Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Since this story continues to develop, with additional lawmakers calling for DeWeese's ouster and the revelation that $1.4 million in taxpayer money, from a "special leadership account" controlled by DeWeese, has been spent to help the House Democrats "respond" to the Bonusgate investigation, I thought it was an opportune time to re-post this item and seek your additional comments. - Brant

If our state legislators ever do a dinner-theater performance of "The Wizard of Oz," I'd like to suggest our own Rep. Jesse White for the role of the Cowardly Lion. Members of Rep. Bill DeWeese's own party from around the state have been calling for him to leave his position as House Democratic leader in the wake of the indictments in the Bonusgate scandal, but White did some dancing worthy of Sammy Davis Jr. when the O-R asked him if he was ready to seek DeWeese's demotion. Here's what White had to say: "That's a question that is clearly being debated among the members. There are discussions, and at this point, I'm going to not say one way or another. I have some questions that need to be answered. I want a better feel for the facts, and until I have that, I'm not going to make that decision." A lot of words there to say next to nothing. State Rep. Matt Smith, a freshman Democrat from Mt. Lebanon, had enough information to say that DeWeese should step aside, noting that "we must bring new leadership into the fold." Sharing that opinion, and also apparently having sufficient information, were Democratic Reps. Harry Readshaw of Carrick, John Yudichak of Luzerne County and Bill Keller of Philly. Readshaw said responsibility for the alleged crimes of Bonusgate should ultimately lie with the leader, "but in this instance, the buck is being passed." In other words, even if DeWeese did nothing wrong personally, this scandal has erupted on his watch, or lack thereof. Rep. White, are you waiting for political cover, waiting to see if DeWeese is charged in the attorney general's investigation? It's really easy to climb aboard the bandwagon at that point. Are you afraid that there will be retribution if you speak out against DeWeese and he survives unscathed and wins re-election? The Democratic leader has been known to punish those who don't toe the line. You also said that you want anyone who has been involved in corruption to be "out of the legislating business altogether." If you do want reform, Rep. White, do you really think the best person to lead the Democrats in changing the culture of Harrisburg is the same person who led them in the late-night pay-raise grab and was, at least by his own assertions, oblivious to the alleged Bonusgate activities? Or do you just refuse to speak ill of a fellow Democrat who's facing a tough re-election battle - in other words, putting your political party before those who sent you to Harrisburg with the expectation that you would represent them honestly and honorably? Courage, conviction and integrity. Those are traits that separate political hacks from true representatives of the people. Which are you, Mr. White?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Brant.


July 20, 2008 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Brandt, good piece.

I'm always a bit chagrined when I see his blog, "I'm from the government, I am here to help." I thought the elected officials were there to represent the people. That title implies that the best use of government is to feed entitlements to the folks back at home.

Speaking of DeWeese, ... feeding entitlements to the people back at home. That seems to be the only way this man gets elected to office.

I also think it is ironic that one of White's blog entries is titled "Public Sewage: It Really Does All Flow Downhill." The funny thing about that title is happenings in Harrisburg last week seem to fit. Yes, the "public sewage" is not about what is flowing through the pipes underground in front of my house, but rather the actions of public officials.

I find it very hard to believe that many others didn't know what was happening, including White. I also lump Gov. Rendell into that "knowing" group. He has been strangely silent since the indictments were handed down. If the staff workers of the people indicted were, in fact, doing at the AG says, it should be have obvious to many others who float the halls in Harrisburg.

I agree with Brandt, White should step to the plate on this matter. His words are waffling, at best. The usual screen of "need more questions answered" does not work this time.

July 20, 2008 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does White still have his blog? He seemed to be just as cowardly to taking on critical remarks or different points of view in his blog.

I'm just glad he isn't representing my district.

July 20, 2008 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesse White is my rep and I am embarrassed.

July 21, 2008 at 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

White's cowardice is not new. He supported John Pettit for reelection, but was the first non-supporter to run thru the door to shake Steve Toprani's hand.
He even called people to tell them that he didn't actually support Pettit. At least he could have been honest about it. Instead, he was well.. cowardly.
Absolutely great editorial Brant. Shame you don't write the editorial page.

July 22, 2008 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Thanks for the kind words. I think I might be a bit too "edgy" to handle the O-R editorial page. I have heard before about White's alleged support for Pettit until the bitter end. He certainly didn't come out in opposition to Pettit. Of course, you didn't hear anything from Bracken Burns or Larry Maggi, either, despite the fact that Pettit had made a hellish mockery of the county's justice system. I get sick and tired of our state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, who put their party affiliation ahead of the people. They vote almost in total lock-step. It's "the caucus" this, and "the caucus" that. F the caucus. Start basing your votes on what's best for the people you represent.

