Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The LuLac Edition #18-May 31rst, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY..................Lynn Swann made a stop with former Governor Tom Ridge at the Airport yesterday. It was part of a multi city tour where Swann met and greeted voters in a controlled setting. Swann's travels took him to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre/Scranton and then winding up in Erie. Swann also was accompanied by his running mate, Jim Matthews. The candidate touched upon issues like property tax reform. Swann's plan is a type of California based "Proposition 13" plan which would give property tax relief to homeowners in the form of rebates. 75% of the general fund budget would be used to make the short term cuts. The long term sloices would come in the form of a proposed Constitutional amendment should he defeat Ed Rendell in the fall. Campaign officials gave no word on when Swann's broadcast media would begin.

The Luzerne County Commissioners are talking reassessment. At the bi monthly meeting at the Courthouse, the commissioners sparred on whether to proceed with the project this year or wait until next year. The proposed cost of the project is $725,000.00. There are some homeowners paying less than they should, others paying more. The issue always has been a political third rail that not many office holders want to deal with. The last time there was a property reassessment inh the county was during the terms of Bill Goss, Jim Post (Depublican majority) and Ed Wideman (Democratic minority) from 1963 to 1967. The political fallout from that reasessment was so strong that Goss ran for County Treeasuer, vacating the Commissioners candidate's seat, Post teamed up with Ethel Price to run as the Republican team against minority commissioner Wideman and former state reprsentative Frank Crossin. Wideman and Crossin were elected in the 1967 race, Price was elected the Minority Commissioner and Post came in dead last. Goss was also defeated as Treasuer losing to Bill Curwood. Politicos agree how all three commissioners handle this reassessment situation will make all the difference in the world regarding their election chances in 2007. In the meantime, there will be more debate on this issue in the weeks to come.

Joe Chacke, Republican candidate in the 120th Republican race wrote a nice letter to the editor in the Citizen's Voice. Chacke thanked his supporters (he got 1500 voters) and really was quite cohesive in his comments as President of the Forty Fort Borough Council. Chacke campaigned hard (harder than the guy he beat) and had his signs all over the district. In a classy moved he lent his support to the GOP candidate, State Committeeman John Cordara who faces off against Phillis Mundy (Democrat) in the fall. Chacke seems to have a bright political future and the way he handled adversity in his defeat, plus his articulation of his role in government gives him high marks.

Former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen had a "massive, positive impact" during his two years as treasury secretary in one of the country's most economically challenging times, former President Clinton told mourners Tuesday. Clinton, accompanied by his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, spoke at a memorial service at First Presbyterian Church, held after a private graveside service for Bentsen's family.
Bentsen, who represented Texas in Congress for 28 years and was Clinton's first treasury secretary, died at his Houston home May 23 at age 85. He had been under a doctor's care and in a wheelchair since suffering two strokes in 1998.
Bentsen, the running mate of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election, was "one of the very few candidates for the vice presidency in the history of the republic who lost and came out better than he went in," Clinton said, drawing laughs from the crowd of about 1,200 mourners.
As Clinton's first treasury secretary, in 1993-94, Bentsen was instrumental in developing the country's economic plan and in winning passage of a plan to expand trade relations with Mexico, Clinton said. "It's still a controversial issue, but I ask you to think how much more complex and difficult this immigration debate would be today" if that plan had not been approved, Clinton said.
Bentsen also is credited with helping pass a program providing billions to help Russia's economy as it teetered on financial collapse and could have "started the Cold War all over again," Clinton said. The aid to Russia "was opposed by 76 percent of the American people, but Lloyd knew it was right, and we got it through," Clinton said.
Attending the service were former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, former Secretary of State James Baker, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former House Speaker Jim Wright, Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn of Texas, and former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros.
During the 1988 vice presidential debate, Bentsen famously put down vice presidential rival Dan Quayle after Quayle commented that he had as much experience in Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy," Bentsen said. "I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Among the more than 60 honorary pallbearers were Clinton; Dukakis; former President Bush; former Secretaries of State Baker, Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger; former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady; former Texas Gov. Ann Richards; and Southwest Airlines Chairman Herb Kelleher.

BENSTEN KNEW IT WAS COMING.....Much has been made of the 1988 debate comment made by then Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bensteon regarding Dan Quayle equating his own experience with that of the late President Kennedy. (Kennedy had 6 years in the House, 8 in the Senate, Quayle had 4 in the House and 10 in the Senate). While the devastating line was delivered with perfect timing, Bensten was ready for the Quayle comment because the GOP candidate was making that same remark on the campaign trail. The Democrats who were helping Bensten with the debate prep keyed in on thre remark and when Quayle made the comment, Bensten made Vice Presidential debate history.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The LuLac Edition #17-May 30th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY...........Lynn Swann, GOP candidate for Governor starts a tour of the northeast today with former Governor Tom Ridge. The duo begins in Scranton. Swann is charging that Rendell campaign operatives are keeping his (Swann's) fundraising efforts down by telling his would be contributors that state contracts would not be awarded to them if they crossed onto the GOP turf. Now this is tough to prove and a few political observers say this smacks of desperation politics. Swann will comment on these charges. He will also be joined by Lt. Governor candidate Jim Matthews.

KANJORSKI LISTS TOWN MEETINGS....from a Kanjorski e mail:
Many issues are on our minds today - the war in Iraq, the rising cost of gas, increased health care costs - and I want to hear from you. Please join me for a conversation at one of my upcoming regional town halls:
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hillside Inn and Resort Frutchey Drive off Route 209, Smithfield Township
Thursday, June 1, 2006 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tripp Park Community Building 2000 Dorothy St., ScrantonSaturday,
June 3, 2006 10 a.m. to noon Wilkes University's Henry Student Center Second Floor 84 West South St., Wilkes-Barre
Anyone with disabilities or who needs special accommodations should call Congressman Kanjorski's Wilkes-Barre Office at (570) 825-2200 or his Scranton Office at (570) 496-1011 as soon as possible prior to the town hall.

COMMENTARIES...........Lynn Swann's latest salvo in the campaign, saying that his potential contributors are being squeezed by Rendell operatives just doesn't make sense. Rendell is a fundraising machine who routinely raised mega bucks for the Democratic National Commttee when he was Chairman, and when he ran for Governor in 2002 raised tons of money without breaking a sweat. To charge that Rendell's people are pressuring others not to give is saying that Rendell is a political novice and doesn't know any better, (I can't believe the politically astute Governor acquired a case of "stupid" all of a sudden) and that as a former District Attorney, Rendell would even allow a hint of that type of political play. This is the latest in a series of questionable Swann statements that are entertaining to the press but makes a dubious impression with the public. By the way, Mr. Swann, welcome to "Casey Country".

MEDIA WATCH...............Much thanks to Joe Valenti of the Sunday Dispatch for giving us a hit in his weekly column regarding the race for state representative in the 118th district. Joe writes a great informational column and we appreciated his references to us................Also regarding the recent primary election, I found some disparaging comments about the coverage WILK Radio offered on a Radio Message board recently. Now I used to post on that board but because of major technical difficulties, can't get access to their site with my old password, new password or even Amelia Earhart's password. Anyway, WILK did a super job in covering all of the races and filled in a gap for political coverage that local TV and the rest of the radio market has yet to fill. The station not only provided good commentary but also got "breaking hard news" on developments during the election night coverage. To throw brickbats at the fine coverage is just really puzzling to me. I would have posted this on that message board but the powers that be are making it difficult to participate as I once did. But to WILK, great job. Sorry for the belated defense to the unwarranted if you needed defense for your actions from me or anyone else.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The LuLac Edition #16-May 28th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY…………..Memorial Day weekend is here and many people in the country have been lamenting the fact that the Holiday has become just that, a 3 day weekend with virtually no remembrance of why it is celebrated. However, in this area there are a plethora of observances going on in the following towns, Taylor, Troop, Blakely, West Pittston, Pittston, Olyphant, Elmhust, Jessup, Lakeland, Montrose, Scranton, The Abingtons, Avoca, Archbald, Peckville, Dalton, Dickson City, Nanticoke, Warrior Run, Sugarnotch, Wilkes-Barre, Ashley, Dupont, Glen Lyon, Hunlock Creek, Jim Thorpe, Laflin, West Wyoming, Dunmore and Duryea. Check your local paper for times. Most observances will be held on Monday, Memorial Day.

POLITICAL BIRTHDAYS OF NOTE………Rudy Giuliani was born on May 28th, 1944 in Brooklyn. He became the 107th Mayor of New York City. Elected in 1993, Giuliani served two terms and distinguished himself as the pillar of strength in the 911 attacks in the year 2001. A personal story about the Mayor. In the summer of 1993, I went to Yankee Stadium with a few friends and saw the then candidate Giuliani sitting with a few people in the box seats. I took my camera and approached him for a picture. He smiled and agreed. We had a short but very nice conversation about the Yankees, New York and the Mayor’s race. Fast forward a year to 1994. Same game, Old Timer’s Day at the Stadium, same type of day, sunny and warm. Had the photo I took with the now elected Mayor the summer before and wanted it autographed. Went to the seats but unlike the year before, the Mayor was surrounded by a phalanx of aides, guards and hangers-ons. So I passed the photo along with a sharpie pen across the seats like one Yankee fan would pass a dog or a beer from hand to hand. The Mayor got my picture, signed it, stood up and waved toward me, then passed it back to the fans who complimented me on the photo and the autograph. Only in New York!!!! It is said Giuliani might make a run for the White House in 2008. He is currently doing the tours of Iowa and New Hampshire. Even though his views are left of this administration, his entry into the race would make it very interesting.

