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.
The LuLac Political Letter was also named Best Political Blog of the Year for 2014 by NEPA BLOGCON.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
The LuLac Edition #1698, July 31st, 2011
PHOTO INDEX: OBAMA'S RIGHT TURN.
LOOKING OUT FOR # 1
The debt ceiling debate, one that should not have even taken place is inching toward its ignominious end. Once more President Obama came out on top. Just as he won his primary victories over the more qualified Hillary Clinton, just as he beat back Senator John McCain in the general election, Barack Obama has prevailed. In the debt ceiling compromise, the issue will not be revisited until after the 2012 election. An election presumably featuring one Mr. Barack Obama. The rest of the stuff? Forget about it. Tax increases on the wealthy? Nope. Taxes are not on the table. Cuts to Medicare and Social Security? Oh yes they are on the table. Paris Hilton can still have her million dollars birthday parties but my 70 year old neighbor up the street is going to have to stretch her pennies even more. See what happened here with this “compromise” is that the President wanted a revenue stream and the GOP wanted cuts. The President didn’t get his extra funding stream but the Republicans sure as hell got their reductions. As a matter of fact Speaker of the House John Boehner says “the compromise reflects GOP principles”. Ya think, John????? This is a historic night folks. What should have been a routine one sentence addition has now changed the course of history. We are on the road to austerity. When government cuts, jobs are lost. And they can’t be made up by state and local funding streams either. The formation of a Super Congress committee is ironic for me. During the health care debate we heard about rationing of health care by bureaucrats. Funding streams in the future are going to be judged by a Super Congress. I mean why bother with the rest of them? Because both sides can’t trust themselves to do the right thing…..or anything. The saddest thing about this whole fiasco is that Barack Obama has again provenhimself to be the bully without balls. He blustered, wagged his finger, told us he did everything he could but no one would listen or bend to his way of thinking. Again he wasted the bully pulpit of the Presidency all in the name of compromise. But the President, a Harvard grad misunderstands the meaning of compromise. “Compromise” is when you give a little and get a little. Not when you get a little and the other side gets the store. The bottom line is this: After all his huffing and puffing, the Republicans have gotten Obama to give up any tax increases on the rich while getting him to concede to spending cuts on just about everyone else. Oh but he did get one thing, he won’t have to deal with this during his oh so important re-election bid. Barack Obama has redefined the old adage, Looking out for number 1”.
PHOTO INDEX: SCRANTON MAYOR CHRIS DOHERTY, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE BILL VINSKO AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RICK SANTORUM. DOHERTY’S DILEMMA
Mayor Chris Doherty of Scranton announced the other day that he will need to lay off 13 policemen and 8 firefighters. Doherty as chief executive of the city has received the brunt of the criticism. But the fact is the Mayor is trying to work with the budget imposed on him by a defiant Scranton City Council. Late last year the Council along with its erstwhile President Janet Evans were chest thumping about how they could do a better budget than the Mayor. “Cut the fat” they proclaimed saying that the Mayor really was overestimating the costs that would be incurred by the city. Well it just goes to show that the old adage about a camel being invented by a committee might also be applied to a bunch of City Council people who decided they wanted to play “tough Guy’ with the Mayor. A Mayor by the way who has been administering the city budget since 2002. Mayor Doherty tells reporters that services cost money, and that when the money is not provided for those services, you have to cut somewhere. To Scranton City residents, don’t blame the Mayor on this one, blame the council. This kind of reminds me of a friend of mine from the 70s. Whenever he went out, his grandfather would throw him a dime to call home if he ever got in a jam. Trouble was by then pay phones were a quarter.
VINSKO ON THE DEBT CRISIS
Congressional aspirant Bill Vinsko has sounded a call to the members of the current Congress to stop playing games and get this debt ceiling issue under control. Vinsko's office issued this missive the other day: Pennsylvania 11th Congressional District Candidate Bill Vinsko Calls on LouBarletta to Stop Playing Games with Our Nation’s Financial FutureThe following is a statement from Bill Vinsko: “The people of Northeast Pennsylvania have been calling for immediate action in Washington to ensure that Medicare is protected, their Social Security checks reach their mailboxes on time, and that individuals and small businesses are not plagued with higher interest rates. Congressman Barletta admitted yesterday that the people of Northeast Pennsylvania want the bickering to stop. In reality, they want something done. The right-wing radical agenda is preventing action, prolonging unnecessary debate and hurting our people. Being an “American” Congressman means putting the American people first. Being a Northeast Pennsylvania Congressman means putting the people of Northeast Pennsylvania first, and not following extremist party lines, or wasting time on legislation that has no possibility of becoming law. Instead of wasting time on symbolic votes while the markets drop and the economy flounders, Congressman Barletta should have the courage to stand up to theextreme wing of his party and say 'Enough bickering, lets get something done”.
Former Senator Rick Santorum is soliciting donations to make an impact in that ludicrous Iowa Straw Poll. This is the poll where a bunch of farmers pick a candidate they may or may not like a half year in advance of the actual caucus event for a candidate who they most likely will turn on before the next poll. It’s really an insult to the electoral Presidential process but because they are first on the political calendar, we have to listen to them. Anyway here’s what Santorum had to say in his request: Our first real test is the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll on August 13th and the stakes are high. The eyes of the nation, the media and the White House will be fixed squarely on Iowa – where the Straw Poll results will give America an idea of who’s leading the pack early in the Republican primary season. While some of the other candidates have chosen to bypass Iowa and this early Presidential test, I have spent the past month traveling across the state with my entire family meeting voters, listening to their concerns and laying out my common sense conservative solutions to the nations toughest problems. It’s clear our message is resonating as I am traveling to over 50 cities across Iowa and doing 50 townhalls. Santorum then goes on to ask for small donations of $10, $25 and $50.00.
PHOTO INDEX: LAST SATURDAY LOGO, OWL JOLSON, ARTIST JENNIFER LARMORE AND WILLIAM PENN.
It’s the last Saturday in the month and you know what the means, no Interview segment. Here’s what happened in history on this day. In 1729: The U.S. city of Baltimore was founded. In 1932: The tenth modern Olympic Games opened in Los Angeles.In 1975: Former Teamsters union president James Hoffa was reported missing. Many suspect he was murdered, though his remains have never been found. In 1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid. In 1969: President Richard M. Nixon makes an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam and meets with President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and U.S. military commanders. In 1971 Apollo 15 Mission members David Scott and James Irwin on the Apollo Lunar Module module Falcon land on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover. 1971: An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 and a Japanese Air Force F-86 collide over Morioka, Japan killing 162. In 1974 President Richard M. Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the United States Supreme Court. In 1918 on this day Joyce Kilmer, the American poet, on this day in 1718 , William Penn, English founder of the Province of Pennsylvania and also on this day in 579 Pope Benedict I die.
SATURDAY PERFORMERS OWL JOLSON
This little guy had some trouble initially with his mom and pop. But he stayed true to his goals and eventually won his parents, a national radio audience and every cartoon lover over to his way of thinking.
Jennifer Larmore attended Westminster Choir College in New Jersey and trained with John Bullock and Regina Resnik. She made her professional debut in 1986, at Opéra de Nice in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. In 1988, she sang Rosina in Rossini's The Barber of Seville (Jérôme Savary production in Strasbourg) and now calls it her signature role. Larmore has since sung many leading roles in Europe's greatest opera houses, as well as making her Carnegie Hall debut as Romeo (Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi) in 1994 and her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1995. Her repertoire includes Mahler, Handel, Schoenberg, Mozart, de Falla, Debussy, Berlioz and Barber. She appeared as Gertrude in the Met's Hamlet in 2010.
