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Gov. Onorato — Err…Corbett — Gives Unions A Sweetheart Deal

 How this affects you: the new contracts for unionized state employees will cost $164 million as workers get an 11 percent raise, with no pension reform, while the private sector continues to get rocked.

In case you have been living under a rock, here’s a newsflash: we are experiencing one of the most severe recessions in our history, and there are no greener pastures in the immediate future.

So common sense dictates that with high unemployment, decreased tax revenues, large deficits, and, most significantly, massive pension obligations, governors would take whatever steps were necessary to ensure that their states, and its citizens, remain solvent, especially when it comes to negotiating public-sector union contracts.

That happened in places like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, where true Republicans are in charge. Governors Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels and John Kasich took the heat and did what they had to do, reeling in the out-of-control taxpayer largess afforded to these unions.

But most amazing of all is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s remarkable success. Just last week, he pushed through a monumental union pension and benefit reform package that will save taxpayers over $120 billion — and did so with heavily Democratic, pro-union legislative majorities.  So effective was Christie that alongside him at the bill-signing was the Senate President — a longtime union member.

Contrast that to the deal just reached by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett with the largest state unions. Instead of acting in the best interests of the taxpayers footing the bill, he simply continued the Rendell legacy of keeping the cash register door wide open.

It’s bad enough the Governor rolled over on all the sweeping concessions he was seeking, but he ended up giving the unions a sweetheart deal.

Over the next four years, unionized state employees will receive an almost 11 percent raise and a guarantee of no furloughs.  And remember, this significant bump is in addition to their three percent raise two years ago, four percent raise last year — and three annual step increases which averaged 2.25 percent during that time. Cha-ching!

Must be nice to have such staunch advocates like Governors Rendell and Onorato — sorry, I meant Corbett — fighting for you.

And how do these pay raises compare to those in the private sector?  With such high unemployment and underemployment rates, do you really have to ask?  Most are receiving no raises at all, not even cost of living adjustments.  And those fortunate enough to still have a job have no choice but to hang on for dear life, praying they survive the next round of layoffs.  Making matters worse, many have to also shoulder ever increasing healthcare costs, if they have coverage at all.

In addition to substantial retirement benefits, state workers have guaranteed healthcare, too.  And while they will pay a bit more with this new contract, it’s still at a level way below many in the private sector.

It used to be that working in the public sector was a trade-off.  You wouldn’t make as much money as in the business world, but the benefits were good and contracts were guaranteed.  But all that changed as union contracts exploded upward — at the expense of taxpayers.

Now, in many cases, unionized public employees make more than their peers in the private sector, and retire on pensions and benefit packages that would make Wall Street financiers blush with envy.  Of course, that has come with a price, especially in Pennsylvania, and now it’s time to pay the piper.  State pension obligations go through the roof over the next several years, as annual taxpayer-funded contributions to the two state pension funds increase exponentially, ballooning from $800 million now — to billions per year.

The last Governor and legislature kicked the can down the road last year, but that only gets you so far, and, in the process, devastates the future of our children and grandchildren.

By caving in to the unions, giving them a contact that would be way too generous even in a strong economy, this Governor has chosen not to address the reforms necessary to keep Pennsylvania on solid ground, which will eventually lead to higher state borrowing costs and push the state closer to the abyss.

And while we’re on the subject of the state’s finances, let’s set the facts straight about the current budget. Reducing the budget by four percent is a good thing, but was inevitable after the loss of federal stimulus dollars.  Had he won the governorship, Dan Onorato would have signed a budget almost exactly the same as the one Corbett did.  For that matter, even Governor Spendell, who never saw a spending increase he didn’t like, would have been forced to reduce the budget to close the $4.2 billion budget deficit.

Which, in reality, is closer to $7 billion because no one in Harrisburg wants to address the real fiscal situation.  The budget, which is constitutionally required to be balanced, was passed last year on ghost revenue: $400 million from the tolling of Interstate 80 (which never got tolled);  $800 million raided from the MCARE fund (used to offset high medical malpractice rates) which, in all likelihood, will be ordered repaid by the state Supreme Court; federal Medicaid dollars that were budgeted to be $800 million but in actuality amounted to $595 million; and a $1.1 billion revenue shortfall after ten months of last year’s fiscal year. 

