Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The LuLac Edition #770, Mar. 31st, 2009




PHOTO INDEX: AUTO WORKERS AND SEXTING.

SEXTING

I was going to get around to this sooner or later. The recent ACLU involvement in the Wyoming County case has begun a debate. Here’s the deal: teens were texting photos of each other in various stages of undress. The DA’s office in Wyoming County sent a warning letter, via the school district to all parents. A few of the kids who were caught doing this were given the opportunity to attend a class which talked about the pitfalls of doing this. The theory being once this gets on line, anywhere, there’s no bringing it back. A few kids, with the help (?) of their parents balk saying that their freedom of speech is being violated. The DA takes the further step of saying he will arrest them for kiddie porn. The ACLU then gets involves and a Federal Judge sides with the ACLU saying the kids can’t be forced into going to the class. So here are a few questions I have. Why wouldn’t any parent in their right mind encourage their kids to take the class? What harm is there in getting valuable information to a student on something like this? Or are the kids running the house instead of the parents? What parent would condone the behavior of a daughter or son who strips and then sends messages via photo electronically? Isn’t there a break down in values here? Or are the kids running the house instead of the parents? What is the mindset of people who are actually defending the actions of these kids? And why are they saying the DA is only doing it to enhance his career when in fact this was brought to light in full public glare by the ACLU action? Or are the kids running the house instead of the parents? Why should any teenager not holding down their own job have a cell phone with all the bells and whistles to do this stuff? Isn’t safety an issue, not entertainment? Isn’t it enough to have a cell phone that gives to the opportunity to call someone and get a voice mail message? Why all the added stuff? You have three kids, all those extras add up, right? Or are the kids running the house instead of the parents? And finally, what parent in their right mind would want to proclaim the fact that their kid in fact posed half naked and advertise that fact every time they are seen on the TV news striding into a court like wanna be celebrities? Or are the kids running the house instead of the parents?

AUTO WORKERS PAIN

Since we are in bailout mode these days in this country, let’s talk about those auto workers. When my family immigrated from Eastern Europe, half of them went to Pennsylvania to work in the mines and on the railroads. The other half went to Canada and settled in Ontario to work in the auto plants across the border. It seems to me that with all these bailouts to the bank, and the Wall Street types who needed those bonuses oh so badly…………..that with the recent news of the auto bailout, the one group getting shafted are the autoworkers. Let’s face it, the auto industry has to retool the way they do business. But auto workers are in the cross hairs of that restructuring. The reason why the auto industry has not been able to restructure itself is because union workers would never take the buy outs offered by the company on the theory that they don’t want to forfeit the last decent paycheck they get in their lives. "Restructuring" means that we have reached the endgame. The administration has said, in effect, that it will no longer expect, or even allow, the auto companies to subsidize the automobile economy. What is facing the administration is how they will pair down the cost of union workers in order to make the auto industry efficient again. It is not the responsibility of government to save GM or any other auto company. It is however to keep the workers of the auto industry employed. You’ll hear about money for "education" and "retraining." But right now there are no answers for the autoworker who asks, "Retraining for what?" Retraining without the real prospect of jobs is a false hope that has been held out to autoworkers for years. It is a given the economy of the auto belt will shrink. The question is how it will weather that downsizing with a minimum of pain. So far, President Obama has given the autoworker a vague promise of retooling. It is striking that this “indispensable” worker gets that, while the Wall Street bonus baby got the cash.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The LuLac Edition #769, Mar. 30th, 2009












PHOTO INDEX: STATE SENATOR LISA BAKER AND LUZERNE COUNTY PRESIDENT JUDGE CHESTER MUROSKI.

ANOTHER SEAT?

Citing a tremendous amount of back logged work, Luzerne County President Judge Chester Muroski has implored Governor Ed Rendell to put deposed Judge Ciavarella's seat on the May 19th ballot. Muroski urged Rendell to "take whatever steps are necessary" in order to increase the electoral availabilities from two to three. Muroski says the court faces a "tremendous challenge" in staying current with cases given the Supreme Court's ruling last week that prevents former judge Ann Lokuta's seat from being placed on the ballot. Rendell's office determined that Ciavarella's seat could not be placed on the ballot because the resignation came on March 16th which wwas deemed too late. The missive by Muroski asks Rendell to consider other alternatives, including intervention by the state Supreme Court, to allow for an exception given the unusual circumstances the county faces. No comment from the Guv's office yet.

BAKER'S MOVE

It seems like the only duly elected State official saying anything about the Judicial scandal and what it might take to fix it is State Senator Lisa Baker. Baker is planning legislation to protect the rights of juveniles after Judges Conahan and Ciavarella pleaded guilty to taking millions of dollars in kickbacks involving youth detention centers. One of the bills being written would make it mandatory for juveniles to be represented by a lawyer in court. Right now, juveniles may waive that right. Details of the bills are still being discussed with juvenile law advocacy groups, and judges. Kudos to Senator Baker but has any one of the other legislators said anything about this much talked about scandal? Seems like everyone else is but them.

LULAC FORUM

Responses are coming in for The LuLac Political Letter judicial forum set for Sunday April 26th, from 2PM to 5Pm at Genetti's in Wilkes Barre. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The LuLac Edition #768, Mar. 28th, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: 20/20 LOGO.


20/20 REPORT


After generations of public relations campaigns, “The Committee of 100”, “The Committee of 1,000”, “Wilkes Barre I”, “Wilkes Barre II”, “The Committee For Economic Growth”, the numerous incarnations of The Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce plus millions of dollars spent on advertising, gimmicks, promotions, tax breaks, events, extravaganzas, Luzerne County is portrayed nationally as that hard scraping “coal region”. For the record, the last coal mine closed in the very early 60s around here. Yet, ABC TV heralded us as those coal miners. Now granted, this is hard coal country because a large majority of our citizens have been screwed by the coal barons and big business types who have systematically kept our wages below other areas. But now, on national news, we are now known for corruption. But not just any type of “high anxiety”, but “Cash For Kids”. Hey, that was supposed to be our secret! But there it was. Leaked! Two Judges charged. Scenic shots of that glorious edifice to justice: The Courthouse! Yep, we scored some great brownie points with the rest of the country.
But seriously folks, the 20/20 piece was something that I hope will wake up voters in this area. We get the government we deserve. For years we have retained the same “types” to represent us. It is time to make a change and that means reforming the entire system. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Take the entire county government and shut it down for 60 days. Put every employee on unemployment compensation. Have the Federal Government appoint a special team, an administrator, a prosecutor and a financial person to sign the checks and do any necessary things to operate the government. Keep the row officers and department heads in their jobs but have them report, yes even the commissioners to this tribunal. Start a rehiring process and re-staff. That is the only way we are going to recover from this nonsense. Radical? Yep. Necessary? Most definitely. And as for those people touting this region, this county as a great place to build a business, raise a family and visit………..keep your money in a credit union until about 2050.


