Tom Corbett Gets Slapped Down

Facing a mountain of criticism from local and national news agencies as well as a firestorm of commentary from social media sites, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett backed down on his subpoenas yesterday.

Earlier this month, his office issued a subpoena demanding private information on users critical of his campaign.  With growing accusations that his office has improperly flexed its muscle to help his gubernatorial campaign, perhaps they finally realized that flexing their muscle to help his gubernatorial campaign might not be the best way to respond.

Because if he was truly right — if he truly believed he had such powerful evidence that he needed to invoke the power of a grand jury in order to hear it — he should never have backed down.  You don’t give up a fight when you’re right, and we don’t pay our politicians to back down when they’re pursuing a just cause.

Let’s assume — for the sake of argument — that Corbett’s subpoenas really were part of a criminal investigation.  And let’s assume that the use of a grand jury to seek evidence for a criminal trial that has already concluded is somehow appropriate.  And, just to play devil’s advocate, let’s assume that CasablancaPA really is Brett Cott.

Assuming Corbett was right on all counts, that leaves just one question unanswered:

With Cott having been rushed off to prison immediately after his sentencing, why is the blog and Twitter account in question still being updated?

Either CasablancaPA is not Cott, or the account password has been shared across multiple people.  Tom Corbett was either wrong in his assumption about the account’s true owner, or he willfully used his office’s power to obtain the names and IP addresses of innocent citizens who happened to criticize his campaign.

Tom Corbett for Governor?

Generally speaking, I don’t do politics on this site.  If it’s politics you want, you can Google the name of your favorite candidate or party and find approximately eleventy trillion other sites on which to get your fix.  But earlier this month, our Attorney General did something that can only generously be described as “questionable”:

He subpoenaed Twitter and Google to reveal the identity of some people who have been critical of his campaign for governor.

Continue reading Tom Corbett for Governor?

PA Budget Impasse 2010: Hi

Well.

Here we are again.

It’s 2010.  For the eighth year in a row, the Pennsylvania state budget is in trouble.  After last year’s major nightmare, you’d think we’d be done with this nonsense.

You’d think that after the public outpouring of outrage, our elected officials would go out of their way to pass a budget on time this year.

You’d think that after the legal decision affirming the illegality of refusing to pay your employees (to say nothing of the untold mountains of taxpayer dollars wasted on the matter), our elected officials would stop with their partisan political grandstanding and finger-pointing.

You’d think that even if every shred of decency, common sense, and respect for their taxpayers was found conspicuously absent, our legislature wouldn’t dare yank Pennsylvanians around — again — in an election year.

But we’re not, they didn’t, they never will, and they are.

Continue reading PA Budget Impasse 2010: Hi

Another Year, Another Budget Impasse

Once again, our fearless leaders have warned us that they may fail to pass a budget this year.  What’s different this time around is that instead of furloughing non-critical state employees, Governor Ed Rendell has assured all of us that we will continue to report to work no matter what happens.  Only, we won’t get paid after June 30th.

There’s an interesting law on the books — one that I’m very familiar with, having used it against a former employer — called the Pennsylvania Wage Payment And Collection Act of 1961.  It’s a very simple law to read, and I suggest everyone (state employee or not) take a look at it.  In short, it states that your employer must pay you on your regular payday, that your employer can not delay payment under any circumstances, and that your employer can not waive your rights by making you sign an agreement.  In other words, if you work, you must get paid.  Period.  The act even goes on to clarify that this explicitly applies to salary, hourly rate, commission, and so on.  It’s a pretty open-and-shut law:  If you work, you must get paid on time.

Continue reading Another Year, Another Budget Impasse