Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kevin Haggerty Town Hall in Jessup

Democratic State Representative Kevin Haggerty represents the 112th Legislative District.  As the PA House Democratic Caucus website describes, his district includes:
Part of LACKAWANNA County consisting of the CITY of Scranton (PART, Wards 07, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 [PART, Divisions 01, 02 and 03], 16, 17, 19 [PART, Divisions 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 and 06] and 20) and the TOWNSHIPS of Clifton, Covington, Elmhurst, Madison, Roaring Brook and Thornhurst and the BOROUGHS of Dunmore and Moscow.
Also on the same website, was the listing of a town hall meeting with the following description:
HARRISBURG, Dec. 16 – State Rep. Kevin Haggerty, D-Lackawanna, will host a Town Hall meeting on tax reform at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 at Jessup Hose Company No. 1, 632 Fourth St. in Jessup.  For more information, those interested can call 570-342-2710.
Navigating to mapquest.com, entering Dunmore, PA into your starting point, and the location of his Jessup Town Hall in the destination field gives you an approximate eight mile ride to the Town Hall.  The Town Hall, that is actually being held in Democratic State Representative Frank Farina's district.

Again, the PA House Democratic Caucus website describes the 115th Legislative District as:
Part of LACKAWANNA County consisting of the City of Carbondale (PART, Wards 01,02,03 (PART, Division 01) 04 (PART, Divisions 02 and 03), 05 (PART, Divisions 02 and 04 and 06 (PART, Divisions 01 and 02) and the TOWNSHIPS of Carbondale and Jefferson and the BOROUGHS of Archbald, Blakely, Dickson City, Jermyn, Jessup, Mayfield and Olyphant, and part of WAYNE County consisting of the TOWNSHIPS of Canaan, Dreher, Lake, Lehigh, Salem and Sterling, and the BOROUGH of Waymart.
As you can see, Mr. Farina represents all of Jessup and pretty much every municipality Mr. Haggerty had to travel through at the point that he exited his district in order to attend the Town Hall in the 115th.

The new 112th Legislative District, post-reapportionment, includes:
Part of LACKAWANNA County consisting of the CITY of Scranton (PART, Wards 09, 10, 11, 12, 17 and 19 [PART, Divisions 01 and 02]) and the BOROUGHS of Archbald, Blakely, Dunmore, Jessup, Olyphant and Throop.
Who could be blamed for looking at this Town Hall as a political event given that Mr. Haggerty held a Town Hall in an area he does not represent?

Closing thought: given that the subject of the Town Hall was taxes, it would be worth asking how much (if any) taxpayer money was used to hold and publicize the 112th Town Hall in the 115th.  To avoid even the appearance of impropriety the answer should be zero, given the political appearance of this event.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scranton Unions: FU, Pay Me

Classic scene from Goodfellas.  Warning, language alert.

After reading the recent reporting by the Scranton Times-Tribune, the first thought that came to mind was a scene from Goodfellas (above).

If you missed the story, the Scranton Police and Fire unions won a massive settlement against the City of Scranton.  The city owes them over $20 million and it is collecting massive amounts of interest every day that the settlement isn't paid.

Earlier in the year, the unions sought and received a judgement against the city to claim property, if need be, to recover their award.  At the time, they threatened to take the fire trucks and even City Hall itself to satisfy the award.

Now, they are calling on the city to use its taxing authority to raise taxes to pay the award.  This special tax would likely be on top of the already massive tax increase Scrantonians will face next year.

Scranton is broke, its credit is shot, and it has very little in assets when compared to the massive debts (beyond even this award) that have been accumulated under Scranton's 100% Democratic rule for the last decade.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Matt Cartwright: Losing your health insurance is a "good thing"

The Blaze reports that Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright believes losing your healthcare under Obamacare is a "good thing."

As one of President Obama's "strike-team" members, he has been charged with the responsibility of defending Obama's lie that if you like your healthcare you can keep it.

Follow the link above to watch the interview.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Does Cartwright Stand with Clinton or Obama?

Democrat and Former President Bill Clinton joined the growing chorus of Americans, Republican and Democrat alike, calling for President Obama to keep his promise and ensure Americans can keep their current insurance plans.

President Obama famously said “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Based on Democrat Cartwright's continued action to protect Obamacare and his recent vote against honoring President Obama's promise, it is clear that Cartwright stands with Obama, not Clinton.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is Union Violence OK?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative recently released a study: "Sabotage, Stalking and Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions."  The study found that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of the states that protect violence or threats of violence from unions.

Take stalking for example.  Every state in the U.S. has laws against stalking.  Pennsylvania defines stalking as  engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another under circumstances that demonstrate intent to cause substantial emotion distress to the person.  The law goes on to specifically exempt from the definition of stalking any conduct by a party to a labor dispute.

Many other labor loopholes also exist under trespassing, harassment, and other threats of violence violations.  House Bill 1154 seeks to close the labor loopholes.  Only Republican Representative Garth Everett has signed on as a sponsor from the Northeastern delegation.

Harassment, stalking, and threats of violence should be illegal for all Pennsylvanians, including union members.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Transportation Bill Fails in PA House

The Pennsylvania $2.3 billion transportation bill fell apart yesterday.  Had it been approved, the bill would have spent $1.65 billion per year repairing our roads and bridges, $497 million for mass transit funding and $144 million for “multi-modal” transportation over five years.  To pay for it, the bill relied largely on increasing the fees on traffic citations, increasing driver's license fees, increasing vehicle registration costs, and lifting the cap on Pennsylvania's gas tax.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Boback, Heffley, Pickett, Toohil and Democratic Reps. Farina, Flynn, Haggerty, Kavulich, Mullery, Mundy, Pashinski voted against the bill.

Pennsylvania has over 25,000 state-owned bridges, the third highest number of bridges in the United States.  But, because our bridges are, on average, over 50 years old, we also lead the nation in structurally deficient bridges.  According to the most recent data, 1,521,632 children are bused to school every day, traveling Pennsylvania's decrepit roads and deficient bridges.

