Thursday, February 25, 2010

Obama and the Health Care Summit...All Roads Lead To "Public" Option

If passed, President Obama's Healthcare package would eventually lead to the public option, sneakily through the back door.

According to the
National Center for Public Policy Research, the proposed plan would almost guarantee insurance companies would "go under" leading to government takeover of the entire industry.

today's press release:

* The President's plan would create a new federal agency charged with monitoring health insurers to make sure that proposed premium increases are not "unreasonable" or "unjustified." This agency could compel private insurers to lower premiums, offer rebates or "take other actions to make premiums affordable."

* The President's plan would also dictate that health insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions and saddle them with billion in new taxes and fees.

* Health insurance is one of the least profitable industries America. In terms of profit margin, in 2009 it ranked a dismal 87th out of 215 industries; their overall profit margin was a mere 3.4 percent.

* The President's proposed combination of new taxes and price controls would cause a wave of health insurer bankruptcies, devastating the industry and reducing health insurance options for consumers.

* Eventually, the shrinking pool of private insurers would force the government to enact a single payer system to provide the insurance that Congress mandates that all Americans have.

Read more by analyst Matt Patterson here.

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Times Herald adds Writemarsh to it's Community Bloggers Page

A link to this blog was placed on at the request of TH editor, and fellow amateur wine maker, Stan Huskey.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Stan!


- Posted remotely using Blogpress. Bill Shaw
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Tom Ellis Corroborates Marino's Claim to Using RFP's

Says Ellis:

“We didn’t like to do it, and we probably cursed Joe Hoeffel for passing the ordinance, but we followed it,” Ellis said. “Many times it was discussed and always followed.”
Awesome! Tom Ellis complied. Mike Marino complied. It's just our corrupt friend, Jimbo, and his personal lackey, Miller, who think this is not an ordinance they have to comply with.
“We were very cognizant of that ordinance,” he (Ellis) said.
Of course, you can read the entire story in today's Times Herald by clicking the link: Ellis: I Used RFP's


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Montco County Solicitor Miller "On Shaky Ethical Ground"?

Say is isn't so, Barry, say it isn't so!

Matthews sycophant and current county solicitor, Barry Miller, may be "...treading close to ethical lines he doesn’t want to cross".

Heh...nooooooooooooooo, really?

This is why Matthews sold out the Republican Party. It was critical that he have his friend and treasurer as solicitor. Opens up a whole new world of fundraising opportunities by cutting out the middleman.

Related: County Requests More Time.

I'm thinking Barry perhaps should take a hands off approach to this one...Oh, what a tangled web...

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rest In Peace, Sheriff John P. Durante.

Dormi bene, Giovanni, dormi bene...Penso molto a te.

(Sleep well, John, sleep well...until I see you again)

I'll miss you terribly, my great friend.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Funeral Arrangements for Sheriff John P. Durante

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

A viewing also will be held at the funeral home on Thursday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at Saints Cosmas and Damian Church, 209 W. Fifth Ave., Conshohocken.

Interment will be at St. Matthew's Cemetery in Conshohocken.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Montgomery County Loses a Great Friend.

At 3 A.M this morning, I was sitting at my computer, working on a personal project, enjoying the quiet of the night. The kids were in bed, TV off, it was very peaceful.

That is, until I got a text message that Sheriff John P. Durante had died a few hours before, apparently of a massive heart attack. Devastated is an understatement.

John and I became friends about 3 and a half years ago. During his re-election campaign, I helped out with a few of his fundraisers, and we hit it off. We became fast friends.

John was quite a complex man. He was rough and tough on the outside, but a big softie on the inside. He was involved in a lot of philanthropic endeavors outside of his political life, whether it was throwing a fundraiser for a sick little girl, raising money for 3 local boys who's mother was brutally murdered, to being involved with a dog rescue service, John had a heart of gold.

This is the John that I knew and loved.

John was also a very complex man, with a plethora of interests. John taught me how to make my own wine. Just last weekend, myself and 2 friends of John were over the house "racking" this year's wine.

Last year, we helped John and his wife with their dog rescue, fostering a dog for them for several months. We became much closer to John and Maria during those months.

Maria stopped by right after I started this post, to tell us, in person, of John's passing. My heart and prayers are with her, as well as with John's daughters, Christina and Deanna (and their families) as they come to grips with this tragedy.

