Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3667, December 12th, 2017

(Photo: Jones campaign)
For the first time since Howell Heflin (see LuLac this weekend) retired as a Democratic Senator, Alabama has elected a Democrat. Doug Jones beat Roy Moore in a close but consequential race.
Alabama picked progress over regression.
It picked hope over hate.
The state choose a man who brought justice to young girls (the slain children of a 1965 bombing) vs. an accused pedophile who went after young girls.
This state chose a person who campaigned against a person who hid.


Senator Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell a Republican said that he'd welcome Doug Jones and hope that he would help the Republicans lead the country. Delusional!

0 FOR 2

The President picked Luther Strange and Roy Moore in Alabama! 0 for 2 for a guy who was going to make us all tired of winning.

Hey Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, please come to Pennsylvania next year! If Alabama can kick your hateful, sexist asses, imagine what we'll do here in Pennsylvania to you!


The accused pedophile invoked the name of God in his semi concession speech.  Shameless. But I can see why this thug is "waiting on God". That's his only hope. Roy Moore, say your prayers. It's all ya got!

The LuLac Edition #3666, December 12th, 2017


Tonight the rest of the 49 states in this wonderful (I pretty much stopped using the word "great" because it has been bastardized by the landslide President), country will see a few things. America will see whether the Deep South is still the home of people who embrace mediocrity and hatred  over common sense and real American values. 
Never mind the allegations against Roy Moore over underage women. Moore's views on even a Muslim American born here, being banned from serving in Congress are troubling. Last night, Moore's wife came off with a patronizing comment that is widely viewed as anti Semitic. 
I understand the pro life citizens wanting a representative for their state but what I question is why in that bargain, they will tolerate a person who will set the image of Alabama back to the 1950s era of segregation and lynching. 
There is a reason why Atlanta, Georgia, equally on the same footing with Alabama back in pre Civil Rights days, is now a booming, technological powerhouse while Montgomery is still struggling. 
The reason is candidates like Roy Moore. 
Tonight, we'll see not only what the future of the national Republican party looks like but what the state of Alabama wants the world to know about it. 

Congressman Matt Cartwright (Photo: LuLac archives)
Last week, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright introduced a bipartisan bill to fund and advance orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) research for veterans. The Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 4587) would establish the first centralized collection of outcomes-based research on O&P.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves approximately 40,000 individuals with limb loss due to combat-related injuries or chronic illness each year. Fortunately, advances in medical technology have greatly increased the survival rate for these wounded servicemembers, but our country is facing a shortage of O&P-trained practitioners. There are just over 7,100 practitioners specially trained in O&P nationwide. Of those, one in five is either past retirement age or eligible to retire in the next five years.
Many O&P practitioners rely on personal experience and trial-and-error methods, rather than empirical data, to determine which prosthetic device would work best for a patient. The Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act would award $30 million in grants to establish a centralized O&P outcomes-based research collection in order to capture the useful information gained by today’s seasoned practitioners.
“We have a moral obligation to provide our soldiers with the best quality health care available,” said Rep. Cartwright. “With a large portion of orthotic and prosthetic practitioners facing retirement, we need to harness this tremendous resource of institutional knowledge before we lose it forever. Comprehensive research would save time and money by providing practitioners with the knowledge they need to improve the likelihood that a veteran’s first prosthetic device will also be the best match.”
Earlier this year, Rep. Cartwright introduced the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act (H.R. 3696), which would support colleges and universities seeking to establish degree programs to train specialists in O&P. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced companion legislation to H.R. 4587 and H.R. 3696 in the Senate.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3665, December 10th, 2017



Have you seen that Citizen's Voice story about the Laflin Borough Council fighting Jenkins Township about a shared agreement with police forces? Their reasoning is a slap in the face to all Pennsylvania taxpayers. Here’s what’s going on.
The other night, Commissioner Linsky from Jenkins township (right on the border of Laflin) went to a Council meeting in the enchanted village of the entitled and broached the subject of having Jenkins Township enter into an agreement to provide police coverage for LOL. (Little old Laflin). The estimated cost was $69,000. Council members balked and residents said that it didn’t make sense for the burg of brittle egos to pay anything. Their reasoning is because State Police protection was already in place for free, then why should THEY pay for it? After all Laflin lapdog leaders suggested, “We’d have to raise taxes!”.
My opinion here is that a bedroom community like Laflin should pay for their own police especially after they rejected an agreement from a neighboring entity to provide it. At a fee of course but somehow people in Laflin feel they are entitled to free police protection from the staties. State Police protection should be provided in rural areas where there are miles between houses. Not in a little place on the map with gorgeous homes whose taxpayers are too cheap to pay for government services. I say taxpayers because they elected a team that promised no new taxes for police protection.
The time has come for little pissant communities to pay their fair share especially when it’s offered to them on a silver platter. The State Police should pull out. Or maybe every other town should disband their police departments and ask for the State Police to take over.
What kills me is this. It’s okay for our tax dollars to go to fund little lazy Laflin but oh God if a mother in this state is on the WIC program……those mom and kids are dubbed freeloaders.
A very few might be,  but I’m sure Laflin residents will pick them out because it takes one to know one.

