Rated one of Pennsylvania's top blog/sites, the LuLac Political Letter delves into issues of politics on all levels (with special concentration on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties: thus the name LULAC) and pop culture.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The LuLac Edition #1251, July 31st, 2010
PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.
Today Chelsea Clinton gets married to the son of Marjorie MargollesMezvinsky. The mother in law of Ms. Clinton and mother of the bridge groom was a popular TV anchor in Philadelphia in the late 70s and 80s. In 1992 she was elected to Congress and served one term. She was the 1998 nominee for Lt. Governor in 1998 in Pennsylvania but the ticket headed by Ivan Itken lost to Tom Ridge. I talked to a person who has had some contact with the mother in law through the years. Q: Are you going to the wedding? A: No, I don’t have that type of firepower. Q: How do you know Mrs. Mezvinksy? A: When I was in school I volunteered for her campaign for Congress. She beat a popular incumbent (editor’s note: Lawrence Coughlin) and did a very heroic thing by being the lone vote in passing a financial budget bill in Congress. Q: So she did the right thing for the country, wrong thing politically. As a supporter how did that make you feel? A: I had dual emotions. I was so proud of her stance but knew that politically she doomed a career that could have been so much more. Q: Did you volunteer in the ’98 effort? A: No but I was proud to give her a check. By that time I was out of law school and was just getting established. Q: So you never kept in touch, I mean she doesn’t know you to see you? A: I don’t think so. Q: What is she doing now? A: Well besides planning this wedding for her son, she is the Chair person of a group called “Women’s Campaign International”. Q: What do they do? A: It is a group that works in democracies that are challenged or just starting out. They provide leadership opportunities for women in foreign countries to become part of the government there. Q: It’s a type of training ground for nations that are trying democracy for the first time and the plan is to have women get a seat at the political table? A: Exactly. Q: So did you send the happy couple a card? A: (Laughing) No, you are crazy. Q: But you do wish them the best right? A: Of course. I mean do you want me to wish them the worst? Q: No. A: Can I go now? Q: Yeah.
PHOTO INDEX: PROTESTERS IN FRONT OF THE BLUE CROSS BUILDING THIS WEEK (PHOTO COURTESY OF TIMES LEADER), PNC FIELD, MAYOR LOU BARLETTA AND CONGRESSMAN PAUL KANJORSKI AND UR 1966 LOGO.
SINGIN’ THE BLUES
A few people congregated outside of the Blue Cross building Wednesday trying to persuade the insurance behemoth to continue financial support for an insurance plan for low-income workers. Too bad it wasn’t last week when Blue Cross had their annual blow out for the employees under 2 tents on the grounds of Coughlin High School. The pickets could’ve begged a Metz Burger to sustain their strength. In Steve Wilcox's story in the Times Leader, he got some interesting feedback. “This is part of a statewide action in an effort to tell our state legislators and Blue Cross that we can’t afford to lose adultBasic. It’s a critical low-cost health insurance program that’s serves almost 46,000 Pennsylvanians, including about 1,100 in Luzerne County,” said Athena Ford, a statewide organizer with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network – a coalition of organizations advocating for quality health insurance coverage that organized similar rallies statewide. “These are some of the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians when it comes to obtaining health insurance,” Ford continued. “They make less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Most of them make a little too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to be able to afford the skyrocketing costs of health insurance, and so this is their only option,” Ford said. Among those who attended the rally was Ann Marie, a 56-year-old Clarks Summit resident who declined to give her last name. She’s been on the adultBasic plan for about four year Without adultBasic, she said, “I just don’t know what I’ll do. I make under $10,000 a year. I looked at other plans and they’re way above what I could pay.” The monthly premium is $36, and people who make less than $21,660 a year qualify for it. There are nearly 400,000 Pennsylvanians on the waiting list. Ford said Blue Cross is a non-profit charitable organization and therefore receives “generous” tax breaks from the state. “In return, they’re legally obligated to make charitable contributions. It’s the right thing to do to continue making a portion of those contributions to helping the most vulnerable people of our state get insurance,” she said, adding that the Blues have a combined nearly $6 billion surplus. Ford provided a copy of a report released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center titled "AdultBasic Sings the Blues," which examines adultBasic and the Blues's surpluses. Blue Cross of NEPA spokeswoman Michelle Davidson said many of the tax breaks in existence 10 years ago are no longer in place. “We’re proud to have this role in the community … to do what we can to help people in the community. But the taxes have shifted and the world has changed even in the last five years. We think adultBasic is a very important program. But realistically, we need other (health insurers) to join us in funding it,” she said. Okay, I see two points here. First off, when I worked at BC, I was the recipient of a lot of pleas from people who knew that they needed to get health insurance but couldn’t afford it. These weren’t knocked up welfare mothers or slobs who were living generationally on the public dole. These were people that weren’t provided the educational breaks and social skills that are found amongst some of those people in that big building on North Main Street. These are the working poor toiling in car washes and minimum wage jobs. They aren’t asking for a handout, they are just asking for a bit of aid. And it is hysterically funny to me that the BC spokesperson cited the fact that tax breaks are the reason why the Blues can’t be involved anymore. Uh, do non profits pay taxes? And if they do, are they really non profits? It is not as if the Blues are solely funding adult basic, it is a state program. It is a state funded program with my tax dollars, your tax dollars and those people vying for Adult Basic that pay for it. The fact that the huge Accounting Departments and Legal Departments at the Blues can’t come up with a little money to help fund this is pretty sad. But you’ll see Blue Cross workers paraded in the newspapers wrapping up daffodils and pulling weeds at a non profit agency. Nice PR and a day out of the office for the workers but c’mon, put your money, not where your tax breaks are, but maybe where your surplus is. Health Insurance companies are in business to insure people and pay claims. I realize that. I know that. My chemo treatments were 10,000 grand a pop. I know that a surplus is there to pay a claim. But to cite shifting tax breaks as a reason for bailing on this desperately needed program is a pretty lame excuse. However, I do have sympathy though for the spokesperson’s point that other insurance companies need to come on board. Blue Cross is constantly being undercut and bombarded by other health plans who are offering residents a better deal, a more comprehensive program. Nine times out of ten, these out of town jaspers deny more claims than they pay. The Blues have been accused of being a monopoly and they do have a huge chunk of the market. But that is because even with high rates they provide better service than the others. The fact that other insurance companies have not supported this is beyond conscience. The fact that the Blues are joining them in not helping to fund this program is unfortunate. At some point, government is going to have to step in and urge or force the non profit Blues to do the right thing and in the case of other profit making insurers, doing the right thing for the first time. This protest was a good start in highlighting the plight of those people not being able to get insurance. It’s too bad the gutless Obama Health plan got rid of the public option. This reluctance on the part of the Blues is proof positive why it was needed.
