Rated one of Pennsylvania's top blog/sites, the LuLac Political Letter delves into issues of politics on all levels (with special concentration on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties: thus the name LULAC) and pop culture.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The LuLac Edition #587, Sept. 30th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: BISHOP JOSEPH MARTINO AND OUR VOTE LOGO.
The expanding economic crisis forced the jobless rate for residents of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area to 6.7 percent in August, the highest level in more than a decade.Unemployment surged 7 tenths of a percentage point in August, according to data released by the state Department of Labor.
Of the state’s 14 metro areas, only Johnstown had higher unemployment than Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The gap between area joblessness and the state and national averages widened in August, as well. Pennsylvania unemployment was 5.8 percent in August, while U.S. joblessness was 6.1 percent. This story gives us an indication whether voters will be acting in their own interests come November or voting on social issues. Social issues are all well and good if you have a place to go to everyday to work and if you can put food on the table. Jobs and the economy, given these stats have now taken center stage in this election year.
BISHOP JOE'S MISSIVE
If you attend Sunday Mass this weekend, you are going to hear some pretty strong words from Bishop Martino. Of course he won't be saying them himself, he'll be having letters read at all the Masses. And the words are pretty strong stuff, like "homicide" used toward pro choice candidates. The Bishop does state, "It is a tragic irony that ‘pro-choice’ candidates have come to support homicide — the gravest injustice a society can tolerate — in the name of ‘social justice." William Genello, the diocesan spokesman, said he would not characterize the letter as directly political. We'll have to judge for ourselves then.
ELECTION TOP 40
McCain: Pro life. Obama: Pro Choice.
According to the Times Leader, The Democratic Party’s registration edge over Republicans has widened to more than 1.1 million statewide. Those sorces come from the Pa. Department of State. But the story is a bit different in Luzerne County, where a system wide purge has diminished the Democratic ranks by almost 12,000 and the GOP ranks by more than 15,000, county Director of Elections Leonard Piazza said. The Pennsylvania numbers have boosted the confidence of Barack Obama campaign workers. The last time a Republican carried the Keystone State was in 1988, when George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis. In Luzerne County, there are 108,563 Democrats to 60,220 Republicans. In 2004, there were 120,420 Democrats and 75,529 Republicans. Again, a 2 to 1 margin in Luzerne County where the GOP is at a woeful disadvantage.
The end of this month is rainy, and filled with political intrigue. Plus our jobless rate is too high and no one knows why Congress bailed on the bailout. Let's end the month with a song by Dinah Washington, "September In The Rain". Let's hope the storm clouds part and we see some sunny news the rest of the fall.
The House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation's financial system, ignoring urgent warnings from President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties that the economy could nosedive into recession without it. The prevailing wisdom concerning this issue is that one word can sum up this failure: IMPOTENCE. The Bush White House was unable to bring along recalcitrant members of their own party and the Dems were not able to pull enough votes to get passage. Stocks plummeted on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was announced on the House floor. House sources said lawmakers would reconvene Thursday. Ample no votes came from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. More than two-thirds of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats opposed the bill. The overriding question for congressional leaders was what to do next. Congress has been trying to adjourn so that its members can go out and campaign. And with only five weeks left until Election Day, there was no clear indication of whether the leadership would keep them in Washington. Leaders were huddling after the vote to figure out their next steps. Locally, in the 11th Congressional district, Paul Kanjorski voted Yes for the bailout but 10th District Democrat Chris Carney voted no.
ELECTION TOP 40
The following statements were issued by the two Presidential candidates on the bailout rejection by the U.S. Congress.
FROM JOHN McCAIN: "Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain and refused to even say if he supported the final bill. ... This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country," he said. The economy has dominated the campaign trail this month, and both candidates have been trying to convince voters that they will do a better job of getting the financial crisis under control. Earlier Monday, McCain told voters that Obama isn't being honest about his tax votes and said the Democrat is "always cheering for higher taxes. "Two times, on March 14, 2008, and June 4, 2008, in the Democratic budget resolution, he voted to raise taxes on people making just $42,000 per year. He even said at the time that this vote for higher taxes on the middle class was 'getting our nation's priorities back on track,' " McCain said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. "Then something amazing happened: On Friday night, he looked the American people in the eye and said it never happened. My friends, we need a president who will always tell the American people the truth," McCain said. McCain said a vote for Obama would "guarantee higher taxes, fewer jobs and an even bigger federal government" and charged that "these policies will deepen our recession." Shortly after McCain finished his speech, the Obama campaign accused the Arizona senator of lying.
FROM BARACK OBAMA:"This is a moment of national crisis, and today's inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to join together and act in a way that prevents an economic catastrophe. Every American should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point, but now that we are here, the stability of our entire economy depends on us taking immediate action to ease this crisis," said Obama-Biden campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
PHOTO INDEX: OUR TOP 40 ISSUES LOGO AND A FISTFUL OF CASH. ARE WE SAVING IT? HIDING IT UNDER OUR BEDS OR GOING TO PUT IT IN THE BANK?
THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
This thing has taken on a life of its own. It appears that there has been a deal struck to get us out of this deadlock. At noon today the details will be released which will only engender more debate. But I recieved some information the past few days that I'd like to put up on this site as a way of being fair but giving you the entire political spectrum of this issue. Here we go:
The knee jerk reaction of blame on this thing, the financial bailout, has been to blame the party in power but like many complex issues, the time line on this goes back more than one administration. Here's a video that has been on YOU TUBE that gives food for thought. The McCain supporters who read this blog/site will love this, the Obama people not so much. Watch this video. This is amazing. This tells me what I knew in 2000 when my house was foreclosed on and I blamed it on the Clinton administration and everyone called me a knee jerk Republican Conservative. What they didn't realize is all of the mortgage activity in this video was done to me. I went from owning a new house, in 1996, with a $980 month mortgage, to having it sold by Fannie Mae, and subsequently, three times to different banks, who changed the rate and, voila', three years later, my mortgage was $1350. I feel so vindicated. AND SMART! If you're a democrat, you're an idiot. I saw this stuff as early as 1997, when my Fannie Mae, supported by Biden, mortgage was sold to Chase, and the mortgage went up to $1100 due to Fanny Mae's policy of guaranteeing any fool with a pulse a mortgage, then selling it off to the highest bidder. No one listened then. I suppose the aggregate of our population is too stupid to understand that, as a minority president, Obama will still throw your taxpayer dollars to all of the low income, minority "ne'er do wells", via that stuff initiative started by Jimmy Carter (another well-intentioned, but ignorant ass, who had to have Ronald Reagan bail his sorry ass out) in '79 or '80. PUT IT DOWN: CHAP CALLED THIS IN 1997... This ought to make any Republican worth his sack mad as hell. From The Chap: Tampa Florida.
Why should the big boys get the tax bailout? I recieved an e mail making the rounds saying that if that billion dollars was distributed to you, the average American, the problem would be solved. The reason we got into this mess was because of no oversight for the Wall Street pigs that just wanted to get richer. What better oversight is there in this country than a family trying to make a budget? The solution proffered here is to give every American $450,000 bucks and have them spent it on themselves. I'd amend that a tad, I'd give every taxpaying family $425,000. They'd have to have a ten year record of paying all taxes with no penalties and must file a billing report on what they spent the money on. Anyway, you have my addendums, here's that e mail: I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend. To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.. So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00. My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a dividend. Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00. What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family? Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved. Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads Put away money for college - it'll be there Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs. Buy a new car - create jobs Invest in the market - capital drives growth Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18 + including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehmann Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces. If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( "vote buy" ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President. If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult US Citizen 18+! As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General. Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't. Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work." But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!!! How do you spell Economic Boom? I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion. We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC . And remember, the plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
ELECTION TOP 40 HANDS TIED #37 Whether John McCain or Barack Obama becomes President, one thing both will have in common is this: their hands will be tied. This incoming President will have very little wiggle room and very little room for innovation. And little margin for error. Look at what he will be facing: 1. Limited income. Our budget is taxed to the max. The deficit is so high I personally see no way out of it. We are in reality a true debtor's nation. With the financial bailout of 700 billion dollars, there will be little room for creativity in government. The new President will be akin to a maintainace man trying to keep the lights on. 2. Our military is stretched to the limits given the disaster in Iraq, the way the returning vets have been treated on their way home as well as a dwndling pool of people wanting to join up. 3. We are surrounded by foreign policy challenges, threats might be a better word. A resurging Russia, an emergence of China as a super power of major means, a technological energy in Southeast Asia as well as the problems in the Mideast including the continuing committment to Iraq, the presence of Iran as well as the North Korean component presents problems that no President can deal with until he is faced with a situation from any one of these nations. In a campaign there is no way to predict what pot will boil over in what particular part of the world. 4. The bottom line is the next President will be faced with problems on a foreign and domestic level that even a Lincoln, or Franklin Roosevelt didn't have to face. And as mentioned earlier, he'll be doing it with very limited resources. From Patty Smythe, You Tube: "Hands Tied".
