Monday, November 23, 2020

The LuLac Edition #4,441, November 23rd. 2020


Thursday, November 19, 2020

The LuLac Edition #4,440, November 19th, 2020



Photos: Times Leader

The dust has pretty much settled on Election 2020.  Oh, the Trump tribe of unpatriotic whiners are still filing baseless lawsuits that even the most craven ambulance chaser has avoided but it appears that Joe Biden will be the 46th President.  Donald Trump carried Luzerne County again but not by the same margin which was the Biden strategy all along. Chip at those counties he did well in and make up big majorities in the larger cities. The final count was this past week and Luzerne county will certify its vote next week. That’s pretty much the end of the story, right?

Well it is but before the book closes on 2020, there must be a shout out, tip of the hat and thumbs up to the Luzerne County Election Bureau. From the get-go, they were under scrutiny because of all the media attention that centered on this once straight-line Democratic area that overwhelming went for the great carnival barker.  The bureau performed magnificently with steady resolve and a team that could only be described as Democracy workers. Yes, you read that right, Democracy workers. Not clerks, not poll workers, not election bean counters but heroic Democracy workers who kept their heads down, and calmly stuck to their respective job descriptions. The people inside of Penn Place were not trusted by bullies driving around in pick up trucks festooned with large flags, an international and national media that treated some like lab rats in a great experiment and a skeptical general public whose confidence in their sacred right to vote was diminished by the constant harping of fraud from a crazed leader and its impotent party of TV reality show fans. But from top to bottom, the Election Bureau shone like a bright light in a very dark and dreary tunnel.

These Democracy workers took care of the process. They did so because they understood the process which voting is. It is a step by step process anyway but this year with new changes (in an area that is resistant to change) there was more at stake. Add to that more pressure and the Democracy workers dealt with it. By simply doing that, they held the process with its new rules in place.   

People noticed. The Democratic team had two Attorneys of renown watching. Atty. Mark Touchy, a Washington D.C. prosecutor and Professor John Witt from Yale Law School (see yesterday’s LuLac edition) were on hand to make sure things were run right. Additionally, Attorney Neil O'Donnell represented the state Democratic party.  It should be noted that even when the county went for Trump, there was nary a word of protest from the two great legal minds. The Friday after the election as the vote count continued Trump protestors from The Lac (where they lost) staged an event in front of a building where they won. I think historians as well as psychiatrists will still try to figure that one out for years to come.

Robert Caruso who was on hand for the General Election as well as the count summed it up this way. “The Election Bureau staffed by not just people, but Democracy workers were diligent, honorable and worked extremely hard to follow and execute the process. The process was the priority, nothing else except that mattered to them. The noise, the attention, it was all about the process. In every election each side will tell you how patriotic they are, as a matter of fact they are like dueling banjos of patriotism. But I dare say that the Democracy workers and that staff and volunteers were the true patriots, unassuming but dedicated to a fair and equitable outcome this county and country can be proud of for their performance.

 After writing this edition, we saw in the newspaper today that an Election Board member Joyce Dombroski Gepheardt     will not sign off on certifying the election. A Republican, she had no complaints when Trump eked out a win in the state by 44,000 votes and winning Luzerne county with 26,000 in 2016. The Citizen's Voice reported that her concern was the tracking of “spoiled” ballots, she said. Voters who received a mail-in ballot had the option to bring their ballot to a polling site, turn it over to poll workers and vote on the county’s electronic voting system. In those cases, poll workers spoiled, or voided, the mail-in ballot the voter surrendered. The county does not have a method to match the number of spoiled ballots with the number of voters who submitted mail-in ballots to be spoiled, Dombroski-Gebhardt said. “Basically, I want verification of the amount of spoiled ballots,” she said. Also, Dombroski-Gebhardt said she wants an audit of ballots cast in the election, with a sample size of 10%, which would mean more than 15,000 ballots.