Joe Corcoran has taken his share of hits politically over the years. He ran Lackawanna County, no check that, he micromanaged Lackawanna county like a maniac in his twenty years as Commissioner. And even though he made mistakes along the way, I always felt he and Ray Albieriggi had the future of Northeastern Pennsylvania on their radar. It was only 200 votes that kept Joe Corcoran from staying on as Commissioner. Perhaps if he did there wouldn’t be the murky cloud surrounding the Scranton Wilkes Barre Yankees. Here’s the story: The Yankees want a new Stadium. They were most likely promised it by Bob Cordaro, recently indicted former County Commissioner. The current commissioners want to try and get the Yankees to buy the franchise in exchange for them aiding in funding a new stadium. The old commissioners want the original team agreement to stay in place. People are saying a renovation project or a new Stadium is needed because no one is going to the ballpark. There is talk about a grand concourse and other things to bring people in. The problem, they say, is that no one is going to the ballpark anymore. Here’s why: 1.The Yankees got greedy. The first year they raised the ticket price to 9 bucks. Now they are at $14.00. When the Barons played here, bleacher seats were 5 or 6 bucks. A family of four could go to a game for under 25 dollars. At the $14.00 rate, a family of 4 has to pay double that. 2.The Yankees are plain and simple elitists. All of the umbrellas, bobble heads, team insignia giveaways go to the season ticket holders. The regular walk up people get nothing. The Phillies and the Barons understood that the people of LuLac land don’t necessarily want to be romanced but they’ll take one or two perks along the way. When I was in radio we called this “value added”. 3.The Phillies were more involved in the community doing clinics, talking to the schools, letting little ballplayers roam the infield. The Yankees do not. 4.While the Yankees staff are polite enough, there is not the old home week feeling you get when you go to a game. People in NEPA are sensitive to that. A new stadium run by the same people isn’t going to change anything. Like the first year when the Yanks were in town, there will be a surge in attendance. But even after a first date with the stranger of your dreams, if you aren’t wooed, you’re not coming back anytime soon. And that’s the reason why people aren’t coming to the ballpark.
KANJO AND BARNEY
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Paul E. Kanjorski today announced that the committee will continue its series of hearings on the future of housing finance in September. Chairman Kanjorski will conduct an oversight hearing of the GSEs, and the full committee will continue its examination of policy options for restructuring the nation’s housing finance system. “By passing the legislation in 2008 that allowed the Bush administration to put the GSEs into conservatorship and by finally enacting strict prohibitions against the sort of reckless, predatory and subprime loans that have been made in the mortgage market, we have completed the initial, defensive steps needed in the housing area. We will continue our efforts as we move to the next phase, a complete restructuring of the tangle of housing finance tools so that we move forward in a way that protects taxpayers, prevents economic turmoil and appropriately serves all aspects of the housing market,” said Chairman Frank. Said Chairman Kanjorski: “The landmark Wall Street reform law has laid the foundation for reforming our housing finance system by altering securitization rules, protecting against inflated appraisals, and holding rating agencies accountable. The Capital Markets Subcommittee has already convened several hearings about the future of housing finance, and in September we will examine taxpayer protection issues in greater depth. In particular, we intend to explore the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s recent efforts to recoup funds from the issuers of the underwater securities purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We also will examine the present policies related to calculating guarantee fees, including whether these charges are appropriately priced to cover risks and provide a reasonable return. Moreover, as our housing markets begin to stabilize, we will begin to consider innovative ideas for recovering the costs resulting from the decision to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. Twenty years ago, we found a way for industry to pay back the sizable U.S. Treasury payments for resolving the savings-and-loan crisis. We can do it again.”
LOU’S NEW AD
Today, Mayor Barletta unveiled a new Web ad. This ad says nothing, is vapid, and has one too many cliches for me. That said, it drives home a point on an issue that many people here in this district feel they can articulate and grasp on to. On that level, it will be a resounding success. Take a look:
OBAMA ON "THE VIEW"
President Obama took a seat as a sitting President on “The View”. Here’s my reaction, I don’t know about that. Look we had Bill Clinton as a candidate on Arsenio Hall, Richard Nixon on Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and MervGriffen. Bobby Kennedy and JFK on those talk shows. But they weren’t President. C’mon Barack, hold a meeting or something, you’re the President, you don’t have to work so hard to please the women.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG
Been a while since we saw our two friends in the water. Today they debate, “Which Came First”.
Sniper Charles Whitman kills 13 people and wounds 31 from atop the University of Texas at Austin Main Building tower, after earlier killing his wife and mother……Statewide, candidates for Lt. Governor, Raymond Broderick and Leonard Staisey (Republican and Democrat respectively say they won’t agree to a debate unless the top of the ticket Raymond Shaffer and Milton Shapp do so. Shapp implores Shaffer for a debate but is rebuffed……in Wilkes Barre the newly formed Luzerne County Community College starts to outgrow its offices on River Street. Minority Commissioner Ed Wideman calls for a new location for the facility and 44 years ago the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Rolling Stones.
One of the best political reporters and columnists in Pennsylvania is John Baer. I first became familiar with Baer when he was a frequent guest and moderator on PCN's programming. Plus former Mayor McNulty had his as a guest a few times on his program "Sunday Live". Baer wrote a compelling article on how the state budget shook out a few weeks ago. It is well worth digesting. Rendell and lawmakers try to pull a fast one, but we aren't that stupid By John Baer Philadelphia Daily News Daily News Political Columnist TOO MANY OF those long in power think the rest of us are stupid. Take Gov. Rendell (please). His defense for pouring public money into new facilities honoring fellow longtime pols - the late Johnstown Rep. Jack Murtha and Ed's old boss/buddy Arlen Specter - is that the projects are terrific job-creators to make our economy hum. He said this with a straight face. The implication is that in the entirety of Pennsylvania, at a time the state is slashing services, there aren't two other multimillion-dollar job-creating projects that better benefit more citizens. We're asked to believe that a Murtha public-policy center in Johnstown and a Specter library in Philadelphia were selected on merit in the highest interest of the people. Is anyone that stupid? Ed's other defense is the money's borrowed and doesn't come from the General Fund. The implication is it's free. We're expected to believe that annual debt service and fees for borrowed money paid back out of the General Fund somehow doesn't count. It does. Debt service and fees are among "mandated" costs Rendell often points to as reason for required cuts in, for an ironic example, public-library funding. The Murtha/Specter projects surfaced in a capital-budget list released late on Friday of the July Fourth weekend (proving that some traditions endure), each authorized at $10 million. The administration notes that the Specter library is scaled back, so state share is reduced. This is like saying (since it's not their money) $10 million, $2 million, yeah, whatever. There's no defense for these going-away gifts from a governor known for giving gifts - with other people's money. Perhaps you recall $40 million to Philly-based Comcast in Ed's first term. He's paid by Comcast as a football analyst. His forever adviser David L. Cohen is a Comcast vice president. And we're asked to believe that the monster cable company (it bought NBC last December for $13.7 billion in cash and assets) would leave its hometown starving if it didn't get a slice of the public pie. Puh-leeze. The money mechanism in question, the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), requires matching funds and runs mostly as a reimbursement system. It's a largely hidden tool for pols to promote themselves, show they have clout and fudge the constitutional requirement for a balanced state budget. It's in addition to millions of dollars in "walking-around money" for other pet projects. It's available for just about anything that meets the criterion of carrying "significant potential" for improved economic growth. And, boy, does it grow. It began a decade ago with a debt limit of $400 million. The limit's been raised seven times, five under Rendell. It's now $4.05 billion, a tenfold increase. The year before Rendell took office, its debt service - the annual cost of paying back borrowed money - was $80 million. Today, according to data from the governor's office, it's $250 million. This new expansion, agreed to by the Republican Senate and the Democratic House, lifts the borrowing cap by $600 million. It could push payback costs close to $300 million a year and cost us $1 billion over 20 years. Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma says "probably more than half" the annual payment is for pre-Ed projects. Remember the $700 million borrowed for pro sports stadiums under Gov. Tom Ridge? But debt is debt, and it's expanding, and taxpayers foot the bill. Of the new $600 million, lawmakers get $302 million and Ed gets $298 million. But only the governor has power to release funds. And you know what they say about power. Two dozen counties have authorized projects. All have one or two, except Philadelphia. It has 13, including $15 million for a former Tasty Baking Co. facility at Fox Street and Roberts Avenue, bordering Nicetown and East Falls; $10 million for a hotel at 4th & Race; and the Specter library. The total is $97.3 million. Wonder why Ed's called the "Governor of Philadelphia"? RACP is largely a wish list, which makes one wonder about time, paperwork and legal fees wasted and how much of this is just political show. The Guv's office says most projects never happen. Let's hope Murtha/Specter get counted in that number. Nothing wrong with honoring decades of service; just use private, not public dollars. RACP funds some good stuff. But it's also a piñata of pork that any governor can bust open any time, raining down more debt and payments that rob the General Fund of resources meant for the general good. So maybe we shouldn't keep building debt. Or maybe RACP projects should be subject to public review before authorization. Then maybe we might believe that our money is used to create jobs and make the economy hum. Or is that kind of thinking just stupid? John Baer is a former staff member of Lt. Governor Bill Scranton and writes a column three times a week for the Philadelphia Daily News. On a personal vote, via e mail, in 2003 he told me not to get too enamoured of Big Ed Rendell. Too bad I didn't take his advice.
