Pa. tax idea -- $5 per strip-club patron

The concept has been dubbed a "pole tax," and it could be called an "uncover charge": Collect $5 for every strip-club patron in Pennsylvania. State Rep. Paul Clymer (R., Bucks) hopes to introduce a bill as early as next week to mandate such a levy. Read More

GOP senators won't convene lame-duck session

Senate Republican leaders said Thursday they will not convene a lame-duck session this year after the November election. The sessions have been widely criticized because controversial issues historically have been considered by the General Assembly after lawmakers face the voters. Read More

Merger Talk Ignores Pennsylvania Constitution and Laws

At a legislative hearing May 28, 2008, the County’s Chief Executive and Pittsburgh’s Mayor extolled the wonderful things that will happen when the two governments are merged into one. All the usual rhetoric was on display including this gem from the Mayor, ‘A city-county merger remains Southwestern Pennsylvania’s best hope or economic growth and survival in the years to come.’ This from the head of a City that cannot even merge its own planning functions and seems unable to take seriously the need to consolidate services with the County, a process that has been recommended by countless studies over the years. Continue

NARNIA RELEASE DATE NOT IDEAL, NEEDS BIG SECOND WEEKEND

From the story: …the movie's production costs are estimated at $200 million. In order to turn a profit in theaters alone, "Prince Caspian" would have to make roughly $500 million worldwide when marketing costs are included. The film is expected to have a home video life, however. Iger says this latest installment is a better film than the first in the series, "The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which debuted during the 2006 Christmas season. That film went on to make $744.8 million worldwide on a production budget of $180 million. (Marketwatch) The Focus on the Family review. (Focus)

CALIFORNIA GIVES UP FIGHT FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE

As other states battle to support it. (LA Times) Meanwhile, the public battles the New York governor’s decree that the state honor gay marriages performed elsewhere. (CBS News)

OBAMA PREACHER PROBLEMS

This has no place in the pulpit. I'm ashamed this man represents in any way the Catholic church. Father Pfleger used a worship service to mock Hillary and promote bitter theology.

Obama claimed he was “deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause.''

Gee, this sounds really familiar. Maybe it's because only the names have changed. This is an ongoing issue for Obama.

First there was Rev. Wright, Obama’s anti-white/anti-jewish spiritual advisor and mentor for 20+ years and who was on Obama’s Presidential campaign. Then there was (and still is) Otis Moss III. He continuous the tradition of divisive preaching of opinion as gospel.
Now there is Father Michael Pfleger. This guy is yet another ‘spiritual advisor’ listed by Obama for the past 20 years and who was also on the Obama Presidential campaign.

Take a look for yourself:



I’m horrified. This is NOT proper behavior for a priest. He wears collar but needs a leash attched to it! The bishop needs to put him in a sanitarium for a long rest.

Again we come back to the more disturbing issue that no one seems to discuss. This man (and the two before him) was not booed off the stage. He was applauded and enjoying the hoots n’ hollers of fellow racists all masquerading as Christians going to church.

I've heard the defense yet again. "He is not Obama's pastor" "He does not speak for Obama" "Obama has 'distanced" himself from him".

I can cut some slack to a certain extent but come on people.Obama has consistently surrounded himself with racist idiots for advisers and spiritual mentors. Decades upon decades of that junk has been soaking into his brain. He didn't have the common sense or the decency to get up and walk out on these people. Instead he hugged them even closer, posed for photos and embraced their ideas.

Obama may want to appear as "Mr. Unity" but the evidence says otherwise. His apologies in for his long time advisers and mentors are growing old. Mr. Obama can pitch whatever defense he likes, but he can't control these men, the congregation at his church, or what gets recorded and posted on youtube for all to see.

Unborn Personhood Amendment Makes Colorado Ballot

From the story: An amendment to the Colorado Constitution that defines a "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization" will go before state voters in the Nov. 4 general election.

Amendment 48, entitled "Definition of a Person," was approved for a statewide vote on Thursday by Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, whose office validated 103,000 signatures on petitions for the ballot initiative -- 27,000 more than required. Read more…

Pens Win... You Win!

I want to let you in on a cool contest happening. Go here and register for the Pens Win... You Win contest.

Every time the Pens win a game, we will draw one entry and that person will win a great Fathead wall graphic along with other get prizes.

Get registered before the next game!

OBAMA GETTING ENDORSEMENTS FROM AMERICAN ENEMIES

Well at least the Rev. Wright story has faded. Still, this can't be a good thing.

Endorsements include a Hamas adviser who said “We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections.” (FOX News)

Another story notes Obama has few new ideas. (Washington Post) And he has gone against stated policy as lobbyists help run his campaign. (Washington Post)

MCCELLAN's WHAT HAPPENED. GOOD QUESTION

It's all over the news. Former White House press secretary Scott McCellan has cashed in with a new bombshell book. The only problem is there is doubts he wrote it and it could be put under fiction.

I'm not going to rehash what has been covered by every news outlet but this whole thing does seem a bit odd.

In the past, McClellan was highly critical of those who trashed Bush to sell books. (ABC News)

Obama, who hasn’t read the book, said it “confirmed what a lot of us have thought for some time.” (Telegraph)

Michael Reagan begins his column “It's amazing what some people will do for 30 pieces of silver.” (Townhall)

CALIFORNIA SETS GAY MARRIAGE DATE OF JUNE 17

The guidelines from Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, to the state's 58 county clerks also contained copies of new marriage forms that include lines for "Party A" and "Party B" instead of bride and groom. The gender-neutral wording was developed in consultation with county clerks, according to the letter. (CBS News)

Another story notes, from New York: Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada. (NY Times)

From Rebecca Hagelin: If you’ve ever wondered why liberals fight tooth and nail whenever it comes to confirming judges, just look to California.

Habitat for Humanity partners with Planned Parenthood

From the story: Zoning ordinances prevented Planned Parenthood from opening an abortion clinic in the Rosemary district of Sarasota, Fla. They did, that is, until Habitat for Humanity's Sarasota affiliate stepped in to help out.

By agreeing to purchase Planned Parenthood's land for $10 and build housing on a portion of it, Habitat for Humanity enabled Planned Parenthood to bypass a city requirement that had been preventing the organization from obtaining an occupancy permit.

Representatives of both Planned Parenthood and Habitat for Humanity Sarasota attended the May 5th Sarasota City Commission meeting to present their plan for appeasing the zoning laws: Habitat would receive the property at almost no cost; the city would get its multifamily liner building; and Planned Parenthood would be allowed to open its facility. Read more…

When Planned Parenthood can’t even find contractors who are willing to build their facilities, such as the case in Texas, you wonder what in the world Habitat for Humanity was thinking.

Boy Scouts Sue Philadelphia Over Rent, Policy Barring Gays

(AP) Boy Scouts chapter engaged in a long fight over gay rights has sued the city of Philadelphia to try to avoid paying $200,000 a year in rent to stay in the city-owned space that has been its headquarters for 80 years.

The Scouts currently pay $1 annually for the space, but the city has given them until Saturday to open their membership to gays or start being charged fair-market rent.

The federal suit filed Friday accuses the city of censorship for targeting the Scouts but maintaining free or nominal leases with other groups that limit membership, such as Baptist and Roman Catholic church groups and The Colonial Dames of America. Read more...

Speed Trap

I noticed it last week. There had to be 8 cars stopped at once and a team of Pittsburgh finest writing tickets.
They were at it again this morning. If you are traveling on 279 south into the city slow down. Right where it merges onto Rt. 65 Ohio River Blvd. (By Heinz Field) there is a officer checking your speed. As you round the bend you will see a team ushering you and everyone else speeding to the side of the road. Then you sit and wait your turn to get a ticket.

No, I was not stopped. No, I don't think people should break the law. However your money is hard earned so I offer this post as a public service announcement.

Oh and buckle up, that's an extra fine!

'Carbon Belch Day'

Conservative grassroots group Grassfire.org wants people to waste as much energy as possible on June 12 by "hosting a barbecue, going for a drive, watching television, leaving a few lights on, or even smoking a few cigars."

I mad. I just can't believe it. Why didn't I think of this???
The point: the group wants to "help Americans break free from the 'carbon footprint guilt' being imposed by Climate Alarmists."

