The LuLac Edition #756, Mar. 14th, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: EVIE REFALKO McNULTY, CONGRESSMAN PAUL KANJORSKI, HENRY CABOT LODGE, JUNIOR AT HIS POST IN SOUTH VIETNAM IN 1964 AND OUR 1964 LOGO.
KANJO ON THE HILL
Congressman Paul Kanjorski provided details for how the recovery package will extend emergency unemployment insurance through December 2009, helping an additional 3.5 million jobless workers. Originally set to expire at the end of March, this extension will continue to help many individuals and families that have been forced out of their jobs as a result of the troubling economic situation. The recovery package also increases weekly unemployment compensation for 20 million jobless workers by $25 per week. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate reached 7 percent, and Northeastern Pennsylvania’s reached 8 percent. Many unemployed Pennsylvanians now qualify to receive an additional 13 weeks of emergency unemployment insurance, bringing the total amount to 59 weeks. “As unemployment rates continue to increase, it is clear that the federal government needs to provide greater assistance to those out of work and struggling,” said Congressman Kanjorski. “The recovery package is expected to create or save 3.5 million jobs throughout the country, including 7,800 in my Congressional District, but this will take time. To ensure that jobless workers are able to support themselves and their families, the recovery package also extends and increases unemployment insurance to provide some immediate relief to many of the people forced out of their jobs as a result of the poor economy.” Kanjorski, Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, also announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing to fully examine the American International Group (AIG), how it got into its current situation, why it has received so much federal assistance, and how to move forward. “The federal government has provided AIG with access to well over $150 billion in federal aid to protect the global economy,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “Unfortunately, taxpayers do not understand how AIG ended up in such a terrible situation, nor do they understand why the federal government continues to give it money. We must assess AIG’s progress, as well as how we move forward to ensure that any taxpayer money AIG receives is spent efficiently and effectively.”
The subcommittee meets on Wednesday March 18th at 10AM.
The city of Wilkes Barre has begun a marketing campaign to sell those downtown lofts. A Web site describes the loft-style residential units in the downtown theater complex as "new urban condominium living" with prices starting at $119,900 and states they will be "available soon." Public comment, at least the stuff I see in the newspapers is not favorable. People point out that hardly anyone in the neighborhoods can afford to live there and with the current economic climate, no one will buy them. A few made comments to the Times Leader about the shape of the roads as well as the housing market where you can spend that $119,000 and get a yard with a driveway. Still others question the safety of the downtown. A meeting planner I talked to said the perception is that if you are in Wilkes Barre after 6PM, it might not be the most inviting atmosphere. Now I disagree with that because the city has opened up some good night time business properties. But sadly, sometimes perception becomes reality. Anyway, as a resident of the city, I hope these lofts sell like hotcakes. I just wonder who is going to buy them. If they are marketed the right way, God speed and good luck. Maybe if the Chamber got us some high paying jobs they are so fond of touting, then we'd be in business. In the meantime, city residents want the streets fixed and the neighborhoods cleaned up. But before they can get that, they have to send City government a message of change. They have been reluctant to do so. That said, we must assume that most voters are in favor of the downtown revitalization.
Former Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. is no longer a member of the Court of Common Pleas. Governor Ed Rendell's office has confirmed that Ciavarella had submitted his letter of resignation. Ciavarella pleaded guilty to accepting $2.6 million in kickbacks related to juvenile detention center contracts. His plea deal calls for both him and fellow Luzerne County Judge Mark T. Conahan to serve 87 months in federal prison. Ciavarella's resignation allows Rendell to name an interim replacement until an election is held. That election hasn't been set but couldn't come until 2011.
Prothonotary Jill Moran’s last day was yesterday, Friday the 13th. She left office with a campaign debt of over $100,000. I must tell you in fairness though that when I visited the office last year for a passport, everything was handled professionally and in a timely manner. No word today if they were serving cake as a good bye gesture.
