Saturday, August 30, 2008

The LuLac Edition #557, August 30th, 2008



First off, I’ve always liked and admired Joe Biden. Second, I’ve always enjoyed the City of Scranton. My time working up there was simply wonderful and the friendships I made there as well as the clients and businesses I frequented are still a part of my life. Thirdly, I truly enjoy the show “The Office” on NBC. I think the show has done right by Scranton, promoting the city without making it seem like a place time forgot and giving back to it by participating in the events planned by the Electric City residents. With that all said, did you notice that during the convention all you seemed to hear was the phrase “Joe Biden was born in Scranton and lived here until he was ten”. What would happen I wondered if the crack staff of writers at “The Office” included Biden in some of the episodes. If I may, here are my humble ideas.


The national press along with Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden who was born in Scranton and lived here until he was ten converge on the city. Mrs. Biden is along for the tour of the Shrute Beet Farm to explore the aspects of Lackawanna County agriculture. Mose Shrute, Dwight’s cousin mistakes Mrs. “Drop dead gorgeous” Biden for a mail order bride he was waiting for from South Dakota. He whisks her away to the Mid Valley and after a wild chase, the Secret Service find the two in front of the Archbald Wrecking Company chomping on wings from “The Windsor Inn”.


Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden who was born in Scranton and lived here until he was ten invites a former President with him to a tour of the Dunder Mifflin facility to explain why jobs should be kept in the U.S. Michael Scott takes charge of the tour and as the former President and Biden enter the break room, Scott says “The coffee in here will kill ya!!” and he is thrown into custody by the officials. Biden, who knew Michael Scott’s family because after all he did grow up in Scranton follows to straighten things out. In the excitement, the door locks behind them. Meanwhile Pam is getting hot chocolate and encounters the former President. Jim Halpert, Pam’s boyfriend is concerned when he sees the two together and begins to get jealous. No harm done though because Pam invites the former Prez to be a member of “The Finer Things” club and the two discuss everything from classical music to the various usage for quality cigars.


Andy, Angela’s new boyfriend being threatened by the frozen cat murdered by Dwight removes it from her fridge to the Bob Vance Refrigeration Company. Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden who was born in Scranton and lived here until he was ten tours the plant. Vance Refrigeration has fallen on hard times due to the downturn in housing and he had his power cut off. A foul odor fills the room from one of the powerless refrigeration units and mayhem ensues.


Governor Rendell and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden who was born in Scranton and lived here until he was ten are riding the Guv’s Bus when Big Ed gets the munchies. The bus pulls into a Dunkin’ Donuts. As the two politicos enter the establishment, Kelly is exiting the lady’s room. Biden shouts directly to her“Two sugars and a glazed here for me and my friend”. It of course gets on YOU TUBE. Kelly rides the event to fame becoming the “Bob Barr Girl”.


Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden who was born in Scranton and lived here until he was ten was supposed to leave on a bus tour from the Electric City to Harrisburg. But Tony Rodham, Steve Corbett and Andy Bernard fool with the GPS device and the bus winds up in Bethel, New York. After the harrowing experience, Biden decides to take a bus back to Wilmington to hang with his “drop dead gorgeous wife”. On the way home he encounters Creed who is returning from a Woodstock Planning Committee Reunion. Briefcases are mixed up between the two and a scandal ensues when Biden is found in possession of an unknown leafy substance and 12 Grass Roots CDs. In the closing scene, Creed is shown meeting with Russian leader Putin.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The LuLac Edition #556, August 29th, 2008



The Democrats ended their convention Thursday night with a big bang. The Obama/Biden ticket stormed Pennsylvania as its first stop highlighting the importance of the Keystone State. But there wasn;t too much coverage given John McCain’s big news today on Sarah Palin. One of the tributes at the convention was for the late Lady Bird Johnson. Here it is from YOU TUBE:


We’ll be following the activities of the GOP with Lackawanna County delegate Michael Taluto who will be blogging at the convention. Stay Tuned!!!


Crown Prince Harald of Norway marries Sonja Haraldsen, the commoner he has dated for nine years in Oslo.........The Humphrey-Muskie ticket begin their campaign for the top jobs in Washington with absolutely no money in their campaign coffers in the aftermath of the Chicago convention.....Statewide, Congressman Richard Schweiker embarks on his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat slamming incumbent Joe Clark on the Vietnam War...Dr. Wallace Stettler becomes the 9th President of Wyoming Seminary, in Wilkes Barre City, the Council votes down the earned income tax and in 1968 the number 1 song in America and Lulac land was “People Got nTo Be Free” by the Young Rascals.

The LuLac Edition #555, August 29th, 2008



The McCain campaign today picked Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee for the GOP. On WYOU TV Monday night, I said that the non pick of Hillary Clinton by Barack Obama would give McCain license to pick a woman. I said Carly Fiorini. Half right. Sue Henry today “no one saw this coming”. Someone actually did. One guy who has been saying it would be Palin all along was former Congressional candidate Joe Leonardi. The guy has been sending me photos of her every month knowing how much I like to put formative women on my screen saver. Leonardi told me today, “This will change the entire dynamic of the election. It will give the republican ticket the only pairing with any executive branch experience.It gives the republican ticket a candidate who went after corruption in her own party... it will help blunt any talk of the Keating scandal.It gives the republicans a candidate who stood up to big oil in Alaska. Her standing up to big oil is akin to someone standing up to the coal barons in the Wyo. Valley at the turn of the century.She has strong conservative values both socially and economically.” Well put.
This is an interesting but not completely surprising pick. The GOP has to attract more of the women that still might be smarting from the rejection of Senator Clinton. This campaign had to do something innovative and using gender was a plus. They did this with the pick and without the baggage. There will be no debate on where the ticket stands on pro life. Had McCain picked Tom Ridge, that would not be the case. Not having selected Joe Lieberman, there will be no revolt among the diehard Republicans. Palin’s credentials as a conservative can only help McCain with this shaky constituency that has not completely trusted him. If the campaign had picked Romney, there would be sound bites of Romney and McCain sniping at each other. As far as the experience factor, the McCain people seem to have ceded that argument to the Obama camp. In terms of foreign affairs and being an 18 month first time office holder, forty years ago the GOP picked a Vice President with exactly the same resume. His name was Spiro Agnew and his conservative persona helped Nixon in the South. Four decades later, the Agnew comparison is strong, she ran a little town as Mayor, Agnew was a County Executive. Both served the same amount of time as Governor. Now inside the party, the reaction of the GOP women has to be the same as the men who lost out to Agnew 40 years ago. The argument whether there were more qualified GOP women out there will be made but buried in the convention for the sake of party unity. On the negative side, this pick cannot be a repeat of the Geri Ferraro pick in 1984 with any hidden baggage regarding investigations or finances.

