Friday, February 29, 2008

The LuLac Edition #428, Feb. 29th, 2008


PHOTO INDEX: LEAP YEAR LOGO


AN EXTRA DAY!!!


Every four years, we as humans get an extra day. We can work, relax, pray, meditate, fritter it away or do something productive for society. Whatever you do today, just realize it’s an extra day to be the person you are, roaming this earth. You have been given a gift, some extra time, an extra day. To paraphrase a local radio talk show host, “YOU BETTER DO SOMETHIN’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The LuLac Edition #427, Feb. 27th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: SENATORS CLINTON AND OBAMA.


JUMPING SHIP


Civil rights leader John Lewis has dropped his support for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in favor of Barack Obama.
Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Atlanta, is the most prominent black leader to defect from Clinton's campaign in the face of near-majority black support for Obama in recent voting. He also is a superdelegate who gets a vote at this summer's national convention in Denver. Lewis has been an influential civil rights leader as well as a past strong supporter of President Bill Clinton.


ED WAVERING?


Not really but today he did say that if the Obama winning streak continued, he would have to follow the voters in putting the delegation together. He did not forsake Senator Clinton but did talk about looking at the will of the peope. Whether the Pennsylvania primary will count is still open to question. Next week in Ohio and Texas seem,s to be the breaking point in this race.


THE DEBATE


Last night, Senator Clinton’s task going into the debate, was far more complicated than the one confronting Mr. Obama. National polls as well as surveys in Ohio and Texas suggest that her position is eroding; even former President Bill Clinton said the other day that he could not see Mrs. Clinton staying in the race if she lost one of those two states. For days, she had zigged and zagged between attacking Mr. Obama and celebrating the promise of his candidacy. With a week left, the debate provided what might have been her final opportunity to find an effective line of attack against Mr. Obama.
By contrast, Mr. Obama’s only task was making certain that the campaign did not stray from the road it was on. If he too was low-key and often unsmiling, he sat calm and unruffled, hands crossed, as Mr. Russert pressed her again and again. At a point when Mrs. Clinton apparently saw an opportunity — when she said it was not enough for Mr. Obama to simply denounce Mr. Farrakhan; he needed to reject his support — Mr. Obama did not take the bait.
I have to give Obama credit, he was very cool in contrast to Senator Clinton. Being ahead gives you that edge. And while so many people seem to be impressed with Obama's "preachin'", I was more enthralled with his "teachin". In the debate, Obama camly explained his answers and really resonated with the comment that "the American people" have modest demands, like liveable wages, a fair cost of living, decent housing and health care. Many say the debate was boring, I thought the two did well and should form a merger. I say this even though I am a strong Clinton supporter. If Senator Clinton looks to a role in history as the first Vice President and Mr. Obama wants a true partner, a combined ticket might not be the worst thing to happen to this country.


THE RADIO FLAP


In Ohio, Senator McCain's campaign got quite an introduction from talk show host Bill Cunningham. You have to take a look at this interview from Hannity and Colmes last night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVS4qzXpB0A. McCain repudiated the remarks, much to the chagrin of right wing talk radio hosts. This thing really speaks for itself about the beauty and madness of free speech.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The LuLac Edition #426, Feb. 26th, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR CHRIS DODD, FAILED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL ENDORSING SENATOR CLINTON.

JUMPING SHIP


The latest person to endorse the candidacy of Barak Obama is Senator Chris Dodd. Dodd who ran an articulate but unsuccessful race for the Presidency this year endorsed Obama because he believed the Illinois Senator could take the Democratic party into the future. Dodd, a good friend of the Clintons said his call to Senator Clinton was difficult for him to make, given his relationship with the family. Not hard enough though for him to not knife them in the back.

STAYING THE COURSE


In stark contrast to Senator Dodd, Governor Rendell has been a most eloquent spokesman for the Senator from New York. Rendell has been making the rounds in Washington, D.C. at the National Governor's Council. The "Guv" was seen on C-SPAN a number of times over the weekend talking about the Democratic race, his state proposals on health care, lobbying the White House for a 12 billion dollar stimulus package for the states from an unresponsive White House which chooses to piss away that money for a month's worth of whatever they are doing in Iraq as well as explaining candidly why he'd be a terrible running mate. Rendell said he has always been on the top of a ticket and therefore responsible for the fate of an election. He confided that his penchant for asking any and all questions with no regard to the political consequences might cause consternation at the top of a ticket he is not in control of. Rendell is committed to the Clinton candidacy and you can bet he'll do all in his power to make the Keystone State a winner for Senator Clinton. Win or lose, Ed Rendell's loyalty and integrity toward the Clintons will serve him well in the short and long run.

RUNNING MATES

With the top of the ticket now secured by a member of the Senate in each party, the nation's Governors, both Republican and Democrat are being looked at as possiible running mates. Here's a rundown on some Governors being mentioned:
REPUBLICANS:
Sarah Palin, Alaska. The state's first woman governor, 44, is an up-and-comer who has had remarkably high approval ratings. But she lacks a national profile. She's also from a far-flung Republican-leaning state that isn't an electoral prize.
Charlie Crist, Florida. His last-minute endorsement was widely credited with helping McCain win the Florida primary and putting Crist, 51, on the national stage. Florida is certain to be in play this fall, but Crist has a centrist agenda that may rankle the GOP base.
Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota. He's a two-term governor and longtime McCain backer who is from the Midwest, a critical electoral-rich, swing-voting region. Pawlenty, 47, has a national platform with the NGA, and will host the GOP nominating convention in his state.
Haley Barbour, Mississippi. The 60-year-old was lauded for his leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He could give McCain a boost in conservative Southern states. But he's also a Washington insider; he's a former national GOP chairman who founded a lobbying firm.
Mark Sanford, South Carolina. While in Congress in 2000, he endorsed McCain in his first presidential bid but was neutral this year as governor. The two remain friendly. Age 47, Sanford has an independent streak that sometimes conflicts with the establishment.
DEMOCRATS
Janet Napolitano, Arizona. Age 50, she has proven that she can attract independents and crossover Republicans. In any other year, she could help Democrats capitalize on a changing Southwest. This year that would be tough; McCain is an Arizona senator. But she backed Obama and he might find it advantageous to choose a woman if he wins the nomination.
Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas. She knows how to win - twice - in a state that's solidly Republican in presidential elections, which could help the Democratic nominee expand the playing field. Age 59, she has a moderate image and is politically savvy. She's another woman who backed Obama and campaigned for him.
Bill Richardson, New Mexico. He ran for president this year but dropped out after poor showings in a celebrity-packed field. A Hispanic who is 60, he appeals to an up-for-grabs constituency in a politically shifting region. He has foreign policy experience.
Ted Strickland, Ohio. A big-time Clinton backer, he probably would only be considered for the slot if she wins the nomination. Strickland, 66, had a generally moderate voting record in Congress, and could help deliver the pivotal state for her.
Tim Kaine, Virginia. He's another Democrat who ran as a moderate and proved he can win in a state that leans Republican in presidential elections. Virginia, too, is a potential swing state that he could help turn Democratic. Kaine, 49, backed Obama early.
This year Governors in the U.S. present an attractive pool of talent that can easily balance the ticket of an old white established Senator, the first woman running for President or the first black man with little governmental experience. It might take a Governor to balance out the ticket and eliminate any weak spots from the top of the ballot. And Governor Ed is nowhere on the list. My pick for the GOP is Haley Barbour for Veep. Too early to tell for the Dems.

HUH?

Last night on Corbett, a caller phoned the erstwhile host and told him that life was good. Corbett wanted to explain have him explain why and the guy said, "He was working 60 to 80 hours a week but was paying his bills on time. He was keeping up with his bills but was not thrilled about paying more than $3.20 a gallon for gas to get back and forth to work. He told Corbett he did not own his own home but given all that, he was doing well. " After he hung up, I thought of another legacy of the George Bush administration: lowered expectations of what a good life is supposed to be. Quality of life is working 60 to 80 hours a week, just paying your bills and not being able to own a home you can call your own? Unreal! And I bet this guy will vote Republican again!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The LuLac Edition #425, Feb. 24th, 2008










PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER GREG SKREPENAK AND SCRANTON MAYOR CHRIS DOHERTY.

SKREP STAYING!

