Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1283, Aug. 31st, 2010



Last week we took the pulse of the LuLac readers on the Home Rule Charter which will be placed on the November ballot. The results were favorable for those who think a change might be in order but 40% of those polled said they think the county government should pretty much stay the same. Here are the results:




This week’s poll question centers on the war in Iraq. Nearly 5,000 people died in the war. Billions of dollars were spent. Defenders say it drove out the terrorists in Iraq. Critics of the war say that there were great waste of resources in a conflict not in our national interest. This week’s poll question is:



Click here to take survey

Monday, August 30, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1282, Aug. 30th, 2010



They say there’s two sides to every story and last week the PR guys for Congressman Kanjorski and Mayor Barletta went at it. Here are the two sides on the issue:
Yesterday, within minutes of Congressman Paul Kanjorski's announcement that Northeastern Pennsylvania was under consideration to be the home for the Department of State's Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC), Lou Barletta issued a press release vowing to fight against the Center, which would employ up to 1000 federal employees. "I realize that Mayor Barletta is increasingly desperate to leave behind the mess he created in Hazleton and will do almost anything to win in his third race for Congress," said Ed Mitchell, Kanjorski campaign spokesman. "But even I never thought he would stoop so low as to oppose the creation of up to one thousand solid, good-paying jobs for Northeastern Pennsylvania. Shame on Lou Barletta. "Lou Barletta is always 'Mr. No' when it comes to any jobs or progress that Congressman Kanjorski proposes. He would fit right in with the 'No' mentality of Republicans in Congress." "In his hastily drafted, incendiary press release, Barletta recklessly attempts to inflame opposition by portraying the training center as a 'military-style training camp' and a 'bomb range' that would 'put residents of this district in danger.'" "The center is nothing close to that. No one will be in danger, or even inconvenienced," said Mitchell. "In fact, the training center would employ between 850 and 1000 permanent federal employees and would annually train 10,000 students who work for Diplomatic Security, the division of the State Department that is responsible for protecting the safety of Americans overseas at U.S. Embassies and other American installations. "Aside from the jobs, there will be ancillary benefits like a boost to our hotel and restaurant businesses. "Apparently there is no limit to how low Lou Barletta will go with his dangerous demagoguery. He is even willing to oppose the American heroes who risk their lives to protect American personnel and facilities overseas. "Perhaps most disturbing is the speed with which he attacked this project; he clearly thought he could score quick political points against the Congressman without taking the time to learn anything about this project," said Mitchell. "Lou Barletta is not on our side. He's always for the status quo. No wonder Hazleton has the highest unemployment rate in the state."
Here’s Shawn Kelly’s take on it:
This morning, Ed Mitchell, campaign spokesman for Kanjorski, put out a press release. Here is the response from Mayor Lou Barletta's campaign.
If Paul Kanjorski is so concerned about jobs, why did he vote for the two biggest job-crushing bills in U.S. history, Obamacare and Cap and Trade? Why has he voted for higher taxes and fees more than 150 times, something that has cost our country millions of jobs? The best thing we can do to bring jobs to our region is fire Kanjorski from his job. There is only one candidate in this race who actually created jobs. As small business owners, Lou and his wife started a small business with nothing but $29.95 and hard work. Lou knows how great it feels to give someone his or her first job, and he knows the stress of having to make payroll each week.
Paul Kanjorski's policies have cost Northeastern Pennsylvania more than 4,500 manufacturing jobs just in the last few years. His vote for the Pelosi's healthcare bill alone cost us 100 jobs at Sallie Mae. He takes thousands of dollars from Prudential, and then watches as they layoff dozens of local workers.
The only job Kanjorski cares about protecting is his own. That is why it’s time for another “Kanjorski Empty Promises Tour.” Over the years, we have been promised an inflatable dam, renovations of the Sterling Hotel, a monorail, moving sidewalks, and everyone's favorite – water jet technology, compliments of Kanjorski's own Cornerstone Technology.
Now we are promised hybrid vehicles and anti-terrorist training camps. We need real jobs and real leadership.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1281, Aug. 29th, 2010



The Obama Administration today highlighted new information that describes how the Affordable Care Act, just five months after its enactment, is already giving Americans more control over their health care. A new fact sheet is available that outlines the specific, immediate benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Pennsylvania, and can be found by visiting http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/downloads#states.
“Americans want to know how health insurance reform affects their communities,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, we have been working closely with States on implementation – and the immediate benefits of this historic legislation are beginning to take effect.” The Affordable Care Act builds on efforts by many states to protect consumers and hold insurers accountable. The new fact sheets outline many of the Act’s immediate benefits, including steps to close the Medicare Part D “donut hole” prescription drug coverage gap, a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, and new consumer protections such as the Patient’s Bill of Rights. Other immediate benefits include investments in the expansion and construction of community health centers throughout the nation and new resources to bolster the primary care workforce to improve access to care for more Americans.
More information on the Affordable Care Act is available at


As students begin their school year, President Barack Obama will deliver his second annual Back to School speech on Tuesday, September 14. The President’s Back to School Speech is an opportunity to speak directly to students across the country. Last year, President Obama encouraged students to study hard, stay in school, and take responsibility for their education. “Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide,” President Obama said to students last year. President Obama’s Back to School remarks will be broadcast in schools and online nationwide. More details on the President’s speech will be announced soon.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1280, Aug. 28th, 2010



One of the stars of the hit TLC reality show “Cake Boss” has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor according to WPIX TV. Remy Gonzalez was arrested on August 17 by police in New Jersey and was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts sexual assault, two counts endangering the welfare of a child, two counts aggravated criminal sexual conduct and two counts criminal sexual conduct. Gonzalez, who appears on the show as one of the cake decorators, is the brother-in-law of the show’s star, Buddy Valastro. “Cake Boss” chronicles a family-run bakery in Hoboken, N.J. , that produces custom-made cakes. This week we had the opportunity to speak with someone who actually is a big fan of the show, “Cake Boss” and traveled one morning to New Jersey to see the bakery and pick up some treats.
Q: Why the fascination with Cake Boss?
A: It’s a fun show. The people are real characters.
Q: What time did you leave?
A: 4 in the morning to get to HoBoken. When we got there shortly after 6:30pm there was a line out the door.
Q: What did you buy?
A: We just found small things. There were cakes that were priced at over a hundred bucks but we just got a few things.
Q: Like what?
A: A few canolis, cookies, brownies.
Q: You drove all the way for that?
A: Hey, I’m a fan.
Q: Any thoughts on the recent charges against one of the decorators?
A: Naw.
Q: Next time I’ll recommend my favorite bakery.
A: Which is?
Q: The Sanitary in Nanticoke.
A: Oh yeah, I hear you’re going to reference them in your new book.
Q: Yep.
A: What are you calling it?
Q: Buy the book. When it comes out.
A: I will. I’ll read t with a canoli.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1279, Aug. 27th, 2010