One last remembrance...we went to a fundraiser together 2 Saturdays ago, the first time John had gone to one in some time. John told myself and my good friend, Jim, that he though of us as his "sons"...I was both humbled and honored that he thought that highly of us.

John was family to myself, Karen and the kids. John was a cop. John was the Sheriff of Montgomery County. He was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. John P. Durante was a philanthropist.

John was my good friend, and will be sorely missed.

I'll end with the press release issued by Former District Attorney and current County Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr.:

"I am saddened, as is the whole of law enforcement, to learn of the passing of Sheriff John P. Durante. John and I worked together in various capacities for nearly 25 years. He was a professional lawman, and expert in "CSI" when no one in the public even knew the term. John helped put away many of the county's worst criminals and did so without fanfare or desire for recognition. It was an honor to run for office with John in 1999 along side our other DA's Office colleague Mike Marino, and to have served in elective office with him for 10 years. He brought stature to the Sheriff's Department and had the respect of his peers and many friends. Above all, John had a heart of gold. We will miss him."

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"The Mathews Effect" Claims It's Latest Victim

Last evening, the 13th Congressional District GOP endorsement was held at Wissahickon High School. There were 6 candidates on the slate, (in no particular order) Dee Adcock, Charles McIntyre, Josh Quinter, Brian Haughton, Lee Falgoust and Damien Dachowski.

In the first round, the voting went as follows: Adcock-81, Dachowski-82, McIntyre-28, Falgoust-37, Quinter-35 and Haughton-32. 42 votes were needed to carry a candidate to the next round, so it was a two candidate horse race, by about 9 pm

Many of you may recall that Marina Kats routed Lee Falgoust two years ago in his attempt to win endorsement for the same office...time to give it up, Lee. People obviously don't want what you're selling.

Before the final round, all of the candidates who were knocked off were given a minute to address the gathered committeepeople. McIntyre asked that his supporters throw their votes over to Adcock, while the other three asked the crowd to "vote their conscience".

In the end, Dee Adcock was endorsed by the committee 173-119 over Damien Dachowski.

"The Matthews Effect" claims another victim, as Dachowski is married to Jimbo's niece (and QVC on air personality) Susan Matthews. As time marches forward, "The Matthews Effect" continues to claim victim after victim, making me wonder why people still associate themselves with the man.


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Monday, February 8, 2010


For Immediate Release

MCRC Chairman, Bob Kerns:

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel isn’t following his own set of rules according to Montgomery County Republican Committee chairman Robert J. Kerns. The very rules Hoeffel wrote.

Kerns was referring to Hoeffel’s vote last Thursday to approve a $35 million bond issue without sending a Request for Proposal (RFP) to five qualified applicants to act as bond lawyers for the deal as the law requires.

Ordinance No. 98-2, authored and adopted when Hoeffel was a Commissioner in 1998, calls for providing RFP’s to “not less than five” persons who have submitted statements of their qualifications and interest in each and every professional service contract. The ordinance specifically includes "attorneys, engineers, accountants, etc."

“Joe Hoeffel loves to tout all these things he claims he did to promote ethics and open government, but what good is passing ordinances to avoid pay to play and patronage if you don’t enforce them?” Kerns said. Hoeffel made competitive bidding one of the centerpieces of his campaign for commissioner in 2007, but he repeatedly violates his own rules whenever he likes. The Hoeffel Administration operates at the very height of hypocrisy.

Kerns also asked why Controller Diane Morgan’s office has not raised this issue?

“The Controller is supposed to be the one who is elected to be the watchdog for the taxpayers. Has the county, under this administration, bothered complying with this ordinance at all? If they haven’t then why hasn’t she done something about it?” Kerns asked. "Is it possible to have any duty more important for the Controller than to make sure the commissioners follow their own good government ordinances?”

“These safeguards were put in place to stop pay to play and ensure the taxpayers benefit from healthy competition. It’s time for Hoeffel to stop ignoring his own ordinances and it’s time for Morgan to step up and do her job,” Kerns said.

“Joe Hoeffel is off running for Governor claiming he wants to do for Pennsylvania what he’s done for Montgomery County. Our county is out of money, cutting health benefits, engaging in pay to play politics and disregarding ethics and good government rules while the elected watchdog, a Hoeffel ally, turns a blind eye. Pennsylvania Democrats should think twice before deciding to promote Joe Hoeffel,” Kerns concluded.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Update on the Ballad of CBIZ...

