The LuLac Edition #879, July 17th, 2009
HEALTH CARE COUPLE BACK!
Harry and Louise are coming back to television screens across the country to talk about overhauling health care. This time, they've switched sides. TV ads featuring the fictional couple played a big role in derailing President Bill Clinton's effort to revamp the medical system in the 1990s. Back then, actors Louise Caire Clark and Harry Johnson played a middle-class couple worrying about the changes, and the ads were sponsored by the insurance industry, which was fighting Clinton's plan. Now, they will appear in a $4 million TV campaign supporting a reshaping of health care, sponsored by Families USA, which champions affordable health care for families, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Here's the ad:
The Pa. house proposed amendments to a budget bill, although Democrats and Republicans seem no closer to hammering out a deal. The floor action is expected to focus on a Republican alternative to a Democrat-sponsored budget bill. A third option passed the Republican-controlled state Senate more than two months ago. The chamber could have a vote on final passage as early as Friday. Republicans are holding firm against any broad-based tax increases, while Gov. Ed Rendell and the Democrats are arguing for a mixture of cuts and new or expanded taxes. On the budget impasse, consider this. The Legislature and the Governor have had since February 1st to make this budget happen. They essentially did nothing until the end of June. The budget crisis is now in its 17th day. Rank and file members get a $158.00 per diem for being in Harrisburg. In Luzerne County we paid $21,488 in per diem money to reps who are in town doing busy work. In Lackawanna County taxpayers paid $10,744 in per diem money. (I’ve excluded Senator Mellow and Representative Eachus because they are part of the Leadership). It’s nice to hear Kevin Murphy make a speech about the Scranton School for the Deaf and great to hear Eddie Day Pashinski read a speech on people with disabilities who need home care. But what they are doing there has nothing to do with solving the budget crisis. They don’t need to be there! By the way, that $158 per day is in addition to their $70,000 plus salaries. State workers have no pay, funding streams that provide good services to Pennsylvanians are most likely going to be cut. Those cuts will increase unemployment because let’s face it, it is someone’s job to read a library book to children, carry medicine to a home bound disabled person or do an intake form for a mentally challenged person. But the overpaid lawmakers keep going on and on. They continue to be a disgrace. Not one of them has said anything that is long term for their constituents. All they care about is the next election and the next paycheck.
JOE GOES WITH MEMO
Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati sent a formal memo to the 49 other senators asking them to declare if they have rental leases for district offices where such an arrangement exists. It didn’t take Sarnati more than a New York minute to go after this issue handed him on a silver platter by Bob Mellow. He said that information may be difficult to obtain otherwise because leases could be held by private firms whose corporate or investor structure is not fully apparent. The missive is in response to revelations earlier this week that Sen. Robert Mellow directed more than $200,000 in state-funded rental payments since 2001 for his office in Peckville, to a company co-owned by his then-wife Diane Mellow. Mr. Mellow obtained her 50 percent ownership stake following the couple's divorce in 2007. The building where the office is located was sold to Ibis Realty in September. Scarnati will introduce a resolution to rescind a current Senate rule that says if a senator or immediate family member has an equity interest in a district office, the Senate chief clerk will get an independent appraisal of the office rental cost. While Scarnati is a Republican, this is truly a bi partisan issue on the face of it. However you can bet that any candidate running on the GOP ticket will point to Mellow’s actions as a misstep that could certainly be exploited politically.
2012 ROUND UP
We’re just ust a thousand days until the first 2012 Presidential primary and a new Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney is leading the potential Republican field. But not by much. Former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is in striking distance. He gets the backing of 26% Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, followed by Sarah Palin at 21%, Mike Huckabee at 19%, Newt Gingrich at 14%, Tim Pawlenty at 3%, and Haley Barbour at 2%.Romney's political action committee reported raising $1.6 million in the first part of this year. On the other hand, Sarah Palin’s take was around $700,000. However 60% of the donations to SarahPAC came in the form of contributions less than $200. Experts say that is a high percentage and indicates a very big groundswell of support indicative of the type of contributions that came to both Barack Obama and Ron Paul respectively. And the race is on….
At the Republican National Conventionin San Francisco, U.S. presidential nominee Barry Goldwater declares that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice", and "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue".
The convention was the first since CBS and NBC had expanded their nightly newscasts from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, and the first since the assassination and funeral of President John F. Kennedy redefined the bond between television and politics. In 1960, there were about as many journalists, both print and broadcast, as delegates. In 1964 broadcasters alone outnumbered delegates two to one. Paranoia permeated the convention on the part of the GOP right wing. Conservatives from the West, the South and the Midwest were convinced that the only way moderate "Wall Street Republicans" had been able to run away with the presidential nomination every four years was that "a few secret kingmakers in New York" conspired to steal it, as Illinois activist Phyllis Schlafly put it in a self-published book, A Choice Not an Echo, several hundred thousand copies of which were distributed in the summer of 1964. (Some convention delegates reported receiving more than 60 copies in the mail.) They weren't going to let it be stolen this time.
Bill Scranton, whose patrician family ran the Pennsylvania coal town that bore his name, seemed to comedian Dick Gregory like "the guy who runs to John Wayne for help." (Goldwater looked like a cowboy.) Scranton had entered the race as a last-minute act of noblesse oblige. "Today the nation—and indeed the world—waits to see if another proud political banner will falter, grow limp and collapse in the dust," he had said as he announced his candidacy just four weeks before the convention. "Lincoln would cry out in pain if we sold out our principles."According to a Harris Poll taken late that June, 62 percent of rank and file Republicans preferred Scranton to Goldwater, but the supposed Wall Street kingmakers were in dithering disarray. ("What in God's name has happened to the Republican Party!" muttered Henry Cabot Lodge —the party's 1960 vice presidential nominee—as he paged through the delegate list in his hotel room. "I hardly know any of these people!") The moderates' strategy was to put the Goldwaterites' perceived extremism on televised display, hoping delegates would flock to Scranton after being flooded by telegrams from outraged voters watching at home. That did not happen, Goldwater won the nomination with Barry Goldwater’s 883 to William Scranton’s 214. Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, Margaret Chase Smith, Congressman Walter Judd, Senator Hiram Fong and former Ambassador to Vietnam and Richard Nixon’s Veep in 1960 got less than 120 respectively. Congressman William Miller of New York was named Goldwater’s Vice President without opposition. The Pennsylvania delegation, disheartened but not sad took the loss in stride knowing full well Scranton’s effort was a political “Hail Mary”. Scranton entered the race because of his revulsion at Goldwater’s vote against the 1964 Civil rights act. Senator Hugh Scott, up for re-election in 1964 was upset by the prospect of a Goldwater nomination and wondered aloud on network TV whether he could carry Pennsylvania. Goldwater did not but in true ticket splitting form, Hugh Scott won a second term from Pennsylvania voters……meanwhile the ’64 Phillies came back from the All Star break in sole possession of first place. They do lose 3 out of 5 to the Reds facing the likes of Joey Jay, Joe Nuxhall and Billl McCool. Chris Short did increase his record to 8-5 during this series and rookie call up Costen Shockley did a passable job at first base……………….In Scranton the role of Mayor William Schmidt is debated by City Council. Councilman Jim Doherty defined the role of as a “strong mayor form of government” and said the chief executive should be like a President or CEO and the Council should act as legislators….Wilkes Barre officials were upset with a New York Times article that was headlined “Pennsylvania’s Scenic Susquehanna”. The article was datelined Wyalusing and city officials were miffed that there was no mention of Wilkes Barre anywhere in the piece…….and in LuLac land, the number 1 song this week was “Under the Boardwalk” by the Drifters.