Thursday, November 29, 2007

The LuLac Edition #359, Nov. 29th, 2007











PHOTO INDEX: CITIZEN ADVOCATE AND WILKES BARRE RESIDENT WALTER GRIFFITH AND THE LUZERNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE.


HYDER'S HOLIDAY


In today's TL, they tell us this about a big meal in Vegas. One expenditure sticks out on Luzerne County's debit card receipts: an$896.88 restaurant tab for Paris Le Rotisserie in Las Vegas.The bill was incurred on Dec. 11, 2006, under a debit card held byprison Deputy Warden Sam Hyder.The tab covered bottled water and a meal for six, Hyder said Wednesday. Hyder said he and the other county representatives were concerned aboutthe steep price and compensated by scaling back or not charging thecounty for other meals during the conference, which was sponsored by theAmerican Jail Association.The bills indicate that a total $1,742 was spent on all meals during theconference from Dec. 10 through Dec. 14.
Here's my take on this: It's Vegas, it's a French eatery with French food and wine. I think the boys from Rolling Mill Hill stepped into the joint, slapped their collective foreheads and said, "This ain't Perugino's on Parrish Street". Unlike past junketeers, they realized this was too pricey and cut back. The fact that the big bill stands out like a sore thumb is the only thing wrong with this picture. They ate, chalked up the expensive menu to experience and dined cheap the rest of the way. I say "good for them". But by not getting this out to the public at first, it looks bad.


STRIP CLUB

Cops and law enforcement officials in strip clubs? As Maynard J. Crebbs used to say, "Oh come now!" Again, this is a small charge that was paid back in a rather sheepish manner. You're in Vegas, I'm sorry, ya gotta go to one. It would have been better if he used his own card but what the heck, what's done is done. The last time I was in a strip club was 1991, it was a few days before Christmas and a few of my friends and I who were all unemployed at the same time decided to have a "company Christmas party". We traveled to a place called "Irv's" in the Poconos (and I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Irv in a totally unrelated matter years later) and was told for our $8.00 entry fee there'd be 100 ladies, a seafood buffet of shrimp and clams and CDs given away as prizes. Well, there were 8 girls, the buffet consisted of Wonder bread and baloney that some hairy guy was dispensing and only one of us got a CD. Despite that, we had fun. But it was no Vegas. And even though it's been years for all of us, in my informal poll tonight everyone of the guys would check out a Vegas club just to say we've been there. If Hyder or whoever had his card got seventy bucks worth of wings and beer, the only mistake was using the wrong card. The guy paid it back, we should move on.


NOT THE HEN


Let me say this from the start. This should not be intrepreted as a slap against Mary Anne Petrilla who is a fine public servant. And the term "hen" is not a sexist remark directed at her or any female. All that said, Petrilla should not be investigating these debit card expenses. There should be an independent panel consisting of
Atty. Joe Cosgrove (see I don't hate all lawyers), former County Commissioner Jim Phillips and former State Senator and Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge, Charles Lemmond. Political wags have said Petrilla's involvement in this (looking into it) is like the Hen guarding the Foxhouse.


THE PATRIOT


Wilkes Barre city council and the Mayor recently held a meeting to discuss the 2008 city buydget. One citizen showed up. ONE! Walter Griffith. Note to voters of each party, this guy takes his government seriously and in my book that makes him a true patriot. It's refreshing to see a candidate walk the walk, long after the campaign signs are thrown away.


AND ON A RELATED NOTE:


Who says the GOP is bah hum bug on the holidays. A note from the 6th District Republicans:
David:
Reports of the death of the Republican Party in Luzerne county are a bit premature. Here in the 6th District, we're already regrouping. Further below is information on the 6th District Republican Committee's upcoming Christmas Party. Lou Barletta will be joining us as our guest speaker. It should be a great night!

Love the blog...
James O'Meara

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The LuLac Edition #358, Nov. 28th, 2007












PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR TRENT LOTT, A DALLAS COWBOY CHEERLEADER, THE LUZERNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND THE GREEN BAY PACKERS LOGO.


UGLY TOWN


When I was Youth Coordinator in Luzerne and Wyoming counties for the Hubert Humphrey Presidential campaign, I met a lot of characters along the way. One of them was a guy out of Wisconsin named Regis Goyke. Goyke was the field coordinator for the eastern part of the state and had a colorful way of framing things. Come to think of it, he might have even been James Carville before James Carville realized he was James Carville. But I digress. One day Goyke had a volunteer meeting and proceeded to talk about the controversial busing issue. He told the group to avoid the busing discussions because it was "Ugly Town". He kept on repeating that over and over again. Afterwards, I asked him what "Ugly Town" meant. He told me it was a political issue or controversy where no one won. No side could defend it. Ugly Town, death in politics.
I thought of that this week when the discussions started fast and furious about the debit card discussion in Luzerne County. Just before the election, when this was bubbling to the surface, I knew it was going to be trouble. But the Luzerne County lawyers staved off the newspapers long enough to elect a Democratic majority. But the day before Thanksgiving, the proverbial stuffing hit the fan. Predictably, no county official was around to issue a comment. Then on Tuesday, the Citizen's Voice (which broke the story) had a front page headline on the debit card usage by county employees.
County officials were lambasted for using debit cards for personal travel and expenses. It was pointed out that it was for county business. But this issue is a tough one for the public to swallow, especially when the county has to borrow money for next year's budget. On the Steve Corbett radio program tonight, callers were characterizing public officials "as pigs feeding at the public trough". It was not a real good discussion. And it does not bode well for the team of Skrepenak and Petrilla as they attempt to govern in this new term. As I pointed out when this story broke before the election, this can be a damaging issue because the public, God bless 'em, understand it. They don't understand the nuances of the Juvenile Detention Center or even the complexities of reassessment. But in the area where my father used to say, "people would rather see a hearse in your driveway than a Cadillac" the issue will resonate. Public officials are viewed as people "on the dime". When they go to a conference in California or a dinner in New York, the average citizen gets envious and asks "why them and not me?" They don't take into account the time away from family and friends. Having been on a few business trips myself and for the ride along with Mrs. LuLac a few times, I can say it isn't all peaches and cream. (Like Mrs. LuLac taking 2 days to get back from San Jose last March due to the idiots at the airlines). But perception is everything and all the public sees is the cost and what it buys. The Time Share in New York gets $208.00 for a nightly rate for a room. Your average hotel room in NYC starts at $500.00 a night on weekdays, $750.00 on weekends. But all the public sees is the cost. And the other major thing here is the vehicle, the debit card. My parent's generation paid cash (and those still living) for everything. Most of this generation knows what it is to have a credit card, use it, run it up and then all of sudden be stuck with a huge payment. People understand debit cards. They understand they have to pay off their credit card or not get one again or pay for it through late fees or a lower credit rating. With the county debit card, there are no such penalties. The balances are not paid by Misters Skrepenak, Vonderheid, Brace, Hyder and Richards, they are paid by the General Fund budget. And even the most dense and uninformed citizen knows that comes from taxes. The county expenses run up by the boys are an easy target but understand this: education, conferences, and seeing how other cities do things is an invaluable experience. They should be encouraged and in some cases even celebrated. BUT and this is a big BUT, the mistake here was not documenting expenses. It is mystifying to me in this political climate here why these guys didn't save receipts or write a report on what was going on. Did they not remember the controversy over the Intermediate Unit 18's lobster dinners fiasco in the eighties? And how about Frank Harrison's defeat by Paul Kanjorski because Harrison went on a trip (at the behest of House Speaker Tip O'Neill) while his constituents were having clean water problems? You don't expect the average citizen to remember those stories but these officials are POLITICAL PEOPLE. They wouldn't have their jobs if they weren't. Brace has been in public life since after the '72 flood and the Hyder name has been politically strong for years. The huge mistake here is that no one covered their tracks. Someone in the Courthouse or in the Democratic party should have demanded accoutability. They sweep the county races this year and then have to govern under this cloud? Where was the one voice of reason? And Skrep's phone interview with Joe Holden apologizing and then saying "we get too busy with things" was not helpful. He'd have been better off not saying anything. As a taxpayer, I am all for public education and out of town trips for county officials. My feeling is that even if it's a bit of a junket, unless the person going is a complete moron, they pick up something of value. And meals and hotels, again no problem with that. You send someone out of town away from their family, a dinner isn't going to raise my hackles. But the fact that these guys hid it the facts, didn't save receipts, didn't have a show and tell when they came back from their trips (if they had, there'd be no issue today) is colossally stupid. In one of my favorite political movies of all time, (The Best Man) former President Art Hochstader tells candidate Joe Cantwell, "I'm not against you because you're so arrogant or you love power, I'm against you because you are so stupid". Our guys under the Dome should rent the movie. And pay cash for it.