Making it clear at an "on the road" Commissioners meeting Thursday, Commissioner Greg Skrepenak told three taxpayers he was not going to resign no matter how many times they asked. Walter Griffith, Tim Grier and Ed Chesnovitch asked minority Commissioner Stephen A. Urban to once again call for a vote for the terminations. Urban refused, saying he wants to wait until a new chief clerk/manager is hired and all three commissioners meet with that person to “come to a consensus.”
Commissioner Chairman Maryanne Petrilla said she was “comfortable” awaiting the results of a Secret Service investigation into the debit card debacle. Skrepenak was asked by County resident Tim Grier to specifically resign. Skrep refused and said that the debit card spendees were getting unfairly harrassed and what they did was not criminal. Skrepenak is now digging in against the advocates of resignation for the debit card users and you can bet he will use all of his political strength to push back on an issue that has yet to call for indictments and arrests..........and may never will according to some sources. Skrepenak, as a Commissioner is now in a unique position. Having had the responsibility as Chairman lifted from him, Skrep can forge out a seperate career as a quasi minority/majority member that I believe can enhance his political stature. His response to Grier accentuated the position he finds himself in. The only political destiny he has to worry about is in his own hands and for as many people who believe the debit card issue was wrong, just as many believe that beating it to death is a counter productive and strengthens the Commissioner's resolve against firing anyone.

DOHERTY IN!

There was talk of Statewide office this year or even a shot at the 11th Congressional race against Congressman Kanjorski but Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty eschewed those offers and is staying home. Home is the city of Scranton and the Mayor's office. Doherty intends to run for a third term in 2009 telling supporters he needs more time to accomplish his goals for The Electric City. Doherty, whose father was a multi year Council member and titan of the Democratic party in Lackawanna County has held fundraisers recently that point to his political power. At a recent Doherty event, more than 500 people attended. Mr. Doherty is expected to face a challenge from former City Council president Gary DiBileo, the man Mr. Doherty defeated in 2005 to win a second term. Councilwoman Janet Evans, a longtime critic of the mayor, is also expected to mount a campaign against the mayor. DiBileo who came close to upsetting the Mayor in the primary lost in the general election. An entry into a crowded Democratic primary might spell trouble for the Mayor given a three way vote split. But given Mr. DiBileo's unfortunate penchant for sounding like a clone of Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford and Ms. Evans obvious opposition to anything pro-Doherty, the Mayor might have a good shot for a third nomination. With the wreckage that is called the Republican party, the only way he'll face a GOP threat is if one of the Democratic losers in the primary runs on the "R" ticket like Mr. Dibileo did in 2005. If successful, Mr. Doherty will be the third Mayor realizing three terms, the previous two being Mayor James Hanlon (in the 50s and early 60s) and Mayor Jimmy Connors in the 90s.

ANYONE HOME?

Challengers of State Representative Frank Andrews Shimkus are trying to find out where the guy lives. Remember when the Casey operatives were taking pictures of Rick Santorum's house in the Pittsburgh suburbs trying to see if the "Rickster" lived in the state? Well, former Scranton Councilman Kevin Murphy and that zany web site fella Mr. Joe Pilchesky, a city resident, separately challenged Mr. Shimkus’ nomination petitions in Commonwealth Court this week, they had to give him copies of their challenges to comply with state law. Shimkus was found at a home on Boulevard Avenue, not in his name. The Representative said he was staying there doing a favor for his daughter. Shimkus bought a home in Throop in 2006 with former co-worker WYOU TV weekend anchor Gabrielle Pritusto. The two plan to get married in May, or September.......or the spring, whatever. Murphy in the meantime had his petitions challenged by Mr. Pilchesky so talk of an alliance there is out of the question. Shimkus to his credit did not duck the issue, even telling reporters he was watching "Hogan's Heroes" when Mr. Murphy "came a callin'" to serve him notice. Now I have no problem with the housing deal, his story that he wanted to help out a child is fine, his coming nupitals to a much younger women in my book is okay too even though Mr. Shimkus as Frank Andrews made a very public display of the support he showed his former wife who went through some problems. But what bothers me is this, and it might be Frank's fault for offering too much information: what the hell was a state rep who on a Thursday night doing watching "Hogan's Heroes" reruns? I mean doesn't he get PCN? Ever hear of "Journalists Roundtable"? How about C-SPAN? Jeez, even Channel 61??????

SPOILED MEAT

Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."
Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.
And who gave us all of the stuff? George W. Bush! And how did George W. Bush do it? With the complicit help of Ralph Nader who took away votes in Florida from Al Gore. Nader and his Green Party are now a national punchline. His career as a consumer advocate in the 60s is now a joke because of his insistence in dabbling in Presidential politics as a spoiler. Ralph Nader's third run for office smells, just like it did in 2000 and 2004. With spoiled meat, you throw it out. We should disregard this imitation of a political man and his pontifications on what is so wrong with this country mainly because he was the chief contributor to all of its problems.

SUPPORT FOR LOU

Yep, Lou Barletta's campaign for Congress is getting a lot of ink and support. Just check out the web site of KKK advocate David Duke whose written article on the site was doing somersaults over the Barletta candidacy.

LINKAGE

We usually try to do this once a year but have been remiss. Here are some links to what we read from other bloggers.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The LuLac Edition #424, Feb. 22nd, 2008










PHOTO INDEX: GEORGE WASHINGTON, OUR FIRST PRESIDENT, SENATORS CLINTON AND OBAMA AND OUR 1968 LOGO.


McCAIN'S MUTINY?


When the story broke on Wednesday night about John McCain's 2000 relationship with a lobbyist who was an attractive young woman 31 years his junior, the old hound dog in me came out and said, "Good on 'ya John". I mean the age thing was like two generations. Then when I remembered my self counseling, I began to look at the story. Here's what I see:
1. It's a story that's 8 years old and not relevant to this race except of course for the special interest connections. But McCain has proven he'll take on those boys and ignore those girls.
2. The story was old. And the only reason it came out was because The New Republic was going to run an inside baseball piece about the Times dithering to run or not run the story.
3. McCain jumped on it immediately calling a 9AM news conference and answering all questions. This was in stark contrast to how the current GOP administration handles bad news.
4. The woman denied it. Better yet, she had no butt ass ugly girlfriend like Linda Tripp who she might or might not have confided in.
5. One has to wonder who can be an alternative to McCain. Mike Huckabee? Maybe Newt Gingrich. But right now, McCain's the guy.
If anything, this story has galvanized support for McCain among the right wing talk show contingent who has more hatred for the New York Times than the Arizona Senator. This is something McCain has been unable to do on his own. Plus, in my favorite political movie of all time, "The Best Man", former President Art Hochsteader played by Lee Tracy says to William Russell, played by Henry Fonda, "Bill, and those stories about your lady friends? Ain't gonna hurt you a bit!"


OBAMA CLINTON


CLINTON OBAMA


At last night's debate, at the end, Senator Clinton said to Senator Obama and the people in attendance, that in effect, no matter what happen, things between them would be fine. She only hoped that the same can be said for the American people. The crowd, as they say in sports, went wild. This might have been a tapping on the window by Senator Clinton to say that she might accept the Vice Presidency. It might have been a plea to him to consider it too. The Dems now are in the same place the GOP was in 1980. They wanted to win. Win bad. Reagan had considered taking former President Gerald Ford as a running mate but thought better of it when Ford started to make noises about a co-Presidency. (And they say Reagan was detached!) He wound up picking George Bush as his Vice President even though Bush called his economics "voodoo". Look for this Democratic fight to end well. No one wants to see an extension of a Bush third term, no matter how opposite John McCain appears to be from the current occupant. Watch these deveoplments carefully. Both are wthin shouting distance of the top prize. But the two aren't closing any doors and hollering like a dysfunctional couple yet either.


LEGISLATORS


In the storied history of the U.S. Presidency, only three legislators have won the Presidency out of 43 elected. Congressman James Garfield in 1880, and Senators Warren Harding in 1920 and John F. Kennedy in 1960. All three died in office. This year, with Senators McCain, Obama and Clinton in contention, it will guarantee a Legislator wins the Presidency for only the fourth time.