Palin’s pick will make the Obama/Biden campaign walk a fine line in making sure they don’t antagonize any of the disappointed Clinton backers into supporting Palin. Now more than ever it seems, Senator Clinton will need to be in the campaign mix for the '08 Democratic team. One more thing, the Dems should trumpet the experience factor of Joe Biden since McCain turns 72 today. In an odd way, the experience factor argument has been blunted with both picks. Obama, less experience, Biden, more experience. McCain, more experience, Palin, less experience. This is a Jerry Seinfeld situation: the experience issue seems to even out.
The pick of Palin also ensures that whatever team wins in November, history, either at the top or bottom of the ticket will be made.
Obama/Biden, McCain/Palin… they say in horse racing…..
“and they’re off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The LuLac Edition #554, August 29th, 2008





The Republicans will give it a C plus, the Democrats an “A”. From my perspective, Obama did something unusual for him and a Democratic nominee: he came out swinging. A few key points I thought made him seem more formidable than before were:
1. He took on the celebrity ad with Paris Hilton talking about his upbringing with a single mom and absent father.
2. Obama defined his stance on foreign policy criticizing McCain’s rhetoric in the pursuit of Osama Ben Laden.
3. Finally, someone said out loud that if you disagree with the opposition or find the war in Iraq wrong, that doesn’t mean you are unpatriotic.
4. The Iraq surplus of some 70 million dollars was something Americans could wrap their minds around. Obama pounded that point home.
5. Obama paid homage to both FDR and JFK, two Presidents who in some cases were more military oriented than some GOP leaders.
6. The nominee took on John McCain, looking directly into the camera and in effect said, “let’s rumble”.
7. The Illinois Senator brought up the crucial point that the next President will appoint at least 3 new Justices on the Supreme Court. Keep in mind that the Supreme Court handed over the Presidency to George Bush in 2000, allowing him to steal the office.
8. It was long but he held your attention. No one in the history of American politics has filled an arena with more than 80,000 people.
My summation: simply incredible.


Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden stopped by the Pennsylvania delegation and was a big hit. Feeling comfortable speaking to the delegation from what he said was his second home, Joe Biden made light of Obama’s relative youth as he joked about his own early start in politics.
Biden said that after he was picked as Obama’s running mate, he asked his staff to look up the speech he made when he announced his candidacy for the Senate in 1972. And reading it, he found great similarity between his message than and Obama’s today.
“The truth of the matter, it’s a natural fit,” Biden said. “Barack Obama could have made that speech were he alive in 1972.”
He laughed, and quickly clarified that Obama was, in fact, alive at the time.
“By the way, if I hear one more time he was 11 years old when I went to the Senate, I’m going to smack somebody,” he continued.
Biden talked about growing up in Scranton and hearing his extended family talking about politics around the dinner table. He only left, he said, because he lived only blocks away from the Casey family, and, “I knew only one great person came out of Scranton and it wasn’t gonna be me.”
Biden said the Keystone State would determine the election, and promised that the full arsenal of the well-stocked Obama campaign would be put to work there.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

The LuLac Edition #553, August 28h, 2008



No matter if you are a Democrat or Republican, tonight was a night for all Americans. As a country we leaped a hurdle. The gap of race closed just a little bit between whites and people of color. Mr. Obama’s nomination on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s “I Have A Dream” speech is not only fitting but proper. John McCain’s acknowledgement was that of a fellow countrymen, not a politician. Whomever we supported in the past, who we will support in the future is something to discuss and fight for tomorrow. In the meantime, the words of Dr. King were prescient:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." In this campaign, let us judge each candidate by that standard.

The LuLac Edition #552, August 28th, 2008




You see the funny hats, the partying and the hoopla at a national convention. But behind the scenes, there are policy meetings as well as strategic gatherings designed to make a party stronger in its goal to elect a new administration. There are also practical meetings dealing with everyday governing once the conventioneers leave town.
The Democratic Leadership Council in Colorado hosted a forum on Crumbling Infrastructure in America. Titled Rebuilding America: U.S. Infrastructure Needs and How to Pay for Them, this meeting was held yesterday. From the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota last summer to the dozens of levee breaks along the Mississippi River this summer, America's infrastructure is crumbling. This decline of a once-proud resource is a civic shame, a threat to public safety, and a drag on our economic growth. If we are to get America moving again, we need to make rebuilding America's infrastructure a national priority. This panel discussed the economic and policy rationale for a major new investment in infrastructure as well as innovative ways to finance America's infrastructure needs including our ports, roads, rail, electricity grid, and more. The meeting was chaired by former Congressman Harold Ford. “These type of meetings are the norm for a National Convention” says Colorado DLC member Jim Gibson. “It is an opportunity to hear diverse opinions on solutions that need to be implemented on an issue like this. And maybe one state might have more information than another in the way they are dealing with a particular problem” noted Gibson.
Since it is a political convention, many times politics takes center stage. There was an interesting forum Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Paul Begala took part in that I was privy to. At the screening of a film, “And So Goes the Nation: Ohio 2004” Begala revealed that he himself had donors lined up to raise 60 million dollars through a 527 to go after the candidacy of John McCain. He said the money was in place and they were waiting for approval from the Obama camp. It never came and the donors, knowing that a 527 didn’t need a nod from a candidate, walked because they were uncomfortable with not having the Obama people say yeah instead of nay. This brought up the debate as to whether the Obama camp didn’t have the stomach for the rough and tumble of a national campaign and might be chewed up by the GOP attack machine ala Dukakis and Kerry. On the other hand, some panelists said if Obama is preaching a new kind of politics, it would by hypocritical to use such a heavy hammer. This forum then lead to another one where Drew Weston, author of “The Political Brain” talked with Kerry campaign adviser Tad Devine. Weston’s book has a premise that voters will make a choice on emotion rather than logic 80 to 90% of the time. (Personally I’ve seen this first hand. In 2004, a young coworker of mine who had 2 children on the WIC program hated the Democrats and John Kerry even though President Bush cut subsidies for the very program that helped her children. She had an emotional upset at the very mention of Kerry’s name. Go figure. Voters not always vote in their own interest). Devine said that in 2004, polling suggested that the swing voters Kerry needed to win were turned off by negative advertising, thus the late response to the GOP attack machine. Devine said it was apparent that people told the pollsters once thing and intentionally or not, remembered the negative things they heard, making their decision on emotion. This issue also brings up the basic tenants of the Democratic party in terms of modern political campaigning. One wag suggested the Dems are more concerned about what the New York Times will say about them rather than the focusing on the actual voters they need. Gibson says the party has more of a tendency toward fairness. In a way, when you think about it, they have a point. I mean can the Democratic party dig up 12 veterans who would question the bravery of John McCain like the GOP did in 2004 questioning John Kerry’s military service? Begala, who made his bones with James Carville running Bob Casey’s Senor’s campaign against Bill Scranton Junior (who can forget the famous Transcendental Meditation ad with the guru) shared his 7 point plan of political strategy. The points were in numerical order:
1. Attack.
2. Attack.
3. Attack.
4. Attack.
5. Attack.
6. Attack.
7. Attack.
Meanwhile, Gibson occupied the catbird seat on Monday Night sitting in the media section with the various press luminaries. Gibson is a King’s graduate and Kingston native.


