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The GOP Volley

The GOP fires back at the Pa Dems.

Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson County), the state House Republican Leader made the following statement regarding a note sent to Democrat House members today from Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks County) stating his intention to vote for Rep. John Perzel (R-Phila.) for Speaker of the House.

 

“Rep. Caltagirone is looking for reform in how the legislature does business. House Republicans are prepared to make reforms, not just “look” at reforms. Rep. Caltagirone’s support will give us the opportunity to lead Pennsylvania in the direction our constituents are looking for.

 

“The message from the past election cycle is clear, we understand that message and we are thankful that Rep. Caltagirone is willing to give us a chance to do just that – enact true reforms.

Yes, my eyes rolled too.

December 31, 2006 at 4:44 pm Comments (0)

Cowboys Lose

Yes!!!

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Eagles NFC East Champs!

December 31, 2006 at 4:25 pm Comments (0)

Castor/Weber Reaction

MontcoGOP.com, a messageboard unaffiliated with the MCRC has a bunch of reactions to the Castor/Weber ticket.

Good team. Easy to sell to the voters throughout Montco. Strong law enforcement background.

Here’s a comment on the Castor’s successor to the position of DA…

Bruce has trained Risa Ferman to be the next DA just as Mike Marino did for him. She is absolutely great for the party and the perfect choice. Bruce is not leaving the safety of the county to chance. Plus, she will be the first female DA in the county’s history, again thanks to her hard work and the training given her by Bruce. Everyone knows Bruce wanted to remain DA and has made this move for the good of the party. He obviously concluded that bringing the party together is more important than selfishly remaining DA when there is a great person to step into his shoes.

December 31, 2006 at 4:23 pm Comments (0)

Lions @ Cowboys

Despite my love / hate for the Eagles, my loathing for the Cowboys knows no bounds.

That pre-halftime touchdown pass to put the Lions up over the Cowboys (20-14) was sweet.

December 31, 2006 at 2:31 pm Comments (0)

2007 Predictions

I hate these things; they put yourself on the record and in a year predictions you forgot about are bandied about to show what an idiot you are.

With that in mind here we go!

In Sports:

  • Bill Cowher will not be the Steelers head coach the coach will be Ken Wisenhunt, the current Offensive coordinator. The Steelers will make a return to the playoffs.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins will get a new arena; municipal elections are a coming.
  • Notre Dame will march into happy valley and kick Penn State’s….tail!
  • And my most ambitious prediction; the Pirates will still suck.

In PA Politics:

  • No matter who wins the speakership of the PA House(I’m not touching that one) it will not matter, the speaker wil be wounded and without a strong leg to stand on. The center of power in the legislature will shift over to the Senate. Whether Scarnati and Pileggi, who hasn’t impressed me thus far, can run with the ball is yet to be seen.
  • Judicial elections will go for the GOP because of its superior turnout program. Some members of the party who like the status quo will try to interpret this as a confirmation of the status quo instead of the fact that it will be a low turnout election which highlights the vaunted 72 hour program.
  • Luke Bernstein, new ED for the state GOP party, will go a long way to heal the rift that has been exposed since the payraise. 
  • Rendell will get most of what he wants in the budget. Without strong opposition in the house and a rookie team in the Senate he will have the stronger hand in negotiations.
  • PA Conservatives will realize that they need another issue besides the payraise. Whether they act on this realization will largely determine the effectiveness of the movement in the next few election cycles.

National Politics:

  • Hillary Clinton will do everything in her power to do one of two things: separate herself from Nancy Pelosi if she trips up or use Pelosi’s successes to highlight that a woman can lead. Whether she likes it or not her fate is largely tied to Pelosi’s first few months. If America can get used to a strong woman as a leader her fortunes rise.
  • Barack Hussein Obama will fizzle. Whether he fizzles soon enough for another viable candidate, besides Edwards, to enter is not known. Right now his presence in the race is sucking up the air and making viable candidates think twice about their fundraising capability in a race with two superstars.
  •  Giuliani will defy conventional wisdom and not run for president. Giuliani’s support will swing to Romney making him the frontrunner to McCain.
  • Justice Stevens will step down from the US Supreme Court. The President will nominate a sitting senator to continue the pro-life trend of the court and get him through the Senate. That Senator will be either John Cornyn, a close ally of the president, judiciary committee member, and Texas Senator, or the ‘Susan Lucci’ of Supreme Court Nominations Orrin Hatch of Utah.  
  • Bobby Casey will be a lackluster Senator, big surprise.

