Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3561, July 25th, 2017

Laureen Cummings and Kellyanne Conway at The White House. (Photo: Lackawanna County Commissioners Office)
Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings made the most of a trip to Washington, D.C. last week. Commissioner Cummings joined over 60 Pennsylvania county executives in D.C.  The setting was The Pennsylvania County Commissioners White House Conference. Cummings, never a shrinking violet made sure she got the ear of a major Trump adviser, Kellyanne Conway.
Say what you want about Conway, (and I’ve said plenty!) Cummings was doing her job in getting access to a person who is on the scene. That can only be good for people in Lackawanna County.
The conference dove into different topics including human services, environment, commerce and energy issues impacting communities across the state, transportation, opioid crisis, Medicare, small business, education, the dairy industry, EPA, imports-exports, trade and NASA. (Yeah NASA!) My personal feeling is we need to get back on track in space! Cummings also toured the White House. No word on whether she ran into any other big shot. But hey, one was enough!
The key here is Cummings spoke with people who work to craft programs and policies. Cummings said,"The conference gave us a direct link to the White House."
Now Ms. Cummings and I have had differences on pretty much every major issue there is nationally but I know this. This is not an opportunity that will just be a fleeting moment in time. Many call these trips junkets and a waste of tax payer money. Not when you get into clear access with top White House advisers like Cummings did! 


Monday, July 24, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3560, July 24th, 2017


Yesterday on the front page of the Citizen's Voice there was still another redundant recap of why Trump voters in Luzerne County voted for the President. Every few months the national media comes and expects that people here would have regretted their vote. Well they haven't. As a matter of fact, most of then have doubled down on their support even suggesting that the bully President is being picked on.
The guy though who really nailed it in this article was Professor Tom Baldino from Wilkes College. Here's what he said about why the support among voters seem to be holding.
Wilkes University political science professor Thomas Baldino said he suspects any erosion of support for Trump in Luzerne County is probably smaller than in other “flip” counties because many Trump voters in Luzerne County were not regular voters and didn’t even vote in the 2008 and 2012 elections. Baldino said he observed an older voter in November who had not voted since the county started using touch-screen voting machines in 2005.
I'll go Baldino a few better. Mrs. LuLac was a Judge of Elections at the polls in 2016. She had people walking in thumping their chest, (most in their 70s) waving every conceivable ID at her proclaiming proudly that "I never voted before in an election but I'm here today!"
So the people in this age group might not have liked Hillary Clinton but some were inactive Democrats who through the years benefited from policies of the Democratic Party. Talk about ignorant ingrates! It was Trump's party that blocked every social benefit they have.
But they hated Hillary.
Back to Baldino though, people may not want to take responsibility for it. They won't admit they're wrong.
I'm hoping the national media gets that fact. These "snapshots" of Luzerne County voters do nothing for our image nationally and can be as predicable as a milk and eggs story on TV about a snow storm warning during winter.
Well at least we weren't treated to having to hear Luzrrne County Councilwoman Eileen Sorokas babble on about why she turned on her party. Here's the link to the Voice story: http://citizensvoice.com/news/poll-trump-support-wanes-in-flip-counties-1.2221990



