Thursday, December 01, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1853, December 1st, 2011

President Obama at Scranton High School. (Photo by Joe Thomas).

Duke from Dallas and WILK's Joe Thomas at the Scranton Obama rally. (Photo from WILK's Joe Thomas).

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President Obama came to Scranton yesterday and really hit a home run within the confines of Scranton High School. The President was fiery in his rhetoric and wanted people to know that he was committed to the fight for his jobs bill. Obama said, “And Scranton, we’ve taken some punches these last few years. But there’s one thing I know about people here in Scranton, people in Pennsylvania, and people all across America: We are tougher than the times. We are America. We get back up. We fight back. We move forward. (Applause.) We don’t give up. We get back up. (Applause.)
And even though our economic problems weren’t caused overnight and so they’re not going to be solved overnight -- even though it’s going to take a few more years to meet all the challenges that were decades in the making -- we’re fighting to make things right again. We’re fighting to make sure that if you are working hard and you are carrying out your responsibilities and you’re looking out for your family, that you can live a good, solid, middle-class life. That is what America is all about. And we are going to be fighting for that every day, every week, every month and every year that we’re in office. (Applause.)
We want an America where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded. We’re fighting to rebuild an economy that restores security for the middle class and renews opportunity for folks that are trying to get into the middle class. We’re fighting to build an economy that’s not based on outsourcing and tax loopholes and risky financial schemes, but one that’s built to last -- one where we invest in things like education and small businesses -- (applause) -- an economy that’s built on manufacturing and building things again and selling them all around the world. (Applause.)
And we’re going to keep fighting to make our economy stronger and put our friends and neighbors back to work, to give our young people opportunities greater than the opportunities that we had. (Applause.) That’s what we’ve been doing for the last three years.
But two months ago, I sent a particular piece of legislation to Congress called the American Jobs Act. (Applause.) This is a jobs bill that will put more Americans to work, put more money back in the pockets of working families. It’s contains ideas that historically have been supported by Democrats and Republicans. It’s paid for by asking our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share. (Applause.) And independent economists said that it would create up to 2 million jobs, and grow the economy by as much as 2 percent. And that’s what we need right now.
Now, here’s the problem -- there is a problem. Folks in Washington don’t seem to be getting the message. When this jobs bill came to a vote, Republicans in the Senate got together and they blocked it. They refused to even debate it. Even though polls showed that two-thirds of Americans of all political stripes supported the ideas in this bill, not one single Republican stepped up to say, this is the right thing to do.
THE PRESIDENT: Not one. But here’s the good news, Scranton. Just like you don’t quit, I don’t quit. (Applause.) I don’t quit. So I said, look, I’m going to do everything that I can do without Congress to get things done. (Applause.) "
The President seems willing to fight for his bill inside the arenas and auditoriums. He makes sense. He inspires people. It makes sense that in a consumer driven economy, people need to spend money. The 99% of the people who are holding back on spending for fear of their jobs are the ones who will jump start the economy. The 1% of the rich will not with their spending habits. We hear all about the job creators but my question remains the same, “What have they have been creating in the last three years? Tell me. Point me to a private industry jobs program, point me to an industry that has adopted a patriotic mantra to get America working again? Answer me those questions and I’ll shut up about taxing the rich. Obama was swell within the confines of the arena and before the assembled multirtude. But he has to start working inside the beltway to get his people in the Congress behind him. He lost that opportunity when he wasn’t tough enough when he had two houses of Congress in his hip pocket. Obama needs to stay tough. He needs to channel that energy in his speech in Scranton and put it to the Republican party that is obstructing his administration and the American middle class. If he doesn’t, all the adulation he receives before small arenas and school gyms will not get him to 270 Electoral votes in 2012.



