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Budget decision, before deadline?

Published by Karen Langley on .

Gov. Tom Corbett suggested this morning that he may not wait until the Friday deadline to announce his intentions for the state budget.

The general appropriations bill officially reached his desk July 1, so it would become law at the end of Friday if Corbett neither signs or vetoes.

Corbett was asked about the budget after an event this morning in Lebanon County.

"I started working on it again this morning, about 7:30, 7:45 with my staff, going through some reviews," he said. "When I get done here I'm meeting with them again for probably a good portion of the afternoon, and we may have something later today or tomorrow."

He would not say if he is considering using the budget -- whether by vetoing the General Assembly's appropriation or just calling on lawmakers to return -- as a way to continue his push for pension reform.

"The first thing we're looking at is the budget and exactly what's going on," he said. "So any other aspects I'm not going to address right now. I'm primarily, totally focused on the budget."

Months of lower-than-expected revenue collections led budget writers to trim hundreds of millions of dollars from Corbett's February $29.4 billion proposal, and balancing the $29.1 billion document on his desk still required help from fund transfers and other one-time revenues.

As Republicans sent Corbett the fiscal code yesterday, Senate leaders of both parties said that the governor should sign the budget.

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Corbett makes his case

Published by James O'Toole on .

Gov. Tom Corbett is up with his first television commercial of the general election campaign.  It's an upbeat recitation of positive economic statistics that makes no mention of his Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf, who has enjoyed a healthy lead over the incumbent in early polls.    The ad's boosterish narration, a compilation of the governor speaking in a variety of settings, confronts another polling reality impeding Mr.  Corbett's re-election bid _ the perception that the state is off on the wrong track.  The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll, released last month, found that three out of five registered voters had a negative view of the state's overall direction.  The new commercial's litany of positive statistics confronts that image with a portrayal  of a state that's on the move, with private sector job growth and a falling unemployment rate.

Here's the ad:

You can read its full text after the jump.

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Mistake on the lake?

Published by James O'Toole on .

Get your Turnpike tolls ready.  The Republican National Committee has announced the tentaive choice of Cleveland for its presidential nominating convention in 2016. 

The GOP bypassed Dallas, the other finalist for the gathering of delegates and media hoardes in search of news at the largely scripted event.  In Ohio, the Republicans are featuring a state that's a traditional center of contention in presidential years.  No Republican has gone on to win the White House without its electoral votes.  But by the same token, there is no correlation between convention sites and state victories for either party.

The Democrats have yet to announce their 2016 convention city.

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The roots of Hobby Lobby

Published by James O'Toole on .


                                                      By James M. Perry


David Green is the 72-year-old founder of Hobby Lobby, a big chain of arts and crafts stores, who argued that providing certain contraceptive devices to his 21,000 employes under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) violated his deeply held religious beliefs. The Supreme Court, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, ruled 5 to 4 in his favor. 

Green, who is said to be worth as much as five billion dollars, is a member of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination with as many as 66.4 million adherents, and growing fast, especially in Africa and Asia. Mr. Green's father was an Assemblies of God preacher. 

The Pentecostal movement, rarely explained very adequately by the media, is an amazing story. 
It began in this country at the Azusa Street Revival at 312 Azusa Street in downtown Los Angeles in 1906, a ramshackle building that had last been occupied by horses. The preacher was a one-eyed son of slaves named William J. Seymour. Almost from the beginning those attending his services -- black, Latino, white -- began speaking in tongues.  They are still doing it today. 

The fact that Azusa Street services were integrated, and that women had leading roles in those services, is really quite extraordinary. This, after all, was 1906, at the height of vicious Jim Crow discrimination in the United States.

A Los Angeles Times reporter covered one of Pastor Seymour's early services and was not impressed. 
Meetings, he said, "are held in a tumble-down shack on Azusa Street, and the devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories, and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal. Night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the worshippers... They claim to have the 'gift of tongues' and be able to understand the babel." 

Outsiders, of course, made fun of what was going on on Azusa Street. They began calling these people "holy rollers," "holy jumpers." and, my favorite, "tangled tonguers."  

Word spread about what was happening on Azusa Street and soon, hundreds of preachers and laymen, and then thousands, came to Los Angeles to witness these amazing holy rollers. Impressed, they went home and soon Pentecostal churches began popping up everywhere.  

Like most evangelical Christians, Pentecostals believe the Bible is God's word.  There is evidence in the Bible, they say, that faith heals sickness and cures injuries. They believe that. Most Pentecostals are eschatologically oriented, meaning they believe in the second coming of Jesus. His arrival will be preceded by "cataclysmic" events, which will be followed by a kind of rapture in which true believers will be swept away by Jesus himself. They believe, literally, in heaven and hell. 

It all began on Azusa Street 108 years ago. There are now 279 million Pentecostals worldwide. David Green is one of them.

James M. Perry, a prominent veteran political reporter, is contributing regular observations to post-gazette.com.  Mr. Perry was the chief political correspondent of the Wall St. Journal until his retirement.  Prior to that, he covered national politics for the Dow Jones weekly, The National Observer. 

 

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Senators honor Chuck Noll

Published by Tracie Mauriello on .

Chuck Noll fans could have an extra reason to break out the terrible towels for opening day this year.
Pennsylvania’s bipartisan Senate duo has introduced a resolution making Sept. 7 Chuck Noll day to celebrate the achievements of the late Steelers head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
It’s also opening day, when the Steelers will take on the Cleveland Browns.
“Chuck Noll provided the culture of success on and off the field,” said Mr. Casey, a Democrat. “He inspired his players, his staff and the entire Steelers Nation to strive for greatness.”
Mr. Toomey, a Republican, called him one of the greatest coaches in NFL history and credited him with turning the once downtrodden Steelers franchise into a powerhouse team, leading the team to four Super Bowl titles and nearly 200 career wins.
Mr. Noll died on June 13 at his home in Sewickley, Pa. He was 82. 

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