Grassfire.org president Steve Elliott, in a statement, said: "It's time for Americans to purge ourselves of the false guilt that Al Gore and the Climate Alarmists have placed on us".

Grassfire.org said it chose June 12 as the day it wants Americans to rev up their SUVs because it coincides with expected debate in Congress over a $1.2 billion carbon tax rebate program. "Carbon Belch Day will have at least as much impact on the so-called 'planetary emergency' of man-made global warming as the goofy save the earth mandates telling us to turn our lights off for an hour," said Elliott.

He's right. So hug a tree if you want to. I'm going to belch!


Radio Waves: Madden Fired

MADDEN FIRED!
5 days after Mark Madden made a really stupid comment about Sen. Edward Kennedy's cancerous brain tumor sports/talk host Mark Madden is out at WEAE-AM (1250 ESPN)/Pittsburgh.

ESPN Radio would only say he's been taken off the air. The decision came from the top of ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

So did the man say that got him the Exit Station Promptly Now award?

"I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated."

And that began the carrer assassination of Mark Madden. Despite an on air apology, Madden could not outrun himself. Madden was put on warning by ESPN for his on-air manner back in December and has previously been in hot water with WTAE-TV for his language and over-the-top remarks about the Steelers.
Podcasting... Ready or Not
Podcast audience is growing "tremendously."That's according to Edison Media Research, which found the number of Americans who downloaded and listened to an audio podcast grew from 13% to 18% in the past year. Edison Research VP Tom Webster says stations should create as much "podcast-able content" as they can.
Former Air America Exec Evan Cohen Arrested in Guam
Former Air America Radio Chairman and co-founder Evan Cohen has been arrested in Guam after airport customs officials discovered he had a warrant for his arrest in Hawaii. Cohen, who left the Liberal Talk network in 2005, was returning to Guam from a trip to the Philippines. Cohen was indicted by a grand jury in Hawaii in April on charges of theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, forgery and money laundering.

Homeschoolers Torpedoed By Subway

The sandwich chain, Subway is having a contest for kids to see who can submit the best story (in writing) given four story line premises. The contest is open to all students, except homeschoolers.

The name of the contest is "Every Sandwich Tells a Story" and thegrand prize is $5000 worth of athletic equipment for the winning child'sschool.

The presumption is that the reason for the exclusion is that there wouldbe no school for to which such students could donate the equipment. What do you think????

MCCLELLAN TURNS ON BUSH

The former White House spokesman ripped Bush on Iraq and Katrina. (FOX News) Video of Rove’s response. (FOX News) If this sounds familiar, the news isn’t new. Late last year, this was leaked to the press. (Salon)

ATTACKS IN IRAQ HIT FOUR-YEAR LOW

The story begins: U.S. and Iraqi military officials said violence in Iraq has decreased significantly in recent weeks to levels not seen in four years.

WSJ

Pennsylvania allows half-gallon gas pricing

With gas prices going over $4 a gallon in some areas of Pennsylvania, it's not just a problem for consumers. Some older gas pumps can't display a price above $3.99. So, Pennsylvania is joining other states in allowing gas stations with those older pumps to temporarily have the pump reset to the price for half a gallon of gas, Gov. Ed Rendell's office announced Friday. Read More

ATTEMPTED ROCKET ATTACK?

Continental Airlines pilot reported being startled by what he described as a rocket that shot past his cockpit window Monday when the plane was about eight miles north of George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating the incident, which occurred about 10:30 a.m.

Continental Airlines spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said Monday night that she could not discuss what was seen by the crew of Flight 1544. She would only say that the Boeing 737, with 148 passengers. left Bush at 10:17 a.m. and arrived in Cleveland, Ohio at 2:13 p.m.

Some are saying it could have been a model rocket. If it was model rocket, investigators want to know the type and who launched it. Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman in Washington D.C., said the Monday incident is not the first time a rocket has crossed paths with an airliner. But so far, no plane has been hit by a launched model rocket.

Story

Drink and Car Rental Taxes: Controversy Deepens

Sold as a way to provide dedicated funding for mass transit, the Act 44 levies on drinks and car rentals have been the subject of intense debate for the last several months. This is especially true of the drink tax as the bar and restaurant community has mobilized on the issue and will try to get a referendum asking voters to repeal the drink tax. Continue

OPRAH’S RATINGS PLUMMET

Down 7 percent in a year. The story notes “Her endorsement of the presidential bid of Senator Barack Obama appears to have alienated some of the middle-aged white women who make up the bulk of her television audience, many of whom support Senator Hillary Clinton.” Later in the story it’s noted “She is endorsing a kind of spirituality that can be offensive to traditional Christians.”

NY Times

OBAMA BACKS CALIFORNIA GAY MARRIAGE DECISION

Saying he “respects the decision of the California Supreme Court.” From Rich Lowry: He respects a decision that disregarded the will of the people in California, as expressed by a 2000 referendum that defined marriage as between a man and a woman; he respects a decision that excoriated his own position of support for civil unions and (theoretical) opposition to same-sex marriage; he respects a decision that rejects the sort of political compromise he extols. It’s like a professed abolitionist in 1857 saying he “respects” the Dred Scott ruling.

CBS News

MCCAIN TO OBAMA: LET’S VISIT IRAQ TOGETHER

McCain said of Obama, “He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time. If there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn’t had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly.”

FOX News

Could history repeat itself?

From Phil Burress, Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage

Is it possible that the May 15, 2008 4-3 decision by the California Supreme Court to force same-sex marriage on the people of that state might have sealed the fate of Senator Obama?

It was four years ago on May 17, 2004 that same-sex marriage began in Massachusetts, thanks to a similar decision by that state's high court. The following day, May 18, we began the effort to place on the Ohio ballot a state constitutional amendment to protect Ohio from such judicial activism.

In 1996 Senator John Kerry declared his support for same-sex marriage by being one of only 14 Senators who voted against the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That vote eight years prior proved to be Senator Kerry's undoing in Ohio in 2004. Most of the mainstream media as well as political pundits have stated that President Bush won in Ohio because of the Marriage Amendment.

In the 11 states where marriage amendments were on the ballot in 2004, 94 percent of the major newspapers opposed the measures. But the people of those states voted by nearly a 70 percent margin in favor of traditional marriage - showing that voters will not be swayed by the media when it comes to marriage!

In 2004 Ohio's marriage amendment passed by a 62 percent margin. According to a poll conducted by a homosexual activist organization, the number of Ohioans who oppose same-sex marriage actually has risen dramatically since. In 2004 we conducted our own poll to determine the impact that the marriage amendment would have on Ohio voters. Market Strategies, the independent firm conducting the poll, concluded that the marriage amendment would assist President Bush by 3-5 percentage points, would swing undecided voters toward Bush by a 6 to 1 margin, and would double African-American votes for Bush. Their predictions proved correct on all three counts.

When exit polls showed Senator Kerry winning in five out of six major Ohio cities (Cleveland, Dayton, Akron/Canton, Toledo and Columbus), no one who understood Ohio politics thought that Bush could win. Never in the history of Ohio elections had anyone lost in all those major markets and won a statewide race. I was in Columbus that night, and the "experts" there were declaring Kerry the victor. But Bush won - by 118,599 votes, a two percent margin.

What the "experts" did not anticipate was the turnout of conservative voters in rural Ohio, where folks came out to vote for the marriage amendment. Eight-seven of Ohio's 88 counties voted against same-sex marriage. Even 469,000 Kerry voters voted against same-sex marriage.

All of which makes one question: If Ohio's marriage amendment swung Ohio for President Bush against what many considered insurmountable odds, what effect might the issue of same-sex marriage have on the 2008 Presidential Election?

On the issue of same-sex marriage, the difference between Senators McCain and Obama (or Clinton, should she prevail) is even more distinct that the Bush/Kerry divide. In 2004, President Bush did not actively campaign in favor of that year's statewide marriage amendments. At a March 7, 2008 meeting in New Orleans, I directly asked Senator McCain in the presence of 1,000 attendees if he would "openly campaign for the marriage amendment already on the ballot in Florida and the ones likely to be on ballots in Arizona and California." His immediate response was an emphatic "Yes!"