The bottom line here is A. Trump won. B. An entire audit of a system that was double and tripled checked WILL NOT change the outcome. Should spoiled ballots be observed closely in the future? Sure but in this case there is NO BEARING on the results of the Presidential race.

I like Ms. Dombroski-Gephardt  but this is a reach. Mr. Caruso who was much kinder than I am in his assessment said today, “I respectfully disagree with her position. The ballots were properly counted. The process was efficient., The staff was wonderful. The system worked”.

Other Election Board members had no issues with the count.  


President Donald Trump (aka Diaper Don) on Tuesday evening fired Christopher Krebs, the very first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, after he spent days actively debunking the president’s baseless voter fraud claims. And in a rare turn in the Trump era, Senate Republicans across the spectrum — from Trump allies to critics of the president — criticized the decision.

Many election and government officials were “disappointed” and flummoxed by Trump’s personnel decisions. Others were more blunt.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called Trump’s move a “terrible mistake,” adding that Krebs is “an extraordinary talent who does a superb job overseeing the protection of our cyber capabilities.”

Last year we were afraid of an enemy from outside the country screwing with the 2020 elections and the very foundation of our government. Who knew that it would not be from Russia or China but from the President of the United States himself! Trump has proven himself to be a truculent, score settling baby thug bully who has been enabled by 70 million sycophants who excuse his behavior. Trump as well as the enablers are on the wrong side of history. His inability to think of the needs of the country is criminal at the very least and dangerous as we count down to the days when this cancerous blight is removed from the national scene. (aol news, LuLac)



The road from Maryland’s statehouse to the nation’s capital is a relatively short 30 miles, but for all the difference between Annapolis and Washington, the two cities could be 30 light-years away. Maryland is routinely deemed one of the nation’s better-governed states, its social safety net earning praise for protecting citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Washington has passed from partisan division to an even more advanced stage of political combat, in which progressives are fighting Democrats, conservatives are fighting Republicans and President Trump sends everyone into disarray.

On Monday, Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, arrived in Washington with a simple message: There is another way. Arguing in a speech before the Ronald Reagan Institute that this is a nation of “civility and pragmatism,” he observed that “most of us are sick and tired of all the drama.”

As they say on Twitter, fact check: True.

Some expect that message will be the bedrock of Hogan’s bid for the White House. That he was speaking at an institute named for another beloved Republican governor, one who offered hope to a nation worn down by scandal and dysfunction, was not lost on anyone. That follows Hogan having voted for Reagan in the just-concluded presidential election, thus deftly rejecting Trump but not the Republican Party.

The question is whether Hogan’s old-fashioned, low-heat conservatism can appeal to a party that remains in the thrall of Donald Trump and his brand of inflammatory populist politics.

The 64-year-old second-termer plainly thinks so. “The vast majority of Americans are moderate,” said Hogan, who has the gruff but pleasant demeanor of a particularly capable electrical contractor. Before coming to politics he was, like the current occupant of the White House, a private developer. 

Politics, though, is a family trade: Hogan’s father, the late Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., was the only Republican to fully endorse the impeachment of President Richard Nixon in 1974. 


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the Trump campaign’s claim that Philadelphia violated state election law in the way it handled observers at a city ballot counting center.

The ruling is likely to undercut the Trump campaign's case in federal court, where Rudy Giuliani joined a hearing Tuesday to argue on behalf of President Donald Trump's effort to contest the election results in Pennsylvania, baselessly alleging "widespread national voter fraud."

According to NBC News, President-elect Joe Biden won the state by more than 74,000 votes.

Giuliani claimed that one of the main problems in Pennsylvania is that Republican election observers weren’t allowed to get close enough to the vote counting tables in Philadelphia to get any meaningful idea of what was going on.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, said all state law requires is that observers must be allowed “in the room” where ballots are counted. The law does not set a minimum distance between them and the counting tables.