Last week we asked our readers to react to Attorney General Tom Corbett's comments on how people who are unemployed are not looking for work and are trying to burn out their unemployment benefits. We asked if they were more or less likely to support Corbett in his bid for Governor. Here are the results:
1. Are you more inclined to vote in favor of GOP candidate for Governor Tom Corbett or less inclined to vote for him after his remarks about the unemployed in Pennsylvania not taking available jobs during this economy?
More inclined to vote for Tom Corbett 40.9% Less inclined to vote for Tom Corbett 59.1%
HEALTH CARE BIGGIES
There are 3 major questions going on in the continuing health care debate. Should everyone be forced to have coverage, should they be fined if they don't and most recently brought up, is it wrong for the 4 Pennsylvania Blue Cross organization to cut funding from the Pa. Adult Basic program in light of the surplus money all 4 entities have on hand? Take our new survey.
So the news has come out that our fair state of Pennsylvania is ranked third in the nation for taxation of slot machines. THIRD! Pennsylvania takes 55% in taxes. So if so many people are at the slot machines and there are billions of dollars in revenue, here’s my questions. 1. Where is all the money? 2. Why are the Legislators not asking for oversight? 3. How can we audit where this money is going? At least organized crime keeps two separate sets of books, at least that’s what I’ve told. Where oh where is the money? Inquiring minds want to know. Three places it isn’t going, elder care, social services and libraries. And now with table games which are more popular, the Commonwealth stands to make more money. But where the hell is it going?
PHOTO INDEX: DANIEL SCHORR OF CBS AND LATER NPR. ALWAYS IN FRONT OF A MICROPHONE.
THE LAST LION “All news is an exaggeration of life.” Daniel Schorr
Daniel Schorr died Friday. He was the last lion of the famed Edward R. Murrow boys who changed the course of news dissemination. All of them, Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Douglas Edwards were writers and reporters first, then TV journalists. My first memories of Schorr were when I used to watch him report on the Cronkite broadcasts. I was struck by the fact that he did not have the grand voice I thought a broadcaster should have. In a strange sort of way he was very cool. Almost unflappable. He proved that when he read his own name on the air when he got a hold of Richard Nixon’s enemy’s list and found himself on it. When he left CBS, Schorr became a mainstay on the new and exciting CNN. He later ended his career, right up to his dying breath at National Public Radio. At the age of 93 he was a walking history book having lived and reported on more than 75 years of the last century. About doing the right thing as a reporter, Schorr once mentioned his mentor Murrow saying, Whenever I'm not sure about something, the ethics of something, the question I ask myself is, 'What would Murrow have done? What would Murrow say?' It seems strange after all these years that I still have him as a kind of symbol and an emblem to live by, but I do.” Hopefully there are young reporters, worldwide and local today who might look to Daniel Schorr’s broadcast body of work, and when in doubt, ask the same question citing Schorr as that example.
Judge Michael Conahan pleaded guilty in Federal Court Friday. I had the opportunity to talk to a contemporary of the Judge from his home area. Q: What are the thoughts of those people who knew him? A: Obviously disappointed. But most people are numb. They seem to just want closure, an end. I mean this has been going on for a couple of years now. Q: Former Judge Conahan won a few elections in this county. He had been highly regarded thus he wouldn’t have won right? A: Not really, Mike has always been a polarizing figure. A fellow that some people say had too many breaks, took too many chances. Q: Do you think the people of Hazleton feel disappointed in what became of him? A: I think there is a tiny amount of sympathy for him but I don’t think the town is hanging its head in shame over one guy’s misdeeds. Q: Did you vote for him every time, support him? A: I voted for him the first time, supported him the second time because it was the smart thing to do. Q: Interesting. You won't tell me whether you voted for him for retention, but yet you said you supported him? Care to elaborate? A: Nope. Q: If you had to give an analysis of why he did this could you provide it? A: That’s tough but I think the bottom line is he saw an opportunity. He had a partner Mark Ciavarella who I think was a true believer in being tough on Juvenile offenders. Then there were other things put before him and he took the chance on it. Q: Taking a chance on crime? Isn’t that kind of risky? A: Most crimes are risks. You never think you’re ever going to get caught. I think he thought he was so insulated that nothing could touch him. Q: He was wrong though. A: Big time. But knowing of Mike, he’ll survive. He’s a tough bird. Q: He’ll have to be going to jail. A: Oh yeah.
PHOTO INDEX: CONGRESSMAN KANJORSKI IN RECEIVING LINE WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA AFTER THE SIGNING OF THE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM, OUR 1966 LOGO AND STATE SENATE CANDIDATE JOHN YUDICHAK .
Following in the footsteps of Congressman Dan Flood, Paul Kanjorski was at the center of the action when it came to the financial reform bill regarding Wall Street. Kanjorski helped write and champion this historic legislation. As a reminder, the Wall Street Reform bill is very much like its name. It reforms the abuses of Wall Street that brought this economy teetering on the brink. Small investors that played the market no longer trust the financial wizards. After losing pensions and savings, would you go back to a broker? This bill is going to make certain that tax payers who invest in the American dream won’t get raped.
