Sunday, September 30, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2212, September 30th, 2012

Logo item from Richard Grayson Green Party blog. 



This morning while the rest of the world was waking up to the recaps of College Football scores, the pennant chase in Major League Baseball as well as the speculation of how the old NFL referees are going to do this Sunday, there was a news item that tore your heart out. Last night the 2,000th casualty of the war in Afghanistan was reported. Most of us know people who served, a few of us knew family members that lost a son or brother. Any type of wound like that is hard to heal. Any combat death is a tragedy. Since we have always been a nation that keeps score, (especially in late September and in the Fall on Sundays) the fact that this was the 2,000th death was another dagger to the heart. However what makes it worse is the fact that this latest casualty didn’t come at the hands of the enemy. This death didn’t come by a soldier’s actions saving his or her platoon. It wasn’t a heroic death you see in the movies where the soldier emerges from a firefight carrying two people under his arms and another to safety on his back. Nope. This death came because one of our soldiers, one of our Americans were killed by either an Afghan Army member we are training or an Afghan policeman that is supposed to protect the country. While I hesitate to say that any soldier’s death is senseless, this comes damn near close to that. It is time to leave Afghanistan. Screw the 2014 deadline. GET OUT NOW. Here’s why: 
1. It is unfair and unrealistic to ask an American soldier to put themselves in harm’s way when they are going to get killed by the people they are training to take over. What in the world are we fighting for? 
2. The Taliban is now back in action and instead of being a cooperative governing force, it is intimidating people they are supposed to work with. A diseased leopard can never change its spots. The Taliban is such an animal. By waiting until 2014, we are only strengthening the ammunition of the Taliban. Making them stronger. We’re giving cavemen who are very good at killing more expensive and complex weapons to do it faster. That has to stop. 
3. We should pack up all of our technology and equipment. If the sitting government wants asylum somewhere, we should give it to them. But surely they have to believe this is a lost cause. 
4. If we need to use Afghanistan for our protective interests in the Middle East, like say a terrorist network developing there, we should use drones to eliminate them. The Drone Technology is such that we can pinpoint the room where some target is staying. Maybe we should also put out the word that if the terrorist is a target, so too will be his family. Collateral damage. 
5. As a new country (we are closing in on 240 years,) we are still too idealistic and optimistic to understand the politics, religion and social truths of a second century society. It is a waste of time and lives of our fellow countrymen to concentrate on a country of savages. 
You can’t fight something you can’t understand. You can’t win the hearts and minds of the heartless and soulless. You can’t honestly say that whatever we did there was a success. It is time for the American military to leave. They should take their skills, their honor and their commitment to another conflict somewhere down the line. Preferably to a nation that thinks chopping off the hand that feeds them is an honorable practice. It’s time to let the bastards starve to death and rot in the desert hills they so cherish.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2211, September 29th, 2012

Marino’s Mom Weighs In. (Click to enlarge).


It only took one term for 10th Congressional District candidate and incumbent Tom Marino to trot out his mom in his campaign for re-election. Take a gander at that letter. It seems like Marino is the second coming of FDR when it comes to Social Security. Marino’s flyer refers to the cut in Medicare by the Obama administration. That “cut” was used to send checks to seniors who were getting screwed by the Medicare Donut hole. But don’t confuse the facts by the Congressman and his mom with the lie they want to tell over and over again. The pathetic part about this whole “mom” idea is that it isn’t even original. If Paul Ryan hadn’t rolled out his mom in the campaign, the Marino people wouldn’t have even thought about this gimmick.

Marino’s rundown of what he did in office. In this flyer Marino talks about those bad liberals who raised the deficit by so much in the last three years. He conveniently ignores the billions wasted by the previous administration.(Click photo/flyer to enlarge).
This says it all about the GOP War against the veterans they sent to combat.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2210, September 28th, 2012

Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo. 


MAYBE I’M AMAZED……….that the Romney camp seems to be putting all of its collective eggs in one basket. What is at stake is the Presidency. And the basket is the first debate this coming Wednesday. It has been reported that Romney has been preparing and sparring with Obama stand in Senator Rob Portman. In previous editions I’ve said that the people watching the debates have their minds pretty much made up. The President and Governor Romney will be fighting to sway the opinions or capture the opinions of less than 5% of the electorate. To both I say, good luck with that! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that Tom Pisano left the Luzerne County in the lurch by “retiring” effective Monday October 1st. Talk about blind siding people!!! L.A. Tarone and I got into a heated debate this afternoon on Topic A. I felt that it was totally irresponsible for Pisano to book out when there is no Deputy Election Director and there is less than forty days before a national election. It was Pisano who had concerns about the batteries in the voting machines but I guess he decided to say “not my job!” If Pisano is annoyed because he is doing two jobs for one salary and is not getting considered for the New Elections Director position, then that is even more of a disgrace. Pisano took jobs in 2006 when he returned to county government knowing the salary and responsibilities. But maybe under the new charter, the responsibilities became more than he anticipated. Pisano has been a County employee for nearly twenty years. His salary was paid with tax dollars. He owed the County another month. Even in the private sector, if a big project is looming, a person who is retiring stays on. But unfortunately not in county government. When you take, take, take for years, it is hard to fathom that maybe you owe something to the entity, the people that have paid you for years. The Citizen’s Voice reported today that Pisano is putting on the bib overalls and going back to tend to the family farm. Cincinnatus this guy ain’t! 
MAYBE I'M AMAZED…………that no one has thought about asking deposed Elections Director Lenny Piazza to come back and serve in the position. Sure Piazza wanted to make his on hours, sure Piazza became an arrogant putz to his superiors. Sure some of those e mails were deranged and disrespectful. Sure he’s suing the County. But c’mon, this is Luzerne County, we can overlook a few things right? Like the fact that the County had no deputy for years in part because of Piazza’s tight control over the bureau and the previous board of Commissioners reluctance to pull the trigger on anything that would help the new Home Rule people succeed. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……………….that it took a blown call in a Monday Night Football game between a storied Super Bowl Champion team and the outcry of almost everyone in the nation to get those replacement referees out of there. The calls were comical. But also dangerous. If you tend to annoy bookies, illegal or legal, you make enemies. I’m sure the new/old referees will make some bad calls but nothing like this sad sack brigade they had on the field. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that the next 4 days are going to be the most pivotal in baseball’s stretch run. The national League seems sewed up but that American League race is going to be something. With two Wild Cards, this season’s ending will be once more a great reason to root and watch. By the way, since the Pirates and Indians are out of it, I’m rooting for the Washington Nationals. The last time they were in the Series was when FDR was President. And I lived in D.C. for a year after I got out of high school. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that the fastest growing nail can be found on the middle finger. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…………..that there are one million estimated pieces of furniture you can buy from London’s Olympic Village. The organizers of the London games are having a clearance sale. But wait, there’s more, they are also selling fixtures and fittings from the Olympic games. Plus there are four piece athletic bedroom suites available too. Check it out at remains of 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED….that the Healthy Eating campaign for kids started by First Lady Michelle Obama might be backfiring. School lunch programs are offering more healthy choices but the kids say they aren’t getting filled and are wasting the food. Tales of uneaten fruit in trash cans have become commonplace. To me the waste of any food is a shame because there are other places in the world that have nothing. Maybe it’s time for government to not impose a menu on anyone, let alone a kid. Make the comparison, radishes or fries? C’mon. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….recycled paper is made with 40% less energy than regular non recycled paper. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…………….that in the race for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Republican Tom Smith seems to be creeping up on incumbent Bob Casey. Smith, a multi millionaire has been running anti Casey commercials the entire summer. The Casey ads have been few and far between. Smith was considered a long shot but now is within 8 points. Once before, a Casey opponent ran ads against him early on in the contest. He defined Casey as a political heir instead of an individual who had his own record. That guy was 20 points behind Casey. That guy beat Casey in the Gubernatorial primary in 2002. That guy was Ed Rendell. My point here is, it’s been done before. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that on average, a laptop uses half as much energy as a desk top computer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2209, September 27th, 2012

