Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The LuLac Edition #163, Feb. 28, 2007


PHOTO INDEX: BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LOGO





A SLIGHT DIGRESSION


If you heard me last week on the Sue Henry program you know that one of my passions is baseball. Today, I thought we'd take a turn away from politics but as I wrote this, I realized that the Hall of Fame Veteran's committee's inaction to pick anyone to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame was politics and voting of the worst order. As you know, I am fond of saying that not everyone should vote, that I don't want to put my fate in the hands of uneducated people who have no clue about the candidates and the issues. Here's what happened yesterday:
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Committee for Baseball Veterans announced balloting results Tuesday for its 2007 election of players, managers, executives and umpires. Two ballots – one featuring 27 players and another featuring 15 managers, umpires and executives – were considered by the 84-voting member Committee, comprised of all living Hall of Famers, Ford C. Frick Award and J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners.
Former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo led all candidates on the Player Ballot with 57 votes, totaling 69.5 percent of all ballots cast. Umpire Doug Harvey led all Composite Ballot nominees with 52 votes, 64.2 percent of the tally.
With 82 of 84 (97.6%) ballots cast for the Player Ballot, 62 votes were necessary to meet the 75% standard for election. Eighty-one of 84 (96.4%) ballots were cast for the Composite Ballot (managers, executives and umpires), with 61 needed to earn Hall of Fame election. An average of 5.96 votes were cast per Player Ballot, an all-time high in three elections (5.72 in 2005, 5.34 in 2003), while an average of 4.17 votes were cast per ballot for the Composite Ballot.
Results of the 2007 Player Ballot (62 needed for election): Santo (57 votes, 69.5%), Jim Kaat (52, 63.4%), Gil Hodges (50, 61%), Tony Oliva (47, 57.3%), Maury Wills (33, 40.2%), Joe Torre (26, 31.7%), Don Newcombe (17, 20.7%), Vada Pinson (16, 19.5%), Roger Maris (15, 18.3%), Lefty O’Doul (15, 18.3%), Luis Tiant (15, 18.3%), Curt Flood (14, 17.1%), Al Oliver (14, 17.1%), Mickey Vernon (14, 17.1%), Minnie Minoso (12, 14.6%), Cecil Travis (12, 14.6%), Dick Allen (11, 13.4%), Marty Marion (11, 13.4%), Joe Gordon (10, 12.2%), Ken Boyer (9, 11%), Mickey Lolich (8, 9.8%), Wes Ferrell (7, 8.5%), Sparky Lyle (6, 7.3%), Carl Mays (6, 7.3%), Thurman Munson (6, 7.3%), Rocky Colavito (5, 6.1%) and Bobby Bonds (1, 1.2%).
Results of the 2007 Composite Ballot (61 needed for election): Harvey (52 votes, 64.2%), Marvin Miller (51, 63%), Walter O’Malley (36, 44.4%), Buzzie Bavasi (30, 37%), Dick Williams (30, 37%), Whitey Herzog (29, 35.8%), Bill White (24, 29.6%), Bowie Kuhn (14, 17.3%), August Busch Jr. (13, 16%), Billy Martin (12, 14.8%), Charley O. Finley (10, 12.3%), Gabe Paul (10, 12.3%), Paul Richards (10, 12.3%), Phil Wrigley (9, 11.1%) and Harry Dalton (8, 9.9%).
Look at the names they could've picked to get in the Hall of Fame!! And they chose nobody. It appears to me that the Hall of Famers who had a vote figured, "hey I got mine" and the sportswriters got on their high horses and decided to not decide. That's crap of the highest order. The people on this committee (they are listed below) should resign. Have the Hall of Fame start over again with baseball voters who think, not ones who hold imaginary grudges, have snobbish attitudes toward different eras or are too old and bitter to remember what a good baseball player contributed to the team.



LADIES & GENTS:



THE MORONS!



THE HALL OF FAME VOTERS




Ford C. Frick Award
Recipients (14)
Gene Elston
Tracy Ringolsb.
The above all should tender their resignations right now. They are a disgrace to the voting process they were privileged to be a part of. Blow it up and start all over again!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The LuLac Edition #162, Feb. 27, 2007













PICTURE INDEX: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AND OSCAR AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKER AL GORE AND THE LATE VICE PRESIDENT CHARLES DAWES. BOTH VEEPS DISTINGUISHED THEMSELVES IN THE ENTERTAINMENT FIELD AFTER LEAVING OFFICE.


WHY PEOPLE HATE GOVERNMENT

PART ONE

When I was a young boy growing up, my uncles, hard working railroaders and factory workers would gather around our kitchen table and discuss the issues of the day with my dad. Once in a while they brought up the subject of Sharpies. A Sharpie, by their definition was a person who tried to get a leg up on the system and take advantage of loopholes in the law that average common folk weren’t privy too. My father and uncles had no class envy for those who inherited their money. They celebrated people like the Roosevelts, the Kennedys and the Rockefellers. But if one of their own tried to cut corners and beat the system, it was thumbs down.
I thought about this last night as I was watching WBRE’TV’s I TEAM reporter Amy Bradley do a story about a couple in Clinton County who bought a property in 1995, had paid county taxes on it since then and wanted to sell the land to their children with a two fold purpose, the first being to make a profit, the second to have their immediate family back in the area. (Even if it was a God forsaken land like Clinton County!)
Well, it turned out the couple could not locate the parcel of land on the documents or the deeds because when they bought it at a Sheriff’s sale, the goober working in the Clinton County Courthouse put the information on the wrong card. Now, because there is a discrepancy in the lot numbers, the couple has no claim to the land because even though they paid taxes on it, the accurate documentation does not exist. When Bradley talked to the County Solicitor, he basically in a rude and condescending manner said the couple was shit out of luck. My problem first off was with the guy’s attitude toward the couple and the reporter. He was abrupt (as if he had something to hide or didn’t have an answer) and certainly did not promote the image of a public servant.
Here’s what’s troubling: Clinton County collected taxes on this property from this couple for over a decade. Aren’t there staff in that collection office that do routine checks on properties to make sure the right stuff is being paid for? Or do the Clinton County tax collectors just sit on their asses and wait for someone to make a payment and then after they take the check and deposit it, go back to the football pool and eating Cheetos for the rest of the day? What if the couple missed a payment on the taxes and there was another Sheriff’s sale? I kind of think that the county might find the proper documentation. Bradley then went to a real estate lawyer who basically said it was “buyer beware” and to make certain you, as a land buyer, have everything covered because no one else will do it for you. I think it is outrageous that this couple is being told they have nothing to show for their investment and for the taxes they have paid on a property in Clinton County. I saw the people on TV and these were hard working people who would not fall into my dad’s definition of “a sharpie”. A person who knew the ropes, could manipulate the system, confuse the goobers would have no problems. But because these were hard working people who took it on faith that the Tax people and Property people in Clinton County would be competent enough to do their jobs and protect the investment that was getting its taxes paid on time, they get screwed. The pompous ass of an Attorney told Bradley that the assessment and tax office couldn’t possibly keep track of every purchase that is made and taxed in the County? Why not? It’s like a store with inventory. Properties are like inventory, taxes are like payments on that inventory. They can’t keep track of that? I don’t have a LAW (lying and waffling) degree but I do know this: the story last night again illuminated how government fails the common man trying to better his life. It does not protect him, (even when he’s paying taxes), it does not educate him of potential problems (take the money and get back to the Cheetos!) and it does not make an attempt to help him or show empathy when he or she asks for help. Clinton County officials should be ashamed of themselves. If you want to buy land there or anywhere: only Sharpies need apply.