Senators Obama and Clinton may be on the record as being in favor of traditional marriage with support for domestic partnerships, but their voting records, their campaign rhetoric, and their response to the recent California decision clearly place them in the same mold as Senator Kerry, who opposed same-sex marriage with a wink. Will the issue of protecting traditional marriage have an impact on the Election of 2008 similar to its impact in 2004?

The answer to that question depends on Senator McCain. We know that the mainstream media still stands in support of same-sex marriage. And we know that the majority of the American voters still stand opposed. Senator McCain needs to force this issue into the election equation. He needs to make it very clear that he is opposed to same-sex marriage and back up his talk with action by supporting the Marriage Amendments in Florida, Arizona and California. Without a doubt Senator Obama (or Clinton) will try to keep endorsement of same-sex marriage low-key. They both know that history might well repeat itself.

Phil Burress, Chairman, Citizens for Community Values Action

Chairman, Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage

Sanctions Threat From PA Chief Justice May Be 1st Amendment Violation

From the story: Pennsylvania’s chief justice could be violating federal constitutional rights with his threat of sanctions over a pay raise lawsuit, the League of Women Voters said.

The league responded to a tide of criticism from the state’s political establishment to its federal lawsuit alleging that a former chief justice negotiated a favorable court ruling for slots gambling in return for approval of a judicial pay raise.

Chief Justice Ronald Castille called the suit slanderous and said the league could face sanctions and its attorney, Paul Rossi, disciplinary action under federal court rules for making baseless charges about the Supreme Court.

But the league said Chief Justice Castille would violate the organization’s right to petition government under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution if he carries out a sanctions threat. Read more…

Rendell says 1,145 Pa. bridges need immediate repair

Gov. Rendell yesterday identified 1,145 bridges that he said were in need of immediate repair and asked the legislature to borrow $600 million to pay part of the bill. Read More

Drink and Car Rental Taxes: Controversy Deepens

Sold as a way to provide dedicated funding for mass transit, the Act 44 levies on drinks and car rentals have been the subject of intense debate for the last several months. This is especially true of the drink tax as the bar and restaurant community has mobilized on the issue and will try to get a referendum asking voters to repeal the drink tax. Continue

Presidental Pastor Problems

Back on May 6th I wrote a piece for Townhall on John McCain and his pastor problems.

Now comes word the John McCain has finally rejected the endorsement of televangelist John Hagge. The decision came after an audio recording surfaced in which the Hagee said God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land. He also has linked Hitler to the Catholic church, suggesting it helped shape his anti-Semitism.

This is crazy talk that has no basis in Scripture. Most disturbing is it comes from a man who claims to be a pastor and has a large number of people following him and financially supporting his efforts.

Hagee in response to McCain jettison of his endorsement said he was withdrawing the endorsement. It's a kind of " you can't fire me, I quit" response.

Here is what I just can't comprehend..... Hagee (and others like him) spew this stuff under the label of Christan preaching. Yet no one objects when he slips his own opinion in as gospel. That is what makes Hagee not only wrong, but dangerous. People must know clearly what is the word of God and the opinion of man.

The other part that makes me scratch my head is how a Presidential candidate doesn't know this stuff. The preacher has controversial views that were well-known before McCain accepted his endorsement. Does McCain not have a TV to watch Hagee? Does he not have a staff to research this beforehand?

It's not like Hagee came out of the blue and just independently announced his endorsement of McCain. McCain actively courted Hagee! He wanted those megachurch votes where people worship and vote like lemmings. That congregation in the tens of thousands and a huge television audience was very attractive, truth be damned.

But the problems don't end there. Rod Parsley is a man I refused to let on the airwaves of our radio show. McCain should have followed, but instead McCain sought the support of Pastor Parsley and the World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio. Another mega-church prize to win. Now McCain announces he is rejecting Pastor Rod Parsley's endorsement.

At a campaign appearance in Cincinnati, McCain introduced Parsley as "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide." McCain's staff should all be fired for letting this happen. They were apparently unconcerned about Parsley's well-established denunciations of the Islamic faith. Parsley didn't hide it. Walk into any book store and pick up "Silent No More". If you can't read there are DVDs of his sermons about Islam.

"America was founded with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed," Parsley says, "and I believe Sept. 11, 2001 was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."

America was FOUNDED to destroy Islam? Did Thomas Jefferson know this? I don't remember "All men are created equal.... except the Muslims who we founded this nation to destroy". At least they don't only interject opinion in Scripture. I guess the Declaration if Independence is fair game as well.

Lord help our leaders if they don't know who they follow....

31,000 Scientists Debunk Global Warming

My thanks to Brian for this artilce.

Environmental extremists routinely assert a “scientific consensus” that global warming is occurring, and that human activity somehow causes it. This week, however, over 31,000 scientists spoke up and reduced that myth to a smoldering rubble.

The environmentalists’ alleged “scientific consensus” is much like the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, behind which the supposedly infallible wizard dictated to his minions. Beyond that curtain, however, the wizard was nothing more than an ordinary little man perpetrating a fraud upon those who worshipped his doctrine. And once Toto removed that curtain, the fraud was exposed for all to see.

That shroud, however, was further torn this week by a 31,000-strong petition organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM). That petition reads:


We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement
that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar
proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment,
hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare
of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon
dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the
foreseeable future cause, catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and
disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that
increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the
natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

Story

HILLARY CLOSER TO GETTING FLORIDA VOTES COUNTED

And possibly Michigan. Hillary would still trail Obama in delegates. (FOX News) But she could lead in the popular vote. From Byron York: This is the party that went bonkers over 537 votes in Florida in 2000, and now they want to ignore 1.7 million Democrats in the same state, plus 600,000 in Michigan? (The Hill)

LA TIMES POLL: VOTERS BACK MARRIAGE AMENDMENT

Though the times calls the 19 point difference a “bare majority” and does a rather terrible job representing the views of that majority. (LA Times) Traditional family lawyers are trying to get the gay marriage decision delayed until a vote can take place. The story notes “Many county clerks believe the gay unions could begin as early as June 16.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Memorial Day 2008


With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, ignorance is, well, not bliss.

My niece’s boyfriend and I were borrowing tables from my church for my niece’s graduation party. While carrying tables outside past grave markers to a truck, I mentioned to him that the church’s graveyard had veterans from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and many from World War II.

In the course of the conversation, it became painfully obvious that my niece’s boyfriend could not place these three events in chronological order. He did not know which war occurred first, second or third, much less why each war was fought.

Can anyone imagine being an adult and not knowing this? What about “heavier” subjects like the Constitution or the Federalist Papers, taxes, the concept of representative government and individual responsibility? Yes, this guy can legally vote, but should he? Absent of cognitive facts and historical references, what would he base his voting decisions on? Emotions?

My uncle manned the top machine gun turret on a B-17 in World War II. He was one of the fortunate ones, as two of every three B-17 crews did not make it to complete their assigned 25 missions.

Ignorance of history is a disservice to all who have served. Surely we can do better. Here is to you, Uncle Joe…..

Refurbished Point State Park to open May 30

Get those Frisbees, picnic baskets and blankets ready. The long-awaited reopening of Point State Park is right around the corner. The park, which has been closed for more than a year and a half, will reopen on May 30, slightly ahead of schedule, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Gov. Ed Rendell and other dignitaries. Read More

Ex-Santorum aide to run McCain's campaign in state

John McCain's presidential campaign has hired a state director in Pennsylvania, an early step in its efforts to win a state Republicans haven't carried in 20 years. Read More

GOP senators pitch tax cuts to aid economy

Six weeks before the new budget year begins, Republicans who control the state Senate said they will press for tax cuts for businesses and low-income taxpayers as a way to jump-start a sluggish economy. Read More

Lawsuit alleges backroom dealings by Pa's former top judge

Two of the most controversial issues in Harrisburg in recent years -- gambling and the pay raise -- have collided in an explosive lawsuit alleging secretive backroom dealings by the state's former top judge. Read More

Sad News: DAUGHTER OF STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN DIES IN ACCIDENT

At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

More than five years ago, Chapman and his wife Mary Beth founded The Shaohannah’s Hope Ministry after bringing their first adopted daughter, Shaohannah, home from China. The ministry’s goal is to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption, and has provided grants to over 1700 families wishing to adopt orphans from around the world. Chapman is a five-time GRAMMY ® winner and 54-time Dove Award winning artist who has sold over 10 million albums and garnered 44 No. 1 singles.