People to Watch:

  • Joe Scarnati- He could surprise people. He is much more socially and fiscally conservative than Jubs was.  
  • Jeff Piccola- One of my favorite guys in the Senate. If he runs for a judicial post it will be a loss for the Senate and a gain for the judicial system
  • Chris Lilik- This guy is the man! (and full disclosure a good friend) The sky is the limit for him and whatever he does is going to have an impact on the Commonwealth.
  • Michele Brooks- Who? She was recently elected to the State House in the 17th district representing parts of Crawford, Mercer and. She is young, smart, and ambitious. Before her election she was Mercer County Commisioner. Why should you care? The answer is 2010. With Senator Bob Robbins(R-50), the Republican Caucus Secretary, likely not to run for re-election in 2010 this seat will become open. Brooks would be one of the only candidates for the job with exposure in Mercer and Crawford and Lawrence Counties. She is good enough and smart enough to make a major difference in both the House where she currently will serve and possibly the Senate where she could serve. It’s never too early to think about the 2010 primaries!

Well there you have it. This is what I think we have to look forward to in 2007. Presidential politcs, a new balance of power in DC and Harrisburg, and uncertainty in the Pittsburgh sports scene. Its not going to be a boring year in PA so enjoy the last day of 2006 because 2007 will kick off with some fireworks with the Speaker election and it will only get louder from there.

Happy New Year!

 

December 31, 2006 at 2:20 pm Comments (2)

Castor/Weber for Commish

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I understand that Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor’s running mate for Montgomery County commissioner will be former State Representative Melissa Murphy Weber.

From her CV:

Ms. Weber served as an Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County from 1996 to 2002, having tried dozens of jury trials before the Court of Common Pleas and District Justices in Montgomery County . She was promoted to Captain of the Domestic Violence Unit in 1999 where, in addition to being lead counsel on several jury trials, she lectured to various victim and law enforcement groups in Montgomery County and throughout Pennsylvania . In 2001, she was appointed to lead Montgomery County ‘s Weed and Seed Program, aimed at revitalizing the Borough of Norristown. She was simultaneously appointed as Captain of the Combined Law Enforcement Agency Network (CLEAN) Team.

Given Commissioner Tom Ellis’ “problem”, I imagine that being the Captain of the Domestic Violence Unit was merely coincidental.

December 31, 2006 at 1:12 pm Comments (2)

Predictions for 2007

1 – The big Democrat victories Republican losses from November will not put an end to the affliction of madness which has struck the Democrat Party and dominated it since the 2000 Presidential Election.  Far-leftism will continue to become more and more mainstream.

2 – Senator Bob Casey will stab all of the social conservatives who voted for him in the back by voting in favor of abortion, federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, homosexual ‘marriage’, and the continued dismantling of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  Neither the MSM nor Democrats in general will care.  They’ll just be happy to be rid of that evil boogeyman Rick Santorum who was just such a bad guy, according to conventional wisdom.

3 – President George W. Bush will continue to push for a free and democratic Iraq, while the left continues to sabotage the war effort as they have done since (before) Day 1, and the right continues to grow tired of this effort to help the Iraqi people when so many of them seem to prefer death and tyranny to life and freedom.

4 – If a member of the US Supreme Court retires or dies, the Democrat controlled Senate will not allow any nominee who is to the right of Sandra Day O’Connor.  In other words, they will allow a fiscal conservative, as long as that fiscal conservative supports abortion-on-demand, homosexual marriage, etc.  President Bush should respond by nominating Harriet Miers, but he will not, because that would be too funny.

5 – The Democrats and President Bush will team up to give Amnesty to 11+ million illegal aliens.

6 – The MSM will continue to tell the lie that Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are moderates and statesmen, while attacking all conservative Republican candidates as racist, intolerant, anti-woman, anti-poor, regressive knuckledraggers.

7 – The Penguins will not leave Pittsburgh, unless Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato wants to see thousands of angry yinzers rioting in the streets.

December 31, 2006 at 12:31 pm Comments (0)

Health Care Reform

The Reading Eagle’s John Forrester writes about Governor Rendell’s plan to insure the state.

Rendell was tight-lipped about how the plan would work, but he indicated it would be like the CHIP insurance program that guarantees health coverage for every child in the state.

 

He also revealed that it won’t be anything like the universal health insurance program in Massachusetts, which gives otherwise uninsured adults coverage and is paid for by a fund created by all employers and taxpayers.

 

Rendell also said some of the program would be funded by cost-saving measures, such as promoting generic drugs and giving nurse-practitioners powers that only doctors have now.