Maybe I’m Amazed……that all of a sudden I’m getting e mail press releases from Commissioner Mary Anne Petrilla. Hey, I’m appreciative and use some of them but it looks like the Commissioner is making plans for a run in 2011. She can run with someone or run alone. Her name recognition is high and she has a good TV presence.
Maybe I’m Amazed……that Glenn Beck’s schedulers did not realize that his march in Washington, D.C. falls on the same day Dr. Martin Luther King Junior had his march on Washington for Civil Rights. Proves my theory that many people under 45 think history began on the day they were born.
Maybe I’m Amazed…..at how the Barletta campaign seemingly fumbled the Kanjorski announcement of possible new jobs in the 11th Congressional District. Barletta has to resist the temptation to get lumped with the national party of no.
Maybe I’m Amazed…..that Bill Goldsworthy got a page 1 story out of getting entertainer Lee Strubeck to the polls because he (Strubeck) would be out of town working on cruises. Either a slow news day or a very good PR coup for the West Pittston Mayor.
Maybe I’m Amazed…..that the baseball season is entering into its final days at PNC Field. Even with the rate increases, the Yankees are a pretty good entertainment bargain.

Maybe I’m Amazed….that there has been no movement in the race for Governor between Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett. The summer was dead as door nails for Pennsylvania politics. Look for the TV ad wars to begin to heat up after Labor Day

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1278, Aug. 26th, 2010



Congressman Paul Kanjorski did something dangerous in his re-election bid for Congress today. He used the word "potentially" in announcing a major jobs project for this region. Here's what he said today:
Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) announced that the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) are looking for a location to build a new facility to train about 10,000 diplomatic security trainees annually, and property in Luzerne County is receiving serious consideration for the site. If the local site is chosen for the project, the facility could bring 1,000 jobs to Northeastern Pennsylvania and greatly impact economic development locally through the creation of new jobs and growth of small businesses. Currently, such training occurs at 19 different locations throughout the country and DoS is looking to consolidate these efforts into one facility. Today, Congressman Kanjorski led a tour for officials from DoS and GSA around the location under consideration in Conyngham Township. The potential property was bought years ago by Earth Conservancy, which Congressman Kanjorski helped found. Congressman Kanjorski had the foresight years ago to realize that one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s greatest resources is its land. Now that land is available for use and DoS is seriously considering developing it for a new training facility. Earth Conservancy works to restore and reuse mine-scarred land for recreational, industrial, and residential purposes.
“Northeastern Pennsylvania is under serious consideration for a project that could bring 1,000 jobs to Northeastern Pennsylvania and significantly promote economic development throughout the area by benefiting local businesses,” said Congressman Kanjorski. “Since I first joined Congress, one of my top priorities has been to save and create jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Especially during these difficult economic times, it would be particularly advantageous to have such a boon for area residents and our local economy.”
Congressman Kanjorski added, “Since I helped start Earth Conservancy in 1992, the organization has done a tremendous job working to reclaim mine-scarred land in the area and put it back to use to help with economic development in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This project would highlight exactly how Earth Conservancy has been so successful. By preserving this 2,300 acre parcel, Earth Conservancy has made it possible to locate a large job creating project such as this one. I am pleased that that property is now available for use, and I greatly hope that the Department of State will choose to build its training facility there.”
“As one of the founders of Earth Conservancy, Congressman Kanjorski has always supported the organization’s efforts to revitalize the environment and economy of this region,” said Mike Dziak, President/CEO of Earth Conservancy. “This project would only help further Earth Conservancy’s goals which are to reclaim mine-scarred land and ensure that it can be put back to use to help foster economic development locally. Congressman Kanjorski has worked diligently with Earth Conservancy on these goals, and now he is working to bring a substantial project to the area to use the land as we envisioned. We are grateful for his support in getting the Department of State to consider this area for such a large project. The location of this training facility in the area could help to bring much needed jobs and economic development to our regional community and would reclaim a large area of mine-scarred lands.”
What This Means for Northeastern Pennsylvania
If DoS and GSA, which is responsible for providing workplaces for federal employees and managing federal properties, choose to build the training facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the region will reap the economic rewards. The training facility would bring up to 1,000 permanent jobs to the area, plus between 350-550 construction jobs just for the initial phase of the project. DoS would need to hire many new jobs at the facility for buildings and grounds, range operations, emergency medical services, administrative, custodial, vehicle maintenance, security, telecommunications, and food service. The training facility would bring about 10,000 trainees to the area each year which would greatly benefit small businesses, hotels, and restaurants as they would receive an exponential increase in business. Currently, DoS books about 25,000 hotel rooms each year for existing training programs.
Finally, DoS would likely need to contract and subcontract with many local businesses particularly during and after the construction to help create the facility and provide services to it.
About the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC)
The FASTC would provide up to 10,000 students with state-of-the-art training to effectively and efficiently train DoS’ Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) employees. DS is the security and law enforcement arm of DoS and works to protect people, property, and information at U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world. In the United States, DS protects the Secretary of State, who is currently Hillary Clinton, conducts visa and passport fraud investigations, and provides protection for some visiting foreign dignitaries.
A May 2008 report to Congress identified the need to create a consolidated facility, rather than have 19 locations spread throughout the country, to improve training efficiency, decrease operating costs, and ensure that the training facility meets current agency standards.
The training facility would include classrooms, simulation labs, administrative offices, a fitness center, dining facilities, on-site emergency medical and fire services, driving tracks to replicate normal and emergency driving conditions, mock urban environments including streets buildings and facades designed to simulate a variety of urban scenarios, firing ranges, and storage facilities.
There was a key connection in this press release. Hillary Clinton. The Congressman was a huge backer of the Secretary of State in her run for the Presidency. The Congressman is on a first name basis with former President Clinton. Maybe Kanjorsi can afford to be a Kamikaze Candidate in this race with all of his connections that can bear some fruit. We shall see in the days ahead.


In the meantime, Mayor Barletta has a concern about a Kanjorski proposal in his backyard. From the Mayor's camp: Today, Lou Barletta, mayor of Hazleton and candidate for Congress, said he will fight against Paul Kanjorski's proposal to bring a military-style training camp to Conyngham Township, a quiet community that will have to get used to “chases, machine-gun fire and bomb blasts” that will take place at the facility. (Washington Post, 2/23/10). There would be about 500 bomb blasts a year at the site, according to published reports about a similar project proposed for Maryland.