Seems like Attorney General Tom Corbett is fast becoming the darling of the drilling industry in the Commonwealth. Corbett’s campaign has realized over $350,000 bucks from those oil and gas interests. Corbett is of course still trying to dig out of the hole he put himself in when he said Pennsylvania’s jobless didn’t want to work because the jobs were there. Many still feel Corbett never said this, that no politician in these tough economic times would even utter that thought. Oh but he did. Courtesy John Micek's blog. http://blogs.mcall.com/capitol_ideas/
ON A SMARTER NOTE
Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) voted for H.R. 4213, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, which passed in the House by a vote of 272-152. The bill will extend the availability of emergency unemployment benefits through November 30, 2010 to help the many individuals and families that have been forced out of their jobs as a result of the difficult economic situation. The bill also retroactively restores benefits to the about 173,900 Pennsylvanians and over 2.5 million Americans who started losing their benefits as early as the beginning of June. Congressman Kanjorski has voted multiple times in the House to extend unemployment insurance, but because of Republican opposition in the Senate, many Americans had lost their benefits. “Too many people throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and the country have lost their jobs, and we must continue to help these jobless workers survive during this extended recession so that they can find jobs and get back on their feet. Now is not the time to turn our backs on the American people,” said Congressman Kanjorski. “Unfortunately, millions of people throughout the country have not been receiving need unemployment assistance for weeks because many Republicans made politics their priority, rather than the people they represent. By providing this assistance to families which have temporarily lost their incomes, the entire American economy can benefit because those dollars will be immediately spent on needed goods and services. Today, many Americans who were laid off will regain this vital assistance.” The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has cited unemployment benefits as one of the most cost-effective and quickest ways to stimulate the economy, and every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.61 in new demand, according to Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi. Additionally, according a study by the Economic Policy Institute, unemployment benefits were responsible for creating more than 1 million jobs since the recession started, and adding almost 2 percent to the gross domestic product. Unemployment insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Many Pennsylvanians who have been unable to find jobs can now receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment insurance. Regular unemployment insurance provides up to 26 weeks of benefits. Emergency unemployment insurance is a federally funded program created by Congress to provide additional insurance of up to 53 weeks. This legislation also helps states provide State Extended Benefits, which in Pennsylvania provides for an additional 20 weeks of unemployment insurance. State unemployment offices should notify individuals who have almost exhausted their regular benefits to make them aware of their potential eligibility for emergency unemployment benefits. Once eligible individuals apply, they should receive extended benefits with very little or no gap in coverage. If you have questions, contact the Scranton Unemployment Compensation Service Center, which covers all of Northeastern Pennsylvania, at (570) 496-2332.
Representative Ken Smith is reported to be placing his family business on the sheriff’s tax sale. This is unfortunate. The restaurant was a landmark eatery in Scranton and we certainly don’t want to see anyone have economic misfortune. Smith has had back tax issues which were publicly reported already. He has our sympathy and all that said, one must wonder if these business issues are a distraction from Smith doing his job as a State Representative. He won the primary in a three man field so I guess the voters of his district know what they’re getting.
YUDICHAK ON TARONE
State Representative and Senatorial candidate John Yudichak will be L.A. Tarone’s guest this week on “The L.A. Tarone Show” on WYLN TV 35. Yudichak will talk about the State budget, the gas drilling and his upcoming general election campaign.
WILKES BARRE COUNCIL
So now the City of Wilkes Barre wants to pass an ordinance to have voters decide on a ballot whether the Council should go back to “at large” voting city wide instead of by district. Apparently the current council wants to revert things back to the way they were and truth be told it worked pretty well. The top 7 were the top 7, even though guys like Guy Izzo and Walter Griffith made inroads into the top ten. Right now neighborhood districts are represented by a council member. And that’s okay too. Many are wondering why the sudden change of heart? Well look at the history, the person who spearheaded this reform was Sue Henry’s former BFF, Christine Katsock. With the Reformation leader now firmly ensconced on the Wilkes Barre Area School Board it is doubtful that there will be any hue and cry or opposition to this plan. No matter what the Council decides, the “cool kids” are going to win the election, any election, at large, by district, whatever anyway. Save of course for the tenacity of the Luzerne County GOP which should try to field another slate again. No matter what form of council they choose, for the brain dead voters of Wilkes Barre, life will go on.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
THE BLAME GAME
So this week we were told that not only are we dumb son of bitches in LuLac land, but that we are uneducated. That we don’t educate ourselves. Really? Who are all these people going to the 9 colleges in and around Wilkes Barre, Scranton and Hazleton? Who are all the adults I saw when I went back to school last year because of a layoff on campus? This so called study is an insult to every single person in this area of the World War II generation and beyond. They valued education, so much so that they sacrificed so that their kids could go to college….and be educated. It is an insult to every hard working adult now who has sleepless nights wondering how they are going o get their kids an education. If all that wasn’t bad enough, a caller to the Sue Henry Show blamed the area colleges and their instructors for not having the tools to educate students for “industry” jobs. This person, who served as a staffer (?) with the Committee for Economic Growth in the 80s did the typical Chamber of Commerce tap dance. Blame someone else or some other entity for your failure to bring in industry. He spoke of his Association with CEG and alluded to the Scranton Chamber bringing in RCA to Dunmore. No mention of course of any new industry that had high paying jobs in the 80s to Luzerne County. CEG was created because the Wilkes Barre Chamber at the time was impotent, as it still is today in bringing in decent paying jobs for the people here. The only high paying jobs are those in these growth organizations that are self perpetuating. Here’s the point, for Barry (?) from Scranton to blame the educators for not preparing the students is the same sorry excuses chamber types have been using for decades. The fault does not lie with the education system in the colleges, the fact is we here in NEPA say we value education but we really don’t. If we did, there would be growth industries here to employ those recently educated instead of having them move out to other areas of the country. As long as we have people associated with the Chamber past or present making excuses for their failures and saying “workers don’t have soft skills” or "the colleges never adequately prepared the students” we might as well issue one way air fare to each college graduate at the May commencements, give them a boxed lunch and send them on their merry way to a brighter future in an area where there are real jobs with real money instead of mouthing off excuses on a talk show.
Bob Dylan is injured in a motorcycle accident near his home in Woodstock, New York. He is not seen in public for over a year…..in the 1966 campaign for Governor of Pennsylvania Democratic challenger Milton Shapp proposes that the driver’s license age be raised to 18…….in Scranton Mayor James Walsh tries to form a smoother working relationship with the Scranton Redevelopment Authority as he begins to analyze how to best spend federal dollars from President Johnson “Urban Renewal” programs........and 44 years ago this week, the quintessential summer time song “Summer In the City” held the top spot. It was the Lovin’ Spoonful's biggest hit.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette recently published an editorial on the "found" money for the Specter-Murtha libraries. A really good piece: State should not fund Specter, Murtha libraries
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Published: July 17, 2010
Gov. Ed Rendell got lost in the stacks when it came to funding for libraries this year. At a time when state dollars for libraries and literacy programs - along with many other vital services - are taking financial hits, the governor chose to jump-start plans for libraries that will house the personal papers of two of the state's longest-serving members of Congress. The governor authorized up to $10 million in funds from state economic development bonds for the Arlen Specter Library at Philadelphia University for archives from Specter's career, which included serving as the Philadelphia district attorney and five terms in the U.S. Senate. Rendell also designated up to $10 million for the planned John P. Murtha Center for Public Policy on the University of Pittsburgh's Johnstown campus for Murtha's papers and other records from his 36-year congressional career. Since his death Feb. 8, the Murtha Foundation has been raising money for a facility that will include classroom and meeting space. The next event, a reception hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional leaders, is set for July 28 in the Washington, D.C., area. That's the proper way to generate money for these specialty libraries, similar to fundraising for presidential libraries.
Granted, the $20 million couldn't be used to solve the budgetary challenges facing public libraries and literacy programs. That's because these are capital funds to be used for economic development projects, and the dollars cannot simply be moved to the operating budget. However, these allocations are evidence of misplaced priorities. And while it's hard to imagine how much economic development can spring from either a Specter or Murtha collection, it is indisputable that every dollar spent teaching adult Pennsylvanians how to read, preparing them for education and employment, saves the state far more money in the long run in the cost of unemployment compensation, medical assistance and other social services.
