Sunday, March 30, 2008

The LuLac Edition #450, March 30th, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON
AND SENATOR
BARAK OBAMA.


SHOWDOWN!!!

Late word from the Obama camp (told you they'd tell me when they heard anything!) says that the Senator will hold a town hall meeting at Wilkes College. Here's the info:
Wilkes-Barre, PA
“ROAD TO CHANGE” TOWN HALL WITH BARACK OBAMA
Arnaud C. Marts Center
Wilkes University
274 S. Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Public Doors Open: 9:45 AM
Program: 11:45 AM
Now that time period just so happens to coincide with the Clinton campaign's effort at King's College. Folks, we are no longer a campaign stop in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we have become a political petri dish that will test the preferences and nuances that will be studied nationally. No wonder why the Obama people seemed to be playing it close to the vest. This event, pits Wilkes against King's, the Obama people vs the Clinton people. No straddling the fence on this one, no curiosity seekers welcome either. If you like one, you can't wait until later to take a gander at the other side. Given the crowds, you might not make the Clinton event at 2:30PM if you choose Obama. Same time, different place. Stand up and be counted. A showdown!
My prediction: like this race, both campaigns will work like the devil to pack the gyms. The outcome: a tie. But what a way for the national media and all media to examine this campaign.
See you all at HIGH NOON Tuesday! April 1rst, 2008. Someplace. No foolin' either!

The LuLac Edition #449, March 30th, 2008




PHOTO INDEX: A CLINTON CAMPAIGN PERSON TALKS WITH TWO VOLUNTEERS, AND THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN HAS A CALENDER OF EVENTS KEEPING IT ON TRACK.

ACROSS THE STREET

They refer to each other as "the people across the street". Both campaign headquarters on different sides of South Main Street in Wilkes Barre are gearing up, poised and ready to pounce. Senator Clinton's campaign is staffed with volunteers calling both party regulars and newcomers. The Obama campaign is filled with young people and a few veteran party people organizing the chaos of a local campaign. On the Obama wall are huge signs in color coded paper asking for everything from chairs to housing for its workers. At the Clinton headquarters, those signs are no where in sight. Not knowing of the Senator's visit, I am asked if I'm going to attend Tuesday's rally at King's for Senator Clinton. "Any big name going to be there?" I ask. "Oh yeah", says a volunteer thrusting a newly copied flyer into my hand that tells me in no uncertain terms Senator Clinton will be at my old alma mater. At Obama headquarters, I ask about the Senator's rumored visit to Scranton on Tuesday. No one seems to have a handle on any of the details but assures me they'll be telling me something when they know more. The styles seems different but the mission is the same, get out the vote in Pennsylvania. The Clinton people are relying on Democratic party hands who had an affinity and relationship with their candidate. The Obama people have a grass roots effort of college students, minorities and Joe Noterman Wilkes Barre style liberals. It seems to be that the Clinton camp needs to get out the vote to build up a huge majority, but the Obama people want to neutralize that effort by making certain a presence is felt in Luzerne County. To call it a battle is overstating it a bit, but it is a serious contest. And there is a great deal of hustle and bustle on South Main Street these days, as "the people across the street" try to best each other in a contest that is crucial to the future of this country. South Main Street in Wilkes Barre hasn't been this busy since Mr. Peanut was strolling around with his cane and monacle!

QUIT???

I am really getting sick and tired of these so called media pundits and Washington insiders who are asking Senator Clinton to exit the race. As I pointed out in earlier editions, no one asked Ted Kennedy to quit in 1980, or Ronald Reagan to end it in 1976. For years the media has bemoaned the fact that conventions are only coronations. The networks (which I point out have the responsibility to educate and inform) dropped their gavel to gavel coverage whining "it's boring!" Yeah, as if watching some guy named William Hung or whatever his name is humiliate himself is exciting TV! Anyway, now that there is an honest to goodness race, Senator Clinton is told to back off. There are supporters of hers who do not want her to back off. She shouldn't. And as for the case that it will divide the party, that's crap. A primary or nominating fight makes a general election candidate stronger, look at the Governor's race of 2002, Casey made Rendell a stronger candidate in the fall. The only time a general election in Presidential politics causes party disunity is when an incumbent is taken on like in 1976 (Ford vs. Reagan) and 1992 (Bush vs. Buchanan) and 1980 (Carter-Kennedy) for the nomination. And as far as decorum at a convention is concerned because "we don't want the American people to see our bad side" is ludicrous. Most of the American people don't know how a convention works and aren't paying attention. Those who are though are the opinion makers. In 2004, the Democrats wanted to "take it easy" on President Bush so as not to appear strident. What did it get them and the country? A loss and another 2,000 dead in Iraq. A convention is for not only control of a party but for the way you intend to govern. To tell one candidate to "shut it down" is not fair to the American people and is only set up for the convenience of people not interested in the democratic process. Play on to the end.

SON OF THE FATHER

Bob Casey's endorsement of Senator Obama came as a surprise to a few people but in reality, you can't argue with his logic. If Obama closes the gap and near misses or wins, Casey looks like a hero. If Clinton wins, Casey endorsing her later makes him look like a bandwagon jumper. What the Obama endorsement does is put a dent in the moorings of the good ship Clinton but more importantly gave Pennsylvania voters (so resistant to anything new) permission to think about voting for Senator Obama. Endorsements are important, but they don't vote. Just as 2004 Presidential candidate Howard Dean!
Much has been said about the Casey-Clinton relationship. The refusal of the Dems to have the late Governor Casey address the convention in New York or the talk of a Casey bid in 1996 against President Clinton until health issues intervened were topics of discussion this week. But my take on it is this: the Caseys, while revered by the Democratic party has always marched to a different drummer in state politics. In 1970 and 1978, when the party endorsed Milton Shapp and Pete Flaherrty respectively, Bob Casey Senior ran. In 1996, when the party endorsed Tom Foley, Bob Casey Junior ran for Auditor General and won running away. The Caseys are a political franchise by themselves, and the endorsement of Obama says more about that free style thinking than anything else. Don't forget, Bob Casey Junior literally had to be begged to enter the Senate race in 2006. The Caseys, while successful, never were in lockstep with the state Democratic party. And it appears not to have hurt any of them politically. So the Obama move, in my mind was not a surprise. Bob Casey Junior proved to be the son of his father but not for the reasons you might deduce.

SIGNS SIGNS!!

118th District candidate Mike Carroll has his Pittston area base peppered with campaign signs. His primary foe is P.J. Best. Carroll has covered his area with hundreds of signs. Hey, first in..................

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The LuLac Edition #448, March 27th, 2008

















PHOTO INDEX: AL GORE GIVING THE "THUMBS UP", PRESIDENT JOHNSON ANNOUNCING HIS WITHDRAWL FROM THE 1968 PRESIDENTIAL RACE 40 YEARS AGO ON MARCH 31RST AND OUR 1968 LOGO.

THE DEM SOLUTION

I was going to hold back on this until after the Democratic primary on April 22nd but I’ve already been trumped by one local blogger and MSNBC. But when I had dinner with a former Congressional candidate a few weeks back, I mentioned this scenario. Well, kind of, I said Gore would win the Democratic nod but then I started to really think about it. Here it is:
Both Senators Clinton and Obama go to the convention. There is a stalemate. The super delegates are divided. The convention at Denver is deadlocked. The first ballot is over. Obama won’t concede and Clinton won’t either. Before the second ballot, a faint chant goes up, “Gore, Gore, Gore”. Then out of nowhere, strains from Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” starts to play. The crowd, being Democrats are at first confused. But then they catch on. The chant becomes louder, “Gore, Gore, Gore!” Then they start yelling “Gore Is Great in ‘08”. Delegations start asking for attention from the Chair to change their votes. The delegations start falling like dominos. In Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell frantically bribes anyone with cheese steaks. Governor Corzine in New Jersey does him one better, throwing hundreds on the floor. But it is to no avail. The magic delegate number is reached and Al Gore, former Vice President of the U.S. accepts, however reluctantly the Democratic nomination. He names as his campaign Chairs Senators Obama and Clinton. He picks as his running mate New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Since only two U.S. Senators have been elected President, Gore goes on to win the Presidency by a landslide with Senator McCain and Haley Barbour carrying only their home states Arizona and Mississippi. On January 20th, 2009, America’s long national nightmare comes to an end and Al Gore takes the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States. Better late than never!
From YOU TUBE, Paul Simon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOiVaE-pKqM&feature=related.