LAWYERS!!


So Mrs. Curley, Robert Curley's mother lost her motion to have money withheld from her son's killer Jo Anne Curley. Keep in mind this whole thing came about because a lawyer, Mrs. Curley's lawyer, missed a filing deadline. I'm sure he'd be on time for his spa appointment or dinner at the Saber Room but for an attorney to miss a filing deadline, especially for a client like this who needs and wants legal recourse in every way possible to make up for the murder of her son is horrible. But then again, most lawyers around here are....horrible, greedy, stupid and not on time.


TRENT LOTT


Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, announced Monday he will retire from the Senate by end of year. Lott, 66, said he had notified President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Sunday about his plans. Barbour, a Republican, will name someone to temporarily replace Lott. Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who helped broker a bipartisan immigration bill that went down to defeat this year despite President Bush's support for it, will run to replace Lott as the Republicans' vote-counting whip, said spokesman Ryan Patmintra. Lott described his 16 years in the House and 19 in the Senate "a wild ride - and one that I'm proud of." He said he was leaving with "no anger, no malice." A return to power Lott's colleagues elected him as the Senate's Republican whip last year, a redemption for the Mississippian after his ouster five years ago as the party's Senate leader over remarks he made at retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party. Lott had saluted the South Carolina senator with comments later interpreted as support for southern segregationist policies. As you may recall, President Bush did not stand behind Lott after his remarks about Thurmond, increasing pressure on the lawmaker to step down from the No. 1 Senate job.
Lott first gained prominence as a member of the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach President Nixon in 1974. He has been a mainstay of Sunday morning talk shows for years and even though he was a right winger, he was articulate and added to the discourse.


THE BIG GAME


You'd think I'd be a Cowboys fan just for the cheerleaders. But I'm not. My team, the Packers face off against Dallas Thursday night on the NFL Network. Both teams are 11-1. This is a preview of the NFL Championship game and it will be exciting. My prediction: Dallas 14-Green Bay 13. It kills me to say it but I think it will be a game of defenses. And no, my pick had nothing to do with Green Bay's lack of cheerleaders.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The LuLac Edition #357, Nov. 26th, 2007












PHOTO INDEX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE EDDIE DAY PASHINSKI AND FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE AND PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH.


EDDIE DAY ON TNT!!!!


Eddie Day and TNT used to be the battle cry for young people yearning for good old rock and roll in the area. Now, as a State Representative primarily serving the Wilkes Barre Area, Eddie Day is on TNT, the cable network. Representative Pashinski has a message tailored to senior citizens to get their property tax rebate from the powers that be in Harrisburg. The commercial is well done and a smart move by Pashinski. He is telling the public he cares, he's on top of issues, building a firewall against political accusations that Pennsylvania homeowners have recieved little or no property relief from gambling and telling potential challengers in next year's primary that he is quite comfortable representing his district and would like to stay longer. Good ad with a good message.


THOSE HOLIDAY LIGHTS


One of the manifestiations of the tax money realized by Plains Twp are the new holiday decorations on every street light. For years, Plains adorned their area with those old time, big bulb lights that were strewn across Carey Street. Hopefully they'll be plugged in to accompany the new lights, a kind of blending with the new and old, but in the meantime, the riches of Mohegan Sun have given the Township a new look for the holidays.


GORE-
BUSH


Al Gore had hoped to leave his 40-minute Monday afternoon meeting with President Bush inconspicuously, exiting out the White House west entrance to avoid the awaiting press corps. It was Gore’s first return to the White House since George W. Bush took office. The president was officially honoring the 2007 U.S. Nobel prize winners.But the private meeting afterward with Gore symbolically stood as an effort to put a cordial end note on the bitterest presidential election in modern history. The two men had met before, most recently during the funeral of President Gerald Ford. But Monday marked their first private sit-down since 2000. But the man who was almost president would not speak of the symbolism of the day, nor the content of the conversation.
As all of you know, I love Al Gore, think they stole the election from him, thought the world would be a better place with him as President and really think he is the only one who can save America from the mess President Bush left us in. But the meeting and its cordiality is a hallmark of our Democracy and our politics. And in the world of out and out partisan war, it was refreshing to see. As for Gore's non comments, well he might have been abiding by the admonition many mothers have given their children through the years, "if you don't have anything nice to say.......leave by the side door".

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The LuLac Edition #356, Nov. 24th, 2007












PHOTO INDEX: JAMES MAY, UNANNOUNCED CANDIDATE FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE IN THE 117TH DISTRICT, THAT ELUSIVE THING IN POLITICS NO ONE TAKES SERIOUSLY, TIME AND FORMER WEATHERCASTER VINCE SWEENEY WHO HAS BEEN MENTIONED BY ALMOST EVERYBODY AS A POSSIBLE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE.


TIMING


Success in politics depends on many thing but one of them is timing. Take the hub bub recently about Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak moving to Plains. The political tea leaf readers are saying that Skrep is moving to the district to succeed Paul Kanjorski, if and when Kanjo decides to let go. (Fact is a Congressional candidate does not have to reside in the district but in this area, it helps). If Skrep decides to go after the seat in 2010, he will be finishing up his second term as Commissioner. The timing would be good for him unlike a former County Commissioner, Tom Makowski who always had an ambition to go to Congress. (Makowski was a Congressional aide to the late Dan Flood in the late 70s). Timing in politics is just as crucial as it is on a moon landing. An issue unexplained, a road not taken, a decision here or there can mean everything. Just ask Frank Harrison who in the middle of his term decided to go on an excusion with Speaker Tip O'Neill while his district had some water difficulties. Timing is crucial. And the person succeeding Kanjorski will have to have perfect timing.


IN THE 11TH


The Democrats seem to be lining up with Congressman Kanjorski for another term in Washington. The Congressman has been touting his position on illegal immigration which seems to be pretty close to what Mayor Barletta is proposing without the ordinances. There has been little or no talk recently from Representative John Yudichak's backers about a possible challenge so it looks like Paul Kanjorski is skipping the political rope getting in shape for another run. The GOP meanwhile seem to be waiting at the alter for Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta but after him, there's not any real viable candidates. And a Barletta run is no sure thing since he's being pursued by the statewide GOP.


IN THE 10TH


Washington pundits are calling the 10th a "holdable" race for the Democrats and a "potential win" for the GOP. Incumbent Chris Carney might encounter more problems from the left than the right in his fight and on the GOP side the only guy that might've had a cakewalk against Carney, Joe Peters inexplicably dropped out of the race.


WHERE'S VINCE?


The good news is that the long running Scranton Times column by "Roderick Random", "Random Thoughts" now has a byline on it. For years the column was written by former staffer Joe Flaherty and a combine of others that brought up news and political hot topics. Now we have someone identifying themselves as the source. The bad news is that they continue to get it "almost right". Take today's column where they talk about the GOP side in the 10th Congressional race. Here are the names they mentioned, Chris Hackett and Dan Meuser, touted as the two front big runners. Three other candidates — Dr. Davis Haire, Paul Swiderski and Donald Ely — have said they will run or are seriously thinking about it. There could be a few others. John P. Scott, the former New Jersey state legislator who lives in Milford, dropped out recently. So here we go, we have Hackett and Meuser already running, Haire, Swiderski and Ely thinking about it and John Scott already gone. No one seems to be mentioning a candidate that has 90% name recognition in the district and need not introduce himself to the voters of the 10th. My question was why was Vince Sweeney's name eliminated from this news story? Sweeney's name keeps bubbling up all over but apparently not in the newspaper that is part of this Northeastern News Alliance. How can they ignore a guy they worked with for over 15 years? Line up the 2 guys running, the three guys thinking about it and the one guy who dropped out and ask any voters to identify them. It ain't happening! For Sweeney, the most identifiable candidate to be excluded and ignored is either bad reporting, classic Times "the fix is already in so let's not rock the boat" or just too much turkey at Boris' house on Thanksgiving. If Sweeney runs, and that is certainly not a given, but if he does, it will be hysterical to see these political "gurus" slapping their foreheads in surprise and treating it as breaking news. As far as the GOP is concerned, they might do well with a candidate that most people trust and like, rather than introducing an empty suit that Carney and his special interest money (that sounds funny talking about a Democratic candidate doesn't it?) people will bury in a decidedly Democratic year.