17th District Candidate Matt Cartwright. 


The Matt Cartwright for Congress campaign is hosting its first annual Fall Festival this weekend at Nay Aug Park in Scranton. The event will take place on Saturday, September 29th from 1 – 3.30 PM. The family friendly event will feature live entertainment from the Jeanne Zano Band, a BBQ dinner featuring whole roast pork, as well as a moon bounce and pumpkin decoration for children. A suggested donation of $20 will be accepted in advance or at the door. Those looking to purchase tickets in advance can do so at , or by calling 570.371.3870. All proceeds will benefit Matt’s bid to become the 17th district’s next Congressman. 


Today, Phil Scollo's campaign manager released a memo complete with comparative polling data and other developing information regarding the current state of the race for Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District. The entire memo can be viewed here: Businessman Phil Scollo said, "Nobody expected that we would out-raise the incumbent last quarter among individuals and think folks will be even more surprised to see how much momentum we have built on the ground. I am just thrilled with the support we are receiving all over the district. Republicans, Democrats and Independents everywhere are fed up with politicians who refuse to answers questions, who hide behind staff and who don't stand up for honest hard-working families who are simply trying to make ends meet. "I'll fight for families. I'll fight to save Medicare - not vote to essentially end it twice as the incumbent has and I will always fight to protect jobs in our region and keep Social Security as the cornerstone of dignified retirement for our workers. Those are things the people of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania can count on and I am proud to be gaining ground in this race everyday and proud to be asking for their support." The Italian American Democratic Leadership Council (IADLC), the voice of Italian Americans in the Democratic Party, endorses Phil Scollo for Congress in Pennsylvania. Phil is a second generation Italian American. All four of his grandparents immigrated from Sicily at the turn of the 20th century, coming through Ellis Island. His paternal grandparents Giovanni and Gracia came from Taormina. His maternal grandparents, Fillippo and Angelina Sfraga lived in Marsala and Trapani, respectively. Giovanni fought with the United States Army in World War I and Fillippo was an artisan cabinet maker. Angelina became a charter member of the International Lady Garment Workers Union. Phil's mother, a homemaker, and father, a New York City Firefighter, raised Phil in New York City. Phil was the first in his family to attend college and paid for his education by working at the Macy’s loading dock in New York City. He graduated from St. John’s University and then entered the insurance industry where he worked his way up to a management role. In 1998, Phil moved his family to Pennsylvania and bases his business out of Milford. As a husband, father, and small business owner Phil understands the challenges many families are facing and will fight to protect jobs, Medicare, and Social Security. “We are happy to support yet another Italian American for Congress and hope that with this endorsement, Italian Americans in Pennsylvania will throw their support behind Phil Scollo,” said Bob Blancato, Chairman of the IADLC. Phil Scollo is challenging Congressman Tom Marino, who was elected in the 2010 Republican wave. Scollo’s campaign claims that Marino has not represented his constituents well; he voted for a $606 billion defense bill that would eviscerate funding for the Tobyhanna Army Depot - the largest employer not only in his district but in all of Northeast Pennsylvania, which has lead to hundreds of layoffs. Phil is a small business owner and advocate for jobs in his community. Visit to learn more about Phil’s background and commitment to Pennsylvania. For almost twenty years, the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council has been the national voice of Italian Americans in the Democratic Party -- the national political action committee supporting candidates for Congress and major statewide offices, reaching out to Italian American voters for their presidential candidates, and promoting the appointment of Italian Americans at the national level. To learn more about the IADLC visit 
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. Hisbusiness, 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.
22nd District State Senator John Blake. 


Senator John Blake is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, October 10, I will host local government officials and transportation leaders from across the region for a transportation forum at Genetti’s Manor in Dickson City. Pennsylvania has nearly 8,500 miles of roads in poor condition; we have the 4th oldest bridge inventory in the nation; and, of our 25,000 bridges, over 5,000 are structurally deficient. In Lackawanna County alone, nearly 100 of our 480 bridges have structural problems; six have been forced to close; and 28 others have posted weight restrictions. The numbers are even worse for Luzerne and Monroe Counties with a combined 231 structurally deficient bridges. Transportation infrastructure, particularly here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is need of an upgrade and we need to be mindful of how all modes of transportation – rail freight, airports and public mass transit – contribute to the economic vitality of our region. This forum will present a great opportunity to discuss the transportation needs of NEPA with local and regional stakeholders regarding the future of transportation infrastructure and services in our region. The Honorable Barry Schoch, P.E., Secretary of the PA Department of Transportation is scheduled to serve as the keynote speaker for this event.

Singer Andy Williams. 