Last night's debate between Senators McCain and Obama was certainly an interesting piece of American history. Here's my quick take on the debate:
1. There was no knock out punch by either candidate and no big mistake.
2. McCain displayed a great deal of knowledge on Foreign Policy as expected but Obama held his own going step to step with McCain. McCain's advantage was that he kept on referring to Obama's inexperience in foreign affairs. Obama countered well with reasoned responses but fell short by not making the point that McCain was part of the Bush Iraq policy from the start and saying that McCain would be an extension of the Bush administration. I think both men should have questioned each other as to who was going to lead their foreign policy teams if they were elected President. That would have given us an insight into the way the policies would be conducted.
3. On the economy, both men made what I felt were perfunctory statements of confidence and support although Obama drove home the point that Main Street was taking a bigger hit than Wall Street.
4. From our relationship with CBS News.Com, here is a recap of what an exclusive poll taken by CBS on the candidate's debate performances: CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened. Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw. Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight. Thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better. Sixty-six percent of uncommitted voters think Obama would make the right decisions about the economy. Forty-two percent think McCain would. Forty-eight percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-six percent think McCain would. The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.
So looking at this poll it appears both men gained in some catagories where they were strong. Again, a dead heat in the debate with no gaffes.
5. Fashion report. Both men wore the traditional Presidential navy blue suit, no pinstripes. Obama had on a white dress shirt with burgandy tie. McCain chose a blue shirt with same suit. His tie was a multi striped number that bled onto the TV and distracted viewers. Both looked sharp and Presidential.
ELECTION TOP 40
With less than forty days to the Election, the debates will continue to be an issue. As indicated earlier, both men were at a virtual stand off on the debate. Debates were not a real factor in Presidential politics until 1960 when John Kennedy squared off against Richard Nixon. It was said that if you listened on the radio, Nixon won the debates but if you saw it on TV, Kennedy thumped the then sitting Vice President. LBJ, Nixon against Humphrey and Nixon against McGovern saw no debates in '64, '68 (although Humphrey was screaming like a banshee at every stump speech referring to Nixon as "Richard the Chickenhearted" to get Nixon to debate) and '72. The debates came back in vogue when a faltering Ford campaign accepted the Carter challenge in 1976 and since then, there have been debates every cycle. Consensus has been that debates do no real harm even if there are a few gaffes. It was clear in 2004 that Senator Kerry wiped up the floor with President Bush but no one told the GOP base or the right wing Christians. So I guess as the campaign winds down, the mantra for the debate should be "do no harm". From You Tube: Simon & Garfunkal.
This morning, Congressman Paul Kanjorski was on CSPAN talking about the Financial bailout issue. The Congressman was articulate, poised and filled with knowledge on the subject at hand. After twenty some years, he knows what he's talking about and is quite impressive. The challenge for the campaign is to have that image come across in the general campaign.
EMK IN HOSPITAL
Senator Edward M. Kennedy was taken to the hospital today. The Senator is suffering from brain cancer. The story was he was taken to a facility to readjust his meds.
ELECTION TOP 40
The 2008 presidential campaign began with only one foreign policy issue -- Iraq. Senator Barack Obama, was seen by Democratic activist voters in the primaries and caucuses as being the most anti-war of the candidates. This certainly was a key to his eventual success over Senator Hillary Clinton, who was not seen as being as anti-war. Obama could rightly say he was against American involvement in Iraq even before he became a United States Senator. He has been for a timetable to bring U.S. troops home since becoming the junior senator from Illinois. On his trip this summer to Iraq he seemed to have the president of Iraq agree with his timetable for withdrawal. Iraq was main issue in helping Senator John McCain win the Republican nomination for president. The Arizona Senator has been outspoken in his views on Iraq, which are almost the exact opposite of his Democratic opponent. McCain calls for victory in Iraq before American troops can leave. The former fighter pilot in the Vietnam War has been a cham of the troop surge of American soldiers that most analysts feel has helped change the military situation on the ground more favorably for the Iraqis and the Americans. But I can’t help but feel that McCain has used the Iraq War as an issue to get back in the race after he faltered in the summer of ’07 and later to vanquished his rivals for the nomination.
But something funny happened on the road to the general. Iraq has faded as a main foreign policy issue. For awhile the presidential campaign moved away from foreign policy to a discussion of America's troubled economy. The cost of a tank of gas, the high number of foreclosures, rising unemployment, fear of inflation, the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a general malaise about the economy had the candidates turn away from foreign policy issues to focus on how to get our economy moving again. Tonight’s debate most likely will focus on the bailout of the American economy. But one thing is for sure, during this foreign policy debate, the lines will be clearly drawn on where the candidates want to go on this issue. Issue # 39 is the war, and while on the backburner for most voters other than American families involved with military overseas, it will be interesting to see how both Obama and McCain highlight their differences. From You Tube: the late Edwin Starr.
A FACE IN THE CROWD
The other night, I was watching a retrospective of Warner Brothers on WVIA TV. I was happy so see a mini tribute to one of my TV idols, producer William T. Orr, Jack Warner’s son-in-law who developed wonderful shows from the fifties like “77 Sunset Strip”, “Hawaiian Eye”, “Bronco”, “Maverick” and “Surfside 6”. After that diversion, the announcer talked about the Andy Griffith/Patricia Neal movie “A Face in the Crowd” where Griffith played the role of Lonesome Roads, a hillbilly singer who caught the imagination of the American people. In one scene, Roads is lying on a bed saying, “I own those people”, “I’ll tell them what to think so they don’t have to”. Strange, there’s a Rush Limbaugh promo where he says “He owns Wilkes Barre” and another where he says, “I’ll do the thinking for you, so you don’t have to”. Scary. Fiction becomes reality.
Forty years ago, Hubert Humphrey gave a speech in Salt Lake City that started the turnaround of his beleaguered Presidential campaign. The speech was no great policy document but was the first time that HHH said he would be for a complete bombing halt with no conditions from the North Vietnam forces. He called Johnson just before the speech, told him what he was going to do and for the first time broke with the President on Vietnam. LBJ tersely said, “I’ll listen” and then hung up. The Democratic National Committee barely scraped together the $100,000 it took back then for a nationwide broadcast. After the speech, Humphrey seemed liberated. The next day, 5,000 letters came into the DNC, and those letters contained 10, 20 and 50 dollar bills. By the first week of October, the speech raised $250,000 for the Dems. In addition, the speech gave the wayward McCarthy forces a face saving method to join the Humphrey/Muskie effort. From that speech forward, the crowds were more enthusiastic and it looked like Humphrey might be competitive for the first time in the ’68 race......................Sitting Senator Hugh Scott makes the rounds around the Commonwealth supporting the campaign of Congressman Richard Schweiker.......In the third district race in Pittston, State Rep James Musto campaign hard against GOPer Sam Daley for the Representative seat.....In the fifth, newcomer Richard Adams goes hard after one term State Rep Frank O’Connell. Both are Kingston restaurant owners.....and forty years ago, the number 1 song in LuLac land was “1,2,3 Red Light” by The 1910 Fruitgum Company. A far cry from “Hey Jude”.
PHOTO INDEX: OUR TOP 40 LOGO (40 DAYS TILL ELECTION DAY) AND LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER GREEG SKREPENAK.
Sarah Palin, GOP Vice Presidential nominee was interviewed by CBS anchor Katie Couric last night. Couric who has not gained wide respect in her new role as anchor really hammered Palin on a few basic questions. It is apparent that unless Palin is scripted, there's not a lot there. When Couric asked Palin about what John McCain de-regulated in his years in the Senate, she told Couric she'd get back to her with an answer. Great. Let's not hold our hand on our foreheads too long.