Ted Kennedy received many accolades for his speech to the convention on Monday Night but it almost didn’t happen. Kennedy had just left a hospital bed here when he delivered his speech after suffering a debilitating bout of kidney stones Sunday upon arriving in town. Now anyone who has ever had a kidney stone know full well it stops you dead in your tracks.
The New York Times picks up the story from here:
Mr. Kennedy’s aides described a harrowing 48-hour period in which it appeared that Mr. Kennedy would not be able to give the convention speech. In June, he had told family members when he left the Duke University Medical Center, where he was operated on for brain cancer, that he was intent on giving the speech.
And with less than two hours to go before he was to take the stage, Mr. Kennedy — sitting unnoticed in a room at the University of Colorado Hospital — told his wife, Victoria, and doctors that he wanted to go to the Pepsi Center and deliver the speech.
He was driven there, accompanied by a doctor and paramedics, perched on a golf cart that took him inside. Mr. Kennedy, with his wife and his niece Caroline at his side, walked gingerly onto the stage, where he delivered a highly acclaimed address. He then returned to the hospital, where he spent the night.
This sequence of events described by Kennedy associates added another dramatic layer to the appearance by Mr. Kennedy that riveted Democrats and produced a sustained and tearful reception among the delegates.
His aides said after Mr. Kennedy finally decided he was well enough to come to Denver over the weekend, they became alarmed when he arrived on Sunday after a long charter airplane flight, and reported being in excruciating pain.
Their first concern was that the pain was somehow related to his cancer, or the chemotherapy and radiology he had undergone, and that it had been complicated by the long flight or the high altitude of the city. A visit to a local hospital Sunday night revealed it was kidney stones and was unrelated to his cancer.
One close associate, who demanded anonymity to discuss any element of Mr. Kennedy’s medical condition, disclosed that the senator had suffered an unspecified but serious setback in July after he flew to Washington in the midst of treatment to cast a vote on a Medicare bill.
Mr. Kennedy’s aides said he did make one concession to the kidney stones: the speech he gave was about 10 minutes, roughly half the length of an earlier draft.
Kidney stones are notoriously painful, and typically treated with morphine or other painkillers. (Aides would not say whether Mr. Kennedy had been given painkillers, or whether any stones had passed.)
Mr. Kennedy’s longtime associate Bob Shrum said that as soon as the senator became ill, he sent an even shorter three-sentence statement that Mr. Kennedy could read at the Pepsi Center. He said Mr. Kennedy, in informing him that he wanted to speak, had rejected that option.
“He said, ‘I’m not getting up to go over there and give a three-sentence speech,’ ” Mr. Shrum said.
Mr. Kennedy’s advisers said he had begun working on the speech about three weeks ago and went through rehearsals every day when his health permitted. They said he made clear that he did not want to be represented at the convention only by a videotape tribute.
By all indications, Mr. Kennedy was in better health on Tuesday when he attended a small breakfast in his honor before flying home to Massachusetts.
“He looked tremendously healthy considering what he has been going through,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and a longtime Kennedy friend.


If Obama is elected, he will be the third president from Illinois, following Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
Sen. Joe Biden will be the first Delawarean to serve on a major party's national ticket. And how often has a presidential candidate turned to someone he ran against for his running mate? Since 1900, the Democrats have done it seven times; the GOP, eight times.
In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt became the first presidential nominee to deliver an acceptance speech in person at a convention.
Frederick Douglass was the first African-American to receive a vote for president at a major party's convention. Douglass received one vote at the 1888 GOP convention. Washington minister Channing Phillips was the first African-American to receive a vote for president at a Democratic convention. Phillips received 67.5 votes at the Democrats' 1968 convention.
In 1896, 36-year-old Democrat William Jennings Bryan became the youngest person to win a major party's presidential nomination.


Senator Barack Obama is set to give his acceptance speech tonight at Invesco Field, formerly Mile High Stadium. It is not the first time a speech was given in an outdoor venue. John F. Kennedy gave his at the L. A. Coliseum in 1960. From YOU TUBE: JFK.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The LuLac Edition #551, August 27th, 2008





In case you didn't see it, Hillary Clinton's speech last night was a thing of beauty in terms of logic, oratory and flawless execution. Clinton hit all the points she had to, praised Senator Obama, his wife and their efforts. Nancy Kman from WILK Radio said it best today when she said anyone who didn't think it was a unifying speech wasn't understanding that concept. One caller said that Hillary didn't mention her husband. Again, beans in the ears. During her discourse, she acknowledged the Clinton Presidency exclusively and did not go through the list of JFK, FDR or Truman. This speech takes her out of the realm of mere candidate and office seeker to "stateswoman".
Jim Gibson, Kingston native said that "Senator Clinton did a very good job in articulating the mission of the party. It will be interesting to see how President Clinton does with his speech. He was obviously very proud of her and was even tearing up a bit".


Clinton delegate Evie Refalko McNulty and Luzerne County Chair Mark Bufalino were interviewed on ABC's World News Tonight....
Scranton politico and former Mayor Jim McNulty is gathering interviews at the convention in Denver to be aired on Fox TV's WOLF's "Law and You" program on Sunday morning.....McNulty said the Hillary speech was a high point of the convention. "She hit it out of the park" he said" "and vindicated why we all supported and voted for her in the primaries"......Tonight Senator Clinton motioned to cut the roll call short saying, "With eyes firmly fixed on the future, and in the spirit of unity with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together with one voice right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president." "Is there a second?" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California asked the crowd of more than 4,400 delegates. McNulty said that every 10th and 11th District delegate except Rita Boyle was going to vote for Senator Clinton in the roll call vote.


United States Congressman Patrick Murphy, a 1996 graduate of King's College, is scheduled to address the Democratic National Convention this evening (Wednesday) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Congressman Murphy has represented Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District since 2006, and is the only Iraq War veteran in Congress. Murphy and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth will lead a tribute honoring veterans, active duty military, and their families.
While at King's College, Congressman Murphy was an active participant in the College community and member of the King's ROTC unit.


When Tim Russert died, I knew it would have a profound effect on the news division of NBC. But I didn't realize how huge that impact would be until I heard the commentary of Olbermann and Matthews. It seems like MSNBC's coverage has gone from left leaning to outright propoganda for the Obama effort. The shrillness of the commentary, the inaccuracy and complete fawning of anything Barack has tuned me out. Gone are the traditions of Brinkley and Brokaw, the inmates have taken over the jail. Chris Matthews was fond of saying "Eddie Rendell is my favorite Democrat". I wonder how he feels after Rendell called the network on its coverage of the primaries. MSNBC has gone from an entertaining source of news to a parody of itself. I find myself comparing it to the Joe Pyne Show of the 1960s. Joe Pyne was an American radio and television talk show host, who pioneered the confrontational style of hosting in which the host advocates a viewpoint and argues with guests and audience members. His style was a major influence on other confrontational talk show hosts such as Wally George and Morton Downey, Jr. And obviously some of the producers at MSNBC. Joe Pyne was fun and must see TV for a while. Then he got boring because it was the same old stuff day after day. A lot like MSNBC these days. Boring.


