Friday, May 27, 2011

Flying Over Obamaville

A business owner explains why he isn't hiring to law professor and novelist Stephen Carter. To his credit, Carter, no conservative he, listens and reports it well.
The man in the aisle seat is trying to tell me why he refuses to hire anybody. His business is successful, he says, as the 737 cruises smoothly eastward. Demand for his product is up. But he still won’t hire.
“Why not?”

“Because I don’t know how much it will cost,” he explains. “How can I hire new workers today, when I don’t know how much they will cost me tomorrow?”

Barney's Boyfriend at Fannie

Gay Patriot has a thing or two to say about Rep. Barney Frank getting his boyfriend a job at Fannie Mae while pushing for looser regulation of home mortgage giant.
All those who believe in “marriage equality,” that is, in treating gay relationships the same as we treat heterosexual ones, should join me in demanding that this matter be referred to the House Ethics Committee and that Mr. Frank relinquish his role as Ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee until that investigation is complete.

Bundy, Dahmer... Diodoro?

Can someone who has never been accused of acting violently toward another human being be deemed a "sexually violent predator" in this state? You bet your ass they can.

Whatever convicted kiddie-porn-watcher Anthony Diodoro is (dumb, depressed, depraved, addicted) he is not a sexually violent predator as any normal person would understand that term. But thanks to the Pennsylvania legislature, our courts and case law, he could very well be deemed as such.

My print column is up.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

His Speech to the Graduates

Come Sunday, I plan a few words for the high school graduates and their soon to be - if not already - impoverished parents. In the meantime, Dave Burge delivers for the latest crop of college diploma winners.
Welcome distinguished faculty, honored guests, and bankrupt parents. And above all, welcome to you - the eager and unemployable graduates of the Class of 2011.

Today represents the culmination of a long safari through the murky thickets of this impenetrable rain forest we call "higher education." Just a few years ago you arrived for your freshman orientation, full of wide-eyed anticipation and existential dread, wondering if this place would eat you alive. Soon though - through luck, pluck, and enormous amounts of mind altering substances - you adapted to your new surroundings. You learned to communicate in the natives' strange gibberish and follow their bizarre rituals. You learned which taboo words and thoughts to avoid, and how not provoke the cannibals. And finally, today, as you stumble out of that misty, bewildering glade and across this stage, you will receive the ultimate acknowledgement of your successful journey through the heart of darkness: a college diploma.
Read the rest and laugh all the way to bankruptcy court.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pay Pal to Smart Kids: Eschew Higher Ed

Here's a cool idea: Paying smart kids NOT to got to college. Actually, all this guy wants them to do is put it off for a couple of years.
Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, will pay each of the 24 winners of his Thiel Fellowship $100,000 not to attend college for two years and to develop business ideas instead.

The fellows, all 20 years old or younger, will leave institutions including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University, to work with a network of more than 100 Silicon Valley mentors and further develop their ideas in areas such as biotechnology, education, and energy...

Mr. Thiel ignited controversy when he told TechCrunch in April that he sees higher education as the next bubble, comparable to previously overvalued markets in technology and housing.

Both cost and demand for a college education have grown significantly in the years since Mr. Thiel was a student. He sees that rise as irrational.
UPDATE: Great minds think alike.

Our Gangsta' Prez

Michael Barone points out and lambastes Obama's thuggish use of government to reward his friends and punish his enemies.
Punishing enemies and rewarding friends -- politics Chicago style -- seems to be the unifying principle that helps explain the Obamacare waivers, the NLRB action against Boeing and the IRS' gift-tax assault on 501(c)(4) donors.

They look like examples of crony capitalism, bailout favoritism and gangster government.

One thing they don't look like is the rule of law.


Newtown's Jim Stefanides writes in to say:
FYI: I was told you have made the above comment in your "opinion" rants before. The fact is "I was NOT Linda Houldins campaign manager." Her husband John Houldin was her campaign manager.

Please refrain from using my name in any of your "opinion" pieces in the future, especially when your opinion is an outright lie!
I stand corrected.

But there is a rather large difference between an "outright lie" and a mistake. A "lie" requires an intent to deceive. I was misinformed about Stefanides' role in Houldin's campaign. Seeing him at her side on primary day may have re-enforced that misapprehension. I apologize for the error.

However, the insulting tone of Jim's note suggests he feels abused by what I wrote. He should know that if I wanted to hurtful in writing about him, I might have mentioned his documented run-ins with the law and his history of thuggish behavior toward others. I "refrained" from doing so. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

Obama, Bound To Win

Shelby Steele analyzes Obama's chances for reelection. They're pretty good, he thinks.
There have really always been two Barack Obamas: the mortal man and the cultural icon. If the actual man is distinctly ordinary, even a little flat and humorless, the cultural icon is quite extraordinary. The problem for Republicans is that they must run against both the man and the myth. In 2008, few knew the man and Republicans were walloped by the myth. Today the man is much clearer, and yet the myth remains compelling.

What gives Mr. Obama a cultural charisma that most Republicans cannot have? First, he represents a truly inspiring American exceptionalism: He is the first black in the entire history of Western civilization to lead a Western nation—and the most powerful nation in the world at that. And so not only is he the most powerful black man in recorded history, but he reached this apex only through the good offices of the great American democracy.