Buster Pointdexter used to be David Johanson from the New York Dolls. He had a big hit with "Hot Hot Hot" as Buster but also wowed crowds with this song originally done by LuLu.
Maybe I’m Amazed…….that the national shrine in Harleigh, Luzerne County to the Sacred Heart was shut down by the Diocese. The late Father Angelo brought many religious pilgrims into the Hazleton area to worship at the Shrine. After his death the Diocese said they’d do their best to preserve the national shrine. Like they always do…………..they lied. Maybe I’m Amazed………that the County is trying to decide what to do with Moon Lake. How about restoring it as a money maker for the county or maybe getting a national concern to take it over and bring in some revenue. Get naming rights like the Mohegan Sun Summertime Fun Park at Moon Lake. Maybe I’m Amazed…..that the Chinese Restaurant near Sherman Hills in Wilkes Barre has been robbed 4 times in the past 12 days. Four times! I was in there and the food is very good. The people who run it and work it are hard working people. It is unconscionable that a bunch of thugs are terrorizing these good business people. Perhaps its time to stop calling the police and invest in a howitzer. Maybe I’m Amazed……..that there is still so much disinformation about the Obama Health Care bill. Today my friend Rob Nyehard was filling in for my friend Sue Henry on WILK. He took a call from a Donna in Plains who said that she was a Republican. She said that Democrats don’t compromise and she pointed to the health care bill where she said no Republicans were ever invited in to discuss the ramifications of it. Oh yeah? If that were the case then the Democrats would have shoved through the public option. They bent over backwards to get the cooperation of Maine Senators Snow and Collins. And in the end they got nothing. Every Republican in the House and Senate voted against the health care bill. If anything the GOP was over consulted. This woman as a listener to talk radio is entitled to her opinion but she was dead wrong on her statement that the Democrats did not compromise on health care. And when people make erroneous and stupid statements like that, someone should call them out on it. Maybe I’m Amazed……..that baseball still has not instituted instant replay on crucial calls. The other night the Pirates lost to the Braves 4-3 when an obvious tag at the plate was missed by the umpire. Even the runner who scored was shocked when it turned out he was called safe. I mean it was 2AM in the bottom of the 19th, did the ump have a hot date? Maybe I’m Amazed……..at the intricacies involved in restoring the Luzerne County Courthouse. I drove by there the other day and the workers are really turning in a stellar performance. Maybe I’m Amazed……..at the huge mess Speaker of the House John Boehner finds himself in. I don’t envy him at all. He waited for this opportunity all of his life and then got stuck with a majority made up of unreasonable singularly focused freshmen who he can’t control. These guys don’t care about seniority, perks, they can’t be gotten to, which normally might be a good thing. But Boehner won the House last year with a segment of a majority that just wants to blow the place up. Maybe I’m Amazed…….that we will soon find out the fate of convicted former Judge Mark Ciavarella. He will be sentenced on August 11th and you can bet that he won’t get the 7 years he originally plead to in January of 2009. Experts are saying he’ll get more than that and be carted away that same day. I’m thinking he’ll get 13 years and be given a month to get his affairs in order. Maybe I’m Amazed…….that it took this long for the baseball Hall of Fame to discover that long time uber collector Barry Halper’s items were bogus. Halper donated signed uniforms to the Hall which he said were originally Ruth’s, Cobb’s and Shoeless Joe Jackson’s. He also claimed to have a lock of hair from the Babe. After the toilet paper magnate died in 1999 an auction at Southebey’s brought in millions to his family. Celebrities were not immune from his fraud. Actor Billy Crystal who produced the movie “61” thought he was getting a centerfielder’s glove from Mickey Mantle circa 1960. Turned out the glove wasn’t even manufactured until 1964 and Mantle never used it until 1966. Crystal paid over $150,000 for it. When you are looking at autographs, beware. There are a lot of card dealers that will give you a line of bull a mile long. No autograph is authentic unless you were there in front of the guy to get it yourself. Halper was a 2% owner of the Yankees and even had Yankee greats participate in a DVD about his collection. Turns out the guy was full of crap and a fraud. Maybe I’m Amazed……….that two Pittston men stole a parking meter. I’m equally amazed that said meter was found in their apartment. They were going to smash it open for coins. This is Pittston, how big could the take have been? Maybe I’m Amazed…….that so many residents don’t see the correlation between state and federal cuts to social services and the increase in violent crime. Guys, there is a connection. Maybe I'm Amazed.........that the cast of Jersey Shore, a program I do not watch starring a troll like woman called Snookey did this season's show in Italy. The crew was under the impression that Pope Benedict hung out in Florence. Enough said. And these people get paid to be idiots.
PHOTO INDEX: LACKAWANNA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MIKE WASHO AND COREY O'BRIEN AND JOHN BOEHNER AND LOU BARLETTA EARLIER IN THE YEAR BEFORE THE BIG DECISIONS NEEDED TO BE MADE.
LOU FALLS IN LINE
If House Speaker John Boehner was expecting trouble from all of his Freshmen members, at least our local Representative Lou Barletta took to the House floor on C-SPAN to support Boehner’s plan to cut $917 billion in spending in exchange for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by $900 billion. However House GOP leaders suddenly postponed the vote early Thursday evening, possibly lacking confidence that enough conservative Republicans, especially the sometimes rebellious and recalcitrant frosh class, would vote for the measure. Barletta said that the country could not be allowed to default on its obligations. He did say that he would have preferred bigger cuts. Barletta indicated that calls to his office from his Northeast Pennsylvania constituents indicate that Americans want the “bickering” to stop in Washington. Barletta’s website was almost impossible to access the other evening after the President’s and Boehner’s addresses to the nation.
A state anti-discrimination agency is investigating whether two women were denied admission to a nursing program at Luzerne County Community College because they were born in Russia. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission spokeswoman Shannon Powers confirmed Marina Gnilopyat and Anna Torbenko filed complaints with the agency in July 2010, and said the complaints are under investigation. Gnilopyat and Torbenko alleged community college officials failed to admit them to the nursing program because of their national origins, which Powers said is against state law. The investigation includes finding out whether the women were treated differently from others in the same situation. The college conducted an internal investigation and is cooperating with the Human Relations Commission in its investigation. When I was attending LCCC a few years back as part of my layoff package from Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, I happened to be in classes with both women and they seemed to be perfect candidates for the Nursing program. But what the hell do I know? JOLTIN’ JOE & BATTLING BOB
Joe Holden attended the Coal Street Realignment meeting Wednesday night as part of his job with WBRE TV. Bob Reilly attended the meeting as part of a concern he has with the project and how it will affect the neighborhood. Holden asked what Reilly’s motivations were regarding his attendance at the meeting. Holden asked about Reilly political future. Reilly said the question was out of line and his wife started saying that WBRE going up on people’s porches was out of line. Debates have ensued on this little piece of Luzerne County political drama. Here’s the whole thing in a nutshell. Holden has the right, even the duty to ask the questions directed toward Reilly. On the other hand, Reilly has the perfect right not answer. So it appears that this is going to be a stand off. And it appears that everybody’s right even though people are saying that everybody’s wrong.