It isn't enough for the State Reps captioned above to simply say no to fixing Pennsylvania's roads and bridges.  If they cannot support the current bill, fine.  Propose your own.  Take responsibility for the assets put in your care or let someone else do the job you refuse to do.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Controller Bednar


It's somewhat expected for local politicians to lend their support or their endorsement to local candidates.  It is less common to see statewide office holders weigh in on a county election.  Nonetheless, Pennsylvania Democrat and current Auditor General Eugene DePasquale endorsed Democrat Michelle Bednar for Luzerne County Controller.

During the interview she was asked, in the context of concerns about the new form of government and a major tax increase on the horizon, what she wants taxpayers to know now that she will be taking over the position of county controller.  The best rendering of her response:
I would like to a, just to make sure a, just to make sure to say that I will be there for everyone and um, I will like tackle the job as to be there.
She was then asked about how she will work with the county manager and county council.  Again, the best rendering of her response:
I will be there to work, right, side by side with them, I am like, you know I will be there to, make efficient, umm job security, and umm, to, to be sure that I will work with them, like whatever, whatever should come up to, that to tackle a job, I will be there.
The crowd cheered at the conclusion of the interview.

As Auditor General, Mr. DePasquale understands how important the job of County Controller is.  His candidate, Michelle Bednar, won.  If she doesn't work out, if she doesn't tackle the job as to be there or make efficient job security, the good people of Luzerne County should remember that when his re-elect comes around in 2016.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

OMG Bill Courtright is going to be Mayor!

“When I was driving home, I said, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be mayor.”
Scranton Democratic Mayor-elect Bill Courtright
The Scranton Times-Tribune, 11/7/2013

At least a few thousand people in the City of Scranton were likely thinking the same thing when they learned that Bill Courtright was going to be their next mayor.

Two other points jump out from the interview:

Now that he has been elected, Mr. Courtright is going to meet with PEL.  PEL is Scranton’s recovery coordinator.  The larger point is that Mr. Courtright seems to suggest that he has not met with them yet.

Whenever a new leader is elected for a governmental body, there is typically a transition period.  The new administration typically selects experienced, educated individuals who can help evaluate the current landscape and make recommendations.

Mr. Courtright announced that Scranton will have a transition team.  And, in the spirit of nepotism that has plagued Northeastern Pennsylvania, Mr. Courtright’s brother will serve on it along with two other people that the mayor-elect wouldn’t name publicly.

Scranton, you have an enterprise with a few hundred employees and a budget that comes in around $100 million a year and you just selected a man best known for breaking bricks with his head to run it.

Does it surprise you that brick-head-elect also believes it is perfectly acceptable to make his first official act – naming his transition team – opaque in that he hasn’t disclosed all the names of the individuals that will serve and nepotistic in that the only named individual will be his brother?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Saga of Abound Solar Continues

Abound Solar...remember them?

They were one of President Obama's taxpayer-funded "green" energy companies that had some pretty serious ties to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Not only did this "green" company go bankrupt, but they also stand accused of leaving a mess of pollution in their wake that is going to take millions to clean up.

As more and more of President Obama's "green energy" investments fail, perhaps he will finally get to lay claim to creating a few "shovel ready jobs" ...at least on the cleanup efforts.

Adding insult to environmental injury, equipment that could have been sold to pay for some of the cleanup or to repay the taxpayers for this boondoggle has gone missing.  Maybe when they find the missing equipment, they will also find a spare high-pressure pump laying around.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mulligan Pounds Courtright

In his latest ad, Republican Jim Mulligan hits Democrat Bill Courtright...HARD.


This is the kind of red meat rarely found in local politics...especially in Northeastern Pennsylvania where union support is typically held in high regard.

The ad claims that Courtright is bankrolled by the same police and fire unions that are threatening to sell Scranton's City Hall in order to get paid on a settlement they have against the city.  It also makes an eye-opening contrast when comparing what the average Scranton resident makes with the full compensation of Scranton's police and fire fighters.

Courtright's website does tout endorsements from unions that typically bargain for police and firefighters.  And, if Mulligan's claim is true that Courtright is bankrolled by these unions, it is understandable that he would question Courtright's loyalties.

This is the danger of the incestuous relationship between too many politicians and public-sector unions.

In a union negotiation with a city, there should be union officials representing their members on one side of the table and a mayor on the other side of the table representing the taxpayers.  The mayor is supposed to negotiate in good faith with the public-sector union with the objective of getting the best deal for the taxpayers.  Likewise, the union officials are trying to get the best deal for their members.  The negotiation is balanced.

But, if a mayor isn't looking out for the taxpayers because his friends, supporters, and donors are sitting across the table from him or her, the taxpayers are sure to have a problem.

Even liberal Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed public-sector unions. In a letter, he said "All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."

FDR's opposition aside, public-sector unions are a reality in Pennsylvania.  Another reality is Scranton's incredibly under-funded city budget due, in large part, to the vast amount of funds dedicated to pay the compensation of Scranton's public-sector employees.  This leaves Scranton with two options, raise your taxes or decrease your expenses and these two choices seem to be well represented in the two mayoral candidates.

One, Mr. Mulligan, appears to be very strong on the "decrease your expenses" side.  He will however have to get the cooperation of Scranton's unions, Pennsylvania's legislature, or some combination of the two to do so.

The other, Mr. Courtright, appears to already have the support of Scranton's unions.  He hasn't vocally called for raising taxes but he also hasn't demanded concessions from public-sector unions either leaving only the other option...raising taxes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Common Cause Staffer, Dem Politician Arrested

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that the endorsed Scranton Democratic mayoral candidate who lost in the Primary Election, Liz Randol, was arrested for driving under the influence after she allegedly backed her car into a police vehicle.

During the primary, her opponent used the loss of a loaded handgun near a school to damage her credibility.

After her loss, she took a job with Common Cause Pennsylvania (Common Cause is a liberal, Soros-funded citizen lobbying group.

While someone charged with a crime is not guilty until found to be so by a jury of their peers, this incident coupled with the firearm incident is likely to have brought the political career of Democrat Randol to a close in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mulligan Goes Up

Scranton Mayoral candidate Jim Mulligan has launched his first television ad.  It will appear on both network and cable.  The ad:


What the ad says:
Scranton is facing an incredibly difficult economic future.  My wife Tara and I understand the struggles that Scranton families face.  We need a strong leader to see the taxpayers through these hard economic times.  I have a plan to solve Scranton’s financial problems.  It’s time for someone to stand up for the taxpayers of this great city.  With your help on Election Day, we can put that plan into action for one Scranton.  I’m Jim Mulligan and I’m running for Mayor of Scranton.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Does BHO = GWB in 2014?