July 22, 2008 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

If I ever ran for office, I would never let anyone take a picture of me like that... God forbid I "F" up in some way... then the world gets to look at that portrait of douche-baggery while they read about it... I don't know Mr. White... so I am not saying that he is a douche bag... I am just saying... The only time I would want a picture of me looking like that is... well... never :-) put on some sunglasses to look more sinister or something.

I don't believe that what I just said is the way I wanted to say it... oh well...


July 22, 2008 at 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh...he is a douche.

July 22, 2008 at 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

You people are all pathetic.

First off, for you to slam Jesse White for allegedly being a coward through ANONYMOUS comments in a blog is the height of hypcrisy.

Maybe because some of the comments are nearly word-for-word identical to the propagangda crap that Cody Knotts writes in the Weekly Recorder about White. By the way, Knotts is running the campaign for White's opponent this fall, so it's not like he has any additional bias to accompany his total lack of knowledge, ethics and basic spelling and grammar.

It's a sad day when the Observer-Reporter gets in the mud with the Cody Knotts of the world... maybe you can all play Dungeons and Dragons together with Frank Yuvan, White's opponent. Then you can find out what a "real leader" has to say.

Second, doesn't White get any credit for the fact that he was apparently the only elected official willing to go on the record for the story? I don't see quotes from Pete Daley, Tim Solobay, John Maher, or Dave Levdansky in there, and they have all served with DeWeese a whole lot longer than White, who is in his first term.

Finally, what is White supposed to say? By getting too involved in the DeWeese mess, he is only distracting himself from actually doing his job for his constituents.

I am a constituent and a big fan of Jesse White, and if you actually saw the job he was doing out here, you would be too.

You should be ashamed of yourselves for bashing him for writing a blog that opens him up to political attacks for speaking what's on his mind. Better to scare our elected officials by calling them out every time they try to act like normal people. No wonder more intelligent young people don't get involved in politics.

July 23, 2008 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Brant said...


I have to point out that the original blog posting was NOT done anonymously, and Roger, as always, put his name behind what he has to say. Also, just because someone critizices White's stand, or lack thereof, on a particular issue, doesn't mean they're supporting his opponent or working in concert with Cody. Sometimes I agree with Cody. Sometimes I don't. We are very different people, with very different mindsets. But I do believe there have been times when he has shone a light on things that needed to be exposed, and sometimes he has led the way in doing so. Nobody asked White to get "too involved" in the Bonusgate issue. He was asked a simple question, and he danced all around it. And I'm not opening him up to criticism for "speaking what's on his mind." He WON'T speak his mind. That's the issue. If he won't condemn the current leadership that has produced this mess, then he's part of the problem, and we'll just have to assume that he approves of the way things are being done in Harrisburg.

July 23, 2008 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

The anonymous quotes are the ones that are basically ripped from Cody Knotts' gossip rag.

And if you read what White said, he specifically said that he wants anyone who was guilty of this mess to be out of the legislating business forever and that he had questions about what went on; just because he isn't ready to string Bill DeWeese (who has NOT been indicted or implicated in this scandal) up by his toes doesn't mean he condones what went on.

It's interesting that you criticize White for failing to condemn DeWeese for things that went on BEFORE White even got to Harrisburg, yet give a free pass to those who have been there with DeWeese for years while such things were allegedly going on.

My problem is that people like Cody Knotts are trying to link Jesse to corruption and scandal (DeWeese, Pettit) based on nothing more than rumor and innuendo that occurred before he was ever elected to score points in an election year.

Our elected officials should be judged on their own job performance and no one else's. Plain and simple.

July 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

My opinion is that Mr. White is there NOW, and he could be putting himself out front in calling for a change in the old-boy network that has produced this mess. I'm also, in no way, letting the other, more veteran lawmakers off the hook. They all should be demanding new leadership, but I fear they're too entrenched and part of the problem for us to expect better from them. It's the newer people, like Mr. White, who have a great opportunity to be leaders in this regard.

July 23, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I am glad someone came out in defense of White... it makes for some discussion... sooooo, I will go ahead and defend Frank Yuvan... I went to high school with Frank. He is a smart guy... and yes, he is also a D&D nerd. I don't know much about his politics, but as far as his character is concerned, he is a good guy.

I don't know Cody Knotts or Jesse White. But I do know Frank... and aside from his dork-nerd leisure time activities, he is a great guy.


July 23, 2008 at 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did White speak out against Pettit?
Does he speak out against DeWeese?
Nuff said

July 23, 2008 at 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

That reasoning makes no sense. Did any other elected officials in Washington County speak out against Pettit? Against DeWeese?

Just because a Democrat isn't willing to publicly slam a member of his own party, it doesn't make him corrupt. Maybe you should focus your outrage on the accused themselves, and not those good public officials trying to do their jobs.

