Slap On Wrist For Chessani Means Bloody Lip For Murtha

Slap On Wrist For Chessani Means Bloody Lip For Murtha — A three-member Board of Inquiry ruledFriday that Marine  Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani should not be demoted in rank and will recommend such to the Secretary of the Navy.

Chessani commanded the 3rd Battalion, 1st MarineRegiment which was involved in an incident Nov. 19, 2005 in Haditha, Iraq in which 24 Iraqi men, women and children were killed.

An initial report said that 15 deaths were caused by bomb blasts with 8 persons dying in an ensuing fire fight. Questions by Time Magazine prompted a military investigation which filed a report indicating  U.S. Marines may have deliberately shot civilians.

Congressman John Murtha (D-PA12) took that preliminary report as license to publicly claim in November 2005 “It’s much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no firefight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that’s what the report is going to tell.”

Criminal charges were brought against eight Marines including Chessani, who was charged with failing to investigate the killings. By June 2008 all criminal charges had been dropped against six of the eight defendants including Chessani, with First Lt. Andrew Grayson being acquitted after trial.

Chessani, however, still faced an administrative hearing with regard to his actions which could have resulted in his demotion to major. While the panel did find that Chessani’s response to the killings was substandard because he “failed to provide as detailed and accurate a report as possible” it left it at that.

“It’s been a long four years, but it hasn’t been a miserable four years,” Chessani said. “A lot of good has come out of it, and I praise God and am thankful for all the people that have stood by us

The only Marine still facing charges is Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich who is charged with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter. Wuterich sued Murtha in August 2006 for defamation, which a federal appeals court dismissed last April saying Murtha was protected because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the statements.

Slap On Wrist For Chessani Means Bloody Lip For Murtha

Things That Happen When People Don’t Believe In Hell

Cody Lee, 16, of Lake Township, which is near Wilkes Barre, is charged with shooting his grandfather, Wednesday, and attempting to kill his father, who only managed to save himself after he wrestled the gun away, according to Luzerne County prosecutors.

Officials say Lee made an outline in a notebook in which he said “Finding grandpa’s guns. Kill grandpa. Find money. Find clothes. Wait for dad to get home. Kill dad. Call Josh. Leave with Josh”, which he showed to a  classmate at Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School. He said he was going to kill them “because they’re a–holes,”

Josh did meet Lee but fled when he saw him shoot his grandfather. Lee was arrested 2 a.m. Thursday morning after he called his father who met him in a vehicle.

Lee is being charged as an adult.

When Lee was 9, his mother — who had separated from his father — was shot in the head, apparently accidentally, by her 14-year-old brother — Lee’s uncle..

59 Percent Of Pennsylvanias Down On Rendell

The recent Rasmussen Poll shows that 59 percent of Pennsylvanian disapproved — and 38 percent strongly at that — of the performance of Gov. Fast Eddie “X-Man” Rendell. I haven’t seen this reported too much in the dinosaurs.

Anyway, thank you again Republicans for Rendell. Gotta always admire the steel trap thinking of the “fiscal conservative, social liberal.” You guys and gals would give Jethro Bodine a run for his money in a battle of wits.

Rasmussen also has Republican Pat Toomey beating either Democrats Arlen Specter (46 to 42 percent) or Joe “Damn  the Pennsylvanians Full Speed Ahead” Sestak (44 to 38 percent).

Note that 35 percent of Pennsylvanians have a very unfavorable opinion of Specter.

Regarding President Obama, 50 percent approve of him and 48 percent don’t.

GOP Reps Face Lentz Plan, Form Circle, Prepare To Fire

The Republican state representatives from Delaware County have come out swinging against a proposal by Democrat state representative from Delaware County Bryan Lentz (161) to prohibit elected officials from holding more than one seat at a time.

The bill is aimed at Republican state representative from Delaware County Mario Civera (164) who won election to County Council, a seat he assumes Jan. 4, and who has announced he will keep his House seat until April when it will be too late for an election for his replacement to be held congruent with the May 18 primary election, a day in which a large Democratic turnout is expected due to the that party’s hot intermural contests.

Now while I suspect Lentz would be doing the same as Civera if the shoe were on his foot, he is basically right and the Republicans ought to tone down the outrage, especially in their attempts to tie Lentz’s pursuit of a seat in Congress to actually holding — and perhaps getting paid for — two different seats at the same time.