Have to hand it to Chris Carney, his recent ad against Chris Hackett is pretty powerful. The ad tells the tale of how Hackett eventually paid his business taxes in August of '08. Taxes are a tough issue for most voters. See, most voters pay their taxes on time. They might not like it but they do pay. When a candidate who has a business waits to pay, it tells the voters he is just another big business guy looking for the loopholes to make his lot better than the people he wants to represent. This ad just might be the dealbreaker Carney needs to coast to victory.
BIG MAN WOUNDED
Greg Skrepenak told the Times Leader today he is hurt the way he's been treated by the Democratic party. He is so distraught, he just might vote for John McCain and foresake his primary favorite Barack Obama. Skrep says there are people loyal to him just begging for his advice on who to back for President. We don't know if the big guy is being courted by any GOP committee or the Dems but this is a developing story we'll watch locally. Who knows, perhaps Bob Barr and Ralph Nader will come a callin' to Big Ugly's.
ELECTION TOP 40
We're counting down the issues like a top 40 countdown to the election. Today marks 40 days before we vote for President. The issues will be discussed not necessarily in order but what is a hot topic. And we have one today.
We always were told our money was safe. We always were told that if we saved our money, we can own a part of the American dream. But we had to work hard for it. The recent problems with the market is a reflection of what is wrong with America and its economy. Unless you're fluent in the language of high finance, it's tough to make heads or tails of all the terms being tossed around in the headlines lately. Simply put, the meltdown on Wall Street has made it tough for many Americans to get a loan to buy a home, purchase a car, start a business or even send a kid to college. And with all the talk of a credit crunch -- some are even calling it a credit freeze -- it may get even tougher. So if you paid your loans and never defaulted, you don't get bailed out. However the greedy Wall Street people who lived high on the hog escape pretty much free, while the taxpayer is asked to bear the burden. How about those rich finance barons who raped and pillaged the economic system, how much will they pay? Issue # 40 is one that begs the question in America, "just what is fair anymore?" Once more, the GOP controlled dunderhead Presidency and the rich guys on Wall Street say the little guy has to bail them out, because we should do so as "good Americans". Maybe it's time for the "good Americans", those who pay the taxes and the bills on time, to just stop paying and buying stuff for a time. Let the money bags of Wall Street save their own asses. Okay, okay, maybe I'm being rash, let's not stop paying our taxes or loans but why not pay them off on a partial basis and get forgiveness because we're such swell people. Let's pay our taxes and loans in pennies. Yeah, Pennies From Heaven, the religious right, who is getting screwed like the rest of us, will love that. From You Tube: "Pennies From Heaven": Number 40 on our countdown:
PHOTO INDEX: GOP NOMINEE JOHN McCAIN AND CONGRESSAN KANJORSKI.
THE LONG BALL
With polls for the first time showing Barack Obama in a commanding lead, GOP nominee John McCain has opted for the long ball. And once again, just when the Obama camp thought it was okay to coast, once more McCain has shaken up the race with his proposal to suspend his campaign, roll up those sleeves and go to Washington, D.C. to cast a wary eye on those hafalutin financiers. This comes on the heels of a recent Washington Post/ABC News national poll finding Obama leading McCain by 9 points, 52 to 43 percent, among likely voters. Just when Obama was getting traction, McCain does his "first in-first heard" message that says, "I'm a bi partisan guy", "country first, me second". How in the world can Obama respond but agree. McCain also wants to cancel the debate which I think is not a very good idea. Americans need to hear what their candidates are saying in this time of crisis. To cancel the debates would be an admission that McCain might not be the leader we think he is. To cancel the Veep debate next week would be a sham in protecting Sarah "I'm A Mom" Palin from tough questioning. Suspend the campaign? Nice strategic move John. Stop the debates? No way.
Mayor Leighton's refusal to make public his tax returns to a community activitst got us to thinking the other day. Even for the size of the city of Wilkes Barre, maybe it would be a good thing to get a gander at those returns. After all the Mayor is a realtor and it would be interesting to see if there were any profits from those real estate transactions that the city has been making the last few years or so. In the meantime, the Mayor is touting the Obama/Biden economic plan. The Mayor said that the Wall Street mess has an effect on Main Street and he believes that isn't good. Mayor Leighton said cities such as Wilkes-Barre desperately need the economy to turn around so they can continue revitalization efforts they've started over the past few years. That message will be echoed, with more details, on Thursday when Senator Joe Biden visits Nesbitt Memorial Park to address the economic crisis that is impacting Pennsylvania families. He will discuss how a Barack Obama administration would work to jump-start the economy and fight forthe middle class.
Ltn. Governor Katherine Baker Knoll returned to the State Senate the other day to thunderous applause.The long time Pennsylvania politico is battling cancer and usually takes great care in presiding over the Senate. The applause and good wishes seem to agree with her.
If Paul Kanjkorski loses his bid for a 12th term in the U.S. Congress lack of money will not be the reason why. Kanjorski has accumulated a dubious record of having the most campaign contributions given to any Democrat all across America in various catagories. That streak stayed alive with the news that the non-partisan National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee has spent more money on political advertisements and mailings for the 11th district Dem. According to Federal Election Commission filings, the Realtors' PAC spent $382,500 in September on advertising in support of Kanjorski. The PAC spent another $60,000 on radio ads and $220,000 on direct mailings for Kanjorski. Kanjo isn't even a realtor and doesn't have as many houses as John McCain. The Realtors' PAC has spent $888,908 on Kanjorski in just 2 months.That's nearly a million dollars. That investment is second this election cycle only to the $990,000 the PAC spent in April and May on a failed New Mexico congressional candidate Monty Newman, a Republican who is a licensed Realtor. Many of Kanjorski's supporters are hoping that that unsuccessful trend will not continue and that the money raised by the PAC will put the Pennsylvania Congressman over the top. Be it ever so humble................there's no place like a realtor PAC.
PHOTO INDEX: THE WARM TEAM FROM THE MID 1960s. FROM THE LEFT BOTTOM, RON ALLEN, TOMMY WOODS, BILL STUART, HARRY WEST, DON STEVENS AND GEORGE GILBERT.
BREAKING NEWS RON ALLEN DIES Ron Allen, an original member of the WARM Sensational Seven and renowned sportscaster on WARM Radio died this morning at 7AM in Hospice in Scranton. Allen began his career at WARM in 1958, was known for his deejay career where his sidekick was "Mother Fletcher". Allen hosted the TOP 40 Saturday Countdown from 1pm to 6pm weekly as well as a daily music show from 3 to 6pm and then later 1 to 4pm. In the late 60s, he expanded the WARM sports department adding local football and basketball and hosted the Ron Allen Sportsline for decades. Allen had a brief hiatus from WARM in the 70s going to Pocono Downs as a PR man but his main career remained at WARM where he remained until the early 90s. He was the creator of many contests and promotions. His slogan, "It's Only WARM for Me" became a catch phrase that not only promoted the Mighty 590 but became part of the area lexicon. For more information, check our 590 FOREVER WARM blog.
Friday is the big showdown for the first Obama-McCain debate. It will be about foreign policy but you can bet the talk will be about the economy. This Friday. Big stuff.
McCAIN TO SCRANTON
Senator McCain came to Scranton today to the Cultural Center. Had a decent crowd, here's some of the remarks he made prior to the meeting:
Thank you for the honor of appearing with you here today. The Irish-American Presidential Forum has been held since 1984, and since its inception there has been a lack of Republicans. And while my affection for Democrats and independents is deep and wide, I am proud to be the first Republican to appear before the Forum. You are very kind to invite someone with a name like McCain, a Scots-Irish descendent whose family came to the New World some generations ago. I hope you won’t hold it against us – I do try to get back to the island as often as possible. I’d like to talk about some issues that are of particular concern to Irish-Americans, but before I do, I’d like to take a couple minutes to talk about an issue that is concerning to us all, and that is the economic crisis that we have all been following since last week. On Friday, I laid out my plan for addressing this crisis. At its heart, my plan is about keeping people in their homes and safeguarding the life savings of all Americans by protecting our financial system and capital markets. These are my priorities. Senator Obama has declined to put forth a plan of his own. At a time of crisis, when leadership is needed, Senator Obama has simply not provided it. And the truth is that we don’t have time to wait for Senator Obama’s input for our nation to act. I think it is clear that Congress must act and must act quickly. I laid out my plan and my priorities last Friday. I spoke to Secretary Paulson over the weekend, and I’ve been looking at the plan the administration has put forth. I urge Congress to study this proposal carefully as they consider the remedy for this crisis. As for me, I am greatly concerned that the plan gives a single individual the unprecedented power to spend $1 trillion - trillion – dollars without any meaningful accountability. Never before in the history of our nation has so much power and money been concentrated in the hands of one person. This arrangement makes me deeply uncomfortable. When we are talking about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money “trust me” just isn’t good enough.
