Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Relying on Article VI of the US Constitution, former Teacher files lawsuit against Public Schools

ORWIGSBURG, Penn., Oct. 30, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Tom Ritter, a retired public school academic physics and chemistry teacher, has filed a lawsuit (in Dauphin County) seeking the courts to require that all public schools charge “fair” tuition.

(The effect will be to end public education in America, produce a blossoming of private schools and end school taxes.)

His reasoning:

  1. Many First Amendment rights (including, but not limited to, prayers before meals) are inextricably tied to the education of one’s children.
  2. For many people, the only way to exercise these freedoms is to send their children to a private school.
  3. The government restricts these schools (First Amendment rights) by charging no tuition in its own schools.

(As the late Nobel laureate in economics, Dr. Milton Freidman, put it: “Try selling a product that someone else is giving away!” — The New York Times Magazine, Sept. 23, 1975)

Ritter also relies on Article VI of the US Constitution:

“This Constitution…shall be the supreme Law of the Land…any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” Of course the First Amendment is part of the Constitution.

Islam and When Religious Tolerance Becomes Dangerous

In Philadelphia, a 5-year-old little girl was removed from school by a woman claiming to be her mother. The school didn’t quite follow proper procedures, and the end result was that the girl was missing for under 24 hours. The local press and news shows duly got the word out, and an Amber Alert was issued statewide before the end of the night.

tinou bao (CC)

tinou bao (CC)


Thankfully, the girl was found early in the morning, and the Amber Alert was cancelled. While the very basic facts of the case are clear, there are quite a few different versions of the final result – details that generally do not matter though, since the girl is apparently safe now. However, one very important part of this story, while not overlooked, has been glossed over by the press so far.

The girl’s family is Muslim, and her grandfather, Asim Abdur Rashid, is a leader in the Greater Philadelphia Muslim community. This fact probably wouldn’t have been mentioned at all, if it wasn’t for the fact that the individual that abducted this girl was wearing traditional Muslim dress – a woman that had her face entirely covered, except an opening for her eyes. It might even be argued later that part of the reason why the school did not insist on positive identification of this woman was the desire to respect her religious beliefs, and not require the removal of her veil before allowing her to take the child.

Another point that may be argued later, especially if the kidnapper is apprehended, is whether or not the child’s grandfather had anything to do with the crime. Given that Asim Abdur Rashid had apparently been vocally objecting to men wearing women’s traditional Muslim garb to hide their identities while committing crimes, it’s not unreasonable to think that the abduction of his granddaughter could have been related to his public statements. Of course, he doesn’t see it that way.

“Right now my concern is for my granddaughter and her safe return. I have no idea why somebody would come and pretend to be her mother,” said Asim Abdur Rashid.

Given the political climate in Philadelphia, it is highly unlikely that any of these issues will be addressed, regardless of what is found out about this crime in the coming days and weeks. The fact that the press has already carefully avoided words like “kidnap” and “burqa” is telling. And the likelihood that city leaders will do anything to address what can now become a serious safety concern in city schools – since someone has done the crime – is very slim. One local member of the political world there agreed that these are issues that will likely be swept under the rug – off-the-record, of course. And that is what makes this desire to be politically correct, and afford a great deal of deference toward Muslims and their traditions a potentially dangerous situation. Many will undoubtedly miss the irony that the Imam involved in this story was complaining about criminals using burqas, but at the same time, he would probably insist that authorities continue to respect women from his Mosque. He probably would not insist that they prove their identities with burqas removed, before claiming children in schools, in spite of what happened to his own granddaughter. Maybe it will take an unhappy ending to get to that point.

Single Mom in PA? Better to Live on Welfare than Make $69,000

If you are a single mom the entitlement programs offered in Pennsylvania are such that you are better off working for low pay than taking a good medium income position. There is little incentive to work hard and try to get a better position, including managerial, in a company because the government benefits often pay more.

Remember Julia from the Obama campaign? Well, apparently, Julia as a single mom, is best off letting the government take care of both her and her children. You can read more at Senator Rand Paul’s website or at the Washington Times.

Watch this clip and be appalled. It is understandably hard convincing people to work to improve their economic situation when they are already getting so much just by having children, being alive and breathing air.

 

No Time for the Anthem?

The National Anthem is part of our sports heritage traditionally played at public sports events. But youth hockey players in Pennsylvania were told recently that the National Anthem intrudes too much into their game schedule and teams should take the anthem out.

“The National Anthem should not be played only because of time constrains,” said  Ed Sam, PA Interscholastic Hockey League Commissioner. “It’s not that we’re not patriotic, that’s the furthest from the truth.” Hockey teams are not prohibited from playing the National Anthem before games, just discouraged.

