Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obama Quits His Church

On March 13th, 2008, history came back to bite Barack Obama in the a$$,

A tape (circa 2001) of Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, surfaced with Reverend Wright going off on America and, in particular, white people. His rant of "G-D damn America" still resonates in our ears and has been and still is the bane of Obama's campaign.

Obama has, time after time, defended his minister, saying that he is (and I paraphrase) like the crazy old uncle that nobody listens to anyway. His campaign has said:

"Sen. Obama has said repeatedly that personal attacks such as this have no place in this campaign or our politics, whether they're offered from a platform at a rally or the pulpit of a church. Sen. Obama does not think of the pastor of his church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Sen. Obama deeply disagrees. But now that he is retired, that doesn't detract from Sen. Obama's affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done."
Well. Obama defended his minister and his church for exactly 78 days. Today, Barack Hussein Obama, Barry, as it were, quit his church. I want to know one thing...



Whiskey–Tango–Foxtrot Took So Long? ! ? ! ?

Anyway, add one more gaffe to the many, the fact that Barry took so long to finally quit his racist, seperatist church, the one his children have been brought up in, the one that they attended, molding their fragile young minds...but I digress.

Read about his decision here.

B.


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Friday, May 30, 2008

Condoleeza Rice Meets Superglam 70's Rock Group KISS!

“Condi Rice enlists in Kiss Army”
“STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) —

The Kiss Army fan club has an enthusiastic new recruit: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In a departure from her normally staid diplomatic duties, Rice met the legendary glam rock quartet when they happened to share a hotel in the Swedish capital. Rice was in Stockholm on Thursday for an international conference on Iraq. Kiss had a sold-out gig to play on Friday. ‘I was thrilled,’ Rice said of her late-night encounter with frontman Gene Simmons and bandmates Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the executive lounge of the Sheraton Hotel where they signed autographs and handed out backstage passes and T-shirts to her staff. ‘It was really fun to meet Kiss and Gene Simmons,’ she told reporters, noting they seemed well informed about current events. The band had asked if she could stop by after she finished dinner with the Swedish foreign minister and Rice readily agreed, she said. (more after the jump)

“Simmons and his crew, who are on a European tour, weren't wearing their trademark stage makeup, but were recognizable as rock stars to even non-fans by their hair, according to State Department officials who were with Rice. Rice, a classically trained pianist, said she has eclectic musical tastes ranging from Beethoven to Bruce Springsteen. Hard stadium rockers like Kiss are included in the mix and Rice said her favorite tune of theirs is ‘Rock and Roll All Nite.’ But, she conceded she had never seen the group in concert. In fact, although she frequently attends classical music performances, Rice claims to have been to only four rock concerts in her life. The first was in the early 1960s when she went as a 10-year-old to see Paul Revere and the Raiders in her home state of Alabama. After her family moved to Colorado, Rice went at the age of 16 went on her first date with an Air Force cadet to see Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. She later saw Earth, Wind and Fire in Denver and her last rock and roll show was a U2 concert in Washington, she said.” Read Full Text/Comments

50 Reasons why Barack Hussein Obama Should Never Be President

From the Horse's Mouth
"You got into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." -- Barack Obama

Click here to read 49 more gaffes and lies!


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Overreaching On Gay Marriage Issue

"homosexuals have always and in every state enjoyed the same rights as heterosexuals to marry someone of the opposite sex. Understandably, they likely won’t want to, or would have trouble finding a partner, and the marriages might well fail if they did. But the only way it can be argued they are being treated unequally is to redefine marriage and make it mean something it has never, ever meant." (JAY AMBROSE, 5/29/08-The Times Herald)
Posted on Thu, May 29, 2008
By JAY AMBROSE, Commentary
The Times Herald


The California Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage is yet another instance of judges deciding that they are bound not by the rule of law in reaching their decisions, but by their own moral whim, and this is clearly, even profoundly antithetical to much that is most precious in the American tradition.

There wouldn’t be a problem if the normal legislative or referendum processes had been followed in doing what the court did — confer a special status on same-sex unions by calling them “marriage.” The legislature had already written a law permitting domestic partnerships and giving them the state-level benefits and duties of unions between men and women. But a public referendum in 2000 made clear that there were to be no gay “marriages.” The court disagreed.

The court believed that the word “marriage” was crucial because, otherwise, gays could not feel themselves in “a family relationship unreservedly sanctioned by the community.” A majority of the judges therefore assumed a combination of the legislative and judicial function — you might call it the tyrannical, dictatorial function — and declared that the verbal distinction would be obliterated.

The court had a legal rationale for the action — namely, that there must be equality under the law — but this is nonsense because marriage has always and everywhere referred to an arrangement between the two sexes, and for an obvious reason. Many if not all such intimate, long-lasting male-female relationships will eventuate in children, and for the sake or reasonably stable families, the society has a major stake in insisting on certain responsibilities along with certain protective rights.
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Strictly speaking, homosexuals have always and in every state enjoyed the same rights as heterosexuals to marry someone of the opposite sex. Understandably, they likely won’t want to, or would have trouble finding a partner, and the marriages might well fail if they did. But the only way it can be argued they are being treated unequally is to redefine marriage and make it mean something it has never, ever meant.

There were gubernatorial vetoes of the California legislature’s efforts to confer the word “marriage” on the same-sex unions it had made legally possible, but, in seeking such laws, legislators were acting within their democratically conferred jurisdiction, and minus the vetoes, would have given meaning to the sense of community sanction because they would also been acting as elected representatives of the people. Obviously, in its arrogant overreaching, the California court was doing no such thing.

Rather, the court assumed an activist role that left the people out and was nothing less than an abuse of power. The purpose of courts is to interpret law, and sometimes to see whether laws are constitutional, not to invent new law. It is not activist in the bad sense when a court overrules legislative purposes in accordance with a conscientious reading of constitutional provisions, but that is not what the California court did.

Some contend courts have made social progress possible in America through extra-constitutional decisions, but some of those cases at the federal level were not extra-constitutional (ending segregated schools was constitutionally correct), some of the cited decisions did not represent progress, and some of those decisions could and would have been legislatively enacted. That might still leave some legally baseless decisions that were in some respects beneficial, but overstepping the bounds breeds disrespect for the courts and law and subjects Americans to rule by a black-robed oligarchy.

Because California has no residency requirement for same-sex marriage, and because there are constitutional questions about the validity of states refusing to recognize gay marriages in other states, the court’s ruling could have nationwide consequences. The people of California may have the last word, however.

There are efforts to put a statewide referendum on the ballot in November banning gay marriage in the state constitution, not just by law, as was done the last time. The court could not so easily trash a popularly determined constitutional provision.

Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay@aol.com.
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Light Seeking Light: Philly's Past

Photo posted by D. B. Light.

Light Seeking Light: Philly's Past

Willard Rouse be damned...Philly was supposed to stay this way!



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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sunshine...On My Shoulder...Makes Me Happy...

...But the lack of it in my county government makes me angry. As well is should, because, since 1974, there has been a law in effect that bans the governing bodies from "back-door" politics. It's been updated several times over the years to ensure that openness and transparency in government remains of the utmost importance...It has been called by several names, but is most commonly known as "the Sunshine law".

Why the history lesson? Easy answer...because King James the Turd and Prince Joe the Weasel have been secretly creating an "economic development" board. Secretly, you ask? You've heard of it. But, have we, the public, seen even one resume or bio on any of the "players" involved?

Hell No!

To better explain things, the Times Herald's star reporter, Margaret Gibbons says this:

Transparency is one way for Matthews, Hoeffel

How many of you folks know much about Jeffrey Heebner, Ross Myers, Joseph Price and John Rosenthal?

That’s what I thought.

I can tell you that Heebner is chairman of the Montgomery County Industrial Development Corp., Myers is chairman and chief executive officer of American Infrastructure, Price is president of the BucksMont Homebuilders Association and Rosenthal is chairman emeritus of Pennrose Properties.

I only know that much about them because the county provided those titles when appointing them to the county’s new economic development policy task force.

Commissioners James R. Matthews and Joseph M. Hoeffel III apparently believe it is “demeaning” to their mucketty-muck friends to ask them for more in-depth credential such as resumes.

Matthews claims all are “distinguished” public citizens well known in the community.

Well, guess again.