July 23, 2008 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Did someone say he was corrupt? I thought the charge was spineless...


July 23, 2008 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Yep, spineless.

July 23, 2008 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Party shouldn't matter. The point is that someone is putting party (and hence the possibility of promotion and power) over the interests of the public. Hence party over right and wrong.

July 23, 2008 at 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Captain said...

I dont even live in PA so it only affects me as it affects my family. My sole point would be this. The entrenched way we govern with multi-corporate lobbyists parlaying their way to becoming power-brokers, stringing along and criminalizing politicians is preposterous. Whether we attack a legislator or not the bottom line is very few of them in any state (I live in AZ) are worth our confidence. The very few if any who actually become a public servant to serve the public is miniscule.

the old boy/girl networks need overhauled. And any member of any party who does not speak out loudly against it must be part of the cancerous activities. Who can actually throw stones when they all live in glass houses? I would not callit Blue Flu...but perhaps Red, White, and me and you flu?

Changing politics requires changing the laws to protect the taxpayers from criminals. The punishments are not severe enough and the public shame is not relevant. those who serve us are a me first attitude, then I will think about getting my constituents something second-hand! The cost of becoming a public servant? Perhaps millions! the cost to the taxpayer? Priceless

Shameful and spineless!

July 23, 2008 at 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

White is spineless...but as anyone that has seen him, is certainly not gutless.

Looks like the meals in Harrisburg are pretty hearty.

July 23, 2008 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

As a fellow fat man, I represent that.

July 24, 2008 at 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this discussion just got classy quick. Nice.

July 24, 2008 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

White supported Pettit and now is supporting DeWeese. That alone is enough reason for him to go. Havent we had enough of politicians dipping into our pockets and committing crimes, protected by other elected officials.

There WERE prominent Democrats who came out in support of Toprani. It cost Milan Marinkovich the chairmanship. Maggi and Burns helped in their own quiet ways.

I dont care what party you are in, if you support corruption in any way you are a part of the problem. It's OUR tax dollars, not the politicians; they are supposed to use it for the public good. What Deweese has done, and White by his support of Deweese, is no different than what that black city council woman did in Pittsburgh, topping it all off by taking her mother on a trip to Las Vegas paid for by the taxpayers while she was being investigated for other thefts from the public.

July 24, 2008 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Cody Knotts! Thank you for the same old tired rhetoric about Jesse White "supporting" John Pettit. It would be a whole lot more persuasive if you had any sort of evidence whatsoever to back it up, but you don't, so you just continue to spread half-truths and lies.

You continue to associate Jesse White with Pettit like they're best friends. White came into office in 2007, over twenty years AFTER Pettit was elected. Without any evidence, your arguments are just as flimsy as your piece of garbage newspaper.

By the way, your pal Milan Marinkovich is such an honest guy that he apparently destroyed all financial records of the local Democratic Party when he lost the chairmanship.

If you are going to repeat the same lies over and over again, at least have the guts to use your name; or is that too much of a spelling challenge for you?


July 26, 2008 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

White was on PCNC Nighttalk Friday evening. His attempts to explain the happenings in Harrisburg were reinforcing the negative view expressed in Brant's original post. He was trying to justify behaviors in the big matters by telling the viewers that the lawmakers had made "baby steps" (his words) in how things are done in the legislative body. He was trying to make the point that people should be applauding the little things that have been done, and not focus on other matters, like the indictments, for right now. In my mind, his words dug himself deeper.

After hearing a radio report the other day about investigations of political folks for wrongdoing, I started asking myself questions. What percentage of time does government spend to investigate those of other government bodies? How much time and effort are spent in these non-productive matters? It seems like a big game -- how far can we go before somebody will raise a flag, and an investigation starts?

July 26, 2008 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

I also saw White on PCNC (it was last week), and I don't think he was trying to defend anyone. He said that supported the Attorney General's investigation, which was still ongoing.

He also said that he and the other freshmen sent to Harrisburg in 2006 had made some changes and were trying to make more reforms, like reducing the cost of the legislature by 20% and redistricting reforms, but that things take time to get accomplished (hence, the baby steps comment).

I really don't get why so many people are getting on White to do something here. It's the Attorney General's job to investigate and prosecute people, not a legislator's. He said in the article that anyone found guilty of anything should be out of the legislature forever; what good comes from him coming out and denouncing the man who, for the moment, is the House Majority Leader?

What I see is a bright young man who does not want to get involved in this scandal, mainly because it all took place before he even arrived in Harrisburg, instead trying to focus on helping the people in his district (all the slots stuff and other things you read about). If you ask around, people will tell you that White has done more for his district in his first couple of years than the guy he replaced did in twenty years.

