Sunday, October 31, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1355, Oct. 31st, 2010



As a potential voter who has seen and heard all the talking points offered by the national GOP, I have a few questions.
1. What are you going to do if you get the majority and you have to raise the debt ceiling?
2. By extending the Bush tax cuts to everyone, how can you justify the added deficit expense when you would have denied unemployment benefit extensions to middle class workers?
3. How are you going to defund Health Care and what parts of it are you going to gut? Pre existing conditions?
4. How can you blame individual Congressman for the economy? Exactly what will a Freshman Congressman be able to do if you take power?
5. You demonize the health care program. You say you’ll fix it. How is it in a 1200 page bill you couldn’t find anything you liked? That’s like going to the Mall of America and hating every thing.
6. If you gut the health care plan, are you going to divest yourself of tax payer sponsored health care for you and your family? We are, after all starting over so I think it’s only fair you pay for your own.
7. Why did you refuse to vote on tax breaks for small businesses the last session? Are small business owners becoming the new Pro Life version of the GOP? You yes them to death and say you’re behind them but never, ever give them any substantial political change? Are you making fools of small business owners like you’ve done for years with the Pro Life people?
8. Do you actually know the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs? And why are you deliberately mixing them up? Get your rocks off scaring old people? Let me explain it to you. The health care reform law works to reform Medicare Advantage by reducing overpayments to insurance companies whose bottom lines have greatly benefited from the program. The law works to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse from Medicare Advantage, and then inject that $500 billion in savings back into Medicare. As a result, it will extend the life of Medicare by almost ten years. The health care reform law will, in fact, provide cost savings for many seniors.
9. What are your specific plans for governmental cuts to balance the budget? Are you going to go after seniors, veterans, children’s early intervention programs or tax breaks for millionaires? Why is it that no Republican running in this country has every offered anything specific on what they will do?
10. You’ve told us you’re going to give us our country back, take back our liberty and take back our freedoms. Where exactly are they, where did they go?
11. Finally, why should we vote Republican? Last chance: give us a reason. And please be specific, if you dare.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1354, Oct. 30th, 2010



I talked to a person just a few years older than I about the night fifty years ago that John Kennedy came up the highway.
Q: Remember the night?

A: Oh my Goodness. It was incredible. One of the supermarkets closed at about 4pm in Pittston. He was late though but oh was it worth the wait.
Q: You try to explain to people what it was like, do we do it justice?
A: You can’t. It was a different time. Don’t forget we were only 16 years removed from the end of World War II and JFK was a vet. My dad was so proud that both Kennedy and Nixon were Navy men.
Q: Were we you on the route?
A: I was on a bike.
Q: Really?
A: Yeah I rode ahead and stopped right at the Triangle in Pittston. I saw him in Wilkes Barre then peddled like a madman through Plains. I had to ditch the bike right around the triangle where that Sunoco is in Pittston. And I stood there but thought I could get a better vantage point a few blocks up.
Q: Your reaction when you saw him?
A: It was bedlam. At first I couldn’t see much because the crowd was surging. I mean I felt myself (and I was a lanky kid) get lifted. It was an odd feeling.
Q: Obviously the draw was….
A: Oh everything. Catholic, Irish, movie star good looks. And he wasn’t Ike. I mean he was born in this century you know?
Q: I know. What do you remember the most after the event?
A: It was strange. It was pure joy. Pittston had its share of celebrities in town. Oral Roberts, Edie Adams, people like that making appearances. But this was special. I think every son of an immigrant felt a connection, every Catholic felt a connection, every vet.
Q: And then in just a few moments it was over, just like in a few years, everything for him was over.
A: Yeah. But let’s not talk about that today. Let me remember that glorious night.
Q: You’re right. It was a good night pal. We were in separate areas but it was a good night.
A: Indeed it was.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1353, Oct. 29th, 2010



Maybe I’m Amazed…..that the national GOP has the gall to say they will make America better. To quote a former someone, “There is no there, there”. The national GOP has not one idea other than to tear down what the Democrats have accomplished in the last two years.
Maybe I’m Amazed….that a number of my friends still not working are going to vote for Tom Corbett. This is a guy who said unemployed people really didn’t want jobs. What is up with that?
Maybe I’m Amazed……that the average lead pencil can draw a straight line 35 miles long and write roughly 50,000 English words.
Maybe I’m Amazed…..that the Legislative leaders who are supposed to take care of us in the state don’t want to tax the drilling companies. That is pure nonsense and gives you an indication of just how politicized this state has become. We have overpaid legislators who don’t give a damn about the future of the state. If they did, they’d impose a tax. Maybe after we’re screwed by the drilling companies, some mealy mouthed, weak handshaking pasty legislator will propose a bill to change the name of the state: to CHUMPVILLE!

The LuLac Edition #1352, Oct. 29th, 2010



Fifty years ago tonight John Kennedy made the trek through Ashley, Wilkes Barre, Pittston and finally to the Watres Armory in Scranton. It took him hours to get to his destination. He rode in an open car and as the vehicle lurched forward, people got a glance of the future President and legend.
I stood on North Main Street in Pittston at the bottom of Ornsby Alley. My father took me to see the motorcade. My friends Paul and Lois Komensky stood in front of their grand mother’s house with jack o lantern lights. (Ironically Paul lives in the house now that I stood in front of.) The car made its way up through the street. Across the way were the railroad tracks of Coxton Yard where my father toiled every day. I remember JFK's navy blue suit, starched white shirt, the hair, the smile and the energy of the crowd. It was a moment in time that lasted a mere few seconds. But in my mind's eye, I see it in slow motion. I remember my father waving. The car moving slowly then speeding up as the crowd got sparser on the way to Duryea. It was a blur but one that will be frozen in time until the end of my life.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1351, Oct. 28th, 2010



Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at it, you lose

WVIA TV 44 wrapped up its debate series tonight and it was eye opening and very informative. A recap:
14th Senatorial District Race: On Monday night GOP challenger Steve Urban, Democratic nominee John Yudichak and Libertarian Betsy Summers squared off in a three way debate. All three stated their cases but Yudichak’s experience in Harrisburg really came through. It will be interesting to see who finishes second and third in this race.
20th Senatorial District Race: On Tuesday night Frank Scavo the GOP candidate and former Old Forge School Board member faced off against long time bureaucrat John Blake. Blake was smooth and Scavo was passionate. Questioners missed an opportunity to ask Scavo why he quit the board Presidency but not the board and Blake should have been pushed as to why he declined a rebuttal on the Al Boscov campaign contributions. Scavo did well but whether its enough to defeat the Democratic machine is still an open question.
10th Congressional District Debate: It was like the battle of the Eddie Haskells on Wednesday night. Congressman Chris Carney faced off against former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino. Marino refused to talk about Louis DeNaples and Carney refused to stop talking about it. Both of these guys don’t like each other much and it showed. Carney’s smugness transferred to Marino and Marino’s smarminess transferred to Carney. It was a debate where no one appeared to win although I’d give it to Carney on his admission that he actually read the health care bill.
11th Congressional District: My question about this debate was who shot these guys out of a cannon Thursday night? Barletta was very sincere and animated and made the case for change. Kanjorski, unlike the 2008 debate with the Hazleton Mayor did not give a lecture on government and how it works. This time he staunchly defended his voting record, shot down Barletta’s accusation of the Congressman raising taxes numerous times and outlined his vision for the future. Kanjorski also was successful as painting the national GOP as the party of “no”. Even after the debate, Kanjorski energetically defended his position on PCN like a guy who just drank three Red Bulls. This race will go down in Luzerne County political history as a capping off of a rivalry unmatched around here. Election Day will tell the tale if Kanjorski can pull it through one more time. Whoever loses this, (remember even Frazier-Ali never had a sweep) it will not be said that either Kanjorski and Barletta went gently into that goodnight.


