The Privatization Push is On

I’m an optimist, so I’d like to believe that Gov. Corbett is actually going to get this done.

Governor Tom Corbett has unveiled his plan to get Pennsylvania out of the business of selling wine and liquor.

During a news conference Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Corbett said the three- to four-year process of selling wholesale and retail licenses would generate $1 billion in revenue to create educational grants for Pennsylvania’s schools.

“My plan gets the state completely out of the liquor business,” Corbett said. “The state will no longer be a marketer of alcohol. Instead, it will now focus on its role as a regulator.”

Under the governor’s proposal, more than 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores would be shut down and the entire liquor wholesale and retail system would be privately owned and operated.

Only in Pennsylvania could the prospect of buying a six-pack at the grocery store be an earth-shaking political issue, but that’s our state. Love it or leave it move to the Carolinas like everyone else. For conservatives, this should be a no-brainer–getting the state out of any business is usually a smashing success–and it looks like privatization has a lot of support among the general public. If he’s successful, Corbett can stand next to this issue, smile, and have an easy bid for reelection.

By the way, here’s the official word from the Gov. if you’re interested.

January 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm Comment (1)

VP Full of Sh!t

… and the sun rises in the east.

When trying to verify Joe Biden’s recent story that he was golfing within earshot of the Oct. 2, 2006, shooting at Nickel Mines, one thing is clear.

There are a lot of places to enjoy a round of golf in the region.

But whether the 70-year-old vice president was playing at any of the courses on the day of the one-room schoolhouse massacre still remains a mystery.

If he was in the area, he wasn’t at Moccasin Run Golf Club in Atglen.
Curt King, the owner of the club, said there is no record of Biden — then a U.S. senator — visiting the golf course that day.

“When someone of that stature comes to your business, you don’t forget something like that,” he said.
Moccasin Run, the closest club to the Nickel Mines community, is about six miles away.
King said he has combed through his club’s database, which records the name of every player who uses the course, to double-check the claim.

“We have no record of him being here that day, or that he has ever golfed here,” he said.

As for the scene at the course the day in question, King said it was just like every other day.

“There was no outing or special event,” he said. “Like most days, it was open to the public.”

Was he “literally, literally” there?

Or just the usual Joe?

January 25, 2013 at 6:54 pm Comments (0)

Anti-Gun Idiots

These people are teaching your children.

In a horror story that must have shocked young children into lifelong nightmares, a Philadelphia fifth-grader made a gun out of paper last week and brought it into class. Thanks to the intrepid work of the officials at the school, though, crisis was averted – an administrator at D. Newlin Fell School inspected the little girl, Melody Valentin, in front of the class. This process, unsurprisingly, failed to turn up any heavy military ordinance. Nonetheless, Melody received a stern talking-to.
Philly teachers are no doubt on high alert after one of their substitutes let a child walk out of a school with an unknown women moments after the girl’s mother dropped her off.

January 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm Comments (0)

Gun Show Boycott

If you can’t sell or display “assault rifles” (an invented non-sensicle term, btw) and high capacity magazines at sports and outdoors show, and now people are actively boycotting it, what do you have left?

A couple of kayaks and some hiking boots I think.

Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, hosts of “The Crush” hunting and outdoor show, said they won’t attend next month’s event at the state Farm Show Complex because its organizers have banned the sale and display of assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

In a statement, Lee Lakosky said it was a “hard decision” for him and his wife to boycott the Harrisburg show, “but we can’t support a show that doesn’t completely support the Second Amendment.”

Outdoor sporting gear retailing giant Cabela’s Inc. and other smaller firms also have announced they won’t participate in next month’s show because of the ban by its organizers.

Strangely enough the largest outdoors show in the Northeast didn’t have a problem with those sales last year. Suddenly they found Jesus?

January 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm Comment (1)

Guest Post–A Personal Perspective on Algeria

Greg Wrightstone is a petroleum geologist who has worked all over the world, including Algeria. I received Greg’s email only a few days ago, but as we have seen on the nightly news, his prediction has come true.

If you want an inside perspective on the Islamists and Algeria, I am pretty familiar with the issue. The Algerian’s don’t screw around with terrorists, in fact, the way they dealt with them should be a road map for all countries.

I worked on an Algerian project in the north of the country (outside of the military exclusion zone) beginning in 2001 for Gulf Keystone. I spent time in Algiers and traveled with GKP’s COO. We had some more than interesting adventures.

The current hostage situation is located in the southeast part of the country within the Great Sahara Desert and in the “military exclusion zone” where access is restricted to oil field workers and some of the native Bedouin. This must have been a sophisticated well planned operation to have gotten that many militants into the area and they likely came across the Libyan border just east of the site.

But the story is that Algeria had bad problems with what they call the Islamists long before 9-11. Between 1992 and 1999, more than 80,000 people were killed in the Algerian Islamic Civil War. it was a battle against the government of Algeria and the Armed Islamic Group or GIA. In 1998 the country’s leaders had enough and mounted a huge campaign against them. Anyone suspected of being a terrorist was wacked and if Uncle Abdallah spoke up he got wacked too. And you know what? In less than a year they had driven most of the radicals out of the country. Did innocent civilians die? Clearly yes, but in the last year of the conflict more than 20,000 people lost their lives and within 18 months that number had plummeted to near zero.