WHY PEOPLE HATE GOVERNMENT

PART TWO

Up in Lackawanna County, Attorney Corey O’Brien is getting stiff armed by the political forces because he has the audacity to run as an independent Democrat for County Commissioner. The Democrats last week endorsed Mike Washo and a former Penn State place kicker. Published reports say O’Brien was separated from a prominent law firm because of his political stance. O’Brien has also been asking for the current crop of Commissioners to produce their tax returns for the public but so far there has been no response. That’s another issue for another day.
But it seems O’Brien, who could be an attractive Democratic activist and who has worked in the Clinton White House is getting the bite put on him because of his challenge. This is just not right. The Democratic party on a national and state level has always encouraged public participation. (Look at how many national Dems are running for President!) But locally, the Democratic party seems to have been taking their cues out of the Kremlin playbook. No opposition should even be broached or thought of. In Luzerne County, the endorsement process came early and heavy with potential challengers being shooed away in favor of Skrepenak and Petrilla. I might make the case that at least in Luzerne County the party wanted unity and had a strong ticket. But the Lackawanna County Dems can’t make that claim. They endorsed two vanilla candidates that blend into the woodwork and are barely noticed. It’s no wonder why they want stronger, attractive candidates gone.
Again, this story highlights why average citizens don’t get involved in the political process and don’t even vote. Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II might have ended Communism as we know it in the late eighties but the Politburo is alive and well in Lackawanna County!


AL GORE


My man Al Gore won the Oscar for his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. Gore was greeted with accolades and even though he has denied it, the pundits are all abuzz about a possible late Gore entry into the 2008 race. The Oscar win has given the ex Veep more credibility and separates him from the Democratic pack as a man passionate about issues. Plus his early opposition of the war in Iraq could be a plus among Democratic voters if either Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton falter in the early going.

CHARLES DAWES

Al Gore was not the only Vice President out of office to distinguish himself in the entertainment field. Unlike Gore’s tenure, Dawes' Vice Presidency was one of the most disastrous on record. Soon after his election he sent an insulting letter to President Coolidge informing him that he would not be attending cabinet meetings. This is believed to be the beginning of a feud between the two which brought the Vice Presidency to its nadir for the 20th century.
Having insulted the President, he then proceeded to publicly insult the entire US Senate. The inauguration of the Vice President was held in the Senate Chamber in those days, and the VP would give an inaugural address before everyone headed on to the outside platform where the President would take the oath. Dawes made a fiery, half-hour address denouncing the rules of the Senate, the seniority system and many other things that Senators held dear.
Eveyone was so shocked at the speech that President Coolidge's own inaugural address was completely overshadowed, leaving him even angrier at Dawes then ever before.
Both the Senators and Coolidge would have their revenge on Dawes.
On March 10, only days after Dawes started presiding over the Senate, the president's nomination of Charles Warren to be attorney general was being debated. In the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal and other business-related scandals, Democrats and Progressive Republicans objected to the nomination because of Warren's close association with the "Sugar Trust." At midday six speakers were scheduled to address Warren's nomination. Desiring to return to his room at the Willard Hotel for a nap, Dawes consulted the majority and minority leaders, who assured him that no vote would be taken that afternoon. After Dawes left the Senate, however, all but one of the scheduled speakers decided against making formal remarks, and a vote was taken. When it became apparent that the vote would be tied, Republican leaders hastily called Dawes at the Willard. The roused vice president jumped in a taxi and sped toward the Capitol. But enough time intervened to persuade the only Democratic senator who had voted for Warren to switch his vote against him. By the time Dawes arrived there was no longer a tie to break, and the nomination had failed by a single vote—the first such rejection in nearly sixty years.
Dawes convinced the Senate to pass the McNary-Haugen farm relief bill; Coolidge vetoed the bill.
In 1928 the Repubican nomination went to Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, whose supporters considered putting Dawes on their ticket as vice president. But President Coolidge let it be known that he would consider Dawes' nomination to be a personal affront. Instead the nod went to Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas.
After leaving office, Dawes went back to the banking business. He was not heard from again until a hobby of his brought him back to public awareness.
Dawes was also a self-taught pianist and composer. His 1912 composition "Melody in A Major," became a well-known piano and violin piece, and was played at many official functions as his signature tune. It was transformed into a pop song ("It's All In The Game") in 1951, when Carl Sigman added lyrics. The song was a number one hit in 1958, for Tommy Edwards and has since become a pop standard recorded hundreds of times by artists including The Four Tops, Brook Benton, Barry Manilow, and Keith Jarrett.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

The LuLac Edition #161, Feb. 25, 2007








PICTURE INDEX: THE OSCAR.


OSCAR EDITION

In honor of tonight's Oscars, I've decided to give you an insight into my top 5 political movies of all time. There were many to pick from but these are my favorites in terms of content, accuracy, plot and staying power. Staying power means that I will drop what I'm doing if any of these films pops up on the TV or I'll seek it out of my rather meager DVD/video collection and take time to watch it again. In no particular order, here are my political film gems of all time.


THE BEST MAN

The other party is in disarray. Five men vie for the party nomination for president. No one has a majority as the first ballot closes and the front-runners begin to decide how badly they want the job.
Intellectual William Russell and down-to-earth Joe Cantwell are front runners for a party nomination that will almost certainly mean the Presidency. Cantwell is prepared to use anything to achieve his goal while Russell sees himself as a man of principle - though his philandering means he is relieved his wife is prepared to appear alongside him. Both men crucially need the support of the ailing President, and as the stakes become higher each team has to decide how dirty they are prepared to get.
Gore Vidal wrote the play for this. Political similarities are Russell: Adlai Stevenson, Cantwell: one of the Kennedy brothers, Claypool: Lyndon Johnson. Vidal with his well known antagonism toward the Kennedy’s scored big with this 1964 hit.