The legislature didn’t provide one, and the court can’t, either. The ruling says the legislature left it up to county election boards to make these decisions. And in the case of Philadelphia, the local board “fashioned these rules based on its careful consideration of how it could best protect the security and privacy of voters' ballots, as well as safeguard its employees and others who would be present during a pandemic.”

Observers are there to watch, it said, not to audit ballots.

The witness who testified in court said he could see the entire counting process, the court found.

The court's vote was 5-2. 



Congressman Matt Cartwright (Photo: LuLac archives)

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) introduced the Managing American Knowledge and Equipment to Prevent Pandemic Emergencies (MAKE PPE) Act to build our domestic manufacturing capacity of personal protective equipment (PPE) and nonpharmaceutical supplies and bolster American preparedness for pandemics.

 “Health experts agree that PPE is one of the most important tools we have to fight the deadly coronavirus,” Cartwright said. “We were caught flat-footed when COVID-19 arrived in America, and we continue to grapple with persistent shortages of this equipment because of our limited PPE manufacturing capacity. This legislation ensures the U.S. has a coordinated strategy to face future health crises and invests in American businesses to consistently produce the PPE we need.”

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, large hospitals in major cities sounded the alarm about the lack of PPE for health care workers fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic. Nurses in New York were forced to wear trash bags as makeshift gowns and told to reuse N95 masks for days and weeks at a time. In March, the Strategic National Stockpile had 12 million N95 masks and 30 million surgical masks, only 1% of the 3.5 billion masks that public health officials say are needed this year.

 In June, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) revealed that the demand for PPE in the U.S. outpaces domestic manufacturing capabilities, which led to an overreliance on foreign supply chains. The surging global demand for this equipment made it difficult to procure.

At a hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Reform in July, representatives from six large medical equipment distribution companies that were involved with the Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus reported widespread challenges to providing PPE and other medical supplies to communities in need across the country. Industry officials reported that from January to March, repeated requests for guidance from the federal government went unanswered. The administration left local governments and hospitals to fend for themselves, exacerbating already strained budgets and pitting states in competition with each other.

Some American manufacturers shifted production to simple PPE items like face shields and hand sanitizer, only to find the market flooded with similar products while more complicated equipment, like N95 respirator masks used by health care workers, remain in short supply. Small- and mid-sized manufacturers cite prohibitive costs and high levels of risk preventing them from entering the PPE space. Without federal assistance, many American manufacturing companies cannot afford to expand production capabilities.

 Six months into the pandemic, N95 respirator masks and other PPE are still hard to find. The Trump Administration and FEMA have so far failed to execute a national strategy to address persisting PPE shortages around the country. As small businesses and schools re-open, they join hospitals, churches and governments in open competition to procure enough PPE to operate safely. Without federal assistance, large corporations and hospital systems have been able to amass PPE stockpiles while cash-strapped school districts and small business owners struggle to afford PPE from foreign suppliers.

The MAKE PPE Act would address what has traditionally been a major gap in planning and preparedness efforts by ensuring adequate domestic production capacity for PPE and other critical supplies needed to respond to a public health emergency. Specifically, this bill would require FEMA to execute a national strategy to meet PPE manufacturing and distribution needs through a centralized office.

Other key provisions include:

Requiring the development of a strategy for maximizing the use of U.S.-made PPE during an emergency, including an assessment of current sourcing challenges and opportunities to increase U.S. manufacturing of PPE;

Utilizing the federal government’s buying power to send a consistent demand signal to manufacturers of PPE and other materials that they should invest in domestic production;

Authorizing $100 million per year in grant funding to ensure that new and existing American manufacturers, including those in economically distressed areas, get assistance and support to build or expand PPE manufacturing capability;

Adding a data sharing requirement to existing public health grants to ensure that the federal government can access the data needed to coordinate materials needs during a crisis;

Updating the Stafford Act to include a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, in the definition of a major disaster; and

Increasing resiliency by producing information and resources about how to make basic temporary protective equipment at home.

This legislation is endorsed by the International Safety Equipment Association.

