Wednesday, November 30, 2011


"Imagine if the Pennsylvania Turnpike asked every state resident with a driver's license to file a form each year, stating the number of miles traveled on the highway and remitting the proper tolls. That's crazy, right?...The latest scheme out of Harrisburg -- from the ostensibly anti-tax Corbett administration -- will apply that flawed methodology to sales tax on items purchased online. It won't work...Gov. Tom Corbett's Revenue Department is planning to include a new line on the 2011 income tax forms that will require filers to report what they spent on online purchases that went untaxed. Pennsylvanians who don't want to do the math will be allowed to use an estimate based on their income. What's likely is that many taxpayers will report zero, which means many of them will be lying. That's been the experience in other states, including Ohio, where just 46,476 of its 5 million households complied last year." (Post-Gazette 11/4/11)

This is pretty powerful stuff from the Post-Gazette editorial board earlier this month. Calling millions of average, otherwise law-abiding Pennsylvanians liars is quite shocking.

So, where's the skepticism regarding a small, insular group of people being similarly asked to self-report illegal activity that could land them in prison?

Just like his plan counting on internet shoppers to self-report their on-line sales tax bills, Corbett has allowed the State Senate Republican caucus to self-report on their illegal political activities and bonuses.

Corbett and his Republican Attorney General successors have allowed the Republican State Senate Caucus to self-investigate and self-report any evidence of campaigning illegally by its members and staff. In fact, the only contact between the Office of Attorney General and the Senate GOP has been the two voluntary appearances of former General Counsel Stephen MacNett, one of the very Senate staff members who performed campaign work on the state's dime over his many years as an employee of that caucus.  In fact, not a single State Senate employee has been subpoenaed by Corbett or his successors in the supposedly four-caucus investigation supposedly approaching its fifth year of existence. (Tribune Review 9/12/11)

Corbett and his successors expect us to believe that MacNett can be trusted to tell the truth voluntarily.  This is the same MacNett who has had past campaign run-ins with a grand jury. (Inquirer 5/9/1995)

Raise your hand if you think Mike Long will waltz in un-bidden by a subpoena to recount how he came to be known as the Sentate GOP caucus' "campaign guru"?

Does anyone really believe the Senate Republicans are going to turn over the emails and documents that explain how Drew Crompton earned a fat bonus from the taxpayers for spending a huge chunk of 2006 as a top adviser to GOP gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann? (Tribune Review 2/4/07)

Everyone knows that the Senate GOP culture was just as partisan and political as both House caucuses.  The Orie investigation by Allegheny County District Attorney Zappala bears that out.  It took subpoenas to get to the bottom of that mess.  Meanwhile, Corbett didn't even follow the lead of a confidential informant who literally called him up on the phone. (Post-Gazette 2/19/11)

We're not lawyers here at CasablancaPA, but it is quite possible the statute of limitations clock on activities in 2006 is ticking away.  Expecting the Republicans in the State Senate to honestly report their illegal activities is just as ludicrous as expecting Pennsylvanians to self-report their on-line sales tax bills.


bobguzzardi said...

I think you have pointed out a major problem for Sen. Rafferty, Republican candidate for AG.

How likely is it he will investigate his former Senate Republican colleagues? Particularly, powerful Republican colleagues, even those out of office, whose support he will need to run for AG?

Anonymous said...

It is worse for Senator Rafferty, Republican candidate for AG.

Mike Long is running his Campaign and may come under investigation.

Boy, the Democrats are sitting on their Butts and one has to question the leadership.

First, Convicted DFelon Bob Asher runs and funds Corbett Campaign.

Now Mike Long is doing the same for Senator Raffery.

So much, for Democratic Unity.

Anonymous said...

The more I read how the New York Times praises Tom Corbett and refuses to ask the tough questions.

Why has not one Media, Newspaper, or Reporter bring to light that David R. Jones, Assistant Managing Editor (Retired), The New York Times is a Penn State Trustee?

For 25 years, Dave has served Penn State and counseled students.

Jones has funded scholarships, supported the Pattee Library, and is a member of the Mount Nittany Society.

Jones served on the Communications College Alumni Board for eight years and on the Penn State Alumni Association's Executive Board for four years.

Jones has received Penn State's Distinguished Alumnus and Alumni Fellow awards.

Yet, Jones never heard or knew the rumors on Jerry Sandusky?

Jones never figured out Paterno did attend Sandusky's Retirement Party?

Some newspaperman, sounds like David Jones is leading the cover-up of the relationship between Tom Corbett-Board of Trustees-Second Mile, Campaign Contributions?

Guess investigators, reporters, and Trustees are afraid of Jones's power in the press and industry.

Jones should remove himself as a Trustee right now to avoid any conflicts.

Anonymous said...