1968


On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned the world with his surprise announcement that he would not seek re-election.
The announcement came at the end of this TV speech concerning the situation in Vietnam where increasing numbers of young Americans were being killed amid the recent escalation of the war.
In January of 1968, the Tet offensive occurred in which North Vietnamese troops attacked 36 provincial capitals and 5 major cities in South Vietnam including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon and the presidential palace.
Filmed footage of the offensive and its resulting carnage appeared on nightly news programs seen by the American public. Unlike previous wars, news personnel were not censored and thus often took graphic front line combat footage.
Year after year of TV news reports showing bloodied young Americans and dead Vietnamese civilians led many to eventually question the necessity of the entire ordeal. By 1968, demonstrations and unrest had erupted on college campuses with demands for an immediate end to the war.
Amid the mounting death toll and continuing erosion of popular and political support for the war, President Johnson was faced with having to decide America's future course in the conflict. His choices included possible escalation in an effort to win the war, or the pursuit of peace with an enemy who now seemed determined to fight and win no matter what the cost. As a fourteen year old, I watched the speech with interest but at 9:40PM the phone rang and my seventh grade girlfriend whined about the fact that The Smothers Brothers wasn't on. We talked until five after ten. When I walked back into the living room, my father said, "Mac, you missed it!" "Missed what?" I asked. Johnson withdrew. Chagrined that I missed this historical moment, my father said, "Women are gonna kill ya, I can see that!" It was one of many time he'd say that to me. Here is what President Johnson said on that fateful night.
Finally, my fellow Americans, let me say this:
Of those to whom much is given, much is asked. I cannot say and no man could say that no more will be asked of us.
Yet, I believe that now, no less than when the decade began, this generation of Americans is willing to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
Since those words were spoken by John F. Kennedy, the people of America have kept that compact with mankind's noblest cause.
And we shall continue to keep it.
Yet, I believe that we must always be mindful of this one thing, whatever the trials and the tests ahead. The ultimate strength of our country and our cause will lie not in powerful weapons or infinite resources or boundless wealth, but will lie in the unity of our people.
This I believe very deeply.
Throughout my entire public career I have followed the personal philosophy that I am a free man, an American, a public servant, and a member of my party, in that order always and only.
For 37 years in the service of our Nation, first as a Congressman, as a Senator, and as Vice President, and now as your President, I have put the unity of the people first. I have put it ahead of any divisive partisanship.
And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.
There is division in the American house now. There is divisiveness among us all tonight. And holding the trust that is mine, as President of all the people, I cannot disregard the peril to the progress of the American people and the hope and the prospect of peace for all peoples.
So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal interests or concern, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.
Fifty-two months and 10 days ago, in a moment of tragedy and trauma, the duties of this office fell upon me. I asked then for your help and God's, that we might continue America on its course, binding up our wounds, healing our history, moving forward in new unity, to clear the American agenda and to keep the American commitment for all of our people.
United we have kept that commitment. United we have enlarged that commitment.
Through all time to come, I think America will be a stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater opportunity and fulfillment because of what we have all done together in these years of unparalleled achievement.
Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead.
What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.
Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.
With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country.
Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.
But let men everywhere know, however, that a strong, a confident, and a vigilant America stands ready tonight to seek an honorable peace--and stands ready tonight to defend an honored cause--whatever the price, whatever the burden, whatever the sacrifice that duty may require.
Thank you for listening.
Good night and God bless all of you.
America was stunned and the political world was rocked. All of a sudden, Vice President Hubert Humphrey's stock went up. The Bobby Kennedy campaign was stunned and bewildered. Kennedy was going to campaign against his sworn enemy with relish but all of a sudden his nemesis deserted him. Eugene McCarthy made the lame comment, "This makes it interesting" and walked away leaving his supporters dazed and confused. It was after all McCarthy's insurgency campaign just weeks ago in New Hampshire that vanquished the Johnson war policy. On the night LBJ ended all doubts about his future, McCarthy raised them about his own..... On the statewide level, a public question went on the ballot asking about legislative reapportionment. The question called for 50 State Senators, 25 elected every two years for four year terms and 204 State Legislators to be realigned after each ten year census……..in the County Eugene Ziomek decided to make a run for state representative against incumbent Fred Shupnik in the 4th Legslative District. It would be the only primary opposition for a state rep….in the Wilkes Barre, newly minted and hired Fredrick Wegner began his duties as Wilkes Barre City manager….in Pittston at St. John the Baptist Grade School the last co-ed dance was held between the seventh and eighth grade students. A mini scandal broke out when a few students began to say the words to Mitch Ryder’s “Sock It To Me Baby” were dirty, so assistant pastor and head chaperone and bouncer Father Andrew Strish put on his favorite song, “Skip A Rope” by Hensen Cargill , effectively killing any amorous activities….forty years ago this week the number 1 song in LuLac land was Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart’s “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight”, here it is courtesy of YOU TUBE.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSMUtLHPH7Y. While Father’s favorite song was playing, he was called away and one of the eighth grade school boys acting as a deejay put on Mel Carter’s great 1965 hit “Hold Me Thrill Me”. For three minutes, the romance returned. Or what passed for that in 1968 among 7th and 8th grade boys and girls! As an added bonus from YOU TUBE: Mr. Mel Carter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OoZno_FLjI&feature=related

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The LuLac Edition #447, March 26th, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: FORMER SENATOR GEORGE McGOVERN, (CIRCA 1972, ACTUALLY THIS WAS THE PHOTO USED IN McGOVERN'S CAMPAIGN POSTERS THAT YEAR) AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL, MAYOR NUTTER AND SENATOR CLINTON.

IT'S ABOUT TIME!!

Finally, finally, someone said what needed to be said in this Presidential campaign about Senators Clinton and Obama. People close to me said it many times but were afraid, like I was, that it might be misinterpreted as politically incorrect. Governor Ed hinted and jitterbugged around it (he is great at that) by saying Pennsylvanians might not be ready to vote for a black candidate or even a woman. But it took George McGovern, a Clinton supporter to say what a lot of people were thinking, that America would sooner vote for a black man than a any type of woman. There, it was said. The undercurrent issue has not been race but sexism. There are many components to it. First off, women have been divided on Senator Clinton. You'd think that women of all ages would be united for the Senator, but there is a divide between young women (who think women's accomplishments were there for the taking all the time) and older women over 45 who remember the struggle. I'm going to throw out two local names from the 60s. Marie Carpentier from WNEP TV and Kitch Loftus from WARM. In a TV and Radio world wallpapered today with female reporters, when I was in high school there were only 2 woman news reporters on TV and Radio. It seems to me that younger women are making every excuse not to vote for Hillary because she is "old school". Worse yet, some say she's gotten where she is because she tolerated her husband's infidelities. Believe me, no woman tolerates infidelities. But women seem to be their own worst enemy. Today on "Corbett" a caller berated the host a bit because he said it was sexism for party leaders to urge Clinton to get out of the race. Corbett disagreed but the caller then said, "If Clinton was a man, they'd tell the same story, get out of the race and support Obama!" (I love talk radio but can only handle it for about 35 minutes at a clip, I have no problem with the hosts but the callers, it scares me that they re-produce and vote but that's a story for another day). To Michelle from the "Corbett" show, let me throw this out. In 1952 did the GOP stop Dwight Eisenhower from entering the race for President when it appeared Senator Robert Taft of Ohio was within 100 votes of the nomination? In 1960, did the Dems tell Lyndon Johnson not to fight on to the convention even though JFK outnumbered him in delegates 2 to 1? In 1980, did they tell Teddy Kennedy to drop out of the race even though Carter had the nomination won? In 1976, was Ronald Reagan told to pack it in just because he was within 92 votes of President Ford? Nope, these guys all went to the convention. And the operative word here is "guys". A woman is so close to the brass ring that there is a realization she might get the top spot! And what do women do? Divide themselves. What does the party do? Pat the little blond lady on the head and say, "girlie, it's time to shut it down". What do the Republicans do? They urge GOPers and Independents to switch to the Dems to vote for Obama to mess up the Clinton effort. Senator Clinton has not been perfect in this campaign but she has shown an affinity for the middle class that Obama has not articulated yet. His speeches are glorious works of prose and cadence but I judge speeches by content, Mario Cuomo content. And Obama has not hit the points of middle class life like Clinton has.
Senator McGovern is a well respected party leader. Actually in a way it is his 1972 candidacy that has hurt Mrs. Clinton. Back in 1972 the Democratic Party Credentials committee ruled that there would be no winner take all primaries. The delegate votes would be apportioned according to Congressional districts. McGovern is a party elder, a three term Senator that has finally made the point that American voters might not be as racist as they are sexist. It's about time someone made the point and you couldn't find a better guy to do it. After the 1972 debacle, when McGovern only carried Mass. and D.C., the late Stewart Alsop wrote that McGovern as well as his campaign was honorable. (He had no way of forseeing the fallout from Watergate in his post election analysis). He wrote that at the end of 1972, a battered and ridiculed McGovern would someday be embraced as a wise party elder that spoke the truth without guile or malice. And his party would embrace him for it and thank him. It happened today when George Stanley McGovern, former WWII ace bomber pilot, three term U.S Senator and failed Presidential candidate said what everybody was thinking but didn't have the credibility or moral bank account to say.

