Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The LuLac Edition #528, July 30th, 2008












PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR BARACK OBAMA AND THE LATE THOMES E. DEWEY, CIRCA 1948.

60 YEARS PAST

He was the presumptive President. There was no way the battered Democratic party with the unpopular Commander in Chief was going to win the 1948 election. Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York and former crime fighting DA was the toast of America. He commanded huge crowds wherever he went. Newsreels were devoted to his crime fighting exploits and played in theatres on a daily basis. The national media anointed him as the next leader of the free world. Foreign countries sent emissaries to speak with him to see how they would be treated. Many politicos petitioned him for places in his new administration. Radio commentators of the day did fawning reports on his ability to inspire the country. He was sleek, smooth and charismatic. The only criticism of him was that he spoke in generalities. “I’ll clean up Washington”, “There's a mess in Washington”, and “We’ll build a better tomorrow”.
Fast forward 6 decades later. The Democrats have a presumptive President in Barack Obama. He is deemed a rock star. Foreign leaders give him an opportunity to meet, tour and speak before their countrymen and women. Huge crowds greet him wherever he goes. Videos on the web are made about him and played constantly on the internet. He even shuns the traditional convention hall acceptance speech to go before the assembled multitude in a sports stadium that seats over 80,000. Talk surrounds his new administration appointees, who will land where and in what department. The national media has given him the benefit of the doubt in his experience level. They have also given us a hint of what it means to have him as a symbol of hope. The candidate himself has already indicated that he is more than an office seeker, he is the symbol of the hopes and dreams of the future of America. The only criticism of him is that he speaks in generalities. “Let hope begin”, “We need to have fundamental change”, and “Change is what is needed now”.
Thomas Dewey lost that 1948 election for a few reasons. The farm vote that broke for Harry Truman, the fiesty President’s own tenacious streak and tireless whistlestop campaign. But Dewey lost because he was regarded as an aloof, arrogant, preachy, elitist candidate who spoke in generalities. A gracious man in private, people just did not like him because of his public persona.
We Americans are a cantankerous lot. We don’t like to be told that anything is a done deal. Or that anything or anyone is presumptive. The Obama campaign should take note of that fact.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The LuLac Edition #527, July 29th, 2008




PHOTO INDEX: FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR LINWOOD HOLTON AND HIS SON IN LAW, CURRENT VIRGINIA GOVERNOR TIM KAINE.

KAINE CONNECTION?

There is now talk that Barack Obama may be interested in picking Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as his Vice President. This is intriguing for a number of reasons.
1. Virginia has not been a Democratic State in Presidential politics since 1964. By picking Kaine, it puts the state in serious play.
2. There is a connection with Obama’s black roots. Both he and Kaine were born in Kansas but more importantly Kaine is the son 8in law of former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton. Holton was the first Republican elected in the state since Reconstruction. More importantly he was a hero many blacks in the state because as a Progressive Republican, he integrated schools quickly and had his children (one of them now Kaine’s wife) attend Richmond public schools. Holton is revered on a bi partisan basis in Virginia and his political pedigree has rubbed off on his son in law.
3. Unlike the other people Obama is looking at, Kaine is not a Washington insider. Obama has articulated to some that he would like an out of Washington running mate who can help him affect change from within. Kaine seems to fit that bill.
4. The only negative Kaine seems to have is his lack of foreign policy experience.

SENATOR INDICTED

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a fxture Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted Tuesday on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home.
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter said, "I've known Ted Stevens for 28 years and have always known him to be impeccably honest”.

DEMS WITH DOUGH

In the 10th and 11th Congressional races, the Democrats seem to have the edge in fundraising and cash on hand. This points to the power of the incumbency. Congressman Carney and Kanjorski have over a million dollars on hand (that estimate is conservative) compared to their foes Chris Hackett and Lou Barletta’s totals of under half a million each. If money is the mother’s milk of politics, the Dems have a very big lead.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The LuLac Edition #526, July 28th, 2008





PHOTO INDEX: JIM FITZGERALD, FORMER GORVERNOR TOM RIDGE AND BLOG EDITOR, BLOG EDITOR AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL IN 2008.

VEEPSTAKES

Idle speculation on the Vice Presidency continues across the country with the pundits so we might as well indulge too. Here’s my picks, keep in mind they are just my own and most likely will be highly inaccurate.

McCAIN/RIDGE

Yep, former Governor Tom Ridge will get the nod and this ticket was bolstered yesterday on Fox News Sunday by none other than Bill *Kristol, the conservative panelist. Ridge though pro choice can be a comfortable pick for McCain. They’re friends, like each other and there will be no question of Ridge’s ability to step in as President if needed. However, as *Kristol indicated yesterday, it is all in how the selection is presented to the right wing of the party. Ridge can admit his pro choice bias, but also say that he will not be the guy appointing the Supreme Court Justices, McCain will. And if they don’t like it, McCain never was a favorite of the Republican right anyway. A base that sits home might be made up by showing the independent streak that got him where he is today in national politics. McCain needs to use a big state strategy. Pennsylvania is tailor made for him. Conservative, many veterans, and a middle of the road state where moderates have held sway in our politics. Think about all the successful multi term politicians in the Commonwealth, all were middle of the road politicos who were rewarded with multiple terms. The two Senators who were viewed in the extreme, Joseph Clark in the fifties and sixties on the left and Rick Santorum in the nineties and this decade on the right, were defeated and dismissed after two Senate terms they barely won. Ridge is a middle of the road guy who will play well here and enable McCain to carry these electoral votes. **Kristol: corrected from earlier post.

OBAMA/CLINTON

To me there is no other choice. The Senator from Illinois has to shore up the perception that he can’t carry the big industrial states. And in my view he can’t do it without Hillary Clinton. She will bring the disaffected women who were her stronghold as well as many elements of the party still not trusting him. The other choices mentioned are bland, white Senators and Governors who will not diminish the star power of Mr. Obama. That may be a good and bad thing. Good because he will remain the center of attention, the rock star if you will, bad, because they add nothing electorally. And we cannot forget that Obama is still the first black man to run for national office. Will voters say they will gladly pull the level for a person of any color but when they get down to cases actually decide not to go with what they told the pollsters? This happened twice to the popular Mayor of Los Angelious Tom Bradley in the 80s when he ran for Governor. Even though the Dems seem to think they have this in the bag, there are numerous pitfalls that can trip Obama up. Senator Clinton seems to be the best option given that she can bring her substantial vote total to the table for this ticket.


WILD CARDS

If not Senator Clinton, then what about Governor Rendell? Although Mr. Rendell has said on numerous occasions he would not be interested, Rendell would bring domestic policy gravitas to the slate, boundless energy and a formidable statewide organization that might blunt any inroads the GOP might try to make. Plus, Rendell can make the case to the middle class on how important a Democratic victory can be for their economic needs and viability. If not Rendell, then Colorado Senator Ken Salazar might be a good choice. Salazar, a Hispanic made a major breakthrough by becoming Colorado’s first Latino Senator and first Democrat since Gary Hart to serve from the Rocky Mountain state. He can bring with him the Latin based community as well as energize the west, a usual GOP stronghold. The negative? Another minority on the same ticket but maybe this year is the perfect time, a year to see if that change can be transformed into a new electoral coalition that will last for generations to come.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The LuLac Edition #525, July 25th, 2008



















PHOTO INDEX: THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT TEAM OF ROWAN AND MARTIN, OUR 1968 LOGO, STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN YUDICHAK AND LACKAWANNA COMMISSIONERS WASHO AND O'BRIEN FLANKING ROTARY PRESIDENT JOE PAGANINI.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

It appears that one of our local State Representatives, John Yudichak was way ahead of the ramifications of the “Bonusgate” controversy in Harrisburg. As far back as January of 2008, Representative Yudichak, and Representatives Bill Keller and Don Frankel called for the resignation of House Majority Leader William DeWeese. Their actions came after DeWeese conceded to local editorial boards across the state that “he was asleep at the wheel” when the incidents of paid legislative staff mixed their duties with political work were occurring. Yudichak told us “this is no time for people to lose faith in state government with high gas prices, the mortgage crisis and major economic issues facing citizens trying to get by. Citizens have to have faith that their government will do the right thing which is why I called for Mr. DeWeese to step aside”. Yudichak certainly has sent a signal that despite being a member of the Democratic caucus, he is not ruled by them when it comes to ethics and good government. Yudichak recently appeared on WILK’s Steve Corbett show explaining his stance.

BEEP BEEP!!!!