(Photo: Pinterest)
We got two letters in the e mail bag, first from Mark Rabo and then in response from Council member Kathy Dobash. Both are concerning county raises for employees in a government that is still not out of the woods debt wise.

On Dec 7, 2017 4:34 PM, "Kathy Dobash" wrote:
Open Letter to Luzerne County Council Members:

I ask you to stand with the taxpayers of Luzerne County.
Do not let the Chief Solicitor blur your judgement. We do have the power to reduce the amount taxpayers pay for employee healthcare.
We must consider the burden placed on the taxpayers when the County Manager asks you to stand with the government employees. The taxpayers are paying for all salary and healthcare increases.
It is in the Charter, the precedent is set, what was legislative in the past is legislative now.
The Manager does not require more power and more tax dollars to give away as he chooses.
A solicitor opinion, is just an opinion. It is not an order to follow. Usually the Chief Solicitor gives an opinion that leans towards her boss, the County Manager.
We set policy.
Wake up please. Every year the budget has increased. If the Manager and Division Heads were doing a great job, the spending would be reduced. Our general fund budget spending increased from $121 million in 2012, to the Manager's requested $141 million. That is a high spending rate increase. Only give what is necessary and make them negotiate and tighten their belts.
The merit based policy was never shown to County Council. These salary increases are in the position budget for all positions. If you do not support elimination of the salary increases, then support giving only a small amount for each Division.
Also, scrutinize the five new contracts under negotiations. To get an update on these contracts I had to request an executive session meeting. We should have more information and updates on these negotiations. Why should the taxpayers pay for the increased costs to Healthcare? Next year the taxpayers should not pay the increased cost of $700,000!
Merit pay raises need to be implemented for all employees. These across the board union raises are no longer affordable.
Please consider all options and stand with the taxpayers before you vote on December 12, 2017.

Kathy Dobash
Luzerne County Council Member
Hazleton, PA

Mark Rabo Dec 7, 2017 5:36 pm

Mark Rabo

Council Member Dobash,
I'd strongly suggest that you and the rest of the council change the administrative code to make it mandatory for the County Manager to only put in a request for merit raises based on their performance not on just when the employee was hired. To have the taxpayers pay 100% for the cost of health care especially for the division heads is unsustainable based on the salary they get where they're paying nothing for their health care costs. In the private sector, upper management is not getting health care fullly paid for by the company as the costs are coming out of their salary.
Upper management and senior staff can opt to take a salary freeze for 2 years if they are not adding any other costs to their division meaning positions in order to continue to get their health care coverage fully paid for or the additional positions they want in exchange for them having to foot the bill for their health care coverage themselves. The County Manager, Division Heads, and their senior staff have to understand the fiscal responsibility you have to answer to the taxpayers who finance this County. You can't afford to pay out more than you collect in revenue every year just to preserve the status quo. If any of you truly ran a business, you'd know exactly what I am saying to you. The County property tax is the 2nd most costly tax a homeowner pays for and the quality of service they're are paying for is nowhere near the same as if the county services offered are the same as in states where they provide police coverage for the entire county or for schools in their counties. PA has 3 separate entities that collect tax on property except for Philadelphia which has only 2. So instead of the majority of council giving away the store at the Manager's discretion, I'd ask for all of Council to be judicious and scrutinize very vigorously when it comes to how the taxpayers money is being spent in every aspect of your approved budget through the year rather than only at the budget meetings.

Thanks for your attention and consideration,

Mark Rabo

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3664, December 7th, 2017


Anyone who has read LuLac and my Facebook postings knows I am a hawk on Israel. I believe and always did that Israel is in constant peril for survival as a nation. Ever since the 1967 war, this country has had to fight to remain strong. The fact that President Trump kept his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Capitol city gave me mixed feelings. It is something that in the past I would have celebrated. But times are way different now. And I think that this recognition can only destabilize a region that every few years blows up.
It will serve the extremists groups to act violently. Even Egypt and Turkey have weighed in against it saying that there will be no good percentage in this. Great Britain has also said it would do no favors for anyone either in this region.
A very good friend of mine said that a shared capitol keeps the peace. He even suggested that perhaps the UN can be headquartered there.
The main concern I have is that the proclamation, decree, if you will was made by a President with an administration that does not yet have a diplomatic or state department fully geared to deal with the ramifications. 
Plus the great negotiator, by doing this has taken away one of the biggest chips we had in peace. By declaring this, there is nothing to essentially talk about, live up to or even work toward.  
Plus, once you start messing with religious sites, you get war.
This big deal designation needs planning and execution. It has been proven that this President and his team will not be able to handle the geo politics of this.


Senator Al Franken (Photo: CNN)
If the Democrats are going to have any credibility whatsoever in the debate about Sexual assault, Al Franken has to go. As a member of the Liberal wing of the party, Franken has made a lot of sense in calling out the shortcomings of the new REPUBLICAN party that is out to screw the Middle Class.
But by him staying, it fortifies the belief that Democrats look the other way with this issue.
It is not just one woman, but a few. Seven! Time for Al to go and land a gig on MSNBC.
But if he stays…..it will hurt the Democrats as they shudder at the specter of Roy Moore.

