Jan 31, 2012

State Representative Rick Geist to face primary challenge

Breaking News: John McGinnis host of WRTA's "Open Mic" is set to challenge longtime State Representative Rick Geist for the republican nomination this Spring here in the 79th legislative district. Doug Herendeen the host of WRTA's "The 11th Hour" has confirmed that Mr. McGinnis has resigned as host of "Open Mic" to focus on challenging Geist.

Geist is one of Harrisburg's "most senior" and powerful lawmakers and he is currently serving out his 17th consecutive two-year term in the state legislature. Geist serves as the Chairman of the the State House Transportation Committee. In his bio on his legislative website, Geist highlights that he is currently at "top of the seniority list in the House Republican Caucus."In addition to his Chairmanship, he serves as Majority Chairman of the Committee on Committees and is a member of the Commerce and Rules committees. Although powerful indeed, Geist hasn't faced a serious primary challenger in ages.

Geist's challenger, John McGinnis, is also an Associate Professor of Finance at Penn State Altoona. He has hosted "Open Mic" for almost five years now. John is heavily involved in the Blair County Tea Party and serves as Vice-President on the group's Board of Directors. The group often viewed by the GOP establishment here in Blair County as political outsiders, has helped John build some political momentum for a serious run against Geist who is now the local party's political patriarch since the defeat of Senate Pro Temp, Bob Jubelirer.

This race will be an interesting to follow since this is Geist's first primary challenger since he voted for the July 7, 2005 pay raise and took the "unvouchered expenses" provision at the time. Because of the voter outrage and backlash the law was repealed, but it is hard to predict whether or not voters in the 79th district still feel the urge to hold him accountable like they did Jubelirer.

WRTA: Finance Professor, Former WRTA Host to Challenge Representative Rick Geist

Jan 27, 2012

Members of the Penn State Board of Trustees must be held accountable for their actions

After watching the memorial service yesterday that celebrated Joe Paterno's life, I ask how can anyone with any common sense at all think that Joe Paterno could have known exactly what Mike McQueary allegedly thought he may have seen and not have done something more about it? Joe Paterno made Penn State University what it is today. He was much more than a Football Coach. Without Joe they would not have the prestigious board to sit on. Joe Paterno, as a single individual, did more for Penn State than the Board of Trustees collectively.

The people who spoke yesterday at his memorial knew Joe. The real Joe, and that Joe never would have let anything happen to any child. Allegations are not findings of fact, they remain only accusations until an impartial hearing of the facts in a court of law results in, or fails to demonstrate, a finding of guilt.

It is essential to note several things that are facts: 1. Joe Paterno did not harm a child (and, in fact, he has contributed to many young men becoming responsible adults and fathers). 2. Joe Paterno did what is required in the State of Pennsylvania when an educator has a reasonable belief that a child has been abused or neglected 3. A football coach is not a mandated reporter in the State of Pennsylvania. 4. Despite doing what an educator is required to do when suspected abuse is identified, he wished he had done more. This admission does not imply guilt, it conveys his wish that he could have done more to protect children.

What harm would have been done to Penn State if the Board of Trustees had permitted a finding of the facts to occur before deciding whether it was appropriate to take action against Joe Paterno? Is it possible that the Trustees felt personally challenged by Joe Paterno's statement that he would retire at the end of the year and that they shouldn't waste a minute of their time debating what should happen to him? Is it possible that the Trustees were more concerned about demonstrating their control than about making a calm, deliberate, rational decision? Is it possible that, had they allowed the emotion of the moment to pass, that the Trustees might have made a wise decision rather than a fast decision? Clearly, the Trustees are now in a position of attempting to justify the "wisdom" of their action.

We cannot expect that they, as a group, will acknowledge any wrongdoing and, in that, they share the same response to alleged wrongdoing as Jerry Sandusky. By the way, are we really to expect that the only way you could safely inform Joe Paterno that he had been fired is by sending a note to his home, via a messenger, asking him to call you?

An old saying is that "Fools rush in where angels dare to tread." In my opinion. the Board of Trustees rushed in to make a quick decision in response to a highly emotion situation and in response to their perception that a football coach was challenging their authority. You, Trustees, are supposed to be leaders. You failed. You failed your university. You failed your public. And, unlike the person you fired, your failure will be your legacy.