When I had access to an unnamed County Chief Clerk years ago, I remember the following incident very well. A long time county worker was asking for an outrageous raise but because he lacked the education of his staff, it turned out the people who were working for him made more money. The County Clerk’s solution: give the car a Crown Vic out of the county fleet presumably for business. The guy got the car and was happy as a clam until his retirement. For years county cars and mileage have been treated as the corner candy store for the people who worked in government. Some governmental bodies institutionalized it like Wilkes Barre City where council members get mileage. Others have a sort of system where cars and gas cards are allotted on a piecemeal basis. In Luzerne County, debit cards were tried as a matter of choice and we all see what happened there. From the land of the Lac comes word that Commissioners Washo and O’Brien have actually instituted a policy on county related travel. The County is cutting by more than half the number of employees who regularly drive county cars and the commissioners are also reclaiming gas cards of the ever popular segment of county worker deemed nonessential. As of June, the county had 86 gas cards in use — 31 of which are used by Lackawanna County’s Coordinated Transportation program and will remain with those vehicles. Four elected officials currently have gas cards, Commissioner Munchak, DA. Jarbola, Coroner Brennan and Controller Ken McDowell, the latter who reportedly uses his county vehicle not to show up for work.
This step of the county based energy agenda is another right note sounded by the Washo and O’Brien administration. Both men have shown very good inclinations toward reform in government and have not been shying about taking a hard look at the county finances. I shared a panel with them in March on WYOU TV and both were impressive as a team.

IMMIGRATION KILLING

To be very honest, given the recent hostility toward immigrants of Mexican decent, I wasn’t holding my breath for charges to be filed in the death of a Schuylkill County man. I really thought if charges were not brought, it might begin the process of people from outside our locale coming in and asking for justice, much like the civil rights freedom riders of the 1960s did in the south. But thank goodness I was wrong because two teens were charged with homicide in connection with the July 12 beating and subsequent death of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala in Shenandoah. A third faces other charges related to the incident.
Brandon Piekarsky, 16 and Colin Walsh, 17, both of Shenandoah, are incarcerated in Schuylkill County Prison after being arraigned before a magistrate this morning. Piekarsky and Walsh are both charged with one count each of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, and ethnic intimidation.

ONE VOICE????

Today’s Times Leader recounts a post mortem on the McCain rally on Wednesday in Wilkes Barre at the Kirby Center. GOP County Chairman Terry Casey said the 800 or so was a respectable showing. His duly elected Vice Chair disagreed saying he “cringed” when he saw the balcony empty. He intimated the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing as far as organizing the event. Former Chair Lynette Villano did not attend for work reasons. Fair enough. But she could resist getting in a dig saying she was disappointed with the turnout. And DeFabo said if he was made aware of things earlier, his group would’ve packed the place. This from a man when he was 6th district chairman sometimes couldn’t fill a full slate to run against the Democrats on City Council. Despite the election of a new chairman, the county GOP has reverted to form, acting like disagreeable Democrats. But the Dems win, the GOP doesn’t. On an event like this, there should be one voice, the voice of the chairman. He should be the one to defend the turnout, answer the inquiries and put a sunny side on the event. The comments from his own executive committee did nothing but accentuate the “individualism” of the county party. As I noted in my previous edition of how the GOP should rebuild itself in The LuLac Edition #376, Dec. 21, 2007, there is no room for democracy when you’re trying to build a party. Sorry. It’s a luxury the GOP does not have right now. The Luzerne County Democrats rebuilt their party through iron fisted control of their own membership. The GOP has to do the same. The McCain event was a gift from the political Gods, an opportunity to tout the philosophy of the national candidate and how that independence and candor could translate into next year’s local elections. But no one used that tactic and everybody went “off message”. Until people like DeFabo and Villano deliver either thousands of votes or dollars, they should just keep their concerns to themselves. One voice. One Chairman. One message.

1968

Forty years ago, the National GOP credentials and platform committee met in Miami for the upcoming convention. Former Vice President Richard Nixon held a commanding lead in delegates over New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the newest entry into the race California Governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan entered as a type of “stop Nixon” candidate on behalf of the right wing of the party but it was too late to make an inroad…..In our 1968 series we hardly touched on the impact of TV. 1968 was a big year for TV, here are some of the shows that made an impact, in January The Lennon Sisters make their final appearance on The Lawrence Welk Show..... On April 4 James Brown appears on national television, in an attempt to calm feelings of anger in the United States following the assassination of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr......Also on April 8 British singer Petula Clark appears on a US television special on NBC with Harry Belafonte as a guest. An innocent, affectionate gesture between the two during a song (Clark touched Belafonte on the arm) prompts concern from the show's sponsor (Chrysler Corporation) due to the difference in their races, but the scene is aired intact at Clark's insistence. The special airs to high ratings and marks the first time two different races share friendly bodily contact on American television…On October 14, the first live network transmission of video from inside a manned US space capsule in orbit ("Apollo 7") There were six such broadcasts during their eleven-day mission......During October 21-25- Joan Crawford makes a guest appearance for five episodes on the CBS soap opera The Secret Storm filling in for her ailing daughter, Christina. However, Joan slurs her lines and is obviously intoxicated during the tapings. In November NBC breaks away from a pro football game to air a TV movie adaptation of Heidi, sparking furious protest.....on November 22 on NBC William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols share the first interracial kiss on US television in the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren"......in December Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special airs on NBC.....and CBS uses a portable minicam for political convention coverage. But perhaps the biggest show that had an impact was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In which debuted in January of ’68. From YOU TUBE: Rowan and Martin's Laugh In: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGvzmOoh3Y.
Shows we said goodbye to in 1968 were The Man From U.N.C.L.E . (1964-1968), Lost in Space (1965-1968), The Lucy Show (1962-1968), Batman (1966-1968).....The 58th and final episode of The Monkees airrd on NBC......The Bell Telephone Hour (1959-1968) and The Fulton Sheen Program (1961-1968)……..statewide, appraisals are planned for acquisition of the multi million dollar site of the Nescopeck Creek State Park…..Stage and screen actor Lee Tracy, who starred in one of my favorite political movies “The Best Man” left an estate of 2 million dollars to his wife, the former Helen Thomas of Nanticoke…..the city manager of Wilkes Barre proposed a bond issue to fund capital projects in 1969....and forty years ago this week in LuLac land and all across America the number 1 song was “Hello I Love You” by the Doors. From YOU TUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x34wa2jehek


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The LuLac Edition #524, July 24th, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: TOP, SENATORS CLINTON AND OBAMA, BOTTOM, McCAIN FOR PRESIDENT BUTTON.

GUEST WRITER

Very rarely do we have a guest writer on our site but when this missive came my way last night, I had to share it with you as part of something bigger than a mere post. This is a well thought out opinion on why a Hillary Clinton supporter and life long Democrat has chosen to support John McCain. We hear every day WILK's Steve Corbett talking about this phenomena but here it is in black and white folks. Not from me, not from Corbett but from a soul searching, thinking voter and reader of LuLac who made a tough decision.