“To ensure safety equipment manufacturers can meet demand during a public health emergency, the federal government must regularly collect and provide PPE needs assessments from the healthcare community. ISEA supports the MAKE PPE bill because it would require FEMA to do this during a pandemic or other national emergency. The MAKE PPE Act puts America on the right track to better prepare for future crises, and we look forward to its fair and equitable implementation,” said Chuck Johnson, Jr., ISEA President.

This legislation is also sponsored by U.S. Reps. Joe Morelle (NY-25), Collin Peterson (MN-07) and Chris Pappas (NH-01).   


Senator Bob Casey (Photo: (LuLac archives) 

On the heels of Veterans Day, U.S. Senator Bob Casey is announcing Senate passage of his bipartisan legislation to honor American women who joined the workforce in support of the war effort during World War II. The Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act would award a Congressional Gold Medal to these “Rosie the Riveters” who answered the Nation’s call to action and learned new skills, many building the vehicles, weaponry and ammunitions that were critical to the war effort. Senator Casey led the effort along with U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and U.S. Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1). 76 senators co-sponsored the Senate bill, including every female senator.

 “These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ played an invaluable role in our Nation’s efforts during the war. They rose to the challenge and set a powerful example – not only for working women, but for all Americans. Millions of women helped support our troops during WWII, whether they worked on assembly lines, addressed the troops’ medical needs or tended to ships and farms. Today, their example continues to inspire generations to embody the ‘We Can Do It’ spirit. The ‘Rosies’ are among our Nation's greatest living heroines, and they deserve this long-overdue recognition for their tremendous service to our country,” said Senator Casey.

“This bipartisan legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 16 million ‘Rosie the Riveters’ will provide a long-overdue recognition of these incredible women who stepped up in a time of great need,” said Senator Collins. “During World War II, mothers, wives, and daughters answered our nation's call to action by working tirelessly in factories, farms, shipyards, airplane factories, and other institutions in support of our Armed Forces. Their hard work, dedication, and 'We Can Do It' spirit has inspired many future generations of women.”

 “During one of the most challenging chapters of American history, our real-life Rosie the Riveters were beacons of hope and patriotism,” said Representative Speier, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “Their ‘We Can Do It’ spirit inspired a nation grappling with the hardships of war to rise to the challenge, supercharge the war effort, and achieve victory. The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter continues to inspire generations of young women across America to blaze new trails. But for decades, our Rosies – many of whom continue to dedicate their lives to service – have been denied the recognition awarded to other World War II heroes. I’m thankful to Sen. Casey for his tireless efforts and thrilled that the Senate has joined the House in passing legislation to finally honor Rosie the Riveters for their courage, sacrifice, and immense contributions to our nation.”

“I am incredibly happy to see the Senate pass our bipartisan Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act. During World War II, women across our country, and across Pennsylvania, left their homes to work in support of the war effort. These patriots worked as riveters, buckers, welders, and electricians,” said Representative Fitzpatrick. “These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ embodied the ‘We can do it’ spirit forever connected with the famous poster. I am especially proud to represent Levittown’s Mae Krier, who helped build B-17 and B-29 Bombers during World War II. Mae’s tireless advocacy for her fellow Rosies helped get this legislation through the House and Senate. I would also like to thank Senator Casey for his partnership on this important legislation.”

“I started this effort in the 1980s because people didn’t know how important women were to the war,” said Mae Krier, a Rosie the Riveter from Levittown, PA who has advocated on behalf of her fellow Rosies for decades. “After the war the men would say they would not have won without the women and what we made, but over time, people did not know that. Millions of women dropped everything to assist however we could. It was our job, not your job or my job. It was not about Democrats or Republicans. It was about saving the country. We made the country realize that women are capable. So I set a goal to make sure we were recognized. I was afraid we wouldn’t make history, but now our hard work has paid off. I thank Senator Casey, Senator Collins, Representative Fitzpatrick and Representative Speier for their dedication to recognizing all of the Rosies.”