U.S. Senator Bob Casey gave a prime time speech last night at the convention. It's amazing on your perspective, Kevin and Nancy of WILK thought he did a good job, Sue Henry not so much. I thought Mr. Casey outlined the case for the Democrats, addressed his disagreement with Senator Obama about abortion and hit a home run. He enhanced his already considerable national profile. Here's a snippet of Casey's speech:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The LuLac Edition #550, August 26th, 2008





The Kennedy Universe started in the Democratic party as far back as the 1932 election when Joseph P. Kennedy contributed heavily to the campaign of Franklin Roosevelt. Democrats have always felt a kinship with the Kennedy clan especially the state of Pennsylvania and in particular Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last night's speech by Senator Ted Kennedy was an astounding feat of gumption, courage and commitment that has been a hallmark of the Kennedy era. I caught up with former Scranton Mayor Jim McNulty who gave me this first hand account. "The speech was remarkable and energized the entire convention, both Obama and Clinton forces alike, " said Mr. McNulty. McNulty's history with the Kennedy dynasty goes back to his support of JFK in 1960. He worked as a page at the 1964 convention in Atlantic City where Robert Kennedy paid tribute to his slain bother. "I was behind the stage in Atlantic City crying when he gave that speech" McNulty told me. "I felt bad that we lost something in John but had hope that perhaps Robert would take on that torch". We all know that was not meant to be. McNulty was at the 1980 convention working for Ted Kennedy and served as the campaign coordinator for the Northeast in that race. "After Kennedy's speech last night, I went over to the Governor who was one of the Kennedy operatives in New York (Governor Rendell was Philadelphia DA at the time) and he began reciting back to me, and I to him the phrases of "The Dream Will Never Die" speech Teddy gave in New York", remarked McNulty. He continued, "Then I made my way over to former U.S. Senator and Peace Corps staffer Harris Wofford and we talked about how Kennedy is still advocating for a good health plan for the citizens of this country. Wofford of course made health care a cause in his time in the Senate and we both thought this speech was a type of full circle on this issue". McNulty recounted how when he won election to Mayor in 1981 he got a call from Teddy Kennedy but most impressively how when he lost, he also heard from the Democratic legend. "The last time I ran into Teddy was before this illness was disclosed and his parting words to me were "Stay strong, stay strong, stay strong"." We can only add this: "BACK AT YOU TEDDY KENNEDY, BACK AT YOU".


If the Obama campaign think they have problems with a former President with the concerns Bill Clinton is giving them, that is nothing compared to what Harry Truman did to the Kennedy people in 1960. A week before the convention, Truman resigned as a delegate stating that "conventions were rigged". Here is that amazing video from YOU TUBE:

Monday, August 25, 2008

The LuLac Edition #549, August 25th, 2008



The Pennsylvania delegation today met with leaders from across the country as well as their chief floor operatives. The breakfast was sponsored by PPL.


Tuesday night, Governor Rendell and Senator Casey will be speaking to the convention. Check CSPAN which is covering the convention gavel to gavel.

The LuLac Edition #548, August 25th, 2008




In what will be a gut wrenching and emotional appearance, SenatorEdward Kennedy will be at the Democratic Nation Convention tonight. Reports are Kennedy will view the tribute film prepared for the delegates and the nation. There is even speculation the Senator may say a few words. Kennedy is battling brain cancer and as we all know, the prognosis is not good. Kennedy brought his campaign for President to Wilkes Barre early in 1980 as he campaigned for the Pennsylvania primary. Tonight's appearance by Kennedy will certainly stir the memories of many residents and Kennedy loyalists in LuLac land.


Governor Ed Rendell made some news yesterday when he complained that cable network MSNBC was "in the tank" for Senator Obama and that he couldn't stand it. Rendell, a Hillary backer was pretty much on target. I never, ever believed in media bias until the night Keith Olbermann went off on Senator Clinton for making an innocent reference to Robert Kennedy's assassination in June of 1968. I watch MSNBC for the historical perspective and their archives but man, the Governor was right on target.....During an interview, a member of the Democratic National Congressional Committee conceded that more money has been put in the 11th Congressional campaign of Paul Kanjorski than any other effort. When asked how important it was to hold on to the seat, the official said every district was critical and that early money pourecd into the Congressman's race because of the early attacks by the Barletta campaign....Officials at the DNC are bracing for some tensions between the Obama and Clinton camps. A recent reference by an Obama staffer that the Clinton people are like the last survivors of the war in Japan did not help matters any. Adding fuel to that fire is the rumor that former President Bill Clinton is not happy with his assignment for his speech on Wednesday night. Clinton wanted to talk about his accomplishments but was given different talking point. How does one give "talking points" to a former President? Note to the Obama camp, remember Bill Clinton's 1988 Keynote address at that convention. .......CNN came to Scranton the other day to interview GreenRidge residents about the Biden pick. Stopping off at Hank's Hoagies, the network interviewed Senator Bob Casey....The Allentown Morning Call also did a story on the Scranton connection of Biden. Here's a quote from Attorney Todd O'Malley on the pick: ''He has been referred to time and time again as Pennsylvania's third senator,'' said Todd O'Malley, a Scranton attorney who was a member of the Delaware senator's finance committee during his presidential campaign. ''He will be an enormous benefit to Obama up here. This is Joe Biden country. He speaks our language.'' Former Scranton Mayor Jim McNulty was interviewed and said this: ''He makes a big difference,'' McNulty said. ''Joe's a hometown boy. Joe gives the lunch pail speech, and Obama gives the after-dinner one.'' Both were interviewed by Josh Drobnky of the Morning Call.


Senator Ted Kennedy was sworn in for his 8th term as Senator in 2006. Here's video of that event:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The LuLac Edition #547, August 24th, 2008