Singer Andy Williams died yesterday at the age of 84. Williams went home to his house in Branson a few weeks ago to die from bladder cancer. If you a around in the mid 60s, one Christmas gift you always got was the Andy Williams sweater. You know the kind, a cardigan that the singer wore during his Christmas specials. His show was a must see every week but oh those Christmas specials. Coupled with Perry Como’s, if you didn’t have the Christmas spirit after watching them, well then you were just plain heartless. Mrs. LuLac and I saw Williams at the Kirby when he brought one of his Christmas specials to town. Like so many stars., Williams was discovered by Steve Allen landing a spot as a regular on Tonight Starring Steve Allen in 1954,[7] he was signed to a recording contract with Cadence Records, a small label in New York run by conductor Archie Bleyer. His third single, "Canadian Sunset" reached No. 7 in the Top Ten in August 1956, and was soon followed by his only Billboard No. 1 hit, in February 1957, "Butterfly" – a cover of a Charlie Gracie record on which Williams imitated Elvis Presley's style of singing. More hits followed, including "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" (U.S. #11), "Are You Sincere" (U.S. #3 in February 1958), "The Village of St. Bernadette" (U.S. #7 in December 1959), "Lonely Street" (U.S. #5 in September 1959), and "I Like Your Kind Of Love" with Peggy Powers (U.S. #8 in May 1957) before Williams moved to Columbia Records in 1961, having moved from New York to Los Angeles and gaining another hit with "Can't Get Used to Losing You" (U.S. #2). In terms of chart popularity, the Cadence era was Williams' peak although songs he introduced on Columbia became much bigger standards. Two top-ten hits from the Cadence era, "Butterfly" and "I Like Your Kind of Love", were apparently believed not to suit Williams' later style; they were not included on a Columbia reissue of his Cadence greatest hits of/from the 1960s Williams was a political activist supporting the campaigns of the late Robert Kennedy and George McGovern. It was Williams who sang “Ave Maria” at the assassinated Senator’s funeral in 1968. Williams is one of a passing parade of great solo singers that have left a legacy of great entertainment and great music. 




ECTV Live hosts Tom Munley and David DeCosmo will begin their Fall season with a program that combines a bit of Halloween fun with area history! Their guest for the week of October 1st will be Julie Esty who will highlight plans for the annual Dunmore Cemetery Tour! The event, which is offered Free of charge to the public, will be held on October 7th and again on the 14th this year. ECTV Live is a Public Affairs presentation of Electric City Television and can be seen each day at Noon and Midnight with additional showings at 6PM on selected days. It is telecast on Comcast Ch 19. The Public Access Station is also producing a new edition of "People, Places, and Things" which will feature an exhibit of photographs about the September, 2011 flood and recovery efforts in the days immediately following the incident taken by photographer/artist Jamis Smith in West Pittston. The program is currently being edited and will be scheduled in the near future. Electric City Television's schedule is available by searching ectvschedule on the web. 


Tune in this week when Shadoe Steele hists “Saturday Night Live” at the Oldies. The show starts at 7pm and goes on until midnight with ABC News on the top of the hour. This week’s guest, the Glass Prism. 


This Week on Sunday Magazine An encore of Brian Hughes interview with local anti bullying activist Monica Thomas about teen bullying, cyber bullies and bullycide, with updates about 4 teens who committed suicide in Luzerne County in the past week. Brian speaks with Mark Schwartz from the Life Foundation about the lack of life insurance coverage many Americans have. And Brian speaks with Dr. Maury Markman from the cancer Treatment Centers of America about the latest trends in cancer treatment. 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.

Our "1967" logo. 


An X-15 research aircraft with test pilot William J. Knight establishes an unofficial world fixed-wing speed record of Mach 6.7....Omar Ali Saifuddin III of Brunei abdicates in favour of his son, His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah………in Pennsylvania the Heinz Company continues its contributions to the redevelopment of downtown Pittsburgh. The money pumped in from the Heinz Family business, Pittsburgh’s biggest employer at the time turns the gray city into a more viable destination and American city……in Luzerne County, households are flooded with soft drink plastic bottle caps courtesy of the Republican party. Caps that are put on large soda bottles boost the fortunes of William Goss for Treasuer, Andrew Antolik for Clerk of Courts, George Gwilliam for Recorder of Deeds, and Joseph Mock for Sheriff. Out of all those candidates, only Mock won for Sheriff…….and 45 years ago this week the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was the Rascals “How Can I Be Sure?”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2208, September 26th, 2012

Our “Write On Wednesday” logo. 



My brother in law is one of the biggest Dallas Cowboy fans in this area. He is very unhappy with the replacement referees in the NFL. He is even more outraged than I am from Monday night’s Seahawks/Packers game. A man of few words, here’s his take on what is happening. 
It's brief but provocative on today's Write On Wednesday. 
In all my years watching Pro Football I have NEVER seen a series of BAD, MISSED and WRONG CALLS in one game as was visible in last night’s game. The Owners and the League make so much money they can at least improve the contracts of the refs. 
My brother in law Owen is a big football fan who speaks the truth on this issue.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2207, September 25th, 2012

The headline from the Citizen's Voice newspaper. 


Today is the 30th anniversary of the George Banks rampage in the Wyoming Valley. If Agnes with its destruction of 1972 nearly broke our collective hearts, the actions of George Banks in 1982 exposed our collective soul to the modern world of madness and crime. Prior to the Banks massacre, we were a community that believed nothing horrific would happen in our little backyard. When there was a criminal action, like a crime of passion or random murder, my late mother in law was fond of saying “They’re not our people, they would never do anything like that”. And in a way, she was correct. There were crimes of passion and thuggery but nothing as wide scale as what happened with George Banks. He was one of us. He lived in the city. He had relationships and children with the daughters of people who lived here. Then he killed them. This act showed clearly that the madness finally came to the Valley With the Heart. We were exposed to the vagaries of the Mental Health system. How could they miss a guy like this? How could a guy like this get hired by the state of Pennsylvania twice? How could a man kill his own children and the women who bore them? Easy. His tee shirt said it, “Kill ‘em and let God sort them out”. Innocent bystanders died. 
As much as I hate to admit, George Banks changed this area’s soul. When all this happened, I worked for United Way. A guy that was one of the UW volunteers at the time was the late Ray McGarry. McGarry worked for Bell Telephone but also was a police official in Jenkins Township. He was about 6’5 and 320. This huge man was reduced to a mass of tears when he saw the bodies of those little children shot to death. Big men like Ray McGarry would never forget that scene. The anger in the Valley was evident. The social and religious leaders tried to justify it but many weren’t buying. People who were at once tolerant became less so. The Valley with the Heart became the land of reality and skeptical. Skeptical of anyone different coming to their neighborhoods. Then there was Banks himself. Going through the trial stoic and uncooperative. The Judge, Patrick Toole Senior did his best to get through the trial without incident. But publicly appointed defense attorneys have strung this out for three decades. Every legal battle became a reminder of George Banks and his madness. Even his deterioration and imprisonment hasn’t made him a sympathetic figure. He is still the champ when it comes to the death toll of innocent victims. Maybe that’s what he was aiming for. 
We are all changed because of this day thirty years ago. As we live our lives, the tragedy of it recedes. But on the days when Banks is in court and we are reminded that he is still nipping at our souls, the band aid on the wound opens up. There are many people commemorating the day. The newspapers ran special editions. People in the media talked about it. Some old enough to be around talked about it. The more righteous of us went to church to say a prayer for the dead. 
Those dead by the way all would be in their mid thirties or early forties. How many of those slaughtered might have contributed something meaningful to this area had they lived?It is for that reason that I’m still for the death penalty. I’m asked how can a liberal left winger socialist like me be for the death penalty? The answer is obvious. Those women (whatever your opinion of their moral choice) and innocent children are in cold dark graves. Dead. By the madness and hand of Mr. Tough Guy George Banks who the last thirty years has become as weak as a kitten. But George Banks still lives, sucking the life out of the Wyoming Valley’s soul. Just as he did three decades ago today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2206, September 24th, 2012

Civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo, the Detroit housewife who just happened to be a heterosexual married white woman who gave her life in the Civil Right struggles of the 60s. Ask her family if this was just about black people.


I missed This Week” yesterday on TV but caught it on the car radio when Mrs. LuLac had a craving for Pumpkin Nut pancakes and dragged me out of the house forsaking the NFL, and of course CSPAN. As we were traveling, I found the “This Week” show just in time to hear this crazy statement by Ann Coulter. It was regarding Civil Rights. This is what she said, Coulter said that she thought that "civil rights are for blacks" because the U.S. has a "legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws." She added, "We don't owe the homeless. We don't owe feminists. We don't owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another." She said that "much of the left...dropped the blacks after five minutes" to argue for "civil rights" for other groups of people. Stephanopoulos interrupted Coulter asking, "Immigrant rights are not civil rights?" Coulter confirmed that she only thinks "civil rights are for blacks." 
Obviously she has no clue about what her sacred Constitution says about equality. Plus she hasn’t remembered the whites who helped the blacks attain equality. People marched and people died. To those “whites” who might have been homeless, might have been gay, might have been women, “civil rights” was not about black people but equality. As Forrest Gump is fond of saying, “Stupid is as stupid does”. Or as a friend of mine says, “You can’t fix stupid”.
Former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and "Game Change" actress Julianne Moore. 


The great HBO movie “Game Change” won a few Emmy’s last night. Emmy voters elected to heap praise on “Game Change” in the form of four Emmys winning the Outstanding Mini-series or Movie award. Director Jay Roach and writer for Danny Strong also took home statuettes. Based on the book of the same name by Mark Halperin, the movie purports to give an inside look at the decision within the McCain campaign in 2008 to bring aboard the former Alaska governor. Actress Julianna Moore won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Sarah Palin. She really annoyed conservatives when she said, “Wow, I feel so vindicated, because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down!” The Conservatives predictably were outraged but were okay when Rush Limbaugh called a woman involved in Democratic politics, Sandra Fluke, a slut. But hey, he was only being funny, right? Let’s see, “thumbs down” vs. calling a woman “a slut”. As Richard Dawson used to say, “Survey says………………..” 


Never met the man but I was very sad when I heard Sam Agolino, former Wyoming Area School board member lost his battle with cancer. My friend and fellow blogger Joe Valenti doesn’t pick just any old person to be a good friend. We are sorry for Joe’s loss as well as those in political circles who called Sammy their friend.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2205, September 23rd, 2012

Our "In Focus" logo. Today we feature photos from Blogfest Fall 2012, the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and the Rendell book signing. Most Blogfest photos came from Gort 42 and Joe Valenti. Democratic Convention photos were contributed and the Rendell photo came from one of our 2011 "Women We Love" honorees, Kristen Mullen.(Captions are above the photos.)


Blogfest Fall 2012 is in the books and it was quite an event. As usual Rooney's was packed, the political talk was abundant with great congeniality and animation. It was the place to be for apparently everyone but incumbent Congressmen Lou Barletta and Tom Marino. But I'm sure we'll catch them again at some point. Once more thanks to Joe and Ben as well as Harold Jenkins and Michelle Hryvnak Davies for all of the pre planning, social networking and logistics. And thanks to those who attended like our readers, posters andd especially those candidates who put themselves out there every day to make the world a more interesting  place.

Here I am with Joe Valenti of and Gort 42. These two guys are the main cogs in Blogfest. I arrived late because of my WYLN commitments but they had the crowd stoked and ready for great conversation.
Gort 42 shown talks things over with 17th District candidate Laureen Cummings.
Dr. Dave Madera who hosts morning drive on The Talker 94.3FM is show here with Luzerne County Republican Committee stalwart Alex Milanes.
17th Congressional candidate Matt Cartwright chats with the 11th Congressional Democratic candidate Gene Stilp.
Former rivals Gene Stilp and Bill Vinsko were involved in a few discussions Friday night.
So I'm walking into Blogfest Friday night. I encounter these two women in front who ask me if the event was closed to the public. I respond that the bar is just the place where we are having the event. The one woman says "So there's not all politicians in there?" and I respond no. Just then Gene Stilp asks the woman who just asked me the question whether she knows how to operate a camera. She says yes. And the next thing I know this young lady is perched on the pink wheelchair while the woman who didn't want to have anything to do with politicians s taking the photo. That's the difference between bloggers and politicians, we inform (or try to) they just go all out and persuade.
Rick Arnold candidate for State Representative in the 119th chats with Wilkes Barre Attorney Bill Vinsko.
Here I am with Justin Vacula shortly before we begin to discuss the Abortion issue.
Democrat Bob Morgan who faced off against Walter Griffith and Wil Toole in the 2009 Controller's race for Luzerne County share a word.
Hughestown Attorney Mark Singer chats with Pittston's Danny Argo.In my conversations with Attorney Singer, it turns out that his brother Frank and I were coworkers at the old Detato's Market in Pittston in the early 70s.
Jim Zarra, Joe Valenti and Representative Mike Carroll are pictured here.Valenti gets a rare break from his shutterbug duties for the evening.
The two candidates for State Representative in the 120th District. Republican Aaron Kaufer and Phyllis Mundy.
Ransom Young and his wife made the scene at the Blogfest. Young is running a very competitive campaign against 116th District Freshmen representative Tarah Toohill.
Attorney Gerald Mecadon with Jim Zarra.
10th Congressional Democratic Congressional candidate Phil Scollo with Gort 42. Gort was the guy who put Scollo on the map for all of us earlier in the year.
Big Dan extends a hand to 11th Congressional candidate Gene Stilp.
Obviously something or someone got my attention as well as WARM/MAGIC 93's Brian Hughes. Hughes was toting a book about blogging as well as wearing his John Riggins Redskins jersey. Oh if only Sandra Day O'Connor could see us! 