QUESTIONS FOR MARK


I have a few questions for Judge Ciavarella. What were you thinking when you talked to Jim Avila? Are you preparing an insanity defense? Did you not think that your logic on the procedures you used for kids coming before you would not be questioned by the reporter doing the piece? (Judge Arthur Grim contradicted you outright!) Why is it that you have spoken to the British media and ABC but not anyone locally? And when you say you did not plea to taking bribes or cash for kids, what exactly did you think you plead to?
Here’s a prediction: when sentencing day arrives, only one former Judge, Conahan, will be adjudicated. Unless I’m very wrong, I think Judge Mark has other plans that will reverberate nationally and internationally. To Steve Corbett of WILK, your national face time on TV only begun last Friday night!


LINK: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=7194700



Friday, March 27, 2009

The LuLac Edition #767, Mar. 27th, 2009








PHOTO INDEX: 20/20 LOGO, THE LATE MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA RICHARDSON DILWORTH, LINDA STETS URBAN, WILKES BARRE POLITICAL ACTIVIST AND OUR 1964 LOGO.

WE'RE ON!!!

ABC TV's 20/20 tonight will showcase the Judicial scandal right here in Luzerne County. Like it or not, we are again in the national spotlight and are at the mercy of the perception of the national media. The Times Leader provides a text version of tonight's broadcast at this link:
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=7178686&page=1. The posting includes a preview of the broadcast that is scheduled to air during the program that begins at 10 p.m.

ERASED!!

The State Supeeme Court approved a judge’s recommendation that would eeliminate the criminal records of all juveniles charged with certain minor offenses who appeared before Judge Mark Ciavarella over a five-year period. Senior Judge Arthur Grim, made that recommendation. Grim was appointed as a master by the Supreme Court in February to review cases that were heard by Ciavarella. The former Judge is awaiting sentencing on a guilty plea for accepting kickbacks in exchange for decisions and rulings that led to use of privately owned juvenile detention centers.
While this is good news for those children denied their rights, the Citizen's Voice had an interesting letter to the editor today. Take a look at this:
Editor: How do we manage to do this to ourselves? It makes me angry how we all jump on the bandwagon blindly and fail to realize the consequences of our actions. Yes, the judges in this valley were corrupt in erroneously sending a certain percentage of teens to the detention center. And for that, the judges should be severely punished. However, do we not get it? These kids were sent before the judges for a reason. Where is the parents’ responsibility in enforcing discipline so that these kids did not have to encounter the judicial system? It is a crying shame what I saw on the front page, it was very disturbing. I saw the expression of a teen’s face getting satisfaction of being exonerated for getting drunk (on more than one occasion) and throwing stones at a neighbor. And there we are defending this behavior.No wonder kids these days don’t take responsibility and accountability for their actions. Wake up everyone. Not all the kids sent before these judges were angels, they were there for a reason. And now you are making all these kids feel as if none of them belonged there and that their behaviors are acceptable. How sad. If you fail to punish kids for mistakes they make, how will they ever know the difference from right and wrong? Don’t look at your lawsuits as this is your golden ticket to money. Maybe instead, invest the money directly into a trust fund to pay for your kids’ college tuition. Because with the attitude you parents are taking, your kids don’t have a chance.They will never respect authority, and only you are to blame. If you don’t teach your kids accountability for their actions, this world will be a very sad place. And there is no judge you will be able to blame then, only yourself as a parent that failed to teach their kids responsibility and morals.
L. Flower
A Parent and Teacher

HEALTH CARE PROBE

It looks like still another investigation is going on at the Courthouse. This time regarding that health care coverage for two former Prison Board members, Whister Yuhas and Robert Payne. Luzerne County solicitor Vito DeLuca has made known that he will refer his internal investigation to law enforcement if it is determined insurance fraud may have been committed. All application forms for health-care coverage include a warning that knowingly trying to defraud any insurance company is a crime.

SALARY DOWNGRADE

With secretaries in the County earning twice what County Commissioners make, there are many calling for an upgrade in county row office salaries. However in Wilkes Barre, political activist Linda Stets Urban is calling for a reduction in wages for the Mayor and City Council members. Stets, who ran against Mayor Leighton in 2007, sent this e mail missive.
Something has to be done to REDUCE the mayor and city council members salaries in WB........The major and most relaible tax base for the city coffers.........should not be us! Our city neighborhoods are a mess yet the elected city officials SIT on their ass's contining to COLLECT outrageous salaries....... (not to mention their other routes of incomes)We need to modify the city Charter and now......Do you KNOW that Mayor Leighton earns TWICE as much as a County Commissioner? YES! That has to stop.Public service wasn't meant to be like hitting the lottery. Imagine running an entire county and then compare that to running WB?

1964

Merv Griffen’s game show Jeopardy! debuts on NBC; Art Fleming is its first host.......
The military backed by the USA, overthrows Brazilian President João Goulart in a coup, starting 21 years of dictatorship in Brazil.... Mrs. Malcolm Peabody, 72, mother of Massachusetts Governor Endicott Peabody is released on $450 bond after spending 2 days in a St. Augustine, Florida jail, for participating in an anti-segregation demonstration....Statewide, former Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dilworth commented that Governor William Scranton’s reform of the State Unemployment Compensation system could give him a leg up in the 1964 Presidential sweepstakes. Dilworth cited the reform as proof Scranton could revamp an ingrained governmental agency. The comments came as a bit of surprise given the bitter 1962 race that pitted Dilworth vs. Scranton……..The 1964 Phillies announce that veteran Roy Sievers will be their starting first baseman. He was the 1949 Rookie of the year and would be traded to Washington one month into the season..Kresge’s in Downtown Wilkes Barre sold cushion foot sox for 39 cents a pair, 3 for a $1.15……Elaine Matinas of Pringle received a thank you letter and photo from Jackie Kennedy. Matinas had sent a sympathy card to the White House on the death of President Kennedy…..and 45 years ago this week, in LuLac land and all across America the number 1 song was again by the Beatles. This time, “Can’t Buy Me Love” topped the charts.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The LuLac Edition #766, Mar. 26th, 2009










PHOTO INDEX: THE TALKERS OF WILK WITH BLOG EDITOR, SUE HENRY, STEVE CORBETT, NANCY KMAN AND KEVIN LYNN, ANN LOKUTA AND COUNTY COMMISSIONER STEVE URBAN.

NOT SO FAST.........

Deposed (notice I didn't say disgraced) former Judge Ann Lokuta got some good news Wednesday. The state Supreme Court halted an election to fill the judicial seat of Lokuta, who was bounced from the bench last year by the state Court of Judicial Discipline. The Supreme Court also ordered the discipline court to consider reopening Lokuta’s case because three of the witnesses testifying against her have pleaded guilty in an ongoing federal corruption probe at the courthouse. They are of course Judges Ciavarella and Conahan along with William Sharkey who was the Court administrator. These three stooges in effect railroaded Lokuta and denied her a pension and a career. Lokuta told WYOU TV that she was grateful "for the support she got from everyday people." With this news, there is a good possibility Lokuta can get her job back. The ruling has already reinstated her pay. In an ironic twist, the ruling came on the same day that disgraced (notice I didn't use the word deposed) Judge Mark
Ciavarella asked for money back from the state because he has not yet been sentanced in court. This is a made for TV movie in the making.

