Inky Uphappy Over Free Speech Ruling

The Philadelphia Inquirer  — in its news stories and opinion columns — seems unhappy with yesterday’s 5-4 ruling in which the Supreme Court said that well a privately funded documentary regarding a political figure is just as protected by the First Amendment as, well,  a 60 Minutes documentary regarding a political figure.

The decision in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission  overturns laws prohibiting corporations and unions from contributing to political campaigns.

Sounds bad? Maybe until you realize that what it does is level the field a little between, say, the owner of a chain of pizza shops and George Soros, and would allow that pizza shop owner to attempt to influence an election to the same degree as Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC.

Here’s what the court says:

Although the First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,” §441b’s prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions. It is a ban not withstanding the fact that a PAC created by a corporation can still speak, for a PAC is a separate association from the corporation. Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people—political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence.

Why would the Inky take issue?

And while on the topic of the Inky, today’s editorial concerns the Luzerne County judge scandal. Still no mention of the party that starts with the letter D.

Bob Surrick Called It 26 Years Ago

Bob Surrick called it 26 years ago Bob Surrick Called It 26 Years Ago

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has a story about Pennsylvania’s Judicial Conduct Board and how it has become perverted to protect rather than remove corrupt or bad judges.

The impetus for the piece is the scandal in Luzerne County where Common Pleas Judges are facing charges of taking nice kickbacks for sending juveniles to private-run detention centers often for fairly minor offenses.

Anyway, with regard to corruption in the state judiciary and the way the corruption is supposed to be sniffed out, attorney Bob Surrick brought up those very same points as a member of the state’s Judicial Inquiry and Review Board 26 years ago and was roundly quoted  regarding them in newspapers throughout the state. His crusade is part of his book Lawyers, Judges and Journalists, The Corrupt and Corrupters. 

Bob Surrick Called It 26 Years Ago


Bob Surrick Called It 26 Years Ago

Nativity Scene Is Back But Let’s Dump The Kwanzaa

Luzerne County has brought back the Nativity scene and menorah that had graced its courthouse lawn for decades before being removed Dec. 16 after the threat of a lawsuit by the ACLU.

Motorist honked their horns in support.

Luzerne County did, however, add secular decorations including a Santa, Mrs. Claus, some reindeer and candy canes, and a sign saying “Happy Holidays” and “Happy Kwanzaa.”

So mostly kudos to Luzerne County but our leaders are eventually going to have to glean the fact that symbols, regardless of theology, can represent evil as well as good.

The menorah, which represents Hanukkah, stands for good things — faith, freedom and the willingness to stand up to tyranny. No American should object to those things.

The manger represents God’s love and the birth of someone who told us to love our neighbor and do unto others as you’d have them do unto to you. No one sane or decent person should have a problem with that — which of course make you wonder about the leadership of the ACLU.

Santa and candy canes represent sweet memories.

Kwanzaa is something designed to be divisive and exclusionary by a hate-monger and thug named Ron Karenga, who served time for imprisoning and torturing  women. He cooked it up in 1966  specifically to replace Christmas — which he considered to be a  “white” religion — in the black community.

If we want to a achieve Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a united, color-blind society things like Kwanzaa must have no respect and men like Karenga must have no legacy.

Little Threat Makes Luzerne County Remove Nativity Scene

Little Threat Makes Luzerne County Remove Nativity Scene — In a spectacular display of spinelessness, Luzerne County, Wednesday, removed a decades-old nativity scene — along with a menorah — from the county courthouse lawn.

The action occurred immediately after a Pittsburgh lawyer from the ACLU contacted County Solicitor Vito DeLuca  “to give the county an opportunity to remove the
items” before the ACLU filed court action, according to the Times Leader of Wilkes Barre.

The county was threatened with a suit over the matter in 1990, which never materialized.

What a display of courage. But then in 1990, Luzerne County wasn’t sending kids to prison to make a buck.

Little Threat Makes Luzerne County Remove Nativity Scene

Inky Still Won’t Mention Party

In today’s lengthy front page story regarding the Luzerne County judicial scandal, the Philadelphia Inquirer again could not bring itself to mention that those involved were Democrats.

At least I didn’t see it.

I’m not a hardcore Republican and I certainly recognize the need for two parties.

And I certainly understand that a Republican can be dirty.

But the reason why Republican scandals are less — in frequency and magnitude — is because that party understands it will be held accountable by the still mainstream media for bad behavior by its members. The Democratic Party leaders understand they will get a pass.

The most recent major scandals in Republican Delaware County involved then Senate Majority Leader F. Joseph Loeper in 2000 and Congressman Curt Weldon in 2006. 

With regard to what Loeper did — take money from consultants in violation of Senate rules and lie about it on his income tax forms — it was kids stuff compared to what goes on in Philadelphia (see Vince Fumo, another story in which the Inquirer could not bring itself to cite party) or Luzerne County for that matter.

With regard to what Weldon did, as the above link indicates, nobody is exactly sure what it was he did. In fact the scandal appears to be more a matter of federal law enforcement interfering with an election on behalf of a liberal Democrat rather than any acts by the former congressman.

In a related Luzerne County matter Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R)  is reported to be ready to announce a rematch with Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D) to represent Pa. 11.

Why? Because they are Democrats.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, today, finally got around to publishing a in-depth report regarding the Luzerne County youth court scandal.

“How? Why?” they ask in the headline.

The scandal concerns the sending of hundreds of youngsters to private detention centers for often minor offenses such as fighting on the school bus. The centers were paid per prisoner and it is alleged the operators kicked back money to county judges to fill the facilities.

Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella face federal racketeering, bribery and extortion charges. A federal judge, last month, rejected a plea bargain that would have sentenced them to 87 months saying it was too lenient.

In asking the how and the why, the Inquirer never felt it necessary to allot one of the article’s 2,000 or so words to identify the party of the men, which is the one that controls Luzerne County.

It starts with a D.

Their policy really does seem to be that party affiliation is redundant when dealing with Democrats. They certainly don’t feel it necessary to note the party when dealing with Republican scandals.

And, so when is Curt Weldon going to jail?

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