(A brief discussion twixt Baer and Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)
BE: Hey, JB, today's People's Paper editorial suggests Corbett hired a polluter to be his DCED chief because he contributed $180,000 to his campaign. That can't possibly be true, can it?
JB: Whoa, whoa, you know how clever newspaper people can be. Just because Corbett's long-time pal, C. Alan Walker, a zillionaire energy mogul from western Pennsylvania, former head of the PA Coal Assn., former head of the PA Chamber of Business & Industry, gave a ton of money to Corbett's campaign (it was actually $184,000) you think that would influence a decision regarding a cabinet-level appointment?
BE: Well, Walker was the FIRST cabinet appointment, named back in December even before Corbett took office and he...
JB: Oh, I know, he's CEO of a big coal company and has interests in trucking, oil and gas companies and seems to be right at the heart of all the businesses that stand to benefit from Corbett's no-tax on Marcellus Shale.
BE: Right. So now he runs the Dept of Community and Economic Development and has a special designation, tucked into the budget document, that makes him the guy with the authority to "expedite" any government permits in any agency to help business do its business.
JB: That's to push "job-creating projects." Sounds like you hate America.
BE: Well, it's been reported by ProPublica, the Pulitzer-winning investigative group, that Walker's had water pollution problems that forced the state to go to court to get him to clean up his act.
JB: So who better to deal with such issues? Maybe you haven't hear the new state mantra: Pennsylvania is no open for business, dawg.
BE: I don't think "dawg" is part of the mantra.
JB: OK, but you get the idea. So does Walker. When questioned about his special authority to "expedite" stuff, he issued a statement saying "Pennsylvania is open for business."
BE: Maybe that means open TO business, or open TO people who gave lots of money. Grrrr.
JB: Hey, I'm supposed to say that!