John F. Kennedy……………Born May 29th in Brookline, Mass., Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States. He had it all politically, war hero, humility, (asked how he became a war hero, he said, (“they sunk my boat”,) money, great advisers, a vision for what he wanted America to be. His assassination in 1963 elevated him to another level of American hero status that has made him a surreal icon 40 years after his death. The death of JFK also brought about major changes in the way American life was viewed. After his death, the media, the public’s perception of politics and its view of issues was never quite the same. As a 6 year old boy, I had the opportunity to see Kennedy in a motorcade traveling through the streets of Luzerne and Lackawanna county in the 1960 campaign. The open car slowly approached and the handsome, photogenic candidate waved to us as we cheered him at the foot of the alleyway in our neighborhood where we rode our bikes. My father insisted I go, and at first, I was reluctant but was very glad I had the opportunity to see him in person. The Kennedy family has always preferred to celebrate JFK’s birth instead of his death in public venues regarding his legacy and library. John Kennedy would have been 89 years old on May 29th.

Memorial Day............In observance of Memorial Day, we present the original Memorial Day proclamation as well as a stirring address by Oliver Wendell Holmes on the significance of this day.

General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of
JOHN A. LOGAN,Commander-in-Chief
N.P. CHIPMAN,Adjutant General
Official:WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
"In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire"
[An address delivered for Memorial Day, May 30, 1884, at Keene, NH, before John Sedgwick Post No. 4, Grand Army of the Republic.]
Not long ago I heard a young man ask why people still kept up Memorial Day, and it set me thinking of the answer. Not the answer that you and I should give to each other-not the expression of those feelings that, so long as you live, will make this day sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth--but an answer which should command the assent of those who do not share our memories, and in which we of the North and our brethren of the South could join in perfect accord.
So far as this last is concerned, to be sure, there is no trouble. The soldiers who were doing their best to kill one another felt less of personal hostility, I am very certain, than some who were not imperilled by their mutual endeavors. I have heard more than one of those who had been gallant and distinguished officers on the Confederate side say that they had had no such feeling. I know that I and those whom I knew best had not. We believed that it was most desirable that the North should win; we believed in the principle that the Union is indissoluable; we, or many of us at least, also believed that the conflict was inevitable, and that slavery had lasted long enough. But we equally believed that those who stood against us held just as sacred conviction that were the opposite of ours, and we respected them as every men with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief. The experience of battle soon taught its lesson even to those who came into the field more bitterly disposed. You could not stand up day after day in those indecisive contests where overwhelming victory was impossible because neither side would run as they ought when beaten, without getting at least something of the same brotherhood for the enemy that the north pole of a magnet has for the south--each working in an opposite sense to the other, but each unable to get along without the other. As it was then , it is now. The soldiers of the war need no explanations; they can join in commemorating a soldier's death with feelings not different in kind, whether he fell toward them or by their side.
But Memorial Day may and ought to have a meaning also for those who do not share our memories. When men have instinctively agreed to celebrate an anniversary, it will be found that there is some thought of feeling behind it which is too large to be dependent upon associations alone. The Fourth of July, for instance, has still its serious aspect, although we no longer should think of rejoicing like children that we have escaped from an outgrown control, although we have achieved not only our national but our moral independence and know it far too profoundly to make a talk about it, and although an Englishman can join in the celebration without a scruple. For, stripped of the temporary associations which gives rise to it, it is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return.
So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiam and faith is the condition of acting greatly. To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhpas a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. All that is required of you is that you should go somewhither as hard as ever you can. The rest belongs to fate. One may fall-at the beginning of the charge or at the top of the earthworks; but in no other way can he reach the rewards of victory.
When it was felt so deeply as it was on both sides that a man ought to take part in the war unless some conscientious scruple or strong practical reason made it impossible, was that feeling simply the requirement of a local majority that their neighbors should agree with them? I think not: I think the feeling was right-in the South as in the North. I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
If this be so, the use of this day is obvious. It is true that I cannot argue a man into a desire. If he says to me, Why should I seek to know the secrets of philosophy? Why seek to decipher the hidden laws of creation that are graven upon the tablets of the rocks, or to unravel the history of civilization that is woven in the tissue of our jurisprudence, or to do any great work, either of speculation or of practical affairs? I cannot answer him; or at least my answer is as little worth making for any effect it will have upon his wishes if he asked why I should eat this, or drink that. You must begin by wanting to. But although desire cannot be imparted by argument, it can be by contagion. Feeling begets feeling, and great feeling begets great feeling. We can hardly share the emotions that make this day to us the most sacred day of the year, and embody them in ceremonial pomp, without in some degree imparting them to those who come after us. I believe from the bottom of my heart that our memorial halls and statues and tablets, the tattered flags of our regiments gathered in the Statehouses, are worth more to our young men by way of chastening and inspiration than the monuments of another hundred years of peaceful life could be.
But even if I am wrong, even if those who come after us are to forget all that we hold dear, and the future is to teach and kindle its children in ways as yet unrevealed, it is enough for us that this day is dear and sacred.
Accidents may call up the events of the war. You see a battery of guns go by at a trot, and for a moment you are back at White Oak Swamp, or Antietam, or on the Jerusalem Road. You hear a few shots fired in the distance, and for an instant your heart stops as you say to yourself, The skirmishers are at it, and listen for the long roll of fire from the main line. You meet an old comrade after many years of absence; he recalls the moment that you were nearly surrounded by the enemy, and again there comes up to you that swift and cunning thinking on which once hung life and freedom--Shall I stand the best chance if I try the pistol or the sabre on that man who means to stop me? Will he get his carbine free before I reach him, or can I kill him first?These and the thousand other events we have known are called up, I say, by accident, and, apart from accident, they lie forgotten.
But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.
I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.
I see a fair-haired lad, a lieutenant, and a captain on whom life had begun somewhat to tell, but still young, sitting by the long mess-table in camp before the regiment left the State, and wondering how many of those who gathered in our tent could hope to see the end of what was then beginning. For neither of them was that destiny reserved. I remember, as I awoke from my first long stupor in the hospital after the battle of Ball's Bluff, I heard the doctor say, "He was a beautiful boy", [Web note: Lt. William L. Putnam, 20th Mass.] and I knew that one of those two speakers was no more. The other, after passing through all the previous battles, went into Fredericksburg with strange premonition of the end, and there met his fate.[Web Note: Cpt. Charles F. Cabot, 20th Mass.]
I see another youthful lieutenant as I saw him in the Seven Days, when I looked down the line at Glendale. The officers were at the head of their companies. The advance was beginning. We caught each other's eye and saluted. When next I looked, he was gone. [Web note: Lt. James. J. Lowell, 20th Mass.]
I see the brother of the last-the flame of genius and daring on his face--as he rode before us into the wood of Antietam, out of which came only dead and deadly wounded men. So, a little later, he rode to his death at the head of his cavalry in the Valley.
In the portraits of some of those who fell in the civil wars of England, Vandyke has fixed on canvas the type who stand before my memory. Young and gracious faces, somewhat remote and proud, but with a melancholy and sweet kindness. There is upon their faces the shadow of approaching fate, and the glory of generous acceptance of it. I may say of them , as I once heard it said of two Frenchmen, relics of the ancien regime, "They were very gentle. They cared nothing for their lives." High breeding, romantic chivalry--we who have seen these men can never believe that the power of money or the enervation of pleasure has put an end to them. We know that life may still be lifted into poetry and lit with spiritual charm.
But the men, not less, perhaps even more, characteristic of New England, were the Puritans of our day. For the Puritan still lives in New England, thank God! and will live there so long as New England lives and keeps her old renown. New England is not dead yet. She still is mother of a race of conquerors--stern men, little given to the expression of their feelings, sometimes careless of their graces, but fertile, tenacious, and knowing only duty. Each of you, as I do, thinks of a hundred such that he has known.[Web note: Unfortunately for New England, no such "conquerors" have played for the Red Sox since 1918]. I see one--grandson of a hard rider of the Revolution and bearer of his historic name--who was with us at Fair Oaks, and afterwards for five days and nights in front of the enemy the only sleep that he would take was what he could snatch sitting erect in his uniform and resting his back against a hut. He fell at Gettysburg. [Web note: Col. Paul Revere, Jr., 20th Mass.].
His brother , a surgeon, [Web note: Edward H.R. Revere] who rode, as our surgeons so often did, wherever the troops would go, I saw kneeling in ministration to a wounded man just in rear of our line at Antietam, his horse's bridle round his arm--the next moment his ministrations were ended. His senior associate survived all the wounds and perils of the war, but , not yet through with duty as he understood it, fell in helping the helpless poor who were dying of cholera in a Western city.
I see another quiet figure, of virtuous life and quiet ways, not much heard of until our left was turned at Petersburg. He was in command of the regiment as he saw our comrades driven in. He threw back our left wing, and the advancing tide of defeat was shattered against his iron wall. He saved an army corps from disaster, and then a round shot ended all for him. [Web note: Major Henry Patten, 20th Mass.]
There is one who on this day is always present on my mind. [Web note: Henry Abbott, 20th Mass.] He entered the army at nineteen, a second lieutenant. In the Wilderness, already at the head of his regiment, he fell, using the moment that was left him of life to give all of his little fortune to his soldiers.I saw him in camp, on the march, in action. I crossed debatable land with him when we were rejoining the Army together. I observed him in every kind of duty, and never in all the time I knew him did I see him fail to choose that alternative of conduct which was most disagreeable to himself. He was indeed a Puritan in all his virtues, without the Puritan austerity; for, when duty was at an end, he who had been the master and leader became the chosen companion in every pleasure that a man might honestly enjoy. His few surviving companions will never forget the awful spectacle of his advance alone with his company in the streets of Fredericksburg.[Web note: The legendary suicidal charge of the 20th Mass. Regiment occurred on Dec. 11, 1862.] In less than sixty seconds he would become the focus of a hidden and annihilating fire from a semicircle of houses. His first platoon had vanished under it in an instant, ten men falling dead by his side. He had quietly turned back to where the other half of his company was waiting, had given the order, "Second Platoon, forward!" and was again moving on, in obedience to superior command, to certain and useless death, when the order he was obeying was countermanded. The end was distant only a few seconds; but if you had seen him with his indifferent carriage, and sword swinging from his finger like a cane, you would never have suspected that he was doing more than conducting a company drill on the camp parade ground. He was little more than a boy, but the grizzled corps commanders knew and admired him; and for us, who not only admired, but loved, his death seemed to end a portion of our life also.
There is one grave and commanding presence that you all would recognize, for his life has become a part of our common history. [Web note: William Bartlett, 20th Mass.]. Who does not remember the leader of the assault of the mine at Petersburg? The solitary horseman in front of Port Hudson, whom a foeman worthy of him bade his soldiers spare, from love and admiration of such gallant bearing? Who does not still hear the echo of those eloquent lips after the war, teaching reconciliation and peace? I may not do more than allude to his death, fit ending of his life. All that the world has a right to know has been told by a beloved friend in a book wherein friendship has found no need to exaggerate facts that speak for themselves. I knew him ,and I may even say I knew him well; yet, until that book appeared, I had not known the governing motive of his soul. I had admired him as a hero. When I read, I learned to revere him as a saint. His strength was not in honor alone, but in religion; and those who do not share his creed must see that it was on the wings of religious faith that he mounted above even valiant deeds into an empyrean of ideal life.
I have spoken of some of the men who were near to me among others very near and dear, not because their lives have become historic, but because their lives are the type of what every soldier has known and seen in his own company. In the great democracy of self-devotion private and general stand side by side. Unmarshalled save by their own deeds, the army of the dead sweep before us, "wearing their wounds like stars." It is not because the men I have mentioned were my friends that I have spoken of them, but, I repeat, because they are types. I speak of those whom I have seen. But you all have known such; you, too, remember!
It is not of the dead alone that we think on this day. There are those still living whose sex forbade them to offer their lives, but who gave instead their happiness. Which of us has not been lifted above himself by the sight of one of those lovely, lonely women, around whom the wand of sorrow has traced its excluding circle--set apart, even when surrounded by loving friends who would fain bring back joy to their lives? I think of one whom the poor of a great city know as their benefactress and friend. I think of one who has lived not less greatly in the midst of her children, to whom she has taught such lessons as may not be heard elsewhere from mortal lips. The story of these and her sisters we must pass in reverent silence. All that may be said has been said by one of their own sex---
But when the days of golden dreams had perished, And even despair was powerless to destroy, Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.Then did I check the tears of useless passion,weaned my young soul from yearning after thineSternly denied its burning wish to hastenDown to that tomb already more than mine.
Comrades, some of the associations of this day are not only triumphant, but joyful. Not all of those with whom we once stood shoulder to shoulder--not all of those whom we once loved and revered--are gone. On this day we still meet our companions in the freezing winter bivouacs and in those dreadful summer marches where every faculty of the soul seemed to depart one after another, leaving only a dumb animal power to set the teeth and to persist-- a blind belief that somewhere and at last there was bread and water. On this day, at least, we still meet and rejoice in the closest tie which is possible between men-- a tie which suffering has made indissoluble for better, for worse.
When we meet thus, when we do honor to the dead in terms that must sometimes embrace the living, we do not deceive ourselves. We attribute no special merit to a man for having served when all were serving. We know that, if the armies of our war did anything worth remembering, the credit belongs not mainly to the individuals who did it, but to average human nature. We also know very well that we cannot live in associations with the past alone, and we admit that, if we would be worthy of the past, we must find new fields for action or thought, and make for ourselves new careers.
But, nevertheless, the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us. But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from Fortune her spade, and will look downward and dig, or from Aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart.
Such hearts--ah me, how many!--were stilled twenty years ago; and to us who remain behind is left this day of memories. Every year--in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life--there comes a pause, and through the silence we hear the lonely pipe of death. Year after year lovers wandering under the apple trees and through the clover and deep grass are surprised with sudden tears as they see black veiled figures stealing through the morning to a soldier's grave. Year after year the comrades of the dead follow, with public honor, procession and commemorative flags and funeral march--honor and grief from us who stand almost alone, and have seen the best and noblest of our generation pass away.
But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a paean. I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death--of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen , the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.
[Link here to Holmes' other famous Memorial Day speech, in 1895: "The Soldier's Faith"]
Source: The Essential Holmes: Selections From the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Edited and With an Introduction by Richard A Posner (University of Chicago Press, 1992) pp. 80-87.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The LuLac Edition #15-May 27th, 2006