At $300 plus per hour on the ice, the PIHL says it’s about the money. But backlash from residents and families has been fierce causing the league to rethink their decision.

You can watch the full story on the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh:
 

Stupid People Should Not Be Allowed To Vote

Anywhere, but in particular, they should not be allowed to vote in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The court case drags on here, and the excuses keep piling up. When the logistical issue of having poll workers check ID’s was thrown out, they jumped to the problems for voters acquiring ID’s. Considering that all voters should have been informed during the primaries that they would need photo ID to vote, and since there’s been intermittent press coverage on this all year, it is difficult to understand why anyone that actually wants to vote hasn’t managed to get the ID required at this point. Even the primary individuals that were the cause for the current case have ID now. And, PennDOT, the agency charged with providing the needed ID’s, has relaxed requirements for obtaining a “voter only ID.” Then there is also the issue that apparently the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of needing photo ID to vote. That came out after Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson indicated he may block the law at least in part. Today he was set to hear testimony from plaintiff witnesses – presumably the court was treated to a parade of persons incapable of finding a PennDOT office, and acquiring a free Voter ID.

blackplastic (CC)


On the legal end, the arguments have been laughable, and beyond frustrating. Those against Voter ID have been clinging to their “it will disenfranchise the elderly and minorities” contention, in spite of evidence to the contrary. And then on the other side is the frustrating, vicious cycle on voter fraud. There is no real proof of voter fraud in the Commonwealth, but the only reason why there isn’t is because there is no requirement to verify anyone’s identity when they cast a ballot. Sadly, it calls to mind Nancy Pelosi’s infamous “you have to pass it to know what’s in it” statement – we have to implement the law to know how bad the voter fraud problem is in the first place.

And if it would turn out there is no real fraud, I for one will not believe it. Over the years, I have seen so many irregularities at the polls that made me wonder whether or not certain individuals had been visiting several polling stations to cast ballots. But hey, maybe I misunderstood it when I’d overhear people talking about visiting several polling stations in one day, and casting provisional ballots at each one. But, that’s not fraud, right? Well, it’s not the sort that can stand up in court.

But, this is supposed to be about stupid people that shouldn’t vote. At this point, it’s become fairly obvious that the only people in Pennsylvania that should be having any difficulty with getting a Voter ID are either functionally illiterate, or otherwise mentally incapable of completing a simple form with a legal name and birth date. One no longer needs to prove residency anymore to get the precious little photo now – that I personally find objectionable, of course. And to keep things in perspective, one must remember that Pennsylvania is control state, as in all liquor sales are funneled through the Commonwealth. We only recently started being able to purchase beer in our supermarkets, and at least in the ones near my home, one must provide a state-issued photo ID just to get a brew at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter what age someone is because the cash register system will not permit the transaction to go through without the cashier scanning the barcode on the back of all ID’s. So, if you are so stupid that you can’t manage to get an ID so you can buy a six-pack at the grocery store here, I sincerely question whether or not you should be permitted to vote. Yes, I said it. Voting is a right, and thanks to this nonsense here in Pennsylvania, I’m moving to the point where I think it should be a privilege. If people can’t manage to do simple things like obtain a photo ID, they really shouldn’t be voting at all. I’d go farther and suggest that if people can’t pass a basic test that shows they understand the offices they are casting ballots on, they shouldn’t be permitted to vote. I can just hear the left-wing screaming foul on that last one, since they wouldn’t be able to rely on welfare-dependent, illiterate constituents to keep them in office.

Dear Libertarians, 2012 Is Not Your Year

I am a card-carrying member of the GOP, primarily because I reside in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As a fiscal conservative, I find myself agreeing more with the Libertarian platform, but it is not in my best interests to register as one. The Keystone State is not known for being groundbreaking in anything political, as in we are largely behind the curve. We’re one of a handful of “control” states, where the Commonwealth enjoys a virtual monopoly on the sales of the wines and spirits. The computerized polling stations are still only partially implemented state-wide, and we still rely on paper tallies to certain extent in most counties. We’re followers, not leaders, for the most part. But, there is one thing that some here complain about that we actually do right. We have closed primaries – we can only vote for candidates running in the party we are actually registered to vote.

DonkeyHotey (CC)


That is how it should be everywhere. It is the entire point of a primary. The election is held so that the members of a given party can choose their candidates for the general election. And we rarely have even one candidate for many offices that is registered as Libertarian. There are rarely any candidates for any of the “third parties” recognized here, including Independent, Green, and Socialist. And now there is talk of former Gov. Gary Johnson fighting to be on the ballot here, presumably to “send a message”. My question is, who does Johnson want to send that message to? Obama? Romney?