Recent polls have shown a dramatic decline in President Obama's approval rating.  In the most recent Reuters/Ipsos Poll, President Obama's approval has dropped to 39%.

Only 35% of Democrats strongly approve of the job President Obama is doing.  23% of Independents and 12% of Republicans also approve.

When looking at President George W. Bush's numbers during September of his first year after his re-elect, we find that Bush also had a 39% job approval number.

It's interesting to compare how the media reported these two numbers during the same time period for each president.  When Bush scored a 39, it was reported as:
Bush's job rating continues to drop
Poll shows president's performance approval at low point
(CNN) -- President Bush's job approval rating continues to plummet, with 39 percent of Americans surveyed in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll supporting his performance, compared to 58 percent expressing disapproval.
Contrast that with President Obama:
????

Actually, we can't do that because no one seems to be reporting President Obama's current GWB-like numbers...imagine that!

President Bush's low approval led the Republican party to major failure in the 2006 elections.  No Republican won a House, Senate, or Gubernatorial race that was held by a Democrat in 2006.  Democrats captured the House and selected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, the Senate with a 49-49 tie (because two Independent senators went with the Democrats making it 51-49), captured the majority of governorships 28-22, and the majority of state legislatures 23-17 (remaining were split.)

Will President Obama's Bush-like numbers spell the same for Democrats in 2014?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Democrats May Kill PA Transportation Bill

In June the Pennsylvania Senate passed an overwhelmingly bipartisan transportation funding bill by a vote of 45-5.  The bill would pump $2.5 billion into fixing Pennsylvania's roads and bridges as well as other transportation and infrastructure needs across the Commonwealth.

Majority Leader Turzai has called for an up or down vote on the Senate measure.  Some Republicans oppose the measure, largely because they believe it either spends too much or increases taxes and fees too much.  Democrats in Pennsylvania have rarely met a tax increase or fee increase they didn't like.  In fact, when they ran things under Governor Rendell, their legacy was explained as "tax increases, and proposed tax increases, along with record spending and borrowing."

So why are they opposing transportation funding?  Because they don't want Governor Corbett to claim a legislative victory.  In short, they're playing politics.

Pennsylvania's bridges are among the worst in the nation.  If a representative has a principled opposition to raising taxes and fees (think Grover Norquist's No-Tax Pledge,) they should vote no.  But if they aren't opposed to raising taxes or fees in the Commonwealth, they should come up with a better excuse for allowing Pennsylvania's infrastructure to crumble than politics.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

MYSL.12

Jack White - Freedom at 21

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gun Ban at Starbucks

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sent an open letter to the American people asking that lawful firearm owners disarm before entering one of their stores or using their outdoor seating areas.

What prompted this letter is the use of their establishments to host events in support of the Second Amendment.

If a lawful American wants to carry a gun, and lots of people do, they should carry a gun within the confines of the law.  In Pennsylvania, open carry is legal.  Concealed carry is also allowed with proper licensing.

Private property owners also have rights.  If they wish to limit otherwise lawful behavior on their property, their wishes should be respected.  They should conspicuously post their policy so that no one unwittingly enters their property in a manner that is inconsistent with their desires while also proclaiming their position for the world to see.  And, if a private property owner like Starbucks imposes on your rights in a way you disagree with, the appropriate response is to no longer do business with them.

It's really that simple.

A concealed carry permit costs as much as $25 in Pennsylvania.  If Luzerne County is expecting to bring in $150,000 just this year in permit fees, that's 6,000 concealed carry holders in one year that could take their dollars elsewhere.  Businesses are in business to make money.  Until business owners understand there is a financial cost to attacking the civil rights of law-abiding citizens, they will continue to do so.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Will You Help Kickstart World War III?

Will you help President Obama start World War III?  The Americans for Whatever Barack Obama Wants, did you know he's friends with Jay-Z? wants to know.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patriot's Day 2013

Today, on 9/11, we have two anniversaries to remember.  The first, is the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center that claimed 2,977American lives.  The second, is the one year anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans.  The four Americans killed in Benghazi:

Navy Seal and Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" Device recipient Senior Chief Petty Officer Tyrone S. Woods
Petty Officer, First Class Glen Anthony Doherty
U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens

On this day, Patriot's Day, fly your flags at half-staff and, during a moment of silent reflection, remember those that were taken from us far too early.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cartwright Indecisive on Syria

As far as our local Members of Congress, Republican Tom Marino was the first out of the gate against war with Syria.  Barletta wanted to wait until he had a classified briefing to make a decision.  After the briefing, he released a statement opposing President Obama's call to bomb Syria.

The head scratcher is Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright.


Above is an interview he gave over the weekend.  He said he wanted to see the evidence with his own eyes.  In essence, the same thing that Barletta said about getting his briefing.  Post briefing, Cartwright is still undecided.

Interestingly, Cartwright brought up hearing from constituents at town halls...still haven't been able to track down any that he had during his August vacation.  Maybe he was talking about other members.  Or maybe still, he had a town hall that we haven't heard about.

Matt Dietz, Cartwright's Republican opponent, issued a release calling for Cartwright to oppose President Obama's efforts to attack Syria.

During his interview, Cartwright says 80% of his constituents oppose attacking Syria.  He has had his briefing where he can see the evidence.  What more will it take for Cartwright to make a decision on Syria?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

MYSL.11

Willie Nelson: Whiskey River


Friday, September 6, 2013

Cartwright Town Halls?

Has anyone come across a town hall meeting with Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright?

By navigating his press releases you cannot find a single announcement of a town hall meeting during his August vacation from Congress.

When President Obama and Vice-President Biden came to his district he was conspicuously absent, blaming an unidentified "scheduling conflict."  If the President and Vice-President of the United States of America visiting your district isn't enough for Democrat Matt Cartwright to avail himself to the public, what is?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Democrats Call for War


Above, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee claims that "dozens" of countries will stand with the U.S. in attacking Syria...though she won't name a single one.

Democrat Hillary Clinton backs President Obama's call for war in Syria.