Jim and Evie McNulty arrived in Denver last night around midnight. The Power couple of Northeastern Pennsylvania politics are geared up for the week of festivities in the Mile High City. The Mayor, no stranger to the city and its politicos (he served on various committees with former Mayor and then Transportation Secretary Pena) advised me that the excitement is building for the Democrats as they prepare to nominate the Obama/Biden ticket. The former chief executive of the city of Scranton says that with the addition of the Delaware Senator, Scranton will be in the national limelight once more. As a matter of fact, the Pennsylvania delegation has choice seating near the front of the speaker's podium at the Pepsi Center. Mr. McNulty said that his wife, an elected Clinton delegate is still feeling the effects of a political buzz from a New York Times On Line Blog by Katherine Seelye written in March of this year. Certainly not detrimental to her support of Senator Clinton or her eventual committment to Obama/Biden, the story is a great read and gives you an insight into the trabsition one must make from a primary campaign to a general election if they are true blue Dems.And both Senator Obama and Mrs. McNulty are that if nothing else. From the New York Times On Line, here's that article about one of the Lac's delegates to the Democratic Convention.
Obama’s Irish Times in Scranton
By Katharine Q. Seelye
SCRANTON, Pa. — Evie Rafalko McNulty helped found the Society of Irish Women here 10 years ago, giving the women of this northeast Pennsylvania region something to do on St. Patty’s Day when the all-male Friendly Sons of St. Patrick would meet for its annual dinner.
This year, Ms. McNulty, 48, who is the Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds and is married to Scranton’s former mayor, James, invited the presidential candidates to speak at what is now the women’s annual dinner. Senator Barack Obama accepted and closed out his St. Patrick’s Day tonight as the guest speaker.
Ms. McNulty was thrilled — except she supports Senator Hillary Clinton.
So when the time came tonight for her to have her official picture taken with Mr. Obama before the dinner, Ms. McNulty demurred.
“I would have felt like a hypocrite,” she told The Caucus after she left the V.I.P. holding room. “I didn’t think it was right.”Such is the challenge that Mr. Obama faces here in what they call Clinton Country. Senator Hillary Clinton’s father’s family is from Scranton and she has already visited the city twice in the last week. The state’s primary is April 22. And perhaps a third of the area is Irish.
Later at the dinner, where Ms. McNulty was the emcee, she passed up on the honor of introducing Mr. Obama herself, giving that privilege instead to a man — state Senator Robert J. Mellow, who is an Obama backer.
Mr. Obama was undeterred. When he bounced up on the dais, he pulled Ms. McNulty close and she obligingly mugged for the cameras.
But some in the audience of nearly 500 women withheld their applause. And the general reaction to his brief speech was relatively subdued, certainly compared with the reaction to Ms. McNulty’s schtick beforehand (“This is Lackawanna County’s ‘Lipstick Jungle’ right here,” she said, gesturing to the dais.)
In his speech, which lasted less than 10 minutes, Mr. Obama tried mightily to relate. He said his own family story was familiar to that of Irish Americans, with a distant homeland and a journey across the ocean. He said one of his earliest ancestors had been traced to a small village in Ireland _ later identified by the campaign as Moneygall. That branch of the family eventually settled in “nearby Ohio,” he said; it was not an applause line here.
“It never hurts to be a little Irish when you’re running for the presidency,” Mr. Obama went on, picking up a little steam. But when he mentioned his most prominent Irish-American backer, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, again, the reaction was not the boisterous response one might have expected in a room awash in green.
Of course, the audience was a bit unusual — when Ms. McNulty welcomed the national media, they actually applauded.
In interviews with several women, most said they supported Mrs. Clinton, citing both her experience and her local roots. One exception was Susan Cooper, 53, a college administrator, who said Mr. Obama had “a very clear perspective.” She also said that Mrs. Clinton had too much “baggage” from her husband.
Mr. Obama left the stage with a joke about how there is an apostrophe in his name _ that would make it O’Bama — and said his first name was really Baragh, which he pronounced with a thick brogue. “It’s actually an old Celtic name,” he said.
He plunged into a crowd that seemed happy to mob him, snap photos and shake his hand.
Thank goodness he had swapped out his blue tie for a green one; asked earlier why he had not been wearing green, he said he had lost track of the day, since the big parades were on Saturday. Before the dinner, he borrowed a green tie from an aide.


Here is a listing of all of the delegates attending the convention from LuLac land. From the 10th Congressional District: Mary Kate Culkin, Clarks Summit; Ann M. Bursis, Honesdale; Jesse A. Salazar, Dalton; and alternate delegate Julie P. Brennan, State College. From the 11th Congressional District: Evie Rafalko McNulty, Scranton; Rosemary Boland, Scranton; Donald M. Hart, Dunmore; Rita M. Boyle, Mountain Top; and alternate delegate James J. Tait, Drums. Maria Wansacz, wife of state Rep. Jim Wansacz, was chosen as a delegate at-large ..........Governor Rendell made the rounds of the Sunday Talk Shows today appearing on CBS's Face The Nation.....Attorney Todd O'Malley of Scranton who has served on a Biden finance committee in the past aired an interview with the prospective Vice President this morning on Fox 56........Katherine Baker Knoll, battling cancer not in attendance at the convention. She is in the thoughts and prayers of the entire Pennsylvania delegation.....and political observers in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties will be watching with interest tomorrow night as the Democrats unveil a Tribute film to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Kennedy is also facing a cancer challenge. Northeastern Pennsylvania has always been a Kennedy stronghold.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The LuLac Edition #546, August 23rd, 2008