Maybe these fellows are well known among the crème de la crème with whom Matthews and Hoeffel hobnob but they are not well known to mere mortals like ourselves.

Guess we’ll just have to trust Matthews and Hoeffel. Not!!!!

By the way, this task force has already held its first meeting.

What, you didn’t read anything about it? Maybe that’s because while the meeting reportedly was “open,” county administrators failed to tell the media and the public that the meeting had been scheduled.

Transparency, ain’t it grand?
Download a pdf of the PA Sunshine Law by clicking here, and see for yourself what our Commisars...um...I mean James Rex and Mr. Potato Head have been ignoring for the past few months!

B.


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Que Sarah, Sarah, or, Why McCain Should be Pallin' Around with Palin

From "The American Spectator":
By Thomas Cheplick
Published 2/26/2008


As John McCain inches closer to the 1,191 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination, attention has turned to the vice presidential sweepstakes. Who should McCain pick as his running mate? The answer will be especially important if the aging four-term senator's general election foe is a youthful freshman agitating for change.

Sarah Palin, the beautiful conservative Republican governor of Alaska, would be an ideal choice to help McCain slay this unholy ObamaOprah beast which is set to rake in nearly $50 million a month in campaign donations alone, and has intense auxiliary support coming from the unions, George Soros's billions-infused Democracy Alliance organization, and other rich Democratic networks.

Mrs. Palin is one of conservatism's own, and would be the first female vice president. She's young being only 44 (two years behind Senator Obama), she is wildly known to despise government corruption. She defeated a horribly entrenched and corrupt Republican political machine in Alaska. She has a son in the U.S. military. She's strongly pro-life, belonging, in fact, to Feminists for Life.

Click on the link to see the entire article:

Gov. Palin could become the Republican Party's Segolene Royal, the French Socialist Party's glamorous leader known for her heels and political bite. She is the perfect antidote to Sen. Obama's cheap thrills, and would help rejuvenate conservatism.

If Camille Paglia or the huffers on Huffington Post are anything to go by, the standard line that will be repeated often against John McCain will be that he's an "old coot"; a vintage George C. Scott-style warmonger; old; hypocritical; and just plain odd.

As McCain's advisers most surely know, the best way to combat that line of attack is to choose a running mate who in no way can be seen as old or as a "coot."

MRS. PALIN IS most certainly not an "old coot." She has enchanting, fresh charisma and the credentials, too, to win back and motivate a lot of conservatives, disaffected Republicans, and independents tired of government corruption and Republican degeneracy and sheer idiocy.

McCain needs someone who like Sen. Obama physically represents a departure from the past, who also oozes vibrancy and intelligence, will motivate die-hard conservatives, but what's more, who will also let the Arizonan take advantage of his age and enable him to be the playful and charming Reagan-esque grandfather figure that Americans always fall in love with. In other words, Sen. McCain, like President Nixon in the 1968 election, needs an opposite number -- that's Sarah Palin in the flesh.

President Nixon's opposite number was Spiro Agnew, then the Governor of Maryland. It worked fantastically. Gov. Agnew was the gregarious and boastful conservative Greek who contrasted very well with the inherently shy and calculating Nixon. Choosing Agnew not only reassured and motivated conservative Republicans but also added a nice touch of Greek pizzazz that competed well against Hubert Humphrey's Midwestern sparkle.

Barack Obama is the raffish 46-year-old, witty, and charming who is magnificently skilled in making himself appear inclusive, open-minded, and not at all prone to socialist-thinking. What's more, Sen. Obama is the George W. Bush of this election. Like President Bush in 2000, Sen. Obama is the candidate with less experience but tons of charm. If history is anything to go by, Americans always pick the charmer.

Under the "anti-coot" rubric Senator McCain has few available options -- and that's perhaps being too extravagant. The beautiful young conservative female governor from Alaska really is it. What's more, Mrs. Palin is in Washington, D.C. this week. She is "hoping," according to the news reports, "to meet with the presidential front-runners while in Washington to discuss Alaska's role in the new administration."

Doubtless, many patriotic Americans want to know: What time will she and Sen. McCain be meeting for dinner?

Thomas Cheplick is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist.
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Sara Palin for VeeP, Revisited Again

Alex C. at pawatercooler.com posted today that senior officials in the McCain camp are visiting Juneau, Alaska this week. The reason? Probably to woo her as a VeeP Candidate.

Read Alex's post at the 'watercooler:

VP Palin?

Alex gives quite a few compelling reason as to why she'd be a great candidate, and I'd like to add to his list the fact she is a life member of the NRA (as am I) and hunts to put healthy, low fat venison and caribou on her family's table-which I strongly identify with. But, one of the most compelling, in my book is this: She was made aware, early in her recent pregnancy, that her unborn child had Down's Syndrome. Knowing that there were several options available to her:
She. Chose. Life!

More from holyinnocentslongbeach.blogspot.com:

As many as 80 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome become victims of abortion, but Alaska Gov, Sarah Palin didn't let her child become a statistic. Palin, who has deeply-felt pro-life views, gave birth to her fifth child this week and the baby was diagnosed with the condition.

LifeNews.com has the story.

Governor Palin and her husband issued a statement about the birth of their FIFTH child:
"Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Specter Endorses Perry for Senate (PA-7)

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



UNITED STATES SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER ENDORSES MARC PERRY FOR STATE SENATE IN THE 7TH SENATORIAL DISTRICT: (Philadelphia and Montgomery county)

On May 28th, 2008 at the Philadelphia Union League United States Senator Arlen Specter Endorsed Challenger Marc Perry for State Senate. "I am excited and honored to receive such a significant endorsement from such a well respected member of the United States Senate. Senator Specter's endorsement will help me bring New Energy, New Ideas and New Leadership to Pennsylvania's 7th Senatorial District."





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Calendar of Events

Dear Readers,

As most of you know, the MCRC web site in under construction and will be back up and running in due time.

Until then, I have asked Brittany Tressler to supply me with a list of events to post here on my blog, until the website is back in full swing.

Just click on the link to the right to view a printable calendar. As with all works in progress, I wanted to get the events of the next few weeks up posthaste...I will be working on this on a daily basis until I have all of the scheduled events listed.

Thanks for your patience!

B.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

Am I the only one who is picking up on the theme for this years democratic challengers? B.










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A Gaffe, an Absurdity, and a Policy

HT to Joe Meo of the Whitemarsh Republican Committee for this article:

Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 23, 2008

WASHINGTON -- When the House of Representatives takes up arms against $4 gas by voting 324-84 to sue OPEC, you know that election-year discourse has gone surreal. Another unmistakable sign is when a presidential candidate makes a gaffe, then, realizing it is too egregious to take back without suffering humiliation, decides to make it a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

Should the president ever meet with enemies? Sometimes, but only after minimal American objectives -- i.e. preconditions -- have been met. The Shanghai communique was largely written long before Richard Nixon ever touched down in China. Yet Obama thinks Nixon to China confirms the wisdom of his willingness to undertake a worldwide freshman-year tyrants tour. (click on the link below to read the rest of the article)

Most of the time you don't negotiate with enemy leaders because there is nothing to negotiate. Does Obama imagine that North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela are insufficiently informed about American requirements for improved relations?

There are always contacts through back channels or intermediaries. Iran, for example, has engaged in five years of talks with our closest European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to say nothing of the hundreds of official U.S. statements outlining exactly what we would give them in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Obama pretends that while he is for such "engagement," the cowboy Republicans oppose it. Another absurdity. No one is debating the need for contacts. The debate is over the stupidity of elevating rogue states and their tyrants, easing their isolation and increasing their leverage by granting them unconditional meetings with the president of the world's superpower.

Obama cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemies. Does he know no history? Neither Roosevelt nor Truman ever met with any of the leaders of the Axis powers. Obama must be referring to the pictures he's seen of Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Does he not know that at that time Stalin was a wartime ally?

During the subsequent Cold War, Truman never met with Stalin. Nor Mao. Nor Kim Il Sung. Truman was no fool.

Obama cites John Kennedy meeting Nikita Khrushchev as another example of what he wants to emulate. Really? That Vienna summit of a young, inexperienced, untested American president was disastrous, emboldening Khrushchev to push Kennedy on Berlin -- and then near fatally in Cuba, leading almost directly to the Cuban missile crisis. Is that the precedent Obama aspires to follow?