THE CAST:

Henry Fonda
William Russell

Cliff Robertson
Joe Cantwell

Edie Adams
Mabel Cantwell

Margaret Leighton
Alice Russell

Shelley Berman
Sheldon Bascomb

Lee Tracy
President Art Hockstader

Ann Sothern
Sue Ellen Gamadge

Gene Raymond
Don Cantwell

Kevin McCarthy
Dick Jensen

Mahalia Jackson
Herself, Mahalia Jackson

Howard K. Smith
Himself, Howard K. Smith

John Henry Faulk
Gov. T.T. Claypoole

Richard Arlen
Sen. Oscar Anderson

Penny Singleton
Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)


1776

Although 1776 tells the story of what happened at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1776 leading up to the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and it accurately portrays the serious personal and political issues at stake – frequently in the characters' own words, written by them at the time – it remains a musical comedy. The play has often been criticized for straining too hard for historical accuracy instead of exercising literary license that would help move forward the plot or presentation.
Historical accuracy
While there is much poetic license taken, including invented scenes and conversations, 1776's historical accuracy is remarkable, particularly given that it makes no pretense of being a documentary. In particular, Caesar Rodney' cancer, and his weakness (he was also asthmatic), and his 80-mile ride (through a thunderstorm) to break a deadlock in the Delaware delegation at the final vote are all very closely based on historic facts. The most notable departures from historic fact:
The polling of Pennsylvania's delegation in the final scene (In actuality, the Pennsylvania delegation numbered ten, not three, and Dickinson abstained until he finally left Congress to join the army. Wilson refused to vote until he could obtain more feedback from his constituents. He did eventually vote for independence.)
The signing (It actually took place weeks, not minutes, after the final vote.) The viewing of this movie is almost mandatory in our household every fourth of July. It is as commonplace as fireworks, hot dogs on the grill and Tab on ice.

THE CAST

William Daniels
John Adams(MA)

Howard Da Silva
Dr.Benjamin Franklin (PA)

Ken Howard
Thomas Jefferson (VA)

Donald Madden
John Dickinson (PA)

John Cullum
Edward Rutledge (SC)

Roy Poole
Stephen Hopkins (RI)

David Ford
John Hancock(MA)President of the Continental Congress

Ron Holgate
Richard Henry Lee (VA)

Ray Middleton
Col. Thomas McKean (DE)

William Hansen
Caesar Rodney (DE)

Blythe Danner
Martha Jefferson

Virginia Vestoff
Abigail Adams

Emory Bass
Judge James Wilson (PA)

Ralston Hill
Charles Thomson Secretary to the Continental Congress

Howard Caine
Lewis Morris (NY)

Daniel Keyes
Dr. Josiah BartletttNH)

Leo Leyden
George Read (DE)

Stephen Nathan
Courier

Jonathan Moore (actor)
Dr. Lyman Hall(GA)

ALL THE KING’S MEN


All The King's Men is the story of the rise of politician Willie Stark from a rural county seat to the spotlight. Along the way, he loses his initial innocence, and becomes just as corrupt as those who he assaulted before for this characteristic. Also included is the romance between one of his "right hand women" and the up-and-coming journalist who brings Stark to prominence.
I first saw this movie in high school and thought it was an incredible political drama. Some say it was loosely based on the life of Senator Huey Long of Louisiana. The movie also gave me a greater appreciation for actor Broderick Crawford who up until that time I only knew as the guy on “Highway Patrol”.

THE CAST

Broderick Crawford
Willie Stark

John Ireland
Jack Burden

Joanne Dru
Anne Stanton

John Derek
Tom Stark

Mercedes McCambridge
Sadie Burke

Shepperd Strudwick
Adam Stanton

Ralph Dumke
Tiny Duffy

Anne Seymour
Lucy Stark

Katherine Warren
Mrs. Burden (as Katharine Warren)

Raymond Greenleaf
Judge Monte Stanton

Walter Burke
Sugar Boy

Will Wright
Dolph Pillsbury

Grandon Rhodes
Floyd McEvoy

There was a remake of this movie with Sean Penn and Patricia Clarkson. Have yet to see it.

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY



An unpopular U.S. President manages to get a nuclear disarmament treaty through the Senate, but finds that the nation is turning against him. Jiggs Casey, a Marine Colonel, finds evidence that General Scott, the wildly popular head of the Joint Chiefs and certain Presidential Candidate in 2 years is not planning to wait. Casey goes to the president with the information and a web of intrigue begins with each side unsure of who can be trusted.
Cold War mania at its best. Loved the mystery and intrigue of this movie. Great performance by Fredric March in his waning days as an actor.

THE CAST

Burt Lancaster
Gen. James Mattoon Scott

Kirk Douglas
Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey

Fredric March
President Jordan Lyman

Ava Gardner
Eleanor 'Ellie' Holbrook

Edmond O'Brien
Sen. Raymond Clark

Martin Balsam
Paul Girard

Andrew Duggan
Col. William 'Mutt' Henderson

Hugh Marlowe
Harold McPherson

Whit Bissell
Sen. Frederick Prentice

Helen Kleeb
Esther Townsend

George Macready
Christopher Todd

Richard Anderson
Col. Murdock


PRIMARY COLORS

This work is the barely fictionalized account of candidate Bill Clinton in 1992 via the character Southern Governor Jack Stanton. Joe Klein joined Newsweek as a political reporter and columnist during the 1992 US Presidential race, and followed then candidate Bill Clinton on the road. As such, Klein dutifully conveys the youthful exuberance for a new candiate, along with the sense of awe at his determination, drive, and intelligence. All along, he also displays the shocking lack of personal morals of a "natural" candidate for the office. Further, he shows the inner deal-making that everyone connected with the campaign makes to achieve the vision they started with, no matter how ugly the cheating, talented candidate gets on his road to the election. Klein tells the story from the 1st person perspective of a sophomorish campaign manager, Henry Burton, that just happens to be a grandson of a black civil rights leader. They join the Southern Governor at a talk given on adult education, in which Gov. Stanton cries as he tells the students how they were braver than his uncle--a World War II veteran that earned the Medal of Honor, but went home and never took a job because he was too embarassed to tell anyone he was illiterate. We next find out this story is not true! Despite this, Burton decides to join the campaign, and works many of the standard issues--such as fighting off scurrilous attacks by opposing candidates, and captured and doctored cell phone conversations, etc. Burton walks into the campaign headquarters (a hotel suite) to find the Governor coming out of a bedroom not completely dressed, and a disheveled librarian they had just met at a school they had attended. Of course, Susan Stanton, the Governor's wife, is nowhere to be found. The team flies to another destination to meet up with Mrs. Stanton, as she has been campaigning for her husband among their party elite in that state. Burton is eventually introduced to Libby Holden (Kathy Bates), whose job is to defend the President by combating the attacks from all comers. She does so with ruthless abandon, but also with a strict moral code: There apparently is something noble about stopping the attacks of others, but it is almost reprehensible about digging up the dirt on others -- essentially attacking them first. We come to know that Gov. Stanton is a philanderer of extraordinary magnitude, but an inspired genious at politics. Unfortunately, this extends to sleeping with a 17-year-old babysitter, the librarian they just recently met, a long-term affair with another woman, and the list goes on.
This movie was a type of introduction, a transition if you will into the Monica scandal. It is my belief that since this was out there and was based on Clinton, the fallout from the affair was not as bad as it could’ve been. The movie cast the Stantons as power hungry but with good intentions. I liked the way the characters were portrayed in dealing with the peaks and valleys of political stardom.