There's a buzz going on around 1 Montgomery...not one of those good, "We're finally getting raises!", or, "Yay, they're not messing with our health care anymore!", type, but a really dark and sinister buzz.

"Indictments?", you may ask? No, the good citizens of Montgomery County couldn't be so lucky.

No, the buzz is that Jimbo became incensed that Republican Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Esq. was being charged for the CBIZ documents. The actual "buzz" went something like this: That King James threw a temper tantrum when he heard...a tantrum! Solicitor Barry Miller's name came up quite a bit during said tantrum.

Best yet? Rumor has it that the papers (all $265.00+ worth) "magically" appeared on Commissioner Castor's desk, with no restrictions of any kind attached to them.

Woo-hoo, Barry, (to quote the late, great Desi Arnez) "chu gots some 'splainin' to do?"

Actually, this is nothing new for solicitor Miller. He's mucked the works and cost the taxpayers tons of money in legal fees for stuff that a first year law student (or, better yet, an accomplished trial attorney like Republican Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Esq.) could and did advise the county on before said money was ever wasted...the fated "Ethics Policy" debacle of last year. Even when Castor insisted, on record at a public meeting, that the ethics policy was , in fact, illegal, Commissioner Joe Houffel reminded Castor "YOU'RE NOT the Solicitor!".

How'd that work out for you Joe? All those papers and sheepskins hanging on Republican Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Esq.'s wall and his countless years as a trial attorney must disqualify him from making a valid legal point that may just save taxpayer money from being wasted on an unwinnable lawsuit (or two)?

The really egregious part? Solicitor Miller, who penned this flawed piece of county pablum called the "Ethics Policy" has been quoted in the Intelligencer as saying that the County will enforce the policy for those employees directly under county control...including the office of solicitor, right, Barry?


Barry Miller, Solicitor of The County of Montgomery, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the richest county in the entire Commonwealth, the man who makes policy like the "Ethics Policy" and tries to enforce it is the treasurer of "Friends of Jim Matthews", the political fundraising committee that supplies Jimbo with the money he uses to run for office like, hmmmm...County Commissioner? Barry is in charge of collecting cash and checks so Jimbo can continue to run for public office that awards contracts to office that (apparently) makes decisions on who gets a cut of the county health care pie, that our county employees now have to pay for. Companies like CBIZ...

The proof is in the pudding, with Miller's signature on Jimbo's finance report (a document that is available, by request, from the Montgomery County office of Voter's Services by anybody who asks) dated 12/31/2009:

Barry Miller violates his own flawed ethics policy and hey, that's alright. Why? Because he wrote the policy, that's why, and probably buried a provision in there excluding himself, of course.

Rumor has it that Eleonor Schneider, HR Manager for the County of Montgomery (who, by the way, is also covered under the commissioners ethics policy) signed some of the "Friends of Jim Matthews" checks as well. If you're keeping score, that's a second violation of the ethics policy from a friend of Jim Matthews.

Reminder: Castor wasn't against Jim Matthews being Chairman of the County Commissioners, Republican Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Esq., was against one Barry Miller becoming Solicitor of The County of Montgomery, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the richest county in the entire Commonwealth...Looks like Jimbo's grudge is going to come back and bite him on the...

You saw it here first,'ll read more about it in tomorrow's Times Herald, I'm sure.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Continuing Saga of CBIZ...

Now, both CBIZ and county solicitor, Barry Miller, want to charge Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr. and the Times Herald between $245.00 and $265.00 to obtain the documents that Castor should have the right, as a county commissioner (who's responsibility it is to make decisions for the County) to review it at his leisure.

Miller offered that Castor could review the documents in his office, but could not copy any of them himself and had 24 hours in which to review the 375 page document. I can't wrap my head around this one, as the county is not union and it wouldn't take away from anybody's ability to earn a living if he (Castor) were to copy them himself.

Castor has refused to pay for the documents or sign for the "privilege" to review them. The entire story is here, from The Times Herald.

Lisa Mossie also has great perspective in CBIZ, on her blog, Bluftoonie.

In my humble opinion, the state attorney general should be looking into this one...


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