News of the Day………..While Maureen Tatu has declared victory in the 118th Republican Legislative race, Art Bobbouine is still asking for a recount. Tatu told one of the local news stations that if she were in Bobbouine’s position, she’d do the same. But as it stands now, the Monroe County resident is set to face off with Mike Carroll for the seat vacated by Representative Tom Tigue…………The city of Wilkes Barre finally got around to approving the Government referendum that calls for a pairing down of council seats from 7 to 5. Right now city council is an “at large” body with council being elected citywide. However, under the new system, the district will be divided into 5 separate districts. This will have ramifications in next year’s municipal elections. For example Phil Litinski, Mike McGinley and Bill Barrett will face off in one district while Kathy Kane and Jim McCarthy will square off in another. This is course of depending on whether they all run for re-election. No council members made comments on the new arrangements but Kathy Kane launched into a large and vocal criticism of taxpayer advocate Walter Griffiths labeling him as an “opportunist” who will do anything to get elected. Griffiths was absent from the meeting.

COMMENTARIES………..I did not vote for the new council arrangement. Although I have been critical of Wilkes Barre City Council’s inaction in the past, I think setting up separate districts will not benefit the city as a whole and pit neighborhoods against neighborhoods. It might be a more divisive force than a unifying one.

MEDIA WATCH……….WILK’s Sue Henry is rapidly becoming Rick Santorum’s Howard Cosell and Santorum is becoming Muhammad Ali. The Junior Senator was on her show again on Friday making news. On the immigration issue, he labeled President Bush as “wrong headed” and said he did not understand why the President was taking a stand like that. He guessed it might be Bush’s past experience as a border state Governor. Henry closed the interview by asking the Senator if she could get an invite to his Penn Hills home, part of a controversy surrounding the Senator’s residency issue. Santorum, clearly taken aback dodged the issue and quickly ended the phone call. The conversations between Henry and Santorum remind me of the times when the late Howard Cosell sparred verbally with the great fighter Ali. While Henry has regard for the Senator, she is not afraid to ask the tough questions.


LLOYD BENSTEN……The late Senator and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bensten died this week. As a college student majoring in both Government/Communications and working as a reporter in the 1976 campaign, I had the opportunity to speak with the Senator via phone in an interview for a college radio station as well as the local NPR radio outlet. He was a well schooled man who had a great grasp on the issues. Bensten in the interview showed the future promise of a powerhouse Senate leader, Vice Presidential candidate and Treasury Secretary. Unfortunately his 1976 Presidential campaign ended before the primary season but that did not diminish his star power within the party.
Colorado Democratic Leadership Council official Jim Gibson had this comment on Bensten’s passing. “Sen. Lloyd Bensten was a great example of a bipartisanship and problem-solving public public official that we miss so much today. More people in elected office should follow how he governed.”
Lloyd Bentsen, was a courtly Texan who represented the state in Congress for 28 years and served as President Clinton's first treasury secretary. Bentsen, 85, who died at his Houston home, capped off a long political career as the Democratic 1988 vice presidential nominee, famously telling rival Dan Quayle during a televised debate: "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Bentsen's distinguished political career took him from the humble beginnings of a county office in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1940s to six years in the U.S. House, 22 in the U.S. Senate and two in the Clinton Cabinet, where he was instrumental in directing the administration's economic policy. A shrewd legislative operator, the silver-haired politician maneuvered with ease in Democratic and Republican circles alike on Capitol Hill, crafting deals behind the scenes in a dispassionate, reserved fashion. Chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee for six years, Bentsen was a solidly pro-business Democrat who compiled a record as a staunch advocate of international trade and protector of the oil and gas industry.
The scion of a wealthy Rio Grande Valley family, Bentsen first distinguished himself in World War II, where he flew 50 bomber missions over Europe. Returning home as a decorated veteran, the 25-year-old was elected Hidalgo County judge in 1946. Two years later, he moved to the House. In his first House term, Bentsen was one of a handful of Southern congressmen voting against the poll tax, which was used to keep blacks from voting. Despite the prediction of one of his mentors, legendary House Speaker Sam Rayburn, that he, too, could one day become speaker, Bentsen decided not to seek re-election in 1954. Instead, he opted to return to private life in Houston and build his own fortune, using several million dollars in seed money from his family.
Flush with corporate success, the millionaire felt the call of politics anew and decided in 1970 to challenge liberal Democratic Sen. Ralph Yarborough. After winning a bitter primary, Bentsen went on to defeat his Republican rival, Congressman George Bush, for the first of four Senate terms. The moderate-to-conservative Democrat, who preferred to work away from the limelight, quickly built a reputation as a bipartisan coalition builder. National ambitions led him to seek the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination, a race he quickly abandoned after gaining little support. Returning his attention to the Senate, Bentsen cemented his expertise in tax, trade and economic issues as well as foreign affairs. By 1988, Bentsen was one of the Senate's most respected voices. That year, Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis tapped the elder statesman as his running mate. The Dukakis-Bentsen ticket went down hard, losing 40 states - including Texas - to the Bush-Quayle team.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The LuLac Edition #14-May 25h, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY..............A business group canceled a dinner featuring gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann and returned more than $15,000 in campaign contributions after Swann begged off to campaign in Erie. Swann broke the date to campaign with popular former GOP governor Tom Ridge in his (Ridge's) hometown.
About 270 people were expected to attend the May 30 West Branch Manufacturers' Association dinner, featuring a keynote address by Swann, in Williamsport. Many were disappointed about the cancellation.
One of Swann's staffers contacted William Metzger Sr., an association board member about the change of plans. "It makes you wonder, if he were going to be governor, would he keep his commitments?" Sharbaugh said in Wednesday's editions of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.
Swann spokeswoman Melissa Walters told the newspaper the campaign regretted postponing the appearance. Metzger said Swann's campaign had chosen the date of the speech. It was originally scheduled for a luncheon reception, but was rescheduled as a dinner after the campaign later said he could not make the luncheon. The campaign contributions had been collected for a VIP reception that was scheduled to take place before the dinner. Officials of the manufacturing association declined the campaign's offer of Swann's running-mate, Jim Matthews, as a substitute speaker.