The Citizen's Voice reports that the home-rule charter has been filed with county officials and will be on the Nov. 2 ballot for voters to accept or reject - now the Luzerne County Government Study Commission is looking into ways to reach the broadest audience. Last week, commission members dropped off a copy of the charter and a report of their findings with Luzerne County Chief Clerk Doug Pape, who certified it and sent it to the county's Director of Elections, Leonard Piazza III, to pass on to the Bureau of Elections. The remaining legal requirement is to deliver to the county clerk's office a sufficient - but unspecified - number of copies. The study commission has a $25,000 appropriation from the county to print the charter, commission Chairman Jim Haggerty said.
The commission is still figuring out how many copies, where to have them printed and where else to distribute them. Haggerty said they should be put in all the libraries; study commission Treasurer Rick Morelli suggested having copies in all the municipal buildings, too. Commission members Frank Conyngham, Veronica Ciaruffoli and Richard Heffron are looking into having the local newspapers print copies; finding a printer through a state cooperative program is also an option.
Home Rule is going to on the ballot. Again. The voters of this county have to get moving and read this thing. The Home Rule Charter people have to get out in front of this and control the message because right now there is a strange coalition building of the most vociferous critics of county government and the county status quo corps. Voters who are interested in this are going to have to school themselves and see what these charter people were working on the last year.



The Beatles play their very last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California..........Here's how it sounded:

In Pennsylvania state wide GOP coffers are filled during the summer months with mini fundraisers set up in various counties for the GOP ticket of Lt Governor Raymond Shaffer and his running mate Raymond Broderick….in the Third Legislative District, Representative James Musto highlights his activity on behalf of miners with black lung disease in the state. He seems to be a lock for re-election against his opponent Republican Sm Daley and 44 years ago today the number 1 song in LuLac land and America was "Mr. Dieingly Sad" by the Critters.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1277, Aug. 25th, 2010