WHO'S ON PLAN?

Who says American workers can't get decent health care? Hey, come to Luzerne County and just volunteer and you'll get health care! Michael Buffer reports in the Citizen's Voice that recently departed Prison board members Wister Yuhas and Robert Payne were covered by First Priority Health. Seems like no one knew it until the county benefits administrator told them they were going off the plan on April 1st. Minority Commissioner Steve Urban wants to know what county official put them on and why? Urban asked the questions when looking into reducing health care costs with a “health care audit” to verify that beneficiaries and their dependents are entitled to coverage. The county pays $12,000 per county employee for health care coverage. Yuhas was on the family plan while Payne was on a single plan. The quote of the day comes from County manager Doug Pape who said, “As far as we know, no one else is getting benefits that shouldn’t be". The thing that bothers me and other taxpayers, some who are struggling to pay their health care premiums is the "as far as we know" comment. Home Rule is looking soooooooo good just about now!

WVIA TONIGHT

WVIA TV will present "Luzerne County: The Culture of Corruption" tonight at 7PM on "The State of Pennsyvania". Guests will be the WILK Talk Show lineup. The program will also be simulcast on WILK radio. Tonight, 7PM.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The LuLac Edition #765, Mar. 25th, 2009








PHOTO INDEX: DEMOCRATIC PARTY LOGO AND ARLEN SPECTER.

SNARLIN' ARLEN

Well the polls are out today and they tell a tale that many Pennsylvania experts already knew to be true. Arlen Specter, the multi term U.S. Senator is well regarded by general election voters. Among Republican stalwarts, not so much. A recent poll showed 48 percent of all voters view Mr. Specter favorably, compared to almost a quarter 24 percent who view him unfavorably. However among people in his own party, 41 percent say he deserves re-election and while 51 percent say he should be deep sixed. Specter has always had this problem with his own party. He is a dying breed, a moderate Republican that has been demonized by the right wing conservatives of his party. People should note that without moderate Republicans, Lyndon Johnson would be unable to pass his landmark civil rights legislation that gave blacks the right to vote and live on any given street in the U.S. Without moderate Republicans, Richard Nixon would not have been able to form the Environmental Protection Agency in the 70s which protected our land from pollution and other dangers. Hey, Specter doesn't need me to defend him or the now almost defunct moderate wing of the GOP. He's doing just fine himself. The other day in Central Pennsylvania, Specter made it very clear he was going to fight his would be challenger Pat Toomey to the political death. Specter, in response to a question said his vote on the Stimulus plan was only 1 vote of out of 10,000. He seemed raring to go with Toomey saying the ex Congressman had a lot of votes to answer for himself regarding deregulation. Then Specter compared Toomey to AIG! Here's that comment: "He's like the AIG employees: he creates the problem, now he wants the bonus. He wants to be promoted to the Senate. He's going to have more votes to explain than I do. Stay tuned." Toomey is facing a three time cancer survivor who is closing in on 8 decades of life, with more than a half century in politics. Arlen just doesn't care or have patience for the political niceties anymore. Adding that all up along with his determination to stay in the Senate, well I guess you could say that these polls are not a big concern to our boy Arlen, who has just begun snarlin'.

NOPE!!!

The Luzerne County Democratic Committee will endorse no one for Judge or Prothonotary in the May 19th primary election. The party did endorse endorse Dottie Stankovic for county register of wills and Bob Morgan for county controller. Both face no opposition in the primary. With 15 Dems running for Judge and 3 for Prothonotary, Alfred Akulonis, Nancy McGinley Bellas and Gerald J. Mullery this is a savvy move.

MORE PLEASE!!

Former Judge Mark Ciavarella has filed an application with the State Employees’ Retirement System to begin receiving pension payments. His resignation went into effect March 16th. Ciavarella is waiting to be sentanced but in the meantime would like to collect more than $6800 while he waits. This has outraged many citizens in the county who think the state just might be dumb enough to grant him that farewell wish. How about this, why not give Ann Lokuta her pension back: NOW. Then take the Ciavarella request under advisement.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The LuLac Edition #764, Mar. 24th, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: BOLUS TRUCKING.


BOLUS CAN RUN.....BUT...


The name Bolus conjures up great memories for me. When I was a radio sales rep in the 90s, we always had to hand in to our sales managers a "call sheet". Some days they were fact, some days they were fiction. On days that they were fiction, I always put the name Bolus Trucking on mine. One day, during a very bad sales day when no one bought anything, 40 sales reps handed in their call sheets. 38 of them had Bolus Trucking on them. The General Sales Manager burst out of her office and said, "All of you guys called on Bolus and all of you got nothing? What did you do, go in shifts?" Another reason I have a good memory of Bob Bolus is because every Christmas he hosts a dinner for anyone who needs the friendship and the fellowship. Bob Bolus is trying to run for Mayor. Judge Terrence Nealon has ruled businessman Bob Bolus can remain a Republican candidate for Scranton mayor because the challenge against him was filed one day late. All that means is Mr. Bolus can run for office even though he cannot serve if he is elected. For the Republicans in Scranton and Lackawanna County, this is indeed a step up. In the past few years, just getting a warm body to run on the GOP ticket is an accomplishment. Maybe Bolus can campaign by himself and govern by proxy. That might revolutionize city government.


NO NEW TAXES


Commissioner Corey O’Brien said the state of the county is improving. Despite a looming $2.9 million deficit this year that could grow to $6.5 million in 2010, they do not believe a tax increase will be necessary next year.“I think we’re on top of it,” majority Commissioner Mike Washo said. “I think we’ve got a road map to getting where we’re going to get without raising taxes.” Adding later, more definitively: “We’re not entertaining any tax increases.”The majority commissioners touted accomplishments from their first year, including establishing proper bidding procedures and increasing efficiency in county departments. They also discussed future areas of improvements, including upgrading their vehicle fleet to hybrids and upgrading three county parks to include “boundless playgrounds,” which allow children with and without disabilities to play together. According to a report in the Scranton Times, the majority Commissioners said that more pain will need to be inflicted in cutting expenditures at the Courthouse. Mr. O’Brien said the county saved $83,000 savings this year by reducing the number of copy machines in county offices. A sale of Lackawanna County Health Care Center also is on the table, discussions are preliminary but many doubt such a sale would be likely this year.


