Friday, April 30, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1167, Apr. 30th, 2010



I love talk radio although I must confess with baseball season upon us I’m gravitating more toward Fox Sports and ESPN Radio. But the other day on my friend Sue Henry’s program a caller from Old Forge (I won’t give her name because I don’t reward stupid behavior) said with utmost authority that there were no hearings at all about the Wall Street problems. That Congress didn’t do anything about it and didn’t even bother to convene on that issue. Here are the facts: This woman’s Congressman, my Congressman Paul Kanjorski has held (chaired) 20 hearings since the summer of 2008. He is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Many of these hearings were to help guide the work of the Financial Services Committee in the 11th Congress in undertaking the most substantial rewrite of the laws governing the U.S. financial markets since the Great Depression. He also participated in countless full Financial Services Committee hearings. Those are the facts. Talk Radio is a wonderful medium. People have a right to express their opinion. But opinions that are taken seriously are based on facts. As the Isley Brothers used to say “Express Yourself” but get some facts right.


The Associated Press reports that the only man to admit shooting Malcolm X was freed on parole Tuesday, 45 years after he assassinated the civil rights leader. Thomas Hagan, the last man still serving time in the 1965 killing, was freed from a Manhattan prison where he spent two days a week under a work-release program, state Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman Linda Foglia said. Hagan, 69, has said he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X as he began a speech at Harlem's Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965. But Hagan has said the two men convicted with him were not involved. The assassins gunned down Malcolm X out of anger at his split with the leadership of the Nation of Islam, the black Muslim movement for which he had once served as chief spokesman, said Hagan, who was then known as Talmadge X Hayer. The board granted Hagan's parole request on his 17th try. He was initially scheduled for release Wednesday, but the date was moved up because his paperwork was completed, Foglia said. I was off of school that Monday for Washington’s Birthday. The killing of X so close to the assassination of JFK was very unsettling but a harbinger of things to come in the 60s.


James O’Meara Sr., Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s 121st Legislative District, said the controversy arising from the operation of a substance abuse treatment facility in Ashley underscores the need for a new state law that would protect the interests of residents while adhering to federal non-discrimination laws. The Ashley situation involves the Miners Medical Center, 43 S. Main St., which residents say houses a methadone clinic for substance abusers. They say the clinic’s proximity to a playground, bus stop and daycare center poses a risk to the neighborhood. A 1999 Pennsylvania statute that barred such clinics from operating near a residential area was struck down in 2007 by a federal appeals court. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned a lower court’s ruling and declared the state law in violation of federal law. O’Meara, who is seeking to represent the 121st District which includes Ashley, said state lawmakers should take another look at the previous piece of legislation. He applauded resident Marie Saltz for taking the lead in protecting her neighborhood. “We need a way to reconcile situations like this,” O’Meara said. “I understand the importance of helping folks who are seeking to rid themselves of addictions.“But we cannot ignore the needs of our children and our biggest responsibility to our children is to keep them safe,” he said. The appellate court’s decision ended a years-long dispute between the city of Reading and owners of a methadone clinic. In the 52-page opinion, the case was described as a “familiar conflict between the legal principle of nondiscrimination and the political principle of not-in-my-backyard.” O’Meara, if elected, would propose setting up a committee to explore a revised bill addressing the concerns of the neighborhoods as well as the clients seeking help at the clinics. “If we could craft legislation, then I would be willing to sponsor or co-sponsor it,” O’Meara said. “This is more than a ‘not-in-my-backyard’ issue. It’s about protecting our greatest asset, our children. “It’s a shame that this law was declared unconstitutional. It’s a bigger shame not to go back to the drawing board and work with legal experts to craft a bill that would stand up in the courts.“I believe we can write the bill in such a way that it would require local officials to weigh the pros and cons of each case and not give carte blanche to any substance abuse clinic that wants to set up shop in the middle of a neighborhood. This is a matter of looking at the rights of both sides in this issue, and not just the rights of those who abuse drugs. “Our children have rights, too, including the right to play safely in their own neighborhoods.” Without having to have a vote, the full Senate agreed to move to start debate on the financial regulatory reform bill. The chamber did it through a procedure called "unanimous consent" -- meaning that all senators agreed to start the debate.


So after three votes where every single Republican voted against starting debate, every Republican agreed to start debate after saying they got some concessions from Democrats. Please keep in mind the aforementioned paragraph, there were three votes where every single Republican voted no for Financial Regulatory Reform. THEY VOTED NO! Hey Tea Party people, right wing citizen activists, people making less than $100,000 a year, THEY VOTED NO. They voted NO to regulate the system, the Wall Street Shylocks who literally brought us to the brink of bankruptcy. They just didn’t vote no on a particular measure, they voted no to even start a debate. So the next time you start whining about how you want your country back, how America is losing its stature, don’t criticize the people trying to do something about it, look into your party of NO and realize what they’ll screw you at every turn. Most of you are pro life. Did the GOP overturn Roe vs. Wade? NO. Most of you want border protection. Did the GOP come up with any plan when they were in office? NO. Most of you want more of your income to “invest” because after all it’s your money. Did the Wall Street people look after the little investors in the last decade, people that lost thousands while the greedy Wall Streeters got bonuses? Hear any outrage from the GOP? NO.



The publisher of former President George W. Bush's book "
Decision Points on Sunday set a Nov. 9 release date, unveiled its cover design and announced new details about it. Bush has said he is not writing a traditional memoir but an account of key decisions in his life. The cover features a photo of then-President Bush alone with his thoughts, standing in the Rose Garden Colonnade, wearing a dark suit and holding a briefing book, his head turned slightly from the camera. Crayolas not included.


Police say a 24-year-old man is missing a chunk of his right ear that was bitten off by a woman who didn't like being called "fat." Police spokeswoman Katie Flood said officers were called to a Nebraska hospital around 3:25 a.m. Wednesday to talk to the injured man. He told them that he'd been bitten at a party. Flood said officers later learned that the injured man and two others had been arguing with other people at the birthday party. Flood says the man told 21-year-old Anna Godfrey that she was fat. Officers said Godfrey then tackled the man and took a bite. Flood said the ear chunk was not found. It is not clear whether the attacker had the ear with or without a garlic butter sauce.


