Pa’s Delegation – Not Friendly to Tax Payers

On a while, only 32% friendly.

… and Philadelphia’s Chaka Fattah is the worst in the country.

February 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm Comments (0)

Re: Ghoulish abortuary, ghoulish procedure

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the stories about West Philly abortion ghoul Kermit Gosnell just keep getting more horrifying. DN:

MALINA WILLIAMS took one look at the roomful of bottled fetus remains and knew instantly that something wasn’t right.

She was just 13, still a baby herself, and had just had an abortion at the hands of Dr. Kermit B. Gosnell.

She said she had thought something was amiss when the West Philadelphia doctor eagerly agreed to perform the abortion, even though he allegedly didn’t have permission from her parents as required by state law.

After her procedure was over, Williams said she saw Gosnell cradling a bottle that contained the remains of her fetus. Her eyes darted away and landed on the room with the bottles.

“He left the door open,” said Williams, now 32. “I could see all the little babies in bottles filled with liquid, and I started crying.

“He said he did research on them. He said, ‘Don’t cry, don’t feel bad. Everybody does this.’ ”

Williams’ unnerving story of her illegal abortion is among a seemingly endless string of nightmarish allegations being leveled against Gosnell, whose clinic has now been linked to the death of two women.

Where is the outrage from the pro-choice contingent on this? To the very limited extent that they are talking about it, it’s as unfortunate ammunition for pro-lifers. Since most of the pro-choice hysteria surrounding abortion is about keeping this procedure “safe and legal” so that women will not be forced into the bad old days of “back alley abortions,” how does the the pro-choice movement explain the existence of a Gosnell, who performed illegal abortions on minors, abortions up until the eighth month of gestation, and dangerously botched the procedure on a seemingly endless parade of minority women? Why are they not calling for this guy’s head on a platter?

And why do these women seeking Gosnell’s services think that their lives will be treated as any more valuable by this abortionist than the lives they are paying him to terminate? One would hope that ghouls like Gosnell are not representative of all abortionists, but performing that procedure multiple times a day, day after day, has to do something to a person’s soul.

In response to my recent column in the Pottstown Mercury about Joe Hoeffel’s choice of pro-abortion advocate Kate Michelman, I inevitably got drawn into an online debate in the comments to support my pro-life stance (you can read the column and all of the comments here). The pro-choice side of this debate likes to label pro-lifers as “anti-choice,” claiming that they are inserting their values and judgments into what is essentially an intensely private and personal decision. My rebuttal to that argument was as follows:

The wanton snuffing out of a human life that is abortion on demand cheapens the value all human life. If we treat our most defenseless members as so cavalierly expendable, it lessens us all as human beings. We become no more than the sum of our parts, a function of biology and chemistry with no spark, no soul. From there, it is not a far leap to extinguishing all inconvenient human life. Just ask Terri Shiavo.

That’s what takes abortion out of the strictly private realm and into the public interest.

After reading the horrific accounts of Kermit Gosnell’s “patients,” it’s hard to make a counter argument that the lives of these women weren’t diminished in the eyes of this abortionist.

February 25, 2010 at 8:12 pm Comments (3)

Re: Lower Merion: Big brother…or balloon boy?

Holes are starting to appear in the Robbins’ family’s allegations of Big Brother in Lower Merion School District. Now, it seems young Blake isn’t totally clear about how that picture of him with the “Mike and Ike candy” was taken. Inky:

“Ms. Matsko does not deny that she saw a Web-cam picture and screenshot of me in my home,” said [Blake] Robbins, a blue-jeaned, slight teenager with brown bangs. “She only denies that she is the one who activated the Web cam.”

As I stated earlier, these allegations hinge upon who snapped that picture. In order for there to have been any breach of ethics, Lower Merion School District must have turned the camera on without young Blake’s knowledge and snapped that picture remotely. If Lower Merion obtained that picture by downloading Blake’s hard drive, they are perfectly within their rights: Blake has no expectation of privacy regarding anything stored on a laptop that is school district property, much the same as any employee has no expectation of privacy regarding anything stored on work computer’s hard drive.

The computer-snooping controversy in Lower Merion schools took a new twist last night as a lawyer claimed that a school official told his 15-year-old client that his school laptop contained evidence – both pictures and words – that he might be dealing drugs.

“She called him into the office and told him, basically, ‘I’ve been watching what was on the Web cam and saw what was in your hands,’ ” lawyer Mark S. Haltzman said in an interview. ” ‘I’ve been reading what you’ve been typing, and I’m afraid you are involved in drugs and trying to sell pills.’ “

Now, aside from the fact that Lindy Matzko’s allegations of Blake Robbins’ inappropriate behavior are backed up by far more than just a picture of him eating what he and his lawyer insist are Mike and Ike candy, this statement is worded in a just such a way to imply Matzko’s violation of Robbins’ rights without actually directly accusing her of anything. Again, it is important to remember the contents of the laptop’s hard drive are school district property. Every student who receives a laptop signs off on this statement.

