rick's from using the material.


I've never been to Rick's. But Pat's was my favorite until I found Tony Luke's.

At that point all looking stopped. I was home.

Posted by AlexC at 12:15 PM | Comments (4)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hmmm, I'm still looking for a good lutefisk store around here. No luck yet.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 19, 2006 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Uff da! mdmh included a link to a lutefisk description on Wikipedia but our default lutefisk filter removed it before anybody could get hurt.

(Perhaps Sugarchuck could mail you some from Minnesota. No doubt that contravenes the Commerce Clause, but a man has needs.)

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2006 4:24 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Ohhh, sure. You betcha! I usually pick up a case at water-rama but the crappies were biting this year soooo I went quick down to da lake to pull some out, don-cha-know.

Heh ... I'll have Alex pick up the covertly wrapped package next time he is commuting through Commiecrapoulos.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 19, 2006 7:47 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'll be there tuesday am between 5:30 and 7:15.

Just have somebody throw it to me behind security. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at October 20, 2006 2:08 AM

October 8, 2006

Corporate Welfare

Is this a give away to the rich?

    Pennsylvania is trying to convince the nation's top financial services companies to establish backup operations in the state so that markets can recover quickly in the event of another terror strike on New York.

    Gov. Ed Rendell has pledged more than $30 million to "Wall Street West," an initiative to build millions of square feet of office space, improve infrastructure and install hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable in as many as nine Pennsylvania counties.

    Executives from more than 20 leading Wall Street firms are scheduled to take a 30-minute helicopter ride from Manhattan to the Pocono Mountains on Tuesday to listen to the state's sales pitch, and there are indications that at least one company is about to pull the trigger.

    "I think we're so close today that maybe the trigger is already pulled and the first shot is being fired," said state Rep. John Siptroth, D-Monroe, a prime backer of the Wall Street West concept.


Seriously now, is there a reason why the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania needs to be handing out money to Wall Street?

I'm not one for class warfare, but this is silly. Stocks are at record highs, and the Democrats (Governor Rendell, State Rep John Siptroth and Congressman Paul Kanjorski) want to buy some friends (or replay favors).

Pennsylvania should not be in the business of building real estate and providing internet utilities. If any brokerage or stock exchange feels that it would be in it's best interest to secure itself "offsite" so to speak, IT, not government, should do that.

Oh, and I'm sure we're footing the bill for the helicopter ride.

If I'm Lynn Swann, I'm bringing this up.

(tip to Chris)

Posted by AlexC at 8:22 PM

October 6, 2006

Martial Law

It's kind of hard to tell.

    In a week marked by Philadelphia's 300th homicide of the year, Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Nutter said Mayor Street should declare a state of emergency in pockets of the city that have endured the worst violence.

    Such action, according to the city code, would allow the government to clear people from public sidewalks, close bars, prohibit liquor sales, and establish curfews for children and adults alike.


Here are some facts about Philly's murder rate from Wikipedia.
    Murders peaked at 503 in 1990, for a rate of 31.5 per 100,000, and they averaged around 400 a year for most of the nineties. In 2002 the murder count hit a low of 288, but by 2005 the annual total had surged to 380, for a rate of 25.85 per 100,000.

Michael Nutter came to the City Council in 1991, yet there were no calls for a "State of Emergency" until he decides to run for Mayor. It would be cynical to say that Michael Nutter didn't consider it "a problem" then, but it makes you wonder.

(tip to Chris)

Posted by AlexC at 6:27 PM

October 4, 2006

PA-GOV: Swann vs Rendell Debate

This is a Red November initiative post.

SwannBlog live blogged the second debate between Republican Lynn Swann and Governor Ed Rendell.

Here's Mark's conclusion:

    Lynn Swann won the debate. Ed stammered, accused Swann on lying, and forced his smile. Swann explained clearly, backing his criticisms with stats.

    Most important to my eye in this debate is that Lynn Swann was clearly the adult behind the podiums with the P's for Point Park University. Two students, both females, asked questions, which Swann answered. Ed came across as a physics prof explaining Quantum Theory to a seven-year-old.


I'm watching it on PCN's replay, not really live blogging it.

In short, Rendell is awful. In the first 10 minutes, he comes across as slick politician who's time has come. Swann is nailing him on gun violence, and the pay raise issue. It's great.

Rendell seems like he's way on the defensive. He ought to be. He's trying to run as a reformer. Are you kidding me?

Rendell promised 30% property tax cuts, his defense was that every other governor promised it too. Now he's saying, I cut property taxes by raising income taxes! Jeez.

Swann accuses Rendell of a conflict of interest. He gave Comcast $48 million dollars for a number of reasons, WHILE on the air as an Eagles commentator. Rendell gives it away to charity, Swann rebuts that he still got a tax write off. Heh.

Public smoking question: Should it be banned in all public places?

Rendell: Yes. We need to be a nanny state. Swann: No. It's bad for you, but a private business should do as it pleases. Correct answer.

Question from audience: State schools in Pa cost more than state schools in other states.

Swann argues to be more responsible fiscally to use the $26 billion budget to lower prices. Rendell... "I made them rollback the state college's hikes. They've only gone up 2.6%." Plugs PHEAA (which is currently under investigation).

Mark @ SwannBlog is right. Rendell is condescending in this answer. "Little girl, community colleges are important." He should have added head nodding to his gestures.

Pennsylvania's business environment is bad. How would you improve it?

Swann wants to cut corporate taxes. Rendell rattles off numbers and eventually says that some taxes need to be lowered. Swann says "heh." Well, he thinks it as he says, "See? Ed says we should cut corporate taxes"

What makes Swann qualified to be governor?

Citizen politicians are not new to America. Yes, Reagan was an actor before governor. Bill Bradley played basketball. Rendell says Swann should be judged by his plans, all of which are terrible. Swann says no way, the Commonwealth Foundation says they're good. Rendell is angry... and is pointing fingers... some laughs. I think he was tempted to throw a yellow flag.

More Juvenile violence in Pittsburgh, what would they do to curb it?

Rendell: More cops. Root causes, no jobs, no education. Swann says that we've spent three years not improving, education and incresing dignity. 50th on Welfare to Work. Rendell says we're a leader in educational improvement. Swann says improvement relative to what?

Gambling Expansion:

Swann... should have been hooked up with existing horsetracks, not standalone casinos. The environment is atrocious. Rendell... against expansion of gaming. Explain why he vetoed gambling reform. [It's incredible it needs reform before ANY slots parlors are built] Rendell interrupts a Swann rebuttal. Nice glare from Lynn.

State Pensions: Are they a timebomb?

Rendell: Yes. By 2011, it's a billion dollar problem and it will crush the school districts. Swann. Yes. Something should have been done. (I didn't hear beyond that)

SAT scores: Pa is below the national average, despite spending more than the average.