This is not a political rant, but it is a rant, from the perspective of a free-lance journalist and author.

Does anyone else remember when the world's hatred of America exploded in the wake of the Iraq War, which was supposedly started because someone just knew WMD were being hidden there? Ideological differences aside, al-Qaeda terrorists wanted to kill "infidels" because of their belief that Americans are a spoiled, unprincipled people who are completely without any moral fiber whatsoever.

You would think maybe, long after an American president declared war, and the WMD never came to light, that people might reason, or act, differently. Yet they don't.

That's because good leadership starts at the top.

Why should college presidents act any differently than their national presidents?

Why should attorney generals clean house, if it isn't politically expedient to do so?

Maybe, just maybe, we should try to look at ourselves through the same lens the rest of the world views us.

If nothing else, the sheer magnitude of the corruption in the Penn State case--from the AG down--might just show that we continue to give them one reason after another to hate us.

To say they are right, that we lack morality of any kind.

At my Web site, I recently blogged about how we sacrifice our children to a "modern-day Molech" when we fail to put them first. ("Power, prestige and profits take priority over the plight of children")

If we continue to sacrifice children to football, or anything else that's equally ridiculous--maybe, just maybe, the rest of the world will be justified in its criticism of us.

America is rotten with hypocrisy, and perhaps there is no better example of this hypocrisy than what is shown by the NCAA, an NCAA that is the last vestige of instututional slavery in America,

What happened at Penn State is just a symptom of this mostrous NCAA hypocrisy and evil.

When an Attorney General ignores the cries of children, pleas of mothers, and slows up the investigation for his electionto higher office, and is praised, well hypocrisy knows no bounds.

How fitting this Football, the sport that usurped the Lord's day.

Anonymous said...




Good football and fun, meet fundraising

By Katy Hopkins - 10/26/09 05:37 PM ET

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — This college town, ranked the best football tailgating spot in the country, has another superlative, at least to some: It’s the “premier tailgate in Pennsylvania for good, strong conservatives.”

Food, football and fun, meet fundraising.

And that’s what happened to Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) earlier this month at the Penn State-Minnesota game.

Thompson arrived at the Oct. 17 game with a small entourage of supporters from Washington.

They were there to see Matt Shaner, whose weekly tailgates are a must-attend for the state’s conservative politicians.

On paper, the meeting looked awkward: Shaner ran against Thompson in last year’s Republican primary to replace retiring Rep. John Peterson (R).

But Shaner said there were no hard feelings when Thompson requested to stop by — something many Pennsylvania conservatives have done in the past.

“People know, if you’re running on the Republican ticket in Pennsylvania, Matt Shaner has a big tailgate,” Shaner said.

When Shaner isn’t throwing weekly tailgates or running for office, he works for a family-owned hotel management company.

The Shaners also own an investment company and are the namesake for and substantial financiers of the Shaner Republican Center, the state’s GOP headquarters.

Their conservative tailgate has been a known quantity for Keystone State lawmakers for about 20 years, attendees said.

Shaner said when lawmakers and congressional hopefuls call him, he usually grants their requests to stop by — unless they’re a “bad Republican.”

“If Arlen Specter would have called me and asked to stop by, I probably would have said no,” he said of the Pennsylvania senator who abandoned the Republican Party and became a Democrat earlier this year.

Shaner said each week’s tailgate usually features a conservative lawmaker or two and will draw a crowd upwards of 70 people.

But for the Penn State-Minnesota game, only about 30 conservatives stuck it out through the frigid rain and temperatures in the low 30s. Tailgaters, bundled up in layers of navy blue and white, huddled beneath three makeshift tents constructed off the side of an RV.

“We are all for global warming, by the way,” joked tailgate attendee Plato Ghinos, who is also the senior vice president of franchise relations and development at Shaner Hotels.

Attendees enjoyed a spread of fried chicken, meatball subs and finger foods, sipped soft drinks or hard liquor and networked — the key component to the Shaner tailgate’s success.

Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania state attorney general who is running for governor next year, is well-aware of the networking potential at Shaner’s tailgates.

He has been making appearances since the mid-1990s, he said, to chat with friends, schmooze with potential donors and campaign in a relaxed setting.

“You have a beer in your hand and suddenly [people] say, ‘Oh, wait a minute, you’re not a stiff politician,’ ”

Corbett explained. Before the game against Minnesota, he circulated “Governor Tom Corbett” business cards and mingled with the crowd.


Anonymous said...


Thompson, whose district includes State College, is not the first congressional delegate from Pennsylvania to take advantage of a Shaner tailgate.

Republicans who have stopped by in the past include Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

Todd Palin, the husband of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), parked in the spot next to the tailgate last year, and congressional hopeful and former gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann (R-Pa.) has made an appearance, Shaner said.