Vice President Joe Biden's sister and mother will be honored by the Society of Irish Women at their annual St. Patrick's Day dinner. Valerie Biden Owens, Mr. Biden's sister and lifelong campaign manager, will be a principal speaker at the event. Jean Finnegan Biden, Mr. Biden's mother, will be an honored guest. She will sit at the head table but will not give a speech, Evie Rafalko McNulty, one of the society's founder's, said."Oh my God, it's wonderful, because she is Scranton; she's from Scranton," Mrs. McNulty said about the confirmation that Mrs. Biden Owens will be a speaker at the event. Mrs. Biden Owens managed all of Mr. Biden's campaigns except his recent, successful vice-presidential bid. She held no official position in that campaign, but was a close and trusted adviser.The Society of Irish Women's 11th annual dinner will be held on March 17 at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel.
The first Ford Mustang rolls off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company....In a shocking political development, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Ambassador to South Vietnam wins the New Hampshire Republican primary. Lodge was Richard Nixon’s running mate in the 1960 election as Vice President. Lodge stunned the conventional political wisdom by not campaigning or even setting foot in the state. His start up campaign was run by Paul Grindle and David Goldberg. Both in their late 30s, both grew bored with their careers in law and embarked on a madcap adventure of a Presidential campaign that shocked the GOP establishment. With two young aides in tow, Sally Saltonstall and Caroline Williams, both 23, this effort was a package deal. On January 10th they drove to Concord, New Hampshire and put down $400.00 for two month’s rent of a broken down storefront. Installing one phone, they borrowed furniture from the New Hampshire Republicans and set up shop. Sending out 96,000 letters, they got in response pledged totals of 20,000 returnees. Barnstorming the state, the quartet dealt with the fact that Lodge’s name wasn’t even on the ballot. Instructing voters on how to write in a candidate, the group had low expectations. The press never took them seriously until primary day. On that day, 14 inches of snow fell in New Hampshire. Rockefeller and Goldwater voters were detered by the weather but Lodge’s supporters gave him 33,000 to Goldwater’s 20,700, and Rockefreller’s 19,500. Madcap to the end, the 11pm national broadcast feed featured Goldberg being virtually strangled by a French Canuck drunk who was peeved at an imagined slight. Pulling the campaign aide off the drunk, the 4 workers claimed victory along with Lodge’s son and lived to fight another day in this strange GOP primary season in 1964…..On the Democratic side, President Johnson did face an indirect and potentially humiliating problem as a write-in for Attorney General Robert Kennedy to be Johnson's running mate swept through the Democratic Party. If party leaders, fearing the consequences of what a large vote for Kennedy would mean, had not spent the final week of the primary attempting to put a damper on the effort for RFK, the Kennedy total might have surpassed that of the President. Johnson tallied 29,317 write-in votes for the top spot; Kennedy received 25,094 write-ins for the second spot. President Johnson, unlike President Eisenhower in 1956, would not allow his choice of a running mate to be dictated even in part by the returns from the first primary. The effort for Robert Kennedy accomplished the opposite of what was intended. It pulled the nation's two most powerful Democrats further apart……..The 1964 Phillies welcome former Detroit Tiger Jim Bunning to spring training in Clearwater Florida and have high hopes for a young slugging third basemen from Wampum, Pa., Richie Allen……in the state, Ltn. Governor Ray Shafer declines talk of any climb to the Governor’s chair if Governor Scranton makes a run at the Vice Presidency……in the what’s old is new department, the City of Wilkes Barre gets improved illumination when new street lights are installed on South Washington and South Main streets in the city. Mayor Slattery meets with Ray Hottle and Sam Wolfe in front of the Post Office to turn on the switches by remote control. City merchants assumed the cost of the lights under years one and two with the city paying the bills after that interim period….and in LuLac land, the Beatles are dislodged from the number 1 position by Louis Armstrong’s classic hit, “Hello Dolly”.
Now, Louie live, again from 1964.