WHY THE STATE BUDGET WAS LATE. It seems like every year of the Rendell administration brings us a late budget. Lawmakers worked into the late hours of Sunday July second until they passed the budget which was due on June 30th. The reason for the late date was because the Senate Democrats temporarily withdrew their support for the negotiated $26 billion budget package Saturday night in an attempt to force changes to the 2-year-old slots law.
Governor Rendell intervened in the process and asked his old friend, Senator Vince Fumo to push back his proposals so the budget could pass without further incident. The Senator was promised a future effort with the senator to exclude the state's casinos from local zoning processes, which gambling proponents fear could prompt long legal challenges and delay revenue to support property tax cuts.
In an 11th hour proposal, Fumo wanted to exempt casinos in Philadelphia from a newly passed ban on most indoor smoking in the city and extend the startup period of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
The amendment also would have prohibited the board from awarding a slots license for a casino proposed near Gettysburg.
So the thing that prolonged the budget was an issue that was supposedly settled in the year 2004.
AN ELECTION YEAR BUDGET………………This election year budget was one where the surplus was essentially blown through and various programs were restored to their former funding levels, expanded and grown or new programs were put in place. Lawmakers are already telling constituents to “enjoy” this year’s budget because come next year, when all the incumbents are safe at home (including the governor) cuts in the same programs restored, grown or proposed will be made in order to meet the budget proposals for 2007. This of course puts programming and agency heads in a predictable dilemma which they seem used to, not necessarily thrilled about but used to.
MEDIA WATCH…………….Scranton School Director Todd O’Malley, long time crony of ex Mayor Jim McNulty kicking off a new show on FOX TV this week entitled “You Be The Judge”. The show will feature O’Malley’s law firm as prime sponsor. O’Malley is already visible as a major player in Scranton politics as well as the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Scranton. (His law firm regularly produces an elaborate float that wins first prize). It is interesting to see whether O’Malley’s program will give him added prestige. Let’s not forget that Atty. Tom Munley parlayed his Legal segment on WYOU TV into a Lackawanna County Judgeship.
Word from Hazleton tells us that Hazleton Standard Speaker columnist and current Editorialist on WLYN, L.A. Tarrone will be hosting a talk show on that outlet. More details on that program forthcoming.
Geena Davis nominated from the Emmy's (TV awards) for her role in "Commander In Chief" as well as Alan Alda, Martin Sheen and Allison Janney for "The West Wing".
DOES THE WB CHAMBER HEAD RESIGNATION HAVE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS?
The recent announcement that Steve Barrouk will retire from the Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce has political implications. Former Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo will head the Chamber on an interim basis. Would the search committee pick a former Mayor? And when Lombardo took the Chamber job, did he have an inkling Barrouk would step down? And what if the Search Committee were to seek out a current County Commissioner and well seasoned former Chamber employee? Would he stay or would he go? Questions, questions, questions.
Rockin' the Right-----The 50 greatest conservative rock songs. By John J. Miller
EDITOR’S NOTE: This week on NRO, we’ve been rolling out the first five and now all 50 songs from a list John J. Miller compiled that appears in the June 5 issue of National Review . Here’s a look at #1 and get the whole list—complete with purchasing links—here.
On first glance, rock ’n’ roll music isn’t very conservative. It doesn’t fare much better on second or third glance (or listen), either. Neil Young has a new song called “Let’s Impeach the President.” Last year, the Rolling Stones made news with “Sweet Neo Con,” another anti-Bush ditty. For conservatives who enjoy rock, it isn’t hard to agree with the opinion Johnny Cash expressed in “The One on the Right Is on the Left”: “Don’t go mixin’ politics with the folk songs of our land / Just work on harmony and diction / Play your banjo well / And if you have political convictions, keep them to yourself.” In other words: Shut up and sing.
But some rock songs really are conservative — and there are more of them than you might think. Last year, I asked readers of National Review Online to nominate conservative rock songs. Hundreds of suggestions poured in. I’ve sifted through them all, downloaded scores of mp3s, and puzzled over a lot of lyrics. What follows is a list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs of all time, as determined by me and a few others. The result is of course arbitrary, though we did apply a handful of criteria.What makes a great conservative rock song? The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values. And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song. We’re biased in favor of songs that are already popular, but have tossed in a few little-known gems. In several cases, the musicians are outspoken liberals. Others are notorious libertines. For the purposes of this list, however, we don’t hold any of this against them. Finally, it would have been easy to include half a dozen songs by both the Kinks and Rush, but we’ve made an effort to cast a wide net. Who ever said diversity isn’t a conservative principle?So here are NR’s top 50 conservative rock songs of all time. Go ahead and quibble with the rankings, complain about what we put on, and send us outraged letters and e-mails about what we left off. In the end, though, we hope you’ll admit that it’s a pretty cool playlist for your iPod.