Shaner added that a politician’s decision to turn an appearance into a campaign fundraiser is an issue independent of the tailgate.

But Steve Miller, another employee at Shaner Investments who attended the tailgate, noted that sports events offer more than bankroll incentives for politicians.

“Baseball might be America’s pastime, but football is America’s passion,” Miller reflected. “Football is a great equalizer.”

Although they meet weekly near the Joe Paterno statue a stone’s throw away from the legendary Beaver Stadium, Miller estimated that only half of the usual tailgaters are alumni of the university.

“It’s not about the degree as much as it is that team in there,” Miller said, cocking his head toward the stadium.

And of course, an even more important affiliation to have is with the Republican Party.

“We have a wide network of friends that are good, strong conservatives,” Miller said. “We have no problem opening ourselves up to our good friends.”

Another conservative who dropped by the Oct. 17 pre-party was Rep. Erik Paulsen (R- Minn.). He came to support fellow freshman colleague Thompson and his state’s Big Ten team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who happened to be the Penn State Nittany Lions’ opponent that day.

Decked out in a navy blue jacket and cap, the only accessory distinguishing Paulsen from the hordes of Penn State fans was a small Golden Gophers pin on his hat.

He’s a loyal fan of the Gophers, though — the weekend before, he caught their game in Minnesota, where, he said, it was less snowy than State College.

Thompson said a Big Ten rivalry has yet to erode their friendship, although a playful ribbing between the two is evident.

“We’ll be good friends at the end of the day — when the Nittany Lions prevail,” Thompson laughed. (Penn State shut out Minnesota, 20-0.)

And Paulsen perked up at the idea of an ongoing rivalry in the Cannon House Office Building, where the men work in adjacent offices.

“We may have to start that up,” Paulsen said. On second thought, “We’re starting it up today!”

This playful fusion of politics and football keeps tailgaters, lawmakers and Shaner employees coming back to the events, which attendees said often include post-game festivities as well.

“This isn’t just fundraising,” Corbett said. “This is fun.”



Anonymous said...


Where Were Penn State's Trustees?

When the most highly paid employee is the football coach, it's clear something is awry..

Every generation or so, a scandal emerges that not only exposes the flaws of an institution but shakes entire industries to their foundations. For higher education, that scandal should be Penn State.

The unfolding events of the Penn State sports scandal show a major university that has been more interested in protecting itself than in educating students or serving the public.

The institutional reckoning must begin and end with the governing board.

It is responsible for the actions of university leaders, and its members owe taxpayers and students accountability and transparency.

The alleged sins of omission of football coach Joe Paterno, President Graham Spanier and others when it comes to Penn State's sports program are grave.

And the board must address these tragic claims of child sexual abuse as a first priority.

But a larger question must be asked about governing boards generally:

Are they fulfilling their responsibility to the students, families and taxpayers in a broader sense?

Can the trustees guarantee that they are adhering to their educational purpose? The clear answer is no.

Edward Shils, distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago, saw the task of the university as the "discovery and teaching of truths about serious and important things."

Could Penn State—or most other American universities for that matter—make such a claim today?

When the most highly paid employee is the football coach, not the president, it's clear something is awry.

When football tickets and fancy student centers are the currency of the day, rather than affordable and quality education, clearly something is awry.

When most classes are scheduled only between Tuesday and Thursday and the institutional answer is to build more buildings to accommodate the demand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—as Penn State is doing—something is awry.



Anonymous said...

WSJ Article continued....

The health of our society depends directly on the health of our educational institutions, and we've got some work to do.

In too many ways, the emphasis of higher education in general has become one of reputation building, not values or education.

The instinct is to hide problems or pretend they don't exist rather than face them head on.

At too many institutions around the country, we are graduating students who can't write or think critically and who won't be able to compete in the global marketplace.

It is that tragedy in education that prompted Professor Richard Arum and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni to write to 10,000 college and university trustees earlier this fall calling on them to act.

In his letter, Mr. Arum did not mince words. He noted that "problems of learning in higher education are real, deepening, and demand urgent attention. . . .

Institutions that fail to set meaningful expectations, a rigorous curriculum and high standards for their students are putting these students and our country's future at risk."

At the end of the day, we must hold boards accountable.

Board members are acting in trust for taxpayers and students.

If they do not act to ensure quality and integrity, then they are putting our students and our country's future at risk.

Faculty are typically committed to their disciplines. Administrators regularly focus on the growth of their institutions.

It is the governing board's duty to address these competing priorities.

It is the trustees' duty to ensure that the distinctive educational purpose of the American university remains at the forefront of every other activity.

Every college governing board should interpret Penn State's troubles as a clear warning of what happens when institutions lose sight of their educational mission.

Ms. Neal is president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Article link

Anonymous said...