Although Brant's original piece was legitimate, all of this other crap about John Pettit and everything is just White's opponent and his cronies playing Election year politics.

July 26, 2008 at 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would bet my last nickel that Roy Lindley and Jesse White are one and same.

July 26, 2008 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

I'm sorry Roy, but I have "no dog in this hunt." Mr. White is outside my area, so I'm not pitching votes for somebody else. I don't know the other person of which you speak (you said his talking points were in these posts). I've never met Mr. Pettit, Mr. DeWeese, or Mr. White, for that matter.

I only make my assessments on what he writes in his blog, his quotes in the media, what others have written about him, and then seeing him on TV last evening. So, maybe my porthole of information is too sparse to have any credible opinions.

What he seemed to be saying last evening, "... look, give us kudos for applying some salve to the open wound, ... yes, we know the wound is bleeding profusely, but we will give our attention to the bleeding another day...." The examples of change he cited (e.g. waiting period of 24 hours for voting, publishing the legislation before voting, no voting for pay raises at 2:00 a.m.) should never need any rules changes. The fact that some rules need to be voted upon and passed to accommodate procedure speaks volumes itself. He called these "baby steps" to improve how tasks are done in Harrisburg. Sorry, he made himself look silly to think that these things even need rules. The "baby steps" become a thinly veiled attempt at placating the constituents that "something is being done."

If any PA legislator really wants to claim that something is being done, then write legislation that will eliminate half the legislators, limit the number of years to serve, and limit the amount of time spent each year (maybe even every other year) in Harrisburg. This little changes are only a dabbling in the sand, when there are big stones ready to be turned.

July 26, 2008 at 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

Then sir, someone owes me a nickel.

And with that, I think we've beat this horse to death.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this subject, but it's still funny that Cody Knotts didn't have the guts to post his name here.

July 27, 2008 at 12:36 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

The problems of the Pennsylvania Legislature and the half-assed, inconsequential attempts to fix them remind me of a scene from the Monty Python film "The Meaning of Life" in which a doctor tells an army officer who has had his leg bitten off to "favor the other leg." Your comparison to putting salve on a gaping wound is apt. The various caucuses obviously have way, way too much money at their disposal, as evidenced by the bonuses that were paid out to House staffers, and the ensuing scandal. Then there is the Walking Around Money that the lawmakers sprinkle throughout their districts to curry favor, without the benefit of the appropriations process. If they're really serious about regaining some credibility, they would approve legislation giving the auditor general authority to supervise and review their spending. And surely we can cut the size and cost of the Legislature. There are 50 senators and 203 representatives in Harrisburg who seem to be constantly in session, soaking up our tax dollars for their meals, lodging and travel. I think the base salary for our state lawmakers is somewhere in the vicinity of $81,000 a year, not counting all the extras. In 2005-06, we spent more than $450 million just to run the Legislature. In Texas, a much bigger state, physically, with nearly twice as many people as Pennsylvania, the Legislature has 31 senators and 150 representatives, and they meet only every other year for a set number of days, not counting special sessions, which can be called only by the governor, not by the lawmakers, themselves. California has three times the population of Pennsylvania, but it manages to survive with a 120-member legislature. Also, California has term limits. That would be nice. But I have little hope for real change in Harrisburg because the people who would have to vote for such change are the same ones who are trying to protect their own lucrative jobs.

July 27, 2008 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Term limits have been horrible for actual representative government in states that passed them. No overturning of Gov. vetoes for examples and long fights over small issues that were previously handled in conferences by legislators that had become experts.
Secondly, less legislators means larger districts and it means it is harder for challengers, not easier to gain change.
The problem in Harrisburg has been the public has not paid enough attention to what they really do and I must echo the walking around money.
Open government, ending walking around money and changing of the caucus rules to allow real debate and limit the control of leadership would make the differences that most people want to see.
The other "reforms" will likely lead to more problems than they are worth.

July 27, 2008 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Your arguments against term limits don't hold much water with me. How in the world do term limits have any effect on overriding a governor's veto? There's no effect whatsoever on that. Also, I would welcome long fights over issues IN PUBLIC rather than what we currently have, which is a small handful of career political hacks deciding issues behind closed doors and then foisting legislation on fellow lawmakers who have little idea what's really in the bills and how they will affect the populace. It might be harder for a challenger with limited funds to campaign in a larger district, but it matters little. Nearly all incumbents get elected over and over again, unless there's some overriding scandal such as the dead-of-night pay raise. And even then, how many did we get rid of? A couple dozen out of 250? People always talk about a mass housecleaning and "throwing the bums out," but in reality, people tend to think that those "other guys" have to go, but their own lawmaker is an OK guy. Hence, virtually all get re-elected.

