February 27, 2015
Move that State Line
I think we can safely say that Colorado's 51st State, secessionist movement has fizzled. A better metaphor is drowned -- 100 year floods both captured the media's attention and forced moderates to cling to existing security institutions.
Well, it was a good time and it highlighted the urban-rural divide in State politics. I had warm thoughts as I read a WSJ editorial reporting that 15 New York towns want to trade the Empire State for neighboring, fracking-friendly Pennsylvania.
That part of Pennsylvania is booming. Upstate New York, as anyone who drives through it can attest, is an economic bummer.
We might have to update the photo:
June 19, 2013
Put that in you Milton Friedman pipe and smoke it!
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."
December 24, 2011
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.
August 17, 2011
Brotherly Love Not Extended to Sisters
Gotta tweak our Keystone Staters. Insty reports:
Brotherly Love Not Extended to Sisters
Gotta tweak our Keystone Staters. Insty reports:
May 22, 2011
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.
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.
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.
November 3, 2010
Club for Growth meets the US Senate.
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
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.
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.
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!"
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.
Keep it up, Keystone State blog brothers and sister!
October 12, 2009
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.
June 25, 2009
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.
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.
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...
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.
Color this pragmatist concerned. Specter will be
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Philadelphia, PA - December 10, 2007) Lexus drivers in the Greater
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...
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.
Hat-tip: Club for Growth
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.
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.
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.
October 20, 2007
I Can Almost Smell Camden...
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.
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.
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
... 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.
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.
Posted by AlexC at 8:41 PM
July 13, 2007
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.
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
It's been raining.
Quite a bit.
A couple of miles downstream, here's the Perkiomen Bridge in Collegeville.
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.
December 12, 2006
I'd like to take the time to announce a new project of mine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 31, 2006
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."
"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.
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.
Finally, a 527 you can trust!
Posted by AlexC at 12:07 AM
October 19, 2006
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.
Cheese Wit or Witout
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.
October 8, 2006
Is this a give away to the rich?
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
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.
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
SwannBlog live blogged the second debate between Republican Lynn Swann and Governor Ed Rendell.
Here's Mark's conclusion:
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?
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!!!
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?
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.
October 3, 2006
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?
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 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."
September 26, 2006
Lynn Swann and Pa Governor Ed Rendell had their first debate yesterday.
Rendell supporter John Baer, of the Philly tabloid Daily News, conceded that Swann batted and rattled Ed, but taunted that the governor's race was over anyway so it doesn't matter.
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.
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.
In case anybody around here follows Pennsylvania politics.
UPDATE: Here's the TV ad (thanks, AlexC!)
September 21, 2006
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 14, 2006
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court just threw a gallon of diesel on a simmering Pennsylvania flame.
Yes, the pay raise.
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.
July 20, 2006
Subsiding the Rich(er)
Does the PA government really need to be involved in this business?
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
July 7, 2006
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?
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!
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.
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! ;)
June 28, 2006
East Coast Flooding
In southeast Pennsylvania, the local rivers & creeks are nearing record level flooding.
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.
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!
PA - 12
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.
"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 finally.
"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?
But wait there's more.
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
Talk about missing the boat.
Last summer's legislative pay raise raised the ire of an entire state.
Some people never learn.
"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."
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.
$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?
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 — email@example.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.
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.
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.
Property Tax Reform
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...
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.
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.
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
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.
May 26, 2006
Why Campaign Finance Reform Is Unneeded
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?
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".
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
My heart really breaks for the Pennsylvania legislators who had lost their jobs on Tuesday.
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.
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.
May 18, 2006
I'm usually down on the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania, but I like this.
"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."
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!
The Conservative Victory
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
So, a pay hiking, pay jacking, tax hiking, budget inflating Republican Senate leader loses in a primary election, and he blames ...
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.