Sunday, January 31, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1084, Jan. 31st, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: THE BIG BUILDING ON NORTH RIVER.

STOP IT NOW!!!!

Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith said he’s not going to authorize any more extra pay for sheriff deputies to serve legal documents for civil court and mortgage foreclosures, so it will be up to the sheriff’s office and county officials to figure out an alternative. If you needed more evidence that things are so wrong in Luzerne County, you only had to hear the latest revelation dug up by the new Controller Walter Griffith. Griffith discovered that seven employees had been paid an additional $190,700 last year as compensation for using their own vehicles to serve the documents, often on county time. He said the employees should be using county sheriff vehicles to serve the documents and be scheduled to work some evening shifts to serve documents on people who aren’t around during regular work hours so little or no overtime is incurred.
The most disturbing part of this is that there were some workers earning more than their current salaries to serve documents. They earned the extra money on county time. That seems to me a double dip. My God who wouldn’t want to earn some extra cash while they were on the clock for their regular job!! And of course there’s the people who got this perk. Was it me? Was it that cousin of yours that has been out of work for two years? Was it that widow on your block trying to get her kids through college? Was it that 60 year old friend who just needs two more years to make it to the finish line for social security? Nope, it was the courthouse employees themselves in that department already earning a living on your tax payer dollars. This week the Commissioners took a first step in fixing this thing. A tax increase with no borrowing is a courageous step. I don’t mind paying taxes for essential services. And to pay a tax increase with the promise that the finances will come under control is something I don’t have a problem with. But the wide scale scamming and skimming off the top is something even Tony Soprano and his crew would be envious of. Raising taxes is part one. Part two is completing overhauling the Courthouse.
Folks, I have friends who tell me there are good, hard working underpaid employees under the dome. And that when I call for the place to be shut down that will hurt them. Maybe. But in life and any situation when something goes terribly wrong for so long, there is always collateral damage.
Again, given all of the abuses found in the Courthouse in almost every single department, I renew my call to freeze business for 30 to 60 days. Vacate every position there. Put everyone on unemployment compensation. Have everyone re-apply for their positions. This has got to stop.


FREEZE FRAME

Joe Valenti of Piitston Politics. Com found this video on YOU Tube. Have to share it with you. Here's a link to Joe's site. http://www.pittstonpolitics.com/



Saturday, January 30, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1083, Jan. 30th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.

INTERVIEW

This past week State Senator Ray Musto retired from public life. I talked with a former staffer of his who served on his team when Mr. Musto was in Congress. Here’s what he said:
Q: How’d you get the job?
A: I was at Georgetown and applied. Hiring a local kid who knew the town seemed to be one of the things that got me the job.
Q: Impressive surroundings?
A: No, Ray was a Freshman member but well thought of. But we were in a little office with a whole bunch of Selectric's (editor’s note: typewriters) and tables.
Q: What was your job?
A: We answered and wrote constituent letters.
Q: All the time?
A: Constantly. Mr. Musto was big on getting back to his people. It didn’t matter what party, what town, he really, really took it seriously.
Q: Were they form letters?
A: To the degree that there was a formula but the body of the letter was vintage Ray.
Q: Did you just crank them out all the time?
A: No, Ray always saw most of them and sometimes we’d get them back to re-write if a fact was wrong, a name or town was incorrect or if there wasn’t a reference he wanted. He had one person dedicated to answering questions on black lung. That's all that person did all day long.
Q: Do you think he was a good Congressman?
A: I think he didn’t have the time to be a good one. I mean a great one. He was more active than some guys were and those guys were there for years. But he was running a campaign, running an office, trying to learn the job and be on the floor.
Q: If he had not lost would you still be with him?
A: Certainly.
Q: Where did you go after?
A: Musto recommended me for a job at the Pentagon. I was hired January 19, 1981, a day before Reagan froze all new federal appointments.
Q: Did you ever give him money in exchange for that recommendation? I mean did you ever contribute to his campaign?
A: No. He just asked me what I was going to do and I told him I was applying there. He gave me a nice letter.
Q: That start date was pretty unique the day before the hiring freeze. Do you think Ray knew about that?
A: Possibly. It was surreal, here’s a man who lost an election, gave up a safe seat to go to Washington and his only concern was getting jobs for his staff, even low level idiots like me.
Q: You’re being pretty hard on yourself there.
A: (Laughing), we’re all idiots but to be a low level idiot takes some doing.
Q: Ray was a pretty good judge of staff over the years. Did anything get past him?
A: Not really. Although I think it surprised him that I was a Republican after he wrote out my letter of recommendation.
Q: What was his reaction?
A: "If being a Republican and getting a letter from me doesn’t get you in the Pentagon," he said, "then nothing will." He said maybe he should leave it for Nelligan. (editor note: Musto's successor and victor in the 1980 race).
Q: Do you think it (your affiliation) would have mattered?
A: No, Ray was totally politically color blind. He never saw the party, but the person.
Q: Lucky for you.
A: And lucky for his constituents.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1082, Jan. 29th, 2010



PHOTO INDEX: THREE CONGRESSMEN: FROM THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF ATTORNEY RONALD UNGVARSKY, A PHOTO FEATURING RAY MUSTO, DAN FLOOD AND FRANK HARRISON DURING A PARADE IN THE 80s. A PHOTO FROM RAY MUSTO'S FRST RACE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE IN 1971 AND OUR 1966 LOGO.

MUSTO RETIRES

Senator Ray Musto made it official the other day. He is stepping down after 37 years as an elected official. That’s the stat on his resume. The veteran lawmaker served in the state House from 1971 to 1980. He began his career when he was elected in a special election in 1971 to fill his late father James Musto’s unexpired term. Musto was then elected to Congress in a special election in 1980. In 1982, he was elected to the state Senate. Musto has the distinction of being among only a few public servants to serve in the U.S. Congress, the state House and state Senate. However Musto led a life of public service before assuming the vacant seat of his father in 1971. When Musto’s father was a State representative, the young Ray worked as an unpaid unofficial aide to his father. The younger Musto also kept on eye on the family store. The oldest child, he delayed his college education while his younger siblings sailed through colleges in four years. Musto got his degree the same year as he won his late father’s office. I'd like to clear up a few misconceptions I’ve been hearing about the Senator on talk radio and in the newspaper comment sections.
1. The Handoff: First, Musto was not handed his office when he succeeded his father. He had to fight like the dickens to get it because the local Democrats endorsed a local milkman named Roscoe Mulchahy. It didn’t hurt that Mulcahy was third district chairman. Musto was forced to run a Republican in the special election. As a high school junior, I volunteered to put 8 by 11 flyers on cars in supermarkets and bowling alleys The print piece had Musto’s name and ballot position circled so that voters, mostly Democrats would vote for Ray. So to those who said the office was handfed over to the younger Musto, I say you’re wrong.
2. Laying Low: I heard that all Musto did when he was in office was that he layed low and got goodies for his family. To be sure he helped out friends but it was part of his constituent service. After assuming office Musto continued the constituent service of his late father with the help of the late Paul Delaney as his point man in the Pittston office. There is a reason why Musto used to have more than 1500 people at his annual breakfast meetings in the fall. They were all friends of Ray.
3. Musto was a lifelong politician: It is true. Musto was just that, but he was proud to be a public servant. What we need in our society today are people not afraid to call themselves politicians. Musto embraced that title more than others. In his career he had token opposition in the General Assembly. When he ran for the Senate the only time he broke a sweat was in 1990 when fellow Democrats Frank Trinisewski and Brian O’Donnell ran against him. He beat those challenges back handily.
4.The Congress: Musto served briefly in Congress winning a Special Election in 1980 against the likes of Ed Mitchell, Paul Kanjorski, Dick Adams, and Frank Harrison. Many believe Musto lost the general because of the Reagan landslide and in fact that was partly true. Another component of that defeat was the defection of Democrats in Wilkes Barre who voted for Jim Nelligan in order to back a city candidate in 1982. (Dr. Tom O’Donnell or the ultimate winner in ’82 Frank Harrison were high on the list). In Saturday’s “Interview” segment we’ll talk to a former Musto staffer who worked in the D.C. office during the Congressman’s short tenure.
5. The Musto Dynasty: A lot has been said about a Musto dynasty. Musto’s kids never ran for office. His niece won her office. His brother ran for Judge twice and certainly didn't benefit from Ray's coattails. Musto won his office by the will of the people and not appointment. The recent appointment of former Judge Musto to Court Administrator (reported here earlier in the month) has tongues wagging. But truth be told, Joe Musto at his age could be doing better things than trying to rehabilitate the Luzerne County Court system. Were the Musto's provincial in some cases? You bet. There were some victory parties where only Musto family members were invited on stage. In this political world, family are the only ones you can trust. While there is not a Musto dynasty, there is a “Musto Tree”. Branches of people who worked in politics and public service because of their association with Ray Musto on the state and local level. To this day they serve the public with lessons they learned from Mr. Musto.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Here are some names bandied about for the seat in the 14th District. (Since 1966 when the District was gerrymandered, only two men have held the office, Musto for 28 years and the late Martin L. Murray for 16 years. It is unlikely a Republican will try to break this tradition. Here’s a list of Dems that might try:
John Yudichak: Heavily favored, he’s young, articulate, been a state rep for more than a decade and is a very good campaigner. His feud with Congressman Kanjorski will not be a factor since Kanjo will have his hands full trying to retain his own seat and not be a kingmaker.
Tom Leighton: The Wilkes Barre Mayor certainly has some achievements to point to with the revitalization of the city. In a primary, Leighton will have the strong Wilkes Barre Democrats out in force just as Bill Amesbury did in the Judicial race. The Mayor has a great relationship with Governor Rendell and might even use that leverage to gain a leg up. So he can be a factor.
Michael Lombardo: The former Pittston Mayor and Social worker has a state job that he’ll have to resign from should he run. Talk was Lombardo stepped aside in the contest for the Wilkes Barre Chamber job with Todd Vonderheid in anticipation of this very circumstance.
P.J. Best: Another name being tossed about is that of Study Commission activist P.J. Best who ran unsuccessfully in a primary against state Representative Mike Carroll. Best also was the impetus behind the Home Rule Charter.
Todd Eachus: The House Majority Leader might be hard pressed to give up his powerful position to be a Freshman in the Senate. And there has been controversy surrounding him this year because of Bonusgate. But he is an incredible campaigner with a huge warchest, has native ties to Wilkes Barre and can bring the Hazleton area voting bloc with him in a run for the seat.