There is no doubt that the Penn State Board of Trustees wrongfully dismissed Joe without due process, and should be ashamed of themselves. Members of the board should admit that they acted in haste and swallow their pride. Let the world know that they are Penn State Proud.

Jan 26, 2012

NIKE CEO Phil Knight defends Joe Paterno at today's memorial service

Leave it to Nike CEO, Phil Knight to say what most of us are feeling out here in the bloggersphere regarding the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I couldn't have said it better myself. Knight set the right tone here during Joe Paterno's memorial. This was a failure of an institution to act not a failure of Joe Paterno.

All the media who rushed to judgement and members of the Penn State Board of Trustees should be a shamed of themselves for how they treated Joe Paterno during this very difficult time. Paterno's legacy will live on in history, but the shame of what the media and the Penn State leadership did to Joe during the last three months will haunt them the rest of their lives.

Not good when the NIKE CEO calls out your Board of Trustees.

Also: Knight Rips Trustees At Paterno Memorial(MyFox Philly)

Jan 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye to JoePA

Joe Paterno's Funeral Procession
Rest in Peace Joe!

Today I said goodbye to coach Joe Paterno the greatest football coach in college football history. It is difficult to describe all the feelings and emotion as I watched the funeral procession go by. It was all a surreal moment for me. Everyone along the street pretty much remained quiet as Joe passed. We honored the man that did so many things, helped so many people, and made us all proud to say "We Are Penn State". Although that is what all of us were shouting from our hearts.

At that moment a part my childhood just flashed before my eyes. The first football game I ever watched was Penn State vs Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. From that moment all I wanted to do was play football for coach Paterno. I can't believe it was so long ago now.

I was only 10 years old at the time. I watched the game with my grandfather in his living room on his old floor model, black and white TV. My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago and now Joe Paterno is gone. It is truly an end of an era in my life and here in Central Pennsylvania.

JoePA made us so proud of our university and our team. He made us proud to be from Central Pennsylvania because he probably loved this place more than we did. He made us all believers! My thoughts and prayers are with the Paterno family tonight. Life with out Joe is something we all will have to face together.

I Will Never Stop Believing In You Joe!

Jan 22, 2012

One More White Out For JoePA!

One Last White Out For Our Beloved Coach

Time to declare a nationwide White Out.!
Tomorrow wear white or a white Penn State shirt to work or school to honor Joe Paterno.
Pleas share with your friends.


Governor Tom Corbett on the death of Joe Paterno

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is expressing his condolences on the death of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno. Corbett says he and his wife were saddened to learn of Paterno's death Sunday.
“Susan and I were saddened to learn of Joe Paterno’s passing. His legacy as the winningest coach in major college football and his generosity to Penn State as an institution and to his players, stand as monuments to his life. As both man and coach, Joe Paterno confronted adversities, both past and present, with grace and forbearance."
Corbett also said that, "His place in our state's history is secure".

Really Corbett! Where were you when the national media and cracked out journalist devoured Paterno like wolves. I didn't see you standing there defending Paterno. Did you even defend the man during the Penn State Board of Trustees meeting that sealed Paterno's fate?

So many questions Corbett? But yet we seem to have no answers to them. You were the Attorney General during the time of the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

Why did you hold the indictment?

You instead decided to focus all of you energy and resources on prosecuting state lawmakers not to mention your campaign for Governor.

What a joke this Governor is.

Are you kidding me! Sandusky issues statement on Joe Paterno's death

Wow! This guy has some balls. For what it is worth here is Jerry Sandusky's statement on Joe Paterno's death.
"This is a sad day! Our family, Dottie and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Sue and her family.

"Nobody did more for the academic reputation of Penn State than Joe Paterno. He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession. Joe preached toughness, hard work and clean competition. Most importantly, he had the courage to practice what he preached. Nobody will be able to take away the memories we all shared of a great man, his family, and all the wonderful people who were a part of his life.
And furthermore, nobody has done more to ruin a man, his legacy, and an institution than this sick _uck! Sandusky you are the scum of mankind. Please shut the hell up and go to jail already. Geesh!