July 27, 2008 at 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason for term limits increasing the power of the legislature is simple, there are no legislators with the clout to challenge the Governor. Reform is needed, but make it the right reform. Regardless, Brant, your blog is outstanding, even when I disagree with you. We both want reform.

BTW the fact that DeWeese defends Angela Bertugli keeping her job after this became public is even more reason for him and her to resign. Shame Jesse White is more interesting in his position in the Democratic party than he's obligation to the taxpayer.

July 27, 2008 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Re: Term Limits...

Wouldn't term limits encourage more legislators to challenge the governor? I would think people would be more willing to stick their neck out if they didn't really have all that much to lose... If given the opportunity to play 1 game of major league baseball, I'm swingin' for the fence every time...


July 27, 2008 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But they have everything to lose. In states like Kansas, they cut deals with major corporations for later jobs. Some became serial campaigners, running for one office after another (office changing for the sake of it). The lack of pay, combined with short terms means the incentive is to take care of oneself.
Reformers assume that the political figure is interested in the public good, in spite of their railing against them. Realistic reforms base the actions on what those that would abuse the system will do.
Also the challenges to the Governor decrease as the newly elected legislator is inexperienced, has few contacts with the statewide media and has no clout with the public. Result is the more powerful figure wins everytime.

It is the law of unintended consequenses. The goal must be to fix the problem, not create easy solutions that solve little but sound good in well sound bites.

July 27, 2008 at 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess even the deputy speaker has more guts than White given today's story.

Not surprising though. White always looks out for one thing, himself.

August 4, 2008 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

Cody Knotts, please sign your name when you continually slam Mr. White. If you know how to spell it, that is...

August 5, 2008 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Whether it's Cody's comment or not is immaterial. The chorus of people calling for DeWeese to leave is growing. Dave Levdansky is the latest, and he's suggesting that DeWeese pull out of his re-election race altogether. Pete Daley and Tim Solobay are still, predictably, toeing the party line and crying politics. Daley went so far as to say that unless DeWeese is indicted or convicted, he should remain as party leader. Apparently, allowing a scandal to erupt and prosper right under your nose, allegedly, is not reason enough to leave. It would be the decent, honorable thing to do, so I guess we shouldn't expect that. If DeWeese were hanging from his heels like Mussolini, I would fully expect him to continue arguing, in a condescending speech replete with 25-dollar words most of his constituents don't even understand, that he's still the best guy for the job. White, of course, remains safely astride the fence, still gathering information, one must suppose. Why is it that White, Solobay and Daley are so blind that they cannot recognize a culture of corruption and incompetence that requires a complete housecleaning in the leadership of the Democratic House caucus? The shades have been lifted (further) on the shameless shenanigans in Harrisburg, but they don't see the light. And as we saw in another recent story, the House Democrats, from a special account controlled by DeWeese, have spent, if I recall correctly, $1.4 million to lawyers and others to help them respond to the attorney general's investigation. I thought telling the truth was free.

August 6, 2008 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that White, Solobay and Daley are so blind that they cannot recognize a culture of corruption and incompetence that requires a complete housecleaning in the leadership of the Democratic House caucus?

The answer is obvious, they are part of the problem. Corruption is a way of life in Washington County. Thousands of DEMOCRATIC HOUSE money was sent to John Pettit locally for his reelection. Was that by accident?
It is all part of the same picture. A old boy network that has been and continues to be out of control. They are not elected (in their minds) to serve, but to be served.

Excellent work Brant, hard hitting and to the point.

August 6, 2008 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are they using our money? Can White, Solobay and Daley explain that? Why our money? This is crazy

August 6, 2008 at 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "Roy Lindy" aka Jesse White, why dont you have the guts to sign YOUR posts with your real name (there is no Roy Linda listed in the phone book or on the property records anywhere in Jesse White's district). I bet if the OR checked where your posts originate from, it would be some state office computer.

Milan Marinkovich did NOT destroy any Democratic party records. He is one of the most honest and honorable people to ever occupy that chairmanship. Vitteck sues people all the time- if memory serves me correctly, he sued whoever ran against him for town supervisor and people who spoke out against him at town meetings.

White was photographed at Pettit fundraisers. I am not Cody Knotts, nor is everyone who posts expecting our elected officials to do their jobs and not pay taxpayer money for prostitutes or girlfriends, or to give away state jobs to wives and other family members. Vitteck's wife works for Jesse White, on the state payroll, Mike Manzo, DeWeese's former chief of staff gave BOTH his prostitute and his wife a job with the state, and some of us are just sick of this crap.

Hey, maybe Rep. Levdanksky is really Cody Knotts in disguise. I've never seen the two of them in a room together at the same time. Maybe Brant Newman is also really Cody Knotts. The two of them are around the same age, both have a bit of a gut, and I've never seen them both in the same room at the same time. And the same goes for that Democratic Representative from Montgomery County who called for DeWeese to step down.