GRASPING FOR STRAWS
Bill Jones the Republican nominee for Lackawanna County Commissioner tried to take issue with Commissioner Corey O’Brien taking a 90 minute access pass to the Toyota Pavilion. O’Brien said he was there for a performance but couldn’t remember the act. Outgoing Commissioner Mike Washo blasted Jones with both barrels. According to the Scranton Times he told Jones, “The commissioners do not attend any events for free, whether it's a prayer breakfast in Carbondale where we are invited to be the speakers or it's a concert." "I don't mean to lecture you, but you have come to my workplace, the people's workplace, and you have thrown something out there like a talk-show host," Mr. Washo said. "Let me tell you, I resent it because I have never had a ticket up there and I don't think I deserve one. If you are so fortunate as to sit here, I don't think you'll deserve one." When O’Brien and Washo took over they stopped the practice of accepting any types of gifts. When O’Brien ran for Congress he even miffed senior citizen groups by refusing their home made offerings from the senior centers as tokens of appreciation. The fact that he doesn’t remember what act he was around is more of a testament to O’Brien’s single minded focus on his career than his integrity. Jones does deserve an A for effort though but this will have no traction in the fall campaign as Jones and Pat O’Malley face off against O’Brien and former State Representative John Wansacz.
PHOTO INDEX: HEALTH CARE AND MONEY ALWAYS LINKED, COVER OF TIME MAGAZINE COVER WITH EMBATTLED SENATOR TOM EAGLETON ON IT,GOP 6TH DISTRICT SUMMER OUTING INVITE AND OUR 1972 LOGO.
Sometimes in politics you don’t worry about your enemies so much as your friends. This week Mr. Obama’s jobs czar General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, chose to announce the company will be moving the headquarters X-Ray division to China. Most of the jobs were moved out of Wisconsin. This really makes the administration and the President himself look bad. If I were Obama (and evidently I’m not because we’d have a single payer system in health care , all of our troops would be home protecting our borders instead of having Muslim terrorists assassinate them) and there would be no debt ceiling issue at all,) I’d invite Mr. Immelt to resign. By 9AM Friday morning. After of course asking him the question that is on everyone’s mind, “WTF”????????
Highmark is once again asking the State Insurance Commissioner for a rate hike. Our friends at the Pa. Health Access Network provided us with some important information. They ask if you want to pay higher insurance rates for health care? I'm guessing no, you probably don't. Unfortunately for you, you're better off living just about anywhere but Pennsylvania. Highmark recently proposed a 10% rate hike on some of their plans - including Special Care. Special Care is the extremely limited coverage that the 42,000 people kicked off adultBasic were advised to purchase. And if Highmark is doing this, we can expect the other Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans are likely to follow. Many of these people used adultBasic to fight cancer, blood diseases, Chron's Disease, etc., but Special Care only lets them see a doctor four times/year. So does this rate hike at least mean these folks can see their doctor when the need arises? NO. If Highmark has their way, there will be no increase in coverage - only price. Tell the Insurance Commissioner, Michael Consedine, to stand up to Highmark! This is why PA needs 'rate review.' Health insurance is something all working families should be able to afford. That will never happen for us as long as these companies can jack up rates on a whim. In the years to come, the new health care law will provide additional protections. In the mean time, however, PA is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to rate review. Other states have some sort of review process. We should be entitled, at the very least, to a public hearing. There, Highmark can explain to policy holders how they can afford things like buying a hospital and giving big bonuses to executives, but still have to raise premiums on policies already overpriced. Special Care was supposed to be the safety net for the people that lost adultbasic coverage earlier in the year. It appears now that a rate hike for this limited program will once again have responsible citizens again paying more for their healthy care. Special Care only offers 4 doctor visits a year and no prescription drug plan. It also offers limited in patient hospital coverage. But it was offered as a great alternative to the Adultbasic program. The shame is there are many people who are trying to be responsible adults and pay a premium. But if the cost keeps getting higher, most may just chuck their coverage, and when they get sick use the emergency room. That brings health care costs up higher. Plus there doesn’t seem to be a consumer hot line for when an insurance company gives the wrong information to one of their clients on a group or individual policy. How does that get fixed? There are many people right now paying off thousands of dollars in deductibles for their medical care. The most shameful part of that is that the Republican right portrayed the Obama Health Plan as being for free loaders and that there would be rationing. There is rationing now, it’s called high deductibles. Awful. And this rate hike will be given gladly. You think that after 8 years of approved rate hikes by a Liberal Rendell administration the consumer is going to get a break from the Corbett people? And speaking of that, the Citizen Voice’s Erin Hinsley reports that Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania has filed a request to change a portion of an insurance plan to give subscribers more control over monthly premiums. If approved by the state's Insurance Department, the change would affect about 300 people who subscribe to a plan called PPO Individual Conversion. The plan offers coverage for people who had a PPO plan through their employer but have lost their jobs. On a PPO plan, members have a network of preferred providers they can access at discounted rates, but they can opt to see doctors outside of the plan, too. Blue Cross is seeking to add deductible options to the plan, which could reduce subscribers' monthly premiums. The plan already offers deductibles of $100, $500 and $1,000, which means health care coverage kicks in when costs of care rise above those amounts. The insurance company is asking to add deductible options of $1,200, $2,500, $3,500, $5,000 and $7,500. "We just want to provide more options for people," said Blue Cross spokesman Anthony Matrisciano. "If they choose a higher deductible, they could have a lower premium." Those options will be very good for younger people who want a lower premium and never get sick. But if they do carry that policy, can you imagine trying to pay off a $7500 deductible? I mean it’s like a vicious cycle, you want a lower premium because you can’t afford health care in the first place but then you get stuck with an economic catastrophe if you do need the insurance. BCNEPA is just extending to individuals what they are already using with some groups.
USING THE POWER
My conservative friends are fond of quoting and in many cases misquoting the Constitution. Yeah you know the one, not the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson but the one written by James Madison. Anyway, I’m sure the national GOP will be quick to embrace this latest news development on the debt ceiling because it is after all part of that cherished Constitution they use for their arguments. House Democratic leaders emerged from a Wednesday Caucus meeting with a message for President Barack Obama: Invoke the Constitution to resolve the debt standoff. If Congress can't reach a deal on a long-term debt limit increase by August 2, Obama should "sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment," said Assistant Minority Leader James Cyburn (D-S.C.). "I am convinced that whatever discussions about the legality of that can continue," Clyburn said. "But I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets." House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) acknowledged that Obama has previously expressed doubts about his legal authority to unilaterally raise the debt limit. But circumstances have changed, Larson said, and "we just want to let him know that his Caucus is prepared to stand behind him" if Congress fails to pass a long-term deal. "We have to have a fail-safe mechanism," Larson said. "We believe that fail-safe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States." Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Essentially, Democrats are arguing that since the "public debt" cannot be questioned, then the debt ceiling itself is unconstitutional.
CAN WE GET A 5TH?
The Times Leader reported that a man was arraigned Wednesday on evidence of drunken driving, his fourth arrest for DUI since January 2010, court records show. Police say a 24 year old Nanticoke man, showed signs of intoxication after he was stopped for passing through a red traffic signal at Wyoming Avenue and Market Street at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test and deliberately urinated on the floor inside the Kingston Police Department, according to charges filed. Lock this loser up and throw away the key before he kills some innocent person coming home from work or from a short jaunt to a supermarket. I think it is one of creation’s little cruelties that drunks rarely kill other drunks, they just kill good hard working people.