This shortfall seems to have simply vanished off the books.  Of course, do that with your own business — and you go to jail.  So with the looming pension bomb and the real state deficit, it’s not a pretty picture for Pennsylvania’s future.

There was a way to address these issues and begin to reverse the state’s decline.  Governor Corbett could have mandated a situation whereby union members would negotiate with their prospective employer individually, and free market-type incentives would allow for a fair offer — fair for the employee, and fair for the “employer” (the taxpayer).

So an offer would be made — salary, healthcare, benefits — and the individual could choose to accept or decline it.  Which is exactly how it’s done in the free market.  And for those who would claim it wouldn’t be “fair” to the state worker, you know what?  There would be a line a mile long of qualified individuals ready and willing to accept such an offer. Accountability and efficiencies would increase, and unmotivated, bureaucratic sloths would be eliminated in favor of those willing to be good stewards of taxpayer money.

Sound simple and fair enough?  It is, and it’s called the elimination of collective bargaining.  It’s something successfully implemented in other states, but was incomprehensibly taken off the table by Corbett three months ago — while getting absolutely nothing in return. 

The result?  No pension reform, and a lucrative union contract that the Governor says will be a net cost to the taxpayers of $164 million (which means that figure can be safely doubled).

The Wall Street Journal just labeled Corbett as leader of Keystone Cops.  After this latest debacle, it’s hard to disagree.

Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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June 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm Comments (0)

Tort Reform In Pa

Closer and closer and closer.

The state House voted 116-83 Monday to approve what’s popularly known as “The Fair Share Act,” which would award damages in civil litigation, in most cases, based on a defendant’s actual level of responsibility for an injury.

That’s an about-face from the current method of awarding damages, known as “joint and several liability,” in which a defendant could still be held liable for a jury’s damage award regardless of his actual level of responsibility.

Defendants could still be held accountable for full damages if they’re found to be at least 60 percent at fault in a case in which injury resulted from an alcohol-related accident or for purposely inflicting injury and environmental contamination.

Overhauling the state’s civil justice system has remained a holy grail for the business community, which has complained for years that the current arrangement resulted in de facto “defendant shopping” by trial lawyers so that deep-pocketed defendants were pulled into litigation in the hope of big payday.

June 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm Comments (0)

Guest Post: Voter ID Laws

Heather Heidelbaugh is a shareholder in the Litigation Services Group of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C. Her practice primarily focuses on complex litigation, products liability, intellectual property and election law.

Ms. Heidelbaugh received her B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she also earned her J.D. She was a member of the Order of Barristers, the winner of the law school’s National Moot Court competition, a member and finalist of the Regional Moot Court Team and elected Best Oral Advocate.

Guest Post is a occasional feature at the watercooler… if you’d like to post a piece please email it to me, and I will put post it. Same rules apply as to the cooler contributors. You have to be a real person, no screen names… and it’s got to be watercooler topical. – Ed


A woman who was registered to vote in two states came forward to vote in November 2006, but poll workers would not permit her to proceed. Why? Voter ID. This individual tried to use her Florida driver’s license to vote in Indiana. This same woman had presented herself as a resident in Florida to receive a homestead exemption, and now claimed to be a resident of another state by seeking to vote in Indiana. Thanks to Indiana’s voter ID law, an attempt at voter fraud was averted.

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said, “This shows that the Indiana ID law worked here.” Voter ID prevents voting by individuals registered in more than one state as well as from impersonation, voting under fictitious names and voting by non-citizens.

Unfortunately, this incident of attempted voter fraud in Indiana is not an isolated occurrence. 17 percent of individuals in an American University study had seen or heard of fraud at their polling places while 60 percent had seen or heard of fraud at other polling places.

Voter ID laws have not been shown to actually prevent legitimate voters from casting ballots. Take for instance, Crawford v.Marion County Election Board, the challenge to Indiana’s voter ID law. The woman who was registered to vote in Florida and Indiana was actually a plaintiff in that case. When that case came before the Seventh Circuit, the Court emphasized that petitioners were unable to introduce evidence of “a single, individual Indiana resident who will be unable to vote as a result of [the voter ID law] or who will have his or her right to voteunduly burdened by its requirements.” Opponents do not have the evidence of disenfranchisement nationwide either. Dr. Stephen Ansolabehere’s study of voting across the country in the 2006 election found that almost no one is prevented from voting because of voter ID requirements.