CHELSEA BITES BACK

Chelsea Clinton's respone was a bit curt when a college student asked about her mother's strength during the Lewinsky scandal. Chelsea chided him and said that in 70 college campus forums, no one brought that up and said it was no one's business. The student said he was a Clinton supporter and felt Chelsea missed a great opportunity to highlight her mother's ability to cope with adversity. Chelsea disagreed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The LuLac Edition #446, March 25th, 2008








PHOTO INDEX: FORMER PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON AND SENATOR BARAK OBAMA.


CAMPAIGN STAGING


There can never be a Presidential campaign in America, even into the 21rst century where there is no mention of one of the most dominant politicians of the last era, Richard M. Nixon. Dead now just under 14 years, Nixon and his tactics still loom large. Recently it has come to light that Senator Obama's speech against the war in Iraq, given when he was a State Senator is not all its cracked up to be. Apparently those who were there feel there wasn't a lot of tub thumping or passion and at best it was a lackluster but sincere effort. NPR reports today that in some of the latest campaign commercials, Senator Obama has re-enacted parts of the speech to make it more "relevant". Shades of Richard Nixon who in the '68 campaign held town meetings with handpicked questioners with you guessed it, handpicked queries. Now I'm not saying that Senator Obama is a Nixon, I mean the guy glides on a stage and through a speech while the introverted Nixon struggled. But it is worth noting that if you hear an ad for Obama in the Pennsylvania primary talking about the Senator's opposition to the war long, long ago, there are parts that are re-created. He was right on the war from the start, give him a gold star on that. But so was I and a few thousands of other people. And we don't have to exagerrate or re-create our opposition to the war. I'll say now what I said then, "another Vietnam".

BOBACK/MAY

The claws have come out in the 117th District race for State Representative. Challenger May says Boback won't debate. Boback says the dates provided by the League of Women Voters conflict with her Legislative duties in Harrisburg. May says she's ducking the debates, Boback says she's doing her job. And the beat goes on. But a debate might have been fine, maybe a discussion on public education vs. home schooling. I'm just sayin'............

PETRILLA'S PLACE

If anything, Maryanne Petrilla the newly minted County Commissioner is solidifying her place in Luzerne County history as a person broaching no nonsense when it comes to the hint of scandal. Give her credit, she is giving investigators free reign to look into everything that smells fishy under the dome. Wags say she hasn't just taken a broom to the joint, but a fleet of Orecks. (Which by the way, I think is an overpriced, medicore hyped up product that has not served me well in vacumming dutues around the LuLac abode but I digress!) Anyway, it will be interesting to see how the electorate will judge Petrilla and how history down the road will view her actions. I was outraged when she canned Kathy Bozinki but fair is fair and she's doing things unheard of in the County for the last 60 years, looking under the rug instead of sweeping under it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The LuLac Edition #445, March 24th, 2008














PHOTO INDEX: THE ALTAR AT ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH DECORATED FOR EASTER, THE BLOG EDITOR AND SENATOR BARAK OBAMA AND NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON.

THE LAST EASTER

It is amazing to me that I am on a death vigil for the church in which I was raised, baptized and confirmed. This morning at 11AM, the last Mass for Easter Sunday was said at the church, (St. John the Baptist Church) set to close in June. Packed to capacity, like it was when I was a boy, the familiar surroundings made it seem like nothing had changed. That of course was a momentary daydream. A young man held his baby in front of me while his wife dealt with her younger son who was a little tired, but not cranky or misbehaving. Joe Opendrick, a school administrator who went to St. John's a couple of years ahead of me sat in the pew behind. Richard Chen passed the basket as usual. Old friends David and Suzanne Dellarte (brother and sister) showed up to attend the church that nourished them spiritually. Mike Kosick who is a fixture at PNC Field despite walking with crutches was suited up as if it was his wedding day. (Once you see a guy in ballpark attire for years, you have to do a double take to see him dressed differently). A former co-worker from another part of my life, Judy Rydzewski Cudo was there with her husband, son and dad. (We had a picture taken of David, Judy and myself but it was a bit blurry). I understand WBRE TV came again to note the occasion interviewing people on the way into church. The joy of Easter was there for sure, because we all try to be practicing religious people. But there was an undercurrent of the end game coming soon. In a few months, the church built by our immigrant grandfathers and grandmothers of us all would be gone. The architecture and polished, carved wood that was an honor to its religion will pretty much be treated as another piece of real estate. Many of my friends and relatives tell me that of all people, I should not be making such a big deal out of this. But it is a big deal, you expect your favorite ball player or movie star of your youth to die before you. Your church? The rock of your faith, in a perfect world, should survive you. When I got home, Judy Rydzewski Cudo wrote me this e mail:
I still can't believe they are closing our church. I remember having to go there everying morning for the 7am mass before school started. Received all the sacraments there, even got married there, had my boy Erik baptised there, mom was buried from there...sang in the choir there, played guitar with Narda Sperazza (the current organist) there......lots of good memories with Msgr Super and Fr. Strish. John Adams our second President once said, "At a time in life when most men prosper, I am reduced to living in Philadelphia". I thought of that quote when I read Judy's e mail, thinking that at a time in my life when you prosper spiritually because of your church's foundation, the church that shaped your very Christianity, you are reduced to living (however good) with only memories.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE...

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson who watched The Super Bowl with President Clinton, who had two cabinet posts in the Clinton Administration endorsed Barak Obama for President the other day. Richardson who says he still has great affection for the Clintons said that Obama represented a new generation for politics. Richardson who has been begging for the Vice Presidential nomination from anyone, seems to think hitching his wagon to the Obama star can get him some political love. Richardson thinks that Senator Clinton should also suspend her campaign for President because he feels a fight to the finish at the convention in Denver will be bad for the party. Not surprisingly Senator Obama agreed. The endorsement comes at a time when Obama's campaign is reeling in the wake of the Reverend Wright dust up. So that's a good thing for the candidate and puts Richardson in line as a campaign saviour should the Illinois Senator prevail. In the meantime, as the Clinton's break bread for Easter, you know they have to be thinking about the old Harry Truman quote about loyalty in Washington, "If you want loyalty in this town, get a dog!"

Friday, March 21, 2008

The LuLac Edition #444, March 21rst, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS FROM THE 113TH AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE IN THE 118th, P.J. BEST AND OUR 1968 LOGO.