MAY DAY!!


James May is a diehard Republican. And like most Republicans, his symbol of the elephant (the animal that never forgets) he is gearing up for another run for public office. As you may recall, May was forced off the ballot the last time but he's coming back for another go against State Rep Karen Boback. But running a write in campaign helped gain him recognition and his own organization and lest we forget, he came within about 125 votes of beating Boback. Issues he cares about are foster care and he also that he supports the School-Property Tax Elimination Act and the Open Records Law. May's website is still operational, you can check it out at
http://www.votemaythismay.com/. If it gets updated shortly, he's in for certain.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The LuLac Edition #355, Nov. 22nd, 2007














PHOTO INDEX: THE GREEN BAY PACKER LOGO, OLD GLORY, AND THE STAR OF THE SHOW TODAY, THE ROASTED TURKEY.


THANKSGIVING!


It is a truly unique American holiday. A time for family and friends. A time to think about what really matters. It is a day for embracing our loved ones, tolerating those we don't care for, and counting our blessings while praying for the less fortunate among us. It is a time to love what we have and recognize how that connection sustains us in everyday life.
It is also time for the NFL (my Packers play at 11:30AM), glorious food like roasted turkey, pumpkin pie (from The Sanitary of course) and maybe some adult beverages. On this day, we say Thanks for everything to our respective God, and especially for being an American. Cheers and God bless us all!


LAST YEAR


On Thanksgiving 2006, I had the opportunity to introduce Mrs. LuLac's mother's cousins from Poland to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant". To access last year's edition, here's the link, scroll down one to Edition #100.
http://lulacpoliticaletter.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html


A POEM

Thanksgiving


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything
Thy goodness sends.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

The LuLac Edition #354, Nov. 22nd, 2007











PHOTO INDEX: PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, HOURS BEFORE BEING KILLED IN DALLAS, TEXAS AND A FILE PHOTO OF THE LATE PRESIDENT.


JFK 44 YEARS ON


Many of my younger friends ask me just what is this fixation of my generation with the killing of John Kennedy. Not to be snobbish but you had to be there. November 22nd, 1963 was a defining moment in our young lives. At least in mine. Someone killed the most powerful man on earth. That has to shake up a country that at the time believed it had the world by the tail. The Kennedy murder also brought the importance of our media into focus. The band of reporters on both radio and TV were the gatekeepers to our emotions and our mourning. For four days, the American people went through all the classic stages of grief; anger, sadness, rage, disbelief and finally acceptance. As a nine year old boy, I went through those stages. But now, nearly four and one half decades later, it is still impossible to accept and despite the images on TV imprinted in my mind, hard to believe. From YOU TUBE, the events of the day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP-YKYBfLuU&feature=related and from ABC Radio, the first news bulletin of this terrible news.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The LuLac Edition #353, Nov. 21rst, 2007













PHOTO INDEX: MY FAVORITE FORMER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE MONICA LEWINSKY AND A GUN.


A CAPITOL OFFENSE?


Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan blames President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for efforts to mislead the public about the role of White House aides in leaking the identity of a CIA operative.
In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recount the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.
"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Monday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."
It seems we have grown numb to the lies and deceit of the Bush administration. The fact that a former Press Secretary says he was misled does not surprise us at all. But the fact of the matter was there was an ongoing coverup, a calculated presentation of lies in this matter. Bill Clinton was impeached because of a bout of bad judgement with an intern. The GOP from coast to coast called for his head. Will the same thing happen to the team of Bush/Cheney? Or are we so immune to the lies that we will add this to list as we count down the days to Jan. 20th, 2009 and hope we get through it? Only time will tell.


ED TRIES


Despite an impassioned personal plea by Gov. Rendell to do more, a state House panel this morning endorsed one bill aimed at curbing gun violence but rejected two others and tabled action on a fourth.
In a 27-2 vote, Judiciary Committee members approved a bill sponsored by Speaker Dennis O'Brien (R., Phila.) to create a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 year for anyone who fires a weapon at a police officer.
Also by wide margins, the committee rejected bills that would limit the number of handguns a person can buy to one a month and allow cities to enact their own gun laws. Members tabled action on a bill that would require gun owners to report lost and stolen weapons.
The votes came moments after Rendell urged committee members to grow a "backbone" and send the entire package to the full House for a vote. They didn't and as it stands now, the gun lobby has won another round in Harrisburg.


TARA SAYS GOODBYE


Tara Men's Clothing is leaving Wilkes Barre and that's a bad thing. The store had wonderful merchandise and was a little gem in the downtown. The problem was never the store or its style but us. We have become a bunch of slobs who do not dress up. Years ago, when I was growing up, men wore suits and ties to church, even in the summer. Today, you might see a couple of guys wearing "wifebeaters"as they recieve communion. Everything is casual these days. When I worked in broadcasting, we had to wear suits everyday. It was a requirement. Then when I entered the technology field, it was a bit more casual. One place I worked at was so casual, people wore sweats to work. When I'd wear a suit, they'd think I was going for a job interview or coming from a funeral. Wearing a suit and tie became the exception, rather than the rule. Even now, with a dress code and the opportunity to wear a suit in my current job, there are days when I take the path of least resistance because everybody else does too. There are dress down Fridays, I propose we start a new trend in business called "Dress Up Mondays". God knows people don't dress up for church, the Philharmonic, a concert or even dinner anymore. Maybe if we implemented a "dress up" day, fine stores like Tara Men's Clothing can survive in a society of slobs we've created for ourselves.


SWEET CAROLINE


When I was in a sophomore in high school, Neil Diamond's song "Sweet Caroline" came on the scene. I mentioned it to a few high school pals that I knew it was about Caroline Kennedy. They thought I was nuts so I never put it in print when I was the rock and roll columnist for the Sunday Dispatch. On a trip to the Bahamas a few years back, me and a few of the natives (much to Mrs. LuLac's delight) got out of hand when a band started playing that song. I thought about the Caroline connection but never said it out loud. Then on the news, I heard Neil Diamond saying he wrote the song with Caroline Kennedy in mind. I yelled at the TV saying, "I knew it! I knew it!". "Cracklin' Rosie" was about wine, ripple, or now years later, we can ask, "was it really?" Either way, "Sweet Caroline" BOM BOM BOM!!!!!! remains one of the great party songs of all time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The LuLac Edition #352, Nov. 20th, 2007





PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE ROBERT KENNEDY AND GOVERNOR EDWARD RENDELL.


RENDELL ON THE HILL



In a historic visit to the Capitol, Governor Ed Rendell is seeking to have a show down with the Pennsylvania gun lobby. Interest groups on both sides of the gun-control debate launched a
cross-state blitz to pressure lawmakers in advance of a legislative committee vote scheduled today on three firearms bills.
In a stream of e-mails and recorded phone calls that went out across the state during the weekend, pro- and anti-gun-control organizations urged voters to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee to try to sway them on the issue. Also seeking to sway fence-sitters, Gov. Rendell, in a risky move, today is expected to become the first sitting governor to appear before a legislative committee in at least 20 years.
In the Capitol yesterday, the gun-control battle had lobbyists from the National Rifle Association working the halls, and sparked a flurry of activity in front of and behind the cameras.
A majority of Republicans on the 29-member committee gathered for an impromptu news conference announcing their intention to try to defeatthe bills, while CeaseFirePA fired back with the results of a new poll showing a majority of voters in targeted members' districts favored stricter handgun control.
Democratic support for the gun-control bills is not a given. Five Democratic committee members - most from rural districts - voted against one of the measures last summer. It is the hope of the anti gun lobby that Rendell can use his powers of persuasion to put legislation into effect that will slow the sale of guns in the Commonwealth.