 John Conyers III (CNN)
Long serving John Conyers said he was retiring from his seat in Congress. He did the Fred Sanford “I’m coming to join you Elizabeth” deal by getting himself hospitalized for stress before he departed.
The man has had a great Legislative career and got caught up in this recent spate of bad behavior of which he was a participant. The excuse of a closet in the office doesn’t hold water. The guy could have afforded a partition. But I digress.
Now word comes that his son wants to ascend to the seat. As a matter of fact Conyers endorsed him. Again folks, this is THE POLITICAL CLASS at its best. It has been in the family so long, let’s keept there.
This may or may not work because Sonny has issues of his own. Conyers IIII was arrested earlier this year for allegedly brandishing a knife and “body slamming” his girlfriend — but was never prosecuted for the melee, a report said on Wednesday.
The domestic incident took place on Feb. 15 in Los Angeles when the unnamed girlfriend said Conyers III attacked her, then tried to prevent her from calling the police, according to documents obtained by NBC News.
Inquiring mind want to know if little Conyers was in his underwear when he was body slamming his girl.
The POLITICAL CLASS ladies and gentlemen, ENTITLED because we let them be! 



It was 76 years ago today that the attack on the United States took place. It was a Sunday morning and by day's end we were at war with Japan. Here's a recap and a look back.


