The LuLac Edition #483, May 23rd, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: A SYMBOL OF HEALTH CARE, THE NURSE AND OUR 1968 LOGO.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNES
In a sharp u turn, drug and medical device companies are giving more money to Democrats than Republicans this election season, one more sign of the campaign difficulties the GOP could face this November. Over the past six elections, such businesses typically spent twice asmuch on GOP candidates; in 2002, the ratio got as high as 3-to-1. Democrats now are holding the edge with $7.4 million in campaign contributions compared with $7 million for GOP candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending.
The difference is more pronounced in the presidential race. Drug and device makers have contributed $639,124 to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., $574,828 to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and $168,300 to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The center calculated the totals based on data released Feb. 28 by the Federal Election Commission.
All three candidates have taken positions that rankle the drug industry. They include:
Giving the Health and Human Services Department authority to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare drug plans.
Allowing American-made drugs to be brought back into the U.S. from other countries, particularly Canada. Drugs sold abroad typically cost less because of government price controls. The idea behind this effort is to give U.S. consumers access to those lower-priced medicines.
BACK IN THE SADDLE
County Controller Ken McDowell returned to work Wednesday after being absent for an unspecified “significant medical condition” since April.Adding to the mystery, he did not address the specific cause of his absence but he did deny allegations that when he was tax collector he gave tax breaks to politically connected people in Scranton. A list supposedly contains the names of people Mr. McDowell allowed to pay taxes late or not at all. Those charges were raised recently by senior tax office employees. There were charged with passing confidential records from the office .McDowel ttok office as Controller this year after defeating John Mellow in the Democratic primary last year. l When McDowell came back, Commissioner Corey O’Brien was effusive in his praise and concern for the errant Controller, Commissioner Mike Washo, not so much.
Give her credit, County Commission Chairperson Maryanne Petrilla is doing her version of Sinatra’s “My Way”. At the prison, Luzerne County Purchasing Director Greg Hunsinger will receive a 10-percent pay cut and a one-week suspension without pay in connection with prison piecemealing, commissioners decided Wednesday. Petrilla and Urban voted yes while Greg Skrepenak abstained. And down Nanticoke way, commissioners appointed five new board members.
The new trustee members are: J. Toure McCluskey, Lynn Marie Distasio, John Kashatus, Agapito Lopez and Elaine Cook.
They replace Charles Adonizio, Paula DeJoseph, Robert Panowicz, Judith Ellis and Ross Scarantino.
Trustees Joseph Lombardo and Mahmoud Fahmy were reappointed. Petrilla said people have been asking for more diversity on the board. Put politely, many have advocated for some qualified educators instead of the same old political hacks that serve down there. Lopez is a leader in the Hazleton area Latino community, and McCluskey is African-American Harvard graduate. It is clear that Petrilla continues to put her stamp on the County in terms of appointments that seem non political. But in a strange sort of way, they will be seen in hindsight as very smart politics because of the innovations they promise. Petrilla’s broom is sweeping clean but also shining the joint up a bit.
Kevin Murphy is the Democratic nominee, Frank Shimkus, the current Representative is the GOP standard bearer. Murphy went to court to try and stop those ovals on the absentee ballots from being counted but was shot down. It didn’t change the ultimate result, Murphy still won by 80 some votes. Murphy contended that intentions aren’t enough, voters should know what they’re doing, Shimkus’ Attorney called Murphy a “sore winner”. And this race is on!
Arch from Archbald might have to put a time limit on his presentation to Council if the current government leaders have their way. Archbald Council restricted their meeting times. The rules are meant to bring some order to a process for meetings that lately have stretched more than three hours. Some of the rules merely put in writing what has always been in operation. At least two members of council disagree with the measure, saying the rules are restrictive.The new rules and bylaws would limit public comment to five minutes with discretion given to the council president to extend it. Council members will also be limited to commenting on a subject twice during one meeting and would not be allowed to present motions or resolutions unless discussed during a previous work session or meeting of council. Council has always allowed people to comment on an issue for up to five minutes Councilwoman Shirley Barrett said if someone had a legitimate complaintthat took longer than five minutes, they weren't going to be cut off. I can see both sides here, the Council people want to have efficient government meetings that will maximize time. But restricting speech by elected public officials is a slippery slope. It appears the Archbald Council has struck an even balance here but the in the wrong hands, this might not be such a good situation.
The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard, 400 miles southwest of the Azores………In Oregon, Senator Eugene McCarthy hands the Kennedy dynasty its first election loss ever when he defeats Senator Robert Kennedy in that state’s Presidential primary. McCarthy’s victory invigorates his slumping campaign, forces Kennedy to agree to a debate before the California primary and pours needed dollars into the McCarthy machine. Kennedy concedes graciously. McCarthy responds, “If he thinks he can beat me with a dog and an astronaut, he’s dead wrong”. Kennedy campaigned with former Astronaut John Glenn and his dog……..Statewide, Governor Shafer signed a 4.5 million dollar non public school bill……..State Senator Martin Murray is named Chairman of the Luzerne County Democratic party…..in Plains, a new St. Joseph’s church in Hudson is planned at a cost of $300,000….Fine Arts Fiesta officials decide to hold the 1969 event on Public Square…..at St. John the Baptist School, final preparations are made for the annual class trip. Rocky Glenn was nixed, instead Angela Park was picked for the school event. Boys are instructed they could wear jeans the girls could wear coulottes which was a kind of skirt/short outfit….and the number one song in America and LuLac land was Simon And Garfunkl’s “Mrs. Robinson” from the movie “The Graduate”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnW59E-zyZY.