I'm not sure how pleased the late Senator Ted Kennedy would have reacted to the watered down version of health care that was passed by the Obama administration. Judging from what he wrote in Newsweek a few years ago , I suspect he thought it was a start but didn't go far enough.
In 1964, I was flying with several companions to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention when our small plane crashed and burned short of the runway. My friend and colleague in the Senate, Birch Bayh, risked his life to pull me from the wreckage. Our pilot, Edwin Zimny, and my administrative assistant, Ed Moss, didn't survive. With crushed vertebrae, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung, I spent months in New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. To prevent paralysis, I was strapped into a special bed that immobilizes a patient between two canvas slings. Nurses would regularly turn me over so my lungs didn't fill with fluid. I knew the care was expensive, but I didn't have to worry about that. I needed the care and I got it.
Now I face another medical challenge. Last year, I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Surgeons at Duke University Medical Center removed part of the tumor, and I had proton-beam radiation at Massachusetts General Hospital. I've undergone many rounds of chemotherapy and continue to receive treatment. Again, I have enjoyed the best medical care money (and a good insurance policy) can buy.
But quality care shouldn't depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face. Every American should be able to get the same treatment that U.S. senators are entitled to.
This is the cause of my life. It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver—to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, "that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American…will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege." For four decades I have carried this cause—from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me—and more urgency—than ever before. But it's always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.
Nothing I'm enduring now can compare to hearing that my children were seriously ill. In 1973, when I was first fighting in the Senate for universal coverage, we learned that my 12-year-old son Teddy had bone cancer. He had to have his right leg amputated above the knee. Even then, the pathology report showed that some of the cancer cells were very aggressive. There were only a few long-shot options to stop it from spreading further. I decided his best chance for survival was a clinical trial involving massive doses of chemotherapy. Every three weeks, at Children's Hospital Boston, he had to lie still for six hours while the fluid dripped into his arm. I remember watching and praying for him, all the while knowing how sick he would be for days afterward.
During those many hours at the hospital, I came to know other parents whose children had been stricken with the same deadly disease. We all hoped that our child's life would be saved by this experimental treatment. Because we were part of a clinical trial, none of us paid for it. Then the trial was declared a success and terminated before some patients had completed their treatments. That meant families had to have insurance to cover the rest or pay for them out of pocket. Our family had the necessary resources as well as excellent insurance coverage. But other heartbroken parents pleaded with the doctors: What chance does my child have if I can only afford half of the prescribed treatments? Or two thirds? I've sold everything. I've mortgaged as much as possible. No parent should suffer that torment. Not in this country. Not in the richest country in the world.
That experience with Teddy made it clear to me, as never before, that health care must be affordable and available for every mother or father who hears a sick child cry in the night and worries about the deductibles and copays if they go to the doctor. But that was just one medical crisis. My family, like every other, has faced many—at every stage of life. I think of my parents and the medical care they needed after their strokes. I think of my son Patrick, who suffered serious asthma as a child and sometimes had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment. (For this reason, we had no dogs in the house when Patrick was young.) I think of my daughter, Kara, diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002. Few doctors were willing to try an operation. One did—and after that surgery and arduous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she's alive and healthy today. My family has had the care it needed. Other families have not, simply because they could not afford it.
I have seen letters and e-mails from many of these less fortunate Americans. In their pleas, there's always dignity, but too often desperation. "Our school is closing in June of 2010, which means that I will be losing my job and my health insurance," writes Mary Dunn, a 58-year-old schoolteacher in Eden, S.D. "I am a Type I diabetic, and I had heart bypass surgery in 2005. My husband is also a teacher [here], so we will both be losing insurance. I am exploring options and have been told that I cannot stay on our group policy or transfer to another policy after our jobs cease because of my medical condition. What am I to do after 39 years of teaching to acquire adequate health coverage?" Dunn also serves as mayor of Eden, for which she is paid $45 a month with no health benefits.
How will we, as a nation, answer her? I've heard countless such stories, including one from the family of Cassandra Wilson, a 14-year-old who once was a competitive ice skater. She's uninsured because she has petit mal seizures, often 200 times a day. Her parents have run up $30,000 on their credit cards. They've sold her skating equipment on eBay to pay for her care.
These two cases represent only those patients who lack coverage. We also need to find answers for the increasing number of Americans whose insurance costs too much, covers too little, and can be too easily revoked when they face the most serious illnesses.
Our response to these challenges will define our character as a country. But the challenges themselves—and the demands for reform—are not new. In 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt ran for a third term as president, the platform of his newly created Progressive Party called for national health insurance. Harry Truman proposed it again more than 30 years after Roosevelt was defeated. The plan was attacked, not for the last time, as "socialized medicine," and members of Truman's White House staff were branded "followers of the Moscow party line."
For the next generation, no one ventured to tread where T.R. and Truman fell short. But in the early 1960s, a new young president was determined to take a first step—to free the elderly from the threat of medical poverty. John Kennedy called Medicare "one of the most important measures I have advocated." He understood the pain of injury and illness: as a senator, he had almost died after surgery to repair a back injury sustained during World War II, an injury that would plague him all of his life. I was in college as he recuperated and learned to walk without crutches at my parents' winter home in Florida. I visited often, and we spent afternoons painting landscapes and seascapes. (It was a competition: at dinner after we finished, we would ask family members to decide whose painting was better.) I saw how the pain would periodically hit him as we were painting; he'd have to put down his brush for a while. And I saw, too, how hard he fought as president to pass Medicare. It was a battle he didn't have the opportunity to finish. But I was in the Senate to vote for the Medicare bill before Lyndon Johnson signed it into law—with Harry Truman at his side. In the Senate, I viewed Medicare as a great achievement, but only a beginning. In 1966, I visited the Columbia Point Neighborhood Health Center in Boston; it was a pilot project providing health services to low-income families in the two-floor office of an apartment building. I saw mothers in rocking chairs, tending their children in a warm and welcoming setting. They told me this was the first time they could get basic care without spending hours on public transportation and in hospital waiting rooms. I authored legislation, which passed a few months later, establishing the network of community health centers that are all around America today.
Some years later, I decided the time was right to renew the quest for universal and affordable coverage. When I first introduced the bill in 1970, I didn't expect an easy victory (although I never suspected that it would take this long). I eventually came to believe that we'd have to give up on the ideal of a government-run, single-payer system if we wanted to get universal care. Some of my allies called me a sellout because I was willing to compromise. Even so, we almost had a plan that President Richard Nixon was willing to sign in 1974—but that chance was lost as the Watergate storm swept Washington and the country, and swept Nixon out of the White House. I tried to negotiate an agreement with President Carter but became frustrated when he decided that he'd rather take a piecemeal approach. I ran against Carter, a sitting president from my own party, in large part because of this disagreement. Health reform became central to my 1980 presidential campaign: I argued then that the issue wasn't just coverage but also out-of-control costs that would ultimately break both family and federal budgets, and increasingly burden the national economy. I even predicted, optimistically, that the business community, largely opposed to reform, would come around to supporting it.
That didn't happen as soon as I thought it would. When Bill Clinton returned to the issue in the first years of his presidency, I fought the battle in Congress. We lost to a virtually united front of corporations, insurance companies, and other interest groups. The Clinton proposal never even came to a vote. But we didn't just walk away and do nothing—even though Republicans were again in control of Congress. We returned to a step-by-step approach. With Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas, the daughter of the 1936 Republican presidential nominee, I crafted a law to make health insurance more portable for those who change or lose jobs. It didn't do enough to fully guarantee that, but we made progress. I worked with my friend Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Republican chair of our committee, to enact CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program; today it covers more than 7 million children from low-income families, although too many of them could soon lose coverage as impoverished state governments cut their contributions.
Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. We need to succeed where Teddy Roosevelt and all others since have failed. The conditions now are better than ever. In Barack Obama, we have a president who's announced that he's determined to sign a bill into law this fall. And much of the business community, which has suffered the economic cost of inaction, is helping to shape change, not lobbying against it. I know this because I've spent the past year, along with my staff, negotiating with business leaders, hospital administrators, and doctors. As soon as I left the hospital last summer, I was on the phone, and I've kept at it. Since the inauguration, the administration has been deeply involved in the process. So have my Senate colleagues—in particular Max Baucus, the chair of the Finance Committee, and my friend and partner in this mission, Chris Dodd. Even those most ardently opposed to reform in the past have been willing to make constructive gestures now.
To help finance a bill, the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to lower prices for seniors, not only saving them money for prescriptions but also saving the government tens of billions in Medicare payments over the next decade. Senator Baucus has agreed with hospitals on more than $100 billion in savings. We're working with Republicans to make this a bipartisan effort. Everyone won't be satisfied—and no one will get everything they want. But we need to come together, just as we've done in other great struggles—in World War II and the Cold War, in passing the great civil-rights laws of the 1960s, and in daring to send a man to the moon. If we don't get every provision right, we can adjust and improve the program next year or in the years to come. What we can't afford is to wait another generation.
I long ago learned that you have to be a realist as you pursue your ideals. But whatever the compromises, there are several elements that are essential to any health-reform plan worthy of the name.
First, we have to cover the uninsured. When President Clinton proposed his plan, 33 million Americans had no health insurance. Today the official number has reached 47 million, but the economic crisis will certainly push the total higher. Unless we act now, within a few years, 55 million Americans could be left without coverage even as the economy recovers.
All Americans should be required to have insurance. For those who can't afford the premiums, we can provide subsidies. We'll make it illegal to deny coverage due to preexisting conditions. We'll also prohibit the practice of charging women higher premiums than men, and the elderly far higher premiums than anyone else. The bill drafted by the Senate health committee will let children be covered by their parents' policy until the age of 26, since first jobs after high school or college often don't offer health benefits.
To accomplish all of this, we have to cut the costs of health care. For families who've seen health-insurance premiums more than double—from an average of less than $6,000 a year to nearly $13,000 since 1999—one of the most controversial features of reform is one of the most vital. It's been called the "public plan." Despite what its detractors allege, it's not "socialism." It could take a number of different forms. Our bill favors a "community health-insurance option." In short, this means that the federal government would negotiate rates—in keeping with local economic conditions—for a plan that would be offered alongside private insurance options. This will foster competition in pricing and services. It will be a safety net, giving Americans a place to go when they can't find or afford private insurance, and it's critical to holding costs down for everyone.
We also need to move from a system that rewards doctors for the sheer volume of tests and treatments they prescribe to one that rewards quality and positive outcomes. For example, in Medicare today, 18 percent of patients discharged from a hospital are readmitted within 30 days—at a cost of more than $15 billion in 2005. Most of these readmissions are unnecessary, but we don't reward hospitals and doctors for preventing them. By changing that, we'll save billions of dollars while improving the quality of care for patients.
Social justice is often the best economics. We can help disabled Americans who want to live in their homes instead of a nursing home. Simple things can make all the difference, like having the money to install handrails or have someone stop by and help every day. It's more humane and less costly—for the government and for families—than paying for institutionalized care. That's why we should give all Americans a tax deduction to set aside a small portion of their earnings each month to provide for long-term care.
Another cardinal principle of reform: we have to make certain that people can keep the coverage they already have. Millions of employers already provide health insurance for their employees. We shouldn't do anything to disturb this. On the contrary, we need to mandate employer responsibility: except for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, every company should have to cover its workers or pay into a system that will.
We need to prevent disease and not just cure it. (Today 80 percent of health spending pays for care for the 20 percent of Americans with chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.) Too many people get to the doctor too seldom or too late—or know too little about how to stay healthy. No one knows better than I do that when it comes to advanced, highly specialized treatments, America can boast the best health care in the world—at least for those who can afford it. But we still have to modernize a system that doesn't always provide the basics.
I've heard the critics complain about the costs of change. I'm confident that at the end of the process, the change will be paid for—fairly, responsibly, and without adding to the federal deficit. It doesn't make sense to negotiate in the pages of NEWSWEEK, but I will say that I'm open to many options, including a surtax on the wealthy, as long as it meets the principle laid down by President Obama: that there will be no tax increases on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. What I haven't heard the critics discuss is the cost of inaction. If we don't reform the system, if we leave things as they are, health-care inflation will cost far more over the next decade than health-care reform. We will pay far more for far less—with millions more Americans uninsured or underinsured.
This would threaten not just the health of Americans but also the strength of the American economy. Health-care spending already accounts for 17 percent of our entire domestic product. In other advanced nations, where the figure is around 10 percent, everyone has insurance and health outcomes that are equal or better than ours. This disparity undermines our ability to compete and succeed in the global economy. General Motors spends more per vehicle on health care than on steel.
We will bring health-care reform to the Senate and House floors soon, and there will be a vote. A century-long struggle will reach its climax. We're almost there. In the meantime, I will continue what I've been doing—making calls, urging progress. I've had dinner twice recently at my home in Hyannis Port with Senator Dodd, and when President Obama called me during his Rome trip after meeting with the Pope, much of our discussion was about health care. I believe the bill will pass, and we will end the disgrace of America as the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn't guarantee health care for all of its people.
At another Democratic convention, in arguing for this cause, I spoke of the insurance coverage senators and members of Congress provide for themselves. That was 1980. In the last year, I've often relied on that Congressional insurance. My wife, Vicki, and I have worried about many things, but not whether we could afford my care and treatment. Each time I've made a phone call or held a meeting about the health bill—or even when I've had the opportunity to get out for a sail along the Massachusetts coast—I've thought in an even more powerful way than before about what this will mean to others. And I am resolved to see to it this year that we create a system to ensure that someday, when there is a cure for the disease I now have, no American who needs it will be denied it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1276, Aug. 24th, 2010