Tune in this Sunday at 9:30AM on WARM Radio for Sunday Magazine. I will be Brian Hughes’ guest as we discuss the LuLac Political, the upcoming election and a few other things.


Tom Corbett got a bit of a welcome the otter day in Wilkes Barre from those who are concerned about gas drilling. Corbett has accepted nearly 1 million dollars in money from the gas companies. Take a look at this:


Pennsylvania is once more missing the bus by not bestowing a tax on the gas drillers. I agree with Governor Rendell that the Legislature is once more acting irresponsibly in not enacting some sort of tax. The fact that Tom Corbett said he’d not raise any taxes is troublesome. The gas drilling industry is not going away, the fuel in the earth is not going away. What is happening once again in this state is that our governmental leaders care more about being in bed with an industry for a few years rather than the long term gain for residents of the state. The gas drillers must have brushed up on the coal baron history. A lot for me, a pittance for the little guy.
If a tax is not enacted, any hope of balancing a state budget, of reducing cuts to vital services like the elderly, disable, libraries and veterans as well as providing a brighter future for our state will go up in a puff of smoke.



I came across this gem from a few years ago but it still holds true for today. Do an unscientific poll this weekend and ask someone you know at work about Home Rule. You might be shocked.


Jack L. Warner sells Warner Bros. Pictures to Seven Arts Productions, which eventually becomes Warner Bros.-Seven Arts…… Pennsylvania former Governor David Lawrence collapses at a campaign rally for Democrat Milton Shapp. He loses consciousness and dies later in the month from a heart attack suffered at the event……in Luzerne County Dan Flood running for re-election to Congress in the 11th District says that the voters in Luzerne County need to elect Martin Murray to the State Senate in the 114th. Murray’s opponent is WAZL and WVCD Radio station owner Vic Diehm… Lackawanna County Congressman Joe McDade goes for term number 3 while his 1964 opponent James Haggerty vies for the 22nd Senatorial District seat that was defeated Democrat contender Bob Casey’s seat and 44 years ago the number 1 song in Ameica and LuLLac land was Johnny Rivers wonderful departure from his rockabilly tunes. The song was called "Poor Side Of Town”.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1350, Oct. 27th, 2010



