The LuLac Edition #1868, December 22nd, 2011
And the winner of the LuLac poll Question, IF YOU HAD AN AGREEMENT WITH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING, WHO WOULD BE MOST LIKELY TO KEEP IT? The Prostitute with 62% vs. the Congressman and/or woman, 0%.
Outgoing Commissioners Urban, Petrilla and Cooney setting off into the historical sunset. (Photo from Citizen's Voice).
County Council candidate Eileen Sorokas.
The late Harry S. Truman.
Our 1972 logo.
LULAC POLL RESULTS
Yesterday we took a poll regarding the low esteem Congress was held in by the American Public. There are currently polls out that put the Congressional approval rating at 9%. There are others that rank it at 11%. Our small local LuLac poll which had less than 50 respondents gave the Congress a big fat zero. Still, not one of about 50 trusted a member of Congress.
Here is the poll question and the results:
IF YOU HAD AN AGREEMENT WITH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING, WHO WOULD BE MOST LIKELY TO KEEP IT?
a. 0% A Congressman.
b. 62% A prostitute.
c. 19% A drug dealer.
d. 19% A hard core gang member.
STEPPING INTO HISTORY
As the year winds down, so does the County Commissioner form of government. A few years from now, if Home Rule works, Mary Anne Petrilla, Steve Urban Senior and Tom Cooney will the answer to the trivia question, “Who were the last serving County Commissioners in Luzerne County?” The three will be remembered individually and collectively. Urban will be known as an office holder that stayed close to his constituency and was not afraid to mix it up politically on both sides. He will be known as someone who was politically unreliable in his independence. But in terms of governing, he knew the nuts and bolts and knew when to oppose and compromise with the Democratic majority. His party switch also gives the board of Commissioners a 3-0 Democratic majority which flies in the face of how the board was set up to have a minority Commissioner. Tom Cooney will be known as the guy who succeeded convicted felon Greg Skrepenak. His contributions to the board have been quiet but efficient. Mary Anne Petrilla will be regarded as the person who restored balance to a government under siege by the public, the federal government investigators and the media. Her cool as a cucumber persona started reforms that were badly needed. Her political problem was that once her undertakings were on their way, even after her public break with Skrepenak, there was no going back for people in the County who wanted a charter change. Petrilla has been deemed more than cooperative in her work with the Home Rule Charter committee and ultimately the newly elected Councilmanic body.
As Home Rule gets its footing, the County Commissioner form of government will be in the rear view mirror. How fondly it is remembered will depend on whether the new Council members can work together. But for now, the three outgoing Commissioners have nothing to be ashamed about regarding their tenure as the last board of Commissioners in embattled Luzerne county.
BURKE CHANNELS CIAVARELLA
Remember when the County Commissioners were trying to put together a budget a few years ago and then President Judge Mark Ciavarella threatened to sue if any morsel of his Judiciary budget was touched by the County Commissioners? Ciavarella swore up and down that he needed every single job in order to make the Court system run smoothly. This week Judge Tom Burke essentially said the same thing saying he needed every single job and every single dollar. And if he didn’t get it, he was going to sue the County. Must be something about the President’s Judge’s chair that gets into the old bloodstream. You can’t spare one dollar Judge?
EILEEN SAYS THANKS
Eileen Sorokas, Democrat who just narrowly missed being the 11th member of the Luzerne County Council recently made a public statement regarding her candidacy and the future of Luzerne County. Here’s what she wrote:
Although I was not elected to Luzerne County Council, I would like to thank the 18,811 people who voted for me in the November 8 general election.To each and every one who helped in my campaign, thank you very much. I wish the newly-elected members of council the very best and hope they remember to represent all the citizens of Luzerne County.Also, I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Once again, thank you for your vote of confidence.
Eileen M. Sorokas
THE MESSING AROUND VOTE
The Business Insidfer reports that extra-marital dating website AshleyMadison.com has erected a billboard of serial adulterer and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that reads: “Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband. Welcome to the AshleyMadison.com Era.”