I am not advocating the killing of innocents, but without the bloody and violent process initiated by the Algerian government, it is likely that many tens of thousands more would have died and the violence might still be going on.

When I was there in 2001 there was still a huge military presence, even in the north and roadblocks manned by scary looking dudes that all had Saddam Hussein moustaches and holding huge nasty German Shepherds that were not happy.

Based on what I know about the Algerians, the radicals that abducted the western gas processing workers yesterday are in for a relatively short period of the rest of their lives. If any survive, it will be because they are needed for information and then will be killed. Just a prediction, but the Algerians have a short fuse and will likely act first and let the chips fall where they may.

January 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm Comments (0)

Corbett: Raising Gas Taxes

It’s been trendy of late to pile on Governor Corbett, for a variety of reasons, mostly not being able to get things done, what with Republican majorities in the House & Senate. I’ve been reluctant.

But damn dude. This is brain damaged.

Two people who learned details of the plan told The Associated Press Wednesday that the governor will announce the fine points of the long-awaited initiative next week.

They both spoke on condition of anonymity because Corbett has not publicly disclosed the plan.

A message seeking comment that was left with Corbett’s press office wasn’t immediately returned.

The proposal would remove a statutory cap on the oil company franchise tax.

The per-gallon tax is applied up to an average wholesale price of $1.25, and the administration says lifting the cap could produce $1.9 billion a year.

I understand that the governor is denying the reports, and I appreciate that. But the idea is so stupid, it could only come from Harrisburg.

Literally, there is no tax that is paid that IS NOT paid by the consumer. Call it what you want, but that $1.9 billion is gonna come down the food chain to you and me. No way to avoid that.

So by all means, tax the oil companies, tax the gas companies, tax the refiners, tax the pipeline companies, tax the frackers. But they’re just going to send it on to us.

January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm Comments (0)

Abducted 5 Year Old Found

This is a relief.

A missing 5-year-old girl from West Philadelphia has been found alive in Upper Darby, but the search for the person who abducted her from her Cobbs Creek school is still ongoing.

Nailla Robinson was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after she was found around 4:40 a.m. by a passerby. She was hiding beneath playground equipment just outside the city, near 69th Street Terminal.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told FOX 29 News that the little girl was found “scantily clad,” cold and shivering in the rain.

The 5-year-old was apparently wearing just a T-shirt and had not been fed.

Police said she told the man who found her that she had run away from the people who took her.

How many ways did the system fail her?

Dropped off at school at 8:40, “her mother” wearing a burqa picks her up at 8:50 and no one really bats an eye?

Is there more to this story? I’d bet.

January 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm Comments (0)

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)

Will we really do any better on the debt ceiling negotiation?

It’s been said that the GOP will get serious about spending reductions when the debt ceiling comes to a vote. Supposedly we have more leverage on that issue.

I’m thinking not. The GOP has less leverage on that issue.

The basic structure of the debt ceiling vote is similar to the fiscal cliff vote. Republicans have the ability to block something the President wants, with a painful consequence if a deal is not struck.

However, with the debt ceiling, the overall breakdown value is worse than it was with the fiscal cliff vote, and is far worse for Republicans than Democrats. If the fiscal cliff had broken down, there would have been some negative economic consequences, public pressure, and if it dragged on long enough, perhaps some electoral pain. Had we gone off the cliff in a meaningful way, we might have even eventually worked out a better deal. But Congress was unable to bear the pain.

The debt ceiling is worse for Republicans in several ways. Firstly, the overall consequences of a breakdown are worse in the sense that a sovereign default would almost guarantee a severe and long-lasting depression that would make the Great Recession look like a walk in the park. Secondly, knowing that this consequence is unbearable to Obama as well, we should anticipate his actions. Who doubts that Obama would invoke the 14th Amendment, or perhaps pull out the old platinum coin trick? The breakdown value of the debt ceiling negotiation could be a massive unconstitutional power grab by the executive. Huzzah!

If we try to play hardball with the debt ceiling, we’d get a repeat of the fiscal cliff vote, and we’d walk away with out pants around our ankles.

Does anybody think that a Congress unable to explode the daisy-cutter they were sitting on will have the intestinal fortitude to explode the debt ceiling nuclear device? I thought not.

No. Pass the debt ceiling, relatively cleanly. I mean, sure, try to get some cuts, but when push comes to shove, just pass the thing.

Then shut down the government – Gingrich style. Don’t pass another spending bill. Save for defense and homeland security, don’t so much as appropriate toilet paper for government lavatories. Not one dime.

Deprive Obama of something he wants. The relative pain of the breakdown values should be reversed. Obama loves government. So do Republicans, but less so than Obama. Take it from him. Perhaps for months.

And if you think a prolonged total government shut-down is too harsh, you really didn’t have the stomach for the debt ceiling vote in the first place.

(“Plan B” is looking pretty sweet right now, ain’t it? Remember that.)

January 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm Comments (0)