PRINCIPAL RESIGNS RATHER THAN PROMOTE GAY CLUB

Explaining he is “conflicted with my professional beliefs in that we do not have any other clubs at Irmo High School based on sexual orientation, sexual preference, or sexual activity.”

The State

SAN FRANCISCO TO CHARGE GREENHOUSE GAS FEES

Here we go. Taxing many companies. (NBC 11) Meanwhile, the abnormally cold temperatures lead to record seasons for ski resorts. (The Olympian)

OBAMA LEADS MCCAIN, STRUGGLES WITH FOREIGN POLICY

An early poll shows Obama with a slight lead over McCain. (Gallup) Meanwhile, a collection of Barack gaffes. (NRO) Karl Rove offers a history lesson to Obama. (WSJ) And Obama is now realizing he can’t just call Ahmadinejad and invite him over for pizza and poker. (Guardian)

War Bill Supplements Planned Parenthood

(FRC) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has a funny way of expressing his appreciation for our troops this Memorial Day. Rather than honoring our soldiers with the funding they need, the Senate is stuffing the war supplemental bill with pro-abortion paybacks for groups like Planned Parenthood.

By fattening up the legislation with controversial earmarks, the leadership has not only jeopardized the timetable for the bill's passage but raised the possibility that it will not pass at all. Despite the urgent needs of our servicemen, Reid and his liberal allies are more concerned about funding the war against the unborn than the war in Iraq. Read more…

Africa is Becoming Catholic

Africa is the Catholic Church's region of biggest growth, with rising numbers of faithful, clergy and religious orders, according to Vatican statistics. The church's growth in the Americas has largely stalled, meanwhile, and Europe's share of the world's largest church continues to decline.
The church's statistical yearbook features a survey of worldwide Catholicism in the period 2000-2006. Though the world's proportion of baptized Catholics remained roughly the same over the seven-year period, amounting to 17.3% of the world's 1.1 billion people in 2006, its geographical distribution shifted markedly.

The most notable change was in Africa, whose share of the worldwide church rose from 12.4% to 14%. Even more dramatic was the increase in church personnel there. While the world total of Catholic priests barely increased, and the number of female religious actually fell, the church in Africa reported nearly a quarter more priests and almost one-sixth more nuns after seven years.

More

Too Cool

For years I bought records. Then it was cassette tapes and eventually I broke down and bought CD's. Now in the age of MP3's I could spend the rest of my life converting my music to computer files.
But check this out.... You have a CD music collection but you also have a huge MP3 collection that you want to take with you. The ideal solution? DMP, a portable music player that supports CD and MP3 files. Use the MP3 player as you normally would, hang it around your neck, clip it on your jeans or place it in your pocket. Otherwise open both sides and insert your favorite CD and you got yourself a CD player. Now that’s music to my ears.




Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian... First, I have not seen it. I'm sure I will, but for me there is no major rush. The film company seemed to scale back promotion of this film in Christian media in the hope of riding the wave of the 2005 film The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

So far, I've heard mixed reviews. Many don't like the changes from the book.

"The underlying messages are so important, and so vital to the story," says Douglas Gresham, Lewis' stepson and co-producer of the new film. "Which are the return to faith, truth, justice, honesty, honor, glory, personal commitment, personal responsibility. Also the message (that) no matter how far away we stray, there's only one way back."

The movie format necessitated some changes to the book's storyline."Essentially, the book is a long walk followed by a short battle," says Andrew Adamson, the film's director and producer. He rearranged the time line to put more action at the beginning and expanded the battle scene.
He also had to leave out some beloved scenes and characters. Goodbye to Greek God Bacchus and his wild girls who in the book accompany Aslan on a joyful romp; writer Stephen McFeely said the Greek gods are no longer an easily recognizable cultural reference. Other characters were squeezed out by time constraints; Lewis' deftly drawn characters of talking bears, squirrels and dogs fade to the background.

Adamson made his case for the changes to Gresham by arguing that Lewis' female characters become stronger as the book series progresses — something he attributes to Lewis' real-life romance with Gresham's mother, Joy Davidman. Gresham agreed.

Will this be as big as the first film? That remains to be seen.

The Possible VERY pro-life VP

Sarah Palin is not a household name. Unless you live in an igloo. She is the Governor of Alaska. Her name has also come up as and a possible running mate for John McCain.

But that's not the story.... In December, her doctor told her that prenatal tests indicated the child she was expecting would be born with Down syndrome. One year into her governorship and with four children at home, a child with Down syndrome would present a serious challenge. There was an easy way out. More than 80 percent of prenatal Down syndrome diagnoses end in abortion.

On April 18, Sarah Palin gave birth to a 6-pound, 2-ounce son. He was born with Down syndrome.

"We've both been very vocal about being pro-life," Palin told the Associated Press, speaking of herself and her husband, Todd. "We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential."

The day after the birth, the Palins released the following statement: "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

I can only hope that we as a nation are provided with more leaders who view all life as worthy and valued.

Audit Sheds Light on County’s 2007 Deficit

In January we asked in a Policy Brief (vol.8, no.7): ‘When did the County’s 2007 deficit appear and why?’ At that time, we had just learned of the mysterious December 31 appearance of $22.4 million from state gaming funds. The Chief Executive stated the money was needed to cover a deficit in the 2007 budget, a deficit he averred was explained thoroughly to the County Council. However, there is no record or mention in the minutes of Council meetings or Budget and Finance Committee meetings to confirm that Council had been briefed on an impending 2007 deficit. Continue

70% SAY DIVORCE IS MORALLY ACCEPTABLE


More Americans than ever believe divorce is morally acceptable, with the percentage who say this jumping to 70% in Gallup's 2008 Values and Beliefs survey, up from 59% in 2001, and breaking the previous high of 67% in 2006.

Tolerance for divorce is comparable to public acceptance of gambling, the death penalty, embryonic stem-cell research, and premarital sex. However, married men and women having an affair is tied with polygamy in last place, and ranks just slightly below cloning humans and suicide in perceived moral acceptability.

Tolerance of divorce continues to be higher among younger adults compared with those 65 and older. Also, conservatives show far less support than do self-described moderates and liberals. And barely half of Americans who say religion is very important in their lives believe divorce is morally acceptable, compared with virtually all non-religious Americans.

Full Story









CONSERVATIVES UNITE BEHIND MCCAIN OVER JUDGES

Story notes “They predict the incoming president likely will fill more vacancies on the federal bench over the next four years than at any time in recent memory, giving a Democratic administration the power to shape the courts to reflect a liberal worldview.”

Washington Times

LIEBERMAN BLASTS DEMOCRATIC PARTY

From the op-ed: By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years. Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign. In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it.

WSJ

Pump Pain

Last week I was in Chicago. The price for a gallon of gas in the windy city was priced at $4.07 a gallon! I remember saying that I would never pay over $3.00 a gallon. There I was pumping away and watching the number reach outrageous levels. I could here another other guy at the next pump groan as he watched his money fly out of his pocket.

With an election looming all the candidates want to be the hero in this saga. Yet Barack Obama opposes immediate relief and lower taxes on fuel. What kind of plan is that?

Last month, Senator John McCain proposed a summer gas tax holiday. While that's no where near a real energy policy, it's a temporary fix that would help a bit. McCain’s plan calls on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent Federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day, saving Americans over $6 billion this summer.

Unfortunately, Obama along with U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid are all content dragging their feet and doing nothing. I guess I shouldn't say "nothing". They do blame the Republicans for high fuel prices. That's convenient, yet the Democrat majority in Congress continues to propose no real solutions to lower rising fuel prices.

Obama wants to impose a windfall tax on oil companies. "Let's stick it to those rich oil guys and teach them a lesson," the crowd cheers. Here is my real fear: Obama's proposals have been tried before by former President Jimmy Carter. While the "get even" attitude is a natural reactions, the last time Congress imposed a form of the windfall tax was the final days of the Carter Administration, and the result was a substantial reduction in domestic oil production (about 5%), thus raising the price of gas at the pump; and a 10% increase in U.S. reliance on foreign oil. So if you want to stick to yourself then go for the Obama plan.

It does not take an economic genius to realize additional taxes on oil companies will be passed on to consumers resulting in even higher fuel prices.