ROBERT KENNEDY


Robert Kennedy's birthday is today. He would have been 82 years old if he had not been killed by an unbalanced man with a Saturday night special, illegally obtained.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The LuLac Edition #351, Nov. 17th, 2007











PHOTO INDEX: HAMMERIN' HANK AARON AND YANKEE SLUGGER ROGER MARIS, PROMOTING THE ONLY FOREIGN SUBSTANCE ANYWHERE NEAR HIS BODY, CAMELS!


IN DEFENSE OF BARRY BONDS


Okay, just kidding, there is no defense for Barry Bonds. The man was having an incredible Hall of Fame career without steroids and then became jealous of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire. He then made the decision to "enhance". Bad one.
I've got this friend Jim from the Abingtons by way of Scranton, Pa. and Cleveland, Ohio. I first met him in 1996 when I went for a job interview at Rock 107. On that Open Day, a baseball umpire died of a heart attack and when I was introduced, there wasn't a hello, or greeting, but the news about the ump. During the course of our friendship, Jim has forsaken greetings to me and either blurted out a news bulletin or his opinion on something. He is one of my cherished friends from broadcasting. But like most friends these days, our encounters are too far and too between. Last spring we met for lunch at the Beer Deli and as I waited in line to order, watching him stride through the door with a brand new Cleveland Indians jacket, I saw him approach. There was not going to be a big hello. Getting next to me in line, Jim blurts out, "Before we discuss anything else, let me say that in my mind the all time career home run record will be Hank Aaron's and the all time season home run record will belong to Roger Maris". I think the people in line thought I was having lunch with a savant but no matter, his point was made. And I thought about my friend Jim this week and that very salient point he made. Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's record amid a torrent of racial hate. Perhaps that fueled him. Roger Maris, away from home, a country boy in the big city dominated by the likes of Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra relied on his steady midwestern work ethic and a couple of Camels a day. There were no boosters, no hits to give either of them jolts. They did it by the sweat of their brow and the ache of their muscles. Barry Bonds has now been indicted for perjury regarding his role in steroids, Mark McGuire got less than 25% of the vote to get inducted into Cooperstown, Rafael Palmero has disappeared and Sammy Sosa is hanging on by a thread in Texas. There is no dispute that both Aaron's and Maris' records have been eclipsed by larger numbers. That fact will never change. But somewhere in Cooperstown or maybe in every Major League ballpark in the country, my friend Jim's simple declaration should be posted in big red letters.


COMMENT ON CHIP


While scanning the net, I came across this gem of a letter in the Harrisburg Patriot:
President Bush, the oil-soaked billionaire bully who pretends to be a God-fearing man of the people, has blocked access to affordable healthcare for millions of middle-class children. Apparently, in the president's delusional universe, a family of four struggling on $44,000-60,000 a year is plenty rich enough to pay $10,000-12,000 per year for private insurance -- with that cost increasing as much as 25 percent annually. Did you hear Bush's corporate-financed congressional stooges lying on the evening news? They said that SCHIP would take health care access away from poor children. (It doesn't; states would not receive the additional SCHIP funding until they provided health insurance for families with incomeb elow the poverty level.) They said it would cover families making up to $83,000 a year (a number proposed, and already shot down, exclusively for high -cost-of-living New York). They also said that "we" can't afford it. (The increase in SCHIP would be financed by tobacco taxes -- which could only be a bad thing if you feel sorry for the government-sanctioned drug pushers who make obscene fortunes by luring our children into lifelong addiction.) Why should we ever believe them again?
-- JOHN F. KATZ, Penbrook


BREMER RELEASED


The prison authorities in Maryland released Arthur Bremer, the would be killer of Presidential candidate George Wallace from jail. In May of 1972 at a shopping center in Laurel, Maryland, Bremer shot and wounded the Alabama Governor paralyzing him for life. (I met Wallace during the 1976 campaign at a news conference at the WB Scranton airport. He looked fit and alert but you could tell he was in pain). Reaction from the Wallace family has been predictable, they think he should have served longer than the over 35 years he was jailed. People say that Bremer might have changed the course of history. If Wallace had not been hurt, perhaps he would have soared to the nomination and run against Richard Nixon. That might have happened but Nixon would have prevailed against a candidate from the right instead of the left. Here's a classic TV spot from the 1968 Presidential campaign courtesy of YOU TUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RZ4G251WR4.


OUT AND ABOUT


Today Mrs. LuLac was taking the dog to the groomer and using her new leaf blower in the front yard. Since my accident, our roles are reversed but truth be told, even before getting hurt, I wouldn't have known a leaf blower if it fell on me. With her playing with her new toy, I had mother in law duty taking my 91 year relative to the hair dresser. But before that, we had o have lunch. We wound up at the Dough Company because the food is good, the service is fast and the place is clean. While there I spotted former local radio legend Harry West. (Harry and I might be working on a project together but we have to get together first). Then I saw local politico Christine Katsock and her family enjoying a meal there too.
Later on that night, Mrs. LuLac and I went to Dominick's in Plains. While there we saw State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski and his party. Ironic that in the same day, I saw the two foes from a hot 2006 political race at two different eating establishment. Starting to wax philosophic about it, Mrs. Lulac said, "shut up and eat your pizza". I did and it was good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The LuLac Edition #350, Nov. 15th, 2007













PHOTO INDEX: MINORITY LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER STEVE URBAN AND PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER KATHY BOZINSKI.


STEVE!!!!!!!!!!


Here's the latest missive from Minority Commissioner Steve Urban. Commissioner Stephen A. Urban said he will seek the resignation of county Public Information Officer Kathy Bozinski in January because he believes she spends too much time promoting Commissioner Greg Skrepenak.
Okay, let's get it right up front. I like Steve Urban, I think the guy is a good public servant. He shows up, he makes contact with the people he's governing, he relates to them. I've voted for Steve Urban a number of times and most likely will do so again. But just when you think he's on the mound throwing a few fastballs and some curves like a good minority party commissioner is supposed to do, he jogs all the way down to the bullpen and heaves a ball with no destination in sight. His questioning of the budget deficit as well as some county hiring is admirable but the latest thing about him trying to fire Public Information Officer Kathy Bozinski is right off the wall. He claims Bozinski promotes Greg Skrepenak too much. Well, to be truthful, Skrep has been the only Commissioner around since his partner Todd Vonderheid resigned. Rose Tucker, a fill in till the end of the term has not been that visible. And God forbid if MaryAnne Petrilla was invited to photo ops as a candidate, there'd be screaming and gnashing of teeth all around. Bozinski, a former radio and TV reporter, as well as Faculty member at Luzerne County Community College has taken the job of PIO to new levels. She was quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN during the 2006 flooding scare. I researched those articles and she was talking about the prepartions the County Civil Defense people made to get the area ready for the flood that never came. Not a word there about the former NFL lineman Skrep. Bozinski has coordinated events for various non profit, ethnic and civic groups at the Courthouse and posted them on the county website. Skrep was in some of the pictures with other county officials but it's not as if she had him dressed in lederhosen for German Pride day or rolling a canoli on his nose for Columbus Day. Bozinski has promoted the county, informed the media, national, local and statewide of events good and bad and has earned her money ten times over. If Urban wanted to focus in on a target, why didn't he say something about former Sunday Independent editor Jim Torbik who was handed a high paying county public relations job a few years back and has essentially disappeared from the face of the earth. Urban should pick his spots a bit better. And picking on Kathy Bozinski is not one of them.
When I was on a committee in 1986 to celebrate the County Bicentennial, we were coming out of a meeting when a newspaper reporter snapped our photos. (This was back when local newspapers actually covered volunteer and community events on a daily basis and didn't shrink them into one big page once every 10 days). Anyway, the committee had its picture snapped and it appeared in the paper. No county commissioners were in the photo because they didn't show up. A few days after the photo appeared, Gene Klein, the County Clerk and defacto PR man back then called me and somberly intoned, "David, the commissioners are very, very low today!" Low? My first thought was someone did something to the Courthouse or one of them died. It turned out that Klein was miffed that we had the photo taken without his guys. In a few days, we had another one taken and put in the paper and the Commissioners were not "so low" anymore. But the point here is that Klein, like Bozinski is now, was an advocate. His job was to make sure people saw his team. And it was easier back then because corporations had not yet taken over the local media empires. Bozinski is an advocate for the county and Greg Skrepenak happens to be the Majority Commissioner. Urban, a guy I like should take up his complaint with Skrepenak and Petrilla and let Kathy Bozinski do her job. If he doesn't, all someone has to do is walk into the Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke on a crowded Friday and say, "someone's picking on Coach B's kid". (Bozinski's father was Nanticoke Hall of Fame cager coach, the late Syl Bozinski). Urban would never carry Nanticoke again.


