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Wait. #AmishMafia is not real?

The f?

If a violent group of Amish “protectors” exists in Lancaster County as represented on a hit reality television series, Steven Echternach and Jonathan Heisse would know about it.

The two local cops are District Attorney Craig Stedman’s liaisons to the Amish community, working with local Anabaptist groups on crimes of all sorts.

And they’ve found zero evidence of the gun-wielding group of Lancaster-based Amish renegades portrayed on Discovery Channel’s hit show “Amish Mafia.”

“I can say with absolute certainty that what I’m seeing on Discovery Channel is an exploitation of the Amish culture,” Echternach, Strasburg’s police chief, said this week. “It’s not a complete blatant lie, but the characterization is very misrepresentative.”

January 15, 2013 at 1:15 am Comments (2)

Paul Ryan in Pittsburgh Tomorrow

October 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm Comments (0)

Pre-Obama Gas Prices in Lower Merion

As political stunts go, this one is pretty cool, especially given that it strikes at the heart of deep blue Lower Merion:

Drivers are backed up four to six blocks on Montgomery Avenue, trying to take advantage of an incredible deal on gas.

It’s all part of an event, organized by local conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, at the Wark’s Liberty Gas Station on the 300 block of Montgomery Avenue in Merion Station. The group is offering gas at $1.84 a gallon between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to the first 150 customers.

The Americans for Prosperity say the event is part of a political statement. They claim the last time gas was only $1.84 per gallon was back in 2009 before President Obama took office.

“When gas prices are nearing four dollars you are changing my life,” said Jennifer Stefano of the Americans for Prosperity. “You are forcing women like me to make decisions between food or gas. That’s not a good place for families to be in America.”

NBC10 spoke with another woman who claimed the whole event was a “Republican ploy.” Yet with the amazingly cheap deal, there’s no doubt that people of all political backgrounds are trying to take advantage.

My favorite sign: “Gas prices are a Womens Issue!!!”

Nicely Done, Jennifer Stefano!

October 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm Comments (0)

Boockvar: Inexperienced

David Hentosh:

Adding to the bad timing of Kathy’s challenge is the absence of fresh ideas or a new direction that could at least spark interest from voters. Railing against the rich and corporations, blaming Bush tax cuts, and bringing our troops home are stale, Democrat talking points. So, too, is her bumper-sticker, fear-inducing accusation that Fitzpatrick wants to “kill” Social Security. Desiring a change to the tax code is pretty much an across-the-board issue with all candidates and accusing Fitzpatrick of partisanship sounds like the pot calling the kettle black

Boockvar will appeal to far-left voters because she certainly leans that way, but far-left tactics won’t convince others. On her website, she lamely tries to pair Fitzpatrick with Tod Akins, hoping printing their names together will stain Fitzpatrick with Akins’ infamous blunder. That and accusing Fitzpatrick of trying to “roll back women’s rights”, however, are typical far-left, over-the-top tactics showing her true colors – and they are bland.

September 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm Comments (0)

Paul Ryan in Pittsburgh on Tuesday

Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will be in Carnegie, on Tuesday, August 21. His stop in Carnegie, or, as Joe Biden would say, Los Angeles, is open to the public.

Doors open at 9:00 am, and the event is free. Register here for your tickets.

Incidentally, the Romney campaign is managing all their events through Eventbrite. You can purchase and reserve tickets online and they have an app for your iPhone.

August 19, 2012 at 10:04 am Comments (0)

Potential Veep pick in Lancaster Monday

Wanna see a guy who might be Vice President?

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, reportedly on the short list of Romney’s potential vice presidential possibilities will be in Lancaster on Monday, July 30th, arriving at 11:30 AM  at the Lancaster County Farm and Home Center to stump for Mitt Romney.  Also scheduled to be in attendance are US Senate candidate Tom Smith and candidate for PA Treasurer Diana Irey Vaughan.

Free to attend, those interested should see the Lancaster Republican Committee website for additional information.

July 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm Comments (0)

Barbecue Ban in Bellevue

You cannot make this stuff up. Seriously.

Here’s Bellevue. It’s a little borough northwest of Pittsburgh. It’s one of those nice Western Pennsylvania towns where Grandma lives. It is also apparently a town where the Borough Council has lost their freaking minds. The Council voted to ban barbecue grills within five feet of homes, any combustible material, or property lines. Got a wooden deck? Then you’ll either have to move your grill or teach it how to levitate. Otherwise you’re a criminal.