We need a policy that allows American companies to develop our own resources, reduce foreign dependence and provide affordable energy for all. Our next president better grasp that NOW.

PA Chief Justice Threatens League of Women Voters And Their Attorney

From the story: The chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said the League of Women Voters "slanders" the court and its former chief justice in a federal lawsuit, and he warned the group and its attorney could face repercussions.

The lawsuit claims that one or more of the state Supreme Court justices used the League of Women Voters' 2005 legal challenge of the state slots law as leverage for the legislative and judicial pay raise of 2005.

In a statement Tuesday, Chief Justice Ronald Castille wrote that the suit "slanders the entire Supreme Court of Pennsylvania with baseless and irresponsible charges."

"The filing parties may have subjected themselves to sanctions, and the attorney may have subjected himself to disciplinary action," he wrote.

A law professor with expertise on state and federal courts said Castille's comments against the League and [the League of Women Voters attorney] Rossi are out of bounds.

"It's totally inappropriate for the chief justice to threaten a lawyer for allegations made in federal court against the courts or any judge," said Bruce Ledewitz of the Duquesne Law School. Read more…

Supreme Court Justice Nigro was voted out on a retention vote in 2005, Justice Newman barely survived the retention vote that same year, saved only by massive $$$ dumped into the retention election by the PAGOP. Chief Justice Cappy resigned before facing the electorate in 2009. Current Chief Justice Castille, who does not face a retention vote until 2013, is the author of the 2006 decision allowing judges to keep the pay raise that lawmakers had repealed in 2005.

In 2007, Chief Justice Castille also threatened Law Professor Ledewitz because of the criticism Ledewitz wrote about the 2006 Pay Raise decision. Justice Castille wrote that Ledewitz made "irresponsible charges" that could subject him to disciplinary action by the court. Hmmm, sounds familiar!

No easy pass -- Spanish firm's deal faces uphill fight in Legislature

The Pennsylvania Turnpike could be turned over to a private operator if Gov. Ed Rendell gets his way. A private consortium submitted a winning bid of $12.8 billion to manage the turnpike for 75 years, the governor said Monday. Read More

GEN XERS AREN’T SAVING FOR RETIREMENT

From the story: The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has calculated that 48% of Gen Xers are at risk of being unable to maintain their standard of living in retirement, says Andrew Eschtruth, the center's communication's director. Compared with the boomers, Eschtruth adds, the Gen Xers "always have the highest at-risk scores. The changing retirement landscape is gradually becoming more challenging."

USA Today

THE RELIGION OF ENVIRONMENTALISM

A great observation from Jonah Goldberg: I heard Gore on NPR the other day. He was asked what he made of evangelical pastor Joseph Hagee's absurd comment that Hurricane Katrina was God's wrath for New Orleans' sexual depravity. Naturally, Gore chuckled at such backwardness. But then the Nobel laureate went on to blame Katrina on man's energy sinfulness. It struck me that the two men were not so different. If only canoodling residents of the Big Easy had adhered to "The Greenpeace Guide to Environmentally Friendly Sex." (LA Times)

Meanwhile, a list of 31,000 scientists who disagree with all this global warming hysteria. (OISM)

OREGON, KENTUCKY VOTE TODAY

Obama expected to win Oregon, Hillary should take Kentucky. (FOX News)

The latest polls. (Oregon, Kentucky)

Hillary claims that, when Florida and Michigan are counted, she leads in the popular vote. (NY Times) Then comes word that Karl Rove has determined Hillary has a better chance against McCain than does Obama. (ABC News) The Rove maps and charts. (ABC News)

Farm Bill Billions

By Paul M. Weyrich
I was interviewing one of the most liberal Democrats in the House of Representatives, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), when suddenly he surprised me by saying, “I hope the President vetoes the farm bill and if he does I’ll try to round up votes on my side of the aisle to sustain the veto.” He went on to state that if the veto is sustained, “then we can start over and do it right.”

Indeed, the Heritage Foundation just issued a report entitled “Seven Reasons to Veto the Farm Bill.”

The author, Brian Riedl, points out that since the last farm bill was enacted in 2002 net farm income has more than doubled. Yet the new bill expands farm subsidies by some $25 billion. Moreover, the majority of these subsidies go to commercial farmers with an average income of $200,000 and a net worth of around $2 million. But the new bill continues the subsidies to multimillionaires and large agribusinesses.

This new bill also repeals income limits so some wealthy farmers will now be able to collect millions more than they are now receiving in annual subsidies.

House Rules require a PAYGO approach, so theoretically an increase in spending in a new bill requires a decrease in spending elsewhere. But the Congressional Budget Office reported that the bill is filled with gimmicks to get around the PAYGO requirements.

This bill, in addition, increases subsidy rates. As Riedl points out, despite sky-high crop prices, subsidy rates are increased for more than a dozen crops. So if prices drop from the current high levels subsidies would be triggered.

And no matter how high corn prices soar, the direct payment program states Riedl, “would force taxpayers to send $2 billion in direct payments to corn farmers every year. Wheat farmers would receive $1 billion and farmers of other crops would receive an additional $2 billion.”

The bill, which Blumenauer wants the President to veto, would create a new permanent disaster-aid program. The cost? $3.8 billion over five years. Farmers already receive $20 billion in annual commodity and conservation subsidies plus an additional $3 billion in crop insurance subsidies.

Finally, the bill utterly fails to modernize farm policy for the 21st Century. We are still operating within the framework established by FDR in the 1930s. Even Canada and Australia have updated their farm programs by substituting insurance plans instead of massive subsidies to even out the fluctuations caused by weather and pest invasions.

The problem for President George W. Bush is that the farm bill passed both Houses of Congress by veto-proof majorities. That would appear to doom the effectiveness of the President’s veto. But not necessarily. I recall when President Richard M. Nixon vetoed the Brademas Child Development Bill in 1971. The bill had passed with a single no vote in the House and only five no votes in the Senate. Yet after extraordinary arm-twisting the President’s veto was sustained in both Houses of Congress. Assuming the President does veto the farm bill, whether the veto is sustained likely will depend upon how much effort the President and his people are willing to work on the effort.

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

Federal Suit: PA Supreme Court Justice Cappy Traded Gambling Ruling For Judicial Pay Raises

From the story: The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging that former Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy negotiated a ruling in favor of legalized gambling in the state in exchange for legislative approval for a judicial pay raise.

The suit in U.S. Middle District Court cites unnamed legislators as providing information that former Chief Justice Cappy entered into "secret negotiations" with "various legislative leaders in the Pennsylvania General Assembly." Read More...

This is encouraging. It was previously published that PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Cappy was with the governor and legislative leaders working together regarding the pay raise legislation. So much for the separation of powers.

Add the fact that the slots legislation appeared to violate the "Original Purpose" and "Single Subject" rules of Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution. On the July 4th weekend of 2004, a single-page, 33-line bill on background checks for people who work at the tracks was on its third consideration. Those 33 lines were crossed off and the bill was morphed into 144 pages that became the legislation to legalize slots in Pennsylvania. It passed that same weekend.

Despite the obvious constitutional issues, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in June of 2005 that the slots legislation was passed in compliance with the constitution.


With the Attorney General’s investigation into “Bonusgate”, perhaps more state representatives and senators are now willing to sing.

Key Changes in the Pittsburgh Area’s Job Mix

The past couple of months have seen a distinct pickup in the pace of 12 month gains in payroll employment in the Pittsburgh region. Impressive growth in health care continues along with large gains in the professional and business services category account for the bulk of the 8,000 rise from March 2007 to March 2008. Construction also enjoyed a solid increase over the last 12 months. Continue

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE EMERGENT CHURCH?

Plenty, according to one Wheaton grad and New York Times employee. From the column: Because emergent beliefs are so amorphous—as a result of complying to postmodernism—it is impossible for its teachers to assert their beliefs absolutely. As a result, real conviction is one of the great casualties of emergence. Writers such as Brian McClaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Peter Rollins, and Rob Bell are quick to write off historical doctrines and hesitant to assert anything other than approximate truths. Thus the emergent tone is dismissive, even when under the guise of profundity. And many of the challenges and inconsistencies of the emergent movement stem from the fact that it has intentionally not built itself on any foundation—an effort to avoid proposition, metanarrative, and tradition (First Things).

