Friday, October 31, 2008

The LuLac Edition #624, Oct. 31st, 2008




PHOTO INDEX: PERSECUTED JUDGE ANN LOKUTA AND OUR 1968 LOGO.


ONE SIDED TRAVESTY

So the long awaited court ruling came down yesterday against Luzerne County Judge Anne Lokuta and to me it was a revealing revelation about the clubiness of the Judiciary. The State Judicial Board of Review issued a 229 page report that was a one sided document directed at the Judge. Some of the key points:
Routinely belittled, berated and badgered court staff and others who appeared before her. The abuse was so severe that some employees were so traumatized that they could no longer appear before her.
Utilized court personnel to perform “hundreds” of hours of work conducting her personal business, including cleaning her home, packing items, caring for her ill mother and raking her yard.
The court said it found that abuse “repugnant” and an “affront to every judge and judicial employee of the commonwealth.”
“We dare say that the reasonable expectations of the public would include the expectation that a judge would not require her law clerk to spend her time raking the judge’s yard, bubble wrapping the judge’s things or scrubbing the judge’s floors,” the court wrote.
Created a “war”-like atmosphere with other judges and county court offices, including showing extreme disrespect and insubordination to the president judge.
Was habitually late for hearings and intentionally delayed the start of proceedings while she chatted with people in her chambers.
Openly acknowledged a personal bias against certain attorneys, then issued rulings that were detrimental to their clients’ cases.
Falsely accused deputy court administrator P.J. Adonizio of physically and verbally assaulting her during an altercation in the courthouse in June 2004.
That was reported in the Times Leader today. I have a problem with asking court employees to do work for the Judge as paid staffers. There should be a reprimand for that. But the other things? C’mon. Lokuta was elected to the bench twice by the people. The people she employed were servants of the electorate. If they had a problem with the Judge, they should have taken it out on the electoral battle field instead of running to the big bad Judicial Review Board to do their dirty work for them. Not one stopped working for her did they? And did they give up some of those bloated county salaries? And if they did, you’d be sure one of the cronies would soft land them into another position not so demanding and er, mean. Lokuta was quoted as saying the coal miner’s daughter will fight back. I certainly hope so. To single out Lokuta for this type of stuff is a travesty and insult when some of the Judiciary in Luzerne County are being investigated for financial wrong doing. Maybe Lokuta’s two biggest mistakes were:
1. Not being nicer.
2. Not being interested in financial gain.
3. Not being a 6 foot tall blond from the Back Mountain who was more style than substance. Then these allegations would be "eccentric".

THE FINAL LAP

Northeastern Pa. is in the thick of it, John McCain comes to the University of Scranton Sunday, Caroline Kennedy to Wilkes College Sunday to support Obama and former President Clinton to Wilkes Barre to support Paul Kanjorski.

1968

Citing progress in the
Paris peace talks, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1………The word put a major boost in the candidacy of Vice President Humphrey who was closing in fast on Richard Nixon……Statewide, the race between incumbent Senator Joe Clark and Congressman Richard Schweiker goes down to the wire….Scranton Attorney Robert Casey seems headed for victory as the state’s Auditor General….in the fifth legislative district, Richard Adams steps up the pressure on incumbent GOPer Frank O’Connell while Bernard O’Brien in Wilkes Barre appears headed to another term in the state house…..and this week 40 years ago, the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was “Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkin.


The LuLac Edition #623, Oct. 31st, 2008




PHOTO INDEX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE KAREN BOBACK AND DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER RUSS BIGUS.

Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.

DEBATE: THE 117TH

Thursday night, incumbent Representative Karen Boback and her Democrat opponent Russ Bigus squared off at a debate at the Crestwood Area High School. Both agreed on the issues facing the district but had different methods of getting to a conclusion. Here are some of the highlights:

POLICE PROTECTION

BIGUS

Set up satellite police stations and give more power to the county Sheriff’s department to help out with law enforcement.

BOBACK

Develop more incentives for regional police forces.

TEACHER’S STRIKES

BIGUS

Told the audience to lock the bargaining parties up until they reach an agreement. Mandatory sequestering was the term he used.

BOBACK

Mentioned that the powerful legislative educational interests would not allow that and instead proposed re-submitting her legislation to forma study committee to see how other states avoid teacher strikes.

THE ECONOMY

BIGUS

Floated a curious proposal to let work study students trained to take over new industrial jobs created through tax incentives.

BOBACK

Essentially said large businesses and factories were not going to locate in the Back Mountain. She said the area could be a residential haven for its employees and pointed to places like Benton and Tunkhannock as places that typify Smalltown, U.S.A.

HEALTH CARE

BIGUS

Bigus said he would make health care reform a priority. He proposedallowing students to stay on their parents' health insurance plans untilage 30 instead of 25, and putting teachers in the health care pool withother state employees.

BOBACK

Boback said there needs to be more competition, particularly for thelarge insurers like Blue Cross/Blue Shield. That will lead to morecompetitive pricing, she believes. She said the legislature also needsto look at factors that drive costs up, such as frivolous lawsuits.

GUNS

BOBACK

Did everything but dress up as Annie Oakley in saying that she supported sportsmen’s groups and supported the rights of gun owners. She garnered the endorsement of the NRA.

BIGUS

Doing everything but wearing a coonskin cap and carrying a rifle, Bigus countered that he was a 25 year member of the NRA and had an A rating from them.

CONCLUSIONS


Bigus is a former Republican turned Democrat in a highly numbered GOP district. Both agreed more than disagreed. This reminded me of a primary debate. Advantage: Boback in terms of incumbency.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The LuLac Edition #622, Oct. 30th, 2008










PHOTO INDEX: CONGRESSMAN CARNEY AND CHRIS HACKETT.


Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.


10TH DISTRICT DEBATE

OPENING STATEMENTS

CARNEY

Talked about his family, career in the military, how he got to Congress and why he wants to stay.

HACKETT

Told the audience about his family, the number of jobs he held on the way to building his business and why he should replace Carney.

DEBATES

HACKETT

Criticized Carney for not having more debates saying the he as a challenger asked for at least 8 of them. Implied that Carney was not confident in defending his record.

CARNEY

Said that he meets constituents around the district in a town meeting setting. Mentioned that in 2006 he only had one debate with Don Sherwood and said that was sufficient enough.

THE BAILOUT

CARNEY

Said he voted against it because it was wrapped in a package of 150 billion additional monies. Talked to local bankers who told him that more controls needed to be put on Wall Street, just as they are on local banks.

HACKETT

Said the bailout was symptomatic of what is wrong with Washington. Mentioned that any time you had government bail out private business, that set a dangerous precendent. Said he would have voted it against it.

EARMARKS

CARNEY

The Congressman embraced them saying that he was proud of the money he brought to the district. Carney said the extra money created jobs and helped boost the local economy. Saying that earmarks make up only 1% of the federal budget, he felt it was money well spent. The Congressman said he’d rather see it go to this district than somewhere else. Said earmarks were not just walking around money, but dollars that had to be earned by a Congressman.