I first met Michael Butera in 1969 at my cousin Joey Gillespie’s Graduation Party and even back then, “Butters” Butera (having had no nicknames that ever stuck, I envy people who have enduring ones) was always in the newspaper. As a wrestler, and Student Body President at the newly merged Wyoming Area High School, “Butters” got the front page of The Dispatch along with the SBP’s of Pittston Area and my old alma mater St. John’s. Through the years, Butera who went on to law school was in the news for his service on the school board. He was not shy to speak about controversial education issues. Even when Butera was riding a bike, he got in the news. One day in what is now the Quinn’s Supermarket Parking lot on Kennedy Blvd in Pittston, Butera was riding his bike. A car door opened and the barrister went ass over tea cup separating his shoulder. News reports in the Citizen’s Voice reported that a Luzerne County Court Judge awarded him over a half a million dollars for his injury. Butera has occupied full page ads in his hometown newspaper for everything from the Cherry Blossom Festival to Graduation supplements. Most recently, Butera was seen on file footage when a Pittston Twp. employee pleaded guilty to some financial problems. Butera was her Attorney. But as Atty. Butera heads out to Denver to the Democratic National Convention, he is now finding himself in print in the Rockies. Former Times Leader reporter Jean Torkleson now working for the Rocky Mountain News interviewed Butera and plans to follow up on his activities at the convention. In the news story, Butera talks about his passion for politics, and his unwavering support of Senator Clinton. Butera also candidly confides how his politics collided with his now fractured Catholicism and faith in the 1980s. Here’s that article:
Hillary fan in Obama land
A Pennsylvania pol and family come to the DNC, ready to switch allegience
By Jean Torkelson
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The stocky former wrestler shoots over the Susquehanna River bridge, pedaling toward his law office on Main Street.
Beneath the bicyclist's striped polo shirt beats a rebel's heart.
Mike Butera is a lawyer who doesn't wear a seatbelt or a helmet - nah, he figures, that's just inviting an accident.
Politics is deliciously risky too: From his office window a lone "Hillary" sign tilts defiantly.
He's a rebel and a seasoned political hand, yet Mike Butera has lived and worked his entire 57 years within a mile of Pittston, a former mining town in northeastern Pennsylvania where his Sicilian grandparents immigrated more than 100 years ago.
While he's made a hobby of visiting "the great American cities," Butera has never been to Denver.
That is, until today, when he arrives as one of Pennsylvania's 187 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
How will this Clinton loyalist fare as he rides the Barack Obama tide? What electoral pressures will be on his linchpin state face as he goes into the convention? And just how will the active, sports-loving Butera family adapt to the rarified air of the Rockies?
The Rocky Mountain News will follow Butera, with his family, throughout convention week as he helps make political history.
The clan includes Butera, who specializes in criminal defense work and domestic relations; his second wife, Mary, 46, a former flight attendant with a resemblance to the actress Sharon Stone, and their 9-year-old son, Peter - "He's not into kid's stuff," says his proud Dad - who likes to follow politics along with his folks.
"He's very mature for his age and I'm very immature for my age so we meet in the middle," cracks Dad, as he folds Peter in a hug.
His own youth? As a teenager back in '68, "I was rootin' for the hippies," Butera grins.
Heck, he was a hippie. The mention of Recreate 68 - the protest group that threatens to bring Chicago-style chaos to the Denver convention - brings a nostalgic gleam to Butera's eye: "I may join that group. I'll be the man on the inside!"
Heart for Hillary
Butera's heart, as well as his first-ballot vote, go to Hillary Clinton. He's supported the family dynasty since he was a delegate for then-unknown Bill Clinton at the 1992 convention.
Assuming Clinton then releases her delegates, Butera, a proud, "staunch liberal" all his life, will gladly support Obama - though the thought of a political rumble, however unlikely, make his eyes dance: "Theoretically, anything can happen," he says.
In northeastern Pennsylvania, enthusiastic Obama-backing makes Butera a rebel yet again.
He hails from a region that slapped Obama with his heaviest primary defeat in the country.
Pittston is in a necklace of small towns linked to Wilkes-Barre, which, with its twin city, Scranton, has a combined 550,000-plus population rooted to New Deal politics and traditional working-class values.
Here, when you say "mountains," you mean the lush, rolling forests of the Poconos, known since the 1950s for honeymoon idylls and heart-shaped bathtubs. For vacationers of sterner stuff, there are tours down the 300-foot shaft of the old McDade Mine in Scranton, a monument to the powerful, lingering legacy of anthracite coal.
This is Hillary country, big time. Her Welsh grandparents settled in Scranton and she was baptized there. Her brothers still consider the family cottage at nearby Lake Winola as "home."
This year, how the region's "blue collar Democrats" vote may be crucial to where Pennsylvania's 23 electoral votes will go.
"The road to the White House comes through here," local radio personality Steve Corbett likes to taunt the candidates on his daily talk show. He's proved it by nabbing live interviews with, among other national figures, Bill Clinton, Hillary (twice) and Obama.
In this seasoned Democratic stronghold, Obama is seen as inexperienced and suspiciously elitist - a man who favors la-te-da arugula lettuce in a region that sticks to zucchinis and cardoons, a peasant vegetable from Italy.
This is speak-your-mind country, too, where Corbett stokes the fires of rebellion every day, regularly thundering out one of his favorite lines: "I'm with Hillary Clinton until the last light bulb burns out in America!"
Small-town times
Fair warning, in an uncertain political year: Mike Butera makes lousy predictions.
He's the first to say so, and he relishes telling the story again at the Gramercy Ballroom and Restaurant on Main Street.
Here, he and a group of fellow lawyers have met for lunch every day since - well, forever. It's the kind of unpretentious place that attracts stories like this: One day a lawyer-colleague came in to the Gramercy with the actor Martin Sheen, a friend, and introduced him to the owner, Mike Augello. As the story goes, Augello took one cool look at the celebrity and said, "I kind of thought so. What'll you have for lunch?"
It's the kind of place where Butera's son, Peter, is as welcome as the big guys. On this day, Peter, comes tooling up Main Street on his bike, and slings it, unlocked, against the building.
The guys settle in for Augello's fresh vegetable soup, and Butera launches into his "predictions" story.
"In 1964," Butera begins, "I predicted the Dave Clark Five would be bigger than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, because those groups didn't have an organ player. I believed George McGovern would handily defeat Richard Nixon. But my worst prediction ever" (the former hippie rolls his eyes): "A friend had six tickets to Woodstock. That Friday it started to pour rain. 'I'm not goin',' I said. 'It's gonna pour - nobody's gonna go to that thing!' "
No matter how many times he tells it, his audience laughs.
"This area is unique," Butera explains later. "Your car breaks down, you take it to a guy on the corner who owns the garage that his father owned. You know you're not gonna get ripped off. No matter where you go, you see people you know. It's a comfortable feeling. People still don't lock their doors."
Across the river, just a five minute bike-spin away, is the Butera's home in West Pittston, the upscale twin to Pittston. Their spacious, 60-year-old brick ranch features original Italian glass and a grand picture window that opens onto the Susquehanna.
Within a mile are countless family members - including Mike's first wife, with whom he raised three kids.
"Thank God we all get along, that's all I have to say," Mary Butera laughs.
Mary Butera grew up in Old Forge, another in the necklace of small communities outside Wilkes-Barre. Famed for its pizza, Old Forge is where Hillary stopped for a pizza break during the primary.
Ah, Hillary. "She was an easy sell," Butera says wistfully. "But even with Obama, there's still no contest against the Republicans. How do you argue for four more years? The economy's terrible, Americans are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's been a disaster."
Butera has loved politics since he was a kid. Three generations of family have supported the Democratic Party, which Butera believes is still the champion "of the common person, the underdog." As a 9- year-old, he recalls dashing up to shake John Kennedy's hand as the future president rode a motorcade down Main Street.
No such handshake for the current president: Bush, Butera says passionately, is a perpetrator of "fraud and lies," from a burgeoning deficit, to tax policies that benefit the wealthy, to a feckless war.
"I think Barack Obama will turn all that around. He will ease the energy crisis and the recession, (do away) with corporate welfare and ease a lot of the suffering of the American public."
Politics will also have a lighter side in Colorado - the Buteras plan some biking and will check out Coors Field, for sure. "Anything with a scorecard, we're there," Mary Butera says.
Father and son also share a guilty pleasure - the raw and witty TV series South Park, set you-know-where. While they're here, the pair hope to slip away to see some of the punch lines, for real. Mary Butera just rolls her eyes.
Always ready for a fight
Aside from his carefully kept legal work, Butera's office resembles the contents of a cheerfully chaotic attic - the mark, perhaps, of a creative person? "That's being kind," Butera chuckles. "It's the office of a slob."
Owl sculptures perch everywhere - that's a mascot of Temple University in Philadelphia, where Butera went to law school. It sparked a lifelong love of that city. If it had been a better place to raise kids, he would have stayed there after graduation.
Biking clothes and suits hang in a wardrobe - as the attorney on countless boards and commissions, Butera's always ready for a quick change. Fittingly, he's been named one of the state's "Super Lawyers" by Philadelphia Magazine, four years running. The magazine's latest framed tribute is propped against a table leg, waiting to be hung. Tucked in a corner is a fine picture of Pope John Paul II.
"But look - his picture's on a dartboard," Butera chortles, and adds, "I'm a recovering Catholic. I haven't been to church in a long time. It all stems from politics."
Back in 1984, Butera was thrilled that Geraldine Ferraro - a woman and fellow Italian - would be Walter Mondale's running mate. Then, he says, the local bishop, James Timlin, called a news conference to warn his northeastern Pennsylvania flock away from Ferraro, who favored abortion rights.
"I sent Timlin a scathing letter," Butera says. "I called him a hypocrite, that the only reason he was supporting Reagan-Bush was because they favored tax credits for Catholic schools. So he called me up and laid into me and we had a screaming match."
That ended Butera's Catholicism. Early on, all the "anti-establishment guy" ever wanted to be was a teacher and a wrestling coach. But the young rebel got turned off to teaching because he had to play up to local politicians to get a job.
"Then I became a local politician - I became the thing I didn't like," he muses. After two terms as a school board member and after serving countless political appointments, "Life never ceases to amaze me."
Especially since he's not so good at predictions.
In two words, here's his worst nightmare: Tom Ridge. If McCain picks the former popular Pennsylvania governor as his running mate - well, it doesn't bear thinking about.
But one challenge at a time. Last week, on Corbett's radio show, Butera told listeners that when it came to his delegate-vote, he would follow Hillary's lead wherever it took him. "Personally, I'm always ready for a rumble. I'd love to see a floor fight," Butera said.
Let the games begin.
© Rocky Mountain News
To follow Attorney Butera's journey in Denver and Jean Torkleson's coverage of it, here's the link to the Rocky Mountain News.