John Yudichak, Democratic State Senate candidate in the 14th Senatorial District, today received the unanimous endorsement of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 87. AFSCME was established in 1971 to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for public and private non-profit employees – those who protect and serve the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. AFSCME members are employed at the state, county, township, borough, and city level, and in health care and social service facilities throughout Pennsylvania. AFSCME is the fastest-growing and most progressive union in the country. The endorsement announcement of Yudichak was made by AFSCME District Council 87 Director David Antle. D.C. Council 87 encompasses all of northeastern Pennsylvania. “John Yudichak has always supported AFSCME members and we are, in turn, proud to support him for State Senate,” said Antle. “John’s pro-labor voting record is beyond reproach. Our unanimous endorsement of his candidacy will translate into many votes from AFSCME union households come May 18th.” AFSCME is more than 1.6 million members strong nationwide. The coveted AFSCME endorsement marks the fifth major labor endorsement for Yudichak, following the unanimous endorsements of the Fraternal Order of Police Wyoming Valley Lodge # 36, Northeastern PA Building and Construction Trades Council, Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, and the Pennsylvania State Education Association. “I am extremely grateful to have received the unanimous and important endorsement of AFSCME District Council 87,” said Yudichak. “These are the hard-working men and women who make government work for the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am proud of the job they do and am humbled by their endorsement of my candidacy for State Senate. As their State Senator, I will continue to support AFSCME and the entire labor movement’s hard-won rights to fair wages, benefits, and working standards. I will always stand with labor.”Pennsylvania’s Primary Elections will take place Tuesday, May 18th.


Former Judge Michael Conahan signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that calls for him to plead guilty to a single count of racketeering conspiracy. The Times Leader and WBRE TV's Joe Holden report that all other charges, which included bribery, extortion, mail fraud, and honest services fraud, will be dismissed. The plea deal also calls for Conahan to forego any opposition to a forfeiture action and to surrender his law license. The agreement does not include a cooperation clause. Meanwhile Attorney Al Flora said as far as he knows, Conahan does not intend to testify against his client former Judge Mark Ciavarella. Flora said Ciavarella continues to maintain his innocence and is planning to go to trial on a 48-count indictment that was filed against he and Conahan in last year.


Vietnam fell 35 years ago and the scars are still with us.


Uniform daylight saving time is first observed according to a federal mandate in most parts of North America....Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio commence broadcasting on AM, with a combined potential 100,000 watts, from the same ship anchored off the south coast of England in international waters......Pennsylvania voters get a 12 page 8 ½ by 11 book in the mail outlining the campaign of Media Pa. industrialist Milton Shapp, the unendorsed Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania. Shapp is running against Scranton State Senator Robert Casey… Harding 80 workers return to their jobs at Celotex after a strike disabled the plant for a few weeks, meanwhile workers at the Foster Wheeler plant in Mountaintop schedule a meeting to talk about their contract negotiations….and 44 years ago this week the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" by Bob Dylan.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1166, Apr. 28th, 2010



We can’t let the month of April go by without commemorating the 35th anniversary of the first game a black manager was involved in. On April 8th, 1975 at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium another Robinson broke one more color barrier. Frank Robinson became the first black American to manage in the big leagues. To boot, Robinson hit a home run to win the game. In our “Write On Wednesday” feature, contributor to Associated Content Ralph DiMatteo wrote this column on the Tribe, Indians baseball and Opening Day 1975.
As I got older, actually attending the home opener, even before my friends and I could drive became a tradition, with the fact the opener may have fallen on a school day only a minor deterrent in most cases, as our enthusiasm for the tradition was proceeded by our own parents passion as part of their childhoods. Oh sure, there were a few parents that put a futile effort with arguments such as there are games all summer long, wait until the weather gets warmer and the ultimate threat of "I'm not signing the note excusing your absence from school", which of course was no problem, one of our girl friends could always be counted on for a female signature that could fool the eye of the school's secretary and pass as one of our mothers.Here is the part you probably won't believe, we were literally able to walk two blocks over from our front door, catch the Maple Heights Transit Bus, and ride it all the way to downtown Cleveland and get dropped off at the Tower Tower/Public Square, a short 10 minute walk from the gates of damp, dank and musty Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which for that one day, almost every year led the major leagues in attendance on opening day with crowds that regularly topped 50,000 or more. For children between the ages of 13-15, this may seem almost unheard of, but times safer then, and that is something I really miss about those much simpler times from my childhood.We never had the best seats for the opener, but most of had jobs that paid enough money to get us fairly close to the action, away from the exile that was the bleachers which offered you a seat alright, but also far enough away from the action that binoculars weren't quite strong enough, a telescope might actually have been better. These seats were fine for the summer night games later in the year, because when you combined their $1.00 ticket price with the $2.00 round trip bus fare and a few bucks for concessions and you major league baseball on a tight budget covered quite nicely. For the opener though, we always "splurged" and went for the pricey General Admission tickets, usually nestled somewhere around the left or right field foul poles, and close enough to the bullpens areas to catch glimpses of warm ups.
as we didn't have to concentrate on the actual driving and dodging that came with navigating through the maze that downtown streets became while trying to get to a parking lot on opening day that wasn't much of problem any other day of the season, as crowds in those days dwindled the very next day to as little as 5000 people, meaning traffic flow wasn't much of a problem. Indians fans in those days generally weren' treated to very much "good baseball" throughout the entire season, but the opener always afforded the opportunity to start the season "undefeated."The single best memory I have have of a Cleveland Indians home opener has to be hands down the one the one the is a historical one for major league debut as well, and that would be the debut of hall of famer, Frank Robinson as the first black manager in major league history, who also was a playing manager and the designated hitter for the Tribe in 1975. What made this memorable, magical and historical all came with swing of the bat in 1975, as Robinson homered to left field, right near us which forever gave the Cleveland Indians, and the 70,000 people+ in attendance a memory to share with generations of Tribe fans to come.
Ralph DiMatteo, is 50 years old, married and the father of two teenage children. His professional background is 25 years in the wholesale beer business.


Robinson managed in the winter leagues late in his playing career. By the early 1970s, he had his heart set on becoming the first black manager in the majors. In fact, the Angels traded him to the Indians midway through the 1974 season due to his open campaigning for the manager's job.
Frank Robinson's number 20 was retired by the
Baltimore Orioles in 1972
1975, the Cleveland Indians named him player-manager, giving him distinction of being the first black manager in the Majors.
His managing career would go on to include Cleveland (1975–1977), San Francisco Giants (19811984, Baltimore Orioles (19881991) and Montreal Expos and then with the newly formed Washington Nationals (2202-2006).