Thus his presidency flatters America to a degree that no white Republican can hope to compete with. He literally validates the American democratic experiment, if not the broader Enlightenment that gave birth to it.
Steele is a really smart guy but his track record on predicting the outcome of presidential campaigns isn't great.

But his suggestion for Republican candidates is dead on.

End of Days in Newtown

Tiger, George, Linda, and the Man Baby; my print column is up.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Little Bird in Newtown Sez...

The word out of Newtown Square is that at tonight's supervisors meeting Supervisor George Wood, who is facing a theft of service charge over a mere $21 charge to the township's FedEx account, is going to resign. But not before nominating the recent winner of the GOP primary, Ed Partridge, to take the seat of the late Bob Slawter.

If that happens, two seats will be up for grabs this fall. Where that leaves lame-duck Linda Houldin and her campaign manager Jim Stefanides, who'd been angling for the seat, is uncertain.

But under the circumstances it would be a smart and classy thing for Wood to do.

We'll see. Could be a heck of a meeting.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like I was half right. Wood nominated Partridge and he was voted onto the board. But Wood didn't resign his position. From what I'm told he wants the DAs office to drop the puny theft charge against him and then he'll resign but not before.

There is also talk about a township audit turning up more in the way of missing funds that could lead to more charges being filed against township employees and officials. Whatever happens it's not looking like townshp manager Jim Sheldrake or solicitor Bruce Irvine will survive under the new administration.

Stay tuned.

Don't Screw With His Welfare Check

A government subsidized man-baby threatens suicide if his social security check is taken away.
You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food,” he said. “Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care. I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”
Or as they call it down at the morgue, a onesie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Putting Out the Fire With Gasoline

[Posted by Jake]

Like everybody else, our family budget has been challenged by the substantial increase in gas prices. Every time at the pump, I figured the normal price of gas was about $2.50 a gallon and then we are hit with the $1.50 stupidity surcharge for electing an inexperienced community organizer as President.

The contrast has been amazing. Remember how the media regularly flailed President Bush for gas at $3.00 a gallon? All the stories about some poor family that had to sacrifice between eating and commuting to work, blah, blah, blah. Fast forward to today, nary a mention about the hardships that Obama's higher gas prices have caused.

The speculators on oil futures saw unrest in the Mideast, exacerbated by an naive foreign policy, combined with growing economies in India and China, while domestic production was held hostage by the enviroterrorists. Naturally, they bid prices up. But the Mideast has calmed down, the Chinese and Indian economies have cooled off, and domestic demand has dropped. Despite his smug ineptitude, it looked like circumstances had lined up favorably for Obama.

So what does he do? Our resident deep thinker on Pennsylvania Avenue decides this welcome respite from crippling gas prices is a good time to pick a fight with Israel. Yeah, no sense in cutting the American people a break as they move into summer vacation season. Might as well give the oil markets something else to worry about. And consistent with the normal Obama agenda, the hard-working, bill-paying public gets burnt again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Case of the Missing $8,000: Part II

Is Mike Chitwood dissatisfied? Yes. Is he angry? Yes. Is he jumping to conclusions? No.
“The evidence custodian states he thinks he remembers counting the money back in 2009,” Chitwood explained. “There was a distraction. The money was put in the evidence room to be counted the next day and he (the evidence tekkie) seemed to feel that he could have inadvertantly burned the money during an evidence burn.”
Evidence burn? How about this instead: A police dog ate it.

Bring on the polygraphs.

My print column is up.

Sex Charge in Montco

This story about the woman who went to a public meeting of Lower Merion township supervisors to allege she'd been sexually assaulted by a township police officer is a bit strange.

It certainly would have been better and smarter for her to have gone to the Montgomery County DAs office to lodge her complaint. No doubt that is where it will end up. Even though the office is all the way up in Norristown a simple phone call would have gotten the ball rolling.

It's certainly possible that the woman in question isn't very sophisticated in the ways of reporting crimes and she didn't know what else to do. But somebody should have advised her that a township meeting was not the best place to air her complaint.

It will be interesting to see where it all goes from here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Case of the Missing $8,000

Let's see, eight grand disappears from the evidence room at the Upper Darby Police station and Police Chief Mike Chitwood speculates it might have been burned up "during burns of other evidence."
“As of Wednesday, we can’t find the $8,000,” Chitwood said. “I contacted the D.A.’s office and they are now doing an investigation. I gave them all the records we have. Right now, it is being handled as missing property. I talked to the evidence custodian and he seems to feel the money could have been burned during burns of other evidence. That money could have gotten burned in one of the burns.”
Obviously, this story and Chitwood's theory raises a number of questions.

How often do the Upper Darby police set fire to evidence in their custody? Why would anyone set fire to $8,000 in cash? Isn't it more likely that someone with access to the room and the money, pocketed it? How many people have access to the room? Are they all being interviewed and polygraphed? If not, why not?

Also, according to Chitwood, the money came into police custody in November 2009 as the result of a domestic violence case.
(P)olice responded to a domestic incident between a husband and wife at a residence on the 200 block of Heather Road.

“She claimed he threatened to shoot her and there was a gun in the house,” Chitwood said. “When police responded, the husband had already left, but police reported seeing drugs inside the house. We took the drugs and gun, an AK-47, and returned with a search warrant.