GEORGE WASHINGTON


Two little known facts about our first President, whose birthday is today.
Washington's experiences as a young man made it seem unlikely that he would ever live long enough to achieve greatness. He suffered from malaria, smallpox, pleurisy, and dysentery, all before he was 30. On his way back from the famous expedition to the French Fort le Boeuf, he fell off his raft in an icy river and nearly drowned. Later in the same trip he was shot at (and missed) by an Indian standing less than 50' away. In Braddock's Defeat in 1755, 4 bullets punctured Washington's coat and 2 horses were shot out from under him, but the young officer somehow emerged unscathed.
and...............................
When the capital was moved from New York to Philadelphia, Washington, who had been disappointed in the food that he had been eating as President, brought his black slave Hercules from Mount Vernon to serve as cook. Pennsylvania law provided that slaves be given their freedom after 6 months' residence in the State. To avoid the possibility of losing the services of his master chef, Washington would send Hercules back to Mount Vernon just before the 6 months were up. Then, several weeks later, he would have him returned to the capital. Hercules, who soon won a reputation in Philadelphia as a flashy and colorful dresser, was much too smart to stand this arrangement for long. One night before the end of Washington's term he disappeared and much to the President's disappointment was never heard from again.
and for all you religious right wingers out there..........
One of the most seriously misleading of the Washington legends is the story of the pious general kneeling in prayer in the snow at Valley Forge. Not only is there no evidence to support this tale, but Washington was notorious in his parish church for his refusal to kneel at any of the customary moments in the Episcopal service. As his minister declared disapprovingly after the President's death, "Washington was a Deist." Although Martha was a devout churchwoman, George never shared her enthusiasm. On communion Sundays he always walked out before taking the eucharist, leaving Martha to participate in the service alone.


1968


Forty years ago this week, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller with great fanfare called a news conference. Everyone was convinced he'd be announcing for the Presidency for the third try. The national networks blocked out time for him too. Instead, he made the decision not to run.......
In Harrisburg, Governor Raymond Shafer a huge Rockefeller backer was chagrined and disappointed about Rocky's decision. Shafer stayed loyal to the New York pol, eliminating any chance of a job in the Nixon administration.....locally Stephen Farris, former Luzerne County Democratic Chairman died....Duryea Mayor John Salek, a GOP partisan vetoed the borough budget......On the West Coast, Nanticoke resident Nick Adams was found dead. Adams starred in "The Rebel" TV series and the movie "No Time For Sergeants".....retired Judge Frank Pinola celebrated birthday #75....in Pittston at St. John the Baptist Grade school, the 8th grade class tried out the new TV bought from coed dances seeing Nelson Rockefeller say no to the world on the Presidency and this week in 1968, the late, great Otis Redding had the number 1 song in LuLacland and America with "Sitting On the Dock Of the Bay." From YOU TUBE, Otis! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzrXc68gNjQ

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The LuLac Edition #422, Feb. 20th, 2008










PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON AND THE BOYS FROM McHALE'S NAVY.


THE CLINTON ECLIPSE


We are now watching history. Not the type of history I was hoping for but it appears that the campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton is receding. It is going out of sight behind the shining star of one Barak Obama. The junior Senator (and I do mean junior) has tapped into a duel emotional feeling in this country. The first part is deep despair with our country and thwe way normal, average people live. Oh sure there are billionaires out there but the regular joes and jills are losing their homes, paying obscene prices for gas, having their kids killed in an unjust war and being uncertain about what the next month will bring. On the other hand Obama has tapped into the blind optimism that makes America the grand country that it is. Our nation is kind of like Scarlett O'Hara, "tomorrow is another day!" Obama has touched that nerve and Senator Clinton can't make an inroad. She cannot say "Hey me too" because Obama's style is original. Plus her record of achievements are used against her. Leaders must make tough decisions and Clinton's stands are now the fodder for debate and scrutiny. So far no one has looked at the Obama record and no one seems inclined to. As the campaign rolls on and Obama's winning streak increases, Senator Clinton must run the table in order to stay competitive. If she does not, the Clintons will be suffering the ultimate irony. All the work they've done as progressive politicos will benefit an unknown who's career was made possible and plausible by their commitment to equality and social justice. Plus, if Clinton continues to lose, any chance of her anywhere on the ticket will fade too.


SHOOTING THE MOON!


Now by nature I'm a pretty optimistic guy. To me, the glass is not only half full, it is overflowing. That type of attitude makes some people sick. But that's me. I trust government. The roads, the prisons, our safety, even with the screw ups with hurricanes and the meat, and veggies, I'm still a pretty trusting soul. But this manuever that has our Navy trying to shoot down a satelitte in space has me scared to death. I know it's the military but this is George Bush's military. The Navy has to send a heat seeking missle into space to destroy a satellite. It has to hit the fuel tank on the satellite that does not have a heat source. Good luck boys! And God bless and God speed us one and all. And of course this being the military, there's no estimated time either. What, me worry?


COUNCIL CHRONICLES


The two city councils in Scranton and Wilkes Barre are at it again. At rhe Scranton City Council meeting President Bob McGoff banged his gavel on the dais and declared two people out of order, they were his fellow members Bill Courtright and Judy Gatelli who engaged in an ugly exchange. It all had to do with seating, who was on the right, who was on the left. Crazy stuff. It then degenerated into Gatelli saying "nah nah" to Courtright at not getting the Tax Collector's job from the Majority Commissioners. Nice stuff, maybe we can bring some junior council members in to restore sanity.
In Wilkes Barre the city council wants to charge for residents to assemble. The free speech implications are just incredible and the ACLU has gotten involved. Solicitor Bill Vinsko says he'll re-work the ordinance but already conspiracy theorists are saying this is the city's way to keep a lid on any public demonstrations that might take place against the politico under the dome at the Courthouse. Stay tuned on this one!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The LuLac Edition #421, Feb. 17th, 2008


PHOTO INDEX: THE WHITE HOUSE.


PRESIDENT'S DAY


We celebrate President's Day to honor our chief executives. At dinner Friday night at the fabulous Victory Pig, a buddy asked me my top 5 Presidents. They are:

1. Lincoln.
2. Franklin Roosevelt.
3. Ronald Reagan.
4. George Washington.
5. Theodore Roosevelt.
In a poll by AOL, the top 4 are Lincoln, Reagan, Roosevelt (FDR) and Kennedy. George Bush comes in at #10 but in another poll 63% of Americans count him in the bottom third.

GOD AND YOU TUBE

Much has been made of the Mike Huckabee connection with the religious community. There is a seperation of church and state and nowhere was it made more clear in these two clips from one of my favorite TV shows, The West Wing. The first has President Bartlett at the peak of his Presidency coming down hard on a talk show host.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWqgD7lGneU
From espisode one is Bartlett throwing out the religious right wingers who want to "deal".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V82I7vgzfgE.
Even though this is fiction, we can all do well to remember that religion is private and the Presidency is public. For all who believe or don't.

TODD!!!!!


It isn't my newphew Todd Edwards of Daytona, Florida and Wilkes Barre, Pa. (2 weeks out of the year) or former County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid either. The guy is a cereal eating pundit named Todd who tells us all about President's Day. From YOU TUBE:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=9pCX6nzhHJU

Friday, February 15, 2008

The LuLac Edition #420, Feb. 15th, 2008






















PHOTO INDEX: AN OLD HAND CARD FROM THE 1975 LUZERNE COUNTY CHARTER YES ELECTION, WBRE TV'S JEFF CHERICO, GARY NORTON, CEO OF THE ERIE URBAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION WITH THAT OLD RACE BAITER GOVERNOR RENDELL, (YEAH RIGHT!) , OUR 1968 LOGO, LUZERNE COUNTY CORONER JOHN CORCORAN AND A SLIDE FROM THE HUNTLEY BRINKLEY REPORT IN THE MID 60s.

RENDELL AND RACE

The Governor is a very loquacious guy. He'll talk to anyone, he'll expound on any issue. This week before a Pittsburgh newspaper Rendell was quoted as saying that Pennsylvanians, some, might not vote for a person of color. Well, the scribes pounced on it making the Governor look pretty bad. Momentarily. The Governor told statewide media he "was ticked" because the writer never finished what else he said which was that there are some Pennsylvanians who wouldn't vote for a woman either. But the race part was the sexy, controversial part, juicy, if you will. Governor Ed was right on both counts, it seems like there are people in this state opposed to both Obama and Clinton for various reasons. One might argue that the success of Obama, who has inspired crowds (but damn if those same people can point out a reason why) is based on the fact that people would rather vote for a man of color rather than a woman. We'll see how Pennsylvania reacts in April. And any question about Ed Rendell's comments about race should be taken in the context in which he said them, not how the overpaid, pompous newspaper writer heard them.