Former Democratic Senator and current Secretary of State John Kerry supports Obama's call for war and won't even rule out "boots on the ground" (below.)



Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is lobbying for war.

Where does your member of Congress stand? If you don't know, you should ask. Quickly.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Frack Yeah!

The United States has benefited greatly by the use of fracking, according to a new report.

From Bloomberg:
In 2012, the energy boom supported 2.1 million jobs, added almost $75 billion in federal and state revenues, contributed $283 billion to the gross domestic product and lifted household income by more than $1,200, according to the report released today from IHS CERA. The competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers from lower fuel prices will raise industrial production by 3.5 percent by the end of the decade, said the report from CERA, which provides business advice for energy companies.


The United States needs to produce its own energy.  Fracking helps facilitate American energy independence while also directly creating jobs, supporting other industries, and saving working families money on their energy bills.

The groups that oppose fracking must concede that if we were to meet their demands and stop developing our own energy here in the United States, we must also have higher energy costs, less jobs, and less money in our pockets.

Instead of knee-jerk opposition, the anti's should support American energy while demanding safety, security, and environmental protection.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Republicans Push to Eliminate Obamacare Exemption for Congress

Republican Senators Mike Enzi and David Vitter have introduced legislation to make members, political appointees, the Vice-President and President pay out-of-pocket for their healthcare.

Currently, the Federal Government picks up the tab for 75% of their premiums.

This legislation would also reverse the recent Obama Administration decision to remove members of Congress and their staff from the requirements of Obamacare.

If Obamacare is good enough for the American people, why isn't it good enough for President Obama, members of Congress, or their staff?

Rollcall has more here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

MYSL.10

Johnny Cash - San Quentin (live from prison)

Friday, August 30, 2013

New F&M Poll - Obama Worse Off Than Corbett

A new Franklin & Marshall College poll was released on Wednesday.

When taken together (somewhat unfavorable + strongly unfavorable), more Pennsylvania voters have an unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama than Tom Corbett. 50% have an unfavorable opinion of President Obama while 46% have an unfavorable opinion of Governor Corbett.  When you strip it away to just the strongly unfavorable, 41% of Pennsylvanians have an unfavorable opinion of Obama while 32% feel that way about Corbett.

On job performance, 42% of Pennsylvania believes President Obama is doing a poor job and 33% say the same for Governor Corbett.

Most of the reporting has focused entirely on Governor Tom Corbett and his re-election chances.  Some context is conspicuously absent.

In March of 2011, the year preceding his re-election year, President Obama's total unfavorable rating was at 44%.  Corbett's today is at 46%.  At that same time, 16% of the electorate was undecided or didn't know how they felt about Obama.  Today, 31% fall into that category for Corbett.

There simply isn't a statistically significant difference between Obama and Corbett when examining their unfavorables.  And, as far as those that haven't made up their minds on it, Corbett has a pool of voters nearly twice as large as President Obama did that may be open to supporting him.

With numbers like those, President Obama still went on to win Pennsylvania with 51.97% of the vote.  Despite the dreams of many a partisan reporter, that is still a possibility for Governor Corbett.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bloomsburg Bans Firearms

Both ABC27 and the Press Enterprise report that firearms will be banned from the Bloomsburg Fair this year.  Despite being unable to recall a single incident of firearm misuse at past events, Police & Parking Supervisor Bill Barratt still wants the citizenry disarmed.  It is also reported that police will conduct searches as people enter to enforce the Bloomsburg Fair's new gun control measure.

Should you wish to contact the board members, including Mr. Barratt, you can find their emails here.  Unless Mr. Barratt is acting unilaterally, these individuals should also have a say in whether or not law-abiding citizens should have their civil rights revoked for nothing more than attending an event.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

MYSL.7

NoFX - Leave It Alone:

Monday, August 5, 2013

MYSL.6

Fugazi - Waiting Room

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mulligan for Mayor

The Republicans in Lackawanna County last night selected Scranton Attorney Jim Mulligan as their candidate for Mayor in the City of Scranton.

Mulligan replaces Gary Lewis, who withdrew his candidacy.

Mr. Mulligan has a tough resume to beat.  He is highly educated, having obtained his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, his Masters Degree in Public Administration from Villanova University, and his J.D. from Antioch School of Law.

In addition to his private law practice he is also a small business owner and a former Assistant District Attorney.

His education, combined with his work experience uniquely positions him to understand the difficulty small business owners face in the City of Scranton.

His time in the District Attorney's office gives him invaluable experience in coping with Scranton's crime problem.

One of the more difficult things parents face in the City of Scranton is watching their children leave because they cannot find gainful employment in the city.  Mr. Mulligan and his wife have nine children so they are no doubt acutely aware of this burden and have more skin in this game than most to be motivated to change it.

The Republicans picked one of the most educated, experienced, credible candidates they have had in a long time to help the City of Scranton through this truly dark economic time.  With the prospect of a 117% tax increase on the horizon, now more than ever it is critical that Scranton put aside its petty partisan politics and chose a candidate that is truly prepared to lead.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Collusion?

National Review Online broke a story on Wednesday indicating that there may have been collusion between high-level Obama Administration officials and the Federal Election Commission regarding the entirely unfair persecution of conservative groups by the IRS.

It's worth the read.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Obama: Tax Cuts for Big Business, Tax Hikes for Small Business Owners

The New York Times reports that President Obama would like to modify the U.S. Tax Code.  His proposal is to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% and to hike the top individual tax rate to 39.6%.

The individual tax rate is the rate that many small business owners pay.

Oh, and remember this?



Part of his proposal is to also close "tax loopholes," though he didn't describe what any of those might be.  Flashback to 2012, candidate Obama excoriated Mitt Romney for talking about closing tax loopholes without stating what those specific loopholes might be.

What do the Democrats have against small business owners?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

AVP Board in Court Today

Earlier in the year the Bi-County Airport Board for Luzerne/Lackawanna Counties announced that they would begin accepting Statements of Qualifications and Proposals from "qualified Fixed Base Operators" interested in providing those services at AVP.

The Bi-County Airport Board is composed of Timothy McGinley, Robert C. Lawton, and Richard Williams from Luzerne County and County Commissioners Corey O'Brien, James Wansacz, and Patrick O'Malley from Lackawanna County.  The Airport Director is Barry J. Centini.