The annual Tom Chipelewski/Dave Yonki blog photo. We're going for 52 so Topps can produce a set.
Two guys who could talk a blue streak about everything from politics to the weather, Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith and Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatchko.


Here are a few photos we received after the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. 

Former co star of "The Gilmore Girls" Alexis Bledel makes an appearance at "The Creative Coalition", a non partisan group that advocates for the Arts. The group had a strong presence at the convention in Charlotte.
Two scrappy kids from Scranton at the Democratic Convention. Former Scranton Mayor Jim McNulty pictured with Vice President Joe Biden.
"Madmen" star Jon Hamm and wife Jennifer Westfield checking into the Westin in Charlotte. Hamm was an unexpected guest of the Democratic National Committee.


This photo was taken by the Citizen's Voice photographer Kristen Mullen during the Governor's June 15th signing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2204, September 22nd, 2012

Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith. (Citizen's Voice Photo).


The Times Leader reports that Controller Walter Griffith wants to use his powers as Controller to take a look at the Mohegan Sun Arena Authority. What prompted the look see was the announcement recently that the Arena was going to add an in house restaurant. Competing businesses in and around the facility have already expressed displeasure. My take on it is this, in house facility restaurants have not proven to be huge moneymakers in this area. Just look to the Lackawanna County Stadium/PNC Field for proof. Many restaurants like this are overpriced, have “b” quality food and don’t do well on “non event” days. On the day of the event, sure there will be an influx of people using it. But in this area, it better be relatively inexpensive, the food better be good and plentiful and the service better be impeccable. Like any new bar that opens up in LuLac land, for a few weeks everyone goes there. But as time goes on, business will dwindle. First time eatery goers inside of the Arena will always be there but again, as time goes on, people will gravitate back to their favorites. This area is littered with “can’t miss” restaurants. Getting back to Griffith and his look at Authorities, it should be noted that in the past some major financial abuses have come from Authorities set up. A perfect example is the Scranton Parking Authority that is deeply in the hole. Yet that didn’t stop the Authority from paying huge salaries to people who evidently have not produced. The one thing to remember about the Arena Authority board is that most of its money comes from the Hotel Room Tax. For years the hotels around here fought tooth and nail against a room tax making outrageous claims that visitors would balk at paying a tax and that they’d all go under. Well, despite their negativity, people don’t really care that they might spend more money for a tax because even the most unsophisticated traveler understands that. With the room tax money came a huge influx of money. 22 million dollars worth. It is only right that people know where it went and where it is going. Griffith’s promise to loom into the operations was greeted with a response of mixed cooperation. Griffith’s actions are a notice to this authority and others in Luzerne County that the days of doing what you please are in the rear view mirror.
11th Congressional candidate Gene Stilp with his Giant Medicare Wheelchair . It is pink of course. 


Gene Stilp Reaffirms Commitments To Medicare And Social Security Stilp Receives Endorsement Of Pennsylvania AFSCME 
11thCongressional District Democratic Nominee Gene Stilp received the endorsement of Pennsylvania AFSCME  and re-affirmed his commitment to preserving Medicare and Social Security. Speaking before a large group of AFSCME retirees, Mr. Stilp stated that he does not support any system of vouchers or anything that will weaken Medicare. Likewise, he affirmed that he does not support any program to privitize Social Security. Mr. Stilp said, “It is vital that Medicare and Social Security, the systems that provide a safety net for our seniors be preserved and strengthened. I am against any plan, such as the Ryan Budget, that would slash both programs. My opponent, Lou Barletta voted for the Ryan Budget and has failed to protect our Seniors.” Mr. Stilp made his statements in front of a 15 foot wheelchair to illustrate what the Ryan Budget and the Republican Congress would do to these programs. “Mr. Barletta and the Republican Congress would make Medicare and Social Security as easy to negotiate for seniors as getting into this wheelchair.” 
Stilp press release. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2203, September 21st, 2012

Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo. 


MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that the GOP Senate, weeks before an election decides to block jobs for returning war veterans. It was an employment program for returning vets. I guess it’s okay to send these warriors off to two undeclared conflicts to get their arms and legs shot off. (Remember in 2004 and 2005 when veteran’s families had to pay for the soldiers own body armor?) But to actually start a government program to get them work stateside, they say “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh no!” 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………….that even though the Senate race in Pennsylvania seems to be heating up, it still looks like a low key affair. Incumbent Bob Casey seems to have the edge but he is being characteristically quiet as he methodically moves through the state His opponent Tom Smith is trying to make inroads but this state likes it’s bipartisan make up of one Republican and one Democrat. And Casey hasn’t rocked the boat yet. Notice he hasn’t invited his former “Glider Diner” buddy to stump for him in the state. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………….that the humble chicken is the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………..that there hasn’t been a revolt by the NFL players and coaches over the replacement referees in the 2012 season of professional football. The games are longer and these guys have more meetings than I did when I was a sales representative at Rock 107 and WARM Radio combined!!! I’m just waiting for someone from the U.N to start passing out headsets and chairs to them. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………….that 40 years after he had a number one hit, the song I danced to in high school, the Reverend Al Green has won new fans after President Obama sang the song “Let’s Stay Together”. Saw Al Green in concert at the Kirby a few years ago and he was fabulous.
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……….that people in our state are finally realizing this Presidential race is going to be closer than people think. Ed Rendell has been saying this for months. Romney has a message that despite his campaign organization’s flaws can connect with those people who voted for Obama and are disappointed and didn’t vote for him the first time and certainly won’t this time. This is not going to be the runaway people thought. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………..that the death of NFL Films principle Steve Sabol has touched so many of my generation. Like many, I grew up on NFL Films. There was no cable, no satellite dishes. Not even game highlights until Monday Night Football in 1970. NFL Films gave you a look at the entire league and introduced football fans to the gladiators of American football. It is ironic that Sabol’s father who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton survived his son. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that when local TV reporters need to interview political “experts”, they go for the guys with the sheepskin. You either see Dr. Tom Baldino or Dr. David Sosar. And they are both good. But I wish one enterprising TV reporter would contact guys like Ed Mitchell )(a strategist and candidate) Joe Peters (a government official and candidate) or Jim McNulty (a former Mayor, TV show host and campaign manager) to get their perspective. These guys are great resources to be mined and know how to give a twenty second sound bite. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………….that with the alleged arsenic in rice, complains of sodium in food, genetically modified ingredients and a war on high fructose corn syrup, well with all of this going on, many people are afraid to eat anything. My grandfather lived to his early 90s by drinking Kaiser Beer and Canadian Club. Plus a diet of what everyone ate in the 40s, 50s and 60s. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that Geisinger Health Systems made 2.9 billion, I said 2.9 BILLION DOLLARS last year. Yeah Obama Care is going to bankrupt all those hospitals and health systems isn’t it? Geisinger also added 3,123 new employees (I of course wasn’t one of them!) and looks to keep on growing. So the reports of health care facilities being hurt by the Affordable Health Care Act are wildly exaggerated. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that the Romney campaign managers got bonuses from the campaign. For what? For dreaming up the Clint Eastwood empty chair stunt? For switching Romney’s speech three times and then when they had a guy to finally write not give him access? For recklessly making a statement about the Libyan Ambassador situation before he had the facts? For having the speakers at the GOP convention talk about themselves and then blithely mention Romney’s name? Romney, by paying these bonuses is showing how he will govern. He is rewarding incompetent behavior. Poor work product. Do you remember the last set of people who almost ruined the economy and got bonuses? Wall Street employees. This is a prime example of rewarding people “you’re comfortable with” instead of those who do the job. Take note.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2202, September 20th, 2012


