"What's black and white and read all over?"

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Posted 10:21 PM by

What's missing from Ed's ad?

Where and how is Gov. Ed Rendell moving Pennsylvania forward?Just saw a new TV ad for Gov. Ed Rendell's reelection campaign. "Ed Rendell: Moving Pennsylvania forward" was its title.

I can't resist guessing at the "missing" second half of that claim:

1. and two steps back.

2. like a lever on a slot machine.

3. using all his breathe. (Making an early pay raise is never second best.)

4. despite the Legislature.

5. into the giant pothole on the INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE Turnpike.

6. like a snowball at an Eagles game. (An oldie but a goodie, documented by former Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez.)

7. from the back seat at high speed.

8. without a statewide law requiring lobbyist disclosure and with plenty of ethical questions.

9. without a helmet or campaign finance reform.

10. into the abyss.
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Thursday, October 12, 2006
Posted 9:17 PM by

Indicted Fumo aides have secret defense fund

I could see if powerful allies of state Sen. Vince Fumo started a defense fund for him, but for two indicted computer techs in his office? Something sure stinks.Here's the question of the day and it comes from the pre-trial hearing of one of two indicted flunkies from Pennsylvania state Sen. Vince Fumo's office.

"Why do two lowly computer technicians have a legal defense fund created by three prominent Philadelphians?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer asked.

And he isn't the only one curious about the all-too-cozy arrangement.

"We are assuming that the senator is heavily involved in that trust fund" since the donors' names remain secret, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. told defendant Leonard Luchko.

The fund benefits Luchko and Mark C. Eister, who are charged with obstructing the investigation by deleting years worth of e-mail about Fumo's ties to the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.

Federal authorities are probing whether the Philly Democrat extorted $17 million in donations from PECO Energy to the non-profit.

The defense fund was established by J. Whyatt Mondesire, the local chapter president of the NAACP; lawyer Rhonda Resnick Cohen, who is married to Comcast executive and former mayoral aide David Cohen; and former U.S. Attorney Robert Curran, now a lawyer in Delaware County.

Defense lawyers say their clients have offered to cooperate but want immunity. Prosecutors say they won't offer immunity unless they know what the men have to say.

NEWS FLASH: Wal-Mart abuses its wage slaves

Here's a shock the nation's biggest retailer and employer forces its Pennsylvania workers to do additional unpaid work off-the-clock.

A state jury found Thursday that Wal-Mart broke Pennsylvania labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock, a decision plaintiffs' lawyers said would result in at least $62 million in damages.

Is anybody really surprised that Wal-Mart forces its employees to do work off-the-clock? Name me a non-unionized Pennsylvania employer who doesn't.The jury deliberated on the verdict for several hours over two days, after a five-week trial. Jurors found that Wal-Mart acted in bad faith but rejected claims that the company denied workers meal breaks.

Wal-Mart settled a similar Colorado case for $50 million and is appealing a $172 million award handed down last year by a California jury.

Hey, whose company doesn't do this? Mine does, but gets around labor rules by declaring us all management employees subject to termination at any time.


In what is my favorite news story of the week so far, Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Raj Peter Bhakta paraded an elephant and a six-piece mariachi band through the water near the mouth of the Rio Grande along the Texas-Mexico border Tuesday.

Bhakta, who appeared on "The Apprentice" before getting fired by Donald Trump, is running against Democratic freshman Rep. Allyson Schwartz for her congressional seat.

This was the Republican's not so subtle hint that America's borders could be more secure.

Although not directly related to Bakhta's elephant stunt, Time Magazine's cover shot and story this week reveals how desperate Republicans have become."The elephant never made landfall into Mexico, but I tell you something, he could have made 15 laps back and forth, but no one showed up," Bhakta said in Wednesday editions of The Brownsville Herald.

My question is why would anybody show up, unless the band members didn't have green cards?

Besides, the 9/11 hijackers didn't sneak across the border in the middle of the night. They flew here with the full knowledge of our government, which was later too mired in its own bureaucracy to stop them.

Securing our borders is a pipe dream. America is just too damn big for that. Instead, our money woud be better spent helping Mexico modernize so that its people don't feel compelled to flee here for a better life.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Posted 11:29 PM by

Slow and steady Pa. lawmakers lose race

Pennsylvania lawmakers have not addressed any meaningful reforms this year despite the ouster of 17 incumbents in the May primary.Sorry I haven't written for a week folks. Been a bit busy at work wearing two hats as a full-time sports editor and part-time webmaster/submissive.

It's not like a missed much anyway, which is precisely the point of today's post.

Amid an onslaught of political corruption cases in New Jersey, top legislators on Wednesday vowed to push sweeping anti-corruption and ethics reforms toward law in an aggressive bid to tackle the state's leading concerns by year's end.