Our Friends at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center weighed in on the REPUBLICAN tax cut plan. It is a lengthy summary prepared by Mark Stier, but it is required reading for people concerned about who will pay for this.
Budgets, it is frequently said, are an embodiment of our moral ideals and commitments. If so, the tax plan adopted by the Senate on Friday represents an extreme moral failure on the part of the senators from the Republican Party who voted for it. At a time when incomes are becoming ever more unequal, the Republican tax plan will ultimately make the rich richer and the poor and middle class poorer. Not only will working people and the middle class suffer, but so will our whole country.
And not only that: one has to wonder what kind of democracy America has, when our government acts in such utter disregard of a majority of the country and the common good.
Many of the features of this bill that work to help the rich and harm everyone else are now well known. So let’s quickly review them with links to the hard evidence that supports our claims.
To begin with, there are all the ways the tax cuts benefit the wealthy and upper middle class while doing little in the first few years to reduce taxes for the poor. And ultimately, by 2027, the bill actually increases taxes on working people and the middle class.
•The benefits of the tax cuts flow largely to the rich. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeeper of Congress, under the Senate bill only 15.9% of all households will see a tax cut as a result of this law in 2027. Households with income at or below $75,000—which make up a bit more than 65% of all households—will, on average, see their taxes go up. But in that same year, 60.1% of households with incomes above $1 million will get a tax cut. All told, 87 million Americans will see their taxes go up as a result of this bill.
•The rich do so well, in part, because they own the American corporations that receive a deep cut in their tax rate even though they currently pay no more than corporations in other countries because of corporate tax loopholes. (Foreign owners of these corporations will receive about 35% of corporate tax cuts, too.) And yet those loopholes are expanded under the bill. Multi-national corporations are the biggest beneficiaries. Corporations that currently have huge overseas profits will be allowed to pay only a portion of what they owe. The bill also creates a new loophole that will lead to even larger corporate tax avoidance while encouraging corporations to move jobs overseas. These corporate tax cuts will cost the American treasury $1.35 trillion.
•The wealthy also benefit because, under the guise of helping small businesses, the bill gives deep cuts to pass-through businesses, such as S-corporations, limited liability corporations, and partnerships. About 60% of the tax cuts to pass-through businesses — benefit goes to the top 1% who own large businesses, hedge funds, the wealthiest professional partnerships, and real estate companies. The bottom 60% of households, with incomes less than $93,000, will receive only 2% of the benefit in 2027. This tax cut costs the treasury $362 billion. And it opens up new possibilities for tax avoidance by unfairly allowing people to lower their taxes if they are paid as independent contractors instead of employees.
•Heirs and heiresses in the top 1% benefit by a doubling of the estate tax exemption to $11 million.
•Wealthy and upper middle-class people who send their kids to private school will benefit from a new provision that allows them to use money put aside in a 529 account, which is allowed to grow tax free, to pay for private K-12 education as well as higher education.
•And then there is the impact of the new inflation measure called the chained consumer price index, which will replace the more familiar consumer price index in adjusting various tax provisions. Because chained CPI tends to show lower rates of inflation than the usual CPI, low-income Americans will be hurt immediately because the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps working Americans, will grow more slowly. And eventually, chained CPI will increase taxes for all but the very rich because chained CPI will show lower estimates of the extent to which inflation increases the standard deduction and pushes us into higher tax brackets. Those adjustments will take place more slowly and our taxes will go up more quickly compared to what would happen with the conventional measure of inflation. Of course, the value of these adjustments are far less to the top 1% given how small a share of their income is affected by the standard deduction and how large a share of their income is already in the top tax bracket.
Then there are all the other provisions — both tax and non-tax — that will undermine government support for working people and the middle class.
•About 13 million Americans — 500,000 in Pennsylvania — will no longer have health insurance through Medicaid, the individual market or their employer as a result of a repeal of the individual mandate according to analyses based on a Congressional Budget Office report. That will lead to 1,000 to 2,000 premature deaths in our state alone. By 2027, most Pennsylvanians who purchase insurance on the individual market will see their insurance premiums go up more than their taxes are cut.
•Federal spending on Medicare will be cut by $25 billion next year and $400 billion over ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) because of the impact of the PAYGO provisions already in federal law, which require mandatory cuts when deficits increase. The same law will lead to mandatory reductions in the Social Services Block Grant program and student loans.
•People who suffer from chronic and debilitating medical conditions or disabilities that are very expensive to treat will suffer because the legislation eventually eliminates the provision that allows people to deduct medical expenses that are more than 10% of adjusted gross income. (The threshold amount temporarily drops to 7.5% for two years and then the provision is eliminated entirely.)
• An increase in the child care tax credit (CTC) in the tax law is heavily touted by Republicans. Families with higher incomes than in the past will benefit from the program. Yet because it limits how much of the tax credit is refundable to those who owe payroll taxes but not income taxes, the full benefits of the program will not be available to 26 million children in very low-income families nation-wide, including 1.4 million in Pennsylvania. In addition, the Senate tax bill denies children of immigrants, including those who are American citizens, benefits under both the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).
•Access to higher education for those who are not wealthy will be undermined because of new taxes on the university endowments that provide scholarships for low-income students and also because the free tuition and other benefits now given to graduate students will be taxed under the bill.
•Another provision of the tax law will undermine the ability of the states to fund education and human services. Most pre-K, K-12, and higher education spending; about half of Medicaid spending for senior care and health care for those with low incomes; and a great deal of the human services provided to those who are disabled or suffer from problems like opioid addiction comes from state and local governments not the federal government. The Senate tax bill, however, will no longer allow taxpayers to deduct state and local income and / or sales taxes from their federal taxes and will limit property tax deductions as well. The result will be that states with high levels of state and local taxation, and even states like Pennsylvania with moderate tax levels, will feel pressure to cut taxes. And raising taxes for education, health care, human services, and infrastructure improvements will become far more difficult.
And then there is the deficit and the consequences of it for not just our economy but the future of of public life.
Republican senators such as Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey already admit what those of us who follow their strategy already know: the additional $1 to $1.5 billion in deficits created by this legislation will soon lead Republicans to again propose deep cuts to Medicaid as well as bring back the cuts to Medicare and Social Security they have proposed in the past. In the middle of the debate Senator Orrin Hatch said that it is difficult to continue the CHIP program because “we don’t have money anymore.” A reduction of Medicare by $500 billion and Medicaid by $1 trillion is already allowed under the budget resolution passed this year. And we know that their strategy has long been to cut taxes and create deficits in order to justify deep reduction to the programs that help working people and the middle class. There is no mystery about why this is their goal. On the one hand, they simply do not believe that the rich owners of American business — as the prime beneficiaries of not only good fortune but of our history of public investments in research and development, infrastructure, and education — have a responsibility to ensure that the benefits of our prosperity are broadly shared. Nor do they recognize or care that equality of opportunity — the basic notion that every child deserves the same opportunity to make the best use of his or her talents and abilities and that the community benefits when this happens — as well as political equality is undermined when economic inequality becomes too severe.
These lawmakers attempt to defend their policies by saying that everyone will benefit from the economic growth created by tax cuts. But this claim is a sham in two different ways.
First, reputable economic analysts, including the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) staff, conclude that the Republicans are far overstating the economic benefit of tax cuts.According to the JCT, the $1.4 billion increase in deficits over ten years will only be reduced by about $400 million of additional economic growth.
This conclusion should come as no surprise. The American economy continues to grow as the effects of the Great Recession move into the past. While additional investment might lead to faster growth, there is little reason to think that tax cuts for businesses will spur a great deal of new investment. Business profits are near record highs, as are corporate savings, while interest rates are near record lows, which means that businesses have little trouble finding funds to make additional investments.
And even if one does believe that we need to spur investment, the real barrier to additional business investment is not access to money to invest but slow growth in consumer demand. Even very large tax cuts for the richest Americans are not likely to increase consumer demand as the rich are likely to save much of their additional income. If we want to spur investment we should be increasing wages for people who will spend their additional earnings by increasing the minimum wage, restoring the Obama overtime rules, and creating new jobs by investing in infrastructure and education.
So we come back to where we started: the dispute about the Senate GOP tax bill is fundamentally not about different economic theories but about our morality, about whether we believe the benefits of our economy — that is, of the work we all do — should be broadly shared among the American people or whether it should be concentrated in the hands of the owners of corporations and other large businesses.
Thinking about that question raises an even deeper one: should Senate approval of this bill lead us to wonder whether our democracy itself is at risk? How could legislation that is so heavily weighted towards the top 1% of households and is so harmful to 60% to 70% of American families even get a hearing, let alone a majority in a democratically elected Congress?
The most plausible answer is disturbing. It appears that our democracy is being distorted by many factors that give the rich too much sway over public policy — from the Citizens United decision that allows them to make unlimited political contributions, to laws that suppress the vote of those with low incomes to the gerrymandering of political districts to favor Republicans. And of course, the very inequality that has been growing so rapidly in the last forty years gives the very rich a greater capacity to skew our politics to serve them.
The consequences of a political system that is tilted to the corporate elite is seen in this tax bill, which should shock the conscience of anyone who believes in caring for those who need a hand, in equality of opportunity, and in democracy.