The new airport terminal's first day went smoothly. Delta flights were the first ones to leave at 6AM from the terminal named for former Congressman Joe McDade. McDade served in Congress from 1963 to 1999. He replaced William Warren Scranton, the former governor in that seat. Congressman Don Sherwood currently holds the seat in the 10th Congressional district.

COMMENTARIES...........Recent news reports have would be Hollywood and Broadway show biz people approaching the Lackawanna County Commissioners for funding for movIe and TV projects in downtown Scranton. Apparently buoyed by the success of the NBC show "The Office", set in Scranton, officials are parting with tax revenues and providing funding for projects from the likes of Paul Sorvino and others. While this is admirable and gutsy, news reports have said that the Sorvino group has only speculated materials, in other words nothing is actually finished. I don't live in Lackawanna County but as a taxpayer, I'd at least like to see a first draft instead of an outline.......................You have to love the national attention the Casey-Sazntorum race is getting. (See Media Watch). By the time this is over, many millions will be spent on this very important seat....................The recent ABC news story that House Speaker might be indicted on conflict of interest charges due to an investigation has many conspiracy theorists thinking that the Bush administration and the GOP party itsaelf might have a "Deep Throat" like moll mucking up the works. I mean it seems impossible that one President, one party and one Congress could inflict this much damage on itself, doesn't it?????

MEDIA WATCH...............WILK News Radio mentioned in Philadelphia Daily News columnist's John's Baer's thrice weekly column. The controversy is over the Santorum Penn Hills home and the fact that a local Democratic party operative said the house was empty. That was not the big news though, the news was Santorum's reaction to the story on the newswires and WILK Radio where the Senator referred to Roberty Casey Jr., his general election foe as a "thug." This brought an e mail reaction from Mary Ann:
I heard the allegations on NPR yesterday and I was having trouble understanding how Santorum got from “someone looked in the window” to “someone trespassed” to “it must have been a Casey operative” to “Casey is a thug”. Now you know I am not a big Casey supporter. But the last thing anyone could ever call the man is a thug. He is about as un-thuglike as they come. I thought maybe Ricky was slipping his trolley.
Mary Ann

Local newspaper reporters featured on PCN's Journalist's Roundtable tonight at 8PM. The show is repeated Sunday night at 7 and 11PM. The guests are; Pat McKenna, Scranton Times-Tribune, Borys Krawczeniuk, Scranton Times-Tribune and Jim Gittens, The Citizen Voice, Wilkes-Barre.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The LuLac Edition #13-May 24th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY……………SWANN RELEASES PLAN.…………..We finally got some specifics from Lynn Swann on Monday and it was something on the order of “be careful what you wish for”. Swann is proposing property tax reform by using state surpluses to fund immediate breaks for all homeowners, and overhauling how property taxes are assessed. Under Swann's plan, Penna. homeowners would get immediate tax relief in the 2007-08 school year. The average reduction for a homeowner would be $150 to $200. Lower - income and senior citizens would likely get a bit more. Swann's proposal calls for using 75 percent of the state's general fund surplus, savings from consolidating school districts' health insurance plans, and the state's general fund. That (the general fund option) would be done only in an extreme emergency.
Swann believes that income would produce $500 million that would be available for property tax relief. It's not clear in what form that money would be returned to taxpayers. Swann also proposed a cap on property tax increases by local governments. The ceiling would be tied to an inflationary index not exceeding 3 percent.
Swann attacked incumbent Ed Rendell saying the Governor has not produced any amount of money in property tax rebates in his 4 years in office. Swann made his remarks to the Harrisburg Press Club at a downtown hotel on Monday.

VOTING CONCERNS IN LUZERNE COUNTY………..While it appears everything went smoothly with the voting last Tuesday on the new voting machines in Luzerne County, there was a snag. Some people say a big snag. It appears that over 5900 extra votes were added and counted due to tabulation errors. In effect 10% of the total votes cast were erased from the official vote total. So far, only one race was affected, the 118th GOP race for state representative pitting Maureen Tatu vs Art Bobbouine. The latter has said he will ask for a recount. At this point, none of the other races have been affected. Candidates totals have fluctuated a bit though and there is concern among some candidates who won by less than 200 votes. One political operative, Bob Caruso associated with the Democratic state committee told the Times Leader that the count has to be disregarded 100%. No word if anyone else agrees with him on that.

COMMENTARIES…………….It is too bad that there was a problem with the voting machine tabulations. The day as well as the new machinery went smoothly and it’s a shame that the count was marred by this mistake. Let’s hope no mountains are made out of what appears to be a molehill………….State Representative Todd Eachus out of Hazleton still getting rave reviews for his handling of toastmaster duties when the Governor came to town (Wilkes Barre) to kick off his campaign……………..Al Gore, former Vice President is associated with a movie about global warming. A must see for political junkies on the silver screen.

MEDIA WATCH……..Finale of “Commander In Chief” starring my girl, Geena Davis will air Wednesday, May 31rst on the ABC TV network. Time to be announced. And you’ll definitely hear about it from this site.

UPCOMING…………………Our memories of the late Llloyd Bensten of Texas.