Requiring a photo ID is not a burden that will stop anyone from voting. American University’s Center for Democracy and Election Management’s survey of the states with voter ID laws found that more than 99% of all voters already possess the proper photo identification required by voter ID laws. In Indiana specifically, only 0.3% of voters did not have the requisite ID. As long as procedures are in place to ensure that these voters can acquire IDs, each voter should be able to be confident they will be able to vote if they have a right to do so.
While voter ID laws are not burdensome, they are also considerably beneficial. The United States Supreme Court, in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, found that voter ID serves a variety of state interests, such as deterrence and detection of voter fraud, participating in a nationwide effort to improve and modernize election procedures and preventing voter fraud in part that results from maladministration of voter registration rolls that still include a significant number of voters that no longer live in the state or are deceased.

As the 2005 bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform noted, when photo identification is needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings and cash checks, shouldn’t elections deserve similar protections? This commission, chaired by former President Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, issued areport that declared, “The electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters.” Voter ID helps ensure that citizens’ most basic right is preserved.

Like Indiana, Pennsylvania can better ensure the integrity of elections by passing voter ID legislation. Representative Metcalfe’s bill (HB 934) would require that photographic proof of identification be presented when voting. Representative Cruz’s bill (HB 647) would ensure that election boards keep photos to identify registered voters. Both bills would help prevent voter fraud and protect the integrity of elections in the eyes of the voting electorate.

June 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm Comment (1)

Flash Mobs in Philly

What started out a few years ago as a novel form of artistic expression [for instance, the opera company singing in the Reading Terminal Market] has evolved into a real danger in Philadelphia. Flash mobs of young people are increasingly assaulting people and property throughout the region. From South Street, to the suburbs nobody and nothing is safe from these rampaging mobs, the participants of which seem to see theft and assault as forms of entertainment.

Item:

DOZENS OF West Philly boys – ranging in age from 11 to 19 – stormed a Sears store in Upper Darby on Thursday as part of a “flash mob” and made off with thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, police said.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said he believed that the group organized the mass theft through social networking, although the exact networking site was not yet clear.

He said that the kids traveled together on public transportation and arrived at the store on 69th Street en masse about 7:10 p.m.

The kids – Chitwood estimated there were around 40 boys – scattered throughout the store and began to “rob, steal and pillage,” he said.

Read it here.

Item:

A WOMAN’S leg was broken and several other people were injured Saturday night when a large group of teens accosted pedestrians in Spring Garden, police and witnesses said.

Philadelphia police responded to two reports of pedestrians being assaulted by a large group of young people along Broad Street about 9:30 p.m.

One of those reports came from Emily Guendelsberger, 27, city editor for local arts and entertainment content for the Onion, the satirical newspaper and website. She was walking with seven friends on Green Street near Broad when they were accosted, she said. Guendelsberger, who remained hospitalized with a broken leg yesterday, declined to comment further.

A friend who was with her at the time, Daily News staff writer Molly Eichel, said that they were walking down Green Street when a group of teens was walking down Broad. “We heard kids yell, ‘Run, run,’ ” Eichel said. “Some kid just came out of nowhere and punched my friend Charlie in the face.”

Eichel said that when her group tried to run, about 20 teens chased them down the street. “They were kicking kids down and punching them when they were down,” she said.

Two other friends sought treatment at area hospitals for facial injuries, Eichel said.

Read it here.

Item:

From her 24th-floor apartment on 15th Street in Center City the night of March 20, Debi English, a retired nurse, witnessed the churn and chaos of the latest so-called flash mob and found herself yelling out into the darkness:

“What’s going on, Philadelphia?”

Since then, the same question has preoccupied a weary city wrestling with the repeated spectacle of its young people running amok, lighted cell phones in hand, looking like contemporary rabble brandishing torches and terrorizing the countryside.

Overall, what has been happening here is not yet understood. City leaders and social workers are casting about for potential reasons for such unnerving behavior: Is it is the parents, the lack of school activities, poverty, the Internet?

Theories aside, what is known for certain is that teenagers met on South Street on March 20 – and in Center City on March 3, Feb. 16, and Dec. 18 – summoned via social networking.

“Come to South Street. South Street is poppin,” beckoned the messages.