A meeting with Ahmadinejad would not just strengthen and vindicate him at home, it would instantly and powerfully ease the mullahs' isolation, inviting other world leaders to follow. And with that would come a flood of commercial contracts, oil deals, diplomatic agreements -- undermining precisely the very sanctions and isolation that Obama says he would employ against Iran.

As every seasoned diplomat knows, the danger of a summit is that it creates enormous pressure for results. And results require mutual concessions. That is why conditions and concessions are worked out in advance, not on the scene.

What concessions does Obama imagine Ahmadinejad will make to him on Iran's nuclear program? And what new concessions will Obama offer? To abandon Lebanon? To recognize Hamas? Or perhaps to squeeze Israel?

Having lashed himself to the ridiculous, unprecedented promise of unconditional presidential negotiations -- and then having compounded the problem by elevating it to a principle -- Obama keeps trying to explain. On Sunday, he declared in Pendleton, Ore., that by Soviet standards Iran and others "don't pose a serious threat to us." (On the contrary. Islamic Iran is dangerously apocalyptic. Soviet Russia was not.) The next day in Billings, Mont.: "I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave."

That's the very next day, mind you. Such rhetorical flailing has done more than create an intellectual mess. It has given rise to a new political phenomenon: the metastatic gaffe. The one begets another, begets another, begets ...
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More on the Scout Eviction Debacle

HT to "Charlie on the Turnpike" for the following, ongoing, in-depth reporting on what I have previously posted today:

Philadelphia Boy Scouts Stand Strong

I have a great stake in this issue, as my son is a scout and I am a troop committee member. To lose the Cradle of Liberty headquarters over something that the city of Philadelphia is over-politicizing is, at best, egregious and does only one thing-it promotes a lifestyle that has proven, over and again to be a dangerous and unhealthy one.

Leave it to those "Nanny State" liberals to force the Scouts to conform to what they decide is the "norm".

So much for the Constitution and the rights it protects. But, who'd have wondered, the way the city tries, again and again, to trample the constitution and the laws of the state to promote their agenda, the law be damned (see: Judge Blocks Philadelphia From Enforcing Gun Laws)

B.


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Boy Scout chapter sues Philadelphia over eviction

By Maryclaire Dale, AP

PHILADELPHIA - A local Boy Scouts chapter embroiled in a long battle over gay rights sued the city of Philadelphia on Tuesday to avoid eviction from its city-owned headquarters.

The Scouts, in their federal suit, seek to stop the city from charging about $200,000 a year in rent or evicting them. The Scouts currently pay $1 annually for the space.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Boy Scouts, as a private group, have a First Amendment right to bar gays.

However, taxpayers cannot keep subsidizing the rent of a group that discriminates, City Solicitor Shelley Smith said Tuesday.

"They're free to exercise their First Amendment rights," Smith said. "What they're not free to do is get a benefit from the city while violating our policy."

The city has given the Scouts until Saturday to revise their policy or start paying rent.

The Philadelphia chapter adopted an explicit nondiscrimination policy in 2003 after negotiations with the city, but was forced to rescind it when the Boy Scouts of America balked. The national group said Philadelphia Scout officials could not deviate from national rules barring participation by anyone who is openly gay.

The local chapter, called the Cradle of Liberty Council, then adopted what it considered compromise language that barred "unlawful discrimination" — the same standard used by Scout groups in New York, a council spokesman said Tuesday.

"If that's working and there haven't been any problems, why can't that continue?" spokesman Jeff Jubelirer said.

The suit accuses the city of censorship for targeting the Scouts but maintaining free or nominal leases with other groups that limit membership, such as Baptist and Roman Catholic church groups and The Colonial Dames of America.

The city owns the Beaux Arts headquarters constructed by the Scouts in 1928 and the land beneath it. The Scouts have spent about $60,000 a year to maintain the building, and another $1.5 million for renovations in 1994, the suit said.

The Scouts say the higher rent would force them to cut programs, and is equivalent to the cost of sending about 800 needy children to summer camp.

The Cradle of Liberty Council oversees about 300 troops in Philadelphia and suburban Delaware and Montgomery counties. The council serves about 70,000 children, including 50,000 in the city, the suit said.

The Boy Scouts of America promote a Scout oath "To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

The city passed its Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and other grounds, in 1982.
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Why a city with its hand out should not slap the Boy Scouts

Philadelphia Inquirer OpEd page:

Posted on Mon, May. 26, 2008

Guest Opinion by Gib Armstrong

For many Pennsylvanians, it is hard to believe that the City of Brotherly Love is about to become the City That Booted the Boy Scouts.

Philadelphia officials are constantly imploring state government for special laws and special funding to respond to a host of serious urban problems, from gangs to dropouts, from gun violence to infrastructure decline.

So given the chance to take matters into their own hands, what group did city officials decide to target with their political concern and legal firepower?

The hard-to-believe answer: the Boy Scouts.

Each year at state budget time, the advocates for the City of Philadelphia put in requests for extraordinary state funding.

These requests come couched in terms of the health, safety, education and welfare of the children. Many times these are start-up efforts, meant to replace things that are not working, or aimed at substituting for families who have broken apart and neighborhoods that are falling apart.

Philadelphia's advocates are often mystified why Pennsylvania taxpayers are reluctant to pump additional money into the city. One of the reasons is that people in other parts of the state are frequently appalled by the actions they see, where the hopeful words said do not match the counterproductive actions taken by city government.

Even with this background, people outside Philadelphia were stunned to read in The Inquirer and the Wall Street Journal that the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts soon will be evicted from its 80-year home.

Evict the Boy Scouts?

Evict them from a building they have paid substantial sums to renovate and maintain over the years? Jeopardize the future of an organization that instills kids with character-building concepts such as honor and service?

The choice given the scouts was an impossible one: accept a local policy they cannot abide by, or pay an escalated rent they cannot afford. This unfortunate and unnecessary confrontation has already had repercussions, cutting into contributions, which in turn leads to cuts in staffing and programming and puts the participation rate at risk.

This is a clear case of a political agenda being put ahead of the interests of tens of thousands of inner-city kids.

For many of these kids, this is one place where they find the structure, the trust, and the role models needed for healthy development. Many of the things that officials, volunteers and families want to see achieved for kids are taking place every day through scouting. Does anyone think the city will find a better alternative than the Boy Scouts?

And how has Philadelphia done in terms of running programs to support and protect youth? The sad saga of Safe and Sound would suggest not very well. The plug is getting pulled on Safe and Sound about the time the lease is being yanked from the Boy Scouts.

The timing is sadly ironic in another way: The city is giving the back of its hand to the Boy Scouts at the same time it is reaching out the other hand for tens of millions of dollars more from state taxpayers.

What lesson is being taught?

Any organization, no matter how long its tradition, no matter how strong its record of commitment, no matter how many youths it serves, may fall victim to an outburst of political correctness.

Philadelphia, which has run a lot of expensive tourism ads in recent months, once again comes across as a city where common sense is too often on vacation.

State Sen. Gib Armstrong, a Republican, represents the 13th District, which includes parts of Lancaster and York Counties. He is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
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Friday, May 23, 2008

It Took Long Enough

Four days after his egregious gaffe, Bob Roggio finally apologizes.

Roggio Admits Mistake In Criticizing Gerlach
By: Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin
05/22/2008


Democrat Bob Roggio's congressional campaign admitted yesterday he mistakenly criticized U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) for not appearing to vote several times in Congress last week.

The congressman's mother, Helen, died last Wednesday at the age of 79, and Mr. Gerlach returned to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral.

"The Roggio campaign would like to sincerely apologize to Mr. Gerlach," Roggio spokesman James Hesky told The Bulletin yesterday. "We understand the importance of taking the time he needs to be with his family." Mr. Hesky added that Mr. Roggio sent a personal letter of apology and condolence to his opponent Tuesday, which the congressman has yet to receive as of this writing.

Mr. Gerlach wrote an open letter to Mr. Roggio Tuesday expressing distaste for the Democrat's decision to attack him for the votes he missed on veterans' education benefits, agricultural policy and other matters without inquiring about the reason for his absence and not making an initial apology when he did learn what kept the congressman out of Washington.