Twenty years ago, Bill Scranton Junior lost a hotly contested, very narrow race to Robert P. Casey Sr. for Governor of Pennsylvania. Scranton jumped into the political fray in 1978 as Richard Thornburgh’s Lt. Governor. Beating off at least 9 foes in a crowded primary, Scranton took his place as a young man in the new GOP administration. Just two months in, the new team was tested by the problems at the 3 Mile Island Atomic Power plant. As head of the Emergency Management Units in the state, Scranton impressed observers and on lookers.
Barely re-elected during the recession of 1982, Thornburgh and Scranton approached their last term with great relish, free of the bonds of reelection. When Scranton, Jr. entered the 1986 race, he presented a mixture of youth, governmental experience and enthusiasm. He was cool, calm, collected, confident, rich and thin, all things you could never have enough of. The elder Casey, a three time gubernatorial loser campaigned as if his life depended on it. Scranton did not. Plus he (Scranton) was not helped by the TM (Transcendental Meditation) ad that was unleashed by then rookie Demo strategist James Carville who made his reputation on this race. In the blush of the two term Casey administration and the late Governor’s heroic health battles, it is largely forgotten that Scranton lost the Governor’s race by just 70,000 votes.
After the election, Scranton moved to California to take part in the new technologies offered by Silicone Valley. This was a departure from his earlier days as a News Publisher of weekly papers like The Abington Journal and The Dallas Post. For most of the late 80s and 90s, Scranton was not heard from by news or political people. In the late 90s, Scranton came back to the area to look after his family’s business interests, and started a new life. Taking a page out of the Billy Joel songbook, Scranton “had a new job, had a new wife, had a new life, had a new office”. (His wife is a member of the Peters family, long active in Scranton and Statewide GOP politics. It is said that his former wife, Coral, was never enthralled with the hub bub of politics.
In 2004, Scranton emerged as the chair of the Bush re-election campaign in the state and made soundings about running for the state’s top spot in 2006. Touring the state in 2005, Scranton listened to voters and seemed to have a leg up on others who were thinking of running. From an organizational standpoint, Scranton seemed “iffy” but no one saw this as a weakness early on. When he announced his candidacy in Nov. of 2005, most observers expected him to smooth out the edges and hit the ground running. Scranton made public comments that in any other year would galvanize support for him. His answer to the “cycle” question was brilliant. Asked if he feared the cycle where Pennsylvania voters changed party administrations every eight years (since this is right in the middle of a Demo 8 year stretch) he answered that the 2006 election would be about change and that any big change, (Franklin Roosevelt’s election in 1932, Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 as well as Bill Clinton’s election in 1992) reflected a desire for voters to make a movement. In interviews and in one on ones with voters he was concise, innovative and honest. He addressed the issue of the pay raise right out of the gate (in his announcement speech in fact) and voters responded to that aspect of his campaign.
However as his campaign reviews grew on the trail, his infrastructure inside his operation was stalled. A series of false starts, a few leadership changes and the novelty of a Lynn Swann candidacy did much to slow him down. As his support ebbed, Swann’s intensified as the former football player worked hard for endorsements across the state. While the Democratic endorsement doesn’t mean much (witness Rendell’s victory over Casey, Jr. in 2002, and even going back to Milton Shapp’s victory over Casey, Sr. in 1966) the Republican one does. Before Scranton knew it, most of the party chairmen as well as the Senate leaders were backing Swann. It was a curious turn of events for an established party veteran and family that had served it well.
The question that remains is why did the party turn to a newcomer with little political experience like Swann and turn away from Bill Scranton? It certainly had nothing to do with lack of political experience or name recognition because Scranton has plenty of that. If it had to do with Scranton’s hiatus to California, then that’s a bogus issue since many popular politicos like Casey, Sr. and Arlen Specter were born out of state and migrated here. What happened to Scranton was that the state GOP in their need to beat Ed Rendell turned to celebrity and star power in the form of an NFL Hall of Famer. The stodgy Republican leadership across the state picked flash over substance. Swann was endorsed, Scranton dropped out seeing the handwriting on the wall and as a result, the GOP has an untested candidate going up against Rendell.
Which brings us to 2006 and Scranton. Not staying on the sidelines, Scranton donated mega bucks to the opponents of Robert Jubilier (Senate Pro Tem President) and David Brightbill (Senate Majority Leader). As a matter of fact, he was at the headquarters on election night of one of the victors. It is clear by these actions that Scranton saw problems with his party, problems of entrenched leadership which begat arrogance which begat the pay raise. And it is also crystal clear that Scranton saw that the leadership was part of the problem. By backing the challengers Scranton sent a series of messages. They were:
1. That he “got” the voters disdain for politics as usual with the pay raise.
2. He recognized that any loyalty he ever had to party leaders was not returned in any practical manner.
3. Scranton set himself up as the alternative to politics as usual and barring an unforeseen Swann victory this fall, the front runner for any state office he wants to go after.
4. Already there is talk that Scranton might be a candidate for state party chairman. That’s a far cry from being shunned by the party in the spring.
It appears that a series of events has put Bill Scranton in the forefront of change in state government and politics. By being rejected by his party leadership, ironically Scranton, by backing the foes of the Senate leaders has shown he has his pulse on what the people of the state are really thinking. This has positioned Scranton well for any endeavor he chooses, as a candidate in the future, or power broker for today. The man who wasn’t afraid to break the curse of the cycle, because he recognized this as “a year of change” is now at the head of the class of that movement. Best of all, he can pick and choose where he wants to stand. His choices will not only impact his future but our own.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The LuLac Edition #12-May 22th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY………….Various interest groups are now trying to figure out how to approach their state legislators as budget time comes near. Legislators must pass a budget by July 1rst and lobbyists and persons of interest are struggling for ways to diplomatically approach some of the vanquished members of the House. Meanwhile in the Pa. Senate, there are indications that both Senator Jubilier and Brightbill will remain in their leadership roles until the end of their terms. There seems to be no stomach for a coup in the State Senate Republican leadership.
Here is a list of the House members who were defeated in the primary election, just one week ago.
Dennis Leh (R-Berks)
Bob Allen (R-Schuylkill)
Steve Maitland (R-Adams)
Teresa Forcier (R-Crawford)
Tom Stevenson (R-Allegheny)
Sue Cornell (R-Montgomery)
Gib Armstrong (R-Lancaster)
Paul Semmel (R-Lehigh)
Roy Baldwin (R-Lancaster)
Pat Fleagle (R-Franklin)
Peter Zug (R-Lebanon)
Frank Pistella (D-Allegheny)
Fred Belardi (D-Lackawanna)
Frank LaGrotta (D-Lawrence)

The silliness of the Senate campaign has started to ramp up with Senator Rick Santorum accusing Robert Casey, Jr. of endangering his family. The Senator has a home in Penn Hills outside of Pittsburgh. He resides in Virginia with his wife and 6 kids. A Democratic party operative peeked in the windows of the Penn Hills house and told KDKA TV "the house was empty". Now Santorum is asking for extra police to watch an empty house and the Casey campaign is responding to Santorum's bluster about how the Democratic candidate is making his family unsafe. As Jackie Gleason used to say, "And away we go!!!"

COMMENTARIES..............People keep asking for a Casey/Santorum debate. After seeing the give and take on the Penn Hills issue this week, be real careful what you ask for.........Have you noticed that most of the state rep and senate candidates have removed most of their signs from the roadsides? Kudos to all who did so.

MEDIA WATCH........Sue Henry on WILK had Senator Santorum on her show last week where he brought up the house issue. Santorum also referred to Casey as a "thug". Henry had to ask the question twice to make sure she heard right................If the Times Leader is sold to the Shamrock Newspaper group, one has to wonder about the political reporting that will emanate
from the merged papers. The Times Leader has never met a controversy it hasn't liked while Times Shamrock has been quite selective in it's story coverage. As you recall, last year, it took them weeks to report on the Don Sherwood/Cynthia Ore story.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The LuLac Edition #11-May 21th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY............GOP candidate for Governor Lynn Swann has been pressured by members of his own party to offer specifics in his fight against Ed Rendell for the Commonwealth's top job. Those specifics might come Monday when Swann addresses the Capitol Press Club at the downtown Hilton in Harrisburg. GOP leaders have been clamoring for a more specfic Swann plan. Many want Swann to get into specifics to blunt the statement made by former Lt. Governor Bill Scranton that Swann's candidacy was like a Las Vegas wedding, exhilirating at first, but then ending in disappointment. We'll know if there are specifics by Monday night.

State Rep Phyllis Mundy made herself very visable yesterday in Pringle when WWII vets were honored for their service. Mundy got some face time on the evening news and greeted each of the honorees at the special service on Armed Forces Day. It will be interesting to see how her GOP opponent John Cordara runs his race against the multi year incumbent who did vote for the payraise.

Here's a wrap of all the vote totals for the state rep races. Every race is here except for the 118th GOP battle which is still in play.

State House - District 112 - Dem Primary
62 of 65 Precincts Reporting - 95.38%

Smith, Ken

Belardi, Fred (i)

State House - District 113 - Dem Primary
64 of 66 Precincts Reporting - 96.97%

Shimkus, Frank

Evans, Janet

Murphy, Kevin

Courtright, Bill

O'Boyle, John

State House - District 113 - GOP Primary
64 of 66 Precincts Reporting - 96.97%

Burke, Matthew

Williams, Jim

State House - District 117 - GOP Primary
44 of 44 Precincts Reporting - 100.00%

Boback, Karen

Carroll, Tim

Sichler, Edmund

Davis, Stanford

Tomasacci, Randy

Stavitzski, Eugene

McCormick, Michael

State House - District 118 - Dem Primary
45 of 45 Precincts Reporting - 100.00%

Carroll, Mike

O'Brien, James

Best, Terry

State House - District 118 - GOP Primary
45 of 45 Precincts Reporting - 100.00%

State House - District 120 - GOP Primary
48 of 48 Precincts Reporting - 100.00%

Cordora, John

Chacke, Joe

Stebbins, Paul

State House - District 121 - Dem Primary
63 of 63 Precincts Reporting - 100.00%

Pashinski, Eddie

O'Donnell, Brian

Reilly, Bob

Hayward, Jim

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The LuLac Edition #10-May 20th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY……In a race that can only be categorized as a see saw encounter, it appears now that Art Bobbouine has now lost the GOP nomination in the 118th District for state representative. As of Friday 14 hour official vote count, Bobbouine lost by 11 votes. It appears Maureen Tatu of the Poconos is the winner. Bobbouine plans to ask for a recount.

Failed candidate Brian O’Donnell will be asking for an investigation into the ad that ran in the Citizen’s Voice attacking him a few days before the election. The ad violated the campaign laws by not having the name of the committee or person who paid for the ad. O’Donnell said he wouldn’t want to invalidate the election but did want an investigation into that ad.

If one looks at a lot of the vote totals of state representative races where incumbents prevailed, the ones who did not have head to head battles, ie 3 candidate races won re-nomination, But if you look at the combined totals of the two candidates, those representatives won re-nomination with a minority share (less than 50% of the vote).

COMMENTARIES…..County Commissioner Steve Urban has of course endorsed Maureen Tatu for the Representative race all along. The question is why? Would it not be more prudent for the GOP in the county to endorse one of their own and one who works under the same roof with you? Again one of the many reasons why the Republican party in Luzerne County remains a bad joke. And up in Lackawanna County, the GOP is just as bad. The fact that Fred Bellardi might’ve received the nomination on the Republican side (because they fielded no candidate) is a disgrace.

