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Pennsylvania political bloggers


Preparing for a Constitutional Convention in Pennsylvania
What would it take to have a convention in the Commonwealth? IssuesPA takes a look.
Constitutional Conventions in Pennsylvania
IssuesPA offers some background and history on state constitutional conventions.
IssuesPA TV 2008: Energy and Infrastructure
The second episode of IssuesPA 2008 features a closer look at energy and infrastructure issues, including alternative energies and energy of the future, building green, and transportation.
The 2008-2009 State Budget
A Look at the Governor's Proposal
Cyber School Funding
IssuesPA takes a closer look at the ongoing debate over funding and accountability
School Consolidation
IssuesPA Takes a Look at the Cost-Effectiveness of Consolidating Pennsylvania School Districts
IssuesPA TV 2008: Education in Pennsylvania
This month, IssuesPA TV will air on public television stations throughout Pennsylvania. The first episode will look at education.
Pennsylvania's Education Systems: Success in Stages
The state's education policies impact students and their families - but also the whole community
Pennsylvania Economy League Receives National Recognition for ?IssuesPA 2006? Initiative
Award focuses on unique partnership between League and public television stations
Consolidation of Earned Income Tax Collection
Many Jurisdictions Plus a Complicated Process = $237 Million Lost Each Year


PA: Budget crisis shuts Fort Pitt Museum, other sites
Fort Pitt Museum, dedicated to the role the historic Fort Pitt played during the French and Indian War, closed indefinitely yesterday because of Pennsylvania's ongoing budget crisis, state officials said.
PA: CCAC says it will front money if state grants fall through
Community College of Allegheny County yesterday said it would front money to students if grants for the fall semester from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency are delayed by the state's budget impasse.
PA: Eligibility for nutritional assistance expands in Pennsylvania
Bonnie Frederick tried to get food stamps last year, but her $9.50-an-hour pay from a packaging company put her monthly income $3 over the limit. But new guidelines, put in place July 27 by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, make Frederick, 61, of North Versailles and her husband Gary, 62, eligible for food stamps, they learned this week.
PA: Pa. wait lists grow by the day
The waiting lists for Pennsylvania's human service programs all have a beginning, but, it seems, no end.
PA: State seeks help from Washington on Mon discharges
A year after murky water quality problems first surfaced in the Monongahela River, Pennsylvania is asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to set new, tougher pollution limits for the interstate waterway and public drinking water source.

John Micek's Capitol Ideas

Mid-Afternoon Budget Update.
If You Were Hoping For A Breakthrough ... ... from Gov. Ed's press conference this afternoon highlighting the cuts that have been made to state-supported childcare programs, then you probably came away disappointed. That's got a lot to do with...

Politics As Usual: Reunited, And It Feels So Good.
Hail, Hail ... ... the gang's all here. The "Politics As Usual" crew of John L. Micek, Scott Detrow and Alex Roarty returns for the first time in more than a month to discuss the ongoing state budget impasse, debate...

Monday Morning Coffee.
Good Morning, Fellow Seekers. We're back from a week's respite in the tropics, rested, tanned and ready to take on the seething battle that is the debate over Pennsylvania state budget. Oh ... what's that you say? Nothing's changed since...

Bill Cahir, RIP.
Bill Cahir ... ... a former Washington reporter for Newhouse Newspapers who completed two tours of duty in Ramadi and Falluja in the Marine Corps reserves has been killed in action in Afghanistan, news sources indicated this morning. We never...

So Here's Something You Don't See Every Day.
Federal Prosecutors In Philadelphia ... ... have asked the Justice Department to authorize an appeal of the 4-1/2 year prison sentence doled out in ex-state Sen. Vince Fumo's corruption case, the Associated Press reports this morning. The sentence, only a...