Congressman Matt Cartwright (Photo: LuLac archives)
This week, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, a co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rebuilding America Task Force, led a discussion with Members of Congress and experts on how infrastructure investments would dramatically benefit working men and women by injecting trillions into our economy and putting hard-working Americans to work.
As part of the House Democratic Caucus Jobs for America effort, the Rebuilding America Task Force discussed how investment by the federal government could improve American cities and create jobs for middle-class families.
Rep. Cartwright invited the Lackawanna County Department of Planning and Economic Development Director, George W. Kelly, to provide expert testimony at the forum.
“Not only would investments in infrastructure repair aging bridges and roads, but it would also spur economic development and reinvigorate our communities. One of the best ways to create jobs in Pennsylvania is through infrastructure investment,” said Rep. Cartwright. “I thank Mr. Kelly for sharing his insight on this issue.”
“Investing in our infrastructure is investing in our future,” said Mr. Kelly. “We need to explore ways to drive the reshoring of lost jobs and to provide pathways to prosperity for our work force. These investments are crucial as we all come together to prepare, educate, and partner to create and retain family sustaining jobs across America.”
As towns across America continue to grow, it puts a strain on our infrastructure system. In order to continue serving the American people sufficiently, these structures must be up to date and properly functioning. Investments in these projects would mean more jobs and skill development for hard-working Americans. The five Democratic Caucus Jobs for America Task Forces will create opportunities for growth, boost hardworking families, and give every worker the opportunity to achieve the American dream.
“Investing in our nation’s infrastructure is a win for everyone. Our roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals get a much-needed update to better serve all Americans, while investments create jobs for millions,” said Chairman of the Democratic Caucus Joe Crowley. “I look forward to hearing from Rep. Cartwright on creating jobs and infrastructure projects.”
“With nearly 100,000 bridges in our country old enough to qualify for Medicare and Social Security, there is no doubt that America’s infrastructure is in need of serious TLC,” said Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus Linda Sánchez. “The Rebuilding America Task Force, led by Rep. Cartwright, is focused on investing in jobs and our future by developing innovative ways to modernize our nation’s infrastructure. By investing in a robust infrastructure, we will ensure that our country and our workers will be able to compete in the global marketplace.”
For more information on the Jobs for America Task Forces, please visit www.dems.gov/jobsforamerica.




Tune in Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on 1400-The Game, NEPA's Fox .Sports Radio and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River.


One of the most unique Christmas displays in northeastern Pennsylvania will be highlighted on ECTV Live during the week of December 11th! Joe Spinelli of Newfoundland, Pa. joins ECTV
Live hosts Rusty Fender, David DeCosmo. and program Director Mark Migilore to discuss his display of antique Department store window animated figures which will open to the public next week through December 29th.
Spinelli has recovered and restored a large collection of the Christmas figures and sets them out for the public each Christmas free of charge. Donations for area charities are accepted.
ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast channel 19 (61 in some areas) and is aired during the Noon, 6pm and Midnight hours each day of the week. Following Monday's Live program the show will become available on Electric City Television's YouTube channel which can be viewed on your computer.


Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. The show will run Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. on WILK, and on KRZ, Froggy and Max 102 early Sunday morning.


Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”



Our 1977 logo

Jean-Bédel Bokassa, president of the Central African Republic, crowns himself Emperor.Malaysian Airline System Flight 653 is hijacked and crashes in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, Malaysia, killing all 100 passengers and crew on board......after losing 26 games, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the US National Football League record their very first win; against the New Orleans Saints.........a chartered Douglas DC-3 aircraft carrying the University of Evansville basketball team to Nashville, Tennessee, crashes in rain and dense fog about 90 seconds after takeoff from Evansville Regional Airport; 29 people die in the crash, including 14 members of the team and head coach Bob Watson……in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia readies for the Mummers Parade……in Luzerne County speculation runs rampant as to whether Mayor Walter Lisman was going to go for second term and forty years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America was  “Sentimental Lady” by Bob Welch.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3663, December 6th, 2017