Last week The Citizen’s Voice printed a letter from long time Luzerne County Republican official Lynette Villano about the current state of the nation. Lynette still feels that even though more than 22,000 people voted for Trump in Luzerne County that this President got some sort of mandate nationally. She posits that people actually voted for the repeal of The Affordable Care Act and that Senator Bob Casey is an obstructionist.
Here’s her article along with my replies. She's in the Red and I'm in the blue.
Editor: Republicans have campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare since the Democrats rammed it through Congress seven years ago. As a lifelong, dedicated Republican, I am frustrated listening to some Senators, like John McCain, claim that the prospect of repealing and replacing this terrible law is dead. That is unacceptable.
First off, the Democrats kissed the asses of the GOP House and Senate. Obama invited them to Super bowl parties, held hearings. Yes it did pass without GOP votes and for 7 years the GOP voted to repeal it. But because they are modern day REPUBLICANS, all they did was say NO.
Unlike Lynnete, McCain is a realist.
Unlike you Lynette, he’s actually won a few elections for his party. If Trump and his supporters are doing so well for Luzerne County, then why hasn’t this party even capitalized on the man’s (according to Lynette) wild popularity. Hell they couldn’t even organize a Lincoln Day dinner because of “scheduling difficulties”.
Whether they are Republicans in the Senate or members of the so-called liberal “resistance,” people need to accept that Donald Trump is our president and start supporting his agenda to move our country forward. The American people spoke in the last election. They voted for repealing and replacing Obamacare with a plan that removes the government from our healthcare choices and makes coverage affordable and accessible. It is time to deliver on that promise.
Lynette, we have accepted that Trump is indeed the President. The Electoral College spoke in the last election. The citizens of Luzerne County did too. Loud and clear. Always remember Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. He is the one who hasn’t accepted that. As a matter of fact, TAHFQ even started a bogus investigation to find those 3 million illegals who all voted for Hillary. Here’s my question…….do you mean to tell me that all those 3 million illegals voted for Hillary and not a single one went for Trump? Well I guess now that O.J. is getting out of jail in October he can track those illegals down along with finding the real killers of his wife and Ron Goldman.
As far as government in our health care? Lynette, government is involved in your health care as you sit in your patronage job down at The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. Let’s see you give up “that government” health care that by the way, Luzerne County taxpayers pay for. If you want “government” out of your health care, how about writing a check back to the Authority for all the years you got it? Or do you feel you're more entitled than some person who might lose their Health Care because of the inaction or blockage of your REPUBLICAN party?
The House of Representatives did its job. Congressmen Lou Barletta and Tom Marino — two of President Trump’s earliest and most strident supporters — should be commended for keeping their promises to their voters and advancing an Obamacare repeal and replace bill to the Senate. Congressman Barletta was even able to introduce and win passage of a separate bill, the Verify First Act, which would stop fraud in our healthcare system by verifying that people are in this country legally and eligible for taxpayer funded healthcare benefits before those dollars go out the door. Under Obamacare, $750 million went to half a million people in this country illegally. Congressman Barletta’s bill, which passed the House and is also in the Senate, would put a stop to this.
Well it looks like they didn’t get the votes. So they might have wanted repeal, shit it’s easy to vote NO! But the House could not even vote and get out of their own way.
They failed. The REPUBLICAN party failed.
As far as the 750 million dollars used for illegals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pay credits and subsidies to the insurance companies on behalf of the applicants – and the feds then “chase” after any over payments to ineligible people once they are discovered. The 500,000 individuals in question have been removed from coverage.