Several companies replied to the RFP/RFQ.

At their July 18th meeting of the Airport Board, it was decided that a contract would be established with Aviation Technologies Inc, which is already billing itself on its website as "AVP's new FBO."

This decision has prompted Saker Aviation to file a complaint and request for preliminary injunction in Motion Court at the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County.

The case will be heard today, July 31.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

MYSL.5

The Ramones - I Wanna Live

Saturday, July 20, 2013

MYSL.4

Bad Religion - Atomic Garden:



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kane's Politics a "Dangerous Proposition"



Comparing the campaign rhetoric a candidate makes with their actual record is always an interesting proposition.

Candidate Kathleen Kane took her opponent to task for suggesting that he would not enforce certain laws.  She stated "The attorney general does not have the right to pick and choose which laws he or she enforces," and suggested that doing so was a "dangerous proposition." She then went on to say "We need to make sure we enforce the laws, or you are just playing politics."

Politics indeed, Ms. Kane, politics indeed.

Given Kathleen Kane's willful refusal to follow the law that not only created her office as it is today but also demands that the Attorney General defend every law of the Commonwealth from any challenge and given that her refusal is based solely on her opinion of said law, do you believe she would extend those same rights to average, ordinary citizens so that they too could willfully refuse to follow a law that they deemed unconstitutional?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cartwright Votes Against Pennsylvania Farmers

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (a.k.a. the "Farm Bill.")

The legislation passed without Cartwright's support.

The Farm Bill is always problematic.  The one passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate, even more so.  For starters, it was 61% more costly to taxpayers.  The 2008 farm bill spent $604 billion, the Senate bill spent $955 billion.

With our nation running an annual trillion dollar deficit...we just aren't in a position to spend money that kind of money.

Despite the moniker, the senate bill didn't really have a lot to do with farming.  80% of the money spent in the bill was on food stamps, continuing the Obama tradition of massive welfare spending.  And, with 80% of the spending being on food stamps, its a bit disingenuous calling a bill like that a "Farm Bill."

The House sought to split the legislation into two bills - a true farm bill that dealt with agriculture alone and another bill that contains just welfare spending. 

The bill containing just farming provisions is the bill Cartwright voted against, denying the largest industry in Pennsylvania  - agriculture - the certainty it deserves.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wegmans To Cut Benefits Due To Obamacare

Buffnews.com is reporting that Wegmans, a fine grocery store with several locations in NEPA, is slashing benefits because of Obamacare.  Impacted by the change are many of the store's part-time employees.

Obamacare only requires health insurance for employees that work 30+ hours.  And, since health insurance will be more expensive under Obamacare, it should be no surprise that employers are looking to save money.

Labor unions too.  Yes, even labor unions are turning on the President's signature legislation now that the rhetoric has fallen away and the reality has set in.

Democrats didn't read the bill but partied when it passed. 


They fought for the re-election of President Obama in 2012, effectively making this crap sandwich impossible to repeal, and partied after Obama won. 

Now they, and the rest of the country, are left with the hangover.

You get the government you vote for.



Monday, July 15, 2013

MYSL.3

Dropkick Murphys - The Gauntlet:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kane Refuses to Do Her Job

Pennsylvania's Democratic Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, is refusing to do her job, according to a former AG.

Specifically, there is a lawsuit that names AG Kane dealing with gay marriage.  She is named because, as Attorney General, it is her job to defend Pennsylvania's laws from challenge and that is exactly what the lawsuit seeks - to overturn Pennsylvania's law banning gay marriage. 

Instead, Kane is punting to former AG Corbett and asking him to defend the law as Governor.

The office of Attorney General was made an independent office in 1980 by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act. Prior to that, the office was appointed and the duties of the office holder were largely determined by the governor that appointed him or her.

Recognizing that the formerly-appointed office received its direction and duties from the Governor, the act also detailed the responsibilities of the new AG. 

By way of background, this is the same set of laws that AG Kane presumably relied on to reject Governor Corbett's privatization of the lottery system in PA.  Since she wouldn't answer questions (unless given to her in writing) it is difficult to determine specifically where she believed the authority was derived to reject the bid but it likely included Section 204 of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act.  This section authorizes the AG to review rules and regulations.  This is also the same section that states:
"It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to uphold and defend the constitutionality of all statues so as to prevent their suspension or abrogation in the absence of a controlling decision by a court of competent jurisdiction."
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is not a controlling decision on Pennsylvania's  ban on gay marriage.  Instead, it had a very limited scope dealing with federal law and federal benefits, leaving her with little cover if that is her excuse.

And, when a law contains the word "shall" it is an explicit order to comply.  It doesn't say "should" or "may."

Instead of doing her job as defined by an act which she is clearly and undeniably familiar with, a pattern of playing politics may be emerging.

She filed charges against a Republican candidate for office just days before a contested primary election despite having months to prepare those charges.  

After making campaign promises to make reviewing Tom Corbett's prosecution of the Sandusky case a priority and appointing someone to oversee the investigation in February, she still hasn't completed it leaving political observers to wonder if she is waiting to drop it during Corbett's re-election campaign. 

Now, she is refusing to do her job as it relates to a politically sensitive lawsuit.

With actions like these in just the first few months of her administration, it wouldn't be terribly surprising if she started taking transparently political actions to diminish the appearance of hack partisanship.  Something along the lines of announcing the hiring of a prominent Republican, finding something safe to agree with Corbett on and publicizing the heck out of it, or going after a prominent Democrat.


The IRS persecution of conservative groups has demonstrated the lengths to which a government can go to enforce politics with the brutal force of official power. 

Pennsylvania deserves better. 

If Kathleen Kane doesn't want to do her job, as described by the very act that created her position, she should resign.  Absent her immediate resignation, she should quickly reverse course, honor her oath of office, and fulfill her duty as Attorney General to defend the laws of the Commonwealth.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lewis Out in Scranton

The Lackawanna GOP issued a press release earlier in the week indicating that the Republican nominee for Mayor has withdrawn his candidacy and that they are looking for a replacement.

The release explains the process but it looks like they could have a new nominee as early as the start of August.

This race is important for the region.  Scranton is the largest city in NEPA and has been plagued by Democrat-run bad government for years.  Their taxes are incredibly oppressive to both businesses and working families.  The city itself is swimming in red ink.