Lowman Henry's Lincoln blog

August 17, 2009
Governor Ed Rendell is on a diet. => The chief executive who is famous for his appetite has already lost 40 pounds and is working on shedding more excess fat. It is good to see he is getting ...
August 14, 2009
Pittsburgh, PA -- Conservative bloggers from across the nation are gathered here at the Station Square Sheraton in Pittsburgh for the annual Right On-Line National Conference. => This year's ...
August 13, 2009
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter has been getting an earful from his constituents this week at town hall meetings. Angry scenes have played out in Maryland, Missouri and other states across the country. ...
August 12, 2009
Governor Ed Rendell is on a whine tasting tour of Pennsylvania. => The latest tactic in his efforts to inflict higher taxes on We the People of Penn's woods is to trot out every day to some ...
August 11, 2009
It is called the House of Representatives. How can those who sit in the House of Representatives represent "We the People" if they won't meet with us? => As Congress begins its ...

Commonwealth Foundation's policy blog

Scrutinize the Health Care Bill
We've gotten a few calls over the last few days asking where to get and read the 1,200 page health care bill being debated in Congress.  Here are some resources:
  • American for Prosperity has some facts about the health care proposals in Congress, a breakdown of the House bill, and a call for volunteers to help read, examine, and comment on the bills.
  • Kingdom Studies links to the full text and makes some comments on specific provisions in the House bill, citing the page numbers.
  • Open Congress has the bill text and features to comment on the legislation.

Despite what Pete DeCoursey's latest Capitolwire column (subscription) may indicate, citizens are far better versed in the details of these proposals than are members of Congress.  For instance, Arlen Specter seems unaware that proposals include an individual mandate to buy insurance, when posed that question at one of his town hall.
Dramatic Government Spending Increases are Never Enough
The Patriot News has an AP story by Marc Levy, highlighting recipients of taxpayer funding that want more taxpayer funding.  It seems these groups are living in another world.  For instance take this quote about state social service funding:

"It seems like in good times there's never enough money and in bad times they're the first ones to get kicked out."
Yet under Gov. Rendell - mostly "good times" - Pennsylvania Public Welfare spending increased 62.6%, even using the numbers from the supposedly draconian PA Senate budget. I doubt many taxpayers have seen their incomes jump 63% (that would represent an increase from $50,000 to $81,500) since 2002.  And if they did get that kind of raise, I doubt they would complaining about that increase.

Furthermore, these advocates maintain the mentality that if government doesn't fund it, it won't occur.  They imply that the only way to show that we "care" is to take money from others through taxes and fund programs that do the best job of lobbying. 

One of the programs they talk about is preschool. Not only do they tout academic gains that will likely disappear in a few years, but they ignore the sizable private preschool market, which will be crowded out by government programs.
Who's the Teacher?
If you thought the Eagles bringing in Michael Vick was a bad idea, wait until you hear this - the Philadelphia Public Schools might bring in Tony Danza to teach/star in a reality show about teaching.

I can't believe Gov. Rendell hasn't issued a statement on this ridiculous idea.  I mean, if we are going to pimp out school children for a realty TV show starring an 80's actor, it should be a true Hollywood legend... someone like Steve Guttenberg.
RightOnline Health Care Panel
Right Online held a panel on health care reform today, which I had the honor of speaking at, along with Amy Menefee of Americans for Prosperity and the Patients First campaign, and Eric Singer of Congressional Effect Management (AFP's Phil Kerpen moderated and also provided insights). Rather than describe the great info I and the other panelists presents (along with the intelligent questions and comments from the audience), here is what those in attendance had to say.

Attendees on Twitter:
maggie82: #righton: whoever pays #healthcare gets to determine coverage and service - government, insurance company or patient? that's question #tcot

markdkelly2: Eric Singer in a nutshell at #RightOn health care panel, the government's policies got us into the current health care situation.

bmorekarl:  I think if Obama was being honest, he’d say ‘read my lips, no new hips’ - Eric Singer #righton

markdkelly2 Eric Singer, likes kingdomstudies.blogspot.com 's review of House health care bill. #RightOn @Kerpen says Senate committee bill kept secret

maggie82: #righton: most insurance companies are at the table and supporting #obamacare. So #iamthemob are not pawns of that industry.

markdkelly2: #RightOn Amy Menefee, we've tried government run health care in HI and MA and it didn't work. #handsoff

markdkelly2: crowd fired up & already pretty educated about the health care bill. #RightOn #handsoff

az4vlad: @righton Doctor speaks to healthcare panel: "The AMA does not speak for the majority of doctors in America!"