In a letter to the governor and the legislature, the Pennsylvania Fund for Workforce Solutions, a collaborative of philanthropic funders from across the state who support workforce development initiatives that have a proven record of success like Industry Partnerships, has called upon state officials to provide necessary funding for Pennsylvania's nationally recognized Industry Partnership program.
The Industry Partnership program, which obtains its funding from both the Commonwealth and employers alike, has been a victim of severe budget cuts in the last several state budgets. Industry Partnerships are supported by both business and labor because the program identifies the skilled training needs that actually result in employment and helps keep businesses competitive. Over 6,300 employers have contributed over $75 million in matching funds to train more than 100,000 Pennsylvania workers.
"Based on extensive knowledge of employers and job opportunities in an industry sector, Industry Partnerships identify training and other services that have major positive impacts for business and workers - incumbent, low-income and long-term unemployed - thereby making the overall education and training system more effective," Tony Ross, President of the United Way of Pennsylvania, stated in his letter to the Governor Corbett.
State funding for the Industry Partnership program has declined since 2008-09 due to the economic recession and slow recovery - from $ 20 million for partnerships and associated training to $ 1.6 million in the 2010-11 state budget. In Ross's letter, he urged the Governor to restore the IP budget to its previous level of $ 7.6 million.
Senate Bill 552, sponsored by Senator Mike Brubaker from Lancaster County, was recently signed into law. That legislation, unanimously passed in the General Assembly, put Pennsylvania's Industry Partnership program into state staute. "Industry Partnerships have proven to be very successful across the industry spectrum in providing the kind of skilled training that leads to job creation and job retention at a very critical time for our businesses and workers," said Senator Brubaker.
"Pennsylvania is facing a critical shortage of skilled labor," explained Pennsylvania Business Council President & CEO David W. Patti. "Industry Partnerships are an ideal and cost-effective tool for training and re-training individuals who could be employed in these good-paying jobs."
For more information on Industry Partnerships, please visit the state website at or the PFWS website at


This story from the Times Leader about a Luzerne County agency is illustrative about the high cost of health care in this area. It also tells you how a simple phone call can send a message to a monopolistic bureaucracy that couldn’t give a little bit when it came to a long time client. Maybe if other companies shopped around for health care for their employees instead of accepting what’s handed to them, there wouldn’t be so much angst.
From the Times Leader: It took more than a 15-minute phone call, but the agency that runs public buses in Luzerne County saved a bundle by switching insurance companies.
The Luzerne County Transportation Authority board on Tuesday voted to switch from Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to Geisinger Health Plan, a move authority Executive Director Stanley Strelish said would save nearly a quarter-million dollars over the next 12 months.
Strelish said Blue Cross would have raised the premium for the authority’s First Priority health plan by 26 percent upon a Dec. 1 renewal, and Blue Cross wouldn’t budge on the premium hike.
Strelish said he contacted Geisinger, and company representatives made presentations on their offerings. He said the unions agreed to the change because it was equal to or better than the Blue Cross plan, a stipulation in the union contract.
Staying with Blue Cross would have cost the authority about $101,730 per month to cover all 65 employees; coverage under Geisinger will cost about $81,257 per month, a savings of about $245,680 over 12 months.
What’s that old line about “pigs eating and hogs getting slaughtered?” It would seem that would apply here. Or maybe Blue Cross can afford to lose $245,000 per customer. The significant factor here is that this deal struck by Strelish satisfied union contract expectations. Imagine if an employer who was not unionized and had people at will with no expectations could do. To businesses looking to do right by their employees with health care, don’t be afraid to shop around. I guarantee you that by Stanley Strelish's 15 minute phone call to Geisinger, there are frantic meetings going on at 19 North Main Street in Wilkes Barre.



Pool Report from the President’s trip to Scranton:
From: Borys Krawczeniuk
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:36 PM
Subject: Local Pool Report Scranton
Local pool report, Scranton, Pa., Nov. 30, 2011
The president's plan touched down at 1:41 p.m. at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Pittston Twp., Pa., and he was greeted by Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, well away from reporters.
"Hi Chris, How ya doin'? Great to be here," Mr. Obama said, according to Mr. Doherty.
The president walked over to a group of supporters gathered behind a steel barricade near the airport's former terminal.
"Hey Scranton, how's everybody doing?" Mr. Obama said.
He moved down the line out of earshot, jumped in his sport utility vehicle and headed off to South Scranton where he met in their home with Patrick Festa, 49, a third-grade teacher in the Scranton School District, and his wife, Donna, Festa, 49, a graphic artist at Universal Printing in Scranton. Donna later introduced the president at Scranton High School. Universal Printing is co-owned by Margi Casey McGrath, the sister of Sen. Bob Casey, but the Festas said they don't know how the White House settled on them for the president's visit.
Inside the home at 950 E. Elm St., the Festas sat with Mr. Obama at their dining room table talking about their jobs. Mrs. Festa said she used to work for the Yellow Pages and enjoys her job at the printing company.
"I have a variety of things to do at my job," she said.
"Well, that's terrific. Well, you guys seem to have wonderful kids," Mr. Obama said, referring to the Festas children, Patrick, 15, a sophomore, and Bridget, 16, a junior, both students at Scranton High.
"They are good kids," Mr. Festa said.
"They're both on the honor roll, we're very happy," Mrs. Festa said.
Mr. Festa said the children were born a year apart on the same day.
"Is that right?" Mr. Obama said. "So do they have to share their birthday parties all the time?"
Mr. Festa said they made sure to have separate parties.
The press pool was ushered out after only a minute in the dining room.
Mr. Obama spent 10 to 15 minutes in the home, then emerged and greeted other neighbors who had gathered.
"Everybody have a good Thanksgiving?" he asked. "I ate too much."
Spotting someone wearing New York Yankees apparel, Mr. Obama, said, "Yankees fan, huh? Are most folks Yankees fans in Scranton."
"No," someone yelled.
"A Red Sox fan," another yelled.
"How are you? How are you guys," Mr. Obama said to others.
Mr. Obama was inaudible after that.
As she introduced the president at Scranton High, Mrs. Festa said she and her husband had hosted "many, many guests" in the 18 years they owned their South Scranton home.
"But today, you will never believe who stopped by our house for a visit," she said.
Some members of the audience yelled.
"Our family had the thrill of a lifetime when our president, Barack Obama, came to our home to talk with us," she said. "Although humbled and overwhelmed, my husband and I made sure we used our time wisely this afternoon and shared some of our concerns about our country."
Mrs. Festa said they talked about "economic inequality in our country, our belief in bolstering our economy with job creation, especially in the area of education and our difficult plight in trying to afford two college educations in the very near future."
The audience applauded.
"The opportunity to speak with the president was one that we were very grateful for," she said. "It was obvious that he was genuinely interested in all we had to say today. We support our president's efforts to create family sustaining jobs and to help those who are out of work. He's here today to share his plan and vision to strengthen our economy and put people to work."
The audience cheered and Mrs. Festa was drowned out as she said, "Please join me in welcoming the president of the United States of America."