PHOTO INDEX: A PAPAL MONUMENT COMMEMORATING POPE BENEDICT XVI'S MASS IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR, THIS WAS ONE OF THREE PAPAL MASSES AT YANKEE STADIUM, THE BEST PHOTO I EVER TOOK IN MY LIFE, THE LATE MICKEY MANTLE MOTORING ON TO THE FIELD AT THE STADIUM DURING THE OLD TIMER'S GAME IN JUNE OF 1980, POLITICIANS FREQUENTED YANKEE STADIUM ESPECIALLY ON OPENING DAY, FROM 1981 GOVERNOR HUGH CAREY (LEFT) TALKING TO NEW YORK CITY MAYOR ED KOCH (RIGHT IN TAN RAINCOAT), DIANE MUNSON AND HER CHILDREN LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER THURMAN'S DEATH WITH ROBERT MERRILL IN THE BACKGROUND, MY FIRST GAME EVER AT YANKEE STADIUM, SEPT. 16TH 1979, "CATFISH HUNTER DAY", THE PHOTO WAS TAKEN FROM THE VANTAGE POINT OF OUR SEATS, AND THE LATE DODGER AND ABC BROADCASTER DON DRYSDALE BEING INTERVIEWED AT 161RST STREET AND RIVER AVENUE, THAT MOST FAMOUS SPORTS ADDRESS, YANKEE STADIUM.
YANKEE STADIUM MEMORIES
Today the big ball park in the Bronx closes. It has been a source of fascination for me since I was a child. My love of baseball came from watching the Yankee games on TV, seeing Mantle, Maris and my favorite Yankee, Clete Boyer play on those great teams. Ironically, I never was a Yankee fan. My teams back then were the Indians (still) and the Phillies (not anymore-1964 fixed that!) But my father always said that if you lived on the east coast, you had to follow the New York teams. That went for football, basketball and baseball. My uncles were a rich resource of Yankee history telling me about the days of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and others. As a child, I never got to Yankee Stadium like other kids in my school. It wasn’t for lack of trying. We had tried to go twice on a bus trip but it rained both days and then when my father got his old job back on the railroad, his being on call during weekends made a trip to the Bronx moot. No matter, I still had the TV with the grainy black and white images and the radio too. After the game, I’d take my glove and bounce a ball against the front steps mimicking the plays. In neighborhood pickup games, I’d haul out my white tee shirt with the laundry marker imprinted homemade number 6 on it and proceeded to become Clete Boyer whenever we hit the ball around. When I began college and a broadcasting career, I followed baseball on the periphery but it was never far from my full attention. I was doing an all night classical show on WVIA FM the night Chris Chambliss hit his game winning home run over the Royals to get the Yanks in the playoffs. Then I began to gravitate back toward watching those tumultuous teams of the 70s. From 1976 through 1979, my dad and I would sit and watch those games. He died before the 1980 season began and there has been a void for me in baseball watching ever since. My first ever trip to Yankee Stadium was on September 16th, 1979, “Catfish Hunter Day”. A guy I worked with, Butch Bianconi ran a trip from Mercy Hospital and it was an event. Like Billy Crystal said, “When I walked out of that runway, all I saw was green”. It was majestic and something to behold. The seats were in the box area and the day was magnificent. A year later, in 1980, months after my father’s death, I began to write a sports column for a local paper. I received a press pass to the Yankee games and it was a very experience to see the players up close. It was incredible to walk on that field where Ruth and all the other legends walked. That never got old for me. On old Timer’s Day 1980, I rode a Martz Bus to the ballpark. Our bus made a detour to pick up some passengers from another bus that was Stadium bound but broke down. It was that fateful day that I met Mr. Frank Martin. On the field that day, I took the best photos of my life-- Mickey Mantle running onto the grass, Don Drysdale in the dugout and the widow Munson and her children. During the 80s, I traveled to the Stadium many times, conducting interviews, snapping photos and just drinking in the scenes. My biggest regret however was seeing Richard Nixon and not approaching him. One of the fascinating political figures of my lifetime, I grew up seeing his furrowed brow and sullen expression. Nixon, at this one game was beatific in his enjoyment and I thought, “Why bother the son of gun!” How ironic that as a kid I never got to that Stadium but now as an adult I was practically living there. My friendship with Frank Martin grew through the 80s. He became a member of my wedding party and turned out to be one of my most loyal friends. One day in the late 80s, an event changed both of our lives. Frank’s long time landlord was suffering a heart attack. Frank took him to CMC and essentially saved his life. When the man’s daughter in law found out about his heroism, she offered Frank a new car, a few thousand bucks, a vacation trip and even free rent for a time. Frank turned her down. In exasperation, she said, “What do you want?” And Frank said, knowing the woman was a secretary for IBM in Manhattan, “If you could get me those IBM seats for Old Timer’s Game this year, that would be great”. The seats were slightly to the left of home plate and 14 rows back. Her one year commitment turned into 12 years. During that time period, Frank had access to 4 seats every Old Timer’s Game. Every year, a different duo went with the two of us. He spread the wealth around and everybody who was important in his life, got to see a game in one of those seats. Mrs. LuLac has the distinction of being the only female to achieve such lofty status. The day began in Scranton, then detoured to Beacon New York to pick up Mike Nott, then on to the Stadium Club for a great meal and then the game. The You Tube video at the end of this edition will give you a flavor for the zaniness of the day. It was 1998 and the end of the line for the Old Timer’s Games tickets. Frank’s landlord died and his daughter-in-law retired from IBM. In this last trip, you’ll see four grown men turn into little boys right before your eyes. More about that later. Fathers’ Day 1999 was the last time I ever went to a game at Yankee Stadium. My church, Sts. Peter and Paul in Plains was running a trip and our pastor Father Joe Greskiewich was in charge of it. Now had I known Father Joe was such an avid sports fan, I might have invited him along on one of our IBM trips but you learn little sometimes from the altar about a priest’s sports passions. On the way to the Bronx, Father Joe shared his memories of being a baseball fan and was puzzled, as was half of the bus that my friend David Dellarte was an Angels fan. “Were you born in California?” “No”. “Relatives in California?” “No”. “Ever been to California?” “No”. The game turned out to be a nail biter with the Angels prevailing and the seats, though not IBM variety, still provided an expansive vista of the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium. After my accident in 1999, my trips to the Stadium were curtailed. But I made one last journey in April of 2008 to see Pope Benedict XVIth say a Papal Mass. Many of my friends were shocked because for whatever reason, I have this certain pull toward this particular Pope. Still, I got to see him in person, got multiple blessings that day and even though I was at the time sick with cancer, (sometimes not knowing something can give you energy you thought you didn’t have) it was one of the top experiences of my life. Today Yankee Stadium closes. I’ll be watching it with millions on TV. But my friend Frank Martin will be there tonight. He has been offered thousands of dollars for his ticket, but turned all comers down. He was there when they closed the original Yankee Stadium for remodeling, was back when they opened it up again in 1976. Predictably he is enthused beyond reason about the new stadium. When I see it, I most likely will share that feeling. But tonight, in this year of 2008 which for me personally has been one of loss and challenge, the closing of the big ball park in the Bronx is the final nail in the coffin of my youth. The Stadium may close, but my memories will always be open for business.
THE LAST VOYAGE
In 1998, realizing that this was going to be our final time at Yankee Stadium with the IBM seats, Frank and I decided to have it videotaped. Our friend Benny Cortez from the Mid Valley did the honors. A few points of reference: 1. This is the first time Frank ever wore shorts to the Stadium. 2. Frank had on this huge Mickey Mantle shirt that attracted attention. 3. Frank, a long time devotee of Mickey Mantle, as a matter of fact his nickname is “Mick Man” was debating whether he should stand and clap for Joe DiMaggio at Old Timer’s Day. DiMaggio had not been to Mickey Mantle’s funeral and Frank never forgave him for it, until Old Timer’s Game 1998. 4. This would be DiMaggio’s last Old Timer’s Game. 5. We’d pick out a decent looking woman in the crowd and dare each other to go and take her picture. No one had the guts to do it until 1998. You’ll see who it was who took “the photo challenge” in the video. 6. Watching the video is bittersweet for me because it was the last time I would be walking unassisted. 7. Now from YOU TUBE: Yankee Stadium.
