The Infamous Santorum Cyber Charter May Be One Gigantic Racket

Remember when Rick Santorum was “sending” his kids to a taxpayer-funded cyber charter in Penn Hills while living in exurban Virginia? Well the founder of that cyber charter–who himself railed against cyber charters before he ran a cyber charter–has now been charged with using the school’s public funding for personal use.

Fifty-eight-year-old Nicholas Trombetta of East Liverpool, Ohio, is accused of siphoning more than $8 million from the school through a network of profit and non-profit companies he controlled. Trombetta surrendered to authorities Thursday night on the charges announced Friday by federal authorities. Trombetta allegedly bought a $1 million Florida condominium and houses for his girlfriend and mother, along with nearly $1 million on personal expenses, including groceries.

11,000 kids–Santorum’s 800 not included–currently attend the school. The Santorum gaggle pulled out in ’04, after news of Santorum’s tenous PA residency surfaced. [AP]

Grading the Films of Rick Santorum’s Christian Movie Company

Rick Santorum: attorney, former United States senator from Pennsylvania, presidential candidate, and now … movie mogul.

Over the weekend, Rick Santorum announced that he is taking a job as CEO of Christian film studio EchoLight. “Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market,” Santorum said in a company press release.

EchoLight says it has two feature films coming to theaters and a third, Hoovey, in production, starring Patrick Warburton, who provides the voice of Joe on the Family Guy (the most family-friendly show on television). But EchoLight also has a catalog of straight-to-DVD Christian fun. Join me, won’t you, in analyzing the trailers of these movies and seeing if they’re worth watching.

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Rick Santorum Is Now A (Christian) Movie Mogul

Rick Santorum is going (Christian) Hollywood!

Pennsylvania’s former U.S. senator, and failed candidate for the 2012 GOP nomination, has been named CEO of EchoLight Studios, which makes Christian-themed movies for Christians who like to watch movies where somebody sees the error of their ways and in the climax, prays to God for forgiveness and a way out of their troubles.

This is even the case with the action movies:

Nobody ever says “I’ll be back,” menacingly, in these types of movies. Unless they’re talking about Jesus and his eventual return from heaven to bring about the end of the world. Instead, aphorisms are treated as dialogue, and there’s no such thing as an anti-hero. It’s basically the 21st century version of those Billy Graham movies you might’ve seen in church back in the 1970s or ’80s.

Anyway, Santorum:

Santorum announced the move on Mike Huckabee’s Fox News program, “The Huckabee Show.” “This is the right place and right time, and I’ve jumped in with both feet,” the former GOP Presidential candidate said. “I often say that culture is upstream from politics, and I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values.”

“Many of you have heard me talk about that if we are going to make a positive impact on our country’s cultural challenges, we have to do it by reaching the masses often through entertainment,” Santorum said in a release. “For too long, Hollywood has had a lock on influencing the youth of this country with a flawed message that goes against our values. Now, we can change that.”

Probably not. After all, do you think you’re going to want to see what Rick Santorum thinks is a good movie?

Rick Santorum Plans Another Failed Presidential Campaign

National Review reports that Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator—who takes the “social” out of “social conservative,” is planning another run for president—this after his failed run for the GOP nomination in 2012, and the loss of his senate seat to Bob Casey a few back. Nobody actually remembers the last time Sanorum won an election! (Actually, it was 2000, which was technically the 20th century.) NR reports:

Behind the scenes, the former Pennsylvania senator is quietly preparing for another presidential run. Trips to Iowa are in the works, he’s meeting daily with his advisers, and he’s already fine-tuning his message for the early primaries.

For Santorum, it marked the start of his unofficial campaign. He tells me he plans to build upon his speech’s theme in the coming months, positioning himself as a conservative outsider.

“Some of the Wall Street folks have hijacked the party,” he says. “But we can’t just be a party that’s aligned with where the money comes from.”

Give this to Santorum: He sure is a dogged campaigner.

 

 

 

Kid Tweets Bomb Threat at Santorum During Michigan Speech

Ah, the perils of the paid-gig speaking tour. Talking to a high school in Grosse Point, Michigan–Romney territory–Santorum received an apparently empty bomb threat via social media, when a student Tweeted, “Hey Mr. Santorum, can you sign this bomb for me?” The child was removed. Undeterred, and pocketing $18,000 for the trip, Santorum speechified away, reprising an old story about dog pee. [CBS]

Gingrich and Santorum Nearly Formed “Unity Ticket” to Beat Romney

If not for a couple of massive egos, Mitt Romney may never have been the GOP nominee. Josh Green reports that last February, during the Republican primaries, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum nearly joined forces to consolidate their support against Romney. First, after Gingrich lost Florida, Santorum’s people called him and asked him to drop out. Gingrich had a better plan.

He proposed that both men join forces but remain in the race, each concentrating on the states where he matched up best against Romney. Gingrich thought he could carry Georgia, Delaware, Washington, and Wisconsin (from which his wife, Callista, hails). Santorum would focus on other states in the South and the upper Midwest.

The only problem was, neither could decide who would be president and who would be vice-president.

Gingrich made an elaborate historical argument [Note: of course he did] that when the party hasn’t been able to agree on a nominee, it always settles on the senior figure. Santorum wasn’t persuaded, and urged Gingrich to do what was best for the conservative movement. Neither man would yield. “I’d like to have had Santorum drop out, and he’d have liked me to drop out,” Gingrich says. In the end, they both dropped out.

Now that would have made for a fun general election. [Businessweek]

 

Is Tom Corbett Less Popular Than Rick Santorum?

In Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum reigns supreme as the top once-successful-politician-who-made-the-electorate-hate-him-passionately. It’s a rare and exclusive category, but another big name may be joining him on it: Gov. Tom Corbett. Following the latest round of polling on the coming gubernatorial race, GOP strategist Ryan Shafik said Corbett is in a bad spot. “Currently, Gov. Tom Corbett is one of the most unpopular Republican Governors in America,” Shafik wrote in a memo released to the public. “Today, Gov. Corbett has much worse numbers than former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum did at this point in 2005.” One grain of salt: Shafik is part of the “brain trust” for Bruce Castor, the Montgomery County commissioner considering a primary challenge to Corbett. [Politics PA]

Rick Santorum Gives Up Entirely on the Mainstream, Writes for WND

Rick Santorum is running out of respectable gigs. When he lost his Senate seat to Bob Casey a few years back, he started writing columns for the Philadelphia Inquirer—back when that publication was under the control of Brian Tierney and intent on acting as a semi-retirement home for disgraced Republicans. Now that the 2012 election is over, and Santorum’s presidential dreams dead for four more years, he’s going to work for World Net Daily, which the Washington Post calls a “conspiracy-minded” conservative website. “Known for propagating ”birtherism,” WND has also questioned Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s eligibility to run for president,” the Post observes. In other words: Santorum’s audience now resides entirely on the fringe. [Washington Post]

Arlen Specter and the Death of Pragmatic Politics

Arlen Specter was a pragmatist. That’s the kind of thing we say we want in a politician—somebody who will ignore ideology and just get stuff done—but the truth is we mostly reward ideologues. Which is why when he died Sunday at age 82, Pennsylvania’s former longtime U.S. senator was out of power and all-too-unloved in a state and city he served for a very long time. Read more »

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