1966 AND 2010

Jeffrey Lord from the American Spectator wrote a very good article recently on the lessons of the 1966 off year elections. Since we are covering that year , I thought this would be an appropriate venue for the article. I remember that year. The GOP making gains in the House, key Senate races going to GOP candidates that were up and comers. Plus it was a message to the then Democratic President that the winds of change were blowing and not in his direction. And a political figure that was constantly underestimated and ridiculed, Richard Nixon collected campaign favors that he cashed in during the 1968 election. Similarities? As the mom of a "Dancing With Stars" contestant would say, "you betcha"!
By Jeffrey Lord on 3.24.09 @ 6:08AM
It was a historic tidal wave of rejection. Symbolized by, of all things, housewives boycotting supermarkets. And the active participation of seven future presidents of the United States.
The 1966 "off year" or congressional elections should also serve as a political warning to the Obama White House as it pursues its strategy of pumping trillions of taxpayer dollars into the economy.
Only two years earlier, Lyndon Johnson had swept to a landslide victory promising a "Great Society" and a "war on poverty" funded by a massive infusion of taxpayer dollars. Intoxicated Democrats looked to an unlimited future of high tax, big spending, big government. Billions (then a big sum) were gushing out of Washington for everything from poverty programs to education, health care, the environment, transportation, consumer protection, and the arts and humanities, just for starters. But by November of 1966, with a tab for billions in hand, taxes rising and inflation swamping their everyday lives, the American people were staggered at the unlimited costs of it all. Angered, they had caught on to the end game of tax-and-spend economics.
The rebellion began, logically enough, at a grocery store.
Inflation had been on the rise throughout the year. By the early part of October, Denver housewives had had enough. "We don't like to feel we're being taken to the cleaners," said Mrs. Jay S. Threlkeld to the New York Times. Denver's "Housewives for Lower Food Prices," gaining 50,000 members almost overnight, was born. In Miami, a group of 20 housewives was threatening a house-to-house campaign for recruits to protest the rise in the price of milk. The idea took off, instantly garnering national media attention as supermarkets in Chicago, Portland, Detroit, and Phoenix came under scrutiny.
The Johnson administration, in an eerie foreshadowing of today's attempts by the Obama administration to blame private businesses for bad decisions pushed on them by government, lashed out at supermarket chains. The government's Bureau of Labor and Statistics was only too happy to add fuel to this sudden political bonfire by pointing a finger at the supposedly greedy grocery stores. Out tumbled the stats from LBJ's crew. The price of hamburger was up over 2 cents a pound in the last year, it said. Milk had risen 3 cents a half gallon. Butter was up an astonishing 11 cents a pound. Large grade A eggs cost more than 12 cents a dozen than they had in 1965.
In short, said LBJ as he played the greed card, this is about those rich SOB's running grocery stores. The greedy grocers.
A branch manager of a Red Owl Store, a small Midwest grocery chain, begged to differ, and didn't mind saying so to a Times reporter. Greedy grocers, said one Louis Hughes, were not the problem. In fact, grocers were doing everything they could to keep prices down. No, Mr. Hughes said, "the high costs of union and Government" were the culprits.
For a moment there was division in the ranks of the boycotters. Some wanted to pursue the idea that LBJ was pushing, blaming the grocers themselves. But others began to catch on to the argument voiced by Red Owl's Mr. Hughes. The state chairwoman of Arizona Housewives for Better Living spoke up, saying her group "doesn't think the fault lies with the supermarkets, but rather stems from hidden taxes and food shortages."
Suddenly, as if awakened from a philosophical coma, Republicans took note. The idea of connecting the massive billions in taxpayer dollars being spent by Washington directly to the rising price of groceries caught on.
In Memphis, Tennessee, the Republican congressional candidate entered a backyard political meeting pushing a cart of groceries, pointing out to his audience that as the bills for the Great Society came due, the cost of their food bills had gone up. In Washington the Republican National Committee armed its candidates with "tens of thousands of leaflets and stickers," according to the Times, connecting LBJ's spending with the increased cost of living. The country was awash in "Great Society funny money," bogus dollar bills that read: "Progress is a shrinking dollar." The "bill" came in the "Lyndon One" denomination bearing a picture of President Johnson beneath steer horns. Over 3,500 "LBJ supermarkets" sprang to life around the country from parades to county fairs, displaying food items alongside their skyrocketing prices. "Housewife brigades" were enlisted to pass out fliers on inflation, with one GOP Senate candidate in Michigan alone enlisting over 1,000 women to form "Operation Price Tag," the women targeting Michigan shopping centers and supermarkets with their leaflets. (The candidate, Robert Griffin, would win his race.) The Republican National Chairman brandished a new poll that showed a shocking 45% of the American people now blamed the government, not the grocers, for inflation.
In retrospect, 1966 turned out to be a rare moment in American political history. It was in fact the beginning of a realization by everyday Americans that massive government spending programs, the backbone of the New Deal, Truman's Fair Deal, JFK's New Frontier and LBJ's Great Society, must finally be paid for -- by them. In the cost of their groceries, their gas, their housing and everything else from clothes to college educations to steadily rising taxes.
They were furious.
The day after the election, shell-shocked Democrats looked around at the sight of what would become an ongoing political nightmare, a nightmare that, however momentarily suppressed, still haunts today. Serious damage had been done to the underlying political foundation of their party as it had existed since the 1930s. After three decades of campaigning successfully on the idea that government could be an endless cornucopia of programs with no visible negative economic consequence to average Americans, failure was abruptly at hand. No longer could Democrats simply assume success by campaigning with the famous strategy of FDR aide Harry Hopkins: "We shall tax and tax, and spend and spend, and elect and elect."
Across the board in 1966 Republicans were victorious. Forty-seven new House members were on their way to Washington, along with three new U.S. Senators. Eight new Republican governors were headed for state capitals, along with over 700 new GOP state legislators.
Strikingly, seven future presidents of the United States, five of them Republicans, were active participants in the passion that was the 1966 election. Two future Republican presidents won their first offices that November election day, Ronald Reagan as governor of California and George H.W. Bush a House seat in Houston, Texas. On election night, one of Bush's most enthusiastic supporters, his 20-year-old son George W., was in charge of posting election returns for his father's election night party of 2,000 cheering Texans. Across the border in Arkansas, Georgetown University student Bill Clinton had used his summer vacation to work on the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former attorney general Frank Holt. In Grand Rapids, Michigan future president Gerald R. Ford won re-election to his own House seat and increased prominence in his new role as the House Minority Leader, while an out of office former Vice President Richard Nixon had redeemed his reputation as a loser in the 1960 and 1962 campaigns by campaigning relentlessly as the GOP's self-appointed national spokesman. Nixon would be president-elect two years from this election day. And in Georgia, State Senator Jimmy Carter, a loser in that year's Democratic primary for governor, set his sights on another try in 1970.
Most notably, in a sign of the future to come, in the very next election of 1968, the lessons of 1966 were, ominously for Democrats, still reverberating. Nixon and Democrat George Wallace, the former Alabama Governor running on a third-party ticket, would win 56.9% of the vote campaigning against the economics of the big spending Great Society. This left a shockingly meager 42.7% for the heir to the once-mighty politics and policies of the New Deal and the Great Society, LBJ's Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
Surveying the damage done in 1966 to the Democrats, the New York Times had posed the question of whether this wasn't really about a white backlash to the passage of civil rights legislation or, perhaps, the growing war in Vietnam. They got their answer from Louis Harris, John F. Kennedy's 1960 pollster. Reported the Times: "Louis Harris, the public opinion analyst, said his studies indicated that inflation and rising prices had been the most effective issue underlying Republican congressional victories."
The mistake of believing off-year congressional elections are nothing more than a momentary referendum on the president of the day is as common as it is misleading. To dismiss the 1966 elections as a snapshot verdict of LBJ, or the 1986 elections the same for Reagan, or the 1994 elections a notice on Clinton (and so on for other chief executives) is to ignore completely the long-term trend of the underlying economic issue. Which is to say: the role of government versus the free market.
Like its great great depression-driven counterpart election of 1930, the 1966 election signaled a fundamental change in American politics. In 1930, a year-plus after the 1929 stock market crash, frightened and angry Americans signaled that they were ready to go full bore on a diet of what was then referred to as "progressivism." The 1930 election set in motion a decades-long celebration of the belief that unlimited government spending with all the bells and whistles of big government was the best way to govern America. Democrats, clobbered by Herbert Hoover only two years earlier, gained 52 seats in the House plus 8 in the Senate. Neither was enough to gain complete control, although several special elections later the House did fall to the Democrats. The Senate remained, narrowly, in GOP hands but was lost completely in 1932 to the FDR landslide. In 1934, Republicans lost still more seats in both bodies, not recouping until 1938's off-year when they earned back 6 Senate seats and 81 in the House.
It was a telling moment in American politics that is frequently ignored.
In each and every case up until 1966, whether the nod went to Democrats or eventually to Republicans, the slide kept tilting towards the liberal end of the political scale. FDR's programs or some variation on the theme kept moving forward. Even two outright congressional wins by the GOP (in 1946 and 1952, the latter with Eisenhower as the first GOP president in twenty years) barely managed to slow the progressive march. Each was reversed after a mere two years.
Not coincidentally, 1966 also proved to be the high-water mark for the breed known as the "liberal" or "moderate" Republican (the few remaining today known by some as the "RINO" -- Republican In Name Only".) This was the year of the Rockefeller Republicans, beginning with Rockefeller brothers Nelson (re-elected as governor of New York) and Winthrop (winning an upset as governor of Arkansas). Also campaigning against the economic policies of LBJ were winners Edward Brooke of Massachusetts (the first black elected to the U.S. Senate in the 20th century), Charles Percy of Illinois (U.S. Senate), Governor George Romney of Michigan, and Howard Baker as senator from Tennessee.
But while the future seemed to shine brightly for liberal Republicans that election night of 1966, in fact the election masked the continuation of their political decline, a decline so starkly visible two years earlier with Goldwater's defeat of Rockefeller and Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton for the GOP presidential nomination. Curiously, just as today's "moderate conservatives" snipe at the conservatism of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin (or Rush Limbaugh), it is perhaps worth noting that in 1966 two liberal Republican groups, the Republicans for Progress and the Ripon Society, pointedly refused to endorse Reagan's race for California governor even as they were quite publicly enthused over the GOP moderates.
The political landscape of America had begun to change and change dramatically with the 1966 elections. A line was beginning to be drawn. It drew passions strong enough to involve the direct participation of a remarkable seven future presidents, the oldest then 55 (Reagan) and the two youngest (George W. and Clinton) both barely 20. What began in 1966 as a shopper's rebellion against high food prices became, in reality, the political starting point for a revolution against a failed yet persistent idea that if the government simply spent more money, hired more bureaucrats, and raised more taxes all would somehow be well.
On one side was the shrinking number of the American public stampeded by the skilled exploitation of the Great Depression into the belief somebody else -- a somebody else who was always richer than they were -- was always around to pay for the next big spending, big government program. On the other side, with the bills for 34 years of big government not only coming due but being added to by the Great Society, there was recognition of the direct connection between massive spending, higher taxes and the higher costs for hamburger and milk. By a large majority, with housewives in the lead, in 1966 the American people began turning the economic version of an aircraft carrier in a different direction.
What does all of this mean for 2010?
That it may well be 1966 all over again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1349, Oct. 26th, 2010



