The LuLac Edition #1528, March 31st, 2011
Got word yesterday from Bruce Simpson candidate for Luzerne County Council that he is not running with Casey Evans. Both men are formidable candidates. They did do a dual fundraiser though the other day. But so far there are no “teams” or slates. Thanks to Mr. Simpson for the heads up.
BLOG FEST SLATED
Don’t forget the annual blogfest is going to take place on Friday April 29th from 6 to 8PM at Rooney’s Irish Pub in Pittston. All candidates and their supporters are welcome. This is a perfect opportunity for Judicial candidates as well as the County Council candidate to come out and meet and greet supporters as well as sizing up your opposition. Buy your own drinks, don’t make any boring speeches and wear clothes. It’s a minimalist event.
John Wozniak from the Johnstown Area has proposed a bill that will make drug testing mandatory for people on public assistance. A big discussion ensued on talk radio yesterday and I thought I’d weigh in on this. This type of story always leads to anecdotal comments. “I saw this person taking hundreds of dollars off their access card”, “I saw this person buying lobster and wine at Wegmans with an Access Card”, etc, etc. It is a passionate issue because tax payer money is involved. Here’s the thing, government is tasked to take care of people who need a leg up. If an access card is going to help, then make sure the people in need get it. But with a helping hand comes responsibility. Here’s my take on the Wozniak bill and public assistance in general:
1. I agree 100% that mandatory drug testing should be enforced if people have an Access Card. Access money is for lack of a better term, a salary. And when you go for a job these days, you are drug tested to get that job. And sometimes there are mandatory drug tests for you to keep that employment. So I would think this would be a good idea as a deterrent to drug taking as well as sending a message that an Access Card is only a helping hand, not a way of life.
2. In terms of welfare housing in the state, I think there should be a Housing Inspection Census. Managers of section 8 housing or projects should be required to take a census of the population. This will enable them to screen for “visitors” who flop down here from out of town. Noltice that a lot of the out of town crime comes from those “visitors” staying in public housing. Granted, people have relatives that come and go all the time. You don’t want to penalize them. So you provide them with a visitor’s pass or bracelet as well as an expectation of stay and departure.
3. People on public assistance if able bodied should be required to get up three times a week and report to a community center. Whether it be a municipal building or a town hall. They should get job assignments that they must perform. It could be assisting DPW or clerical workers. This would decrease the workload and increase the productivity in small towns who had to slash workforces because of government cutbacks. Many of you have characterized me as a liberal bleeding heart. To a certain extent I am but I’m also no fool either. In my earlier adult years I knew three women on welfare. All of them had kids. They got food stamps. All wound up on welfare and public housing because of bad divorces. Each one of them were humiliated to be in that situation. But they worked with their caseworkers. All of them went to school…for free. Two of them got their Masters Degrees, the other one got a Certification in the Construction Trades. All three escaped welfare. They had the imitative to get off of it. Some people need a push. Wozniak’s bill is a step in the right direction. Liberals have always been accused of loving big government. Of letting poor people take the easy way out. Of wanting to be the big bad governmental parent. I think the parenting should be extended. That’s why I’m proposing what I am proposing today. When we were all young and living at home, everyone of us wanted to do something to extend our boundaries. It could have been staying out all night or having a girlfriend sleep over. And we’d hear from our parents, “not under my roof”. People who are getting a helping hand should realize it is not permanent. Like parents who gave us a helping hand, there had to be restrictions, rules and limits. Drug testing is a step in the right direction. Public assistance is a “loan”, “an investment” in the prospects of those people who haven’t had a break. It should come with expectations and responsibilities. And if need be, they should be enforced by the people handing it out. With strings attached.
MORE OF A MESS
A U.S. Grand Jury has returned a 41 county superseding indictment charging Robert Cordaro and Anthony Munchak with racketeering and related charges. The original indictment was issued March 16, 2010. Today's fling is actually a "second superseding indictment. A prior superseding indictment was issued in October, 2010 as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declare part of the law used in the original charges unconstitutional. In effect, this is technical and doesn’t reduce any of the previous charges. Cordaro and Munchak are going to be in for the legal fight of their lives. All this amounted to was legless housekeeping to make sure the government case was airtight.