MUSTO ON LULAC

This Saturday in Edition #1083 we interview a former Musto Congressional staffer. And check out our archives from June of 2009 when we did a Father's Day feature highlighting Senator Musto and his late father. Click Archives, June 2009 and look for Edition # 854, June 21st.

A SEAT AT THE TABLE?

I laughed my butt off Thursday when I heard the Republicans in Congress, in particular Representative John Boener asking for a “seat at the table” with the White House in getting things accomplished. What a crock! This self serving little dandy with his little rep tie sat on his hands with a scowl on his face when President Obama gave his State of the Union address. He has opposed every piece of progressive legislation for middle class families. He wants a seat at the table? To say no? Uh, I don’t think so.

TIM TEBOW AD

A lot has been said about Tim Tebow and his supposed Super Bowl ad where his mom talks about his life. Tebow’s mother was told she should have an abortion for her health. She didn’t. The ad focuses on the fact that Tim is a true, living success. The pro choice women’s groups are angry because the ad is going to be on the Super Bowl. Ladies, it’s all about choice. That’s what you say, right? Mrs. Tebow had a choice, she made it. The advertisers had a choice, they picked the Super Bowl. CBS had a choice to take the money and they did. You have a choice to protest the ad but a better idea might be to either keep your mouth shut because your opposition has given the ad more traction than it deserves or produce one of your own. And you all know how I feel about choice.

PCN EVENTS

PCN viewers will get an opportunity to hear from the candidates vying for the chance to get on the democratic ticket for Governor of Pennsylvania and U.S. Senate in the upcoming state primary.
EVENT 1:
Democratic Gubernatorial debate, hosted by PA Progressive Summit
Airs LIVE on PCN Friday, January 29 – 7:00 p.m.
Scheduled to attend: Chris Doherty, Joe Hoeffel, Tom Knox, Dan Onorato, and
PA Auditor General Jack Wagner
Re-airs on Saturday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m.
EVENT 2:
Democratic U.S. Senate forum hosted by PA Progressive Summit
Airs LIVE on PCN Saturday, January 30 – 7:30 p.m.
Invited to attend: Sen. Arlen Specter, D- PA and Rep. Joe Sestak, D – PA
Re-airs on Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m.

And Now for Something Completely Different

1966

The British government promises the U.S. that British troops in
Malaysia will stay until more peaceful conditions occur in the region...The first of 608 performances of Sweet Charity opens at the Palace Theatre in New York City.......Statewide, Philadelphia area businessman and Cable TV mogul Milton Shapp declares his candidacy for the Governor’s office in the state….and in Kingston’s newly reconstituted 5th district, Kingston GOP Council Chair Frank O’Connell enters the race for State Representative and 44 years ago this week the number 1 song in LuLac land and America was “A Well Respected Man” by the Kinks.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1081, Jan. 28th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: PRESIDENT OBAMA WITH THE SCRAPPY KID FROM SCRANTON LOOKING ON AT WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.

TAKING THEM ON....I HOPE

I was prepared to pan the President’s speech tonight. As a matter of fact I had a title for this segment called “Change In Retreat”. But after hearing the President’s clarion call for respect in government, I changed my mind. I have been disappointed in this President’s ability to tout some of the good things he has done along with his party in office. I have been dismayed by the lack of guts in dealing with recalcitrant members of his own party in trying to accomplish goals. My utter disgust for the party of no has been evident here since day one. So I was glad Mr. Obama really put the pedal to the metal tonight and called on his Congress to get moving. I hope he backs up his words with actions. The guy needs a political operative the Oval Office because these guys forgot how they got there.
Saying “I do not accept second place for the United States of America,” Obama compared the economic crisis to the greatest challenges of the nation’s past Wednesday night, saying “history’s call” demanded a years-long freeze on huge chunks of popular government spending programs.
One of the things the President did was finally tell people what good came of his stimulus package.
As we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed. That's why we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans; made health insurance 65% cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA; and passed 25 different tax cuts. Let me repeat: We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time home buyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.

Tea Party people and the GOP seem to have given the American people the impression that only they have a monopoly on cutting taxes. Pointing out these achievements was a good thing. But the President also addressed the gridlock he faces in the Congress. I’m glad he took aim at his own party which includes a bunch of cowardly pansies (Ben Nelson comes to mind) who would be scared off by a poodle as well as the obstructionists that represent the party of greats like Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.
Love that last line. That’s why I outlined it in red. But the best part of the speech was where the President talked about the deficit.
So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight. At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. That was before I walked in the door.
To all of my Republican friends out there, your party drove up the deficit by costly wars that were based on lies, bankrolling corporations like Haliburton and giving tax breaks to the richest people in this country. If you are so concerned about debt now …where the hell were you from 2001 to 2010. The speech was very good, but will be meaningless if the President doesn’t knock heads and take on people opposing his agenda. Let’s face it, as my buddy Ed Rendell said, better to go down fighting for principle and changing something than caving in and getting nothing.


KANJO RESPONDS


Congressman Kanjorski, a member of the House, a part of the Congress that actually passed legislation during the President’s first year had this statement. Kanjorski released the following statement regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, President Obama spoke openly to the American people about the struggles we face and how we can improve the lives for everyone going forward. Now is the time to work together to address the complex problems that reach way beyond the partisan bickering that has too often overwhelmed real debate on the issues. As the President said, we owe it to the American people to move forward, create more American jobs, reform Wall Street rules, control excessive spending, and turn our economy around. I very much agree.
“During the past two years, far too many Americans have personally experienced the devastating consequences of the economic crisis. Since joining Congress, my top priorities have been job creation and economic development, particularly in Northeastern Pennsylvania. During these difficult times, I agree with the President that we need to enhance and expand efforts to generate more jobs.
“The Recovery Act has preserved jobs throughout the nation, but we can, and we must, do more, much more. With my support, the House has already passed the Jobs for Main Street Act to create more jobs here at home. We must also do everything reasonably possible to turn the tide of our economy and improve the well being of every American. I am committed to doing just that. As I have continued to stress, fixing our economy will not happen overnight, but I have faith that we will emerge from these tough times stronger than ever.
“As we work to create new jobs, more jobs, and better jobs, we must also take action to change the rules of Wall Street and rein in the biggest financial institutions which caused the current crisis. As the President stressed, reforming Wall Street is essential to preventing another economic crisis like the one we just experienced. In December, with my strong support the House passed a Wall Street reform bill. This bill included my amendment to limit the risk of financial companies by preventing them from becoming ‘too big to fail.’ The President’s remarks tonight only strengthened my resolve to enact into law a common-sense financial regulatory reform bill to better protect the financial security of every American and fundamentally change the way Wall Street operates.
“Finally, the President outlined his plan to address the looming federal deficit. Because I worked with President Clinton to turn a massive deficit into a sizable budget surplus, I know we can fix this problem. To reverse the vast deficit built up in the last 8 years, we must now make tough choices. By making prudent fiscal decisions and creating a bipartisan budget task force, as the President stated, we can once again work to reduce our budget deficit, focus on national priorities, and decrease spending.”