DonIrvine: Docs against healthcare reform should join AAPS. #righton #tcot http://myloc.me/luK2
The blog North Shore Exponent summarizes the panel:
  • Part 1
  • Part 2

And here are video highlights of the panel via WVEx

My presentation concluded with a number of links for information and to get involved in patient-centered health care reform:
  • http://healthcare.cato.org
  • http://fixhealthcarepolicy.com/
  • http://cprights.org/
  • http://joinpatientsfirst.com/ 
  • http://patientsunitednow.com/
  • http://healthcarehorserace.com/
  • http://www.cahi.org/
  • http://www.galen.org/
  • http://www.chcchoices.org/ 
  • http://www.ncpa.org/
Tolling I-80 is a Recipe for Disaster
With a renewed interest in tolling Interstate 80, I find it necessary to reiterate several points of concern surrounding Act 44 and its implications on Pennsylvania’s economic future:

• Act 44, as it currently stands, is in violation of federal law requiring that tolls on federal highways be used exclusively on the highway itself. The tolls collected from I-80 would be used for other transportation projects, including funding mass transit in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

• In a November 2006 report, the Transportation Funding and Reform Commission recommended that no additional funding should be provided for highways, bridges and transit unless a series of parallel actions are taken to reform funding structure and a number of transportation business practices.” Act 44 is designed to generate additional funds without putting the required reforms in place.

• The notion that transportation is underfunded is merely a myth. PA’s spending on transportation has increased 121% from 1995-2009, more than triple the rate of inflation. Even before Act 44, highway spending had increased 90% in 2007 alone, facilitating one of the highest gasoline tax rates in the country.

• Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage law requires all public projects to pay state mandated wage rates, increasing the cost to taxpayers by as much as 30%. In fact, by not allowing the market to determine wage rates, taxpayers pay an additional $9 billion dollars annually to pay these union wages. By continuing this policy, true transportation reform remains unattainable.

• Finally, Act 44 would place tolling I-80 in the hands of the notoriously corrupt and inefficient Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. It is no coincidence that State Sen. Vince Fumo, who was convicted on 137 counts of conspiracy and fraud, frequently used the PTC to spend “other people’s money”. Giving the PTC another sweetheart deal is simply a recipe for disaster.

Letting private companies competitively bid on the rights to manage tolling is a safe and cost-efficient solution.

Pennsyltucky Politics blog


After two years of writing the Pennsyltucky Politics blog and 13 1/2 with The Patriot-News, this is my last post.

It's been a lot of fun. I've enjoyed interacting with many of you, including those who did not always appreciate what I was reporting.

In the future, I can be reached at

Thanks for a good ride.

- 30 -

What's the frequency?

Self-promotion warning: We'll be on XM Satellite Radio's POTUS '08 sometime during the 11 a.m. hour to discuss Pennsylvania politics and the presidential race. It's on channel 130.

Bob Barr hopes to liberate taxpayers
Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr sits in a really ugly chair.

All you ever hear these days is Barack Obama this and John McCain that, so we thought we'd pause for a moment and give Bob Barr a few seconds of love.

Barr, the former Georgia congressman and Libertarian Party presidential nominee, is irate over the $32 million that the federal government will give the Democratic and Republican parties to put on their national conventions in the coming weeks. That doesn't include another $50 million for security.

"My party has already held its convention without a single taxpayer dollar in its support," said Barr.

You don't say. Of course, how many people really thought he was serious about running for president.

Barr, who calls it "obnoxious" to force taxpayers to underwrite other people's political opinions, says he would end the practice of federal subsidies for the conventions.

We now return to the regularly scheduled campaign between Obama and McCain.