The LuLac Edition #545, August 23rd, 2008


IT'S JOE!!!!!!!

This morning word was released that Senator Barack Obama named Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his Vice President. Biden will play well in Northeastern Pennsylvania because he lived in Scranton until the age of 10. He was the youngest elected Senator winning office at the age of 29 in the 1972 election. From You Tube, a profile from ABC News.

In this fascinating video, Biden as a senior U.S. Senator worked as a custodian walking a day in the shoes of an average guy. This is powerful stuff and despite Biden's propensity for gaffes, it is not everyday you see a long time lawmaker with a broom and dustpan.


Biden is a great debater. So much so that Obama worried more about him in the series of debates than Senator Clinton.
He can hold his own on the campaign trail. Will be the party's attack dog but do it in a less abrasive manner than a Nixon.
Great foreign policy and judiciary experience. He served as chair of both committees.


There are countless videos out there of Biden quotes that are laced with salty profanities that may not endear him to middle America.
In some ways, he may overshadow and diminish Obama's experience.


Biden's seat is up in 08. He can run for both. Joe Lieberman from Connecticut did it in 2000, Lloyd Bensten in 1988 and Lyndon Johnson in 1960 both from Texas. LIeberman and Bensten were defeated and returned to the Senate while LBJ became John Kennedy's Vice President.

The LuLac Edition #544, August 23rd, 2008



"It doesn't matter how big a ranch ya' own, or how many cows ya' brand, the size of your funeral is still gonna depend on the weather."
Harry Truman said that about 65 years ago and I kept on thinking about that quote as I watched the reassessment issue get ugly this week. What has riled the good people of the county is an overdue reassessment plan. The most vocal say that there are too many mistakes and that they are being treated unfairly. Don't argue their right to say it, just the way it was said. I know that every man's home is his castle, etc. but everyone in the village should pull their weight. Apparently, most people feel that way except a vocal mob in Harvey's Lake. In case you missed it, at the recent Commissioners meeting at LCCC, residents and taxpayers of Luzerne County were witness to a rarity: a Profile In Courage by both Commissioners Petrilla and Urban in letting the reassessment program reach its logical conclusion. Folks, we invested 8 million dollars in a company that has reasssesed more than half of the counties in the Keystone State. And once more, we as a public refuse to act like normal, rational human beings when it comes to the running of a government. Petrilla and Urban stood their ground in the face of insults, rude and ignorant behavior that would make the original founders of Harvey's Lake disavow knowledge of that community. Truthfully, I've seen better behavior on 15 cent beer night at Rich and Charlotte's On The Lake when I was in my 20s. Commissioners need to take the heat when there is a concern or problem. Both have done so with more than a touch of class. But the way both were insulted by a former member of Congress (who obviously learned nothing about decorum and debate when he was there) and the self proclaimed spokesperson (from whom I have not yet heard a reasonable sentance) was a disgrace. There are mistakes (less than 10% which is below average for the rest of the assessments made around this state by the company) but they are being addressed by the appeals process. I know. A 91 year old aunt from Duryea went to the hearing and gave proof of her property dimensions. It was taken care of. Quickly. So don't fall for the line that there are going to be senior citizens out of homes because they can't pay the lowest of all government taxes. That is pure crap! And I wonder how many senior citizens are populating the jet skis out at the Lake or how many of these Lake residents are taking care of mom and dad in their luxury waterfront homes? 10 administrations of County Commissioners never pulled the trigger on reassessment because they were afraid of being voted out of office. Skrep and Vonderheid cancelled it midway through their first term so that makes 11. Finally we have some action on this and a vocal minority that is making our area look like "crybabies" is making threats against the Commissioners who are actually doing the right thing. Commissioner Petrilla wasn't even in office when the contract was decided yet she has been heaped with the most negative taunts. That doesn't even make sense. Does the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished!" ring a bell here? The guy who was the catalyst of the Debit Card debacle now steps out of the shadows and yells like Tarzan that he's the true champion of the people. (Just keep him away from the those VISA cards!) The true advocates are Petrilla and Urban. And if you want to send a message to the loudmouths who are threatening political retribution, do something smart. Send a few bucks to the political action committees of Petrilla and Urban. The addresses are:
Friends of Maryanne Petrilla P.O. Box 421 Drums, PA 18222 and Steve Urban, @ of 6th District Republican Committee, PO Box 2363, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18703-2363. I've had my disagreements with both. But these two need some encouragement that not all taxpayers are neandrathals and are glad they are showing the courage of their convictions. And if you think this is an overeaction on my part, and that the loudmouths never win, remember these two words: ARENA NO. We need to keep Petrilla and Urban around.


Brian Hughes from one of my all time favorite radio stations, (even now) WARM writes to tell us about an important program regarding the Reassessment Debate. His show is called Sunday Magazine. The program will be completely dedicated to the property reassessment battle in Luzerne County, with interviews and highlights of both the rally on Monday at the Luzerne County Courthouse, and of course the Commissioners meeting Wednesday at LCCC. A pretty good balance of heat and light, featuring comments from the commissioners, Michelle Boice of Harveys Lake, an interview with Tim Barr of 21st Century Appraisers and testimony from homeowners at Wednesday's meeting. It airs on WARM at 9:30am, also on JR 93.7 at 5:30am. BHT and the X at 6am and Magic 93 at 6:30am. The show will be podcast Monday on the and websites as well.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The LuLac Edition #543, August 22nd, 2008



Denver is bracing for the Democrats and people involved with the party are busy getting things ready for the invasion of the oldest established political party in the nation. It’s going to be the Donkeys and the Broncos. Rocky Mountain highs and Coors Lite Twins. Jim Gibson, a member of the Colorado Democratic Leadership Council is excited about the prospect of the convention. We are very busy getting ready for this convention. There are venues that are so huge that sometimes they are beyond comprehension. Our gathering (the Democratic Leadership Council) is going to feature John Legend and we are going to have 2,000 there. There will be a media event that will have 10,000 attendees, " said Gibson a Kingston native and King’s College graduate.
It’s been reported my man Al Gore will address the crowd at Invesco Field on Thursday night and the hot rumor around town is that Bruce Springsteen will be on hand to either help introduce Obama or entertain that night. There is a major parade scheduled everyday including a Hillary event. Gibson estimated that there were more than 600 events planned for the week including policy meetings and entertainment programs.


Word out of Denver is that the Hillary Clinton people have hired a former Arkansas political operative Craig Smith to act as a convention whip. At the 1960 convention, Ted Kennedy to each delegation and made sure they stayed in line for JFK. Smith’s job is to circulate among the delegates to make certain the Hillary delegates don’t boo Obama. Kind of like a reverse natural going on there if you ask me.