RACE AN ISSUE? HELL YES! A Scranton resident proudly told a New York Times reporter that he would not vote for a black man for President. I mean give the guy a tiny bit of credit, he said it out loud. But if you’re the Chamber of Commerce and want to build on the Scranton Cosmopolitan style they’re trying to promote, this isn’t going to help. Racial misgivings could cause problems for the Obama/Biden ticket and make this election closer than it should be. An AP-Yahoo poll, and wait until you read this folks, says that one third of white Democratic voters have negative attitudes towards blacks characterizing them as “lazy”, “violent” or responsible for their own fate. Stanford University also helped with the poll and it suggests that race could make the difference in the 2008 race and make the margin thinner than in 2004. The poll is a hard dose of reality for the Democrats. You can’t counter it with an ad because it is an inbred attitude. It is beyond me how an energetic Harvard educated man who brought himself up in the world can be characterized as “lazy”. Do these voters think once Obama becomes President he’s going to kick back with a couple of forties and hang out in the Rose Garden and let Biden do everything? What is disturbing about this is the fact that voters will lump their prejudices in one big pile and transfer it to the obvious exception to that negative perception. If I’ve said this once, I’ll say it another hundred times, some Americans shouldn’t vote. They’re too prejudiced or in this case too dumb to discern perception vs. reality. This election will not hinge on the hockey moms or the undecided, it’ll depend on whether the already decided, come of the woodwork like the guy in Scranton and not only tell the New York Times but the world, “I’m ignorant, I’m prejudiced, and I’m proud of it”. And unfortunately for us, then they’ll vote. LINK Many thanks to the Philadelphia Inquirer Political Page Editor Nathan Gorenstein for linking LuLac to their site. It’s a blog called CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL. Here’s the link: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/harrisburg_politics/
PHOTO INDEX: OUR 1968 LOGO, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CHRIS HACKETT AND JOHN McCAIN FOR PRESIDENT BUTTON.
HACKETT RAISES DOUGH
First Lady Laura Bush wasn’t toting a sack of flour or a rolling pin Thursday but she could’ve been given the amount of dough raised by the Hackett campaign. Christ Hacket is running in the 10th District in hopes of recapturing the seat held by Don Sherwood and Joe McDade for decades. Hackett is running against Chris Carney and was honest enough to admit the folks weren't coming to the mansion to see him but the First Lady. From all the reports we recieved, Mrs. Bush was gracious, friendly and did a little homework on the 10th. This has to be a big feather in the cap for the Hackett campaign especially after the tough primary fight he had in the spring.
McCAIN IN SCRANTON
Senator John McCain makes a stop by in Scranton on Monday. The senator will host one of his signature Town Hall meetings at the Scranton Cultural Center. McCain impressed the last time he was here in July and there seems to be thinking on the McCain camp’s part that Pennsylvania can be in play. The event starts at 830AM and will be carried live by WILK AM & FM Radio.
MY TOWN, YOUR TOWN
Steve Corbett had a fascinating show on Thursday regarding the city of Wilkes Barre. Interestingly, no city official deigned to talked to him about his thoughts on Wilkes Barre. To me, there seems to be a great divide going on in the city. It seems city officials are banking on the promise of the future to make the city viable while treating the backbone of the city, its current residents to leftovers from the table. That’s the feeling I got when Corbett received calls from residents in the Heights and other sections of the city who were frustrated that basic services weren’t being met. It was also pointed out that many of the developments were on the drawing board from the previous Mayor who did not ignore the street cleanings, snow removal or spring clean up of the current residents. Except for the police protection, all of those aforementioned items are found wanting. Now I am not against progress, I think the River Front Development will be marvelous as well as the loft apartments. But let’s make sure people can afford them or else they are going to sit shiny and empty like some of the storefronts in the downtown. When all this redevelopment is done it will be up to the Chamber of Commerce to do its job for once in a few generations and get some high paying jobs in the area. I saw Larry Newman from the Chamber on WYOU TV the other night and all he was talking about was how the city was on a comeback with all the new developments. And he’s right but not once did I hear a comprehensive plan to attract JOBS to fill up those lofts in the downtown and that beautiful waterfront. Meanwhile the taxpaying residents of the city are treated like second class citizens waiting for the royalty to arrive and populate those lofts.
DEMS TO THE RESCUE
Ever notice how the Republican Party says that they are the true managers of the economy and as business people only they know how to run the economic ship? Let’s see, Herbert Hoover gave us the Great Depression and it took a Martini drinking Dem like FDR to get us out of that. After Reagan and Bush 41 ran up deficits beyond belief, it took a flawed southern Governor named Clinton to bring us to a balanced budget. What is obvious now is that we need another Democrat to get us out of this mess. When I was a radio sales rep, a young hot shot off the street made managers cream in their jeans when he said, “Greed is good. I want to sell anything I can to anyone I could at any cost”. They cooed and made him the fair haired boy and while most of us went out and serviced our clients, he went out and made tons of money, screwed the clients over, moved on and left debris in his wake. Many of those clients never bought radio again. I liken that to the stuff that’s happened on Wall Street. When there are no regulations, especially when it comes to money, people, even good ones run amok. Greed took over on Wall Street and it was not good. It is time for the Democrats, (yeah those regulating, taxing, government loving fellows and gals) to put the brakes on the avarice and once more restore moral stability to our financial institution. The big boys proved they can’t be trusted, otherwise they wouldn’t have one buyout or retirement plan for the CEOs and top management and another for the grunts. Enough of this crap already. 1968 The old Democratic coalition was disintegrating, with untold numbers of blue-collar workers responding to Wallace's blandishments, Blacks threatening to sit out the election, liberals disaffected over the Viet Nam War, the South lost. The war chest was almost empty, and the party's machinery, neglected by Lyndon Johnson, creaked in disrepair. Calling for "the politics of joy", and using the still-powerful labor unions as his base, Humphrey fought back. With the support of the then powerful unions, in this third week in September a shift came in the Humphrey/Muskie effort when HHH tabbed George Wallace as a racist bigot who appealed to the darker impulses of Americans. Labor unions also undertook a major effort to win back union members who were supporting Wallace, with substantial success. Polls which showed Wallace winning almost one-half of union members in the summer of 1968 showed a sharp decline in his union support as election day approached........in Pennsylvania, both Mayor Tate of Philadelphia and Joseph Barr of Pittsburgh stumped the state on behalf of Senator Joseph Clark......in the 11th Congressional District Daniel J. Flood mounted another campaign this time against Hazelton’s Stanley Bunn......and in 1968 in LuLac land and all across America the number 1 song was “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.
PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR BARACK OBAMA AND HAZLETON MAYOR LOU BARLETTA.
Challenger Lou Barletta seems to be closing in on long time Congressman Kanjorski. In the latest poll, he's in the 40s and Kanjorski is stuck at 35% with 17% undecided. It seems the Kanjorski campaign is all over the place. To get those undecideds, they need to do the following:
1. Admit Cornerstone was a mistake and tout the big bucks Kanjorski brought in over the years.
2. Ease up on the negative attacks on Lou. Lou is not Bush. Nobody is Bush Thank God! Put an ad on saying Barletta will be a lone GOP Congressman, with no strong ties to either a Dem or GOP White House and will be one guy in a sea of Democrats.
3. Use a color. How much money came in over the years.
Ahh, they never listen anyway.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee, will endorse John McCain for president on Wednesday, her spokesman tells CNN. The announcement will take place at a news conference on Capitol Hill, just blocks away from the DNC headquarters. Forester will “campaign and help him through the election,” the spokesman said of her plans to help the Republican presidential nominee. WOMEN FOR OBAMA
Evie Refalko McNulty invites you to a meeting being held to show what the “Women for Obama-Biden” can do here in Lackawanna County and NEPA. The first meeting will be held on Thursday, September 18th at the Radisson Hotel in Scranton at 7 pm in the ballroom. The meeting will be conducted by the Pennsylvania Women's Vote Director for the Women for Obama-Biden. There will be a brief video presentation and a detailed breakdown of what we can expect from the campaign and more importantly what will be expected of us . F.Y.I. what is already happening over the next 50+ days. On October 1st the Lackawanna County Federation of Democratic Women will be hosting “The View Obama /Biden Style” at the Radisson Hotel. It will start with cocktails at 6 followed by a buffet dinner and a panel discussion with a national surrogate from the campaign joining us. I will forward more info on that event as soon as Naomi Harris, the President of the LCFDW, gets the name of our special guest.