I like Lou’s act. Maybe if he had enacted when he first got there, maybe if REPUBLICANS thought about this instead of saying NO, we might not have had this issue. President Obama repeatedly called for suggestions for a better way. Your REPUBLICAN party obstructed and sat on its ass. Barletta was the exception but he is only one of a bunch that pretty much do nothing. Kind of like Tom Marino. Uh, is he still a REPUBLICAN Congressman? Yep, doing nothing and saying no so he must be!
It’s time for the Senate to follow suit. I am pleased that our Sen. Pat Toomey has been a vocal leader, urging his colleagues to support the repeal and replace efforts. Toomey has effectively made the case that, despite Democrats’ and liberal groups’ scare tactics, we need to reform our healthcare system, including Medicaid, to make it sustainable for future generations. Our country is $20 trillion in debt, and Medicaid spending now accounts for 10 percent of the federal budget. The proposal current in the Senate would grow Medicaid spending from $393 billion this year to $464 billion in 2026 — not as steep an increase as under Obamacare, but rather a more responsible increase. Only in Washington (and Harrisburg) is a decrease to the increase considered a cut.
Okay, Toomey admitted that they had no plan. Toomey said they never expected Trump to win so they could just say no, no, no. Toomey has hidden out because people know what a fraud and coward he is. Lynette, while you were carrying the banner for Trump in Ohio (which was your right and you did very well), Puny Pat was “campaigning” in Pennsylvania. No guts, no balls. The Senate plan impacts Medicaid 2026, who the hell is going to be making up the shortfall in the state of Pennsylvania? Who will take care of the disabled and disadvantaged in the interim? 
Us. The taxpayers.
Our other senator, Bob Casey Jr., has taken a page out of Elizabeth Warren’s and Nancy Pelosi’s playbook. After fooling voters for 11 years by masquerading as a moderate, Casey is committed to obstructing anything and everything President Trump and Republicans in Congress attempt to do. He sure is not his father, who actually cared about working with members of the other party for the benefit of Pennsylvania.
Oh so now you are saying wonderful things about Bob Casey Senior while beating his brain in all those years? Casey Junior  was not masquerading as a moderate! As a matter of fact, your REPUBLICAN party of no has taken moderate Democrats like me who voted for some of your candidates, who gave money to some of your candidates, who even attended their events are now committed to telling people what your sorry party and President has now become. Your REPUBLICAN Party has turned Bob Casey Junior into Harry Truman! You think he’s giving you hell but in reality he’s telling the truth and you think it’s hell.
And by the way, how can Casey OBSTRUCT anything when he is in the minority? He’s a crucial vote? How? Math Lynette, is not an alternative fact. Nor is it fake. 
Republicans cannot let obstructionists like Sen. Casey define us. With control of the House, Senate and White House, it is time to do what the American people elected them to do.
Oh you don’t need Casey to define you. Or me. You’re coming through loud and clear. The definition of the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, John Fine, Bill Scranton and Tom Ridge has now devolved into Trump.
Your party owns him and quite frankly I’m so glad you so eloquently stated your support and tacit approval for his sexist, anti middle class and reckless rhetoric and actions.
It will be easier to make sure your REPUBLICAN party gets rewarded with the anonymity and disrespect it so richly deserves these days!
I know your heart and soul are really into Trump and I applaud your enthusiasm. But don’t think for one minute there are thinking people who buy your defense of Trump.
I’m sorry but I think you’re in for a major disappointment in the future. Donald Trump has never rewarded loyalty. He hasn’t rewarded Chris Christie’s, Michael Flynn’s, Sean Spicer’s or now Jeff Sessions' loyalty. He won’t reward yours either and like the others will toss you and all those Trump backers aside like a gum wrapper in front of Trump Tower.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3559, July 22nd, 2017