HACKETT

Felt earmarks were part of the problem in Washington. Said that he would never say 1% in unnecessary spending was not insignificant. Charged that Carney took campaign money from the same industries that he gave earmarks to.

CAMPAIGN COSTS

CARNEY

Said his campaign was going to cost about 2.3 million dollars. Carney said that he was proud of the contributors because they were putting their trust in him. He said that some of the contributions were as low as $2.00. On term limits, Carney said term limiting was in place through the electoral process.

HACKETT

Told the audience that serious campaign reform was needed. Felt McCain-Feingold did not work and had to be revamped. His campaign was said to cost 1.2 million dollars. Added that term limits should be instituted and that a 10 year limit would be a good idea.

TRUTH STRETCHING

HACKETT

Took issue with Carney’s attacks on how and why his businesses did not pay taxes. Said that his name was being smeared with Carney’s big campaign money. He cited two tax bills he labeled as disputes and they were indeed small bills.

CARNEY

Mentioned that it was an issue of character and that he always paid his taxes. Said the fact was Hackett paid the tax bills after the primary and shortly before the general election.

IMMIGRATION

CARNEY

Fine employers who give work to illegals and protect the border. Urged electronic monitoring or science to track people who has a visa expiring. Wanted to expand the visa program, said it bothered him that there were 13 to 15 million people in the country unaccounted for. Voted and will again vote against amnesty.

HACKETT

Saying that the mantra should be “high fences-wide gates”, Hackett said he would be for securing the borders, fine businesses and start a “check out” program for immigrants whose visa is set to expire.

THE MILITARY

CARNEY

Work on withdrawing from Iraq and regaining a lost foothold in Afghanistan. Said that terrorists have reconstituted themselves there while we were in Iraq. Said he was more worried about Pakistan than Iran.

HACKETT

Lauded Carney for his service in the military. But the surge worked and to put a timeline for withdrawing from Iraq might not be a good thing. Said that Carney voted 90% of the time with Nancy Pelosi and said that we need to keep the military strong.

DEFENSE CUTS

HACKETT

Criticized Barney Frank for saying he’d cut the military defense budget by 25%. Said that conservatives would never stand for that but if there was an increase in the Democratic majority via an Obama win, defense cuts would be dangerous.

CARNEY

Said he would never cut defense spending by 25%. Suggested that when the war on terror ends, the military could use its resources to create civilian like jobs in the private sector so that defense workers in the district would not be left flat.

SPREADING THE WEALTH

HACKETT

Get rid of the death tax, keep the current tax cuts, fix the tax codes that keep business from growing local jobs in America. Said wealth distribution is a dangerous thing in a free economy and again cautioned that a stronger Democratic majority would raise taxes but not help the economy.

CARNEY

Said that the middle class needed tax relief. Mentioned that people were paying more and getting less. Carney said that the middle class is the driving force in the economy and is being beat down by the Republican administration policies.

FASHION REPORT

CARNEY

White shirt, red tie, navy suit.

HACKETT

Blue button down shirt, red tie with gray and blue stripes, navy blue suit.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

HACKETT

Hackett said that there are stark differences in the campaign. He felt the end had to come to pork barrel spending. Criticized Hackett for bailing out the sugar and auto industries and said that Washington needed to be changed. Cautioned about the Obama effect on Congress if elected and said he’d be an independent voice for the district and his country.

CARNEY

Said that he was ranked in the middle (# 217) by Washington insiders. Mentioned that he worked on both sides of the aisle in a bi partisan fashion. Carney said that’s why as a freshman he brought home so much money for the district. In a funny but fitting conclusion, he said he was raised in a broken home, having one parent a Democrat and the other a Republican. That led him to see the best of both sides of each party. He said he intended to continue to be a bipartisan advocate for the district.

CONCLUSIONS

Both did well. Carney was articulate in defending his record and Hackett as the challenger was more than adequate in stating his case. The district would be served well by either man. A draw.

THE HANDSHAKE

Both candidates bounded out of their spots on the podium for a hearty handshake.

The LuLac Edition #621, Oct. 30th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: TWO OF MY HEROES FROM THE 1964 PHILLIES AT THE 20TH YEAR REUNION AT THE VET, THE BLOG EDITOR WITH THE LATE CHRIS SHORT AND THE BLOG EDITOR WITH ART MAHAFFEY.

YEAH PHILLIES!!!

Congrats to the Phillies fans out there. I was once a die hard Phillie fan. 10 years old, a kid loving baseball, my team was the 1964 Phillies. They had a few games to win the 1964 pennant but lost 10 in a row. After that, I stuck with my Indians knowing they’d rarely disappoint. (It’s comforting to know where you stand on Memorial Day of any given baseball season. After ’64, I became a Phillies observer. Rooting but holding my breath. 1980 was great, ’83 was good but not a ring. ’93 was wonderful except for that last pitch by Mitch Williams. It was good to be just an observer. When the Red Barons populated Lackawanna county Stadium, it was cool to see the Phils stars of tomorrow. The Francona and Bowa yars gave way to the old Indians manager Charlie Manuel. Dissed by the media and front office alike (they hired a bunch of managers in waiting while firing his coaching staff) Manuel held a steady rein on the stars we saw in Scranton. When the rains came n Monday, I thought, “uh oh, Phillies luck”. But they prevailed last night and won their second World Series in club history. I was happy for the rue Phillie fan who bleeds Phillie red. And wish I wasn’t just “an observer”.

ELECTION TOP 40


IRAQ #2


McCAIN

John McCain believes it is strategically and morally essential for the United States to support the Government of Iraq to become capable of governing itself and safeguarding its people. He strongly disagrees with those who advocate withdrawing American troops before that has occurred.It would be a grave mistake to leave before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating effectively. We must help the Government of Iraq battle those who provoke sectarian tensions and promote a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East. Iraq must not become a failed state, a haven for terrorists, or a pawn of Iran. These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq almost certainly would either require us to return or draw us into a wider and far costlier war.The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home.

OBAMA


Inadequate Security and Political Progress in Iraq: Since the surge began, more than 1,000 American troops have died, and despite the improved security situation, the Iraqi government has not stepped forward to lead the Iraqi people and to reach the genuine political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge. Our troops have heroically helped reduce civilian casualties in Iraq to early 2006 levels. This is a testament to our military’s hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics, and enormous sacrifice by our troops and military families. It is also a consequence of the decision of many Sunnis to turn against al Qaeda in Iraq, and a lull in Shia militia activity. But the absence of genuine political accommodation in Iraq is a direct result of President Bush’s failure to hold the Iraqi government accountable.
Strains on the Military: More than 1.75 million servicemen and women have served in Iraq or Afghanistan; more than 620,000 troops have completed multiple deployments. Military members have endured multiple deployments taxing both them and their families. Additionally, military equipment is wearing out at nine times the normal rate after years of constant use in Iraq’s harsh environment. As Army Chief of Staff General George Casey said in March, “Today’s Army is out of balance. The current demand for our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds the sustainable supply and limits our ability to provide ready forces for other contingencies.”
Resurgent Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: The decision to invade Iraq diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan, making it harder for us to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden and others involved in the 9/11 attacks. Nearly seven years later, the Taliban has reemerged in southern Afghanistan while Al Qaeda has used the space provided by the Iraq war to regroup, train and plan for another attack on the United States. 2007 was the most violent year in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001. The scale of our deployments in Iraq continues to set back our ability to finish the fight in Afghanistan, producing unacceptable strategic risks.
A New Strategy Needed: The Iraq war has lasted longer than World War I, World War II, and the Civil War. More than 4,000 Americans have died. More than 60,000 have been injured and wounded. The United States may spend $2.7 trillion on this war and its aftermath, yet we are less safe around the globe and more divided at home. With determined ingenuity and at great personal cost, American troops have found the right tactics to contain the violence in Iraq, but we still have the wrong strategy to press Iraqis to take responsibility at home, and restore America’s security and standing in the world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The LuLac Edition #620, Oct. 29th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: MAYOR BARLETTA AND CONGRESSMAN KANJORSKI.


Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.


11th DISTRICT DEBATE

Before a packed crowd in the WVIA TV studios, Congressman Paul Kanjorski and Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta debated for the one and only time in this hotly contested race. Bill Kelly, WVIA TV/FM President was the moderator in a debate seen on PCN as well as on CSPAN in the future.


OPENING STATEMENTS

BARLETTA

Stating this was his 31rst wedding anniversary Barletta said that Paul Kanjorski was not his enemy. He said it was the failed Congress Kanjorski represents that he is battling.

KANJORSKI

The Congressman said the real campaign began on Sept. 18th when the financial crisis began in America. He pointed to the Chinese proverb of living in interesting times and said the only way to solve the problems facing the country was to have him work with Barack Obama in fixing Washington.

THE BAILOUT

BARLETTA

Said that he thought the Congress acted too hastily. He felt that the Congress should have put restrictions on the banks to prevent them from making acquisitions instead of saving family’s homes.

KANJORSKI

The Congressman pointed out that the institution had to act quickly. He said the 5 day delay caused problems in the Asian market and in a startling admission he said that the success rate of the bailout was about 70%.

SOCIAL SECURITY

BARLETTA

The Hazleton Mayor denied he wanted to privatize social security. He suggested putting the money in a lock box in order for it to remain solvent. Barletta’s concern was how to replace the money that he says the Democratic Congress took out of the fund.

KANJORSKI

Stating that we are the 14th oldest population in the country, Kanjorski said the system was corrected 14 times and that most likely would be corrected again because of age increases. Kanjorski said that Social Security is secure for generations to come and that the money will be there.

IRAQ

BARLETTA

The Hazleton Mayor conceded that many mistakes were made but criticized Kanjorski for voting for the war. Barletta said the Generals on the ground have to handle the conduct of the war.

KANJORSKI

Said he would vote to end the war as soon as practically possible. Kanjorski likened the war to a driver going down a one way street and not turning around to correct his mistake. He said the Iraq government and their young people can take care of the conduct of the war without U.S. help.

CORNERSTONE

KANJORSKI

Characterized it as a research project with patents that still might have a possibility. He said that an investigation was conducted, there was no wrong doing to be found and that no one from his family made a profit. At one point in exasperation, Kanjorski asked the audience that in the 6 years since the Cornerstone Issue was revealed, that a Republican President and Congress did nothing to take action against him on it because there was no wrong doing. “They’d love to nail my butt to the wall but couldn’t”. Good point.

BARLETTA

In response, Barletta said that if no one benefited, were people not paid. He also wanted to know where the 10 million dollars went and in reference to a Kanjorski CBS TV interview, he said, “This is not free money as you’ve said, but taxpayer money”.

THE DRAFT

KANJORSKI

No draft but said if one was needed in the future, he’s support it. Made the point that had there been a draft in the Iraq War, they might have been more opposition to it. But as for now, no draft.

BARLETTA

Does not support the draft.

HEALTH CARE

KANJORSKI

Pointed out that universal health care is needed. Talked about the 47 million uninsured. Said the government was already administering Medicare and that things were running well with that.

BARLETTA

Favored competition across state lines and in effect shopping for the best health plan. Also favored tax credits for business and said he didn’t know of one government program that had no waste and health care would not be the exception.

EDUCATION

BARLETTA

Favored Pell grants, investing in work study and more availability of loans to students.

KANJORSKI

The Congressman pointed out that he was instrumental in passing legislation to free up more money for student loans.

CAMPAIGN SPENDING

KANJORSKI

Was coy about how much money was spent saying this was handled by his committee. He guessed about a million and a half. He favored a tax credit to reduce campaign spending and even suggested that public TV be available for 6 months to exclusively run a campaign.

BARLETTA

The Hazleton Mayor said he was under a million but chastised the Congressman for the millions in dollars special interests gave to his re election bid. Barletta said Kanjorski took money from people he regulated.

BUSH

KANJORSKI

Was most animated and strident when the President’s name came up. He pointed out that Bush controlled the Presidency and all the decisions made concerning the economy, the war and almost everything else came under his watch. He pointed out that Barletta was the co chairman of the 2004 Bush campaign a number of times. Kanjorski said that Bush and his administration was replacing Herbert Hoover as the most hated administration because of their actions.

BARLETTA

Said to the audience that he was Mayor of Hazleton at the time and had nothing to do with what George Bush was doing. The war, the bailouts, failed policies came from Bush, not Batletta and felt he should not be painted with that broad a brush.

GUNS

KANJORSKI

Favored guns for protection, moderately though, no bazookas. Pointed out he was endorsed by the NRA numerous times.

BARLETTA

A member of the NRA, Barletta said bad people get guns and that citizens must protect themselves.

IMMIGRATION

BARLETTA

Tied the issue to all problems in the country saying that health care, wages and national security are usurped by the issue. He said he would punish businesses for employing illegals and secure the borders.

KANJORSKI

Said he was the only one in the room to vote against amnesty and put troops on the border. Implied he was more proactive on the issue while Barletta just talked about it.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

KANJORSKI

Saying he should be more of a “show horse” than a “workhorse”, Kanjorski said there hasn’t been one issue in Congress in his 24 years there that did not involve his district. He asked to be returned because he wanted the opportunity to reform Washington after 8 years of Republican rule. Saying it was an opportunity to save the world, the Congressman said the troika of Obama-Kanjorski and Casey would take back this country. He asked for the chance to contribute to that venture.

BARLETTA

The Hazleton Mayor asked if Kanjorski changed Washington or did it change him? He rattled off the problems facing the nation and in effect laid them on the doorstep of the Congress. He said there was one issue and that it was leadership. Barletta said he’d be a leader, stand up for his district like he stood up for his city, remain unbowed and unbroken and wanted to fight for his district. He said he stood up for his community, now wanted to stand up for his district and his country.

FASHION REPORT

KANJORSKI

Red patterned tie, blue shirt, navy suit.

BARLETTA

White shirt, solid red tie, navy suit.

THE HANDSHAKE

Kanjorski wasn’t budging from the podium and it was Barletta who sauntered over, shook his hand and then went back to his designated podium. No chit chat after this one.