SPEAKING OF....


Thanksgiving is coming up and the best place to get your pumpkin pie is The Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke. There was a fundraiser at work and people were leaving the building today with boxes of the Sanitary Pizza. Someone asked where the name came from and legend has it that when the Bakery first started, the awning on the bakery was used to protect the exterior from the coal dust generated by the mines. When the mine workers and their wives came for a treat, the name of the Bakery, The Sanitary, with the protection of that awning, said the place was clean and the food was good. Here's the website from my favorite place in Nanticoke:
http://www.sanitarybakery.com/. When Mrs. LuLac and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this spring, we got the cake from The Sanitary. A few of my Pittston relatives harrumphed and said, "Had to go all the way to Nanticoke to get a freakin' cake??" After they ate it, they kept their mouth shut.


AND IN D.C.


Taxpayers sometimes complain that the people they elect to offices too often turn out to be nothing more than warm bodies. This week, Dickson City residents didn't even get that much out of four of their seven Borough Council members. Members Barbara Mecca, James Kisel and Stanley Prushinski assembled at the advertised hour for a council meeting, only to find that members Anthony Gallis, Paul Kwiec, Peter Novajosky and Robert Wiltshire were no-shows. Without a quorum, the meeting never started, leaving the borough without a key piece of its tax structure for the coming year. This is an abdication of their responsibilities. There has to be a way to either sanction behavior like this, fine it or penalize it. This is something maybe a State Lawmaker might look investigate to stop this arrogant way of governing.


HAYNABONICS


My good friend Keith Edwards has turned professor in this latest You Tube effort making the rounds on the internet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sMI2jb16eo. Edwards worked with me at Citadel Broadcasting and is now lending his tones to WVIA TV and FM. By the way, The LuLac Political letter has a great "hayna" story about me and Willie Mays in Edition #262, July 10th, 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The LuLac Edition #349, Nov. 13th, 2007



PHOTO INDEX: SEATRAIN'S "13 QUESTIONS".



13 QUESTIONS




1. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT PAT ROBERTSON ENDORSING RUDY GIULIANI?




ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY THAT ROBERTSON IS GONE OFF THE DEEP END, OTHERS WHO WONDER HOW HE CAN ENDORSE RUDY WHEN HE SAID 911 HAPPENED BECAUSE OF ALL THE SIN IN THE WORLD. THEY SAY POLITICS MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. PERSONALLY, I THINK THIS IS ROBERTSON’S SWIPE AT ROMNEY’S MORMAN RELIGION, I MIGHT BE READING TOO DEEP INTO THAT BUT I REALLY BELIEVE IT WAS A CALCULATION. RUDY’S SINS AND TRANSGRESSIONS JUST MIGHT BE IGNORED IF IT LOOKS LIKE HE CAN WIN THE GENERAL. ROBERTSON’S EMBRACEMENT IS A FIRST STEP.



2. FAVORITE CANDY BAR?




PAYDAY.




3. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF RENITA FENNICK’S OBSERVATION IN THE TIMES LEADER THAT A “D” BEFORE YOUR NAME FORGIVES EVERYTHING?



IF YOU ARE REFERRING TO HER INSIGHT THAT MARY DYSLESKI LOST FOR BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON TWO EMPLOYEES (WHO WERE HOLDOVERS FROM A DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION I MIGHT ADD) AND BOB REILY WON BIG AFTER HAVING TWO OF HIS OFFICE WORKERS IN TROUBLE OVER FORGING A SIGNATURE, LET ME SAY THAT IT WAS QUITE AN OBSERVATION. REILLY’S OPPONENT NEVER BROUGHT IT UP AND I SERIOUSLY THINK THE REPUBLICAN PARTY EVEN INCLUDED IT IN ITS STRATEGY. FENNICK, WHO IN MY OPINION, ON A LOT OF ISSUES LIKE IMMIGRATION, HAS LOST HER WAY, WAS RIGHT ON TARGET WITH HER SUNDAY COLUMN. THE DEMS CAN GET AWAY WITH MORE BECAUSE THE GOP DOESN’T DO RESEARCH AND IF IT DID, WOULD HAVE NO MONEY TO MOUNT A SERIOUS MEDIA CAMPAIGN LIKE RED O’BRIEN DID AGAINST DYSLESKI.



4. DO YOU POST EVERYTHING YOU GET AND HOW MUCH DO YOU EDIT?




I ONLY EDIT STUFF THAT IS SLANDEROUS, SOURCES I CAN’T CONFIRM AND PERSONAL ATTACKS. THERE ARE THINGS I WON’T POST IF THEY PRESENT AN ANTI AMERICAN AGENDA OR HATE FILLED AGENDA.



5. HOW MANY TIMES DID MILTON SHAPP RUN FOR GOVERNOR AND IS IT TRUE HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT?



SHAPP RAN FOR GOVERNOR IN 1966. HIS HISTORIC “MAN AGAINST THE MACHINE” MEDIA BLITZ BEAT 36 YEAR OLD ROBERT CASEY, SENIOR. EVERY HOUSE GOT A 12 PAGE BOOK ABOUT HIM, THERE WERE TONS OF TV SPOTS AND A LOT OF FULL PAGE ADS. SHAPP LOST IN THE 1966 GENERAL TO LTN. GOVERNOR RAYMOND SHAFER. IN 1970, SHAPP RAN AGAIN IN THE PRIMARY AGAINST CASEY, BEAT HIM HANDILY AND THEN WON OVER SHAFER’S LTN. GOVERNOR RAYMOND BRODERICK (LATER A FEDERAL JUDGE). IN 1974, SHAPP AND HIS LTN. GOVERNOR, ERNIE KLINE WON OVER THE TEAM OF DREW LEWIS (LATER PRESIDENT REAGAN’S TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY) AND TUNKHANNOCK NATIVE AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE KEN LEE. IN 1976, SHAPP DECIDED TO JOIN THE FRAY OF OVER 16 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION. HIS STRATEGY WAS TO RUN IN THE FLORIDA PRIMARY AND POSSIBLEY GARNER PART OF THE JEWISH VOTE. THAT WAS OVERSHADOWED BY THE BATTLE BETWEEN FORMER GEORGIA GOVERNOR JIMMY CARTER AND ALABAMA GOVERNOR GEORGE WALLACE. IT WAS A BATTLE BETWEEN THE NEW AND OLD SOUTH. CARTER WON AND SHAPP GOT LOST IN THE SHUFFLE. HE QUIT THE RACE AFTER RUNNING DEAD LAST WITH 1% OF THE VOTE. SHAPP HAD GAINED NATIONAL PROMINENCE DURING THE TRUCKER’S STRIKES OF THE MID 1970S BUT HE COULD NOT MAKE AN IMPRESSION.



6. TEMPTATIONS OR FOUR TOPS?




TEMPTATIONS BY A SLIVER. (AND I ALSO OWN A DOUBLE BREASTED TEMPTATIONS TYPE SUIT THAT IS VERY COLORFUL). BOTH GROUPS HAD WONDERFUL SONGS AND GREAT HARMONIES.



7. IN RECENT ARTICLES ABOUT GREG SKREPENAK, YOU MENTION ED WIDEMAN BEING THE MINORITY COMMISSIONER IN 1963. WHO DID HE RUN WITH?




WIDEMAN WAS TEAMED WITH ATTORNEY ED MCULLOUGH IN THAT RACE AGAINST JIM POST AND BILL GOSS. MCULLOUGH WAS FAVORED TO WIN THE MINORITY POST BUT WIDEMAN WON ON ELECTION DAY WITH A SCANT 191 VOTES. THERE WERE 3,000 ABSENTEE BALLOTS AFTER ELECTION DAY BUT WIDEMAN HELD ON TO BUILD AN IMPRESSIVE 4 TERMS AS LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER.