THE 6 DAY WAR @ 50
(Photo: AP)
This happened when I was about 13 and being the Political Nerd back then, I followed it closely. I remember the tension there was in the country. The United States was Israel’s staunchest ally and by helping them it appeared we were getting into still another war. There were rumors of our troops going there to support Israel if their efforts went South. They didn’t due to the fierceness of the Israeli Army but there was talk of it. This happened fifty years ago this year. Here’s a recap of how it started, ended and to a certain extent how it still continues today.
Six-Day War, also called June War or Third Arab-Israeli War, brief war that took place June 5–10, 1967, and was the third of the Arab-Israeli wars. Israel’s decisive victory included the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights; the status of these territories subsequently became a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Prior to the start of the war, attacks conducted against Israel by fledgling Palestinian guerrilla groups based in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan had increased, leading to costly Israeli reprisals. In November 1966 an Israeli strike on the village of Al-Samūʿ in the Jordanian West Bank left 18 dead and 54 wounded, and, during an air battle with Syria in April 1967, the Israeli Air Force shot down six Syrian MiG fighter jets. In addition, Soviet intelligence reports in May indicated that Israel was planning a campaign against Syria, and, although inaccurate, the information further heightened tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser had previously come under sharp criticism for his failure to aid Syria and Jordan against Israel; he had also been accused of hiding behind the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) stationed at Egypt’s border with Israel in the Sinai. Now, however, he moved to unambiguously demonstrate support for Syria: on May 14, 1967, Nasser mobilized Egyptian forces in the Sinai; on May 18 he formally requested the removal of the UNEF stationed there; and on May 22 he closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, thus instituting an effective blockade of the port city of Elat in southern Israel. On May 30, King Ḥussein of Jordan arrived in Cairo to sign a mutual defense pact with Egypt, placing Jordanian forces under Egyptian command; shortly thereafter, Iraq too joined the alliance.
In response to the apparent mobilization of its Arab neighbors, early on the morning of June 5, Israel staged a sudden preemptive air assault that destroyed more than 90 percent Egypt’s air force on the tarmac. A similar air assault incapacitated the Syrian air force. Without cover from the air, the Egyptian army was left vulnerable to attack. Within three days the Israelis had achieved an overwhelming victory on the ground, capturing the Gaza Strip and all of the Sinai Peninsula up to the east bank of the Suez Canal.
An eastern front was also opened on June 5 when Jordanian forces began shelling West Jerusalem—disregarding Israel’s warning to King Ḥussein to keep Jordan out of the fight—only to face a crushing Israeli counterattack. On June 7 Israeli forces drove Jordanian forces out of East Jerusalem and most of the West Bank. Photos and films of Israeli troops taking control of the old city of Jerusalem have proved to be some of the war’s iconic images.
The UN Security Council called for a cease-fire on June 7 that was immediately accepted by Israel and Jordan. Egypt accepted the following day. Syria held out, however, and continued to shell villages in northern Israel. On June 9 Israel launched an assault on the fortified Golan Heights, capturing it from Syrian forces after a day of heavy fighting. Syria accepted the cease-fire on June 10.
The Arab countries’ losses in the conflict were disastrous. Egypt’s casualties numbered more than 11,000, with 6,000 for Jordan and 1,000 for Syria, compared with only 700 for Israel. The Arab armies also suffered crippling losses of weaponry and equipment. The lopsidedness of the defeat demoralized both the Arab public and the political elite. Nasser announced his resignation on June 9 but quickly yielded to mass demonstrations calling for him to remain in office. In Israel, which had proved beyond question that it was the region’s preeminent military power, there was euphoria.
The Six-Day War also marked the start of a new phase in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, since the conflict created hundreds of thousands of refugees and brought more than one million Palestinians in the occupied territories under Israeli rule.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3558, July 20th, 2017