Maybe everyone who writes or says anything negative about White is actually Cody Knotts in disguise- Knotts is probably like a Ninja, can change his appearance at will, fade away into the wind, re appear as yet another citizen who demands that our elected officials not steal from us.

I cant wait until November. It's time to sweep some of the bums out of office. They didnt get the message the voters sent them after the 2am pay raise, they need another lesson in the power of an angry electorate.

August 6, 2008 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I thought Cody Knotts was a youngin'...

Brant... you are real old, aren't you?

haha :-)


August 6, 2008 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because eventhough it's our money - they think of it as "their" money - it's their budget, it's just a line item that says taxes....


August 6, 2008 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. They think our taxes is "their" money. There shouldnt even be any bonuses paid to state employees. They get a better medical insurance plan, a better retirement plan, better everything than most of us ordinary folk who have to work for a living in the private sector. They get annual cost of living adjustments, even if the economy is in the crapper. They should not have received bonuses, even if they were really doing that work for the people. However, in DeWeese, Bertugli and Manzo's case, there is a major difference between "doing work" for the people and "doing the people".

August 6, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Brant said...


I used to think 50 was old. In two days, I will be 50. Hence, 50 is no longer old. Cheers.


August 6, 2008 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

UPDATE: State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, is now calling for Bill DeWeese to step down as majority leader. Read more in Thursday's O-R.

Michael Jones
Staff writer

August 6, 2008 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Thanks for the update, Mike.

August 6, 2008 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I was just pulling your old legs, Brant... 50!? Jeezy Chreezy Batman...

Anyway... Cody kinda has a boyish awkwardness about him... I pegged him at 30.

I'm glad 'dem stillers start playin' dis week... Ima gettin' tired of these politishans.


August 6, 2008 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's exactly what White said on his website:

"The legislative accomplishments and unabashed energy that Representative DeWeese has brought to Harrisburg for over three decades cannot be questioned, as well as his leadership in enacting important legislative reform laws that have changed how the House operates. "

Yeah, DeWeese's accomplishments, like the midnight pay raise, attempts to limit gun rights, stadium funding, sending huge amounts of taxpayer money down into the cesspool they call Philadelphia, putting friends and relatives of staffers and supporters on the state payroll, trying to crush all opposition with the Democratic Party by brutal politics (it is called the DEMOCRATIC party for a reason, we are supposed to believe in freedom to dissent and democracy, which means tolerating the opinions of others, even if Bill DeWeese doesnt believe in that), and more such "accomplishments".

I, for one, can certainly "question" DeWeese's "accomplishments.

August 6, 2008 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the mention of the name Cody Knotts, my eyes start rolling uncontrollably.

I do believe that gentleman has confused the editorial page with the news section.

Cody Knotts wouldn't know the meaning of "unbiased" if someone hit him in the head with a dictionary.

August 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Yeah... but I think that is the point of his tabloid...

-ellipses... was uber-wierded out by cody knotts' myspace page :-(

August 6, 2008 at 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm constantly amazed at how many people run down the Weekly Recorder, but yet obviously read it religiously. How else would the critics know, word for word, what's in that newspaper? And why are you buying it? Or are you going to tell us that you just found it in the garbage with a straight face? There cant be that many copies of it in the garbage cans you pass week after week, month after month.

Even if someone gave it to you for free, if you think it's such a terrible newspaper, why are you reading it cover to cover? Oh, I know, it's strictly so you can come on to websites and trash the paper and the publisher.

When I become disenchanted with a newspaper, I stop reading it. There was a time when I didnt bother reading the OR very often, even on line, because I felt the news reporting was so biased. I read the PG and the WR instead, and sometimes the Trib.

However, having stumbled across Brant Newman's column/blog whatever it technically is, I enjoy it so much, even when disagreeing with him at times, that it's brought me back to reading the OR on the internet at least. I suspect he has other followers.

OK, Brant, if that was good enough, you can send the $10 to me at.... just kidding.