LEN WOLOSON DIES


Former WARM original member of the Snsational 7, Len Woloson, passed away Sunday in Las Vegas. For morer info, here's the link to our 590 FOREVER site.

http://david-yonki.blogspot.com/.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The LuLac Edition #763, Mar. 23rd, 2009











PHOTO INDEX: FORMER CONGRESSMAN PATRICK TOOMEY AND LACKAWANNA COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

TOOMEY ON THE MOVE

If there was any doubt that Pat Toomey is going after Arlen Specter's seat, and even Arlen Specter himself, that was erased last week when the former Congressman told the Franklin County Spring GOP Fundraising dinner. Franlin County is a Republican stronghold and went 66% for John McCain in 2008. Toomey said that the country was on a leftward lurch and that Arlen Specter caused that to happen. Toomey even seemed to intimate that if Specter had not joined forces with the Obama administration stimulus plan, he might have gone for the Governor's chair instead of the U.S. Senate. "The fact is, Arlen Specter made this happen, I think a Republican senator from Pennsylvania ought to govern based on the conservative ideas at the heart of the Republican Party, and that's why - Arlen, are you listening? - it is very likely that I will become a candidate for the United States Senate." Toomey came within 17,000 votes of beating Specter in the 2004 primary. Toomey gave a preview of his campaign touching on a message of unfettered capitalism, faith, and family values. It was Toomey's first statewide appearance since early March when he said he might run for the office. Meanwhile, Specter who rarely speaks of his political foes let loose on WILK'S Nancy and Kevin Morning News program last week saying about Toomey: "Well, he's been totally in favor of deregulation, letting Wall Street run its own affairs, which has been a tremendous factor in bringing us into this current mess." When Toomey enters the Senate race, this thing promises to be a big event with tons of money and energy spent. Stay tuned!

LAC ELECTION NEWS

There is a Judgeship race in Lackawanna County this sporing. The big primary news has been the DiBileo/Doherty race for Scranton Mayor but there are a few contests worth watching. There are 4 candidates for the Court of Common Pleas single seat, they are Attorney Jim Tierney, Magisterial District Judge John Pesota and Assistant District Attorneys Margaret Bisignani Moyle (who has been utiliizing FaceBook) and Frank Castellano. Castellano recently had a successful fundraiser. Pesota has name recognition as a District Justice but the other three candidates are hitting the campaign trail in earnest.
Meantime in the row office catagory, a race that seems to be getting traction is for Lackawanna County Sheriff. John Szymanski is looking for an eighth term. He faces primary opposition from Bob Berta, and Deputy Sheriff Chester Cipilewski. If every person who received an honorary Deputy Sheriff badge from Szymanski could vote in Lackawanna County, he'd be there for life!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The LuLac Edition #762, Mar. 22nd, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE.


JUDGESHIP NEWS


The race for Luzerne County Judge is starting to heat up. C.J. Bufalino's face is appearing on billboards throughout the Valley. Atty. Daniel Zola has road signs up in the County while Atty. Joseph Sklarosky has yard signs up in the Plains Area. Atty. Gene Sperazza kicked off his campaign yesterday in Pittston with over 250 supports and opened headquarters on Kennedy Blvd. in Pittston. The Mountaintop Attorney and Pittston native has been running a "pre-campaign" of sorts. During the years 2007 and 2008 the barrister has had a large media presence on billboards and TV touting his integrity as an Attorney. It was no secret then that Sperazza was going to make a move for Judge. District Justice William Amesbury was on the tube already with a banner ad on Service Electric Community Calender followed by a media buy on Cable TV where he proclaimed he was not from a connected family and wasn't a rich man. Good impactful ad.

In the meantime, regarding electon logistics, C.J. Bufalino nabbed the top spot on the Republican side while Judge Joseph Musto got the top position on the Democratic side. Ballot position is never regarded as very important except when you have a multitude of candidates running, like say 17!!!! Amesbury fared well too except that he was on the bottom of the ballot. It's easy to say to a voter, especially ones not politically vested or savvy, "look at the top or the bottom of the ballot". Once you have to explain that a candidate's name is somewhere in the middle, there's a chance of losing them. The ballot order for the primary election on March 19th was determined by a random draw conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of State. There are 15 Democrats running, 2 REpublicans. The GOPers are Richard Hughes and Michael Pendolphi. In earlier editions we stated that Hughes was the only Republican. All candidates can cross file on both parties.
Letters to all judicial candidates were sent out this week for The LuLac Political Letter Judicial Forum being held April 26th, 2 to 5PM at Genetti's. Media cosponsors will be announced soon as well as the type of format we'll be conducting.

COINCIDENCE???


The Times Leader reported yesterday that Atty. Michael Butera of Pittston donated more than $10,000 to Judge Michael Conahan's 2003 retention effort. This happened a year after Conahan awarded Butera $931,452 in a non-jury trial for injuries suffered in a bicycle accident. Butera and his attorney Bill Anzalone said the amount awarded was substantially less than they asked for. They wanted 1.5 million but got under a million. Butera told the newspaper he was "disappointed" with the verdict. I think if you did a poll of accident victims who could be offered over $900,000, few would call that a disappointment. The $10,000 contribution to the Conahan campaign was the largest Butera, a generous backer of Local, Statewide and National Democratic campaigns, gave to any effort. Butera also said said no one from law enforcement has contacted him about his case or anything else. According to the Times Leader, Butera filed the suit on March 24, 2000, for injuries he suffered in July 1998 in a collision between his bicycle and a car in the parking lot of the former Bruno’s supermarket in Pittston. The trial centered on who was at fault for the accident that left Butera with shoulder and rib injuries and with impaired earning capacity. In his verdict, Conahan found Butera contributed to the accident, but his negligence was not a substantial factor in causing him harm. The judge found the driver of the car Robert Paranich completely at fault. Butera was awarded $832,990 in damages plus an additional $98,462 in delay damages. Readers of the Times Leader comments pages simply weren't buying Butera's explanaton. Here's what they told the Leader:

stunned said...
oh
, you've got to be kidding me!!! reduced earning potential? please someone explain that to me. how these injuries are worth almost a million dollars??? i hope i get hit when riding my bike and hurt my shoulders and ribs that will heal. i could almost live off that amount of money!
March 21, 2009 at 8:50 AM
bob said...
do you smell pig. awards like that aren't given in loss of life cases. how can a lawyer in a non physical job claim loss of earning status.
March 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM
Deanna Carter said...
I drove my bicycle past your window last night. I made contributions for your election in daylight. It almost seems to me that your impartiality got the money I need. Oh I got a brand new 5O speed bicycle you got a brand new seat. I think that we can work together to keep you on your seat...
March 21, 2009 at 10:21 AM
TJ said...
Mingya. Mike looks pretty good these days and is back in the saddle. And back on the bike as it were. Please let me know which street corner to stand on so that someone can bump into me and I can receive 900K.
March 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM
Clay said...
Geez! Arent all attorneys well respected in their tight knit communities?
March 21, 2009 at 10:59 AM
Sued MD said...
That reminds me when I went to a really haute restaurant and forgot the gratuity because it wasn't printed on the menue . The service was poor the next time.
March 21, 2009 at 12:15 PM
Mr. Spock said...
Fascinating. A 20 year contribution to make up for the 10 year term that his Honor refused during a prior 10 year contribution term. Higly logical in Luzerne County, Capt. Capt., Requesting permission to go to my Quarters immediately. I can no longer keep a straight face or Bwahaa Bwahaa stop laughing.
March 21, 2009 at 1:40 PM
J.W. said...
Mr. Butera is trying to "bullshirt" his way around this one. I think we know what the real truth is here. "If it is red and it is a dog, it is a red dog." Conahan should have never, ever have presided over this case. By all rights the case should be revisited. The Luzerne County Court system is was corrupt and I believe it is.
March 21, 2009 at 5:13 PM
said...
Luzerne county politics at its best ! As we all have stated, these judges and lawyers are all in each others pockets.
March 21, 2009 at 10:24 PM