“Police conducted a search and located $8,000 hidden in a bathroom cabinet and $5 in another place, jewelry and a cell phone. The $8,005 was put in a drop safe at that time.”
But later, the money was supressed as evidence in the case and ordered returned to the homeowners. Why? What was wrong with the search, according to the judge.

What "drugs" did the woman leave out in the open for police to see after calling them?

How was the case disposed of?

I'll call Chitwood this morning to see if I can get any answers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hog Heaven in Nether Prov

Another Delco pig controversy. This one in Nether Prov. Based on the comments, not much sympathy for the anti-pig whiners.

One example: "
Seriously give me a break pig snorts and you want to enjoy your yard when the weather gets nicer. I think a pig is a better pet then a dog, Dogs bark pigs snort. Give us all a break stop crying in Nether Providence about a pig the commissioners have bigger thing to worry about other than a pig. STOP YOUR CRYING. DONT LIKE IT MOVE. The pig wont bother you people thank you all you pig supporters. "
You're welcome.

Is Judgement Day Saturday?

Some people think so.

I once saw a movie about this. The Rapture. It was good. You can get it on Netflix. But you better hurry.

Arnold Schwartzenegger: Sperminator

He will knock (hand clap) you up.

Hat tip: Maureen Dowd and Mrs. Spencerblog

UPDATE: It's seems a 1985 porn film beat Ms. Dowd to the punch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Springfield GOP Machine Sputters to a Declared Victory over Devenney

GOP boss Mike Puppio reports that his candidate Bob Layden has eked out a victory over 20-year former incumbent Jim Devenney by a mere 38 votes out of some 860 some cast.

"I'm very happy," said Puppio. "He (Devenney) was the incumbent." Well, not technically.

Puppio admitted to me he wasn't as confident about this race as he presented himself to me a couple of weeks ago. But as of now, he's pretty sure his horse won. The official count is still pending.

It's Partridge in the Pear Tree

Reporting in from Newtown Square, Joe Catania sez: "Crushing, crushing, crushing, crushing," in response to how Ed Partridge is doing against Linda Houldin.

UPDATE: Now what? "Now they stick it to us for six months," said Catania. They being, the lame duck Houldin, Wood and a supervisor to be named (by them) later. "We'll get through it,"

The feeling in the Gillin, Catania, Ross Lampert camp? Glee and "relief."

UPDATE: I just received these numbers: Partridge, 1,744; Houldin, 478. Yes, that is quite a drubbing.

Mike Gillin: Non Smoker?

Mike Gillin just called to ask me a favor. He asked me not to put in the newspaper that I saw him smoking in front of the Knights of Columbus.

"My wife will kill me," he said.

I told him I'd already put in on this blog.

"I know," he said. "That's how she found out."

I will say this. I didn't actually see him smoking. I saw him with a cigarette in his mouth. If he wants to tell his wife he wasn't smoking it, that's up to him. There are worse habits.

Gillin, Houldin, Partridge Speak

Outside the Knights of Columbus, Newtown Square GOP boss Mike Gillin stood under an overhang, smoking a cigarette. He picked a good day not to quit.

His local party is in disarray but he seemed downright giddy with how things were working out.

Supervisor incumbent Linda Houldin and a group of her friends and supporters have been in open rebellion against Gillin for months. She managed to retain the party endorsement in a crazily contentious party nominating process. And yet Gillin appears likely to have the last laugh. In helping to get former Marple Newtown School Board President Ed Partridge to run against Houldin, Gillin and his guys have provided a smart, friendly and competent alternative to 'Lightning Rod' Linda.

"I think people are fed up," said Gillin, with a number of different issues from sewers, to sloppy and downright rude township management.

As for Houldin, Gillin pulled no punches.

"She's stubborn. She wants to control everything. And if you cross her you're on her revenge list," he said.

Somehow I'd rather be on Houldin's revenge list than Gillin's.

I asked him about county GOP leadership efforts to get the two to sit down and hash out their problems. After all, she obviously has a following. Gillin acknowledged the sit down but said simply, "It didn't work."

He sang Partridge's praises, proclaiming him to be a "fiscal conservative" who has his MBA and a record as a school board director of keeping taxes as low as possible.

He predicted a solid Partridge victory.

I asked him about the anonymously written web site FIRELINDA.COM and asked him what part he had in setting it up. He just laughed.

"I wish I could take credit of it. Who's ever writing it," he said, "has all the facts."

Over in the 2nd Ward, Houldin stood inside the Messiah Lutheran Church greeting voters. When I introduced myself she smiled pleasantly and shook my offered hand. In the past she has refused to talk to me about controversial issues involving her and the township.

"How's it looking?" I asked.

"I can't even tell you. It's that close," she said with a tight smile.

"It's been a pretty rough campaign," I offered.

"The worst campaign I've ever seen in the history of Newtown," she said. She blamed Gillin for a lot of it.

I told her Gillin said he was willing to sit down with her after tonight and try to put their differences behind them.

"No comment on that right now," she said and stared straight ahead. Her campaign manager, Jim Stefanides stood nearby.

I asked her if the results of the primary would have any affect on upcoming appointment of the new supervisor.

"I don't think it should," she replied.

Stefanides has applied for the position. He said he expected the "process" to take it's course. Which is to say, no matter who wins today, the fireworks aren't over in Newtown.