John McCain (Photo: LuLac archives)
The Washington Post reports tonight that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Turns out that growth behind his eye was an aggressive brain tumor. Prognosis is about 14 to 16 months,.
He will be in our thoughts and prayers.

REPUBLICAN hater Diana Orrock. (Photo: Raw story.com)

Nevada’s Republican national committeewoman Diana Orrock on Monday seemed to cheer for the death of Sen. John McCain,  retweeting a post that begged, “please just f*cking die already. Orrock has been a Trump supporter from day one. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your TRUMP REPUBLICAN party today.
She might have her wish granted, I’d love to tell you what’s mine.


NBC Reporter Peter Alexander dropped by a diner the other day in Luzerne County and met with Trump voters who were asked if they would change their vote. Nope,  the majority said.
We used to have an image problem outside the area where people associated us with coal mining long after it was over.
We have a new association nationally. Time will tell if that is positive or negative. Catch the fellow in the red shirt who said he laughs about Russia everyday. He’ll be the first one crying like a little baby when the Russians screw with the power grade.
As for the Democrats who supported Trump, one word…ingrates. You got your wish. Enjoy.


A few weeks ago President Trump talked about the benefits of the Space Program. Despite my major differences with the President, I was glad he did that. The actions by President Obama regarding NASA I thought were an insult to the work done for years by that achievement.
Every technological thing we have today, every business entity that exists came from the exploration in Space. To put this in perspective when Apollo 8 went up in space, the crew Frank Borman, James Lovell, and Bill Anders had a computer that registered under 30 numbers. They were thrilled. My God what that crew could have done with Twitter!
But back to Trump. The President gave a rambling speech and at time during it Buzz Aldrin seemed incredulous in the President’s presentation.
Now Mr. Trump has demonstrated sometimes an ability to wander off. On this anniversary of the Moon Landing, I thought this was something to show you here today. Make your own judgment on what you see. My take is this, Trump was making an effort (which I think was proper) and some say maybe Aldrin’s reaction was a bit over the top.
Here it is:


President Trump said that he doesn’t own Obamacare, the Democrats do. Said that even though the GOP House and Senate had 8 years to repeal and replace, they still didn’t do it. Trump said that the Democrats blocked it and that the party would be begging the Republican party to fix it when it implodes.Help me out here, how are the Democrats in the Minority blocking it????
By the way the reason why this was  imploding is because the GOP has been cutting the legs off of it for years. Sean Hannity had some words for the GOP Senators on Fox Tuesday.

 Congressman Matt Cartwright (Photo: LuLac archives)

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced that the Scranton Lackawanna Head Start received $4,297,661 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These funds are used for the continuation of high quality, comprehensive, early childhood education.
Head Start is a federal program created in 1965 to address the educational and developmental needs of low-income, pre-school children. Head Start’s comprehensive service system provides social, nutritional, and educational services for thousands of children and their families across the United States. Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher.
“I am a proud proponent of these programs that work to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring children are better prepared for success in school,” said Rep. Cartwright. “Head Start and Early Head Start programs are an important investment in our community and our economy.”
“We are so excited to receive these funds and to be able to extend our programming to full day services,” said Ann Lynady, Project Director SLHDA Head Start. “It is allowing us to move five classrooms or 100 children this September to full day programming. Studies show that full day programming improves child outcomes both socially and academically to ensure all of our children enter school ready to learn. It will also offer our parents quality care for their children, enabling them to enter the workforce or return to school. The Head Start Community is profoundly grateful to Congressman Cartwright for his support for the wise investment of funds in Early Learning Programs.”
Head Start services are funded and overseen by The Office of Head Start (OHS), within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the Department of Health & Human Services. The AFC promotes the economic and social well-being of children, families, individuals, and communities with leadership and resources for compassionate, effective delivery of human services.

Congressman Lou Barletta (Photo: Barletta office)

During today’s House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing exploring state and local implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) highlighted how afterschool programs, like the SHINE afterschool program in northeast Pennsylvania, are contributing to student success, and questioned how state ESSA plans can incorporate afterschool opportunities. Barletta successfully restored funding for afterschool programs in ESSA.
ESSA was signed into law in December 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act and restore state and local control of public education. The law fully takes effect for the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year. Today’s hearing focused on how states and local stakeholders are planning to implement the policy changes included in ESSA.
“We know that chronic absenteeism negatively affects student success, and that this has led some states to propose absenteeism as an additional accountability measure in their state ESSA plans,” Barletta said. “We also know there is evidence that quality afterschool and summer learning programs are cost-effective strategies in increasing student attendance at all grade levels. I’ve seen this firsthand through an afterschool organization in my district – the SHINE program.”
Barletta questioned Dr. Gail Pletnick, Superintendent of Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Arizona, about how state ESSA plans may be encouraging school districts to provide afterschool and summer learning opportunities to their students.
Pletnick said that afterschool programs are having a positive impact on students’ learning and also encouraging parents to get more involved with their child’s education.
“With our underserved populations especially, having those afterschool opportunities serves many purposes, but certainly engages students in their learning,” Pletnick said. “We have opportunities to have coding, to have STEM – those really critical skills that students enjoy being a part of. What we have also seen through those programs is increased parent involvement because they are able to engage with their students in those activities. Those types of programs are having a positive impact academically.”
After the original House version of the bill replacing No Child Left Behind eliminated funding for the 21 Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides federal funding for afterschool programs, Barletta successfully worked to restore its funding. The law also includes a Barletta amendment that directs school districts to report to state agencies on the use of federal funds for afterschool activities to further demonstrate the importance of such programs.
Barletta, a member of the Education and Workforce Committee and father of two daughters who are teachers, has long championed SHINE, or “Schools and Homes In Education,” in Carbon, Schuylkill, and Luzerne counties. During the hearing, Barletta highlighted SHINE’s proven track record of improving students’ attendance and learning. According to a recent study, 92 percent of SHINE students had exceptionally good or satisfactory school attendance, 97 percent of students indicated they were excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and the number of students who said they would like to study math or science in college increased by 14 percent.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Barletta said. “When students are excited about learning, they show up for class and feel personally invested in their education, setting themselves up for success down the road.”
As a result of his leadership in saving federal funding for afterschool programs, Barletta was the only House member to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association. Barletta was also named an “Afterschool Hero” by the Afterschool Alliance, and earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network named him an Afterschool Champion for his commitment, dedication, and outstanding work on learning programs