The results of last week’s poll question about whether Pennsylvania should keep or abolish the office of Lt. Governor was pretty interesting. Here are the results:

Governor Ed Rendell has been without a Lt. Governor since the death of Catherine Baker Knoll. The State maintains a mansion and pays the LG over $100,000 a year. Does Pennsylvania need a Lt. Governor?
YES 42.9%
NO 57.1%


The Luzerne County Home Rule Commission is going to put the charter change on the ballot in November. This is the second time in a decade, the third time in over 37 years. Our poll question this week is:



Click here to take survey

Monday, August 23, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1275, Aug. 23rd, 2010



U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that Pennsylvania has been selected to receive $3.8 million to continue the state’s success and innovation under the Weatherization Assistance Program. Pennsylvania is increasing its efforts under the Recovery Act’s weatherization program and is continuing to accelerate the pace of weatherization in the state. From April to June 2010, the state weatherized over 1,000 homes more than it weatherized from January to March. In total, Pennsylvania has already weatherized nearly 8,400 homes under the Recovery Act. Pennsylvania’s efforts are contributing to the success of the program nationwide. After ramping up last year, the Weatherization Assistance Program is now weatherizing homes at its optimal rate – approximately 25,000 homes per month. In June, states reported that nearly 31,800 homes were weatherized with Recovery Act funding – the most ever in a month. This summer alone, more than 80,000 homes will be weatherized across the country. A state-by-state breakdown of homes weatherized in the second quarter of 2010 is available HERE. “The weatherization program is successfully delivering energy and cost savings for American families while helping to rebuild our economy,” said Secretary Chu. “These investments in energy efficiency under the Recovery Act are putting thousands of people to work in Pennsylvania and across the country as part of the clean energy future.” As part of the awards announced today, two high-performing local weatherization agencies in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton have been selected to receive $1.4 million to install hybrid water heaters and in-home energy use monitors. The award selections were part of nearly $90 million in awards under the Recovery Act announced nationally to complement and expand existing weatherization programs and deliver even greater energy bill savings for local families.
In addition to the $1.4 million Recovery Act award, the Pennsylvania Commission on Economic Opportunity, based in Wilkes-Barre, has been selected to receive $2.4 million to evaluate the additional energy savings potential of in-home display devices that help households manage their energy use. The project will complement an existing program to weatherize 2,500 low-income homes in eastern and central Pennsylvania. The effectiveness of several models of in-home displays will be tested and evaluated. The project will also demonstrate the use of carbon credits and energy efficiency certificates as an innovative financial sustainability strategy for weatherization activities. This award is part of nearly $30 million in awards to forge a new range of weatherization partnerships and implement groundbreaking, innovative delivery and financing models, technologies, and services, further accelerating DOE’s effort to build a sustainable, residential energy efficiency industry. The weatherization program is also creating thousands of jobs locally – putting carpenters, electricians, and factory workers back to work installing insulation, upgrading appliances, and improving heating and cooling systems. According to state reports, the Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program supported more than 13,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2010, including more than 700 jobs in Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families save energy and money by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. According to a recent study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, weatherization services save families