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1080, Jan. 26th, 2010



PHOTO INDEX: GOP COMMISSIONER STEVE URBAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY TOM MARINO AND NEWLY MINTED JUDGE JOE COSGROVE.

URBAN LOOKING

Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban is going to make a run for Lieutenant Governor in the 2010 primary. Urban does not have a lot of dough in his coffers but that never stopped him before. Urban has run shoestring campaigns before and prevailed. Granted the state of Pennsylvania is no Luzerne County but here's a few advantages Urban has.
1. A good resume.
2. The perception that he might be the only clean untainted official in these parts.
3. An endless source of energy.
4. A crowded lackluster field in the race. The only person with strong name recognition is Philadelphia City Councilman Fran Rizzo, Frank's son.
5. Urban might be underestimated but not outworked.
It's a long shot but hey.............ya never know.

MARINO ON THE RUN

Tom Marino, former United States District Attorney in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, will make a major announcement about his political future in the 10th Congressional District at the following events on Wednesday, January 27, 2010. Here's his LuLac itinerary:
1:00PM Pierce Street Deli
517 Pierce Street
Kingston, PA
3:30PM Pallman’s Farm
1511 Summit Lake Road
S. Abington Township, PA
6:00PM Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort
205 Route 507
Hawley, PA
The announcement comes on the heels of increased voter anger toward policies in Washington that have led to record levels of unemployment, spending that is best described as reckless, and a government run health care plan that raises taxes and reduces care and services to seniors.

COSGROVE IN

Attorney Joe Cosgrove is Luzerne County's newest Judge. The Senate confirmed him 50-0. Cosgrove's appointment comes on the heels of the 1 year anniversary of the charging of Judges Conahan and Ciaverella. Cosgrove takes over the latter's post.

O'BRIEN'S NEW AD

11th Congressional candidate Corey O'Brien is up and running on TV. Here's his ad:



Sunday, January 24, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1079, Jan. 24th, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: THEN DISTRICT ATTORNEY TOM MACK WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY FROM CAMPAIGN AD AND CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE IN THE 10TH TED YALE. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE).

THOMAS MACK

Former Luzerne County District Attorney Tom Mack died the other day in Florida. Upon hearing of his death, I thought of his son, Mark who was a class mate of mine at St. John the Baptist Grade School in the early 60s. (By the way, the school and convent have been nearly demolished making the devastation nearly complete. Thanks Diocese of Scranton again for putting a knife through the hearts of Catholics in the Greater Pittston Area). I remember the excitement we all felt in the fall of 1963 when Mark’s dad Tom became the District Attorney in an upset victory over the incumbent Stephen Teller. Attorney Mack had the JFK style thing going on with the hair, the thin ties and the suits but underneath that sartorial veneer he had a hearty laugh and was engaging to all of his. Unlike most of our working class fathers who worked as laborers or factory employees Tom Mack wore a suit every time I saw him. But the way he interacted with everyone in our school told me that he never forgot the way he came up and certainly seemed to have that regular guy persona that served him well as a campaigner. As District Attorney, Tom Mack navigated through the legal and political channels of Luzerne County crime. We were a very different place back then with less violence and drugs. Mack would have been a shoo in for a second term because the office was managed pretty smoothly. Plus Attorney Mack’s office was a stone’s throw away from his legal headquarters on the corner of Union and River Streets. But in 1967 Tom Mack decided he wanted to be a Judge. He ran in a very competitive election that saw the re-emergence of the Democratic party as a power. Plus in that race there were complications that blurred the lines. First off Peter Paul Olszewski Senior changed from the Republican party to the Democratic party. It was also the first time that Judges could run on both tickets. Mack ran an aggressive campaign relying heavily on full page newspaper ads, brochures, and various media. In the end the voters picked a Democrat Olszewski Senior and a Republican Robert Hourigan as Judges. Democrat Ralph Johnston and Mack finished out of the money. Judging from the vote totals it appeared the two parties conspired to election one Dem and one Republican because there was an 8,000 vote spread between Hourigan and Johnston and Mack. As a matter of fact Johnson and Mack were within 28 votes of each other. It was clear to Attorney Johnston and District Attorney Mack that the political deal was done between party bosses Doris (for the Dems) and Senator Wood (for the GOP). Mack went on to become a successful attorney in private practice after leaving the DA’s office to his successor Blythe Evans of Plymouth. We send our condolences to his family. Here is his obituary from the Times Leader.
In local legal circles, he was a legend. He was an exceptional trial lawyer. Former District Attorney Thomas Edward Mack Sr., passed away Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. He was devoted to his family, home and church while successfully serving Luzerne County and his country with the greatest of dignity, dedication to public service and justice for all. Thomas Mack Sr. was a dry, sardonic wit, a lover of the judicial system, great food, theatre, tennis, and Jazz Standard songs. He enjoyed getting dressed up in a suit with a bowtie to listen and dance to musicians as they performed. He especially loved to sing songs from Cole Porter, the McNamara's Band, and the great American Songbook with his favorite pianist, Jimmy McCarthy, accompanying him at Pelican Cove in Sarasota, and the Summer House, in Siesta Key. Mr. Mack Sr. had a colorful life indeed. A complete account of his life, or a well-done critical essay on his work, would take up more space than "Goodbye" has available, so instead a pleasurable list of highlights is presented here. Thomas Mack Sr. made a typically dramatic entrance on May 15, 1924, to his parents Catherine and Anthony Mikelonis, and was raised from humble and modest beginnings in Wilkes-Barre. Having a strong work ethic and desire to learn and educate himself, he led a fulfilling and successful life, while supporting his entire family. Mr. Mack attended Coughlin High School. He became one of the youngest second lieutenants to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II as a navigator on a B-17 bomber. Afterwards, Thomas graduated from Mansfield State Teachers College, and then received a Juris Doctorate from Dickinson Law School. Thomas Edward Mack Sr. served as the Luzerne County District Attorney from 1964 through 1967. District Attorney Mack was a very well-respected lawyer within the courtroom, and was admired by both attorneys who practiced with him as well as against him. He was often a sought after and willing speaker for many community events and fundraisers. He was a member of the Luzerne County Bar Association, President of Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America for decades, Former President of the Tatra Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Sarasota Jazz Club. He retired to Sarasota, Fla., to live the rest of his life that he referred to as "paradise." At age 85, his most courageous battle with life ended peacefully with his wife, Anne, and his English Bulldog, "Maxine," by his side. His children traveled often to be with him, and in the end to honor him as a father and friend. Matt Vander Mije, Anne Mack's grandson, also adored Tom and assisted him regularly, especially during the last six months of his life with the kindness and patience of a saint. He is preceded in death by his sisters, Ruth and Genevieve; his brother, Leonard; and daughter, Marlena Mack. Mr. Mack Sr. is survived by his wife, Anne Cullen Mack; three sons, Attorney Mark Mack and his fiancée, Lorie McCarthy; Thomas Mack Jr., Dean Mack and his fiancée, Kelly Girman; daughter, Dr. Heather Mack and her husband, Dr. John McConnell; six grandchildren, Bianca and Simone Kornfeld, Olivia Anderson, Bella and Madaline Mack, Elia Volpe, brother, Charles Mack of New Orleans, La.; as well as his former wife, Patricia Pipa. His extended family in Sarasota, the Ericksons, Sterlings, Jacksons, and Stonges, will miss his Thanksgiving toasts, magic tricks and fun songs. A celebration of Attorney Thomas Mack's life will be held in Sarasota in private. A spiritual tribute will be at The Dream Ranch, Clayton, Idaho, in the spring. Burial arrangements will be in The National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida. Condolences may be mailed to Mack Law Offices, 281 Pierce St., Kingston, PA 18704.