CONCLUSIONS

Barletta did well trying to tie Kanjorski to the past. Was fluent, charismatic. Kanjorski was factual, passionate at times, incredulous and sometimes folksy. He should have done more of these debates to display his knowledge and love of the process. An edge to the Congressman. But Barletta did himself no harm.



The LuLac Edition #619, Oct. 29th, 2008


PHOTO INDEX: ELECTION TOP 40 LOGO.


NO SOLICITATIONS

Mrs. LuLac's nerves are being frayed in this election. First off, the robo calls are driving her nuts. Second, the prospect of visits to the LuLac homestead from potenial campaigners is not something she wanted to deal with. So last Sunday she put a note on the door saying "No political solicitations". After posting the sign, she went to the grocery store. I offered to go but she wanted "me" time. On the way home, while unloading the groceries, she was stoppped by a Korean couple, who identified themselves as such asking her to support John McCain. Despite the sign, she gladly told them she was leaning toward the GOP ticket. The couple told her they were volunteering for McCain because both grew up in a country that was not free and that they shuddered to think what would happen to America if they had to repeat that process. The couple then asked about me and she told them I was leaning toward that "liberal, fascist, rock star, Greek column embracing, speech making, no content, dream weaving, empty suit, disaster in the making, Jimmy Carter light, ego driven candidate Obama". Taken aback, they politely asked her to "work on me" to change my mind and exited the street never to be seen again. So much for signage.

DID YOU KNOW?

Jimmy Carter won his election on November 4th, 1976? This election is on Nov. 4th, 2008. Just a factoid.

ELECTION TOP 40

TAX CUTS #3

McCAIN


Wants to keep and make permanent the Bush tax cuts.

OBAMA

Here is a breakdown of Obama's tax plan and how each American will fare per the Tax Policy Cente for individuals:
$0-$18,891 = $567 tax cut
$18,982-$37,595 = $892 tax cut
$37,596-$66,354 = $1,118 tax cut
$66,355-$111,645 = $1,264 tax cut
$111,646-$160,972 = $2,135 tax cut
$160,973-$226,918 = $2,796 tax cut
$226,919-$603,402 = $121 tax increase
$603,403-$2.87 million = $93,709 tax increase
$2.87 million-plus = $542,882 tax increase

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The LuLac Edition #618, Oct. 28th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS AND KEVIN MURPHY.


Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.

THE DEBATE: 113TH

Frank Andrews Shimkus and Kevin Murphy debated tonight and it was quite an interesting event. Shimkus focused on his many accomplishments and financial contributions to the district while Murphy cried, “reform, reform” and “change, change”. If you only heard the debate, Shimkus won it hands down. He was amped up and point by point accentuated his record. Murphy at the outset sounded stilted and a bit unsure but once he got his footing came on strong. Visually, Shimkus looked uncharacteristically “hot”, not cool like he appeared on TV. His shirt and tie appeared to be to the left of his neck and that was a distraction. This was a surprise given Shimkus’ years as an anchor. Murphy looked well groomed and well put together.
Appearances aside, here’s some key points on the issues:

PER DIEMS

MURPHY

Came down hard on the issue saying the Democratic caucus has a 100 million dollar slush fund. Murphy said the state could do wonders with that money and called out Shimkus for his per diem spending saying Shimkus went to Harrisburg in 2006 as symbol of the broken Harrisburg he (Shimkus) was supposed to fix.

SHIMKUS

Defended the miles he put on his car saying that traveling back and forth to Harrisburg was beneficial to his constituents. Shimkus says he is working for the taxpayers, countered that he never owned a Ford Explorer, said it was easier to lease a car than charge taxpayers mileage saying that “taking mileage money would give a traveler a fortune”. Shimkus discounted some of Murphy’s charges as dirty politics and stories that appear on what he termed “silly blogs”.

EDUCATION

MURPHY

Said that more money needs to be funneled into the district for education. Once more made his point that with the extra monies spent on legislators perks, money could be used to help educate our children.

SHIMKUS

Defended his education record saying he brought in 8 million dollars to the Abingtons and said that education spending in the 113th should be the same as educating a child in Philadelphia. Shimkus made the point that every child’s education in Pennsylvania should have the same value.

FISCAL

MURPHY

Criticized Shimkus for his coming out late for the non support of the Turnpike. Murphy said Shimkus came out against it when it was a done deal. Murphy also said that taxes should not be raised but more money should be obtained for bring jobs to the 113th. Again, Murphy appeared to be running against the Democrats in the Legislature pointing out that the money used for “Bonusgate” could be used to keep the financials in line.

SHIMKUS

Outlined a list of projects he brought to the area using tax dollars. Said he thought the turnpike was a bad idea and told the audience that in his 2 years in Harrisburg there was no tax hike.

ENERGY

MURPHY

Touted the names of national Democrats he would partner with in helping Pennsylvania develop alternate sources of energy. Brought in Biden’s Hillary Clinton’s and Bob Casey’s connection to the 113th and said that he would want their ideas in helping with energy issues.

SHIMKUS

The incumbent scored big on this topic saying it was wrong to sell off Pennsylvania assets. He brought up the emergence of natural gas as a source of energy that might be prime for a rate hike. He also talked about his fight with Energy Chair Bud George to cap PPL rates hikes coming in a few years saying that in this economy they would be disaster economically.

ENVIRONMENTAL

SHIMKUS

Talked about his fight with the Marjol Battery problem in Throop. Shimkus said he wanted 80 million dollars to haul the waste away or burn it on site. He criticized the EPA, saying he was their Public Enemy #1 saying that the capping of the site would be an eyesore and bone of dubious contention for years to come.

MURPHY

Lauded Shimkus for his fight on the Marjol issue. Then he said that the environment goes hand in hand with clean energy alternatives. Murphy then veered off into the issue of Public transportation and car pooling.

FASHION REPORT

SHIMKUS

Light blue shirt, red tie, navy blue suit.

MURPHY

White shirt, royal blue tie, navy blue suit.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

SHIMKUS

Looking into the camera, Shimkus said to the audience, “you know me, I was in your living room for years”. He talked about his problems that he confronted publicly and thanked everyone for their support and kindness through the years. He also talked about this 113th race being the nastiest, negative campaign in the state citing it as one of insult and innuendo. He spoke of his 400 pieces of legislation introduced, the 5 satellite offices and his desire to serve another term.

MURPHY

In a forceful closing argument, Murphy first began with Shimkus’ absence for the Open Records vote while trying to get his nominating petitions in on time. He criticized Shimkus for not voting for the property tax elimination for seniors. He said the election was about change. Murphy talked about voting for a new Democratic leadership, dealing with issues like the economy and health care and once more went back to the 100 million dollar slush fund of the Dems saying it was likely the GOP had one too. He asked voters to vote for him as the change candidate in the election.