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1274, Aug. 22nd, 2010



Man sometimes this website writes itself. With the political campaigns on the cusp of ramping up, there really isn’t a lot of big news. The Mosque controversy goes on and no one else in LuLac land has been indicted or sentenced. On a sleepy, lazy Sunday though the outrage comes in the form of health insurance. Today we find that Highmark Blue Shield, the parent company of the 4 Blue Crosses in the state is sending jobs to India!! With unemployment the highest its ever been in the Keystone State, people scratching for a living wage, and health care being an issue that continually needs education and explanation, Highmark is sending jobs to another country. OUTSOURCING!!!
Taking jobs away from your friends and neighbors. Taking jobs away from College graduates. When I was laid off from Blue Cross in February of ’09 with 92 others, I wondered why one of the largest contingents of “right sized” jobs were from the IT Department. Now I understand why.
Highmark and the Blues aren’t just any insurance company. They are home town products with member dues that come from employers, employees of those companies, senior citizens who buy Medicare Supplement plans as well as working people who buy individual plans. All of that money comes from Pennsylvania taxpayers.
Here’s a key paragraph in the story that sums it up:
As a homegrown nonprofit that operates at the pleasure of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the state Insurance Department, Highmark and other Blues claim a charitable mission and, in return for that charitable work, receive a variety of tax breaks from the state and the city. People outside the company, as well as inside, question sending work -- and, in effect, jobs -- to India.
The State Insurance Commission, if it had any backbone would do something. But it won’t. Words fail me on this one. Here’s the article from the Post Gazatte.
Top Pittsburgh health insurer Highmark Inc. has notified employees that it will be off-shoring some of its technology work to India, and is simultaneously asking for buyouts among its tech workers and analysts.
Highmark is working with Houston's Accenture, a global tech services and outsourcing company, whose India Delivery Centers will perform the IT work being outsourced.
Memos distributed internally at Highmark say the company must reduce its per-member, per-month costs "in order to remain competitive. We cannot do business competitively within our present cost structure."
"We anticipate this new [India Delivery Center] contract will not only provide additional flexibility in adding or reassigning staff, but more importantly help keep our projects within budget," a Highmark official said, in an announcement on the company's intranet site.
Some of the work is now under way, while other elements of the new Accenture pact are still being finalized.
Highmark spokesman Michael Weinstein said that in recent months: "One of many options Highmark has been exploring is the possibility of outsourcing and off-shoring a limited number of operations function and a limited number of technology activities. Highmark has a preliminary agreement with Accenture to perform systems development work."
It's not uncommon for companies of Highmark's size (it has a statewide employee footprint of about 10,000 people, with many of the tech employees based in Harrisburg) to outsource certain functions, either domestically or overseas, nor is it unusual for large insurers, or even Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurers, to do the same.
This year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina began outsourcing some IT jobs to India through a Boston firm. In the last decade, the Internet and improved telecommunications infrastructure have made it easier to send work offshore.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, somewhat of a rival to Highmark since it began offering a health plan of its own, has lots of employees overseas, though those are primarily due to UPMC's numerous foreign health centers and hospitals. UPMC also has its own International and Commercial Services Division, a collection of for-profit health companies that operate in global markets.
Still, as a homegrown nonprofit that operates at the pleasure of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the state Insurance Department, Highmark and other Blues claim a charitable mission and, in return for that charitable work, receive a variety of tax breaks from the state and the city. People outside the company, as well as inside, question sending work -- and, in effect, jobs -- to India.
"I find it outrageous," said state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, chairman of the House Insurance Committee.
"It might not be a major outsourcing for them, but once they start doing it, it's only a matter of time before [they outsource more work]. ... I find it ironic that they would outsource IT jobs, or any jobs, when we have a vast amount of unemployed workers who could do the job in Western Pennsylvania," he said.
The deal with Accenture is a continuation of a long-standing business partnership between the two companies. Accenture had already done some IT projects for Highmark, and some of the work now being tasked to Indian workers had previously been outsourced to Accenture's San Antonio work center.
The move rubs many the wrong way in that Highmark is paying overseas workers with premium money that largely comes from Pennsylvania companies and policyholders, and also from American taxpayers, since so much of Highmark's business is tied to Medicare, Medicaid and military benefits.
"With all due respect to the people of India, they do not pay taxes or contribute to our economy," one Highmark employee said. He didn't want his name to be published because most Highmark employees are forbidden from talking to the media.
Especially galling to some at Highmark is that the insurer recently informed its work force that it had begun a voluntary downsizing of its information systems work force by more than 100 people.
Highmark says the downsizing and the outsourcing are unrelated. Mr. Weinstein said Accenture's contract work "will supplement Highmark resources, and will not have an impact on Highmark staffing levels."
The insurer is offering "enhanced severance" packages to selected application developers, database administrators and network analysts, and hopes to trim 111 jobs.
Buyouts also had been offered to others in the company; Highmark said earlier this year that it was seeking to eliminate 300 positions. But the company noted that, despite administrative and IT cuts, Highmark has been creating jobs in other realms, notably at its Highmark Direct retail stores and in its for-profit retail eyewear shops.
Accenture is one of the top outsourcing and off-shoring firms in the United States, and has had operations in India since 1987. Today it supplies about 1,200 clients with IT and back-office workers, who typically cost far less than American workers in terms of salary and benefits.
The Post-Gazette reported earlier this year that Highmark was considering off-shoring some work. At the time, Highmark said off-shoring was one of many cost-cutting initiatives being considered, necessitated by rising costs and a need to remain competitive in an increasingly consumer-driven marketplace, especially when the full health care reform package takes effect in 2014.
Bill Toland: 412-263-2625.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1273, Aug. 21st, 2010



This week I had the chance to talk to someone who made his annual trek to Williamsport, Pa. to see the opening ceremonies of the Little League World Series.
Q: How many years have you been going?
A: This is my 17th year. I enjoy the trip and look forward to it.
Q: How old are you and did you ever play in Little League?
A: I’m 63 and no I never played in organized little league. We lived way out in the boonies and we played ball in a sandlot field. I did play a little in high school.
Q: Position?
A: Outfield.
Q: What draws you there every year?
A: It is unspoiled. Baseball today is such a big business and the players are such prima donnas that when I see a game with just the kids it is pure sports.
Q: There were a few questionable things a few years ago where one of the pitchers lied about his age.
A: Yeah I’ll grant you that but those incidents are few and far between.
Q: Do you have kids?
A: Two girls. Step daughters. They aren’t into sports.
Q: Does your wife go?
A: She went twice but I just go with some buddies. We pack a van and some food and go on our way. They’re good friends, they’re more into NASCAR.
Q: Do they drag you to Long Pond like you drag them to Williamsport every year?
A: Oh you bet. (Laughing). But I don’t mind. Sometimes.
Q: Payback’s a bitch sometimes.
A: You know it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The LuLac Editin #1272, Aug. 20th, 2010



Maybe I’m Amazed……that the Obama Administration has gone from having a huge public mandate to bungling basic political issues that win elections. The Obama juggernaut annihilated the Clinton machine. The political team had a strategy that prided itself on execution and implementation. What has happened is mystifying to me.
Maybe I’m Amazed……at the outpouring of support for Greg Skrepenak even after his two year sentence. The Citizen Voice last week did one of those man in the street polls and every last person interviewed said Skrep got too much time.
Maybe I’m Amazed……that Senate Democrats are running away in droves from the Obama statement on The Mosque. I had thought that this President might have instilled some loyalty but apparently not.
Maybe I’m Amazed…..that Vince McMahon’s wife Linda has a shot at being the Senator from Connecticut. Whatever you might say about the former CEO of the World Wresting Federation, you have to conclude that she has more core beliefs and principles than Joe Lieberman.
Maybe I’m Amazed….that Wilkes Barre City Council continues to diddle on small issues like towing and letting job development go by the boards. What has any incumbent council person in the last four years said about developing an economic plan to bring more jobs into the city.
Maybe I’m Amazed….that former Lackawanna County Commissioner Bob Cordaro and current Commissioner A.J. Munchak have not tried to sever court ties before now.
Maybe I’m Amazed…..that Tom Marino is ahead of Chris Carney in the race for Congress in the 10th Congressional District. Marino has run a lackluster campaign that hasn’t generated any traction at all. If the poll is a true indication of mindless anti incumbent fever, than the Dems are in for a world of hurt come November.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1271, Aug. 19th, 2010