Swann: Yes, that contracts Ed's contention of improvement. Focus on the bad schools. Try new programs and incentives for teachers and students. Rendell disagrees with the numbers, because 75% of our students take them instead of the national average of 48%. Is that a defense? It just mean we have some dumb kids. We need laptops for kids. Swann: If you can't read, what good is a laptop? Rendell: We're improving!!!

Closing statements.

Rendell: Career political guy. He says it's an advantage. Government can't solve all of our problems, but it can be a catalyst. He's for affordable health insurance. For high quality education. Modernize schools. Government should be a positive force in people's lives.

Swann: Focus on reform and results. Is it more empty rhetoric, like the past three years? There are uneducated kids and doctors are leaving the state. Argues for tort-reform. Average family pays 2700 more in taxes. Have we received our promised 30% tax cut? No. "Government shouldn't be this complicated." Hits Rendell on the payraise. What do you want to see? Reform and results? or rhetoric?

My commentary

Clearly Lynn Swann wins. I thought Rendell was supposed to be a polished politician. I thought he was a pol in the mold of William Jefferson Clinton? He was far too much on the defensive, and Swann had him on the ropes, particularly on the pay raise flip-flopping and the state of education. Lynn Swann's citizen politician answer was perfect. He knew the issues. Rendell looked to be using notes.

This is Rendell's second defeat at the hands of Lynn Swann.

Will it be enough to get Swann closer to Rendell in the polls? Probably not. Who watches these things? But Lynn's ads on the 30% promise is funny and is sure to hurt Rendell.

Next debate is next week.

Posted by AlexC at 9:09 PM | Comments (3)
But Richard Tennsen thinks:

Wrong about smoking. Should be banned in all public places.

Posted by: Richard Tennsen at October 5, 2006 7:25 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Dr Rick, you can elect to not eat or drink at that establishment. The free market answer by Swann was the correct one. A nanny state solution is expected from the Democrats. Rendell did not disappoint.

Posted by: AlexC at October 5, 2006 10:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Keep in mind that "public" places are privately owned. http://www.threesources.com/archives/003331.html

Posted by: jk at October 5, 2006 11:00 AM

October 3, 2006

Vote Irey!

If Rep Jack Murtha's devotion to cut and run isn't bad enough, here's a look at his stewardship of the Federal largess: it's his to promote his incumbency. Here's Brendan Minter in WSJ Political Diary:

Rep. John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat and former Marine, made himself a hero to the anti-war left twice last year by calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Now he's hoping to be elected majority leader if his party captures the House. Yesterday, the New York Times made his case for him: If Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker in a closely divided House, won't she need a strict disciplinarian like Mr. Murtha to maintain party unity?

Mr. Murtha's leadership secret is not a well-kept one. He's extremely tough in doling out earmarks on Defense spending bills, rewarding Members who vote with him and cutting off those who balk at supporting his causes. He's the only Member who has a seat unofficially reserved for him in the House chamber. Rep. Mike Doyle, one of Murtha's minions, told the Times: "No one else dares sit there." He uses that seat -- referred to as "Murtha's corner" -- to hand out federal largess as members gather around him. And Mr. Murtha has used his clout to bring home countless barrels of pork for his district, turning the washed-up steel town of Johnston into a center for defense contractors. He has been especially solicitous in helping the firm Concurrent Technologies Corporation collect hundreds of millions in federal defense grants. One former Concurrent employee called the company "Murtha's pet rock."

Mr. Murtha learned hardball politics at the foot of former House Speaker Tip O'Neill, who put him on the Defense appropriations committee more than two decades ago. And he managed to survive a brush with political death in 1980 after undercover federal agents in a sting operation offered him a $50,000 bribe. He neither accepted nor turned down the money and later became a cooperating witness.

Mr. Murtha's public declaration last summer that he would challenge Minority Whip Steny Hoyer for the majority leader's office was widely considered tactless and needlessly divisive just before an election. He has since withdrawn the declaration -- but has been frantically raising money and passing it out to fellow Democratic House candidates in hopes of buying support. If Democrats take the House next month, look for a potentially ugly fight as Rep. Hoyer reminds colleagues of the less savory parts of Mr. Murtha's record.


Give a little money to the most attractive longshot of the year, Ms. Diana Irey.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM

Power to the People

Republican Candidate in the 149th State House district Tom Rolland writes to the Philly Inquirer saying that
the people are in charge now.

    But on May 16, the once-impenetrable fortress came tumbling down with the ballot-box defeats of scores of state senators and state representatives. By some estimates, 60 new faces could take the oath of office in January, a turnover unrivaled in recent history.

    The total impact of this voter revolt is yet unseen, but one thing is clear - voters have cracked the code. We've solved the puzzle that has sent hundreds of well-intentioned candidates to certain defeat on Election Day. Instead of trying to go dollar-for-dollar with an incumbent's war chest and paid media arsenal, we challengers are taking our campaigns directly to the people. To any one willing to listen. And this year, they are.

    People are listening because an illegal pay raise confirmed what they believed to be true about a broken political system. More than the taxpayer-funded luxury cars, restaurant tabs, lifetime health care or extravagant junkets, the people see Harrisburg politicians tuned out to the problems of ordinary Pennsylvanians.

Posted by AlexC at 12:26 PM

September 27, 2006

Ducking Out on Debates

If you're a candidate for US Senate, wouldn't you think that you ought to show up for debates?

And if you duck them, don't you think your opponent will make hay out of it?

Behold. Bob Casey, running against Rick Santorum, decided he had better things to do than go to two debates on Monday. This despite having "a light schedule."

Posted by AlexC at 6:59 AM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Cross-posted as an EXCELLENT Red November Initiative post!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 28, 2006 8:56 PM

September 26, 2006

Swanntorum

Lynn Swann and Pa Governor Ed Rendell had their first debate yesterday.

SwannBlog writes...


There were two opportunities for Senator Rick Santorum and challenger Bob Casey to debate yesterday, Bob Casey skipped both of them.

The first was a US Senator's Forum on PCN TV (our C-SPAN). There was actually an empty chair on hand, quite capably representing the challenger.

The second debate was at the same forum that Swann & Rendell squared off at. Again, there was an empty chair.

    At one point while discussing foreign affairs, Santorum gestured to the empty chair and said, “I’d like to hear what my opponent has to say about this.”

Heh.

Posted by AlexC at 11:41 AM

September 25, 2006

Something Rotten in PA?

Holman Jenkins has an interesting suggestion in today's WSJ Political Diary:

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell frequently has been looked at cross-eyed by other Democrats for his questionable party loyalty -- even when he was party boss. That made it all the more newsworthy when, apparently safe in his own reelection race against former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, he last week delivered $200,000 in campaign cash to Bob Casey, the state treasurer seeking to unseat GOP Sen. Rick Santorum.