THE WINNER

Here’s our take. Murphy was impressive and sincere and although looking unsteady at times, got through his presentation as a guy you’d meet on the street trying to explain an obscure issue. Shimkus as we said earlier was psyched. One after another, he rattled off his accomplishments, to the dollar pointed out his donations to the district and had a command of the issues. This “silly blog” has to give it to Murphy on style points but Shimkus on command of the issues and knowledge of the district.

The LuLac Edition #617, Oct. 28th, 2008


PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE.


LAYOFFS? AN OPTION?

Sign me up. I’ve never been given a choice when I was laid off from work. It was just, “hit the highway man!” But the Times Leader reports today Luzerne County government’s largest union has three layoff options, members learned during a Monday night . The first is to have no layoffs through the end of the year and then pay the price with more severe long-term or permanent layoffs in 2009. The second: The entire 600-member union could switch to a 12-hour work week through the rest of the year. The third and final option would be layoffs based on seniority through the end of the year. Though layoffs would still be possible in 2009 under the second and third scenarios, the implication is that they would be minimized. Members of the union – American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME – will be called to another meeting soon to vote on the options, said union head Paula Schnelly. Roughly 143 union members attended the meeting at Convention Hall. The county Board of Commissioners will ultimately decide which option is enacted, but union preference would weigh heavily on the decision, county Chief Clerk/Manager Doug Pape said after Monday’s meeting. On last night’s news, a county worker was interviewed and said that the workers making $20,000 a year actually carry the county workload while those the previous administration hired at $80,000 plus did essentially nothing. That’s hard to argue because in my experience in dealing with the county rank and file, I have found nothing but courtesy and competence. And it’s always the little guy, the person crafting the nuts and bolts of the place who gets screwed. But still, the county workers do have options, a luxury afforded few workers in this economy. And as for those $80,000 a year appointees, keep in mind it is the county rank and file who have for years provided the political base for the Makowskis and Skrepenaks to gain political power. These are the people who buy the fundraising tickets, work at the ;polls, cajole relatives and friends to vote for their bosses. Perhaps this wake up call on finances of the county will give county employees a little me perspective on the candidates they advocate for in the future.

ELECTION TOP 40

LONG TERM INVESTMENTS #4


OBAMA


But Obama said now was the time to commit to long-term investments in America's future and blasted McCain for wanting to continue President Bush's economic policies, saying "there is a clear choice in this election. Instead of reaching for new horizons, George Bush has put us in a hole, and John McCain's policies will keep us there. I want to take us in a new and better direction.
"I reject the belief that we should either shrink from the challenge of globalization or fall back on the same tired and failed approaches of the last eight years," he said. "It's time for new policies that create the jobs and opportunities of the future -- a competitiveness agenda built upon education and
energy, innovation and infrastructure, fair trade and reform."

McCAIN


Spending on new roads, bridges and other public works projects would create jobs and provide more of a lasting boost to the economy. McCain contended a common concern about infrastructure spending — that it takes time to gear up and may not kick in until after the recession is over — is less compelling now because the U.S. economy likely will experience an extended downturn.









Monday, October 27, 2008

The LuLac Edition #616, Oct. 27th, 2008


PHOTO INDEX: SENATORS OBAMA AND McCAIN.


THE FINAL WEEK


We're in the home stretch of a very long campaign. And as the final week begins, it is wise to see where the candidates are ending, how and what they are saying. Democrat Barack Obama began the final week of America's extended presidential campaign in battleground Ohio on Monday, lashing Republican John McCain in a "closing argument" as little more than a clone of unpopular President George W. Bush. Promising a comeback victory, McCain also was in Ohio, repeating his charge that Obama was a tax-and-spend liberal. To me, this arguement on McCain's part is specious because the new President is going to have to concentrate on paying our bills and getting us solvent. In Cleveland, the biggest Ohio city, McCain said Obama had plans for "a trillion dollars of new spending." Having said over the weekend that he and Bush, as fellow Republicans, share some economic philosophies, he reversed himself Monday. McCain seems to be running away from Bush but once in a while tethers himself to the incumbent in an off the cuff remark. McCain added that the difference between himself and Obama was that "he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high." McCain, claiming he would create millions of jobs, protect savings and get the stock market rising again, spoke after a meeting with economic advisers. They included former rival Mitt Romney and former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp. The weakening U.S. economy has hurt McCain, who has seen his support flagging in national and state polls, forcing him to defend states like Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida — regions once seen as solidly Republican but now shading toward Obama. Later Monday, McCain travels to neighboring Pennsylvania, where Obama leads but McCain is bidding for an upset. McCain is due to speak in Pottsville at 6PM tonight.


THE BAILOUT


While I was for the bailout to the financial institutions, now quite frankly it's starting to tork me off big time. Reports that banks that have recieved funds are now using them for acquisitions to make them bigger and stronger, not to correct the mistakes they made on loans. This is plain wrong and there needs to be a board of oversight to take every dollar loaned and make sure it is use for corrective action and not using tax payer money to grow their business. That is truly corporate welfare. If you ask me, the money would've been spent better in giving each taxpayer $100,000 a piece.


ELECTION TOP 40


CABINET CHOICES #5


OBAMA


If elected, Obama will follow a pragmatic rather than an ideological approach to a Cabinet. Following his Harvard Law Review Presidency, he will fill his Cabinet with a mix of philiosophies that may surprise the nay sayers who say he will be the ultra liberal. Obama has at stake a legacy and you can be sure he will be practical in his choices. If there is an electoral landslide, he will have the to govern that way.


McCAIN


If elected, you'll see a mix of old line Ford and Bush 41 conservatives and more than a few cronies and members of the U.S. Senate. McCain will stay away from Bush 43 ideological bedfellows and will pursue a moderate course. Look for a bone to be thrown to the conservatives via HUD or Education. Also, conservative Democrats will have a place at the Cabinet table under the MccAin administration.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

The LuLac Edition #615, Oct. 26th, 2008












PHOTO INDEX: OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT BUTTON, HAZLETON MAYOR LOU BARLETTA AND STATE SENATOR ROBERT MELLOW.

MELLOW SPEAKS

Senator Bob Mellow had a news conference Sunday at the Veteran's Center in Scranton talking about and John McCain’s plan to privatize Social Security would mean for area seniors given the recent roller coaster on the stock market. John McCain has repeatedly said he supports privatizing Social Security. Mellow and McGrath will hold the news conference in advance of McCain’s stop in Pottsville on Monday. Mellow was joined by Lackawanna County Chair Harry McGrath. His surrogate appearance on this issue only accentuates the talk that Mellow might be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010.

ENDORSEMENTS

The Times Leader endorsed Senator Obama today over John McCain. The editorial board voted 5 to 3 in favor of the Illinois Senator. Publisher Richard Connor had a dissenting vote and said so in his opinion column in the sunday edition. The Leader also gave the nod to Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta saying that he was more than a one issue candidate. While acknowledging Kanjorski's depth and intelligence as a member of Congress, Kanjorski's allocation of federal funds toward family members seemed the death knell for the Congressman with the editorial board.

ELECTION TOP 40

MEDICARE # 6

OBAMA

Obama’s plan for the Medicare program calls for lower drug prices and more choices for long-term care. He does not plan to reduce benefits or eligibility. Instead, he hopes to strengthen care for those enrolled in the program.