“A former George Bush campaign insider told us, ‘Your Libertarian Presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson may determine who wins this Presidential campaign,’” Howell wrote. “You and I and our fellow Libertarians can seize this huge opportunity – IF we’re ready for the last 6 weeks before Election Day.”

That’s from Carla Howell, the Libertarian Party executive. Now, either Howell is extremely stupid, or she sincerely wants to hand the White House to Obama for a second term. If that is what the Libertarian party leadership stands for, I wonder what the rank and file Libertarian voters really think about that. Maybe she drank the same Kool-Aid Rand Paul has, and views the political landscape with the same lens. As Ramesh Ponnoru already observed, it is facile to assume that Libertarian views on social issues would virtually guarantee more moderate Democrat and Independent votes in traditionally blue states. For one thing, it ignores what I refer to as “brainless voting” – the ability of voters to simply choose “straight ticket” instead of actively choosing in each race. It is a depressing fact, but there is still at least a plurality of voters in many precincts that know nearly nothing about the candidates and issues they are voting on in a given election – they simply cast a ballot on party lines. That alone makes a case for the resurrection of poll tests, not to exclude a given race, but to exclude individuals that don’t bother learning anything about the people or offices they are choosing.

And there lies one of the major reasons why we still have a two-party system. History tells us where the current Libertarian movement is during this election season. Johnson could go down in history as the GOP’s Ralph Nader. Eye Desert made the observation that Republicans need to start listening to Libertarians, and most importantly, he has pointed out two possible outcomes if Romney does not win. If the GOP blames Libertarians, it could spell the end of the party. If not, it could mean a stronger, big-tent conservative party. It’s a solid thesis, and is nothing new. Barry Goldwater predicted the potential demise of the Republican Party years ago. He was there for the beginning of the takeover of the party by religious leaders, and the rise of social conservatism as we know it now. And Goldwater knew that would cause rifts within the conservative movement. Add in the big government spending that has been adopted by the GOP over the years, and that is a toxic mixture that has given rise to this latest growth in popularity for the Libertarian Party, and the Tea Party.

But, we’re not there, yet. The Libertarian message is growing in popularity, but it is not enough. Until it makes sense for voters in states like Pennsylvania to switch their parties to the Libertarian side, we’re not there yet. And, sad but true, until the Libertarian Party sheds its fringe image due to people like Ron and Rand Paul, we won’t see multiple candidates up for election in closed primaries, like we do for the Democratic and Republican parties. While I would greatly enjoy seeing the GOP forced to address its problem with overspending and overly invasive legislative objectives in the name of saving everyone’s souls, we can’t afford four more years of Obama, period. It boils down to this – right idea, but absolutely the wrong time. Sure, it might feel nice to buck the system, and vote for Johnson this November. However, if supporters of Johnson end up handing Obama a second term, then what? I don’t agree with Eye Desert on this one. If the Libertarian Party ends up getting blamed for a Romney loss this fall, the GOP will destroy the Libertarians, rightfully so. It’s what the Democratic Party should have done to Nader and the Green Party, but unlike that party, losing the Libertarian Party would be a real loss. Since it’s becoming fairly clear that the Republican establishment can’t seem to play well with the Tea Party, it seems that is where the work needs to be done. Imagine the political landscape in 2016 if the Libertarians and Tea Party join forces. Now, that is how you build a relevant third party in this country!

Stop Voter ID Laws – Stop Discriminating Against Dogs

Ironically enough, I found this one on Huffington Post.

Yep, Buddy the voting dog. That is the most recent one, of course. Over the years there have been many stories of this kind, with people registering pets, and if memory serves, I think someone actually registered an inanimate object to vote. Now, the Dems might be trying to argue that voter fraud is not a major problem. It is true that a very small number of fraudulent ballots or voter registrations are caught each election cycle. However, it is foolish to think that is the real extent of fraud, because the current laws are far too lax to get an accurate picture of the problem. (Seriously folks? The fact that people can get away with registering their pets to vote doesn’t make you think twice on this?)

Here in Pennsylvania, I will have to present my ID in order to vote. This is laughable to me, considering the fact that out of five poll workers at my poll, only one didn’t hold me as a baby, and she’s known me for over a decade now. Sure, it’s funny, but necessary. Not everyone votes in a precinct where they count voters in the hundreds. And while those ladies that really do know who I am go through the motions and make me show them ID, some of their brethren will be refusing to enforce the law. Personally? I think anyone that says that should be fired.