And regardless of how this turns out, Civera really better not be collecting two paychecks (and pension contributions etc.) after Jan. 4. If the Republicans want to get some moral traction on the matter they ought to declare now that he won’t be, and perhaps counter by submitting a bill prohibiting elected officials from running for re-election for a second office but allowing for existing terms to be completed.

Lentz is the Democratic front-runner to replace Congressman Joe Sestak who stepped down to run for Senate against Arlen Specter. He will almost certainly face well-respected federal prosecutor Pat Meehan in the general election even if  former Fox29 anchor Dawn Stensland should change her registration, move into the district and run against him in the GOP primary.

29 Percent Of Pa. DEMOCRATS Oppose Obama Health Care Plan

The latest Rasmussen poll of Democratic primary voters show that 29 percent of them oppose President Obama’s healt care plan with 16 percent of them strongly opposed to it.

Rasmussen also has Sen. Arlen Specter leading Congressman Joe Sestak 48 percent to 35 percent.

Philly Schools Are Better Than Detroit’s (And Fresno’s)

The good news is that public schools in Philadelphia seem to be doing better than those in Detroit.

And Fresno, too.

Philly was one of 18 cities to voluntarily participate in the
Trial Urban District Assessment, a special administration of the
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test.  It’s average score for fourth graders was 222 compared with
239 for the national average and 244 for Pennsylvania fourth graders
who take the NAEP exam annually, and 265 for eighth graders compared
with 282 for the national average and 288 for Pennsylvania.

Here’s a link to the NAEP results.

Before you write off Philly schools as failures remember that their purpose is not to provide an education for children but to provide jobs for Democrats.

The district is a resounding success.

Dawn Stensland For Congress?

Chris Freind  is reporting that former Fox29 anchor Dawn Stensland is considering a run for Congress as a Republican in the 7th District — the seat which Joe Sestak is leaving in an attempt to unseat fellow Democrat  Senator Arlen Specter.

Ms. Stensland, the wife of former KYW-TV anchor Larry Mendte, would face in the primary party-endorsed Pat Meehan, the well-regarded former Delaware County District Attorney, who became a well-regarded federal prosecutor.

Nothing official and nothing on paper, but still fun to talk about.

Retired Congressman Says Dump Pa. Turnpike Commission

John E. Peterson, who represented Pennsylvania’s 5th District in Congress from 1997 until his retirement in 2009, is saying dump the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Before winning election to Congress, Peterson held the state Senate seat for the 25th District which  along the New York border in the center of the state.

“I served in the State Senate for 12 years and saw firsthand howthe Turnpike Commission is the Senate’s patronage pit.  It is a cauldron of corruption,” said Peterson.

Well said, Congressman. You can also point out to those concerned about energy conservation or greenhouse gas emissions that toll plaza traffic snarls don’t help things.

This morning, btw, five Republican state representatives filed a bill abolish the Turnpike Commission. HB 2134 would transfer the transfer its assets and functions to PennDOT.

And did you know that the Turnpike was designed so that the straightaways could be negotiated at 102 mph and the curves at 90?


Pa. House Gives OK To Searchable Database On Spending

The Pennsylvania House, today,  voted to create a searchable online database regarding state spending.  The vote to pass HB 1880 to  establish the operation of the Pennsylvania Government Accountability Portal, or “PennGAP, was unanimous.

Gov. X-Man Rendell is reportedly against the bill citing cost.

The Commonwealth Foundation estimates the cost to operate such a website at $160,000.

How To Find Dollars In Tough Times

The Neshaminy School District is saying it could save nearly $9 million over three years by outsourcing janitorial services. Similiar savings could be found in most school districts.

The Commonwealth Foundation notes that state entities can save $70 million over three years switching to online public notices rather than mandated legal advertising, and HB1757 was introduced in July 2009 by State Rep. Tom Creighton to do just that .

And of course forbidding strikes by public school teachers and transit workers would see major cost savings in those areas — certainly teacher salaries would stop rising 3 and 4 percent per year as they have for the last 3 decades and this of course would mean the home tax levied by your school district would not keep rising $200 to $300 per year.

The owner of a home assessed at $200,000 in at the turn of the millennium would have paid $3,134 to the Springfield School District (Pa.). This year, he would have paid $5,240.

If the tax rate simply matched inflation, however, the bill would have been $3,934. I could use that extra $1,300. And I could have used the extra $900 or so — the difference between a tax bill according to inflation vs. the one that was  — last year.  And I could have used the difference in the previous year and the previous year etc.

Just some things to think about in tough economic times.