Additionally, as Alex points out in an earlier post, the Robbins’ have poor bill paying habits. Besides their neglect of a $30,000 PECO bill for more than five years, they never paid the required $55 fee to the District upon receipt of the laptop, a fact that may have triggerred the District’s security system.

But finally, someone at the Inky is asking the tough questions:

Last night, a reporter asked Haltzman why the suit did not specifically allege that Matsko had cited what Blake Robbins had typed on his laptop.

“I do not have the [lawsuit] complaint in front of me,” Haltzman replied by e-mail. “But I recall that Blake has stated during interviews that Matsko stated to him that [she] had seen a picture of him and what he had been typing on the screen.”

Why hadn’t the family gone to law-enforcement authorities? “Their thinking was, back in November, to just let it go,” said Haltzman, who has described the photo snapped by the school laptop camera as merely showing Blake Robbins with his favorite candy, Mike & Ike. “Blake protected himself by putting tape over the spot on the Web cam.

Then, he said, the family learned that the episode “was in his file. . . . That’s the part that got them outraged.”

So we are to believe that these champions of privacy were not at all concerned about the appearance that Lower Merion School District could be monitoring students’ behavior remotely back in November, as long as nothing was going to appear on Blake’s permanent record?

It appears that way: It wasn’t until they found out that the school put the disciplinary action in Blake’s file–an action that could conceivably be reported to any potential college to which Blake would apply—-that they filed a civil—not criminal—lawsuit.

Sorry, but I smell balloon boy here.

February 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm Comments (0)

Re: Big Brother in Lower Merion

The family in question has some financial issues.

This family lived in a $986,000 house on the Main Line. The breadwinner, until recently, had earned well more than $100,000 per year. Yet he and his wife were in hock to creditors, ranging from Uncle Sam to their former synagogue – and had regularly been stiffing Peco Energy for five years, breaking payment plan after payment plan.

“Our procedures,” the commission’s Tyrone J. Christy wrote in a Dec. 17 motion, “were not meant to allow customers living in $986,000 houses, with incomes in excess of $100,000 per year, to run up arrearages approaching $30,000.”

The debtors in question were insurance broker Michael Robbins and his wife, Holly, who now find themselves in the national spotlight after suing the Lower Merion School District, saying it allegedly spied on their child at home via a Web cam on a school-issued laptop.

But wait.

There’s more.

Even so, it was the apparent failure to pay a fee – a $55 insurance payment to permit the Robbinses’ son Blake to take his laptop home from Harriton High School – that might have prompted the district to activate the Web cam.

That’s kind of an important detail.

February 25, 2010 at 11:59 am Comment (1)

This Day In History

Today is “Pistol Patent Day” honoring the memory of Samuel Colt, inventor of the revolver, who patented his design on this day in 1836. Colt’s “Paterson Pistol” [named after its place of manufacture, Paterson, N.J.] was the first practical repeating firearm. That was only the first of Colt’s innovations. At his factory he took steps toward establishing an assembly line mode of manufacture and also pioneered the concept of interchangeable parts. Additionally he developed a waterproof cable that could carry telegraph signals and an underwater mine that could be used to protect harbors. All in all, a highly productive career.

And on this day in 1901 a group of investors headed by J. P. Morgan and Elbert Gary, founded U. S. Steel, the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. It was formed from the merger of Andrew Carnegie’s steel holdings with those of the National Steel Company and at its founding it made two-thirds of the steel produced in the United States.

The founding of U. S. Steel was a high point in the first great wave of corporate consolidation that swept through the American economy. Between 1895 and 1904 more than 1800 separate firms were merged into 157 consolidated corporations. Many of the great corporations that dominated the American economy through the Twentieth Century were established at this time. This wave of incorporation transformed the nation’s economy, from one characterized by personally-owned and managed firms into one dominated by vast corporations in which ownership was dispersed among numerous stockholders and operations were controlled by professional managers.

February 25, 2010 at 10:37 am Comments (0)

Re: Big Brother in Lower Merion….?

The plot thickens. The Vice Pricipal at the center of the storm, Lindy Matsko, responds to the charges of laptop spying. Inky:

In a voice that swelled and quavered with apparent anger, Harriton High School Assistant Vice Principal Lindy Matsko this morning decried the “many falsehoods and misperceptions” about her role in the Lower Merion school’s webcam tumult sparked by a student’s lawsuit.