OBAMA COURTS RELIGIOUS VOTE

The controversy over Obama’s former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has not stopped Obama from pandering to the Christian vote—at least in Kentucky. From the story: In Kentucky, he is making a direct appeal to Evangelicals with flyers that mention his conversion experience and they highlight a big old cross. Remember Mike Huckabee’s supposed subliminal cross in his Christmas campaign ad? Well, the Obama campaign ditches the subliminal and goes for the in your face cross (CBN News). It will be interesting to see if the MSM is as critical of Obama as it was of Huckabee (Fox News).

Obama Wins

Obama won the endoresment of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Sen. Barack Obama. He walso won the title of being the most pro-abortion candidate. It a tug-o-war between abortion fans as and ally of NARAL, Emily's List, continues to support Clinton.

I think it is tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton," said Emily's List President Ellen Malcolm. "[She helped force] approval of Plan B and... spoke during the Supreme Court nomination about the importance of protecting Roe v. Wade..." Both Clinton and Obama scored a 100% on the voting scorecard of abortion interest groups. Both have voted against a partial-birth abortion ban. But only one has the ability to win, and NARAL's money will literally be on Obama.

To pundits, this is yet another indication that the sun is setting on Clinton's candidacy. Still, no matter who prevails, the Democratic nominee will be the most radical pro-abortion candidate this country has ever seen.

Action Alert: Race for Marriage

The California Supreme Court 4-3 decision ruled that the California state statute defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional. That means the voice of the people has been called " unconstitutional".

The ruling also means that California now joins several other states where courts have ordered the legal recognition of same-sex weddings. If you think this only matter to those living in California, you could not be more wrong. Here is just apiece of the court decision: "We cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."

The California decision shows exactly what we want to avoid here in Pennsylvania ---judges overturning a state statute defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It's up to the people to decide the definition of marriage, not judges and not politicians. A state constitutional amendment is the only way to protect marriage in Pennsylvania.

SB 1250, the proposed marriage protection amendment, would add the following language to the Pennsylvania Constitution: "No union other than a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage or the functional equivalent of marriage by the Commonwealth."

Whether or not Pennsylvania voters get to vote on the marriage amendment next year depends on the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and especially House Speaker Dennis O'Brien. The scheduled vote on SB 1250 in the State Senate was put on hold last week when, as reported by the Philadelphia Gay News.

The bill was tabled after Speaker of the House Rep. Dennis O'Brien (R-169th Dist.) contacted Republican senators during the May 6 debate and informed them that if introduced in the House, the bill would be sent directly to the State Government Committee. Rep. Babette Josephs (D-182nd Dist.), chair of the committee, has pledged to kill the measure.

Wanting the amendment to succeed, Sen. Brubaker asked his colleagues to hold off on a vote until the House leadership can be convinced by citizen contacts to place the bill in a committee where it can have a fair up or down vote. It is vitally important that Speaker O'Brien rescind his threat to send the bill to its death.

Opponents of the marriage amendment prefer that judges make the decision about marriage like they've done in California and Massachusetts, not you the voter. Here in Pennsylvania, marriage amendment opponents say it is not necessary, since we already have a law on the books defining marriage as the union of husband and wife. Well, so did California, a law passed by 61% vote of the people. Now that law is gone - ruled unconstitutional by four judges.

Throughout the last three months, opponents have tried a series of political maneuvers and made a number of false claims in a desperate attempt to block Pennsylvania voters from deciding the definition of marriage. That's why your action today is vitally important.

ACTION ITEMS:
Contact: Speaker of the House Dennis O'Brien (call 717-787-4610 or email dobrien@pahousegop.com) What to say: "Please support SB 1250. When the amendment comes over from the Senate, will you please place the bill into the House Judiciary Committee." Let us know you contacted him so we can have a good idea of the number of calls getting to the Speaker.

Contact: Majority Leader Bill DeWeese (call 717-783-3797 or email repbilldeweese@pahouse.net) What to Say: "I support SB 1250. As House Majority Leader, would you please tell Speaker Dennis O'Brien to assign SB 1250 to the Judiciary committee. SB 1250 deserves a vote so please do all that you can to see it pass."

Contact: Majority Whip Keith McCall (call 717-783-1375 or email kmccall@pahouse.net) What to Say: "I support SB 1250. Would you please tell Speaker Dennis O'Brien to assign SB 1250 to the Judiciary committee where it will be brought up for a vote in a timely fashion when it comes over from the Senate. SB 1250 deserves a vote so please do all that you can to see it pass."

Contact: your State Representative (Use our Citizen Action Center to find their name and contact information)What to Say: "Would you please support SB 1250 without any changes or amendments. Also, would you to tell your leaders in the House and Senate to allow it to come up for a vote."

Contact: your State Senator (Use our Citizen Action Center to find their name and contact information)What to Say: "Would you please support SB 1250 without any changes or amendment. How do you intend to vote on SB 1250?

Contact: Sen. Mike Brubaker (email mbrubaker@pasen.gov) and Sen. John Gordner (email jgordner@pasen.gov) What to Say: "Thank you so much for your extraordinary leadership on SB 1250"


Thank you for all your efforts to help protect marriage in Pennsylvania!

LA TIMES FEATURES JUDGE WHO HELPED USSHER IN CALIFORNIA GAY MARRIAGE

Treating him like a hero. (LA Times) Another story notes “The California Supreme Court's 4-3 decision last Thursday to create homosexual marriage was "a blockbuster" that sent a shockwave that will eventually reverberate in every state of the union, according to legal experts.” (CNS News)

Back Online

My thanks go out to Jim Powers for keeping things updated for a few days. I traveled with my family to Chicago to bid farewell to my Grandfather who passed away. He was 89 and leaves a wonderful legacy in 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

McCain Rebuffs Dobson: Will Evangelicals Bolt?

From the story: Sen. John McCain's campaign has so far turned a deaf ear to invitations to meet with politically powerful evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson at his Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., raising the possibility that the nation's sizable evangelical bloc will sit out the presidential race in November.

The move would all but assure the election of Sen. Barack Obama, columnist Robert Novak argues in a recent column.

Noting that Dobson has indicated he can't support McCain for president, Novak writes that Dobson's opposition to McCain "reflects continued resistance to the prospective presidential nominee among Christian conservatives who are unhappy with McCain's current positions on stem-cell research, immigration and global warming, not to mention his past sponsorship of campaign-finance reform." Read more…

State of Pennsylvania’s Marriage Protection Amendment

Coming on the heals of the California Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, the Pennsylvania Senate is playing a shell game with the MPA effort in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Senate has the ball in their court, but is stalling, claiming that they need certain commitments from the Pennsylvania House before continuing. This is simply not true!

The MPA, House Bill 1250, is in the Senate, it is only voted upon by the Senate members. It needs to clear the Senate before a House vote can occur. Right now, there is NOTHING that the PA House needs to do in order for the Senate to vote.

Below is an excellent “lay of the land” by Peg Luksik:

The tactic is to stall the bill between the chambers, putting grassroots activists in a "no-man's land". The Senate side of this tactic could say they needed a particular commitment from the House before they could act, and the House side could claim that since they didn't have the bill at all, no promises could be made. The citizens were then effectively trapped between the chambers with no effective place to go. At the moment, that tactic is working.

THE REALITY IS THAT THE SENATE PASSES BILLS ALL THE TIME THAT DO NOT GET THROUGH THE HOUSE, AND VICE VERSA. EACH CHAMBER IS SEPARATE FROM THE OTHER. AND RIGHT NOW WE ARE WORKING ON A BILL IN THE SENATE. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THAT BILL GETS TO THE HOUSE SIDE IS OUR PROBLEM, NOT THE SENATORS' PROBLEM.

With that in mind, here is what we need to do:

1. Tell your Senator that if the bill doesn't get out of the Senate, the arguments about the House's possible actions are moot. Our concern today is to get the bill out of the Senate. And you need your Senator to agree to three votes.

2. The first vote we need is to take the bill off the table. We need 26 votes. If we win this vote, we need Sen. Pileggi to run the bill. He has 10 days to put it on the calendar. Senator Pileggi needs to hear from you so he knows that a vote in the Senate is necessary. If he, or any other Senator, mentions the House, tell them that we will deal with the House when the bill gets there - his job is to get it there.