SHIMKUS FIGHTS ON


Frank Andrews Shimkus has decided to let the court order removing him from the ballot stand. Shimkus will run as a write in candidate on both the Republican and Deocratic ticket. On the GOP side, Republican Jim Williams said Thursday he will wage a write-in campaign for his party’s nomination in the 113th. Williams' reason is the fact he heard both Shimkus and Murphy were going to start a write in on the GOP ballot. Saying he was protecting his party from Democratic interlopers, Williams hopes to garner the nomination. If the Republican party had a real Chairman in the city perhaps they could have fielded a real candidate. But the Chair only comes out from behind the capicola and cling peaches when a national big shot comes to town. Other than those times, he can't be found.
Shimkus is going to have a formidable task. While he has the support of many senior citizens, there is a block of people who abhor the man. Perhaps these were people he worked in broadcasting with (we are a catty bunch!) or those who knew his first family. Either way, Andrews is going to have his hands full answering questions as to why he is not appealing the Judge's decision in the nominating case and just where he was living if not at that address he listed. Another problem Shimkus has is the fact that as an ordained minister, if he was living with a woman without the benefit of marriage (and personally I couldn't care less) the religious crazies in the area will have a field day with that one. Plus, educating people on write ins is a huge problem. As mentioned earlier, with the touch screens gone and paper ballots being used, this will be a huge teaching process for voters. And the primary is just a month away. Even a political genius like former Mayor Jim McNulty had a tough time in the 1977 Mayor's race when he tried to wage a write in effort. McNulty was at a huge disadvantage because of the old voting machines but nearly pulled an upset.
Kevin Murphy's role in the race seems to be solid but even he has a few problems. Murphy lost last time to Shimkus and was defeated for re-election to Scranton City Council because of his support for the Mayor's recovery plan program. There are still a block of voters who think that despite the revival of Scranton, this was not the right vote. But Murphy does have a leg up, is young, charismatic, has a photogenic family and a real grasp of the issues. This will be a race to watch.

P.J. BEST'S NOD

He's a young man running against a Democratic party old Harrisburg hand but is making some noise. When P.J. Best the son of Terry Best, Pittston Area School Director and unsuccessful candidate against incumbent Mike Carroll last time announced, many thought this might be a pipe dream. Plus Carroll's presentation of over 1200 signatures for a nominating petition that only required 200 was taken as a shot across the bow. But this week, the Teamsters endorsed the challenger Best. Here's what they said,
Teamsters Local 229 officially Endorses PJ Best for State Representative in 118th. Word came Wednesday morning regarding the unprecedented primary endorsement of PJ Best from the Teamsters Local 229. While the union typically endorses a candidate, the endorsement does not occur until the general election in November. "I'm honored that the Teamsters Local 229 valued my position against I-80 tolls and turnpike privatization enough to receive a primary endorsement," PJ stated in response to his endorsement. "I promise to work non-stop for the people of the 118th district."
Best still has an uphill battle and Carroll who has been a presence in the district will be tough to beat. But the endorsement brought a little spice into the race.

TIES THAT BIND

Run ins with celebreties are things us normal folks cherish. But when you get to do a favor for a guy running for President, and then he calls you personally to say "thanks", well that sticks with you the rest of your life. It also says a great deal about the candidate who took the time to dial up the benefactor and just show appreciation. Little things sometimes can turn an election. In the 1960 Presidential race, John Kennedy's call (at the behest of R. Sargant Shriver) to Martin Luther King's wife Coretta (while King was jailed for a trumped up traffic charge) swayed black voters away from the GOP once word got out. While this story does not have such serious ramifications, it still gives us an insight into the candidate. From the Scranton Times earlier in the week:
BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK
It was St. Patrick’s Day, and Joe Loughney thought something about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama just didn’t look right.
They met Monday when Mr. Obama dropped by Whistles Pub & Eatery.As Mr. Obama autographed a campaign sign for Mr. Loughney’s twin 3-month-old grandsons, Emmet and Andrew, Mr. Loughney noticed he wasn’t wearing any green just hours before the senator’s planned address at the Society of Irish Women of Lackawanna County dinner.Mr. Obama said he felt embarrassed about forgetting to wear green but moved on to greet others. Mr. Loughney, 64, of South Abington Township, a stockbroker and co-owner of Old Forge Pizza Express, couldn’t let it go. He pulled off his own green tie, bought only hours earlier, and gave it to a member of Mr. Obama’s staff.Mr. Obama wore the tie to the dinner.Hours later, Mr. Loughney’s cell phone rang. The staff member had also taken Mr. Loughney’s business card.“I answer the phone and the person said, ‘Joe, this is Barack Obama. I want to thank you for the use of the tie. It was a big hit,’ ” Mr. Loughney said. “I stumbled. I said, ‘This is amazing that you would call me.’ ” Mr. Obama said he would autograph the tie.An aide to state Sen. Robert J. Mellow brought it back to Mr. Loughney along with the business card, also autographed.“I thought it was phenomenal. I thought it showed a warm person and a great politician. To be honest with you, I love him,” Mr. Loughney said.
And why wouldn't he love him after that!!!!!

1968

Forty years ago this week, The My Lai massacre in Vietnam—this atrocity was not made public for 18 months, but it demonstrated the desperation and brutality of the US military. An emergency meeting of world bankers is held to establish a two-tier system for exchanging dollars for gold. Only national banks, not private traders, will be allowed to do so. In Pennsylvania, the State promised to repair a “dip” in Wyoming Avenue between Forty Fort and Wyoming…..In Luzerne County and in Lackawanna County, ground was broken for an 8 million dollar runway extension at the WB/Scranton airport, one of many……Wilkes Barre’s deputy city Treasuer, Joseph Mangan was appointed Chief County Clerk by the Commissioners under the dome…..in Pittston at St. John the Baptist Grade School a new student teacher arrived on the scene, Sister Simon who was roughly 10 years older than the 8th grade class and not related to anyone in the 1910 Fruitgum Company……and forty years ago this week, a guy named Kenny Rogers had a group called The First Edition and “They Just Dropped In To See What Condition Their Condition Is In”. From You Tube, the number 1 song in LuLac land 40 years ago this week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The LuLac Edition #443, March 19th, 2008





PHOTO INDEX: VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY AND FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON.

THE WAR AT 5

The Iraq War turned five today and it made me think back to the early run up of the war. I thought about this as I watched Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien debate a veteran on WYOU TV news tonight about who was right on the war, Senator Obama or Clinton. I will concede that Senator Obama showed pretty good judgement in not supporting the war at the start. I felt the same way because I remembered what a quagmire Vietnam became. But Obama was not in D.C. at the time getting the briefings from the White House. They turned out to be lies. But despite that, there were many in Washington who thought this Bush administration would have the same type of talent and resolve to win the war like Bush 41 did. After all, it was the same Washington GOP wisemen, right? They were there to advise the new President, correct? True. But the neo-cons led by Vice President Cheney chose to do it their way disregarding the advice of old Bush hands and instead sending a military into harm's way unprepared for battle. Let us not forget we did win the short part of the war but we were unable to transition that victory into peace. The war which was supposed to be fought in military style now became nothing more than a series of assassinations of American troops that left us powerless. In other conventional wars, we fought in combat. Here, our troops got ambushed by misguided and insane suicide bombers that took great joy in killing themselves and our troops. After five years, here's what we got for our efforts:
4,000 dead, assassinated by cowards not willing to fight hand to hand.
30,000 maimed and disabled. Then when they returned to the U.S., the "if you're against the war, you're against the troops" administratioin puts the injured in hospitals understaffed and filled with germs. They also try to screw "the troops" out of their benefits and bonuses.
600 billion spent on a mission with no clear end. That money in America could've done wonders but the GOP puts the fear of God into a guy making $30,000 a year saying the stinking liberals are going to raise his taxes to waste money on social programs. Yet Mr. Joe Sixpack who loves Bush doesn't mind his tax dollars going down a sink hole in the Mideast.
Yep, this is what 5 years has produced. That's why I don't care who was right, who was first or how many days we should wait to withdraw. Clinton or Obama, nuances aside will end the war and get us back on track.
In the meantime, Dick Cheney, in response to the fact that two thirds of the American people think the war is wrong says, "so?" All of you know the affinity I have for government and politics, and especially for the men who toiled in the shadows of the Vice Presidency. We've had alcoholics, men not gifted with great brains or rhetorical skills. And we've even had a few who just sat around and waited for the President to die. But we never had a Vice President like Dick Cheney. Calling him "an arrogant bastard" would be an insult to all bastards who ever lived. Let's see him visit the home of a disabled or fallen military person and justify this war. Won't happen because as we learned in grade school, bullies and bastards are pretty much cowards.