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.


This Week on Sunday Magazine.
Brian Hughes speaks with Chris McGill from the American Gas Association about a new study on the growth of the natural gas supply in the U.S.
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Tom Foley and Meghan Kennedy from Family Service Association about the annual Paulie Friedman Walk/Run, coming up on Sunday August 6 at Misericordia University's Anderson Sports Complex.
This Week in Harrisburg discusses the continued budget stalement in Harrisburg, and 30 Luzerne County communities team up on an innovative stormwater project to guard against pollution.
Frankie speaks with Miss Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen, Madison Dompkosky from Mountaintop about her new campaign to raise veterans awareness in our schools.And an encore of Brian's interview with Dr. David Fisher and Lani, about joint pain in women.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X and Sports Radio 590, WARM and 6:25am on Magic 93.


ECTV Live hosts Rusty Fender, David DeCosmo, and Director Mark Migilore welcome Maureen McGuigan to the show during the week of July 24th. The free event is presented by the Lackawanna County Arts and Cultural Department. 
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!”


Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and he heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.


Bobby's show is back again live this Sunday @6PM on The River. 104.9 FM and 100,7FM in Wilkes Barre! Plus Bobby V has a brand new website, check it out at www.doowopsockhop.net.


Our 1977 logo

The first oil through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System reaches Valdez, Alaska.......Left-wing German terrorists Susanne Albrecht, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar assassinate Jürgen Ponto……in Pennsylvania both Pa. Senators Heinz and Schweiker are mum on where they stand on President Carter’s Panama Canal Treaty. They prpmise a decision before the vote…..but in Luzerne County Congressman Dan Flood makes no bones about where he stands on it. He is against it…and 40 years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America was “Best of My Love” by The Emotions. 


48 years ago today man landed on the moon. My father who muttered over and over about how great and important TV was during those 4 dark days was spellbound watch man land on the moon. His wonder stays with me this day. When you think that only less than twenty humans were on the moon. It was a day that when America was truly great. From NBC News.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3557, July 19th, 2017