TED YALE FOR CONGRESS

Ted Yale is running hard for Congress and here’s some news about his upcoming event in the 10th Congressional District.
"Campaign Kickoff Meet & Greet" on Wednesday, January 27
at 5:00pm.
Event: Campaign Kickoff Meet & Greet
What: Rally
Start Time: Wednesday, January 27 at 5:00pm
End Time: Wednesday, January 27 at 6:15pm
Where: The Tom Quick Inn

KANJORSKI ON CNBC

On Monday, January 25, 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 for one hour to co-host the program. Chairman Kanjorski will discuss a variety of issues including his efforts to reform Wall Street and better protect every American, including by preventing companies that are “too big to fail” from existing.
DETAILS: Monday, January 25 from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
On Thursday, President Obama announced his proposal to limit the size and scope of financial institutions and better protect taxpayers by preventing companies from becoming “too big to fail.” The President’s proposal is similar to the Kanjorski amendment that was included in H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which the House passed on December 11. The Kanjorski amendment would empower federal regulators to rein in and dismantle financial firms that are so large, inter-connected or risky that their collapse would put at risk the entire American economic system, even if those firms currently appear to be well capitalized and healthy. Therefore, American taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for bailouts, as financial companies would not be able to become “too big to fail.”

O’BRIEN ON THE MOVE

Corey O’Brien has reacted to the recent political event in Massachusetts with a point by point reaction as to why his insurgent campaign will work better in the fall of 2010. Take a look at this:
We have spent far too long catering to Wall Street and propping up vulnerable incumbents in safe Democratic districts. Now, the same people who got us into this Wall Street mess are trying to position themselves as the solution to the problem. The American people are not buying it.The Democratic Party is at risk of losing a significant number of seats unless we nominate fresh faces. The American people are going to bring sweeping change to Congress in 2010. As Democrats, we can be a part of that sweeping change or we can lose. PA-11 is a Perfect Example:1. PA-11 should be, by all accounts, a relatively safe Democratic seat - 56% Democratic and 32% Republican.2. Paul Kanjorski (D) beat Lou Barletta (R) by 13% in 2002.3. In 2008, while then-Senator Obama beat McCain by 15% in district, Kanjorski only beat Barletta by 3%.4. Kanjorski does not have the coattails of President Obama in 2010. 5. Can Kanjorski win without the Obama coattails after a razor-thin victory in 2008?6. Democratic incumbents are not more popular than they were 2 years ago.7. Nominating a fresh face maximizes our chance for victory in 2010.It’s time for our party to wake up, shake off Massachusetts and rebuild with new leaders who have strong records that will appeal to voters in 2010. Please visit
www.obrien2010.com
for more information on my campaign.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1078, Jan. 23rd, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.


INTERVIEW

This week there was a dust up over Luzerne County Elections Chief Len Piazza posting on FaceBook during work hours. I talked to a person employed in private industry and asked about his own Internet habits.
Q: Do you surf the Internet on your job?
A: Sure.
Q: During work hours?
A: If it’s breaking news or an emergency, yeah. I usually do it once an hour.
Q: And your supervisor knows?
A: Yeah but I don’t abuse it. I work in a three person cubicle area and as long as I process my orders and things are okay, I’ve heard no complaints.
Q: When other people abuse it, what happens?
A: A warning. You can’t order anything from work, bet on line, look at porn because the company can see it all.
Q: Have people in your company done that?
A: A few I know of.
Q: What happened to them?
A: Haven’t seen them lately.
Q: How ‘bout lunch?
A: I eat at my desk and go on CNN, ESPN, Fox Sports. I even listen to music.
Q: Are they cool with that?
A: Oh yeah as long as you keep the volume down.
Q: What else you read?
A: Once in a while WILK and Fox. The Times Leader, the Voice, the Scranton Times and the PA HomePage for the weather. Plus LuLac and Gort.
Q: You’re just saying that to make me feel good, right?
A: Yeah. No, I’ll read you when things get crazy under the roof on River Street.
Q: How am I doing?
A: Well you’re no Kristi Capel or Huffington Post but then who the hell is.
Q: Very true. Wanna friend me on FaceBook?
A: Uh, no. I'll pass.


Friday, January 22, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1077, Jan. 22nd, 2010



PHOTO INDEX: GOVERNOR ED RENDELL DISEMBARKING WITH ORPHANS FROM HAITI, OUR 1966 LOGO AND LACKAWANNA COUNTY COMMISSIONER A.J. MUNCHAK.

EDDIE AND THE ORPHANS

He might have lost points with some Pennsylvanians for his tough stance on the 2009 state budget. And he certainly drove his counterparts on Eagles Post Game live crazy by suggesting to viewers they tune in a Godzilla movie instead of hearing about the woes of the Birds on Comcast. But Ed Rendell made an international splash and showed why he is a man of action when he went to Haiti, scooped up a bunch of orphans, got them to one of the finest Childrens hospitals in the Commonwealth and then got them adopted. Pretty good for a lame duck. Dozens of Haitian orphans from the devastated Caribbean nation arrived in Pennsylvania Tuesday to meet their newly adoptive parents. Rendell and a crew of medical personnel traveled aboard a plane with the 54 Haitian children, who landed in Pittsburgh Tuesday morning. The orphans — who are all under age 4 — were taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, examined by doctors and cleared by Homeland Security. From CBS a report on the new homes and parents of the kids Rendell saved.



THE LAC’S NEXT

The feds are going to hand down some serious charges in Lackawanna County next month. Questions abound regarding the recent majority commissioners Bob Cordaro and A.J. Munchak. Munchak was in a multi hour meeting with the feds. When his lawyer was questioned whether Muchak would be charged, he said, “We hope not”. Gulp and double gulp. More to come.

O’BRIEN ON VIDEO

11th Congressional District candidate Corey O’Brien released a new video this past weak. It is well done and tells the Corey O’Brien story. The recent developments in New England give challengers like the Lackawanna County Democrat a justification for running hard against a multi term, incumbent. Here’s that video:


KANJORSKI COMMENTS

Incumbent Congressman Paul Kanjorski made this statement regarding President Obama’s thoughts on the curbing of big banking institutions. Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, provided the following statement supporting the President’s proposal to limit the size and scope of financial institutions and better protect taxpayers by preventing companies that are deemed “too big to fail” to exist. The President’s proposal is similar to the Kanjorski amendment that was included in H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which the House passed on December 11. The Kanjorski amendment would empower federal regulators to rein in and dismantle financial firms that are so large, inter-connected or risky that their collapse would put at risk the entire American economic system, even if those firms currently appear to be well capitalized and healthy. Therefore, American taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for bailouts, as financial companies would not be able to become “too big to fail.”
“I applaud President Obama for joining me in working to end the era of reckless financial institutions that have become so large and interconnected that they could be deemed ‘too big to fail’,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “A year and a half ago, Congress took drastic, but necessary action, to prevent an economic disaster that would have severely affected every American and set back our financial system by decades. But, many of the financial companies do not seem to have learned their lessons from that harrowing experience. In November, I took the first action in Congress to prevent companies from becoming too interconnected and risky by introducing an amendment, which was included in the House-passed Wall Street reform bill, to prevent companies from becoming ‘too big to fail.’ Now that the President has put forward a similar proposal, I hope that we can work to enact Wall Street reform that will better protect every American and ensure that no single company can pose a risk to the entire economy. We owe it to the American people to make these ideas a reality.”
A summary of the Kanjorski amendment follows:
Objective Standards. Size is by no means the only factor to determine if a financial company is “too big to fail.” The recent financial crisis has shown that many other factors can also cause a company to become a systemic risk. Rather, the amendment considers a variety of objective standards to determine if financial firms pose a threat to our financial stability, including the scope, scale, exposure, leverage, interconnectedness of financial activities, as well as size of the financial company. The Kanjorski amendment does not cap the size of financial institutions.
Mitigatory Actions. If a financial company is deemed systemically risky, the Kanjorski amendment provides responsible preventative actions to protect our financial system and curtail those risks. These include modifying existing prudential standards, imposing conditions on or terminating activities, limiting mergers and acquisitions, and in the most extreme cases, breaking up a financial company.
Protects American Competitiveness. We have learned from this financial crisis that we are all connected. The Kanjorski amendment addresses the concern that our regulatory system works in conjunction with those around the globe. Currently, the European Union is considering similar action, and harmonized regulations would benefit both economies.