"It is my understanding that, after your initial attack release and acquiring a knowledge of why I didn't attend session last week, you issued a second release that contained no apology for your attack or even a simple acknowledgement that you were wrong to attack me under these circumstances," Mr. Gerlach wrote. "Consequently, given your behavior, I would encourage you to re-examine exactly why you are running for public office and whether you have the judgment to properly represent the great 6th Congressional District."

The public statement from Mr. Roggio and his campaign staff to which Mr. Gerlach referred read, in entirety, "We wish to offer our deepest condolences to Jim Gerlach and his family on his mother's passing."

"After two pretty tragic missteps I guess he just lacked the guts to pick up the phone and call," Gerlach spokesman Mark Campbell said. "Jim would have just let the whole thing go if he just picked up the phone and apologized privately. This is just adding insult to injury."

Mr. Gerlach and Mr. Roggio are vying to represent the 6th Congressional District, comprising represents parts of Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh counties.

Bradley Vasoli can be reached at bvasoli@thebulletin.us

B.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

This One Hits a Bit Close to Home

Montgomery County swim coach accused of soliciting freshman team member
By STEPHANIE FARR
Philadelphia Daily News


(DA Risa Ferman should ask for chemical castration for this P.O.S.)

"His role was to teach young athletes to get to the finish lane first," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman said. "Instead, he tried to lure this girl into the fast lane."

Michael Dolan, 29, of Aldrin Drive, Ambler, began propositioning the 15-year-old swim team member via text messages to her cell phone at 2:30 a.m. April 24, Whitemarsh Township police said


(Click on link below to read the rest)

The messages allegedly asked the girl to meet him in a park near the high school in Plymouth Meeting and perform (reference to actual act removed by editor) on him for $200. The texts continued throughout that school day and the following days, Ferman said.

The girl didn't recognize the cell-phone number from which the text messages were sent, but police said they later traced the number back to Dolan.

He initially claimed he had lost his phone, but admitted to police that he'd never canceled his cell-phone account, according to court documents.

On Monday, during subsequent police interviews, Dolan admitted to sending the messages, Ferman said.

This school year was the first in which Dolan had served as the girls' head swim coach. Ferman said she didn't know if administrators had intended to rehire him for next year, but said "they certainly will not now."

The position was the first Dolan held at a school, having served as a coach for 10 years at various swim clubs, Ferman said.

Dolan had been preparing to take over as manager of a local swim club, Ferman said.

"His dreams are really going to be flying down the drain," she said.

Prosecutors said Dolan went through a background check before he was hired at the school. Online court records show he was arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence and was sentenced to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time offenders.

Dolan was arraigned yesterday afternoon. His bail was set at 10 percent of $75,000, Ferman said.

Conditions of Dolan's bail include that he not have any contact with the victim or any member of the swim team.
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Ed Boyd: The Latest "Victim" of "The Matthews Effect"

There is a new phenomenon in Montgomery County Republican circles...Abington Township's Ed Boyd is the latest in what may turn out to be a string of candidates failing to be elected or re-elected based on one factor–their support of James Rex, the Turd.

The ATRO result is indicitative of a growing trend in Montco GOP politics known as "The Matthews Effect." People tied to King James Matthews continue to lose elections. King James is the man who betrayed his party, his donors, and his voters by turning control of Montgomery County government over to Democrat Joe Hoeffel. Many people were fooled by him and now, themselves, feel foolish that they disregarded a mountian of evidence that King James was untrustworthy, and supported him over the strong objection of then-District Attorney Bruce Castor (a man with much experience identifying people who are of poor character.)

We first saw "The Matthews Effect" when Lee Falgout, Chair of the Upper Moreland GOP was running for the nomination for Congress in the 13th District. Merely mentioning Falgout's ardent support for Matthews brought about his defeat by 2 to 1 at the hands of Marina Kats who embraced Castor and his supporters. Falgout subsequently had to give up his chairman's post as well.

The next victim of "The Matthews Effect" was MCRC Chairman Ken Davis who was forced to give up on his re-election efforts when all countywide elected Republicans (except Matthews) refused to support him. Thus branded as Matthews' candidate, any support Davis had evaporated.

Similarily, the (former) candidate opposing now-Chairman Bob Kerns, Jim Vlahos, had to end his campaign after several times being mentioned in newspaper accounts as being backed by Jim Matthews. People stopped talking to Vlahos.

Which brings us back to the latest victim of "The Matthews Effect", Ed Boyd, who wanted to be ATRO Chairman. Boyd was a vocal supporter of King James and even went so far as to defend him aggressively on his blog (posts subsequently removed after the GOP unleashed a firestorm on Boyd in their wake.) Boyd's defeat at the hands of newcomer Bob Adshead (a longtime Castor friend) yet again underscores the depth of the animosity felt by Republicans toward Jim Matthews.

As we proceed into another general election cycle, more and more Republican candidates flock to Bruce Castor for support while shunning Matthews. Who can blame them? None wants to be felled by..."The Matthews Effect."

B.

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Atro Reorganization Results

Bob Adshead (Castor) defeated Ed Boyd (Matthews), 56-19 to succeed Bob Griffith as ATRO Chairman.

Congrats to Bob! Tough luck, Ed. Maybe you'll pick better friends than King James the Turd if you want to advance politically in Montgomery County.

********UPDATE********

Tip to Alex at pawatercooler.com for the information.

Loser Ed Boyd posted this on his blog today.


If this isn't a case of sour grapes, I don't know what could be:

Thanks

You know who you are, so no need for me to say it here. While you weren't a part of the majority last night, you are brave for standing with me. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Over the past 15 days I have been busy attempting to win over the the hearts and minds of ATRO members. Last night they chose someone else. While my official opponent was a straight-laced, upstanding gentleman who will do a better job than the outgoing chairman, he wasn't the one I was competing against. Read the rest here.

B.


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Leave it to Alex at PA Watercooler...

...to scoop me, a born and bred Kenzo, on a story about Kensington, where my parent's still live, by the way. Way to go (!) on the Kenzo story!:

Amid the tightly packed row houses of North Philadelphia, a pioneering urban farm is providing fresh local food for a community that often lacks it, and making money in the process.

Greensgrow, a one-acre plot of raised beds and greenhouses on the site of a former steel-galvanizing factory, is turning a profit by selling its own vegetables and herbs as well as a range of produce from local growers, and by running a nursery selling plants and seedlings.

Read the rest here.





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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is Specter Overstepping Congressional Bounds?

http://www.gopusa.com/theloft
Posted by Greg Reeson
May 16, 2008

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is calling for an independent investigation into the New England Patriots' taping of signals used by other NFL teams. Specter is reported to have said the following during a criticism of the NFL's handling of the issue: "What is necessary is an objective investigation. And this one has not been objective."

The problem here is that Specter is overstepping his bounds as a Senator. It is not the job of the Congress to investigate an internal matter (a rules violation) by a private enterprise. The NFL is an independent, for-profit organization that provides an entertainment product to the public. An issue within the organization arose, and the head of the organization, Roger Goodell, dealt with it by fining the coach half a million dollars, fining the team a quarter of a million dollars, and taking away a first round pick in the next NFL draft.

Why does Specter feel that the Congress should be involved? What legitimate role could the Congress possibly have in this internal NFL matter? If the public is dissatisfied with the NFL's handling of the taping incident, rules violations, the integrity of the game, or any other matter concerning the NFL, individual citizens are free to stop spending their money on tickets, parking, concessions, and merchandise.

While Specter did express his preference for the NFL to arrange an independent investigation by itself, he reserved the right to initiate congressional involvement. This is a classic example of a member of Congress overstepping his bounds and intruding into an area in which he has no business as an elected official.

And why is he doing this? Is he really concerned about the NFL's business practices? Other quotes in the AP story may shed some light on Specter's motivation. According to the news story, Specter said, "I'm elected by 12 million people, and a lot of them are Steeler fans....Frankly I'm incensed about what happened with the Steelers...." Specter was referring to a Steeler's playoffs loss to the Patriots three years ago.

Is this all about being a disgruntled fan or representing disgruntled fans? Or is this a result of the genuine concern of an elected federal official? Either way, I don't care. To me, it's a simple case of a member of congress sticking his nose into a place where it doesn't belong because he believes he has more power and authority than is actually granted to him as a U.S. Senator.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bob Roggio Owes Jim Gerlach an Apology

First of all, My most heartfelt and sincere condolences go out to Jim Gerlach and his family at this difficult time. The loss of a loved one is never easy, and especially tough when it's your mother.