McCAIN AND ROMNEY

Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain and it looked for all the world to see that this was a shotgun wedding. They looked uncomfortable but McCain got the delegates that put him closer to the magic count he needs. Running mates don't need to be soulmates, JFK and LBJ as well as Governor Ed and Katherine Baker Knoll proved that point. The move was smart by Romney because he put actions behind his words of party unity and I can't help but think that might be rewarded somewhere down the line, no matter how stiff they looked in the photo op.


CORCORAN GOES

Leaving the political launching pad that propelled him into County office as Coroner, John Corcoran said goodbye to his fellow Wilkes Barre School Board members. Corcoran addressed the board before they voted to formally accept the resignation he tendered Feb. 6. He said he resigned reluctantly after the state Ethics Commission ruled last month that he cannot serve in two elected positions. He expressed appreciation to his fellow board members and school district administration and staff. Superintendent Jeffrey Namey presented Corcoran with a plaque commemorating his board career, which began in 1998.

GUESTO STAYS


So were you really that surprised when Sam Guesto was named to the new court position by the President Judge? Let me say this from the onset, despite the debit card scandal and Guesto's lack of oversight in it, I have heard many good things about Guesto as an administrator and employee. That said, you have to wonder how fired PR director Kathy Bozinski feels after being kicked to the curb by Ms. Petrilla's stilettoes. And how about Mary Ann Dyseleski getting shunned with all that education!!?? All you young coeds at King's and Wilkes, that oughta show ya it's still a man's world under the dome. Steve Corbett on WILK and his gang were articulating their anger which is all well and good but I've heard reports that there is a movement going on to start up another county charter effort. And unlike 1975 and 2003, people are really upset about the flagrant decisions of those in power. There will be a time in Luzerne County where its citizens will realize there are more of them, than the well connected at the Courthouse. It's all a numbers game and pretty soon, this county government's number will be up. In the meantime, congrats to Sam Guesto. Good luck in the new job, as bittersweet as it is, after all, when he announced his resignation he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Oh well, they'll live, I suppose.

STATE REPS FACE FOES

Tuesday was the original deadline for filing nomination petitions for the April 22 primary, but Gov. Ed Rendell issued an executive order extending the deadline to Thursday at noon, because of the snowfall. Paul Dudrich, a special-education teacher from Jessup, filed nomination petitions to run against Mr. Staback, of Archbald, who was first elected in 1984 and is serving his 12th two-year term.Mr. Staback has not faced a competitive Democratic primary since his first election, when he defeated eight other challengers who wanted to replace retiring Rep. Joseph Wargo. He last faced a challenge in 1998, but easily defeated Reform Party candidate Ron Hannivig. Mr. Staback is the chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Staback is well known and liked in the mid valley but it has been over twenty years and this might be time for him to go.
Meanwhile in Scranton, Kevin Murphy, former city councilman is gearing up for another run against one termer Frank Shimkus. Murphy ran a good campaign last time but with a field of five, he never had the opportunity to go head to head with the former TV anchor. Murphy was defeated for Council when he couragiously voted for the Mayor's recovery program and garnered the anger of some of the city unions. Shimkus though visable and articulate has a hard core base of people who just don't like him. Whether that might have an impact is anyone's guess.
**Disclaimer: Kevin Murphy and I worked together at Cable Rep Advertising 1999 through 2000.
Rep. Mike Carroll, an Avoca Democrat, will be challenged for the party’s nomination to the 118th District seat by P.J. Best, of Pittston, son of Pittston Area School Board member Terry Best, who lost in the Democratic primary to Mr. Carroll in 2006.
First-term incumbent Republican Rep. Karen Boback, of Harveys Lake, will face primary opposition from James May, of Northmoreland Township. Mrs. Boback represents the 117th Legislative District, which includes the Back Mountain section of Luzerne County, some of the county’s southwestern communities, most of southern Wyoming County and two municipalities in Columbia County.
There was no reported opposition for the following reps; Ken Smith, D-Dunmore; Jim Wansacz, D-Old Forge; Todd A. Eachus, D-Butler Township; John T. Yudichak, D-Nanticoke; Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston; and Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre.

BUSTING OUT!!


Jeff Cherico is the consumer reporter at WBRE TV and he does a great job. An all hands reporter, he does well with other assignments outside the consumer realm. Valentine's night he reported on a website where women who want breast enhancements post messages on line and solicit money from men to pay for the procedure. Most interviewed in the story say it degraded women and I agree. And I have to tell you, from some women friends who have gone through it, the operation is no picnic. But what struck me was the woman Cherico interviewed, a single mom of 19 who wanted to feel good about herself. Two points: seems like she got herself pregnant without the big breasts, I mean someone found her attractive and if you want to feel good about yourself, how about raising a loving and productive child?

NBC NEWS 60 YEARS ON

NBC News today celebrated its 60th anniversary as a nightly news program. Here's the chronology of this fine institution:
Feb. 16, 1948 — "NBC Television Newsreel"
Feb. 16, 1949 — "Camel News Caravan" with John Cameron Swayze
Oct. 29, 1956 — "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley (initially called "NBC News," then "The Texaco Huntley-Brinkley Report" became "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" in 1961)
Sept. 9, 1963 — Huntley-Brinkley Report expands from 15 minutes to a half-hour
Aug. 3, 1970 — "NBC Nightly News" with David Brinkley, John Chancellor and Frank McGee
Aug. 15, 1971 — "NBC Nightly News" with John Chancellor
June 7, 1976 — "NBC Nightly News" with John Chancellor and David Brinkley
Oct. 5, 1979 — "NBC Nightly News" with John Chancellor
Apr. 5, 1982 — "NBC Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw and Roger Mudd•
Sept. 5, 1983 — "NBC Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw
Dec. 2, 2004 — "NBC Nightly News" with Brian Williams
As a child growing up the Huntley Brinkley Report was my first exposure to how the world worked. Happy birthday NBC News.

1968

President Johnson's announcement of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's move to the World Bank stressed his stated interest in the job and that he deserved a change after seven years as Secretary of Defense, much longer than any of his predecessors (and longer than any of his successors, to date).
Other sources gave a different view of McNamara's departure from office. For example, Stanley Karnow in his book "Vietnam: A History" strongly suggests that McNamara was asked to leave by the President. McNamara himself has expressed lack of certainty about the question.
McNamara left office on 29 February 1968; for his efforts, the President awarded him both the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal.......In Statewide developments, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order to stay all proceedings in the certification case of City Councilman Joseph Williams………………….Dr. Roy E. Morgan was elected to the Pennsylvania State Public Welfare Board….on the County level, Atty. Chester Muroski accepted a position as a law clerk in the office of recently seated Judge Peter Paul Olszewski…in the city, King’s College received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to license an FM radio station, in Pittston at St. John the Baptist Grade School, the second of third co-ed dances between 7th and eighth graders was conducted…..and the number one song in the country and LuLac land forty years ago this week was Paul Muriat’s “Love Is Blue”. Here it is from YOU TUBE:



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The LuLac Edition #419, Feb. 13th, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: 13 QUESTIONS BY SEATRAIN, CIRCA '71.


13 QUESTIONS


1. IN YOUR ESTIMATION, WHO WOULD BE THE TOP THREE PICKS FOR VICE PRESIDENT WITH JOHN McCAIN?

FIRST, NEWT GINGRICH. HE HAS THE EXPERIENCE, THE SMARTS, QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT, CAN SEAL THE CONSERVATIVE BASE AND UNITE THE TICKET. DOUBT IF HE’D TAKE IT. SECOND, HALEY BARBOUR, GOVERNOR OF MISSISSIPPI AND FORMER GOP NATIONAL CHAIRMAN. ENERGETIC, PLAIN SPOKEN AND HAS THE ABILITY TO KNOCK HEADS TOGETHER IN THE PARTY. AND TOM RIDGE, IF McCAIN IS WILLING TO SAY “DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL SAIL AHEAD”.

2. WAS CONGRESSMAN DAN FLOOD EVER UNDEFEATED IN HIS LONG 31 YEAR CONGRESSIONAL RUN?

NO. HE LOST RE-ELECTION IN 1946, WON AGAIN IN ’48 BUT THEN LOST AGAIN IN THE EISENHOWER LANDSLIDE OF 1952.