Outside, Partridge greeted residents, introducing himself, as they came in to vote. For a rainy primary, the turnout was pretty good.

Earlier he'd been dragged into Common Pleas court by Houldin who claimed his literature was illegally misleading. Judge Chad Kenney disagreed and dismissed the matter.

"He told (Linda) to work harder at the polls," Partridge said with a smile.

Confidence was running high in his camp.

"Unless something monumental happens, it looks good," he said. And then with mock grandeur, "The people of Newtown have responded!"

More than 200 people at this precinct had shown up to vote by 1:30 p.m. Some 200 more were expected. Not bad for an ugly, rainy, off-year primary.

Reported Gillin, "Some guy came up to me this morning and said, 'This was the first primary I ever voted in. But this one counts.'"

As for his responsibility for this political hornets nest, Gillin said, "We got them elected but I can't keep their jobs for them."

It seems as far as he's concerned if Linda Houldin loses tonight she fired herself.

Meanwhile, In Newtown Square

GOP chairman Mike Gillin just left court where township supervisor incumbent Linda Houldin pulled a Puppio and challenged the legality of Ed Partridge's campaign lit. She lost. Gillin is privately backing Partridge in this race.

Newtown Square makes what's happening in Springfield's 6th Ward look like a 60's love-in, only without the long hair and the drugs.

My colleague Tim Logue put it better:
NEWTOWN — An election to fill one seat on an all-Republican board may not seem like an earth shaker, but it makes all the difference in Newtown, where the board of supervisors is split like a lunch tab at a cheapskate convention.
I'm meeting Gillin soon.

More later.

UPDATE: Supervisor and Partridge supporter Joe Catania reports that things are looking "real good" for his guy, even in Houldin's home ward. "We're either even or ahead. We'll see."

On a Perk and a Prayer

At the Springfield Baptist Church, Jim Devenney's "funny situation" (see below) got funnier. Not funny "haha" but funny awkward.

Earlier, he'd been at a polling place surrounded by old political friends and collegues, (including County Councilman Tom McGarrigle) who were now supporting his opponent and former assistant committeeman Bob Layden. He would find the same thing at the church polling place.

Layden was there with his wife and so was, along with various other GOP committee people, State Rep. Bill Adolph.

The affable Devenney stood closest to entrance handing out cards that had been challenged in court by the township GOP for using the Republican elephant symbol. Judge Joe Cronin yesterday denied the the party's request for an injunction to keep Devenney from handing out his cards.

"It's been kind of nutsy," Devenney said of the campaign. "A lot of negative stuff" has been said about him, mostly having to do with his resignation friom the board of commissioners over his abuse of the commissioners' pool perk, that allows their family to be members at a much-reduced rate. (He got his adult kids and their kids on the list of approved perksters.)

"The whole thing is so asinine," Devenney said again yesterday. As for the campaign, he said, "The depressing thing is that people are so mean."

He's referring to Mike Puppio, the township's GOP leader, and the guy who told him he needed to resign last year for his embarrassing abuse of privilege.

"This is so mean and rotten," said Devenney. "I was part of the guys. I did nothing. I think I have a decent reputation. People know me."

A few feet away, Bob Layden was handing out his own literature and greeting the few voters coming to the polling place.

"Me and jim are friends so it's awkward," said Layden. "Between me and Jim it hasn't been a dirty game at all." But he didn't deny the party has played hard to win the contest for their chosen candidate.

"I didn't get involved in any of the party stuff," said Layden. He just worked hard to introduce himself to voters who didn't know him after being granted Devenney's seat last year after his resignation.

"I had no idea I would be running in a primary. I concentrated on talking to people and I let the party take care of the rest."

Still, he said, the situation, "kinda' sucks."

Adolph said he's known Layden since he got involved in Springfield youth football. As for the Devenney situation, "I don't know all the details," he said. "It was surprising when Jim announced he was running."

An older voter came down the walk. Adolph handed him a Layden card.

"They're bringingt out all the big guns," said the unsmiling man.

"I hope you'll vote for Bob," Adolph said. The man took the card without returning Adolph's smile.

Adolph shrugged.

There are plenty of people in this ward who don't like the heavy-handedness with which Devenney was treated by party leaders. And you've got to hand it to him, he plays the victim well.

What happens if Devenney's wins, I asked Adolph.

"If he wins," said Adolph, "we'll be supporting him in the fall."

This allegedly corrupt, disgraced, perk-abusing commissioner? In Springfield? You bet your ass.

In Springfield, A Funny Situation

Just talked to Springfield's Jim Devenney. I'll be hooking up with him shortly. Yesterday, he told me the Springfield GOP took him to court over an alleged electioneering infraction.

"It was denied," he said. When I asked him to expound on that, he said he'd tell me when he saw me.

"I'm in a funny situation right now," he said.

I'm guessing he's surrounded by a large number of Mike Puppio's goons.

Just kidding, Mike.

UPDATE: I just asked Puppio over the phone how the day is going. "Damp and wet," he replied. I told him I was headed out to meet Devenney. His response: "Hahahahahaha."