Given that Gingrich's edge in the polls has recently been dwindling, could the former Speaker's clinching of the coveted pro-adultery demographic be just what his campaign needs?
Considering that the thrice-married Republican candidate recently took a "no-adultery pledge" to increase his clout -- much to the glee of snarky political bloggers -- it's probably not what the Team Newt had in mind. But according to Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, the billboard can only help him.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
TUITION FOR THIS?
So I read in the paper that some professor at my old Alma Mater, King’s College is teaching a class on the nuances and philosophy of the failed TV series “Arrested Development”. I liked the show and was sad to see it go off. But a college course on the philosophical ramifications of it? Please. Parents are paying tuition for this type of curriculum? I can name about ten of my late King’s college professors spinning in their graves right now. What’s next, an 8 week summer course on Felix the Cat? No wonder the kids drink so much.
HEALTH CARE RESULTS
The critics of the 2009 Health Care bill continue to rail against it saying that it will cost untold amounts of energy, productivity and energy. “Obama-Care” as they call it will do us all in. However here is news of a project that will benefit patients, providers and hospitals.
Leading health care providers will be Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations
Thirty-two leading health care organizations from across the country will participate in a new Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) initiative made possible by the Affordable Care Act, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. The Pioneer ACO initiative will encourage primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals and other caregivers to provide better, more coordinated care for people with Medicare and could save up to $1.1 billion over five years.
Under this initiative, operated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center (Innovation Center), Medicare will reward groups of health care providers that have formed ACOs based on how well they are able to both improve the health of their Medicare patients and lower their health care costs.
“Pioneer ACOs are leaders in our work to provide better care and reduce health care costs,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We are excited that so many innovative systems are participating in this exciting initiative – and there are many other ways that health care providers can get involved and help improve care for patients.”
The Pioneer ACO initiative is just one of a menu of options for providers looking to better coordinate care for patients and use health care dollars more wisely. The Pioneer ACO model is designed specifically for groups of providers with experience working together to coordinate care for patients. The Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Advance Payment ACO Model, both announced in October 2011, are also ACO options for providers. More information about the full menu of options for providers and how to apply to participate is available here.
“We know that health care providers are at different stages in their work to improve care and reduce costs,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting Administrator of CMS. “That’s why we’ve developed a menu of options for Medicare to meet doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers where they are, and begin the conversation of how to enhance the care they are offering to people with Medicare.”
The 32 Pioneer ACOs underwent a rigorous competitive selection process by the Innovation Center, including extensive review of applications and in-person interviews.
The initiative will test the effectiveness of several innovative payment models and how they can help experienced organizations to provide better care for beneficiaries, work in coordination with private payers, and reduce Medicare cost growth. These payment models will allow organizations that are successful in achieving better care and lower cost growth to move away from a payment system based on volume under the fee-for-service model, towards one where the ACO is paid based on the value of care it provides.
The Pioneer ACO model requires ACOs to engage other payers in similar efforts to reward health care providers that deliver high-quality care. The Pioneer ACO model also includes strict beneficiary protections, including the ability for patients to seek care from any Medicare provider they wish.
Selected Pioneer ACOs include physician-led organizations and health systems, urban and rural organizations, and organizations in various geographic regions of the country, representing 18 States and the opportunity to improve care for about 860,000 Medicare beneficiaries.
The first performance period of the Pioneer ACO Model will begin January, 1st 2012.
PHAN SAYS THANKS
Our former Senator, Rick Santorum, recently said no one has ever died because they didn't have health insurance. But the Pennsylvania Health Access Network says otherwise.
We know that simply isn't true. Georgeanne Koehler's brother, Billy, would be alive today if a doctor changed the battery in his heart defibrillator. He was refused because he didn't have health insurance. And, having recently lost his job, he also didn't have the $10,000 to pay for it out of pocket.
By working with PHAN this year, you have helped to save lives. You do this work because you know access to quality affordable health care isn't a frivolous bonus, it's the difference between life and death.