3. THE SURGE WORKED. HOW DO YOU AS AN ANTI IRAQ NAYSAYER FEEL ABOUT THAT?

I’M THRILLED. THE SURGE HAS HAD AN EFFECT AND AT LEAST HAS STOPPED THE MADNESS AND ASSASSINATIONS OF OUR TROOPS. BUT I STILL MAINTAIN (AS DOES 70% OF THE AMEICAN PEOPLE) THAT WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE GONE THERE AND WASTED SO MUCH IN TERMS OF LIVES, RESOURCES AND NATIONAL MORALE AND PRIDE. EVEN SURVIVORS OF THOSE KILLED IN ACTION NOW WONDER IF THE COST WAS TOO GREAT. YEP, I’M GLAD IT WORKED BUT IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN NECESSARY.

4. YOU HAVE RAISED AN ALMOST FANATICAL DEFENSE OF LOUIS DENAPLES. WHY?

I’M A FIRM BELIEVER THAT YOU TAKE A PERSON’S LIFE AS A TOTAL BODY OF WORK. THE GOOD THINGS USUALLY OUTWEIGH A FEW OF THE BAD BUT IT SEEMS LIKE MR. DENAPLES HAS NEVER BEEN GRANTED THAT RIGHT. I CAN’T HELP BUT THINK THAT IF MR. DENAPLES NEVER APPLIED FOR A LICENSE AND RESTORED MOUNT AIRY TO ITS FORMER GLORY (WITH HIS OWN MONEY BY THE WAY) NONE OF THIS STUFF WOULD HAVE COME UP. YOU JUDGE THE TOTALITY OF THE PERSON, NOT PICK AND CHOOSE LIKE YOU’RE IN LINE AT A BUFFET.

5. WHERE DID SUPER DELEGATES COME FROM AND WHY DO THEY EXIST?

THEY EXIST BECAUSE AFTER THE 1968 CONVENTION, REFORMERS TOOK OVER THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. IN 1972, PEOPLE LIKE CHICAGO MAYOR RICHARD DALEY AND MAJOR POWERHOUSES WERE NOT EVEN GIVEN TICKETS TO THE CONVENTION IN MIAMI. THAT FALL, THE DEMOCRATS CARRIED ONE STATE AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AS THE CONVENTIONS WENT ON, SUPER DELEGATES BECAME MORE POPULATED, KIND OF APPEARING AS STEWARDS OF THE PARTY TO MAKE SURE THE INMATES DIDN’T TAKE OVER INSTITUTION. WITH THIS YEARS CONVENTION DEADLOCKING, THESE SUPER DELEGATES WILL BE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, EVEN CRITICAL. IN A WAY IF THEY GET TOO MUCH POWER, THE PENDULEM WILL SWING THE OTHER WAY AND NEXT TIME YOU MIGHT SEE A REDUCTION OF SUPER DELEGATES.

6. WERE YOU EVER INTERESTED IN BEING A DELEGATE?

YES. I WAS FULLY PREPARED TO CIRCULATE NOMINATING PETITIONS IF AL GORE ENTERED THIS YEAR’S RACE BUT WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT WENT.

7. THE SUPERBOWL AND THE COMMERCIALS. THOUGHTS?

I’VE SEEN EVERY SUPER BOWL AND THIS ONE HAD TO BE THE FINEST EVER PLAYED. I RARELY MOVED FROM MY SEAT. AS FAR AS THE COMMERCIALS, LIKED THE JAMES CARVILLE AND BILL FRIST COKE COMMERCIAL. DESPITE THE FRANKIE VALLI SONG IN IT, “CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU” I THOUGHT THE GIRL WITH THE UNIBROW COMMERCIAL WAS ABSOLUTELY HIDEOUS. IT WAS FOR PLANTERS AND I DOUBT IF I’LL BUY THAT BRAND FOR A LONG TIME. I LOVE BURGER KING BUT THE KING FREAKS ME OUT TOO MUCH AND I’M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT FEEL IF A COMMERCIAL MAKES ME NAUSEOUS, WHY WOULD I WANT TO BUY AND EAT THE PRODUCT??!!!!

8.YOU SAY THAT 1967 WAS A WATERSHED YEAR FOR THE DEMOCRATS IN LUZERNE COUNTY, WAS THERE A SWEEP?

NO. THE SWEEP CAME IN 1971 WHEN THE DEMS TOOK ALL THE ROW OFFICES. IN ’67, THE GOP WON THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE WITH JOSEPH MOCK BEATING JOE TIRPAK, ANDREW ANTOLICK BEATING DONALD HEISNER FOR CLERK OF COURTS, BLYTHE EVANS WINNING THE D.A.’S SEAT OVER STEPHEN TELLER, AND JUDGE ROBERT HOURIGAN WINNING ELECTION TO A FULL TERM. IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT FRANK CASTELLINO BARELY SQUEAKED BY IN THE RECORDER OF DEEDS RACE WINNING OVER GEORGE GWILLIAM, SENIOR.

9. YOUR NEXT NOVEL, HOW’S THAT COMING?

VERY SLOWLY. THE THING HAS BEEN THROWN BACK MORE THAN AN UGLY FISH IN A POLLUTED LAKE. WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF DOING A RE-EDIT, STRIPPED DOWN THE CHARACTERS, CHANGED SOME NAMES AND TOYED WITH THE PREMISE. IT BEARS NO RESEMBLENCE TO THE FIRST DRAFT. NO DEADLINE OR TIME TABLE ON IT YET. WE’LL KEEP YOU POSTED THOUGH.

10.WHAT IS A FAVORITE SON?

A FAVORITE SON WAS A METHOD IN THE MID 40S, 50s AND 60S TO GET SUPPORT FOR A CANDIDATE AT THE NOMINATING CONVENTION. USUALLY A SENATOR OR GOVERNOR WOULD DECLARE FOR PRESIDENT AS A FAVORITE SON TO HAVE THE STATE DELEGATION PLEDGED TO HIMSELF. THAT WAY, THE FAVORITE SON COULD BROKER A DEAL FOR HIS VOTES. PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR JOHN FINE WAS A FAVORITE SON AND WAS ONE OF THOSE WHO SWUNG HIS VOTES TO EISENHOWER IN 1952 WHEN IKE WON ON THE THIRD BALLOT. AS CONVENTIONS BECAME CORONATIONS, FAVORITE SONS HAVE GONE THE WAY OF PENNY CANDY. THE LAST TIME FAVORITE SONS WERE USED WAS AT THE ’68 GOP CONVENTION WHEN THE LIKES OF HIRAM FONG OF HAWAII, CHARLES PERCY OF ILLINOIS AND JOHN VOLPE OF MASSACHUSETTS WERE NOMINATED AMIDST HUGE DEMONSTRATIONS. AFTER THAT, THEY BACKED NIXON WHO WON THE NOD.

12.YOUR YOU TUBE VIDEO, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I DECIDED I NEEDED SOMETHING TO HUMOROUSLY PROMOTE THE SITE AND GIVE PEOPLE A CLUE ABOUT WHAT WE DO AND THE SPIRIT IN WHICH WE DO IT. SO THAT’S WHY WE PUT IT TOGETHER. THE PHOTOS CAME FROM MAYCUB PRODUCTIONS AND THE VIDEO WAS A POGRAM EFFORT, A UNIT THAT HAS VOLUMNIOUS VIDEOS ON YOU TUBE. FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN IT, HERE’S THE LINK:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6lEXSEQnDk.

13. WHAT WAS SEATRAIN AND 13 QUESTIONS?

THE GROUP SEATRAIN WAS THE OFFSHOOT OF BLUES PROJECT. IT WAS A MIX OF ROCK, BLUES, JAZZ AND CLASSICAL. THEY PRODUCED TWO ALBUMS, “SEATRAIN” AND “MARBLEHEAD MESSENGER”. THE GROUP HAD A MINOR HIT WITH “13 QUESTIONS”. HERE IT IS FROM YOU TUBE: WE’VE APPROPRIATED THE SONG AND THE IMAGE OF THE SINGLE FOR THIS LULAC SEGMENT.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFi4p_m3K4.