A WEIGHTY ISSUE
This gem from the Huffington Post: It's been a rough year for women struggling with their weight. Almost 50 percent of men surveyed in a new poll of 70,000 people said they would leave a partner who gained weight, reports MSNBC. In contrast, only 20 percent of women said they would ditch a significant other for putting on extra pounds. James Bassil, editor-in-chief of AskMen, which cosponsored the poll with Cosmopolitan.com, said the study showed that "some romantic behaviors have proven to be timeless ones" including the notion that "size matters." The survey results aren't the only recent data to indicate that men consider a woman's weight when evaluating a relationship. Last month, a study claimed that both husbands and wives were more satisfied with their marriages when the wife had a lower body mass index than the husband. Defending her findings, Andrea Meltzer, lead author of the study, told ABC News, "It's relative weight that matters, not absolute weight. It's not that [women] have to be small." The study didn't explore exactly how relative weight influences marital happiness.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
OLDIES AND CITIES
A recent survey by the AARP says that Harrisburg is rated as one of the best places to retire. The city is pretty nice and the surrounding suburbs are very prosperous, progressive and well kept. No mention of LuLac land as one of the best places to retire. Shocker! MEDIA MATTERS STORM POLITICS
Former Hazleton Mayor John Ford is Tiffany Cloud’s guest this week on “Storm Politics. “Storm Politics” can be seen on WYLN TV 35, Channel 7 in the Service Electric Cable systems in Wilkes Barre. Show times are: Thurs 9:30pm, Sat 5pm, Sun 11am, Mon 9pm, Tues 4:30pm, only on WYLN TV. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
This week Shadoe Steele welcomes Denny Zager of "Zager & Evans" fame (In The Year 2525. Saturday Night Live at the Oldies can be heard Saturday from 7pm to midnight on WILK AM and FM with ABC News on the top of the hour. ECTV
Judge Tom Munley and David DeCosmo will welcome Brian Wrightson, Director of Emergency Services for Red Cross in Scranton, to ECTV Live next week. He'll be discussing a series of recent weather related disasters that have required Red Cross Response and that have involved volunteers from Northeastern Pennsylvania. ECTV Live airs on Comcast Ch19 at Noon and Midnight throughout the week. SUNDAY MAGAZINE
This Week on Sunday Magazine, Brian Hughes speaks with Doctor Phillippa Cheetham from Columbia University Medical Center on the facts and myths of prostate cancer, and what you can do to prevent it. An encore of Brian's interview with Zumba instructor Gina Boyle about the "Dancing in the No Bully Zone" event coming up next Saturday at the Wyoming Valley West Middle School. And This Week in Harrisburg features comments from State Senator John Yudichak on the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report, legislation to privatize PA.'s liquor stores, turning to Washington D.C. Senator Bob Casey's committee is looking into giving the FDA more authority in regulating imported prescription drugs, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opens for business, promising to be a new advocate for Pennsylvania consumers. 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 Democrats continue to make news even though they weren’t thrilled about it. George McGovern’s running mate, Thomas Eagleton revealed that he was treated for mental illness. The problem was he misled McGovern when the question was put to him about any problems in his past. From Time Magazine, Tom Eagleton, 42, was the product of a half day’s furious scrambling [at the Democratic Convention], a choice agreed on only an hour before the deadline, after five or six other men had turned down the No. 2 spot. Last week, when it was revealed that he had been thrice hospitalized for mental illness, the disclosure threatened to wreck the McGovern candidacy before the presidential candidate ever hit the campaign trail against Richard Nixon. Apparently, Sen. Eagleton had been hospitalized in 1960, 1964 and 1966 for depression, and on two occasions was given electroshock therapy to treat the disease. When Eagleton’s hospitalizations first came to light, the ensuing controversy was couched in terms of his failure to disclose the information: “Eagleton emerged as either naive or overambitious and dishonest in not telling McGovern about his past illness,” because McGovern “had inquired ‘if he had any problems in his past that were significant or worth discussing with me and Eagleton told him no.”Eagleton campaigned across the country trying to get support. McGovern didn't help matters any when he said he was "1000 per cent behind his Veep choice. At one point Eagleton begged for his job but McGovern caved into political pressure and advised the Senator that his candidacy was no longer an option in the '72 race......Initially, McGovern stood by Eagleton; but eighteen days after Eagleton was first nominated to be McGovern’s running mate, McGovern asked Eagleton to relinquish the post. Ironically, despite the controversy over his past mental illness the people of Missouri twice reelected Eagleton to the Senate, in 1974 and 1980. McGovern went on later to pick R. Sargent Shriver and lose the general election anyway…….in Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp says that the McGovern decision should not be a reflection on the fact that Eagleton sought help. Shapp said that he hoped people seeking help for issues would not be afraid to come forward given the fate of Senator Eagleton…….in Forty Fort President Nixon tours the area and drops in on a wedding taking place in the flood ravaged borough….and 39 years ago the number 1 song in America was Neil Diamond’s best selling song of all time, “Song Sung Blue”.
Yesterday Paul Golias of the Citizen’s Voice wrote an article about the conspiracy theories on the John Kennedy assassination. As a student at King’s College I produced and hosted a 5 part radio documentary about the Kennedy case. So I guess I was one of those conspiracy theorists he writes about. I always felt that the Kennedy assassination had more to do with organized crime than one might think. I base this on a biography I read written by Joseph Kennedy Seniors caregiver Jane Gargan. Gargan said that when the President and Attorney General visited the elder, infirmed Kennedy, he would get agitated beyond belief struggling to speak with either of them in sometimes violent outbursts. Remember it was Joe Senior that cut deals with the Illinois mob to have his son barely carry the state against Richard Nixon. My thoughts are that he was trying to tell Jack and Bobby to go easy on the mob investigations. Anyway, here’s Paul Golias’ fine article.
We are less than two years away from the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Those of us who believe that he was killed as part of a conspiracy can hope that heightened interest in the killing and perhaps new revelations dug out by a new generation of researchers will further tighten the knot that binds the conspiracy web. The publication of The Bufalino Files by The Citizens' Voice gave the best insight yet into the life of the man who was the mob boss of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and beyond, for decades. Especially pertinent was the connection of mob guys then and now to political and judicial corruption in Luzerne County. We take a back seat to no one when it comes to big-time crime. Thus, it is not far-fetched to ponder whether or not Wyoming Valley was the home to one of the mobsters, Bufalino, who sanctioned Mafia involvement in the Kennedy murder and helped carry it out. The Bufalino Files make it clear that Bufalino's home in Kingston was under surveillance. Was it being watched on a night in November 1963, when Frank Sheeran came calling? Sheeran was a mob associate and he did many jobs for Bufalino and their mutual friend, Teamsters Union chief Jimmy Hoffa. Sheeran confessed to killing Hoffa in 1975 on Bufalino's orders, a tale told in the landmark "I Heard You Paint Houses" by Charles Brandt. (Note also that the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund provided the loan that built Pocono Downs in the early 1960s and Hoffa was identified in the mid-1970s as a secret owner of coal lands in Northeastern Pennsylvania). Sheeran told Brandt that Bufalino summoned him to Kingston and then dispatched him to see "our friend" in New Jersey. A mobster there gave Sheeran a duffle bag and Sheeran, a World War II combat veteran, said he quickly deduced that the bag held three rifles. Sheeran was told to take the bag to a cement business in Baltimore and there he met two men who he would not identify. One was yet another mob figure, perhaps Johnny Roselli, and the other was a pilot, perhaps David Ferrie. Regardless, the two men transported the guns by air to Dallas, Texas. On Nov. 22, 1963, at 1:30 p.m. eastern standard time, President Kennedy was shot to death as his motorcade passed through Dallas. Sheeran added that Bufalino made reference to Dallas in the mid-1970s as he and others tried to get Hoffa to forgo his demand that he resume the presidency of the Teamsters. Hoffa was investigated doggedly by Robert Kennedy, attorney general and brother of the president. Hoffa eventually was jailed, only to be pardoned by President Richard Nixon. "Remember what we did for you in Dallas," Sheeran quoted Bufalino as telling Hoffa. Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975. Sheeran, who died in 2003, told his life story to Brandt who has authored several books on mob figures. The FBI had an office in Wilkes-Barre in the 1960s. The agent in charge was Charles Adams. He was mum on FBI investigations but reporters knew that the FBI had an eye on the Dorrance Street home where Bufalino and his wife lived. One of Adams' annual assignments was to bring in a canned birthday tribute to J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI. It was mushy pap but newspapers around the U.S. ran the paean every year. Ah, the webs that have been woven: The night before Kennedy was slain, Texas politicians and oil men held a party at the home of one of the oil magnates, Clint Murchison. And who was the guest of honor at that party? J. Edgar Hoover.