In each of the four incidents, violence broke out. In each, the teenagers involved were overwhelmingly African American males, although prosecutors say a significant number were girls.

Read it here.

A couple of years ago the question was “what’s going on?” Now that has become apparent and the new question is, “what can we do to stop this?”

 

June 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm Comments (0)

TRAGEDY STRIKES THE PFD: MOURNING JACK SLIVINSKI

JACK AS I’LL REMEMBER HIM

It is with profound sadness that I have to pass on the news that Philadelphia Firefighter Jack Slivinski of the elite unit Rescue 1 passed away this morning. It’s no stretch to say that Jack will be profoundly missed by everyone who knew him and who he leaves behind. When I got the news early this morning, an otherwise glorious day here in Philly turned dark and sad. My father, a retired Philly firefighter, reacted similarly. Although he didn’t know young Jack, he knows Jack’s father well – having worked with him over the course of his thirty-plus years on the job. That’s how things are in the world of professional firefighters. Friends are more than friends, family is extended over generations. I know Jack Sr. as well and know their family will be devastated as are his brothers in the department.

I first met young Jack shortly after he came on the job. It was right after another tragedy, the line of duty death of Lt. Derrick Harvey, Jack’s Lieutenant at the time. He died as a result of injuries received in a house fire that Jack barely survived himself. Having no permanent assignment at the time I was sent to fill in for Lt. Harvey. It was the very first shift after the tragic fire when we were dispatched to a dwelling fire. Jack and the rest of the members of his platoon went right back to work, charging straight into the fire without so much as a hesitation. I really couldn’t believe it. But somewhere deep down inside I knew they were doing it because of Lt. Harvey. They didn’t want to let him or his spirit down. Firefighters are that way. To a firefighter, the job will never be just that, a job. It is a deeply held calling. Jack lived the calling as does his father, as did mine and generations before them. I could tell right then and there Jack would be a great firefighter. I was right.

I knew Jack from work over the years. I’m too old and crabby to hang with the young, good-looking firemen. Mostly we would cross paths in the station or out on the street or often enough on fire grounds when his company, Rescue 1 showed up to provide much-needed help on some ass kicking job or other incident. It was always a pleasure to see him and we often laughed at whatever was going on. His easy-going nature and big smile was hard to miss. That’s why his loss will be so deeply felt throughout our small circle. The good guys are always gone too soon.

Recently Jack became famous for an unintended scandal: he posed shirtless for a charity calendar wearing his firefighter pants. As usual the department brass blew it wildly out of proportion and Jack was reprimanded.

Imagine trying to raise money for widows and getting into trouble for being too handsome? But the scandal became more of an embarrassment for the department when the media got wind of it. Jack’s big heart and pure intentions riled up the public so much the department had no choice but to rescind his transfer (but not without a slap on the wrist first). Whatever, it was the right thing to do and everyone supported Jack. I can say that it was my distinct pleasure to know Jack. I grieve for his family and friends as well. The world is a much sadder place today. Rest in peace brother. You will be missed.

Working with Jack on the roof of a burning building in Center City.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Beefcake-Firefighter-Found-Dead-at-Home-124551789.html

LINK

 

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June 26, 2011 at 12:50 am Comments (2)

WHEELCHAIR FOR OLIVIA

WHAT KIND OF ANIMAL STEALS A LITTLE GIRLS WHEELCHAIR?

FROM OUR LOCAL’S WEBSITE:

“Some of you may have seen little Olivia Golembiewski on 6abc news. She is a 12 year old wheel chair bound little girl. Someone stole her chair and it’s $9,000 to replace it!!! We the members of Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local 22 are asking all our friends to PLEASE help us raise money for this little girl. We would like to buy her a new chair and build her a ramp so her family does not need to leave the chair outside while moving her into the house. I know times are tough, so please only give what you can. To donate call/text Eddie Mulholland 215-6567, Joe Gardner 215-870-4435 or Fran Cheney 215-698-2263 and we will make arrangements to pick it up. Donations can be dropped off at the firehouse located at Kensington and Castor Avenues, any time! There is an account set up at the PFFCU (Police and Fire Credit Union) Olivia’s Wheelchair Fund:  the account is #81597101 for anyone who wishes to donate online. Thank you for your support”.