MITCHELL PREVAILS


Walter Mitchell, Bear Creek Village Mayor and candidate foir Luzerne County Prothonotary in the Republican Party survived a challenge by perennial candidate Bill James. James contended that Mitchell, the president of the Mitchell Financial Group, did not give complete financial disclosure because he listed his sources of income as “various insurance companies” not providing names and addresses. The former County Commissioner canmdidate additionally claimed Mitchell’s signature appeared on one of his 20 separate nominating petitions, a violation of election law, and asked for eight of the 20 petitions to be invalidated because Mitchell did not list the electoral district on them. Judge Lupas struck down that challenge too. If the Judge had agreed with James, Mitchell would have come up short on signatures he needed to get on the ballot. All that said, it appears Walter Mitchell is well on his way to making the race for GOP Prothonotary extremely competitive. Mitchell has been very energetic on the campaign trail and this mini roadblock will only add impetus to his goal of winning.


ED ON MEET THE PRESS


Governor Ed Rendell on Meet The Press today called for a Federal Capital budget focusing on infrastructure.

GOV. RENDELL: There's so many innovative ways to, to use the tax code to get private investment...
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
GOV. RENDELL: ...involved in this. There are innovative ways. David, we don't have a capital budget, a federal capital budget. We're the only governmental subdivision in the country without one. You could finance--for $30 billion a year, which these days is not a lot of money, you could finance almost $400 billion to put up front in an infrastructure repair program administered through something like the infrastructure bank.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The LuLac Edition #761, Mar. 20th, 2009

















PHOTO INDEX: 1964 PHILLIES STARTING CATCHERS CLAY DALRYMPLE AND GUS TRIANDOS, KINGSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATE JOHN CORDORA WITH HIS CELEBRITY COUSIN JOE RANIELI OF BOCCI ALLEY FAME, SCRANTON MAYORAL ENDORSED CANDIDATE GARY DIBILEO, A CORDORA CAMPAIGN LOGO, SCRANTON MAYOR CHRIS DOHERTY AND OUR 1964 LOGO. (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

OBAMA ON TONIGHT

President Obama appeared on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on Thursday. Leading up to the appearance was a debate as to whether it was appropriate for the Chief Executive to be on the program. WILK’s Sue Henry said that she wasn’t for it because it devalued the office, making the President more about pop culture than leadership. Kevin Lynn on the other hand said that he felt the guest spot was appropriate because Obama after all, as President was “communicator in chief”. Me? I looked at it as a major coup for NBC and as an opportunity for the President to connect more with the people of the U.S. I watched the show and thought he did fine explaining his stance on bonuses and the entire AIG debacle. When he made his remarks about the Special Olympics and his bowling prowess though, I said to myself “What the hell were you thinking?” I have a disabled nephew who bowls every Saturday at Chacko’s as part of a special program for those individuals. I have to tell you that his remarks hit home. Then I thought about the appearance itself and how it should have been a positive factor for the President. Turns out the remark deluded the impact he was aiming for. And this is where we talk about the Presidency and entertainment. John Kennedy and Richard Nixon appeared on Jack Paar before they became President. Nixon on Carson and Merv Griffen too in the 60s. Bill Clinton played his sax on Arsenio Hall too as a candidate. But after they became President, they set boundaries. I think President Obama was right for breaking those ties between leadership and entertainment. But the sad thing was the guy, usually right on message, forgot where he was and what his role encompassed. Obama would’ve been fine if he had just stopped short of the bowling question. But he felt compelled to give a smart ass, self deprecating remark that diminished him. A simple, “I stink at bowling….still” would’ve sufficed. But oh our politicians love their analogies. Sometimes simple answers, not bringing on board another party are the best way to go. The President needs to remember that he is the President and there has to be a certain reserve and line of demarcation. Yukking it up at the expense of disabled people did not serve him well. All that said, it was refreshing to hear that the President profusely apologized to the head of the Special Olympics. Having had a President for the past eight years who apologized to no one, this was a breath of fresh air. But to prevent further angst, President Obama should temper his self deprecation and limit it to his own person.

CORDORA RALLY

Went to John Cordora’s rally last night at the Kingston American Legion Hall. More than 100 friends and supporters attended the event. The candidate made the rounds and welcomed his guests with enthusiasm that will serve him well on the campaign trail. The candidate recalled for the crowd how his interest in politics began. Cordora said that 1964 was a watershed year for him as he supported Barry Goldwater for President. He alluded to Goldwater’s stance on the Vietnam War which had many in the hall nodding in agreement. The candidate described himself as a Ronald Reagan Republican. Cordora made some interesting campaign comments saying that it would only take one term as Mayor in Kingston to turn things around. He commented that 12 years under the Haggerty administration has not improved the crime situation. The candidate said that the Mayor hardly interacts with the police force, leaving it to the Borough administrator, wondered why there wasn’t a great presence of police in crime areas and asked what crime prevention solutions were being probed. Cordora also hit the Haggerty administration for refusing to make public crime statistics in the borough available to residents and the news media. His speech was met with thunderous applause and it looked to me that the kick off was a success. Cordora also promised to visit 6,000 homes in 60 days in his attempt to wrest the nomination from Haggerty.

THIS AND THAT

Two Judicial candidates made the rounds during the rally. Attorney C.J. Bufalino of Dallas worked the room like a political pro connecting with the citizens in attendance………..Attorney Thomas Marsillio wearing a snappy red vest also stopped by to meet and greet the crowd. Marsillio is from Mountaintop…..GOP Prothonotary aspirant Walter Mitchell stopped by and went from table to table……Democratic Jury Commissioner candidate Jerry Bonner was in attendance…..Running mates of Cordora for Kingston Council were there, Drew Klinges, Howard Specht, and Mike Jacobs all making brief remarks....Pizza and light refreshments were served….and many attending were very glad to meet radio host Joe Ranieli, he of “Bocci Alley” fame. Ranieli is a cousin of the candidate but also had a huge contingent of fans surrounding him at the event.