They tell me this year’s election is about sending a message. We hear it from the Tea Party people, we even hear it from the establishment politicians. We here in LuLac land have a unique opportunity to send a message to Harrisburg and the career politicians. Attending the WVIA TV debate on Tuesday night, as I was listening to the two candidates, John Blake and Frank Scavo, I had the thought, “Why not Frank Scavo?
First off a few disclaimers. I agree more on the philosophy of government with John Blake than I do with Frank Scavo. I am appalled at Scavo’s take on health care in this country. I totally disagree with Frank Scavo on just about 90% of all things political. But if I were living in the 22nd district, I’d vote for Scavo. Here’s why and the reasons came out of the debate:
1. A vote for Scavo would send a very strong message to Harrisburg that things have to change. Right now, both parties want to keep the status quo. When Scavo, who won the primary called the Statewide GOP for some help, he was told, “Let’s see you win and then we’ll help you when you get here”. Exactly what does that mean? Help you with what? A bit of slush from the party caucus fund? Uh boy, you’re not one of us yet but when you get your electoral wings, we’ll give you some gas. The reluctance of a fat, loaded to the gills Republican party to help an insurgent like Scavo tells me the GOP just doesn’t want a guy like Frank to rock the boat.
2. Even though Scavo and I have ideas on why taxes are good and bad, he brought up in the debate how money should be spent and where it should not be cut, like veterans, disability and Library services. All of which have been cut by the House, Senate, and Governor’s office. All of that mind you when those institutions stayed fat and happy. Scavo also advised that he will turn down per diems and not take retirement pay. If he were running in Dauphin County they’d put him in a straight jacket!
3. Finally both candidates were asked about the toughest decision they had to make in public life. Scavo said it was quitting the Old Forge School Board as President. Blake said it was helping Boscov’s keep jobs with a bailout program in 2008. Scavo revealed that Al Boscov gave $5,000 to Blake’s primary run and $25,000 to his fall electoral bid. If Frank had that money, he’d be off running for President of Haiti with Wycleff Jean! Blake did not rebut Scavo’s facts. That exchange illustrated perfectly why the successor to Bob Mellow (and full disclosure here, Mellow wrote a beautiful letter for me after I got laid off from Blue Cross, never went to any of his outings, didn't even live in his district) needs to have no ties at all to any political party. The statewide GOP has already said they want nothing to do with Scavo until he wins and the Democrats certainly don’t want any part of him. Perhaps a Scavo victory will be hollow once he gets to Harrisburg and gets told how things are run. But this is an incredible opportunity to send to Harrisburg a modern day Mr. Smith with his only obligations to his God, his family, country, state and misguided Republican principles. But voting for Scavo would also send a huge message that people in LuLac land are not going to take it anymore. Just once, let’s try it. I feel that Scavo will be guided by what he thinks is right. One time just let loose and take a flyer on the unknown. Frank Scavo just might surprise you, like he did me.

The LuLac Edition #1348, Oct. 26th, 2010



Former President Bill Clinton, the quintessential political animal of our time used his demonstrative skills today to bolster the candidacy of Congressman Paul Kanjorski.
Clinton arriving characteristically late wowed the crowd at Nanticoke High School. He gave an economics primer on why his economy was better when he left the White House in 2000 and how his party and President only got 20 months to clean up an 8 year mess.
The former President also joked that Kanjorski was one of a handful of Congressmen on speed dial at the White House saying, “give him what he wants because he’ll be like a dog with a bone not taking no for an answer. " Here's how WNEP TV reported the visit:

Creating jobs is one of the big issues on the campaign trail.With election day one week away, both parties are trying hard to gain voter support.That is why former President Bill Clinton is making a stop in our area Tuesday evening.President Clinton came to Nanticoke to rally for Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski who is seeking re-election.The doors to the event opened about 4 p.m. Tuesday and many said they couldn't wait to see the former president."You know, meet a historical and political figure. I mean, Mr. Clinton, this is like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I live a few blocks away. I couldn't pass it up," said Kristen Skipkoski of Nanticoke."To come to Nanticoke, his hometown, I think this is the first political rally I've had here!" Shortly after taking over the podium here at Greater Nanticoke Area High School, former president Bill Clinton immediately acknowledged the city that was hosting him.Clinton may have come to Nanticoke to help stump for fellow democrat and incumbent Congressman Paul Kanjorski but it was the people of Nanticoke who came out to see him.The rally here at the high school was filled with an enthusiastic crowd. "Fantastic! Nanticoke has arrived, let's put it that way," said Jerry Hudak of Nanticoke.Kanjorski is fighting for his seat in the 11th Congressional District against republican challenger Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazleton.During his speech Clinton acknowledged the national anger against sitting incumbents but reminded the crowd of Kanjorski's service during his 26 years in the U.S. House of Representatives."An election is an employment decision. It is not a referendum, it's a choice. And you are hiring someone to do a job," said Clinton."Paul Kanjorski has done a lot of good things for the area and I know he'll continue to do things in the future," said Pat Andes of Wilkes-Barre. "Lou Barletta's on the wrong track, he does not support any of the issues that are important to this area and Paul Kanjorski does."Also taking the podium at Kanjorski's rally were other democrats running for office including gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato and State House Majority Speaker Todd Eachus. Two years ago Clinton rallied for Kanjorski in Wilkes-Barre, helping him defeat Barletta in 2008.Supporters here say Clinton's latest appearance will give them the boost they need on November 2nd.' With him coming in it shows how important this election is," said Tom McClean of Pittston. "And the biggest thing is people to get out and vote. That's the main thing, if people get out and vote I don't see a problem."In a statement sent over from Lou Barletta's campaign on the former president's visit, Barletta wrote: "It's always an honor to have a former president of the United States in northeastern Pennsylvania. Bill Clinton had his most successful years as president when he had a Republican Congress to provide checks and balances. A Democratic president and a Republican Congress were able to come together to move the country forward. Nowadays, we see what happens when one party has all the control and Paul Kanjorski is part of the reason why this country is moving in the wrong direction. "President Clinton asked people to give Kanjorski two more years, but he's really asking us to give Kanjorski a 28th year. Kanjorski doesn't deserve his 27th and 28th year in Congress".