August 6, 2008 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Ten dollars? Holy crap, it was just five dollars the last time. Well, OK. Seriously, thanks for the support. The blog is nothing if I just prattle on day after day. It's the people who reply - Priguy, Roger, Ellipses and many others - who make it work. Although I haven't seen Rep. White's news release (I've been working odd hours helping to put together the O-R bicentennial edition - Aug. 15-18 in your regular daily O-R, and a marvelous collector's item - sorry about the shameless plug), I'm interested to see if he discloses the specific answers he got to the specific questions he had that prevented him from calling for DeWeese's removal earlier. I'm guessing he saw which way the political winds were blowing. Also, this sort of kills Rep. Pete Daley's lame excuse that Rep. Dave Levdansky and the others who came out against DeWeese did so because they were his political enemies. He accused Levdansky of opposing DeWeese because Levdansky "wants to be majority leader." Well, I never heard of Jesse White being a political enemy of DeWeese's, and I've never heard him aspire to majority leader. Then there's state Rep. Tim Solobay, who says that because DeWeese hasn't been "accused of anything," he should remain in his post. Let's suppose a scenario like this: A bunch of sheriff's jailers are found to have been raping inmates. The sheriff didn't actually rape them himself, so even though he presumably is responsible for the whole county jail, he would keep his job under the "Solobay doctrine." Hmmmm. Solobay also said he believed that if DeWeese did anything criminally culpable, he would have been indicted in the first round of presentments by the grand jury. Really??? None of us has even seen a case in which a prosecutor indicts one group of people, who then turn state's evidence, and then a whole new bunch of people are indicted. Do you think it's even remotely possible that DeWeese's fired former chief of staff might be willing to talk with the AG's office about his former boss's activities? I'm not saying DeWeese has done a single thing wrong, but it's ridiculous to say that he's clearly clean just because he hasn't been charged yet. And no matter what, the buck stops with him. In summary, White has done the right thing, whatever his motivations. We now have to assume that Daley and Solobay are part of the problem and are shackled to DeWeese, like a bride or groom who vows "for better or worse." We deserve better.

August 6, 2008 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

This may be a matter of semantics...

Do we elect legislators or do we elect leaders? Is it more virtuous to lead the charge and risk being wrong (assuming you can admit when you are wrong) or is it better to sit on the fence and pick a side at the two minute warning? Do you put on your Sunday best and try to start a procession or do you jump in front of the parade and call yourself the grand marshall? I am sure most of us are happy with Mr. White's eventual position... but it would have been refreshing if he had more to lose by taking a position than by not taking one...


August 6, 2008 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

And what's all this 10 dollar business?


August 6, 2008 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

The full release of White's press release is on his web page. It is all about "I" again, what "I" have done, what "I" intended to do, "I," "I," and yet more "I." He distances himself from the fracas, saying it was all done before he went to Harrisburg (more about "I"), therefore, he doesn't share any burden. I can understand and appreciate that point, but he is still a member of the Democratic caucus.

I agree with a comment made earlier regarding White's message of DeWeese's accomplishments, "... cannot be questioned." What does he mean, "cannot be questioned." Sure they can, all of them -- many negative one's cited in the post.

The "rats are abandoning ship," as they see the election coming closer. By making a statement now, White is able to claim a distance from the issue, and can refuse to discuss it, "... I've made my stance known."

One more comment about White's web site, ... For all the other posts on his web page, rarely is there one comment that follows. By now, four comments are posted, all positive about what White means to the district and what he has done. With little, or no follow, to all the other posts on his blog, getting four quick ones seems a little suspicious.

August 6, 2008 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Roy Lindy said...

It's funny to see how some people are so hell-bent on attacking someone, no matter what he does.

If White doesn't call for DeWeese to step down, he's a coward, and when he does in convincing fashion, then you find some reason to pick him apart. Why don't you just admit that you don't like him, but acknowledge that he had the guts to stand up to the establishment?

I can't wait to see how Cody Knotts spins this one...

August 6, 2008 at 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real guts would be to call on the Democratic caucus to repay from each member the 1.4 million they took from the taxpayers for this mess. That would be real guts. DeWeese is done and now Jesse gets on board. Too little too late.

August 6, 2008 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too little too late? You're gonna slam Jessie White for stepping up while these other clowns blindly follow DeWeese?

Give the kid some credit for showing some balls when no one else around him will.

August 6, 2008 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I think Rep. White does deserve some credit for his decision, though I also think it's fair to ask why it didn't come earlier, and some may wonder if political expediency played a role. At least White DID make the move, unlike Reps. Pete Daley and Tim Solobay. They can talk all they want about loyalty when it comes to DeWeese, but their first loyalty should lie with the people they represent, and those people deserve better leadership in Harrisburg.

August 7, 2008 at 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read some of the articles in it exactly once, and I didn't buy it, I read it online.

I only needed to read it once to see the quality of the reporting and know I can get more accurate, less biased news from the O-R.

If I ever feel the need to be talked down to and told what my opinion of this or that government official should be in terms that tap-dance around libel while simultaneously displaying poor grammar skills and a lack of knowledge of what spell check is, then I'll pick it up again.

August 7, 2008 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

It's online?

I have only read it once... someone at work had it. I, too, was dismayed by the production value... however... it's a tabloid. It serves a market and I wish him the best with it.