1. “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” by The Who. ; buy CD on Amazon.comThe conservative movement is full of disillusioned revolutionaries; this could be their theme song, an oath that swears off naïve idealism once and for all. “There’s nothing in the streets / Looks any different to me / And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye. . . . Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.” The instantly recognizable synthesizer intro, Pete Townshend’s ringing guitar, Keith Moon’s pounding drums, and Roger Daltrey’s wailing vocals make this one of the most explosive rock anthems ever recorded — the best number by a big band, and a classic for conservatives.
2. “Taxman,” by The Beatles. buy CD on Amazon.comA George Harrison masterpiece with a famous guitar riff (which was actually played by Paul McCartney): “If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street / If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat / If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat / If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.” The song closes with a humorous jab at death taxes: “Now my advice for those who die / Declare the pennies on your eyes.”
3. “Sympathy for the Devil,” by The Rolling Stones. ; buy CD on Amazon.comDon’t be misled by the title; this song is The Screwtape Letters of rock. The devil is a tempter who leans hard on moral relativism — he will try to make you think that “every cop is a criminal / And all the sinners saints.” What’s more, he is the sinister inspiration for the cruelties of Bolshevism: “I stuck around St. Petersburg / When I saw it was a time for a change / Killed the czar and his ministers / Anastasia screamed in vain.”
4. “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA tribute to the region of America that liberals love to loathe, taking a shot at Neil Young’s Canadian arrogance along the way: “A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”
5. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys. ; buy CD on Amazon.comPro-abstinence and pro-marriage: “Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true / Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do / We could be married / And then we’d be happy.”
6. “Gloria,” by U2. ; buy CD on Amazon.comJust because a rock song is about faith doesn’t mean that it’s conservative. But what about a rock song that’s about faith and whose chorus is in Latin? That’s beautifully reactionary: “Gloria / In te domine / Gloria / Exultate.”
7. “Revolution,” by The Beatles. buy CD on Amazon.com“You say you want a revolution / Well you know / We all want to change the world . . . Don’t you know you can count me out?” What’s more, Communism isn’t even cool: “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao / You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.” (Someone tell the Che Guevara crowd.)
8. “Bodies,” by The Sex Pistols. ; buy CD on Amazon.comViolent and vulgar, but also a searing anti-abortion anthem by the quintessential punk band: “It’s not an animal / It’s an abortion.”
9. “Don’t Tread on Me,” by Metallica. buy CD on Amazon.comA head-banging tribute to the doctrine of peace through strength, written in response to the first Gulf War: “So be it / Threaten no more / To secure peace is to prepare for war.”
10. “20th Century Man,” by The Kinks. ; buy CD on Amazon.com“You keep all your smart modern writers / Give me William Shakespeare / You keep all your smart modern painters / I’ll take Rembrandt, Titian, da Vinci, and Gainsborough. . . . I was born in a welfare state / Ruled by bureaucracy / Controlled by civil servants / And people dressed in grey / Got no privacy got no liberty / ’Cause the 20th-century people / Took it all away from me.”
11. “The Trees,” by Rush. ; buy CD on Amazon.comBefore there was Rush Limbaugh, there was Rush, a Canadian band whose lyrics are often libertarian. What happens in a forest when equal rights become equal outcomes? “The trees are all kept equal / By hatchet, axe, and saw.”
12. “Neighborhood Bully,” by Bob Dylan. ; buy CD on Amazon.com A pro-Israel song released in 1983, two years after the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, this ironic number could be a theme song for the Bush Doctrine: “He destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad / The bombs were meant for him / He was supposed to feel bad / He’s the neighborhood bully.”
13. “My City Was Gone,” by The Pretenders. ; buy CD on Amazon.comVirtually every conservative knows the bass line, which supplies the theme music for Limbaugh’s radio show. But the lyrics also display a Jane Jacobs sensibility against central planning and a conservative’s dissatisfaction with rapid change: “I went back to Ohio / But my pretty countryside / Had been paved down the middle / By a government that had no pride.”