May the good lord look out for the Gerlach's in their time of need.

B.

Now, read about Bob Roggio's insufferable gaffe at Tony Phyrillas' blog and at Pa Watercooler.

Shameful!

**********UPDATE**********

Roggio has made a half-hearted attempt to extend condolences to the Gerlach family, without any attempt at an apology for his harsh, shameful words. HT to Tony Phyrillas (tonyphyrillas.blogspot.com) and Alex C at Pawatercooler.com for their coverage of this piss-poor excuse of a human being's behavior.

Phyrillas:

Egg on his face, Roggio sends condolences but no apology to Gerlach,

Rep. Gerlach issues open letter to challenger Bob Roggio,

pawatercooler.com:

Gerlach Fires @ Roggio

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Heartwarming Story of Sportsmanship

This video is a bit long, but worth every minute. I heard it first on Michael Smerconish's program Monday, during my ride home from work. I have to tell you, my eyes were not at all dry by time the audio was finished playing.

Enjoy...I hope this makes your day-it made mine!



Click here to view a follow-up interview with the principals.


And here is the rest of it. Read Full Text/Comments

Dissent Grows Amongst Commissioners

(After reading this article a few times, one can't help but wonder if any provisions of the Sunshine Act are being violated by King James the Turd and Prince Joseph...maybe a former county solicitor or a good, honest Republican attorney can chime in on this?-B.)

By MARGARET GIBBONS, Times Herald Staff


COURTHOUSE — The creation of Montgomery County’s new Strategic Economic Development Policy Task Force continues to generate dissent among the county commissioners.

Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., who is opposed to the task force, has claimed the other two commissioners, Chairman James R. Matthews and Vice Chairman Joseph M. Hoeffel III, are withholding the resumes of prospective task force members from him.

Castor said a county administrator advised him that Matthews told him Castor was not permitted to have the resumes.

That is not accurate, according to Matthews.

Anyone can look at the resumes of the candidates, including reporters who also were not provided with resumes on the last two candidates, if the resumes exist, said Matthews.

“I did not request resumes from these folks because most of them are so well-known in the community,” said Matthews. “It would be a little outlandish of me to request resumes from these distinguished members of the community.”

The last two members appointed to the task force and for which there were no resumes available were Montgomery County Industrial Development Corporation Chairman Jeffrey Heebner and Ross Myers, chairman and chief executive officer of American Infrastructure in Worcester.

The issue of the resumes came just two weeks after the commissioners, again voting 2-1, added 10 new members to the task force, in part, to make up for the lack of women initially appointed.

Of those 10 new members, resumes or background information on eight of the 10 were provided including all six of the female appointees.

Using the information he garnered from her resume, Castor, a Republican, at that meeting questioned the credentials of Lower Merion Commissioner Jane Dellheim, calling her a “poster child” for the county Democratic Party. Matthews, a fellow Republican who has long been at odds with Castor and has instead shared power with Democrat Hoeffel, at that time called Castor “an embarrassment.”

In a related matter, the task force held its first meeting on May 14. While the meeting was open, neither the public nor media were advised a meeting had been scheduled.

“I believe the commissioners made a mistake in not officially notifying the press of the meeting although the door was open,” said Hoeffel, who was handed the county’s commerce and economic development portfolio by Matthews.

The task force is charged with working with the county’s consultant in developing and recommending to the commissioners an economic development plan.

The consultant prepared a list of some 15 economic development issues for task force members to review at their first meeting, according to county Deputy Chief Operating Officer Steven L. Nelson.

These issues ranged from revitalizing older communities to “business friendliness” to brain-and-labor drain to physical infrastructure.

The “homework” for task force members is to each come back with their “top three” issues. The task force will focus on the three top priority issues they select at their next meeting. That meeting is scheduled for June 16.

Realtor and county planning commission board member Charles Tornetta and lawyer and county revitalization board member Morris Dean co-chair the 34-member task force.

Margaret Gibbons can be reached at mgibbons@timesherald.com or 610-272-2501 ext. 216.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Montco Resident Not Buying Hoeffel Patronage Excuses

HT to Tony Phyrillas (tonyphyrillas.blogspot.com) for this:

Montgomery County Democratic Commissioner Joe Hoeffel has been on the defensive lately, attempting to explain why hiring a half-dozen political cronies to lucrative county jobs isn't patronage. He hasn't won over this Montgomery County resident, who sent this letter to The Mercury in response to Hoeffel's op-ed explaining the hirings.



Dear Editor:
In response to Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel's letter to The Mercury regarding the exposition of "feather bedding" in Montgomery County government, Hoeffel stated that the practice of hiring cronies with political connections should be a thing of the past.

Hoeffel "created positions" for the losers, Amuso, Carolina, and Cheri in the November 2007 election. This means the voters did not want them. The fact that they were all on the Democrat slate would qualify them as having political connections. The fact that the jobs were created for them were being done by the current staff would qualify them as cronies. Joe, in your own words, what have you hired?

If they walk like ducks, quack like ducks, they are patronage appointments. Their salaries are coming out of the treasury and the citizens are paying for your rewarding gift.

I didn’t have the opportunity to attend Harvard (yes another one). Over the course of life I learned when someone is stealing whether it be legalized or not. I do know that I don’t need Harvard graduates, Amuso and Albert, who have no sense of shame, to put their hands in my pocket to collect a salary.

If Amuso, Albert and Maza are invaluable, why were they let go from their past positions? Good help like a politician is hard to find. Instead of hiring Harvard graduates you should have hired ten stable hands to shovel out the Courthouse because you are filling it up fast.

As far as the bi-partisan ba-ba, everyone knows that the Republican party is sinking in Montco and the next event will be Jim Matthews' epiphany. He will abandon the sinking ship that he floated on for the past 30 years plus and align himself with the Democratic Party with your endorsement. Then he will cover his rear with two options: one, he can move into a juicy federal position when brother Chris runs for U.S. senator — or — God help us, return to Montco government as a Democrat. Was this the deal for his endorsement of you?

Joe, it is bad enough that business remains the same but stop trying to convince us we should have a smile on our faces as you do it to us.

Congratulations to The Mercury for having the fortitude to expose yourself serving policies.

BILL MADARA
Gilbertsville

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Obama Tells Tenn.'s GOP: 'Lay Off My Wife'

Barack Obama wants the Republicans in Tennessee to "Lay off my wife". (insert joke of choice here)

This comes on the heels of an AP story (in full below) concerning the Obama's trip to Tennessee last week. The candidate wants his wife to be left "off limits" during the campaign.

I disagree. Obama put his wife on the stump early on in his campaign and she's willingly remained there ever since (enjoying her 15 minutes of fame, no doubt). Once placed, willingly, in the public eye, all bets are off.

It seems like Michelle Obama loves the limelight, but only if you get her "good side".

Read On:

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Democrat Barack Obama has a message for Tennessee's Republican Party: "Lay off my wife."

Obama, his party's presidential front-runner, and his wife, Michelle, were asked in an interview aired Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America" about an online video last week by the state's GOP taking her to task for a comment some considered unpatriotic.

"The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said. "If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family."

He called the strategy "low class."

The video, posted on YouTube, centered on remarks Michelle Obama made while campaigning in Wisconsin last February, when she said: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country." Click on link to read on:

The four-minute video replayed the remark six times, interspersing it with commentary by Tennesseans on why they are proud of America. In a news release that included a link to the video, Tennessee's GOP said "the Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America." It urged radio stations to play "patriotic music" during Michelle Obama's visit to Nashville last Thursday.

Michelle Obama later clarified the remark, saying she meant she was proud of how Americans were engaging in the political process and that she had always been proud of her country.

"Whoever is in charge of the Tennessee GOP needs to think long and hard about the kind of campaign they want to run, and I think that's true for everybody, Democrat or Republican," Obama said in the ABC interview, adding: "These folks should lay off my wife."

Obama said his wife "loves this cou
ntry. For them to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her is, I think, just low class. I think that most of the American people would think that as well."

Tennessee's Republican Party was roundly criticized in March, including by likely presidential nominee John McCain, for a news release that used Barack Obama's middle name -- Hussein -- and showed a photo of him wearing what it said was "Muslim attire."