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien issues statement on the death of Joe Paterno

Penn State's current football coach, Bill O'Brien, says following Joe Paterno is an honor in a statement issued Sunday after Paterno's death. Bill O'Brien emphasized that the school and college football has suffered a great loss today.
"It is with great sadness that I am compelled to deliver this message of condolence and tribute to a great man, husband, father and someone who is more than just a coach, Joe Paterno.

First, on behalf of Penn State Football, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Paterno family for their loss. We also offer our condolences to the Penn State community and, in particular, to those who wore the Penn State colors, our Nittany Lion football players and alumni.

Today they lost a great man, coach, mentor and, in many cases, a father figure, and we extend our deepest sympathies. The Penn State Football program is one of college football's iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. There are no words to express my respect for him as a man and as a coach. To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor.

Our families, our football program, our university and all of college football have suffered a great loss, and we will be eternally grateful for Coach Paterno's immeasurable contributions."
Bill O'Brien is nothing but a class act. Penn State is lucky they have hired a guy that has the ability to embrace Paterno's legacy at Penn State. I am saddened by the loss of our beloved coach but am excited by what Penn State can accomplish in the future.

Joe Paterno's Family Issues Statement

The Associated Press is stating that the Paterno family has released the following statement regarding legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno:
It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today. His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.

He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.

He has been many things in his life — a soldier, scholar, mentor, coach, friend and father. To my mother he was and is her soul mate, and the last several weeks have shown the strength of their love. To his children and grandchildren he is a shining example of how to live a good, decent and honest life, a standard to which we aspire.

When he decided to forego a career in law and make coaching his vocation, his father Angelo had but one command: Make an impact.

As the last 61 years have shown, Joe made an incredible impact. That impact has been felt and appreciated by our family in the form of thousands of letters and well wishes along with countless acts of kindness from people whose lives he touched. It is evident also in the thousands of successful student athletes who have gone on to multiply that impact as they spread out across the country.

And so he leaves us with a peaceful mind, comforted by his "living legacy" of five kids, 17 grandchildren, and hundreds of young men whose lives he changed in more ways than can begin to be counted.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations be made to the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania or the Penn State-THON, The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
My heart goes out to Sue Paterno who has not just lost a husband, but her life partner. They have been together through it all. Now she must feel that half of her has been ripped away. Pray for Sue everyone.

Joe Paterno Dead at 85

Former Penn State football Coach Paterno has passed away this morning at the age of 85 losing a battle with lung cancer. Paterno was diagnosed shortly after Penn State’s Board of Trustees ousted him Nov. 9 in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky. Paterno had been in the hospital since Jan. 13 for observation but then took a turn for the worse in recent days as the family was called in to be by his side.

I'm sure all the news outlets today will mention Joe Paterno's invovlement in some "alleged" cover up at Penn State, but please do not listen to those reports. The scandal had nothing to do with Penn State Football nor Coach Joe Paterno. And don't believe the storyline that the media is trying desperately to hold onto. I have read the Pennsylvania Attorney General's report. Paterno did what any of us was expected to do. He reported information he resceived from a graduate assistant to those who had the authority on campus to do something about the allegations of abuse. It was not Joe's fault if those individuals failed to do something about it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Paterno will be seen as the greatest college football coach of all time. He did it his way and that was the Penn State way. He ran the cleanest college football program. He molded boys into men. He helped them understand that if they worked hard enough and believed in themselves they could accomplish anything or defeat anybody.

His moto was "Success With Honor". Which is not just a Penn State nor is it a Joe Paterno thing. It's roots are in our Western PA culture. It comes from the simple work ethic of the coal miners, the steel workers, and so on. The simple poetry of simplicity. A hard days work gets the job done. A hard days work can move mountaints. Joe Pa understood this culture and tapped into it. The simple uniforms. The black shoes. Heck all the players needed was a lunch bucket. But in the end this ideal is ours and the dreams of ancestors that came before us. This tragedy cannot take it away from us.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Joe Paterno's family. I just can't imagine what their past couple of months have been like. To see a man who has done so much for Penn State and impacted so many lives get treated that way he did by National media pundits, journalists, and the Penn State Board of Trustees is just tragic. Now Joe Paterno had died without honor and in a perpetual state of disgrace. All should be ashamed of themselves.