And how about this, Robinson was the top paid Indian in 1975 and look what the top Indian players were making.
1975 Cleveland Indian
s Salaries
Frank Robinson $105,000.00
Gaylord Perry $68,000.00
Tommy McCraw $45,000.00
Leron Lee $37,000.00
Joe Lis $20,000.00
Rick Manning $16,000.00

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1165, Apr. 27th, 2010



The Young Democrats will hold a meeting on May 4th. The meeting will be taking place: Tuesday, May 4th at 7pm Rodano's on the Square, Wilkes-Barre. The Young Dems are actively seeking new members, our membership is open registered Democrats between ages 18-35, but folks of any age are welcome to the meeting and always encouraged to attend our social events as our guests. In addition we will be having candidates and campaign representatives to speak at our next meeting, so anyone who would like to come and hear what they have to say is welcome. Refreshments will be served.


Like a bad penny or unwelcome nightmare the specter of mass murderer George Banks crawls out from under the slime every now and then. Chicken George was back in Luzerne County Court this week for a competency hearing. Judge Joseph Augello will rule whether or not Banks is mentally competent to be executed. Mrs. LuLac and I recently celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. Banks slaughtered 13 people in September of 1982 a few months after our wedding. 28 years. Millions of dollars has been spent on the care and upkeep of "Chicken George." The children he killed would now be roughly in their early 30s. Imagine the contributions they might have made to our society. Of course we’ll never know because he killed them all. Imagine the good that might have been done with the money spent to care and feed and coddle “Chicken George”. The social workers, mental health people and do gooders all “tut tut” about how a life is sacred and we can’t kill someone who today doesn’t understand what he did. I think “Chicken George” just doesn’t want to face the music. He might not know what he did back then today but 28 years ago he shot defenseless little kids dead at point blank range. The late Ray McGarry was a very prominent United Way volunteer back then and when I was a staff person there he served on one of the committees I staffed. As a Jenkins Township Law Enforcement official McGarry described the scene at Heather Highlands as “carnage”. It is time for Banks to pay for that “carnage’. He was competent enough to drive to two locations and methodically kill back then. The bill on this crime is way overdue. Pay up "Chicken George". A little powerless without your guns huh?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1164, Apr. 26th, 2010



Twenty-five years ago Friday,
Coca-Cola executives told the world that the old Coke formula was being jettisoned in favor of something called "New Coke." The ads said, you were gonna love it. We didn’t! I remember that spring day well. Coke was a major part of my life. I remember savoring those 10 cent bottles with the cold snappy taste. My friends preferred Pepsi but I always thought it had a soapy flavoring to it. Coke was my brand from the age of 10 when I broke away from the big bulky bottles of Shep’s Soda that came by the case every week. (6 colas, 2 orange, 2 cherry, 1 ginger ale and 1 7 up type). Now in my late 20s Coke was messing with my drink! Coming on the heels of my involvement with the Mondale for President campaign, I knew this was not going to end well. The story of New Coke is still taught in business schools, and not in a good way. Coke was anxious to fight off a challenge from Pepsi. They had forgotten the deep psychological connection with the brand like mine. They didn’t think that a soft drink could have memories. A connection. The result was perhaps the biggest marketing blunder of the century. Within days callers lodged thousands of calls to Coca-Cola headquarters and shoppers poured New Coke down gutters. After three months, the company acknowledged its mistake. It reintroduced the "classic" formula in May of 1985. It remains the top-selling soda in the U.S. New Coke lingered on through the late 1990s. Now it is only a sad curiosity and bad memory for most of us. This week, Coca-Cola plans to add to its commemoration of the New Coke episode. Visitors to the World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta can see the confidential document in which Coca-Cola's marketing research team says the new formula got high scores in taste tests -- proof that Coke should strike fast. There's a copy of remarks by then-Chairman Roberto Goizueta, who marked up the speech the night before New Coke's debut. And there's a lawsuit from riled fans of "Old Coke." Remnants of a major mistake made by business moguls and marketing blockheads. (Marketing professionals are like Human Resources people, any idiot can do it). The lesson learned is as old as human nature and commerce itself, yet no one has learned it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Here's a Coke commercial I used to watch on TV Bandstand aired every Saturday night at 6:30PM on WNEP TV with Sid Friedman.


James O'Meara Sr. Republican Candidate for State Representative - Legislative District 121 officially kicks off his campaign Tuesday night at 7:30PM at GOP Headquarters, 41 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA Refreshments will be served. For more info, call 570-417-9518 or GOP HQ at 570-208-4671.


Jim Wansacz launched his second TV ad this week in his campaign for the state senate, focusing on his record of fighting to protect Pennsylvania from being a dumping ground for out-of-state trash. The 30-second ad, which will run over 1,000 times on broadcast and cable, highlights Jim's fight to give local communities more say regarding landfill issues and offers a testimonial from local resident Dana Pezzuti, who expresses her concern about living near a landfill and her support for Jim because of this fight. "During my career, I've always been willing to stand up to the powerful corporations to protect our environment" said Jim Wansacz. "As a state senator, I'll continue to fight for our communities against the big out-of-state waste companies who see Pennsylvania as a dumping ground."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1163, Apr. 25th, 2010



The Luzerne County Council of Republican Women is sponsoring a scholarship essay contest for female high school seniors who plan to further their education at a two-year or four-year college; a trade or vocational school; or in the U.S. military. The organization will award a $500 scholarship based on an essay titled “What do you think the Republican Party can do to get more women involved in politics?” Entries should not exceed 500 words and will be judged on originality, factuality, grammar, spelling and punctuation. The contest is open to young women who will graduate in 2010 and reside in Luzerne County. They may be home-schooled or enrolled at public or private schools. If she is age 18, she must be a registered Republican. The required cover sheet and the guidelines are available at all high schools in the county. Documents also may be downloaded from the Luzerne County Republican Party Web site, on the “GOP GROUPS” page. Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. May 10. The winner will be notified on May 19.


Chris Doherty moves his campaign south to Luzerne County this week. He is of course running for the Senate seat in the 22nd District. Here ARE THE DETAILS:
"Rally in Luzerne County, West Side Social Club in Avoca"
on Wednesday, April 28 at 7:30pm.
Event: Rally in Luzerne County, West Side Social Club in Avoca
What: Rally
Start Time: Wednesday, April 28 at 7:30pm
End Time: Wednesday, April 28 at 9:00pm
Where: 711 McAlpine Street, Avoca


20th District State Senator Lisa Baker will have a foe in the General Election. Rich Hayes, 28, of Mount Pleasant Township, said on Thursday that he has decided Baker, whoThe Scranton Times reported that will be seeking her second term, should not get a free pass to re-election. Baker, of Lehman Township, was the lone candidate – Republican or Democrat – to file nomination petitions last month to have her name appear on the May 18 GOP primary election ballot.Hayes, who works at Quinn’s Shursave Supermarket in Archbald, has never held political office, The 20tth Senatorial District seat has been in the hands of the GOP for as long as anyone can remember. Baker succeeded Charles Lemmon who succeeded Frank O'Connell who succeeded T. Newell Wood....................we can go on and on.