Now, while the left is frothing at the mouth about disenfranchising dogs, and people that are living so far under the radar that they can’t manage to get a free ID to vote in Pennsylvania, this administration is working hard in Ohio to make sure that the military votes won’t necessarily end up being counted. First, beyond the fact that this is reprehensible, I should point out that this is yet another politically motivated move – the Obama camp is worried that the military folks might be ticked off at their man, and won’t vote for him. Ohio is a Heroes Vote All-Star state. There are only 15, and bluntly, people should be screaming to find out why there aren’t 50. You want to yell about disenfranchising, how about yelling about suppressing military votes? And if you think it’s not insulting to our active military that there’s even an argument about requiring at least as much as it takes to buy a brew or a pack of smokes to cast a ballot….

But hey, this isn’t 2000 anymore. I’d be willing to bet that there would be Dems lined up everywhere demanding Voter ID laws then.

Moody’s Downgrades Pennsylvania

With Harrisburg already bankrupt and Scranton on the verge, Moody’s has decided to downgrade the state’s credit rating from Aa1 to Aa2.

Citing unfunded pension liabilities, high debt and slow to moderate growth the rating agency also changed it’s outlook for Pennsylvania from negative to stable.

On the upside, Moody’s says that the Government has improved with “two consecutive timely budgets, significantly reduced reliance on non-recurring resources, and a demonstrated willingness to balance revenue shortfalls early in the fiscal year”

Of the state’s economic outlook they cite “Diverse, broad, and relatively stable economy, with wealth levels slightly above the national average, buttressed by its large health and higher education sectors.”

As for what could lead to further degradation of the state’s credit rating Moody’s says “Further economic deterioration that leads to worse-than-expected revenue performance. Higher-than-budgeted depletion of reserves in the near term or an inability to restore budget stabilization fund over the medium term. Further liquidity decline that results in increased external cash flow borrowing, deferred payments, or other cash management tools, and growth in long-term liabilities, increase in fixed cost pressures, or additional deferral of pension costs.”

Pennsylvania State House Votes to Reduce its Size

Yes, it’s a step in the right direction. Yes, it is relatively rare. But before anyone starts thinking that the politicians voting to reduce the number of members that will be sitting on Pennsylvania’s Assembly floor are considering the possibility of surrendering their own positions for the greater good, think again.
PA State Capitol
Yesterday’s passage of House Bill 153 is step one out of a minimum of six needed to reduce the size of our bloated State Assembly. Before this Bill can become the law of the land in the Commonwealth, it must pass both the House and Senate for two consecutive sessions, then be approved by the voters via referendum. And this Bill is referring to census on the floor in 2020.

So, this change won’t happen overnight regardless, and that makes for an interesting situation, if the people and press take advantage of it. Arguably, there are relatively few members of the Assembly today that can realistically assume that they could lose their seats 8 years from now. There are four election seasons in the interim. Yes, we do have quite a few career politicians out there in Harrisburg, but that’s not something any of them really want to use to justify voting against this measure. The vote went pretty much along party lines, with the majority of “nays” coming from the Democrats side of the aisle.

Well, at least we’ve made it through step one. Now it’s the Senate’s turn, for the first time around.

Rick Santorum and His Uphill Battle to the Convention

Aaron Blake almost got it absolutely right today, when giving the run-down on what Rick Santorum needs to do to survive in this primary. The five states mentioned are definitely must-wins. However, that goal does not exist in a vacuum, and is probably going to be affected by at least a few things that will be utterly out of Santorum’s control.

Santorum Caricature

Donkey Hotey (CC)


But there’s at least one thing Blake missed that was theoretically under the candidate’s control. Pennsylvania won’t be very easy for Santorum, no matter which way you cut it. While he could win the day in the popular vote, that won’t necessarily get him delegates, since Pennsylvania delegates are not bound to vote for specific candidates. Add to that the fact that his campaign failed to organize properly in the Commonwealth by recruiting loyal delegate candidates for the upcoming election, and he is in trouble. Throw in the fact that his last experience in Pennsylvania was a double digit loss of his seat in the Senate, and it’s not likely that he has many friends left in the state’s GOP establishment. The screw-up with the ballots really can hurt Santorum, because beyond being disorganized on the ground, he is also giving the impression that his former home is an afterthought for his campaign.

Beyond the Keystone State, it’s doesn’t bode well for Santorum that Newt Gingrich met with Mitt Romney. While there wasn’t an agreement made, it would be foolish to rule one out entirely going forward. Gingrich is already running in the red, and if he is realistic about his options, he is not going to be looking very kindly on an alliance with the relatively cash-strapped Santorum. Romney is the most likely candidate to be able to offer Gingrich a deal that would clear his campaign debts. And all of these problems are not taking into account the increasing number of endorsements for Romney coming from heavy-hitters in the GOP.