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3662, Decemer 5th, 2017

(Photos: Bernstein website)
We continue our series regarding icons of pop culture born 100 years ago this year. Today, Leonard Bernstein.
I first became aware of Bernstein at a very young age. When I was growing up, West Side Story was a huge hit. Scenes from the hit Broadway play were constantly on TV. Additionally, Bernstein was featured on network TV when actual symphonies were broadcast. In college, when I worked at WVIA TV and FM, I played Bernstein’s music on the air. 1976 was especially a big year of Bernstein exposure because in the year of The Bicentennial, Bernstein, the first American composer to become internationally famous was front and center.
My appreciation for his work never wavered. Bernstein began his career in terms of prominence because of the flu. Not his. He first was the guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
It was November 1943 when interim conductor Bruno Walter came down with the flu. The program included works by Schumann, Miklós Rózsa, Wagner and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote with soloist Joseph Schuster, solo cellist of the orchestra. Before the concert Bernstein briefly spoke to Bruno Walter, who discussed particular difficulties in the works he was to perform. The next day, The New York Times carried the story on their front page and their editorial remarked, "It's a good American success story. The warm, friendly triumph of it filled Carnegie Hall and spread far over the air waves." He became instantly famous because the concert was nationally broadcast on CBS Radio, and afterwards Bernstein started to appear as a guest conductor with many U.S. orchestras.
From 1945 to 1947, Bernstein was the Music Director of the New York City Symphony, which had been founded the previous year by the conductor Leopold Stokowski. The orchestra (with support from the Mayor) was aimed at a different audience than the New York Philharmonic, with more modern programs and cheaper tickets. Also in regard to a different audience, in 1945 Bernstein discussed the possibility of acting in a film with Greta Garbo—playing Tchaikovsky opposite her starring role as the composer's patron Nadezhda von Meck.
In addition to becoming known as a conductor, Bernstein also emerged as a composer in the same period. In January 1944 he conducted the premiere of his Jeremiah Symphony in Pittsburgh. His score to the ballet Fancy Free choreographed by Jerome Robbins opened in New York in April 1944 and this was later developed into the musical On the Town with lyrics by Comden and Green that opened on Broadway in December 1944.
After World War II, Bernstein's career on the international stage began to flourish. In 1946, he made his overseas debut with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague. He also recorded Ravel's Piano Concerto in G as soloist and conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra. In 1947, Bernstein conducted in Tel Aviv for the first time, beginning a lifelong association with Israel. The next year he conducted an open-air concert for troops at Beersheba in the middle of the desert during the Arab-Israeli war. In 1957, he conducted the inaugural concert of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv; he subsequently made many recordings there. In 1967, he conducted a concert on Mount Scopus to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem. During the 1970s, Bernstein recorded his symphonies and other works with the Israel Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon.
In 1949, he conducted the world première of the Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Part of the rehearsal for the concert was released on CD by the orchestra. When Koussevitzky died two years later, Bernstein became head of the orchestral and conducting departments at Tanglewood.
The intersection of my classical music education as well as that Bicentennial year of American composers continued in 1976 on WVIA FM. I played, to the chagrin of many traditional loving WVIA FM listeners, a lot of Charles Ives. A bit about Ives and Bernstein. In 1951, Bernstein conducted the New York Philharmonic in the world première of the Symphony No. 2 of Charles Ives, which was written around half a century earlier but had never been performed. Throughout his career, Bernstein often talked about the music of Ives, who died in 1954. The composer, old and frail, was unable (some reports say unwilling) to attend the concert, but his wife did. He reportedly listened to a radio broadcast of it on a radio in his kitchen some days later. A recording of the "premiere" was released in a 10-CD box set Bernstein LIVE by the orchestra, but the notes indicate it was a repeat performance from three days later, and this is perhaps what Ives heard. In any case, reports also differ on Ives's exact reaction, but some suggest he was thrilled and danced a little jig. Bernstein recorded the 2nd symphony with the orchestra in 1958 for Columbia and 1987 for Deutsche Grammophon. There is also a 1987 performance with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra available on DVD.
In 1954 Bernstein made the first of his television lectures for the CBS arts program Omnibus. The live lecture, entitled "Beethoven's Fifth Symphony", involved Bernstein explaining the work with the aid of musicians from the former NBC Symphony Orchestra (recently renamed the "Symphony of the Air") and a giant page of the score covering the floor. Bernstein subsequently performed concerts with the orchestra and recorded his Serenade for Violin with Isaac Stern. Further Omnibus lectures followed from 1955 to 1958 (later on ABC and then NBC) covering jazz, conducting, American musical comedy, modern music, J.S. Bach, and grand opera. These programs were made available in the U.S. in a DVD set in 2010.
During my formative years, Bernstein became a well-known figure in the United States through his series of fifty-three televised Young People's Concerts for CBS, which grew out of his Omnibus programs. His first Young People's Concert was televised a few weeks after his tenure began as principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic. He became as famous for his educational work in those concerts as for his conducting. The Bernstein Young People's Concerts were the first and probably the most influential series of music appreciation programs ever produced on television, and they were highly acclaimed by critics.

Bernstein composed the music for two popular shows that in effect became his cultural calling card. The first was for the operetta Candide, which was first performed in 1956 with a libretto by Lillian Hellman based on Voltaire's novella.

The second was Bernstein's collaboration with the choreographer Jerome Robbins, the writer Arthur Laurents, and the lyricist Stephen Sondheim to produce the musical West Side Story.

The first three had worked on it intermittently since Robbins first suggested the idea in 1949. Finally, with the addition of Sondheim to the team and a period of concentrated effort, it received its Broadway premiere in 1957 and has since proven to be Bernstein's most popular and enduring score.

Bernstein’s relationship with the Kennedy family was cemented in 1962 when the New York Philharmonic moved from Carnegie Hall to Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) in the new Lincoln Center. The move was not without controversy because of acoustic problems with the new hall. Bernstein conducted the gala opening concert featuring vocal works by Mahler, Beethoven and Vaughan Williams, and the premiere of Aaron Copland's Connotations, a serial-work that was merely politely received. During the intermission Bernstein kissed the cheek of the President's wife Jacqueline Kennedy, a break with protocol that was commented on at the time. In 1961 Bernstein had conducted at President John F. Kennedy's pre-inaugural gala, and he was an occasional guest in the Kennedy White House. Years later he conducted at the funeral mass in 1968 for the late President Kennedy's brother Robert Kennedy.
When the Kennedy Center in D.C. was being developed by Jackie Kennedy, Bernstein was asked him to be its Executive Director. He accepted but had second thoughts. His wife called Jackie to explain that perhaps Bernstein could compose a special Mass debuting the Center. That’s how Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, was an integral part of the ’76 celebration and has been a constant in many American Classical Music performances.