FOR McCAIN

Many times since the primary season ended, I have been asked to tell why I support John McCain. After all, I have admired Senator Hillary Clinton for a long time. When her husband was caught in one of his many trysts, and people were contemptuous of her for not divorcing him, I was in awe of a woman who was willing to stand by her marriage vows and to work through the “for worse” that she was experiencing at the time. Whether she was accused of being a First Lady who didn’t know her place because she dared to express opinions and to work at garnering support for legislation, or was the subject of rumors of the most heinous type (remember Vince Foster?) by political opponents, she held her head high and continued working on a variety of issues that were important to her – think the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP as an example. When she was being vilified as a carpetbagger who moved to New York to run for the U.S. Senate, I wondered how that was any different from what others have done – Robert Kennedy comes to mind. As U. S. Senator, she has earned the respect of her constituency, as proven by her re-election in a State notoriously split between the needs of the rural northern counties and those of the enormous metropolis to the south.
So, when she announced her run for the Presidency, I was happy to be able to support her. Unlike some who supported her because they thought she learned a lot about the Presidency through “pillow talk” with her husband, I knew she was a strong, highly intelligent, ambitious and competent woman who suffered the slings and arrows usually reserved for the elected official, long before she sought public office. Let’s face it- she had already been vetted. I doubt there is anything about her that remains to be uncovered. And I liked her politics. The fact that she was a woman was the frosting on the cake for me.
As things turned out, Senator Clinton was not destined to become the Democrat’s choice. Instead, the Party and much of the media chose to elevate a brash, maybe even arrogant young Senator who has done little of substance to prepare for the Presidency except to run for public office since 1996, first in the State House in Illinois. As anyone who has served in the State House will tell you, as soon as the election is over, your time is devoted to preparing for the next election which arrives in two short years. So you go to fundraisers, curry favor with the powers that be and try to do the job you were elected to do. And while you’re at it, you might also join a law firm, work for the University of Chicago Law School, and travel to Bali to complete work on a book. And you could sit on a variety of boards. Then you could mount a run for the U. S. House of Representatives, lose that election by a two to one margin, and four years later, make your move in a run for the U. S. Senate. Three years after that, you determine that you are sufficiently qualified to run for the U. S. Presidency. Why not? You look good and you deliver a hell of a sermon – I mean speech. Your audiences are so enthusiastic that you begin to believe your own hype. The fact that you speak in rousing generalities and sound like a cheerleader only endears you to the masses. Never mind that you aren’t saying anything of substance. Never mind that you act supremely confident that, not only will you be elected to the Presidency, but that it is your birthright and you will not be denied. After all, this is the age of Survivor and Dancing with the Stars, so it comes as no surprise that flash should triumph over substance. It’s a popularity contest, not an election and anyone who thinks otherwise is naïve. You are after all, Senator Barack Obama, Champion of the Poor and downtrodden, Incarnation of the American Dream, Knight in Shining Armor and Holier than All the other candidates combined.
Except that you frequently don’t seem to know what you’re talking about. And you have this thing for misleading impressions – like the one floating around out there that you voted against the Iraq war, when you weren’t even in the U. S. Senate at the time. If I hear one more time how brave you were to express your antiwar opinion in a speech, I may burst out laughing. No particular bravery is needed to speak out in a Free Nation, is it? Or the one about how you and Michele are “just plain folks”. Never mind her salary of more than a quarter million dollars as director of community and external affairs at a Chicago hospital and the couple’s $4.7 million income as reported on their 2007 tax return. Call me cynical, but I am suspicious of a person’s motives when they constantly remind us of their humble beginnings but neglect to tell us that things have improved vastly for them over the years. So don’t tell me about your opponent’s (Clinton) opulent home unless you also tell me about your own $1.7 million house. And let’s be consistent rather than saying what you think your audience wants to hear. If you say you will accept public financing for your campaign, then do so. If you think Union money is “special interest” funding for your opponents, then don’t accept it yourself.
I have great difficulty listening to Obama. He preaches with passion. I want a leader with reason. He travels abroad to prove he is “Presidential” by being photographed with world leaders. I want a leader whose mettle has been proven and who is Presidential because of a lifetime of service and integrity that has been evident throughout his career.
Enter John McCain. A Republican, to be sure, but then no one is perfect. I may not agree with all of his positions, but at least I know what they are. And more importantly, I respect his judgment. He has an extensive record in the Senate. He has shown himself willing to cross party lines when he feels it is necessary. I am particularly impressed by his claim that he has never included an earmark in any legislation he has sponsored. He is one of only five U. S. Senators who can make that claim. He has a temper, proving he is human. But he also has great compassion and a willingness to listen to the opposing point of view. More importantly, he has a lifetime of service to Country. I will mention his time as a POW not because I think it qualifies him to be President, but because it illuminates in him the traits that make him qualified. He showed strength, courage and integrity under almost unimaginable conditions. Upon his return home he decided to continue his service by entering politics, serving first in the U.S. House of Representatives and since 1986 in the U. S. Senate. He is respected and admired by members of both Parties. He tells it like it is in a calm, non flashy, sensible manner.
One more thing about McCain: There has been lots of talk since we blundered our way into Iraq that we need to “remember the lessons of Viet Nam”. This has been taken to mean that we must support our troops as a nation, which is a good lesson to be sure. But I believe the valuable lesson that we have not learned is the importance of winning a conflict with honor. We have wreaked havoc on Iraq, destroying its infrastructure and allowing terrorists an atmosphere in which they can flourish. We have a responsibility to make right what we have done. The Surge is just the beginning. Senator McCain knows that our work in Iraq is not yet finished and that it will not be until Iraqis can live without fear and until their government is willing and able to do the hard work they must do to survive as a free nation. We cannot afford scenes like those we saw upon our exit from Viet Nam when people who had worked for us were reduced to hanging onto the runners of the helicopters that were evacuating the last of the U.S. personnel from the roof of our Embassy. Like it or not, we cannot cut and run or even set a deadline for withdrawal.
So upon reflection, I find myself supporting a white male Republican. That’s about as far from my Democratic roots as I can imagine finding myself. But then I’ve always tried to support the candidate who seems to me the best fit for the office he or she is seeking. In November, that will be John McCain for President of the United States.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The LuLac Edition #523, July 23rd, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR JOHN McCAIN, 10TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATE CHRIS HACKETT AND STATE SENATOR LISA BAKER.

THE McCAIN VISIT


For many residents of LuLac land, John McCain has been a guy on TV that ran for President against George Bush, railed against pork barrel spending and served time in a prison camp. His appearances to the area have been sparse but today that changed when Senator McCain visited with residents at the FM Kirby Center today before his fundraising lunch at the Westmoreland Club. McCain came on to the stage shortly after 10:15AM and received a nice round of applause. After a brief opening speech in which McCain talked about the economy, specifically gas prices and how they are crippling the state of commerce as well as his defense of the Iraq War surge, the Senator took questions from the audience. Here’s a brief recap:
On the gas tax holiday: McCain defended it as not a political gimmick but a break for the consumer. McCain pointed out (and this is the first time I heard a politico say this in this year’s race) that the people impacted most by raising gas prices were consumers with older cars and less income. While McCain conceded that the tax break might only be worth the cost of a loaf of bread or less, he did say it was a start.
Atomic Power: Pointing out that the U.S. Navy has power plants on many vessels and pointing to France’s recycling efforts, McCain said there should be a hard look taken at rejuvenating the power industry to stem the tide of high energy prices.
Pork barrel spending: McCain transitioned this issue with the gas problem. He took every opportunity to say that if Congress, which has a single digit approval rating would do more about energy and pork barrel earmarks, things might be better in this country. McCain also mentioned that as an Arizona Senator, he took no earmarks for his State while Senator Obama has taken over 900 in his short career in the upper chamber. McCain used this tactic many times answering questions on other issues related to the economy.
On the War: McCain was candid beyond belief. He essentially said we screwed up after we secured the country and defended “The Surge” as a strategy. McCain, while not belittling the Bush policy did distance himself from it saying it was wrong and ill conceived. McCain told the crowd he wants to leave Iraq in victory and never have to return as an occupying force.
Social Security: Again, McCain juxtaposed this question asked by a young lady, “will Social Security retire before I do?” with a denunciation of Congress, thrown in with the earmarks issue. McCain recounted how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill fixed Social Security in the 80s with a bipartisan approach and said that was sorely lacking in the politics of today.
McCain answered questions calmly and actually encouraged follow up questions engaging in mini debates with some of the participants in the town meeting. For a candidate not well known to voters, the town meeting format was the best way for the Senator to introduce himself to Northeastern Pennsylvania. McCain was not shy about touting his qualifications, experience and independence. It seemed to me that the more independent he talks, the more it seems to take people aback and think, “I might not agree with everything this guy says but at least he has the guts to tell it like it is." He also pointed out that he did not care who got credit for a successful governmental accomplishment. His biggest round of applause and standing ovation came when he spoke of his own imprisonment in a prison camp during the Vietnam War. McCain impressed and did very well in what will be one of many stops here in NEPA.

MUSINGS

Well, we found out where Chris Hackett was today, didn’t we? Hackett, candidate in the 10th Congressional District was Master of Ceremonies for the event and was relaxed, funny and engaging……People started lining up as early as 4AM to get into the McCain event….State Senator Lisa Baker, (wearing a leg cast) gave the Arizona Senator a great introduction citing the Senator’s book “Why Courage Matters” pointing to McCain’s tough talk on issues some politicians might refrain from addressing. Using notes effectively, Senator Baker got the crowd on their feet alluding to McCain’s career as one of “public service as a profession, not politics as a profession”………….State Representative Karen Boback was behind McCain on one of the risers set up at the Kirby as was Carol Sweeney a very active volunteer in the Back Mountain Area for various causes…..Workman from Mountain Productions began to put the staging for the event together on Tuesday afternoon.......Reports were that the event at the Westmoreland Club was sold out and beyond that for the Senator….11th District candidate Lou Barletta was not in attendance citing an event in that thriving, pulsating metropolis of Berwick. This has to raise questions about why Barletta eschewed this kickoff rally. McCain, a supporter of immigration reform and Barletta, the anti immigration guru certainly do not see eye to eye on this so that fact alone will be a topic of debate……WNEP TV did live coverage. So did WILK Newsradio, both at the top of their respective games…..There are reports McCain will name a running mate soon. As I mentioned here earlier, McCain has never been a favorite of the right wing base in America and the Limbaugh listeners. He should just stop trying to please them and pick a Tom Ridge for veep in hopes of winning over many Democrats not comfortable with Barack Obama’s experience level.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The LuLac Edition #522, July 22nd, 2008




PHOTO INDEX: BLOG EDITOR AT LAKE CAREY IN 1960, AT LONG BEACH ISLAND, NEW JERSEY, 2007.

AS I WAS SAYING…..