8. HOW MANY PENNSYLVANIA LIVING GOVERNORS ARE THERE?




FIVE. GEORGE LEADER WHO WAS ELECTED IN HIS THIRTIES SERVING FROM 1955 TO 1959, WILLIAM W. SCRANTON, SERVING FROM 1963 TO 1967, RICHARD THORNBURGH, SERVING 1979 TO 1987, TOM RIDGE SERVING FROM 1995 TO 2001, AND MARK SCHWEIKER WHO SUCCEEDED HIM UNTIL 2003.




9. HOW DO THE LOCAL REPUBLICANS REBUILD THEIR LOCAL PARTY?




DON’T KNOW. WORKING ON A PIECE THAT WILL INVESTIGATE HOW THAT TASK CAN BE DONE. I'D APPRECIATE ANY INPUT FROM ANYONE ON THIS MATTER. IN THE MID 70S, I USED TO DRIVE MY DAD TO DOWNTOWN SCRANTON FOR A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT. BACK THEN THE TOWN WAS A MESS AND HE USED TO SAY THE ONLY WAY TO FIX IT WAS “TO BLOW IT UP AND START OVER”. I HAVE THAT VERY SAME FEELING ABOUT THE LUZERNE COUNTY GRAND OLD PARTY.




10. HOW DID YOU LIKED BEING YOU TUBED?




ENJOYED IT ACTUALLY. I WAS IN SOME PRETTY GOOD COMPANY.




11. ON THANKSGIVING, WHITE OR DARK MEAT?




DARK. LOVE THE DRUMSTICKS AND NO ONE IN ALL OF MY FAMILIES LIKE THEM SO I’M WALKING THE WALK (OR THE TURKEY’S WALK) ON THANKSGIVING DAY.




12. DOES THE GOP HAVE A CHANCE IN THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL RACE?




ABSOLUTLEY. LOOK FOR THE PARTY TO USE IMMIGRATION AS A WEDGE ISSUE, WATCH THEM TRY TO BOX THE DEMS IN ON NATIONAL SECURITY, SEE THEM RUN ADS AGAINST THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS FOR FALLING SHORT OF THEIR AGENDA AND LOOK FOR THEM TO USE NATIONALIZED HEALTH CARE AS A BAD THING RATHER THAN SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE DEBATED. THEY’LL TELL YOU THE DEMS WON’T KEEP YOU SAFE AND USE FEAR AS A WEAPON AGAINST REASON. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE NO WALK IN THE PARK IN 2008, AFTER ALL THIS IS THE SAME PARTY (THE GOP) THAT CONVINCED US THAT A WAR HERO WITH THREE COMBAT MEDALS WAS A FRAUD (KERRY) AND THAT A ROTC LIGHTWEIGHT (BUSH) WAS G.I. JOE.




13. ORIGINAL ABE’S OR THE KNOCK OFFS?




I USED TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ABE’S ON SOUTH MAIN STREET ALL THE TIME. 3 DOGS WITH EVERYTHING TO GO. BUT THERE WAS A VERY YOUNG, SNARLY WAITRESS THERE WHO SEEMED AS IF SHE WAS ENTITLED TO THE WORLD. SHE NEVER SAID “THANK YOU”, “PLEASE” OR “CAN I HELP YOU?” SHE WAS RUDE TO EVERYONE, EVEN HER CO-WORKERS. SO ONE DAY I DECIDED NOT TO GO BACK. THE OTHER PEOPLE THERE WERE GREAT, THE OTHER OLDER WAITRESSES WERE DOLLS BUT I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHY EVERYONE LET THIS ONE PERSON GET AWAY WITH SUCH BAD BEHAVIOR. ESPECIALLY TOWARD OLDER CUSTOMERS. THEY’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS 60 YEARS WITHOUT MY THREE DOGS A WEEK BREAKING THEM SO I’M SURE THEY DON’T EVEN MISS ME. BUT AS A CONSUMER, SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO TAKE A STAND. I GO TO THE ONE NOW ON RT. 309 NEAR K MART. THE DOGS AREN’T AS GOOD, BUT THEY LOAD THEM UP WITH SAUERKRAUT AND THE WAITRESSES, YOUNG OR OLD, DON’T LOOK AT YOU AS IF YOU WERE GUM ON THEIR SHOES.




Monday, November 12, 2007

The LuLac Edition #348, Nov. 12th, 2007









PHOTO INDEX: WILK'S "CORBETT," WBRE TV'S JILL KNOPKA, AND WILK'S MORNING SHOW HOST SUE HENRY.


MEDIA KUDOS


Last week's election coverage provided some great highlights. WILK's Election Night duo of Sue Henry and Steve Corbett was wildly entertaining. Corbett, fueled by takeout Chinese and Henry, getting away from the kid's homework assignments for the night were stellar in their broadcast. They handled calls from candidates, voters, and even bloggers. WILK really proved they were the news station.
On the TV side, WBRE's Jill Knopka did the most comprehensive election report I ever saw running down the big races in Wilkes Barre city. She managed to get all the council candidates and even the Mayor in her report.
For political junkies, election night brings out the stats, the figures but also the better side of media reporting. The cream as they say, always rises to the top.


WE'VE BEEN TUBED


This blog editor as well as a few media and poliitical people have been YOU TUBED by our friend from Wilkes Barre OnLine. Check this link out: http://wilkes-barre.tripod.com/.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The LuLac Edition #347, Nov. 11th, 2007




PHOTO INDEX: THE FLAG


VETERAN'S DAY 2007


Like every other year, we say

THANK YOU for your service!


A Proclamation By the President of the United States of America



Throughout our history, America has been protected by patriots who cherished liberty and made great sacrifices to advance the cause of freedom. The brave members of the United States Armed Forces have answered the call to serve our Nation, ready to give all for their country. On Veterans Day, we honor these extraordinary Americans for their service and sacrifice, and we pay tribute to the legacy of freedom and peace that they have given our great Nation.
In times of war and of peace, our men and women in uniform stepped forward to defend their fellow citizens and the country they love. They shouldered great responsibility and lived up to the highest standards of duty and honor. Our veterans held fast against determined and ruthless enemies and helped save the world from tyranny and terror. They ensured that America remained what our founders meant her to be: a light to the nations, spreading the good news of human freedom to the darkest corners of the earth.
Like the heroes before them, today a new generation of men and women are fighting for freedom around the globe. Their determination, courage, and sacrifice are laying the foundation for a more secure and peaceful world.
Veterans Day is dedicated to the extraordinary Americans who protected our freedom in years past, and to those who protect it today. They represent the very best of our Nation. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman has earned the lasting gratitude of the American people, and their service and sacrifice will be remembered forever. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: " . . . let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the Nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle . . . ." On this Veterans Day, I ask all Americans to express their appreciation to our Nation's veterans.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The LuLac Edition #346, Nov. 10th, 2007



















PHOTO INDEX: TV TALK SHOW HOST JOEY BISHOP FROM AN OLD TV GUIDE ISSUE I SAVED, FORMER GREEN BAY PACKER GREAT MAX McGEE, ACTRESS DEBORAH KERR, SINGER ROBERT GOULET AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY BLYTHE EVANS, JR.


TRANSITION


JOEY BISHOP


I first became familiar with Joey Bishop as a kid when he had his black and white TV show where he played himself. Sort of, he was an entertainer with a hot wife, Abby Dalton and a nut job friend, Corbett Monica. My appreciation for Bishop came later when I was 13 and he started to host a late night talk show on ABC. I talked my parents, during the summer of ’67, in letting me stay up to watch the Bishop show. Both thought the Carson show was too risqué so my mom previewed the Bishop program on ABC. She never got past the charming, young 30 year old co-host Regis Philbin who she dubbed as “cute as a button” and before I knew it, it was me, a glass of milk and Joey Bishop most summer nights. It wasn’t really the comedy but the times we lived in then that drew me to the show. Routinely Bishop had on people like Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and interesting journalists of the day like Sander Vanocer and Stewart Alsop. Ironically, all these guests didn’t cause the one major controversy of the show. It happened when Regis Philbin, to Bishop’s amazement walked off the stage saying he “was unappreciated”. A week later he was back and the only two times Bishop beat Carson was when these two little things, planned or unplanned happened. Little did I know it but the Ratpacker was instilling in me a familiarity with the global issues of the day as well as an appreciation for the art of the interview. It is for this reason I fondly remember Joey Bishop. Here he is with a few familiar faces from our friends at YOU TUBE.
http://www.findinternettv.com/Video,item,2589704816.aspx.