There will be a Women for Obama-Biden Rally to be held with another national guest speaker on a date to be announced (in case you are wondering men will certainly be allowed) Now is the time to get on board and show what we are really made of here in NEPA, especially Lackawanna County. HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION. Please come to the meeting on the 18th and feel free to bring your daughter, mother, aunt or neighbor. All ages welcome. The more the merrier. It’s about their future as well as ours. If you have any questions please call Evie at 335-2763.
ABORTION AN ISSUE?
Apparently not so much. An MSNBC poll shows that 58% of those polled would not vote for a candidate based on their views of abortion.
PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARYANNE PETRILLA AND ENTERCOM'S RUSTY FENDER.
GETTING IT DONE
Luzerne County is taking a hard look at its finances. They need to come up with 16 million dollars to cover the costs of outstanding commitments. For once the county has some people who are taking the bull by the horn and giving the leaders a lot of straight talk. The county used $18 million of a new bond to cover the 2008 deficit, and now need to vote Wednesday to seek court approval to borrow up that aforementioned $16 million. They need it to get through the rest of the year. County Budget/Finance Chief Tom Pribula told the Times Leader today the county was unable to secure the following budgeted revenue: $8.6 million in debt restructuring; $6.3 million in land sales; $5 million from back taxes; and $1.5 million from a 911 wire line surcharge increase. Back-tax collection was actually down $9 million, Pribula said, but commissioners plan to vote Wednesday to “sell” a back-tax portfolio to the county Redevelopment Authority in exchange for $4.4 million in upfront cash. On the surface, this all looks very painful but you can be sure they are on the right track. The first part about getting out of a hole is recognizing that you are in said hole.
HOW 'BOUT THIS?
The city of Wilkes Barre, i.e the taxpayers of the city are on the hook for half a million dollars because a Federal Judge Monday ruled the city violated the civil rights of tow truck driver Bob Kadluboski when it terminated his contract in 2004. And just how did the city do that? It turned out that when they had the arbitration hearing, they never invited Kadluboski or even told him about it. So he had no recourse. His rights were violated. My God, if I had gone to law school, I'd be a king somewhere! I mean it's common sense, invite the guy so there is no clue that there is bias later on. You don't want to give the guy the contract? Give him his due, let him rant, rave, videotape whatever he wants. But to not invite him meant one of four things. The leage eagles at city hall were:
1. Afraid of Bob. (ANd the guy is a peach once you get to know him!)
2. They were arrogant.
3. They were stupid.
4. All of the above.
Jeez! As a taxpayer, I'll take the hit. I hope they give Bob every cent. It's nice to see a working class guy outsmart the yoiung sharpies with their brand new briefcases.
FENDER A HERO!
Borough of Old Forge, Lackawanna County honors radio/TV traffic guru Rusty Fender “RUSTY FENDER DAY” proclaimed in Old Forge Tuesday 9/16/08
(Old Forge) Chief Lawrence A. Semenza, O.F.P.D., Mayor Michele Avvisato and the Borough of Old Forge honor radio and television traffic reporter Rusty Fender with the "Outstanding Citizen Award" for his help with an arson investigation which occurred on Maple Street within the Borough, Saturday August 30th just before 5 AM. Shortly after noticing a vehicle without headlights fleeing from an abandoned structure, a general alarm fire broke out. By early afternoon, Chief Semenza, Captain Jamie Krenitsky and Officer Jason Dubernas already had a suspect. "If more citizens would get involved in their neighborhood, it would not only be a safer place to live but make everyone's work a lot easier" said Semenza, citing quick work by Old Forge Police to a detail-oriented tip provided by Fender. The award will be presented to Fender at the Old Forge Borough building 310 South Main Street Tuesday September 16th at 2 PM. Rusty Fender's traffic updates air "live" during morning and afternoon drive times over the Entercom cluster of radio stations including 98.5 KRZ, WGGY-FM 'Froggy 101', WILK-AM/FM, 'The Mountain' 102.3 FM and on television from 5 - 7 AM on WBRE-TV Channel 28's "Eyewitness News" with Doug Currin and Eva Mastromatteo and at 4 PM on WYOU-TV Channel 22's "First at 4" with Mark Hiller, both stations part of the Northeast PA News Alliance.
PHOTO INDEX: TWO BILLS, FORMER GOVERNOR WILLIAM "BILL" WARREN SCRANTON AND WVIA PRESIDENT BILL KELLY.
WHAT WAS WRITTEN
“In December, as he first appeared on the national stage, he was without a doubt the most attractive new face on the Republican scene. Lean, handsome, young, polished, endowed with a magnificent wife and four handsome children, he had the quality of a Kennedy-whose friend indeed he had been and whose autographed picture (as then Senator Kennedy) hung in Scranton’s home office in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Moreover in his first year as governor of Pennsylvania, Scranton had written a startlingly effective record. In the house of mastodons which shelters the Republican legislators of Pennsylvania, the Republican Governor for a full century had been gentlemen noted for their florid impotence. Pennsylvania heavy industry ran the state. But Scranton had defeated Richardson Dilworth in a brawling, venomous campaign in 1962 and then had gone on to amaze all by actually mastering the beasts of the Republicans in his own state house. He had reformed Pennsylvania Civil Service, one of the most spoils ridden in the nation, doubled education appropriations, passed an unpopular but necessary increase in the sales tax and begun a major program of industrial development for the state that was overdue since the war." “The Making Of the President: 1964”, Theodore H. White, Pulitzer Prize winner.
A GENERATIONAL ICON
When I was a child growing up in ethnic, Catholic Pittston, the second generation Americans, tested by the Depression and WWII had three pictures hanging in their bakery, butcher, barber or hardware shops. In order they were Pope John the 23rd, John F. Kennedy and William Warren Scranton. The Pope was a reminder of their faith but the photos of Kennedy and Scranton were subjects of great pride. No matter that both were rich people with inherited wealth, these were men of their generation who had served in the war and now were in charge. No longer was there a President Eisenhower or Governor James born in the previous century, these were men of their era. And they were only too proud to tell you that. I thought of that when I heard that Bill Kelly from WVIA TV was going to interview Governor Scranton next week. For years WVIA President Bill Kelly had been asking 91 year old former Pa. Governor Bill Scranton to allow a no restrictions interview for posterity, saying it need not ever be telecast and emphasizing that his colorful memories and unvarnished opinions are too important for later generations to lose. After being repeatedly assured that the recordings would not be released during his lifetime, unless he decided otherwise, the Governor consented and over several days last June sat in a darkened WVIA studio for almost four hours of questions. The Governor responds candidly with talk of presidents blessed and flawed, of his parents and upbringing in the city that bears his name, of the political party he at times no longer agrees with and of his beloved wife Mary, to whom he is dedicating his life. "It was a privilege," Kelly said, "the Governor trusted us and spoke very frankly." "But nothing he said seemed to us so sensitive that it need be protected, so we asked him to let WVIA break our promise." The Governor's family and trusted associates reviewed the tapes and encouraged him to let it be broadcast. The result will be "Governor Bill Scranton; An Open Book," three nights of one hour programs, September 23, 24 and 25, each at 8PM.
PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE GEORGE WALLACE MAKING AN APPEARING AT THE WILKES BARRE SCRANTON AIRPORT IN AVOCA DURING THE 1968 CAMPAIGN, OUR 1968 LOGO, LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARYANNE PETRILLA AND WILKES BARRE MAYOR TOM LEIGHTON.
M.A. TO WB: NO!