3. The second vote is to oppose the Vance amendment. We only need 25 votes here because when the chamber is tied, the NO's win. Any amendment needs at least 26 votes to pass. [Senator] Vance’s amendment would allow for civil unions, gutting the heart of the bill. That is the amendment that must be defeated.

4. The last vote is passage of SB 1250 itself. We need 26 votes here. Contact your Senator to get a commitment on the three votes (YES on taking it off the table, NO on Vance, YES on 1250).

California Marriage Law: 4,618,673 to Four

(FRC) After a brief period of judicial restraint, California voters watched in horror this afternoon as judicial activism returned with a vengeance in one of the most egregious rulings in American jurisprudence. It took just four activist judges to overturn the historical definition of marriage, not to mention the vote of more than four and a half million Californians, as the state supreme court issued a much-anticipated ruling on the question of same-sex "marriage."

By a 4-3 margin, the justices struck down a law, adopted by 61 percent of voters in 2000, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. By imposing same-sex "marriage" on voters, the California Supreme Court knowingly usurped the right of the people to effect change in public policy. This outcome is even more troubling than Massachusetts', in that California voters had already won the right to put a marriage protection amendment on the ballot in November.

How can this be? The good folks at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette emphatically stated that the effort to protect traditional marriage with a constitutional amendment in Pennsylvania was not needed. This is from the Post Gazette just 4 days ago:

“Because marriage in Pennsylvania is already defined as the union of one man and one woman -- due to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- the effort to pass a constitutional amendment to make the same point was always pointless. The idea that activist judges might overturn existing law in this socially conservative state never deserved to be taken seriously.”

So we have no worries because we live in a “socially conservative state”. Hardly reassuring, since the 3 of the 4 California judges voting to approve gay marriage were Republicans.

School 'Stonewalls' Over Pregnancy Poll

(WorldNetDaily) Parents whose children attend a Mississippi school embroiled in controversy after a science teacher had 6th-graders vote on who was most likely to become pregnant – or be dead – by age 19 say officials now are stonewalling them.

Parent Curtis Lyons wants to see the assignment given his daughter, but is being told he won't be allowed to review it.

"I have a right to see that assignment," he told WND today, "but I've been refused."

The controversy erupted when a science teacher at Chastain Middle School in Jackson, Miss., asked 6th-graders to vote from among themselves who was the most likely to be pregnant, infected with HIV, or dead by the age of 19.

The students initially refused to vote, but the teacher overruled them. The 6th-graders then were horrified to see their names listed on a chalkboard, ranked in lists for everyone to see.

Parents like Lyons, whose 12-year-old daughter was voted among those most likely to be pregnant, were outraged. Lyons' concerns were heightened when he sought to see the assignments his daughter's class was given, and he discovered the school had confiscated them. Read more…

Zogby Poll: 48% of Voters Dissatisfied With Candidates

From the story: Nearly half of likely voters — 48 percent — are not satisfied with the current candidates for president, with Republicans and conservative voters the most unhappy about their likely candidate choices in November, a new nationwide Zogby Interactive poll shows.

The vast majority of conservatives (76 percent) and Republicans (76 percent) expressed significant dissatisfaction with the current candidates, as did more than half of political independents (55 percent).

Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, and Pro-Pelosi

(FRC): The pundits are painting the latest special election in Mississippi as the harbinger of doom for the Republican Party in the fall. A closer look at yesterday's runoff election for Mississippi's 1st Congressional District shows that the Democrats' strategy is starting to pay dividends in red states. To help unseat Republicans, Democrats are infusing more Dixiecrats--candidates that are essentially Republican on the core social issues but Democratic in party affiliation--into local races across the country.

In this instance, Mississippi's two candidates, Travis Childers (D) and Greg Davis (R), were nearly identical on key social issues like abortion, marriage, and gun rights. In the end, Davis's inability to distinguish himself ideologically resulted in a victory for Childers, turning over a longtime GOP seat to Democrats.

The Democrats have used this same tactic to their advantage in Louisiana and Illinois, where traditional Republicans lost by narrow margins to blue "conservatives" in districts that have historically belonged to the GOP. The unfortunate reality is that once these Democrats reach Congress, they cast votes for liberal leaders like Nancy Pelosi.

Burgeoning Polar Bear Population Listed as Threatened

From the story - Even though polar bears have more than doubled in number in recent decades, the federal government has decided to list them as a "threatened" species.

"Today's decision is based on three findings," [Interior Secretary Dirk] Kempthorne said, explaining the government's logic. "First, sea ice is vital to polar bear survival. Second, the polar bear's sea-ice habitat has dramatically melted in recent decades. Third, computer models suggest sea ice is likely to further recede in the future." Read more…

Fourth, we must prevent any and all future oil drilling in the arctic regions….

Write for PowerBlog!

I'm currently looking to add a few writers to our line up here. If you are interested in sharing your comments on news, politics or religion with PowerBlog! readers please email me.

There's no money involved but often times posts here are picked up by other sources. I'll be taking a brief blogging break soon and would like to provide an opportunity for contributors to join us.
Email me your name and writing interests. Feel free to include samples or a web link.
Thanks,
Powerball

Did gaming board break law?

Six state lawmakers called Tuesday for the state attorney general to investigate whether state gaming regulators broke the law when they, according to sources, ordered their investigators to change a background report on Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples. Read More

Get ready for less college aid

For thousands of Pennsylvania college students, turmoil in the financial aid sector will hit home this fall, with average state grants that could be $500 smaller than last year, the head of the state's loan agency said yesterday. Read More

Save the Earth.... DIE

If you really want a pristine planet then we must get rid of all the humans messing it up. That's the opinion of a new organization called the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

I can't make this stuff up! They are recruiting people to remain childless for "the benefit of the Earth." I'm really thankful these folks have at least opted out of reproducing but I'm not signing up for their group.

It sound crazy to most people, but we do have birth rates falling well below replacement levels in some countries. While this can be blamed on several factors ranging from the sexual revolution to delayed childbearing, we can't overlook the impact that the global warming debate has had on society's opinion of the family.

The green crowd continues to twist the so-called "climate crisis" into an excuse to push their agenda of population control. As a result, children are being viewed by some not as blessings but burdens who consume precious natural resources.

I don't understand how we have arrived at this way of thinking. We don't value human life. Abortions are fine. Yet when it comes to polar bears and spotted owls it's a different story.

We have lived far too long pretending that human life does not matter. If we don't change our thinking now, we do in fact volunteer for our own extinction.

You Decide

Years ago I worked at a large concert venue. The line for the restroom was always much longer for the women. Women in dire need would often attempt to sneak in and use the men's room. That can lead to trouble....

So from time to time it was my job to make sure that everyone went where they were supposed to go.

I'll never forget seeing this person with long flowing blond hair heading into the men's room. As I went to stop "her" I discovered it was not a her, but a biker dude with long blond hair. He was nice about it and went on his way without trying to kill me.

Take a look at the photo. You see this person going into the woman's restroom and you have one second to decide if it's a man or woman. A bouncer guessed Man and it cost $35,000. A restaurant has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit with Khadijah Farmer, a lesbian who said a bouncer chased her out of the women's bathroom and forced her to leave because she looked masculine. Does she not own a mirror? Lady, you DO look masculine!

Farmer said the confrontation occurred after she attended New York City's annual Gay Pride march. While she may be proud to be gay, she should be ashamed of herself for expecting people to understand her twisted view of reality. I hope she uses that money for a make over and buys a dress or something.

Story

MOHLER RESPONDS TO EVANGELICAL MANIFESTO

From Mohler: In the end, I must judge "An Evangelical Manifesto" to be too expansive in terms of public relations and too thin in terms of theology. I admire so much of what this document states and represents, but I cannot accept it as a whole. I want it to be even more theological, and to be far more specific about the Gospel, I agree with the framers that Evangelicals should be defined theologically, rather than politically, culturally, or socially. This document will have to be much more theological for it to accomplish its own stated purpose. (Albert Mohler)

DEMOCRATS VOTE TO INCREASE TAXES

With Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross insisting the victims are “not going to miss it.”

If any of you has money that you are not going to miss please email me for an address where to send it!