DEBORAH KERR



I wasn’t very familiar with her until the movie “Sleepless In Seattle” when the movie she was best known for, “An Affair To Remember” was featured. Being the romantic slob I’ve always been, I enjoyed the original with Gary Grant more than I realized. Her career as I researched it through her old movies was an era where “classey women” could also be “classey broads”. The sand rolling scene with Gregory Peck proved that in “From Here To Eternity”. Her film era was one that can never be duplicated and in a way that’s a very good thing. The fact that a movie in the nineties can pay tribute to a classic actress and film says a lot about that era. From YOU TUBE, that wonderful scene where she stays seated. She wasn't the only one glued to her seat.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zscMODFlEn8.



ROBERT GOULET



He first came into my being on the Ed Sullivan show as a small child. All the women in our Sunday night household, mother, sister, aunts, and female cousins came to a standstill when Robert Goulet came on TV. The tux or the navy blue suit was tailored to accentuate his positives. He was sexy to the females before they even knew they could be that way. Whether it be young teener or dowager, Robert Goulet made them stop dead in their tracks. The voice was magnificent and my God when we got our color TV and those blue eyes beamed out at you from that cathode ray, the women in our family went nuts. I had an appreciation for the voice and the presence. He was married for a while to Carol Lawrence who I thought was very hot and I appreciated the way he handled his celebrity. Years later, I still enjoyed the music, especially around Christmas and really enjoyed the way he made fun of his career. He died waiting for renewed life. But those memories he brought were more than his fans can ever repay. He was 71.
http://tw.youtube.com/watch?v=36R93Vk0nAY.



BLYTHE EVANS, JR
.



I was in the seventh grade and I came home with this huge poster some guy on the street in Pittston gave me. It was a Blythe Evans for District Attorney poster. My dad, a confirmed Democrat and Stephen Teller man (Evans’ foe in the ’67 DA’s race) said, “what the hell are you doing with that thing?” Quietly, I squirreled it away to my bedroom and stuck it under the bed with my piddling but growing collection of pre-teen porn. Sticking it in between a few magazines of "True Confessions" and "Stag", I forgot about it until the fall campaign. The races were heating up in the county and the young barrister from Plymouth was giving Teller, a former DA, a run for his money. On election day, my man, even though his poster was still under the bed won. Maybe it was the way Evans won the GOP primary, beating Wilkes Barre Attorney Joseph Kasper by about 48 votes, maybe it was the youth on the photo, the straightened tie, but Evans fascinated me. For four years he was Luzerne County’s DA, following the flamboyant Tom Mack. He went at his job in a plodding manner but prosecuted thousands of cases. One summer I even went to the old dome to see Evans try a case. Wasn’t much of one because the guy copped a plea but my man, campaign poster still under the bed, impressed. In 1971 he was defeated by Pat Toole when he ran for re-election and practiced law close to his old home base Plymouth. One of the regrets of my life, (and I have very few) is that I never sought him out after he was DA. I think it might have been a interesting conversation and from what I heard about his personality, I think he would have enjoyed the story about his big ass campaign poster hiding under my bed his entire term as DA.



MAX MCGEE



I became a Green Bay Packer fan because my uncle Joe was a Packer fan. He was my godfather and brought me Green Bay trinkets when he visited. My dad was a Chicago Cardinal fan but then they moved to St. Louis. When you’re a kid and used to 1950 Beaver Cleaver stability, who wants to follow a team that moves! On our black and white TV, I watched those Packers with the voice of God, Ray Scott, wiping up the rest of the NFL. I was used to losing as a Phillie and Indians fan in baseball but my heavens, in football, my team reigned as kings. In 1966, the black and white TV blew up and we bought a color TV. It was then that I saw the colors Green and Gold. The very first Super Bowl was played on Jan. 15th, 1967. It wasn’t called the Super Bowl then, had about 30,000 people attending, (you could get a ticket for $6.00) and was on two networks. The Packers wanted to prove a point and win the game big against the fledgling AFL. But their prime receiver, Carroll Dale got hurt in the first series of downs in the game. So Vince Lombardi brought in veteran Max McGee who had been out on the town the night before and had a huge hangover. All he did was catch 4 touchdown passes in that big Super Bowl I win against Kansas City. He became famous for that and a type of idol, not for the alcohol consumption the night before but for the performance he gave during the game. As one of Lombardi’s players, McGee parlayed his success to a successful career in broadcasting and founder of the Chi Chi’s Restauraunt Chain. From YOU TUBE, the late Max McGee remembered.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bqxh-gdDuU

Friday, November 09, 2007

The LuLac Edition #345, Nov. 9th, 2007













PHOTO INDEX: THE SCRANTON/WB YANKEES LOGO, STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN YUDICHAK, AND MY FRIEND "YANKEE FRANK/THE MICK MAN" SEATED IN THE CENTER OF A PRESS GAGGLE MEETING MICKEY MANTLE AT THE OLD STATION COMPLEX IN WILKES BARRE IN THE MID 80s.


NOW HE TELLS US!!!!


When Robert Cordaro and A.J. Munchak announcecd the big tax increase after being elected, I told my friend, "Yankee Frank, aka The Mick Man" that the Yankees would be the new triple A affiliate at our very nice ballpark in Moosic. He thought I was kidding, thinking I was leading him on a wild goose chase that was in actuality a prank on my part. Frank loves the Yankees, has since he was a kid. Mickey Mantle was his idol. He met him hundreds of times and even got Mantle to do a card show at the Coal Street arena. By the time Mantle died, he didn't know Frank by name but he sure as hell recognized him when Frank would come into his eating establishment in the city. The picture you see on this blog actually got into an HBO TV documentary. Ron Allen, Tommy Woods and numerous reporters were in that photo. The HBO folks cropped it to include only Frank and the Mick. So you can see how big a fan Frank is as far as the Yanks are concerned.
When the Yanks came to the Stadium, Frank bought $400.00 worth of Yankee merchandise. He went to 30 games at PNC Park. He loved the fact that the baby Yanks were in his backyard. I made the prediction to Frank that Bob Cordaro needed a political miracle to make people forget about that big tax increase. When we'd be at some of the games, Frank would marvel at how prescient I was in this matter. Well, he didn't use those exact words but you get the idea.
Now sadly, I make another prediction. In a few years, the Yanks will blow out of here because of the deal made on sand by Bob Cordaro. Tonight Cordaro told WNEP TV's Scott Shaefer the following:
In his first public statements since election night Commissioner Cordaro confirmed Friday what has been rumored for months, that part of the deal to bring the Yankees farm team to Lackawanna County included the county building a new stadium for the team.
He said he wants the public to know about the plan because he fears the new Democratic commissioners want to renege on the deal.
Cordaro said a deal is already in place with the Yankees and Mandalay, their management team, to put a new stadium on this site where the current stadium sits, along with much more.
Lackawanna County Commissioner is concerned the Democratic commissioners will jeopardize plans for the new Yankee stadium.
"Mandalay and the New York Yankees have committed to developing a 20,000 square foot Yankees museum here. To put it in perspective, the new museum at Yankee Stadium is 6,000 square feet. They're also going to put a Yankee-themed hotel on this stadium site," Cordaro said.
The commissioner explained the deal like this: once the financing is in place and the county makes the commitment to build a new stadium, Mandalay and the Yankees exercise their option to buy the team. With the profits from the sale of the team, the county reinvests that money into the new stadium project, meaning no tax dollars are used. Then, Mandalay and the Yankees fulfill their part of the commitment by building the hotel, the museum and other commercial properties on the real estate.
Cordaro said he's coming out now with news of the deal because he fears the new Democratic majority will try to renegotiate what is already a done deal. Democrats Corey O'Brien and Mike Washo said negotiations with Mandalay are at a sensitive stage, and any comments on any project are premature.
Cordaro said the Yankees farm club left Columbus because of political problems there. He fears if this deal goes south the Bronx Bombers will wave goodbye to Lackawanna County too.
Politics? He doesn't want to bring politics into the equation. Please!!! If this was such a great thing, why didn't he announce it before the election? Why is he now bringing this all out when reporters, citizens and fans were asking the very same questions about the real specifics behind the deal? Was the deal, "we'll build you a stadium but you have to come here?" The Lackawanna County Stadium is twenty years old, not ancient by any standards. If the new majority decides they can't build a new stadium (as Corey O'Brien seemed to indicate when he said they were going to look at how to better run county government) is Cordaro setting them up as the fall guys who lost the Yankees? It will be interesting to see the reaction of Northeast baseball founder John McGee and others. It will also be interesting to see the reaction of my friend Yankee Frank when I give him my new prediction that his beloved Yankees will be gone by the end of this decade. Frank will counter about the promise of the Yankee Disneyland Mandalay is promising but I know better. In two years, here will be the press release in the local papers: Executive Vice Chairman of Mandalay Entertainment, Robert Cordaro announces from his suite in New York City that the New York Yankees have not renewed the contract of the Scranton/WB Triple A team. The Yankees farm team will move at the end of 2010. Cordaro cited the reasons as economic and political blaming the lack of foresight on the local yokels he left behind and Majority Commissioners Washo and O'Brien. Earlier in the week, Cordaro blamed Washo and O'Brien for lack of peace in the mideast and global warming. All of course from his suite in New York city.