Fall 2012 Blogfest logo.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. 


While Mitt Romney seems to be on the ropes this week (he had a stunning week that is something I have never seen since following politics) don’t count him out yet. The political pundits are all saying it will now be up to the debates to even give him a glimmer of a chance, but that might not be the case. When Presidential polls are taken, there are two models used, “Likely voters” and “Registered Voters”. The difference between the two is huge. A likely voter is someone who is leaning toward a candidate, meaning that they are inclined to support a candidate. A registered voter is someone on the rolls who may or may not vote. (A perfect example is a friend of mine that I worked with a few years back. She opined that she only votes in Presidential elections because they are the most important. She sits out all the rest even when the argument can be made that local contests are more important to her well being). Polls taken among registered voters have President Obama winning by more than 6 points in crucial swing states. But when likely voters are polled, Mutt Romney tends to get closer. The GOP might have a built in advantage in the likely voter category because their base is older and more inclined to vote. The Obama campaign registered many new voters in 2008. But will they stay registered or can they be turned into likely voters again in 2012? Because of this difference, the race is going to be closer than you might imagine. I’m shocked that Pennsylvania is not a swing state and that people actually believe the President is in double digits. That balloon is going to burst. When it comes down to it, despite Romney’s gaffes and even with the President’s personal popularity, you are going to see a tight race for President. It may not unreasonable to expect that Mitt money may very well win the popular vote but lose in The Electoral College. And when the story of the 2012 race is written, it may come down to the “registered” voter vs the “likely” voter. 


The Times Leader reports that Former Luzerne County judge Michael Conahan has filed court papers that seek to vacate his sentence should a federal appellate court reviewing his co-defendant’s case determine Judge Edwin Kosik should have recuse himself. In a six-page motion, Conahan, acting as his own attorney, said he believes he’s entitled to a new sentencing hearing before a new judge should the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agree with former judge Mark Ciavarella that Kosik should not have presided over the case I will be shocked if this goes anywhere. The Judicial scandals are receding into history and a ruling in both Judge’s favor would just bring it all up again. And trust me, appal or no appeal, no one wants that.
Democratic Congressional candidate in the 10th Phil Scoolo. 


The Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) has endorsed businessman Phil Scollo in his campaign for U.S. Congress against U.S. Rep. Tom Marino. "The Alliance of Retired Americans fights for people and families who have worked hard all their lives and earned a dignified retirement - they fight to protect Social Security and Medicare. That is just what we are fighting for in our grassroots campaign and it is exactly what we will fight for in Congress," said Phil Scollo. "I'm proud to have their support and will do everything I can to save Medicare from those who would end it. Turning Medicare into a voucher system, as Tom Marino voted twice to do, is plain wrong." Barbara Easterling, President of the ARA, said regarding Phil Scollo's endorsement,"Your positions demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans. Your leadership on issues such as preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization and benefit cuts exhibits that commitment. In addition, our members can support your candidacy because of your belief in the need to provide more affordable health care for older Americans, as well as the need for stronger retirement and pension security, and quality long term care. The Alliance for Retired Americans believes that your election to the House of Representatives will enhance the quality of life for older Americans." The Alliance of Retired Americans is a national organization with over 4 million members and has given U.S. Rep. Tom Marino a lifetime rating of zero for his voting record in Congress. Two key reasons for his low score are his repeated votes to end Medicare as we know it and support for ending the Social Security guarantee. 
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.


Art Garfunkel kicks off a great season for Music In Hazleton. Garfunkel visits on Saturday night October 6th at 8pm. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the Castle Club, visit their website or call toll-free 1-855-WILTSIE (1-855-945-8743). Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster retail outlets at Boscov's and Walmart. 





This week Shadoe Steele presents as usual “Saturday Night Live At the Oldies. The show airs from 7pm to midnight on WILK AM and FM with ABC News on the top of the hour. This week Shadoe will be live from The Bloomsburg Fair.


The Steamtown National Historical Site welcomes visitors from around the world each year with it's exhibits of Railroad History. Bill Nalevanko of Steamtown's Visitor Services Department will join ECTV Live hosts Tom Munlay and David DeCosmo during the week on September 24th to promote Free Fee Day at the site on Saturday, September 29th. Nalevanko will discuss the history of Steamtown and highlight some of the many exhibits on display there. ECTV Live can be viewed on Comcast Ch19 in the Greater Scranton,/Pittston area each day at Noon and Midnight with selected re-broadcasts at 6pm several days each week. 


This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with local anti bullying activist Monica Thomas, who updates us on the latest news regarding school and cyber bullying. Brian speaks with Kara, Jeannie and Karen about “Visions, Verses and Voices”, an event sponsored by the Auxiliary of Geisinger Community Medical Center on Sunday, September 30th at Fiorelli’s in Peckville. And an encore of Brian’s interview with State Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County about Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law, and some new developments regarding its enforcement. 
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.


This week WYLN TV Storm Politics gets patriotic! Tiffany Cloud will discuss one of my new fave political books: We Still Hold These Truths, in honor of the 225th anniversary of The U.S. Constitution and then Amy Crego from The Rolling Angels for Armed Forces, who wrote the foreword to Tiffany’s book, will discuss military families. Storm Politics airs: Th 930p, Sat 5p, Sun 11a, Mon 830p, Tues 930p only on WYLN TV!
Our 1967 logo. 


Future Presidential hopeful US Navy pilot John McCain is shot down in his A-4 over North Vietnam and spent 5 1/2 years in prison…………….. The RMS Queen Mary arrives in Southampton, at the end of her last transatlantic voyage.  BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 are all launched. in the world of TV more people are still talking about the series finale of “The Fugitive” starring David Jansen. The show ended in late August with a 2 part episode that was the highest rated TV event of the year and overshadowed the new fall programming. An NBC Executive was quoted as saying “Accidental Family" is not the series ending of “The Fugitive”……………….in Pennsylvania, the newly revamped State Park program yields more than ½ million new visitors to the facilities….in Luzerne County District Attorney Tom Mack uses an old fashioned radio car with a large sound speaker to tour neighborhoods in the West Side kicking off his campaign for one of the two seats on the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County and 45 years ago this week the number one song in America and LuLac land was another hit by that West Coast group, The Association with "Never My Love".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2201, September 19th, 2012

Our "Write On Wednesday" logo.  



Today's "Write On Wednesday" is not a written piece, but rather a spoken piece from Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. These remarks came from a wide ranging discussion with supporters at a fundraiser. Most of the comments were boilerplate discussions on issues until he came to this commentary:  
Well, there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47% who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that-- that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. But that's-- it's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And-- and-- I mean the president starts off with 48%, 49%, 40-- or he-- he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every-- every four years. And-- and so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5% to 10% in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion. Whether they like the guy or not. What they-- what it looks like. I mean the-- it's the-- the-- when you ask those people-- we do all these polls. I find it amazing. We poll all these people, see where you stand in the polls. About 45% of the people will vote for the Republican and 48% or 49%.
If you listen to the tape, the amazing thing is Romney did not stumble. He had more articulation and cadence when he was addressing this issue than a Back Mountain Library auctioneer

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2200, September 18th, 2012

The Luzerne County Courthouse 


We’ve written here many times about the Luzerne County worker. There is no doubt some have sweet jobs with big salaries they usually don’t earn. But for the most part, most of the Luzerne County employees earn their money and do their job. But because of the mess this County is in financially there will be job cuts. Because the workers are County employees, even the smallest incident will usually lead to a bad perception. Those small perceptions become reality. For example if an office is not staffed intelligently or closes during lunch time, that’s a pretty bad indictment on all workers. Personally, I think the county rank and file workers have the intelligence and common sense to police themselves and make sure they are not lumped into the bad apples. But my sources are telling me that the Union Leadership is not serving any of the County workers well. As an example, County unions were contacted and asked for input. The Court professional union has agreed in principal to some give backs. Example, no pay raise for next year, give up one paid holiday, clothing allowance and no sell back of unused vacation .....a use it or lose it type situation. But, AFSCME’s Union Representative is more concerned about getting on TV instead of taking care of her membership. Other than that, according to people I’ve spoken to, she has done nothing to speak of. AFSCME members in the various departments have not had real meetings to discuss compromises and members are upset that union leadership is not taking the opportunity to work with management in an effort to save jobs. There is a rumor of de-certification because the union leadership does not seem to care, especially since union officers have super seniority and will be the lasts ones to go. That presents a problem within the court system because there is no such thing as seniority and the State Supreme Court has set it to writing that although Commissioners have the right to negotiate salary and benefits, they have no authority to take the operational authority away from the courts. All court employees are "at will" employees. They work according to the needs of the court. The state constitution is clear that the Courts run the Courts period. This will prove interesting as the AFSCME leadership continues down the road of "who cares". Clearly county workers are concerned. IT would be ironic that the people who are put in leadership roles to protect the rank and file are lighting a flame under certain individuals in the county who would only be too happy to start a move to decertify the union. Bob Lawton is the guy that can do this. He can get allies because I sense his patience is being tested by what he sees in County offices. It is no accident that Carolee Medico Olenginski was fired. Lawton gave her a warning. And now she’s gone. Plus he knew there had to be a lawsuit coming because Carolee is nothing if not litigious. I’m not saying Lawton or any Council member is going to go the “decertify” route, but the Union heads aren’t giving him any reason to believe that they are on the side of the County, or even their own workers who want input. Lawton is a dangerous man to play with. By the time his tenure here is over, he might have gained the nickname “One and done”. (One warning and then you get Caroleed). And the people who will pay will be the County Rank and File making under 30 grand while the head honchos will stay.

County Council member Rick Morelli.


County Council member Rick Morelli recently sent an e mail regarding the Tax Collector issue. Here it is: 
Dear Luzerne County Tax Collector, As you maybe aware, the issue of whether to continue to use the Luzerne County Tax Collectors in the future to collect the county taxes has come up for debate. Certain members of Luzerne County Council have recently brought forth this issue as to whether to keep the Luzerne County Tax Collectors collecting the county taxes or to obtain an outside firm to collect the county taxes. On August 28th we on Luzerne County Council were given a brief overview by Jackson Twp Tax Collector Jackie Latosick and her husband. It was agreed upon at that meeting that both county council and the tax collectors need to have a separate meeting to discuss the issue in more length. At our council meeting on September 11th in Hazleton, Pa. I publicly asked when this meeting with the tax collectors would take place. It was stated by some council members that no meeting was now necessary and that the county should proceed with putting out RFP's in order to find a firm to collect the taxes. I publicly made a motion to set a meeting up with you the tax collectors so that you could have a voice on this matter along with working with us on council to help find ways to save the taxpayers money. The motion I made died with NO other council member even seconding it for a vote. I feel that this issue is a very important issue and the only way for us on council to come up with a right decision is to make sure that we have all the facts. I do believe that we need to hear your side of the story and find out more from you as to what we can do to save county tax dollars. I am open to all options at this point and have not made any decisions regarding this matter. I am however very much in favor of having you the tax collectors come before council at a special meeting to discuss your role and how we together can find ways to save more money along with collecting more taxes. If you agree that your voices need to be heard on this matter then I urge you to contact the other members of council and demand a public special meeting with us to discuss this matter in more detail. I appreciate your time and hope that we can work together in finding ways to help save the county tax dollars. 
Rick Morelli 
Luzerne County Council Member

Monday, September 17, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2199, September 17th, 2012

Tiffany Cloud with her book Sleeping with Dog Tags, A Book About The Military Family Experience During War. Tiffany even got the front page of the Times Leader today!!! Tarone and I are eating our hearts out!!!! But no one deserved it more than "Tiff".