Our "Write On Wednesday" logo

By David Brooks-New York Times

This is a very good analysis written by David Brooks, frequent contributor to various network news shows as well as being a columnist for the Times. That's our "Write On Wednesday" for this week.
At certain times Donald Trump has seemed like a budding authoritarian, a corrupt Nixon, a rabble-rousing populist or a big business corporatist.
But as Trump has settled into his White House role, he has given a series of long interviews, and when you study the transcripts it becomes clear that fundamentally he is none of these things.
At base, Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.
First, most adults have learned to sit still. But mentally, Trump is still a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom. Trump’s answers in these interviews are not very long — 200 words at the high end — but he will typically flit through four or five topics before ending up with how unfair the press is to him.
His inability to focus his attention makes it hard for him to learn and master facts. He is ill informed about his own policies and tramples his own talking points. It makes it hard to control his mouth. On an impulse, he will promise a tax reform when his staff has done little of the actual work.
Second, most people of drinking age have achieved some accurate sense of themselves, some internal criteria to measure their own merits and demerits. But Trump seems to need perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he is perpetually desperate for approval, telling heroic fabulist tales about himself.
“In a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about health care,” he told Time. “A lot of the people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber,” he told The Associated Press, referring to his joint session speech.
By Trump’s own account, he knows more about aircraft carrier technology than the Navy. According to his interview with The Economist, he invented the phrase “priming the pump” (even though it was famous by 1933). Trump is not only trying to deceive others. His falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good for an instant and comfortably deceive himself.
He is thus the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence. Trump thought he’d be celebrated for firing James Comey. He thought his press coverage would grow wildly positive once he won the nomination. He is perpetually surprised because reality does not comport with his fantasies.
Third, by adulthood most people can perceive how others are thinking. For example, they learn subtle arts such as false modesty so they won’t be perceived as obnoxious.
But Trump seems to have not yet developed a theory of mind. Other people are black boxes that supply either affirmation or disapproval. As a result, he is weirdly transparent. He wants people to love him, so he is constantly telling interviewers that he is widely loved. In Trump’s telling, every meeting was scheduled for 15 minutes but his guests stayed two hours because they liked him so much.
Which brings us to the reports that Trump betrayed an intelligence source and leaked secrets to his Russian visitors. From all we know so far, Trump didn’t do it because he is a Russian agent, or for any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires.
The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man.
Our institutions depend on people who have enough engraved character traits to fulfill their assigned duties. But there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears. When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.But Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.
We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.
“We badly want to understand Trump, to grasp him,” David Roberts writes in Vox. “It might give us some sense of control, or at least an ability to predict what he will do next. But what if there’s nothing to understand? What if there is no there there?”
And out of that void comes a carelessness that quite possibly betrayed an intelligence source, and endangered a country.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3556, July 18th, 2017


Your Blog editor with Jones at the 2016 Lincoln Day Breakfast. (Photo: LuLac archives) 
and Harry S. himself. (Photo: Truman Library)  

 Red as a young man. (Citizen's Voice) 
 Red in 2011 at Volunteers of America event. (Photo: Citizen's Voice) 
 Red with then newly elected Wilkes Barre Councilman Tony Brook. (Photo: Kathleen Smith) 

Former Luzerne County Commissioner Red Jones has passed away. I first met Jones in 1979 on the campaign trail with my late Uncle Timmy Pribula when Red was running with Frank Trinisewski against Frank Crossin and Edd Brominski. Both Crossin and Bromo pulled a shocking primary victory just a few months before by unseating incumbent Ed Wideman who served in that seat 16 years. Jones was energetic and did his best to get a GOP Majority. But with a heavily Democratic county, he was the odd man out. But I knew he’d be back.
During the campaign, I not only met Red Jones but Red Jones diehards. Kids he coached, people he did business with, they were all in Red’s Regiment.
Jones worked for the Wilkes Barre City Redevelopment Authority but he was also a Square Dance caller. Red would travel through the state and parts of the nation doing the old ho down with C&W artists and even polka kings. In 2011 he came out of retirement and did a benefit for Volunteers of America when he son Bill was head chief there.
Red served on The Lake Lehman School Board with distinction from 1981 to 1995. He tried again for the job of County Commissioner and this time won in 1995. 
When I met Red again in 2016 he was attending the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. Everybody wanted to meet Red. And talk. Red and I spoke about the county charter (he brought it up!) and he gave me chapter and verse as to why things should be modified. Hell, he didn’t like the charter. I got a civics lesson in county government that cold, windy sub zero morning.
I asked Red if he still had the Harry Truman picture. He raised his eyebrows and said, “Yeah, how did you…….”. Then he stopped and said, “You gave me that picture!” I shook my head in delight saying “Yep”. When Red was working for Great Northern Press, on a Sales call he admired my Truman photo I had received from The Truman Library. We talked about voting for the person and not the party. He kept staring wistfully at it and I said, “This belongs with you”.
Years later I’m told he still had it.
Red Jones was a Republican who worked hard and knew that people needed to work together.
Sadly, that’s not the case today.
Red was in the Marine Corp but extended that patriotic service in public office He will be remembered as an even tempered politician who spoke his mind and sometimes politically paid for it.
He was 79.