Yet state funding for adult literacy programs, which serve 40,000 to 50,000 people each year statewide, has been cut from $21 million two years ago to $14.8 million in the current budget. Even that lower figure is not stable. Because Congress failed to approve higher levels of federal assistance to states, there is an $850 million hole in the state's budget that could mean significant further cuts across all programs. It's unseemly to spend state dollars to honor Specter and Murtha with all of that misery as a backdrop. The state should shelve its plan to fund these tribute libraries.
It might be a sympathy vote or a lot of Yankee fans but LuLac readers overwhelmingly believe that the late George Steinbrenner should be in the baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. Here are the results of last week's survey:
1. Does the late George Steinbrenner belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions to the Yankees and baseball? Yes 63.6% No 36.4%
NEW POLL QUESTION
Are you more inclined to vote in favor of GOP candidate for Governor Tom Corbett or less inclined to vote for him after his remarks about the unemployed in Pennsylvania not taking available jobs during this economy?
More Inclined to vote for Tom Corbett. Less inclined to vote for Tom Corbett. Click here to take survey Hit "DONE" and close out of Survey Monkey.
PHOTO INDEX: CONGRESSMAN KANJORSKI AND MAYOR LOU BARLETTA.
SICK AND TIRED
I am so sick and tired of the national GOP blow harding, penny pinching modern day Scrooges talking about the future of our children and grandchildren when talking about the debt. These were the same guys who gave huge tax breaks to the rich and couldn’t pay for them. These are the same people who spent 30 billion dollars a month on a war in Iraq. Now they are worried about the deficit when unemployment benefits have to be extended? Where did these people come from? Who do they represent? How, how do they sleep at night? David Gregory from “Meet the Press” tried to get an answer out of Senator Jess Sessions on “Meet the Press”. What will they cut? Social Security? Medicare? Milk for kids? Like the coward that he is, Sessions couldn’t even dance around the answers. Pathetic. Only cowards hide behind the phrase, “It’s for the kids”.
KANJO SAYS YES
Congressman Paul Kanjorski accepted an invitation from public broadcast station, WVIA-TV to debate his Republican opponent, Lou Barletta, in an hour-long forum on Thursday, October 28 at 7 PM. "It's been a tradition for me to debate in every competitive campaign I have competed in," said Kanjorski. "Moreover, my congressional debates have traditionally been on Channel 44 whose coverage area includes my whole district. I'm sticking with that this year." He added that voters should have the chance to review the distinct choices between him and his Republican opponent on the issues of jobs, health care and financial reform. "A debate is one way the weigh those choices," Kanjorski said. Kanjorski did not rule out the possibility of other venues for additional debates this year, but said for now this is the only one he's decided upon.
DON’T CALL LOU
If you are managing Congressman Kanjorski’s Town Hall Phone Meetings, you don’t want to call Mayor Barletta. Earlier this month, 26-year incumbent Paul Kanjorski announced he would not hold any public town meetings. Instead, Kanjorski will use tax dollars to host tele-town meetings so he does not have to face his constituents. Despite several requests, Kanjorski refuses to disclose how much these calls are costing the taxpayers or what voters he is targeting with these calls. “Most self-respecting congressmen hold in-person town meetings to allow their constituents to come and hear firsthand from their elected representative and to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction face to face. Whether or not people turn out is the individual’s choice. Kanjorski's phone calls force the taxpayer to pay for them whether they plan to listen or not,” said Shawn Kelly, spokesman for the congressional campaign of Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta. “A few weeks ago, Kanjorski said meeting with 25 or 50 of his constituents would ‘blow a half a day or a full day’ and was just not worth it. Kanjorski should come clean and let his constituents know how much they are paying for his telemarketing. First he ignores his constituents by refusing to meet with them at town halls, then he insults them by saying they are not worth his time, and now he is forcing them to pay for his telemarketing campaign so he can hide from his bad votes and failed policies,” Kelly continued. “The unemployed deserve to know why Kanjorski’s $800 billion stimulus plan didn’t work. Seniors deserve to know why Kanjorski cut $500 billion from Medicare. They won’t be able to ask Kanjorski those questions during these carefully screened, scripted, and taxpayer-funded telemarketing calls,” Kelly added.
One thing I need to take issue with on this release. The unemployed benefited from the Stimulus bill by getting reduced health care and extended job benefits (which are in peril now because of the national party of "no") and job training programs.
10th District Democrat Chris Carney can get solace from the fact that his challenger Tom Marino has had a disappointing fundraising period. A contested primary as well as getting out of the starting gate late has put Marino behind the 8 ball. Marino raised about $84,000 between April 28 and June 30, according to newly-filed campaign finance data. He spent almost $124,000 during the same period, and finished last month with only $11,000 in the bank. Meanwhile it is said that Carney is getting close to the $700,000 mark and has spent very little of that warchest. How that shakes out in the general is anyone’s guess but if you were running a tough campaign to outs an incumbent, you’d rather have more than less.
PIZZA AND POLITICS
A Meet the Candidates/Volunteer Pizza Party will be held Thursday, July 22, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at GOP Headquarters, 41 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre PA.
Talk with the candidates. Learn how you can help them to victory over the next few months! Come and kick off the campaign season with Lou Barletta, Tom Marino and the outstanding slate of GOP state candidates. They all want to thank you in advance for all the hard work you will be doing on their behalf.
OBAMA TAKES AIM
The President went after the party of “no” in his weekly radio address. He said that the GOPwas filibustering progress. Strong words, here’s what he said:
This week I sat down with a few political operatives who talked about State Attorney General Tom Corbett’s comments about unemployed Pennsylvanians who should find work because he was told by businesses that jobs go begging.
Q: When this year began, did it appear that Tom Corbett was a shoe in? A: Absolutely. Only being run over by a bus or a Mack Truck could’ve stopped him.
Q: Is there an opening now for the Democrats?
A: Yeah, a tiny one though. Dan Onorato’s people found out that this was the second time he made the statement. He made it in March, said the same thing but no one was noticing. People were wondering when the campaign was going to start.
Q: It seems like Corbett has gone to the right on some issues and he did it unnecessarily. A: You are correct. This health Care opposition thing he signed on to, his trying to appease the Tea Party people as well as the Twitter thing which he has backed off on might hurt him. If young voters who communicate it seems with their thumbs take this seriously, it might cause him some problems.
Q: Why would he in a moderate state move to the right? A: I think many Republicans, even those we perceive as reasonable ones get afraid of the loud, proud but not necessarily right segment of the GOP.
Q: So will you go out on a limb and predict a Democratic victory for Governor? A: No, 24 hours is a lifetime in politics, but it has made a dull race interesting and given Onoarto something to latch on to.
Q: And this computes how? A: You never want to give your opposition something to sink their teeth into, especially if they have very little to begin with.
PHOTO INDEX: HARRY HAAS, WHO MADE A VERY GOOD RUN FOR THE WILKES BARRE AREA SCHOOL BOARD IN '09, OUR 1966 LOGO AND PART OF "TEAM HILLARY", CIRCA '08. CAN THEY BE ROUSED AGAIN?
HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT?