Fortunately, Mayor George Doscher chose to veto it because apparently his head is screwed on straight. Good for him. Not to be outdone, though, the Bellevue Council doubled down and overrode the veto! I sure wish I lived in a town where safe barbecuing was the most pressing issue of the day.

Obviously this is another case of the nanny state intruding where it doesn’t belong and the residents of Bellevue are standing up to the tin-horn overlords who claim to be governing in the name of “common sense”. The mayor and Councilwoman Kathy Coder (who is also running for the State House and you should totally check out her website and throw some cash her way) led a good old-fashioned civil disobedience event by holding a still-legal-for-now cookout in front of the Borough Building. The mayor even wore a chef’s hat. Rock on, Your Honor.

It kills me to see jackassery like this on the part of elected officials, but I do have some hope when I see people like Mayor Doscher and Councilwoman Coder standing up for liberty. I’m always an optimist–maybe the people of Bellevue will figure out that they need to pay attention to whom they elect to run their town and maybe the voters of the 16th District will see fit to promote Kathy Coder to the State Legislature.

We can only hope.

July 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm Comments (0)

Look for the Union Label on the Carton of Milk from 1987

It’s been a while since something in Pennsylvania has been screwed up enough to get front-paged by Drudge. As of today my wait is over. Apparently AFSCME employees in the Sharpsville School District went to the mat for the right to eat expired food.

The grievance was based on the allegation that the school district “violated established past practice” in charging cafeteria workers for food or drinks that couldn’t be sold or consumed by students. These items would include food or drinks with expired dates or foods that had been reheated, none of which can be served to students according to safe food regulations.

But according to the settlement, cafeteria employees indeed can eat and drink those expired or reheated items – at their own risk. And they don’t have to pay for them.

The items cannot be sold or given to any other party, the agreement says.

People. United. Will never be defeated. People. United. Will eat rotten meat.

Me? I blame Scott Walker’s reforms.

June 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm Comments (2)

A Victory for the Free Market in Pittsburgh

The State Legislature has finally ended the union monopoly on transit in Allegheny County.

Legislation eliminating the state-mandated monopoly on transit services in Allegheny County is on its way to the governor for signature, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) announced today.

The legislation, House Bill 10, will allow private companies or other regional transit systems to deliver transportation services in Allegheny County, while still allowing the Port Authority of Allegheny County to provide services. Under current state law, the Port Authority has the exclusive rights over transit within the county.

By allowing other transportation agencies to offer services, the people will be far better served, Turzai said. Eliminating the transit monopoly is a win-win for taxpayers and transit riders.

For those of you who haven’t been following it, the Port Authority in Allegheny County is way broke. Not just financially, although it is truly screwed up in that respect, but they can’t even provide adequate service when they know they need to. It is still one of the most expensive transit systems in the country, is overly unionized, and, in generally, has long outlived its usefulness.

Maybe now we’ll be able to get a bus that goes where we want to for a price we’re willing to pay.

June 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm Comment (1)

Corbett’s Colossal Cockiness Castrates His Credibility

Candidate Choice Creates Calamitous Clusterf**k of Carnage

“Stevie Welch sat on a wall (of cards); Stevie Welch had a great fall (winning a mere two of 67 counties). All of King (or is it Joker?) Corbett’s horses (jackasses), and all the King’s men (endorsements by 27 County Commissioners and 35 State Legislators), couldn’t put Stevie’s candidacy together again (4 of 5 Republican voters rejected the Welch-Corbett-Obama “ticket”).

 

And so Freindly Fire’s prediction that Governor Corbett-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Steve Welch would come in a whoppingly-bad third place was proven correct, though it didn’t take a political genius to guess that result.  After all, asking — strong-arming, actually — Republicans to support the Obama-voting, Joe Sestak-supporting Welch was anathema to common sense and political savvy.  And the resulting carnage is everywhere: the endorsement of the state Republican Party is as meaningful as being valedictorian of summer school; getting backed by Corbett now carries substantial negative baggage, and GOP legislators will think long and hard about aligning themselves with the Governor on his signature issues (are there any?), fearing that his promises of support could be akin to political suicide.

 

And all of this occurred just 15 months after being ushered into office with a ten-point margin and solid majorities in the House and Senate. And ironically, so easily preventable.