CLINTON WOWS!!

Former President Bill Clinton wowed them in Wilkes Barre. Mr. Clinton gave a spirited campaign speech in favor of his wife and was in rare form. Speaking with no notes, he highlighted Senator Clinton's positions, ability to do the job he did and pointed to some of her contributions. This was the Bill Clinton the Hillary campaign needs, articulate cheerleader in chief who will not get bogged down in semantics. When Clinton gave his first national address as the Keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic convention, he was so boring and long winded he had to be pushed off the stage. He has learned his speech making lessons well in two decades and is the secret weapon the Hillary campaign should deploy often. A reminder to all, when President Clinton left office, there was a huge surplus. There was no deficit. Today, well that's another story. For that reason alone voters should overwhelmingly elect a Democrat. And if given the constititional chance, they'd elect Bill Clinton. He is a rock star and a patriot. And you won't convince anyone who saw him today in Wilkes Barre otherwise.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The LuLac Edition #442, March 18th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: THE PROVERBIAL "HOT POTATO" AND HAZLETON MAYOR LOU BARLETTA.


Y'ALL COME!!!

Hazleton Mayor and candidate in the 11th Congressional District Lou Barletta is inviting the Presidential candidates to his fair city. It seems the Mayor is a tad annoyed that the candidates have by-passed The All American city in favor of stops in Wilkes Barre and Scranton. Barletta says the immigration issue is key in his area and that Hazleton is "ground zero" for that issue in America. Yeah, if I'm a strategist for McCain, I want to send him to Hazleton to remind voters of his stand on illegal immigration that has earned him the enmity of the GOP right. And If I'm running the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and every word and nuance is being parsed by the media, super delegates and everyone with an opinion, of course I'd like to tour the town that had its ordinance overturned in federal court. The immigration issue is a "hot potato" no one wants to
touch. All three, McCain, Obama and Clinton don't need the heat now or in the future. Hey, Rudy's available!!!!!

MURTHA BACKS CLINTON

Rep. John P. Murtha has announced his endorsement of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, bringing his clout as a 17-term member of the House and a prominent anti-war Democrat to bear with more than a month until the primary here in his home state."Sen. Clinton is the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy, and the war in Iraq," Murtha wrote in a statement about his decision. Murtha, who represents the 12th district of Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, was an early and sometimes inflammatory critic of the Iraq war. As a retired Marine Corps colonel and the first combat veteran of Vietnam elected to serve in Congress, Murtha's voice on Clinton's behalf could prove especially valuable in both inoculating her from anti-war criticism and bolstering her claim that she is the most qualified to serve as commander-in-chief. That message is the backbone of Clinton's appearances this week.

OBAMA ON RACE

In a ground breaking, from the heart address that has reminded many Deemocrats of John F. Kennedy's meeting with Protestant ministers in Housaton during the 1960 campaign, Senator Barak Obama tacked the issue of race head on in the city of brotherly love. Standing before a row of eight American flags near the building where the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Obama urged the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years.'"
The speech, at the National Constitution Center, was by far the most prominent airing of racial issues in Obama's 13-month campaign to become the first black president. It was prompted by the wider notice his former pastor's racial statements have been receiving in the past week or so.
He said he recognized his race has been a major issue in a campaign that has taken a "particularly divisive turn."
Obama rejected Wright's divisive statements but still embraced the man who brought him to Christianity, officiated at his wedding, baptized his two daughters and inspired the title of his book "The Audacity of Hope."
Obama's chief Democratic rival, said she was glad Obama had given the speech. "Issues of race and gender in America have been complicated throughout our history, and they are complicated in this primary campaign," said Clinton, also campaigning in Philadelphia.
Obama advisers said he wrote the deeply personal speech himself.

GOVERNOR ED'S HEALTH PLAN

The state House approved a new state-subsidized health insurance plan that would cover about 273,000 uninsured adults within five years. The bill is a modified version of Gov. Ed Rendell's Cover All Pennsylvanians. It passed, 118 to 81. The plan was opposed by many Republicans, who called it socialism. It is not everything Mr. Rendell wanted but it is a start and will certainly be debated for the next few months. The new plan would enable people earning less than $32,000 for a family of four to obtain free health insurance. People earning up to $42,000 would pay $40 to $50 per month, and people who earn up to $63,000 could buy coverage at the state's cost.
Subsidized coverage also would be available to small businesses.
In one of the major differences from Rendell's plan, some small businesses would be eligible for grants to help them afford health benefits for their workers. The plan is expected to cost $479 million during the first year. Money would come from several sources, including the surplus in a fund that helps pay doctors' medical malpractice insurance costs, and contributions from the state's four Blue Cross-Blue Shield plans. The biggest contribution was from Capitol Blue Cross.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The LuLac Edition #441, March 17th, 2008
















PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR BARAK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AND STATE SENATOR ROBERT MELLOW.


OBAMA'S UP!!!!


Like an exciting sudden death football game, Northeastern Pennsylvania is seeing the two great Democratic candidates of the '08 race. After a blast from the Clinton campaign, the Obama organization stepped up with the arrival of Senator Obama tonight. Over the weekend, Obama headquarters opened in Wilkes Barre. Today, the Illinois Senator touched down at the Wilkes Barre Srranton Airport and did a bit of campaigning himself. His first stop was Whistles where he participated in a MTV special featuring veterans. Obama is participating in an MTV taping with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, which is set to air at 6 p.m. March 20 on the music network. Senator Clinton will also tape a MTV program to discuss the fifth anniversary of the war and encourage young MTV viewers to vote in the upcoming election.
Obama then went to the Radison where he was introduced by State Senator Robert Mellow. Obama spoke to the Society of Irish Women, a group that has been having wildly successful meetings in place of the annual St. Patrick's Day dinner that is dominated by males. To be sure there were Clinton supporters at the dinner and a few more men than usual but Obama gave a speech that was part standard stump and part homage to the holiday and the way the city of Scranton celebrates it. Earlier Obama issued a statement on the economy. It is no accident that the Obama camp has saved its strongest rhetoric against the President and his financial policies in a state and region where economic concerns have always been a key talking point:
"History will not judge President Bush kindly for his failure to act in a way that could’ve prevented or alleviated this economic crisis. There have been few Administrations so out of touch with the concerns and the struggles of working Americans and so beholden to the lobbyists and special interests who blocked any kind of regulatory oversight of the financial sector. Whether it was subprime lending, credit cards, or bankruptcy laws, Washington has allowed these special interests to prevent sensible policy that could have prevented the most serious effects of the current predicament. "Nowhere has the failure been more pronounced than the President’s refusal to address the plight of homeowners and Main Street businesses that lie at the heart of the turmoil right now. After months of inaction and half-measures, the President traveled to New York last week to say that there is a danger in doing too much and implied that doing nothing would be preferable. His principle policy to address the financial crunch that now threatens millions of Americans with foreclosure and thousands of business with bankruptcy is to extend his tax cuts for the wealthiest few. It’s a policy so divorced from the reality facing the American people and the American economy that it would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening. "
Obama's stop here is a clear signal that he will be competitive in the state and in the important Northeast region. And it is interesting that the local politicos are split between the two. Senator Mellow and Commissioners O'Brien and Washo are backing Obama while Evie McNulty, Recorder of Deeds, Congressman Kanjorski and Scranton Mayor Doherty are supporting Senator Clinton. Senator Casey, who has to work with both of them and has had campaign aid from both Clinton and Obama has stayed neutral so far.

HAIL TO THE CHIEF

Former President Bill Clinton visits Wilkes Barre Wednesday At Coughlin High School to stump for his wife. The event starts at 3:45PM.

DAVE FROM GREENFIELD

Years ago when the late Terry McNulty had the morning drive show on WARM, one of his frequent callers was "Dave from Greenfield". I thought Dave had passed on but was pleased to hear him railing on WYOU TV today about the toll roads controversy. Old radio talk show callers never fade away, they just find a new venue.


Friday, March 14, 2008

The LuLac Edition #440, March 14th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: OUR 1968 LOGO, SENATOR EUGENE McCARTHY (CIRCA 1968) AND POPE BENEDICT XVITH.