If there was ever a time to try something new, Scranton has reached it.

Hopefully, the decade plus of mismanagement isn't too much to keep someone good from running for the office under the Republican banner.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dodd-Frank Strikes Again

We haven't really ventured into the realm of the Obama Administration's surveillance of the American people.  Just about every other blog wrote about it, so most of the information is out there.   The short of it is that the Obama Administration has taken everything George Bush did under authorization of the Patriot Act and expanded it exponentially.  Whatever you thought about the Bush Administration's spying, the Obama Administration has done far more of it.

One area, the use of consumer data, has not been covered widely so we decided it was worth talking about.

Judicial Watch announced last week that they have obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act request that demonstrate that the Obama Administration has used the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to gather information on how Americans spend their money.

What's the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)?  The CFPB was created by Dodd-Frank.  According to their website, they are charged with making "markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products."

What the CFPB is doing is spending millions of dollars to track what you are buying with your credit cards and as usual under the Obama Administration, without a warrant.  How is this consistent with their mission?  Your guess is as good as ours.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey sits on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over this issue.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lost or Stolen: Gov't Edition

From time to time, progressive politicians push for "Lost or Stolen" legislation.  This legislation requires that a lawful gun owner that becomes the victim of a crime must report the loss or theft of their firearm within a matter of hours or be charged with a crime themselves.  It's idiotic.

With that as a backdrop, new evidence has emerged that just one department of the government has lost approximately 1,400 handguns, rifles, and machine guns.  They have apparently been able to track down 200 of these weapons, but 1,200 remain MIA.

If these progressive politicians were at all consistent, they should be calling for charges against their fellow bureaucrats for losing over one thousand weapons.

Monday, July 1, 2013

PA Politicos Double-Dipping

The National Journal analyzed the finance of current members of Congress with a particular focus on those members that are "double dipping."  That is, elected officials that get paid twice - once by the taxpayers for their current position and again by the taxpayers for a previous one.

PA's double dippers from the National Journal:
Democratic Congressman Robert "Bob" Brady
Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah
Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach
Democratic Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz
Republican Congressman Charlie Dent
Republican Congressman Joe Pitts



MYSL

Inaugural edition: Mike Ness Monday-




Friday, June 21, 2013

Fed Talking About Using Eminent Domain to Take Homes

In a recent press release, the Federal Reserve is again talking about the possibility of using eminent domain to seize private homes that are "underwater" in their financing.  Being "underwater" means that you owe more than your house is worth i.e. you paid too much for your home or you used a really poor financing product from a bank (like a balloon payment) that is now impossible for you to pay.

Personal responsibility would dictate that people be responsible for their own bills.  Those on the left typically advocate for write-downs.  That is, having the bank absorb some of the money an individual owes on their home.  In today's market where loans are bought, sold, repackaged, and cut up into smaller piece to be sold piecemeal, that is virtually impossible and the Fed has acknowledged that.

Instead, they would like local and state governments to seize properties through eminent domain.  Their report on the subject can be read by clicking on the title link: "Paying Paul and Robbing No One: An Eminent Domain Solution for Underwater Mortgage Debt."

This proposal is a proposal for abuse of power.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SB 150 - PA Forced DNA Collection Legislation

Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to allow forced DNA collection of individuals not yet convicted of a crime, it seems a good time to talk about Pennsylvania's Senate Bill 150.

Pennsylvania's bill is nothing less than institutionalized fishing expeditions that circumvent the Fourth Amendment.  The bill establishes a statewide DNA database containing DNA samples of anyone arrested, charged, convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or or accepted into ARD for many crimes.

Anyone can be arrested or charged with a crime.  Anyone.  All that is necessary for an arrest is the establishment of probable cause.

This bill negates the presumption of innocence that every American should enjoy and replaces it with a presumption of guilt.  Worse, it forces the accused, but innocent individual to submit blood or maybe even tissue samples to the government for cataloging.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling was a terrible one that many would view as enabling or empowering to exactly this type of intrusion.  Despite that ruling making it "legal" to trash the Fourth Amendment, Pennsylvania should not pass this legislation.  Innocent Pennsylvanians deserve better than to have their body or bodily fluids taken from them at gunpoint from its government.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bob Casey weighs in on NSA, IRS, and Benghazi Scandals

Move along, nothing to see here.

That's basically Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey's position on the recent Obama administration scandals.  To summarize: Snowden should be prosecuted, maybe even tried for treason; IRS employees should be held accountable; he won't push to get answers on the Benghazi failure that claimed American lives; and he supports Obama efforts to engage the U.S. in Syria's civil war.

You can watch the interview here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PNI TMI

With revelations of new and innovative ways for the Obama administration to stalk American citizens discretely, it seemed like a perfect time to talk about one of the new ways they will do so publicly and legally - Obamacare.

On 19 June the Obama Health and Human Services issued a rule requiring that local, state, and federal government agencies share private health information or PNI.  This also applies to insurance companies.

This agency and insurer data-swapping is done to make sure that you have the appropriate, government-approved amount of insurance necessary to avoid a punitive tax penalty.

It is also worth noting that the rule doesn't contain language whereby the patient grants this sharing of data.  Instead, the government is just ordering it to be shared.

You can read about how the Obama administration is sharing your information by navigating to the section "Verification of eligibility for minimum essential coverage other than through an eligible employer-sponsored plan."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Immigration Reform Ad in PA



A new advertising campaign (above) has started in Pennsylvannia dealing with immigration reform.  It points out that current immigration reform proposals will add 33 million new workers to the United States workforce at a time 20 million Americans are unemployed.

The group comes to the number, 33 million work permits, by counting the permits to 11 million current illegal immigrants, 11 million to new legal immigrants under a continuation of the current system, 5 million chain migration relatives of immigrants who have applied but are waiting for their slot in other countries, and 6 million new immigrants through new categories and expanded existing categories of immigration.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cyprus, Anyone?

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a new rule last week that should really raise an eyebrow.

The rule would make it very difficult for some investors to withdraw their money from money market accounts "during times of financial distress."

To recap, here's what they did in Cyprus.

What do they mean by a time of financial distress?  Who knows.  The collapse of 2008 was certainly regarded as a time of financial distress.