I grew up always wanting to be a linebacker and play for Coach Paterno. Even though I only met Joe Paterno once and I never got a shot, he still impacted my life a great deal. Joe Paterno your spirit will always live on in the hearts of Penn State fans. It is a sad day in the Penn State family as we mourn the loss of great person, leader, father, grandfather, husband, legend, mentor, humanitarian and coach. You will never be forgotten. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Paterno family and friends. Gone but not forgotten. God Bless you Joe. We will miss you!

Jan 21, 2012

Onward State Managing Editor Resigns Following False Report

Devon Edwards, managing editor of Penn State student blog Onward State, has released the following statement on their Facebook page following the false report that former Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno had died Saturday night. CBSSports.com attributed their original story to this website.
Earlier this evening, Onward State reported that Joe Paterno had passed away. However, the mountain of evidence stacked opposite that report is too much to ignore. At this time, I would like to issue a retraction of our earlier tweets ...

There are no excuses for what we did. We all make mistakes, but it’s impossible to brush off one of this magnitude. Right now, we deserve all of the criticism headed our way ...

I will be stepping down from my post as Managing Editor, effective immediately. I take full responsibility for the events that transpired tonight, and for the black mark upon the organization that I have caused.

I ask not for your forgiveness, but for your understanding. I am so very, very, sorry, and we at Onward State continue to pray for Coach Paterno.


Devon Edwards
Geesh talk about giving everyone a heart attack. What the hell are these guys trying to accomplish? What a mess and I don't think I will be placing OnwardState.Com on my favorites links list anytime soon!

Joe Paterno Lives!

Penn State Students pray for Joe Paterno as he remains in serious condition

JoePa Lives! JoePa Lives! Apparently Joe Paterno has not died and remains in serious condition as he continues to battle lung cancer. Both Scott and Jay Paterno tweeted that Joe is still fighting and thanked everyone for their support and prayers. Both are refuting reports that Paterno has died -- but they also say his condition has become "serious" after he experienced complications recently.

Many online news sites and media outlets including the Huffington Post reported earlier tonight that Joe Paterno passed away at the age of 85. Family spokesman, Dan McGinn tweeted at 8:57 p.m. tonight that reports about Joe Paterno's death are "Absolutely not true." According to the Patriot News, sources close to the Paterno family say they are tremendously upset with the erroneous reports of Joe's passing.

Apparently some idiots at Onwardstate.com ran with reports that several Penn State players received an email that Joe Paterno passed away. CBS Sports ran with the story. The media botched the Jerry Sandusky scandal and now has even botched Joe Paterno's death. Priceless! The irony in all of this for those of us who support Joe Paterno and believe he is a man of great honor, ideals and integrity is quite humorous.

But supporters of JoePA better get ready. Of the four articles that I read reporting Joe Paterno's death, including the one published on the Huffington Post, all of them focused on Paterno's firing, highlighted the Jerry Sandusky investigation and emphasized Paterno's so called role in some alleged cover up. Just unbelievable!

The shameful state of the media is at a crisis level in this country right now. Scary!

The Voter ID Race Card

Guest Column by Lowman S. Henry

Common sense, not race-baiting should prevail

A few weeks ago my wife and I travelled to Arizona to visit family for holidays. When we arrived at the airport we were required to show a photo ID to check our luggage. We again had to show photo ID to the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) agents who then performed more invasive procedures. Upon arriving in Phoenix, we were required to again show a photo ID to pick up our rental car.

When my son applied for a job working at a local convenience store, the employer required not just a photo ID, but also a copy of his birth certificate. (Something not required to become President of the United States.) I was with my sister when she made a credit card purchase, the store clerk asked to see her driver's license, a form of photo ID.

Were any of the folks who asked for our photo identification racists? Likely they were not. They were simply verifying our identity in order to process a transaction. It is a normal, everyday occurrence. Except when we go to a polling place to vote. There, in Pennsylvania as in many other states, no proof of identification is required.

The Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) has passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is now being considered by the state senate. The new law would require voters to present a photo ID. A driver's license or other state issued identification card provided free of charge would be accepted.

Voter fraud is a clear and present danger in Pennsylvania. In the last presidential election cycle there were numerous allegations of voter registration abuse and fraud, many involving the radical group known as A.C.O.R.N. The U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama turned a blind eye to the complaints. The system literally lacks competent oversight.

This places the very integrity of our national electoral process in jeopardy. Without appropriate safeguards we cannot be confident that the outcome - especially of close elections - is accurate and fraud-free. Think back to 2000 when a handful of votes in Florida determined who would become President of the United States. We must do everything we can to ensure that the nation would have confidence in the outcome should such a close vote occur in Pennsylvania.

Requiring photo ID to vote makes so much sense it calls into question the motives of those who oppose it. The sad truth is that some benefit from the current lax system of voter verification and believe it to be to their electoral advantage to preserve the status quo. Lacking any valid intellectual argument for their position, they have resorted to playing the race card.

Frankly, it is demeaning to any minority to suggest that they are incompetent to the point of being unable to acquire a simple ID card. Assistance can be rendered through human services agencies for those who are mentally challenged, elderly, or immobile. But it is hardly more racist to require a photo ID to vote than it is to require a photo ID to stay at a motel or use a credit card.

The Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has gone to court fighting a new photo ID law in South Carolina. But such laws have already been upheld as Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The basis for the judicial review was a similar law in the state of Indiana, after whihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifch Metcalfe patterned the Pennsylvania statute. Holder is simply trying to delay the implementation of voter fraud prevention efforts already given a stamp of approval from the highest court in the land.

With Pennsylvania's April primary rapidly approaching and a presidential General Election upcoming in November the time has come for a voter ID law to be put into effect here in Penn's Woods. Only then can we the people have confidence that our electoral system is free of voter fraud and the winners have been honestly elected.

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

Marcellus Shale Rules Should Be Fair

Guest column by Kathryn Klaber

"Leaders in Harrisburg would be wise to avoid the temptation of crafting policy in a vacuum and instead design a fee and regulatory structure that not only provides heightened safeguards to the public, but also a competitive investment climate."

The Marcellus Shale has been, and continues to be, the source of enormous benefits for Pennsylvanians. In one year alone, the industry has provided $1.6 billion in royalties and bonus fee income to local landowners. Residents now enjoy lower energy bills, with one conservative estimate showing consumers saving a total of nearly $650 million in 2011.

Besides investing more than $400 million in roads and related infrastructure, the industry also has paid an estimated $1 billion in state and local taxes during the last five years. Even as the rest of the country's economy struggles amid devastatingly high and lingering unemployment rates, the natural gas industry supports nearly 230,000 jobs throughout the commonwealth, according to state labor data. Key natural gas-producing counties, which have long struggled with tough economic times, are now realizing unemployment rates that are the envy of the nation.

But it's important to realize that these contributions to Pennsylvania's economy and workforce hinge on a rational regulatory environment. Indeed, the economic benefits provided by responsible natural gas development from shale were not preordained, and the ability to create jobs and invest in local communities will depend in no small part on the type of regulatory environment our elected leaders choose to create.

State lawmakers are considering a range of policies impacting the industry, including a proposal to create an impact fee for Marcellus development. Such a fee would provide another important source of public revenue for the communities in which natural gas development is under way, but only if it is structured in a competitive manner.

The natural gas industry – like any other industry – cannot grow amid continually increasing costs, nor can it make the proper long-term investments in new infrastructure, new jobs and new equipment if that money instead must be used to pay new taxes or higher fees. Creating an overly burdensome tax or fee – especially given market conditions and the historically low price of natural gas – could drive investment out of Pennsylvania and into more competitive states, regions or even nations, resulting in less state and local revenue, lost jobs and fewer public investments.

We've been down this road before. For decades, leaders in Harrisburg continually created regulatory hurdles and costly mandates for Pennsylvania's manufacturers. While manufacturing didn't pack up and leave wholesale, the imposition of uncompetitive policies and complex, anti-growth tax and regulatory structures forced many companies to cut investments in the commonwealth and send their money – and jobs – to other areas of the country, or even outside the United States.

