Nov 27, 2011

Three Percent Cost of Living Raises Simply Outrageous

In case you missed it, last Thursday members of our state legislature, Governor Tom Corbett, and elected officials in the executive branch just milked taxpayers here in Pennsylvania once again by accepting another three percent annual cost of living increase.

In a state currently struggling with a high unemployment rate hovering around 8.1% and more economic uncertainty, it is hard to phantom just how state lawmakers in Harrisburg can justify another increase in their salaries. This latest cost of living increase now outs that base salary of a state lawmaker above 80, 000 dollars a year. A annual salary that is double the average income of working families in Pennsylvania.

Now some legislators point out each year when they receive their annual cost of living raise how they immediately write a check to their favorite charity that equals the amount of the raise. It is really funny to see how proud they are of giving our hard earned money to a charity of their choice like that will gain them some favor in all of this.

Maybe it is time for our elected leaders Harrisburg to do the right thing for a change. They need to repeal the 1995 law that created the automatic cost of living raises in the first place. It is time for average working families in Pennsylvania to demand this reform.

The bottom line here is do our lawmakers deserve a three percent pay raise every year when all we hear about is corruption and scandal in Harrisburg? The answer is a resounding no! The repeal will go a long way of restoring some faith in Harrisburg after all the scandals and corruption that have plagued the legislator over the past six years.


EDITORIAL: Repeal automatic cost-of-living raises for Pa. legislators (The Express-Times Opinion Staff)

The Rise of Newt Gingrich

Guest Column by Lowman S. Henry,

The race for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination has begun to resemble a skeet shooting contest. Skeet is a competitive sport wherein clay disks are flung into the air at various angles and speeds. Contestants armed with rifles shoot them out of the air. GOP presidential candidates this primary season should be easily able to identify with the clay pigeons.

Since its earliest days the narrative of the Republican Presidential race has been that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the establishment front-runner. His support has not risen to more than about 30% in the polls, thus the competition has been among the other candidates to become the "not Mitt," or the clear alternative to Romney.

Over the past few months various candidates have assumed that role, only to find their candidacy shattered into a thousand pieces by the media and opponents armed with rhetorical rifles. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann took her turn in the spotlight after winning the Ames straw poll in Iowa. She melted under the scrutiny. Texas Governor Rick Perry seemed ready for the role, until he actually started talking. Then it was former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who appeared to have staying power until allegations of sexual harassment took the luster off his candidacy.

The reigning "not Mitt" is former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich's campaign had been on life supports a couple of months ago after most of his staff resigned, but in recent days he has surged into the lead in both national polls and those in Iowa. As Newt soars through the sky, skeet shooters are taking aim.

But, not all clay pigeons get hit and some survive the game intact. Newt Gingrich may be the one that gets away. Why? Largely because unlike Bachmann, Perry and Cain; Gingrich has been on the political scene for decades. His baggage, especially the personal foibles, is already well known by the media and by the electorate. Details of his complex web of business activities are sure to emerge, but are unlikely to dent his soaring popularity.

Gingrich's policy positions are also well known. He has written and spoken more extensively than all of the other candidates and has been a font of policy ideas, many of them innovative and all well-reasoned. Since the beginning of the race, even when his candidacy was imploding, the former speaker has been generally acknowledged as the smartest man in the field with many viewing him as the candidate likely to make the best president, but not the most electable nominee.

The endless string of presidential debates, the source of mortal blows to Perry's candidacy; have propelled Gingrich to new prominence. While the other candidates engage in petty bickering, sniping at each other, Gingrich has played the role of elder statesman preferring instead to be critical of the Obama Administration's policies. Primary voters tend to be more engaged than the electorate at large and appear to be reacting positively to Gingrich's issue-based approach.

The challenge now for the Gingrich campaign is to become organized enough to take advantage of his surge in the polls. The campaign had lagged in fundraising, although that is picking up as he becomes more established in the top tier of candidates. More than $4 million has flowed into his coffers over the past six weeks. Even some of the staffers who abandoned him when Perry was the flavor of the day have returned.

Given that at any point in time over 70% of Republicans have preferred some else to Romney, it is possible early primary victories by Gingrich could have a wave effect with momentum propelling him forward even while he lacks in money and paid staff. Such a scenario would negate Romney's early advantages and render him an also ran.

For now, Romney remains the clear front-runner in terms of money and organization, but his tightly scripted low-risk campaign has yet to attract in any big numbers the supporters of other candidates who have surged and ebbed. The bulk of GOP primary voters still remains in search of a "not Mitt" and it is quite possible Newt Gingrich may be the last man standing.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is

Nov 6, 2011

Where in the world is PennPatriot?

Dear PennPatriot Blog visitors,

I'm sure if you visit this blog on a regular basis you must be wondering by now, what the heck happened to PennPatriot, one of Pennsylvania's leading conservative bloggers? Yes, I haven't posted on or updated this blog for about a month now, which truly is uncharacteristic of me considering I have been blogging since 2004. For this lack of attention recently, I have to truly apologize to our reader's and explain.

No, I did not take time off from blogging to join the Wall Street protestors ;) That rumor has been going around.

The truth is, I've decided to take a break from blogging on a day to day basis. Sometimes you just need to do this as a blogger. Updating a website isn't as easy as people think. Contrary to popular belief, most bloggers are not lazy bums who live in the basement of there parents house. We have our day jobs, families, and so on just like everyone else. We just choose to participate in the political process in a unique and innovative way. Blogging truly does takes up a lot of your time and energy. Sometimes taking a break and getting away from the "day-to-day" news cycle clears your head and gives you a new perspective.

Also during this past month I have also started a new job. Adjusting to a new schedule and all the stress that comes with a new job has taken up a lot of my focus recently. But, I have to say that I am truly blessed to finally find a job after a year and a half of looking in this economy. Maybe the economy is finally getting moving again.

As for blogging, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am back. Yes, I just can't help myself. Blogging is my addiction. So look forward to a re-energized PennPatriot as we head into the 2012 elections.

Yours truly,

Randy Potter
PennPatriot Blog