Here's an unsung factor that may explain the previously cool Mr. Rendell's sudden activism on Mr. Casey's behalf. A new Santorum ad, denounced as "misleading" by goo-goo groups, features actors playing unidentified Casey donors discussing their doings -- behind bars. Though the ad takes dramatic license, it alludes to a real, late-breaking problem for Democrats: An FBI investigation of Philadelphia-area developer Robert Feldman, who has raised millions for Messrs. Rendell and Casey as well as for John Street, Mr. Rendell's successor as Philadelphia mayor. The Philadelphia Inquirer last week quoted from an FBI surveillance tape that caught Mr. Feldman complaining about being shut out of a Penn's Landing development deal three years ago: "I've got nothing. I've raised a ton of money for the mayor. I'm raising right now for him. Maybe I should make this my 'big ask.'"

A lingering frost had been perceived between the two Democrats, Mr. Casey and Mr. Rendell, since their nasty fight for the 2002 gubernatorial nomination. The popular Gov. Rendell endorsed his former rival for Senate and, more importantly, worked behind the scenes to secure the nomination for him, but that's not the same thing as fervently advocating his cause in the general election. He hasn't cut any ads for Mr. Casey. Worse, just a few weeks ago, he went out of his way to praise Mr. Santorum in back-to-back interviews as a senator who "delivers" for Pennsylvania. Mr. Santorum has since closed the gap markedly, though Mr. Casey is still favored.

There may be nothing here. It's not clear yet whether the Feldman news has legs. But with Mr. Rendell up by nearly 20 points over Mr. Swann, and Mr. Casey ahead of Sen. Santorum by nearly 10 points, about the only thing that might change the dynamics of both races simultaneously is a party-wide corruption scandal. If Mr. Rendell's goal in donating $200,000 to the Casey campaign was to send a message that his quasi-neutrality has its limits, the reason may be Mr. Santorum's move to highlight a graft issue threatening to both Democrats.


In case anybody around here follows Pennsylvania politics.

UPDATE: Here's the TV ad (thanks, AlexC!)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

You can find the behind bars ad here.
http://santorumblog.com/index.php/2006/09/13/new-santorum-ad-2/

Posted by: AlexC at September 25, 2006 2:12 PM

September 21, 2006

Smoking bans

ALa at Blonde Sagacity posts about a Philadelphia smoking ban. She quotes a Jonathan Davis Morris who makes an important observation:

This is partly because anti-smoking groups are tenacious, and partly because smoking is a crappy habit. However, neither of these things explain why smoking bans are becoming inevitable. The real reason so many cities have banned smoking in public places is because of the words "public places." Somehow, this phrase has come to describe privately owned bars and restaurants, which, by nature, tend to be privately owned.

Just because you go "out in public" to visit these places doesn't make them public any more than having sex in a park in broad daylight makes the park private. There's an obvious difference between public and private property, and reasonable human beings can spot this difference. Unfortunately, this country is full of something, but it isn't reasonable human beings.

I don't care if it sounds like I'm splitting hairs here. To me, this isn't an issue of mere semantics. If you call privately owned bars and restaurants "public places," it tells me you don't know what you're talking about. And if you don't know what you're talking about, you shouldn't be making — or even so much as influencing — policy. No one should care about your opinion. I'm not even sure you should have the right to vote.


ALa, you want to stay very very far away from the People's Republic of Boulder.

Morris makes a superb point. People really do think they own every institution that lets them in the door.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:31 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Well, sure... If George Bush can own the whole world then why can't "people" own the corner bar? Works for me and Hugo.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2006 9:59 PM
But dagny thinks:

This is a great point, one I have been making for years. Johnathan is much more eloquent than I am. Perhaps now it will sink in.

I have never smoked a cigarette or anything else in my entire life. This is a record I am proud of and intend to maintain (and brag to my children about).

Colorado just passed one of those smoking bans and I recently went to lunch with a co-worker and we were able to sit in the bar and wait for our to-go order. Thanks to the new law, it was pleasantly smoke-free and my co-worker remarked that it was, “nice.”

I’m afraid that my politics got the best of me and I had to tell her that despite my personal and life-long avoidance of smoke it was NOT nice. It was a serious infringement of the individual rights of the restaurant owner. I feel it necessary to defend those rights because I am concerned for the day when it is my rights that become the target of the tenacious anti-smoking groups.

When the smoking is all banned, next they will decide that bacon is a crappy habit and I will not be so happy waiting in that restaurant since I will not be able to get an avocado, bacon burger to go with my fries. Maybe no fries either and the burger won’t be beef!

Then they will start on whatever YOUR crappy habit is so watch out!

Posted by: dagny at September 21, 2006 10:03 PM
But jk thinks:

When Avocados are outlawed...

Living in Healthnaziland, I have to admit to my enjoying the smoke-free establishments (ex-smokers can be even more self-righteous than never-smokers). But I agree with you, and JohnGalt, and ALa, and Mr. Morris. It is flat out wrong to dictate terms to private business.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2006 11:47 AM

September 17, 2006

PA GOP Support

Don Quixote had windmills. I try to convince my libertarian buddies at Samizdata that support for the GOP in the US is truly in the best interest of liberty.

I have not made much headway but Dale Amon informs that his absentee ballot (from Belfast) will have the 'R' ticked. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Democrat’s efforts in removing the LP candidate from the ballot.

So for any Democrats who drop by Samizdata, let it be known that instead of voting "none of the above" as I probably would have done, I instead voted straight Republican for just a tiny bit of revenge against this low life by the name of Gergely.

There is a more general issue here. The Pennsylvania laws have totally disenfranchised me. I have no way of being represented. I have no stake in the government or the way it is run because I have been declared outside of it just as surely as if there were men in white peaked hats and shotguns standing outside of the polling stations.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

Did you see my comment at the bottom of that thread?

Let's not forget the Dems efforts to remove the Green Party candidate from the Senate race either.

Posted by: AlexC at September 17, 2006 2:53 PM

September 15, 2006

Robbing the Bank

The fires keep getting stoked in Pa. Especially as more people start digesting the 100 page Supreme Court decision.

    Lawmakers violated the state Constitution when they took mid-term pay raises last year in the form of “unvouchered expenses,” the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday, but the court is not ordering the repayment of the illegal raises.

    Instead, the court claims lawmakers who accepted the short-lived pay raise for up to four months during 2005 “acted in good faith reliance on the presumption” that the raise was legal and they could keep the cash.

    The court also ordered reinstatement of pay raises for about 1,200 members of the judiciary, including the justice themselves, saying a measure that repealed those raises was “clearly, palpably and plainly unconstitutional.”


Nice. So if you're smarmy enough to take the "unvouchered expenses" you can keep them. Never mind that they're obviously unconstitutional. Quite a number of legislators took them, some returned the "pre-payment," (likely due to torches and pitchforks).