Well, after 9 days in the friendly confines of Wilkes Barre General Hospital, in a corner room which used to be the old Psych Unit on the seventh floor, (somehow that seems so appropriate) I am home to recover. I had a friend from the Mid Valley who was fond of saying that hanging out with me sometimes was like being in a movie. Surely this was a generous thought on her part. But for me, that was a dangerous reality. Needless to say I underestimated the type of surgery this was going to be and thought I’d be up and around after three or four days because, well, because I was after all David Yonki. Yeah, the medical Gods laughed their asses off at that!
The worst part for me was losing my independence. I was hooked up to tubes, catheters and all types of beeping machines that made me feel like I would never leave that bed. Even having my accident in 1999 which limited my mobility did not compare to this type of medical harness I was bound to. The staff at the Hospital was great, even though I know I was very difficult the first few days. My surgeon was a Cleveland Indians fan and in between talks of my surgical needs and plan for recovery, he and I exchanged stats and facts on our team like two nerds in a Chief Wahoo sports bar or chat room. He was fantastic though from the medical standpoint and got the job done.
Having been released from my tubes on the weekend, I began to roam the hallways making a nuisance of myself. But the bottom line medically was this: The surgery was supposed to be an hour, it went 3. I developed a blockage on Saturday night that kept me from getting home sooner. They took out 10 inches of colon and removed a very aggressive tumor that will be needed to be treated with chemo. They say some lymph nodes were involved at stage 3 and were removed but an aggressive (there's that word again) approach needs to be done to make sure my liver is not attacked. So my game plan is to do everything the doctor wants me to do. I got virtually no sleep in the hospital because of the bed and my back, so the first thing I did this afternoon was to crawl into bed and take a long snooze. Mindful of the fact that July is National Hot Dog Month, the staffers at the hospital did yeoman’s service by putting up with my snarling because I lived on ice chips Tuesday (July 15th) through Saturday (July 19th). The only visitors I allowed were the sainted Mrs. LuLac and my sister. But I got a lot of e mails, cards and calls which touched me deeply. My major complaint in my life is that I am not rich. I always thought I’d be a good rich guy using my money for good. The outpouring of support I have received (and this is going to sound so corny!!) has opened my eyes to the fact that I am indeed wealthy in friends, best wishes and prayers.
The other amazing thing about this medical adventure is that in just two short months, everything was accomplished from diagnosis to treatment. I have been going through this search for the source of my bleeding since the summer of 2006. I changed doctors in May after 1 and 1/2 years of a team that shrugged their shoulders at my symptoms. On May 15th I had my first appointment with a new Family Doctor. He set me up with a new gastro guy who found the tumor on a first try after I had numerous endoscopies and colonoscopies. That doctor in turn then set me up with a surgeon. By July 15th, I was on my way to an answer. After changing teams, it only took 2 months to accomplish what I needed to do in two years. And.......I might have gotten to the surgeon sooner if he wasn't on vacation in late June. My message will be, if you need to fire a Doctor, remember, they aren't God, so do it. It is your body, your money and you are a health care consumer with a wide array of choices and options. I will be embarking on some rounds of chemotherapy to make sure the reoccurrence of this is a slim factor in my life. In the meantime, look for no whining, no 452 part series of how they treated me medically and no furrowed brow at my newest title: cancer patient. We now move on to the ultimate goal: cancer survivor. Full speed ahead!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The LuLac Edition #521, July 14th, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: ARE THESE PICTURES REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS I WILL ENCOUNTER? I SUPPOSE IT DEPENDS ON THE DRUGS THEY GIVE ME.

SICK BAY

We will be away for an undermined amount of time. I am going in for what they call major surgery this week at Wilkes Barre General Hospital. The reason is to remove a malignant tumor in my colon. The last 6 weeks have been a challenging experience. Between this, the passing of my mom, living my life and holding down my job, I honestly can’t tell you how I got through this time period in my life.
As is our wont on this site, let me give you some historical perspective. Like a good boy over 50, in 2006 I had a routine colonoscopy. I was annoyed because the prep came the night before that big Penn State Bowl game in early January. I was told the colon was clean. In July of that year I began to have low endurance and could not walk more than 40 steps without getting winded and having tightness in my chest. Thinking I was a fat guy needing a bypass, I went to a doctor. My blood hemoglobin was down to 4. (Normal for a person my age and size is about 12 to 14.) I immediately got a transfusion of 5 units of blood. I was bleeding from somewhere. Since the colon was clean, in the summer of ’06, I had an endoscopy for the upper gastro section. They found a small lesion there, and removed it in October of that year concluding it was benign. As 2007 began, doctors were not happy with my blood levels. A follow up colonoscopy and endoscopy declared everything was “clean”. In late 2007, my blood levels kept sinking and as 2008 began I had an operation for swollen lymph nodes which were found to be non cancerous, a bone marrow biopsy as well as another endoscopy. I was springing a leak but no one knew from where.
At the Oncology Center where I was getting iron infusions, a Physician’s Assistant asked if I had a camera endoscopy. I said no and suggested that to my original set of doctors. After no follow up, I changed doctors and made the same request. Instead I was told we should start from scratch and once more I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. As usual the endoscopy was clean but an unspecified mass was found in the colon. Some doctors have called it a tumor, others a growth and a third referred to it as a lesion. Either way it was there and I immediately asked to be referred to a surgeon who could take it out. The blood levels have remained low and I have received more transfusions of blood and iron in preparation for this surgery.
The thing that slays me about this whole situation is that I have done everything I was supposed to do and still wound up with this problem. Mind you, I’m not complaining, I’m just saying taking someone’s word that a test is clean does not necessarily mean things are hunky dorey. We would like to believe the initial reports but we also know our own bodies too. And my body was telling me something was wrong. One must be persistent if the answers are saying one thing and the body, symptom wise, is screaming out something else.
So after all of this, I’m a cancer victim hoping to become a survivor. The last two weeks I have had more dinners with friends from far and abroad who have demonstrated their concern by taking me out for a meal.(Good way to gain back that 65 pounds I dropped, and miracles of miracles, they all picked up the tab!) My friends and co workers have also told me I have been taking this remarkably well. To me it’s a situation similar to my mother’s illness, it’s an “either/or”. Either I will get better or I won’t. I must confess though that the constant news reports this weekend every 15 minutes on the cancer deaths of Tony Snow and Bobby Murcer have put this thing right in front of my face days before the surgery. The news made it “top of mind awareness” as if I needed something like that already.
The surgeon, a guy I totally trust (could be the pocket protector he was wearing in his lab coat with about fifty pens in it) told me he’d need a week of my time to get this sorted out and another few weeks to figure out where we stand. Time is a precious commodity which in situations like this we gladly give up for a good outcome. So I ask your patience and understanding as we yield our time to people more skilled and smarter in these matters.

MEANWHILE....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The LuLac Edition #520, July 13th, 2008




PHOTO INDEX: 13 QUESTIONS TWICE, MAKING IT 26 QUESTIONS.

26 QUESTIONS

We missed our last “13 Questions” feature in June because of the shocking news on that day (June 13th) of Tim Russert's passing and the condition of my mom. So, because this feature is so popular and we have a backload of questions, we decided to double up for July, thus the two “13 Questions” logos.

1. HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS SEASON’S PRIMARY ELECTION SEASON?

IN ALL OF THE ONES I’VE SEEN, THIS WAS THE MOST INTERESTING IN TERMS OF DRAMA AND OVERHYPED EXPECTATIONS. IT WAS LIKE A SEESAW. NOW IT DIDN’T HAVE THE TRAGEDY OF 1968 (WHICH IN A STRANGE SORT OF WAY WAS A MORE PREDICTABLE ELECTION THAN THIS ONE EVEN WITH THE WITHDRAWAL OF L.B.J. AND THE KILLING OF R.F.K.). FROM AN ELECTORAL STANDPOINT, YOU KNEW WHERE THE 1968 PRIMARY SEASON WAS GOING TO GO AFTER CALIFORNIA. BUT THIS YEAR WAS REALLY A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE.

2. DID YOU MAKE ANY OF THE EVENTS THIS POLITICAL SEASON?

TWO. I’D HAVE LIKED TO ATTEND MORE BUT WORK AND MOBILITY ISSUES PREVENTED THAT. I WENT TO THE HILLARY RALLY AT KING’S AND STOPPED IN AT THE OBAMA RALLY AT WILKES. I WROTE MORE ON THE HILLARY RALLY BECAUSE I WAS THERE LONGER.