Primary Election Day

The races that interest me most are the ones in Newtown Square, where Ed Partridge is trying to knock off Supervisor Linda Houldin in the GOP primary and in Springfield where Jim Devenney is trying to regain his 6th Ward Township Commissioner's seat after being pushed out last year by party bosses for his alleged pool perk abuse.

Also Eric Mundy, 30-year-old son of Byron, is looking to be part of a GOP pro-taxpayer slate in Southeast Delco, willing to take on the district's teachers union.

What's interesting about Eric is that he's a school teacher himself. He teaches math at the high-tone Malvern Prep. I talked to him yesterday and he sounds downright proud that he isn't qualified to teach in any of the state's public school systems because he hasn't taken the education courses that would allow him to be certified.

He only has a B.S. in a biology from DeSales University and a masters degree in mathematics from Villanova. Good enough for Malvern Prep but not for Southeast Delco, William Penn or any other public school.

He told me he's seen what private schools can do with less money. Mainly what they do is pay their teachers less and still get better quality educators than if they are state certified. Holding the line on salaries and benefits, which is where 80 percent of school budgets go, is how to save taxpayers money.

Win or lose today, he's right.

It's miserable out and could be all day. Turnout should be low, which means the candidates with the most motivated supporters will win.

Time to get moving.

Hello, He Must Be Going

Donald Trump announces he won't be running for president. He'd win if he did, he says. But he prefers being the host of Celebrity Apprentice to being President of the United States.

Yes, well...

A wit has said that the problem with political jokes is that sometimes they get elected. Not in this case.

The businessman turned birther turned drop-out has had his 15 minutes and provided enough entertainment in the pre-presidential campaign season to deserve the thanks of a grateful nation. Our very own Captain Spaulding...

Monday, May 16, 2011


An anti-Linda Houldin website called "" is chortling about legal efforts to prevent it from publishing any more material unflattering to the Newtown Township supervisor who is running for the GOP nomination in tomorrow's primary.

Jim Stefanides, Linda's campaign manager, hired the Philadelphia law firm of Bochetto and Lentz, which has sent a cease and desist letter to the Arizona company that registered and publishes the web site.

Claiming the site violates Pa. state law because it expressly advocates the defeat of a political candidate, attorney David Heim has requested Domains by Proxy Inc. of Scottsdale take it down.

The site is published anonymously and seems to have gone up a couple of weeks ago. It contains material that comes under such headings as "Linda's Lies," cites her alleged effort to get her son hired as a Newtown cop and provides copies of old arrest reports involving Stefanides.

Whoever started the site, also posted the letter sent by Stefanides lawyer to the Domains by Proxy too. Today's post includes this:
Well this is fun. Apparently Mr. Stefanidis is trying to suppress the truth. Remember, this is the person Linda Houldin and George Wood are going to appoint to fill (Deceased Supervisor Bob) Slawter's seat.

Let me be clear. There is nothing on this website that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a particular candidate. Everything on this website is fact. I am in no way connected to either campaign for Newtown Township Supervisor.

The second complaint is that "nowhere on the website is my identity revealed". Do they think I'm stupid? These people are foaming at the mouth to find my identity. It looks to me like that pesky little thing called the First Amendment is on my side.

I'll be calling Heim to see if he's heard back from the domain company concerning their intentions.

More later.

UPDATE: Heim isn't in the office today. I left a message for him. But the web site was still up last time I checked so... Whoever is behind is being well protected or has protected their own identity quite well. I haven't been able to find out who it is. It sure has Linda's and Stefanides' attention. And with only a day to go before the primary, whether it's taken down or not, it's gotten out the information that it wants to get out. A little sleazily. But cleverly.

Mundy Mundy in S.E. Delco

Southeast Delco School Boarder and Taxpayer Protector Byron Mundy is hoping local voters will think enough of the Mundy name to put another one on S.E. Delco school board.

Eric Mundy, Byron's son, is running to join his father and a few other good men and women to hold down teachers' salaries, benefits and taxes.

Eric, 30, has been teaching math at the prestigious Malvern Prep school for the last five years. No tenure. No baloney. Just a series of one-year contracts.

Normally, when a teacher joins a school board it's to protect his or her brethern in the teachers' union. That doesn't appear to be the case with Eric. His father hasn't endeared himself to local educators. He recently sent out a newsletter listing every teacher's salary in the district. Teachers hate that.

When we did it county-wide a few years ago, the outrage expressed by teachers and their union leaders was almost comical. "How dare local taxpaxers be told what we cost them," was the prevailing attitude.

Good for Byron. Good for Eric. Who better than a teacher who puts his own teaching job on the line every year, to sit across from a union that protects even the worst teachers from being held accountable for their failures in the classroom?

Have You Seen These Gals?

SPRINGFIELD – Police are asking the public for help identifying three women suspected of credit card theft.

A wallet containing credit cards was stolen at the Springfield Mall May 8. The stolen credit cards were used at the CVS at 975 Baltimore Pike shortly after the theft, according to police.
Has anyone checked the line at the Old Country Buffet?

Pants-Dropping French Socialist Not Such a Genius Afterall

The last time I saw Dominique Strauss-Kahn was in the Oscar-winning but ridiculously flawed documentary "Inside Job." The socialist French finance minister was portraying himself and being portrayed as the most reasonable person in the room. (Everybody else was corrupt and crooked.)