When Gov. Corbett wanted to dissolve the Tobacco Settlement Fund and give away a dedicated source of health care funding to big business, we fought back. We stood up to big business interests at a time when many said we didn't have a chance. But, we won. Today, thanks to all your support, that money is still protected and going towards valuable health care programs.
CHRISTMAS EVE LIVE
This Saturday night on WILK AM & FM, Shadoe Steele will be armed with a few Whoppers and Christmas cookies and broadcast “Saturday Night Live At the Oldies” from 7pm until midnight. There will be no other radio station broadcasting live as far as I know. Take advantage of this great broadcast and tune in Christmas Eve and wish Shadoe a very Merry Christmas.
ECTV Live hosts Judge Tom Munley and David DeCosmo will welcome Dave Williams to their program during the week of December 26th. Mr Williams is the creator and producer of the Pennsylvania Farm County Radio Network which is heard on nearly two dozen radio stations in the Commonwealth as well as some in New York State. He'll be outlining plans and events scheduled for the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg in January. ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast Ch19 at Noon and Midnight each day, Additionally random re-plays at 6pm have been added to the schedule.
DECOSMO ON THE TALKER
David DeCosmo will also be joining his former New Director Frank Andrews Shimkus on 94.3 "The Talker." on Christmas Eve morning. Frank and his wife Gabrielle host a talk program on the Scranton based station each Saturday morning from 8 till 9.
Former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General, Dick Thornburgh, reflects on his personal and professional life during a special five-part oral history series produced by the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). “Dick Thornburgh: An Oral History” will air on the statewide network from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. beginning Monday, December 26. A new episode will air nightly at the same timeslot through Friday, December 30.
The series of one-on-one interviews has provided the network with over nine hours of candid discussion with the Pittsburgh native. During the conversations, Thornburgh reflects on his childhood and other personal experiences as well as gives insight to his vast career in public service.
Educated at Yale University and the Pittsburgh University School of Law, Thornburgh went on to fight corruption as U.S. Attorney for western Pennsylvania and Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division before being elected as the Governor of Pennsylvania in 1978. During his two terms, the former governor dealt with various state issues including that of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster.
Thornburgh then went on to serve as U.S. Attorney General upon his unanimous U.S. Senate confirmation working in the cabinets of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Original photos and video used in the special PCN series are courtesy of The Dick Thornburgh Papers which are maintained at the University of Pittsburgh.
Encore presentations are tentatively scheduled at 9:00 a.m. the following day of each premiere with the exception of the last episode which is to re-air at 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 31.
This week Tiffany Cloud features an encore presentation with State Representative Tarah Toohill. Storm Politics can be seen on WYLN TV 35
THURS @ 9:30 PM • SAT @ 5 PM • SUN @ 11 AM, MON @ 9:00 PM • TUES @ 4:30 PM.
No Sunday Magazine this Sunday, because of Christmas.
Sunday Magazine will return on New Years Day, featuring my interview with State Senator John Yudichak, who discusses his first year in office, and topics ranging from the September floods and redistricting to jobs, gas extraction and state store privitization, and a summary of the top local news stories of 2011. Sunday Magazine airs 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.
The Pittsburgh Steelers win their first ever post-season NFL game, defeating the Oakland Raiders 13–7, on a last second play that becomes known as The Immaculate Reception……..The Christmas bombing of North Vietnam causes widespread criticism of the U.S. and President Richard Nixon……..Former United States President Harry S. Truman dies in Kansas City, Missouri.
Governor Milton Shapp, and U.S. Senators Hugh Scott and Richard Schweiker all express their sympathies upon hearing of the death of President Truman……in the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Area, Harry Truman’s visits are remembered fondly by citizens and politicos alike. Truman spoke at the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Dinner in Pittston in the 1950s…..and 39 years ago the number 1 song in America and Lulac land was Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains In Southern California”.
POLL ON FEATURE YEAR
Next week we'll take a reader poll to determine 2012's featured historical year.