McCAIN

McCain proposes payment reform and eliminating fraud and abuse. McCain plans to promote a payment system that rewards coordinated and quality focused care. He wants to eliminate Medicare fraud and abuse and ensure drug premiums for the wealthiest Americans are not being subsidized by the middle class. McCain also hopes to implement a new generation of treatment models that better manage chronic care conditions and greater use of health information technology. McCain said drug costs can be reduced by allowing greater use of generics, including bio-generics.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The LuLac Edition #614, Oct. 25th, 2008


















PHOTO INDEX: ELECTION TOP 40 AND 1968 LOGO, VICE PRESIDENT HUMPHREY, STATE SENATOR MARTIN L. MURRAY AND CANDIDATE FR AUDITOR GENERAL ROBERT P. CASEY IN 1968 AT THE WILKES BARRE/SCRANTON AIRPORT AND ENTERCOM'S SHADOE STEELE.

ON THE AIR

Our show with Shadoe Steele, “Outlook” will run again on the Entercom stations this Sunday morning at 6AM. Hear it on KRZ FM, The Mountain, and Froggy 101. And then also tune in on WILK AM and FM on Sunday night from 6pm to 7pm. My internet counterprt Gort 42 will also be on the program. Here's his link:

PSU FOR YOU

As an interested voter, you might want to check out this bi-partisan website run by Penn State Public Radio. Pat Baxter from WPSU explains, “For the upcoming elections, we've developed a website featuring video, audio and interactive quizzes to help provide easy to use information about all the state. It features over 80 candidate profiles from 27 counties. You can view it here: http://www.wpsu.org/vote08 This is a comprehensive, impartial website. It is meant to be an informational resource for voters, especially concerning local races that don't normally get much attention in the media. It features video and audio interviews, a questionnaire on where candidates stand on key issues, and other such features. It also includes a "My Ballot" feature where users can enter their county and township to see which candidates are running within their area.”

ELECTION TOP 40

NATIONAL SECURITY #7

McCAIN

In a dangerous world, protecting America's national security requires a strong military. Today, America has the most capable, best-trained and best-led military force in the world. But much needs to be done to maintain our military leadership, retain our technological advantage, and ensure that America has a modern, agile military force able to meet the diverse security challenges of the 21st century.John McCain is committed to ensuring that the men and women of our military remain the best, most capable fighting force on Earth - and that our nation honors its promises to them for their service.The global war on terrorism, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea, and the rise of potential strategic competitors like China and Russia mean that America requires a larger and more capable military to protect our country's vital interests and deter challenges to our security. America confronts a range of serious security challenges: Protecting our homeland in an age of global terrorism and Islamist extremism; working with friends and partners overseas, from Africa to Southeast Asia, to help them combat terrorism and violent insurgencies in their own countries; defending against missile and nuclear attack; maintaining the credibility of our defense commitments to our allies; and waging difficult counterinsurgency campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.John McCain understands national security and the threats facing our nation. He recognizes the dangers posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, violent Islamist extremists and their terrorist tactics, and the ever present threat of regional conflict that can spill into broader wars that endanger allies and destabilize areas of the world vital to American security. He knows that to protect our homeland, our interests, and our values - and to keep the peace - America must have the best-manned, best-equipped, and best-supported military in the world.

OBAMA

Sixty-one years ago, George Marshall announced the plan that would come to bear his name. Much of Europe lay in ruins. The United States faced a powerful and ideological enemy intent on world domination. This menace was magnified by the recently discovered capability to destroy life on an unimaginable scale. The Soviet Union didn't yet have an atomic bomb, but before long it would. The challenge facing the greatest generation of Americans -- the generation that had vanquished fascism on the battlefield -- was how to contain this threat while extending freedom's frontiers. Leaders like Truman and Acheson, Kennan and Marshall, knew that there was no single decisive blow that could be struck for freedom. We needed a new overarching strategy to meet the challenges of a new and dangerous world.
"The whole world of the future," Marshall said, "hangs on a proper judgment." To make that judgment, he asked the American people to examine distant events that directly affected their security and prosperity. He closed by asking: "What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done?"
What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done?
Today's dangers are different, though no less grave. The power to destroy life on a catastrophic scale now risks falling into the hands of terrorists. The future of our security -- and our planet -- is held hostage to our dependence on foreign oil and gas. From the cave- spotted mountains of northwest Pakistan, to the centrifuges spinning beneath Iranian soil, we know that the American people cannot be protected by oceans or the sheer might of our military alone. The attacks of September 11 brought this new reality into a terrible and ominous focus. On that bright and beautiful day, the world of peace and prosperity that was the legacy of our Cold War victory seemed to suddenly vanish under rubble, and twisted steel, and clouds of smoke. But the depth of this tragedy also drew out the decency and determination of our nation. At blood banks and vigils; in schools and in the United States Congress, Americans were united -- more united, even, than we were at the dawn of the Cold War. The world, too, was united against the perpetrators of this evil act, as old allies, new friends, and even long-time adversaries stood by our side. It was time -- once again -- for America's might and moral suasion to be harnessed; it was time to once again shape a new security strategy for an ever-changing world. Imagine, for a moment, what we could have done in those days, and months, and years after 9/11.
We could have deployed the full force of American power to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden, Al Qaida, the Taliban, and all of the terrorists responsible for 9/11, while supporting real security in Afghanistan. We could have secured loose nuclear materials around the world, and updated a 20th century non-proliferation framework to meet the challenges of the 21st.
We could have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in alternative sources of energy to grow our economy, save our planet, and end the tyranny of oil. We could have strengthened old alliances, formed new partnerships, and renewed international institutions to advance peace and prosperity.
We could have called on a new generation to step into the strong currents of history, and to serve their country as troops and teachers, Peace Corps volunteers and police officers.
We could have secured our homeland -- investing in sophisticated new protection for our ports, our trains and our power plants.
We could have rebuilt our roads and bridges, laid down new rail and broadband and electricity systems, and made college affordable for every American to strengthen our ability to compete. We could have done that. Instead, we have lost thousands of American lives, spent nearly a trillion dollars, alienated allies and neglected emerging threats -- all in the cause of fighting a war for well over five years in a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Our men and women in uniform have accomplished every mission we have given them. What's missing in our debate about Iraq -- what has been missing since before the war began -- is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq and its dominance of our foreign policy. This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize. This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century. By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe.
I am running for President of the United States to lead this country in a new direction -- to seize this moment's promise. Instead of being distracted from the most pressing threats that we face, I want to overcome them. Instead of pushing the entire burden of our foreign policy on to the brave men and women of our military, I want to use all elements of American power to keep us safe, and prosperous, and free. Instead of alienating ourselves from the world, I want America -- once again -- to lead.
As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy -- one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin. I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

1968

Vice President Humphrey makes a campaign stop in Northeastern Pennsylvania meeting and greeting politicos at the Wilkes Barre Scranton airport. Humphrey meets 14 year old Pittston resident Brian Clark and signs a few items for him on the tarmac……..Meanwhile on October 24th, the HHH campaign did something it had not done in the entire fall campaign: go on TV. Strapped by cash, the Humphrey campaign finally gets on the air in the last 10 days of the campaign wielding a 1 million dollar ad budget. This is two of the ads they ran.