The release ultimately was removed from the party's Web site at the urging of the state's two Republican senators and Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, who said he "rejects these kinds of campaign tactics."

I guess all bets were off when Obama was blasting President Clinton, huh?
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The Further and Ongoing Misdeeds of King James the Turd

Courtesy of our friend, Alex C., at pawatercooler.com:

.
In this latest installment of the popular wisdom of King James III, His Majesty is caught on film and tape participating in a Democrat attack on outgoing GOP row officers Bill Donnelly and Jane Markley. In fact, James Rex whispers to the county's lawyer that there is to be NO DEFENSE for Donnelly and Markley. ZERO. Thus, Our Sovereign directs what the county's legal opinion must be. You see, in the court of King James, people are guilty if he says so. The law be damned.




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Pa. Republicans Want to Require Voters to Have Photo ID

Featured on GrassrootsPA
by KYW’s Tony Romeo


Republican state lawmakers are renewing their effort to require photo ID at polling places in Pennsylvania.

Governor Rendell vetoed a voter photo ID bill a few years ago but House Republicans, including Representative Mike Turzai of Allegheny County, are re-introducing similar legislation emboldened by a recent US Supreme Court ruling that upheld the rights of states to impose such requirements:

“In a close election, or in any election, there is no room for fraud.”

But ALCU representative Andy Hoover cites studies showing that 11 percent of American citizens do not have government issued identification and that 15 percent of people who make less than $35,000 a year do not have government issued ID:

“So this is an elitist policy that will disenfranchise the poorest among us.”

Meanwhile, Philadelphia House Democrat Babette Josephs is planning legislation that would amend the state constitution to ban a voter photo ID requirement.
_______________________________________

Gimme a freakin' break here! It's "elitist" to have a freakin' government issued ID card? How do they cash checks and buy prescription drugs?

Elitist? Here's what you do...make the state dole out non-drivers ID for free, for the "poorest" among us that can't afford one.

This is nothing more than a liberal smoke screen designed to mask the real issue: they are clearly the ones engaging in voter fraud and want it to continue, pure and simple.

Oh, and by the way? All those dead guys in Philly that still vote in every election? Those poor guys have government issued ID...it's called a death certificate!

B.

!And here is the rest of it. Read Full Text/Comments

Friday, May 16, 2008

There’s a right way to rob a convenience store

From Lisa Mossie, Contributor
pawatercooler.com


From CBS3

An area judge is coming under fire after comments apparently praising suspects in a Northeast Philadelphia robbery for their tactics and downgrading the charges against them.

Raymond Ditri and James Pietrafitta were facing charges in the robbery of a Wawa at the corner of Torresdale and Levick in April. The two suspects were apparently given credit by Judge Nazario Jimenez for allegedly committing the crime without the use of a weapon.

Before a crowded court room, Jimenez said in part:

“…let’s hope that if anybody is going to rob any place that it’s done this way. Let’s give credit where credit is due. No weapons were used…”

Note to Mayor Nutter: The crime problem in Philly isn’t going to be solved by putting more cops on the street or by passing ineffective laws against gun ownership. The crime problem in Philly is only going to be solved when the criminals are prosecuted and put in jail. After the revelations earlier this week about the extensive criminal records of the murderers of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski (including a long list of weapons violations for which the perpetrators were never prosecuted), this joker, Judge Nazario Jiminez has basically placed a big flashing neon sign over which branch of the Criminal Justice System in Philadelphia needs scrutiny.

The FOP is calling for Jiminez to repudiate these comments. I’m calling for him to get off the bench. There is no room for “judgment” like this in Philadelphia.

____________________
B.
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CMS Music Program

My son, Jesse, attends Colonial Middle School in Plymouth Meeting. The school offers a lot of different things for students to get involved in and one of them is the music program.

Jesse is a string bassist for the CMS string orchestra. He started playing the bass in 4th grade. Much to my surprise, Jess likes it and is quite good. He can sight read and understands (and likes) classical music and jazz, all at the tender age of 12.

Last night was the CMS Spring Music Festival, where all of the different configurations of student ensembles showcased their talents for a night of music.

Jesse's ensemble was good, but I was utterly blown away by the Jazz Ensemble. They are a group of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who play like seasoned veterans. One of the numbers they performed last night was "Oye Como Va" by Tito Puentes. Every student soloed. So-loed. 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Soloed. For over 10 minutes! They finished with a tremendously up tempo and raucous version of Louis Prima's chart of "Sing, Sing, Sing".

Words can not describe the warm and fuzzies I experienced at the concert last night. I can, though, offer this–a video of the final number performed by the Jazz ensemble.

By the way, Jesse has shown quite an interest in participating in the Jazz Ensemble next year. I am more than excited by the prospect.

Enjoy!

B.



And here is the rest of it.
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

$100.00 Cheesesteak???

A Look At Philly's Most Expensive Sandwich
Reporting
Nicole Brewer
PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ― Sliced, sizzled and slathered with cheese ... the famous Philly cheesesteak serves as an iconic representation of our city and now, an expensive luxury.

That's because Chef James Locascio of Rittenhouse Square's Barclay Prime created Philadelphia's "haute" cheesesteak, an upscale version of the sandwich that includes butter poached lobster and shaved truffles.

Locascio said, "It's every ingredient you want to try in a life time in one."

Still, that kind of lavishness doesn't come cheap. For one cheesesteak, expect to pay $100. That's nearly 15 times more than the original.

Locascio said, "We made sure we had the best beef we could find, the best lobster and the right cheese."


To get top of the line ingredients, Locascio says it costs $17 per pound for cheese, $21 per pound for Kobe beef and $900 per pound for summer truffles.

So who buys the costly sandwich?

On average, five or six customers order it per night and many share it as an appetizer.

Locascio said, "It all adds up, a quarter of a million dollars a year in cheesesteaks is pretty good."

With other steak shops selling their sandwich for about seven dollars a pop, you might say that's really good.

Far be it for me to rant, but, let's get real. I want lobster? I'm not ordering a cheesesteak to get it. I want Kobe beef? I'm not hiding the taste behind an Amoroso's roll.

Truffles? Too damn expensive to even justify the cost. I'd rather pass than eat anything that cost's $900.00 a pound!

And, there's really only three types of cheese acceptable on a Philly Cheesesteak...Good 'ol American (in Kensington, we called it "square" cheese), Provolone, or "'Whiz". The end.

If I want a cheesesteak, I prefer to get mine at 1) Geno's, 2) Pizza Time in Conshy, or 3) the old Mimmo's Pizza at Broad and Windrim, in Philly. I'll pay the $6-$7 dollars for the sandwich and get my belly full in the process. I'm simply not going to Barclay Prime for a cheesesteak.

I also find it hard to believe that they get "On average, five or six customers...per night" ordering this bastardized version of the Philly classic.

I give the entire idea of it a "thumbs down" for being pretentious and ostentatious. Too fancy for any real Philly guy or gal.
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Rally Planned to Protest Revolution Museum

By Nancy Petersen
Inquirer Staff Writer

A rally protesting plans for the American Revolution Center museum will be held tomorrow on the steps of the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown.

The 11:30 a.m. rally comes at a time when a key member of the center's board of scholars has stepped down, and the federal government has refused to approve construction of a bridge across the Schuylkill that would link the museum to key attractions in Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Rally organizer Joyce Cluley, a neighbor and opponent of the proposed development in Lower Providence Township, said she hoped the rally would trigger a wave of national opposition to the plans.

Those plans include the museum, up to 99 rooms of lodging, and a conference center on 78 acres that the center owns on the north side of the Schuylkill. The land, bordered by the park on three sides, is within the park's official boundaries.

"This will really harm the national park, and that means a lot to me personally," Cluley said. "They should not be able to divide the park in the name of history and then pave over the history."

Cluley said she had the support of the Friends of Valley Forge Park, the Sierra Club, and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

Historians believe the park's entire north side, known as the Pawlings Farm, was the site of the commissary that Gen. George Washington established when the Continental Army camped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78.

The north side was also the staging area for troops on their way to the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey.

Thomas M. Daly, president and chief executive officer of the American Revolution Center, said it should not be a target of opposition.

"It is a sad irony that this so-called protest is being done against something that is a very positive thing that will give an in-depth history experience to the Valley Forge area rather than what people are getting now," he said.

"As I understand it, the label given to the rally is 'Save Valley Forge,' and we are eager to join with anybody who is interested in saving Valley Forge."

