Ah yes, "Lacking Comprehension" is about the best way I can think of to describe the logic that seems NOT to exist in the minds (what minds?) of many of Pennsylvania's so-called finest legislators.
For anyone reading this who DOESN'T know this, the House and Senate of this wonderful state did something back on July 7, 2005 which shall forever live as a day that will go down in history here, anyway, as the day these fools made what for some, was the most foolish move of their legislative lives - they voted themselves a pay raise that was absolutely THE MOST OBSCENE RAISE ever!
How does a pay raise of anywhere from 16 to 54 percent hit you? For the lowliest legislator on the totem pole, this equated to a raise of $11,400 - which, if you do the math is more than some poor schmuck working his/her butt off at a minimum wage job would earn even if working 40 hours a week for all 52 weeks in the year! Now that is really obscene when one thinks about the fact that the poor folks earning minimum wage haven't seen a raise in their pay checks for 9 years too!
But, this is what our great legislators thought was a "reasonable" raise for all the hard work they do for us, the poor citizenry here. Bull Pucky is the nicest thing I can say about that deal!
To say I was upset is a bit of an understatement. Angry is getting close but probably the best way I can describe how I felt when I heard about this lovely piece of legislation would be to say I was downright PISSED! You better believe it! So ticked off in fact that about four weeks after the raise had been passed, while reading an editorial by John Grogan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, I learned about a grassroots movement that had been started by a guy from Lebanon County called PACleansweep.com. I looked for more information on the 'net about this guy and the group and found something I liked, something I believed in too - the motto for this group. The motto was pure and simple "Vote 'Em All Out!" Russ Diamond's theory was that our General Assembly was in dire need of a good housecleaning and the only way to do that would be via the next election (2006) when the voters should go to the polls and vote out every single incumbent regardless of that person's party affiliation and regardles of whether or not that legislator had voted for the pay raise too! Guilty by association was his theory and you know, that sounded pretty darned good to me!
I joined up then and there with PACleansweep.Com and since then, though I haven't been actively pursuing any projects through the group, I still support and believe wholeheartedly that a "clean sweep" is long over due in our House and Senate!
CleanSweep did a lot of good things in the past 16 months since Russ formed it by simply setting up a little website. In the elections of 2005, through a lot of help from the Media, we managed to oust one supreme court justice who was running for re-appointment for another 10-year term and came damned close to getting rid of the second judge running for reelection too!
In May of 2006, in the primary, we really struck big-time oil when two of the ringleaders in the Senate were dumped - Robert Jubelier, a Republican from Blair County who held the position of President Pro Tem of the Senate and "Chip" Brightbill, also a Republican from a county down near Harrisburg - forget which one off the top of my head right now. But they both lost their bids to run for re-election in the May primary as did several other incumbents. And, in November, because of all the turmoil created via that lovely pay raise, there were over 50 new legislators elected to office in the General Assembly! Normally, turnover there only occurs by death and occasionally through retirement!
One of the best defeats in November came when Mike Veon, a Democrat from Beaver County, lost his bid for reelection to the state Senate. Veon had been a big honcho in the State House and back in November of 2005, when the General Assembly finally decided to do the right thing and voted to repeal the stinking pay raise, he was the only legislator to refuse to vote for the repeal. Well, looks like that move came back and bit him in the behind this past November when he lost in the elections! Finally, the voters from Beaver County woke up and saw the light!
I'm sorry to say that the voters in the District where I live still were operating in darkness as they voted to send our Representative back to Harrisburg. Yep, good old Camille "Bud" George, who is competing against JoePA for longevity in a career position I guess got re-elected. Yeah, and as you can imagine, that was much to my dismay too. This guy should have been packing several years or terms ago, for sure! One can only pray that come the elections of 2008, the voters in this district will by then have come to their senses. It could happen. Yes indeed, it could happen and it is my fervent prayer every day now that it does!
But the funny thing is none of these clowns see that there was anything operating except very, very misguided judgement when they voted for that pay raise for themselves. They didn't see any error then and they still don't. How insane, how absurd is that.
Well, when you have convoluted thinking, such as exists in almost all legislators, then what else could one possibly expect.
And now, according to some newspaper articles in today's papers, Russell Nigro, the supreme court justice who got booted due to the also very convoluted thinking that goes on in our supreme court in this fine state and the pay raise issue, is now considering a possible run for election (again) to the supreme court. How stupid can one man - and a supreme court judge to boot - possibly be? Does he, even in his wildest dreams think he could manage to clean up the court and his prior election track record and get re-elected? I think not and certainly would hope that the voters won't forget his and the other justices involvement in this obnoxious legislative process.
Never Forget! That should become the motto right there along with "Vote 'Em All Out"!
That's my story and boy, am I sticking to it too!