I wonder if you returned it, if you can reclaim it.

Looks like I"m going to have to update my lists. State House, State Senate.

Posted by AlexC at 11:35 AM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Some people in PA just never learn! Sounds like a few more incumbents will fall in November!
Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 16, 2006 11:40 AM

September 14, 2006

Ludicrous!

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court just threw a gallon of diesel on a simmering Pennsylvania flame.

Yes, the pay raise.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated pay raises for 1,200 elected judges and district judges in a decision adding new fuel to an issue that has roiled state politics for more than a year.

    The court ordered judges' pay to return to the level it was at in November, before a four-month-old pay-raise law was repealed in the wake of widespread public anger.

    The justices also said the Legislature violated the state Constitution by permitting its members to accept midterm pay raises in the form of "unvouchered expenses."


The "public anger" could account for over thirty retirements, and does account for the defeat of a Supreme Court justice as well as seventeen primary election defeats, including that of House and Senate leaders.

The reason why the judges (including the Supreme Court) can keep their raise is because Pennsylvania law prohibits a judges salary from going down. This is to prevent a scorned legislature from cutting the Judiciary's pay.

Now the issue is back on the front pages as the election draws near. The legislators who survived the May primaries will now worry, as will Governor Ed Rendell who signed the pay raise bill "to kiss a little butt," and State Treasurer Bob Casey (running against Senator Rick Santorum) who was against the pay raise before he was for it.

This will be interesting.

Posted by AlexC at 4:50 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Is the prohibition on reduction of judicial salaries a constitutional provision? If not, what keeps a scorned legislature from just changing that law along with the salaries?

Jeez, Colorado state politics is childs play compared to PA!

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2006 6:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Yes. Constitutional, I will correct that.

Posted by: AlexC at September 14, 2006 8:32 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I suspect the complexity of a states politics is directly proportional to it's border complexity. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at September 14, 2006 8:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Those Hawaiians are some bare-knuckle fighters...

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2006 2:12 PM

July 20, 2006

Subsiding the Rich(er)

Does the PA government really need to be involved in this business?

    The state will give $500 to Pennsylvania residents who buy a hybrid electric vehicle.
    State Sen. Jake Corman said it's the second round of funding through the Hybrid Electric Vehicle program.

    The initial rebate program issued $1.5 million in rebates in fewer than 10 months.


Let's call it what it is, a handout to the rich.

Hybrid owners make on average $100,000 per year.

An average family's income? $70,700

Posted by AlexC at 4:25 PM | Comments (6)
But steve f thinks:

well a part of that is wrong. Smug people who brag about own hybrids make over 100k.

a prius is no more then a accord, camry, legacy or maxima.

average income of these car owners are middle america at 45-70k.


If i had the money for a Prius i'd prolly put some LIthium polymer batteries in at. If your comute is under 150 miles round trip youd burn 1 gallon of gas.

Posted by: steve f at July 20, 2006 8:09 PM
But steve f thinks:

for some dumb reason it wont let me post about e85.

E85 is pointless. Here is why. Its subsidized by the state and federal goverment .

here is how much 60-80 cents a gallon.
its generally 20-30 cents a gallon cheaper.

What happens if we remove all the subidations?
Well gas around here is $3.20 a gallon we dont get e85 here so lets jsut take off 25 cents a gallon and be in the middle of the raod

Okay so that makes E85 2.95 a gallon here. Lets remove the goverment kick backs state and federal 70 cents a gallon.

so now E85 is $3.65 a gallon. But theres more goverment pork barreling going on here. on raw corn. its very high corn is one of the indursties where you make money throwing the crap out. So if we remove that it would ad about 15 cents a gallon.
so now E85 costs $3.80 a gallon. so it costs 60 cents a gallon more.
But sadly there is even more. E85 has 20% less BTUs then gas. So now you gotta buy 1.2 gallons of e85 to go the same distance on gas.
That now makes gas $4.56 a gallon to go the same distance.


Now here are problems. E85 cant be put in a pipeline it collects water so it must be shipped via rail and truck. So if it was to be offered anywhere out of the Mid west then it would go up about another 50 cents if a refinery wasnt with in about 500 miles of you.

Now for those who like in smog state where the MTBE was replaced with 10% ethanol. This is a reason why your gas is abotu 20 cents a gallon above the national average. Since ethanol has less energy then gas whats the impact on your MPG?

just about nothing. Here is how you can figure it out. e85 85% ethanol 15% gas. yet it takes 1.2 gallons to get the same energy as gas.

So take 1.2 and devide by 85% thats the impact of each percent of ethanol has on the BTU value of gas since the goverment requirs 10% ethanol in 15 states thats 1.4% less MPG then pure gas.

Why does the govermetn make us get it?

Good question back in the day it would trick the car into running lean so it wont pollute as much.

This has been made obsolete with the invention of the o2 sensor. yes its been obsolete since modern electronic fuel injection IE 20-25 years ago.


So what good does ethanol do? Even with the engery needed to produce it. Its carbon nuetral which means it takes the same amount of carbon from the earth when its made as co2 as it makes


steve

Posted by: steve f at July 20, 2006 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Steve. Thanks for the comments. I am especially interested in O2 sensors’' obsolescing oxygenated fuels. We have a 10% mandate in the Colorado Front Range. If you have a link to any information on that, I'd love to read it. I'll Google a bit.

Regardless of the income and pricing, there are two huge flaws with this. One, you are asking people who cannot afford a new car to pitch in $500 for someone who can. And two, you are interfering with market innovation mechanisms. Pennsylvania will be sending $500 checks to hybrid owners long after better technology is available.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2006 9:55 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

You know, I should buy a hybrid just to get my state income tax back. Spite, it's what's for dinner!

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at July 21, 2006 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Good for Yoooooou!!! (with a South Park "thumbs-up")

In all seriousness, I don't see it at all wrong to accept a tax break even if you disagree with it. You pay enough taxes with which you don't agree.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2006 11:57 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

JK, I'll put in an unsubstantiated thought on oxygenated fuels, according to a CU professor that my buddy used to work with (part of my vast liberal left network), all the testing was done at standard temperature and pressure. This is common for chemical experiements, but it was instituted before the effects could be proven here at 5200 ft.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 22, 2006 12:45 PM

July 7, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

July 7th marks one year since the Pennsylvania legislature made the biggest political mistake in a long time.

At 2 AM, after days of "hard work" finishing up odds and ends, to reward themselves, they decided to give themselves a payraise. Depend on your position and seniority it was a raise worth anywhere from 16% to 54%!

... and it ignited a firestorm, leading to the defeat of a Supreme Court justice last fall, 40 some retirements and 17 primary losses.

So how to celebrate?

How about a giant pink pig INSIDE the statehouse?

24256458.jpg

    Standing on the Capitol steps with them: the pink inflatable pig which has become the symbol for payraise reform.