2 CC

Attornery General Tom Corbett has tapped a running mate in the GOP primary for Governor. Corbett has told the press that he is embracing Jim Cawley as his running mate. One of nine candidates running for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, Cawley has been endorsed by the state Republican Committee along with gubernatorial candidate Corbett. Cawley, said he has been and still is the only GOP candidate to have publicly endorsed Corbett – the current state attorney general – for governor.


The Hazleton Standard Speaker reported this week that former Mayor James Paisely died this week. Former Hazleton mayor James A. Paisley, 81, died Tuesday, with many who knew him referring to him as "a great man."Paisley served as captain when he retired from the Hazleton Police Department in 1974. He was elected mayor in 1977 and served two terms as mayor until he was defeated in the 1985 primary by John Ford.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1162, Apr. 24th, 2010



This week I talked with an old co-worker who happens to be a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Naturally the subject of Ben Roethlisberger came up.
Q: So as a rabid Steelers fan what do you think of Big Ben’s dilemma?

A: I’m a fan still but very disappointed. I know he’s young but that doesn’t excuse the behavior.
Q: One of the things that struck me was the sense of entitlement he seemed to have with the young lady.
A: Yeah, she went with him though.
Q: But she was drunk and her friends tried to get her out of that bathroom.
A: True. He used really bad judgement and so did she.
Q: You used to wear your Rothersberger jersey to work on those horrid dress down days.
A: You never liked those did you?
Q: I never saw the big deal in wearing jeans to work and having the company treat it like it was some kind of big perk.
But will you wear your Big Ben jersey again?
A: Most likely not.
Q: Why?
A: Well after this it might send a bad message. If I wear it to the bar on the weekends, the guys might get you know the wrong idea. And my daughters, well that kind of sends the wrong message too that mommy is wearing a jersey of a guy that has had problems with not one but two young ladies in the course of a year.
Q: Can you forgive Rothersberger?
A: Yeah if he plays well but I’ll not forget. Terry Bradshaw was a bit of a buffoon and was married three times but he never had these problems. Like Clinton, I thought he was a good President but I don’t, won’t use him as an inspiration to my kids.
Q: So tee shirts on dress down day from now on?
A: Yeah but I do have an old Cordell Stewart number 10 I can wear.
Q: Now that would be a real throwback.
A: Yeah (laughing) they’ll know how old I am.
Q: Hey, I have a Terry Hanratty number 5 in my attic somewhere.
A: Who’s that?
Q: Never mind. Enjoy your youth.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1161, Apr. 23rd, 2010



Vice President Joe Biden returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania this afternoon to campaign for Senator Arlen Specter. Specter now a Democratic was the recipient of great praise from the current Veep. Before a crowd of 300, name Democrats like Bob Casey Junior, Congressmen Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski and various and sundry Democratic party heavy hitters sung the praises of Specter who is in a primary fight with Congressman Joe Sestak. Biden gave an impassioned speech on behalf of Specter and the Democratic agenda. Biden referred to some of Specter’s fellow Senate members as people not understanding the concerns of the common man. Repeating over and over, Biden rhetorically asked “Who are these men and where did they come from, how were they raised”? alluding to members of the GOP who want to stop unemployment benefits for jobless workers. Biden a fine orator had the crowd jumping in his short visit to NEPA. Hopefully the Vice President’s remarks will help uninterested or wavering Democrats realize what they owe as a society to a public servant like Arlen Specter.

The LuLac Edition #1160, Apr. 23rd, 2010



Ed Rendell is expressing some sentiments that will make his fellow Democrats think he is being too critical. But Rendell is right on when he says the Democratic party has not articulated the contributions it has given to the American public. Rendell made his comments first on “Hardball” last Friday night and then repeated them earlier this week. I’m currently reading the book “Game Change”. It is a blow by blow account of how the Obama campaign won the Presidency through a tight media message and putting out information that gave the American people a reason to choose him first over Hillary Clinton and then John McCain. But when the new administration came into being, it seemed like that media message wizardry was thrown out the window. The Health Care Reform Bill was high jacked by the GOP last summer in town hall meetings where fear was the commodity and an ignorant public bought it. Rendell could at times barely contain his agitation with the statements coming from co-panelist at his presentation . House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va). Rendell accused Republicans of getting "religion" on the deficit at a convenient time (when there was a Democratic president in the White House). He also scoffed at the characterization the GOP had applied to the president economic recovery plan. "Eric is the best [at spin]," Rendell declared. But the event was not without self-reflection. While the panel discussion was officially about the fight for the Republican Party's soul, Rendell seemed most concerned with the core and character of his fellow Democrats. "I don't think we have a battle for our soul -- I think we have lost our soul," he said. "We have been cowed into [sic] stop talking about the things that made us Democrats in the first place; that we believe the government can and should make a difference in people's lives; that we can protect the most vulnerable in our society; that we can, in fact, give opportunities to people who haven't had it. And that government can be an important catalyst -- they can't do it by itself -- but they can be a catalyst for growth." The Huffington Post approached Rendell after the affair and asked him to elaborate on what, exactly, he meant by saying the Democratic Party is soulless.
"We have been out-spun and we are scared," he said. "And when you are scared, you can do one of two things: you can circle the wagons and hide inside or under the wagon, or you can get out and fight for what you believe in. I think we are starting -- President Obama started when he went to the Republican caucus -- to fight back and for what we believe in. If we do that, I think our losses will be much less [in 2010] than what anybody suspects." Editor's Note: Quotes from the Huffington post, Sam Stein author.
Rendell is 100% spot on. The good things that have happened for the middle class and poor have happened because of the Democratic party. Student loans, the GI Bill, Civil Right, Social Security, all of those things happened because of Democratic party beliefs. What really frosts my ass are people who are true beneficiaries of these policies and become staunch Republicans worried about their taxes. People my age who went to school on government grants making more money than their parents even could imagine all of a sudden are worried about their taxes. Their share. Union members who retire with huge pensions because of Democratic activism thumbing their noses at up and coming workers saying “I got mine, find yours elsewhere”. All you need to know about the difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party is this: During one of the debates in the 2008 election both Barack Obama and John McCain were asked about the mortgage crisis affecting Americans and their homes. Obama talked about the guy who was worried about losing his home. McCain talked about the couple who had 5 investment properties and what a devastating effect the housing crisis would have on them. Rendell has given the Democratic party a kick in the butt. The Dems are very good at proposing and enacting life changing and life saving programs that make people’s lives better. They fail miserably in reminding them where they came from. It took a guy like Rendell to point it out. Rendell also took on the national media on Rachal Maddow’s show pointing out that the Tea Party people seem to be getting a free media ride. Rendell pointed out facts that pointed to a media bias in favor of the Tea Party activists.