The LuLac Edition #1347, Oct. 26th, 2010




My humble little survey has a surprise for all the folks saying Home Rule will pass 2 to 1 or Home Rule will fail by a small margin.
In our survey last week, here are the results:


50% YES
50% NO


Monday, October 25, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1346, Oct. 25th, 2010



"Is Congressman Kanjorski closing school early so he can film a campaign commercial inside a public school?" I got that missive from the Barletta campaign and they were complaining that Paul Kanjorski was closing the Nanticoke High School for a rally featuring President Clinton. That got me to thinking about my about my Uncle John Pribula tonight. My Uncle John was Police Chief and Tax Collector of Exeter in the 40s and 50s. When I met him he was bedridden due to a still undisclosed ailment that is still a mystery after 5 decades. I have vague memories of visiting him at his bedside. He was, even then an imposing figure. My uncle John Pribula died on October 29th at the age of 53. It was a Friday night. As his life was ending in Exeter, there were thousands of people lining the streets of LuLac land to see another John ride in an open car. That guy’s name was John Kennedy. And I was one of those people who stood waiting for him in the warm October air. It was an event that to this day I can see in my mind vividly. The day leading up to that event was punctuated by my school issuing bulletins about where Kennedy was during the school day. You can bet if he hit Pittston early, school would be let out! We were told this was a big deal. There was no backlash because back then the appearance of a Presidential candidate was not seen as something cynical or politicized. But today, fifty years after that magical campaign of 1960 we are being told that the visit of a former President was somehow an imposition on the students, parents and citizens of the Nanticoke School District. In the photo index you see a photo of our visitor Bill Clinton meeting President Kennedy. If there is one kid in Nanticoke that stays and sees Bill Clinton and Paul Kanjorski and is inspired to work to make this country a better place, then I say close down every school and bring in a former President every week.
After the Kennedy event, I went to my Uncle John’s 3 day wake and funeral. The house was crowded. Packed. At my young age it was still another crowd in just under a week. I understood then that it was all about public service on any level. JFK, my Uncle John, it was about the great country we live in, national or local. I say thank you to Congressman Kanjorski for bringing in that kid who was inspired by John F. Kennedy. May the process be repeated tomorrow in Nanticoke many times over. God knows we need it in this country today more than ever.


The Kanjorski campaign announced today that President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, will speak at a rally in Congressman Kanjorski's home town of Nanticoke on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 4:00 p.m. The rally will take place at the Greater Nanticoke Area High School. "I am extremely honored to have President Clinton here to campaign for me again this year, and I look forward to bringing him to my home town," said Congressman Kanjorski. "Nanticoke is where I grew up, where I began my career in public service, and where I still live with my wife, Nancy. I look forward to having Northeastern Pennsylvanians from across the region join President Clinton and me in Nanticoke." Under President Clinton's leadership, and with Congressman Kanjorski's strong support in Congress, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in United States history. These efforts resulted in unprecedented progress for America, including moving the nation from record deficits to record surpluses; the creation of over 22 million jobs - more than any other administration; low levels of unemployment, poverty and crime; and the highest home ownership and college enrollment rates in history. During the Clinton Administration, Congressman Kanjorski was able to secure $250 million for the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project, which has saved Northeastern Pennsylvania from an estimated $1 billion in flood damages. President Clinton visited Northeastern Pennsylvania in November 2008 to campaign for Congressman Kanjorski at Wilkes University. Congressman Kanjorski also campaigned in the area with President Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, when she ran for president that year. The public is invited to attend the rally in Nanticoke.
More details are available below and at ·
Address: Greater Nanticoke Area High School gymnasium
427 Kosciuszko Street Nanticoke, PA 18634·
Doors open at 4:00 p.m.
No tickets needed for the free event.


Religion reporter David Gibson writes that "a confident Christine O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for Senate in Delaware who is running behind her Democratic opponent, says "God is the reason I'm running" and that the prayers of voters can propel her to an unlikely victory. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, O'Donnell, a conservative Christian and Tea Party favorite with a penchant for headline-making comments, also said there is "certainly a double standard" when it comes to media coverage of conservative women."
As many of you who are daily readers know, I’m a Roman Catholic, not a Christian. I can say two things about this though, Ms. O’Donnell’s faith to me is incredible and something I both respect and envy. The second thing is, if it is true, God has one hell of a sense of humor.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1345, Oct. 24th, 2010



Kudos to WBRE TV Eyewitness News for the special on air broadcast Voter’s Guide that aired this weekend. T was comprehensive, informative and fast moving. Candace Kelly and Drew Speier anchored, Andy Mehalshick, Joe Holden, Doug Currrin, Monica Madaja and Eric Deabill reported.


Want the scoop on Home Rule? Want to see a real live debate between the Yes people and the No people? Then mark your calendar for tomorrow night. Here’s all you need to know:
Home Rule Forum
King's College
Monday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center
Third Floor Walsh Room
Sponsored by the King's College Pre-Law Society
Moderated by Dr. Jayne Klenner Moore, King's Professor of CIS
10 minute opening statement, then questions from the audience
Open to the public!
Featuring Jim Haggerty and Rick Morelli on behalf of Home Rule yes and Attorney Vito DeLuca on behalf of Home Rule no
Coordinated by Dr. David Sosar of the Political Science Dept.
And don’t forget to vote in our Home Rule Yea or Nay poll in LuLac Edition #1337, Oct. 19th, 2010. Study the issue, listen to both sides and make your voice heard.


If you need an absentee ballot, you have to get the application by Oct. 26th and then Your ballot must be received by your County Voter Registration Office by this Friday, October 29th for your vote to count!
Here are the websites for


President Obama’s weekly radio address highlighted Wall Street Reform and what it means to consumers. Hopefully this will tone down the uninformed rhetoric regarding tax payer money used for corporate buyout. That from the party of no, the Republicans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1344, Oct. 23rd, 2010



This week I hosted an informational session on Home Rule Yes at Wyoming Valley West Middle School. A day later I talked to a county employee I ran into at Price Chopper about the Home Rule Issue.
Q: I saw you at the session. What are your thoughts?
A: I’m not thrilled with the Charter. I think the official should be elected. But I’m really thinking of voting for this thing.
Q: Why?
A: I’m tired of being painted with a broad brush. I’ve been there about 15 years and I’m not an administrator making $70,000 grand a year, I’m not a Secretary making more than a row officer or a solicitor and I’m showing up on time every day.
Q: Does the county need 1900 employees?
A: Well I think there could be consolidations. It’s weird there are some places that overlap and have too many people but other places that are totally understaffed. And then places that are totally eliminated.
Q: Like the crossing guards?
A: As an example.
Q: Why do you think people will vote for this?
A: Because they are embarrassed and want to take a step into the future.
Q: Why do you think people will vote against this?
A: To save their jobs, status quo. Everybody is fearing change. That’s a characteristic of this area. Change is bad. \
Q: Have you as a county worker been approached by the Vote No people?
A: Naw, I ‘ve been left alone with my thoughts.
Q: And those thoughts are taking you where?
A: Not gonna tell you but I’m thinking. By the way you did a good job the other night. You’re looking quite well but walking like hell.
Q: Yeah, it looks worse than it is but the pain can get pretty bad.
A: Well hang in there.
Q: Hey if I you thought I was walking so bad, how come you didn’t come and help me off the stage?
A: I tend to stay away from guys in blue suits.
Q: Gotcha. I bought mine you know. Not a gift.
A: I figured.
Q: Going to tell me how you’re going to vote?
A: Yeah, I’ll vote for your suit.
Q: At least it’s not empty.
A: You got that right. I’m afraid we got an empty one of those at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Q: That’s a discussion for another time.
A: You got it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1343, Oct. 22nd, 2010