I made a comment on this a few months ago and I’ll do it again. Rick Santorum is in the 2012 Presidental race. The former 2 term Senator was in Iowa. No one goes to Iowa on purpose in the good old summertime. Santorum is in the hunt. And he is saying good things about the former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
In the Harrisburg Patriot News the other day Santorum made some interesting comments as reported by Laura Vecsey. “I’ve been encouraged by the reaction that I’m getting from folks and the comments I’m getting,” Santorum told Des Moines Register. “Obviously the situation in this country continues to be in my opinion one that is going to require strong leadership to face up to President Obama in 2012.” The conservative Republican has made a series of stops in key presidential primary states over the past year, but will spend three days in Iowa on this trip. The Register said Santorum was found wearing a blue apron and helping to unload bushels of grilled pork chops at the Iowa Pork Tent. “I’ve learned something about about dropping pork chops,” Santorum quipped, referring to former Gov. Mitt Romney, who dropped a pork chop during his pork-moving duties last year. Romney is among the front-runners for the Republican nomination, according to a new poll from the Iowa Republican. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the field of potential GOP presidential candidates in Iowa with 22 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney received 18 percent — similar to the results of the 2008 Iowa caucus in which the two rivals finished first and second. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished third with 14 percent, followed by Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, who received 11 percent. Palin will be appear Aug. 27 as the guest speaker for the Pennsylvania Family Institute’s banquet at the Hershey Lodge. Santorum said Palin would have some "explaining to do" should the half-term governor run for president. However, the 52-year-old Santorum has also lauded Palin's political clout, saying her endorsement is the only one that matters among Republicans this election cycle.
Santorum is making the right moves. If you see him supporting House and Senate candidates, ala Richard Nixon in 1966, you will know he is collecting IOUs for 2012. Santorum would be a formidable candidate. He could galvanize the right as Sam Brownback failed to do in ’08. He is articulate and even with Mitt Romney’s money and head start, he can out maneuver him. Watch him run.


When: August 26 · 6:00pm - 8:00pm.
Location: St. Maria Goretti Church Banquet Hall.
42 Redwood Drive
Laflin, PA.

An Evening With James O'Meara Sr
Candidate for State Representative - 121st Legislative District (Pennsylvania)Scrumptious hors d'oeuvres by The Cafe
Casual dress...


When the history of our nation is written in the next few centuries, America will have a spacial place under the headline war/conflicts. If it is called Unfulfilled Promise then that would be appropriate. Like Korea, the war in Iraq ended with a whimper. The Combat troops are on the way home but there are 50,000 members of the military still there in the midst of an unresolved political conflict. How successful were we in this war? More than 5,000 killed to have an unsure government try to take charge and wage peace among the different sects that have been fighting for generations. Plus the untold thousands of Iraq citizens killed. Only history and future events will judge how successful we were and if we made things better or worse. Two things strike me about this war, the first is that before we got there everyone in Iraq's major cities had electricity 100% of the day. Now they only have power 25% of the time. And this war, based not on provocation but on weapons of mass destruction lasted longer than World War II. I see no FDRs or Churchills anywhere in this aftermath.


Democratic and Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate will gather Monday in Harrisburg for a presentation by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler outlining the Rendell administration’s plan to solve the Commonwealth’s transportation funding crisis. The caucus will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23 in the House Majority Caucus Room, Room 140 Main Capitol Building. With the federal government’s recent denial of Pennsylvania’s application to levy tolls on Interstate 80, the state now faces a substantial deficit in funding to maintain, repair and replace roads and bridges, as well as fund public transit systems in virtually every one of the 67 counties. It is estimated that the Commonwealth has more than 7,000 miles of roads in poor condition and more than 5,000 bridges that are below accepted standards. Pennsylvania's transportation crisis is of critical importance, both in terms of jobs and the economy, as well as public safety. Businesses throughout the Commonwealth depend on a safe, reliable and effective transportation system to ensure their products and services are delivered to consumers quickly and efficiently. In addition, road and bridge construction projects help create and retain thousands of family-sustaining jobs. Constructing a new road costs roughly $1 million per mile per lane, and every $1 billion invested in road construction supports nearly 28,000 jobs.


President Obama's job approval rating dipped to 44% for the week of Aug. 9-15, the lowest weekly average of his administration by one percentage point. This was before the Mosque controversy. It appears the rock star luster of Mr. Obama is fading fast. When Gerald Ford took over after Richard Nixon resigned, people loved his “average guy” ways like making his own English muffins and walking his own dog. That wore thin when the economy went in the tank and people needed jobs. Obama is getting nailed from the progressives who feel he hasn’t gone far enough and by the conservatives who he caved into, who never helped him on anything and weren’t going to be with him anyway. A supporter of his said something telling to me about the President the other day, “The only good thing he seems to be able to do is give a speech”. When that last unemployment check is running out, the only music to your ears you want to hear is about a job. You’re way past the point of wanting to be entertained.



Just three short years ago on Memorial Day 2007, Roger Clemens pitched to a sold out house at PNC Field. Now the former Yankee star and certain Hall of Famer has been indicted on perjury charges.
Clemens was indicted on multiple charges stemming from his testimony in front of a Congressional committee that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, federal authorities announced on Thursday. The former All-Star hurler faces one count of obstruction, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury stemming from the statements made in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and its investigators.Clemens faces a combined maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, although current sentencing guidelines would only put him in jail for 21 months if he is convicted.


House Un-American Activities Committee starts investigating Americans who have aided the Viet Cong, with the intent to make these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 are arrested...Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Republic begin negotiations in Kuwait to end the war in Yemen.......On the Vietnam War frontBattle of Long Tan: D Company, 6th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, meets and defeats a Viet Cong force estimated to be 4 times larger, at the in Phuoc Tuy Province, Republic of Vietnam......Statewide, City planners in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia float the idea for new municipal stadiums. The Pirates inhabit Forbes Field while the Phillies play at Connie Mack. By the early 70s both cities will have new multi purpose stadiums…..in Wilkes Barre safe driving courses are introduced into the curriculum as a way to prepare young drivers before they take the mandated exam. Kingston Mayor Bert Husband in the meantime complains about teenage drivers cruising the streets of Kingston with no destination in mind. Police issue citations....

and 44 years ago the number 1 song in America and Lulac land was "See You In September" by the Happenings.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1270, Aug. 18th, 2010



The only major league player to die in a game was Ray Chapman. It happened 90 years ago yesterday. One of my readers wrote a comprehensive and interesting piece on this tragedy.