Bernstein received the Kennedy Center Honors award in 1980. For the rest of the 1980s he continued to conduct, teach, compose, and produce the occasional TV documentary. His most significant compositions of the decade were probably his opera A Quiet Place, which he wrote with Stephen Wadsworth and which premiered (in its original version) in Houston in 1983; his Divertimento for Orchestra; his Halil for flute and orchestra; his Concerto for Orchestra "Jubilee Games"; and his song cycle Arias and Barcarolles, which was named after a comment President Dwight D. Eisenhower had made to him in 1960.with Maximilian Schell on PBS Beethoven TV series (1982)
In 1982 in the U.S., PBS aired an 11-part series of Bernstein's late 1970s films for Unitel of the Vienna Philharmonic playing all nine Beethoven symphonies and various other Beethoven works. Bernstein gave spoken introduction and actor Maximilian Schell was also featured on the programs, reading from Beethoven's letters.
In 1985, he conducted a recording of West Side Story, the first time he had conducted the entire work. The recording, featuring what some critics felt were miscast opera singers such as Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, and Tatiana Troyanos in the leading roles, was nevertheless an international bestseller. A TV documentary showing the making of the recording was made at the same time and is available on DVD. Bernstein also continued to make his own TV documentaries during the 1980s, including The Little Drummer Boy, in which he discussed the music of Gustav Mahler, perhaps the composer he was most passionately interested in, and The Love of Three Orchestras, in which he discussed his work in New York, Vienna, and Israel.
In his later years, Bernstein's life and work were celebrated around the world (as they have been since his death). The Israel Philharmonic celebrated his involvement with them at Festivals in Israel and Austria in 1977. In 1986 the London Symphony Orchestra mounted a Bernstein Festival in London with one concert that Bernstein himself conducted attended by the Queen. In 1988 Bernstein's 70th birthday was celebrated by a lavish televised gala at Tanglewood featuring many perform. In December 1989, Bernstein conducted live performances and recorded in the studio his operetta Candide with the London Symphony Orchestra.
On a memorable and historical Christmas Day in 1989, Bernstein conducted Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in East Berlin's Schauspielhaus as part of a celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He had conducted the same work in West Berlin the previous day. The concert was broadcast live in more than twenty countries to an estimated audience of 100 million people. For the occasion, Bernstein reworded Friedrich Schiller's text of the Ode to Joy, substituting the word Freiheit (freedom) for Freude (joy)  with him over the years.
In 1990, Leonard Bernstein received the Praemium Imperiale, an international prize awarded by the Japan Arts Association for lifetime achievement in the arts. Bernstein used the $100,000 prize to establish The Bernstein Education Through the Arts (BETA) Fund, Inc. Leonard Bernstein provided this grant to develop an arts-based education program. The Leonard Bernstein Center was established in April 1992, and initiated extensive school-based research, resulting in the Bernstein Model, the Leonard Bernstein Artful Learning Program.
Bernstein made his final performance as a conductor at Tanglewood on August 19, 1990, with the Boston Symphony playing Benjamin Britten's "Four Sea Interludes" from Peter Grimes, and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. He suffered a coughing fit during the Third Movement of the Beethoven Symphony, however the maestro continued to conduct the piece until its conclusion, leaving the stage during the ovation, appearing exhausted and in pain. The concert was later issued on CD as Leonard Bernstein – The Final Concert .
He announced his retirement from conducting on October 9, 1990, and died of a heart attack five days later, brought on by mesothelioma. A longtime heavy smoker, he had battled emphysema from his mid-50s. On the day of his funeral procession through the streets of Manhattan, construction workers removed their hats and waved, calling out "Goodbye, Lenny." Bernstein is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, next to his wife and with a copy of Mahler's Fifth lying across his heart.
He was 72 years old. (Sources: Bernstein website, wikipedia, LuLac)

Monday, December 04, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3661, December 4th, 2017


Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo.