    The group called for additional changes to the pension and healthcare system for lawmakers and for lobbyist reform.

    "No one can turn a blind eye to organized gluttony. Nor can we afford to take one step backwards," said Eric Epstein, coordinator of Rock the Capitol, one of the group's attending today's news conference.

    Several of the groups said they plan to return at 2 a.m. -- the time the law was passed -- in remembrance of it.


That pig's amazing. Statewide tour... spent a week on the Capital steps.... and now INSIDE!

Posted by AlexC at 2:00 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

All hail this porcine celebrity. It shows there is hope for those who buck the tide of expanding government, and it reminds us that making a little noise is worth it.

AlexC is being bashful, but the YCOP played a big part in opposing the pay hikes.

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2006 9:28 AM

July 2, 2006

The Case Against Campaign Finance Reform

If there was ever a study of the corrosive effects of money on the political system, it's the 30th Senate District in Pennsylvania.

    State Sen. Robert Jubelirer didn’t retain his 30th District seat, but he won the race to raise money by a landslide.

    In the pursuit of the Republican nomination for the seat, Jubelirer by far spent the most: about $1.4 million.

    About a half-million of that was spent in the last weeks of the race, according to his post-primary campaign finance report.

    John H. Eichelberger Jr. — who won the May 16 primary and faces Democrat Greg Morris in November — spent $254,509. Jubelirer spent about that much in newspaper, radio and television advertising in the post-primary period.

    Eichelberger paid about $88,000 for advertising out of about $145,000 spent during the post-primary period.

    Of note in Jubelirer’s most recent report is support from more than two dozen attorneys. Out of 59 contributions of $250 or more, 28 came from people listed as attorneys. Jubelirer is an attorney, although he has said he stopped practicing law about 25 years ago.


The challenger, Blair County Comissioner John Eichelberger was outspent nearly 6 to 1 and still beat the incumbent Senate President Pro-Tem Robert Jubelirer in a three way race 44% to 36%.

Posted by AlexC at 12:49 PM

June 30, 2006

PA-12: Diana Irey on Fox

DB Light has video of Diana Irey on Fox & Friends up on his blog.

Topic for discussion was Congressman Jack Murtha's Haditha accusations. She's asking for an apology. Some of her would-be 12th District constituents want him to resign.

Posted just for you JK, because I know you're interested! ;)

Posted by AlexC at 9:20 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Danke schoen. I finally know how to pronounce her last name (EYE-ree).

She does seem green but I like to bet on a longshot now and then. The more exposure she gets, the more criticism of Rep Murtha will be out there. Pretty good way to spend $50 (irey.com).

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2006 11:47 AM

June 28, 2006

East Coast Flooding

In southeast Pennsylvania, the local rivers & creeks are nearing record level flooding.

    The NBC 10 area is battling its worse flooding situation in decades, as the rapid rise of the Delaware River threatens parts of cities from Easton to Trenton.

    The Schuylkill will crest at lower-than-expected levels in Philadelphia. Big local creeks like the Perkiomen, Neshaminy and Brandywine have crested after soaring over their banks Wednesday.


A hundred miles north in Wilkes-Barre 150 to 200 thousand are being evacuated.

Here are a few pictures of the Perkiomen Creek River.

This is of Park Road at the Perkiomen in Schwenksville. The low spot in the road is a bridge.... well, used to be a bridge.

This is Perkiomen Bridge at Collegeville, taken from the parking lot of the Collegeville Inn. Yes, that's their parking lot. The bridge itself dates back to the 1790s, when the Pennsylvania legislature authorized a lottery to raise funds for its construction. The stone bridge was actually widened to three lanes in the early 1900s to allow for trolley traffic.

Thanks to my wife Rachael, who braved the deluge, while I'm out of town!

Posted by AlexC at 5:27 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Yikes! Stay safe!

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 7:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm in Alaska right now.

But with global warming thawing this whole place out, it's only a matter of time before we're inundated!

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2006 7:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Ummm, I was suggesting that your wife stay safe but you've a point. All those icebergs melting and all, it's pretty scary anywhere.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 8:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I knew what you meant. ;)
Funny, this internet thing.
Let's hope it's only a passing fad.

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2006 8:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hope you've given your friends and family careful instructions for protecting themselves from looters. Oh, and make sure she grabs one of those FEMA debit cards for you too!

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2006 5:55 PM

PA - 12

Robert Novak:

    Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) appears to be suffering "Daschle-itis," a figurative disease which makes entrenched incumbents become national celebrities and, in the process, risk alienating the voters that put them in office.

    Since seizing his party's anti-war mantle, Murtha has become a great draw for Democratic fundraisers, helping his party boost its prospects for a congressional takeover. Naturally, this helps his party-leadership bid as well.

    But at the same time, his outspokenness made him a huge target for the Internet right. His district went for John Kerry with only 51% in 2004. What originally seemed like a long-shot bid by Diana Irey (R.) to unseat Murtha has taken on new credibility as she raises money from the Internet and as Murtha makes more and more outrageous statements.


One of the downsides of a vocal leadership role for Congressman is that the local voters still have to cast their ballots.

Inside the 12th district, opinion is mixed.

    Ruth Ann Biesinger-Sliko, 55, a physical education teacher who came to see a fellow teacher and six of her former students return from Iraq, said Murtha has lost her vote because of his negativity about the war.

    "I think that makes the guys feel terrible when he starts, you know, bashing. I think you need to support the guys," Biesinger-Sliko said. "I think it's created a lot of bad feelings for the people whose families are over there."


and
    "I just believe everything he says is very true," said Cindy Saylor, 49, whose 19-year-old son was among those who returned home. "I think we need to get out of there. People are getting killed needlessly."

.. and finally.
    Tom Geiger, a 79-year-old World War II veteran, said he thinks Murtha is "50 percent right and 50 percent wrong."

    "Maybe they should have searched a little bit more" for weapons of mass destruction, Geiger said. "But once you're into it, you're stuck with it."

Posted by AlexC at 5:13 PM

June 23, 2006

Teacher's Union Endorsement

A friend of mine, James Babb, is running for a neighboring State House seat as a Libertarian.

He blogs, too.

Recently, he was seeking the endorsement of the Pennsylvania State Educator's Association PAC...

As you can imagine, it was a fun time.

Did I mention he blogs too?

    They asked me what I would like PSEA to do for me. I mentioned that I had heard that Ed Rendell had just received a sizable contribution ($235,000, his largest this reporting period) and that I would be happy to receive a similar contribution. I let them know that my commitment to improving education in Pennsylvania was at least as great as Ed's. They said state rep candidates usually receive $0 to $1,500 each.

But wait there's more.
    The ring leader took offense at the term "government school" preferring the term "public school." I explained that the Friends School is also open to the public. Funny that leaders of the STATE education association would take offense at the word government. I guess even whores prefer the term "lady of the evening."