Congressman Matt Cartwright (Photo: LuLac archives)
U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced legislation that would incentivize water conservation and help consumers cut costs on water bills. The WATER Use Act (H.R. 3248) would codify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s WaterSense program, which helps consumers identify water-efficient products, such as faucets and toilets.
WaterSense is a voluntary certification labeling program that acts as a water-friendly companion to Energy Star, which is a similar energy-efficiency program administered by the EPA and the Department of Energy. Since the EPA launched the WaterSense program 10 years ago, Americans have saved an estimated $32.6 billion in water and energy bills and 1.5 trillion gallons of water.
“WaterSense certified services and products are at least 20 percent more efficient than average products in the same category,” said Rep. Cartwright. “These more efficient products can save billions of gallons of water each year. This bill takes responsible and commonsense approaches to improving consumers’ water conservation.”
In addition, the WATER Use Act directs all federal agencies to give purchase preference to WaterSense-certified products and services, providing greater certainty than existing Executive Orders addressing the issue. The bill would also provide assistance to state, local, and tribal governments; wastewater, water, and energy utilities; and nonprofit organizations to support incentive programs for consumer purchases of residential water-efficient products and services.
“This legislation formally authorizes EPA's successful WaterSense program, a public-private partnership, that delivers a "win-win" by encouraging voluntary reduction of indoor water consumption by consumers and businesses through highly efficient, safe plumbing products, services, and practices that save water, as well as money and energy,” said Kerry Stackpole, CEO of Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI).

Monday, July 17, 2017

The LuLac Edition #3555, July 17th, 2014

Senator Bobby Kennedy and Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967. (Photo: Truth, Justice and The American Way)

Once upon a time, when I was in grade school, the TV networks took their responsibility as an information conduit to the American people very seriously. It was not uncommon for all three networks to broadcast news documentaries and town meetings.
I had forgotten about this one but my friend Dave Dellarte from Wyoming said he saw something about it on CSPAN 3. What he saw was a public debate over the Vietnam War featuring Senator Robert Kennedy and newly minted California Governor Ronald Reagan. The date was May 15th, 1967 and the subject was the Vietnam War. The program was called “The Image of America and the Youth of the World,” and was billed by CBS as a “Town Meeting of the World.” It was broadcast from 10:00-11:00 P.M. EDT by CBS TV Network and CBS Radio Network. (That was a time when radio networks were nearly equal news partners with their TV counterparts. Produced by Don Hewitt and hosted by CBS News correspondent Charles Collingwood, the debate was watched by 15 million Americans.
I did not see it at the time and recently reviewed the You Tube video that’s up on the site today. At the time Newsweek as well as major California newspapers who loved Bobby gave the debate to Reagan overwhelmingly. Reagan’s easy, calm style pretty much left Bobby in the dust. Now to be fair, at that time Middle America was still overwhelmingly for the Vietnam War.
However what seemed to cinch it for Reagan was the way he seemed to surprise Kennedy. Reagan had been in office just a few months and had no Foreign Policy chops to speak of. It was predetermined that Kennedy would wipe the floor with Reagan. Instead it was the other way around.
Newsweek wondered if that debate might indeed be a foreshadowing of things to come for these two men on the national stage. Lyndon Johnson, although beleaguered was still strongly in control of the Presidency. Remember this was the year before the Tet Offensive. This debate though was the only one because Kennedy was killed a little over 12 months later by an assassin during a run for President. Reagan himself was a late entry into the '68 race hoping that a deadlocked convention between Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller would turn to him. Nixon had it in the bag though and Reagan after running a close second in 1976 finally won his party’s nomination and then the Presidency in 1980. I wonder if any of the Carter brain trust bothered to watch this thing before that infamous 80 debate which clinched the Presidency for Reagan.
For your viewing information, Kennedy and Reagan 50 years ago. You be the judge.