This cause is special to me. You see these firefighters are from my station and have decided on their own to make it a point to help this little girl. Some (@!$$#&^%$%*())(*&^$#@#$^&) stole her chair from in front of her house. Her parents are typical Philadelphians- hard working, but make slightly too much money to get help they really need, but not enough to afford a blow like the theft of an expensive wheelchair and too proud to ask for help in any event. In short the kind of people who deserve the help of the community. The are taking care of little Olivia and doing their very best but as usual some animal acts to make life that much harder on them. Because of the configuration of the house the chair often gets left outside while Olivia’s father carries her into the house. To avoid this in the future the fellas are also going to build a ramp for the family.

The guys in my station decided on their own to do whatever has to be done to help Olivia and her family out in their time of need. Already they have been able to come up with a wheelchair to hold them over until the money can be raised to get her a new one. Because of Olivia’s illness her chair has to be specially made, molded for her body. I cannot tell you how proud I am of these guys. The old cliche’ about firefighters being the pillar of the community  and working on charity all the time is more real than you may believe. I am blessed everyday that I walk into my firehouse and get to work with the very best people on the planet. Guys that will do whatever it takes to help a crippled little girl and her family in their time of need without asking for so much as an atta-boy. There are no words to truly describe the privilege of working with people of this caliber. If you can send a donation large or small it would go a long way to help. Thanks to all those who have already responded.

Watch the story here: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/video?id=8192894

and check in with Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Engine-7-Ladder-10-BN10-M-2/167984816583168

June 26, 2011 at 12:37 am Comments (0)

What Fracking is Doing for Pennsylvania

From the WSJ:

The U.S. is in the midst of an energy revolution, and we don’t mean solar panels or wind turbines. A new gusher of natural gas from shale has the potential to transform U.S. energy production—that is, unless politicians, greens and the industry mess it up.

Only a decade ago Texas oil engineers hit upon the idea of combining two established technologies to release natural gas trapped in shale formations. Horizontal drilling—in which wells turn sideways after a certain depth—opens up big new production areas. Producers then use a 60-year-old technique called hydraulic fracturing—in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into the well at high pressure—to loosen the shale and release gas (and increasingly, oil).

***

The resulting boom is transforming America’s energy landscape. As recently as 2000, shale gas was 1% of America’s gas supplies; today it is 25%. Prior to the shale breakthrough, U.S. natural gas reserves were in decline, prices exceeded $15 per million British thermal units, and investors were building ports to import liquid natural gas. Today, proven reserves are the highest since 1971, prices have fallen close to $4 and ports are being retrofitted for LNG exports.

The shale boom is also reviving economically suffering parts of the country, while offering a new incentive for manufacturers to stay in the U.S. Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry estimates fracking in the Marcellus shale formation, which stretches from upstate New York through West Virginia, has created 72,000 jobs in the Keystone State between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011.

[Italics mine]

Read the whole thing here.

A friend of mine in Maryland recently told me that he is strongly opposed to fracking because he had heard it said that it might release chemicals that would ruin the fishing at another friend’s vacation home. No hard facts — just unproven allegations about non-essential matters. I pointed out that tens of thousands of jobs were far more important than unsubstantiated worries about vacation homes, but he just shook his head sadly and changed the subject. That’s the way it is with Al Gore’s true believers.

 

June 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm Comments (4)

A Bill Coddling Illegal Aliens Is… Illegal!

State Rep. Tony Payton Wants Illegals To Have College Preference Over Citizens — An Illegal Act

“College is becoming a pipe dream for too many children, not because they aren’t talented or willing to work hard, but because they can’t afford it.”

That’s a true statement, as tuition costs have far outpaced inflation. So the elected official who said this must have a clue, right? Not a chance.

In an act that simply defies comprehension, State Representative Tony Payton of Philadelphia has just unveiled a bill that “would allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education school, community college or state-related university.” (This is similar to the proposed federal law known as the DREAM Act).

Hey Tony, nice to stick it to all the law-abiding Pennsylvania residents who want to attend college.  And who says good constituent service is hard to find? 

Why the handout to those who least deserve it?  Because, as Tony explains, “undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, (so) college is often extremely expensive and simply out of reach for many of these students.”

Oh, the tragedy. 

Of course, there is something that apparently hasn’t occurred to Tony as to why federal financial aid — political codespeak for American taxpayer dollars — is not available to these folks. They’re ILLEGAL.  As in, they have broken the law to get here, and are breaking the law being here.  Every single thing they do hurts American citizens and throws our nation deeper into the red. 