*This feature is a monthly compilation of e mails, notes and comments posted to LuLac on our e mail address line.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The LuLac Edition #418, Feb. 12th, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE IN THE 11TH DISTRICT, AND FORMER GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE (THE PARTY BY THE WAY THAT COST AL GORE THE 2000 ELECTION AND GAVE US GEORGE BUSH!) IN THE 10TH DISTRICT KURT SHOTKO AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 16TH PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.


LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY


199 years ago today, Abe Lincoln was born. We no longer celebrate the birthdays of the two historically significant and real Presidential titans of Washington and Lincoln with separate holidays. Instead the two are honored with "PRESIDENT'S DAY", a day that includes Millard Fillmore, U.S. Grant, Richard Nixon, Herbert Hoover and not soon enough, George W. Bush. Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was formerly a national holiday, however, it is still observed in Illinois and many other states as a legal holiday, Lincoln's Birthday. A dozen states have legal holidays celebrating the third Monday in February as 'Presidents'Day' as a combination Washington-Lincoln Day. To commemorate his upcoming 200th birthday in February 2009, Congress established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in 2000. Dedicated to renewing American appreciation of Lincoln's legacy, the 15-member commission is made up of lawmakers and scholars and also features an adivsory board of over 130 various Lincoln historians and enthusiasts. Lincoln's birthplace and family home are national historic memorials.


SHOTKO RUNS


Although it is doubtful the call screeners from WILK Radio will let Kurt Shotko on the air to promote his candidacy, the Scranton area activist and loveable malcontent has decided to join the race in the 11th Congressional District. According to the Times Leader's Steve Morcarsky, Shotko, 40, of Scranton, said he decided to run as an Independent because “we’ve given the Democrats a chance to do something for the future and all I see is stuff from the past.” Shotko said he doesn’t believe that Paul Kanjorski has “a comprehensive vision for a positive America and is not adequately representing the people.”
The only other announced candidate for the seat is Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who launched his campaign last week. Shotko isn’t impressed with Barletta either, saying his focus is on one issue which is immigration. Shotko is an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq, evidenced by his high-profile protest and eventual arrest at Wilkes-Barre’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2005.
City police said Shotko and another man were holding large signs protesting President George W. Bush while they were in the area of Public Square. The signs were blowing in the wind, police said, and nearly struck at least one parade watcher while disrupting the views of others.
The two were asked to move behind the parade watchers, but refused, police said. They became rowdy when officers tried apprehending them, police said. The men were found guilty of disorderly conduct and sentenced to six months probation. They have an appeal pending before the state Superior Court. A charge of resisting arrest filed against Shotko was dropped.
Shotko was also arrested and cited with disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing and harassment after a verbal altercation with recruitment officers at an Army recruiting station in Hazle Township in 2004. Police said Shotko walked into the recruiting station, told three recruiters they were cowards, asked them why they lie to kids and said U.S. soldiers were killing innocent babies and civilians in Iraq. Police said Shotko refused to leave and said he wanted to stay to protest the war. Shotko had said he called state police after a recruiter threw him to the ground.
The 2004 charges were dismissed after the arresting officer failed to show up for court. Shotko doesn’t think the arrests will be an issue for many voters.
Those arrests should be an issue for many voters in the 11th District. I know it is for me. How many of us have sat back and watched this war take our finest young people and ruin them? We were told that to oppose the war was to oppose the troops. Nonsense! Kurt Shotko did what few of us have done in forty years, put himself and his liberty on the line for an unjust war that has sapped our economy and weakened us critically. He may not win because of his party affiliation but if I were his campaign strategist, I'd advise him to wear those arrests as a badge of courage.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The LuLac Edition #417, Feb. 10th, 2008







PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR JOHN McCAIN AND GOVERNOR TOM RIDGE.


RIDGE CAUTIONS GOP


Former Governor Tom Ridge spoke at the Winter Meeting of the Statewide GOP on Saturday. Calling his time in office (he calculated it down to the last day) as the most significant of his political life, the popular Republican weighed in on the Presidential race. He urged the assembled to get in line behind John McCain and made several good points. They were:
1. You run to win an election. Then you get to govern. Ridge’s point was that politicians need to be pragmatic or else if they are regarded as ideologues, they won’t win and therefore won’t ever govern. Ever hear of Presidents Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater or Patrick Buchanan? Nope, didn’t think so.
2. Ridge said that no candidate is perfect and that everybody has a disagreement or two. But he again told the GOP to put aside the differences and support the presumed nominee.
3. Ridge talked about Senator McCain’s 25 year record of consistency on the main issues GOP party members care about. He also outlined the Senator’s courage in the face of adversity when he was a POW during the Vietnam War. Ridge, himself a veteran of Vietnam was stern in his warning to the statewide gathering.
It was an impressive speech from an impressive member of the party. Ridge was a Congressman from Erie who beat an entrenched Democrat in the 80s at the urging of Vice President George Bush and his son George W. He got into the Governor’s race in 1994 when it became clear that State Attorney General Ernie Preate’s legal difficulties would drag into the general election. Ridge ran TV ads wearing a leather bomber jacket, talking about his vision for the state and even sharing the fact he grew up in an Erie Housing project. Ridge’s point then was government can bring people up and the fact that a Republican grew up in less than huge economic circumstances also gave him a leg up with swing voters. Ridge ran a tough campaign against incumbent Mark Singel pulling out all the stops when he criticized the Ltn. Governor’s Pardon Bureaus record. Getting virtually no help from his mentor, Governor Casey who was piqued about Singel’s ’92 Senate run and his flip flop on abortion, Ridge rode into the Governorship and stayed there until being named Homeland Security Director for President Bush after 911. His only faux pas was when he said he needed to quit the Cabinet to make some money to give his kids an education. That created a minor firestorm who felt the usually politically adept Ridge all of a sudden developed a tin ear when it came to working class voters. Other than that, he is a respected figure in the party and on this issue, they should heed his advice.

McCAIN’S CHOICE


John McCain has a choice to make and it’s not about picking a Vice President. McCain has vanquished the right wing of his party, no other alternative except for Mike Huckabee exists. Newt Gingrich has shown no interest in coming in late to the party and Ron Paul is regarded as a fringe candidate. So McCain has beaten a wing in the party that has been a major player for the past thirty years. He has been gracious, he has been accommodating. But the time has come for McCain to set his sights on the general election. He was booed at a conservative forum last week and didn’t lose his cool. Good for him. But his comment on who would make a good Veep choice spoke volumes. He said geographic considerations weren’t that important and said he wanted someone qualified to be President. McCain also talked about values sharing which scared the heck out of the Bible beaters in the party. (An interesting report on NPR last week said the pro-Christian right was not as familiar with simple bible stories and references as they should be. Values without information or what it all means, at least to me, is back woods ignorance.) Anyway, McCain should reconcile himself to the fact the religious right will never love him and pick someone who can work with him to change the country. It can be Haley Barbour of the South or Tom Ridge of the North. But he cannot be pressured by the right because the people who might want to vote for him will forsake him in the general. There is a reason why the candidates of the right have gotten little or no traction. No one will say it out loud but Republicans who supported McCain are tired of an 8 year GOP administration that has over spent, lied, taken away personal freedoms and given us an atmosphere of fear in this country. McCain needs to maintain his own voice and stand for what he believes in. It worked once in 2007 when he was left for dead by the pundits, it’ll work again in 2008. He just needs to make it happen. Like that old country and western song says, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything”.

SCAVO ON THE MOVE


An area school board member has begun collecting signatures in an attempt to oppose incumbent state Rep. James Wansacz, D-Old Forge, this fall. Republican Frank J. Scavo III, 45, who’s serving his second term on the Old Forge School Board, began circulating petitions and collecting signatures during a petition-signing party he hosted for congressional candidate Lou Barletta at Arcaro and Genell's pizza joint. Scavo said he wasn’t going to run for state office this year – he tried unsuccessfully in 2002, 2004 and 2006 – until he found out two Republican candidates considering a run again Wansacz changed their minds earlier this week. Scavo ran against Robert Melolow in a write in effort in 2006 and is a frequent caller to WILK radio’s talk show lineup.

SPEAKING OF….

WILK radio, Kevin Lynn is supposed to be back on Monday from sunny Jamaica. In the meantime, Vince Sweeney outlined his day with Nancy Kman on his blog: here’s his link:
http://vincesweeney.com/.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The LuLac Edition #416, Feb. 8th, 2008













PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER STEVE URBAN, OUR LULAC 1968 LOGO, CHELSEA CLINTON AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL.