Maybe I’m Amazed………that as the election draws near, more people seem less inclined to vote than ever before. That leaves the door open for people who will control the debate through shouting and slogans not free thinking.
Maybe I’m Amazed……...that Bill Clinton will take a tour of Nanticoke with Congressman Kanjorski. I know the former President is on a diet these days but just one item from the Sanitary Bakery on Ridge Street will bring Mr. Clinton taking a detour on his way home to New York for Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Maybe I’m Amazed........that Brett Farve’s accuser didn’t even file those charges against him. It was someone she told about the incident. God save us from well meaning, blabbing best friends. And by the way, those people cross all gender lines.
Maybe I’m Amazed….......that after Halloween comes Election Day, and right behind it turkey Day. Then the big one, Christmas. Time flies.

The LuLac Edition #1342, Oct. 22nd, 2010



Man we have a controversy a day in this country. The latest has to do with former NPR commentator Juan Williams who was fired from National Public Radio for saying if he saw someone in Muslin garb on a plane, he’d be frightened. The NPR execs pulled the plug on Williams and fired him. The lame excuses used by the NPR chickocracy really might do more harm than good for the network.
Right wing groups are screaming to cut NPR’s funding. Left wing groups are also assailing the decision saying Williams was expressing an opinion. NPR says they don’t like commentators expressing feelings. Okay then, what was Daniel Schorr doing every Saturday morning all those years? The firing of Williams was a knee jerk reaction to a comment that was made as a personal feeling. If the network was offended, couldn’t they have suspended him? The decision feeds into the incorrect frenzy that Public Broadcasting is left leaning. It gives the anti public TV And Radio zealots unnecessary ammunition to destroy a very essential , important and needed alternative to commercial broadcasting.
My association with Public Radio goes back to 1973 when I was one of the first staff people on WVIA FM. Opinions were commonplace back then. We were in the midst of Watergate and Vietnam. The then General Manager George Strimell even entrusted a 20 year old (me) to do weekly reports on what was happening in Harrisburg. I transitioned into a development position where I actually got underwriting for programs like "All Things Considered". Years after broadcasting, NPR became and still is a news source for me daily. I like to think I could survive Williams' comments. Not so the NPR management. What happened with Williams was that he got into two areas the American media are afraid to touch, race and religion. Williams will rebound and do just fine. He’s now more known than he was before this dismissal. NPR though because of its decision has opened up a world of hurt on itself because their management decided to ignore two feeling or emotions that can usually get communicating and free thinking people through situations like this: tolerance and forgiveness.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1341, Oct. 21st, 2010



As I sat moderating the Home Rule Information session the other night, I was struck by the dynamics of this election. It seems the Democrats aren’t telling enough people what they’ve done for people the last two years. But even though they are trying to tell people about their accomplishments and what they mean to people like me and you (I doubt if I have any readers that make over $750,000 a year but if you reveal yourself, I’ll whip out the adoption papers) no one seems to be listening. And the reason no one is listening is because we are being drowned out by ignorance. I have no quarrel with the Tea Party or those involved in it. But I don’t see a Tea Party agenda of specifics. Why do you want to get rid of seemingly good public servants that might win you an election? I mean give me a reason besides “We want our country back”, “Obama is a Muslin”, “WE are heading toward a socialist society” and “ “My freedoms are being taken away”. Those aren’t specifics, those are Mussolini like comments that were made in the early 1930s to rile people up. If you want to govern, you have to give us specifics. Nationally I have never, ever voted straight party in my life. But the screeching of Sarah Palin, the dumbing down of our Republic as well as the emergence of people like Sharon Angle and Kathleen O’Donnell is driving me to it. And in Pennsylvania, do you really want Pat Toomey as your Senator? I’m not in love with Joe Sesatak but c’mon. Look at Toomey’s record on Wall Street and his complete allegiance to the right wing segment of the GOP. Tom Ridge, Richard Schweiker, Dick Thornburgh, William Scranton III and John Heinz were all Republicans I gladly voted for. Why? Because they were reasonable men. Because they had ideas. Because they never said that my freedoms were being taken away. Because they never demonized the other side. Because they had alternative ideas that consisted more of substance and less of jingoistic slogans.


While the Governor’s office has been operating on an 8 year cycle of parties ruling the day every 8 years since 1954, the U.S. Senate seats in the Commonwealth have been uneven. For a period of time, from 1968 through 1993, Pennsylvania had two GOP Senators. (Richard Schweiker and Hugh Scott from ’68 through ’76, Schweiker and John Heinz through ’76 to ’80, then Heinz and Arlen Specter through ’80 through ’93.) After Heinz’ death, Harris Wolford became a U.S. Senator until he was defeated in 1994 by Rick Santorum. Santorum served with Specter until his defeat in ’06. So the GOP has been dominant in controlling the Senate seats since the late 1960s.


Dan Onorato has been saying he wants to reform the government in Harrisburg. With the entrenched enmities there, I say “good luck pal”, But if you take a look at a statement from his website, he just might have a shot at it.
Dan Onorato will restore the public’s trust and confidence in state government. Especially during these tough economic times, citizens need to know that their government is operating with one goal in mind: to advance the public interest, not the power of special interests. Dan is the only candidate for Governor with a proven track record of making reform a reality. As Allegheny County Executive, he enacted bold reforms that took on more than 200 years of inefficiency in county government. Dan eliminated six elected offices to make government work better and save taxpayers money. He also streamlined government – reducing the county government workforce, emphasizing efficiency, and consolidating five 9-1-1 call centers into a single center that serves the entire county. Dan’s reforms have saved taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Dan Onorato will bring real reform to Harrisburg – just as he did in Allegheny County. As Governor, Dan will clean up the Legislature – including enacting term limits and reducing the size of the Senate and House; curb the power of special interests; and improve accountability and transparency in state government.