Constrast that with Pennsylvania's Legislature, which after months of talk over the summer recess, was unable to reform the state law legalizing slot machines before the first five licenses were handed out this month.

The legislators still haven't prohibited themselves from owning up to 1 percent of a slots parlor.

Pennsylvania lawmakers also haven't passed any meaningful campaign finance and lobbying reforms, curtailed their per-diems and other perks, or proposed more meaningful statewide property tax reform.

It's high time the reform movement in this state dusted off its primary election playbook in preperation for the general election.

One final thought, New Jersey lawmakers are paid $49,000 a year while their unproductive Pennsylvania counterparts are now making $72,187.
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Posted 11:01 PM by

No rubberstamp for eavesdropping

"Congress is unlikely to approve a bill giving President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program legal status and new restrictions before the November midterm elections, dealing a significant blow to one of the White House's top wartime priorities," the AP reports today.

That priority is spying on us.

Look what's already in the public domain. This video of a Dutch sunbather wasn't shot by a secret NSA satellite, but one in the open domain and being used by Google to map the world. Here's what it feels like to be the subject of such scrutiny:

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Monday, October 02, 2006
Posted 11:40 PM by

'Do I make you a little horny?'

That's not a line from an Austin Powers movie. It's what former Congressman Mark Foyer told one Congressional page online.

With apologies to Kevin Nealon, who used to do the subliminal message guy on Saturday Night Live, and The Colbert Report's "Word," here's how I would present today's news if I were a broadcaster:

Good evening folks. The old wives' tale is true - it really is better for a Congressman to be found with a dead girl (Gary Condit) than a live boy (Mark Foley).

And don't you just love how Florida (home of the well hung but pouting chad) Congressman Mark Foley, immediately checked himself into a rehab clinic saying he is an "alcoholic" (Courtney Love) - as if that excuses his criminal behavior (Mel Gibson) toward teenage boys (Gary Glitter).

Amazing how one Republican can give a whole new meaning to Jimmy Stewart's befriending of Congressional Pages and a boys club in "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" now doesn't it?

Several well-placed Grand Old Party('s over) boys back in D.C. - including Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (not his indicted predecessor), have admitted they knew Foley, Chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children (Oops!), was trying to bend a few Congressional pages (Bob Seger) and did nothing.

How unlike national Republicans to hide their sins and incompetence at governing (Mike Brown), the Democrats (talk about exploitation) are already saying on every channel (except Animal Planet) as a rallying cry.

Great they didn't show up for the lobbyists scandal, eavesdropping, Enron, Iraq, Katrina, 9/11, secret prisons, torture or even Bush.

All it took to rouse the (sleeping lap dog) Democrats was a gay pedophial scandal, a Republican coverup and the thought of wresting control of the House in the mid-term elections (Magic number - 15) for them to stand up and shout, "Outrage."

There's hope for Foley, however.

Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey shamelessly wrote a best-seller - after making his unqualified Israeli paramour the head of that state's homeland defense after 9/11 - and is now doing all the TV talks shows promoting it.

Oh and by the way, Sugar Daddy McGreevey was a Democrat (glass house owners).

I'm sure there's more than one publisher out there (Bob Guccione) already salivating at the thought of Foley's book and believing it will be a real page-turner.
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Sunday, October 01, 2006
Posted 11:13 PM by nears milestone on pageloads

Hey folks, just a thanks for reading me tonight and for making September the most successful month so far on this unfinished Web site's pageloads - 5,999 of 'em.

Not too shabby for a site designed originally just to serve as the online morgue from my newspaper reporting days.

Now it's becoming more of a social experiment, an interesting way for me to vent my frustrations - via the Daily Rant, and culling RSS feed sources from newspapers, groups, and issues I'm interested in.

It's a multipurpose Web site. An online Swiss Army knife of politics, journalism and more.

I'm a bit anal, though. I would have liked to have had at least one more page loaded. Building traffic on a personal Web site is kind of like watching the odometer in your car roll over mile after mile.

Meanwhile, I note the passing of yet another blogger-in-arms, PennPatriot, who has laid down the online weapon he used to fight for reform in Pennsylvania earlier this year.

Randy Potter, the real name behind the nom de plume, wrote to say, "I have chosen to retire from the PA blog scene because of some recent/wonderful/exciting professional opportunities related to my career and my family. Prayers really do get answered!"

I wish him well.

Finding the time to do what we do is a commitment that is hard to justify at times. It's even harder to monetize.

I promise not to bombard anybody with too many ads once this site reaches 10,000 pageloads per month - the benchmark at which I think it might offer value to advertisers. Be warned.

How callous of me and capitalistic, I know.

But I need to raise enough money to fuel my campaign for dictator. Buying votes costs plenty so be sure to give generously. I promise I'll remember you once I take office, if I don't use it all up on myself first and come back to you for more sooner.
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