THE CAST

John Travolta
Governor Jack Stanton

Emma Thompson
Susan Stanton

Billy Bob Thornton
Richard Jemmons

Kathy Bates
Libby Holden

Adrian Lester
Henry Burton

Maura Tierney
Daisy Green

Larry Hagman
Gov. Fred Picker

Diane Ladd
Mamma Stanton

Paul Guilfoyle
Howard Ferguson


Tommy Hollis
William McCullison (Fat Willie)

Rob Reiner
Izzy Rosenblatt

Ben Jones
Arlen Sporken

J.C. Quinn
Uncle Charlie

Allison Janney
Miss Walsh

Robert Klein
Norman Asher

Mykelti Williamson
Dewayne Smith

James Denton
Mitch (as Jamie Denton)

Leontine Guilliard
Ruby

Monique Ridge
Tawana Carter (as Monique L. Ridge)

Himself
Charlie Rose
Himself

Larry King
Hmself

Bill Maher
Himself

James Earl Jones
CNN Voiceover (voice)

Friday, February 23, 2007

The LuLac Edition #160, Feb. 23, 2007




PHOTO INDEX: WBRE TV'S JILL KONOPKA, A REPORTER WHO ASKED THE MAYOR TOUGH QUESTIONS AT THURSDAY'S COUNCIL MEETING IN WILKES BARRE AND TAXPAYER ADVOCATE AND COUNCIL CANDIDATE WALTER GRIFFITH.




WILKES BARRE WRAP


At last night’s council meeting, Mayor Tom Leighton actually apologized for the inconvenience to city residents and he took full responsibility for the problems related to the storm. Even though some residents are already saying this is “too little-too late”, you have to give the Mayor credit for facing the residents and making his statement. No one wants Leighton to fail in rebuilding the city but sometimes his reactions to the hard questions citizens ask don’t do his image any favors. WBRE TV’s reporter Jill Konopka reported that when she asked the Mayor why he didn’t make his statement of responsibility sooner, Mr. Leighton told her this was his first forum to do so since the weather events of last week. Well, there were the two news conferences as well as pleas from the WILK talk show hosts to ring them up. Observers feel Leighton’s statement Thursday night will go a long way in smoothing his previously unencumbered path for re-election.
In the meantime, Council members actually spoke. Tony Thomas complimented the DPW workers with a bit of hyperbole by calling them “heroes”. They did do a good job under adverse circumstances but “heroes” to me are people who rush into burning buildings or take a bullet for someone. Kathy Kane said something that since Wilkes Barre was the biggest city, it got the most negative comments about the storm. I don’t know about that, perhaps the size of the city has nothing to do with its frustration over the snow removal issue but rather the way it was handled. Thomas did indicate that DPW does need more equipment. And his statement proves the point that sometimes, as much as we’d like it, administrations focus on one thing more than another. Did the Leighton regime downplay the need for new equipment because they were preoccupied with economic development? Most likely. But you can say the McGroarty administration was more focused on equipment and machinery than the downtown. Any administration has to find a balance and it is a tough thing to do especially with limited resources.
Wilkes Barre GOP candidate and taxpayer advocate Walter Griffith made an appearance at the meeting and urged the council to concentrate more on the neighborhoods. Griffith pointed to the snow issue as his primary proof that more needs to be done in the city’s hoods.
Councilman Jim McCarthy also tried to get his “Sexual Predator” ordinance passed. It did not get a second. This is intriguing both politically and governmentally. McCarthy has served on council for 16 years, he has been a stalwart of the local Democratic party for years. It is puzzling to see that after all that time in the arena, he was unable to have at least one member second his motion. Is this Council’s way of telling McCarthy to just shut up and retire to his bar business? The ordinance is not anything foreign to other communities either. The fact that McCarthy doesn’t have a coalition for the issue certainly has frustrated him and most likely will have a major bearing on his decision to run for another term. He has indicated he may not run but you really have to wait for the last day of filing to be certain. Observers feel that council has received word from their puppet masters to lay low on Gentleman Jim’s resolution. My sources tell me the true reasons for this opposition will play itself out before the General Election. In the meantime, you have to feel for McCarthy because all he wants is a hearing for his plan. But council doesn't seem to even want to talk about it and you know that has to annoy an old school communicator like McCarthy.

THE CASE OF STEVE FLOOD


Former County Controller Steve Flood has indicated he will run for County Commissioner in the spring primary. There is mixed reaction to the announcement. The bomb throwers who loved Flood’s antics are urging him on to make the race and call the current administration on the carpet for their fiscal decisions. But a few Flood supporters feel these people are unrealistically giving the candidate a far too rosy picture of beating the Skrep-Petrilla ticket. These supporters of Flood fear that a primary loss will pin their guy as a perennial loser and not very attractive for future runs. Others have been advocating that Flood switch parties and become a Republican. This corner feels that a GOP Flood would be a strong candidate that would garner the good government wing of the Republicans as well as Flood’s own political base. It should be noted that Flood single-handedly put on a rally for Ed Rendell in April of 2002 that brought 1200 people into Genetti’s in Wilkes Barre. Everyone else in the party hierarchy was backing Bob Casey, Junior.
Here’s my advice to Flood: sit out this race. See if the Skrepenak-Petrilla duo prevails. (If the GOP field two good candidates and stay united, maybe a Demo win might not be a slam dunk). However, if the Democrats retain control, lobby and lobby hard to Ed Rendell to have you appointed as County Controller to fill out Petrilla’s term. You can wreck havoc on the board of commissioners, file all the lawsuits you want and stick it to the Democratic party. The late Joe Tirpak held the Controller's office for over twenty years. Since his death, in the span of a decade, 4 people have occupied that office, Raymond Sobota, an interim appointment by the Ridge administration, Tom Pizano, Steve Flood and now Petrilla. Whatever he does, Flood has a following and if he is interested and not distracted with other things, he can make any race fascinating.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The LuLac Edition #159, Feb. 22, 2007



















PHOTO INDEX: STATE SENATOR LISA BAKER, WKRZ FM'S SHADOE STEELE AND PHOTO OF THIS BLOGGER'S NEW BOOK, "THE 26 RULES OF LIFE".