 

Other than those savings, which cannot amount to enough to pay for coverage of the 10 percent of the state’s adult population estimated to be uninsured, he gave no indication who would be picking up the tab for it.

 

The governor said everyone in the health care business will feel the pain and that he expects lobbyists for those industries to work hard to defeat this plan.

 

Well, if the lobbyists want to get an early start on their opposition, they don’t have to wait for the Rendell plan to be unveiled. All they have to do is point to the failures of the insurance programs the state has now.

John lists the CHIP program and the Department of Public Welfare’s Medical Assistance Program.

Instead of looking at the program in terms of the fiscal impact on the state (bad), and the track record of existing public health care programs in the state and nationwide (also bad), I’d like to analyze the program in terms of “should the government even be doing this for us?”

I think the answer is a resounding “No.” Under what authority?

December 31, 2006 at 11:09 am Comments (0)

Minimum Wage

The Elmira/Corning (NY) Star-Gazette has a nice piece on the effects of minimum wage hikes in both New York and Pennsylvania.

Employers in Pennsylvania are about to experience what their New York counterparts have gone through for the past two years and will endure for one final year — grappling with paying workers a higher minimum wage.

 

Pennsylvania’s increase will be done in two increments that span one year. The first increase, from $5.15 an hour to $6.25 happens Jan. 1. The second installment, from $6.25 to $7.15, happens on July 1.

 

But in New York, employers had three years to adjust to the legislation that boosted the state’s minimum wage by the same $2. The Empire State raised its $5.15 minimum wage to $6 in 2005 and $6.75 in 2006, and it increases to $7.15 on Jan. 1.

 

Although the states’ two time frames differ, the issue is sparking the same debate on either side of the border — will entry-level jobs be lost and will small businesses, already strapped for cash, be forced to close because they can’t afford to pay their workers the higher wage mandated by the state.

Read the article here.

What is striking in the whole debate is how unrealistic the whole ritualistic exercise has become. Opponents overstate the dangers of inflation and job loss and the threat to small businesses; proponents ignore the fact that minimum-wage jobs are often entry-level training or temporary positions and invoke the image of a family trying to make do on a single earner’s salary. A realistic assessment is provided by the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg:

It’s been almost 10 years since the federal government raised the nation’s minimum wage to its present level of $5.15 an hour. The long period of inactivity at the federal level has caused some states to take action. That independent action has created a patchwork quilt of wage schedules and has provided data for researchers to study the impact of a higher minimum wage.

 

“It’s those kinds of studies that have shown that modest minimum-wage increases don’t lead to job loss…”

As the article notes, most small businesses are already paying their employees more than minimum wage and the major cost of the hike will fall on part-time employees and trainees.

So, the minimum wage hike is politically popular, it has little impact on statewide employment, it benefits people at the low end of the wage scale, and its impact is borne by people who are marginal participants in the labor markets. For someone like Rendell or Pataki, it’s a no-brainer.

December 31, 2006 at 5:55 am Comments (0)

… and the Speaker Is?

It gets cloudier and cloudier.

Chris @ GrassrootsPa links to a Capitolwire report.

Equally worrisome for Democrats is that Reps. Joe Petrarca and Tom Tangretti, both D-Westmoreland, have, like Caltagirone, told allies they will not vote for DeWeese for Speaker. While House Democratic chief of staff Mike Manzo laughed off questions about those two, he had done the exact same to questions about Caltagirone weeks before. House Democrats also remained worried about Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Philadelphia, who, like Caltagirone, has long feuded with DeWeese.

As mentioned earlier, it’s not hunky-dory for Republicans either.

On the Republican side, Rep.-elects Rosemarie Swanger, R-Lebanon and Scott Perry, R-York, have indicated they are unwilling to vote for Perzel for Speaker. All four, including the Democrats Petrarca and Tangretti, could not be reached for comment by Capitolwire as of presstime. And Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester, has said he is keeping all of his options open, as some press him to run for Speaker, to bleed conservative House GOP “reform” votes from Perzel.

Caltagirone looked like the bad guy, but now with two more Dems promising not to vote for DeWeese, it’s DeWeese that is the problem… and with four Republicans not voting for Perzel, who knows how it’s going to end up.

Not voting for their guy doesn’t guarantee a vote for the other guy however. It might end up being DeWeese 100 – Perzel 98.

Do you need a majority of the votes to become Speaker?

Update: Yes.

December 31, 2006 at 2:42 am Comments (0)

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