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What happens when you run out of other people’s money?

Today, San Bernandino, California filed for bankruptcy.  This follows on the heels of the June bankruptcy filing for Stockton, California, and the July 4 filing for Mammoth Lakes, California. Read more

Harrisburg, Pa. mayor: 28 years of failed city policies

The municipality of Harrisburg, Pa. has $610 million in liabilities – ten times its yearly budget. The kid’s grades are pretty bad, and those who can live outside the city do, but the school buildings are beautiful, and they own a hotel and a minor league baseball team.

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Snow is the least of New York’s problems

Much has been written about the travails of New York State.  With each year of budget deficits, the solution always seems to be to raise tax rates.  Higher tax tax rates cause people to leave the state, resulting in fewer taxpayers and thus less tax revenue and ever increasing deficits.   So, it came a no surprise that the results of the recent census have caused New York to lose 2 seats in the House of Representatives.  With these stark realities, one would think that New York would be doing whatever it could to lure more business into the state.  Sadly, it is doing the exact opposite.

One needs to look no further than New York’s treatment of natural gas drilling.  The  65 million acre Marcellus Shale formation,

extends from Ohio and West Virginia up through Pennsylvania and upstate New York.  A recent Penn State study estimates that Marcellus is the second largest natural gas field in the world…A July study by the American Petroleum Institute estimates production in the Marcellus could provide [New York with] $15 billion in economic output and $2 billion in state tax revenues over nine years.

In response to this “gold mine” the New York legislature recently passed a bill banning all natural gas exploration in the state.  Although out-going Governor Patterson vetoed this bill, by executive order he was able to accomplish the same result.  His order bans all horizontal drilling (the most cost effective way of extracting natural gas) until his state’s Department of Environmental Conservation issues new regulations.  Were I the natural gas industry, I wouldn’t be holding my breath til the regulations are promulgated.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Pennsylvania, things are quite different.

The [Penn State] study notes that Pennsylvania had $4.5 billion in Marcellus-related investment in 2009, generating nearly $400 million in state and local tax revenue and 44,000 jobs…Between July 2009 and June 2010, Pennsylvania’s 632 Marcellus wells released 180 billion cubic feet of gas, doubling state production.  The Keystone State has used this development to attract more investment in company headquarters, training facilities and service sites-brick-and-mortar capital lost to the Empire State.

And, from where will New York State, one of the largest users of natural gas in the country, get it’s natural gas?  Pennsylvania is now looking to lock in contracts with businesses in New York.

This type of policy, driven by the “greenies”, gives brand new meaning to the phrase “shooting yourself in the foot”.

Pennsylvania governor demands you ‘run away’ from attackers on the street

Even though the Pennsylvania state legislature overwhelmingly extended the state’s Castle Doctrine outside of a persons home or workplace, lame-duck Governor Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) vetoed the bill yesterday. He thinks if you or your family are attacked on the street, you have a duty to retreat and have no right to stand your ground and protect yourself.

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Shocked, Shocked I am…

… to find gambling in this establishment, or so says Captain Rene from Casablanca.

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Could states use federal health care funding to provide abortions?

Even though President Obama promised federal dollars would not be used to fund abortions, two states announced they will administer federal mandated high-risk plans through existing high-cost insurance pools. Plans offered through the pools include elective abortion coverage.

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Student laptops deliver thousands of private images to school district

Remember the story from February where a high school sophomore and his family alleged the school district was using laptop Web cameras – issued by the school – to monitor students by taking pictures when the computers were on at home? It gets worse…

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The Fun Police: When the Party’s Over…

Apparently, reality is slowly settling in on the Beer Police in Philadelphia.

For those coming late to the tale: Read more

The Fun Police Strike Again!

The raids continue!

What is going on in Pennsylvania?  It there a need to fill a major budget gap?  Are the police planning a major beer bash?  Has “Fast Eddie” Rendell decided to resurrect the Temperance Movement?

“Pennsylvania State Police have staged another beer raid, confiscating about a dozen cases from a leading distributor in Northeast Philadelphia and ordering it to stop selling several well-known imports, including Duvel, a popular Belgian beer sold throughout the Philadelphia region.

Agents from the State Police Department’s Bureau of Liquor Code Enforcement (BLCE) descended Monday night on Origlio’s Beverage, a wholesale distributor in the Far Northeast whose primary brands include Coors and Yuengling.

The police seized about a dozen cases from a small California beermaker, Russian River Brewing Co., and ordered Origlio’s to stop selling Duvel and other beers, including Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner and Monk’s Cafe Ale, developed in Belgium for the Philadelphia bar at 16th and Spruce streets.

As in armed raids conducted last week against three Philadelphia taprooms, the State Police alleged that the targeted beers were not properly registered with the state Liquor Control Board for sale in Pennsylvania – a process involving limited paperwork and a $75 fee.

The sketchy evidence available suggests that several of the beers in fact had been properly registered, and related liquor taxes had been paid.

But apparent miscommunication between the Liquor Control Board and the State Police has left the state’s investigators with only a foggy notion of what’s registered and what isn’t. The State Police proceeded with the latest raid in spite of the confusion.

“This is really an outrage,” said a local bar owner who missed his Duvel delivery yesterday. “The state doesn’t understand that Duvel actually is registered and has been sold here for years and years. It’s almost unbelievable.”

Now, there is the natural response on the part of those in power, when questioned and presented with possible evidence of their incompetence (at least I hope it its incompetence…) to double down, nothing to see here, move along…

“For the second day, State Police officials in Philadelphia and Harrisburg failed to return telephone calls or respond to written questions from the Daily News.

The Liquor Control Board also failed to respond to questions about its communications with the State Police and apparent problems with its list of more than 2,800 registered beers.

The State Police banned further sales of the Monk’s brew, for instance, in spite of “Monk’s Cafe Ale” being listed on the LCB’s Web site as a registered beer. And it told Origlio’s to stop selling Duvel in spite of the fact that “Duvel Beer” is listed by the LCB.

So far, it appears Origlio is the only distributor raided in the recent State Police crackdown.”

So, there you go — nothing to see here, move along — you don’t complain, we won’t explain… and have a nice day.

White House aims to protect Specter – offered Sestak a job

The ultimate good ol’ boy network. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) is running for Senate and headed towards a primary with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.). Back in July when Sestak was thinking about running, he says he was contacted by someone – either from the Obama administration or a proxy – to not run in exchange for an Executive Branch position.

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