Ray Chapman died at 4:40 AM on August 17th, 1920 in New York City.
He had been struck in the left temple as the lead off batter in the top of the fifth inning during the previous day’s game between the hometown Yankees and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds. Carl Mays threw the pitch. It was a dark, overcast afternoon, the ball was dirty and Mays used a submarine underhand delivery which made the ball hard to pick up against the late day sky. Chapman was crowding the plate as was his custom. Mays, sensing a bunt fired high and inside. Chapman probably never saw the ball. He froze!
Future Hall of Famer and Indians Manager Tris Speaker rushed to his teammate and friend from the on deck circle. In right field Babe Ruth heard the awful crack. So did the fans. Mays thinking the ball had hit the bat, fielded it and tossed to first base. About then everyone realized what had actually happened. The awful crack was Chapman’s skull. Blood ran from his ear. He was unable to speak, but he did make an effort to leave under his own power making it to around second base where he collapsed and had to be assisted to the clubhouse exit by teammates.
Emergency care was less than sophisticated at the time. Doctors did their best including surgery to relieve pressure on the brain, but Ray Chapman was not to be saved.
Up to that moment in New York, life had been working out well for Chapman. He was a standout ballplayer. Good at all aspects of the game. He could hit, bunt, steal bases, get on base and score runs. He was an excellent shortstop with a strong arm and range. Chapman hit over three hundred three times and was batting .303 when he died.
He was a popular, well liked twenty nine year old and had just married the pretty daughter of a Cleveland Power Company Tycoon who was building a house not far from the ballpark for the newlyweds. There was an office for Ray in the business and this was to be his last year in baseball.
The 1920 Cleveland Indians were in the Pennant Race and would go on to win not only the American League Championship, but the World Series, Cleveland’s first. Chapman’s closest friends on the Tribe were Manager Tris Speaker, Catcher Steve ONeill and Roomate Jack Graney.
Speaker remains one of the best outfielders in the history of the game as well as one of the top hitters of his or any era in baseball. He also managed successfully and in later years mentored upcoming Indian stars like Lou Boudreau and Larry Doby, the American Leagues first black player. He is an overlooked legend in Baseball History.
Steve ONeill was one of six brothers to avoid the mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania by playing professional baseball. Steve was the most successful. He played on and managed World Series Championship teams in Cleveland and Detroit twenty five years apart. Stephen Francis ONeill played for the Indians, Red Sox, Yankees and Browns. He never had a losing season as a Major League Manager and he was a respectable Big League Ballplayer.
Jack Graney played his entire career in Cleveland starting in 1908 with the Naps as a pitcher. He was later a Left Fielder with a lifetime .250 Batting Average. He was the first former player to go into broadcasting and enjoyed a long career on Radio and TV with the Indians.

Part Two

Kathleen Daly Chapman arrived in New York by train from Cleveland the next day. Tris Speaker, best man at their recent wedding, escorted Kathleen and Ray Chapman back to Cleveland.
Kathleen’s announcement that Ray intended to convert to Catholicism was apparently not taken well by Chapman’s Parents or the one time Klansman and Protestant Son of Texas, Speaker. A compromise was reached and Ray Chapman’s Funeral Ceremony was held at Saint Johns Cathedral in Downtown Cleveland, but he was not buried in the Daly Plot at Cavalry Cemetery.
Speaker suffered what the Press called a “nervous breakdown” and was not able to attend. Graney broke down and had to be removed. ONeill was a casket bearer. The truth regarding Speaker’s breakdown was more likely the physical result of a beating suffered at the hands of Graney or ONeill or both. They felt Speaker was out of line at some point. The fight reportedly occurred at a boarding house where many of the ballplayers lived. ONeill was bothered for several games by a bruised right hand.
Ray Chapman was buried at Lake View Cemetery not too far from where he played ball. Money for his modest, but dignified tombstone was raised in nickels and dimes by Kids in Cleveland. Chapman’s neighbors for eternity include President James Garfield, John D. Rockfeller and the ashes of Elliot Ness. Baseball Fans still leave things at the grave site. Two very worn wooden bats have leaned against the stone for decades. An occasional ball turns up and always peanuts bought at the ballpark, brought to the graveyard and placed on the headstone.
Some teams protested. They threatened to boycott Mays. Ty Cobb was especially vocal. Helmets were discussed, but it would be forty or more years before that would happen. Cleaner baseballs were kept in play. Balls were no longer used as long or allowed to get darkened or nicked up. And the spitball pitchers grandfathered in before the ban, began to die out. No real safety measures were taken. Ray Chapman is the only player in the history of Major League Baseball to die as the result of a pitched ball.
Carl Mays is not a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame although his credentials are impressive when matched against other pitchers enshrined there. He maintained the Chapman Incident was the reason. Most believe gambling and game fixing allegations including the 1921 World Series keep him out of Cooperstown.
Six months after Ray Chapman’s death his wife gave birth to a daughter. She named her Rae-Marie. Kathleen Chapman, once a baseball fan, never went to a game again. She remarried, but it was said never got over her first love. She ingested poison and died in 1928. Rae-Marie was sent to live with a Grandmother. She contracted measles during an epidemic and died one year later at the age of seven.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written by Jim Petrie. Petrie lived in Cleveland. He became interested in Indians History and came across the Ray Chapman Story. While he researched it in depth, he realized that people either did not know of the incident or had a wrong story. The Steve ONeill Connection (Minooka/Scranton) was discovered during his research.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1269, Aug. 17th, 2010




This past week’s survey question ended in a dead heat. Check out these results:
Will you give President Obama and the Democrats more time to turn this country around and finish what they started?

YES 50%.
NO 50%


Governor Ed Rendell has been without a Lt. Governor since the death of Catherine Baker Knoll. The State maintains a mansion and pays the LG over $100,000 a year. Does Pennsylvania need a Lt. Governor?

Click here to take survey

Monday, August 16, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1268, Aug. 16th, 2010



Lou Barletta, mayor of Hazleton and candidate for Congress in the 11th District, issued the following statement regarding the proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City: “I strongly disagree with President Obama’s remarks about the construction of a mosque a few blocks away from Ground Zero. The area around the site of the former World Trade Center is hallowed ground, and we need to treat it as such. Ground Zero should forever stand as a perpetual reminder of that dark day in American history, and President Obama must recognize the strong feelings that many of us have about Sept. 11, 2001. The president must honor the wishes of the families of the victims, who have overwhelmingly opposed the construction of this mosque. “Most American Muslims are peaceful people, but Islam’s most radical followers have a long history of placing mosques at the sites of their greatest victories. They did so in Israel, where they built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and in Spain, where they built the Great Mosque of Cordoba. To place a mosque this close to Ground Zero seems to follow that disturbing logic. There are plenty of other appropriate sites for this mosque across the island of Manhattan. The selection of this site – just two blocks from Ground Zero – is incredibly insensitive, almost to the point of provocation. “President Obama needs to strongly withdraw his support for its construction. If nothing else, common sense would dictate that we should not allow this. I hope that the backers of this mosque recognize the uproar and withdraw their plans. If they do not, I hope that New York City officials reverse course and halt this project.”


On Tuesday, August 17, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, will appear on CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss the status of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the need to reform the country’s housing finance system. He will also preview the Administration’s forum that will be held on Tuesday morning on the future of housing finance. Chairman Kanjorski has held multiple hearings in the 110th and 111th Congresses on housing finance reform, and recently announced that he will hold more in September.
DETAILS: Tuesday, August 17 at 8:10 a.m.