Former Judge Patrick Toole’s public saga continues. Last Friday there was a hearing asking for leniency. There was a great deal of embarrassing testimony coming out relating to Toole’s battle with alcoholism and gambling. If Attorney Frank Nocito thought he was doing his client a favor by bringing up his recovery, I have to say it fell on deaf ears as far as the prosecution was concerned. Plus Toole’s behavior such as allegedly stalking Attorney Henry Cordoni is not going to get him the lighter sentence he apparently wants. The government and the defense then entered into a ridiculous argument about how many times Toole used Cordoni’s beach house. Whether it was a week or a day, in for a penny, in for a pound. Toole gave a favorable outcome to one of Attorney Cordoni’s clients to stay at that beach house. Even if he was there a minute and left, the deal was done. Nocito argued that Toole deserves leniency because he has undergone "extraordinary rehabilitation" from alcohol and gambling addictions since his conviction. The government called Toole's recovery "laudable," but "not extraordinary." Toole's recovery and determination in landing a low-level job after leaving the bench so he could support his family "is what is expected of an adult responsible for a household," Consiglio added. There are a lot of people in Lulac land with drinking problems. Some have picked up the shattered pieces of their lives. There’s no cheering section for them. I hope Toole keeps up his recovery. We wish him well in that strenuous effort. As far as being a pariah in the community, that’s a sad fact of life in this area. When you’re doing well, people envy you. When you fall from grace, they are only too willing to stomp on your face. Again, my advice to former Judge Toole is remember years from now when this is all over, who stood by you despite this foul up. Most likely the circle will be very small. But true.
We always hear about how government should never get involved in private business. The demagoges that killed the public option in health gave the impression that government screws everything up that it touches. But the State Store system in Pennsylvania is a good example of what happens when government does get involved. Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor and wine stores do a better job of collecting taxes, enforcing the drinking age, and offering a broad selection of products at competitive prices than private operators would. Plus state stores turn over 100 percent of the liquor and sales tax revenue they collect, while states that have privatized often must take legal action to recover taxes collected by companies that went out of business or tried to cheat. The GOP wants to sell off the State Stores for a one time revenue bump but to me they are eliminating a long term cash cow that is already in place and making money for the tax base. Estimates that a 2 billion dollar windfall is in the offing for the Commonwealth is a dream at best. Business people and corporations are going to get the best deal possible, the state budget and quality of life in Pennsylvania be damned. In terms of private owners, this is who you are going to get, multi billion dollar corporations that will only care about one thing, a multiple return on their investment and low to mid level criminals who will use their “liquor stores” as a headquarters for crime. If you want that, be my guest. But State Store privatization will only decrease the quality of life here in a state that is already hallway to hell in a hand basket.
PUBLIC TV CUT
Republicans on Capitol Hill have called for sharp cuts in spending to reduce the deficit, including legislation to eliminate all federal funding for public radio and public television. The Senate is controlled by Democrats who are protective of public broadcasting, but public radio and public television officials are taking nothing for granted. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is set to get $430 million this year and a bit more next year. But Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), author of the bill that would eliminate funding starting in fiscal year 2013, says public broadcasters should not receive any more money. (The Corporation for Public Broadcasting typically receives funding in two-year commitments.) When asked why public broadcasting drew his attention, Lamborn said he wasn't sure. Typical Republican answer. Throw the baby out with the bathwater, shoot first them aim later. This is the typical national GOP representative that has no clue about what is important in society. But I’ll bet if the House Leadership came up to him with a multi billion dollar scheme to have big business pay no taxes or a billion dollars a day to have our troops assassinated in a war with dubious intention, this little guy would be right on it. Anyway, if you are interested in keeping funding for Public TV and Radio, here’s what you can do. Call your US Senators now or use the 170MILLIONAMERICANS.ORG website. http://www.170millionamericans.org/. Pennsylvania Senators Senator Bob Casey Phone: (202) 224-6324 Senator Patrick Toomey Phone: (202) 224-4254
NEWT AND THE DONALD
Iowa voters are known to be the most conservative in the nation. The question in the 2012 Presidential election will be whether they will accept the thrice married candidates Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. Only time will tell.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
This week on Shadoe Steele’s Live At the Oldies, Sheila Ferguson, lead singer (and actress for the past 30-years in London) of The Three Degrees. Saturday Night Live at the Oldies airs Saturday on WILK AM and FM from 7PM to Midnight with ABC News at the top of the hour. On Sunday nights, check out Shadoe Steele live at the Woodlands for "40 Something”.