Bob Morgan, Democratic candidate for the 119th District State House Seat, left the House Candidate's Debate the only Democrat in the race. Let us explain that one. At the debate held Tuesday April 20 held at King's College, one opponent said he was “often accused of bring a Republican” and yet another declared himself “quasi-Republican.” Morgan, Fairview Twp, was the only candidate who stood up for Democratic principles and repeatedly pledged to put the people of the 119th District ahead of partisan politics. In the debate, hosted by the League of Women Voters, Morgan was the only candidate committed to dramatically altering the state’s tax system. Morgan said that he would work toward eliminating the use of property taxes as the major funding source for schools and local communities in Pennsylvania. He also expressed support for a Constitutional Convention to deal with fixing the Pennsylvania personal income tax to create a graduated income tax similar to the Federal system. Morgan said “For too long we have created a tax structure that penalizes part-time employees, students and working seniors while preserving a tax structure that benefits corporations. One of my opponents has proposed cutting the corporate tax, while I have advocated restructuring the income tax and property tax systems to benefit the great majority of our citizens.” Morgan also addressed the upcoming pension funding crisis and placed the blame squarely on the State Legislature for the 2001 pay hike and 50% pension increase. “We must remember that the Legislature voted to increase their own pay and benefits at 2 a.m. in the hopes we wouldn’t notice. We now have to solve that crisis. “It is time to remember we serve the people when we are in Harrisburg, not the powerful. For too long our citizens have felt their elected representatives do not work for them, to that end I have pledged to be a full-time representative, I will not have any outside business interests. ” said Morgan. The remaining candidates chose not to make this commitment. In addition Morgan expressed strong support for increased education funding for our schools and libraries.


As part of PCN’s extensive coverage of Election 2010, viewers around the state will get more opportunities next week to hear from the candidates running in the state’s upcoming primary. PCN has currently covered 35 candidate forums with others tentatively scheduled leading up to Primary Election Day on May 18.
The tentative schedule of events is as follows:
Democratic gubernatorial candidates forum: PA School Boards Association Legislative Advocacy Conference.
Airs LIVE from Harrisburg on PCN Sunday, April 25 at 2:45 p.m.
Re-airs Monday, April 26 at 6:00 a.m. during special Election 2010 morning programming block.
Republican gubernatorial candidates forum: PA School Boards Association Legislative Advocacy Conference .
Airs LIVE from Harrisburg on PCN Monday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m.
Re-airs Tuesday, April 27 at 6:00 a.m. during special Election 2010 morning programming block.
Candidates forum: African-American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA
Will be streamed LIVE on - Thursday, April 29 at 5:00 p.m.
PCN will host special LIVE Call-Ins about Election 2010 immediately following these forums. Viewers can share their thoughts during the program by dialing toll-free at 1-877-PA6-5001. PCN is a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization created and supported by cable television companies. PCN receives no state or federal funding. Network programming is distributed on more than 150 cable systems in Pennsylvania serving more than 10 million Pennsylvanians in 3.3 million homes. A complete listing of PCN affiliates and network channel designations is available by visiting


Auditor General Jack Wagner, Democratic candidate for Governor, held a press conference on Saturday in collaboration with Laurie Fuller, Statewide Director of the Pennsylvania League of Humane Voters to promote their work and accept their endorsement. The press conference, held at Musser Park in Lancaster, was attended by animal lovers and their pets from across Pennsylvania. In their press release, LOHV said: "The Pennsylvania chapter’s endorsement is based on Jack Wagner’s love for animals and his respect for our work. We also appreciate his support for several of our key issues, including continued enforcement and strengthening of Pennsylvania’s laws to end the abuse of dogs in puppy mills, banning the use of the gas chamber to kill animals, ending caged animal shoots, and passing dog tethering legislation. We look forward to working with Jack Wagner as Governor to see that the progress Pennsylvania has made in its legal protection for animals continues." "We couldn't ask for much more in a candidate, but we got it," Fuller said. "Jack was eager to meet with us and open to discussing our goals. He asked questions, did research, asked more questions, and then put his support of our goals in writing. We are proud, therefore, to endorse and pledge our support across the state."


Outgoing State Senator Bob Mellow touted some achievements from the gambling revenue recently. Recently the governor announced that $772.5 million in revenue from the gambling industry would be used this year to continue giving tax cuts. That will translate into an average break of $200 in property taxes, up slightly higher than the average of $190 this year. It's important to point out that $100 million of this year's relief came from one-time licensing fees, so in terms of ongoing gambling revenue for tax relief, the amount for 2010-11 was actually $104 million larger than a year ago. More than $1.3 Million in Gaming Funds to Benefit Lackawanna County The following three projects in Lackawanna County will receive a share of gaming fund revenues:
The City of Scranton was awarded a $472,317 grant on behalf of 317 Linden, LLC, for the Penn Avenue Corridor Project. The project aims to revitalize the neighborhood along Penn Avenue and entails the renovation of two buildings in Scranton to house a jazz club, day spa, restaurant, office space, coffee shop, wine bar, and green grocer.
Dickson City Borough was awarded a $550,000 grant to purchase land for a new municipal building. The present facility is no longer adequate due to the growth of the borough and local government.
Taylor Borough was awarded a $350,000 grant on behalf of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority (LHVA) for the Central New Jersey Rail-Trail Extension Project. The project includes the construction of a two-mile extension, completing the contiguous eight-mile, multi-purpose trail on an abandoned railway connecting Taylor with the City of Scranton. It helps to revitalize both communities by turning an abandoned, overgrown Brownfield property into a well-maintained, clean, attractive and safe trail for pedestrians, cyclists and families.