    I asked them to support my plan to remove the compulsory nature government schooling. This seamed to horrify them. The ring leader informed me that the Pennsylvania constitution guarantees a free (and presumably mandatory) education. When I read her the actual wording: (The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.), the ring leader got very defensive and ended any discussion of the constitution.


Read the whole thing.

Posted by AlexC at 6:33 PM

June 18, 2006

Being Broke

Talk about missing the boat.

Last summer's legislative pay raise raised the ire of an entire state.

Some people never learn.

    Speaking on a public-television program (ironically titled "Smart Talk") on Thursday, Perzel compared state legislators' salaries with those of tattoo artists.

    "We have roughly 30-some members who can't apply for a credit card because their credit's so bad," Perzel said on the WITF-TV program, "and I know a lot of people out there watching this show have the same exact problem."


...
    When I see that a tattoo artist in the city of Philadelphia makes more than a legislator, I think there's a problem," said Perzel, R-Philadelphia. "I thought the members of the General Assembly were worth one half of what a member of Congress makes."

    A member of the U.S. House or Senate makes $165,200 a year.

    Most state lawmakers are paid $72,187, with annual cost-of-living increases and generous fringe benefits. Perzel is among the legislative leaders who make more than the base salary - nearly $109,000 last year in his case.


Tattoo artists?

$30,000 / year.

Posted by AlexC at 7:31 PM

June 12, 2006

Green Party for Pa Senate

What flavor of whine is made from sour grapes?

    Mt. Gretna businessman and life-long Republican Bray Brunkhurst confirmed yesterday that he is planning to run as a Green Party candidate so he can challenge Republican Mike Folmer and Democrat John Liss.

    Brunkhurst said Green Party leaders on the state level have given him approval to move forward but have not yet endorsed him.

    His success will hinge on the volunteer support he can muster to gather the more than 1,000 signatures to qualify for a ballot position. Brunkhurst has established an e-mail account — brunkhurst2006@yahoo.com — where people interested in getting involved may contact him.

    “... If the people in Lebanon County and District 48 want a candidate that has different credentials, I can be that candidate,” Brunkhurst said. “Over the next month, I need volunteers to help get the signatures, and I would need people who would be part of a campaign committee to get involved. ... I will need (their) time now and monetary contributions in August.”


Mr Folmer defeated Senator Chip Brightbill in one of the "ground shaking" primary victories a month ago. It's no secret in political circles that some connected elephant-type individuals were shopping around for a candidate to run a third-party campaign to draw votes away from Mr Folmer in this conservative district.

The list included a former candidate for Governor from that district.

    Rumors have been flying since the primary that a well-known Republican challenger supported by Brightbill loyalists would enter the race.

    Brunkhurst said he has received encouragement from friends in the GOP party, but he has not being prompted to run by Brightbill or his backers. But, Brunkhurst said, he feels that his candidacy will appeal to them and to voters who supported Folmer simply because he was not Brightbill but who may now have doubts about his qualifications.

    To run for office, Brunkhurst said, he will need consent from the Green Party State Committee, and he makes no bones about using the minor party as a vehicle to get elected. He said he considered the Libertarian and Constitutional parties but felt the Green Party were more in line with his political philosophy.


The Green Party? Jeez. Some Republican.

More...

    Election law, however, will not make finding that person an easy task.

    Anyone registered with a political party after April 17 is not eligible to run as an independent, according to Elaine Ludwig, chief clerk of elections.

    There is another method of getting on the ballot, Ludwig said, but it’s unorthodox. A willing minor party — the Green or Libertarian, for example — could allow a Republican to run under its banner, she said.

Posted by AlexC at 3:43 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Well, if he has a Yahoo email account, there is no doubt he is serious. Am I being domainist here? If you're running for office, go to GoDaddy and buy a domain. Maybe he does belong in the Greens after all...

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 4:54 PM

Property Tax Reform

Finally?

    Senate Majority Whip Jeff Piccola (R-15) and Senate Caucus Chairman Joe Conti (R-10) today joined efforts to unveil a compromise plan that will move the Commonwealth in a direction to eliminate - not simply reduce - property taxes.

    Piccola and Conti’s plan incorporates most of the provisions of the Special Session on Property Tax’s Conference Committee Report on House Bill 39 and includes two additional components. Their proposal generates approximately $2.0 billion in revenues by selectively expanding the state’s Sale Tax Base in 2007 and using anticipated gaming revenues. The Piccola/Conti plan also establishes a “super backend referendum” to ensure that if school property taxes still exist after July 1, 2008, the voters must approve any increases.


Ever since I realized that as long as you pay property tax, you never really own your home, I've been an advocate of eliminating it.

This is a good step. Let's see how far it gets.

Posted by AlexC at 3:40 PM

June 1, 2006

Not About the Pay Raise

My turn to cover my home state...

Pat Toomey writes in today's Philly Inquirer...

    Yes, the legislative pay raise in Pennsylvania contributed significantly to the energy supporting challengers' campaigns, but it was not the main driver of the political bloodbath.

    The main reason so many Republican incumbents lost to little-known primary challengers was the accumulated frustration of the rank and file with elected Republicans who had abandoned their party's principles - especially the principle of limited government. This is a huge problem for Republicans holding federal office, too.


...
    Frustrated Republican voters, fed up with big-government Republican incumbents and seeing credible challengers supported by conservative institutions, made sweeping changes.

    The danger for GOP majorities across the country this fall is that Republican voters may still be frustrated with their incumbents. In the fall, they won't have primary challengers through which to vent their frustration. But they can stay home. Republican officeholders have very little time left to demonstrate to these voters that it's still worth coming out to vote.


Pat Toomey has personally endorsed Rick Santorum.

Posted by AlexC at 12:33 PM

As Goes The Keystone State...

If AlexC can publish Colorado items...

The Wall Street Journal carries a guest editorial today from GOP Senate candidate Mike Folmer. (paid link).

He discusses the "earthquake in PA" but I am surprised how easily his points can be extrapolated to the national scene.

My personal experiences working the campaign trail this past spring made it apparent to me that the political upheaval was due to a coalescing of two fundamental perspectives held by the rank-and-file: Government needed to be reformed; and the state Republican Party needed to be reformed, too.

Conservatives had long been chafing at the fact that an ostensibly conservative Legislature had linked arms with Mr. Rendell to raise income taxes, push up state spending to record levels, and expand both corporate- and social-welfare spending without any apparent means of accountability -- while a comprehensive property tax reform package continued to stall in the Legislature.

These people at the grassroots no longer viewed the state Legislature as a servant of the people but as an exclusive club for political insiders. They fumed as the legislators voted to increase their own pensions by 50%, in addition to excessive daily allowances just to show up for work, and at the practice of allowing members to take expensive junkets to resort locations.