The public has 90 days to comment on the new regulations.  To comment electronically:
• Use the Commission’s Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml); or
• Send an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov. Please include File Number S7-03-13 on the subject line; or
• Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov). Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HB 1234 – Constitutional Amendment to Shrink the Size of Legislature

House Republicans have proposed House Bill 1234, a bill to amend the Constitution of Pennsylvania to retain the current size of the Senate but to reduce the number of State Representatives from 203 to 153.

The Constitution of Pennsylvania calls for the following process for an Amendment: Upon passage of the amendment by the General Assembly, the Amendment is transmitted to two newspapers in every county for publication by the Secretary of State.  The General Assembly must then pass the amendment again in the following session and the Secretary of State has to publish the Amendment again.  After the second passage and publication, the question is placed to the voters on the first Primary, General, or Municipal election to follow.If the electorate supports the Amendment, it will then go into effect in the next session of the General Assembly following the 2020 reapportionment.

Currently, there are approximately 62,900 people in each legislative district.  Assuming the population remains the same in 2020, each member would represent about 20,000 more people than they current do.  Considering that members of Congress represent over 700,000 people per district, this is entirely manageable and would produce a serious savings for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

On the downside, it would make rural districts far more expansive.  

Trying to pickup 20,000 people per district is relatively easy in a heavily populated area.  In rural Pennsylvania, it could mean having to add an entire county to a district to meet the population requirements.

Constituent service will be harder to achieve in these areas.

This amendment should be passed, but rural Pennsylvanians will need to apply serious pressure on House and Senate leaders that comprise the reapportionment commission to ensure that their districts are not drawn to be ridiculously expansive.  Republicans deserve credit for taking the lead on government reform in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pelosi to Dems: Sell Obamacare!

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi has produced a 78-page memo that directs Democratic members of the House to go out into their districts and sell the American people on Obamacare.  It also encourages Democrats to work with supporters of Obamacare like abortion providers to help push this message.



So, keep an eye out for Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright.  He might be following Pelosi’s orders and holding a town hall in the future to explain his support of Obamacare, even though a majority of Americans oppose it.

Monday, June 3, 2013

SB 954 – Democratic Bill to Criminalize Laser Pointers

PA Democratic Senator Richard A. Kasunic has proposed SB 954, a bill to criminalize the use of laser pointers.

Specifically, the bill seeks to amend the Pennsylvania criminal code to make pointing a laser pointer at someone a third degree misdemeanor or summary offense, depending on the circumstances.


We anxiously await companion legislation to finally deal with the scourge of spit balls and wedgies that also plague the Commonwealth.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cartwright Votes for Higher Student Loan Rates


On July 1st, millions of students across the country will face higher student loan rates.  By higher, we mean double. 

A bi-partisan bill, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, would change that.  It did that largely by removing politics from the conversation.  By tying student loan rates to the market, instead of the whims of politicians, it created a predictable formula where students could engage in long-term planning and forecast what their rates would actually look like.

No longer would members of Congress determine what interest rate you pay for your loans.

The legislation would also allow students to compete for lower rates, which the current fixed rates simply don’t allow.

Democratic Congressman Cartwright voted against the measure, which still passed the house with a bi-partisan vote of 221-198.  The other NEPA Congressman voted in favor of the measure.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Ph. D. Student Uses Gun to Defend Herself, Home


After two days of thefts occurring at her home, Betty Collins was surprised by someone trying to kick her door in just before 5:00 am.  Clearly, the would-be home invader had no fear of someone being home.  He wanted in, and the front door wasn't going to stop him. 

Ms. Collins yelled that she had a gun and told the man to leave, he didn't.  She opened the door with her .357 magnum pistol in hand and demanded that the man lay on the ground until the police arrive.  They did arrive and took the man into custody.

Ms. Collins credited the rights under the Second Amendment and her firearm ownership for allowing her to defend herself and her home from certain jeopardy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Obama Regime Doubles Down on Official Oppression of Conservatives


Amid hearings on how the Obama Administration used the IRS to bully, stymie, and generally harass Tea Party Groups the Obama regime appears to have doubled down on those efforts.

Report, after report, after report, after report shows that armed DHS Federal Agents were dispatched to Tea Party rallies held last Tuesday to protest the unethical and likely illegal behavior of the IRS as it relates to those that oppose the policies of President Obama.

This behavior is more akin to a dictator’s banana republic than a constitutional republic.  For those keeping score, Obama’s goons have now used the IRS to demand information they aren’t allowed to ask for, delayed tax filings for 27 months simply because an organization opposed Obama, tapped the phones of reporters, read the emails of dissenters, and now used armed federal agents to intimidate protesters.

The Tea Party is a non-violent group.  Occupy Wall Street was the violent group that broke all sorts of laws yet, DHS doesn’t appear to have been dispatched to monitor them leading any clear-thinking individual to come to the logical conclusion that this is politically motivated.

This is another clear demonstration of the Obama regime using the full resources of the federal government to intimidate and suppress law-abiding citizens with dissenting opinions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fallen Officer’s Daughter Uses Gun to Defend Herself


For the third time, a family had to call police to their farm because strange people were on their property.  This time was different.  A stranger put a knife to the neck of a 26 year-old woman while she tended to the family’s farm.

Thankfully, the young woman was carrying a firearm.  She was able to repel her attacker and protect herself.  She still suffered knife wounds, but the situation could have been far worse if she was disarmed.  The family points to the previous service of the woman’s father, now deceased, within the law enforcement community as the only possible explanation as to what prompted the attack and the trespassers.

The man fled and was not immediately apprehended.  Oddly, local law enforcement claims this does not pose a threat to the public.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cartwright Votes Against Lower Energy Costs, Job Creation, Energy Independence


Once completed, the Keystone Pipeline would bring approximately 830,000 barrels of oil a day through a North American pipeline.  The project is a privately funded $7 billion investment in our economy that would create 117,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

The alternative is to continue to be held hostage to OPEC, price manipulation, and middle-eastern countries that, well, hate America.

Independent study after study has confirmed massive economic benefits for the U.S. if this project is completed.  As far as environmental impact, this project has been studied for years and found to be safe.  So, no surprise that 69% of Americans want the project approved.