This week on “Storm Politics” Tiffany Cloud welcomes Congressman Lou Barletta. Barletta pulled from his jacket pocket 23 jobs bills Congress passed and that are stalled in the U.S. Senate. Fascinating interview on WYLN TV 35. Storm Politics can be seen THURS @ 9:30 PM • SAT @ 5 PM • SUN @ 11 AM MON @ 9:00 PM • TUES @ 4:30 PM on WYLN TV 35.


Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and Parks Director Mark Dougher will join ECTV Live hosts Tom Munley and David DeCosmo during the week of December 5th to talk about the annual Holiday Light show in Nay Aug Park. The display was originally a Lackawanna County project that was offered, at a charge, in what was the Multi Purpose Stadium on Montage Mountain. Now it's offered free of charge between Christmas and New Year to people visiting the city park. ECTV Live is broadcast each day at Noon and Midnight on Comcast Ch 19 in northeastern Pennsylvania.


Pre-empted for football.


This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with Rebecca Rybak and Katherine Fox about Operation safe Holiday, an effort to keep motorists safe during the holiday season. Magic 93’s Frankie in the Morning speaks with Sondra Morgan from Allied Services about their upcoming event on Wednesday at Allied on the Morgan Highway in Scranton about balance issues.
And Brian speaks with Bob Kerzner, the president and CEO of LIMERA, on the decline in the ownership of life insurance policies in the U.S.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5:30am on JR 93.7 & 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:30am on Magic 93, and 9:30am on WARM 590 AM.


Edward Gough Whitlam becomes the first Labor Party Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years. He is sworn in on 5 December and his first action using executive power is to withdraw all Australian personnel from the Vietnam War.......Apollo 17 (Gene Cernan, Ronald Evans, Harrison Schmitt), the last manned Moon mission to date, is launched...The Provisional Irish Republican Army kidnaps Jean McConville in Belfast.
Imelda Marcos is stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant; her bodyguards shoot him.....In Pennsylvania Governor Shapp says that he does not foresee a tax increase for his proposed 1973 budget……in Wilkes Barre City social service agencies like the United Fund, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army band together to provide holiday services and programs for displaced flood victims…..and thirty nine years ago the number 1 song in LuLac land and America was a slow sexy song by Billy Paul called “Me and Mrs. Jones”. (No Herman Cain jokes please!)

Another tune hitting the charts at around the same time was the 4 Tops “Keeper of the Castle”.


At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Pope George Ringo said...

Nobody asked me, but The President delivered an impressive speech. Having seen several of his stump speeches on the payroll tax cut bill it is clear that his delivery on the subject has been seasoned and the audience reaction in Scranton as compared to other towns bordered on euphoric.
I have stated previously that Obama will squeak by in the electoral college.
He may be in a fix but as a campaigner he outshines most previous Presidents (except for Clinton).
One final point, Mitt Romney, the probable opponent has not truly been tested as he is running against a group of neandathals and has not had to get into the fray.
ONce the spotlight shines on the former governor (as proven on of all things a FOX interview this past week) we will begin to see his paper mache armour crack.
One thing for certain, a nasty Fall is ahead of us. Batton down the hatches!


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