MAYORAL MADNESS

In Scranton heads were turned last evening when news came that the Democratic Committee was going to give their endorsement for Mayor to Gary DiBileo. By all accounts this was a surprise but what was even more surprising was the fact that Chris Phillips, a school director who had contemplated a run for mayor, called the endorsement “unexpected.” But it was reported by the Scranton Times that Phillips wasn’t at the meeting. Phillips said Mr. DiBileo called him Thursday about the endorsement. On the Sue Henry show today, DiBileo said the endorsement was going to help him spread his message. DiBileo said that he aimed to get rid of the distressed city label as Mayor and end pay to play in Scranton city government. The candidate pointed out that after 17 years, Scranton still had the distressed city label. But Scranton, according to many observers has done an about face on touting its image as the hippest place to be in NEPA. Reports we have said that DiBileo had 19 votes to Doherty’s 11. On the Steve Corbett Show this afternoon, Mayor Doherty said, “It wasn’t a surprise, when you make tough decisions you disenfranchise people. The Democratic Committee is about politics, my job is to be Mayor of all the people working with Republicans and Democrats. I sensed that I wasn’t going to get the endorsement because of tough choices I made. I got into this because of my 6 kids and 10 brothers and sisters. You have to work with both sides, no matter who’s below me or on top. We will do the same things we’ve been doing campaign wise the last few years. I have a record to run on and it’s a pretty good record. I don’t think any Mayor in the state would shy away from a record like this”. Political consultant Ed Mitchell who ran Doherty’s campaigns in 2001, (both primary and general) and that nail biter primary in 2005 told us that “a candidate would rather have an endorsement. But candidates he’s worked for have actually won without an endorsement. The Mayor has a major money advantage and I wouldn’t count him out of this”.
Scranton Mayoral politics has always had an element of intrigue. After Gene Peters won his last term in 1973, Scranton went through a period where the city changed Mayors every four years starting with Eugene Hickey, Jim McNulty, and David Wenzel. Jimmy Connors and Chris Doherty broke that streak by winning multiple terms but Connors did it as a Democrat turned Republican. Mitchell’s point about the power of endorsement rings especially true in Scranton politics. In 1977, the late Ed Hughes had the GOP endorsement only to be turned back by Reverand Vernon Searfoss. However that was over 30 years ago. It seems to me that this election will be the rubber match between DiBelio and Doherty, kind of like a political Frasier/Ali contest. It will also pit the patrician like Doherty (who’s dad James served with distinction on Scranton City Council for years in the 60s and 70s) and the lunch pail candidate Dibelio in a cultural class warfare race that will forever change the face of Scranton. It’s like Clarence Rutherford vs. Wally Cleaver. We’ll see who Scranton will pick.

1964

In a horrible incident still resonating after 45 years, 38 of her neighbors in Queens,
New York City fail to respond to the cries of Kitty Genovese, 28, as she is being stabbed to death………….A Dallas, Texas jury finds Jack Ruby guilty of killing John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald……statewide, Scranton Mayor William Schmidt told a Princton, New Jersey audience of Young Republicans that he believed Governor Bill Scranton would jump into the GOP Presidential race if drafted. Schmidt was one of three speakers touting the efforts of Scranton, Nelson Rockefeller and Barry Goldwater. Peppered by students carrying Goldwater signs, the Scranton Mayor called the Governor “a man of political courage, stating he was not in attendance to launch a Scranton for President campaign”……….Phillies Manager Gene Mauch announces he will use two catchers this season in a platoon rotation naming left handed hitting Clay Dalrymple and right handed slugger Gus Triandos……in Wilkes Barre, despite snow in heavy watershed areas and a lot of rainfall, flood forecasters say there is no immediate danger of flooding from the Susquehanna River……there are reports that Warner’s Slimwear Lingerie Company on Market Street in Kingston might be closing its doors laying off more than 120 workers and 45 years ago today, the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was by the Beatles who returned to the top chart position with “Please Please Me” which was released on the VeeJay label.



Thursday, March 19, 2009

The LuLac Edition #760, Mar. 19th, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: SCALES OF JUSTICE.


FORUM DATE SET

The LuLac Political Letter will be hosting a forum for Judicial candidates running for Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Sunday April 26th at Best Western Genetti Hotel and Convention Center in Wilkes-Barre. The event will run from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Letters to all the Judicial candidates went out today, Thursday, March 19th. Each candidate will be asked to present a five minute introduction and brief biography. After all summations are presented, the candidates will take questions from moderators as well as audience members.
Speaking order will be determined by a random drawing on the day of the event to ensure fairness. As many of you might recall, The LuLac Letter hosted a forum of Wilkes Barre City Council candidates in 2007. There were 28 candidates, 24 of whom took part in the Forum, and the event went very well. Representatives or the candidates may R.S.V.P. by April 18th by calling 570-822-2776, 570-709-9404, or by e-mailing me at
yonkstur@aol.com.
With so many candidates, it might be a difficult situation for candidates to address people in public. As with the Council forum in 2007, we have designed a program that will be fair and adventagious to each candidate that will attend. More details on the actual program, responses and structure will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The LuLac Edition #759, Mar. 18th, 2009






PHOTO INDEX: SPECIAL PROSECUTOR PATRICK MEEHAN AND ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM CORBETT.

CRIME STOPPERS

For most people involved, crime doesn't pay. But for politicos with their sights on higher office, sometimes their own actions bring rewards. Patrick Meehan who started the case against former Senator Vince Fuomo is being mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for the Governor's chair. Attorney General Tom Corbett, most visible in the prosecution of high profile corruption and drug cases is said to be the front runner for the GOP nod for Governor. The record of special prosecutors is mixed when attaining higher office in Pennsylvania. Richard Thornburgh won election in 1978 while fellow prosecutor David Marston made nary a dent in his Democratic primary bid. Time will tell if Meehan and Corbett's work in some high profile cases will give them a leg up on the competition in the 2010 race for Governor.

THE BEAT GOES ON

Former Luzerne County Probation official Sandra Brulo has agreed to plead guilty to a felony obstruction of justice charge. She will cooperate with federal authorities in the public corruption probe, investigators said Tuesday. According to the federal charges, Brulo altered and backdated a placement recommendation for a juvenile offender to make it appear that she had advised probation instead of detention. She then asked a probation official to put the changed document in the official court record. Brulo has agreed to waive indictment and plead guilty. Brulo faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines and up to three years of supervised release according to a report in the Times Leader. March 26th in Federal Court Scranton has been set to formally accept Brulo’s guilty plea. She has been released in her own custody since the arrest.
In other corruption news, the state attorney general’s office has been investigating a case involving money missing from the Luzerne County adult probation office. At least $50,000 is believed to be missing. It’s the second case of money missing from county court funds in the past year. As you may recall, Thomas Sharkey, the county court administrator, the highest-ranking nonjudicial officer in the court system, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $70,000 from the courts. The county’s judges ordered a review of court finances, with help from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
And last but not least, a Luzerne County Prison guard, John "G-Unit" Gonda, was selling large quantities of cocaine in the Wilkes-Barre area. He was arrested as part of a more than 3 million dollar cocaine ring dubbed "Operation Avalanche."
This type of news is now a matter of expectation, and not the unusual.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The LuLac Edition #758, Mar. 17th, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: AIG LOGO.