MAYFIELD POWER!


Three ethanol opponents today have won apparent victory in write-in campaigns for four-year terms: Stephanie Kulick, 414 votes; Kevin Diehl, 389; and Jim Matusinski, 387. They join Glen Nicolio, an incumbent who received 385 votes on the ballot and is also opposed to the plant.Anthony Spataro apparently won a write-in campaign for the two-year seat, with 363 votes. That would be enough to defeat the only candidate on the ballot for that seat, Bryan Rupp, who received 297 votes.


YUDICHAK AND HEALTH


A state lawmaker pushing for a new government office to aid insurance customers plans to scale back his proposal to focus on health insurance. But he still holds out ambitious hopes for what the office could achieve. If it is established, the office would become an independent voice in the often-rancorous debate about reforming the state's health-care system, said State Rep. John Yudichak, a Democrat who represents part of Luzerne County. Yudichak introduced legislation in April calling for an office ofconsumer advocate that would provide additional oversight of the insurance industry. The concept is based on the 31-year-old office representing consumers of electricity, natural gas and other public utilities.A consumer advocate for the insurance market would be able to challenge decisions taken by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance on issues such as rates and mergers among carriers, Yudichak said. Similar legislation has passed the state House before, Yudichak said. But it has become bogged down in the Senate. He believes a narrower focus on health care could propel the bill to passage in both chambers."What we are seeing in Pennsylvania is the loss, the near-complete loss, of a competitive market in terms of health-care insurance," Yudichak said. "Due to the complexity of the health-care system, I believe we need a person in state government whose sole job is to understand that system."In addition to narrowing the focus, tweaks to the bill could move the home of the proposed advocate from the Attorney General's office to the Office of Consumer Advocate for utilities, Yudichak said. The proposed changes come in response to feedback on the original bill, Yudichak said. Health care insurance companies say there is oversight set in place already and that feedback was vigorously given at hearings in Harrisburg this past summer. On a personal note, Yudichak and his wife are the proud parents of twin girls. Poor guy, in a few years he better add a second bathroom. Best of health and well being to the kids.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The LuLac Edition #344, Nov. 8th, 2007










PHOTO INDEX: NEWLY RE-ELECTED COUNTY COMMISSIONER GREG SKREPENAK AND THE LATE COUNTY COMMISSIONER EDMUND C. WIDEMAN.


IS SKREP THE NEW WIDEMAN?


Back in the mid 60s when the Democrats were trying to take control of the county political machine, a former member of the Grand Old Party was instrumental in their rise. In 1963, businessman Ed Wideman was elected the Democratic minority commissioner with GOPers Jim Post and Bill Goss. During those 4 years of Republican reign, a visable encroachment on the party in power began. The minority commissioner, Wideman, started making deals with a member of the Majority, Bill Goss and things started to slide for the once united GOP. Wideman however, paid a political price for some of the motions and machinations. He was respected but not necessarily trusted by either party. And he was caustic in his comments to the media about things he believed were right for the county like a community college for its youth and a nursing home for its elderly. Come 1967, Wideman was elected with Frank P. Crossin to form a majority as the Democrats but came in third in the balloting behind Crossin and Republican Ethel Price. To Crossin's chagrin, Wideman made deals with Ethel Price forming coalitions that passed his agenda but eroded his electoral support. Subsequently, Wideman, in each county commissioner race he ran for in the general election, 1967, 1971, and 1975 , ran third. (He was beaten in the 1979 primary by Frank Crossin and Ed Brominski). It didn't matter to Wideman that he ran third, he was after all part of the majority in power. And it's no small irony that Wideman's only loss came at the hands of his own party.
Greg Skrepenak has a long way to go in matching Wideman's third place finishes. But it is telling that he came in second in this year's election when he far outdistanced Todd Vonderheid in the '03 election. Some will say that the bloom is off the rose for Skrep but his supporters will tell you he has taken some hard stances in his four years in office. And as the point man left to handle things after Vonderheid left, Skrep was thrust into a position of up front leadership whether he wanted it or not. Like Wideman though, Skrepenak has had his share of irrational critics. Wideman was routinely lampooned as a turncoat and deal maker. He was villified weekly in the old Sunday Indy. Skrep has had his slings and arrows aimed at him in letters to the editor. It all comes down to being the face of county government. Skrepenak knows his stuff, he was impressive at the County Commissioneres debate, rationally explaining his decisions and motives. But the more familiar he becomes, the less likeable he will be especially if he and Petrilla make bold moves in the next four years. The longer Skrep stays in office, the lower his vote totals will go. And in a future race, he may even finish third. But leadership sometimes cost you political capital. And as long as it is well spent, then you start building a legacy. I'm sure if you asked Ed Wideman today would he trade a first place finish as the high man in a race for commissioner with no LCCC, or no effiective social services system in place, he'd take the latter. Leadership. Legacy. Skrep can become this generation's Ed Wideman and still be electable, all he has to do is stay the hell out of a primary fight.


5 DEGREES OF TRINI


How sad sack are the Republicans in the County? Well, what if I told you that a former, homegrown Republican planted the seeds for this Democratic sweep? 5 degrees of separation? How about 5 degrees of Trini? Party chairman Mark Bufalino is getting deserved kudos for energizing the Dems and getting the party its first sweep in a decade. Bufalino's father, Atty. Charles was one of the first appointees as solicitor of the Frank Trinisewski/Jim Phillips GOP reign starting in 1983. But when Trini turned Democrat in 1988, he took a boatload of lifelong GOPers with him most notably Atty. Bufalino and people like his long time secretary Helen Mikelski. Anyway, the good barrister's son, Mark Bufalino, had to be influenced by that in some way. And his leadership in party affairs shows he has the skill and panache to pull it off. So in a way, if Frank Trinisewski had not gone away from his party, would the younger Bufalino be a Dem or an R right now? Hard to say but the political legacy of Mr. Trinisewski and his "trinicrats" are still visable in the make up of county politics today. And like Trini did, they win!


MAYFIELD


The slow count of the paper ballots in Lackawanna County slowed down that race in Mayfield Borough. Here's what we know now. In the race that hinged on the debate over a proposed ethanol plant, it appears write-in challengers have scored a major upset and biorefinery opponent Glen Nicolio won re-election.
Turnout was huge soaring over 60 percent.But because write-in ballots are not counted individually until Friday, it is impossible to tell who has captured the remaining seats up for grabs, according to unofficial results, which didn't include the absentee ballots. Mr. Nicolio, the top vote-getter in the race for four-year seats, received 375 votes, with the next highest total going to Janice Joyce, with 306 votes. Since 1,233 write-in votes were cast, it is likely the challengers secured at least one four-year seat, if not two or more.The anti-plant ticket, dubbed the Committee for Mayfield’s Future, includes Stephanie Kulick, Kevin Diehl and Jim Matusinski for four-year seats and Anthony Spataro vying for a two-year term. The latter were frequent guests on WILK's afternoon talkfest, "Corbett".