MEDIA WATCH………PCN on Sunday from 4PM to 7PM will be broadcasting 4 talk shows (previously recorded) that will go over all the state wide returns.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The LuLac Edition #9 May 18th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY..............Governor Ed Rendell kicked off his campaign in Wilkes Barre yesterday. Representative Todd Eachus and Commissioner Todd Vonderheid warmed up the crowd with retiring Rep Tom Tigue offering remarks and newcomers Mike Carroll and Eddie Day Pashinski sharing the stage. Rendell lumbered on stage and gave a point by point dissertation of his accomplishments since coming into office. Afterwards, as he was heading to his bus for a trip to Scranton, Rendell was asked about the effect the payraise issue will have on his chances since he signed the bill. Rendell seemed to shrug off concern saying he said it was a bad bill and wasn't going to take the raise anyway.............It appears Art Bobbouine has prevailed by twenty votes in the 118th district race for the GOP nomination for State Representative. The Deputy Sherriff has been cautioning his supporters to wait until the final official count on Friday. But this result, if it stands, puts the 118th District in play for the Republicans. If Bobbouine pulls a couple of hundred votes out of the Greater Pittston Area, and the GOP in the Poconos gets behind him, this might make the race very interesting. Keep in mind Tigue's margin last time was not that overwhelming when he won his last term in 2004..............On the Statewide level, politicos are still reeling over the defeats of Robert Jubilier and Chip Brightbill, Senate Pro Tem ands Majority Leader respectively. It is interesting to note that both men outspent their foes 10 to 1. The last time a Majority Leader lost was in 1964, forty two years ago.

COMMENTARIES..............While Harvey's Lake resident Karen Boback showed great strength in the 117th District to grab the party nod for state rep, one has to wonder what the outcome would have been if Dallas politico Tim Carroll had been in the race the entire time. Carroll came up short by 200 votes and because of a court challenge by Edmund Sichler, also of Harvey's Lake, Carroll lost precious time being off the ballot........The sight of those election workers standing in line Tuesday night looked like confession on the day before Christmas Eve at St. Nick's in Wilkes Barre. Some were frustrated while others took it in stride. I think the county board of elections did a fine job considering the training, work and effort that needed to be put into it..............A local blogger wrote a very sad, insulting commentary on State Representative Fred Bellardi. Even though Bellardi took the payraise and made no apologies about it, you have to give the guy credit for speaking out and facing a tough crowd on WILK Radio. You may not have agreed with everything he said but you to respect him saying it. Also, Bellardi served the district for 28 years adopting key legislation and serving on a leadership committee in the House. To unleash a personmal attack and to refer to him as FreeLoader Freddie is just unfair, mean and childish.

MEDIA WATCH................PCN's Journalists Roundtable tonight features Michael Race from the Scranton Times tonight at 8PM....................Waiting to see what Dispatch Political writer and old newspaper hand Joe Valenti has to say about the political races in the Pittston area this Sunday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The LuLac Edition #8-May 17th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY…………The big news is of course the election and the results, the new voting machines and the stunning defeats of Senate Leaders Robert Jubilier and David Brightbill. Let’s do a recap and instant analysis of local races.

20TH Senatorial…….Winner: Baker. Runner Up: Madeira: Big Loser: Haggerty. While Baker will not be a true change agent, (having served both Ridge and Lemmond,) she will bring a unique perspective to the job. One of the few “insiders” that was not hurt by her status. Surprise was Madeira’s showing, bigger surprise was Haggerty’s placing. Apparently his hopes of carrying Kingston and Forty Fort did not materialize. Prediction: wrong.

112th Legislative…..Winner: Smith. Loser: Bellardi. It was all about the payraise, Smith’s openness and Bellardi’s arrogance.
Prediction: Right on the $$$$$$$.

113th Legislative…..Winner: Shimkus. Runner Up: Evans. Big Loser: O’Boyle. Name recognition for the WYOU anchor gave him the edge, Evans finished second ahead of a surging Kevin Murphy and O’Boyle who touted his Harrisburg experience finished deal last. Prediction: wrong.

113th Legislative (GOP):….. Winner: Burke. Loser: Williams. Burke has work cut out for him in heavily Dem district. No prediction.

118th Legislative…………..Winner: Carroll. Runner Up: O’Brien. Big Loser: Terry Best. Interesting race, did O’Brien and Best split the vote and enable Carroll to coast in? Did Carroll’s ads against the two PA school board members saying they had the ability to raise taxes hurt them and help him? And Best’s endorsements from the County and 118th District committees, how helpful were they in this anti incumbent primary year? Did Tom Tigue’s endorsement help Carroll? (In the 113th a Gaynor Cawley endorsement gave Bill Courtright a last place finish.) A lot of questions on this one. Prediction: Wrong.

118th Legislative (GOP)….Winner: Maureen Tatu. Loser: Spinola and Bobbouine. Biggest Loser: The Republican party. The party had its best chance in getting this seat by picking Pittstonian Arthur Bobbouine. In the fall, Bobbouine (who is a relentless campaigner) would have made inroads into Greater Pittston and carried the Poconos as a GOPer handily. Instead, Mike Carroll comes out of Pittston with a huge advantage. The winner, Maureen Tatu was unprepared for debates, did not make a great impression and will not win in November. Prediction: Wrong.

120th Legislative District (GOP)….Winner: Cordara. Loser: Chacke. Winner faces Phyllis Mundy, a formidable campaigner and well loved and respected Legislator in the fall. He better do more campaigning than he did in the primary to have a ghost of a chance. Prediction: Wrong.

121rst Legislative District……..Winner: Eddie Day Pashinski. Runner Up: Robert Reilly. Big Loser: Brian O’Donnell. With a Ed Mitchell run campaign, O’Donnell came in third. Questions, did O’Donnell and Reilly split the traditional core Demo vote enabling Pashinski a free walk in? Was there an undercurrent against the O’Donnell family and their involvement in local politics? This is the third loss for the O’Donnell’s including the race his sister in law ran for Magistrate. Is the “politics as a family business” tag so tough for the younger O’Donnel’s to shake? One of the things Pashiniski did was in his direct mail, he marketed to various age groups. Some households got three pieces mailed to different people in age demos. Prediction: Wrong.

Ltn: Governor’s Race……..Winner: Knoll. Loser: McDonald Williams. Prediction: Right on the $.

10th District Congressional Race…..Winner: Don Sherwood. Loser: Don Sherwood. Too close for comfort for a multi year incumbent and it might not bode well for the fall race.

The new voting machines in Luzerne County ran very smoothly. The poll workers seemed helpful and well trained and there were few glitches. However, after 8PM there was a line of poll workers wairting to hand in their results and that did cause some frustration which was aired on local TV. Credit goes though to Leonard Piazza, Stteve Urban and Kathy Bozinski for standing in the long line and addressing the co workers concerns. The new machines make write in votes extremely easy. That might be something to watch in future elections.

The state wide loss of Senate Pro Tem President (third in line to be Governor) and Senate Majority Leader David Brightbill sent a clear signal that voters were fed up with the architects of the payraise. In the closing weeks of the campaign, there was speculation that voters would not want to give up the senority and power both Senators brought to their districts and the cities of Altoona and Lebonon respectively. Apparently with their defeats, that was not even a thought yesterday.

COMMENTARIES……….With the defeat of Jubilier and Brightbill, one has to ask the question, what if Senators Musto and Mellow had opposition in their primaries? Musto is 77 and has been in office since 1982 (24 years) and Mellow has been in office since 1970 (36 years). Both supported the raise and took the money. Ah………the roads not taken………….How about that controversy in the Back Mountain about the voting machines where a voter came in and could not vote because he was in line and the machine shut down after 8pm. He was offered a paper ballot but turned it down (the Judge of Elections did give him the opportunity to vote!!) He then started saying his rights were being violated. Please!!!!! Sounds like a petty and unreasonable gripe to me……..I saw winner Frank Andrews Shimkus on the news last night saying Harrisburg was broke and that things needed to be fixed and government needs to be overhauled. That might be true but these new faces should remember one thing when they talk about changes in government. The changes and the funding should not be slashed at the expense of state workers. If you are looking to cut the fat, you can’t do it with the department workers and state employees. In some cases, these employees have not had raises in 6 years. I’m not saying there isn’t waste or duplication in some cases BUT when you are using rhetoric about change, let it begin with the Legislature which is the only state office not subject to an audit of any kind.

MEDIA WATCH……..WILK’s Sue Henry and Corey O’Brien did a great job in reporting the election returns staying on the air until midnight……….Amy Bradley, WBRE TV’s super reporter interviewed Congressman Don Sherwood at his victory party. Bradley brought up his affair with Cynthia Ore and the effect it might have had on his race. Sherwood answered the reporter’s questions directly and with clarity………All three local stations did a fine job in reporting and PCN featured former Ltn. Governor Mark Singel opining on the election results…….Big financial winners locally were the TV stations, cable , some newspapers and radio stations WILK, WNAK AM & FM and WEJL/WBAX ESPN sports radio. A lot of big bucks spent in this election and look for for dollars to flow in the fall campaign.

UPCOMING IN THE DAYS AHEAD…..More rehashing of this historic election day.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The LuLac Edition #7-May 16th, 2006


SENATOR 20th District: HAGGERTY by 2 points.
Late negative push and concentrated base in Kingston paid off.

LEGISLATIVE 112th SMITH by 1 point.
Disgust with payraise, Bellardi’s arrogance and Smith’s shoe leather paid off.

LEGISLATIVE 113TH EVANS by 500 votes.
Good base that came out on election day, gender voting also helped. Murphy a close second.

Door to door, qualifications, gender voting also helped.

Outworked everyone, multi media campaign worked.

Good solid base in Pittston, Monroe candidates split vote.