CHEERS TO BAKER!

It appears the only elected official to date that is taking the aftermath of the snow situation seriously is newly elected Senator Lisa Baker. Baker has been on radio talk shows and has been open with all members of the press. In terms of the Govenor's local office, well it seems like Baker (who ran a similar office for Governor Ridge) is leaving them in the dust. WILK's Sue Henry has been trying to get a comment from the Governor's office but so far, they are keeping mum. My question is where's the local office? Doesn't former Scranton Mayor Jim "I never met a microphone or talk show I never liked?" Connors on this deal? Connors who is getting a fat salary from Rendell's office ($45,000 plus) has lost his voice. Or he's being muzzled. Either way, maybe the only way to get a comment from Mr. Connor's is to have the Poets show up and maybe he can sing a few stanzas of Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry".

DOHERTY OKAY TOO!

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty stepped up to the plate during the crisis and also appeared on TV and Talk Radio. Doherty was also on the scene of that tragic fire in Scranton earlier in the week.

COUNCILS TO MEET

We'll have reports on the city Council meetings in both Scranton and Wilkes Barre that will take place tonight. On the agenda: response to the snow removal.

HOTEL STERLING NEWS

I came across some fascinating links regarding the Hotel Sterling renovation. Published by the Pennslyvania Progressive, they are worth a look. Here are the links for parts one and two:http://pennsylvaniaprogressive.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/02/the_hotel_sterl_1.html
http://pennsylvaniaprogressive.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/02/the_hotel_sterl.html


SHAMELESS PROMOTION DEPARTMENT

Our new project, "26 Rules of Life" has been on the stands for a while. We had a wonderful interview with Sue Henry on Tuesday at WILK. On Saturday Feb. 24th from 2 to 4PM we'll be at the Barnes & Noble Book Store at the Arena Hub Plaza meeting and greeting people and selling the book. It's cheap, under six bucks. Later on in the day, we will be appearing on the "Saturfday Night Live At the Oldies" show on 98.5FM KRZ. Shadoe Steele hosts the program and will be interviewing us. Hope you tune in.
To access the latest doings on my writing efforts, including our endavors to get a national connection for either publishing or cinematic endavors on my previous work, "A RADIO STORY" check out my other blog: AUTHOR: DAVID YONKI. Here's that link: http://authordavidyonki.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The LuLac Edition #159, Feb. 21, 2007

















PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER GREG SKREPENAK AND TWO UNDER- DRESSED "SNOW BUNNIES" DISTRACTING US FROM OUR BORING "DIG OUT" STORIES.


SNOW STORIES

We just can’t let go of this topic. Mainly because things keep on happening.

SNOW NOTE 1: Mayor Leighton asked the City Council of Wilkes Barre to refrain from discussing snow related topics with citizens and others until he could have a sit down with department heads to see where things stand. A few interesting things here. The first is why didn’t the Mayor sit down with department heads sooner? Now I realize that things were hairy and the department heads had their hands full over the weekend. But Monday was a free day and since department heads aren’t union, why couldn’t they have a meeting then? The other day I was walking through the old Franklin Federal Parking lot across from the Hotel Sterling. There’s a new bank there, I couldn’t tell you the name of it. But as I was walking, I came across a young lady, who, spotting my cane, asked with concern if I could navigate some of the sidewalks. She was about 5’2 and carrying 5 boxes of pizza. (Pizza Bella, I always check). I thanked her and declined her help because I was fine but asked her what she was doing with so much pizza. She replied that the people in the bank were working on a project, staying late and were getting supper. My point here is that this was identified as a crisis and all the rules go out the window when there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Even if it means bribing department heads with pizza on their day off.
Anyway, back to the Council meeting, Vice Chairman Mike McGinley did apologize to city residents at the meeting. But here’s what I thought was significant about this story. Was there a comment from any city council member in response to Leighton’s request that the lawmakers not talk to their constituents? Nowhere in any published story did I see any council member take umbrage to being told “what not to say”. So if a resident asks a council member about the street/snow situation, are they to say “no comment”, “I take the Fifth!” or do the old Srgnt. Schultz bit, “I know nothing!!!!?
To be fair to the Mayor, I can understand how he wants to file a full report and get all the facts, even if it is a week later. But to ask the Council to refrain from speaking about it is pretty heavy handed. But what is a thousand times worse is members of the city council (the bobblehead dolls at the Stadium have nothing on Wilkes Barre City Council) agreeing with him and taking the path of least resistance.

SNOW NOTE 2:
This is related to Snow Note 1. On President’s Day, Steve Corbett was subbing for Sue Henry on WILK Radio. He received a call from Sam Troy who is running for City Council. Troy is the same guy Mayor Leighton said at a public meeting that should be ashamed of himself for asking questions about various projects in the city. Anyway, Troy talked about the snow, his issues with the administration and said to Corbett that he, Troy was making a bid for City Council. Corbett peppered him with questions about what district, when the election was and who was his opposition. Standard stuff. Corbett then made it clear that while he appreciated Troy’s call, he (Corbett) was willing to give Troy’s opposition Kathy Kane and Jim McCarthy equal time to state their case for re-election and to even rebut Troy’s comments. No one called him back and took him up on the offer. Maybe it’s me but if I were running for City Council for another term, I’d jump on the chance. The problem in Wilkes Barre with every elected official on this issue is that people want to hear something. We are a forgiving people. If Americans could forgive JFK for the Bay of Pigs and Ronald Reagan for Iran-Contra, they could forgive Wilkes Barre officials for a little snow fall. But when you ask forgiveness or own up to responsibility, you have to talk first. And save Mr. McGinley, that’s not happening.

SNOW NOTE 3:
What is annoying most residents I have talked to about this issue is the lack of information coming from the city on specifics. When will the street be done? What’s the time line on it? Do we have to move our cars? At least in the neighborhoods, to my knowledge, no one knows anything. And that I believe (Oooops) is the reason for the anger and the seemingly impatient behavior of the populace. QUICK NOTE: WILK's Bud Brown and Rusty Fender were issuing traffic advisories on streets being worked on today but some residents feel the flow of information should have come sooner.