3. IS IT HARD TO DO A BLOG/SITE EVERYDAY AND WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE?

SOMEDAYS THE BLOG WRITES ITSELF. OTHER DAYS I TRY TO SORT OUT WHAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING TO READERS. I WANT THIS TO BE A TYPE OF “MUST READ” FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE POLITICS AS SPORT. I STRUGGLE WITH TRYING TO POST STUFF THAT MIGHT SEEM SELF SERVING. BUT THEN I REALIZE THAT A PART OF THIS BLOG IS ABOUT MY LIFE AND IF I’M AWAY FOR A FEW DAYS, OR AM RAILING ABOUT SOMETHING, IT IS, AFTER ALL MY OPINION. BUT I TRY NOT TO BORE PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO READ THAT THEY CAN RELATE TO. KEVIN JORDAN, FROM WYOU TV, WARM RADIO AND WILK RADIO DOES THAT ON HIS SITE WITH STORIES ABOUT HIS TAKE ON NEWS MAKERS THAT ONE CAN EASILY SAY, “HEY, I MIGHT HAVE DONE THAT” OR “I WISH I SAID THAT!” THAT'S MY GOAL, MAKE IT INTERESTING, HAVE IT RELATE. POLITICS IN THIS AREA IS MORE THAN A CONTACT SPORT, IT'S LIKE THE WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION.

4. ANY COMMENT ON BRETT FARVE?

I HAVE NEVER BEEN ATHLETIC BUT EVEN I KNOW HOW TO EXIT WHEN YOU'RE ON A HIGH NOTE. LOVE FARVE, THINK HE'S ONE OF THE BEST, BUT THIS LATEST DEAL WILL DIMINISH HIS LEGACY. SANDY KOUFAX, JIM BROWN, BARRY SANDERS, GREAT EXAMPLES FOR DEPARTING THE SCENE WHEN YOU'VE HAD YOUR TOP GAME ENDING MOMENT.

5. WHO WAS YOUR FIRST VOTE IN AN ELECTION, NATIONAL AND LOCAL?

GEORGE McGOVERN IN THE ’72 ELECTION, PRESIDENT NIXON SIGNED THE LEGISLATION IN JUNE OF ’72 SO I WOULD’VE LOVED TO VOTE FOR HUMPHREY BUT THAT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE. MY FIRST LOCAL ELECTION WAS A VOTE FOR A SCHOOL DIRECTOR CANDIDATE FROM INKERMAN, SHERMAN SARTIN. IRONICALLY, THE GUY NOW BELONGS TO MY CHURCH OR I SHOULD SAY I BELONG TO HIS SINCE HE WAS THERE LONGER THAN ME.

6. DO YOU THINK DICK CHENEY REDEFINED THE ROLE OF THE VICE PRESIDENCY? FOR BETTER OR WORSE?

I THINK HE REDEFINED IT. I THINK HIS ACTIONS WEREN’T IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR COUNTRY BUT THERE IS NO DOUBT HE MADE THE VICE PRESIDENCY A FORMIDABLE OFFICE.

7. WILL OBAMA PICK HILLARY AS HIS VEEP?

I DO. HE IS A UNITER, HAS NOT SAID ANYTHING BAD ABOUT HER AND WILL BUILD A COALITION IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT WILL LAST GENERATIONS. THE CLASSY THING ABOUT OBAMA WAS THE WAY HE REACTED WHEN HILLARY STUMBLED OR HER HUSBAND WENT OFF THE RESERVATION. HE DIDN’T RAIL BACK, HE JUST SAID STUFF LIKE, “WELL WE ALL SAY THINGS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL WHEN WE’RE TIRED”. CLASS ACT IF YOU ASK ME.

8. ON OBAMA, WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?

FIRST OFF WINNING IN IOWA, A STATE WITH VERY LITTLE BLACK POPULATION. THAT WIN SAID TO THE PARTY ESTABLISHMENT THAT HIS CAMPAIGN WAS PROMISING AND GAVE BLACKS PERMISSION TO HOPE HE MIGHT BE THE REAL DEAL. ALSO, ANYONE WHO CAN GET AN ETHEL KENNEDY OFF THE SIDELINES AFTER 40 YEARS AND HAVE HER ACTIVELY CAMPAIGN FOR HIM WAS, TO ME, A VERY IMPRESSIVE FEAT.

9. FAVORITE LAW AND ORDER CHICK?

ORIGINAL SERIES, ANGIE HARMON HANDS DOWN. LAW AND ORDER SVU, STEPHANIE MARCH.

10. DO YOU THINK THINGS WILL GET ANY BETTER IN THIS COUNTRY ANYTIME SOON?

NOPE. ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME, KNOWS I’M AN OPTIMIST. I GOT THAT FROM MY MOM. BUT THE PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING IN THIS COUNTRY ARE SO DEEP AND SUCH A MESS, IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST A HUNDRED YEARS TO FIX.

11. WHY IS CONGRESSMAN KANJORSKI HAVING SUCH A TOUGH TIME THIS YEAR?

WELL, THAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN BUT I THINK THE CONGRESSMAN HAS TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF THE RELATIVES AND THE 11 MILLION DOLLARS THEY SPENT ON A FAILED BUSINESS FROM FEDERAL FUNDING. KANJORSKI IS ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT FOR WHATEVER REASON IS NOT BELOVED. DAN FLOOD WAS, BUT NOT KANJO. I THINK A LARGE PART OF IT HAS TO DO WITH THAT LITTLE CLOUD. ALSO, THE GUY HAS ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT DEAL BUT UNLIKE FLOOD, IT HAS NOT BEEN TOP OF MIND AWARENESS WITH LOCAL VOTERS. IT MIGHT BE IRONIC THAT WHEN THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS GOING DEMOCRAT, LULAC LAND MIGHT BE ELECTING GOP CONGRESSMAN IN BARLETTA AND HACKETT.

12. DO YOU READ OTHER LOCAL BLOGGERS?

THE ONES THAT STAY, YEAH.

13. WAS MARY ANNE PETRILLA’S INDEPENDENCE A SURPRISE?

YES AND NO. YES BECAUSE THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE WIDEMAN/CROSSIN YEARS THAT AN ELECTED MAJORITY MEMBER ABANDONED THEIR RUNNING MATE ONCE THEY STARTED GOVERNING. TRINI AND PHILLIPS AT LEAST HAD 5 GOOD YEARS TOGETHER. MANY WILL SAY CROSSIN NEVER DESERVED THE TREATMENT FROM WIDEMAN WHILE OTHERS WILL SAY SKREP DID DESERVE WHAT HE GOT. AND AS FAR AS NO, LET’S JUST SAY SHE’S A SMART POLITICIAN AND HAS TO HAVE AN INSTINCT OF SURVIVAL. SO FAR, SHE’S DOING A GOOD JOB.

14. THE EULOGY FOR YOUR MOM WAS VERY TOUCHING. HOW ARE YOU DOING AFTYER HER DEATH?

I’M STILL WAITING TO CRASH INTO ONE BIG MESS. HASN’T HAPPENED YET AND I THINK IT’S BECAUSE SHE WAS SO SICK FOR SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. 6 WEEKS ISN’T LONG BUT IT GAVE US THE IDEA THAT SHE MIGHT NOT BE WITH US ANY LONGER. I TOLD MY SISTER THAT WE WEREN’T SPECIAL, WE WEREN’T GOING TO BE SPARED LOSING OUR MOTHER BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE HAD TO DEAL WITH THAT TOO. I THINK HER DETERIORATING CONDITION AND THE FACT THAT SHE LIVED A GOOD, LONG LIFE KIND OF PREPARED THE WAY. BUT IT IS NEVER EASY TO LOSE A LOVED ONE. ESPECIALLY A MOM THAT WAS SO GENEROUS AND CARING.

15. WHY ARE YOU SUCH A HISTORICAL BUFF?

I TRULY BELIEVE YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR PAST. AND WHETHER PEOPLE WANT TO BELIEVE IT OR NOT, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICIANS HAVE DONE SOME GOOD THINGS. ESPECIALLY IN THIS AREA. I WONDER HOW MANY PEOPLE GO TO FRANCES SLOCUM STATE PARK OR THE STADIUM OR ARENA AND THINK IT JUST DROPPED FROM THE SKY. IT WAS GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS THAT BROUGHT IT HERE AND I WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER THE PLAYERS WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THOSE VENTURES.

16. WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES YOU’VE MADE IN YOUR LIFE, WERE THEY PERSONAL OR CAREER?

CAREER. VERY BAD CHOICES UNTIL RECENTLY. FROM A PERSONAL STANDPOINT, MADE A FEW BLOOPERS THERE BUT AT LEAST YOU CAN GROW AS A PERSON FROM THEM AND PICK UP ANCILLARY FRIENDSHIPS THAT OUTLAST THE MISTAKE.