Here is why I have no respect for the Another Republican covering up for a sex offender...nothing new here.

Republicans are the grandest hypocrites...they run under the veneer of holier than thou morality, yet are the most corrupt around.

Either Corbett was shockingly passive and slow and incompetent in how he handled this case, or it was a deliberate coverup and delay.

Either way no excuse.

Yet, According to the lawyers on this board:

Joe Paterno is crucified for doing what is legally correct, but he didn't go far enough and fell short morally.

He needs to be destroyed.


The lawyers have established a moral standard.

But, when the grand jury report is released, the lawyers argue that it was legally released, AG investigation on the release goes nowhere, NY Times credits Corbett for secrecy?

They fail to mention how morally reprehensible the release was and that the very people that violated the law had to be the Attorney general Office taht acnnot even invetsigate themselves?

Lawyers, journalists, politicians. I expect they all end up in the same place in the afterlife.

Corbett needs to resign or be Impeached. Period.

Anonymous said...

why are the Federal Justice Department investigating Syracuse while not brought in on Penn State Scandal?

Read the link:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—Federal authorities have searched a locker in the Syracuse University basketball center in their investigation of former assistant coach Bernie Fine, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case.

The official confirmed the search at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center happened Wednesday.

The official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because it’s an ongoing investigation, would not say what agents sought or what they recovered from the locker.

Anonymous said...

ABC News reporting allegation of 2 children (still minors) allegedly assaulted by JS recently while Corbett as AG did the slow investigation with 1 trooper, and busy campaigning to be governor?

Seems like he was more interested in going for the big splash and bringing down Joepa and PSU with a 3yr grand jury that met in secret monthly than in arresting JS and getting an alleged pedophile off the streets and not harming kids.

If the allegations are true, the Governor basically is guilty of worse than what he so arrogantly accused Joepa of (even worse in my mind).

I can't believe I voted for this joker in the election.

I guess I was so tired of Rendell's antics.

I will be vociferous in the next election to get him voted out of office--and the millions in the extended PSU family all over the state will make sure this pompous clown will be voted out.

Sad that he stands for cutting state support for public college education, while ignoring the welfare of the children of our state.

Corbett was an abect failure at protecting children his entire tenure as AG.

He threw Joe under the bus in a lame attempt to protect his career.

Poor, at risk, mostly minority kids... had nothing to offer his campaign.

He was an impotent AG.

He is a USDA Prime Scumbag.... and I am holding my tongue.

Anonymous said...

"We're not lawyers"

some of you are.

Anonymous said...

Governor Corbett was the AG for the criminal investigation of Sandusky before he became governor - a 3 year investigation that allowed Sandusky to freely roam during the investigation.

Corbett knew what was coming when he caused the PSU Trustees to fire Paterno in 15 minutes.

Corbett set Paterno up to draw all the fire. Spanier was collateral.

The State police knew of Sandusky's behavior in 1995 - Sandusky was free to roam all this time, and is now out on unsecured bail without any monitoring, except by the general population.

Many individuals and institutions in the communities were aware of Sandusky's actions over several years.

Corbett has to be one of the most cynical. He should draw more attention than he already has.

Paterno was nailed because of his position.

Corbett should be nailed because of his position.

The PSU administration is at the core of the failure of the institution, and these same people have circled their wagons and are selecting their own to cover up their cover up.

The more they say the less believable they are.

It is astounding that they reconfirmed their own decision.

This is all now officially a farce.

Billy Crystal should be hired (by someone outside of Pennsylvania) to do an "independent" investigation.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but his is all wasteful time for those us who care. JS, JoePA, Gov/AG Corbett, Speaker Smith, Zar Turzai, Corrupt Orie's, and all the other do gooder Republicans during campaign time, but do nothing after elected.

Republicans make corrupt individuals look like angels - they play to the media on hot button issues, use buzz words to satisfy the uniformed people and continue down the road of legalized corruption.

They won't repeal their annual raise despite the fact the most working Pennsylvanians are taking wage freezes or even concessions in wage rates and they continue to keep the FREE "Cadillac" Health Insurance Plan that no other Pennsylvanian has access to. And even those that "give it back" to the state or donate it are only doing that with the net pay recieved, get the tax deduction, and their pensions are based on the actual annual gross salary. Reformers they are not.

But you have to give them credit, they are watching the fiscal impact of insurance and recently picked the lowest hanging fruit by charging retirees for their health insurance while they keep their own for free - at least the Senate pays pennies. The gutless Republican Controlled House has ordered all retirees to begin to pay for insurance, but didn't mention their own.

This is a glaring example of what we're dealing with and you expect the Republicans to investigate objectively. Move on and hopefully the voters will see in the next election what the Republican Party is doing to our society. "Horray for the rich and to hell with the poor!" is the Republican motto.