The problem facing the campaign though was that much of the TV and radio “avails” were already bought up by the Nixon campaign…….Statewide, Governor Shafer crisscrosses the state for the Nixon/Agnew team while Democratic Mayor of Pittsburgh Joseph Barr does the same for the Dems….in Wilkes Barre city resident Bernard O’Bien seems primed for another term as State Representative on the Democratic side and in LuLac land and America, the number 1 song was the Fifth Dimension’s “Sweet Blindness”. From YOU TUBE:

Friday, October 24, 2008

The LuLac Edition #613, Oct. 24th, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, ELECTION TOP 40 LOGO.


LAC LAYOFFS


Yesterday, about 40 Lackawanna County unionized employees and supporters picketed outside the county Administration Building on Thursday in protest of layoffs in the county’s proposed 2009 budget. The Washo/O’Brien administration has made it clear that in order to stave off a budget crisis, they have to lay off some people. Reports are that the workers are “scared” about the prospect of a layoff. I mean what worker in this society is not afraid of a layoff? My question is what did they think they were going to accomplish by picketing. Well it turns out the workers on the chopping block are those who make between 18,000 and 33, 000 while the administrative aides, the number 2 people in jobs that range between 50,000 and 60,000 are being spared. I have to agree with minority commissioner A.J. Munchak when he says if you are going to cut, do it across the board. The Lackawanna County cuts are indicative of the times and the tight situation government finds itself these days along with private business.

SHAKING THE TREES


Those were the words used today in the Times Leader by county budget chief Tom Pribula. Pribula is doing his best to find monies in order to stave off more employee layoffs. The one thing the Luzerne County people have going for them is that there doesn’t seem to be a sentiment to make the layoffs permanent which is different than what’s happening in Lackawanna county. Pribula and his boss Maryanne Petrilla are doing their best to make a bad situation a bit better. Finally, some straight talk in the budget process.

MSNBC BIAS


The other day Keith Olbermann breathlessly told us about the John McCain/Sarah Palin joint interview with Brian Williams and how there was this tenseness between the twom of them witnessed by NBC reporter Chuck Todd. When the report was aired, no Chuck Todd, just MccAin and Palin being interviewed. If there was tension, I didn’t see it. MSNBC’s coverage, still another reason to miss Tim Russert.

ELECTION TOP 40


JOBS # 8


OBAMA

Democrat Barack Obama on Thursday accused his Republican rival of putting corporations ahead of workers by offering tax cuts even to companies that move jobs overseas.
Polls suggest the economic war of words on the topic is favoring Obama. He appears to be opening up or widening a lead over McCain in several battleground states. Obama tried to turn the argument back on McCain, saying his people were the common people who need help in this economy. Pointing out teachers, nurses, factory workers and union members in a crowd of 35,000 who came to downtown Indianapolis to hear him speak."That's whose president I want to be," Obama said. Obama's response was to McCain's accusation that his tax plan would not help middle class workers.

McCAIN

John McCain
accused Obama of endangering American jobs with a tax plan that the Republican candidate says would hinder economic expansion with its disregard for small business owners. He likens the Democrat's proposals to "welfare" and "wealth redistribution," phrases that inspire the outrage of supporters at McCain campaign events and commentators on the airwaves.On Thursday, McCain sought votes in Florida, visiting local businesses to promote his tax plan."Whether it's Joe the Plumber in Ohio or Joe over here," McCain said, pointing into the crowd at a building materials supplier in Ormond Beach, "we shouldn't be taxing our small businesses more, as Sen. Obama wants to do. We need to be helping them expand their businesses and create jobs."Obama tried to turn the argument back on McCain, pointing out teachers, nurses, factory workers and union members in a crowd of 35,000 who came to downtown Indianapolis to hear him speak."That's whose president I want to be," Obama said. It was a classic distillation of the arguments dominating the presidential campaign as it nears its final week. Amid fresh news of a free-falling Dow and lost jobs, the candidates talked first, last and heavily about the economy—and about almost everything else as it relates to that.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The LuLac Edition #612, Oct. 23rd, 2008



PHOTO INDEX: ELECTION TOP 40 LOGO.


ELECTION TOP 40


NOT BUSH #9


McCAIN


McCain has finally broke with the Bush White House criticizing the President's leadership. The Dems have been trying to tag McCain with a "third term" of President Bush and in some cases, McCain has given them some firepower. But today, in an interview with the Washington Times, McCain attacked Bush and fellow Republicans on a variety of policies the Arizona senator said he would have handled differently. “We just let things get completely out of hand,” McCain said. McCain listed a number of disagreements with the Bush administration, including, “spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously.” The Arizona senator was especially harsh on Bush’s Medicare prescription drug bill. McCain might be making this break a little too late for it to have an impact but distancing himself from the President is a good thing politically.


OBAMA


Back in March, I had a conversation with long time area political strategist Bob Caruso. And Caruso pointed out that Obama, rather than Senator Clinton is the "anti-Bush". Caruso felt that factor was a driving part of the Obama phenomena against the New York Senator. Now, no one can ever mistake Obama for the President in demeanor, appearance, policy and attitude. And in 2008 with Bush's popularity lower than any recent President's, that is a good thing for the Democrat.


The LuLac Edition #611, Oct. 23rd, 2008









PHOTO INDEX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE KAREN BOBACK, OF THE 113TH AND 117TH RESPECIVELY.

CARPE PER DIEM

THE 113TH

Seize the day, hey seize the money. That’s apparently what State Representative Frank Andrews Shimkus has done in the time he has been in office. In a story written in the Scranton Times by a reporter I have long admired, R.B. Swift, the Times Harrisburg Bureau Chief, Shimkus is unapologetic in his taking of the dough. The worst part though politically is that he has either matched or outspent his defeated rival in the 113th Fred Belardi in dollars spent. Shimkus has spent 27 Sundays on the public dole saying he had to get to the Capitol for morning meetings. Now the House is in session at 1pm and in my days dealing with State Legislators, let’s just say 8AM meetings were as scarce as hen's teeth. These boys don’t break a sweat and getting up at the crack of dawn is not in their game plan. Shimkus has given his opponent Kevin Murphy, a Democrat running on the Democratic ballot much more ammo to fire in the upcoming debate on Tuesday night on WNEP TV. Murphy already has a few advantages. First, he’s on the Democratic ballot in a heavily Dem district. Second, he has the counsel of political wise men and women of the D’s who want him to win this seat. Third, he has no personal baggage. He has the wife and kids he started out with and in this area, that’s a plus. (Again, no judgments on my part here especially from me on second marriages or May to December relationships.) but this is an area where people look at that. Fourth, Murphy has to have the support of every Democrat connected to the city. And running as a Dem turned GOPer and saying he will serve as a Democrat, do you think a Gene Peters or A.J. Munchak Republican is going to go with Shimkus? (I had the great pleasure of being on WYOU TV the other night with Joe Peters and we got to discussing his father’s role as Mayor. Would the current generation of Republicans support Shimkus’ bid or would they maybe sit out the election knowing if he won, he just used the GOP banner to plant himself on the ballot.) On the travel on Sundays, let’s get real, Harrisburg is 120 miles away. On her numerous trips to the Capitol, Mrs. LuLac in a 1997 Mystique makes it to the city in an hour and 23 minutes. So this overnight stay the day before a session is something I don’t get. One has to wonder why Shimkus ran up the per diems. Anyone who got in office in 2006 under the reform banner was wise to stick to the reform plan. No less authorities or loud mouths (take your pick) Gene Stilip and Eric Epstein have come out screaming against Shimkus. Being a newsman, I thought there’d be a modicum of “news sense” in not having these guys against you. Who is running the Shimkus campaign and what is their motivation? Was Mr. Shimkus arrogant or was he just assuming that people would vote his persona in another time disregarding the details? The race, in my estimation is Murphy’s to lose. And the debate Tuesday night will give us a real indication as to the barometer of this race.