Yet not only are we supposed to feel guilty, but if Tony has his way, we should compensate them for their plight by sacrificing our children — so that theirs can have an education courtesy of the taxpayers.

Let’s set the record straight with facts — not rhetoric.  Illegal immigrants depress wages and take American jobs (and please, spare us the tired argument that “they only take the jobs Americans don’t want” — completely false). They cost taxpayers hundreds of billions (thousands directly out of each American family’s pocket) through healthcare costs, education expenditures (in Pennsylvania, every illegal in our public schools costs $15,000 per year, and that’s not including the extra money needed for additional teachers and classrooms), prison expenses, and yes, government services.

In the case of higher education, as addressed in Payton’s bill, it’s important to remember that just because we are talking about state universities, space is not unlimited. So one of two things is true: with illegals in attendance, the college will either 1) close its doors to new applicants after a given class is filled, thereby denying the RIGHT of a legitimate Pennsylvania resident to attend that school, or 2) once a classroom hits capacity, the need to hire additional professors and expand school facilities is triggered — both expensive propositions borne by the forgotten taxpayer.

The only saving grace is that, with Republicans in control of Harrisburg, Payton’s bill should have no shot at passage. But that’s not the point.  The real question is how such a bill could even be considered in the first place, and how 11 other states already passed similar legislation.

And quite frankly, this author doesn’t know what’s worse: the fact that a bill was introduced that empowers people to break the law, or the almost complete silence of Payton’s colleagues and the media on such a feat.

*****

When you cut right down to it, Tony Payton’s bill advocates the commission of a crime, and there isn’t any way to spin that to the contrary. (Federal law explicitly states that aiding an illegal immigrant is a crime). Among other things, it would aid and abet known lawbreakers. Period.  The fact that the feds do this on a regular basis, along with states (such as issuing driver’s licenses to known illegals) and municipalities just rubs salt in the wound.  The Government should not be above the law.

But if this debate is to advance, it is important to focus on the core issue.  And that is not whether a wall should be built (or if it is a racist barrier), or whether amnesty is a godsend (or a sell-out deal to the pro-illegal immigration forces). 

While these are important side discussions, the only relevant point is that when individuals attempt to circumvent a law because they don’t like it, the entire American system of justice — the very rule of law that keeps us civilized — breaks down. Once elected officials start picking and choosing what laws they will follow (setting the example for their followers to do the same), we all take a hit.

There’s no getting around the fact that Payton’s legislation overtly mocks the law. Under his bill, eligible students would have to attend a public or nonpublic secondary school in Pennsylvania for at least three years (an admission that we the people have already forked over at least $50,000 in education costs), pay state income taxes for at least three years prior to enrollment in college (how can you pay income taxes if you are here illegally, and how can the state abdicate its responsibility to apprehends these known lawbreakers), and provide an affidavit to the institution of higher education that the student will file an application to a become a permanent resident (giving a sworn legal document to a state entity that attests that one is here illegally, without fear of repercussion, is just insane).

Since the illegal immigration debate lends itself to easily getting off track, here’s the bottom line: For those who believe illegals should have rights, change the law to accommodate them — don’t break it.  Lobby for amnesty and fight to change the definition of “illegal immigrant,” but do not cavalierly pick and choose what laws you want to follow because you happen to disagree with some.

That’s what they do in places like Iraq.  It is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

On behalf of Rep. Payton’s real constituents, shame on you, Tony. 

Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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June 24, 2011 at 10:17 am Comment (1)

Mike Kelly’s Righteous Rant

I can see how this guy got elected.

Too much stuff to summarize… the Ryan budget, regulation, banks…

June 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm Comments (19)

PaWatercooler: Pa’s Best Conservative Blog

PoliticsPa did a round up of the best political blogs in Pa.

We landed on top in one category.

Best Conservative Blog: PA Water Cooler

We’ve seen this crew at conservative events across the state, and they do a darn good job amalgamating conservative news and opinions from around PA. The blog is especially on target with GOP insider goings on in SEPA.

Thanks to everyone who voted, but most importantly, thanks to everyone who reads us on a daily basis.

June 22, 2011 at 11:32 am Comments (2)

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