On Friday, October 22, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) and U.S. Army Under Secretary Dr. Joseph Westphal, the second in command at the U.S. Army, will tour the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project and Tobyhanna Army Depot. Congressman Kanjorski will announce a decision marking a step forward for employees at the Depot while visiting the levees in Wilkes-Barre. Congressman Kanjorski worked closely with Dr. Westphal to ensure the creation of the levees in Wilkes-Barre and the development of the River Common. This project was something people were talking about for years until Congressman Kanjorski took the bull by the horns. This successful project in my estimation is taken for granted. Before this every time we got substantial rain there were big worries. Not so much anymore.


Man sometimes when you throw a mud pie, you might get another bigger one back in the old kisser. Todd Eachus has been running commercials against Tara Touhill this week citing her association with disgraced Judge Mark Ciavarella. Ads blasted the young lawyer for taking a job from the former Judge. In a debate it was revealed that Eachus took a ride on the infamous Bob Powell jet. The Times Leader reports that House Majority Leader
Todd Eachus now says he didn't have to get back to Harrisburg to vote the day he too a round-trip ride on convicted felon Robert Powell s jet. Asked on Wednesday whether he ever spent time at the condominiums of disgraced former Luzerne County judges or rode on Powell's jet, Eachus said he never visited the Florida condo, but he did ride the jet.
The reason he accepted a free ride from Harrisburg to Hazleton and back on Jan. 31, 2007, Eachus had said, was because he had to get back to the state Capitol to cast votes. But a check of the Legislative Journal showed that no votes were cast on the House floor that day. The House convened at 11 a.m. and adjourned at 11:02 a.m.
Now to his credit, Eachus and his staff have been pretty open about admitting their mistake. But guys, it looks bad and can give the challenger a boost. Let’s not forget, it was Todd Eachus who was the beneficiary of a misstep by then Representative Tom Stish. Stish changed parties days after an ill Governor Bob Casey went stumping for his re-election in a rain storm in Hazleton.



Grace Slick performs live for the first time with Jefferson Airplane…..The AFL-NFL merger is approved by the U.S. Congress… Pennsylvania Democratic candidate for Governor Milton Shapp says that the driving age for teenagers should be raised to 18…….Meanwhile Lt. Governor candidate Raymond Broderick labeled Shapp’s plan as crazy and discriminatory against young people… Wilkes Barre Mayor Slattery holds a series of small fundraisers preparing for the 1967 Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judgeship race and 44 years ago today the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was "Walk Away Renee" by the Left Banke.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1340, Oct. 20th, 2010



I had the pleasure of moderating a Home Rule Informational session at the Chester Street Middle School in Kingston last night. Jim Haggerty opened up the evening introducing me as the moderator. Committee members Richard Kick Heffernen, CJ Kersey and Jeff Neimac answered questions from me. I asked Hefferen, a former employee if he could’ve done his job better with Home Rule. He answered yes saying that hiring should be done on merit. The former county employee said jobs were doled out according to commissioners wishes not merit.
C.J. Kersey pointed out that a county manager will be chosen by council and that body will not be involved in day to day running of county. I pointed out that in 2003 without corruption, indictments and tax increases, the home rule yes people still got 46%. If the charter was successful, what type of transition team would be formed. County Council commissioners and others elected in the election of council in 2011 would make up the transition team to be up and running in 2012. A big issue was the streamlining of the legal services in the county. Kersey said there would be one law department so the county could have all legal work under one department instead of various row officers having their own solicitors.
Niemec added that the Charter would prevent the county row offices from suing each other in the county from suing itself. On the finances I told the group I was surprised to learn there were 68 different bank accounts for Luzerne County government. When I asked if there was a way to stop this if the Charter did not live up to expectations, the members said the charter structure remains for five yrs voters before voters can change it. Charter can be amended and Kersey pointed out that Lehigh Valley which has had a charter since 1976 has added more than 80 amendments. Other points, tax collectors won't lose jobs and the annual salary at least $80000 county mgr not to-exceed $160000. After consolidation there will be two row offices left. Division of Judicial services and Controller as well as the D.A. will be left. Elected officials were asked to attend, none did although Red O’Brien made an initial commitment. One man summed up his feelings by saying, “this is our home, we have to make it better, that’s why I’m voting yes”. More than fifty people were in attendance.
Overheard at the Home Rule forum: Hate the dike tax. We are being punished and then have to buy flood insurance on top of it…….. Casino gaming funds Republicans in Senate voted1/3 for property tax relief and 2/3 for stadiums and other projects and that if Ed Rendell winds up in Washington he and Obama deserve each other.

The LuLac Edition #1339, Oct. 20th, 2010



The LuLac Political Letter is happy to be moderating an informational session on Luzerne County Home Rule Wednesday night at 7PM at the Wyoming Valley West Middle School Auditorium. (It's the old Kingston High School for all you old timers out there!) The event starts at 7PM and the public is invited. I’ll be asking questions and asking for audience participation. So come on by.

The LuLac Edition #1338, Oct. 20th, 2010




This week we feature two articles on "Write On Wednesday" that are pro Home Rule. The first is a Letter To the Editor from a citizen activist, Mike Giamber, the second from an article by Kevin Blaum.
Are you ready for another property tax increase? County budget hearings are scheduled to begin later this month. Information derived from reliable sources projects an aggregate $18 million funding shortfall for 2011. However, after negotiations with cost center managers, the shortfall should be much less. The question is, how much less? All indications suggest another tax increase is in the making for 2011. Of course our minority commissioner will play the good guy voting "no" for any tax increase knowing full well that the two majority commissioners will have no choice but to vote "yes" or borrow more money to balance the budget.
However, there is a solution to higher taxes. Cut back on lucrative, sometimes obscene, benefits packages; say no to the court's request for yearly budget increases, if they want to sue, let them; automate some of the archaic redundant labor intensive administrative functions; make employees come to work and leave on time. I can go on, but you get the point.
In case the commissioners haven't noticed, the taxpayers are tapped out. Uncontrolled borrowing to the tune of $465 million, conducting a suspect $8 million dollar property reassessment, 10 percent property tax hike in 2009 and 15 percent in 2010 have done us in. But wait, there's more. Get ready for 2011.
Had enough? Did you know that we're spending $65,000/day in interest payments alone on money the commissioners borrowed to balance the budget? Our credit rating is in the toilet which means lending institutions won't refinance to a lower interest rate, adding insult to injury.
If you had enough, then vote "yes" for home rule this November. You can't afford not to.