“At no time have I ever monitored a student via a laptop webcam,” said Matsko, who is in her 25th year working for Lower Merion School District, “nor have I ever authorized the monitoring of a student via a laptop webcam, either at school or in the home. And I never would.”

Matsko, speaking for the first time since the suit was filed last week, did not take questions after the six-minute statement she delivered in the Center City office of her attorney, Dennis Abramson.

She said she has been the recipient of “numerous” mean and threatening emails.

Reading from a sheet of paper that shook in her hands, Matsko said allegations she participated in monitoring Harriton sophomore Blake Robbins in his home via the camera of his school-issued MacBook were “offensive, abhorrent and outrageous,” her volume rising after every word.


“If I believed anyone was spying on either of my children in my home, I, too, would be outraged,” Matsko said.

She later added that, in more than a decade as assistant vice principal, she had “never disciplined a student” for actions beyond school property that had no connection to a school-related event, apparently in response to the Robbins lawsuit’s allegation the student learned of the webcam surveillance from a school disciplinary action.

“That is not, has never been, and never should be my role,” Matsko said. “As a parent, I would adamantly protest and object to any attempt by my children’s school to mete out discipline based upon conduct engaged in outside of school.”

15-year-old Blake Robbins responded by reading a one and a half page statement prepared by his lawyer. The relevant passages (emphasis added):

He alleged that despite Matsko’s disavowal of spying on students, “someone accessed my webcam and provided Ms. Matsko with a screenshot and a webcam picture of me alone in my bedroom.”


In the Robbins family statement, the Harriton sophomore asked other families to “demand that the Lower Merion School Board authorize its attorneys to turn over” all pictures from the surveillance.

“To delay this litigation any further,” the boy read, his bangs hanging into his face, “by refusing to promptly turn over this information only causes the school district to incur additional legal fees which are unnecessary.”

“Someone” accessed his webcam and came up with the picture. As I said before: It all comes down to who took the picture.


February 24, 2010 at 8:18 pm Comments (0)

This Day In History

Today is “National Tortilla Chip Day”. Need I say more? So get out there, slather on the dip or salsa and crunch away to your heart’s content.

On this day in 1868, the House of Representatives impeached Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth President of the United States. Johnson is a fascinating figure. Born into poverty in North Carolina he was completely uneducated. He was apprenticed to a tailor to learn a trade, and in his free time taught himself to read and write. In his teens he ran away to Tennessee and found work as a tailor. He then married an educated woman who taught him mathematics and honed his speaking skills. He was involved in the early workingmen’s movement and won election to local office. In the 1830’s he joined the Jacksonian Democrats and was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature and then to the State Senate. Throughout he was associated with the radical wing of the movement, consistently attacking Tennessee’s planter elites. He campaigned as the personification of the common man [sort of a Sarah Palin of his day] and in 1843 he was elected to Congress. Ten years later he became Governor of Tennessee.

In 1857 Johnson was elected to the Senate, promising to enact a Homestead Bill that would provide assistance to small farmers. It was in the Senate that he made his most fateful decision. The election of Abraham Lincoln split the country. All of the Senators from southern States resigned in protest save one. Johnson held his seat and proclaimed his loyalty to the Union. In 1862 President Lincoln appointed Johnson to the rank of Brigadier General and made him the military Governor of Tennessee. Johnson saw secession as a conspiracy hatched by his hated enemies, the planter class and used his wartime powers to systematically suppress them. Then in 1864 Lincoln, facing electoral defeat, abandoned the Republican party and campaigned at the head of a new, fusionist, political movement — the “Union Party” — incorporating both Republicans and pro-Union Democrats. To symbolize this new bi-partisan coalition, Lincoln invited Democrat Andrew Johnson onto the ticket as his running mate.

When Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 Johnson became president and inherited the problems of Reconstruction. Because of his hatred for the planter elite Radical Antislavery Republicans expected him to take a hard line against Southern slaveholders but he disappointed them, taking a Lincolnesque moderate course toward the defeated Confederates. He pardoned many of them, supported the electoral process that returned many of them to power, and vetoed a Civil Rights Bill that would have protected the voting rights of freedmen [former slaves] and undermined the power of the southern Democrats, which by now was proclaiming itself the Party of the White Man. Republicans were furious and they over-rode Johnson’s veto. Then came a second battle as Johnson unsuccessfully opposed passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. Then in 1866 Johnson actively campaigned, again unsuccessfully, against the Republican radicals. The battle lines were drawn.