AIG ANGST


Moves are underway to stop the contracted bonuses to AIG employees. President Barack Obama declared that insurance giant American International Group is in financial straits because of "recklessness and greed" and said he intends to stop it from paying out millions in executive bonuses. "It's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," Obama said at the outset of an appearance to announce help for small businesses hurt by the deep recession. "How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat," the president said.
Obama spoke out in the wake of reports that surfaced over the weekend saying that financially strapped American International Group Inc. was paying substantial bonuses to executives. Noting that AIG has "received substantial sums" of federal aid from the federal government, Obama said he has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole."

Meanwhile, in New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday he has issued subpoenas for the names of American International Group employees given millions of dollars in bonuses despite their possible roles in the insurance giant's near-collapse.
Cuomo said his office will investigate whether the $165 million in payments are fraudulent under state law because they were promised when the company knew it wouldn't have the money to cover them. AIG reported this month that it lost $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history, and it has benefited from more than $170 billion in a federal rescue.
"When a company pays funds that the company effectively doesn't have, it's akin to a looting of a company," Cuomo said. "You could argue if the taxpayers didn't bail out AIG, those contracts wouldn't be worth the paper it's printed on." Cuomo made good on a threat he made Monday in a letter to AIG's government-appointed chief executive, Edward Liddy, in which he said he would issue administrative subpoenas after 4 p.m. if he didn't get the employees' names, information about their work at AIG's Financial Products subsidiary and the contracts the company said required paying the bonuses. The Financial Products unit sold credit default swaps, the risky contracts that caused massive losses for the insurer.

Close to home, Congressman Kanjorski is said to be expressed outrage and disappointment about recent reports that American International Group (AIG) will pay $165 million in retention bonuses for 2008 to executives and workers at the very business unit that underwrote the credit default swaps that caused the company to lose tens of billions of dollars and seek a federal bailout. “I appreciate the many concessions and changes that Edward Liddy has made since joining AIG as CEO, including accepting a dollar-a-year salary and cutting back bonuses and salaries for AIG’s other top executives,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “Because the federal government now has an 80 percent stake in the company, AIG has a duty to spend the taxpayers’ money responsibly. I am therefore extremely disappointed that AIG will move forward with its plans to pay out 2008 bonuses totaling $165 million, on top of the $55 million paid out late last year, for employees at the very business that caused the company to collapse.” Chairman Kanjorski added, “While these bonuses were agreed to in early 2008 before AIG received any taxpayer money, considering the sweeping changes that have occurred since then, further concessions in AIG’s contracts must be seriously considered, especially at the Financial Products unit. Although we must effectively and expeditiously wind down the systemic risks caused by AIG Financial Products, we cannot allow individuals who acted irresponsibly to reap undue benefits.”
“My Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine AIG’s operations and the taxpayer assistance it has received. Among those testifying will be Mr. Liddy. These sizable payouts at AIG’s Financial Products unit will certainly be an important topic that my colleagues and I intend to investigate further at the hearing,” concluded Chairman Kanjorski. When media reports of AIG’s retention bonus plans for Financial Products first surfaced in January, Chairman Kanjorski personally called Mr. Liddy to express his concerns and outrage. Additionally, Chairman Kanjorski and Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) joined together to write to the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department urging them to closely scrutinize the unit’s bonus plans and to take steps to protect taxpayers by paring back these excessive rewards. Previously, Chairman Kanjorski and Congressman Crowley had worked to convince AIG to stop $93.3 million in deferred compensation payouts to several thousand AIG employees and agents.

In an appearance on WYOU TV I defended the AIG bailout because the company had many tenacles in the business and insurance world. But this is a slap in the face to the taxpayers who own 80% of the company. And as far as the logic goes that AIG has to provide these bonuses because these employees are so valuable, let me say this is the same division that ran the company into the ground. And besides in this economy where are they going to go? My solutio: pick a few King's and Wilkes Business Majors, give them a decent New York wage (without a bonus) and they'll do way better than these financial prima donnas on Wall Street.


Monday, March 16, 2009

The LuLac Edition #757, Mar. 16th, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: CHAMBER PROGRAM.


PROGRAM RECAP


The Economic Stimulus Package and Its Impact on Business and Community was the title of the breakfast program sponsored by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce on March 16. Featured speakers were Senators Arlen Specter and Robert P. Casey, Jr. and Congressmen Paul E. Kanjorski and Chris Carney. About 200 people packed the ballroom at The Woodlands to hear firsthand from men who have firsthand knowledge of the so-called “bailouts” of the financial industry and the crisis that precipitated them. That crisis spurred them to non partisan support of actions they say was necessary if the U. S. is to recover.
Congressman Kanjorski told the crowd that like it or not, something had to be done to stave off financial disaster. He claimed the situation was so dire that the September Bush Rescue plan pulled us back from the brink of the abyss. Although he said he knew the political consequences of supporting the so-called bail outs could be fatal if the economy doesn’t turn around before the 2010 Congressional elections, Congressman Kanjorski said he would rather roll the dice and lose his seat than do nothing and watch the American and world economies melt down.
Senator Specter agreed with that assessment saying that although the rescues or stimulus plans were wildly controversial, the risk of doing nothing at all was not an option. He cited the intertwining of the various financial institutions in nearly every aspect of the American economy and the world economy. After the first Bush bailout in the fall, money was spent buying up toxic assets and shoring up banks, but there was no visible effect on the economy. Senator Specter voted against releasing the second half of the $780 billion dollars provided for in that initial rescue plan.
Congressman Carney described the night before the latest stimulus vote when he and his staff pulled an all-nighter reading the plan. Congress had passed a resolution stating that members would have 48 hours to review the bill before a vote was called. In fact, they had 14 hours. Carney pointed out that unlike the recessions of 1983 and 2001 in which there were gradual, sure signs of an upswing, the 2008-09 recession seemed to be in a downward spiral. The circumstances indicated that drastic measures were needed and so he decided to vote for the stimulus package. He pointed out that the package includes the largest tax cut in American history.
Senator Casey outlined some of the benefits the stimulus package will bring to Pennsylvania. These included $80 million for law enforcement, $223 million for clean and drinkable water and $1 billion for roads and bridges. It also includes $754 million for food stamps and $200 million for unemployment benefits statewide. All these items will stimulate spending, Casey said, especially the last two. He said it is imperative to get the economy out of the ditch and back on the road.
All four Representatives showed courage in voting for bills that were wildly unpopular with the electorate. They are in the position of having information not available to the general public about the nature of the crisis, and they used their judgment and experience when deciding how to vote. All claim to have the wellbeing of Pennsylvania at heart in all their votes.
In the question and answer section that followed their presentations, Senator Casey opined that this time Congress is serious about health care reform. He cited support among the business community for change in the way health care is provided as one important factor that may lead to a vote on a health care bill as early as this summer. Senator Specter offered his assessment of the card check bill, or the Employees Free Choice Act (EFCA). Specter claims that the NLRB(National Labor Relations Board) is highly politicized no matter which party is in power. It can take years for them to issue a ruling. Specter believes the EFCA will make it easier for employees to form a union.
When asked how we can justify bailing out AIG, Congressman Kanjorski recognized the anger of the populace at the bonuses that have been paid to AIG employees, but he reiterated that global economic disaster was the likely alternative. He offered the opinion that if the Federal Government had bailed out Lehman Brothers, between $300 and $500 billion dollars might have been eliminated from the two “rescue” packages.
Congressman Carney pointed out that, contrary to popular opinion, Congress does not get to direct any of the spending in the rescue packages. Directed spending is another phrase for “pork”.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

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.