Michael Giamber


Opponents of a new constitution for Luzerne County came out in a trickle Tuesday night, gathering at the Woodlands Inn & Resort, in Plains Township, to launch their campaign to defeat the latest citizen effort to change county government for the better.
From all reports it was a sad spectacle. The Times Leader reported about 35 people showed up, and the article pointed out that “many attending stand to be affected in some way should the charter pass.”
While the sparse turnout is uncharacteristic of a savvy political organization, don’t be fooled. This crowd, in and out of the courthouse, is capable of producing a couple hundred cheering fans on any given night, as needed.
Political opponents of Luzerne County’s proposed home rule charter want county government to remain intact. For them, this is very serious business. They will raise all the money they can to sink this charter and crush the new reform government it seeks to establish.
Most will not surface at staged meetings, open to the public, in area hotel ballrooms. Nearly all will remain under the radar when it comes to their unyielding opposition to improve county government. Few wish to be identified as opposing that which is so obviously necessary for the community good — a complete overhaul of county government.
Last week opponents of reform showed you but the tip of their fast moving iceberg set to a collision course with the people’s ship of hope — a new charter and government for Luzerne County residents.
The only meaningful thing put forward by charter political opponents was their plan, long predicted here, to form a political campaign committee to accumulate and expend money on media advertising to defeat your new constitution.
They will raise a fortune to beat you.
Understand, supporters of the home rule charter are, and will be, completely outgunned. While they are making presentations, talking policy and supporting a new reform government to improve our region, defenders of the status quo will be carpet bombing the airwaves with 30-second commercials attempting to rip reform and reality to shreds. But don’t be fooled.
Go to The Times Leader’s website, click on the Home Rule icon and check out the proposed charter: “Report and Recommended Home Rule Charter for Luzerne County.”
Read how it abolishes a system of county government with no checks and balances, where all legislative and executive power rests in the hands of two majority commissioners. Read how the charter eliminates all elected row office positions except those of district attorney and county controller.
Notice that it vests all legislative power in the hands of an 11-member county council, elected by the people, to staggered four-year terms. You will elect six council members one year, five two years later, and more residents will have a chance of being elected.
This citizen council will then do a national search and choose an experienced, professional manager who is qualified to run the day-to-day affairs of a county. This council-manager form of government is used widely throughout the United States. Immediately upon the selection of a manager, your new constitution erects a de facto firewall to maintain the manager’s independence from council.
Imagine a county executive who did not have to solicit or accept campaign contributions to get there. Imagine a county executive free to do his or her job without accepting calls and requests from contributors. Imagine a county ethics board, term limits and a strict prohibition on council involvement in hiring. Imagine your vote can make it happen.
We “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1337, Oct. 19th, 2010



Two weeks from today Pennsylvania will elect a new Governor. Here are the results of last week’s poll. As you can see Democrat Dan Onorato has a decent lead over GOP candidate Tom Corbett. Keep in mind LuLac land is Democratic country but the showing is still pretty impressive.





Our poll question centers on the Home Rule Charter vote.


Monday, October 18, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1336, Oct. 18th, 2010



Why would a charismatic former Admiral who is running behind in a U.S. Senate race give up appearances on TV and in a debate? That’s exactly what U.S. Congressman did tonight by not showing up for a PCN Call In show. Okay, I know PCN is not MSNBC or even Fox News for heaven’s sake but it was a forum to reach people most likely to vote. Once I can see but c’mon, there’s a pattern of behavior that I see is disturbing for a candidate. Unless there is a compelling reason I’m not aware of, this was still another mistake in the Sestak campaign. I wonder if the Admiral wishes he took up the President on his job offer in the administration right about now. We’re still voting for you Joe but that’s because we crossed party lines in ’04 to vote against Toomey in that GOP primary. Sometimes a good defense is all we got.


John Webster was taken to task this morning from a caller on WILK who said he was making an untoward reference toward the President’s use of the term “folks”. Somehow the caller said there was a tone in Webster that “concerned” her. Look, The President is a Harvard Grad and when he was running for President, his use of the term “folks” kind of made me cringe. To me it wasn’t real. It was like Obama was trying to get down with, well “the Folks”. You can make all the attempts you want as a President to reach “the folks” but in the final analysis none of “the folks” are going to be invited to the President’s book club. And this term crosses all parties and any other line of demarcation you want to make. Obama’s use of the term “folks” was to me just as insincere as John McCain calling my family “his friends”. Last time I looked, Cindy McCain wasn’t calling Mrs. LuLac up to talk about Coach handbags.


Listen to GOP candidate Tom Corbett’s voice and speech pattern. Doesn’t he sound like ESPN’s Chris Berman? Imagine Election Night and Dan Onorato pulls an upset, I can see someone like Brad Bumstead of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review or John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call saying to Mr. Corbett, “Now that you lost, where will you go?” and Corbett saying, “Back, back, back, back………………to the AG’s office!”



Good guys always get passes when they get in trouble. God knows my personality and past history let me get away with more than I ever deserved to. Not that I think I’m a good guy but there’s the perception. Ken Smith has always been known as a good guy. When the tax thing came out a few years ago, people were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because of his family name and ties. Then when he threw his wife under the bus for the taxes, we thought, okay, maybe she did handle the taxes. But this latest deal really makes Smith look bad. Because it concerns a few former workers. When you have a business, the ideal philosophy is that you should be the last to get paid. That is why it was unsettling when The Scranton Times reported Sunday thatt he state Department of Revenue has placed an $8,437 lien on the now-defunct restaurant owned by state Rep. Ken Smith, D-112, Dunmore, for failure to pay state personal income tax withheld from employees for at least the last two years. The lien follows a host of financial problems Smith's Restaurant has had, including its foreclosure in July. Earlier this month, Mr. Smith - who sits on the Labor Relations Committee in the state House - acknowledged he had also not paid another employee payroll tax toward the state Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. "Yes, we have an obligation to pay, and it will be met," Mr. Smith said Thursday, confirming he failed to pay the personal income tax withholding. "Our accountants are currently working on this." He said payroll had to be met, so the money was used to meet that. Asked if he had paid Social Security tax for employees, Mr. Smith said, "It's hard for me to say, because I don't have the details."
C’mon, you either paid them or didn’t Ken!
The Times also reports that former Smith's Restaurant employees have raised concerns that the federal Social Security payroll tax withheld was also not paid by the restaurant. A Social Security Administration earnings report from Allen Plotkin - a cook let go in 2007 after his wife died of cancer - showed in 2006 he earned "$0." Vito LoRusso Jr. of Dunmore - a chef downsized in 2009 - said his Social Security report shows no earnings for 2008. Though the South Scranton restaurant has been foreclosed on, the state lien filed Tuesday will apply to any other investments, bank accounts or other property the business had, said revenue spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell. The lien, filed in Lackawanna County Court, shows Mr. Smith failed since at least July 2008 to pay his employees' state income tax. The $8,437 represents unpaid taxes, as well as interest and penalties that have accumulated. There are no other civil penalties sought, though unpaid trust fund taxes - those withheld from employees and paid by employers - can be referred to the state attorney general if the Department of Revenue suspects "intentional deception and theft," Ms. Brassell said.
The bottom line here is that the perception is that by not paying those taxes, Smith was not looking out for his employees in the family business. I guess when you work for a family business, it is not safe to assume you will be “considered family” in the tax process. Even though as an employee you should have that reasonable expectation. Smith is running pretty much without opposition in the General. And he’ll win but he might be in for a world of hurt if the IRS gets involved. in this thing.