In 1867 Congress acted to limit Johnson’s power, passing over his veto the “Tenure of Office Act” which prohibited him from firing any official who had been confirmed by the Senate. House Republicans also made an unsuccessful attempt to impeach him. Johnson correctly charged that the Tenure of Office Act was unconstitutional and, to test it, he fired his Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton [a radical Republican who had at one point been an attorney in Pittsburgh — see, I knew I could get a Pennsylvania angle into this] and appointed an interim replacement, Lorenzo Thomas. At that point the House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment against him. Among the articles was one charging that he had made public speeches that would sow disrespect toward Congress.

Historians have argued endlessly over Andrew Johnson. In the late nineteenth century he was usually seen as a martyr to political extremism, protecting the Constitution and defending States rights against an intrusive Federal power. In the Progressive Era, historians portrayed him as a virtuous champion of the common man against big business interests. Then in the Civil Rights era he was portrayed as a diabolical racist who was trying to block virtuous Republican efforts to impose racial justice on the South. A new consensus on Johnson has not yet emerged, but it will. History is an endless argument.

And on this day in 1920 the “German Workers’ Party”, a small radical organization in Munich, decided to change its name to the National Socialist German Worker’s Party [Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei]. We know them today as the Nazis. The term “Socialist” in their title should remind us that in many ways the Nazis were creatures of the Left, not the Right.

February 24, 2010 at 5:52 pm Comments (0)

Lower Merion Again – This Time Race a Factor in Redistricting

One hell of a news week for that school district.

Court records unsealed in a federal case yesterday reveal that officials discussed race as an integral part of their work to create a 2009 redistricting plan for the Lower Merion School District.

The papers, unsealed by U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson, show memos, e-mails, and expert opinions mentioning race.

The documents went back and forth among district administrators and school board members as they wrestled with redistricting before the board vote in January 2009.

Under the plan’s terms, 10 pupils from a narrow wedge of South Ardmore were bused to Harriton, even though they lived within a mile of Lower Merion; their parents filed suit, alleging racial bias.

The unsealed records include two legal briefs and 83 exhibits, filed last year in the plaintiffs’ case. All parties agreed in a hearing Monday before Baylson to open the documents.

The case turns on a narrow issue: whether race was used to assign children to Harriton High School in Rosemont over Lower Merion High in Ardmore, said the plaintiffs’ attorney, David G.C. Arnold.

“Not if it is the factor, if it is a factor,” Arnold said. He maintained race was a factor.

The district argued that though race might have been discussed beforehand, there was no evidence of actual discrimination in the school board’s vote.

“Student assignment was based on the feeder patterns from the elementary schools to the middle schools and on to a high school,” said Judith Harris, attorney for the district.

Further, she said in a brief, there are “valid educational reasons” for school districts to “discuss race or diversity when determining how best to deliver education to students.”

Or course race is a factor.

As soon as someone wants to redraw any kind of political boundaries of course race is a factor.

Why just the other day, the issue of post-2010 gerrymandering in Philadelphia was brought up. 35 years of race based “color blind society” has led us here.

Look at a map, draw natural boundaries. It should be simple. But the race hustlers have screwed it all up.

Thanks geniuses.

February 24, 2010 at 5:34 pm Comments (0)

Kathy vs Barry

Just a hunch, but I think Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper is going to be in a bit of bind this fall.

She’s not going to vote for the President’s health care proposal.

But that’s not all.

In fact, Jason Altmire, one of the Blue Dogs whom NBC cites as a potential flip, told the AP that he’s highly skeptical that there are enough votes to pass anything. The nightmare for The One is that any Democrat, left or center, who’s eager to find an excuse to not vote for this thing can find something in the compromise bill to latch onto as a “dealbreaker.”

If it’s close, expect some visits and some pressure from the President.

Kathy’s constituents would be wise to remind the congresswoman of Majorie Margolies Mezvinsky and her important vote in 1993 on President Clinton’s budget.

February 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm Comments (0)

Re: Ghoulish Abortuary, Ghoulish Procedure

Silly pro-lifers we are. What with our backwards and anti-cosmopolitian ways.

From “The Clog”… the Philly City Paper’s blog.

The Women’s Medical Society, an abortion clinic in West Philadelphia, has been raided and shut down due to unsanitary conditions, including aborted fetuses displayed in jars. Gross. Also, way to give the fundies something to get all charged up about.

Yes of course.

I’m at a loss to understand why, if abortion is just a procedure, it would be considered gross. It’s just discarded tissue. No more so than say, what you see at the butcher’s shop or on the shelves of a biology laboratory.

Perhaps because it’s a child. A dead one. Pickled in some sadists office. Rather it be out of sight and out of mind in a medical landfill… outsourcing our objection.

February 24, 2010 at 2:45 pm Comments (3)

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