It was as if the Republican Party leadership in the state capitol had forgotten everything they'd been taught by Ronald Reagan -- that the core values of the Republican Party were lower taxes, less spending and limited government.

Then came the notorious pay raise, and the camel's back was broken.


Hmmmm. Sound like any other GOP politicians, or is this endemic to Pennsylvania?

A pollster on Larry Kudlow's show suggested a 40% possibility of the Democrats taking both houses in 2006. Even though I have argued for vigilance, that seems too high for a Senate loss. Then again, how scared were the Pennsylvania state legislators?

UPDATE: The whole editorial is available, click "Continue Reading..."

Contract With Pennsylvania
By MIKE FOLMER
June 1, 2006; Page A15

LEBANON, Pa. -- The Republican primary of 2006 in this state has been called a "political massacre," an "earthquake" and "payback." It has been discussed in media outlets across the country and across the political spectrum. Now, more than two weeks have elapsed since May 16, and pundits, editorial writers and political analysts are still trying to figure out what led to the defeat of 16 incumbent state legislators -- including Pennsylvania's top two state Senate Republicans -- at the hands of underfunded, and in several cases -- including mine -- unknown challengers.

Many, including some of those incumbents who lost, are crediting (or blaming) the huge pay raise of July 2005, which approved increases of up to 54% for elected officials and was passed under the cover of darkness by a Republican-controlled Legislature at the behest of a liberal Democratic governor, Ed Rendell. Some take a more philosophical approach, attributing the dramatic political shift to a general disdain for Harrisburg; others think it was due to a need for the people to take back control of the government from ineffective politicians.

My personal experiences working the campaign trail this past spring made it apparent to me that the political upheaval was due to a coalescing of two fundamental perspectives held by the rank-and-file: Government needed to be reformed; and the state Republican Party needed to be reformed, too.

Conservatives had long been chafing at the fact that an ostensibly conservative Legislature had linked arms with Mr. Rendell to raise income taxes, push up state spending to record levels, and expand both corporate- and social-welfare spending without any apparent means of accountability -- while a comprehensive property tax reform package continued to stall in the Legislature.

These people at the grassroots no longer viewed the state Legislature as a servant of the people but as an exclusive club for political insiders. They fumed as the legislators voted to increase their own pensions by 50%, in addition to excessive daily allowances just to show up for work, and at the practice of allowing members to take expensive junkets to resort locations.

It was as if the Republican Party leadership in the state capitol had forgotten everything they'd been taught by Ronald Reagan -- that the core values of the Republican Party were lower taxes, less spending and limited government.

Then came the notorious pay raise, and the camel's back was broken.

The pay raise particularly stung Republicans, for it was their political party that was in charge of the Legislature when this blatant violation of the state Constitution (and common sense) was rammed through. These Republicans, I came to understand, felt the time had come to clean their own house.

A critical part of such housecleaning requires viable candidates who are willing and able to challenge incumbent legislators, and who inspire passionate support among the voters. Conservative Republicans are not stupid; if they don't like the choices presented, they will stay home.

Rank-and-file conservatives do not gravitate toward candidates simply because they are not "the other guy." While the pay raise energized voters and gave them a reason to consider other options, it was the duty of the challengers to explain why they were better choices than the incumbents. It is my conviction that Republican voters were just as desirous of a positive vision that they could embrace -- a vision that demanded accountability and reform at the state level -- as they were to remove those incumbents who had failed to uphold the traditional ideals of their party.

And that is why "The Promise to Pennsylvania" was so important. The Promise -- drafted by my campaign and that of three other candidates -- codified the elemental Republican principles of lower taxes and less government and sketched out how these principles should be applied at the state level. For all intents and purposes, it was a Contract With America -- for Pennsylvania.

The Promise gave Republican voters an opportunity to re-evaluate exactly what it was they believed in. Did they want to continue down the path of higher taxes and growing government, or did they want to see real tax reform and constraints on spending?

For the many Republican reformers who won their respective primaries, the Promise holds the key for eventual victory in the fall. It is a standard around which other Republicans can rally, clearly outlining an agenda for the next legislative session and defining the critical, core issues for the party.

It is also my conviction that while the leadership of the Republican Party is still trying to figure out how it will deal with the fallout from May 16, it is imperative that the GOP come together in time for the Nov. 7 election. There are critical races to win -- most notably Rick Santorum's fight to beat back state treasurer Bob Casey Jr. and keep his U.S. Senate seat, and Lynn Swann's campaign to upend Ed Rendell and become Pennsylvania's first black governor.

I was a reluctant candidate. Family and friends urged me to consider public office, but it was only after much thought and consideration and prayer that I agreed. One factor that appealed greatly to me was the vision the Founders had of a citizen-legislature -- of a body consisting of ordinary folks who would fulfill their civic duty for a period of time and then step aside to allow others to do theirs. We've gotten away from that; but public service is not something reserved only for the rich or popular or well-connected. (I was outspent nearly 20 to 1 in my primary campaign against the state Senate majority leader.)

But the most important factor was that ideas matter. I have confidence that the Pennsylvania Republican Party can move forward victoriously not only this coming fall but in future elections. Yet in order to do so, it is imperative that we do not forget the principles that made the Republican Party great.

In many ways, then, the Pennsylvania situation mirrors that of the country as a whole.

Mr. Folmer, a tire salesman, is a Republican candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:22 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

JK, I want to say there were 30 retirements and 14 primary upsets.
There might be 15 strong challenges in the fall. This is out of 50 Senators and 202 Reps. That's like 20% turnover, not counting the fall.

Considering that prior to this year the #1 and #2 reasons for legislative change was retirement and death, this is a big deal.

Posted by: AlexC at June 1, 2006 11:28 AM

May 26, 2006

Why Campaign Finance Reform Is Unneeded

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review...

    Armed instead with a powerful message -- opposition to incumbents' support of a 16- to 54-percent legislative pay raise in July -- many challengers were able to compete and, in some cases, win with a lot less money than their opponents.

    Republican Mike Folmer's campaign spent $2 per vote to defeat one of the most powerful state lawmakers in Pennsylvania. Senate Majority Leader David "Chip" Brightbill, R-Lebanon, spent $75 per vote and lost to Folmer on May 16 by almost a 2-1 margin.

    Still, outsiders like Folmer for the first time in recent memory collected significant contributions from conservative groups and influential GOP contributors upset with the direction of Pennsylvania's Republican Party and its legislative leaders.


How about this one?
    The pay raise issue allowed two little-known challengers to garner a combined 52 percent of the vote against House Majority Leader Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney. Smith still won, with 48 percent of the vote.

    Harry Bodenhorn, of Cold Spring, and Barbara Chestnut, of Brookville, spent $278 between them. Smith spent $55,399. Stephen Miskin, Smith's aide, said Smith spent most of his money on other House races.