Off the cuff prediction: Look for more endorsements for Romney, of course. Also, don’t be surprised if there are more “secret meetings” between Gingrich and Romney, particularly after April 24th, if not sooner. Also, expect a close race in Pennsylvania, but don’t expect the delegates to follow those results, at least not if it falls to Santorum’s favor.

Pennsylvania Voter ID as the Left-Wing Hot-Button Issue

Voter ID has been the topic du-jour for the left-wing as an issue that will cause the end of voter freedom for millions of people. Well, maybe not millions, but quite a few. And all of those people have the absolute right to cast their ballots. Requiring that voters show valid identification is onerous, and discriminatory against the elderly, minorities, and the poor. It is right that Texas has been dragged into Federal Court to defend it’s Voter ID law, and Pennsylvania should face the same.

Governor Tom CorbettWhether or not the Federal Government has any business in determining the Constitutionality of States’ Voter ID laws in general is another matter. First, it is necessary to dispel misinformation on the Pennsylvania law itself.

When Governor Tom Corbett (PA) signed the Voter ID bill into law, he said one thing that seems to have been forgotten in all of this – “one man, one vote.” That is an ideal that theoretically should have been handed down to us from our Founders. In principle, this law is purely to preserve that ideal. In practice, it is to prevent voter fraud.

In Pennsylvania, both sides of the aisle concede that fraud isn’t considered a significant problem. However, we do have a problem with citizens that are not registered to vote showing up at the polls, and demanding to cast a ballot in particularly contentious races. Additionally, we are in the process of updating our voting systems throughout the Commonwealth. Many counties have stepped into the 20th century, and started using computerized systems, but there are still a few outposts where they rely on the old manual machines. While it’s not being mentioned by Corbett now, it is not unreasonable to assume that this law is part of a larger plan of creating a standardized modern system for voters in the future.

Voter registration has been attached to photo ID applications for some time now here in Pennsylvania. According to the FAQ on driver’s licenses and ID’s, people are asked if they want to register to vote when getting their pictures taken for their ID’s. They can also change their voter registration address via the online ID system.

If someone in the Commonwealth does not have photo ID, all is not lost. The procedure includes the completion of an “Oath/Affirmation Voter ID Form” at the polls. Once one has completed this form, that individual can obtain photo ID free of charge, since the normal $13.50 fee will be waived. As for what one needs to get a photo ID in the first place, the Commonwealth requires a Social Security Card, proof of citizenship, and proof of residency in the form of utility bills, lease or mortgage agreements, or tax statements. Now, that would exclude a very small percentage of the population, primarily individuals that could not prove citizenship or residency. In either case, those individuals’ right to vote in the first place would be in question.

While the timing of this law might be questionable, given the fact that it will cost the Commonwealth a fair amount of money to implement it, it is necessary. Contrary to what the left might want to make everyone think, this is not about denying legitimate voters the ability to cast a ballot. It is about preventing ineligible persons from stuffing the ballot box. What really lies under all of this is the desire on the left to grant voting privileges to non-citizens. That adage Corbett stated needs modernized as well – “one legal citizen, one vote.”

PA Senate Says Yes to School Choice

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2011  — One of the nation’s most populated and important political states today moved closer to adopting a full school choice program for its neediest children when its state Senate just passed SB 1, which moves to the House, as early as this week.

“Kudos to the state’s courageous leadership, who put education for children first in their actions today, despite enormous pressure by unions and the status quo,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform. “This bill is the lifeline children need to ensure a true path to success – in learning and life.”

Championed by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R) and Sen. Anthony Williams (D), the enacted bill with passage in the House would:

  • Give families with children in the lowest performing school districts the opportunity to choose a better school for their child, with the money allocated for their education following them to the school their parents best feel meets their needs.

 

  • Provide additional tax incentives for businesses to contribute their profits to scholarship organizations (the Educational Improvement Tax Credit), which provide middle and low income parents with support to pay for alternative educational opportunities.

 

  • Make additional improvements to the state’s charter school law paving the way for further action in the House that would enable new, publicly accountable authorizers to manage, open and monitor charter schools. Such laws in other states are responsible for the highest number of high quality charter schools.

 

“Today in the US, a growing number of policymakers are seeing increased student achievement in states that have adopted similar, bold initiatives,” said Allen. “Pennsylvania is on the cusp of meaningful education improvement with this exciting development.”