17. WHERE, IN YOUR OPINION WILL THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT GO IN THIS YEAR’S ELECTION?

WHERE THEY’VE ALWAYS GONE, THE GOP. THE BIG DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR IS THAT THEY WON’T BE LIED TO. THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT HAS BEEN USED AND ABUSED BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SINCE 1980. NO REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION HAS EVEN TRIED TO OVERTURN ROE VS. WADE, REAGAN FOR ALL HIS POSTURING IGNORED THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IN FAVOR OF PUTTING THE FIRST WOMAN ON THE COURT. BUSH 41, NEVER A TRUE BELIEVER, ESSENTIALLY IGNORED THEM USING HIS VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE TO SERVE THEM UP RED MEAT AND BUSH 43 PRETTY MUCH HAS NOT DEALT WITH THEM EXCEPT DURING ELECTION TIME. SO THEY SHOULD SUPPORT McCAIN BECAUSE THIS IS THE FIRST REPUBLICAN NOMINEE NOT JERKING THEIR CHAIN.

18. THERE IS A GREAT ARGUMENT FOR HILLARY CLINTON TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK BECAUSE THAT’S SEEN AS A LAUNCHING PAD FOR SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTS. THOUGHTS?

IT MIGHT BE A LAUNCHING PAD BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW SUCCESSFUL IT IS TO GET THE PRESIDENCY FROM THERE. IN THE LAST CENTURY TWO NEW YORK GOVERNORS BECAME PRESIDENT, THEODORE AND FRANKLIN ROOSELVELT. UNSUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES WERE AL SMITH, THOMAS DEWEY, AVERELL HARRIMAN AND NELSON ROCKEFELLER. MARIO CUOMO NEVER GOT OFF THE DIME SO YOU CAN’T COUNT HIM, BUT 4 MULTIPILE TIME LOSERS VS. TWO WINNERS DOESN’T MAKE THE JOB OF BEING GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK A WORLD BEATER WHEN IT COMES TO ATTAINING THE OVAL OFFICE.

19. YOUR FAVORITE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE?

THURGOOD MARSHALL. HE BECAME THE CLASSIC GRUMPY OLD MAN AT THE END OF HIS LIFE. GOTTA LOVE THAT. LIKED EARL WARREN TOO. FEEL THE SUPREME COURT SHOULD BENEFIT FROM A PERSON WHO ACTUALLY WAS IN ANOTHER BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. HIS TENURE AS CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR HELPED HIM BE A BETTER JUSTICE I BELIEVE.

20. HAVE YOU SEEN “RECOUNT”, THE MOVIE ON THE 2000 ELECTION FROM HBO?

YES, THOUGHT IT WAS VERY WELL DONE BUT I LOVE
POLITICAL MOVIES ANYWAY.

21. FAVORITE “SEX AND THE CITY” CHICK?

NONE. NEVER LIKED ANY OF THEM. LIKED THE CONCEPT OF THE SHOW THOUGH.

22. ANY NEW FAVORITE EATING PLACES?

WE WENT TO BELLA VINO ON HIGHWAY 315 RIGHT ACROSS FROM THE OBLATES IN PITTSTON. THE FOOD WAS INCREDIBLE, THE SERVICE STAFF CATERED TO YOUR EVERY NEED. I DID NOT HAVE THIS TYPE OF SERVICE IN ANY NEW YORK OR CHICAGO EATERY IN MY LIFETIME. WHEN I CAME IN, AS I DO IN ANY NEW PLACE, I ACTED LIKE A JERK WHEN I ASKED AN OBVIOUS QUESTION. I DO THIS TO TEST THE REACTION OF THE STAFF. I STARTED BITCHING BECAUSE I COULD NOT BE SEATED INSIDE WITHOUT A RESERVATION. THIS WAS OF COURSE AN UNREASONALE REQUEST BECAUSE IT WAS A SATURDAY NIGHT. I KNEW THAT. THEY SUGGESTED THE DECK (WHERE I REALLY WANTED TO SIT ANYWAY) AND I RAILED ABOUT BEING SENT TO SIBERIA OR SOMETHING. ANYWAY, THEY CALMLY EXPLAINED THINGS, ALL THE WAY TO THE TABLE I WAS STILL COMPLAINING BUT THEY REACTED IN THE CLASSIC TOP LEVEL SERVICE STYLE, MADE THE BEST OUT OF WHAT I PERCIEVED TO BE MY BAD SITUATION. THAT ALL SAID, THE FOOD, SERVICE AND DECOR ((THERE WAS A SMALL COUCH, (ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?) IN THE MEN'S ROOM,)) WERE OUTSTANDING! YOU CAN TALK ABOUT A SMITH AND WOLENSKY'S OR RUTH CHRIS STEAKHOUSE ALL YOU WANT BUT THIS PLACE HAD THEM BEAT! I GAVE MRS. LULAC THE TOUR OF THE BUILDING (WHICH WAS THE OLD MAYFAIR SUPPER CLUB) SHOWING HER THE SPOT WHERE HARRY TRUMAN, BOBBY KENNEDY, HENRY JACKSON, WARREN MAGNUSON AND HUBERT HUMPHREY SPOKE. AND NO, THEY DID NOT PAY FOR MY MEAL! I'M SAYING NICE STUFF BECAUSE THE PLACE IS A WONDERFUL NEW ADDITION AND HAS A RICH POLITICAL HISTORY.

23. GOING TO DENVER FOR THE CONVENTION?

NO. I WAS SERIOUSLY THINKING ABOUT RUNNING AS A GORE DELEGATE LAST FALL BUT NOTHING CAME OF THAT. OBVIOUSLY.

24. WEEKENDER OR ELECTRIC/DIAMOND CITY?

DIAMOND CITY MAINLY BECAUSE THEY WERE VERY GOOD TO ME WHEN MY FIRST NOVEL HIT THE STREETS.

25. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MAYOR CHRIS DOHERTY’S FILM CAREER? SELF SERVING?

LOOK ANY POLITICIAN IS SELF SERVING BUT DOHERTY HAS BEEN A MAJOR CHEERLEADER FOR THE CITY. HE HAS PUT HIMSELF OUT THERE AND UNLIKE OTHER MAYORS IN LULAC LAND, HE’LL NOT HIDE FROM THE MEDIA OR TALK SHOW PEOPLE WHEN THERE’S A CONTROVERSY. I LIKE HIM AND LIKE HIS STYLE WHICH HAS MADE SCRANTON WAY HIPPER THAN MY TOWN, WILKES BARRE. MY COUSIN P.J. PRIBULA OF EXETER HAS BOUGHT "TINK'S" AND HE HAS HAD SOME GOOD COOPERATION FROM THE CITY.

26. LAST YEAR OF YANKEE STADIUM. WHAT’DYA THINK?

I’M SAD. ANOTHER VESTIGE OF MY YOUTH BEING TORN DOWN. EVEN MY BEST FRIENDS WHO ARE YANKEE FANS ARE TRYING TO JUSTIFY THE NEW BALLPARK BUT IT IS VERY DISCONCERTING TO SEE THAT HALLOWED GROUND SWEPT ASIDE. BY THE WAY, A BUDDY OF MINE “MICK MAN” BOUGHT A BLEACHER SEAT FOR THE FINAL GAME. HE COULD GET $750.00 BUCKS FOR IT ON E BAY BUT HE’S GOING TO PAY HIS RESPECTS. IRONIC THAT MY LAST VISIT WAS THE POPE’S MASS ON APRIL 20TH.




Friday, July 11, 2008

The LuLac Edition #519, July 11th, 2008
















PHOTO INDEX: OUR 1968 LOGO, FORMER PA. RURAL BEAUTY QUEEN ANGELA BERTUGLI, MAIN SQUEEZE OR STATEWIDE EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR, JUST ASK MIKE MANZO, LACKAWANNA COUNTY CONTROLLER KEN McDOWELL AND THE PROVERBIAL DIM BULB.

DIM BULBS!

It isn't very often that we come across two dim bulbs on the same day but we have two of them. The first has to be former beauty queen and aspiring lawyer Angela Bertugli who followed the Chief of Staff to Representative William DeWeeese into a car for sex and parlayed that into a huge no show job with the Commonwealth. She later testified against the aide, Mike Manzo saying to the committee , "She concluded with certainty, that Manzo hired her because she was having sex with him!" The fling began in 2004 and she testified in 2007. Well some people get to conclusions faster than others!
And in the "With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?" department, Lackawanna County Controller Ken McDowell got some good news and bad news today. The good news was that he and his staff was exonerated of any wrong doing by the FBI into an investigation of the Single Tax Office. The bad news was the feds interviewed his friend, tavern owner Peter Cosgrove who told the Scranton Times of his encounter and what he said about his buddy McDowell. A few classic quotes: Mr. Cosgrove said he didn’t believe his friend would do anything criminal. “He may not show up for work, he may not always do what he’s supposed to do, but he’s no criminal,” he said. And on his encounter with the FBI Cosgrove added with certainty, "“They told me, ‘You can’t arrest incompetence,’ ” he said. So McDowell gets cleared by an FBI probe but his friends, his friends, not enemies, say he might not be the best guy to have at the helm, might screw up and not show for days, but at least he's not involved in any scandal. Nope. Unless we've set the bar so low, we're happy with a guy like McDowell at the helm. Dim Bulbs, apparently are okay with some people.