    Bodenhorn, an auto mechanic, substitute teacher and part-time deputy sheriff, said in an interview he didn't spend a dime. He ran four years ago and still had yard signs.

    Chestnut, a grocery store worker, spent $278 for gasoline reimbursement and a Web page. Chestnut said her campaign largely consisted of "knocking on doors, talking to people and handing out my cards."


If they hadn't split the vote, they could have beat him on money from the couch, the car seats and a little lunch money!

Posted by AlexC at 12:12 PM

May 22, 2006

Three Headed Monster

One of my favorite local columnists is Tony Phyrillas. He does a great job sticking it to those who need it.

Writing about "the earthquake".

    All three branches of state government conspired to pass off the pay raise on taxpayers. The voters punished the judiciary last November by kicking Russell Nigro off the Supreme Court. They punished the GOP leadership in the Legislature on May 16. Rendell is next. He signed the pay raise into law. He defended it. He was in on the back-room dealings that crafted the pay raise. Payback for Rendell is coming.

    Republicans took care of business on Tuesday. Brightbill and Jubilerer made too many deals with Rendell. They were too cozy with Pennsylvania’s tax-and-spend governor. The voters -- mainly the conservatives in their respective districts -- gave them a swift kick in the pants. Democrats had the same opportunity to punish their leadership -- Bill DeWeese and Mike Veon -- and didn’t do it. That’s an important distinction between the two parties. If you have an infestation problem, you call an exterminator. Republicans took care of their problem. Democrats are more willing to live with their flawed leadership. I commend Republicans, especially conservative bloggers and talk radio hosts and groups like Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania and the Club for Growth, for going after Brightbill and Jubelirer. Democrats, as usual, were AWOL.

Posted by AlexC at 12:40 AM

May 21, 2006

Poor Things

My heart really breaks for the Pennsylvania legislators who had lost their jobs on Tuesday.

    They'll relinquish the right to taxpayer-paid vehicles, chauffeurs, meals and lodging.

    They'll say hasta la vista to offers from trade groups for free movie tickets and ski passes valued at $6,000.

    And they'll kiss goodbye lobbyists' constant courting — often accompanied by meals at the state's finest dining establishments, free trips and hard-to-get tickets to sports, theater and musical events.

    In other words, they'll lose their place at the front of the line — all thanks to their loss in Tuesday's primary.


That's terrible. I mean, they're going to starve.
    Those who have served eight years or more will carry with them the same health care and long-term health care benefits they had while in office. They also can collect any expenses (including per-diem costs) that are two years old or less and for which they haven't been reimbursed.

    And depending on how long they served, they could collect 100 percent of their salary as their pension.

    In Jubelirer's case, the senator will be eligible to collect 93 percent of his average salary over the last three years; Brightbill could collect 66 percent of his average salary over the same time period.

    And what do they earn?

    This year, Jubelirer earned about $150,000 and Brightbill earned about $140,000.


Breaks my heart, these guys.

I'm pretty sure they're going to be hanging around Harrisburg though. There's always jobs for former politicians in lobbying.

Posted by AlexC at 9:04 PM

A History of the Pennsylvania Earthquake

Just Read the Whole Thing, really too much to excerpt.

Posted by AlexC at 8:44 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Samizdata had an intersting angle -- how the incumbents outspent the challangers and lost. Robert Clayton Dean says:

"So for whom are these facts inconvenient? Proponents of campaign finance reform, that's who. State controls on campaign finance are premised (or at least sold) on the idea that money distorts elections, that without state controls elections will be bought by the candidate with the most money, that the gentle hand of the state is needed to ensure a level playing field and a fair outcome."

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2006/05/inconvenient_fa.html

Posted by: jk at May 21, 2006 9:48 PM

May 18, 2006

Specter!

I'm usually down on the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania, but I like this.

    "I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., shouted after Sen. Russ Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment, his affinity for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting.

    "If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter finished.

    "I've enjoyed your lecture, too, Mr. Chairman," replied Feingold, D-Wis., who is considering a run for president in 2008. "See ya."


Heh.

Update: Well, maybe I spoke too soon. Senator Specter voted to kill an amendment to a bill that would have prevented illegal aliens from getting SOCIAL SECURITY!

Posted by AlexC at 8:28 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

"The Man Who Voted 'Glenfiddich' On Impeachment" has served us very ably through the confirmations of Justices Alito and Roberts, and he has been reasonably friendly to Executive power in the NSA contretemps.

I am not leading the call for entitlements for illegal aliens, but most of these amendments are attempts to hang "baggage" on the bill that will prevent passing or further complicate conference reconciliation. I'll give Sen. Specter a pass on that.

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2006 10:19 AM

The Conservative Victory

Along with Senators Jubelirer and Brightbill going to in Tuesday's Pa primary, 21 year old Mark Harris (Santorum Blog contributor) also won!

    In a Mt. Lebanon race, 21-year-old-college student Mark Harris delivered a stunning defeat to long-time big-government incumbent Tom Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson tried to save his job by attacking Mr. Harris as too young and inexperienced to hold office, but Mr. Harris responded by sending the incumbent a copy of "Economics for Dummies." That tactic evidently sealed Mr. Stevenson's fate. (We can think of many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who would benefit from that book.)

The ads that were mailed were pretty reprehensible. Even moreso when you learn that the state GOP paid for them.

Posted by AlexC at 4:02 PM

May 17, 2006

RINO Slaying

So, a pay hiking, pay jacking, tax hiking, budget inflating Republican Senate leader loses in a primary election, and he blames ...

    The most stunning defeats Tuesday were suffered by the Senate's top two Republicans, Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer and Majority Leader David J. Brightbill. Both had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars since the beginning of the year to protect their jobs.

    Jubelirer lost to a longtime political foe, Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger, in a three-way primary. Brightbill was defeated by tire salesman Mike Folmer, a Lebanon city councilman in the 1980s.

    Jubelirer, who was first elected to the Senate in 1974, said the pay raise was a catalyst in his loss. But he also blamed voter frustration over issues such as the Iraq war, gas prices and immigration.

    "It's everything," he said. "They took it out on incumbents."

    "I only hope that as we move forward that the change that people have clearly spoken out tonight is a positive change," Jubelirer said.


Heh.

Posted by AlexC at 5:14 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Hugh Hewitt credits a group near and dear to AlexC's heart: "The Young Conservatives of PA deserve some credit for this. They launched a great billboard campaign after Pa. lawmakers gave themselves a huge pay raise in the dark of night."

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2006 7:26 PM
But AlexC thinks:

"... and we would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for those meddling kids!"

Thanks for remembering!

Posted by: AlexC at May 17, 2006 9:14 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Sue Cornell hit the bricks ... I'm doing a little dance ...

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at May 18, 2006 11:05 AM