Paul Golias, retired managing editor of The Citizens' Voice, writes a weekly column on regional issues. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Chris Christie made a trip through Iowa on Monday, raising questions about his political ambitions in the state that holds the first voting contest in the nation. The New Jersey Republican governor has repeatedly said he will not run for president in 2012, and he repeated that on Monday. “In the end, it’s something you’ve got to believe in your heart is necessary for you to do with your life. As I said before, I don’t feel that at the moment,” Christie told reporters. He has faced repeated entreaties from supporters, which he said he found “overwhelming.” But he said the decision was a personal one for him and his family. He said he recently told a group of New York City fundraisers: “When I’m in that hotel room in Des Moines and it’s 15 below and the alarm clock goes off at 4 o’clock in the morning, none of you are going to be there.” Christie at least speaks the truth when it comes to the Iowa caucus. This voting in a Midwestern state that does not reflect the population make up of the United States has gotten way out of hand in terms of importance in the political process. Plus historically the state votes for candidates that in some cases don’t make it to the general election. Anyone remember President Bob Dole? President Mike Huckabee? President Richard Gebhardt? President Tom Harkin? And let’s not forget the winner of both the ’76 and ’72 Democratic caucus race, President Uncommitted! salute Mitt Romney for not even considering this exercise where the citizens expect needy primary candidates to spend pointless hours with pointless citizens listening to their pointless opinions.
Tonight President Obama outlined the reasons why the debt ceiling crisis goes on. From the East Room the President essentially called out The Tea Party caucus while giving credit to House Speaker John Boehner for trying to come to a compromise. The President gave a history of the saga. He also said that he will not agree to a temporary extension. Obama said that the GOP can’t hold the country hostage by going through another debt ceiling debate 6 months from now. Obama told the American people that it was unfair for middle class people to give up something while the rich and wealthy are asked to contribute nothing. Obama took his case directly to the people and asked Americans to take their opinions to their Congressmen. Obama said just because Americans voted for a divided government in 2010, it did not bargain for a dysfunctional government. Obama also said that the leaders we remember in history are those who put country above their own interests. Those who look to their own self interest are rarely remembered. If you want this nonsense to stop, contact your Congressmen and tell them to stop walking in lockstep with people who want to destroy the middle class. Speaker John Boehner came on next and went through the laundry list of the stimulus, health care and the fact that unemployment is so high. The Stimulus should have been bigger, the Health Care plan should have been a single payer plan and unemployment is so high because businesses, long used to tax breaks and the crushing of modern day workers have gotten along with less and want to keep any and all profits. Boehner did have a snappy green tie though.
Tonight the President talked about shared sacrifice. House Speaker John Boehner did not. Boehner said not one word about having the richest among us give their fair share. Look at what these celebrities spent on their birthday parties. Don’t you think they can afford to pay their fair share? Why ask a Senior Citizen of today or tomorrow to give up a dollar when these people could give up so much more and not miss it? P Diddy celebrated his 40th birthday with swagger and style. The star paid over $3 million to host a huge fete for the most exclusive VIPs around. The party included ballet dancers for entertainment and thousands of flowers. For Simon's Cowell's 50th birthday he hosted 400 of his best buddies and music companions to a $2.5 million dollar party to end all parties, complete with live big name entertainment. Elton's John's 50th birthday party, in 1997, was so extravagant that his costume alone cost 73K pounds. Ten years later, for his 60th, he threw another huge bash that was over 1million pounds ($1.5 million USD) Naomi Campbell's billionaire boyfriend paid $1.8 million for the former model to turn 40 in style. Campbellhasted her favorite friends in the south of France for her birthday. Kim Kardashian's birthday was full of bling when the reality star was served a$1million dollar cake.Kim didn't order the cake, it was a surprise from the nightclub where she had her party. In 2002 socialite Paris Hilton had 5 parties for her 21st birthday. The parties took place at different locations around the world and cost $45K per guest. CONTACT LOU OR TOM
https://marino.house.gov.contact-me. Tom Marino. http://www.loubarletta.com/ Lou Barletta.
Ever since Barack Obama came onto the political scene, he has been compared with various past Presidents. Being from Illinois a few compared him to Lincoln. That in my historical estimation is a bit overstated. Some compared him to John Kennedy. As a matter of fact, Obama got the endorsement of the Kennedy clan because he was said to remind them of the energy and clean slate of the JFK New Frontier of the 1960 campaign. Taking over as President in one of the worst economies since the Depression, there were some that compared him to Franklin Roosevelt. There was an iconic Time Magazine of Obama in a top hat smoking a cancer stick with the FDR trademark cigarette holder. As Obama embarked on his ambitious health care and stimulus agenda, he was compared to the domestic Lyndon Johnson. That of course was an insult to Johnson since Obama caved on the stimulus (which should have been bigger) and heath care (which should have been a single payer system). Perhaps the problem is that Barack Obama has been compared to so many former Presidents that he has not staked out a claim of his own for the office. But Friday afternoon, with the debt crisis coming to a climax, and House Speaker John Boehner essentially dissing the office of the Presidency, maybe Barack Obama should fashion himself after Harry Truman. Truman was a man of singular beliefs in America. He knew he didn’t come to the office as an elected choice and he took his fair share of criticism personally. That stuff rolled off him very easily but Truman never let any political opponent disrespect his office. And on Thursday and Friday, John Boehner did just that. By walking out of a meeting, by refusing to return the President’s phone calls, by having staffers tell the President “no” he wasn’t going to call back, John Boehner the Speaker of the House disrespected the Presidency. Truman fired Douglas MacArthur for that, he sat in stone silence when Dwight Eisenhower sat in the limo on the way to the 1953 inaugural and he wrote about how he took seriously as a President and ex President the office he held. And for this current Speaker of the House's actions, President Obama should land on this guy like a ton of bricks. I get that Boehner is trying to hold on to his job. (He’ll be axed as Speaker before this session ends because of the Tea Party Caucus). But you don’t disrespect the office. President Obama held a news conference on Friday night and explained his position. It is abundantly clear that the GOP is hellbent on destroying this country’s credit rating to protect the rich. It is clear that the GOP has undermined every compromise (even noticed by the media) to make sure President Obama fails. It is now time for the President to get this done. It is now time for the President to expose the Republican House as a bunch of jackals that want to ruin this country. The debt ceiling takes one sentence to extend. It was extended 18 times in Ronald Reagan’s tenure, 8 in George W. Bush’s tenure. This President at a cost to his own popularity in his party is giving the GOP spending cuts. And they sit and say no. What is so disturbing to me is to hear the callers to my friend Sue Henry’s show spout out the rhetoric handed out by the right wing talk show hosts. Like lemmings they are following these reactionaries over the cliff. It is time to stop this foolishness. It is time to call out John Boehner and his colleagues (two of which sadly represent us in Lulac land) as pathetic, disrespectful, unpatriotic, obstructionists that put political partisanship above the economic interests of this nation. Obama’s actions in these negotiations prove the old Truman quote and it applies to the GOP: "I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." Here is the text of the President’s statement from Friday: Good evening, everybody. I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling. I just got a call about a half hour ago from Speaker Boehner who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we’ve been engaged in here at the White House for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package. And I thought it would be useful for me to just give you some insight into where we were and why I think that we should have moved forward with a big deal. Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We believed that it was possible to shape those in a way that preserved the integrity of the system, made them available for the next generation, and did not affect current beneficiaries in an adverse way. In addition, what we sought was revenues that were actually less than what the Gang of Six signed off on. So you had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that they’ve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes -- tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base. So let me reiterate what we were offering. We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the Gang of Six. We were calling for taxes that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed. And we were calling for modifications to entitlement programs, would have saved just as much over the 10-year window. In other words, this was an extraordinarily fair deal. If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue. But in the interest of being serious about deficit reduction, I was willing to take a lot of heat from my party -- and I spoke to Democratic leaders yesterday, and although they didn’t sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations, despite a lot of heat from a lot of interest groups around the country, in order to make sure that we actually dealt with this problem. It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. And, frankly, if you look at commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. In fact, there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. Because the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the American people believe we should have a balanced approach. Now, if you do not have any revenues, as the most recent Republican plan that’s been put forward both in the House and the Senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is more of a burden on seniors, more drastic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research, a bigger burden on services that are going to middle-class families all across the country. And it essentially asks nothing of corporate jet owners, it asks nothing of oil and gas companies, it asks nothing from folks like me who’ve done extremely well and can afford to do a little bit more. In other words, if you don’t have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle-class families. And the majority of Americans don’t agree on that approach. So here’s what we’re going to do. We have now run out of time. I told Speaker Boehner, I’ve told Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, I’ve told Harry Reid, and I’ve told Mitch McConnell I want them here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. We have run out of time. And they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. And they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them. The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013. And the reason for it is we’ve now seen how difficult it is to get any kind of deal done. The economy is already weakened. And the notion that five or six or eight months from now we’ll be in a better position to try to solve this problem makes no sense. In addition, if we can’t come up with a serious plan for actual deficit and debt reduction, and all we’re doing is extending the debt ceiling for another six, seven, eight months, then the probabilities of downgrading U.S. credit are increased, and that will be an additional cloud over the economy and make it more difficult for us and more difficult for businesses to create jobs that the American people so desperately need. The American people expect action. I continue to believe that a package that is balanced and actually has serious debt and deficit reduction is the right way to go. And the American people I think are fed up with political posturing and an inability for politicians to take responsible action as opposed to dodge their responsibilities.
This week on WILK there was an ad for a company called AshleyMadison.com. The company promotes a website for people who want to have an affair. The slogan they use is, “Life is short, have an affair”. Callers to the station expressed dismay that there was an advertisement promoting adultery. I spoke with a local Attorney who is all too familiar with the subject of adultery in his practice. Q: What do you think of the AshleyMadison ad? A: I think that the ad is a way to promote the website. Moral qualms aside, I think the ad does a lot of harm but not in the way you would think. Q: Okay, I’ll bite. A: People are going to commit adultery, they always have, they always will. But I prefer they do it the old fashioned way, face to face, at work, in the neighborhood, etc. AshleyMadison is a scam plain and simple. They ask for $250.00 and guarantee you an affair. But they rarely deliver. Q: So you’re saying you’re more concerned about the consumer issue than a moral one. A: You bet. The internet has given us all a sort of anonymity. We can look at porn, whatever but these websites that promote any type of connections are just criminal. The photos of the women are rarely real and when you pay the fee by credit card, you get charged every month. Q: So Ashley Madison is a fraud? A: I’m not saying that but because there is no proof but things are sketchy. Look at this. EDITOR’S NOTE: The Attorney pulls up his laptop and tries to register with AshleyMadison. A: Look, I’m entering my information but it says my e mail is not current. I can’t get in. But look at the photos on the side here. Do they look like models? I mean this reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza goes to a nightclub with a photo out of a magazine and tells the hot women that the picture he has of a gorgeous woman was his fiance. They fall for it. Q: Any other ones people should watch out for? A: Fling and Friend Finder are pretty bad. You enter into an agreement with them and it is almost impossible to get out of it. They keep charging your card every month no matter what. My advice is never, ever give your credit card to these people. Q: You sound more like a credit counselor than a divorce lawyer. A: The Internet preys on people who are lonely and lusting. Go to bar for heaven’s sake. Q: Your worst horror story for a client? A: Here’s one, Craig’s list in 2009. A fellow attorney I’m ashamed to say hooks up with a woman on Craig’s list. She tells him she is in a bad relationship in the Bahamas and needs $4,000 to get out of it. She tells him if he helps her with the money she’ll come to the U.S. to be with him. Told him to meet her in Miami on Thanksgiving. Q: He didn’t! A: The dumb ass sends her the 4 grand and goes to Miami on Thanksgiving to meet his new girlfriend. She sent him these photos right along. Long story made short, he was hoodwinked. No girl, no affair, no Thanksgiving meet up. Risked his money and his marriage. He lost on all counts. Q: Was there a recourse to get his money back? A: Nope they were in the wind. Craig’s List stopped doing those connections when it was revealed that some girls got killed. I can’t tell you the number of cases I personally heard about from men who were ripped off. Smart men with more money than brains. I don’t even deal with people saying they want to recoup damages from these charlatans because as I said earlier they are in the wind. Q: So all this concern about the ad on WILK is misplaced? A: Yeah, people worry about the morality of it but I’d worry about the criminality of it. Q: What happened to the Thanksgiving guy? A: I handled his divorce.
Maybe I’m Amazed…….that it has been twenty years since the death of Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo. (See LuLac Edition #1686). Rizzo took office in 1971 at the age of 50 and led Philadelphia through 8 tumultuous years. It should be noted that he is the only Mayor of the City ever to get a statue. Maybe I’m Amazed……..that it took so long for the economic ramifications of the Cordaro/Munchak administration to rear its head in Lackawanna County. The current board of Commissioners are predicting a budget shortfall of over 6 million bucks. Decisions have consequences. Maybe I’m Amazed……..that the city of Pittston, my old home town is going to put Home Rule on the ballot this fall. After years of a Mayor/Council form of government, it will be interesting to see what the people of that town decide. Maybe I’m Amazed……..that the common garden worm has 5 separate hearts. The common squealing worm has one heart but can tell 5 different stories to the feds to save his skin. Maybe I’m Amazed……..that the Tea Party caucus in Congress cares more about bringing us economically to our knees than actually compromising on the debt ceiling. These people just don’t understand that the ceiling was granted without incident to Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush with no incident. This caucus is both admirable and dangerous. You have to admire their belief in principles, however wrong and dangerous because they don’t care about political consequences and would rather firebomb the process than tinker with it to fix it. Maybe I’m Amazed….that it only takes one sentence to extend the debt ceiling. One freaking sentence. All this drama for one sentence. Maybe I’m Amazed……that the Pittsburgh Pirates are fighting for first place this late in the season. Even in losses the Bucs are playing good baseball. Maybe I’m Amazed…….that the spotted skunk does a handstand as a warning before it sprays its stench. If only life could provide such warnings to us all. Maybe I’m Amazed…….that people have to be warned endlessly about the pitfalls of heat stroke. Common sense always prevails. Maybe I’m Amazed……..at the number of people who want to impose themselves in a news story. I use as an example those people who wanted closure in the Casey Anthony case. They didn’t know her, didn’t know the child, all of that still amazes me. The energy they used on this could have been donated to a cause or better yet, their own families. Maybe I’m Amazed…….at the contrast between the launching of the Space Shuttle in 1981 and the end of its mission the other day in 2011. The only live TV coverage of the return was on C-SPAN 2 followed shortly by MSNBC. In 1981, the launch was on every network. Maybe I’m Amazed…….that it was 50 years ago yesterday that Gus Grissom flew in Liberty Bell 7 and became the second American in space. His manned sub orbital flight was a sequel to Alan Shephard’s inaugural mission. While Shephard’s flight is heralded, Grissom’s effort is pretty much a footnote to history. It only proves that there being the first is better than being the second.
