Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Apparently our politricksters in Pistolvania have way too much time on their hands. And here is the scary thing, the proclamation passed unanimously. Not a single vote against this official resolution by people we elected to go to Harrisburg to solve our state's problems.
I don't like John Bear very much, but his article on the subject was on point:
"BE IT RESOLVED: Whereas, members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a bloated, overperked crowd indeed, apparently do not read or even seem to be aware of items they unanimously adopt, there shall henceforth be an outright ban on silly, meaningless resolutions.
And, whereas, such a ban would obviate the need for nonreaders and nonthinkers in the House, let this be the first step in slicing House membership in half, at least.
If you missed the inspiration for the afore-offered resolution, it's born of the unanimous (193-0) adoption of a real House Resolution, H.R. 535, on Jan. 24.
That resolution declares 2012 "The Year of the Bible" in Pennsylvania.
Its sponsor is Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny County. It has 36 co-sponsors: 33 Republicans and three Democrats, including Philly Rep. Tony Payton, though he says he's unaware of his co-sponsorship (more on that later).
The resolution says we recognize the Bible because of its "formative influence" on state and nation and because of "our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures."
If this strikes you as bumping up pretty close to at least symbolically violating separation of church and state or inviting similar resolutions proclaiming "The Year of the Torah," "The Year of the Quran," "The Year of Beelzebub" etc., you're not alone.
This is why - and I am not making this up - Philly Democratic Rep. Mark Cohen this week held a Capitol news conference asking that the House reconsider the resolution that he and all his colleagues supported. In other words a redo.
You may remember Cohen from past hits such as charging taxpayers $28,000 in one year for personal books, including The Little Book of Stress, or for collecting more than $100,000 in expenses in one legislative session, including per diems for Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Labor Day and Yom Kippur.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports that Cohen apologized for essentially having no idea what the resolution was about that he and everybody else in the House voted to adopt.
Philly Democratic Rep. Babette Josephs, long a forceful advocate of individual rights, joined him in that apology and later told me she intends to actually read future resolutions before voting on them.
The Bible resolution is non-binding and therefore falls into the what-the-heck-are-you-doing- with-taxpayers'-time-and-resources category.
But it raises questions and points to some public-service realities.
The questions include what the heck are you doing with taxpayers' time and resources? Do you have even a basic understanding that those who pay your salary and perks are of various religions, beliefs and nonbeliefs? And do any of you recall that Pennsylvania was founded on religious tolerance, especially for unpopular, persecuted religions such as the Society of Friends, or Quakers?
The public-service realities are (a) our elected officials aren't paying attention, and (b) there now looms the prospect of more time-wasting by putting up votes for or against the Bible.
Nice. Why not just pass out armor, swords and lances and re-enact the Crusades on the House floor?
All this helps explain why our Legislature consistently waits until the last possible moment to act on required duties such as passing annual budgets or adopting once-a-decade redistricting plans before screwing them up. They obviously don't read anything so don't know what to do.
Payton, for example, didn't even know he co-sponsored "The Year of the Bible."
"Are you sure I'm a co-sponsor?" he asked." [Source]
Now I like Tony Payton, he is a good guy. But Tony, you have to pay attention up there in Harrisburg.
The Bible is a wonderful book, but I am pretty sure that we don't need a bunch of politricksters declaring that 2012 is "the year of the Bible". I think we can all agree that the Bible has done pretty well for a very long time without it's own damn year.
Finally, I bet if Rick [I should be in a] sanitarium gets elected we will have a national year of the Bible. That would be good for you Christians out there. But for everyone else, not so much.
Rick took a trip to Rome a few years ago, and he refused to tell us who paid for it. Now I am not a conspiracy guy, but can you imagine if O took a trip to Mecca a few years back and wouldn't tell us who paid for it? Wingnuts would lose whatever is left of their minds.
But this is not hurting Rick. He is actually surging in the polls and leading Flipper in some of them. Good for him. Say what you want about the guy, he takes his extreme positions and sticks to them. Flipper has no soul, and I don't think his conservative peeps like that very much.
Good luck Rick, if you win the republican nomination the battle lines will be that much deeper, and maybe we will finally have a clear debate about the future of this country.