1966

Indira Gandhi is elected Prime Minister of India; she is sworn in January 24........... Demonstrations occur against high food prices in Hungary.... Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro resigns due to a power struggle in his party..... In Pennsylvania news that Interstate 80 will be completed four years ahead of schedule. As early as 1966 there were 103 miles of I80 in use…..in Luzerne County Commissioners voted 3-0 to borrow one million dollars against tax revenue to balance the budget. GOPers James Post, William Goss and Democrat Ed Wideman decided that at the weekly Commissioner’s meeting and the number 1 song in Lulac land and America was “As Tears Go By” by the Rolling Stones.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1076, Jan. 20th, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: FACEBOOK LOGO AND COUNTY BUREAU OF ELECTIONS CHIEF LEN PIAZZA.

LENNY AND FACEBOOK

Apparently there is a big deal going on about the fact that Luzerne County Board of Elections head Leonard Piazza is working on his FaceBook page while at work. Here’s my take on this.
1. Piazza is a salaried employee. He can take his lunch or a few minutes out of the day to do anything he wants. Last I heard there is no policy for someone checking the internet.
2. If Piazza is going to be criticized for posting on FaceBook or Twitter when he is working his set hours, then I personally think he should be commended for responding to questions “after hours”. Let me explain. There have been at least 6 occasions when I e mailed Piazza through my personal e mail account or through FaceBook on a question I was researching for LuLac. Every single time it was after 8pm at night. His response was within 15 minutes every single time. Piazza answered business related questions after his shift. Today Sue Henry suggested that a letter be put in his file saying he was posting on FaceBook during the day. I’ll gladly write a counter letter of praise to that reprimand (if there is one) saying Piazza answered my inquiry after regular business hours.
3. Employers have different rules on using the Internet. I have worked for some companies where I used my lunch hour to publish LuLac. I even worked for one company that allowed me to write my books if there was down time. The agreement was that when called upon to do my work, my writing took second place. And I might add I was an hourly employee. Plus if I had a nickel for everytime I saw a Supervisor looking at purses or recipes on a business computer, I'd be in a mansion in Jamaica.
4. Piazza is a victim of the theory that everybody under the dome is dirty or corrupt. He has done an incredible job of disseminating information to campaigns and the media. And he has not favored one group over the other. Len Piazza should not be pilloried in the community for social networking during the day when he is at work. To do so is to make a mountain out of a molehill and defame the character and work ethic of a good man.

The LuLac Edition #1075, Jan. 20th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: MARTHA COAKLEY, DEFEATED SENATE CANDIDATE.

DROPPING THE TORCH

In 2006, the Massachusetts lieutenant governor passed over Scott Brown as a potential running mate in her bid to replace then-Gov. Mitt Romney because she and her staff saw him as a political lightweight. On Tuesday, Brown pulled off a huge political upset, defeating Democrat Martha Coakley — in one of the bluest states in the country — to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Brown not only regained control of a seat the Democrats had held for more than a half-century but gave the GOP the vote it needed to break the Democrats' Senate supermajority and block the health care overhaul nearly finished by President Barack Obama. He was the first Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts since 1972. The Senate seats has been in the hands of the Democrats and in particular the Kennedy family since before even I was born! Brown campaigned on the fact that he would be the forty first vote to stop health care. It is very ironic that the pet issue of the late Senator Ted Kennedy might be derailed by a Republican taking his seat. One can only wonder what would have happened if Joe Kennedy the third, Bobby’s son or one of the other Kennedy clan might have fared if they had made the race. The Bay State has not been too friendly to women candidates, only Paul Tsongus’ widow serves in the Congressional delegation.
Another factor is how will this affect the Democratic party. One has to wonder if this will cause President Obama to even cower even more in his silly bid for bi partisanship or if he will finally grow a set and pass his legislation through reconciliation. Why in the world this Democratic majority got stuck on the number 60 when passing Legislation is beyond me. The Democrats who won the election as a party of change have catered to and kissed the behinds of centrist Dems like Jim Webb and turncoats like Joe Lieberman. Hell, while they are it, why not move Barack, Michelle and the girls and hand the keys of the White House to the GOP. Again I repeat the old line from the country western song, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”. Democrats, you are falling and it is your own fault. My heartfelt congratulations to Senator elect Scott Brown and the GOP, you saw a weakness and took an opportunity. You deserve the win but not as much as the weak kneed, chicken hearted Democrats deserve the loss. I think what pisses me off the most about this is that the legacy of Ted Kennedy deserved better. How in the hell could a candidate from his own party and own state not articulate the late Senator’s passion on health care? Incredible.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1074, Jan. 19th, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: WALL STREET AND THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF PAUL REVERE.

TAKING ON THE BANKS

In case you didn't see or hear the President's radio address this week, I have decided to run the video in its entirety. President Obama lays out a plan on how average Main Street Americans can recoup the plunder from the bankers on Wall Street.


A REVOLT???

One of our regular posters is Jim Lyons of the Wilkes Barre GOP 6th District. Jim is an articulate writer and great, funny guy who loves America and his politics. This is something he put up on the 6th District site the other day. I vehemently disagree with Jim's New England high hopes. But it's a great article and thought my LuLac readers should see it.

Revolution is afoot!
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere....
From The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Something absolutely stunning is happening in Massachusetts.
Revolution is afoot.
The special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, a seat the Democrats clearly thought was a slam-dunk "sure thing," is on the verge of going to Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown.
Brown's opponent, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakely, has seen the bottom fall out of her campaign. A double digit lead in the polls evaporated over the past few days, with some polls favoring Brown and many saying the race is "...too close to call."
What tipped it?
This simple statement by Scott Brown during the Massachusetts Senate debate: "...With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedy’s seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat."
Since making that statement, Brown's campaign has seen a massive infusion of cash. In fact, it's been called a "moneybomb" and contributions have flooded into his campaign from frustrated Americans all across the nation. Regular folks. Folks who want their country back and are using this Senate race to send a clear message: A revolution at the polls is coming.
Here's a smattering of some of the
comments posted at the Washington Examiner
:
...I sent $100 from Ohio on Monday, and emailed everyone on my contact list to do the same. Go Brown Go!!
...Sending money from California. I know a lot of people who are. Let The People Speak for the People's Seat...
...The folks get it. Brown can stop Pelosi, Reid and the insanity that is Obamanation. It should be a message heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill. No to Cap & Tax, No to Obamacare, No to Illegal Immigration Amnesty, No to Bailouts and No to insane spending. Are you listening,Washington elites?
...Sent money from Idaho--Go Scott!
...To the people of the great state of Massachusetts: We're watching and hoping that you will rise up and vote for Scott Brown. This is beyond party---This is for our COUNTRY...
...Sent money from Louisiana. God bless America and term limits.
...I sent Scott some money from NJ. He's a great American Patriot to run as a conservative and inspire everyone. The Tea Party group I belong to also supports Scott Brown. This is so important - thank God we're all pulling in the right direction. There is hope for this country now...
So what is the relevance for us, here in northeastern Pennsylvania?
It shows that when push comes to shove, the People still run this country. If a Republican can seriously threaten ...and perhaps even win ...a seat held by Democrats since 1962 in a state where no Republican Senator has served since 1979 ...then surely we can change the political map here in Luzerne County.
So let's register voters. Let's grow our Party. Let's do whatever we can to assure that when one of the People's seats are up for election locally, a Republican will have the honor and privilege of serving them in it.
Revolution is afoot!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1073, Jan. 17th, 2010


WILK ON FOX TV

Tomorrow starts a new era on Fox 56 TV and WILK Radio. The Morning Show with Kevin Lynn and Nancy Kman airs from 7am to 8am. I have been called a WILK apologist for a long time. So I’m sure I’ll get heat for this but I think this is going to be pretty exciting. Here’s some video of the gang setting up for their big day which will be tomorrow the 18th.

The LuLac Edition #1072, Jan. 17th, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: GATEWAY ENERGY LOGO AND PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE SPEAKER KEITH McCALL.