NOT DIM AT ALL!!!!

Had the chance to be on WYOU TV's Interactive News Tonight with former Senatorial Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli. Romanelli was a guest commenting about "bonus gate". As you may recall he was victimized by the Democratic powers that tried to keep him off the ballot in the 2006 race between now Senator Bob Casey and former Senator Rick Santorum. In effect, the money used to shut down his candidacy was funneled by some of the same Democratic operatives currently doing perp walks. Even though Romanelli and I disagree on the concept of The Green Party and its leaders (I thought it was inexcusable for them to abandon him when he was in his court fight) Romanelli is an honorable, interesting guy. It was great raising hell with him tonight on WYOU TV!

1968

The soap opera One Life to Live premieres on ABC........Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d'état……..New York Mayor John Lindsay denies interest in the GOP nomination for Vice President as the Richard Nixon for President campaign gets closer to the magic number for nomination in Miami on August 5th…..Statewide Governor Shafer signed a new school district reorganization law……Regional legislators probe into the low morale among the prison guards at Chase Prison in Dallas……this blog editor and his friends took a trip to Cooperstown, New York to see the baseball Hall of Fame and the number 1 song in LuLac land was “Stone Soul Picnic” by the Fifth Dimension. From YOU TUBE:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5z9LYWywns.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The LuLac Edition #518, July 10th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM CORBETT AND WILK TALK SHOW HOST STEVE CORBETT.

CORBETT 1

A current and a former state lawmaker are among the 12 charged in a sweeping investigation of the state Legislature.
The 12 face charges including theft, criminal conspiracy and conflict of interest and as part of a grand jury probe into bonuses paid to employees of the Pennsylvania Legislature and the possibility that state resources were used in political campaigns. State Rep. Sean Ramaley, D-Beaver and Allegheny counties, Mike Veon, former House Democratic Minority Whip, and Michael Manzo, the former chief of staff to Pennsylvania Democratic House Majority Leader H. William DeWeese are among those charged by Attorney General Tom Corbett's public corruption unit after an 18-month investigation.
After an hourlong press conference, Corbett accused the 12 of stealing "millions of dollars of taxpayers funds, resources and state employees for political campaign purposes." The political implications of this are huge because Veon was always House Leader Bill DeWeese’s number 2 man. Did DeWeese know what was going on? If so, did he condone the behavior? Or did he let his underlings do the political grunt work while he grandstanded in the House Chambers. And the man, I’ll give him this, is quite the orator. Either way, Deweese looks like an accomplice in these indictments or a very poor leader who let the mices steal the cheese. Governor Rendell weighed in this afternoon too. The Guv told reporters in Harrisburg that this was a cry for reform of the Legislative branch of government but was also quick to acknowledge that even under a cloud of suspicion, the State House did very good work in enacting legislation during the last session helpful to Pennsylvanians. Meanwhile on PCN in a show hosted by one of the “LuLac Women We Love” category, Francine Shertzer, Republican Senater Jeff Piccolla said he took no pleasure in the Democrat's problems but pointed out they brought it on themselves. Tom Corbett has received high marks for the handling of the investigation and has avoided a political conflict by announcing the indictments early enough so as not to interfere with his re-election bid as Attorney General. Corbett has been mentioned as a possible GOP choice for Governor in 2010.
Also charged are: Jeff Foreman, chief counsel to House Democratic Majority Whip Keith McCall and former Veon chief of staff; Rachel Manzo, executive director of the House Democratic Policy Committee and wife of Michael Manzo; Scott Brubaker, the caucus's former director of administration for DeWeese; Jennifer Brubaker, director of the Legislative Research Office for the House Democratic Caucus; Patrick Lavelle, a research analyst for the caucus; Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, former legislative assistant to House Democratic whip; Stephen Keefer, the caucus's former information technology director; Earl Mosley, the caucus's director of personnel; Brett Cott, former special assistant to House Democratic Leader. For 18 months, Corbett's public corruption unit have been investigating whether any of $3.6 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses paid in all four caucuses to legislative staffers during the 2005-06 session. This was first brought to light by the fine reporting of the Harrisburg Patriot News.

CORBETT 2

Not to be outdone, local radio talk show host Steve Corbett had a hankering to go to Senator Bob Mellow’s big political summertime event at Montage next Wednesday. So he began asking around as a regular guy and found that he could get the tickets for the Mellow political fundraiser at any local Mellow district office. Even had a name and contact and was told the guy was in the office to chat. A few minutes later he called back as “Corbett”, radio host and investigative superman and was told the same guy was not available. That led to some comments from Corbett, the host and citizen. The Mellow event is huge. Anyone who is anyone has been attending for years. You would think though with the spotlight on the comingling of legislative staff work and political fundraising, especially on the day the indictments came down for Mellow’s party, you’d think the staffers might have been a little more careful. Or had a heads up. Nope. Pure arrogance. I mean you'd think that, right?

AUTISM BILL PASSES

Just so you don’t think the Legislators have done nothing, here’s a news item. Gov. Ed Rendell has signed a bill that advocates for people with autism say will make the state a national leader in helping children with autism. Rendell signed the bill Wednesday at The Vista School in Hershey, which serves children with autism. After much wrangling during the past week, a bill finally passed both the state House and Senate. It requires health insurers to pay up to $36,000 per year toward medically necessary treatments of autism. Covered treatments include applied behavior analysis, a long-term therapy intended to teach people with autism to perform normal tasks. The bill requires insurers to cover medically necessary treatments forpeople up to age 21. Health plans covering small businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt. Local resident George Shadie has been an advocate for Autism legislation and has done numerous shows with WYOU TV’s Eric Sheiner on this important issue.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The LuLac Edition #517 July 9th, 2008







PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARYANNE PETRILLA, AL MARTINO AND MARLON BRANDO PLAYING THE ROLES OF JOHNNY FONTAINE AND VITO CORLEONE.

FANTASY LAND!!!!!

In 1995, an employee was told he was a “scammer” who was trying to rip off the guy he worked for because he attended his uncle’s funeral that day. During a 1997 sales meeting, an employee was told in front of his sales team that he was “a philandering, duplicitous worker with no moral scruples and made virtually no contribution to the sales effort”. The General Manager also said about his entire staff, “This is the team I got, not the one I want”. In a 1998 job interview, an employee was accused of being “an opportunist who was using his wife’s brain injury after an accident” in order to get more money. During a 1999 sales contest, an employee was told “his clients were lowlifes and that he himself could only dream of reaching their level”. During an exit interview the employee was conducting he was called “a brown nosing queer who only got his management position by giving a quarter of his salary to the corporate office In Salisbury, Maryland”. That employee folks was me. And those incidents took place in private business in a 12 year time period. Now granted I had some pretty peculiar jobs with a cast of characters (just read “A Radio Story” to find that out.) Some of the comments made me laugh, some enraged me and others didn’t faze me. I just kept on being the person I was and moved on flicking the offenders like lint off of a double breasted coat. (Oh and let’s not forget the woman who called me “a fat **** not fit for a double breasted look). What I didn’t do and never considered doing was contacting a lawyer.
Tonight, for reasons that will become increasingly clear I had another long dinner with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. When the subject of the employee at the Courthouse who was mad at Mary Anne Petrilla because he was being “defamed”, we, as well as the rest of this community was doing today, had a good laugh. Apparently this employee is miffed that Petrilla made references to him in public regarding his actions as a public official. His out of town Philadelphia lawyer (wonder why none of the local barristers took up his cause?) says Petrilla used the words “thug” and “thief” even though the employee has stolen nothing. It appears that this is an attempt to silence a duly elected official who has a right to express an opinion about a worker that is in her employ. Petrilla has been accused of “currying favor” in the Courthouse to get this employee fired. Petrilla trying to curry favor? You have that backwards, there’s tons of people under the dome waiting in line to shine her pumps. And besides, how’s he going to get fired when protected by the Judiciary of the County who have their own separate funding? Petrilla can’t even get a phone call from that branch, maybe after the FBI has left it may happen but not now. Petrilla at one point backed the employee but changed her attitude when a report by the County Solicitor on bidding at the County Prison made the employee a front and center player in what appeared to be unusual doings. The Philadelphia lawyers has banned Petrilla from contacting the employee and said that all communications must go through his law firm. Call me funny, but that looks like a violation of free speech but what the hell, he’s a lawyer! Imagine the conversation:
Petrilla: M.A. here. May I take three steps before the King to say "hi" to the embattled employee who is your client?
Philadelphia Lawyer: Uhhhhhhh, we’ll get back to you on that.
Benjamin Franklin must be spitting on the Liberty Bell about now. This lawyer has people running scared. Even the intrepid Corbett today shut down a caller who said he saw the employee at a fitness center on county time. (Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t but this again makes the point that all county employees use a Kronos time stamp card that keeps track of their hours and whereabouts. Most private businesses do that, why not the County?) By doing so, Corbett could verify whether the caller was correct or had an axe to grind. Right now, with all the scandal, no one has even taken the most basic step to make sure the workers are earning their hourly rate whether it be $12.50 an hour or say………$37.50 an hour. Petrilla has been accused of inflicting emotional distress on the employee causing him to lose weight, become a wreck and causing him undue stress. Petrilla, proving herself to be a true representative of the people, as well as other county residents know stress is living on a salary less than the said employee, having to make ends meet in a difficult economic world and not having a cushion to land on like the gaunt, embattled employee who is being picked on (my God!!!!!!!) “by a girl!!!”
Yes, “Fantasyland” continues at the Courthouse. Your guy loses power, he gets usurped by his partner, you land on your feet but call a lawyer when you don’t like the things you hear. Two words of advice, to Petrilla, to quote K.C. and The Sunshine Band, “Keep It Coming”. To the wounded employee, advice from Vito Corleone to Johnny Fontaine in “Godfather One”, “You can act like a man!”