AMESBURY AGAIN

Bill Amesbury, the District Magistrate who replaced the late Michael Collins in a stunner of an election in 2001 for Magistrate in South Wilkes Barre is seeking another term. Amesbury faced off against a Tom Ridge appointed member by marriage of the O’Donnell political dynasty. Justice O’Donnell won the Democratic primary but Amesbury, cross filing took the GOP nod and defeated the incumbent to gain office in the 2001 general. For the last six years Amesbury has served with distinction. He says the problems of drugs and youth violence are major problems in the community. All in all he’s done a good job. I am surprised that he is listing in his resume the fact that he is associated with a law firm in private practice. One of the cornerstones of his last campaign was that he would be “a full time magistrate” and concentrate solely on that job. (I know, I produced his ads for Cable Rep advertising). But other than that discrepancy, (maybe he found he could handle both) Amesbury looks to repeat for another term in the lower judiciary.

LOCAL GOP MEETS
AND NOT IN PHONE BOOTH

The county GOP had their annual dinner last weekend and got a crowd. The menu was rubber chicken but the topic was typically Republican, illegal immigration. State Superior Court Judge Correale Stevens told the Republicans that something must be done to relieve the burdens that illegal immigration is placing on county and state court systems, local law enforcement, cities, schools and hospitals.
Stevens was the guest speaker at the Luzerne County Republican Committee’s 2007 Lincoln Day Dinner at Genetti’s.
Although Stevens prefaced his remarks by saying that the judicial code of ethics prevented him from speaking on the court case involving Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act, he defended city Mayor Louis Barletta and council members as honorable people who shouldn’t be berated by outsiders.
County GOP Chair Lynette Villano presided, recent Republican success story Lisa Baker offered remarks and Bear Creek Mayor and voice of the Cardoni Law Firm commercials dressed up as Abe Lincoln and led the crowd in the singing of the national anthem. The Dems don’t have anybody dressing up in character at their dinners, but then again their mascot is a donkey and no one wants to look like a jackass let alone advertise it.

SKEP SAYS “YA’LL COME”

Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak cordially invites you to be part of a Major Announcement & Rally celebrating exciting news for the future of Luzerne County! Your support and participation has helped Luzerne County grow over the past three years. Please join Commissioner Skrepenak and all those working to make our county and its communities a better place, as we boldly move toward an even brighter future!
Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 5 p.m.at the Genetti Hotel and Conference Center, Downtown Wilkes-Barre. Refreshments will be served.


A TAXING SITUATION

Lackawanna County Majority Commissioners Robert Cordaro and A.J. Munchak, who last week seemed to catch a break with the fielding of a lackluster Democratic ticket got some unwelcome news regarding their taxes. Cordao owes more than $40,000 on back taxes on a property he said he bought as a favor to help someone out and Munchak has some issues regarding employment taxes. These issues might be easily explained but the boys have to make a statement to the press about the specifics of each. John Q. Taxpayer wants to be assured that everyone is paying their fair share. This is an issue worth watching in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The LuLac Edition #159, Feb. 20, 2007



PICTURE INDEX: TOMMY AND DICK SMOTHERS.

THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR

It is worth noting that 40 years ago this month, CBS TV put on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The Smothers Brothers were, like Dick Van Dyke, an act in search of a TV show. The network had tried a Friday night vehicle for the brothers based loosely on the movie "It's A Wonderful Life". Dick Smothers played a swinging bachelor while Tommy played a guardian angel trainee that wrecked havoc on the proceedings. The show lasted half a year. CBS then decided to try a variety vehicle for the boys, with a strong lead in from Ed Sullivan on Sunday night but a deadly head to head competition with the long running "Bonanza". As a young 13 year old, I was expecting the same slapstick comedy the brothers provided over the years. So too did my parents and others adults in the CBS audience. They provided fun and jokes but also messages about the Vietnam War, Civil Rights and poverty in America. My parents, both Lyndon Johnson supporters, thank goodness had minds open enough to not censor the Smothers program in our house. In the rearview mirror of personal history, I'd like to think that! But maybe they just didn't get the jokes, liked the music or just weren't paying attention. As an adult, I have come to dread Sunday nights because as both my working class parents knew, Sunday evening led to Monday morning. The show's content featured irreverent digs at many dominant institutions such as organized religion and the presidency. It also included sketches celebrating the hippie drug culture and material opposing the war in Vietnam. These elements made The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour one of the most controversial television shows in the medium's history. Questions of taste and the Smothers' oppositional politics led to very public battles over censorship. As CBS attempted to dictate what was appropriate prime time entertainment fare, the Smothers tried to push the boundaries of acceptable speech on the medium. The recurring skirmishes between the brothers and the network culminated on 4 April 1969, one week before the end of the season, when CBS summarily threw the show off the air. Network president Robert D. Wood charged that the Smothers had not submitted a review tape of the upcoming show to the network in a timely manner. The Smothers accused CBS of infringing on their First Amendment rights. It would be twenty years before the Smothers Brothers again appeared on CBS.
Considering how contentious The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour became, it is worth noting that, in form and style, the show was quite traditional, avoiding the kinds of experiments associated with variety show rival, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. The brothers typically opened the show with a few minutes of stand-up song and banter. The show's final segment usually involved a big production number, often a costumed spoof, featuring dancing, singing and comedy. Guest stars ran the gamut from countercultural icons like the Jefferson Airplane and the Doors to older generation, "Establishment" favourites like Kate Smith and Jimmy Durante. Nelson Riddle and his orchestra supplied musical accompaniment, and the show had its own resident dancers and singers who would have been as comfortable on the Lawrence Welk Show as on the Smothers' show.
The show was noteworthy for some of the new, young talent it brought to the medium. Its corral of writers, many of whom were also performers, provided much of the energy, and managed to offset some of the creakiness of the format and the older guest stars. Mason Williams, heading the writing staff, achieved fame not so much for his politically engaged writing, but for his instant guitar classic, "Classical Gas." Bob Einstein wrote for the show and also played the deadpan and very unamused cop, Officer Judy. He went on to greater fame as Super Dave. Finally, the as yet unknown Steve Martin cut his comedic teeth as a staff writer for the show.
What also raised The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour above the usual fare of comedy variety was the way the Smothers and their writers dealt with some of their material. Dan Rowan of Laugh-In noted that while his show used politics as a platform for comedy, the Smothers used comedy as a platform for politics. A recurring political sketch during the 1968 presidential year tracked regular cast member, the lugubrious Pat Paulsen, and his run for the nation's top office. Campaigners for Democratic contender Hubert Humphrey apparently worried that write-in votes for Paulsen would take needed votes away from their candidate.
Another Comedy Hour regular engaged in a different kind of subversive humour. Comedienne Leigh French created the recurring hippie character, Goldie O'Keefe, whose parody of afternoon advice shows for housewives, "Share a Little Tea with Goldie," was actually one long celebration of mind-altering drugs. "Tea" was a countercultural code word for marijuana, but the CBS censors seemed to be unaware of the connection. Goldie would open her sketches with salutations such as "Hi(gh)--and glad of it!" While Goldie's comedy was occasionally censored for its pro-drug messages, it never came in for the suppression that focused on other material. One of the most famous instances was the censoring of folk singer Pete Seeger. The song--about a gung-ho military officer during World War II who attempts to force his men to ford a raging river only to be drowned in the muddy currents--was a thinly veiled metaphor for President Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam policies. The censoring of Seeger created a public outcry, causing the network to relent and allow Seeger to reappear on the Comedy Hour later in the season to perform the song.
Other guests who wanted to perform material with an anti-war message also found themselves censored. Harry Belafonte was scheduled to do a calypso song called "Don't Stop the Carnival" with images from the riotous 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention chromakeyed behind him. Joan Baez wanted to dedicate a song to her draft-resisting husband who was about to go to prison for his stance. In both cases, the network considered this material "political," thus not appropriate for an "entertainment" format. Dr. Benjamin Spock, noted baby doctor and anti-war activist, was prevented from appearing as a guest of the show because, according to the network, he was a "convicted felon."
Other material that offended the network's notions of good taste also suffered the blue pencil. Regular guest performer, comedian David Steinberg, found his satirical sermonettes censored for being "sacrilegious." Even skits lampooning censorship, such as one in which Tom and guest Elaine May played motion picture censors trying to find a more palatable substitution for unacceptable dialogue, ended up being censored.
The significance of all this censoring and battling between the Smothers and CBS is what Bert Spector has called a "clash of cultures." The political and taste values of two generations were colliding with each other over The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The show, appearing at a pivotal moment of social and cultural change in the late 1960s, ended up embodying some of the turmoil and pitched conflict of the era. The Smothers wanted to provide a space on prime time television for the perspectives of a disaffected and rebellious youth movement deeply at odds with the dominant social order. CBS, with a viewership skewed to an older, more rural, more conservative demographic, could only find the Smothers embrace of anti-establishment politics and lifestyles threatening.
In the aftermath of the show's cancellation, the Smothers received a great deal of support in the popular press, including an editorial in the New York Times and a cover story in the slick magazine Look. Tom Smothers attempted to organize backing for a free speech fight against the network among Congressional and Federal Communications Commission members in Washington D.C. While they were unsuccessful in forcing CBS to reinstate the show, the Smothers did eventually win a suit against the network for breach of contract. In the years following their banishment from CBS, the Smothers attempted to recreate their variety show on the other two networks. In 1970, they did a summer show on ABC, but were not picked up for the fall season. In 1975 they turned up on NBC with another variety show which disappeared at mid-season. Then, finally, twenty years after being shown the door at CBS, the brothers were welcomed back for an anniversary special in February 1988. The success of the special, which re-introduced stalwarts Goldie O'Keefe (now a yuppie) and Pat Paulsen, led to another short-lived and uncontroversial run of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on CBS. The attempts to re-do the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour pale in comparision to what the original show was all about. Watching parts of it now, many of the segments are tame, and seem too silly to be censored. But as I tell many young people, you had to be there, living in the time when two clean cut looking folk singers tried to put one over on the suits at Black Rock every week. Maybe that was the main appeal, whatever it was, it is a bit of pop culture that helped shape and define the the last few years of that crazy decade, the 60s. When I was a substitute school teacher at Hanover Area in the late 80s and early 90s, one of the students (a seventh grader in fact) asked if I was one of "those people" from the 60s? I wasn't sure if I was getting a compliment or an insult but I did answer proudly, "yep". There was a lot to see in the 1960s and on TV, shortlived though it was, it was The Smothers Brothers on Sunday nights at 9PM.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The LuLac Edition #158, Feb. 19, 2007

















PICTURE INDEX: PRESIDENTS LYNDON JOHNSON, FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, RONALD REAGAN, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, JOHN ADAMS AND THOMAS JEFFERSON.



PRESIDENT'S DAY
What makes a great President? It's pretty subjective criteria. Historians have put together lists for years to decide who is "great", "near great", or "fair". Presidents do worry about their legacy and are not ashamed to comment about it in public. Bill Clinton frets that his Presidency lacked a major crisis so therefore he could not show his true leadership qualities, Richard Nixon essentially rehabilitated himself after the Watergate scandal (and for both Clinton and Nixon the Monica and Waterfate affairs will always be mentioed) while others like Harry Truman decided to let the chips fall where they may in terms of their place in history. Well, for what it's worth, on this President's Day, here's my list of the most impactful Presidents in this nation's history. They are not in any order of importance so I'll start with the most recent and finish up with the most historic in terms of time.



RONALD REAGAN:
A great deal of debate on this one given Reagan's affection for high deficits but you have to give him this. He came into office with three goals, reduce government, rekindle the American spirit and fight the Communist threat. While there are some who say that perhaps he reduced the wrong things in government like welfare and job training, there is no doubt Reagan inspired the American people when he spoke on any subject. People say John Kennedy was the first TV President, Ronald Reagan was the first "message" manager of the media. Whether it be a Space craft disaster or admitting his role in the Contra Affair, people wanted to believe him. His stubborn behavior against the Soviets was first seen as the rantings of an old cold warrior but Reagan knew and believed the Communist system of government would collapse under its own weight. Many say he got too much credit for the end of Communism, maybe, maybe not, the fact is Reagan stood steadfast in his belief that capitalism would prevail and events beared him out.



LYNDON JOHNSON:
How does one pick a President as "near great" when he had a debacle like Vietnam on his record? The answer: Carefully. Fully acknowledging that Johnson escalated the war, it should be remembered that he inherited the conflict as well as the Kennedy people who stood by their beliefs that this was the right thing to do. As early as 1966, Johnson intimated that the war might be a mistake but fully bought into the "domino" theory. Johnson did however realize the nation had to get out of the conflict, took himself out of the Presidential race of 1968 and did his best to try and negotiate a peace before the end of his term. That was, of course an abject failure. What was a success was Johnson's willingness to pass all Civil Rights legislation that was stalled in Congress under John Kennedy and his attempts to expand on the Roosevelt agenda of trying to rid the country of poverty with his "Great Society" programs. Johnson felt that government was available to meet the needs of the American people.



FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT:
He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms. By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first "hundred days," he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
Roosevelt was Commander In Chief when war in Europe broke out and was the driving forece in defending the nation on two coasts when Japan attacked U.S. interests in the Pacific. As the war wound down, he was one of the driving forces in the formation of the U.N. The key factor in Roosevelt as a President was that he was willing to try any new solution to fix a problem.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN
: Lincoln came from simple heritage but made himself into a self styled populist launching an unlikely political career.
In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.
As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.
Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. In his planning for peace, the President was flexible and generous, encouraging Southerners to lay down their arms and join speedily in reunion.
The spirit that guided him was clearly that of his Second Inaugural Address, now inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "
On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South. The opposite was the result, for with Lincoln's death, the possibility of peace without problems died.



THOMAS JEFFERSON:
As a reluctant candidate for President in 1796, Jefferson came within three votes of election. Through a flaw in the Constitution, he became Vice President, although an opponent of President Adams. In 1800 the defect caused a more serious problem. Republican electors, attempting to name both a President and a Vice President from their own party, cast a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives settled the tie. Hamilton, disliking both Jefferson and Burr, nevertheless urged Jefferson's election.
When Jefferson assumed the Presidency, the crisis in France had passed. He slashed Army and Navy expenditures, cut the budget, eliminated the tax on whiskey so unpopular in the West, yet reduced the national debt by a third. He also sent a naval squadron to fight the Barbary pirates, who were harassing American commerce in the Mediterranean. Further, although the Constitution made no provision for the acquisition of new land, Jefferson suppressed his qualms over constitutionality when he had the opportunity to acquire the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon in 1803. Jefferson's major legacy, besides being the founder of one of the first political parties in the country was also that as author of the Declaration. Jefferson did not mention his tenure as President on his gravestone.



JOHN ADAMS
:
During the Revolutionary War he served in France and Holland in diplomatic roles, and helped negotiate the treaty of peace. From 1785 to 1788 he was minister to the Court of St. James's, returning to be elected Vice President under George Washington.
When Adams became President, the war between the French and British was causing great difficulties for the United States on the high seas and intense partisanship among contending factions within the Nation.
His administration focused on France, where the Directory, the ruling group, had refused to receive the American envoy and had suspended commercial relations.
Adams sent three commissioners to France, but in the spring of 1798 word arrived that the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand and the Directory had refused to negotiate with them unless they would first pay a substantial bribe. Adams reported the insult to Congress, and the Senate printed the correspondence, in which the Frenchmen were referred to only as "X, Y, and Z."
The Nation broke out into what Jefferson called "the X. Y. Z. fever," increased in intensity by Adams's exhortations. The populace cheered itself hoarse wherever the President appeared. Never had the Federalists been so popular.
Congress appropriated money to complete three new frigates and to build additional ships, and authorized the raising of a provisional army. It also passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, intended to frighten foreign agents out of the country and to stifle the attacks of Republican editors.
President Adams did not call for a declaration of war, but hostilities began at sea. At first, American shipping was almost defenseless against French privateers, but by 1800 armed merchantmen and U.S. warships were clearing the sea-lanes.
Despite several brilliant naval victories, war fever subsided. Word came to Adams that France also had no stomach for war and would receive an envoy with respect. Long negotiations ended the quasi war.
Sending a peace mission to France brought the full fury of the Hamiltonians against Adams. In the campaign of 1800 the Republicans were united and effective, the Federalists badly divided. Nevertheless, Adams polled only a few less electoral votes than Jefferson, who became President.
On November 1, 1800, just before the election, Adams arrived in the new Capital City to take up his residence in the White House. On his second evening in its damp, unfinished rooms, he wrote his wife, "Before I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof."
Adams always felt like he was in Thomas Jefferson's shadow. It was after all Adams who urder Jefferson to write the famous declaration against England. His diplomatic skillls with foreign countries were contrasted with his boorish behavior in the realm of domestic politics. He was a true contradition in terms of Presidential leadership but his tough decision in his crucial terms as President kept the young nation from going under and paved the way for others to strengthen the base of the country financially and geographically.



HONORABLE MENTIONS



THEODORE ROOSEVELT:
A true friend of the working man, Roosevelt led the country kicking and screaming into reforms that dealt with basics like clean food, and fair labor laws for adults and children.



JOHN TYLER:
When William Henry Harrison died after only one month in office, it was Tyler who stuck by the written rule of succession in the Constitution when others were looking at an expedient variation. Tyler's decision paved the way for unencumbered Presidential succession.



HARRY TRUMAN:
A common man thrust into the Presidency, Truman made decisions and never looked back. He was the last President to just have a high school education and was kept in the dark about many of the major workings of the Roosevelt administration. Despite that, he did well by following his heart, conscience and the history of world governments.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The LuLac Edition #157, Feb. 18, 2007






PHOTO INDEX: WILKES BARRE MAYOR TOM LEIGHTON AND PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR ED RENDELL.



QUOTES ON THE SNOW ISSUE



No editorials, no spin or opinion from me, Mrs. LuLac was firing off her own missives on the subject to City Hall today. These are the quotes from the two main players in the snow issue that was big news this week.

“I make no apologies for what happened,” said Leighton, adding that he does sympathize with frustrated residents. “I can’t control the weather. I can’t control snow and ice.” Mayor Tom Leighton.


Governor Ed Rendell called the state’s response “totally unacceptable” and personally apologized to affected motorists.


AMBROSE MELETSKY

We would be remiss if we did not mention the passing of Ambrose Meletsky. Meletsky was a permanent fixture at City Council meetings in the 60s, 70s, 80s and even into the 90s. I first met him when I was doing local news reports for WBRE News Radio and WMJW FM in the mid 1970s. At that time, the city of Wilkes Barre was going through the redevelopment phase of rebuilding after the great flood of ’72. Meletsky constantly held the Mayor (the late Walter Lisman at the time) and the council’s feet to the fire on fiscal issues. I clearly remember Lisman, after a rather long meeting seeing Ambrose approach the Council to speak. Lisman, head in hands said, “What do you have for us today Ambrose?” Meletsky on that day, thankfully was brief. But his thoughts and opinions, though not necessarily acted upon, were welcomed by the city fathers. He was a tax payer advocate before they even coined the term. Meletsky was mischievous, funny, well prepared and added a great deal to the public discourse. He died the other day at the age of 90.