The percentage of women in the workforce jumped from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent between 1940 and 1945. By the end of the war, nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. These ‘Rosie the Riveters’ took positions across various industries, but the aviation industry saw the biggest increase of female workers – with more than 310,000 working in the aircraft industry in 1943, representing 65 percent of its workforce.  






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Skydiver Kenneth W. Swyers landed onto the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri after using his parasail to guide him. According to his friends, Swyers's intent was to pass directly underneath the structure and landing on to the Arch was accidental. Seconds later, a stiff wind blew him sideways and dragged him and the parasail down the north side and he plunged 630 feet (190 m) to his death……Mae West, 87, pioneering American sex symbol and film actress and John W. McCormack, 88, U.S. Congressman for Massachusetts for 43 years from 1928 to 1971, and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1962 to 1971 passed way………The first elections for the 12-member Tobago House of Assembly were conducted as the small island received autonomy within the nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The Democratic Action Congress won 8 of the 12 seats…..

In the long-awaited rematch for the world welterweight boxing championship in Las Vegas between World Boxing Council champion Roberto Duran and former WBC champion Sugar Ray Leonard, whom Duran had defeated on June 20.[60] The fight ended abruptly in the closing seconds of the eighth round when Duran quit the fight, reportedly telling referee Octavio Meyran "No más" (Spanish for "no more"), and Leonard reclaimed his WBC title…..An explosion killed 105 women and girls who were attending an engagement party in the Turkish village of Danaciobasi, about 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Ankara.As the party went past midnight, a power outage in the village led to the hosts using a canister of liquefied gas to provide illumination, unaware that the container was leaking. After an initial blast caused panic, a second massive explosion killed almost all of the people who had been unable to flee……..In the Gang of Four trial of 10 defendants in Beijing, three former generals confessed to participating in a 1971 plot by former Defense Minister Lin Biao to assassinate Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong. Huang Yongsheng, who had been Chief of Staff of the Army, and Li Zuopeng, the former political commissar of the Chinese Navy, said that they had passed privileged information to Mr. Lin that had led to the plot. The other general, former Nanjing political commissar Jiang Tengjiao, said he took part in a secret meeting with Lin's son Lin Liguo, who had organized the plot. "3 Chinese Concede Role in Plot to Kill Mao", The New York Times, November 26, 1980….In a secret memorandum, East Germany's Communist Party leader Erich Honecker, the de facto leader of the country, asked the leaders of the other Warsaw Pact nations to invade Poland."According to information that we are receiving through various channels," Honecker wrote to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (with copies to the other Communist leaders), "counterrevolutionary forces are on a constant offensive in Poland. Any hesitation will mean death— the death of socialist Poland. Yesterday our collective measures might have been premature. Today they are necessary, but tomorrow they may be too late." In response, Brezhnev convened an emergency meeting of the Warsaw Pact on December 5, but the leaders agreed that military intervention would derail attempts to improve relations with non-Communist nations. The memo would not be discovered until 12 years later, after the fall of East Germany and its reunification under West Germany's jurisdiction……After nearly 20 years of trying, Sir Richard Attenborough succeeded in making real his Academy Award-winning film, Gandhi as filming began on location in India.[64] Attenborough's classic 1982 movie about the life of the Mahatma Gandhi had its roots in a 1962 meeting with an Indian official, followed by years of getting approval from India's leaders, financial backing from investors, and the recruitment of screenwriters and cast……..In the National Hockey League, the Vancouver Canucks turned a 3–2 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins into 7–2 in less than 90 seconds. In the final period, four different Vancouver players got the puck past Pittsburgh's Greg Millen with goals at 2:07, 2:34, 3:05 and 3:30. The feat was four seconds short of the 1945 NHL record of four goals in 80 seconds…and forty years ago the number one song in LuLac land and America was  “Love On the Rocks” by Neil Diamond.