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The LuLac Edition #516, July 8th, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: CURRENT LACKAWANNA COUNTY CONTROLLER KEN McDOWELL, THE PA. TURNPIKE SIGN, AND LUZERNE COUNTY DA JACKIE MUSTO CARROLL.

CALLING KEN!!!

The Scranton City Council has "come a calling" for Lackawanna County Controller Ken McDowell. The august body in the Electric City wants to question McDowell on his tenure as the city tax collector. Scranton City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to subpoena former Tax Collector Ken McDowell. The vote came only after the panel formally requested an investigation into Mr. McDowell's activities over the past six years, when he administered the Single Tax Office. The action also came after the majority on the panel expressed frustration with the lack of answers from Mr. McDowell about $12.2 million in undistributed tax funds found in the office earlier this year by the current tax collector. McDowell would do well to appear before Council and answer their questions. There are some who say that McDowell though well educated does not have the political or rhetorical skills to answer questions from the famously rambunctious legislative body in the land of Lac. What's worse is that Council is getting no answers from the current administration. Back in May
Marilyn Vitali-Flynn, the current tax collector went before council in May to answer questions about the Single Tax Office. However, during that meeting, Councilman Bill Courtright was told by Mrs. Vitali-Flynn it was "none of your business," when he asked about the interest earned by the account holding the $12.2 million. This Council which has been factionalized in recent years voted straight up with no opposition to get answers. Someone better provide them because right now non answers are under penalty of law.

McDOWELL AT A GLANCE: Age: 36.
Occupation: Lackawanna County Controller.
Education: Scranton Preparatory School, 1989;
bachelor’s degree, public administration, University of Scranton,1993.
Family: Single; daughter, Kelly.

PIKE SPIKE

Mixed in with the ads for Presidential candidates and cable network convention coverage will be a full scale media blitz on behalf of the Pa. Turnpike. Undeterred by the recent rebuff by the State Legislature, the private group that hopes to manage the Pennsylvania Turnpike is still committed to winning the support of politicians and the public. A multimillion-dollar public relations blitz will begin this month. It will include radio spots and a direct-mail campaign that will place 4 million to 6 million pieces of literature in mailboxes. Field teams will promote the proposal at selected fairs and festivals around the state. That's right, dress up a couple of hotties and strategically place them in state fairs around the state sand you have yourself a campaign. The Legislature must sign off on any plan to lease the turnpike, and the plan faces a fight in Harrisburg. The Abertis group has offered $12.8 billion to operate the turnpike for 75 years. The mailings will tout the benefits of that cash to the state, along with planned safety and road improvements. Meanwhile Gov. Ed Rendell has proposed leasing the turnpike to a private operator to generate more money for roads, bridges and mass transit. Radio ads are set in late July to compliment the mailings. TV spots may not be far off.

FORE!! FOR THE DA!!!

On Friday, August 8, 2008 the District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll Invitational Golf Tournament will be held at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Course in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. Tee time is to begin at 1:00 p.m. with a shotgun start. Registration fees are $125 per person. If you would like to attend the dinner only, the cost is $50.00 per person. Please register as soon as possible to secure your place in the event.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Platinum, Gold and Silver Hole Sponsorship indicates a monetary donation from an individual or organization in support of the event in one of 3 levels:
* Platinum Level Hole Sponsorship: $500.00
* Gold Level Hole Sponsorship: $200.00
* Silver Level Hole Sponsorship: $100.00
If anyone is interested in helping to sponsor the event, please contact Sal Bernardi at 570-820-8459.
Golf tourneys have long been successful fundraisers for non profits, media partners trying to make their goals for the corporations that own them as well as politicos. Musto-Carroll has so far recieved high marks for her tenure in the DA's office and grateful appreciation from local TV news reporters for her ability to articulate the summary of an arrest, indictment or conviction in understandable language.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The LuLac Edition #515, July 7th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JUNIOR AND MAYOR THOMAS LEIGHTON OF WILKES BARRE

SYMBOLISM

The Democratic party convention organizers are gearing up to have a special program in Denver at the National Convention. Word is that Senator Obama will give his acceptance speech on the 45th anniversary of the Martin Luther King "I Have A Dream" speech. Many will say that this is politicizing an event and the memory of Dr. King. But King was heavily involved in the political process despite his independence and essentially played with and torked off both parties. I think it would be a fitting tribute to the memory of the non violent King and the late Bobby Kennedy who said in 1968 shortly before his death that, in his estimation, in 40 years there would be a black President.

WEBB OUT

Virginia Senator Jim Webb has taken himself out of the Veepstakes today. In a statement, Webb said he had no interest in the position. Democrats see Webb who won a Senate seat just barely in 2006 as the best hope to hold on to that seat in the old Dominion.

PLATFORM PRATFALLS

No one really takes a party platform seriously except those insiders of a party who are trying to make a point or reshape their party. John McCain may have some troubles with the right of his party at the September convention in the Twin Cities. The G.O.P. platform currently is a 100-page-long decree that mentions George W. Bush's name at every right-wing turn of page. The entire platform will have to be rewritten to lessen the imprint of the President, who has the highest disapproval rating of any White House occupant since Richard M. Nixon. Conservatives are itching for a fight saying they'll challenge McCain priorities as global warming, stem cell research, immigration reform, and campaign finance restrictions.

CALENDER OF EVENTS

This is what will happen the rest of this Presidential year. Mark your calender:
AUGUST 2008 25-28
Democratic National Convention in Denver.
SEPTEMBER 2008
Sept. 1-4 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul .
Presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. Sept. 26th.
OCTOBER 2008
Vice Presidential debate in St. Louis, Mo. Oct. 2th.
Presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn. Oct. 7th.
Presidential debate in Hempstead, N.Y. Oct. 15th.
NOVEMBER 2008
Election Day Nov. 4th.

LEIGHTON SPEAKS

Mayor Tom Leighton was on WILK this morning talking about some new plans for the city. The Mayor who is working hard to revitalize the city should make more of these public appearances to let the general public know just what is going on with his efforts to rebuild the city. Reports are the Mayor recieved a favorable response to his comments.



Sunday, July 06, 2008

The LuLac Edition #514, July 6th, 2008







PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR BARAK OBAMA AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL.

OUT OF SIGHT

During news broadcasts this holiday weekend, we heard what Senators McCain and Obama were doing for the Fourth of July. Nary a word on Senator Hillary Clinton. Out of sight, out of contention, out of mind.

PROTESTS!!

At a Fourth of July swearing in for new citizens on the forth of July, our President was called a war criminal. Some would say "it's about time!" People lined up to be sworn in as new U.S. citizens were unwitting witnesses Friday to a constitutional object lesson at President Bush’s expense on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Protesters interrupted Bush’s brief speech several times with calls for his impeachment, and the president calmly responded with this reaction: “To my fellow citizens to be, we believe in free speech in the United States of America.” On his final Fourth of July as president, Bush said he was honored to be present for the naturalization ceremony, saying “I’ll be proud to call you a fellow American.” Bush was calm under some pretty heavy fire, I'll give him that. By the way, the President turns 62 today.

A BUDGET!!!

A state budget that boosts education spending and borrows for energy, infrastructure and economic development projects easily passed the state Legislature on Friday and was signed into law by Gov. Ed Rendell. The 2008-09 state budget — and a flurry of other legislation — was approved four days into the new fiscal year which is a record for the Rendell administration.

GET HAPPY

John F. Kennedy had Frank Sinatra singing "High Hopes", Bill Clinton had Fleetwood Mac singing "Don't Stop Thinking of Tomorrow". Senator Obama has a song entitled, "Get Happy." From YOU TUBE:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoM2FvH0LNs.
No word yet if this is sanctioned by the Obama folks.