THE NEW SINS


It's been about 1500 years since the subject of that which renders the souls of sinners to a fiery eternity was last visited upon by Pope Gregory I. This week, the Vatican released something of an update to the seven deadly sins; The Seven Social Sins:
1. Bioethical' violations such as birth control.
2. Morally dubious'' experiments such as stem cell research.
3. Drug abuse.
4. Polluting the environment.
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor.
6. Excessive wealth.
7. Creating poverty.
On the first two, I disagree with my man confident that I won’t be banished to eternal damnation. Number 3, I really don’t care about. If someone is dumb enough to get hooked on drugs, so be it. Maybe I’m being a tad judgmental here because I have battled my adversity without pain killers but abusing drugs like alcohol is a choice. Now there are some who are predetermined to abuse, that’s hard for them but if someone wants to go through life stoned, hey, not my problem.
On the last four, I agree 100%. They kind of interconnect. Polluters don’t care about the welfare of people. China is a toxic waste dump in terms of clean air but by God they produce goods cheaply. This enables the rich to get richer, the poor to get poorer. Excessive wealth is obscene. How rich is too rich? By so many corporate executives taking tons of money, they have in effect created poverty. Remember Enron? How about all those workers who lost their pensions? They aren’t middle class now. I’m getting the opportunity to see Benedict at Yankee Stadium in April. If I get close enough (not!!!) I’ll pepper him with a few questions on his new 7 deadly sins. Maybe even slip him a copy of “The Rules Of Life”.

$34.00 AN HOUR? I'M IN!


The Wilkes Barre police department used part of a more than $200,000 community policing grant to pay an employee $34.68 an hour, including benefits. The loot was used to pay him to answer phones at the police station, according to grant documents.
The money paid to Thomas Flannery is among several expenditures made from a 2007 federal Community Development Block Grant that are being questioned by a former city official.
Former community Development Direcrtor Jim Hayward is asking why the money was paid to Thomas Flannery. Hayward said he’s not convinced all expenditures from the grant qualified saying they are not part of normal police duties.
The issue has taken on special importance, Hayward said, in light of Mayor Tom Leighton’s recent decision to no longer send an officer to the Crime Watch meetings.
On Thursday night after the WB council meeting Bill Barrett said there was a “disconnect” between the crime watch the police. No police officers will attend the crime watch meetings until Council and the volunteers have more discussions.
Officials used part of the police grant to partially fund Flannery’s position, a part of the salary of Capt. Tom Unvarsky, and the salaries of two officers who patrol the downtown Business Improvement District.
Hayward said he also can’t see how the city justifies using grant money to pay part of the Business District offices salaries, given that property owners in the BID district pay additional taxes to the city to fund extra services, including police protection. Police Chief Gerry Dessoye defended the expenditures. On the BID district, Dessoye said the BID program pays for 80 hours of police work. Any hours over that are paid by the city. The BID district is classified as low to moderate income, therefore it qualifies for the grant money. He also noted the two officers work citywide, not just in the downtown. Hayward said he thinks that money could be better spent on developing other programs that more fully involve residents, especially the city’s Crime Watch groups.

OBAMA’S PREACHER MAN
!


Barak Obama is not responsible for the comments made by his pastor. The pastor has been making comments that some feel are inflammatory and Obama has distanced himself from them. Obama does have a pastor in a Christian church which could derail the whispering campaign that he’s really a muslim. But he should not be responsible for what his pastor says any more than I am responsible for the actions and comments of Bishop Martino. Non issues like this take away from the dialogue the candidates are supposed to discussing. Let’s quit the over analysis of people connected to the candidates and concentrate on what they are going to do to fix this country. Next, they’ll be coming after Hillary’s, Barack’s and McCain’s dry cleaners to get a whiff of controversy.

BARACK ON THE WAY!

He’s on the way to the Northeast and he’s campaigning hard amidst rumors that his campaign is ignoring the importance of the Keystone State. With Governor Ed “harrumphing” that the Obama forces are not taking his state seriously, Obama’s people are saying it would be pure folly to ignore the diverse state. In Wilkes Barre an Obama office has opened up and you can bet those people aren’t taking things for granted. Obama will be speaking to the Society of Irish women Monday night at the Radison. This group, instead of whining about not being invited to the men’s St. Patrick’s Day function has their own event. Jeez, can anyone name the speaker the boys are going to have at their shindig?


SHIMKUS SHUNNED

A judge removed the name of Frank Shimkus off the ballot. The judge sided with former Scranton City Council Chairman Kevin Murphy who said Shimkus did not live at the Hhouse listed on his nominating petition. Murphy is a candidate for Shimkus’ seat and was defeated by the former TV news anchor in the 2006 Democratic primary. Now this might only be a temporary setback for Shimkus. As we all know, Robert Cordaro got himself nominated for Commissioner but that was with the help of the easy to use touch screen ballots. A write in effort, where people have to write a name might be more complicated. Sometimes arcane rules like this violate the will of the people. If Shimkus were running for Congress, it wouldn’t matter where he lived. This will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Disclaimer: Kevin Murphy and I worked at Cable Rep Advertising from 1999 to 2000.

TONE DEAF

President Bush called the conflict in Iraq "romantic" for the troops there. Bush in a conference call made the point that the troops were fighting for a stated goal, and he said that the quest was romantic in the way a soldier goes off to war to fight for freedom. Spoken like a guy who hid out in Texas drinking beer during the Vietnam War. I'm sure the men and women who got their limbs blown off because they didn't have the proper body armor find their rehabilitation and prosthetics "romantic". For the first time in my life I must say this about my President, "What an idiot!"

1968

An eventful week forty years ago. On March 12th, Eugene McCarthy stunned President Johnson by garnering 42% of the vote against the incumbent. McCarthy was a two term Minnesota Senator who took up New York Congressman Allard Lowenstein’s plea to have a candidate run against Johnson. Even though Johnson won the primary and the delegates, the news rocked the Democratic party to its foundation. Here is a link to a wonderful article about Eugene McCarthy.
http://www.thevillager.com/villager_137/fallingforgenemccarthy.html
Forty years ago this week on March 16th, New York Senator Robert Kennedy “reassessed” his position and announced his candidacy in Washington D.C. The New Hampshire primary at that time was the very first in the nation. Yep, March 12th! This year it was Jan. 7th and almost happened before Christmas because of the “me too” nonsense of state party officials……..In Pennsylvania, Democratic party officials were stunned by the New Hampshire developments. Kennedy’s late entrance into the race prohibited him from getting on the Pennsylvania ballot and Vice President Humphrey was still weighing his options. So in terms of Presidential politics, Eugene McCarthy would be the only candidate on the ballot for the top spot……Meantime statewide, incumbent anti war Senator Joseph Clark was being challenged in the primary for U.S. Senator by Representative John Dent……On the county level, controversy erupted over a dinner courthouse Democrats wanted to have. County solicitor James L. Brown challenged plans for the $25.00 a plate fundraiser…..”Project Expansion”, the fundraiser of the Scranton diocese designed to build more schools and churches (this was forty years ago mind you) hit its goal of 8 million dollars….in Wilkes Barre City final interviews were conducted for the new position of “City Manager”…..in Pittston at St. John the Baptist Grade School, January report cards were issued and it appeared like everyone was slated to graduate and the number 1 song in the nation and in LuLac land this week forty years ago was “The Unicorn Song” by the Irish Rovers coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day. From You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EPsuOEH1fY&feature=related.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

The LuLac Edition #439, March 13th, 2008


PHOTO INDEX: 13 QUESTIONS LOGO.

13 QUESTIONS

1. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOME RULE IN LUZERNE COUNTY?

YOU KNOW I LOVE POLITICAL RACES AND THE WAY GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS WORKS. BUT THE TIME FOR A CHANGE IS NOW.
IN 1975, I THOUGHT IT WAS A BAD IDEA BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS WERE ONLY IN THEIR 8TH YEAR OF RULE. IT SEEMED LIKE A POWER GRAB TO ME BY A DYING REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE COUNTY. IN 2003, I THOUGHT VONDERHEID AND SKREP WOULD BE GOOD COMMISSIONERS AND FELT HOME RULE WAS NOT GOING TO SERVE THE PEOPLE WELL. BUT AFTER SEEING SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WENT DOWN IN LUZERNE COUNTY THIS YEAR, I'D BE ON THE FRONT LINE FOR IT. ONE GUY OR A COMMITTEE OF 9 COULDN'T MAKE IT ANY WORSE. AND PLEASE, LET'S KEEP THE LAWYERS AWAY FROM IT.

2. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL WITH THE ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE?

YOU HAVE TO BE THERE TO LOVE IT. WHEN I WORKED AT ROCK 107, PARTICIPATING IN THE PARADE WAS MANDATORY. I THOUGHT, "OH GREAT!" BUT ONCE YOU GET IN THE SCRANTON PARADE, SEE THE SPIRIT, THE FRIENDSHIP, THE UNBRIDLED CRAZINESS, YOU JUST CAN'T HELP YOURSELF. ONE YEAR I WALKED THE LENGTH OF THE PARADE WITH MICHAEL NEFF CARRYING A YANKEE BANNER WHEN THE BOMBERS WERE ON WEJL/WBAX. I BECAME A CONVERT. IT IS ONE OF THE GREAT EVENTS HERE IN NEPA. AND THAT'S COMMENTARY FROM A SLOVAK BOY!!!

3. WHAT NEWSPAPERS DID YOU READ AS A KID GROWING UP?

WE BOUGHT A LOT OF NEWSPAPERS ON SUNDAY. THE OLD INDEPENDENT, THE SUNDAY DISPATCH, THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (BOUGHT ON THE THEORY THAT MY FATHER BELIEVED YOU NEEDED TO HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF SPORTS AND POLITICAL INFORMATION ON THE BIGGEST CITY IN THE WORLD, NEW YORK) AND WHEN IT WAS NEW, THE SCRANTON TIMES DEBUTING IN 1966. IT GAVE ME A VERY WELL ROUNDED VIEW OF THE WORLD AND THE NEWS UP MY STREET.

4. YOU MENTIONED NELSON ROCKEFELLER'S UNTIMELY END WITH A YOUNG LADY. WHO WAS SHE AND WHO WAS ROCKEFELLER'S SUCCESSOR WHEN HE BECAME VEEP?

AS MENTIONED BY A POSTER THIS WEEK, THE YOUNG, STURDY LADY WITH ROCKY THAT NIGHT WAS MEGAN MARSHACK. WHEN PRESIDENT FORD PICKED ROCKEFELLER TO BE VICE PRESIDENT, THE LTN GOVERNOR MALCOLM WILSON GOT THE TOP JOB. WILSON WAS WITH ROCKY SINCE 1958 AND WAS A STEADY POLITICIAN WITH A GREAT DEAL OF KNOWLEDGE. HOWEVER HE HAD NO CHARISMA. IN THE 1974 PRIMARY FOR GOVERNOR, HE WAS SOUNDLY BEATEN BY CONGRESSMAN HUGH CAREY WHO WENT ON TO SERVE TWO TERMS IN ALBANY.

5. WHAT IS IT WITH YOU GUYS AND SEX?

I'M ASSUMING YOU'RE REFERRING TO THE SPITZER SCANDAL. WELL, MOST MEN ARE DOGS, HOUNDS. I KNOW OF A FEW MEN THAT HAVE STAYED FAITHFUL ALL THEIR LIVES TO ONE WOMAN. MY FATHER WAS ONE. AND TO THAT I SAY "GOD BLESS". BUT MEN, YOUNG OR OLD, JUST CAN'T RESIST A PRETTY WOMAN. MOST MEN FLIRT, BUT MANY ACT ON IT. THE KEY IS TO NOT GET INVOLVED IN SELF DESTRUCTION. SOME MEN HAVE A RECKLESS STREAK THAT MAKE THEIR LIVES DANGEROUS. AND FOR WHATEVER REASON, WHEN MOST MARRIED MEN HAVE AFFAIRS, THEY PICK WOMEN THAT ARE HIGH TO MAINTAIN. OTHERS PICK WOMEN WHO ARE CRAZY AS A **IT HOUSE RATS. IN MY LIFETIME, I BELIEVE I'VE ONLY DATED THREE NORMAL WOMEN WHO WEREN'T CRAZY. MRS. LULAC WAS ONE OF THEM. THE REST SEEMED TO GRAVITATE TOWARD ME AS IF I HAD A SIGN ON MY FOREHEAD THAT SAID, "CRAZY LADY, HERE I AM". THE BEST EXPLANATION I CAN GIVE IS FROM THE MOVIE "MOONSTRUCK" WHEN THE MOTHER PLAYED BY OLYIMPIA DUKAKIS ASKED DANNY AIELLO WHY MEN CHEAT. HE REPLIES, "BECAUSE THEY FEAR DEATH". IT'S UNSCIENTIFIC BUT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

6. FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURES?

WATCHING SPRING TRAINING GAMES ON THE "YES" NETWORK, A COUPLE OF FRESH COLD SHRIMP WITH COCKTAIL SAUCE AND EDY'S FRUIT BARS. FAVORITES ARE STRAWBERRY AND LIME.

7. WILL THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SKREP AND PETRILLA EVER BE REPAIRED?

DEPENDS. I DON'T THINK THEY ARE THAT STUBBORN. AFTER ALL, CROSSIN AND WIDEMAN CO-EXISTED FOR THREE TERMS.WHEN IT BECOMES POLITICALLY NECESSARY, THEY'LL DEAL WITH EACH OTHER. UNLESS OF COURSE EVENTS DICTATE OTHERWISE.

8. SINGLE OR DOUBLE BREASTED?

LOVE DOUBLE BREASTED EVEN THOUGH ONE OF THOSE CRAZY WOMEN I WAS INVOLVED WITH SAID IT MADE SHORT LITTLE FAT GUYS LOOK BOXEY. STILL WEAR THEM. I'M SURE MANY PEOPLE HAVE CALLED HER "CRAZY" MORE TIMES THAN PEOPLE HAVE CALLED ME "BOXEY".

9. DO YOU ENJOY DOING THE INTERACTIVE NEWS ON WYOU AS A GUEST?

LOVE IT. THE STAFF IS SUPERB AND THE FORMAT IS FAST PACED. KEEPS YOU ON YOUR TOES. I APPRECIATE EVERY INVITATION.

10. EARLIEST MEMORY OF ST. PATRICK'S DAY?

I WAS IN KINDERGARTEN AT THE OLD JEFFERSON SCHOOL IN PITTSTON JUNCTION. WE HAD A TEACHER NAMED MRS. ELIZABETH GALLAGHER WHO FED US GIRL SCOUT COOKIES AND HAD THE ENTIRE ROOM PAINTED GREEN. EVERYBODY WAS IRISH THAT DAY.

11. PASTRAMI OR CORNED BEEF?

YOU KIDDING? BOTH!!!!!!

12. WHERE DO YOU GET ALL THE INFORMATION FOR YOUR WEEKLY FEATURE ON 1968 EVERY FRIDAY?

I LIVED IT MAN! (ALTHOUGH I DO HAVE SOME DOCUMENTATION I SAVED AND REFER TO IT FOR ACCURACY).

13. DAVE, IT'S BEEN A TOUGH PRESIDENTIAL SEASON. WINTER IS (WE HOPE) ON ITS LAST LEGS. CAN WE HAVE A LITTLE "BANANA PHONE"?

YOU GOT IT! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xKLnsTUOB0&feature=related

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The LuLac Edition #438, March 12th, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: ON THE SET OF WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWS MONDAY NIGHT, SEATED; FORMER SCRANTON MAYOR AND POLITICAL CONSULTANT JAMES McNULTY, YOUR BLOG EDITOR, STANDING; POLITICAL JUNKIE AND CO-ANCHOR ERIC SCHEINER, CO-ANCHOR AND PROVERBIAL ROSE AMONG THE THORNS CANDACE GROSSKLAUS AND WEATHERMAN, AKA "MR. ACCURATE" DAVID KUHARCHIK.