Put up signs, showed interest, Cordara relied on name and state party affiliation.

Old line Dem machine came out in force.

KNOLL by less than 5,000 votes.
A little bit of a scare but she survives for the general to team up with Governor Ed.


The LuLac Edition #6-May 16th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY………Election Day is here and time will tell whether the new voting machines will be a blessing or a curse. There are reports that in some precincts there is smooth sailing. However, a polling place in Dallas had to resort to paper ballots.

In the Citizen’s Voice yesterday, there was an ad that attacked Brian O’Donnell and his family association. The ad touted the candidacies of Kristine Katsock and Eddie Day Pashinski saying that those two were the candidates who wanted the job while the others like O’Donnell and Reilly had a political agenda. Turns out the ad was illegal since there was no name or committee on the bottom as a “paid for by” disclaimer.

The candidates for Governor were in high gear right before Voting day. Lynn Swann appeared on the Sue Henry Show on WILK and outlined various issues he’d like to adopt. Ed Rendell made a series of announcements telling voters he’d be in Wilkes Barre’s Public Square on Wednesday afternoon. Rain site will be the Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.

The League of Women Voters put out their voting guide in the local papers. The bios were pretty informative and the response rate was good. Those not responding were Jim Wancacz and Kathy Hardaway who are facing off in the 114th, Fred Nichols (Dem in the 117th), Karen Boback (in the 117th who said she never got the info in the mail) and Congressman Don Sherwood.

Eyes will be on Harrisburg for the Lt. Governor’s race. Katherine Baker Knoll, the incumbent is opposed by Valerie McDonald Roberts( who proved to be very formidable in the one debate for this race,) Gene Stilip (a former King's grad) founder of Pa. Clean Sweep and William Hall. Knoll, a proven winner in past races has been criticized for being a somewhat erratic personality on both on and off the floor of the Senate along with being prone to gaffes that momentarily embarrass the Rendell administration.

COMMENTARIES……….As soon as I saw that ad in the Citizen’s Voice, I thought, “hmmmmmmmmmmm, who paid for this”. As I indicated in an earlier edition, no one has taken on the O’Donnell family history of political reaching and spending. The attack against Reilly was a surprise too. But at the bottom of the ad there was no clear disclaimer as to who paid for it. Clearly illegal and most likely the result of sloppy work by rookies at the Citizen’s Voice/Times Shamrock publication. The old pros at the Voice would never have let this happen………Lynn Swann finally got his appearance on the Sue Henry show. He had stood her up earlier in the year when he announced his candidacy…………….
Got a phone message last night slamming Brian O’Donnell as a school board tax and spender. I live in the 121rst and the ad was paid by a Republican backed anti tax organization.....It seems like every candidate has a website. To give you an indication of how fast moving technology is, in the last Legislative cycle (2004) there were very few websites.


…………Mike Carroll’s license plate sign in the 118th. Runner up…….Karen Boback’s red/white and blue star. (117th district).
WORST SIGN…………tie, Russ Bigus (20th Senatorial) and Brian O’Donnell.(121rst Legiaslative.) Too dark, pedestrian design.

BEST TV AD……….Ken Smith’s Escalade ad. (112th District).
WORST…………… Karen Boback, (117th district). not much action, in person she's articulate, should have used her speaking more, sound at end was garbled.

BEST DIRECT MAIL PIECE….Eddie Day Plashinski (121rst). .
WORST DIRECT MAIL PIECE…Bob Reilly. (121rst).

BEST BILLBOARD….James “Red” Obrien, (118th district).
WORST BILLBOARD…None, they were all good.

BEST RADIO AD: Jim Haggerty’s Blue Cross attack on Lisa Baker’s record. (20th Senatorial). Concise, smart, informative, did everything his TV spot did not).
WORST RADIO AD: They were all good.

BEST CAMPAIGN PHRASE: Terry Best, (118th District). Used his name as a play on words.
WORST: Any commercial that says the candidate has a good family. Really, is anyone going to say they have a bad, dysfunctional family????

HOT RACES TO WATCH: The Republican primary in the 120th district has gotten little notice. The winner will face off with Represetive Phyllis Mundy in the fall. Candidates are John Cordara, Republican State Committee member, West Pittston resident Paul Stebbins and Forty Fort Council member Joe Chacke. As a state committeeman Cordara should have the edge but Chacke is mounting a visible campaign while surprisingly to date Cordara has not.

OF PRIMARY PAST: 40 years ago, the Pennsylvania primary election reshaped how politics was done in the keystone state. The Democratic endorsed candidate, 34 year old Robert P. Casey, a State Senator from Lackawanna County was roundly defeated by cable TV magnate, Milton Shapp of Montgomery County. Shapp ran a multi media campaign which cost millions utilizing direct mail, billboards, TV and Radio. Dubbed “The Man Against the Machine”, Shapp ran against organized politics saying he would treat government like a business.
’66 was the year of the millionaire in United States politics. In addition to Shapp, Charles Percy in Illinois embarked on a Senate career as well as Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia. Shapp, after winning the nomination lost to William Scranton’s Ltn. Governor Raymond Shafer. Shapp’s Ltn. Governor candidate was Leonard Staisey, an Alleghany County politico, (the endorsed Dem ticket was
Casey/Staisey). Shafer’s Ltn. Governor was Raymond Broderick, a late replacement picked by party leaders after the death of Commonwealth Secretary Walter Allesandroni in a plane crash earlier in the primary campaign. Raymond Shafer, a former PT Boat commander in WWII became the last Pennsylvania Governor unable to succeed himself due to changes in the Pa. Constitution. The chairman of that bipartisan Constitutional Convention in 1968? Democratic primary loser, Robert P. Casey who would be heard from again in state politics.


Monday, May 15, 2006

LU LAC Edition #5-May 15th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY…………….A close look at the numbers now for Primary Election Day on Tuesday. There will be 220 Federal and State office holders running for election. The only two statewide races of consequence are for Lt. Governor where Katherine Baker Knoll faces opposition and State Treasurer Robert P. Casey, Jr. in his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. On the Congressional level, 19 Congress people have no opposition while 2 have primary challengers. (Don Sherwood from the 10th district is one of the two. His opposition comes from Williamsport resident Kathy Scott.) In the State Senate, there are 3 open seats, with only 6 Senators facing opposition, in the Pa. House, there are 27 open seats with 65 House lawmakers having opponents. Polls open at 7AM and close at 8PM……..
Gene Stilip, one of the founds of Clean Sweep Pa. is bringing a large bell to downtown Wilkes Barre today from 11AM to 2Pm. Stilip is running for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor. Stilip has named his statewide tour, “Squeal or No Squeal”…………………Word is that the National Democratic Congressional Committee might be ready to pony up some money for Chris Carney in his fall bid to unseat Don Sherwood in the 10th District. The Political Science Professor has shown some muscle in his campaign organization.

COMMENTARIES………The local newspapers on Sunday were devoid of those family oriented “Happy Mother’s Day ads. Only the Sunday Dispatch had one or two………..Dr. Karen Boback was on WILK radio this morning. Pressed for time, she actually turned down an opportunity to “hold over” after the news break thanking the hosts for the brief opportunity. Classy move not seen or heard in this race or for that matter any political race........................

MEDIA WATCH.....PCN going to be doing primary night election coverage most likely zeroing in on 2 huge State Senate races involving GOP leaders Altoona’s Robert Jubilier and Lebonon’s David “Chip” Brightbill.

HOT RACES TO WATCH: The 20th Senatorial District race has been garnering local interest since the retirement announcement of Senator Charles Lemmond. Rather than resign, like his predecessor the late Frank O’Connell did, Lemmond chose to stay in office and fulfill his term. This race will be not be a referendum on Lemmond’s leadership or that of the GOP controlled Senate. Rather it will be the choosing of a new generational politico who most likely with be cemented in this seat mainly because of the huge voter registration edge among Republicans. Unless there is a great political sea change in the district or a monumental scandal, the person elected to this seat will be there as long as he or she chooses.
From the start, Lisa Baker has been the front runner given her associations with Senator Lemmond as well as Governor Tom Ridge. She has quietly built a following among the GOP by not upstaging her bosses, and by being a reliable if not charismatic party member. Her main opponent is Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty who brought to the race energy, articulation of issues as well as a penchant for voicing his opinions, concerns and options as a candidate at the drop of a hat. If there is a tier level in all campaigns, both Baker and Haggerty are the top tier. Baker’s voting strength is the gender vote as well as an acceptance of her inevitability from the power brokers in the GOP as well as the NEPA business community. Haggerty’s strengths are his home base of Kingston and Forty Fort which, if it votes in a block, and turnout is low elsewhere can make him a winner. The key for both Baker and Haggerty, after all the billboards, signs, commercials and cajoling will be turnout.
The second tier of candidates include Russ Bigus and Doctor David Madeira. Both men have individual bases of strength. Bigus as a school director in the Dallas Area and as an educator at Regis Academy and Dr. Madeira as a chiropractor and sportsman. While both men acquitted themselves well on the campaign trail, and have distinct followings that will bear fruit on election day, don’t expect either of these men to be the new Senator in the 20th district.
Carl Sutton and Democrat Robert McNamera are placed in my third tier. While Sutton is articulate, he is not funded well at all for such a huge political undertaking and McNamera, the Democratic candidate is unlikely to win in the general election no matter who wins the GOP nod.