The Coal Street Park renovation project has hit a snag. Wilkes Barre Mayor Tom Leighton had asked the county for 2 million dollars in funding but Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla turned him down saying there was essential no more money left. Petrilla and GOP Commissioner Steve Urban pointed out that the Diamond City saying that the county has made significant investments in Wilkes-Barre projects including the downtown riverfront complex. The rub is that the money was promised verbally in the past but that the Commissioners did no formal vote on it. In the past these earmarks have been funded through bond projects but Petrilla noted that there is no longer a cushion for the bond money and the county needs to stick to the financial plan in place. Petrilla did not leave the Mayor high and dry, saying the city could re-program a 1.8 million dollar grant for the Coal Street Park, originally bookmarked for housing. To Leighton's credit, Wilkes Barre has done well in getting the financial cooperation of the county over the years but obviously the County is sticking to a plan that will bring it to a level of fiscal responsibility not seen in decades. Meanwhile, Leighton will continue in his quest to renovate Coal Street Park which in its time was a gem. I remember playing in softball games there and in college using the tennis facilities in a feeble and unsuccessful attempt to be an adequate player. I stunk but man what a great place to fail. The rink was also a host to the late Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle in 1985 who signed autograpghs for two straight days. Many local residents have memories of that event. So I hope the project comes to fruition.
The McCain campaign got an arrow through the heart this weekend from Alan Greenspan who said the country can't afford tax cuts of the magnitude proposed by Republican presidential contender John McCain — at least not without a corresponding reduction in government spending. McCain has said that he would offset his proposed cuts — including reducing the corporate tax rate and eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax that has plagued middle-class families — by ending congressional pork-barrel spending, unnecessary government programs and overhauling entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. No specifics were given as to how the Arizona Senator would change those two program. Democrats pounced on Greenspan's comments, in part because McCain professed last year that he was weaker on economics than foreign affairs and was reading Greenspan's memoir, "The Age of Turbulence," to educate himself.
French General René Cogny and 94 others die in a Air France Caravelle jetliner crash near Nice………………On the campaign trail President, Third Party candidate, former Alabama Governor George Wallace gets on all 50 statewide ballots across the country. It is an amazing feat given the fact that each state had at that time byzantine election laws. Wallace dispatched a dedicated group of lawyers who found every loophole to put his American Independent Party on the ballot….In Illinois, a coed is found dead in her dorm room committing suicide over the failed campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy….….Statewide in the Treasurer’s Race, Grace Sloan kicks her campaign in high gear against GOPer Frank Pasquerilla. Sloan will later thump him in the General…..in Wilkes Barre, Mayor John V. Morris is honored with a testimonial dinner….Also in Wilkes Barre a Catholic High School (later to become Bishop Hoban) is planned for the downtown renewal area project….in Pittston Detato’s Supermarket opens as the first superstore and provides this blog editor with his first taste of hard labor and forty years ago this week, the number 1 song in LuLacland was “Harper Valley PTA” by Jeannie C. Reilly.
WHERE DO I START? THE McCAIN CAMP HAS HAD A BOOST WITH THE PICKING OF SARAH PALIN. IT HAS BROUGHT IN MONEY, ENERGIZED THE TICKET AND GIVEN HIM A SHOT. BUT IF OBAMA HAD PICKED CLINTON, I BELIEVE THERE WOULD BE NO PALIN BUT RATHER A POWELL ON THE TICKET. HOW BETTER TO DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM BUSH THAN TO PICK COLIN POWELL BUT STILL KEEP HIS (McCAIN’S) CREDIBILITY ON THE SURGE. I THOUGHT BIDEN WOULD BE BETTER ON THE STUMP, I MEAN ADMITTING HILLARY MIGHT’VE BEEN A BETTER PICK, C’MON. BUT ONE THING STICKS WITH ME ABOUT BOTH CONVENTIONS. ON THE MORTGAGE CRISIS, OBAMA TALKED ABOUT A FAMILY LOSING THEIR SOLE HOME TO THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS. McCAIN CITED A FAMILY WHO HAD 9 RENTAL PROPERTIES AND WERE “STRUGGLING”. PLEASE, TO ME THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES.
2. FRED ASTAIRE OR GENE KELLY?
I’M NO STUDENT OF DANCE BUT I THINK KELLY WAS MORE OF A RISK TAKER IN HIS PERFORMANCES. ASTAIRE SEEMED TO FOLLOW A FORMULA. TO ME, YOU ALWAYS KNEW WHERE HE WAS GOING TO GO NEXT. KELLY ON THE OTHER HAND WAS UNPREDICTABLE AND FILLED WITH ENERGY. HIS PERFORMANCE OF “SINGING IN THE RAIN” WAS FILLED WITH IMPROVISATION. PLUS HE HAD A FEVER AND WAS DEATHLY ILL WHEN THEY FILMED THAT SEGMENT. I LIKE ASTAIRE BUT LOVED GENE KELLY AS A DANCER.
3. DO YOU THINK GOVERNOR ED RENDELL AND SENATOR BOB CASEY HAD COMPARABLE ROLES AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION?
NO. CASEY WAS IN PRIME TIME. BOTH DID WELL BUT YOU COULD TELL WHO SUPPORTED THE WINNER.
4. I SAW YOUR WARM BLOG AND THINK ITS WONDERFUL. DO YOU HAVE A TOP LIST OF LOCAL RADIO NEWSCASTERS YOU RESPECTED?
AT THE RISK OF TORKING PEOPLE OFF, I HAVE A FEW. I LEARNED AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT FROM DAVID DECOSMO IN THE 70S. DAVID COULD MOVE BETWEEN THE CORRIDERS OF POWER AND POLITICS EASILY, NEVER CHANGING WHO HE WAS. IN THE NEXT MOMENT, HE COULD COVER A FIRE AND SHOW SUCH GREAT COMPASSION IN MAKING SURE THE DETAILS WERE RIGHT BECAUSE HE KNEW THE STORY INVOLVED EXTENDED FAMILY. KEVIN JORDAN WAS A FAVORITE OF MINE TOO. I SAY THIS WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, BUT KEVIN WAS LIKE THE “PROVERBIAL SKUNK AT THE GARDEN PARTY” WHEN HE ASKED QUESTIONS NO ONE WOULD EVEN DARE. HE WAS FEARLESS AND WAS ULTIMATELY VINDICATED IN HIS QUESTIONING WHEN NATIONAL MEDIA NOTICED HIS TOUGH LINE OF INQUIRY. IN THE 80S, KEVIN SERVED WITH DISTINCTION AS PRISIDENT OF THE NEPA NEWS MEDIA ASSOCIATION. HE WAS JUST GREAT. KITCH LOFTUS FROM WARM SET THE STANDARD FOR FEMALE BROADCASTERS IN RADIO NEWS. IN THE 70S, SHE WAS PRETTY MUCH IT AND THE THING I REMEMBERED ABOUT HER WAS THAT WHILE OTHERS WERE SATISFIED TO GET A “POOL” SOUNDBITE, SHE ALWAYS STAYED AFTER AND GOT HER OWN SOUND. I ASKED HER WHY AND SHE SAID, “THINK I WANT MY STATION TO SOUND LIKE ALL THE OTHERS!!!” BUD BROWN AND BILL GRAHAM WERE WONDERFUL IN THE 70S WHEN WBRE WAS ALL NEWS. RICH MATES FROM WEJL ALWAYS FILED MORE STORIES TO THE AP THAN YOU COULD SHAKE A STICK AT. IN HAZLETON, L.A. TARONE IS STILL RELENTLESS IN HIS PURSUIT OF THE NEWS AND ANDY MEHALSHICK HAS SHOWN TENACITY FOR BREAKING NEWS THAT SERVES WBRE TV VERY WELL. DAVID KUSH WAS A FORCE IN THE MARKET AT WILK AND WBAX AND IN 1977-78 FORMED A CONCEPT ON PUBLIC RADIO CALLED “THE DAY BEGINS AT MIDNIGHT”. ALONG WITH ROGER HEYDT AND A FEW OTHERS, THEY DID AN ALL NIGHT NEWS PROGRAM THAT WAS PRETTY INNOVATIVE. WDAU AND WGBI’S TOM POWELL WAS A FORCE IN LOCAL NEWS MAINLY BECAUSE HE COVERED EVERYTHING FROM MINING DISASTERS TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. MIKE STEVENS TRANSITIONED FROM RADIO TO TV AND WAS AN ALL OUT STAR IN EVERY MEDIUM HE WAS IN. KATHY BOZINSKI AND KAREN HARCH MADE THEIR BONES WHEN THEY INTERVIEWED IRAN HOSTAGE MICHAEL METRINKO. NANCY KMAN WAS AN EXCELLENT RADIO REPORTER BEFORE SHE GOT THE CHANCE TO RUN WILK. ANDY PALUMBO ALSO MADE THE TRANSITION FROM RADIO TO TV WITH VERY GOOD RESULTS. I KNOW I’VE LEFT OUT MORE THAN I’VE MENTIONED BUT THOSE ARE MY TOP ONES.