WYOU VISIT


I'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the folks at WYOU TV for having me as a guest on Monday night on their 11PM news. I had the honor of sharing the set with a man familiar to the WYOU studio, former Scranton Mayor Jim McNulty. As always, the WYOU staff, in front and behind the cameras were wonderful and made the experience another one to remember. I shared Jim McNulty political trivia with the former Mayor, (telling him the color of his old campaign signs), found out that Eric Scheiner was quite the political reporter in New Hampshire and elicited from Candace Grossklaus that even as a Viking fan, she too loved Brett Farve. Thanks again for the chance to give my opinions and promote this site.

OBAMA'S TASK

With all the hoopla surrounding the Hillary Clinton campaign in this area, we should be aware that she has a formidable opponent. But Senator Obama has a huge task in front of him to persuade Pennsylvania voters to come to his side. Obama's challenge will be the make up of the state, not the geographics but the mentality of the Commonwealth. We are not change agents by any means and that is at the core of the Obama campaign. This is a state that is behind the trends in social and political engineering. In 2007, the State Legislature for the first time in 50 years started to talk about a bill controlling lobbyists in Pennsylvania. It took years to get an open records bill through both houses in Harrisburg. (Might have been quicker had there been a payraise attached to it!) Until that payraise, the retention rate for Legislators in the state was an unreal 96%. We, as a people here resist change. And Obama's challenge will be to implore the citizens here that they can make true change. They can do the following:
1. Think out of the box and go for Obama. Obama's pitch can be that if Pennsylvania goes his way, the state will have a say in making history paving the way for his nomination. Obama can say that with the Pennsylvania vote, the election will be decided and he can get on with the business of offering Senator Clinton the second spot on his ticket. Or better yet, he can have his wife suggest it, like Mr. Clinton did.
2. Obama needs to appeal to Pennsylvania's collective pride and shame. He has to send the message that this state can change the dynamics of politics as we know it. His message must imply that it would be a shame if Pennsylvania stayed stuck in their "rut" and let another state or group of faceless super delegates change history.
It is a challenge because we Pennsylvanians love our "ruts". But there is an opening. Obama must reach out to those voters with specifics, not platitudes. Pennsylvanians want to know "what's in it for me"? We've been screwed by the best of them, steel and coal barons, union busters and corrupt political machines that owned our votes in blocks. The shame is we let them do it to us. Obama has to shake the state by its roots and ask the voters if they want "in" on his change war or not. That's the only way for him to succeed.
During the 1968 campaign, Gene McCarthy won the primary here. Not because people wanted to end the war but because he was the only guy on the ballot. In 1972 when the nation was going for McGovern in droves, Pennsylvania reached into the past and voted for Hubert Humphrey. By the 1976 campaign, Jimmy Carter was already gathering the established Democrats across the land quickly dispatching a more liberal voice, Representative Morris Udall. In 1984 Gary Hart whistle stopped by train but Walter Mondale prevailed. We are never on the cutting edge of change in Presidential elections, as a matter of fact we tend to go against the "new and different", "warm and fuzzy". Overcoming that mindset will be Obama's greatest challenge but might be a key to winning.

TO THOSE WHO WAIT

Governor Spitzer resigned Wednesday. Only in America can a TV talk show host like David Letterman rant on about the Governor without retribution from his network and his (Spitzer's) recent playmate comes forward and says "she'd like a music contract please" for engaging in sex with the Guv. The only person on the winning side here is the Ltn. Governor who is thrust (sorry no pun intended) into the limelight. He is by the way one Mr. David Patterson who according to Albany sources is very qualified. But Ltn. Governors are pretty much in the same position as Vice Presidents. In 1989, a co-worker and I went to New York state on a day trip. I wanted to get some fine New York state wine and she wanted to see an old boyfriend. While she meandered off with him, I bought my wine and took a tour of the State Capitol. The Albany Capitol is a testament to the brilliance of Nelson Rockefeller's view of government. The buildings are outstanding. Anyway, as I was entering an elevator to get to another area of the Capitol Building, two other men entered after me. Two people in the elavator greeted the one man as "Governor". I knew immedtaiely it was Mario Cuomo's Ltn. Governor Stan Lundine who ran with Cuomo in 1986 and served until 1995. At that time there was rampant speculation that Cuomo would run for President in 1992. As we traveled to the designated floor, one of the men asked Lundine what was on his agenda for the year, he said jokimgly, "A little bit of this and that, but mainly just waiting around". That's essentially what second in commands do. And this week, the waiting for David Patterson stopped.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The LuLac Edition #437, March 11th, 2008










PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARYANNE PETRILLA, RETIRED ADULT FILM STAR ERICA BOYER AND CHELSEA CLINTON.


MAKES YA WANNA SPIT-ZER!


A very cynical co-worker came up to me on Monday afternoon with the news of New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's involvement with a prostitution ring. She took sheer delight in telling me since on my screensaver is a shot of another former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Getting on the web, I soon found out the sordid details and began to think of the ramifications of this scandal. First off, it finished off a promising political career. But that political career was built on a lot of self righteous tub thumping that made Spitzer a target for this type of ridicule. When another former New York Governor and Vice President died with his pants off in a Midtown brownstone with a woman half his age, make that two thirds his junior, people shrugged and said "That's Rocky". Nelson Rockefeller had never said he was a choirboy in the lady's department. Neither was Bill Clinton which is why he got a pass on impeachment. Both Rockefeller and Clinton never preached like saints and when there was a sin, there was some uproar but not enough to get rid of Clinton or diminish Rockefeller's career as one of New York State's most progressive Governors. However with Spitzer and his tough guy no nonsense family values persona, the scandal does greater damage because he led a double life. When the news broke, the first word out of most people's mouths was "hypocrite". If you're going to walk on the wild side and you're in public life, don't hide behind the family and your moral judgement on the way people should live their lives.
When the news broke, I could not help but think of an old radio client that owned an establishment that provided, uh companionship to men in the area. His head would be spinning with the prices Spitzer paid. And to put it in perspective, in her adult film career, Erica Boyer never made $4300.00 in an hour or $31,000 in a day. *
Source: adult film base historical facts.*

NO JOKE LEAH

So when the Clinton advance team went to Revello's (great pizza but too noisy for my tastes) my cousin Leah Klink thought they were kidding. The staff member told her Mrs. Clinton “was in the mood for Old Forge-style” pizza. The 24-year-old engineering major at Penn State Wilkes-Barre and master baker at the pizza shop told her boss, Pat Revello, whose mother, Delores, owns the shop at West Grace and Main streets. And when Senator Clinton grabbed her slice on Monday afternoon, that was certainly no joke.
The Old Forge visit was also a coup for the first woman elected Mayor in the borough, Michelle Avvisato.

CHELSEA IN TOWN

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Hillary Clinton, will host a Q&A at Wilkes University on at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday in the Henry Student Center (1st floor), 84 West South St. Wilkes Barre. The Senator and former President's daughter was in town Tuesday to open up the Scranton campaign headquarters. The appearance of Chelsea Clinton is just another indication as to the importance of this area to the Pennsylvania primary.

HOME RULE

Luzerne County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla told the Times Leader she has been contacted by people who want to revive the push for a home rule form of county government.
While she has agreed to meet with them soon, Petrilla said she doesn’t know if they could convince her to support putting a home rule study question on the November ballot.
Minority Commissioner Stephen A. Urban said he supports home rule, and Commissioner Chairman Greg Skrepenak said Monday that he does not.
If commissioners don’t put a home rule study question on the November ballot, it would be up to voters to round up an estimated 5,000 signatures on a petition. The last time Home Rule was on the ballot was 2003 when it was defeated. During that election, Democratic candidates Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak told the voters to forget about home rule and "trust us". They did and now the discussion on home rule has started up again.
Kingston resident David Capin started a Web site --
www.homeruleyes.com – but Wilkes-Barre activist Tim Grier said the site hasn’t been updated. Grier supports home rule and is willing to help the cause. Grier, like others believes a new form of government would add more checks and balances, rather than allowing a majority of three commissioners to hold all the marbles. More talk began to emerge about Home Rule when the debit card scandal broke and when former aide to the commissioners Sam Guesto quit the County Clerk job and was rewarded with a newly created job with the Judges. Guesto said he left the first job to spend more time with the family. Activitists like Grier want Home Rule to ensure that many more elected officials get to spend time with the folks at home and out from under the dome.