Children About to be Left Behind

The shuttering of places like the Colony House would indeed by a tragedy for families on the edge with no place left to go.
Donna Griffin arrived last June with her 7-year-old son, Dominick, and newborn, Gigi.

“(I was) down on my luck,” she said standing inside her Colony room between the Sponge Bob-sheeted bunk bed and the playpen.

Since then, she’s worked on her goals of learning to maintain stable housing, to be a good provider for her family and to get some life skills.

“It’s been very helpful,” Griffin said. “It’s hard sometimes being a single mom.”

After saving $1,000 through Community Action’s budgeting program, paying off her electric bill and enrolling her son in tutoring lessons, Griffin is preparing to move to transitional housing in Toby Farms.

She highlighted her son’s success.

“He got all As and Bs on his report card and he can read,” Griffin said. “He couldn’t read when he got here.”

Had the Colony program not been there a year ago, Griffin said the family might have had to be split apart.

“I don’t know where I would go,” she said.

The Road To Chichester Teachers Contract Is Paved With...

In the midst of contract negotiations, the Chichester Education Association takes out an ad to make clear that they have offered to take pay freezes for two years and blasts the school board for giving the impression that they haven't.

Leading the president of the school board to say:
“It is absolutely true that the CEA approached us first, and that the full freeze would have saved us $800,000, which is a very advantageous number for the problem at hand, but we also needed to calculate the reality of where the next year is going... In our statement, we tried to give a snapshot of where we were and where we are now, and to say to our community, here’s where we ended up. We know that our teachers are the glue that holds this district together, and we know they have nothing but the best intentions for our students.”
They're the glue all right. As for their "best intentions" more people need to see

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Whose Sorry Now?

Bryan Lentz wrote letters of apology to GOP campaign workers for claiming they committed forgery during the Meehan campaign. I was going to sing Lentz' praises for being a stand-up guy until I realized the apology was part of settling a defamation suit.


Friday, May 13, 2011

All Aboard Taxpayers!

Demagogue in Chief

Krauthammer points out the hypocritical incivility of Barack Hussein Obama:
The El Paso speech is notable not for breaking any new ground on immigration but for perfectly illustrating Obama’s political style: the professorial, almost therapeutic, invitation to civil discourse, wrapped around the basest of rhetorical devices — charges of malice compounded with accusations of bad faith. “They’ll never be satisfied,” said Obama about border control. “And I understand that. That’s politics.”

How understanding. The other side plays “politics,” Obama acts in the public interest. Their eyes are on poll numbers, political power, the next election; Obama’s rest fixedly on the little children.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Four Charged in FedEx-Gate

A taste of tomorrow's print column today:
The other shoe has dropped in Newtown Square and it ain't no Jimmy Choo.
With four township officials now charged with theft of township funds it looks more like a Timberland boot.

The Pitts

Leonard Pitts pushes the birther=racist meme.
Thing is, bigots do not usually stand up and say, "I am a bigot."
Thing is, race hustlers do not usually stand up and say, "I am a race hustler."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Funnies

From the Department of Stupid Questions:

Dead on!

An Aristocat

Spencerdaughter sez the newest addition to the Spencer clan reminds her of...

Shooter O'Malley has a nice ring to it, doncha' think? More about this lucky animal can be found here.

The Torture Debate Is Back

Did the harsh interrogation program (waterboarding, sleep deprivation, humiliation, etc.) get us the info that led to Bin Laden? More importantly did it save American lives? My print column is up.

UPDATE: Meanwhile former CIA chief Michael Hayden sez as late as 2006 fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from harsh interrogations.

Mike Mukasey writes:
Osama bin Laden was killed by Americans, based on intelligence developed by Americans. That should bring great satisfaction to our citizens and elicit praise for our intelligence community. Seized along with bin Laden's corpse was a trove of documents and electronic devices that should yield intelligence that could help us capture or kill other terrorists and further degrade the capabilities of those who remain at large.

But policies put in place by the very administration that presided over this splendid success promise fewer such successes in the future. Those policies make it unlikely that we'll be able to get information from those whose identities are disclosed by the material seized from bin Laden. The administration also hounds our intelligence gatherers in ways that can only demoralize them.
They should knock it off or be voted out next year.

UPDATE II: Gene "Gene the Liberal Dancing Machine" Robinson offers "Torture is still Torture."

OK. Fine. But we're for it if it is needed and used to save American lives. Period.

Still, I would add that I am unconvinced that it would have been justifiable alone in tracking and killing of Bin Laden for two reasons.

First, Bin Laden was no longer the operational head of al Qaeda. He was the symbolic and spiritual head, but he wasn't the man behind the plan, devising terrorist attacks against us. He was only in touch with his courier about six times a year, so that he couldn't be tracked down and killed. All that is to say that catching and killing him at this point was probably not necessary when it came to directly saving American lives.

Having identified the courier that led us to him, the man was not immediately picked up and tortured to get the information. And he probably wouldn't have been under the Bush administration either. He was quietly followed for months. After 10 years and Osama more or less removed from the day to day terrorist operations of al Qaeda there was no hurry, no ticking bomb reason, to force the issue.

That information gleaned from EITs may have ultimately led to the Osama is a bonus, but may not have justification enough to have used the rough techniques in the first place. That too is an open question to me. But I am convinced that our intelligence agencies and Commander in Chief need the latitude and discretion based on their own knowledge of terrorist threat levels to use whatever means necessary to stop imminent terror attacks.