Babes in bras seem to be all over the boob tube -- unless those babes happen to be a little big.
Lane Bryant is accusing Fox and ABC of a "double standard" over restrictions for their new lingerie commercial starring a curvy cutie in her bras and panties.The plus-size retailer has charged that the networks had refused to air the sexy ad without substantial edits. "ABC and Fox have made the decision to define beauty for you by denying our new, groundbreaking Cacique commercial from airing freely on their networks," Lane Bryant says. According to the company, ABC "restricted our airtime" by denying it a slot during "Dancing with the Stars," while Fox "demanded excessive re-edits and rebuffed it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes of 'American Idol,' but only after we threatened to pull the ad buy." But ABC says Lane Bryant is full of hot air, and their claims are no more than a publicity stunt. The broadcasting company issued a statement today saying they did not treat Lane Bryant any differently than other advertisers.



Haile Selassie visits Jamaica for the first time, meeting with Rastafarian leaders……Pope Paul VI and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko meet in the (the first meeting between leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Soviet Union..
U.S. troops in
Vietnam total 250,000……The Church of Satan is formed by Anton Szandor LaVey in San Francisco…….in Pennsylvania Governor Scranton takes issue with observers who say the Pennsylvania economic boom is part of the national trend. Scranton in an appearance in Plains at the opening of the Craft Associates building on Scott Street in Parsons said that Pennsylvania's’s growth rate was stronger than the United States…….and more than 800 people attend a testimonial dinner at the Irem Temple for retiring Judge Thomas Lewis in Luzerne County and 44 years ago today the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was "Monday Monday" by the Mamas and the Papas.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1159, Apr. 22nd, 2010



I was in high school during the first Earth Day. It was an exciting time to be a young observer of all things political and cultural in this nation. As a kid I used to bring home those Arbor Day plants that grew into a virtual forest in our backyard. With Vietnam raging and the protests against it constantly on our radar, Earth Day was something tangible and hopeful we could celebrate, aspire to. 4 decades have passed and even though more work needs to be done and there are an abundance of littering slobs living in LuLac land, there is awareness and action regarding our environment. 4 decades after the first Earth Day, we still have a long way to go, but can look to the fact that thank goodness we haven't regressed. Let's continue.
Here's a brief history of the first Earth Day, 1970: Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced his idea for a nationwide teach-in day on the environment in a speech to a fledgling conservation group in Seattle on 20 September 1969, and then again six days later in Atlantic City to a meeting of the United Auto Workers. Senator Nelson hoped that a grassroots outcry about environmental issues might prove to Washington, D.C. just how distressed Americans were in every constituency. Senator Nelson invited Republican Representative Paul N “Pete” McCloskey to serve as his co-chair and they incorporated a new non-profit organization, environmental Teach-In, Inc., to stimulate participation across the country. Both continued to give speeches plugging the event.On September 29, 1969, in a front-page New York Times article, Gladwin Hill wrote: "Rising concern about the "environmental crisis" is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems, analogous to the mass demonstrations on Vietnam, is being planned for next spring, when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned". It turned out that Nelson's suggestion was difficult to implement, as the Earth Day movement proved to be autonomous with no central governing body. As Senator Nelson said, it simply grew on its own: "Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself."
CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite reported on Earth Day 1970. On April 22 1970, Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Approximately 20 million Americans participated. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, Freeway and expressway revolts, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. Media coverage of the first Earth Day included a One-hour special from CBS News, "Earth Day: A Question of Survival," with correspondents reporting from a dozen major cities across the country, and narrated by Walter Cronkite. Here's part of that broadcast:

And then of course there was Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" popular at the time and used as a clarion call for such activities as "Earth Day".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1158, Apr. 21st, 2010



The Times Leader's Mark Guydish had a very interesting story about ethnic parishes and the Diocese of Scranton. Since it impacted my old church, I thought I'd highlight his article in our Wednesday feature.
Parish ethnic cleansing’ claimed
Mark Guydish Education Reporter
An unusual effort to keep churches open by focusing on their ethnic origins has been launched in the Vatican by 22 parishes in six Roman Catholic Dioceses across the U.S., including nine parishes in the Diocese of Scranton and a McAdoo parish that belongs to the Diocese of Allentown. Representatives from the parishes added their names to a letter penned by Peter Borre and delivered to Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, the Prefect for the Congregation of Catholic Education in the Vatican. The letter outlines what Borre contends is a “deliberate campaign of parish ethnic cleansing spreading across America.” Grocholewski was deliberately approached because of his high status in the Vatican and the fact that he is Polish. Many of the parishes involved were built for Polish immigrants and others from Eastern European countries that, like Poland, won freedom from the former Soviet Union. Borre has helped oversee an effort to keep several churches open in the Archdiocese of Boston, where some parishioners have sat in vigil in closed churches for up to five years. The tactic is intended to prevent sale of the building and has met with some success, as several closed Boston churches were reopened.
In the letter delivered to Grocholewski, Borre details what he believes is a pattern of targeting ethnic parishes for closing in several dioceses, particularly Allentown, Scranton and Cleveland:
• In the Diocese of Allentown, Borre wrote, “in the past few years, 24 parishes of Polish, Slovak, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Slovene traditions have closed … almost half of all parishes (52) closed recently in that diocese.”
• In the Diocese of Scranton, he said “of 144 doomed parishes, the overwhelming majority (104, or 72 percent) are ethnic.” Of 38 Polish parishes, only seven will remain, of 23 Slovak parishes, none will remain, and of 14 Lithuanian parishes, one will remain.
• In the Diocese of Cleveland, where the bishop last year announced closings of 55 churches, 24 have Eastern European heritage: nine Polish, six Hungarian, six Slovak, two Slovene and one Lithuanian.
“The ethnic bias in parish closings in America is clearly in evidence,” Borre wrote.
In a phone interview, Borre said he noticed what he contends is the pattern of closing ethnic churches during his research, and that it seemed “fragmentary in some diocese but striking in three.” Borre believes some bishops rationalize the closing of ethnic churches by arguing the original reason for them – to serve non-English speaking immigrants – no longer exists. “I think that’s hogwash,” he said, “Many of these ethnic parishes retain traditions from the old country through liturgy, folk songs, Christmas and Easter celebration, and to this day these things mean a lot to their parishioners.” He said the letter and related written testimony by several parishes is not an official appeal or action in the Vatican, but rather an attempt to get the document – and the idea that such “cleansing” could be happening – circulating in the Vatican bureaucracy. “I hope to be heading back to Rome in a few weeks and see what the sequel is, if any,” he said.
Local churches that had parishioners add their names to the document were Holy Ghost in Olyphant, Holy Trinity and Sacred Heart-St. John in Wilkes-Barre, St. Francis of Assisi in Plains Township, St. John the Baptist in Taylor, St. John the Baptist in Pittston, St. Michael in Old Forge, Ss. Peter and Paul in Avoca and St. Stanislaus in Nanticoke. St. Kunegunda in McAdoo, just south of Hazleton was also represented. Noreen Foti, who has been spearheading efforts to save Sacred Heart Church in Wilkes-Barre, said the document was another avenue to pursue. Her group, the Sacred Heart Wilkes-Barre Foundation, has an appeal pending before the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, which had extended the appeal three times. By joining Borre’s initiative, she said, “We hope to continue raising awareness of our plight in the Vatican, in particular, the plight of ethnic personal parishes. The magnitude of the church closings in America is astounding and we hope the message is being received in the Vatican before it is too late.”
Foti said Bishop-elect Joseph Bambera, who will be formally installed April 26, has met with representatives from some of the churches involved, and has agreed to meet with Foti and her group May 3. This is a sharp departure from former Bishop
Joseph Martino, who oversaw the process – dubbed “Called to Holiness and Mission – that decided which churches will close. “Our desire is to arrive at a mutually acceptable arrangement with the Diocese to keep the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church open,” Foti said. Diocese of Scranton spokesman Bill Genello provided the following response to Borre’s initiative via e-mail: “The goal of the Called to Holiness and Mission planning process is to foster the spiritual and pastoral renewal of every parish in the Diocese of Scranton. The process has involved many months of self-evaluation at the parish level, study within clusters comprised of every parish, and review by various Diocesan committees. Input was gathered from pastors and parishioners throughout the process. “All of the recommendations and eventual decisions were carefully reviewed before the implementation phase began. The decisions were made in full accordance with the parameters of Canon Law. The parish consolidations have affected both territorial and personal (ethnic) parishes. The Diocese recognizes that it would be unrealistic to expect every parishioner to agree with every decision, and that change is often accompanied by pain and trepidation about the future. “At the same time, the Diocese is encouraged by the fact that many parishioners have chosen to move forward in a positive way and they are working together to build vibrant faith communities.”
Mark Guydish, a Times Leader staff writer, can be reached at 829-7161.