AP

CLINTON WINS IN WEST VIRGINIA

The numbers. (CNN) Story notes “the Clinton win prolongs the race and fuels the New York senator’s argument that she is able to carry groups that will be important to Democrats in November.” (FOX News)

One telling statement from an exit poll: Though Obama has denounced his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for saying the U.S. invited the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and other statements, half said they believed the Illinois senator shares Wright's views a lot or somewhat. Eight in 10 of them backed Clinton. (Washington Times)

Time Magazine blames racism. (Time)

Graduation Exam Plan Sparks Great Debate

From the story: The plan to require Pennsylvania high school students to pass graduation competency exams will be the hot topic at a state Senate Education Committee hearing in Harrisburg today.

Much of today's testimony, including that of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association, is expected to be negative toward the state Board of Education's plan to require high school students to pass certain tests to graduate, beginning with the class of 2014.

The PSEA yesterday issued a release stating that 22 statewide organizations oppose the plan and 130 school boards have passed resolutions against it. Critics argue it's unfair to allow the tests alone to prevent graduation and that the state is taking away local control. Read more….

This may be the only time that I’ll ever agree with the PSBA and PSEA, but for different reasons. The assessment being used by the PA Dept. of Education, the PSSA, has a long sorry history of asking non-academic, psychological questions. It is subjectively scored, and last time that I looked, cost about 3 times as much as other comparable tests.

John Hagee Issues Apology to Catholics

Rev. John C. Hagee, the evangelist whose anti-Catholic remarks became a scandal when the Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, received his endorsement with great fanfare, has issued a letter expressing regret for “any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.”

He wrote: “In my zeal to oppose anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its ugly forms, I have often emphasized the darkest chapters in the history of Catholic and Protestant relations with the Jews. In the process, I may have contributed to the mistaken impression that the anti-Jewish violence of the Crusades and the Inquisition defines the Catholic Church. It does not.”

‘‘Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and Evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.’’

This comes amid an outbreak of respect for the Catholic church. Billy Graham started the trend sharing with CNN host Larry King the revelation that he is "at home in the Catholic Church." Graham, also praised the Pope as, "The moral voice of the 20th Century."

Televangelist Jack Van Impe says he's discovered the "spiritual riches" that are found only in Roman Catholicism and in the Papacy. Van Impe told his TBN TV audience, holding high the New Catholic Catechism. "The Catholic doctrines are right on".

The recent visit of Pope Benedict to America drew praise from several Christian leaders.

While this is all great news, it been a long time coming. In 1976 a group of Evangelical leaders began meeting to discuss historic Christianity and ways in which the Evangelical tradition could more fully embrace the ancient faith. From those meetings, led by Dr. Robert Webber, the group which included Dr. Thomas Howard, Peter Gillquist and others, issued a document called The Chicago Call. The Chicago Call was a formal appeal to Evangelicals for the recovery of theology and practices of historic Christianity, calling them to a faith that was truly Catholic as well as Evangelical.

“We believe” The Chicago Call states, “that today Evangelicals are hindered from achieving full maturity by a reduction of the historic faith. There is, therefore, a pressing need to reflect upon the substance of the biblical and historic faith and to recover the fullness of this heritage.”

Some of the most influential figures in Catholic apologetics aimed at the protestant mindset come from the Evangelical world. Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, Mark Shea, Tim Curry, and many others were evangelical pastors and leaders whose hearts were captured by historic Faith.

As denominations continue to stray from the traditional teachings of the church, as mutli-media presentations replace the gospel and as self proclaimed pastors fight to have the largest church, the historic faith will remain a beacon to those who truly seek.

Plan to hand out 250,000 Bibles

If all goes according to plan, on Sept. 7 when Allegheny County subscribers to the Post-Gazette unwrap their Sunday paper, they will find a New Testament in an advertising pouch like those used for sample soaps or cereals.

The New International Version translation will have a front cover showing the Golden Triangle, a back cover photograph of Steelers kneeling in prayer and will include testimonies of well-known Pittsburghers. The goal is to reach 250,000 subscribers in Allegheny County and some border communities. If they raise enough money, they would like to add deliveries to 150,000 non-subscribers.

Pittsburgh will be the sixth city for CityReachers, a program of the International Bible Society based in Colorado Springs. After a pilot project there in 2004, the Bible society hired the Barna Research Group to measure its impact.

Based on the Barna findings, Pittsburgh organizers project that a distribution of 400,000 here would result in 36,400 people reading the Bible more often or for the first time; 19,809 making a commitment or recommitment to the Christian faith; 11.207 attending church more often; and 4,385 attending for the first time.

Story

Taxpayer bill in Pa.'s Bonusgate grows

First, taxpayers footed large, secretive government bonuses to legislative staffers. Now, more than a year into a criminal probe known as Bonusgate, the General Assembly's cost to tighten ethical standards and cope with the scandal has topped the $1 million mark and is growing. Read More

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Come up with your own caption.



Kenneth Copeland Takes Investigation Online

In view of the recent inquiries by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, into the affairs of six churches that preach the Word of Faith, name it and claim it message, Fort Worth-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries has launched BelieversStandUnited.com.

According to a press release,the web site is designed to provide up-to-date information about and insight into the inquiry. In November 2007, Kenneth Copeland Ministries/Eagle Mountain International Church (KCM) and its founders, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, along with five other churches, received letters of inquiry from Sen. Grassley's office.

Marriage Protection Amendment Update

After the PA Marriage Protection Amendment, SB 1250, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 10-4 vote and the Appropriations Committee by a 18-8 vote, it ran into a vicious onslaught of opposition led by Sen. Vincent Fumo when it got to the full Senate. Numerous amendments unrelated to the institution of marriage were file by those opposed to the bill, and several weakening amendments were going to be offered to weaken the bill’s protections.

The vote to table the measure passed when Sen. Brubaker, prime sponsor of the bill, learned that it was destined to go to the House State Government Committee, whose chairwoman, Rep. Babette Josephs, has denounced the proposal and threatened to “kill” it in her committee.

We must pass SB 1250 in the Senate!! – Please continue to contact the Senate Members with the message – please bring the Marriage Amendment for a vote. It must pass both the Senate and House before June 30, so that it can pass a second time in next session and then the people of PA will have their say when it goes to popular vote as a referendum.

At this time 27 states have constitutional safeguards for marriage. We need to continue to educate the public on the need for an amendment to protect marriage in Pennsylvania.

Robinson Township Can’t Stand Prosperity

It happens quite often: communities seek to attract development by touting their advantages, such as location and tax rates. If they are successful the tax revenues roll in, and the elected officials conveniently find new ways to spend the money. Then, when times get tough, they hatch new plans to tax the very development they tried so hard to get in the first place. Witness the recent case of Robinson Township, where a tax on commercial parking spaces has been proposed. Continue

BARR ANNOUNCES HE’LL RUN AS LIBERTARIAN

Story notes “The former Georgia congressman, who announced his plans at a press conference, must first win the Libertarian Party's nomination before throwing himself into the 2008 field for real.” (AP)

Yeah that reality thing might be a problem for Barr.

TOWN UPSET OVER CHURCH WANTING CROSS

The story opens: The founders of Columbia were convinced that religion, like everything else in the planned community envisioned as a suburban utopia, should be harmonious and inclusive. So, later: The Rev. R. Whitfield "Whitty" Bass, pastor of St. John United, said he doesn't see why anyone would be offended by a cross on the exterior of a building. "The cross is a symbol of freedom," he said. But others feel just as strongly that the cross will be an offense to the idea of interfaith centers as sanctuaries of inclusion.

Washington Post

STORY: HUCKABEE IS MCCAIN’S TOP VP CHOICE

Story explains “here is the logic of picking Huckabee: 1) He is a great campaigner and communicator who could both shore up support in the South among social conservatives (Huckabee is a former Baptist minister) and appeal to working-class voters in the critical "Big 10" states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio. 2) As any pollster knows, voters search for candidates who "care about people like me," and Huckabee would probably score a lot higher on that quality than millionaire investor Mitt Romney. Plus, given all the turmoil on Wall Street, 2008 would seem to be a bad year to pick a former investment banker for veep. 3) Economic conservatives and supply-siders may balk, but the threat of four years of Obamanomics and higher investment, income, and corporate taxes might be enough to keep them on board.

US News