ENERGY ERA BEGINS

Gateway Energy Services plans to begin marketing its electricity offer on Monday, more than two weeks after rate caps expired for PPL Electric Utilities customers.
Those who waited, however, stand to benefit. The rate Gateway is offering, with all comparable taxes and fees included, is guaranteed to be at least 10.5-percent lower than PPL’s 2010 offering. PPL’s price to compare through December 2010 is 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Gateway’s offer for the same time period is 9.35 cents per kwh. The rate has a cancellation fee of $12.50 for each month of the contract that isn’t completed. The fixed rates include the cancellation fee. The variable rate has no cancellation fee, but the rate could go up or down depending on current market conditions. Military service members, both currently active and veterans, receive a discount on that rate. Here's a brief video on energy choice and what it cabn mean to utility consumers in our area.

If anyone of my LuLac readers want information on these rates, shoot me an e mail at DYonki@gesc.com with your contact number and I’ll discuss options with you.

McCALL CALLS IT QUITS

State House Speaker Keith R. McCall said this week he would not seek another term in the Legislature. This creates a power vacuum in a chamber embroiled in scandal. McCall, just fifty, said his decision to retire was largely driven by a desire to spend more time with his family. Boy that’s always the fail safe isn’t it? Spend some time with the family. House Majority Leader
Todd Eachus, a likely successor if he doesn’t get pinched in Bonusgate praised McCall. “He has represented the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania with great pride and distinction, and has shown an unyielding commitment to working families. He will leave behind a legacy of accomplishments, including advancing significant policies in transportation, consumer affairs, economic development and energy,” said Eachus. The Legislature has been in a continual state of crisis in the year since McCall, of Carbon County, was elected speaker. There have been a series of arrests in the attorney general’s legislative corruption investigation, and budget negotiations, in which he played a central role, were not resolved until more than three months after the July 1 deadline had passed. McCall has been the third House Speaker in just 2 sessions. Preceding him was Dennis O’Brien, a coalition candidate that gave the State House to the Dems in early 2007, prior to that the Speaker was John Perzel, a GOP stalwart now under indictment. Dovetailing on this story is our own local Representative John Yudichak calling for the limiting of years a House of Representatives member can serve in a particular leadership position. Yudichak said the gambit will offer real reform in the Harrisburg. House leaders have served the same leadership position under several governors and Yudichak feels that leaders can sometimes garner too much power. After lawmakers reconvene in Harrisburg on Jan. 25 he is planning on presenting legislation to implement eight-year term limits on House leaders by changing the rules that govern how the House of Representatives operate. These term limits would affect Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Whip, Caucus chairman, Policy chairman, House Secretary and Caucus Administrator.

OFF TO BEANTOWN

Pennsylvania Republican are headed to Boston for the next three days to try and help the GOP wrest the Democratic Senate seat that has been under their control since 1952. The Massachusetts Senate seat was held by John F. Kennedy, then a family friend Ben Smith, then Edward M. Kennedy, and after his passing another family friend of the Kennedy’s, Paul Kirk. In a recent primary Democrats chose Martha Coakley as the successor to the Kennedy "seat". Coakley is in the battle for her political life. Also the Democratic majority in the Senate hangs in the balance. Here's the GOP announcement. With less than 72 hours t the Republican Party of Pennsylvania is doing everything it can to ensure that Republican Scott Brown is victorious on Tuesday! Tomorrow, the PA GOP will be deploying a bus full of seasoned campaigners to help bring Scott Brown’s message of fiscal responsibility and opposition to government-run health care to the Massachusetts voters, but we need YOUR help getting there! The outcome of the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election will have a major influence on President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans for government-run health care, national security and our economic future.

TEDDY PENDERGRAST

Soul singer Teddy Pendergast died this week. Pendergast was with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes but also struck out on his own. Paralyzed in a van crash in the 80s, the singer soldiered on and was an inspiration to many. On this Martin Luther King weekend, here’s one of his best.




Saturday, January 16, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1071, Jan. 16th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.

INTERVIEW

This weekend will be a smorgasbord for football fans in LuLac land and the world. The fascination of pro football is ingrained in our culture. I talked this week with a fellow who follows the games very closely for himself and a few hundred others.
Q: Are you a bookie?
A: That’s what they used to be called but I like to think of myself as an entertainment coordinator.
Q: Okay, is this your real job?
A: No I work in a health care facility.
Q: Well then how in the world did you get into this?
A: I started running innocent pools at my work and social club.
Q: What town is the social club in?
A: I ain’t telling you that pal. Want me to stop talking?
Q: No go ahead.
A: I started running pools and people were happy with them. They won big prizes. So they had friends who had friends and now I have a little club of about 300 or so who bet on the games, especially the NFL and Notre Dame.
Q: How do you arrange this?
A: I take the name, the team, what they want to bet and watch the action. Then whoever wins gets a payout.
Q: Biggest winner?
A: $1,000 bucks.
Q: What’s the highest bet?
A: The highest anybody can bet is $100.
Q: How do you make your profit?
A: I get a percentage off of the top. And when someone wins big, I get a little token of their appreciation.
Q: Do you take action from the politicians?
A: No but I understand the Courthouse guys love to bet.
Q: Never got involved in that?
A: Naw, I don’t get greedy. My busy times are the NFL playoffs, the Bowls, and the World Series.
Q: Describe your customer?
A: It aint like the old days. These people aren’t horse players or those guys and gals who go to Mohegan Sun all the time. These are social betters who kick in an average of $200 a year. Shit, half of the girls who bet don’t know a Bengal from a Packer.
Q: Who do you like in the Super Bowl?
A: Dallas and Indy.
Q: Do you ever get involved in political betting like Jimmy the Greek did, like do you think Obama will win a second term?
A: Can he run again after this?
Q: Uh, never mind.
A: Want to bet the weekend?
Q: No I have notorious luck. One year, in the 1978 season my dad and I bet the entire NFL schedule. It was fake money. We lost about $5,000.
A: Fake money though, right?
Q: God yeah, we wouldn’t use real money for that, the games are too unpredictable. A: Then you weren’t real gamblers. The gambler likes the unpredictability of it all.
Q: But you predict games right?
A: Not me, I just facilitate other people predicting them. My money is a sure thing.
Q: Predictable?
A: Precisely.


Friday, January 15, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1070, Jan. 15th, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: OUR 1966 LOGO, GOVERNOR TOM RIDGE WITH JIM FITZGERALD AND THIS BLOG EDITOR.

RIDGE IN TOWN

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Luzerne County Republican Party. The event will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Ramada Hotel on Public Square. Ridge, a two-term governor and first Secretary of Homeland Security, will present an award to Patrick J. Solano, a longtime party worker and former GOP County Chairman. County Republican Chairman Terry Casey said the organization is “thrilled” that Ridge will join the group for its annual fundraiser. Republicans across the United States traditionally hold Lincoln Day events to honor the Feb. 12 birth of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president. “We’re excited to be hosting Gov. Ridge who is a motivating speaker and we’re glad that he has accepted our invitation to honor his longtime friend Pat Solano,” Casey said. The award will recognize Solano, 84, of Pittston Township, for his decades of service to the Republican Party, both on the local and state levels. Solano is a past chairman of the county GOP and worked with several governors including Ridge. Ridge, 64, is president and CEO of Ridge Global LLC, a team of international experts that helps businesses and governments address a range of needs throughout their organizations including risk management and global trade security. He resigned as governor in January 2002 to accept the position of Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. He served until February 2005. A decorated Vietnam veteran, Ridge is an honors graduate of Harvard University and a graduate of Dickinson School of Law. He served in Congress before running for governor. He and his wife Michele have two children. Tickets for the Lincoln Day Dinner cost $50 each. Reservations may be made by calling 208-4671 or e-mailing
lcgop@luzernegop.org. Tables of 10 are available for sale. Guests are asked to specify an entrée choice of prime rib, chicken francaise or grilled salmon.

PALIN ON TV

Sarah Palin is getting a TV gig on Fox. No big surprise there but what you will see is a more relaxed, confident polished Palin who will improve her intellectual persona. Ronald Reagan stayed in the public eye in the late 70s before his Presidential bid in 1980. Palin is taking a page out of that playbook.

CALLING DR. JOE

Dr. Joe Leonardi will be on Channel 44's Call the Doctor Sunday afternoon at 2PM. The former Congressional candidate will be spreading his message of health on the popular Public TV program.