I'd like to thank Mark Guydish for a fine article. I am staggered by the statistics too. And how about the comment from the Diocesan flack who is "encouraged by the fact that many parishioners have chosen to move forward in a positive way". Did they have any freaking choice? The church I grew up in destroyed. Gone. Leveled like a God damn trailer park making way for a Burger King. Here's what it looked like and how it grew. Before it was killed by the Diocese of Scranton.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1157, Apr. 20th, 2010



Bob Morgan, candidate for PA State House of Representatives in the 119th district, has launched his official website, provides voters with a closer look at the issues, information about the 119th district, a biography of Bob Morgan, how to donate to the Morgan campaign, ways to volunteer, upcoming events and how to contact Bob Morgan.“The newly launched website will give residents in the 119th district a chance to see where I stand on issues, learn a little bit about my background, and provide a way to get in contact with me,” said Morgan. “I want to learn about what issues concern the residents of the 119th district, it's always the question I ask when I meet someone when campaigning, so I hope people will let me know what issues concern them online as well.”The site also offers a link to Bob Morgan's Facebook page. The facebook page will provide a more personal way for residents in the 119th PA House District to get in touch with Bob.“Social networking sites, like Facebook, can provide people with a more personal way of getting in touch with me and learning about my campaign,” said Morgan. “Email can seem to be impersonal, but it seems that with Facebook people feel more comfortable sending me a message to ask a question, offer support, or just say hello.”The 119th District House seat is currently held by John Yudichak, who is now running for State Senate. extends from Bear Creek Township,Laurel Run Borough, Fairview Township, Wright Township, Slocum Township, Nanticoke, Newport Township, Nanticoke, Hanover Township, Sugar Notch, Warrior Run, Plymouth, Plymouth Township, Larksville and Edwardsville.


here will be a rally for Corey O'Brien, Democratic Candidate for United States Congress in Pennsylvania's 11th District, at Kilcoyne's Tavern on Thursday, April 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 in the evening.Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the door or online. Kilcoyne's Tavern is located at 129 South Main Avenue in Scranton.


John Yudichak, Democratic State Senate candidate in the 14th Senatorial District, which encompasses parts of Carbon, Luzerne and Monroe Counties in Northeastern PA, yesterday received the coveted endorsement of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the state which includes more than 900,000 union members represented by unions affiliated with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. "John Yudichak and the other endorsed candidates have displayed their leadership and their support of issues that matter most to the working people of Pennsylvania -- issues that improve living standards and promote a better quality of life for all,” said PA AFL-CIO President William George. “They have demonstrated an uncommon commitment to protecting and creating good jobs, helping unemployed families survive the recession, compassion for the injured and the disabled as well as the less fortunate, and improved educational opportunities for the children of working families. It is for these reasons as well as many more that we are proud to endorse these individuals for election in the May 18th Primary.” The AFL-CIO pledged to Yudichak and the full slate of endorsed candidates that it will conduct an aggressive education and mobilization campaign on their behalf, sharing their record and message of support for the working people they proudly represent. “I am honored to be the only non-incumbent candidate for office in Pennsylvania to have received the important endorsement of the state AFL-CIO. I thank President George, the State Labor Federation's Executive Council, and all rank and file union members across Pennsylvania for this extraordinary vote of confidence,” said Yudichak. “As the son of an AFSCME mother and a United Mine Workers father, I hold labor’s guiding principles near and dear to my heart, and take pride in my strong voting record on issues that matter to the labor movement. I want to continue to stand tall for labor as State Senator.”