LOFTY AMBITIONS

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.

BUH BYE!!!!


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.

FAMILY TIES

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.

1964

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.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The LuLac Edition #755, Mar. 13th, 2009

PHOTO INDEX: 13 QUESTIONS LOGO.

13 QUESTIONS

1. ANY THOUGHTS ON THE STIMULUS PLAN?

IT MIGHT NOT BE PERFECT BUT AT LEAST IT IS SOME FORM OF ACTION. THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DID NOTHING WHILE THE WORKING AND MIDDLE CLASS WENT DOWN THE TUBES. SO I’M THINKING THIS WILL HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT.

2. ANY FAVORITES FOR THE 2012 GOP RACE?

WHAT????!!! OBAMA HAS BEEN IN OFFICE FOR LESS THAN 60 DAYS. GIVE HIM SOME SLACK. BUT TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, LOOK FOR NEWT GINGRICH TO CONTINUE TO POSITION HIMSELF FOR A RUN. I THINK HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A BETTER CANDIDATE IN ’08 THAN McCAIN. SO IF YOU MUST, WATCH HIM.

3. ESPN RADIO OR FOX SPORTS RADIO?

ESPN.

4. WHAT WILL BE THE ULTIMATE OUTCOME OF THE COURTHOUSE SCANDALS?

AT THIS POINT IT IS TOO EARLY TO TELL. THE DEMOCRATS BEAR A LARGE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT BECAUSE THEY WERE IN POWER. BUT IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME TO SEE MORE, NEW DEMOCRATS ELECTED BECAUSE OF THE SHEEP MENTALITY OF MANY OF THE VOTERS IN OUR AREA. THERE SEEMS TO BE AN INABILITY TO THINK OUT OF THE BOX HERE IN LULAC LAND. THE GOP CAN CHANGE THAT BUT WE STILL HAVE TO SEE HOW THEY DO WITH ITS FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND NEW ENERGY. BUT THEY NEED NUMBERS, REGISTRATION NUMBERS. THEY NEED OBAMA LIKE COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS WHO CAN GET BODIES TO THE POLLS. AND PERSONAL OPINION HERE, THEY HAVE TO STOP RUNNING AGAINST EACH OTHER IN PRIMARIES AND WASTING TIME, MONEY AND ENERGY. LOOK AT THE JUDICIAL CANDIDATES, ONE OUT OF 17 IS A MEMBER OF THE GOP. YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THE PARTY COULDN’T RECRUIT TWO MORE ATTORNEYS TO RUN AND CROSS FILE? I WISH THEM THE BEST BUT IT’LL BE A LONG HARD CLIMB.

5. ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY?

OH A FEW. MY FIRST LUNCH WITH MRS. LULAC WAS ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY AT A CHINESE RESTAURANT NO LESS. I MET HUBERT HUMPHREY WITH MY UNCLE TIMMY PRIBULA IN 1972 AT THE FRIENDLY SONS DINNER IN PITTSTON. WENT TO A FEW WILKES BARRE DINNERS WHEN I WAS A MEMBER OF THE KILLER BEES SOFTBALL LEAGUE. I USED TO MARCH IN THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE IN SCRANTON WHEN I WAS ON THE STAFF AT ROCK 107. I ALSO HAD THE LATE GOVERNOR CASEY SIGN HIS BOOK FOR ME ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY. SO I HAVE A BUNCH OF MEMORIES ON THIS DAY. NOT BAD FOR A SLOVAK BOY FROM PITTSTON.

6. WILL TOOMEY KNOCK OFF SPECTER IN THE SENATE RACE IN 2010?


MAYBE. BUT IF PEG LUKSIC IS IN THE RACE, LOOK FOR THE RIGHT WING TO SPLIT THE VOTE.

7. SO YOU’LL SWITCH PARTIES TO VOTE FOR SPECTER IN THE PRIMARY LIKE YOU DID IN ’04?

YEP.

8. FAVORITE OLD SCHOOL MUSICIAN?

DUKE ELLINGTON HANDS DOWN.

9. RUSH LIMBAUGH, RIGHT OR WRONG FOR AMERICA?

NEITHER. THE GUY IS A RADIO ENTERTAINER. HE HAS BEEN DOING THIS ACT FOR 2 DECADES. HE IS CONSERVATIVE BUT DOESN’T SPEAK FOR A POLITICAL PARTY. I THINK HE’D LIKE TO HAVE YOU BELIEVE THAT. BUT EVEN IF HIS ESTIMATED 20 MILLION LISTENERS VOTE IN LOCKSTEP ON HIS BELIEFS, THERE ARE MORE THAN THAT NUMBER OF VOTERS OUT THERE THAT WILL SHADOW THAT FIGURE. HE’S A RADIO GUY WHO HIT THE POT OF GOLD. BUT HE CAN’T BEGIN TO TAKE HIMSELF TOO SERIOUSLY OR ELSE IT’S OVER FOR HIM.

10. TYLENOL OR ADVIL?

BEFORE MY OPERATION, I TOOK ALEVE FOR PAIN RELIEF FOR MY ACCIDENT. THREE IN THE MORNING TO LOOSEN MY MUSCLES UP. BUT AFTER THAT, I SWITCHED TO TYLENOL. I HAVE NO PREFERENCE. BUT I DO HAVE A VIDEO OF TWO EXPERTS IN THE FIELD. YOU DECIDE AFTER VIEWING THIS. (VIDEO LINK BROKEN, SORRY).

11. DO YOU AGREE WITH JOE BIDEN’S ASSERTION THAT DICK CHENEY WAS A DANGEROUS VICE PRESIDENT?

YES.

12. ANY MOVIES YOU’RE HANKERING TO SEE?

“W” AND “FROST NIXON”. HAVE TO GET THEM ON DVD.

13. HOW WOULD YOU AS PRESIDENT GET OSAMA BIN LADEN OUT OF HIS HOLE?

I’D TAKE MY GOOD BUDY CHET BUROSKI WHO WAS WARM’S CHIEF ENGINEER FOR YEARS AND WIRE THE COUNTRYSIDE WITH SOUND AND BLARE THIS SONG OUT TO HIM. THE SONG COMES TO US FROM SUE HENRY AND BOSCO AT WILK RADIO. I'D THANK THEM BUT OSAMA WOULD NOT.