RECENT POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT: Senator Lemmond won election to this seat in 1985 during a special election called upon by the resignation of Senator Frank O’Connell. O’Connell had served since his election in 1978 when he ran against the late Thomas Lehman, an investment banker from Kingston who was a lifelong Republican but had turned Democrat to make the run at the behest of his long time friend, Joseph Tirpak. Tirpak was County Controller and a Democratic powerhouse at the time. In 1978 the seat became open with the retirement of Senator T. Newell Wood who served numerous terms throughout the 60s and 70s in the Republican controlled district.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

LU LAC Edition #4-May 14th, 2006

News of the Day…………The Times Leader endorsed Lisa Baker for the 20th District State Senate seat over Jim Haggerty, Kingston’s Mayor. The editorial was very kind to Haggerty citing his savvy, polish and experience but at the same time acknowledging the paper’s disputes with him over police reports. In backing Baker, the newspaper heralded her connections to Harrisburg as a member of Senator Lemmond’s staff and Governor Ridge’s local office. It did say that she was not quite the personality Haggerty was but that her low key presentation didn’t seem to bother them. Russ Bigus and David Maderia also got very kind comments also but not the nod from the TL.

Representative Don Sherwood getting a boost from all people President Bush. Bush has done recorded phone messages for the Congressman who has primary opposition. Sherwood was mired in a scandal last year with a 28 year old woman who claimed physical abuse. The duo came to a cash settlement of 5 million dollars which prohibited the young lady from speaking of the incident and affair. Apparently, that settlement didn’t stop others from talking. The Bush phone calls were targeted toward likely primary voters.

Speaking of primary election voters, it appears that this year’s election will be another low turnout. Primaries are known for getting out the political junkies and hard core party loyalists and voters. But with northeastern Pa. losing 107 years of combined Legislative experience due to retirement, the furor over the payraise as well as the novelty of the new voting machines in two counties, it was thought that more interest would prevail this year. But published reports tell us that voter apathy might be the winner this Tuesday.

Lisa Baker got a final push from Senator Charles Lemmond this week. The Senator sent out direct mail pieces on behalf of Baker. The money for the mailer ($10,000 plus) came from Lemmond’s campaign warchest. With the dominance of TV and Radio advertising, direct mail has taken a back seat to those ad giants in terms of political campaign clout. But the Baker piece as well as the Eddie Day Pashinski mailers were really eye catching. The mailer from the Luzerne County commissioners on the new machines was pretty impressive too.

COMMENTARIES………..The Times Leader editorial for the 20th Senatorial race to me is puzzling. They seem to tout Mayor Jim Haggerty’s qualifications and just stop short of saying he’d be an aggressive, qualified, charismatic advocate for the 20th district. Instead, the endorsement sticks with the same mold of a low key, connected political insider like Lisa Baker who is the closest thing to a clone of Charles Lemmond. Could it be the Leader let its personal gripe with Haggerty get in the way of giving him their all out support???....Say what you want about Don Sherwood, the guy is not running away from President Bush like other GOP lawmakers seem to be doing. The Cynthia Ore scandal seems to have given Sherwood a wake up call. There is no way to predict how his constituents will react, especially Republican woman but bringing in the President, at least with targeted hard core Republicans shouldn’t hurt………I’m amazed at the published reports talking about voter apathy in this election. There are so many local choices to be made that will have an impact on our everyday lives. During the last Presidential election, everyone seemed to have an opinion. You would think that in a local legislative race, more people would be taking an active interest but apparently not. The comments made in the paper like some idiot who said, “I don’t care for all of these candidates” to the braintrust who said, “I’m interested but don’t have the time” gives you an indication as to why people care more about American Idol than their government. Vote!!! Please!!! But if you don’t, please SHUT UP when things don’t go your way in the governmental sense.

MEDIA WATCH………WILK gearing up for Election Night coverage Tuesday at 8PM. Sue Henry and Corey O’Brien host. Look for the station to “imbed” various staffers in key campaign races. That is going to be interesting, as well as entertaining………The Luzerne County Commissioners took to the radio airwaves this weekend regarding the new voting machines. Kathy Bozinski’s voice was heard in the commercial.

HOT RACES TO WATCH….117th Legislative District. This race is a virtual toss up. There are so many candidates with such concentrated support that a few votes might tip the balance. Like the 113th race, this campaign has two tiers of candidates. In the top tier are Karen Boback and Edmund Sichler from Harvey’s Lake and Randy Tomasacci from Hunlock Creek. Boback has strength virtually by being the only woman in the race and could benefit from gender voting. Like Boback, Sicher has mounted an aggressive advertising campaign. Randy Tomasacci brings campaign experience to the forefront, serving on the Northwest Area School board as well as making a run for County Commissioner in 2003.
Michael McCormick, Eugene Stavitski, Stanford Davis and Tim Carroll are mounting grassroots efforts that will divide the vote among all tier candidates. Tim Carroll, had to go to court to get on the ballot since his name was removed because of a challenge to his candidacy. Carroll got back on by winning a decision in the State Supreme Court. Carroll has been campaigning relentlessly since getting back in the fray. Another candidate, Iraq war veteran James May did not fare so well in court. May, who’s name was taken off because of a paperwork error has been mounting an aggressive write in campaign. With the new voting machines and the ease in which a write in can occur, May might garner more support than expected.

UPCOMING………PREDICTIONS ON ALL THE LOCAL RACES……….COMING TUESDAY MORNING, OUR PICKS.!!!! Wednesday morning, will it be “Egg on our face, or a Steak and lobster omelet with champagne?” We'll see!!!

ONE MORE NOTE……….From our man Bill, and the rest of us at the LuLac Political Letter, a very Happy Mother’s Day to Mary Elizabeth Pribula Yonki, (mom) and my sister, Sandra Marie Antoinette Yonki Barnett, Anna Waskie (my mother in law) and Alexis Edwards (my sister in law).
Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee-
Calls back the lovely April of her prime.~William Shakespeare

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Lu Lac Edition #3-May 13th, 2006

NEWS OF THE DAY..................................The weekend before the primary election was dominated by a plethora of radio, TV, and newspaper ads as the candidates make a last minute attempt to reach reach the voters. This election is different than others in the past. First, it is a generational election, with the turnover in the Legislature because of the payraise, new faces will be taking center stage. Secondly, with so many candidates running in the primary, it will be interesting to see if the political organizations can deliver the goods for the people they endorsed. Third, with the new technology of voting machines in both Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, it will be fascinating to see if a write in candidate can make an impact. Unchartered ground as we head into the big day.

With Mother's Day on Sunday, we should reflect on political mothers of note. Franklin Roosevelt's mother, Sara Delano was a huge influence on him, living with him and his family until her death. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy was a factor in keeping the Kennedy blessing from being a permanent curse. On shows like the Merv Griffin program she acknowledged the pain but never forgot the glory. Richard Nixon's mother, Hannah told her son "never to give up" and that tenacity saw him through some dark times. In his farewell press conference, Nixon ruefully said, "My mother was a saint, no one wrote a book about her". (At the time a book on Rose Kennedy had come out). George H.W. Bush's mother told him never to brag or put on the dog which accounted for his humility. And Lyndon Baines Johnson's mother, Sara taught the young LBJ how to read and understand tolerance. Mothers..............a tremendous influence on us all, even politicos and Presidents!!!

COMMENTARIES..............Driving out to my nephew's graduation today at Penn State Lehman, my wife and I saw a whole lot of political signs. Wonder if they'll be gone by this time next week or linger on the landscape from the losers..................Fred Belardi might not have wanted a debate with challenger Ken Smith but got one anyway today when the infamous Belardi interview was played on Coirey O'Brien's program on WILK. My wife heard the interview and said, "Makes me want to move to his district and vote against him".

MEDIA WATCH...........................Corey O'Brien's show on Fox, Sunday at 10am going to be very interesting as he and his guests anaylze the TV ads some candidates used...........West Wing finale Sunday night on NBC. Very first episode from 1999 airs at 7pm, finale at 8pm on NBC.

HOT RACES TO WATCH............The112th district pits restaraunt owner Ken Smith and incumbent Fered Belardi. Belardi as a 28 year incumbent has huge support in the neighborhoods and has been unapologetic about the payraise issue. Ealier in the year, he ran ads about precription drugs for the elderly as part of his office public relations. Belardi has a following but Smith just might make an impact with his low budget, door to door campaign. Underfunded but undaunted, Smith's presentation of meeting a payroll as a restaraunt owner might resonate among voters looking for a change.

In the 11t8th district, three candidates are vying for the Dem nod for the seat of retiring Tom Tigue. Two Pittston area school board members, Terry Best and James Red O'Brien are waging vigorous campaigns. Mike Carroll, an aide to representive John Yudichak is also in the hunt. Best has the local and county Demo endorsements while Carroll has the support of the PSEA which in the Pittston Area could be huge. O'Brien and Carroll live in the same town, Avoca, and Best is a Pittston city resident and businessman. Advertising for the candidates has been plentiful with Carroll pointing to Best and O'Brien's school board tenure as times when taxes were raised in the district. Best has touted his record of experience while O'Brien and Carroll have done pretty much the same.

On the GOP side, county deputy sherriff Arthur Bobbouine faces off against James Spinola and Maureen Tutu. Bobbouine has a good following in the Pittston area due to his past invcolvements in local politics and might be the strongest hope the GOP has in this race. The district in addition to the heavily populatred Pittston Area has areas of the Poconos, traditionally Republican in it. The last time Tigue ran in 2004, his GOP challenger pulled a big vote out of the Poconos.