Pennsylvania 'McCain Nation' events set

It's probably not a good sign of a campaign's strength when it announces an event like Thursday's first ever "McCain Nation" events and the entire population of that country can squeeze into the Kingston, Pa. home of Sandy Kase.

Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks with teens at the Broadway Diner in Red Bank, N.J. on Tuesday.

Well, not quite everybody. They've also got some room at the Colonial Country Club outside Harrisburg, where no doubt folks will empathize with struggling working class families, and in King of Prussia at Peppers Italian Restaurant, where the baked manicotti sounds good.

McCain supporters in all 50 states will meet Aug. 14 for these house parties to organize volunteers, register voters, distribute lists of voters to call and basically try to excite the GOP grassroots.

If that's not enough to excite you, Cindy McCain and a senior McCain adviser to be named in a trade later will participate via conference call.

There's a grand total of six such events planned in Pennsylvania. Keep reading for details.


Pepper's Italian Restaurant
239 Town Center Road
King of Prussia, PA, 19406

Colonial Country Club
4901 Linglestown Road
Harrisburg, PA, 17112

Home of Sandy Kase
416 N. Maple Avenue, Kingston, PA 18704

Fireside Tavern at Historic Strasburg
1 Historic Drive
Strasburg, PA, 17579

Bethel Park
Home of Victoria Goodman
211 Navajo Road
Bethel Park, PA, 15241

Home of Rosemarie and Gregory Ebert
2192 Pine Tree Road, Coopersburg, PA, 18036

Screaming Howard Dean heads to the 'burgs

Don't worry about that shrieking noise you may hear this evening on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh or interrupting your Friday lunch hour on Market Street in Harrisburg. It's just Howard Dean.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, aka The Screamer, will be visiting the two 'burgs as part of a cross-country "Register for Change," bus tour to register voters.

The tour started in Crawford, TX, and will end in Denver for the Democratic National

Keep reading for the details...

Thursday, Aug. 14:

The Church Brew Works
3525 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA

Event Time: 6:15 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 15:

Sci Tech High
215 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA

Will Bunch's attytood

Second Opinions

Above Average Jane

Pa. Senate Republican Caucus

Pa. House Democratic Caucus

House unanimously passes McIlvaine Smith bill regarding inspections of personal care homes
HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 � The state House this week unanimously passed legislation crafted by state Rep. Barb McIlvaine Smith, D-Chester, that would require the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to submit annual reports on inspections of personal...
House passes Biancucci's consumer protection bill
HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 � The state House on Wednesday passed a bill (H.B. 1167) sponsored by state Rep. Vince Biancucci, D-Beaver, that would protect consumers from property or casualty insurers that are failing financially. �Often, consumers of...
Kortz bill for custodial rights of grandparents approved by House committee
HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 � State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced that his bill that would give grandparents standing to seek custody of a child who is removed from parents or another guardian was approved by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday...
Kula introduces bill to help Pennsylvanians maintain health-care coverage
HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 � State Rep. Deberah Kula, D-Fayette/Westmoreland, will introduce a bill designed to allow adults in Pennsylvania maintain health-care coverage. The bill would permit adults who are eligible for the state�s adultBasic insurance...
House Democrats: Bush comes to Pa. bearing bad news for sick kids
HARRISBURG, Oct. 3 � House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese and Majority Whip Keith McCall said today�s visit to Lancaster County by President George W. Bush means bad news for sick kids and working parents in Pennsylvania. �The ink was barely dry on...


Lehigh Valley Ramblings

Dick Polman's American Debate


Penn Patriot


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KeystonePolitics.com News

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Au Revoir

The End is Near, So I Face The Final Curtain

State Budget Deficit Could Hit $3B

New Legislative Proposal Supports Medicinal Marijuana

LCB Didn't Break Law in Awarding Contract

Ban on Casino Contributions Struck Down

Specter Defection is Toomey's Dream Come True

What Role Did Rendell Play in Specter's Defection??

Specter switching parties today

Feds Say Fumo Owes $4 Million

KeystonePolitics.com Press Releases

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