ONWARD SILLY SOLDIERS

Thursday on the 700 Club, former Presidential candidate Pat Robertson stated that the earthquake in Haiti was, “God’s vengeance upon the Haitians for making a deal with the devil to rid themselves of the French.” This is another good reason
WHY I’M A ROMAN CATHOLIC INSTEAD OF A CHRISTIAN. First a bit of background. The French left Haiti in 1825 so I’m wondering why God would wish to exact his “vengeance” almost 200 years after the fact. I’ve read the Bible. I took Bible classes at King’s College with great theologians like Fathers Campbell and Grimes. Sometimes when I’m not thinking of tall women or baseball stats or the NFL, I even listen to the sermons in church. That’s not the type of God I heard about.
Pat Robertson and his ilk are what’s wrong with this country today. But what about free speech?” you might ask. What about it? I’m not saying anyone can't have the right to express themselves, but they have no right to claim their opinions are true facts. And mindless people nod their heads and say yes. And some are even stupid enough to give money to these Christian clowns. We live in a country where two people who love each other can’t get married because they just happen to have the same gender and I believe it’s mainly because of fear mongers like Pat Robertson. You know there are thousands of idiots who because of Robertson’s speech, believe a whole country of people in pain who are suffering from a catastrophic earthquake deserved this. If their ancestors some time along the way made a “deal with the devil", then what about America's deal? Robertson didn’t blame 911 on our sins did he? ” Those signs at sporting events “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” (John 3:16). Let me say that Jesus dying for all of us makes me wonder if the likes of Roberton’s crazy vengeance was worth the sacrifice.

LEADING IN THE LAC

In Lackawanna County the County Commissioners approved a purchase agreement to sell the county nursing home for $13.4 million, That is more $3.6 million more than the appraised value. The deal with is expected to close March 1, pending regulatory approvals, said Harriet Franklin, of Stevens & Lee, the law firm hired to help manage the deal. There is no anticipation of problems with approvals, she said. The Scranton Times reported that the sale was necessary to fill a $3.1 million hole projected in the 2010 budget. Majority Commissioners Mike Washo and Corey O'Brien said of more significance is that the action will reduce the size of county government. It will cut the county work force by 22 percent and take the county out of the nursing home business. A government-run nursing home in Lackawanna County has existed in some form for more than a century, but Mr. Washo said private businesses are now successfully managing nursing homes. "Government has no business running businesses," Mr. Washo said. Meanwhile in Luzerne County, After four years of waiting, Luzerne County Commissioners will be free to sell the Valley Crest Nursing Home property in Plains Township next month because the home’s operator is moving into its new facility. A grand opening of the company’s new nearby facility, which will be called Timber Ridge Health Care Center, is scheduled for Jan. 21. Complete HealthCare paid for the $12 million, 180-bed facility. Valley Crest’s 160 residents will start moving into Timber Ridge the first week of February, said Pete Licari, Complete HealthCare’s president and chief executive officer.

THE LONG GOODBYE

You know when I left jobs, I never got a few checks a few years after I exited. But that's what happened to Tom O'Donnell. According to the Times Leader Thomas O’Donnell may have retired as administrative director last February, but the
Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center is still writing checks for him, a source said, including one worth more than $25,000 and another for $45,000 this month. The school also is covering O’Donnell’s life insurance through the 2013-14 school year. You have to wonder why taxes in Wilkes Barre Area continue to go up. Politically you know the answer why any of O'Donnell's sons can't get elected to anything in this county. Neil O'Donnell lost in a 3 man race for State Senate in the nineties and Brian O'Donnell was beaten by current Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski in the 2006 Legislative race to succeed Kevin Blaum. Plus Bill Amesbury beat an O'Donnell daughter in law for Magistrate in 2001 to launch his political career. You can't tell me that isn't big time political blowback from daddy O'Donnell taking care of himself....quite comfortably I might add.

1966

United States President Lyndon Johnson states that the United States should stay in South Vietnam until Communist aggression there is ended....Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet member, by being appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development....In the Commonwealth, Governor Scranton opens up the Farm Show in Harrisburg. Scranton, munching on apples and a goblet of whole milk cut the ribbon for the fiftieth anniversary of the successful agriculture event………….in Wilkes Barre Wilkes Barre City Republican Chairman Attorney Joseph Kasper called January 4th a day in tax infamy. Kasper said Mayor Frank Slattery and Councilman Peter Casterline created a pork barrel budget. This was in response to the enactment of a 1% wage tax by Wilkes Barre City Council at the behest of Mayor Slattery…and in this week of 1966 the number 1 song in the U.S. and LuLac land was “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel.





Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1069, Jan. 13th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: 13 QUESTIONS.

13 QUESTIONS

1. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE KING’S STUDENT URINATING IN PUBLIC AND YOUR OPINIONS IN GENERAL ON PUBLIC URINATION?

THE KING’S STUDENT MADE A SERIOUS LAPSE IN JUDGEMENT. HE WAS ABUSING ALCOHOL AS DO MANY OF THE KING’S STUDENTS AND EXTENDED HIS PARTY TO PUBLIC SQUARE. WHAT IS DISTURBING IS WHY THIS INDIVIDUAL DECIDED TO URINATE IN WHAT SOME PEOPLE VIEW AS SACRED TERRITORY. I THINK IT IS VERY IRONIC THAT ONE KING’S STUDENT FOUGHT THE NATIVITY DISPLAY ON THE COURTHOUSE LAWN AND THIS ONE IN EFFECT ATTACKED THE ONE PHYSICALLY ON PUBLIC SQUARE. NO CONNECTION BUT IRONIC. THE STUDENT APOLOGIZED AND HOPEFULLY LEARNED A PAINFUL LESSON. HOWEVER, I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT WHEN I WENT TO KING’S THIS STANDARD OF BEHAVIOR WOULD GET YOU OUT THE DOOR FASTER THAN A BAT OF THE EYE. WHAT IS EVEN MORE CONCERNING TO ME ABOUT THIS STUDENT SAVE THE PUBLIC URINATION IS WHERE HE CHOSE TO DO IT. I HAVE BEEN OUT WITH MY FAIR SHARE OF WILD AND WOOLLY BUDDIES WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO “VACATE” IF YOU WILL IN VARIOUS AND SUNDRY PLACES. LIVING IN THE NORTH END WE HAVE SEEN OUR SHARE OF YOUNG KING’S MALES PEEING OFF OF BACK PORCHES (NOT RECENTLY THANK YOU) BUT ENOUGH TO NOTICE. IN MY CROWD, THERE WERE CERTAIN AREAS OFF LIMITS, LIKE CEMETERIES, CHURCH PROPERTY AND RELIGIOUS DISPLAYS. AGAIN IRONY HERE. NOT A FOREIGN STUDENT OF COLOR THE LOCALS SEEMS SO SCARED OF IN THIS COMMUNITY, NOT A HARD WORKING IMMIGRANT OR ILLEGAL, CRAP NOT EVEN A NEW YORK CITY DRIVE BY DRUG DEALER. BUT A WHITE, SELF PROCLAIMED CHRISTIAN RELIEVING HIMSELF ON THE BABY JESUS' CRIB. THERE ARE COMMUNITY STANDARDS THAT A CATHOLIC INSTITUTION SHOULD TEACH. AND THOSE TEACHINGS OF RESPECT SHOULD CARRY OVER INTO SAID COMMUNITY. IN THIS CASE, KING’S FAILED MISERABLY. ANOTHER CONCERN IS THE LETTER OF APOLOGY. GOOD LETTER, IT CAME FROM THE HEART. MY FRIEND SUE HENRY TOLD HER AUDIENCE TUESDAY THAT AT LEAST THE STUDENT FESSED UP UNLIKE THE OTHER PUBLIC OFFICIALS IN TROUBLE IN THIS COUNTY . THAT WAS GOOD BUT THIS KID IS A COMMUNICATIONS MAJOR?
HELLO EVERYONE,
AS OF TODAY MY AFFILIATION WITH THE NATIVITY SCENE IS BY FAR THE MOST EMBARRASSING AND INAPPROPRIATE THING I'VE EVER DONE.