The museum was originally proposed for a site in the park near the current Welcome Center as part of a public-private partnership, but Daly's organization ended its partnership, saying it could not operate under the restrictions the Park Service imposed.

Park officials said the American Revolution Center's failure to comply with the partnership deal was one reason the U.S. Department of the Interior was reluctant to approve a proposed jointly constructed pedestrian bridge.

Daly said the bridge was not necessary for the success of the museum, although the center has offered to pay $5 million toward its cost. He said studies his group commissioned suggested that 725,000 visitors would visit the museum annually even without the bridge.

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Chairman James R. Matthews (ed. note: a.k.a. James Rex III, King James the Turd, etc.) said recently that without a bridge, the county did not consider the museum project viable.

"I think visitors will go to the park to feel it with their feet," (ed note: wtf???) he said. "You won't get that 'wow' sensation and that same sense of place across the river."

The isolation of the museum site and the American Revolution Center's plans for it were reasons that University of Pennsylvania historian Richard M. Beeman, an original member of the center's board of scholars, withdrew from the board.

In a brief interview yesterday, Beeman, a former dean of Penn's College of Arts and Sciences and a board member of the National Constitution Center, said it would be difficult for the center to succeed if its museum was not in the park.

Beeman said he was also concerned that plans for the museum were focused too much on the war itself and not enough on the principals and ideas that led to the American Revolution.
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Colorado Life Amendment One Step Closer To Ballot

What could this mean to the rest of us? It could, quite possibly, nullify Roe V. Wade across the country.

By: JOE MURRAY, The Bulletin
05/14/2008


Advocates supporting a personhood amendment to Colorado's constitution announced this week they have submitted 131,245 signatures to the Colorado secretary of state, above and beyond the 76,047 needed for the measure to be placed on this November's ballot.

"The people of Colorado want to see this on the ballot," said Kristi Burton, spokesperson for Colorado for Equal Rights (CER). Ms. Burton explained the personhood amendment has generated a great deal of excitement in the Centennial State, as over 1,100 volunteers turned in petitions supporting the amendment.

The secretary of state has approximately 30 days to review the signatures collected and, pending certification, the personhood amendment will be placed on the ballot. The measure could impact the presidential election as Colorado is deemed a crucial swing state necessary for either party to capture the White House.

Personhood amendments have become increasingly popular with the pro-life community, as activists in Georgia, Montana and Oregon are also working on similar measures. While slightly different depending upon the state, personhood amendments generally hold that the term "person" written in state constitutions would include any human being from the moment of fertilization. Including the unborn in the definition of personhood is crucial, for if a state adopted such a measure it could exploit a legal loophole left by Justice Harry Blackmun when he wrote the majority decision in Roe v. Wade.
Justice Blackmun wrote, "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [the case for abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

Ms. Burton argues the amendment will alter the way the country views abortion.

"Is the unborn child a person?" she asked. "If not, what is he or she?" Ms. Burton asserts that abortion rights supporters have not been able to answer this question and that the personhood amendment will compel the citizens of Colorado, as well as the nation, to finally formulate an answer.

Pro-choice activists, however, have met the amendment with vehement opposition and are attempting to organize a campaign to defeat the measure.

"If passed, this amendment would permanently alter Colorado's constitution to allow government intrusion into Coloradans' personal, private decisions," said Toni Panetta, spokesperson for Protect Families Protect Choices. "This dangerous and deceptive measure would lay the legal foundation to deny Coloradans the health care they need."

Joe Murray can be reached at jmurray@thebulletin.us.

--

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's Been Ten Years Too Long...

Today is the tenth anniversary of the passing of 'Ol Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.

We miss ya, Frank!

If you're waxing nostalgic, flip over to here, the official Frank Sinatra website, www.franksinatra.com.


My Favorite Sinatra cover:

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Man of my Word

I was wrong, and, as I have said in the past, if I am, I'll fix it.

This weekend, I received an email from Athan from MCRC. It seems he took umbrage with my post from last week concerning Ken Davis and the clearing of the MCRC calendar. He went on to say that my post was inaccurate and he requested that I remove the post from the blog.

I've received a subsequent email today from Brittany Tressler, MCRC's new Director of Outreach and Communication, who assures me that the website server is, in fact, working poorly and that the new staff is busy reworking and upgrading the website.

Therefore, to the outgoing staff at MCRC, I say, I apologize.

I was wrong. The post is down. One thing to remember, though, is that perception is sometimes reality, and with the site going down on the 8th (I checked before leaving for the convention), it seemed suspicious.

This is my "mea culpa":



Bill Read Full Text/Comments

DUI CHECKPOINT THIS WEEKEND IN WHITEMARSH TOWNSHIP


May 12, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (May 12, 2008) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that DUI checkpoint enforcement will be conducted by TEAM DUI police officers along Ridge Pike in Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County this weekend, starting Friday (May 16).

The planned enforcement in Whitemarsh Township is coordinated by Abington Township Police and is part of the TEAM DUI program to target motorists driving under the influence in Pennsylvania.

TEAM DUI SOUTHEAST PA is comprised of police officers from numerous departments, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania DUI Association.

The officers will use sophisticated breath testing equipment at each checkpoint. Under a PennDOT grant, participating agencies gather data and share it with state and federal authorities in an effort to reduce the incidence of impaired driving.

Pennsylvania’s current Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Law lowered the legal drunk driving limit from 10 percent to .08 percent in 2003.

The law also implemented a new three-tiered approach to DUI enforcement based on the blood-alcohol content (BAC). The tiers are .08 to less than .10; 10 to less than .16; and .16 and above.

According to PennDOT statistics, there were 525 alcohol-related highway fatalities in Pennsylvaniain 2007, out of 1,491 total highway deaths in the state that year.

In southeast Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties), there were 87 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2007, about 27 percent of the 319 total highway deaths in the region. And here is the rest of it.

(Tip to State Rep Kate Harper for the above information)

B.
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Monday, May 12, 2008

Reminder: Committee/Candidate Treasurer Reports

As the newly re-elected (3rd term) treasurer of the Whitemarsh Republican Committee, I feel duty-bound to offer the following:

Today is the day for all Montgomery County committee and campaign treasurers to close the books for the 30 day, post primary report.

The due date for the report is Thursday, May 22nd, 2008. After this, we have no reports due until September.

Have fun!

See you at One Montgomery Plaza on the 22nd!

B.
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Game Commission Regional Supervisor on Controlling Deer Population: Hunting is Still Best Option

By MARGARET GIBBONS , Times Herald Staff

COURTHOUSE — Hunting remains the most realistic solution in cutting down the large numbers of hungry deer plaguing the suburban counties, according to a Pennsylvania Game Commission official.

While many may have expected the game commission to say just that, “we are no longer just all about hunt, hunt, hunt,” game commission Regional Supervisor John Morgan told members of the Montgomery County Planning Commission at their recent board meeting.

“We have really studied this issue and given a lot of thought to it and it may take a combination of measures to have the desired result,” said Morgan.

One of the so-called “tools” in the creation of a deer management plan calls for habitat modification.

“However, if you have green, you will have deer,” said Morgan. “You would have to pave over the entire county.”
There are landscaping alternatives to discourage browsing deer, according to Morgan.

“The trouble with this is that there are very few species that deer do not love,” said Morgan. “Deer, like people, like the more showy, the more flowering types of planting.”

The use of repellents, whether homemade repellents such as soap and hair in nylon bags or commercial products, for the most part have little or just minimum success, said Morgan.

“Some may work but be skeptical and do some research and remember that deer are really adaptable,” said Morgan.

Another “tool” is a regulation barring people from feeding deer.

“People really like watching animals and birds feed and they believe they are helping out but most times they are just congregating larger numbers of animals who may just mosey over on your neighbor’s lawn to eat,” he said.

Also, Morgan noted, deer feeding bans are unpopular with the public and often are difficult to enforce.

Barrier fencing is another option.

“But those fences would have to be at least eight feet tall because deer can jump a 6-foot-high fence,” said Morgan, adding that these fences also are expensive, permanent and not really aesthetically pleasing.

Electric fencing and the use of fright techniques, such as loud noise, are also options.

The problem with all of these measures, even if they are successful, is that they just cause the deer to move elsewhere and really do nothing to reduce the over-population, according to Morgan.