More Mukasey:
Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand. It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information—including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.

That regimen of harsh interrogation was used on KSM after another detainee, Abu Zubaydeh, was subjected to the same techniques. When he broke, he said that he and other members of al Qaeda were obligated to resist only until they could no longer do so, at which point it became permissible for them to yield. "Do this for all the brothers," he advised his interrogators.
Any questions?

UPDATE III: More from James Taranto.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Powerful Lesson in Class

[Posted by Jake]

Today, President Bush graciously declined to join President Obama on his victory lap around Ground Zero. This despite the recent events which have obviously validated the Bush Administration's anti-terror policies.

It has to be difficult for Democrats to appreciate Republican Presidents who choose to step away from public affairs and the limelight when they leave office. They're accustomed to these Democrat ex-Presidents who won't go away.

Jimmy Carter never misses an opportunity to say something stupid just to let us know he's around. The problem with Obama getting Osama is now Carter is going to be stuck with that "Worst President" label for the foreseeable future.

And then there is the Clintons, who view themselves as the successors to the Kennedys as the first family of Democrat politics. While Bubba could go cocktail-to-cocktail, and bimbo-to-bimbo with Ted, even the American public is not so shortsighted as to overlook the seamy Clinton soap opera that disgraced the highest office in the land.

President Bush has refrained from criticizing the Obama Administration, despite the hypocrisy and unrelenting cacophony of blame contrived by the Democrat apologists. "W" has carried himself with dignity, and he and his whole family have been a powerful lesson in class for all Americans.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Political and Psychological Benefits of Crying "Racism!"

James Taranto explores the reasons why liberals continue to accuse their adversaries of racism.

The short answer:
Baselessly accusing their political foes of racism is a way in which today's liberals attempt to incite fear and loathing of "the other." As we argued last year, this serves a political purpose in that it helps persuade blacks not to consider voting Republican. But it serves a psychological purpose as well. It reinforces white liberals' sense of their own superiority.
But read the whole thing.

This has been going on for years. The race card has been played so promiscuously and perniciously by race hustlers and guilty white liberals that it's almost become as bad as actually being racist. That's a good thing. Falsely accusing someone of rape, may not be as bad as someone being an actual rapist, but it's pretty close. It certainly is an evil and disgusting thing to do.

As former Journ-o-lister Spencer Ackerman suggested to his fellow liberals in what he thought was a secret memo on how to deal with Obama's critics:
... take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.
Being called a racist in this country is about as bad a thing as you can be called. To use the charge as a weapon unconcerned about whether its actually true, is the height of poisonous irresponsibility. In short, it's a lowlife thing to do. And those who do it should be called to account for it.

On the Torture Question, a Bunch of Baloney

Wait a minute, Osama Bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot and killed by American warriors? Isn't that against the law.

Meanwhile, over at Attytood, anti-torture zealot Will Bunch is firmly asserting that the sort of rough interrogation tactics that he calls "torture" had nothing to do with gleaning the intelligence that led to the killing of Bin Laden.

Writes Bunch:
It's time to tear down a myth right now before it spreads. Torture had absolutely nothing to do with killing Osama bin Laden. Nothing. Zero. Ziilch. Nada.
And he would know, of course, better than CIA Director Leon Panetta, who says it's an "open question" whether Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (waterboarding, etc.) helped the intelligence community get the information needed to track down Bin Laden.

Time mag reports:
A former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, who was investigated last year by the Justice Department for the destruction of videos showing senior al-Qaeda officials being interrogated, says that the harsh questioning of terrorism suspects produced the information that eventually led to Osama bin Laden’s death.

Jose Rodriguez ran the CIA’s CounterTerrorism Center from 2002 to 2005 during the period when top al-Qaeda leaders Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) and Abu Faraj al-Libbi were taken into custody and subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” at secret black site prisons overseas. KSM was subjected to waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other techniques. Al Libbi was not waterboarded, but other EITs were used on him.

“Information provided by KSM and Abu Faraj al Libbi about Bin Laden’s courier was the lead information that eventually led to the location of [bin Laden’s] compound and the operation that led to his death,” Rodriguez tells TIME in his first public interview. Rodriguez was cleared of charges in the video destruction investigation last year. (Read CIA Director Leon Panetta’s first interview since the bin Laden raid.)

Rodriguez’s assertion drew criticism from the White House. “There is no way that information obtained by [enhanced interrogation techniques] was the decisive intelligence that led us directly to bin Laden,” says National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. “It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that bin Laden was likely to be living there.”
So neither the White House nor the CIA is asserting that EITs had "Nothing. Zero. Ziilch (sic). Nada," with the years-long and ultimately successful effort to bring justice to America's most wanted terrorist.

Because Bunch has such a distaste for the idea of inflicting pain on captured terrorists even if it is done to save American lives, he is committed to claiming that it can't work, despite any evidence that it can and sometimes does. This is a bad place for any thinking person, let alone a journalist, to find himself.

Few of Will's blog readers sound convinced of his assertion. And rightly so.