CHELSEA DISSED


A distasteful comment about Chelsea Clinton by an MSNBC anchor could imperil Hillary Rodham Clinton's participation in future presidential debates on the network, a Clinton spokesman said.
In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson on Friday excoriated MSNBC's David Shuster for suggesting the Clinton campaign had "pimped out" 27-year old Chelsea by having her place phone calls to celebrities and Democratic Party "superdelegates" on her mother's behalf.
Wolfson called Shuster's comment "beneath contempt" and disgusting.
"I, at this point, can't envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network," he added.
MSNBC said Shuster, who apologized on the air for his comment, has been temporarily suspended from appearing on all NBC news broadcasts except to offer his apology.
Chelsea has had it rough with the press. She came into view when she was an awkward teenage girl just out of the tweens. Her parents to their credit made her off limits to press coverage but that didn't stop the ignorance of certain people. I remember a Scranton area political wannabee who kissed so much butt to get his picture with the Clintons in the early 90s when the trio was in town for the funeral of Hillary's father. The guy comes into the newspaper I was working for at the time and proudly displays his trophy. He gets the publisher to even run it in a prominent place. Temporarily. Then he blurts out, "God that kid is ugly!" The publisher who had a daughter the same age threw the guy out of the office and the picture never appeared. Being in the spotlight when you don't want to be is tough, tougher on a kid trying to grow up. Schuster should not be banned for life from TV, but his choice of words was symptomatic of the way campaigns are covered these days. Anything for a quick hit. Good for MSNBC for taking a stand.


THE URBAN WARRIOR


Minority Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban is taking Wilkes Barre Mayor Tom Leighton to task. Urban says Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton misleads in a recent letter asserting that three city projects are in jeopardy because of Tim Grier’s challenge of a proposed Luzerne County bond package. The county has $1.7 million sitting in the bank for the three projects – an intermodal transportation hub, an affordable housing program and transformation of a Public Square bank into a restaurant. While the development of downtown Wilkes Barre is admirable, once again private businesses like a restaurant are being funded by taxpayers dollars. Do you think Abe's Hot Dogs or Martz Trailways got tax breaks? Nope, they were built on the risk of private enterprise. The money to fund the three projects came from previous bond borrowing. The money has been available to the city since county commissioners voted in December 2006 to approve the expenditures, Urban said. The city was given 18 months to draw down the funding but has not done so to date. Urban said Grier is not holding up the intermodal, the bank building redevelopment or South River Street neighborhood housing projects. Urban says there has been a commitment since late 2006 and the city hasn't drawn down any money yet. Must be waiting for the right palms to grease I suspect or maybe a crony just doesn't have their act together to bid on the work just yet.


GAMBLING 80/20

How about those state gaming revenues coming to our area from the success of Mohegan Sun? (I'm proud to say I've never set foot in Alabama or the Mohegan Sun casino!) There are 80 million dollars in requests but there is only 20 million dollars to distribute. It might be a good idea to improve the infrastructure like roads and bridges around here, libraries, and parks and recreation. Things the public can use. Maybe some police protection. But please, let's stay away from funding shyster businessmen with their hands out feeding at the taxpayer trough. Enough is enough.


RENDELL'S BUDGET


Governor Ed's budget has been compared to a buffet and we know the big guy loves his pizza and cheesesteaks. There is much to like about the governor's spending plan for fiscal 2009. He wants to boost spending for health care, education and public safety, which sounds great and should be applauded.
The concern is that Rendell's proposed $28.3 billion budget is too ambitious. Given a likely recession, this isn't the time to reach for that extra helping of $1 billion more in spending. Many say there should be some cuts to offset a downturn.
But things could be worse. For all the partisan budget wrangling in Harrisburg last summer, including a one-day government shutdown, Pennsylvania's finances are in good shape.
The state is projected to finish the current budget year in June with a surplus of more than $500 million. At least 24 states are facing deficits, including New Jersey's shortfall of roughly $3.5 billion. A surplus like that hasn't been seen since Tom Ridge's administration.
Because of the surplus, there are no broad-based tax increases in Rendell's proposed budget. Rendell does call for a dime-a-pack increase in the cigarette tax to help pay for health care. And he's still pushing his energy independence fund, to be paid by monthly fees averaging 45 cents per home. Again, Rendell sees alternatives like raising user fees instead of taxes.
Rendell wants to spend an additional $291 million on education - a 5.9 percent hike. The commitment to improving education could well be the legacy of Rendell's two terms, along with the pluses and negatives that will come from legalized gambling. The governor is keeps fighting for his program to expand access to health care and prescription drugs. Republican legislators who will oppose sensible plan will do so at their own electoral peril. Rendell has been a persuasive advocate of community development and its seems like he's done it in all the right places. The surplus is proof positive of the way an economy should be stimulated, by bringing people's quality of living up with good services rather than giving them a meaningless tax cut they'll waste on a short term consumer good that will be a memory in a few years. Go Ed!


SAVING THE PAVILLION


Lackawanna County commissioners filed a lawsuit Thursday in county court against Housing and Redevelopment Insurance Exchange, Foxco Insurance Management Services Inc., and local insurance agent Dominic Verrastro, citing breach of contract, insurance bad faith, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence on the part of the defendants.
The county and the insurance entities have been embroiled in a dispute over coverage of the pavilion roof, which collapsed under the weight of heavy snow in February 2007. An insurance claim was not filed until Jan. 17 and subsequently denied on Jan. 29. This might be a problem and you have to wonder who was advising the Commissioners at the time this happened. I mean it's common sense, weather ruins part of your house, you file a claim, right? Why wasn't a claim filed and who was responsible? Majority commissioners Mike Washo and Corey O’Brien, in cooperation with minority Commissioner A.J. Munchak, filed a civil action citing Pennsylvania’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act, Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and Insurance Bad Faith. Attorney Larry Moran filed the action on behalf of the county. Mr. Munchak said his fellow commissioners told him the civil suit was the best way to go. About time A.J., where were you last year with your partner Atty. Cordaro? A financial guy and an Attorney ignoring an insurance claim! That is a first in Western Civilization!


1968


Forty years ago this week the 1968 Winter Olympics, officially known as the X Olympic Winter Games, were celebrated in 1968 Grenoble, France and opened this week. Thirty-seven countries participated. Norway won the most medals, the first time a country other than the USSR had done so since the USSR first entered the Winter Games in 1956.
Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy won three gold medals in all the alpine skiing events. In women's figure skating, Peggy Fleming won the only United States gold medal. The games have been credited with making the Winter Olympics more popular in the United States, not least of which because of ABC's extensive coverage of Fleming and Killy, who became overnight sensations among teenage girls.
The year 1968 marked the first time the IOC first permitted East and West Germany to enter separately, and the first time the IOC ever ordered drug and gender testing of competitors...... Three college students died in a confrontation with highway patrolmen in Orangeburg, S.C., during a civil rights protest against a whites-only bowling alley......On the state level Congressman Richard Schweiker won the GOP endorsement for United States Senator, Frank J. Pasquerella was given the nod for State Treasurer and Warner Depuy was picked to be the Auditor General candidate. All three faced no opposition in the spring primary......In Wilkes Barre's 6th District, (now the 121rst) Robert McGinley was endorsed by the Republican party to run against State Representative Bernard O'Brien. McGinley later became a Democrat and served in the McLaughlin administration years later.....in Pittston at St. John the Baptist Grade School, for the first time, 8th grade and 7th grade classes could use the makeshift library (in the hallway between the classrooms) to pick out books on a coed basis...and this week in 1968, the Temptations held down the number one spot in the nation and LuLac land with "I Wish It Would Rain". Check out this YOU TUBE video and the choreography.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The LuLac Edition #415, Feb. 7th, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: MICHIGAN GOVERNOR GEORGE ROMNEY AND HIS SON MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY BOTH APPEARING 40 YEARS APART ON THE COVER OF TIME MAGAZINE.


ROMNEY REDEMPTION?