Former Delaware Governor Pete Dupont wrote an interesting article about a possible Hillary for Clinton Presidency run in 2012. This is fascinating fodder but I think needs to be taken with a grain of salt. First off DuPont is a GOP statewide rival of Vice President Biden. Second, DuPont is a GOP moderate out in the cold given the current hillbilly right wing climate of the national GOP. He ran for President in 1988 and was very articulate but equally unsuccessful. Third, the article seems to be wishful thinking on the part of the GOP who is hoping the Dems become as hopelessly divided as they are at this point. And given power politics it looks like a slam againstBiden because if Obama was challenged, he’d name Hillary (like he should have in ’08) to the ticket. To be sure progressives, or liberals like myself are pretty peeved at the “no balls” approach Obama has taken with certain issues like health care, the wars and the Middle East. The very fact that he is losing those progressives makes articles like this news worthy. And while it is not “Write On Wednesday”, here’s the article: By PETE DU PONT America's economy is failing to produce jobs, increase growth or raise confidence, and it will likely get even worse next year. Our federal government's spending has increased to $3.7 trillion this year from $2.98 trillion in 2008. Publicly held national debt is up by $2.4 trillion in less than two years, to about 63% percent of GDP from 40%, and is expected to reach 70% by 2012. Add in the unemployment rate, which has remained above 9.4% for over a year, and America is clearly failing economically. Next January the economy will be further depressed by increasing tax rates. The top income tax rate will rise to 39.6% from 35%, and the phase-out of itemized deductions and personal exemptions will effectively lift the top bracket to about 40.8%. On New Year's Day the tax on dividends is scheduled to go up to 39.6% from 15%, and come 2013, ObamaCare will add another 3.8%. Other bad public policies will further drag down the economy. ObamaCare will increase individual costs and expand the deficit. Failing energy policies, from Washington's inept response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to its effort to limit tapping America's oil supplies, will drive up our use of imported foreign oil beyond the current 67% of our country's oil consumption. Add together all these increases in government regulation, spending and taxes and a dim employment outlook, and the result is a dramatic national decline in support of the White House, Congress and their administration of our national policies. So what can be done to change America's policies and make our economy stronger? For one thing, we could elect a president with different thinking. Almost any Republican candidate would have that, and, as we will see in a moment, there is one obvious Democrat who would change our course too. And why would the Democratic Party want to do that? Because the re-election of President Obama is becoming more problematic. The latest Rasmussen Reports polls show the dramatic decline of the presidential approval index, the difference between those who "strongly approve" of Mr. Obama's performance and those who "strongly disapprove." It began at plus 25% when the new president was sworn in, and has steadily declined to minus 13%. It isn't just the president whose poll numbers are falling fast. According to recent Harris polling, Vice President Biden viewed favorably by 26% of the public and unfavorably by 45%. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does even worse, 20% positive to 49% negative. A June Nevada poll gave Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, 33% approval and 52% disapproval. But the greatest contrast and most interesting statistic is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ratings: 45% favorable and only 35% unfavorable. That is not surprising, and there are some obvious factors that suggest she might have a chance of defeating President Obama if she were to challenge him for the 2012 Democratic nomination. First, as Peggy Noonan wrote earlier this month, the conclusion one hears from most "normal" American people is that the president "is in over his head, and out of his depth." Even most progressives agree that "the Obama presidency has been a big disappointment," according to Eric Alterman of The Nation. That means there's a big opportunity for Mrs. Clinton. Second, she is physically and intellectually strong enough to take on a difficult campaign. She showed that running against Obama two years ago. Third, she is one of the most experienced prospective candidates the Democratic Party has had in a long while: wife of a governor, U.S. first lady, senator and now secretary of state. This is a good record to run on as someone who knows how the government works. Fourth, she is an experienced foreign-policy adviser who understands the threats to our national security: unresolved conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, rising threats of nuclear capability in Iran and North Korea, and uncertainties in Pakistan. Fifth, experience will be even more important to voters in the 2012 presidential election, whose 2008 gamble on someone with little experience is proving costly. Finally, Washington's deadly left-liberal policies that have propelled the American economy in a very bad direction can be turned around. If Mrs. Clinton made the case that America must get rid of the huge debt the current administration has created, must create much better economic growth with lower tax rates, and must strongly assist employer job creation, she would appeal to a broad voter coalition. All this must be obvious to the inner circle of the current president's administration. So what is he to do? That's pretty simple--just add his secretary of state to the 2012 ticket as his new running mate. We don't know whether Mr. Obama is already thinking about making this kind of change next year, but we do know he needs some very good policy outcomes to be re-elected. And if none of these Obama changes come to pass, Mrs. Clinton could put together a very effective campaign to get the nomination for herself. Considering how badly things are going in America just now, that could turn out to be a slam dunk for her and the disgruntled Democratic Party.
ED, ED, ED
The Rendell administration stated the obvious this week. The Statewide Gaming is not doing what the Rendell people thought it would for property tax relief of Pennsylvania home owners. Ya think????
Steve Corbett was talking about the once grand Luzerne County Courthouse and the cracks in the structure. The place is in need of repairs. Maybe if we had all the money the crooks at under the dome stole, we could fix that rotunda up nicely. Or maybe we can open up a skate park on the North Street Bridge side of the Courthouse directly across from Courthouse Towers. Last Friday afternoon, Mrs. LuLac and I observed a young “skate kid” doing his finest imitation of Tony Hawk off of those steps. Yeah, he was there a good half hour. Having the time of his life, (no helmet of course) and riding that concrete surf. Only in Luzerne County.
BARLETTA ON TV
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta who I think had the best line over the death of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, “George is up in heaven trying to fire Billy Martin again” is up on TV with an impressive ad. He is of course running against Congressman Kanjorski. And a new poll has Barletta looking pretty good. But the caveats to that are he paid for the poll and had similar results before. But here’s the ad:
WHAT YOU GET
Many people in the Wilkes Barre Area were expressing outrage over the appointment of one Renee Pizzella, the daughter of Plains Township resident and former Wilkes Barre Area School Board member Frank Pizzella. Now first off, to be fair, the young lady has credentials. She educated herself and earned them. If you are serious about school, it is hard work. She was a full time substitute which is a hell all on its own. All that said, here’s the problem. There had to be other applicants just as qualified. There had to be other young women or men versed in Home Ec who wanted that job. Renee and Frankie Pizzella are not the problem. They are making the use of every opportunity afforded to them. And those chances come from the voters in the entire Wilkes Barre Area School District. I cite as a prime example Harry Haas. In the last election, Harry Haas, an educator himself who actually talked about ideas about American kid’s performances vs. foreign students was beat out by old time political hack Phil Litinski. The voters chose to pick a relic over a guy with ideas. The school board then has the chance to redeem itself and maybe pick Haas for a vacant seat. What do they do? Choose another political hack, Gary Polakowski who gave Sue Henry a line of bull “I’m all about the kids” when he was appointed. Wilkes Barre Area voters want this crap, they must because they keep on electing these people. Christine Katsock being called a “traitor” by Sue Henry today, well Sue has a tendency to be too nice once in a while. Here’s the point boys and girls, Pizzella may be watching ESPN News with his ankle bracelet in his house while he is serving his sentence and the others guys from the board are doing jail time. But the system they gamed is still in place. And obviously doing well. And as far as Sue Henry saying that Renee Pizzella should have walked away from the Wilkes Barre Area School District and applied elsewhere, here’s my take on that: why should she? Her outcome was just fine. Thanks to the geniuses who vote in Wilkes Barre Area School Board races.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
British Prime Minister Harold Wilson flies to Moscow to try to start peace negotiations about the Vietnam War (the Soviet government refutes his ideas)...Gemini 10 with astronauts John Young, Michael Collins) is launched. After docking with an Agena target vehicle, the astronauts then set a world altitude record of 474 miles (763 km).......The Hough Riots break out in Cleveland, Ohio, the city's first race riot……..Statewide, the Pennsylvania State Highway Department sets a record by spending nearly one half millon dollars in cleaning up litters thrown out of cars by highway motorists. That dollar total breaks an all time state fiscal record……and in Pittston Mayor Robert Loftus advises city residents to brace for a major tax increase in 1967…..and the number 1 song in America and LuLac Land was “The Pied Piper” by Crispian St. Peter.