 

Many insiders will claim the blow to Corbett’s prestige will be a fleeting, short-term event. As is most often the case, those “experts” will be wrong. The political reality is that next month, when the Governor wants his ill-fated and unpopular voucher plan for only low-income families (which ignores the middle class) to pass, he will fall short, as his Party walks away from him. When he attempts to garner support for his proposed education cuts in the budget, he will meet substantial resistance. And should he try his hand at privatizing liquor, many in his GOP caucuses will cut and run.  Very few will risk their neck for a Guv who in the best of times was invisible, preferring the shadows to the bully pulpit. Now, Corbett has become a liability.

 

(Sidenote: Corbett’s low-income voucher allies made that issue the only issue this election, losing all of the races in which they were involved.  In particular, they spent big money trying to defeat West Philadelphia State Representative James Roebuck and mid-state Senator Pat Vance (who only ran again because she was “not going to be pushed out by any Political Action Committee.”). Both won easily — another reason Corbett will have a difficult time with that issue.)

 

Not only is Corbett’s popularity plummeting, but his reputation has been cemented as a lightweight empty-suit who simply can’t deliver.  The fact that he poisoned his own Party and made it a national laughingstock is icing on the cake.

 

In addition to Corbett’s endorsement of Welch (and the fact the he personally recorded the voice vote of every State Committee member during the GOP endorsement process), he went to the mat for his boy through mailers, phone calls, fundraisers and speeches.  Yet his election night was a disaster. Consider:

 

-The Corbett- Welch-ObamaDrama Ticket had all the advantages going into the race. With Santorum out of the presidential contest, many conservative-leaning Republicans did not vote — and low turnout elections almost always favor the endorsed candidate (especially the hand-picked favorite of a Governor).  The Party’s organizational structure and resources are usually sufficient to propel the anointed candidate to victory, but many Party committee people rebuked the Governor by openly supporting non-Welch candidates.

– Even better for Welch, there were two other major candidates in the race (Tom Smith, Sam Rohrer), both of whom would split the anti-establishment, anti-endorsement vote (and the remaining two candidates, David Christian and Marc Scaringi, did the same, taking 18 percent collectively). It should have been an easy “divide and conquer” campaign for Welch. Instead, it was a Kamikaze mission.
-There was a large snowstorm the day before the election across much of western Pennsylvania — Smith’s critical home base. Any dampening of that vote should have proven beneficial to the endorsed candidate, but it was Smith’s supporters who out-performed the once-vaunted statewide GOP machine.
– It should have been a slam-dunk for Welch to raise millions from Corbett and the big GOP donors.  But he took in an embarrassing $150,000 in the entire first quarter —half of Smith’s total and, quite possibly, even less than Smith’s dog. That lack of gravitas is quite telling.
– There was one bright spot: Welch’s campaign consultants reaped the benefits of the $1 million Welch personally gave his campaign.  The effectiveness of how they spent that money is another story, since there was no Philadelphia broadcast TV, limited media, and, come to think of it, virtually no campaign at all — usually not the best way to win an election.

 

-By far the most surreal moment of the night was Welch crying poor, complaining about being outspent 5-1 —even though he is accurately described in every news article as being the self-funding millionaire entrepreneur.  All self-funders claim that they will only spend a fixed amount, and, of course, exceed that after consultants convince them they are “closing fast.”  That never happened with Steve.  The irony is that he was always perceived as a self-funder (and no one wants to contribute to a rich candidate), but he clearly wasn’t able to micturate (look it up) with the big dogs in the tall grass.  Playing the rich-guy card (against a really rich guy like Smith) without having the aces in your hand isn’t just a bad bluff. It’s a dead-man’s hand.

 

Kind of makes you wonder what the hell the point was in going for the endorsement — or running at all.

*****

 

So what happens from here?  Prosecutor Kathleen Kane, who whipped the whining Patrick Murphy despite his endorsements from all the wrong folks (career pols Rendell and Nutter), is in the driver’s seat to become the first Democrat Attorney General. And expect the Penn State scandal to be front-and-center in the fall election, with Kane pounding away about what former Attorney General Tom Corbett knew, and when he knew it.

 

Not only would a Kane victory reflect negatively on Corbett (since the Dems would have captured that prize on his watch, and in doing so, beaten the Governor’s hand-selected candidate in what should be a Republican-leaning election), but his image and effectiveness will be further compromised as more is learned — and publicized —about his role in how the Penn State investigation was handled. 

 

From having it all just a year ago, Tom Corbett will witness his own Party run away from him on the issues and in the election — and helplessly watch as the Democrats make him the issue.

 

It took George W. Bush six years to get to that point.   If Tom Corbett’s goal was to best the former President, well…Mission Accomplished.

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

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April 27, 2012 at 10:08 am Comments (0)

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