If you think people are getting disgusted with both parties you only point to the information provided by the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections. According to the Times Leader nearly as many people switched their voter registrations to a third party as they did to the Democratic Party. Figures revealed that third parties such as Libertarian, Green, Communist or Constitutional or simply becoming “non-affiliated” drew larger-than-normal percentages of the activity. Of the 1,237 people who switched political parties since Nov. 4, the date of the 2009 general election, 614 became Republicans, 323 became Democrats and 300 switched to any of the other parties. That means nearly one-third of all party switchers in the county became a member of a third party. Of the 1,632 new registrations, 785, or 48 percent, were Democrats, 498, or 31 percent, registered as Republicans, and 349, or 21 percent, registered as a member of a third party or as unaffiliated.
This says two things: First off people are taking a more independent stance and departing the traditional Democratic-GOP model. It also points to the strong registration efforts made by the county GOP. It is no secret that the local GOP is trying to capitalize on the scandals throughout the region to bolster its numbers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1156, Apr. 19th, 2010



Oklahoma City paused for a moment of silence today on the 15th anniversary of the explosion that killed 168 people in the nation's most devastating domestic terrorism attack. Others, however, were far from silent about what they see as the attack's disturbing connection to the threats Americans face today. Nearly nine years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and in the midst of a vigorous debate over whether domestic terrorism is on the rise, some argue that the Oklahoma City bombing holds certain lessons for the country today. And it seems to have renewed a debate between liberals and conservatives over whether anti-government rhetoric can lead to anti-government violence. A CBS poll has four out of 10 Americans saying that "domestic terrorism is a bigger issue" than international terrorism. (More people polled still say international terrorism remains the greater threat, but according to CBS, that number has fallen since 2001.) I was in New York City that day and many New Yorkers paused to take a looik at TVs set up in delis and stures along 5th Avenue. Little did they, and I realize that in less than 10 years terrorism would hit NYC.

PB16 AT 5

Amidst controversy over the sex scandal in the church Pope Benedict XVIth marked his fifth year at the Papal throne. The Pope has made public apologies for the scandals (the most recent was on Sunday in Malta). As many of you know I had the opportunity to see the Pope at Yankee Stadium in 2008. It was an electric moment. Here's how the announcement of Benedict's ascendancy played out 5 years ago today.

The LuLac Edition #1155, Apr. 19th, 2010



Crafting a public relations image is both challenging and painstaking. Good companies become great by accentuating their positives and then telling the world about them via the media. You’d think this would be easy enough to accomplish but sometimes little unforeseen events get in the way. When that happens the truly media savvy companies rise to the occasion. Others just flounder. I thought of that last week when it was revealed that the Geisinger Health system insurance wing denied coverage to a new enrollee seeking health care insurance. Like all insurance companies, save for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania non group individual plans, health insurance companies deny coverage all the time for one reason or another. But Geisinger denied coverage to a young man who served as a spokesman for how wonderful the staff was while he recovered from a stroke. To be sure the Geisinger staff has been praised to the hilt. No less an authority than one Barack Obama has sung their praises once or twice. That’s a public relations bonanza. But like all compliments and love shown in the 24 hour news cycle, that fame can be fleeting. The Times Leader reported that Nanticoke musician Lou Marino was denied coverage by the very same health care company he was promoting in TV ads last year. So now the media was all over the story telling us how the young man recovered nicely due to the care he got and how he eloquently talked about his dealings with Geisinger staff. If this doesn’t make the point for health care reform, nothing does. (And I cannot for the life of me try to understand why the young man was opposed to President Obama’s Health Care Plan but that’s a discussion for another day). The Geisinger hierarchy pulled out the Thesaurus and Media playbook and responded in a predictable manner.
"Our decision to decline your application for insurance was based on the following reasons: STROKE,” the letter stated. “According to the non-group underwriting standards and guidelines, the above mentioned condition is disqualifying.”
The letter stated Marino’s medical information was reviewed and did not meet the medical underwriting criteria required by Geisinger Choice.
Then they said this: Geisinger Health System provides care for all patients who seek services from our medical professionals, without regard to their ability to pay for that care. ” We have been and will continue to be privileged to provide health care services for Lou M., as well as every patient who comes through our doors.”
So is Geisinger saying they will provide free health care service to Lou because he ambles through the door but won’t cover him because he wants to pay? Well hey, let’s quit our plans and let Geisinger take care of all of us!!
The bottom line is this, somewhere along the line there was a screw up. And it could have been prevented very easily had Geisinger Insurance employed sharp people. If Health Care is supposed to be a business, then how come the industry hasn’t adapted to the 21st century. In the new business model, employees need to take total ownership and interest in their companies. Companies provide intranets for employees with updates on everything from growth projection to media buys. It is inexcusable for a high profile situation like this to occur. Someone in some department should have realized who this guy was and reacted accordingly. But unfortunately the workforce on the scene today is very narrow in its focus. Especially in health care. No one goes out of the realm of their own department. There are many specialists but very few generalists. It’s one of the reasons why you might see a claim denied in one department and then overturned in another. The fact that a Geisinger employee suggested disability to a guy not only willing to work but willing to pay for his health insurance suggests to me that Geisinger has employees who either have no answers at their disposal, or are so narrow focused in their own departments and areas of expertise that they miss the big picture. In my employment history I have had the opportunity to work with a few great, talented people. On the other hand I have also worked with some pretty awful individuals who had neither an appreciation or an understanding of what the basic mission of the company was. As an example, at Travelocity I worked with a college graduate who didn’t realize Hawaii was a state. And at Blue Cross I worked with a woman who thought she’d have to testify at a deposition about a claim because a co worker uttered the phrase, “the jury’s still out on that one” about an unrelated matter. And with unemployment so high in this area it is incomprehensible to me how many of them still have jobs. ( A friend of mine recently was laid off from a health care entity said the thing she was most angry about was not that she was let go but that some pretty stupid people were kept on. I understand that completely. Some of my former co-workers, not at just one facility mind you are the most vapid and lazy people God ever created). My point here is that if some person in some department looked at that guy’s name and realized who he was, Geisinger could have handled this matter internally. But instead, the story got in the media and a good company looks at best foolish and at the very worst heartless.
The Health care company did itself no favors in responding to the story. The party line given by the Medical Director and the PR guy only muddied the waters. People can’t stand insurance companies to begin with. This did not endear them to Geisinger. What the average Joe saw here was that a guy the insurance company used to promote itself denied him health coverage he was willing to pay for because of the condition their parent company helped to improve. And no matter how much they try to spin it, Geisinger at all levels of its employees blundered. Badly. There are many reasons we could speculate on but if there was at least one employee who was aware enough of the company’s mission, goals and use of the media, Mr.Marino would be talking to a Geisinger rep about a payment rather than to a newspaper and WNEP TV.
A few of my acquaintances (if you think you ever make friends at work you’re delusional) still employed at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Cigna have expressed concern for their jobs given the latest health care bill passed and the uncertainty it brings with it. They need not worry. All they need do is dumb down their IQ by 30 points and Geisinger’s Insurance department would welcome them with open arms.