14. “Right Here, Right Now,” by Jesus Jones. buy CD on Amazon.comThe words are vague, but they’re also about the fall of Communism and the end of the Cold War: “I was alive and I waited for this. . . . Watching the world wake up from history.”
15. “I Fought the Law,” by The Crickets. ; buy CD on Amazon.comThe original law-and-order classic, made famous in 1965 by The Bobby Fuller Four and covered by just about everyone since then.
16. “Get Over It,” by The Eagles. ; buy CD on Amazon.comAgainst the culture of grievance: “The big, bad world doesn’t owe you a thing.” There’s also this nice line: “I’d like to find your inner child and kick its little ass.”
17. “Stay Together for the Kids,” by Blink 182. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA eulogy for family values by an alt-rock band whose members were raised in a generation without enough of them: “So here’s your holiday / Hope you enjoy it this time / You gave it all away. . . . It’s not right.”
18. “Cult of Personality,” by Living Colour. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA hard-rocking critique of state power, whacking Mussolini, Stalin, and even JFK: “I exploit you, still you love me / I tell you one and one makes three / I’m the cult of personality.”
19. “Kicks,” by Paul Revere and the Raiders. ; buy CD on Amazon.comAn anti-drug song that is also anti-utopian: “Well, you think you’re gonna find yourself a little piece of paradise / But it ain’t happened yet, so girl you better think twice.”
20. “Rock the Casbah,” by The Clash. ; buy CD on Amazon.comAfter 9/11, American radio stations were urged not to play this 1982 song, one of the biggest hits by a seminal punk band, because it was seen as too provocative. Meanwhile, British Forces Broadcasting Service (the radio station for British troops serving in Iraq) has said that this is one of its most requested tunes.
21. “Heroes,” by David Bowie. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA Cold War love song about a man and a woman divided by the Berlin Wall. No moral equivalence here: “I can remember / Standing / By the wall / And the guns / Shot above our heads / And we kissed / As though nothing could fall / And the shame / Was on the other side / Oh we can beat them / For ever and ever.”
22. “Red Barchetta,” by Rush. ; buy CD on Amazon.comIn a time of “the Motor Law,” presumably legislated by green extremists, the singer describes family reunion and the thrill of driving a fast car — an act that is his “weekly crime.”
23. “Brick,” by Ben Folds Five. ; buy CD on Amazon.comWritten from the perspective of a man who takes his young girlfriend to an abortion clinic, this song describes the emotional scars of “reproductive freedom”: “Now she’s feeling more alone / Than she ever has before. . . . As weeks went by / It showed that she was not fine.”
24. “Der Kommissar,” by After the Fire. buy CD on Amazon.comOn the misery of East German life: “Don’t turn around, uh-oh / Der Kommissar’s in town, uh-oh / He’s got the power / And you’re so weak / And your frustration / Will not let you speak.” Also a hit song for Falco, who wrote it.
25. “The Battle of Evermore,” by Led Zeppelin. ; buy CD on Amazon.comThe lyrics are straight out of Robert Plant’s Middle Earth period — there are lines about “ring wraiths” and “magic runes” — but for a song released in 1971, it’s hard to miss the Cold War metaphor: “The tyrant’s face is red.”
26. “Capitalism,” by Oingo Boingo. ; buy CD on Amazon.com“There’s nothing wrong with Capitalism / There’s nothing wrong with free enterprise. . . . You’re just a middle class, socialist brat / From a suburban family and you never really had to work.”
27. “Obvious Song,” by Joe Jackson. buy CD on Amazon.comFor property rights and economic development, and against liberal hypocrisy: “There was a man in the jungle / Trying to make ends meet / Found himself one day with an axe in his hand / When a voice said ‘Buddy can you spare that tree / We gotta save the world — starting with your land’ / It was a rock ’n’ roll millionaire from the USA / Doing three to the gallon in a big white car / And he sang and he sang ’til he polluted the air / And he blew a lot of smoke from a Cuban cigar.”
28. “Janie’s Got a Gun,” by Aerosmith. ; buy CD on Amazon.comHow the right to bear arms can protect women from sexual predators: “What did her daddy do? / It’s Janie’s last I.O.U. / She had to take him down easy / And put a bullet in his brain / She said ’cause nobody believes me / The man was such a sleaze / He ain’t never gonna be the same.”
29. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Iron Maiden. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA heavy-metal classic inspired by a literary classic. How many other rock songs quote directly from Samuel Taylor Coleridge?