MAYBE I’M AMAZED...that the little borough of Plymouth has three firehouses while other larger areas have that same amount. Now granted there are a lot of hills there but I’m just wondering why you need three houses. There is a funding crunch and that happens when you have services to pay for and grant money from those big bad state and federal governments dry up.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED...that Trump is still trying to tell people that President Obama was NOT born in America. I’m afraid that our President will not be impeached nor will he quit. I’m thinking that he will be carried away by the proverbial men in the white coats.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED...at how much money retirees will lose on their retirement once this new tax plan goes through. What goes up must come down and you can bet that will happen.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED...that Democrats have been slow to get rid of their predators. First off it is the right thing to do. Second it is politically smart. You can be sure the GOP lie machine will say the Dems did it but the sainted GOP men will all of sudden be as white as the driven snow.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED...that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is not only a horrible excuse for a press secretary but also for a woman. How she can deflect questions about pedophile Roy Moore is beyond me. And when she starts talking about how Christian she is...I laugh my ass off. She is the new Goebbels.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED..that as I write this in my doctor’s office I see a grown man, 6’4 pace like a three year old meandering around the waiting room. Sighs, grunts, no fart yet. Gray hair, beard, camouflaged hat. Oh my, he just got called and get this, snaps his finger at his wife to get up and follow him in. If I tried that with Mrs. LuLac I’d be across from that yellow 30mph sign on Middle Road entering Hanover sooner than later.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…..that on Friday, I heard the late afternoon talk show host on WILK say that he was sick and tired of hearing about Russia. Really? This former elected official who I guess took an oath to uphold our State Constitution one time, is sick and tired of an enemy that 13 intelligence agencies said they interviewed with our elections. Now he said this AFTER the guilty plea of Michael Flynn. Does he not know that Russia was instrumental in gathering intel on the United States candidates? I mean why the hell did he think Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI? Over campaign posters? Maybe he was trying to play to the base of Trump- o-crats and ingrates that think Trump is an angel. But I will be proved right on this, if Russian can hack our election, they will hack our power grids someday.
And this guy and his listeners will be crying like little babies when they can’t see in the dark, cook their food or call in a talk show where the host and many of his listeners are denying the danger in front of their faces.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED….that the stellar student of American history, TAHFQ says that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters and he will restore it. This clown that was duly elected by this country maybe doesn’t remember Watergate or understand that the FBI’s job is to KNOW the answers to the questions they are going to ask.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED….that Cumulus Radio, local owners of WARM, Magic 93, BHT and others has filed for bankruptcy. They bought Citadel which also filed for bankruptcy. Terrestrial radio, I am sad to say is dying. This happens because major radio groups over pay for cluster frequencies while the audience pie gets smaller and smaller. I worked in radio before and after the corporations took over. The big shots with the consultants weren’t any smarter than the mom and pop operations that ran radio outlets back in the day.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED….that Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Face the Nation Sunday that he couldn’t comment on Trump, his reaction to Michael Flynn’s indictment as well as the indictment itself because he was too busy working two jobs. The first as Budget Director screwing the middle class, the second as Head of the Consumer Protection Bureau, screwing the middle class. The poor little baby whined that he was working on Sunday at two jobs.
Hmmmm. Is that like a person working in a store or eatery on the weekend to make ends meet? Is that like a person working 6 days a week, in some cases barely getting 30 hours for 8 bucks an hour? Is that like a weekend employee walking to work on a Sunday because they can’t afford a car? Or get a bus?
Little bitty Mick whining about working on Sundays to avoid answering a direct question is just what a greedy REPUBLICAN appointee would say while he works those two jobs to screw the people his REPUBLICAN party refuses to protect.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED..but not really that CBS changed horses midstream and sent Scott Pelley off to 60 Minutes for good in May. Tonight Jeff Glor will become the new permanent anchor for the CBS Evening News. (Anthony Mason has been anchoring the program on in interim basis since Pelley's departure).[Glor has been with the network less than 10 years and was born in 1975. CBS apparently feels they need a younger person to compete with ABC World News with David Muir.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED….that Merrill Reese is still my favorite football announcer since Howard Cosell. 

Reese is a homer, he’s hysterical but can be fair. But boy does he give his opinion. The classic line last night from him when the Eagles played the Seahawks was, “Are they gonna call a penalty on every play?” Gotta love the guy and yes even those Eagles.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3660, December 3rd, 2017


(Logo: Sandeegofreepress.org) 
To be clear. THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL PARTY has disqualified itself from ever complaining about the deficit. The bill passed by The Senate Friday night will put us a trillion dollars more in debt.
These REPUBLICANS who crucified Obama and called themselves deficit hawks have turned into chickens. Men who bitched about Trump, McCain, Flake, and Ms. Collins all were bought and sold by the corporate interests and multi millionaires. Why? Because when it comes down to it, they are tools of the 1%. They talk a good game but when push comes to shove, they revert to cowardly form.
The hysterical thing is that by politically sacrificing themselves, they got 4 hours of credit for their "win". President Trump stole their chest thumping thunder by essentially admitting he knew all about Flynn before he fired Comey. Talk about tripping your runners while they tried for a victory lap!
Prediction, when this goes south because let's face it, business capital is over the top now thanks to the Democratic recovery from 2009...but when this crashes these deficit chickens will return with their mantra about the deficit and blame people on Social Security and Medicare for having "entitlements"as they love to call them.
A tax cut for the rich? Nope they create jobs. Horse shit!
Seniors who worked their whole life? Entitlement.
They will come after us.
Sounds cruel, sounds unbelievable.
Sounds very REPUBLICAN.
28% of the American people think this is a good deal.
The rest who don't should punish THE REPUBLICAN PARTY at the polls in 2018. Don't drink their Kool-Aid and believe their bullshit. (Has anyone heard puny Pat Toomey lately? He made an ass out of himself stuttering and stammering trying to justify this on NPR last week!)
It's only your future, your wallet and your standard of living, which they proved Friday night they don't give a shit about!
Who's with me? Let's put them out of our misery.