PHOTO INDEX: THE COVER OF JACK SMILES' NEW BOOK ON HALL OF FAMER BUCK HARRIS, WILKES BARRE ATTORNEY BILL VINSKO AND OUR 1972 LOGO. VINSKO'S RUN
We don't have a formal announcement yet as to the intentions of Wilkes Barre attorney Bill Vinsko as to his interest in running for the Democratic nomination for Congress next year. But people are talking. As a matter of fact my cohort in Pittston Joe Valenti gave him a shout out last week on Pittston Politics.com. Valenti talked about Vinsko's greater Pittston/West Side roots. Anytime Valenti does that you know at least he is taking the proposed candidacy seriously. Vinsko, if he does decide to do this needs to be a Democratic candidate of the Democratic party. With all of the talk about putting Medicare and Social Security on the table for discussion by cuts by a Democratic President, you can bet Vinsko will score points by just being an old time middle of the road conservative Democrat. There are way too many Democrats flirting with the principles of the national GOP. And that's bad for what is left of the middle class. BILL VINSKO TAKES FIRST STEP TOWARDS CONGRESSIONAL RUN Vinsko, Lifelong Resident of the 11th Congressional District, Vows a Common-Sense Campaign in 2012 Wilkes-Barre, PA- July 21- Bill Vinsko has taken the first step necessary to be the Democratic nominee for the United States Congress by forwarding the required paperwork to the Federal Election Commission. Vinsko would face Republican Congressman Lou Barletta in the 11th Congressional District. “People in our communities have told me that common sense and practical values of Northeast Pennsylvania are absent in Washington” said Vinsko. “I remember fighting hard as a student at King’s College for what is now the Arena at Casey Plaza. The entire community worked hard to voice their opinions, make sure they were heard and found a way to get it done. We can do that again, and I am ready and committed to lead the fight against the right-wing extremists we currently have in Congress, who are supporting radical cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Education. It is time to renew our passion and band together to create jobs for our future, to give paychecks to our people, and preserve our word to our seniors and veterans by keeping Medicare and Social Security strong.” Bill has a history of helping create jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania. As an attorney, Bill and his brother, Brian, formed Vinsko and Associates, a full-service law firm handling real estate, estate planning, business and municipal law. Additionally, Bill is the President and Chairman of the Board of VPharm, Inc., a local pharmacy serving nursing homes and assisted living facilities, designed to help fill the needs of local senior citizens, who are able to obtain prescription drug medication a reasonable costs, without foregoing good service. During a down economy, Bill and his family have managed to expand their businesses to now employ over 30 local residents. Vinsko has hired nationally prominent political strategists Snyder Pickerill Media Group as media consultant and The Strategy Group as campaign advisors. Snyder Pickerill has worked on competitive campaigns throughout the country from State House and State Senate races through contests for the U.S. House and Senate. The Strategy Group has advised multiple Presidential Candidates, as well as various other high profile campaigns across the country. Kyle Donahue has been named campaign manager. Vinsko intends to formally announce his campaign in the next few weeks. Please join Bill and help achieve these goals for Northeast Pennsylvania. Visit the campaign website at www.billvinsko.com to join the cause. Bill Vinsko was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre PA. He worked during his years at Bishop Hoban High School as a janitor and concessions clerk at the FM Kirby Center. Also at that time, Bill met his future wife, Paula VanFossen, as the two worked together as on-air personalities for Froggy 101 - a local radio station, under the names "I.B. Green" and "Cricket" respectively. Bill continued working full time while attending Kings College, Wilkes-Barre. Their children Mercedes, Will, and Margaret Marie are the fourth generation of Vinskos to be raised in Northeast Pennsylvania. His parents, Bill and Joan, currently live in Wilkes-Barre. Bill Vinsko became one of the first students at Penn State University history to earn a Masters Degree in Public Administration and his Law Degree from and Dickinson School of Law at the same time. Upon returning to Wilkes-Barre he became the youngest person to ever serve as Assistant City Attorney for his hometown. Several years later he founded Vinsko and Associates to represent area residents in their real estate transactions, estate planning other legal needs. His wife, Paula, has been the business manager of the firm since its inception. Vinsko is deeply active in his community, having volunteered for the local United Way, the Luzerne County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program, and St. Nicholas Church Parish Council. He has won local leadership awards and recognition for his volunteer work on behalf of his community from the Rotary Club International and the Volunteer Action Center of the Wyoming Valley. Law and Politics Magazine has named Vinsko a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” every year since 2005, including this year, 2011.
DATA CENTER CUTS
As part of the President’s Campaign to Cut Waste, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is announcing that, it will shut down a total of 373 data centers by the end of 2012, including 178 in 2012 alone. See map and data. Today’s announcement puts the Administration ahead of schedule in meeting the President's goal of shutting down 800 data centers by 2015, a move that is expected to save taxpayers more than $3 billion. “Duplication, waste, and inefficiency are never acceptable, but it is especially intolerable in these challenging budgetary times,” said Jeffrey Zients, Federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s Deputy Director for Management. “As part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, President Obama has directed his Administration to aggressively root out misspent tax dollars in agencies across the government to ensure we are spending tax dollars wisely.” A data center is a facility for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information, housing computer systems and associated components and generally includes backup power supplies, environmental controls (air conditioning, fire suppression, etc.) and special security devices. Data centers can be as a big as a building or as small as a closet, located in leased, owned, collocated, or stand-alone facilities. Since 1998, the number of Federal data centers rose from 432 to more than 2,000 – a proliferation of infrastructure that has created unnecessary and redundant systems and applications – while the private sector has been shrinking its data-center footprint. Moreover, those facilities have been using only 27 percent of their computer power on average even though taxpayers are footing the bill for the entire infrastructure, real estate and energy costs. Data centers can consume 200 times the electricity as standard office spaces. To date, agencies have closed 81 data centers and will close 114 more during this calendar year for a total of 195 in 2011.This represents an increase in both planned and actual closures from the data released in April 2011. As agencies have continued to update their data center inventories, they have increased their planned closures, demonstrating the seriousness in which they are attacking waste. “With data centers that run as large as three and a half football fields, shutting down excess datacenters will save taxpayers billions of dollars by cutting costs for infrastructure, real estate and energy. At the same time, it will improve the security of government data and allow us to focus on leveraging technology to make government services work better for the American people,” said U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra. The data centers being added to the shut down list today range from a 195,000 square foot Department of Homeland Security facility in Alabama that is roughly the size of three-and- a-half football fields to four Department of Agriculture data centers in the same zip code, each of which is less than 1,000 square feet. In another instance, the Department of the Treasury is closing a nearly 13,000 square foot facility in Lanham, Maryland. This facility has 75 racks, hosts 250 servers, and costs taxpayers more than $400,000 a year for leasing and electricity alone. The Campaign to Cut Waste is an effort to hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government. The Campaign builds on the Administration’s ongoing effort to make government more efficient, effective and accountable to the American people. AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
I got this from my good friend Mark’s blog “Circumlocution for Dummies”. Here’s what he wrote about an exchange between Lisa Cope and Steve Corbett. Cope mentioned that Charlotte Raup was going to help her in the Republican's bid to unseat Tom Leighton in the fall. Corbett: “Would you appoint Charlotte Raup as police chief?” Cope: “I’d have to consider it.” Man, this is going to be a race and a half. ” RIZZO REMEMBERED
Friends and supporters of late Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo have been gathering over the weekend to remember him on the 20th anniversary of his death. At Rizzo’s downtown statue on Saturday — the only statue of a former Philadelphia mayor — the Quaker city String Band played as dignitaries arrived, some following a motorcade down Broad Street. Rizzo died of a heart attack in 1991 while campaigning for a third term as mayor, a job he held from 1972 to 1980. Rizzo rose from police officer to commissioner to mayor of the City of Brotherly Love, where his tough law-and-order stance won both strong admirers and fierce critics. Rizzo’s brother, Joe, a former fire commissioner, says Rizzo “roared like a lion, but he had a heart like a soft marshmallow.” Among those who addressed the crowd were former Police Commissioner Joseph O'Neill, former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, and Rizzo's brother, Joe, and son, Frank Jr. Rizzo's son and brother placed a wreath at the steps of the Rizzo statue, whose hand forever waves at City Hall's passersby. His wife, Carmella, 94, did not attend.