30. “You Can’t Be Too Strong,” by Graham Parker. ; buy CD on Amazon.comAlthough it’s not explicitly pro-life, this tune describes the horror of abortion with bracing honesty: “Did they tear it out with talons of steel, and give you a shot so that you wouldn’t feel?”
31. “Small Town,” by John Mellencamp. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA Burkean rocker: “No, I cannot forget where it is that I come from / I cannot forget the people who love me.”
32. “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” by The Georgia Satellites. ; buy CD on Amazon.comAn outstanding vocal performance, with lyrics that affirm old-time sexual mores: “She said no huggy, no kissy until I get a wedding vow.”
33. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by The Rolling Stones. ; buy CD on Amazon.comYou can “[go] down to the demonstration” and vent your frustration, but you must understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect society — there are merely decent and free ones.
34. “Godzilla,” by Blue öyster Cult. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA 1977 classic about a big green monster — and more: “History shows again and again / How nature points up the folly of men.”
35. “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. ; buy CD on Amazon.comWritten as an anti–Vietnam War song, this tune nevertheless is pessimistic about activism and takes a dim view of both Communism and liberalism: “Five-year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains . . .”
36. “Government Cheese,” by The Rainmakers. buy CD on Amazon.comA protest song against the welfare state by a Kansas City band that deserved more success than it got. The first line: “Give a man a free house and he’ll bust out the windows.”
37. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” by The Band. ; buy CD on Amazon.comDespite its sins, the American South always has been about more than racism — this song captures its pride and tradition.
38. “I Can’t Drive 55,” by Sammy Hagar. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA rocker’s objection to the nanny state. (See also Hagar’s pro-America song “VOA.”)
39. “Property Line,” by The Marshall Tucker Band. ; buy CD on Amazon.comThe secret to happiness, according to these southern-rock heavyweights, is life, liberty, and property: “Well my idea of a good time / Is walkin’ my property line / And knowin’ the mud on my boots is mine.”
40. “Wake Up Little Susie,” by The Everly Brothers. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA smash hit in 1957, back when high-school social pressures were rather different from what they have become: “We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot.”
41. “The Icicle Melts,” by The Cranberries. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA pro-life tune sung by Irish warbler Dolores O’Riordan: “I don’t know what’s happening to people today / When a child, he was taken away . . . ’Cause nine months is too long.”
42. “Everybody’s a Victim,” by The Proclaimers. ; buy CD on Amazon.comBest known for their smash hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” this Scottish band also recorded a catchy song about the problem of suspending moral judgment: “It doesn’t matter what I do / You have to say it’s all right . . . Everybody’s a victim / We’re becoming like the USA.”
43. “Wonderful,” by Everclear. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA child’s take on divorce: “I don’t wanna hear you say / That I will understand someday / No, no, no, no / I don’t wanna hear you say / You both have grown in a different way / No, no, no, no / I don’t wanna meet your friends / And I don’t wanna start over again / I just want my life to be the same / Just like it used to be.”
44. “Two Sisters,” by The Kinks. buy CD on Amazon.comWhy the “drudgery of being wed” is more rewarding than bohemian life.
45. “Taxman, Mr. Thief,” by Cheap Trick. ; buy CD on Amazon.comAn anti-tax protest song: “You work hard, you went hungry / Now the taxman is out to get you. . . . He hates you, he loves money.”
46. “Wind of Change,” by The Scorpions. ; buy CD on Amazon.comA German hard-rock group’s optimistic power ballad about the end of the Cold War and national reunification: “The world is closing in / Did you ever think / That we could be so close, like brothers / The future’s in the air / I can feel it everywhere / Blowing with the wind of change.”
47. “One,” by Creed. ; buy CD on Amazon.com Against racial preferences: “Society blind by color / Why hold down one to raise another / Discrimination now on both sides / Seeds of hate blossom further.”
48. “Why Don’t You Get a Job,” by The Offspring. ; buy CD on Amazon.comThe lyrics aren’t exactly Shakespearean, but they’re refreshingly blunt and they capture a motive force behind welfare reform.
49. “Abortion,” by Kid Rock. buy CD on Amazon.comA plaintive song sung by a man who confronts his unborn child’s abortion: “I know your brothers and your sister and your mother too / Man I wish you could see them too.”
50. “Stand By Your Man,” by Tammy Wynette. ; buy CD on Amazon.comHillary trashed it — isn’t that enough? If you’re worried that Wynette’s original is too country, then check out the cover version by Motörhead.
COMING SOON.................THE GREAT MARRIAGE DEBATE IN HARRISBURG.