5. WATCHING A LOT OF DAYTIME TV SINCE YOU WERE ON MEDICAL LEAVE?
NOPE. IT GETS PRETTY BAD WHEN SPRINGER’S BOUNCER GETS HIS OWN SHOW.
6. YONKI, YOU HAVE A CHOICE. 24 HOURS IN A ROOM WITH THE LADIES FROM “THE VIEW”CHATTERING AWAY, (ANY ERA) OR THE SAME TIME WITH KEVIN LYNN AND STEVE CORBETT?
NOT TO SOUND SEXIST HERE, BUT I’D HAVE TO GO WITH KEV AND THE CORB. AT LEAST THERE'D BE A SANE DEBATE DEVOID OF SILLINESS.
7. CONGRESSIONAL RACES? OPINION?
KANJORSKI, AS I SAID OVER AND OVER AGAIN HAS TO ADDRESS CORNERSTONE. BARLETTA IS SURGING. HACKETT HAS A PUNCHER’S CHANCE BECAUSE CARNEY IS NOT ENGAGING HIM IN MANY DEBATES. I THINK ALL OF THEM ARE TOSSUPS AND TO BE HONEST, THEY SHOULDN’T BE.
8. WHEN I SAW YOU ON WYOU TV ONE TIME, YOU WERE TALKING WITH ERIC ABOUT BONUSGATE? ANYTHING HAPPENING WITH THAT?
TOM CORBETT, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SAID THERE MIGHT BE MORE INDICTMENTS BEFORE THE ELECTION. BUT THE TIME IS RUNNING SHORT AND IF HE DOES INDICT, THAT WILL OPEN THE CHARGES FOR POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM. THERE IS MORE TO THIS STORY AND YOU’LL BE HEARING MORE. BUT THAT’S CORBETT’S CALL. BY THE WAY, IT LOOKS LIKE CORBETT WILL BREEZE TO A SECOND TERM. SINCE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BECAME AN ELECTED OFFICE IN 1980, NO DEMOCRAT HAS EVER WON IT IN THE COMMONWEALTH.
9. ANY MEMORIES OF YANKEE STADIUM AND WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR IN THE PLAYOFFS SINCE YOUR TRIBE IS OUT OF IT?
MANY OF THE STADIUM, YOU’LL SEE THEM NEXT SUNDAY IN LULAC. AS FOR THE PLAYOFFS, I’M ROOTING FOR THE DODGERS AND TORRE. THE YANKS SEEMED TO DIMINISH EVERYTHING HE DID FOR THEM AS A MANAGER IN THE MANNER IN WHICH HE WAS LET GO. THEY SEEMED TO BE SAYING, “ANYONE CAN GET US A DIVISION”. UH, NO! SO I’M ROOTING FOR JOE TORRE. IRONIC HE GETS IN THE PLAYOFFS WHILE HIS OLD TEAM SITS AT HOME THIS YEAR.
10. YOUR FAVORITE GIRL ON “PETTICOAT JUNCTION?"
EASY, LORI SAUNDERS. THE DARK HAIRED GIRL WHO PLAYED BOBBIE JO AND LATER BECAME THE DODGE GIRL. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WE E MAIL EACH OTHER. SHE’S IN HER 60S, HAS A SLEW OF GRANDCHILDREN AND IS A CHRISTIAN.
11. ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
NOPE, I’M A CATHOLIC.
12. WELFARE, HOW DO WE SOLVE IT?
WE STOP IT. WELFARE BECOMES AVAILABLE FOR PHYSICALLY DISABLED PEOPLE WHO CAN’T MOVE, NOT FOR SOMEONE WITH DIABETES AND IS AMBULATORY. IT BECOMES AVAILABLE TO MENTALLY CHALLENGED PEOPLE WHO CAN'T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. FOR THOSE PEOPLE, WE SHOULD MAKE A LIFETIME COMMITMENT OF CARE. FOR OTHERS, WELFARE SHOULD BE LIKE A SENATE TERM, 6 YEARS. NO MORE. THERE SHOULD BE A LIMIT ON KIDS. TWO. IF A THIRD ONE IS BORN, THAT CHILD GETS REDUCED BENEFITS. NOW MY FRIEND JOE LEONARDI WILL SAY THAT’S PUNISHING THE CHILD BUT IT ISN’T ANY MORE PUNISHMENT THE CHILD IS GETTING FROM A MOTHER WHO THOUGHTLESSLY SPREAD HER LEGS AGAIN WITHOUT AN ECONOMIC PLAN TO RAISE THAT KID. MY HEAVENS, I KNOW WORKING COUPLES WHO ARE AFRAID TO HAVE CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY FEAR THEY WON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PROVIDE FOR THEM ADEQUATELY. IF A FOURTH CHILD IS BORN, MANDATORY STERILIZATION. IF THE “MOTHER” HAS A PROBLEM WITH THAT, MOVE OUT OF THE STATE. ANOTHER THING, A RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT HAS TO BE IN PLACE FOR AT LEAST 8 MONTHS BEFORE SOMEONE GETS PENNSYLVANIA WELFARE. I’VE KNOWN THREE WOMEN ON WELFARE WHO USED IT THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. THEY WERE ALL DUMPED BY THEIR HUSBANDS, (ONE IN THE BIRTHING SUITE) AND HAD TO RAISE KIDS. EACH ONE USED WELFARE TO FEED THE KIDS AND GET EDUCATIONS. ALL THREE DID IT IN 6 YEARS AND ALL THREE HAVE MASTERS DEGREES AND ARE MAKING MORE MONEY THAN AND ME AND MRS. LULAC COMBINED. I SAY GOOD FOR THEM. THEY WENT TO SCHOOL, HAD NO OTHER CHILDREN, SUBMITTED TO HAVING THEIR GRADES REVIEWED AND HOMES INSPECTED BUT PREVAILED. ON THE OTHER HAND, I’VE KNOWN OF A FEW OTHERS WHO MILKED THE SYSTEM, ARE STILL ON IT AND SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING. GET TOUGH, GIVE THEM STANDARDS TO MEET AND IF THEY DECIDE NOT TO, NO CHECK. CUT THEM OFF. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WELFARE COIN IS THE BUREAUCRACY OF THE SYSTEM. I’LL NEVER FORGET ONE DAY IN THE NINETIES WHEN I HAD TO GO TO THE WELFARE OFFICE TO DROP OFF A FEW PHOTOS FOR A GUY I ATTENDED A MET GAME WITH. THE WAITING ROOM WAS PACKED WITH PEOPLE, AND EVERY DESK IN THE OFFICE HAD A CLIENT. AT 10:15AM, ONE HALF OF THE CASEWORKERS STOOD UP IN UNISON AND WALKED OUT OF THE JOINT. I THOUGHT IT WAS A STRIKE. SILLY ME, I WAS TOLD THEY WERE ALL GOING ON BREAK. I POINTED OUT THAT IT APPEARED TO ME THEIR WORK WASN’T FINISHED AND THE RECEPTIONIST SAID, “THEY HAVE TO TAKE THEIR BREAK”. IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED AND IF A COUPLE OF PEOPLE GET HURT ALONG THE WAY, SORRY. THEY’LL FIND A WAY. THEY ALWAYS DO.
13. HOW WOULD YOU FIND BIN LADEN?
HERE’S WHAT I WOULD DO, I’D GO TO CIRCUIT CITY AND BUY EVERY BIG ASS SPEAKER THEY HAVE. I’D TAKE A RADIO ENGINEERING GENIUS LIKE ROCK 107’S KEVIN FITZGERALD AND HAVE HIM SET UP A SYSTEM OF WALL TO WALL SOUND IN THE TARGETED AREA WHETHER IT BE AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, OR IRAN AND HAVE THIS SONG BLARE 24/7. IT’LL SMOKE HIM OUT.
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Currently, Yonki is a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appears on the Hazleton, PA. stations Election Night coverage and does special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".