WHERE’S RUSS?

THE 117TH

When a long time Republican who had State aspirations changes from Republican to Democrat, you’d think there’d be some noise. But the race for the 117th pitting incumbent Karen Boback and Russ Bigus is very quiet. I can almost see Karen Boback coming out of the Grotto one night, looking up and down the Lake, putting her fingers to her lips saying, “Shush, no Democratic opponent here”. I mean Bigus’ campaign makes the pundits nostalgic for James May although I think Representsative Boback would disagree with that. Boback has made all the right moves in this race, touting her service to constituents, holding informational forums on issues like child safety and meeting and greeting the folks. Save for a few signs, no hide nor hair of Bigus. And that gets us to wondering if Bigus was welcomed with open arms by the Luzerne County Democratic party. The Dems, admittedly distracted with a coalition county government, a few Judges under fire and layoffs looming for county employees might not have had the desire or the firepower to even deal with Bigus. Boback’s foe is a charismatic, intelligent guy who in any other district might have made this a race. But I see Boback in a walk for this year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The LuLac Edition #610, Oct. 22nd, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: THE TIMES LEADER'S NEWEST ADDITION, KATHY BOZINSKI AND A FUNNY McCAIN CARTOON ON TECHNOLOGY.

BOZINSKI AT THE LEADER

Former TV News Anchorwoman and Community Relations spokesperson for the Luzerne County Government has wound up at the Times Leader. Bozinski is now associated with an exciting new venture put together by the Times Leader called TimesLeader.com Video News. With the popularity of the internet, this is a natural transition for a person of Kathy Bozinski's talent and energy. We wish her luck in this endeavor.

ELECTION TOP 40

GUNS #10

Here's here all of the candidates stand on guns.

McCAIN

John McCain supports background checks for buyers at gun shows and has his name on a law restricting special-interest group advertising, two positions strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association. Though, the group has endorsed him. For voters who care about the issue, the most unambiguous record belongs not to McCain, but his running mate.

PALIN

Sarah Palin is not only a gun owner and an NRA member, but a proud hunter who is unapologetic about supporting aerial wolf hunting.

BIDEN


Joe Biden favors gun control but is a gun owner himself — he has three shotguns.
Neither McCain nor Obama owns a gun.

OBAMA


Barack Obama, a former constitutional law professor, joins McCain in saying he supports the Second Amendment's right to bear arms


And from Boston Legal, Denny Crane on Guns.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The LuLac Edition #609, Oct. 21st, 2008






PHOTO INDEX: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE LOU BARLETTA AND ELECTION TOP 40 LOGO.

BARLETTA RESPONDS


The campaign of U.S. Congressional candidate Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta said his opponent, Congressman Paul Kanjorski, is a hypocrite when it comes to addressing the Congress's role in the banking scandal and the credit crisis that followed.
“It is the height of hypocrisy for Paul Kanjorski to publicly rebuke AIG while privately taking thousands of dollars from the company's lobbyists for his re-election campaign,” said Vince Galko, Mayor Barletta's campaign manager. “This is nothing new, as Mr. Kanjorski has taken millions of dollars in campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interest groups that represent the financial industries he was responsible to regulate.
“In his latest attempt to confuse the public, Mr. Kanjorski refers to AIG as 'a pig at the taxpayer's trough,' but it's clear that Mr. Kanjorski has done his fair share of abusing the taxpayers by taking what he calls 'free money' but is, in reality, the hard-earned tax dollars of the people of northeastern Pennsylvania,” Galko added.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Kanjorski accepted campaign contributions in the 2007-08 cycle from American International Group (AIG). (www.fec.gov)
In the House in this cycle, Kanjorski received the second-highest amount of lobbyist cash that AIG paid out, and AIG ranked sixth on Kanjorski's list of political action committee contributors. (www.opensecrets.org) In September, AIG received an $85 billion federal bailout, then the company came under fire for lavish events days after receiving that bailout.
“AIG has acted disgracefully by holding top-shelf parties after the taxpayers bailed out the company, but Mr. Kanjorski is trying to cover up his complicity in the banking crisis, especially since he has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from AIG,” Galko said.
“Congress needs to limit the amount of money its members can take from the industries they're supposed to be watching,” Mayor Barletta added. “We cannot trust members of Congress to investigate or oversee the same people who give them millions of dollars in campaign contributions.”

LULAC LAYOFFS

It appears both counties, Luzerne and Lackawanna County are going to be doing some belt tightening in terms of the budget. In Luzerne County, the layoffs arrive to make certain the budget is balanced at the end of the year. In Lackawanna County, more long term projections appear to be the order of the day streamlining county government for the next fiscal year and beyond. The major political difference, Lackawanna Commissioners Washo and O’Brien are solid in their resolve to work as a team while Maryanne Petrilla continues to govern (quite masterfully) by coalition government.

LATEST POLL

The latest NBC News Wall Street Journal Poll shows Senator Obama with a 10 point lead over John McCain, 52% to 42%.

ELECTION TOP 40

MEDIA PACKAGING #11

McCAIN

McCain has packaged himself as an authentic America hero. All of his ads take the tact that “America Comes First”, service above self. Where the McCain campaign has fallen short is the packaging of Sarah Palin. By not putting her in conservative friendly venues early, the campaign did her a disservice by not building her confidence. Although she redeemed herself and then some in the debates, the McCain camp should have lent the Senator’s gravitas to her image. Also at the same time, her energy could have helped the McCain effort with his wooing of the base.

OBAMA

Obama has been a brand from day one. Carefully calculated, the campaign has positioned Obama as the candidate of change. As economic factors weigh heavily on the country, the image of change is now indelible. By accident or design, the packaging of Obama has caught up with the issues of the day. As far as Joe Biden, well let's just say the effort to team the two up fell apart given Biden’s loquacious style. Talk about a Maverick, Joe has been off the reservation often but has stayed close to the Obama message. Small favors.