Nonetheless, Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright voted against the Keystone Pipeline.  He joined other Democrats in forcing Americans to continue paying high prices for gas, shipping billions of dollars overseas, and ruining the prospect of job creation.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lackawanna Study Commission


In a clear referendum on the people’s displeasure with Democratic majority Commissioners Jim Wansacz and Corey O’Brien, Lackawanna County voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of a Government Study Commission.

Lackawanna County’s Democratic majority commissioners also attempted to consolidate four elected offices into positions that they would be empowered to handpick.  All four of these proposals were soundly rejected.  One attempt, the attempt to make the Sheriff an appointed position, was particularly objectionable to Lackawanna County voters.


The campaign for the study commission was led by Chuck Volpe, a former Democratic candidate for both Pennsylvania Governor and State Senator who now sells insuranceIt is reported that Mr. Volpe’s campaign spent $300,000 on this effort.  Mr. Volpe was able to push most of his candidates to victory.

With the exception of Mr. Volpe’s team, a few individual candidates, and the Republican Party no unified force presented a serious campaign for a slate of candidates or on the questions.
While the election was non-partisan and the returns are still unofficial, Republicans will likely have representation by two of the seven members.  They will join former Democratic Chairman Jerry Notariani along with other Democratic members of Mr. Volpe’s slate to comprise the commission. 

Volpe has a super-majority on the Commission, guaranteeing that his ideas for government reform will be addressed.

This commission will meet, study the current system, and propose changes if they believe they are necessary.  Their recommendations will be placed on the ballot for the approval or rejection of Lackawanna County’s voters – probably on the 2014 Primary Election ballot.  That vote, the one to accept or reject the recommendation of the commission, will be the title fight.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Marino Takes On Gov’t Reform


Republican Congressman Tom Marino recently introduced two bills to reform Washington.

The first bill, H.R. 2113, the One Subject at a Time Act, would require that bills embrace only one subject, that the subject be clearly displayed in the bill title, and prohibit appropriations bills from including hidden general legislation.  If a bill like this were in place, Obamacare would have been impossible.

The second bill, H.J. Res 48, amends the U.S. Constitution to prohibit U.S. Senators from serving more than two consecutive terms (12 Years) and prohibits members of the U.S. House of Representatives from serving more than six consecutive terms (12 years.)
Term limits are an interesting subject.  When the founders designed our Constitution, U.S. Senators were not elected by the general public.  Instead, they were elected by the state legislatures as expressed in Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution.  The 17th Amendment to the Constitution changed that, making them directly elected by the people.

Members of Congress have always been directly elected by the public.  The real difference is in the expectations of service.  As a member of the House, it was understood that you were there for service to the people.  The founders designed it so that average, every day people would give up some of their time to serve in Congress and then return to their regular business. 

No doubt to reinforce temporary service, they were barely paid anything.  For nearly the first 70 years, members of the House of Representatives received a $6 per day payment that was designed to cover their expenses.  In 1855, that changed to a flat $3,000 per year.  Today, they make $174,000 per year plus benefits.  Contrast that with the median household income in the U.S., which is around $50,000 per year.

In short, congress wasn't supposed to be a career.

Marino’s One Subject at a Time Act deserves passage.  This bill is a common sense bill that will improve government transparency. 

Politicians becoming entrenched is a problem at every level of government and Marino’s amendment might get help fix that.  But, it won’t truly deal with the problem. 

Deviation from the Constitution and the spirit of original intent is what caused the problems in Washington that Marino is trying to address.  Rather than limiting the terms of politicians, a better bill would merely adjust the salary a politician may receive to the median household income in the U.S. during the year in which they were elected.  This would do three things: first, it would right-size the salary of Senators and Representatives to better reflect the annual income of their constituents; second, it would make it difficult for members of Congress to make a career out of being a member of Congress because the money just wouldn't be there to do it; and third, it would force representatives to focus on bettering the economic prosperity of this country.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

AG Kane: Prohibitionist


Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane spoke recently at a gathering of newspaper editors about her thoughts on medical marijuana and the proposed decriminalization of recreational use.

There is legislation proposing exactly that, which likely prompted the question.

She believes marijuana is a gateway drug that will make you turn to other hard drugs.  She also fears medical marijuana prescriptions will be given out “willy-nilly.”

Her prohibitionist policies do not however appear to transcend to alcohol.  In fact, during her campaign, The Sentinel  reported that her family holds a multi-million dollar contract with the state for the storage and delivery of liquor and wine.


The Attorney General is the top prosecutor in Pennsylvania and the law of the land explicitly prohibits municipalities form enacting municipal gun laws.  The AG is supposed to go after people for breaking Pennsylvania’s laws, not encourage them to break them and pledge to use state resources to defend them.

As far as slowing up permits, the only permits issued in Pennsylvania for guns are concealed carry permits.  Disarming law-abiding citizens and preventing them from being able to defend themselves, their family, or their property is a terrible idea.

Kane is a prohibitionist, and a hypocritical one at that.  Fellow nanny-stater Michael Bloomberg has to be proud…the Soda-banning Bloomberg’s six-figure superpac expenditures to prop up her campaign are paying off.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Walter Griffith and Wire Tapping


At the start of the year, accusations were made that Republican Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith illegally recorded conversations dealing with CityVest.  When made aware of these accusations, Republican District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis turned the information over to Democratic PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office.


CityVest has been plagued with problems. No one disputes that.  And, being a good government advocate, it is entirely understandable that Walter Griffith would attempt to turn over every rock and expose any wrongdoing that he believed he found.  He has been incredibly successful with that.  Unfortunately, that also likely made him a target.

Republicans in the House of Representatives proposed a bill last year, HB 2400, that would have changed Pennsylvania’s wiretap law to allow recording of conversations if there was a belief that the subject of the recording would be talking about criminal behavior.  With the corruption that has been exposed in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, a law like this might make a lot of sense.

When considering the timeline, that this information was given to Democrat Kane’s office months ago and charges were filed four days before an election, some will question the timing of Ms. Kane’s actions. 

Nonetheless, the law is the law.  If Walter Griffith broke it, he needs to answer for that. 

That said, every citizens enjoys certain rights in this country, not the least of which is to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  Mr. Griffith hasn’t been proven guilty.  The people of Luzerne County shouldn’t lose sight of that or the tremendous good he has done for them in the Controller’s office.