AFFILIATION? IS THERE AN AFFILIATION OR BROTHERHOOD OF NATIVITY SCENE URINATERS?
IT WAS CRUDE AND IMMORAL. AS A COLLEGE STUDENT I UNDERSTOOD THAT KEEPING YOUR GRADES UP WAS A PART OF BEING A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT. WELL I FOUND OUT THE HARD WAY THAT TO BE A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT, YOU NEED TO BE A GOOD PERSON OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL.
SHOULD HAVE LEARNED THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL AND AT HOME.
I DID NOT FOLLOW THESE BY DOING THIS STUPID ACT. AS A SELF-PROCLAIMED CHRISTIAN,

(AND MY READERS WONDER WHY I SAY I’M A ROMAN CATHOLIC AND NOT A CHRISTIAN SELF PROCLAIMED OR OTHERWISE!)
I HAVE UNSUITABLY REPRESENTED THEM BY DOING THIS HUMILIATING ACTION.
DOING THIS HUMILIATING ACTION? HOW ABOUT PARTAKING OR COMMITTING THIS HUMILIATING ACTION?
I APOLOGIZE TO EVERYONE FOR WHAT I HAVE DONE. AFTER MEETING WITH THE KING'S COLLEGE DEAN OF ADVISORS, MR. MCGONIGLE, I HAVE REALIZED THE EFFECTS IT HAS HAD ON THE CAMPUS. FATHER O'HARA CAME IN HIMSELF AND TOLD ME HE WAS, "APPALLED."
FINALLY, FATHER O’HARA MEETS ONE OF HIS DRUNKS FACE TO FACE.
KNOWING HIM SINCE MY FRESHMAN YEAR, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE MOST DISHEARTENING THINGS I'VE EVER HEARD. BUT I DESERVED IT. I'M DEDICATING MYSELF AND LIFE TO THIS LETTER BECAUSE MY MENACE TO SOCIETY ACT HAS GONE TOO FAR.
AGAIN WHERE ARE THE CREATIVE WRITING TEACHERS AT KING’S THESE DAYS? I’M NO SHAKESPEARE BUT YOU DON’T DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO A LETTER.

I'VE NEVER BEEN ARRESTED AND I'M A GOOD PERSON. IT'S JUST AMAZING HOW A COLLEGE STUDENT CAN THINK HE'S INVISIBLE AT ONE MOMENT AND BE IN THE DUMPS AT THE NEXT.
YEAH, AMAZING. I MEAN DID THIS KID THINK PEEING ON A MANGER WOULD ESCAPE ANYONE’S ATTENTION?
IT IS DEEP DOWN IN MY HEART TO TELL ALL YOU STUDENTS OUT THERE THAT ONE NIGHT OF FUN AND DRUNKENNESS IS NOT WORTH IT. NOWHERE NEAR IT. WITH THIS LIFE LESSON LEARNED, I'M APOLOGIZING TO ALL I HAVE OFFENDED. THESE PEOPLE ARE CHRISTIANS, THE WILKES-BARRE COMMUNITY, KING'S COLLEGE, THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY'S AND LASTLY MY FAMILY. I HAVE REPRESENTED ALL OF YOU IN A COWARDLY AND MISLEADING WAY. I WILL BE DEVOTING MYSELF TO QUITTING DRINKING, HELPING OUT THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY'S WITH ANY COMMUNITY SERVICE ACTION THEY NEED AND WITH THE CITY OF WILKES-BARRE ITSELF. I DEEPLY REGRET EVER HAVING TO DO THIS, BUT IT HAPPENED AND NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT. I JUST HOPE THAT ALL OF YOU WHO I HAVE APOLOGIZED TO WILL TAKE THIS WITH SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTAND THAT I'M NOT THAT TYPE OF PERSON AT ALL. PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR ALL THE TROUBLES AND CONCERNS I HAVE PORTRAYED ON THE CITY
THE RAMBLING APOLOGY WOULD SEND MY DECEASED KING’S PROFESSORS SPINNING IN THEIR GRAVES.

IF I HAD TO GRADE THE KID’S APOLOGY, I’D GIVE HIM AN A FOR REALIZING HIS MISTAKE, B FOR SINCERITY AND D FOR SENTENCE COMPOSITION. WHEW, AND THIS MY FRIENDS, IS OUR FUTURE. THERE ARE MANY GREAT KIDS THAT GO TO KING’S. THIS YEAR A FEW OF THEM LIVE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD AND THEY ARE WONDERFUL. IF NATHAN NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE, IT’S NOT A PLASTIC STATUE BUT HIS FELLOW CLASSMATES. IN TERMS OF PUBLIC URINATION IN GENERAL, IT IS NOT A GOOD POLICY. WITH CAMERAS EVERYWHERE, YOUR FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME MIGHT NOT BE A GOOD THING.

2. HOW DO YOU THINK TOM COONEY IS DOING AS COMMISSIONER?

TOO EARLY TO TELL. I HEAR THOUGH HE IS REVIEWING THE BUDGET AGAIN AND TAKING A BETTER LOOK. THE BEST THING HE CAN DO AS A SERVICE TO THE COUNTY IS TO PULL NO PUNCHES, ACTUALLY CUT COSTS AND TAKE ON THE LITTLE DESPOTS THAT CONTROL THE COUNTY ROW OFFICES.

3. THOUGHTS ON THE PACKERS LOSS?

IT WAS AN EXCITING GAME. I THINK THEY MIGHT HAVE WON IF THEY WERE ORGANIZED EARLIER. I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT I THINK AARON RODGERS ACQUITTED HIMSELF WELL AND HAS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. THE PACKER ORGANIZATION MADE A GOOD MOVE IN CHOOSING THE YOUNGSTER OVER THE LEGEND.

4. FAVORITE HOLIDAYS IN ORDER?

CHRISTMAS EVE, THE FOURTH OF JULY, THANKSGIVING.

5. WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE THE NEXT SET OF COMMISSIONERS PLAYING IN LUZERNE COUNTY GOVERNMENT?

MOST LIKELY AS TRANSITIONAL FIGURES BECAUSE BY THAT TIME HOME RULE WILL MOST LIKELY BE ADOPTED. I THINK THE CURRENT BATCH OF COMMISSIONERS REALIZE THAT EVEN THOUGH THEY DO NOT PUBLICLY SAY SO.


6. ON YOUR RECENT INTERVIEW SEGMENT, PEOPLE COMMENTED ON THE TYPE OF MICROPHONE YOU WERE HOLDING WHEN YOU WERE TALKING TO KONOPKA AS WELL AS THE TYPE OF SHIRT YOU WERE WEARING. DOES IT BOTHER YOU THAT THIS SITE SOMETIMES IS MORE PERSONALITY ORIENTED?

NO, WHEN I PUT MY NAME ON LULAC PART OF THE DEAL WAS GOING TO BE MY PUBLIC PERSONA, MY PAST BROADCAST CAREER AND OTHER ASPECTS OF MY LIFE. AS LONG AS PEOPLE READ, I’M HAPPY. AS LONG AS THEY COMMENT, I’M THRILLED.

7. NOW THAT YOUR PACK IS GONE FROM THE PLAYOFFS AND EDDIE RENDELL'S EAGLES ARE GONE, WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR?

MY BROTHER IN LAW OWEN IS A BIG COWBOYS FAN AND I LIKE TONY ROMO’S TASTE IN WOMEN SO I’LL ROOT FOR THE ‘BOYS.

8. ANY COMMENTS ON MARK McGUIRE?


NOT REALLY. I’VE ALWAYS MAINTAINED THAT THE SINGLE SEASON HOME RUN RECORD HOLDER IS ROGER MARIS AND THE ALL TIME HOME RUN LEADER IS HENRY AARON. MY POSTER PETE CASSIDY SAID THAT AND I STAND BY IT.

9. SUMMER OR WINTER?

GOD, SUMMER, THE HOTTER THE BETTER.

10. HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION. SHORT GIRL TREATS YOU GOOD, TALL GIRL TREATS YOU BAD. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?

TALL GIRL OF COURSE.

11. FAVORITE TV SHOWS YOU TAPE OR DVR?

LAW AND ORDER, NIP TUCK, COMMUNITY, 30 ROCK, THE OFFICE, AND PARDON THE INTERRUPTION. ALONG WITH THE SUNDAY MORNING NEWS SHOWS.

12. FAVORITE FOOD NETWORK WOMAN?

GIADA DE LAURENTIIS.

13. WHAT WOULD YOU DO AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WATER BOARDING TO GET TERROISTS TO TALK?

I’D GET THEM IN A QUIET ROOM AND PLAY THEM THIS SONG OVER AND OVER UNTIL THEY CRACKED.