Two measures targeting over-population is “the really hot topic” of fertility control and trap-and-relocate proposals, said Morgan.

The use of so-called “bio-bullets” to prevent fertility is expensive — some $500 to $1,300 a deer when the costs of personnel and transportation are added, according to Morgan.

The anti-fertility drugs have an effectiveness rate of about 75 percent to 80 percent the first year, dropping to between 40 percent to 50 percent the second year, he said.

Also, there is no approved anti-fertility drug for wildlife populations, primarily because these treated animals remain in the wild and could be eaten at a later date by humans or even other wild animals, said Morgan.

“The bottom line is that this method is expensive, with a not all that great efficiency rate, with drugs that are not approved and could take 10 years or more before it impacts the size of a herd,” said Morgan.

The trap-and-relocate measure is expensive, costing between $380 to $2,900 a deer, he said. It also is very stressful for the deer and there is a high mortality rate among deer that are relocated, according to Morgan.

“Those who support this option over hunting may just be sentencing these deer to death anyway,” said Morgan.

The most economic and successful method of reducing a large deer population is by hunting whether that hunting occurs during the state’s hunting season, through controlled community-managed hunts or the hiring of sharpshooters, said Morgan.

“There is just no easy answer to this problem,” said county planning commission Director Kenneth B. Hughes.

The county planners brought Morgan in in response to the findings in a draft Natural Areas Inventory that is being prepared in behalf of the county.

One of those findings is that deer browsing by an over-abundance of deer in the county is destroying natural resources and habitats. That report, which has not yet been finalized or adopted, recommends that the county open its own parks to additional hunting.

The county currently conducts annual controlled hunts in the Norristown Farm Park that straddles Norristown, East Norriton and West Norriton and in Lorimer Park in Abington Township.

Margaret Gibbons can be reached at mgibbons@timesherald.com or 610-272-2501 ext. 216.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Separated at Birth?

There are rumors floating around that Joe Hoeffel and the unnamed character on the left were separated at birth.



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Dem Intern Shredded Papers Sought in House inquiry

Documents sought in grand jury probe of legislative bonuses destroyed by intern
Sunday, May 11, 2008
By Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


HARRISBURG -- A former intern for the House Democratic Caucus says he was instructed to shred boxes of personnel records later sought in a grand jury probe into whether state employees were given taxpayer-funded bonuses in return for political work.

The shredding took place at the time a computer server was being relocated inside the Capitol building. Investigators now want to know if the move was used as cover to destroy hourly leave and compensatory time slips. Prosecutors are attempting to determine whether the destruction was part of a coverup.

The slips could have established whether those employees actually used vacation or compensatory time and whether more than $1.8 million in payroll bonuses awarded to many of them was related to the campaign work.
Additionally, those records would have helped establish any correlation between the amount of leave time taken and the size of an employee's state bonus.

A statewide grand jury is investigating allegations that state workers were given lavish pay bonuses last year to reward them for working on the 2006 campaigns of various House members, a violation of state law.

The move of the House computer, long planned according to several House insiders, took place over last summer when the computer servicing the House Democratic caucus was relocated from a leaky room under the Capitol eaves to a basement storage room in the Irvis House Office Building.

The room, known among House office workers as "Wally's World," after a clerk who oversaw it, had been used to store assorted House records, including seven years' worth of leave slips.

Tyron Arrington, a college student who interned in the office of personnel in 2007 says he told prosecutors that then-personnel director Earl Mosley instructed him to shred the documents.

Arrington, who is attending school in South Dakota, said Mr. Mosley advised him to run several boxes of records through the office paper shredder last summer.

"He took me down to the basement and said these need to be shredded," Mr. Arrington said. "He just gave me the boxes and said, 'Shred them.' "

Mr. Arrington said the assignment did not strike him as unusual.

"He was a supervisor, the boss. So whatever he said, that's what I'd do," Mr. Arrington said.

Mr. Arrington said he was later summoned by prosecutors to describe the events surrounding the destruction of the documents and was told the matter was the subject of a criminal investigation.

Pinning down connections

Mr. Mosley was among seven high-ranking Democratic caucus staff members dismissed in November after an internal review of caucus procedures. Also let go was Mr. Mosley's supervisor, Scott Brubaker, who is also now a subject of an investigation by the state attorney general.

One ranking Democratic House aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing probe, said that Mr. Mosley had said he received an opinion from House leaders that the paper records could be destroyed as long as some sort of electronic version was kept.

"Knowing there was an investigation going on, why would they shred anything?" the source said.

Without those records, prosecutors may have a hard time pinning down a direct connection between the 2006 payroll bonuses and political work done by dozens of state employees. A series of e-mails from the preceding two years shows that some top House Democratic aides had calculated earlier bonuses based on outside political work.

Establishing a case that the 2006 payroll bonuses were based on political work became more difficult, said sources close to the probe, because even partial destruction of documents compromised the "data set," making it impossible to determine every possible day an employee might have taken off to do political work.

While computer records are retained showing time off taken by employees, those records lack the full detail of the written sheets and, according to one source, are susceptible to being changed after the fact.

The shredding was discovered in October after a report in the Post-Gazette raised questions about leaves taken by two House employees, Rachel Manzo and Chris King.

At the time, Frank LaGrotta, a former legislator to whose committee the two were assigned, had told prosecutors that both employees took time off to work on political campaigns. Mr. King spent extensive leave time in a successful run for the state House.

Mr. LaGrotta said he never signed nor saw a leave slip for either Mrs. Manzo or Mr. King.

When House officials attempted to find leave slips for the pair in October, they discovered that hundreds of files had been shredded during the relocation of the computer office and the removal of the boxes kept in the basement of the Irvis Building.

A statewide grand jury sitting here is expected to hear testimony and consider a presentment recommending a range of charges connected to the payroll bonuses. Attorney General Tom Corbett has said publicly that he is investigating both the Democratic and Republican caucuses, although early work appears to have focused largely on the Democrats.

Record tampering?

One thing state investigators are now attempting to determine is whether the electronic information on employee leave time kept on the caucus computer system was subject to manipulation.

A person who worked with the computer system said he discovered that the system could be manipulated. The attorney general last week began looking at the system to see if any manipulation did, in fact, occur, backdating the entry date for employee leaves to cover up political work on state time in 2006.

Prosecutors may have received an important boost in their efforts when they obtained copies of a spreadsheet tracking volunteer work in the House Democratic campaigns of 2006. Much of the information relating to the 2006 campaigns and the subsequent pay bonuses had been erased from computers.

An earlier series of spreadsheets retrieved from House computers showed employees ranked in three categories, depending in part on their work with prior House political campaigns. All were recommended for various taxpayer funded pay bonuses for the 2004 and 2005 work years.

While sources connected with the investigation say the 2006 spreadsheets provide a clear pattern connecting political work with pay bonuses, linking the move of the House computers last summer to any larger conspiracy may be problematic.

Several persons connected with the probe -- including two thought to be targets of the grand jury -- say House officials had repeatedly asked the state's Department of General Services about relocating the computer. An earlier plan had suggested moving the server from the Capitol entirely.

Prosecutors now believe that the timing of the relocation last summer simply may have become an opportunity for someone to dispose of the leave slips.

Mr. Mosley did not respond to a reporter's request to call for comment.

The payroll bonus scandal erupted in early 2007 after revelations by the Harrisburg Patriot-News that House employees had been paid large bonuses. Later reporting by the Post-Gazette uncovered a correlation between state employees named in campaign reports and reimbursed for travel and field work and the list of those who received bonuses.

In August of last year, an ongoing investigation by the attorney general became public when a dozen boxes were seized from the House Democratic Office of Legislative Research on the first floor of the Irvis building. An affidavit for the seizure indicated that the boxes were slated for destruction, and a later court filing indicated that the boxes contained largely political materials unrelated to the duties of the research office.

In December, the Post-Gazette reported that a series of e-mails dating back to 2004 showed that a cadre of House Democratic aides used a spreadsheet to rank state employees according to their work on political campaigns and awarded them taxpayer funded pay bonuses according to that ranking.

Additionally, e-mails obtained by the paper show that volunteers were routinely recruited from the ranks of state employees, sometimes using the state computer network.

Dennis Roddy can be reached at droddy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1965.
First published on May 11, 2008 at 12:00 am

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