David DeCosmo and Judge Tom Munley report their guest for the week of April 4th will be Chester Kulesa of the Anthracite Heritage Museum of Scranton. April 7th will mark the 100th anniversary of the Pancoast mine disaster in the community of Throop. Kulesa will recall the fire which claimed the lives of 72 mine workers as well as a would be rescuer and its impact on the commnity and the industry. The program airs live at Noon Monday on Comcast Ch 19 and is rebroadcast each day at Noon and Midnight throughout the week.
Brian Hughes hosts Sunday Magazine. This Weekend on Sunday Magazine: Brian Hughes speaks with Jason Wenrich and 2 students from the Music Department at Mahanoy Area High School about the impact of Governor Corbett’s budget cuts on music and sports programs at the school Brian speaks with Kellie and Amy about the “Kellie’s Kause” fundraiser on April 10th at the West Wyoming Fire Department Social Hall, to benefit Kellie’s battle with breast cancer. This Week in Harrisburg examines Senator John Yudichak’s proposed gas extraction tax, also the move to privatize state liquor stores, a rally by college students in Harrisburg protesting Gov. Corbett’s budget cuts. Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County addressed the students, Blake also weighs in on cost cutting efforts for state agencies, and a proposal by House Republicans to press for tort reform legislation. And Magic 93’s Frankie in the Morning speaks with Rich and Amanda about the Glen Summit Spring Water Harvey’s Lake Run coming up on April 16th. 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.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) will air programs concerning federal health care as well as Marcellus Shale. The two topics will air statewide on the public affairs network this Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2. On Friday beginning at 10:00 a.m., PCN will air the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee hearing from March 23 concerning federal health care. Immediately following this airing will be the recent federal health care event hosted by the PA Health Access Network. PCN will examine healthcare and the state budget during two upcoming LIVE Call-In programs. Viewers can participate in the healthcare discussion during the hour-long programs on Thursday, March 31 and Thursday, April 7 beginning at 7:00 p.m. by dialing toll-free at 1- 877-PA6-5001. Then on Saturday, April 2, PCN devotes the afternoon to another much-discussed topic – that of Marcellus Shale. Starting at 2:00 p.m., a legal symposium hosted at Clarion University called, “Marcellus Shale: Boom or Bust” will air statewide. The program examines the regulatory, environmental and legal issues surrounding the development of natural gas from the Marcellus shale. This special program will be followed at 4:00 p.m. with taped coverage of the community action forum on Marcellus Shale that took place recently in Lancaster. Later in the month, PCN will give viewers the chance to comment on the topic of Marcellus Shale. On Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m., the LIVE PCN Call-In program will feature guests discussing Marcellus Shale and the environment. Lou D’Amico, executive director of the PA Independent Oil and Gas Association and Jan Jarrett, president and CEO of PennFuture will take viewers’ calls on the topic. By dialing toll-free at 1- 877-PA6-5001, viewers will be able to share their comments and questions directly with these scheduled featured guests during the April 19 program.
The 92nd U.S. Congress votes to send the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification........The Godfather is released in cinemas in the United States..... In Presidential politics, George McGovern wins the Wisconsin primary. Once standing at 3% in the polls the McGovern win catapults the South Dakota anti war candidate into the front row of the race for the Democratic nomination……in Pennsylvania first year Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo clashes with Governor Milton Shapp on the State Chief Executive's opinion on the death penalty....and in Luzerne County with the next big Presidential primary state being Pennsylvania, Luzerne County Party power broker Senator Martin L. Murray puts the word out that Edmund Muskie is the horse the Dems will back in the April 27th primary and thirty nine years ago the number 1 song in Lulac land and America was “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon.