Friday, August 31, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2179, August 31st, 2012

Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo. 


MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that some Wilkes Barre taxpayers were actually expecting a going away present from former City Administrator J.J. Murphy. Murphy landed a job 2,000 miles away and some taxpayer advocates still want him to pay for that alarm system that was installed in his home. If he wasn’t going to refund any of the money back to the city when he was around, what makes people think he was going to do it on his way out of town. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that Luzerne County is in such dire financial straights that former County Council Chair called the facts of the situation “terrifying”. I mean you know it’s bad when that is said. And how about the sleight of hand that was being accomplished with Moon Lake Park? It was used as a pawn to play financial games. No wonder no one reacted to the sound ideas to renovate the park by a friend of this site Wil Toole. Toole came up with many innovative solutions to the Moon Lake dilemma but was greeted with numerous eyeballs being glazed over. Toole can rest easy, he’s not a crazy old uncle trying to teach the “young un’s” something. Moon Lake was a slave to the financial game playing of the early part of this century. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that if you think Luzerne County and Scranton are bad, how about Harrisburg? Harrisburg is over 300 million in debt and a large part of it goes back over 43 years. In 1969 Harrisburg started an Incinerator Project that was supposed to make it the garbage capital of the state. Instead The Incinerator never made money and the city borrowed against it for over 4 decades. They went from a 20 million dollar debt to over 300 million by doing more than a dozen loans and refinancing on that boondoggle. And every time it was renegotiated, the lawyers got paid. Every time. The city of Harrisburg was so broke to even pay for essential services that a local strip club footed the bill to keep the streetlights on! Now that is something this County can't top. I think.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……………that in Albania, nodding your head means “no” and when you are shaking your head means “yes”. No word on what “go figure” means in terms of head signals. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…………that more than 6 years after his death, Palestine leader Yassar Arrafat’s death is being investigated as a murder. Arafat died in 2004 from what officials called a stroke but a Swiss lab has reported that a substance was found on his clothes which indicated he might have been poisoned. Al Jazzera first broadcast the lab’’s findings after the lab approached them when Arafat’s widow requested them to look into the case. All parties accused are of course denying foul play. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that the team without a home, the Scranton Wilkes Barre Yankees have won another Division Championship. The team is a very good compilation of young and veterans players headed by a very good Triple A manager Dave Miley. Hey, they are the Yankees for heaven’s sake. Meantime, the Yanks might face the Iron Pigs who were still in contention for a wild card slot. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that if you really look hard at the GOP success stories, you see this generation making it after their parents and grandparents made their way in the Middle Class that was largely developed by Democratic policies. And look at the nominees. The last GOP nominee to come from humble beginnings was Bob Dole in 1996. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that the same construction crew has been working on the same stretch of road in Wilkes Barre since the Fourth of July. I’m all for newly paved roads and I’m thankful for the smooth surfaces in Wilkes Barre. But that stretch between Blackman and Parrish Streets is the most pampered section of road in all of Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond. I'd even say the East Coast! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that there are some posters to LuLac who think I’m miserable, bitter and mean. I embrace all opinions that matter. The ones I reject, well I post them but don’t buy into them. Anyone who knows me realizes I am happy with my life, grateful for my health and enjoy immensely the things I have worked for and have been bestowed on me. Not miserable. Sorry again to disappoint. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that a local newspaper is running reports from a political candidate who is running for State Representative. I guess it gets the candidate’s name out there and provides the newspaper with a quasi reporter. But bin the old days, newspaper guys like Bill Griffith and Carl Romanelli wouldn’t let that happen. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that Direct TV is threatening to bounce Channel 16 from their line up because of a fee dispute. This is what happens when “out of town jaspers” manage your communication empire. If this isn’t a strong argument for Cable, I don’t know what is. But a local manager would know that WNEP is the most watched TV station in terms of news in the state if not the country. And the sad part is that the out of town transplants who run Direct TV will be on their way to another gig in a few years for more money and no regard for the crap storm they caused. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that there was great consternation about the return of a gorilla that was a law ornament for a Carbondale woman. Carbondale police began probing the whereabouts of the ape named Greystone early this week after its owner noticed it no longer stood on a concrete block pedestal in the front yard. The cops said the gorilla weighted 700 pounds, the owner listed it as 400. Whatever the weight, he was back home proving that “one monkey don’t stop no show”. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………….that Hazleton Area grad Nate Eachus is officially a member of the National Football League. Eachus was placed on the Kansas City Chiefs 53-man roster today. Eachus enjoyed a fine preseason with the Chiefs after signing as a free agent. Times Shamrock reported the good news on Friday afternoon. He worked hard and we wish him the very best in health in the tough NFL. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………..that many of my friends think Penn State will have difficulty this season. They will but you’ll see a lot of grit and determination coming from Penn State. Bill O’Brien is just what the Doctor ordered to get over the hump after the Sandusky debacle. With all due respect to the late Joe Paterno, O’Brien’s changes were about ten years late in coming. Penn state will be an above . 500 team this year.

The LuLac Edition #2178, August 31st, 2012

Mitt Romney accepting the nod. 


Mitt Romney gave the best spe4ech of his life. The delivery was nearly flawless and he made very good eye contact with the cameras. If the undecided’s were watching, he made a compelling case that they could see this man as a possible President. Romney’s people pulled a page out of the Ed Rendell campaign playbook by having the nominee enter from the back of the Convention Hall making his way to the front of the room. It was also pointed out that this was a type of State of the Union entrance. Romney nearly choked up a few times speaking of his parents but that what most people of this generation do who have had great parents. Romney seemed to be less wooden and gave an impassioned defense of success in America. In a lot of ways he reprised Ronald Reagan of 1980 when he addressed the state of the country and the job that President Obama has done. He did not disrespect the President, even complimented him on the death of Osama Bin Laden. But he did say he would do a better job. He made a promise to create 12 million jobs and that can be a daunting task. That would mean that he would need to have 250,000 new jobs every month. The energy independence promise by 2020 is something we have all heard since the 1970s. Romney needs to lay out a specific plan on how he will accomplish both. The 2012 campaign trail saw a sometimes bumbling Romney making his way toward the nomination. Tonight’s speech gave him lift and made him a credible challenger to a President on the ropes for a tepid economic recovery. Mitt Romney ‘s effort was a plus. 


What in the world were the Republicans thinking with the Clint Eastwood presentation? Eastwood’s attempts at humor and satire fell flat. The empty chair was also not only disrespecting to the President but more importantly to its very office. Hopefully this will be a mere footnote to the campaign as well as Eastwood’s storied career. Mitt Romney said over and over that the American people deserved better from the Obama administration’s economic policy. Clint Eastwood deserves better than to be remembered by this sad display of an aged actor trying to do Oscar Levant.
Locals at the GOP Convention in Tampa. Rose Ann Gaetano, Scranton, Pennsylvania Alt-Delegate at large and Donna Cosmello, New Milford, Alt-Delegate from 11 Congressional District and Kathy Evans, Delegate from the Harrisburg Area.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2177, August 30th, 2012

Congressman Paul Ryan at GOP convention. 


Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, whose budget plans have come to define conservative opposition to President Obama’s governing philosophy, accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday as his party embraced the gamble that the small-government principles he represents have more political payoff than peril.  “Our president is not being true to our values,” Senator John McCain, the Republicans’ candidate in 2008, said at this year’s convention on Wednesday, “I trust Mitt Romney to lead us.” Before an audience of conservative party faithful gathered here for the Republican convention, Mr. Ryan, 42, sought to turn his relative youth to his advantage, saying he would stand with Mitt Romney in embarking on a generational struggle to protect the very social program — Medicare — that Democrats accuse him of trying to dismantle. “I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us,” Mr. Ryan said. “And I know that we are ready.” Fully embracing the vice-presidential nominee’s traditional role of leading the charge against the other party, he added, “After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Romney.” The excited anticipation for Mr. Ryan’s appearance here Wednesday was a resounding affirmation of his popularity with conservatives who have at times shown less enthusiasm for Mr. Romney. And Mr. Romney’s campaign hoped Mr. Ryan would help knit together a party whose primary-season tensions have bubbled to the surface at times during the convention. The session opened with a video tribute to Representative Ron Paul and included an appearance by his son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, drawing boisterous cheers from some of the very delegates who had booed elements of the proceedings on Tuesday over what they viewed as slights to the elder Mr. Paul here and efforts by party leaders to squash the influence of grass-roots activists. (Rand Paul, unlike his father, enthusiastically endorsed Mr. Romney here.) Former President George W. Bush, whose spending policies are anathema to many of the ardent supporters of Mr. Ryan’s, gave an emotional filmed testimonial to both his father — with whom he appeared from the family vacation town of Kennebunkport, Me. — and Mr. Romney. “There is no question in my mind, Mitt Romney will be a great president,” he said.
Combined on line reports/New York Times. 


This is a fascinating article from the Pew Research firm. It is what guys like me has been suspecting for years, that the time from 2000 to this year has been the most unproductive for the middle class. 
As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their closing arguments to America’s middle class, they are courting a group that has endured a lost decade for economic well-being. Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future. These stark assessments are based on findings from a new nationally representative Pew Research Center survey that includes 1,287 adults who describe themselves as middle class, supplemented by the Center’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Fully 85% of self-described middle-class adults say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living. Of those who feel this way, 62% say “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress, while 54% say the same about banks and financial institutions, 47% about large corporations, 44% about the Bush administration, 39% about foreign competition and 34% about the Obama administration. Just 8% blame the middle class itself a lot. Their downbeat take on their economic situation comes at the end of a decade in which, for the first time since the end of World War II, mean family incomes declined for Americans in all income tiers. But the middle-income tier—defined in this Pew Research analysis as all adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median 1 —is the only one that also shrunk in size, a trend that has continued over the past four decades. In 2011, this middle-income tier included 51% of all adults; back in 1971, using the same income boundaries, it had included 61%. 2 The hollowing of the middle has been accompanied by a dispersion of the population into the economic tiers both above and below. The upper-income tier rose to 20% of adults in 2011, up from 14% in 1971; the lower-income tier rose to 29%, up from 25%. However, over the same period, only the upper-income tier increased its share in the nation’s household income pie. It now takes in 46%, up from 29% four decades ago. The middle tier now takes in 45%, down from 62% four decades ago. The lower tier takes in 9%, down from 10% four decades ago. For the middle-income group, the “lost decade” of the 2000s has been even worse for wealth loss than for income loss. The median income of the middle-income tier fell 5%, but median wealth (assets minus debt) declined by 28%, to $93,150 from $129,582. 3 During this period, the median wealth of the upper-income tier was essentially unchanged—it rose by 1%, to $574,788 from $569,905. Meantime, the wealth of the lower-income tier plunged by 45%, albeit from a much smaller base, to $10,151 from $18,421. About half (52%) of adults who self-identify as middle class say they believe Obama’s policies in a second term would help the middle class, while 39% say they would not help. By comparison, 42% say that Romney’s election would help the middle class, while 40% say it would not help. There is much more variance in the judgments of the middle class about the likely impact of the two candidates’ policies on the wealthy and the poor. Fully seven-in-ten (71%) middle-class respondents say Romney’s policies would help the wealthy, while just a third (33%) say they would help the poor. Judgments about Obama tilt the opposite way. Roughly four-in-ten (38%) middle-class respondents say his policies would help the wealthy, and about six-in-ten (62%) say they would help the poor. 


Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum did a very credible job the other evening at the GOP convention in Tampa. While I disagree with 99% of the things he says and stands for, Santorum continue to connect with people in the GOP right. In 2012, he made some serious missteps along the way but he was given the opportunity to speak in the 9PM eastern hour. You cab bet that if Romney falters in the General Election, you will see Santorum stake out a claim for the 2016 nomination early. And the right wing donors committed to guys like Newt Gingrich and others will be available to Santorum for the asking.
State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski. 


College saving program deadline Aug. 31 You can help a child or other loved one make college more affordable by saving for tomorrow’s tuition at today’s rates with Pennsylvania's 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan. The state-sponsored savings plan ensures that if you save enough to pay for a semester of college or career school today, you are guaranteed to have enough to pay for a semester of college or career school in the future, no matter how much tuition has gone up. Nearly all colleges, universities, community colleges, and law, medical, or business schools qualify. To take advantage of last year’s lower tuition prices, you must enroll before Sept. 1. Free online enrollment in the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan is available through the state Treasurer's Office at Use the coupon code "Inspire." Pennsylvania also offers a second 529 plan, the PA 529 Investment Plan, in which returns are based on financial market performance. Contributions to both PA 529 plans are deductible from Pennsylvania income taxes, grow tax free and, when used for qualified educational expenses, are federal and state tax exempt. Both plans provide flexibility to pay for higher education expenses at most higher education institutions across the country. 




ECTV LIVE ......Parents will want to make it a point to watch ECTV Live during the week of September 3rd. Hosts Tom Munley and David DeCosmo have invited Karen Thomas of the PennState Extension Service back to the program in advance of her new schedule of classes designed to Strengthen the Family! The Strengthening Families Program is part of the PROSPER project which is an innovative model for bringing research-based, scientifically proven prevention programs to Lackawanna County in order to strengthen youth, families, and communities. The focus is on strengthening parent-child relations and problem-solving, building youth life skills, and teaching youth to avoid peer pressure or dangerous behaviors. ECTV Live is a Public Affairs program of Electric City Television shown on Comcast Ch19 each day at Noon and Midnight, Additional showings are offered on selected weekdays at 6pm. 


This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with State Senator John Blake about Pennsylvania’s controversial new voter ID law, and what voters without proper identification need to know to vote this November. Magic 93’s Frankie in the Morning speaks with Dolly Woody, Heather & Davita about next Saturday’s Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure in downtown Scranton. And an encore of Brian’s interview with Dr. David Borenstein about Arthritis of the Spine, and how to treat it. Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on Great Country 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:25am on Magic 93, and 7am on True Oldies 590, WARM


Tune in this Labor Day weekend for Saturday Night Live at the Oldies.  Shadoe Steele hosts the show from 7pm until midnight with ABC News on the top of the hour. This week's guest are Brewer and Shipley.
Matt Cartwright, candidate for Congress in the new 17th. Citizen's Voice photo.


Tune in this week when Tiffany Cloud welcomes 17th District Congressional candidate Matt Cartwright on WYLN TV’s Storm Politics. The program can be seen on WYLN TV 35 at the following times, THURS @ 9:30 PM • SAT @ 5 PM • SUN @ 11 AM, MON @ 9:00 PM • TUES @ 4:30 PM.
Our 1967 logo..


Ilse Koch, also known as the "Witch of Buchenwald", commits suicide in the Bavarian prison of Aichach.......Nguyen Van Thieu is elected President of South Vietnam.......In Pennsylvania, Governor Shafer gets the report of the “Woodside Commission” that was the guiding light of the Constitutional convention. . The Preparatory Committee, consisting of the leadership of the General Assembly and chaired by the Lieutenant Governor as an ex-officio member, started its work within a week of the approval by the voters. John Ingram, then-Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Economy League’s State Office, served as Executive Director of the Preparatory Committee. The Committee drafted procedures for the convention, provided manuals for the delegates, and generally paved the way for constitutional revision…… Luzerne County Labor Day celebrations are held in Wilkes Barre, Scranton, Hazleton and Pittston. Candidates from the area try to make all of the events pledging their support for the working man….and 45 years ago the number one song in LuLac land and America was Allentown’s own Jay and the Techniques with their first hit, “Apples Peaches, Pumpkin Pie”.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2176, August 29th, 2012

Our “Write On Wednesday” logo.


How About One Day and One Prime-Time Night? 
This week the party conventions began. When I was a kid, there was gavel to gavel coverage. Conventions were on during the day and well into the early morning hours. But today with many media choices and more people interested in sick reality shows that range from basketball wives to trailer trash named Honey Boo Boo, the competition for politics vs. reality is challenging. Maybe Tom Brokaw has the right idea. Make the conventions into a one night affair. Here’s what he had to say: 
Let’s face it, modern political conventions have become extravagant infomercials staged in a setting deliberately designed to seal them off from any intrusion not scrubbed and sanitized. I half expect to hear an-off screen announcer in breathless tones say, “Vote for the Romney-Ryan or Obama-Biden ticket NOW and receive FREE a Cumquat Juicer with turbo blades and built-in slot for campaign contributions.” Reporters will roam the convention halls in search of an authentic moment. If they find one it will be played out of proportion to its enduring importance. Think about it: delegates will arrive in Tampa and Charlotte with their nominees already in place. The platforms will arrive pre-packaged. The delegations will be briefed on how to sit, when to stand and cheer, what to say to reporters and how to criticize the opposition. Reporters, editors, commentators, bloggers and special interest operatives will roam the halls and party circuit in search of an authentic moment or voice. If they find one it will probably be played out of proportion to its enduring importance. There will be none of the drama of the 1960 Democratic convention when John F. Kennedy unexpectedly chose Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate or certainly nothing resembling the riotous 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Republicans gathering in San Francisco in 1964 engaged in an openly heated struggle for the future of the party between the Goldwater and Rockefeller factions. In Detroit, in 1980, the carefully managed Reagan campaign kept the convention and the nation in a long night of suspense with the vice presidential selection. After all of this, if you’re wondering: Yes, I will be going to Tampa and Charlotte to be part of the NBC News coverage, as I have every convention for both parties since 1968. The most useful parts of the weeks for me will be private conversations with delegates, pollsters and campaign staffers on what to expect and where once the final gavel comes down. I’m sure I’ll have a good time and make some new friends, but I will never stop wondering, “Isn’t there a better way?” Maybe four years from now the parties will decide it is in their interest and the nation’s to set aside just one day and prime-time night for speeches by their nominees in a central location. They could have a satellite hook up to state-by-state or regional get-out-the-vote rallies across the country and maybe, just maybe, excite the nation about the coming campaign.
Tom Brokaw, a special correspondent for NBC News, was the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of "The Greatest Generation."

The LuLac Edition #2175, August 29th, 2012

GOP Follies logo. 


I always liked political conventions. Been watching them religiously since I was 10 years old. My first was the 1964 GOP Convention in San Francisco. One thing I know that I didn’t know then is that there are certain aspects of a convention that must contain a kernel of truth. I was struck by the fact that at this convention, the GOP has resorted to creating its own reality. A few examples: 
FROM ANNE ROMNEY: And I have seen and heard stories of how hard it is to get ahead now. You know what? I have heard your voices. They have said to me, I am running in place and we just cannot get ahead. Sometimes, I think that, late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day, and know that they will make it through another one tomorrow. But in the end of that day moment, they are just aren't sure how. And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it? It's the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right. It's the mom's of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together. We're the mothers. We're the wives. We're the grandmothers. We're the big sisters. We're the little sisters and we are the daughters. 
First off, I know this was a speech designed to appeal to women. But this country is made up of more than married couples and parents. There are single men and single women having as much of a struggle as the moms she spoke of. And do we really believe that she can truly understand what it is to try and buy or maintain one house when she has dozens of them? And that rags to riches story of her and Mitt not putting off marriage because they were two crazy kids is tough to swallow. She married into a family that had a patriarch who was Governor of the state. Struggle? Please. Plus she seemed like a way too enthusiastic cheerleader. If Amy Pohlan was still on “Saturday Night Live”, she’d have a field day with this one. 
THE GOP GOVERNORS John Kasick of Ohio, Bob McDonald of Virginia and Scott Walker talked about how well their economies are doing. Did they really turn their states around in just two years or did they get help from that big bad government of President Obama? These guys are in a quandary because under the National Democratic leadership, their states got better. But they can’t toot their own horn too loudly because then they’ll undermine their own nominee. 
CHRIS CHRISTIE Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world's greatest care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor. 
What is he talking about here? The Affordable Care Act which he and Romney want to eliminate will not have government bureaucrats running it. Thanks to the President’s cave ins, we’ll have what we always had, insurance bureaucrats running it! And I wonder just who the “she” is that he is referring to regarding health care and a doctor. Has anyone not been able to see a Doctor since the Act became law? 
We are taking our country back because we are the great-grandchildren of the men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity, the grandchildren of the greatest generation, the sons and daughters of immigrants, the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes, the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in between who shows up, not just on the big days, or the good days, but on the bad days, and the hard days. Each and every day. All 365 of them. 
Again, I have to ask the question, who are we taking the country back from? Who took it away? Was it sold while I wasn’t looking? Please, I would like just one Republican to tell me who the hell took our country. 
NO BUSH/CHENEY Throughout the entire night, there was the debt clock that hovered over the Convention Hall. But there was no mention of the Bush/Cheney administration that built up the debt. The GOP didn’t seem to mind putting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on a government credit card but now are blaming the President for running up the debt. Do they not remember that they started the debt run? There was no mention of the auto bailout which saved the car industry. And only Nicky Haley of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of Maine  mentioned the wars because their husband’s are serving. But this night in Tampa was a reality show, the GOP had their own reality and were clinging to it. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2174, August 28th, 2012



Republicans nominated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president, their vote brought to an end a long primary fight and set the stage for a close contest against President Barack Obama. It was Chris Christie’s New Jersey put Romney over the top, giving him the prize that eluded him four years ago. Romney is scheduled to accept his party's nomination in a speech this Thursday night. Romney's former GOP competitors have given him the endorsement nod, all except Ron Paul. with the exception of Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Paul did not have enough support to have his name placed in nomination, but he got 190 votes in the roll call.Many of the Paul supporters were very upset by this and would tell anyone willing to listen that they feel the Congressman was disrespected. Romney finished with 2,061, well over the 1,144 needed to claim the nomination. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got nine votes while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Louisiana Gov. Charles "Buddy" Roemer each got one each. To me, the Romney people could have thrown a bone to the Paul people. By not doing so, it gives the impression that Romney’s team is arrogant and not very inclusive.


POLITICO: FBI PROBED MARINO TRIP TO ISRAEL FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 20, 2012 POLITICO: FBI Probed Marino Trip to Israel Dingman, PA – Last August, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino went on a 9-day trip to Israel with all expenses paid by the special interest group the American Israel Education Foundation, according to a recently filed U.S. House ethics disclosure form. These revelations come on the heels of Marino and his staff being caught with conflicting stories about an appropriations vote that would “eviscerate funding” to the region largest employer and cost the area hundreds of jobs. According to a POLITICO report, the FBI probed events on the trip that involved drinking, numerous freshmen lawmakers, congressional staffers and even several intoxicated members and staffer (plus a nude member of Congress) swimming in the Sea of Galilee. “This sounds more like a frat party than a respectable congressional delegation,” said Will Sharry, Phil Scollo’s campaign manager. “The people who Rep. Tom Marino represents deserve to have questions answered about this trip, starting with: why were dozens of members of Congress partying it up at a $1000/night resort in August 2011 when the U.S. unemployment rate was at 9.1% and Pennsylvania families and seniors were struggling to make ends meet?” Other questions for Marino: Was Marino or staff contacted during the FBI investigation? Did they ever received persons of interest letters? Was Marino and his staff at the dinner event in question? Were they drinking excessively at it? Did Marino or staff swim in the Sea of Galilee? How much per night were rooms they were staying in at this resort (reports were that rooms were up to $1,000/night)? Both, local and national media outlets are beginning to question the competence, seriousness and sincerity of many freshman lawmakers, including Marino, given the recent spate of bad behavior, economically crippling votes and conflicting explanations. “Tom Marino and his freshman buddies are clearly out of control and not up to the job of representing their constituents. They are looking more like college kids drunk with power and out of the house for the first time every day,” continued Scollo campaign manager Will Sharry. “The people of northeast and central Pennsylvania deserve someone who is focused on what matters to them – not someone who goes off globetrotting with special interest money while cutting the jobs that are the very lifeline of our area.” The whole POLITICO story on the FBI probe is available here: Rep. Marino’s most recent financial disclosure is here: 
Phil Scollo left Wall Street to start a small business in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He learned hard work and public service early from a New York City Fire Fighter, his father. His business, a management-consulting firm, has served all types of organizations from global corporations to small businesses and government agencies. Phil has lived in Dingman Township, Pennsylvania since 1998 with his wife, Karen. He is the proud father of three children. A summa cum laude graduate of St. John’s University, Phil holds a B.S. in Government and Politics.


Pulitzer Prize winner Sarah Ganin reports today that the Patriot News, the Harrisburg Newspaper that has been an institution is making history by merging their on line content with their newspaper. The bottom line is that the on line edition will be 24/7 and the venerable newspaper will now only publish three times a week. Emphasizing that this is an innovative step forward, not a cost-cutting measure, Patriot-News Publisher John Kirkpatrick spent about 45 minutes with his staff today, answering pointed questions about the future of the news organization as it moves toward changing its model to a heavy focus online and a print product only three days a week. The publisher said the change was a move forward rather than a step back. No word yet on prices or staffing changes. When I heard the news I thought about how unique the Wilkes Barre Scranton/Hazleton market is to have 4 solid newspaper that compete on a daily basis.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2173, August 27th, 2012

GOP Fun and frivolity.


The Republican Party opened up their convention n in Tampa today. It will nominate Mitt Romney as well as Paul Ryan. This is the second time in a row that the GOP put together a truncated convention due to the weather. In 2008, even though the event was held in Minnesota, there was a day of non politics in deference to Hurricane Gustav, this day was mostly a call for action to help victims. This year the first day will be sidelined because of the impending Issac storm. I’m sure if there is any damage you’ll be hearing pledges of support and help to any possible victims. I love the Republicans. They make me laugh. They call off their events and provide a call to action for victims. But when push comes to shove, when the rubber meets the road, they don’t give a crap about people in floods. Proof positive is the fact that funding for those river gauges(the ones that actually measure the water that might flood an area) were eliminated as “ear marks”. Pork if you will. But hey, maybe they’ll get the good Cardinal of New York to say a prayer. 


The GOP will also have a running debt clock. That is hysterical too. When Bill Clinton left office, there was a surplus. George W. blew through that rather quickly with two undeclared wars paid on credit and a whole lot of other spending that even Republicans found repugnant. But they’ll blame Obama for the debt. Like I said, they are a hysterical bunch. 


In an interview, Mitt Romney made an interesting comment. He said in defending his stance on women, “‘Look, I’m the guy that was able to get health care for all of the women and men in my state. ... I’m very proud of what we did.” If that’s the case, then why does he want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act? If he is such a friend of women’s heath, they why in the name of God does he want to scrap something he is proud of? His plan in the Bay State is actually more liberal than the one President Obama came up with caving to the ridiculous demands of the GOP in hopes of getting a law passed. Why would Romney scrap something he was “very proud of”? Just wondering!!! 


Tom Smith is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate running against Bob Casey. He made an incredible statement regarding Abortion. In a published report, this is what Smith said, The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania said Monday that his opposition to abortion under any circumstances was something his own family had to deal with when his daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. Tom Smith, the nominee running against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, made the comment after being asked how he would argue to keep the baby if a daughter or granddaughter were to become pregnant as a result of rape. Smith said that his daughter went through “something similar” to the decision some rape victims have to make, although she was not raped, and that she chose to keep the child. His position on abortion is to ban it without exceptions for cases of rape or incest. “I lived something similar to that with my own family, and she chose the life, and I commend her for that,” Smith said. “She knew my views, but fortunately for me ... she chose the way I thought.” Asked how that was similar to rape, Smith said: “Having a baby out of wedlock.” Is he serious? Is he nuts? Having a baby out of wedlock is not the same thing as rape. Rape is an act of aggression. Rape is an act of control. It is an act of violent aggression. It is forcing someone against their will. It is not having a baby out of wedlock. I cannot understand how any man could go through the hideous exercise of carrying a baby to term from a violent attack? Hey Tom Smith, it’s admirable that your daughter chose to have the baby. Just like many other women who choose life over an abortion. But to say rape is the same thing as having a baby out of wedlock is just plain incredible to me. 
Go to any Victim’s Resource Center and they’ll explain the difference!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2172, August 26th, 2012

Our friend Karel Zubris sent us this information about a very special event coming up this week. Click to enlarge the information.

State Representative Phyllis Mundy. 


The Third Annual Breakfast Fundraiser for State Representative Phyllis Mundy will be held on Saturday September 29, 2012 from 9-11am at Genetti's Conference Center Wilkes-Barre. Matt Cartwright, 17th Congressional District Democratic Candidate will be a featured speaker. Cost of the breakfast is $25. Tickets can be obtained by emailing


Mitt Romney was on the stump and made a lame attempt at humor the other day. When telling a Michigan audience that he and his wife Anne grew up together and were born in separate hospitals, he made the comment that no one should question his birth certificate. Some liberals are going crazy saying it was an insult to the President and made Romney a birther. It does not. It was an off the cuff remark that was not appropriate but is certainly nothing to get excited about. The President was born in Hawaii and anyone who disputes this, even Donald Trump is pretty much an ass. 


The first man to walk on the moon Neil Armstrong died Saturday at 82. Armstrong was chosen essentially because his Apollo mission was in line. Armstrong was a very quiet man who shunned the spotlight and did not see himself as a celebrity or glamour person. He described himself as a “nerdy engineer” equipped with white socks and a pocket protector. He died from complications of heart surgery.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2171, August 25th, 2012

17th District Congressional candidate Matt Cartwright with former Heavyweight Champ Larry Holmes. 


17th District Congressional candidate Matt Cartwright did something the other day that most candidates never do, he answered a question with a straight answer. When asked by the Times Leader if he was in favor of gay marriage, Cartwright didn’t him and haw, he just answered with a no BS, clear headed response. Cartwright said, “I’m for marriage equality. “There’s no reason to discriminate against gay people. They’re not a threat against anybody.” Cartwright honestly said his position has evolved and said he is against having religious institutions forced to perform a ceremony that it found in opposition to its teachings.
The late Senator Ted Kennedy. 


Today marks the three year anniversary of the death of Ted Kennedy. The son of an Ambassador, the brother of a President and Senator, Kennedy established a niche for himself in the United States Senate with an extraordinary legislative record. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. More than 300 bills that Kennedy and his staff authored were enacted into law. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government emphasizing economic and social justice, but was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises between senators with disparate views. Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including laws addressing immigration, cancer research, health insurance, apartheid, disability discrimination, AIDS care, civil rights, mental health benefits, children's health insurance, education and volunteering. During the 2000s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform efforts. Over the course of his Senate career and continuing into the Obama administration, Kennedy continued his efforts to enact universal health care, which he called the "cause of my life." There is not one area of American life that doesn’t have Ted Kennedy’s legislative fingerprints on it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2170, August 24th, 2012

Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo.


MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that when people rail against gun control, they need to understand that America loves its guns. And I’m okay with that except for the multiple magazine machines. But gun dealers have a tough time deciding who should get a gun and who should not. Plus the ATF is hard pressed to police the more than 57,000 licensed gun dealers. Just twenty five field divisions, one for every two states look after the licensees. Inspectors are supposed to go into stores every three years but with a small force that is next to impossible. Guns in America are big business but there has to be a way to keep some nuts from getting them. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………..that San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was busted for a foreign substance in his system. When will these guys ever learn? And here’s something to consider in the wake of the washing away of wins from Penn State Coach Joe Paterno. Cabrera was the MVP of the 2012 All Star Game. The National League got home field advantage because of the win and Melky’s exploits. Would it be unreasonable to ask that the reward from the win be forfeited and have home field advantage awarded to the American League? 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that on Cable TV is a program called “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. When I was a kid in Catholic school, the nuns always told us that all of God’s children are beautiful. Uh……….not this one. The show is a celebration of ignorance in America. To give you an idea of how bad it is, (and I only saw a snippet of it while Mrs. LuLac was surfing the channels, she was tempted to stay and watch but I threatened to go and find some Angela Stone DVDs) there are subtitles in the program. Not for the hearing impaired, not because they speak a foreign language. Their English is so undiscernable that you need to get a translation.
My typewriter from high school (snazzy color, huh?) that traveled with me to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1972 and then wrote many a term paper at King’s College. Maybe the good Mayor might want to take a look at this and add it to the Police Force. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…that the New York City Police Department spent a million bucks on typewriters. More amazing is the fact that they found a place where you could get a million bucks of typewriters! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that if you want to win at Carnival games and fairs, you have to strategies. If you want to knock over milk bottles, aim for the bottom. If you hit those, chances are the entire display will fall. The lower bottles are almost always weighted down. When trying to score a price by throwing a dart at the balloon, don’t aim straight. The darts for the most part have dull points and will not burst the balloon. But if you arc the dart and let it fall, you’ll have a better chance of having the dart hit the balloon on the way down. With the added speed coming down, you might burst the balloon. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that 57% of seniors have not had their teeth professional cleaned in the last 6 months. This could be a medical risk because gum disease can lead to more pronounced cases of heart disease. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that between the time a child is born and they turn 18, parents and grand parents have a total of 940 Saturdays with their child. When you think of that number, it makes you more certain than ever that you want to make every minute count. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that as the summer is drawing to a close (and how gloriously hot it was!) there are only about 70 days left to the 2012 Presidential Election. After the Conventions, the campaigning will begin in earnest. The debates will be the turning point in the race and then as November approaches, we shall see what we shall see. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that people sometimes don’t seem to see a correlation between crime and the cutting of social service spending in the state. Look, we all there are going to be out of town dirt bags invading our area but people who are drug addicts and not getting help because of these cuts are going to try and get their money for a fix somewhere. It cracks me up that some people fought the methadone clinics because “it would ruin their neighborhood”. Got news for you closed minded fools, by not having them, you’ll ruin your city.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that in Scranton, a pregnant woman was arrested dealing heroin with three other kids at home. Most likely she was on welfare with an Access card and getting three checks a month for those kids. See even as a social liberal, my idea is to have welfare for people to bring themselves up. What to do with this trash? Put the kids up for adoption, send her ass to jail, strip away any benefits she was getting and sew her up so she won’t be birthing any more babies. Then track down all of the fathers and make them visit her in jail on Mother’s Day. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that there are no Statewide Democrats lining up to try and take a shot at Governor Corbett in the 2014 Governor’s race. The Gov has very low popularity and doesn’t seem to have the penchant for trying to make it better. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of anyone trying to test the waters so far. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…………that the word "druthers” actually came into vogue in the 1880s. It means “choice” or “one’s own way”, it is also a continuation and alternative of “would rather”. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that there are 5 living Vice Presidents (Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, and Dick Cheney) still kicking. There are 4 living former Presidents, (Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) alive as of this day. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that the Plymouth Kielbasi Festival is celebrating year number 9. Plymouth really brings out the best and struts its stuff as small town America. And one of these days those folks should come to their senses and ask me to judge the best kielbasi in that contest they have. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you I’m an expert.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2169, August 23rd, 2012

Our LuLac Your Survey, Your Say” logo. 


The results of the second LuLac poll differ vastly from our first poll. Two weeks ago, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were tied at 47%. It was a dead heat. This week the results represent a big bump in the fortunes of Mitt Romney. Here are the results of the poll question:  If the 2012 presidential election were held today, whom would you vote for? 
Barack Obama 41% 
Mitt Romney 55% 
Someone Else 4% 
No one 0% 
Not sure 0%. 
During this time period, Romney selected his Vice Presidential pick Paul Ryan. Our next poll is in two weeks. 


The last time a GOP ticket carried Pennsylvania was 1988 when George H.W. Bush carried the state over Michael Dukakis. Since then Democrats have carried the state. Reports are that since President Obama has a lead in the state, both parties are not putting their own media money in the Commonwealth. The last President to lose Pennsylvania and become President anyway was Harry Truman in 1948. 


State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski. 


The knee jerk reaction of those of us who are constantly on social media and do this type of thing by choice is that everyone has access to the web. Also, we think because our wallets and purses are bulging with Identifications for work, school and licenses, everyone has a photo ID. Not true. In Pennsylvania, there is a portion of the population who don’t have an identification. For many years these voters have been dutifully going to the polls because it was their civic duty. My mother and mother in law voted by absentee ballot when they could not go to the polls. But now, this new law has even made it tougher to get an absentee ballot. I always thought that this voter ID scam was something that was abhorrent to our system. True, there have been isolated cases of voter fraud but with the inception of new technology that would be harder. State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski sent a mailer to his district residents. He also put an incredible link on his web page which clearly spells out the challenges the politically motivated Pennsylvania Voter ID law presents. Take a look. 


This coming week the GOP meets in Tampa. Highlights will be the introduction of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Look for heavy use of Anne Romney at the event. I’d also be interested in seeing how Romney is presented via the Campaign film. His speech will also be an indicator of how he will fare in the debates with the President. As usual, political junkies will have to rely on Cable News because the networks continue to cater to the lowest common denominator of American intelligence or lack thereof. 



This week Shadoe Steele hosts “Saturday Night Live At the Oldies” . This week’s guest is John Paul Young who had the big hit from 1978, “Love Is In the Air”. Shadoe is on the air this Saturday from 7pm to midnight with ABC News on the top of the hour.


This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with Steve Kepic from Wendy’s and Carmen Flynn from the American Red Cross about the 7th annual Red Cross Roof-A-Thon Monday thru Wednesday August 27th thru the 29th at Wendy’s on Davis Street in Scranton. Magic 93’s Frankie in the Morning speaks with Michael Taluto and James May form PENNDOT about their Impaired Driving Campaign for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. And Brian speaks with chiropractor Joe Leonardi about National Childhood Obesity Month, coming up in September. Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on Great Country 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:30am on Magic 93, and 7am on True Oldies 590, WARM.


ECTV Live will outline plans for one of Scranton's biggest events during the week of August 27th as Chris DiMattio joins hosts Tom Munley and David DeCosmo to discuss La Festa Italiana! Offered since 1976, the Festival attracts thousands of people to downtown Scranton over the Labor Day Weekend and is said to have a major financial impact on the city and the area, ECTV Live is presented as a Public Affairs program by Electric City Television and can be seen on Comcast Ch19 each weekday at Noon and Midnight with selected showings at 6pm several days each week.
Our 1967 logo. 


American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell is assassinated in Arlington,Virginia
East Coast Wrestling Association is established......Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as the first African American Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In Pennsylvania as the summer winds down and kids go back to school, the State Education Department introduces a new plan for alternative learning for commercial students. The plan is that the students will take core classes in the morning and then work in outside businesses in apprenticeships or entry level position. The pilot program is set to start in the spring of 1968……and in Luzerne County, specifically in the Wyoming Area, Joe Rock resigns from the Democratic ticket for School Board. He is replaced by Tim Pribula to run in the 1967 General Election with Charles Adonizio, James Langan, Dr. John Barrett, Stanley Yanik, John LaNunziata and Herbert Babcock……and 45 years ago this week the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was “Ode To Billy Joe” by Bobbie Gentry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2168, August 22nd, 2012

Our “Write On Wednesday” logo. 



Workers from the county unions are saying they are not going to sign an Ethics Pledge. Union leaders don’t want them to sign anything that might interfere with language in their contracts. Taxpayers are not happy that the union is even hesitating. Mike Buffer sorted it out and we feature that on this week’s “Write On Wednesday”.   

Some Luzerne County employees are refusing to sign forms required to show they will abide by terms of the county's new ethics code, officials said Monday. Issues with signing the forms involve whether the ethics code applies to employees in unions with collective bargaining agreement and employees in the judicial branch or other offices that operate independently from the executive branch. Any employee who doesn't sign the form by Friday's deadline should be fired, Kingston resident Brian Shiner said at an ethics commission meeting. "So you want to have separation of powers? Let's separate them from their paychecks," Shiner told commission members. "You need to be firm. You need to stop being wishy-washy." Controller Walter L. Griffith Jr., one of five members of the ethics commission, said he will file an ethics complaint against every employee who does not sign the form. The commission can take disciplinary action against county officials and employees if it finds them guilty of violating the home-rule charter or ethics code. County Manager Robert Lawton, who also serves on the ethics commission, said he doesn't plan to fire employees who don't sign the forms because they can still be punished for violating terms of the code. Paula Schnelly, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' Local 1398, said the code references a table of penalties but doesn't include a table of penalties. "So how can you sign it, when you don't know everything in it," Schnelly said. The ethics code says the manager must approve a disciplinary system, which includes a table of offenses and penalties, within four months after county personnel code becomes official. The personnel code became effective May 10. Schnelly said a proposed table of penalties she reviewed conflicts with terms in her union's collective bargaining agreements. Her union represents about 500 county employees. The county has more than 1,520 employees, and more than 1,200 of them are represented by unions. More than 300 county employees work in the judicial branch. The ethics code defines unethical behavior for county officials, employees and appointees. Officials and employees are required to "expose corruption wherever discovered" and are prohibited from using positions to receive payments, contracts, loans, privileges and personal advantages. County council adopted the ethics code April 24. It went into effect May 24. According to the code, the manager is responsible for communicating the provisions of the ethics code in an employee handbook. "As a condition of continued employment, each person shall sign a statement to the effect that he or she has received such copy, understands its contents, and agrees to abide by established policies," the code says. Ethics Commission Chairwoman Margaret Hogan suggested talking to employees to resolve disputes over the code and the form

Michael Buffer is a reporter for the Citizen’s Voice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2167, August 21st, 2012

The vets attacking Obama on Osama have links to the GOP. 


The GOP interest groups as well as the national party have launched a really stupid ad that takes President Obama to task for using the Pronoun “I” in describing the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The new “Swift boat” generation ad says that President Obama had nothing to do with getting Bin Laden. Notwithstanding is the fact that during the ’08 campaign, Obama said that he would hunt down Bin Laden and kill him. But as usual, the GOP does not want to be confused with the facts. But if you take this ad seriously and apply them to some of the most significant events in the history of the nation, you’d have to change the narrative about our more than 230 year heritage. For example: 

George Washington could never be credited for winning the Revolutionary War.

Thomas Jefferson never bought the land that now makes up the middle south. 

Woodrow Wilson never won World War I. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt never won the war from two fronts during the 1940s. 

Dwight Eisenhower never gets credit for the U.S Interstate Highway system. 

Lyndon Johnson doesn’t get any credit for having the Civil Rights bill passed that gave blacks the opportunity to live where they want, eat in a restaurant with white people or vote. 

Richard Nixon would never get any credit for recognizing China as a trading partner. 

The GOP right’s Sainted Ronald Reagan would never get credit for ending Communism.

George H.W. Bush would never be recognized for negotiating a peaceful end to the Cold War. Stop the presses, change the history books if this ad can be taken to its logical conclusion. 

Any person know that Presidents have visions. Good ones put that vision into action with good staffs. Lincoln went through a series of failed Generals before he came upon U.S. Grant. Normal thinking people know the President gives the order. That gives him the luxury of saying “I did” when it works and “I’m sorry” when it doesn’t. The Buck always stops at the White House Desk, not in some Navy Seal’s backpack! The latest ad is just another attempt to diminish the legitimacy of the Bin Laden killing (something the Bush/Cheney administration did not do) and to diminish the President (Obama) who had the stones to pull the trigger. More nonsense from a bunch of people constantly distorting the truth.

10th Congressional candidate Phil Scollo. 


Politico reports that U.S. Representative Tom Marino was on that junket to Israel last summer.  It provided much needed fodder for the Democratic campaign of Phil Scollo. Here’s the story:  
POLITICO: FBI Probed Marino Trip to Israel Dingman, PA - 
Last August, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino went on a 9-day trip to Israel with all expenses paid by the special interest group the American Israel Education Foundation, according to a recently filed U.S. House ethics disclosure form. These revelations come on the heels of Marino and his staff being caught with conflicting stories about an appropriations vote that would "eviscerate funding" to the region largest employer and cost the area hundreds of jobs. According to a POLITICO report, the FBI probed events on the trip that involved drinking, numerous freshmen lawmakers, congressional staffers and even several intoxicated members and staffer (plus a nude member of Congress) swimming in the Sea of Galilee. "This sounds more like a frat party than a respectable congressional delegation," said Will Sharry, Phil Scollo's campaign manager. "The people who Rep. Tom Marino represents deserve to have questions answered about this trip, starting with: why were dozens of members of Congress partying it up at a $1000/night resort in August 2011 when the U.S. unemployment rate was at 9.1% and Pennsylvania families and seniors were struggling to make ends meet?" Other questions for Marino: Was Marino or staff contacted during the FBI investigation? Did they ever received persons of interest letters? Was Marino and his staff at the dinner event in question? Were they drinking excessively at it? Did Marino or staff swim in the Sea of Galilee? How much per night were rooms they were staying in at this resort (reports were that rooms were up to $1,000/night)? Both, local and national media outlets are beginning to question the competence, seriousness and sincerity of many freshman lawmakers, including Marino, given the recent spate of bad behavior, economically crippling votes and conflicting explanations. "Tom Marino and his freshman buddies are clearly out of control and not up to the job of representing their constituents. They are looking more like college kids drunk with power and out of the house for the first time every day," continued Scollo campaign manager Will Sharry. "The people of northeast and central Pennsylvania deserve someone who is focused on what matters to them - not someone who goes off globetrotting with special interest money while cutting the jobs that are the very lifeline of our area." The whole POLITICO story on the FBI probe is available here: Rep. Marino's most recent financial disclosure is here: 
Phil Scollo left Wall Street to start a small business in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He learned hard work and public service early from a New York City Fire Fighter, his father. His business, a management-consulting firm, has served all types of organizations from global corporations to small businesses and government agencies. Phil has lived in Dingman Township, Pennsylvania since 1998 with his wife, Karen. He is the proud father of three children. A summa cum laude graduate of St. John’s University, Phil holds a B.S. in Government and Politics

Monday, August 20, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2166, August 20th, 2012

Our “Health Care Not Scare Care” logo.  


Republicans are running around the country this election season (some with their moms) saying that the Affordable Health Care Law and by extension President Obama is cutting million of dollars of Medicare for senior citizens. As usual, this is WRONG! That Medicare money is actually going into the Health Care Law as a way of helping seniors. True, the money is being diverted but seniors aren’t going to be losing anything. The money is coming from a program called Medicare Advantage. This was put into operation in 1997 as part of the balanced budget act of 1977. Here’s an overview of what Medicare Advantage is and how it differs from traditional Medicare: 
Medicare Advantage subscribers generally pay a fixed amount (a copayment of $20, for example) every time they see a doctor as opposed to meeting a deductible and paying a coinsurance (typically 20%) under Original Medicare. The copayment can be higher to see a specialist with a Medicare Advantage plan. Under Original Medicare the coinsurance remains 20%, but the actual amount out of pocket can be higher since specialists generally charge more for services. The private plans are required to offer a benefit “package” that is at least as good as Medicare’s and cover everything Medicare covers, but they do not have to cover every benefit in the same way. Plans that require higher out-of-pocket costs than Medicare for some benefits, like skilled nursing facility care, can balance their benefits package by offering lower copayments for doctor visits. A private plan may use some of the excess payments they receive from the government for each enrollee to offer supplemental benefits. Many plans use the excess subsidies to offer hearing coverage, vision coverage, gym memberships and other services not covered by Medicare. As with traditional Medicare, private plan members can incur high out-of-pocket costs, however Medicare Advantage plans typically have an out of pocket maximum ($6,700 for example), which can protect individuals against catastrophic medical bills. Once the out of pocket maximum is reached for an individual, the plan will pay 100% of Medicare approved services for the remainder of the calendar year, with no lifetime maximum, so long as individuals use in-network providers. If individuals voluntarily choose to use out-of-network providers, they generally must pay the full cost of their care and there is no out-of-pocket cap on their expenses. This can be a problem for people with Medicare with costly conditions, who need to use out-of-network specialists or who are hospitalized and are forced to use out-of-network doctors while in the hospital. By law, however, if a patient's in-network physician orders tests or procedures that are not available or provided by any in-network facility or specialist's office, the Medicare Advantage plan must pay for the patient's procedures or services at an out-of-network location at no additional cost to the patient, so long as the necessary services are normally covered by Medicare. 
The other money coming out of the current Medicare set up is the Prescription Drug Plan that was passed in 2003. This is the plan that gave the seniors “the donut hole”. A simple explanation of the donut hole is this: If you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the donut hole is when Medicare temporarily stops paying for your prescriptions. If you are in the donut hole, you have to pay the entire cost of your medications. After a Medicare beneficiary surpasses the prescription drug coverage limit, the Medicare beneficiary is financially responsible for the entire cost of prescription drugs until the expense reaches the catastrophic coverage threshold. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, people who fall within the doughnut hole will receive a $250 rebate within three months of reaching the coverage gap to help with payments. Seniors in this area already got this. 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than a quarter of Part D participants stop following their prescribed regimen of drugs when they hit the doughnut hole  The 2010 Health Reform bill (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) began to address the coverage gap by creating discounts on brand name and generic drugs purchased within the gap range. Between now and 2020, the gap will gradually be closed to a point where it is completely eliminated.  
So when the GOP ticket starts telling you how Obama cut Medicare, remember these facts. The GOP is lying about health care and Medicare. To me, if the stakes weren’t so high in this Election, it would be funny. It’s almost like the GOP running mates are like the kid who kills his parents and then asks for understanding because he is after all,  an orphan. 


The GOP War On Women continues. The latest is the “southern logic” that when a woman is raped, there are super active hormones that put up Fallopian tube barriers to make sure those rapist’s boys don’t swim upstream. Yeah, right. This wisdom came out of the mouth of an elected Congressman who decided he wanted to climb the Congressional ladder and become a United States Senator. The Congressman, Todd Akin talked about “legitimate rape”. A big deal is being made about this remark but this is nothing new. Our own homeboy Rick Santorum once said that "becoming pregnant by a rapist is a gift from God."  He said it on TV. Live. In front of a camera. I think it’s sadly ironic that these comments are made by men who are not victims of “legitimate rape” and who have to carry the baby for 9 months. I know the Pro Life GOP zealots are for unplanned pregnancies but this is carrying it a bit too far.
We took a tour on Sunday to Coke A Cola Park. From left to right, Paul Komensky, me and David Dellarte. 


Two of my grade school buddies and I did a spur of the moment, Sunday morning phone call, let you know by noon decision to go to Coke A Cola Park to see the Iron Pigs. You remember them don’t you? They were the Triple A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies who used to grace the presence at Lackawanna County Stadium. We were impressed by the ease of access. Also the Food Court had a wide variety of items to choose from and the site lines were very good. We saw a lot of Phillies Red in the stands and saw a Hall Of Famer Ryan Sandburg manage the Pigs. One of the things that caught my friend Dave’s eye was the huge garbage bags that came out in the 8th inning so that the fans could help clean up the ball park. It was a great night for baseball and our biggest regret was that we couldn’t get in touch with the entire LuLac August minor league contingent since it was short notice. Oh by the way, the attendance was 9859 people. Let’s hope the new Stadium in 2013 will be half as efficient and nice as the Allentown digs were last night. The SWB Yankees play the Pigs this weekend Saturday at 6:35PM and Sunday afternoon at 1:35PM. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2165, August 19th, 2012

Our “Your Survey, Your Say” logo. 


Dr. Terry MaDonna from Franklin and Marshall College released a poll this August on the Presidential race. Here is his information: Below are the highlights of the August 2012 Franklin and Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvania voters. Complete results can be found at The August 2012 Franklin and Marshall College Poll finds President Obama with a 6 point lead over Mitt Romney, 44% to 38%. Obama is viewed favorably by 46% of voters to 32% for Romney.

1. President Obama leads Mitt Romney, 44% to 38% with 15% undecided; when voters who lean to a candidate are included a similar advantage shows for the president, 47% to 42%, leaving 7% of voters truly undecided.  

2. Bob Casey leads Tom Smith, 35% to 23% with 39% undecided, in the U.S. Senate race; when voters who lean to a candidate are included, Casey's lead increases 43% to 28%, but a high proportion still remain undecided (24%). 

3. Compared to Romney, Obama is seen as better understanding of the concerns of ordinary Americans, 57% to 30%, better able to handle foreign policy issues, 53% to 34%, better able to handle the job as military chief, 47% to 37%, and closest to respondents' views on abortion and gay marriage, 47% to 37%. Romney now leads as the candidate most prepared to fix our economic problems (44% to 42%) compared to June (38% to 44%).

4. Obama's job performance remains more negative than positive, with 43% positive (good or excellent job) and 56% negative (fair or poor job).

5. PA Voters favor repealing the heath care law 48% (strongly or somewhat favor) to 42% (strongly or somewhat oppose). 6. Almost six in ten Pennsylvania voters believe the state is moving in the wrong direction, 57%, while 30% say it is moving in the right direction. This survey reflects interviews with 681 Pennsylvania voters, conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College from August 7-August 12, 2012 (sample error of +/- 3.8 percentage points). 


We will be conducting our second Presidential poll of the month. The question is: 
Barack Obama 
Mitt Romney. 
Someone Else.
No one.
Not sure. 
Results this Thursday. Here’s the link to vote. Remember, you get one vote and when you hit DONE, you will be moved off LuLac and Survey Monkey. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2164, August 18th, 2012

Former Pittston Area and convicted felon, Ross Scarentoni. 


WBRE TV’s Joe Holden revealed this week that former Pittston Area Superintendent Ross Scarantino has been playing an active role in Pittston Area School Board affairs. This is even after Scarantino was jailed on bribery charges. WBRE reported that Scarantoni pressured board members to adopt an educational module developed by The Step By Step organization. The news report says that Scarantino phoned a Pittston Area Administrator, Dr. Janet Donovan more than thirty times try to persuade her to adopt the program. When she refused, the Pittston Area School Board demoted her. (Of course they attributed it to funding cuts but in today’s Citizen’s Voice she seemed to confirm that). It was also revealed that Scarantino might have had input into the selection of his successor’s successor at the other night’s meeting. (Scarantino was succeeded by George Cosgrove. Cosgrove was in turn succeeded by Michael Garzella). Some of my sources say that Scarantino was asked to be a consultant and that all he was doing was offering his opinion. You offer your opinion once or twice. When you call someone thirty times, that’s lobbying. The fact that Scarantino is arrogant enough to think that people in this area are going to buy this line just shows that he is the same wheeler dealer and operator that was sent up the river. I don’t know the terms of Scarantino’s release from jail. But I do know this. When you get out of jail, you are to avoid situations and people that got you there in the first place. I don’t begrudge anyone making a living. But this is not Mark Ciavarella riding shotgun with Bob Kadluboski doing menial paint jobs. (Which I give the former Judge a lot of credit for). This is the same power king using his old connections to stay in the same game he forfeited by his bad behavior. My God, Greg Skrepenak (the former Luzerne County Commissioner) had an impromptu lunch with some cronies at a West Pittston restaurant and his early release was revoked. A few weeks ago, a friend and I saw him at an Edwardsville eatery. We both took some time to think whether we should engage him in conversation for fear that we might be messing up his situation. Skrep had lunch, Scarantino, according to Holden’s story, you get the impression that he  has played an active “Godfather” like role in the current operations of the Pittston Area School Board. The sad part is that the board seems to think they need his advice and help. If that’s the case, then maybe the entire school board should resign if they are incapable of thinking for themselves. And someone should look into Scarantino’s release agreement. In the newspapers today, it was reported that the feds are keeping on eye on this. Donavan mentioned today the reason why she turned down the offer was because of Scarantino’s relentless sales pitch. In my humble opinion, he should be sent back to jail for attempting to influence and control the very entity and institution he shamed with his actions. I know his pension has been denied and I should feel for him. People tell me so. But with his huge salaries over the years does he need to go back to the same well? The well of public money? If a convicted drug dealer comes within an eyelash of his old stomping grounds, he goes back to the slammer. That’s a no brainer. If it’s good enough for the druggie, it should be good enough for “The Doctor”!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2163, August 17th, 2012

Mercedes Leighton (left) at just one of her many appearances when national figures came to town. Included in the photo are the late Christine McLaughlin, then First Lady of Wilkes Barre, Attorney Carl Frank, and then Vice President Walter Mondale stumping for the re-election of President Carter in 1980. Photo: Citizen's Voice.


She was the grand dame of Luzerne County politics. Mercedes Leighton passed away this afternoon at the age of 90. Her death was released by her grandson, Attorney Bill Vinsko. During Vinsko’s recent campaign for Congress, we exchanged many opinions and stories. But we always got around to a story about Mercedes Leighton. And the stories were always entertaining and always a testament to her unofficial role as the political goodwill Ambassador of Wilkes Barre. Leighton was the City Controller for over two decades. She succeeded her husband Carl Leighton as City Controller when he died in office in 1978. That office was previously held by Walter Lisman who became Mayor in 1975. Serving her husband’s unexpired term was a given. During the tumultuous 1979 primary between Tom McLaughlin and Tony Mussari, the Democratic leaders were going to run another candidate for the Controller’s Office. But Mercedes Leighton did her best imitation of former Football coach Lee Corso and proclaimed, “Not so fast my friend”. She campaigned hard in the primary and General Election and stayed in the Controller’s job for the next twenty years. Leighton took her duties seriously and always, and I repeat always was at City Council public meetings. She also relished the political life of the city turning up at events large and small. She charmed the national and statewide media as well as the major candidates coming through Pennsylvania. Our state is now dubbed a “battleground” state but Mrs. Leighton knew that long before the pundits did. The last time I sat down with her for an extended period of time was during the 2002 primary between Bob Casey and Ed Rendell for Governor. (I have a hysterical story that I will not share here, but I’ll be glad to tell anyone I see in person. Writing will not do it justice). Mrs. Leighton’s observations on the race were dead on and she critiqued the room, the program and the decorations with the eagle eye of one politico who saw many a state fair herself. When Rendell entered from the back of the ballroom instead of the front, she leaned toward me and said, “Now that was one smart idea. He’s in a sea of people so it looks like he’s being mobbed. And then when he leaves, he can go out the side door to the bus over there”. She not only knew politics but she knew logistics too. Even though she had been out of office for over a decade, Mrs. Leighton was a presence at various events as her health allowed. As the upcoming Presidential and 2013 local elections heat up, a few of us will be scanning the crowd for the little lady in the business suit to get her take on who’s up and who’s down. At a future political event, when we see an empty chair with pretzels and chips, we’ll realize we will no longer see that conspiratorial leaning forward pose from the demure lady who will ask, “I wonder how this thing is going to turn out?” Our condolences to her entire family. She was a gem in the Diamond City.

The LuLac Edition #2162, August 17th, 2012

Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo.


MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that Mayor Bloomberg of New York might have been correct when he campaigned against the Big Gulp sodas. He was criticized big time but he might have a point. Consider this: 28 % of all adult Americans drink 2 to 8 soft drinks a day. I drink one Diet in the mornings in lieu of coffee to jump start the old brain matter but 2 to 8? Yikes! I mean what in the world is up with that? 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…..that when there is a high profile bill in Congress, like the Affordable Health Care Act there are at least 9 lobbyists to one lawmaker on the issue. And we wonder why they all seems dazed and confused in Washington. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…..that the average age of a U.S. Congress person is 57. The average age of the Congressional staffer is 28. Can anyone say age difference? 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…..that Kathie Lee Gifford and her husband, football and broadcast legend Frank Gifford have the same birthday on August 16th. Frank is 82 And she is 59. Thought I’d throw that in since we’re talking about age differences. A 23 year age difference. You go old boy!!!!! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that when I think of guys like Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, the old quote from the late Dorothy Parker comes to mind. She said, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at who he gave it to”. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that if you like your sleep with the least interruptions, you should move to Delaware. The most sleep disturbances according to a study of Sleep Patterns is in West Virginia. Take me home country roads my foot! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that an exotic dancer tried to write off breast enhancement surgery as a deduction. The IRS said yes. Conversely, a lawyer who tried to write off $65,000 worth of visits to prostitutes claiming the money as a medical expense, was denied. I can’t understand that because strippers and lawyers are so much alike in terms of morality! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…… that in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada you can buy a cognac infused hot dog for $100.00. The footling is said to be firm, plump, delicious and designed to make you happy. But nothing can beat the foot longs at The House of Abraham at the corner of Shoemaker Ave back road and 8th Street in West Wyoming as you head out to Frances Slocum State Park. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……that I understand politicians still buy drinks for patrons in bars. If they were smart in the summer, they’d head out to a place like Curly Cream in Plains and buy everyone a small cone. The lines there in the summer are incredible, the ice cream is the best in the area and I’m surprised no one has thought about it. 
MAYBE I M AMAZED……that an Urban, Steve Senior is taking the lead in the push to take another look at reassessment in Luzerne County. Urban voted for it when he was a Commissioner and he might be able to bring some expertise to the table on this issue. 
MAYBE I'M AMAZED.........that even though it was the pre-season, the Cleveland Browns beat my Packers the other night.  Let's hope this was a tune up.