August 7, 2008 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Cody makes no bones about the fact that his newspaper expresses a particular point of view. It's essentially an opinion paper. Even the reporters who cover meetings for Cody don't so much write news stories as express their opinions about what transpires at the sessions. One of them, sometimes comically, interjects herself right into the action. Cody and I disagree on many things - he once devoted considerable space to detailing what a godless heathen I am - but we agree on some issues. Do I think the paper's grammar, etc., is horrific? Yes. But do I think Cody often provides valuable information to his readers. Absolutely. And do I think it's an entertaining paper. Sure do.

August 7, 2008 at 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Brant Newman saying something remotely nice about the Weekly Recorder... maybe the editor will put you in the paper's best dressed list.... ha ha

August 7, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, just put him on the 100 Most Powerful list, right below the Grumpy Old Editor ... who is listed right below Cody Knotts himself.

Even the PG couldn't believe the utter chutzpah Knotts had in listing himself as one of Washington County's power brokers.

You may find it entertaining, Brant, but don't we have enough "infotainment" masquerading as journalism? (A serious question. I'm not trying to be snarky with this.)

I do admire your class and generosity in defending Knotts, Brant.

August 7, 2008 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

I take Cody's paper for what it is. I don't pick it up expecting it to be the Washington Post. Cody isn't trying to put out a traditional newspaper featuring traditional journalism that attempts to present all sides of an issue. It's an advocacy publication, expressing the opinions of Cody and his people. Over the years, he has said a couple of inaccurate things about the Observer that, were he in front of me when I read them, I probably would have been tempted to kick his ass, but for the most part, I have no problem with what he does.

August 7, 2008 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the poster who originally questioned the "unquestionable accomplishments" of DeWeese. Another poster responded that he agreed. Just for "Roy Lindy"'s information, both of us are actually Cody Knotts in disguise. I am worried that my wife of 30 years may also be Cody Knotts in disguise. This troubles me deeply.

But I digress. The Weekly Recorder has printed many things that I dont believe would have gotten much attention in the OR had they not gotten focus in the WR. The most notable of these is the FBI investigation of Pettit. An OR editor (not Brant), said at one point that they "dont print rumors". In fact, there were more than rumors, there just werent witnesses who had been interviewed by the FBI who were willing to have their names disclosed. The WR published story after story about it, and finally we began to see it appear in the OR. Maybe I'm wrong in believing there's cause and effect there, but that's the way I see it.

However, I didnt get on here to praise the WR or Mr. Knotts. I have made a number of posts on local and state political issues, and it is annoying when Jesse White or one of his taxpayer funded employees or a relative gets on here and accuses me and anyone else who doesnt like how White and DeWeese have conducted themselves in the bonusgate scandal of being Cody Knotts. I am not now, nor have I ever been Cody Knotts, I'm not related to him, I'm not in business with him, etc.

I also find it annoying when people attack anyone who thinks DeWeese is in the wrong as a "republican". I'm a life long Democrat and there are many of us who question the "unquestionable accomplishments" of DeWeese. The fact that he has supported almost every anti gun proposal to come out of the People's Republic of Philadelphia in the last few decades upsets me. And who got his chief of staff, Manzo, wife a high paying state job? That would have to be DeWeese.

There was a guy named Sean Ramaley who was given a paid job in state rep Veon's office WHILE he ran for state rep himself, and given the use of the state office for his campaign. Why did DeWeese permit this? He's our party's leader in the House, it's his job, like the jail warden analogy, to make sure that crap doesnt happen.

But the two things that really, really bother me about bonusgate? First, the prostitute is still on the payroll and the bonuses havent been repaid. Second that DeWeeese took $1.4 million of taxpayer money and is using it to pay legal defenses for the crimes he and others in the legislature committed.

Let me make this clear, I want good Democrats in the Pa House. But I prefer an honest Republican to dishonest Democrat. It IS our money, dammit.


Cody Knotts (Just kidding, I am not him- but I think my dog might be- those Ninjas can make themselves look like anything you know- a dog, a bookcase, a tree).

August 7, 2008 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're NOT a godless heathen? I may have to stop reading your column.

On a more serious note, the degree to which you have captured the public's interest and engaged them in a dialogue on these pages is a testiment to you as a journalist.

Someone else pointed out that Jesse White's blog only has four comments, and they are in praise of him, and it looked phony. He's an elected representative of 60,000 citizens, but cant get an honest dialog going with the real people. You're a newspaper man who swears like a sailor, breaks political correctness in almost every column, praises your competition when you think they deserve it, in short, you break all the rules but have been wildly successful at what you do.


PS It would be nice if you'd write home more often, and please wear a nice suit to your niece Sally's wedding.

PPS This is really Cody.

August 7, 2008 at 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't buy the OR or WR, but I would pay to see Brant attempt to kick Cody's ass. Or the two of them fight.

Maybe Shorty's could be the sponsor?

August 11, 2008 at 5:27 PM  

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