Mitt Romney left the Presidential race today and the way he did it was unlike the way in which his father exited the Presidential sweepstakes. George Romney, as we discussed in our weekly Friday feature "1968" (LuLac Edition # 410,) was chased out of the race by saying he was brainwashed in Vietnam by Lyndon Johnson's Generals. Mitt Romney left the scene today with his head held high and reputation pretty much intact. The Romney campaign was a victim of its time. In any other era, Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee running away.
My father, as well chronicled in (LuLac Edition # 387 -See January '08 archives) hated Republicans. When the GOP held office, he always lost his job on the railroad and wound up in "the stinking cigar factory". But even with his disdsain for the party, I know he secretly admired the rich, moderate Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Percy, William Scranton, and yes even George Romney. My father, though a partisan recognized that those Republicans were too rich to steal and had a noblesse oblige toward guys like him. Mitt Romney was the best of that world. My father would've loved him. Polished, articulate, faithful to his wife, 5 glowing kids with Pepsodent smiles, a successful businessman, the guy who saved the Olympics, plus having a ton of his own money made Romney, on paper, the ideal candidate to succeed the rigid, bumbling George W. Bush. But the Republicans, in particular the conservative wing of the party just didn't get him. That is, before it was too late. Mike Huckabee won Iowa and then John McCain started his run. The GOP conservatives never got behind Romney picking on his past stances, sometimes his religion and his money. They bolstered the poll numbers of a New York Mayor who had a campaign made of straw. The conservatives became infatuated with a TV image, Arthur Branch and were disappointed when he turned into Lonesome Fred Thompson. Duncan Hunter and Sam Brownback said they were the true conservatives but the GOP right wanted a star. Before they knew it, the wily former POW with the temper calmed down, talking in measured tones and won a lot of delegates. In the meantime, coming off Weight Watchers was an Arkansas politico who used to be a preacher talking like a cross between Dick Cavett and Gomer Pyle. His "aw shucks" demeanor gave him strength in the South and makes him an appealing Veep pick. Seeing this, all of a sudden the conservatives tried to hop on the Romney bandwagon but that was a tough thing to do since they were pouring sugar in its gas tank since the former Governor declared. Romney won a respctable amount of delegates but more importantly in the end, a respectable amount of conservative respect. He leaves the race as a viable road not taken by the GOP right. With the proper backing, he not only could've been a contender, he would have been the nominee. But not now, not in this time with a GOP battered by a failed two term (slap your forehead on that one!) Presidency, a fixation on the charisma of the late Ronald Reagan, and a complete loss of judgement. The GOP right used to rule the party, but instead they allowed circumstances to rule them. A candidate with no money in 2007, left for dead, beat them. And they had an alternative but ignored him.
Romney has a plan. He will play the role of Reagan in 1976, beam and support the party. Stand next to the elder McCain like the movie star Reagan stood next to Gerald Ford. He won't say a word but you can bet the GOP right will be saying, "which one should we have nominated?" He'll give a great prime time speech at the convention and if McCain wins or loses, he can fashion himself as the guy "they should've picked." And if the GOP is clever enough, perhaps in 2012, Mitt Romney might become the toast of the party instead of being touted as "an acquired taste". As Ferris Bueller said, "Life goes fast and if you slow down, you just might miss it". The GOP right was steamrolled by the McCain express and missed an opportunity with Romney. Life moves faster these days, ya know?


BARLETTA IN


So Mayor Lou Barletta is running for Congress ignoring Joe Leonardi's advice to stay out. Ah hubris! Not more than 3 minutes after the Mayor stepped away from the podium, 11th Congressional District and 24 year incumbent Paul Kanjorski's office issued a missive attacking his honor. On the patented Barletta issue immigration? As Maynard G. Krebbs used to say, "Oh come now!" Kanjorski attacked Barletta for saying he favored privatization of the Social Security system. By the time this campaign rolls into high gear, Kanjorski's people will have voters thinking Barletta is casing the mailboxes of senior citizens to steal their monthly checks. Look for a spike in direct deposits as a by product of this campaign.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The LuLac Edition #414, Feb. 6th, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: SENATORS OBAMA, CLINTON, McCAIN AND GOVERNOR ROMNEY.



GENERATIONS




If Super Tuesday said anything to us political types, it was that this election campaign is turning into a historical event that will be referenced long after it ends. First off, for the first time since 1928, no sitting President or Vice President is involved in the effort. It appears that two U.S. Senators will be running against each other in the fall. In our electoral history, only three Legislators have won the Presidency. Congressman James Garfield in 1880, Senator Warren Harding in 1920 and Senator John Kennedy in 1960. What is fascinating though about this election year though is that there might be a generational shift, a shift that comes before its time. My parents generation, the World War II generation controlled the Presidency from 1960 to 1992. I remember how proud my family was when the 1960 election came around. Both candidates, Kennedy and Nixon were of the same generation. In particular my family revered John Kennedy because he was the first Roman Catholic to hold office. After his death and the subsequent less than flattering revelations, JFK still stood tall. It wasn't until the defeat of George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992 that the WWII generation gave way to the baby boomers. It was a 32 year run. There was an attempted rebirth in 1996 when war hero Bob Dole won the GOP nod but that failed when Bill Clinton won re-election. For the past 16 years, two men, Clinton and Bush have been our leaders. Depending on your perspective, you might say that the two were the heroes of the baby boom generation. But this generation was jaded by Vietnam and Watergate and the once passionate activism gave way to a strange passivity toward the faults of the two administrations. The generation that espoused free love was not outraged for the most part by Bill Clinton's personal conduct in office. Even more glaring was this anti war generation that took to the streets in the 60s to denounce Vietnam and the 70s to rail against Nixon's Watergate scandal and curiously did nothing to protest a war that would send their children to certain death in a cause that was not fully explained. At least the domino theory had a certain logic to it, Iraq did not.

As the 2008 race seems to evolve, it appears the finest minds of the baby boom Democratic party, Senators Dodd and Biden recieved no traction. Bill Richardson, one of the most qualified candidates fell by the wayside as did former Senator John Edwards whose comparisions to Robert Kennedy were feeble at best. On the GOP side, the rough and ready Rudy Giuliani was foresaken as well as the polished businessman persona of Mitt Romney.
We are left with Senator Clinton who if nominated will continue the political legacy of the baby boomer. Older, wiser and a lot less idealistic, sensing that government needs a mechanic, not a messiah. This generation has seen its share of would be governmental faith healers and watched in horror as they were either killed or fell down from the throne.
Senator Obama on the other hand represents a generational shift too. His base are people born after the Civil Rights sit ins, the seperate bathrooms in bus stations, the time when women were routinely relegated to non leadership roles. Women in executive roles, racial acceptance as well as a lack of struggle has punctuated this generation's rise to business and political power. It is easy to talk about hope and inspiration when there has been little struggle and less obstacles to overcome. The question the Democrats must ask is this, are they willing to give the baby boom generation one more chance to implement changes in government or will they migrate to an untested group of leaders that talk a great game but have no practical experience looking at the governmental engine under the hood?
The Republicans on the other hand have seemed to reject the only true conservative in the race, Governor Romney. Romney was everything a GOP candidate should be. Handsome, charismatic, a captain of industry with a stellar personal family resume of faith and fidelity. Unlike Giuliani and McCain, he has had only one wife. But the GOP conservatives, now lamenting they are stuck with Senator McCain rallied around Romney too late waiting for a saviour like Ronald Reagan to appear. I have news for them, people like Reagan come around once every fifty years and the bland, lazy imitation of Fred Thompson wasn't going to cut it. Curiously, Romney the GOP baby boomer without a hint of scandal was shunned while you can be certain that if bad boy Newt Gingrich made a run, he'd be on top.
So now the GOP has McCain, 71 years old, not of the baby boom generation but not of the WWII generation either. He's more like a child of the Eisenhower years, a kid growing up on the same street with Eddie Haskell, Mary Stone and Wally Cleaver.
What generation will prevail in this election? Will it be McCain's 50s envolvement, straight talk born of conformity, will it be Clinton's experience in the social wars of the 60s and 70s that molded her generation as pragmatic leaders or will it be the sunny optimism of hope conveyed by Barak Obama's generation? Each generation paved the way for the next, the World War II generation gave the boomers the luxury to ponder the great issues of war and peace. The boomers gave the Barak troops a sense that life was an equal share of the American dream because it always seemed to be there, devoid of the messy struggles of the 60s. This generational shift, or lack thereof will continue to be one of the most interesting aspects of this election year. Not only watch the candidates but watch the people in their respective generations for a clue.