Another song making the rounds in the summer of '66 but was being banned by radio stations because of its implications regarding people with mental health difficulties was this one by Napoleon the 14th.
The storied baseball franchise, the New York Yankees have had many colorful people off the field as well as on it. Think Mel Allen for one. This week Bob Shepard died at the ge of 99. A few days later, George Steinbrenner. Our first effort is a poem written by an overseas fan in memory of Shepherd and our second article is a take on the fictional character, Big Stein, based on George Steinbrenner in the hit show "Seinfeld".
R.I.P. BOB SHEPHERD
The 'voice of God 'is silenced- He's reached this Journey's end.N Now he's with Mel Allenin Yankee legend land. Oh we will still hear Sheppard's voice when we enter at the gate and he's still announcing Derek when he steps up to the plate. But though your fine voice resonates Through the new park’s hallowed halls It’s only a faint echoof what you meant to all. The old park's walls have fallenb eneath the wrecking ball and now the legends follow til' we've nothing left at all. John F. McCullagh After serving 30 years' in her Majesty's secret service, the poet have retired to Flushing, France to become a scribbler of poems.
BIG STEIN PASSES
George Steinbrenner died on Tuesday of a massive heart attack. Some of you might be asking “Who?” But I think it’s safe to assume that most of you know who he is thanks to his star turning role on the popular sitcom Seinfeld. But there was much more to George Steinbrenner than just a crazed man who liked to scream at George Costanza all day. Behind the scenes, things were much more colorful. Not much is known about Steinbrenner before he landed his coveted role on Seinfeld. All that we have is a hazy picture of a young man struggling with his demons, fighting tax evasion charges and also Nicaraguan rebels as a mercenary for Manuel Noriega in the 1980’s. Apparently, Steinbrenner managed to land his infamous role when he showed up for an audition following a night out fueled by sex and drugs. His eyes wild, he burst into the room, began screaming at producer Larry David and then attempted to shave Michael Richards head, because in his own words “the sonuvabitch looks sloppy!”
Impressed with his energy, David gave Steinbrenner the part and thus began a rollercoaster ride that nearly cost the man his freedom and his life. On screen, Steinbrenner’s character became more and more popular but off screen the only way he could manage to cope with his newfound fame was to escape into the seedy world of male nude modeling. Wearing a black leather mask, Steinbrenner would use this opportunity to act out his wildest fantasies, letting go of some of the pain and fear which had followed him throughout his life. This all came to a crashing halt when the photographer, an Armenian immigrant who spoke little English, attempted to blackmail Steinbrenner. Enraged, Steinbrenner attacked the man, destroying his camera – the man’s only possession – and then strangling him with his camera strap. The photographer spent six weeks in the hospital and Steinbrenner was accused of a heinous hate crime. He was later acquitted in a blockbuster trial thanks to the wizardry of attorney Jackie Chiles, but the whole affair would haunt Steinbrenner for the rest of his life. Following his acquittal, Steinbrenner threw himself more heavily into his work. Spending long hours on set gave him a chance to get to know co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus better, and after a whirlwind romance, the two were married in a small civil service attended only by Chiles and a hooker the two had convinced to serve as a witness in exchange for five dollars and half a taco. Their marriage was an explosive one, tabloid fodder that once again brought Steinbrenner unwanted attention. Perhaps most famous of all was the famous Times Square incident in 1993, which saw Steinbrenner picked up by the NYPD, wearing a dress and calling himself Georgette. At a tearful press conference, Steinbrenner apologized and announced that he was entering rehab. His wife, Ms. Louis- Dreyfus, remained by his side and told the world that she would stand by him no matter what. However, it was only a year later that Louis-Dreyfus filed for divorce amid rampant rumors of infidelity and spousal abuse. Steinbrenner, for his part, remained quiet on advice from Chiles, but this only backfired on him, as the site of a tearful Louis-Dreyfus on late night talk shows instantly brought her massive public sympathy and made Steinbrenner the villain in the sordid affair. The situation came to a head in 1996, when David was forced to fire Steinbrenner after Louis-Dreyfus obtained a restraining order which mandated that Steinbrenner remain 500 feet from her at all times. It was a severe blow to both the show, which was canceled only two years later and to Steinbrenner, who spent the rest of his life trying to unsuccessfully recapture the glory of his television stardom. Oh, and also, George Steinbrenner was the owner of the New York Yankees.
Neil Brulson writes for the website, http://www.heavy.com/comedy/celebrities.
1. THINGS ARE PRETTY QUIET ON THE CORRUPTION SIDE IN THE COUNTY. ARE THE FEDS TAKING A BREAK?
I UNDERSTAND THE INVESTIGATION IS ON GOING, PEOPLE ARE STILL TALKING, SOME EVEN SINGING ARIAS AND THE PROBE IS FAR FROM OVER.
2. THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY THE CORRUPTION PROBE IS A NEGATIVE IN TERMS OF ATTRACTING NEW INDUSTRY HERE? DO YOU AGREE?
C’MON. SINCE COAL DIED HERE IT’S BEEN THE SAME OLD SONG. VARIOUS REINCARNATIONS OF CHAMBER INITIATIVES FAILED TO BRING IN A REALLY WHOPPER INDUSTRY THAT WOULD PAY PEOPLE A DECENT WAGE. THERE WERE SOME INDUSTRIES HERE BUT THEY ARE NOW JUST REMNANTS. WE BUILT AN ARENA, WE BUILT A STADIUM, WE BUILT AFFORDABLE HOUSING THAT IS SET IN A PRETTY NICE NATURAL HABITAT. AND WE STILL CAN’T CLOSE THE DEAL. TO USE THE CORRUPTION PROBE OR WORSE YET TO SAY WE SHOULD END IT TO GIVE THE CHAMBERS A PASS FOR NOT DOING THEIR JOBS IS JUST PLAIN SILLY. IT WILL ONLY EMPOWER THEM TO COME UP WITH ANOTHER GO NOWHERE RAH RAH SELF CONGRATULATORY EFFORT THAT WILL GO NOWHERE. I CAN JUST SEE IT, “LUZERNE COUNTY: CLEANED UP, DUSTED OFF AND READY TO HIRE”. PLEASE!
3. WHAT DO YOU WATCH ON TV FOR THE SUMMER?
NOT MUCH. MAYBE “MADMEN” IF IT RETURNS BUT REALLY NOT THAT MUCH HOLDS MY INTEREST WHEN YOU HAVE THE HEAT, THE SUN AND THE SUMMER.