As people scream about the assessment issue, still another investigation is going on under the dome. Once more taxpayers in Luzerne County are being exposed to more digging, this time by the FBI. From our friends at WBRE TV which broke this story exclusively at noon yesterday,
Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll tells Eyewitness News the FBI is investigating a possible theft at the Luzerne County Courthouse. Jackie Musto Carroll says, "They are investigating an alleged theft in the court administrators office. My office and myself are working with the FBI in this matter. I assure you it's in good hands". William Sharkey is the county's current court administrator. According to the Administration office of Pennsylvania Courts, Sharkey is out on medical leave. His deputy, P.J. Adonizio did not return our calls. But what Jackie Musto Carroll can confirm is that altogether federal agents paid a visit to three separate offices. Wonder how many people are going to be outraged over this? I guess boathouses will trump missing money from the Courts anytime.
And the beat goes on.


“In 1968 the name Chicago won a significance far beyond date and place. It became the title of an episode, like Waterloo or Versailles or Munich. At Chicago, for the first time, the most delicate process of American politics was ruptured by violence, the selection of Presidents stained with blood. 1968 throughout was a year in which the ghosts of America’s past returned to haunt the present; but at Chicago the goblins of America’s future appeared to haunt tomorrow.”
Teddy White, The Making of the President, 1968.
Forty years ago this week, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago. Coming into the convention, Hubert Humphrey had about 1400 delegates of the 1312 needed to nominate. But it wasn’t without the daily drama. On Sunday, when HHH arrived in the Windy City, he was greeted with the news that President Johnson’s people were orchestrating a draft to nominate the incumbent. That boomlet ended when a Harris poll revealed that President Johnson or Vice president Humphrey would trail GOP nominee Richard Nixon by 10 points in the national polls. On Monday night, former Ohio Governor Mike DiSalle started a movement on the floor to draft Senator Edward Kennedy. After much drama, the Kennedy forces renounced the effort and that segment ended. Tuesday night the Platform committee passed the pro war plank which prohibited any unilateral stop to the bombing of North Vietnam. The anti war advocates make a great run but lost. Platform Chairman Hale Boggs tries to read the planks but was shouted down by delegates who screamed “Let’s go home, let’s go home”. Mayor Daley grabs the microphone and asks for an adjournment until noon the next day and over objections of the anti war people, the resolution passes. On Wednesday, Hubert Humphrey is nominated for President amidst violence in the streets. He gets 1317 and ½ votes as Pennsylvania puts him over the top, or the hump. The joy of the nomination is tempered by the violence in the streets. Split screens show both to a stunned nation. Meanwhile, inside the convention, CBS floor reporter Dan Rather has his hands full with a disturbance he covers on national TV.

Rather also tells us about another incident, this time concerning a New York delegate.


On Thursday, Humphrey nominates New Hampshire Senator and Polish Catholic Edmund Muskie. Humphrey had wanted Kennedy in law R. Sargent Shriver, ambassador to France. Shriver even had flights booked to come to Chicago but the Kennedy clan nixed the deal saying it would ruin Teddy Kennedy’s chances if he wanted to run in 1972. On Thursday night, Humphrey gave his speech quoting St. Francis of Assisi,
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred,
let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy."
With the violence in the streets, Ralph Abernathy’s Poor People’s March in Chicago, (an extension of the DC event from June) the divisive Vietnam debate, the passions inside and out of the hall, the meeting of the old politics vs the new and no money, Humphrey left that convention with the prize he pursued for nearly a decade. But he was bruised and battered and not optimistic about his or his party’s chances of winning in November. No one, the President, the party, his foes, served Humphrey well that week. He'd enter the campaign broke, on his own and 22 points behind Nixon…………..In Chicago, Pennsylvania played a key role. Watching Humphrey get nominated in the Veep's hotel suite were former Governor George Leader, former Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dillworth and Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph Barr…… Luzerne County, Democratic officials began to partner with unions to get ready for the fall campaign and in Wilkes Barre the first step of the Hazle Street Renewal Area begins with ground being broken for a state of the art printing plant operated by Llewellyn and McKane Incorpoated. The building still stands today and this week forty years ago in America and LuLac land the number 1 song was “Turn Around, Look At Me” by the Vogues.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The LuLac Edition #542, August 21st, 2008



A recent news story told us that College Presidents felt that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Kind of strange since you would think these grand poobahs of learning would want kids to be bright eyed and bushy tailed when taking classes. My feeling is these college Presidents are not looking after the kids but their own interests. Here’s why:
1. It absolves them of legality issues.
2. No news stories about underage drinking to make the school look bad. (Remember the varsity knucklehead who was found swinging from a tree this spring on North Street in Wilkes Barre?)
3. Takes responsibility off of college personall in trying to enforce underage drinking.
In my neighborhood, we’ve been treated over the years to a whole legion of FOD’s. (Father O’Hara’s Drunks). We live in the northend and our old neighbors have passed away. Their homes went to absentee landlords who did some minor fixing up, then let a gang of young college guys crash, drink, trash the place and then study, all in that order. I’ve seen a young man fling himself off a roof onto North Main Street, shirtless young men in 20 degree weather have broom fights in the middle of the street and more fist fights than ever happened combined at the Club Lee/Glassbar and Whitehouse Café in their heyday. But last summer, something unique happened. A couple bought the house next door for their daughter to live in while attending school. A few women moved in with her. There were parties, beer, but a lot of Dasani and Pepsi mixed in with the Keystone Light. Wrap up time was 1am and the parties were downright genteel. This summer the house behind us was rented out to 5 college age women who went to work addressing the lawn and weeds. Today on North Street, there were two young students planting flowers in front of their new living quarters which I believe at one time was a crack house. Not anymore. I know the semester is brand new but I feel more comfortable with the ladies in the hood rather than the guys. Maybe the girls are more responsible than the mommy pampered guys who drop garbage wherever these please. (Hey Kelso, mom’s in New Jersey, not here!) So at the risk of sounding discriminatory, I say the college Presidents are half right. Let the women drink their Chablis and Lite Beers at the age of 18. As for the guys, let them earn that privilege. To the ladies of King’s College, “Welcome to the neighborhood but be wary of the FOD’s”.


When Democrats gather in Denver next week to nominate Barack Obama for president, they'll be joined by such uninvited guests as Republicans Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Like two college guys crashing a debate team, both former candidates will make their presence known to the loyal opposition. What pranksters!
The two former presidential candidates will be among two dozen or so Republicans in the city hoping to get their party's message out during a week dominated by Democratic festivities.
Their slogan? "Not Ready '08: A Mile High and an Inch Deep," a play on the nickname for the high-altitude city in the western United States. Maybe they should've called my friend Gibson up so he could've put them up in his house! Naw, they're most likely using one of McCain's he forgot he had!


The Pittston Tomato Festival starts today. We wish them luck in the event. An event like this happens when politicians and volunteers make it possible. Through the years guys like Ken Scaz, Val Delia (who had the original idea) Wil Toole, Ed Walsh and Michael Lombardo used their talents to pull off this great event. And all these guys, who sometimes agreed to disagree had one thing in common: they ran in elections, and were into that awful game known as politics. But they got things done and I doubt the Tomato Festival would not be what it is today without their contributions.