Risky Business in Pakistan

Headline on AP story about Killing Osama:
Bin Laden mission was risky business for Obama
Well, yeah. And it was risky for the guys who actually carried it out too. I'm all for giving credit where credit is due. But let's not forget who the real men were in this deal. If it fails, Obama takes a political hit. But the Navy Seals who went in to deliver justice to OBL, were risking a whole lot more.

Worth A Thousand Words

Springfield Pool Spits Out Pol

Springfield Commish Jim Devenney did a dumb thing. He got his adult daughters and grandkids onto his perky (free) Springfield Country Club pool membership and he got creamed for it. He resigned his 6th Ward seat. Not once but twice. But now he wants it back and he's bucking the party machine to get it.

My print column is up.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention in the column that Devenney is being sued in civil court for the $3,500 the township claims he owes for abusing its perk policy. He won a change of venue for that case on Tuesday and it won't be heard before the May 12 primary in which he's running against Bob Layden.

GOP leader Mike Puppio says Devenney knew that only dependent children were allowed to be included on his free membership plan because he was in the room when the policy was discussed and crafted. So was Puppio.

Devenney denies intentionally violating the policy, that he didn't remember exactly what was in it and claims he merely asked pool personnel if his kids and grandkids were allowed on his plan. Puppio scoffs at that excuse. But it's not wholly implausible.

Over the last five years, Puppio claims that Devenney was told more than once by a pool manager or secretary that it was inappropriate for him to have his kids on the $1-a-visit perk plan. Devenney denies that. He said nobody said a thing to him about it until he got a letter last July from Commish Tom Mahoney.

Puppio named the township worker who supposedly told Devenney, but she didn't return my call to confirm that yesterday.

Puppio said that Devenney went around that person and got the passes from somebody else. Devenney firmly denies that. He says he asked one person about it and if the answer had been "no" that would have been fine with him.

Puppio compared that to Devenney asking the chief of police if it would be OK for him to run every red light in the township from now it. I found that analogy to be a bit tortured.

If Devenney knew about the policy and ignored it to save a few hundred dollars for his kids, he deserved to be held fully accountable. If he didn't remember it, and the township staff responsible for handing out the membership cards, decided to overlook it on his behalf, they're complicit too. They didn't do their job either. Yet, as far as I know, nobody's been fired or punished for that.

Puppio told that Devenney want him to "make it all go away" when they met last year. But by that time, he said, the "tube was out of toothpaste." Puppio said had a choice to make. It had become common knowledge at the pool that Devenney had abused his privileges. He could either look the other way and appear to cover it up, or hold him accountable. If someone in the township wanted to embarrass the party over this, they certainly could have by going to the press with the story about how Springfield commissioners get and then abuse their special privileges. Puppio said his only goal was to protect the integrity and reputation of Springfield government.

He said he didn't threaten or intimidate Devenney he simply laid out what he'd done and told him he had two choices: pay back the full amount the benefit was worth ($3,600 plus) or resign. He told me would have been satisfied with repayment because that would have showed Devenney understood and admitted what he'd done. Devenney chose to resign instead.

Puppio didn't figure that Devenney would have the temerity to challenge his and the party's authority to decide who should hold his seat.

Devenney told me he was intimidated and "befuddled" when he offered his resignation. Since last summer he's come to believe he was buffaloed into resigning, that he didn't do anything that justified the heavy-handed way with which he was treated.

There was probably as smarter way for Puppio to handle this; a way that would have allowed Devenney to see the error in his own actions and judgment and agree to his own punishment, whatever it was. But then when Puppio talks about Devenney's "sense of entitlement" to his seat and to perks he'd gotten used to bestowing on his kids, he's got a point.

Still, for a county political machine that routinely puts relatives and family members on the county payroll, you wouldn't think this would be a hanging offense.

The Devenney family has been a beneficiary of such patronage jobs. So have a lot of local office holders. That's how machines work. But there are limits. It turns out the political pool has a deep end. And you swim in it at your own risk.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Roast

Give him them their due, Obama's comedy writers get a few good shots in against FOX News, Republicans and The Donald...

UPDATE: But it's always funnier and more effective for a president to self-deprecatingly take more shots at himself than others. Still, it's pretty cool to know in retrospect that as Obama was standing up there that Saturday night, he and his National Security team were secretly getting ready take out Osama bin Laden the next day.

And it's gives his punchline about the kind of decisions that "keep him up at night," special poignancy.

Osama Bin Laden: Rest in Hell

Finally, something we can all cheer and agree on.

UPDATE: From the New York Post editorial:
(Bin Laden) will, of course, be hailed as a martyr among those who would repeal civilization and return the world to the 9th Century -- evil men who are responsible for untold suffering, men who will not stand down simply because Osama has been brought to justice.

But his death cannot help but to give pause to the enemies of civilization. Surely they sensed the eagle's shadow as it passed over -- and who knows, maybe some will pay attention to Obama's closing words:

"The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever it is we set our mind to. That is the story of our history."

God bless the perseverance of those who stayed after the master terrorist.

God bless the brave young men who carried out yesterday's mission -- they are the best the nation has to offer.

And God bless America.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Justice Gets Done!

USA USA USA! That's what they're chanting at Citizens Bank Park after hearing the news that Osama Bin Laden had finally been brought to justice. That is, been blown to bits.

Spencerblog Goes Birther

The Weekly Standard releases Obama's "real" birth certificate