A citizens campaign -- nurtured by bloggers and talk radio -- has forced state legislators to give back substantial pay raises they voted for themselves in the dark of one night last summer. "Pennsylvania is the fifth largest state in the country, but it's often first in the arrogance of its public officials," says John Fund. "The legislature last July in the dead of night overrode constitutional objections and passed a pay raise of up to 34 percent, and then they basically ignored the rising storm of protest. Protesters brought a giant hog on the grounds of the state capitol, they inundated people with e-mails. Finally last week the legislature, with only two dissenting votes, said Uncle. Last week the voters of Pennsylvania defeated a sitting supreme court justice who had shared in the pay raise loot for the first time in 200 years."
Riots in France proved an apparently irresistible opportunity for some opponents of immigration here in the United States. A tacky for them, says Jason Riley, because the situations in the two countries are completely different. "People opposed to U.S. immigration have used some pretty ugly tactics in recent years, like comparing Mexicans who come across the border to get jobs to terrorists who come here to slam planes into buildings. Now you have the Center for Immigration Studies suggesting that the French riots could happen here if we don't immediately seal our Mexican border. France's problem is that it has a stagnant economy and it has a Muslim immigrant group that has been segregated from the rest of society. Here in the U.S. we have a growing economy and we encourage our immigrants to assimilate. So the two situations really aren't comparable. But it is an example of what some people will do in terms of exploiting just about any tragedy to score political points."
This week voters in Dover, Pennsylvania ousted the school board, which had put the town in the national spotlight by becoming the first school district to introduce intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in science classes. "A tony to the voters of Dover for actually coming and deciding this question themselves at the ballot box," says Kim Strassel. "The old school board had said that intelligent design had to be taught next to evolution in the science classroom. This, as happens too often in the United States, had led to a huge lawsuit and the possibility that a judge might be deciding what was going to be taught in school. This would have been especially unfortunate, given that one of the reasons parents have been involved in this is because they feel they have lost control over what happens in the classroom. In the middle of this comes the election. The voters really got involved. They threw out the old board, they put in a bunch that are against the intelligent design policy. But I think the real issue here isn't the fact that one theory won out over the other so much as the fact that it was the community that was actually deciding what was going to be taught in school, not a judge or some sort of an elected official. Even the losers in this case might take some comfort in that."