4. WHEN YOU WERE IN COLLEGE DID YOU EVER GO ON SPRING BREAK?
YOU’RE KIDDING ME, RIGHT? I NEVER HAD THE TIME OR THE MONEY TO DO THAT. I DID SPEND SOME SUMMER THOUGH IN WILDWOOD AT A PLACE CALLED THE BOLERO MOTEL. LOTS OF SUN AND BEACH BUT NO SPRING BREAK.
5. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER ON THE OFFICE AND DO YOU WATCH THE SHOW?
YES I DO. I THINK MY FAVORITES ARE CREED AND STANLEY.
6. YOU SEEM TO BE A LITTLE ROUGH ON YOUR BOY ED RENDELL THESE DAYS? WHY THE CHANGE?
RENDELL WANTS TO BUILD THIS LEGACY AS THE EDUCATION GOVERNOR. FINE I UNDERSTAND THAT BUT IF HE REALLY WANTED TO BE THE “EDUCATION” GOVERNOR, HE WOULD HAVE TRIED TO OVERHAUL THE SYSTEM ITSELF. THERE ARE OVER 500 SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE STATE, EACH WITH ITS OWN LITTLE FIEFDOM OF POWER AND EACH WITH ITS OWN SET OF FUNDING RULES. HE’S THROWING MONEY AT AN ENTITY THAT HAS NOT SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED IN YEARS. AND MEANWHILE HE’S SHORT CHANGING LIBRARIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES THAT ROUTINELY GET BY ON LESS MONEY. I GUESS IT’S LIKE THE OLD STORY, THE RICH GET RICHER, THE POOR GET POORER BECAUSE THE POOR PROVED THEY COULD NOT DROP OVER AND DIE WITH LESS.
7. AS A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF ROCK 107 WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CHANGES THERE?
LOVED DANIELS AND WEBSTER INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY. BUT AFTER 25 YEARS, YEAH A CHANGE WAS OVERDUE. I THINK THERE ARE FEW RADIO STATIONS AROUND ANYMORE KNOWN AS INSTITUTIONS AND THE NEW TEAM IN THE MORNING AT 107 WILL TAKE TIME TO JELL BUT WILL HOPEFULLY CONTINUE THE TRADITION. THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT WORKING THERE WAS THAT PEOPLE I MET ON SALES CALL TREATED THE ROCK 107 STAFF IN ALMOST REVERENTIAL TERMS, LIKE THE OLD WARM JOCKS. IT WAS PRETTY AMUSING. BUT I THINK THEY’LL DO OKAY. I DO WONDER THOUGH IF THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHANGE HAD WEBSTER NOT MADE THE MOVE TO WILK. SOME SAY YES, OTHERS SAY NO. STILL WISH THEM THE BEST OF LUCK.
8. WHERE DO YOU DO YOUR BEST THINKING FOR WRITING? BELIEVE IT OR NOT IN CHURCH. AND ONCE IN A WHILE SOMETHING I SEE WILL TRIGGER A THOUGHT AND THEN I’M OFF TO THE RACES. 9. THE ALL STAR GAME IS TONIGHT. MOST VIVID ALL STAR GAME MEMORY.
TWO. ONE WHEN I WAS JUST 7 COMING IN FROM PLAY TO WATCH THE GAME THE BIG KIDS WERE TALKING ABOUT. THAT WAS 1961 WHEN THE TEAMS PLAYED 2 GAMES. SITTING IN FRONT OF THE TV ON A BLAZING HOT DAY WATCHING THE LIKES OF ALBIE PEARSON AND OTHERS PLAY IN THAT ’61 GAME. THE NEXT ONE WAS IN 2008. I HAD JUST HAD MY SURGERY FOR COLON CANCER AND WAS IN AND OUT UNTIL ABOUT 8:30PM. I WAS STITCHED UP AND TUBED UP BUT WAS AWAKE FOR THE WHOLE THING. MY ROOM MATE TONY (WHO HAD THE SAME SURGERY) AND I HAD THE GAME ON AND WE WERE BOTH UP UNTIL IT ENDED AFTER 15 INNINGS. THE MARLIN’S DAN UGGA KEPT ON HITTING INTO DOUBLE PLAYS AND MAKING ERRORS AND THE THING WENT ON FOREVER. WHEN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE DEFEATED THE NATIONAL 4 to 3 I SAID TO TONY “YOU SUPPOSE WE’RE THE ONLY TWO GUYS IN WILKES BARRE UP WATCHING THIS THING?”. TONY, AN LCTA BUS DRIVER BY TRADE SAID, “US AND A COUPLE DRUNKS TRYING TO STAGGER HOME”.
10. WHY DON’T YOU CAN THE YEAR 1966, NOTHING WENT ON IN THAT YEAR?
I’M THINKING ABOUT REFINING THAT FEATURE. DON’T WANT TO DUMP ON THAT YEAR YET THOUGH. I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED.
11. THE POLLS YOU TAKE ON YOUR SITE, WHERE’D THAT IDEA COME FROM?
12. THE YANKEES PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER BOB SHEPHERD DIED THE OTHER DAY. EVER MEET HIM? HOW ABOUT GEORGE STEINBRENNER?
NO BUT I DID GET TO SEE HIM WORK AT YANKEE STADIUM WHEN I WAS IN THE PRESS BOX THERE IN THE EARLY 80s. IT WAS LIKE WATCHING A LEGEND IN ACTION. GREAT MEMORY. AS FAR AS STEIINBRENNER GOES, SAW HIM ONCE IN THE STADIUM. DURING THE 1980 PLAYOFFS AGAINST KANSAS CITY, I HAD A PRESS PASS AND WAS SET TO ASK HIM A QUESTION. THE YANKS WERE DOWN 2 TO 0 AND EVENTUALLY WERE SWEPT BY THE ROYALS THAT NIGHT. I WAS STRUCK BY HOW SHORT HE SEEMED TO BE UP CLOSE. WORE A BLACK SUIT, STARCHED WHITE SHIRT, HAD AN ENTOURAGE HIM AND LOOKED ANGRY. I FELT DISCRETION WAS THE BETTER PART OF VALOR AND LET HIM PASS.
13. IN YOUR BOOK 26 RULES WHICH I BOUGHT FOR MY NIECE THIS GRADUATION SEASON, YOU OUTLINE YOUR FAVORITE SONGS. WHICH SONGS DO YOU INSTANTLY TURN OFF ON THE RADIO WHEN YOU HEAR THEM AND CAN YOU PLAY THE SEATRAIN SONG?
FIRST OFF THANK YOU FOR BUYING MY BOOK. THE SONGS I TURN OFF INSTANTLY ARE "HANKY PANKY" AND "MONY MONY" BY TOMMY JAMES, "PLAYGROUND IN MY MIND" BY CLINT HOLMES (WHO IRONICALLY HAD A KILLER TALK SHOW IN THE 90s ON WOR TV) "SEASONS IN THE SUN" BY TERRY JACKS, "PROUD MARY" BY CREEDENCE AND THE TURNERS, "OLD TIME ROCK AND ROLL" BY BOB SEGER "BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP" BY THE FOUNDATIONS (LOVE THE REST OF THEIR STUFF THOUGH) AND ANYTHING BY AIR SUPPLY. AND BY REQUEST, SEATRAIN.
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Currently, Yonki is a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appears on the Hazleton, PA. stations Election Night coverage and does special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".