When I was a kid growing up, my dad would tell me stories about seeing Hall of Famer Bucky Harris when the world famous ballplayer would return to the Greater Pittston area. While I remember the stories, it takes Dispatch Editor Jack Smiles to truly paint a picture of Harris. Smiles didn’t set out to write a trilogy of breaker boy-to-Baseball Hall of Fame books, but with the release of his biography of Hughestown’s Bucky Harris , he has accomplished just that. The book chronicles Bucky’s transformation from an obscure breaker boy with dirt under his nails to the toast of our nation’s capital where the president of the United States was a guest at his wedding and includes his stint as a professional basketball player, his early days as a baseball player, his 1947 world championship as manager of the Yankees, and his role in the racial integration of both the Senators and the Boston Red Sox. The book “Bucky Harris, a Biography of Baseball’s Boy Wonder” is published by McFarland & Company. Smiles took more than two years writing and researching the book. On Wednesday, July 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. the Hughestown Hose Company and Smiles are hosting a book release party, discussion and signing in the Hose Company banquet room. The Hose Company agreed to host the event as Bucky was a member and played for the company’s basketball team. The book contains a photo of Bucky with the 1910 Hose Company basketball team. While Harris is not technically a local native he was born in Port Jervis, New Jersey, in 1896 – his father moved the family here when Bucky was three and Bucky’s early life was all about the Center Street-Rock Street area of Hughestown. He grew up on Rock Street. Smiles recently appeared on WILK’s Saturday Morning Sports Show with Rob Nyehard and Joe Thomas. CHRISTIE CRASHING?
A Democrat-leaning advocacy group launched in New Jersey on Monday, saying it would "fight back" for the interests of state residents and blaming Republican Governor Chris Christie for drastic budget cuts, high unemployment and tax breaks for the wealthy. One New Jersey's website features articles on such topics as restoring state aid to cities, criticism of Christie's use of the line-item veto power and a defense of Planned Parenthood family planning clinics. "Someone has to fight back. That's why One New Jersey was formed," One New Jersey said in a statement announcing its launch. It said it registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)4 advocacy group, a tax-exempt designation allowed to raise donations and engage in lobbying and a limited degree of political campaign activity. Republicans in New Jersey have used similarly designated advocacy groups in support of Christie, notably Reform Jersey Now and Center for a Better New Jersey. A section of One New Jersey called "Christie By The Numbers" ticks off such items as the amount of state aid cut to schools and the amount of aid cut to nursing homes, countered with the amount of state tax breaks for companies involved in casino construction in Atlantic City. HOME RULE IN PITTSTON?
If this area hasn’t had enough of Home Rule, Pittston City is now getting into the act. Pittston city officials say talk about moving toward establishing a home-rule charter has been predominantly positive. The council met Wednesday night and will gave a final vote on whether to allow voters to approve creating a government study commission and pen a home-rule charter. The ordinance, initially read July 7 in front of a handful of people, has garnered support, Councilman Mike Lombardo said. "There was a church picnic and a couple people were coming and asking some questions," Lombardo said. "It's bringing (Pittston) into the 21st century. City Administrator Joseph Moskovitz said he had heard second-hand that much of the discussion was positive but some did express concerns. "I find the concerns are predominantly of things people are unfamiliar with," Moskovitz said. Moskovitz and Lombardo said proponents of a home-rule charter will have to do a lot of work to educate people on what exactly a home-rule charter will allow the city to do. The primary benefits of a home-rule charter, Moskovitz said, is that it allows the city to "customize" its government. Under the current third-class city code, Pittston is forced to rely primarily on property tax revenue. The charter would allow the city to levy a higher income tax and relieve the tax burden on property owners with fixed incomes, Councilman Danny Argo said. The Council approved the measure and Home Rule will be on the ballot for the fall. Combined sources: Times Leader/Citizen's Voice. MEDIA MATTERS SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
This week’s guest on Shadoe Steele’s Saturday Night Live at the Oldies is Eric Bazilian from the Hooters. Saturday Night Live is heard every Saturday night on WILK FM and AM from 7pm to midnight with ABC News on the top of the hour.
This week on WYLN TV 35’s Storm Politics, Tiffany Cloud discusses health care. Her guest is Dr. Frank Polidora, Airtimes are: Thurs 9:30pm, Sat 5pm, Sun 11am, Mon 9pm, Tues 4:30pm, only on WYLN TV.
Judge Tom Munley and David DeCosmo will be switching situations when this week's ECTV Live airs on Comcast Ch19. David has been on vacation for the past two weeks, Judge Munley will head out for his vacation as next week's program is broadcast. David, who has been producing the upcoming program via Intenet from New Jersey, tells us the guest will be a surprise, ECTV Live airs at Noon Monday. It's also recorded and rebroadcast at Noon and Midnight throughout the week. SUNDAY MAGAZINE
This Weekend on Sunday Magazine: Brian Hughes speaks with Walter Brasch, the author of the novel Before The First Snow, a work of journalistic fiction about the counterculture movement from the 1960s thru the 1990s set in Boston, California, and Northeast Pa. And an encore of Brian's interview with Charlie Hulsizer, the organizer of the 3rd annual Pocono Drag Lodge Reunion, coming up Saturday Aug 6th in bear Creek. 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.
1972 Anwar Sadat expels 20,000 Soviet advisers from Egypt....Bloody Friday: 22 bombs planted by the Provisional IRA explode in Belfast, Northern Ireland; nine people are killed and 130 seriously injured...Comedian George Carlin is arrested by Milwaukee police for public obscenity, for reciting his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" at Summerfest…….In Pennsylvania the two baseball teams, the Pirates and Phillies draw very well as they both settle into new multi purpose stadiums………during a tour of flood ravaged Wyoming Valley, former union leader Min Matheson has a confrontation with Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney about the lack of action on the part of that department. The exchange is seen on national TV and reported on the front pages of newspapers all around the country……….and thirty nine years ago the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” by Wayne Newton. It marked the first time since the mid 60s that Newton topped the charts.
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Political analyst for WBRE TV's Pa. Live program and post election commentator for WBRE TV's Eyewitness News Daybreak show. 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. Yonki was a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appeared on the Hazleton, PA. station on Election Night doing coverage and did special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".