When it comes to natural gas development, if Pennsylvania unnecessarily creates a hostile investment climate through a high-cost regulatory regime, operators might well decide to invest in neighboring states or other basins nationwide and the world. We've seen several key operators begin, in earnest, to reallocate capital from Pennsylvania to other basins.

In fact, manufacturing is an interesting example because of what Marcellus development has meant for this crucial base of our economy. After years of investing in more competitive overseas markets, chemical and manufacturing companies are now – thanks to lower gas prices spurred by in part by the Marcellus Shale – reinvesting in the U.S.

One company, Shell, also is planning to build an ethane cracker, possibly in Pennsylvania. It's a chemical manufacturing renaissance that the American Chemistry Council projects will ultimately result in $132 billion in added economic output and is allowing companies to bring jobs back from overseas. Similar growth is being realized in steel, construction and transportation industries as well, adding new life to key sectors of our state and national economy.

For its part, the White House has underscored the critical and growing role that American natural gas development is playing in rebuilding our nation's manufacturing base. Recently, the Obama administration noted that "the potential benefits [of shale gas] to the U.S. economy are substantial" and "will boost investment and exports in the coming years, generating new jobs."

This resurgence of manufacturing – and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports – would not have happened if the country had viewed the industry as nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan source of government revenue.

Leaders in Harrisburg would be wise to avoid the temptation of crafting policy in a vacuum and instead design a fee and regulatory structure that not only provides heightened safeguards to the public, but also a competitive investment climate.

The responsible development of the Marcellus Shale has been a blessing to the Pennsylvania economy, and the industry is eager to continue its investments throughout the region. We hope that our elected leaders in Harrisburg share this commitment to Pennsylvanians' future and are equally committed to the ongoing economic rebirth that is now being ushered into our commonwealth.

Kathryn Klaber is president of the Canonsburg-based Marcellus Shale Coalition (www.MarcellusCoalition.org).

Jan 8, 2012

Rick Santorum a RINO who can't change his stripes

Rick Santorum's spectacular rise in Iowa has earned him new mainstream media attention as the anti Romney candidate. Santorum is now a solid top tier GOP candidate for president. As a conservative here in Pennsylvania that possibility must be hard to swallow. We know firsthand the true Santorum record all too well.

During his time as Senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum earned a reputation as the ultimate Washington D.C. insider. He was a fixture in the Washington K-Street lobby scene. In fact, he was the point man for the Senate GOP leadership. Santorum bet heavily on Washington D.C. pork and firmly believed that it was his duty to bring back billions of dollars to Pennsylvania to help ensure his re-election in a relatively moderate state. Santorum's record also includes voting in favor of the Medicare Part D legislation that created the prescription drug entitlement program for seniors.

As you can see during his time in Washington D.C., Santorum did his part to further grow the size and scope of the Federal government. Hardly conservative credentials and definitely not the kind of leadership we need to reign in the size and scope of a Federal government run-a-muck.

If his record don't convince conservatives that Santorum is not the conservative you think he is, then consider Santorum's ultimate political sin of supporting RINO Arlen Specter over conservative Pat Toomey in the very close 2006 Pennsylvania primary. When you add it all up, you got a record that can't be trusted by conservatives that want real reform, Constitutional integrity, and smaller government.

Since his time in Washington, Santorum's record hasn't changed much.

After his 2006 landslide loss by more than 700,000 votes for re-election failed here in Pennsylvania, Santorum took on a job paying $400,000 helping to consult and manage a major HMO, Universal Health Services, where he did very little constructive to stop serious financial fraud among other autocracies according to federal regulators.

Using his pull as a former senator who knew how to milk the system, Universal Health Care hired Santorum helped to secure millions of dollars in federal grants and money for the troubled hospital giant. During the early months of his presidential campaign, his former employer, Universal, also became his second largest campaign contributor as well. All of this only illustrates the cesspool of revolving door politics that exist in Washington. Santorum was voted out of office once by voters, disgusted with him.

Rather than being a breath of fresh air, Rick Santorum's politics is just more of the same old rotten Washington revolving door stuff. A disgraced senator who was voted out of office by a landslide because he couldn't even keep his own job, let alone jobs in his home state of Pennsylvania, where steel mills and manufacturing closed down in droves, now claims to be the new economic Messiah that America needs. Not hardly.

The only positive thing in all of this is that Rick Santorum is never, ever, ever, going to win the Republican nomination or even for that matter be elected president. When you're the worst kind of politician like Rick Santorum who abuses the public trust and the system for you own gain the only direction is straight down.

Santorum enjoy the 15 minutes of fame last week in Iowa. Now it's time to move on to more serious candidates in other state primaries where many voters take voting far more seriously than the type of jerks who would vote for someone like a Santorum in Iowa.

Now Santorum thinks he should return to Washington as president. But Pennsylvania conservatives understand all too well that a big government, RINO can't change his stripes.

Jan 7, 2012

Round II, Another State Budget Battle Lies Ahead

Guest Column by Lowman S. Henry,

Governor Tom Corbett and Republicans in the state legislature have spent the last six months patting themselves on the back for fulfilling their main constitutional duty of passing a state budget on time. It was a significant achievement, more so because it held the line on taxes. But that victory was fleeting because yet another budget battle is getting underway.

The problem is despite large Republican majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly and the coming to power of a Republican governor the budget victory has not been followed up by the enactment of structural changes to address the cost drivers in the state budget. Major funding issues, such as the state's ongoing need for investment in roads and bridges, remain untouched.

State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby signaled the start of the 2012 budget battle in late December by reporting that revenue collections are coming in below estimates and that budget makers will once again face a deficit. Spending interests decried Zogby's report as a tactic, but the fact is the ongoing national recession coupled with Pennsylvania's generally inhospitable business climate have depressed economic activity resulting in less income and earnings to be taxed.

Also contributing to budgetary pressures is the Corbett's administration's failure to address labor costs. A number of union contracts expired last year and, generally speaking, the new agreements lacked significant cost-saving concessions. It was a missed opportunity to bring labor costs under control that will have a lasting impact for years to come.

Legislatively, unions survived the first year of Republican domination of state government largely unscathed. Even minimal reform, such as increasing the ceiling for prevailing wage laws to kick in on public works projects, have yet to advance through the legislative process. Issues such as ending government collection of union dues and passage of Right-to-Work legislation have not seen the light of day.

Structural reforms to education, such as school choice, ran aground in the legislature. Privatization of the state's liquor store monopoly is stalled. Calls for passage of a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas continue to echo around the halls of the capitol, creating uncertainty in the state's biggest growth industry. A year into the governor's term, no plan for eliminating waste and cutting the state's out-of-control welfare system has emerged.

And now the bad news: this is an election year. Every seat in the state House of Representatives and half of the state Senate will be on the ballot in the upcoming April primary. The official start of the election process, gathering signatures to get on the ballot, begins in just a couple of weeks. Typically most major legislative accomplishments occur in non-election years because incumbents shy away from casting controversial votes in the midst of their re-election campaigns. Thus expectations for progress this year are low.

Those who thought large Republican majorities in the legislature would result in a more fruitful session are disappointed. But, the lack of output by the General Assembly reveals an inconvenient truth: Republican control does not equate to conservative policies. There continues to exist within both the House and the Senate - particularly in the Senate - a small but pivotal number of Republicans who are beholden to labor unions and whose goal it is to prevent enactment of the conservative policy agenda espoused by the governor.

In short, the GOP is a dysfunctional family. Governor Corbett and the state House leadership tilt conservative, but the Senate leadership is under labor union sway. Thus the three power centers cannot agree on an agenda, resulting in gridlock. Given that most state policies currently in place are not to the liking of conservatives, gridlock is a bad state of affairs.

With another budget battle getting underway against the backdrop of election pressures look for little to get accomplished in 2012. In fact, holding the line on taxes and getting another budget passed on time will be a Herculean task. Simply holding on to 2011's meager gains may be all that is possible in the upcoming year. On the positive side voters have before them the opportunity to elect to office senators and representatives who will pursue more taxpayer friendly policies. The key to future progress is an educated and involved electorate in this important election year.

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