It was the summer of 2011 and I was having my first ever meeting with Tiffany Cloud. She had just taken over the Sales Manager duties at WYLN TV 35 and we were going to meet to talk about the station. I had only set aside an hour because I figured what could two strangers talk about in more time than that. Well, three hours after we sat down, we were still going strong. The people at the Roadhouse eatery in Drums had changed shifts and thank heavens didn’t throw us out. After that meeting we became sales colleagues and friends on the Facebook machine. We also became co panelists on WYLN TV’s 3 hour Election Night coverage. Despite our political differences, Tiffany seemed to take to my Attila the Hun perspective on capital punishment and illegitimate births saying “You are not as liberal as you think you are”. Needless to say I was extremely excited when I heard that Tiffany had joined the stable of WYLN authors and wrote a book. (L.A. Tarone wrote a book a few years ago entitled “We Were Here Once”). I actually met her subject matter a few times at the TV station, her husband, Staff Sergeant Erik Olson. Her book is a story of the people who fight our wars and those they leave behind. It should be noted that only 1% of American families are involved in the war effort. I don’t know whether it is the proliferation of our “American Idol” culture or just the fact that people don’t realize it, but the burden of these modern day wars are not shared by the majority of U.S. citizens. And that fact makes the book that much more important to read. Here’s some more information about it: 
In 2011 while most were going about their normal daily routine, Tiffany Cloud Olson of Conyngham, PA was thinking of her husband, SSG Erik Olson, a decorated Special Operations combat veteran serving outside the wire in eastern Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush near Pakistan. Based upon insurgent activity in the region, a high probability existed that he would be injured or worse. Olson was not naive to battle, as prior to Afghanistan, he served two year-long tours with Special Operations in Iraq where he was awarded numerous commendations, among them, three bronze stars, including the bronze star for valor. But despite being a seasoned combat veteran, the risks for him were real, and the fears for her, palpable. As self-imposed therapy, Cloud Olson began to write about her experiences as a military spouse lacking sleep, worrying daily, checking the casualty report incessantly, & coping sometimes well (often horribly) while her husband was at war. Her writing evolved into a book entitled Sleeping with Dog Tags, which releases this week and will be available in major bookstores,, and Kindle/eBooks. Sleeping with Dog Tags tracks the emotional rollercoaster of a military spouse’s year at home while her husband is deployed in Afghanistan. Central to her narrative is the conviction that while war is hell for the soldiers, it is also hell for family members manning the home front, and there are few supports for those left behind. But the story is also a love story. A story about two people meeting later in life after divorces and discovering they are soul mates—despite their very different backgrounds. And it is the wisdom garnered from a life of experiences that feeds a very poignant, yet very self-aware reflection on the challenges of dealing with the ever-present specter of death, the “my way or the highway” nature of the military, and the missteps of a strong woman treading the unchartered path of the military spouse. But, her humor and passion elevate the narrative. This is not a bitter or whiny piece of writing—angry at times, yes, sad too, and funny as well—but her objective is not to complain. Rather, she strives to offer some perspective on her experiences in the hopes that other military spouses will take some courage and confidence from the heartfelt reminiscences of a woman who got really tired of saying “good-bye.” -Word Association Publishers She does not only wish to raise awareness of the military family experience with this book, she also wishes to raise money for an organization benefiting her community. Cloud Olson intends to donate a portion of the profits from Sleeping with Dog Tags to The Rolling Angels for Armed Forces, a motorcycle group that supports local military and their families in multiple ways—soldier send offs, return home celebrations, presence at military funerals, and gifts for military children during the holidays, among the many things they do. SSG Olson returned from his Afghanistan tour earlier this year, recipient of The Purple Heart. He is currently recovering from injuries at a military base near Washington D.C. where he is in The Wounded Warrior Program. 


Sheldon Adelson, the conservative billionaire Las Vegas casino owner, has pledged to give up to $100 million -- whatever it takes -- to defeat Barack Obama. We know it's not out of love for Mitt Romney, so why part with so much money? As President Clinton reminded us last week, sometimes the answer is as simple as arithmetic. So let's do the math: According to a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Adelson could see up to $2 billion in savings under Mitt Romney's tax plan versus the President's plan. That's how much Romney's policies would favor millionaires and billionaires. If Mitt Romney wins -- $2 billion more for Adelson. If Barack Obama wins, millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. It's a highly cynical but straightforward calculation. Joe Biden was right about the Republicans on social and economic policy, “THEY ARE NOT HIDING THE BALL”. They are saying outright that the middle class will not have a place at the economic table! And Mitt Romney can’t articulate how middle class jobs will be created except for the trickle down policies that the GOP loves so much. Here's how it would work for Adelson in a Romney-Ryan administration: -- Romney would keep in place the Bush tax cuts, and cut Adelson's income taxes by an additional 20 percent. Adelson savings: $1.5 million per year on income he earns as CEO. -- Romney's plan eliminates taxes on foreign profits like the ones Adelson makes on his Asian casinos. Adelson savings: $1.2 billion. -- Romney's plan maintains the current low tax rate on dividends. Adelson savings: $120 million per year. -- Romney's plan removes the estate tax. Adelson heirs save: $8.9 billion.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2198, September 16th, 2012

Luzerne County Manager Bob Lawton, Pat Solano, and County Council member Edd Bromiski.


I received a few reports last week that County Manager Bob Lawton sat down for a lunch meeting with County Council member Edd Brominski and Pat Solano, the long time power broker of the local GOP. A few of my Democratic friends were concerned because they didn’t want the County Council getting infected with partisan party politics and having the local GOP getting a leg up. (As if that can never happen!) Here are my thoughts: 
1. It’s a free country and anyone can have lunch with anybody anywhere. But given the past sins of Luzerne County government, all sins might have been forgiven but rarely forgotten. Any thing out of the ordinary is under a microscope. 
2. Edd Brominski having lunch with Lawton is one thing but having Solano there can be interpreted a few ways. Loyal Democrats will say that Solano’s presence there might be a signal that the more things change, the more they stay the same. But Brominski has always been a renegade Democrat who has always gone his own way. I mean that’s part of the charm of Edd Brominski. Remember, Brominski ran for County Controller in the 2009 primary in a field of five including the eventual winner Walter Griffith. So it is not unusual for Brominski to get Lawton and Solano together. In watching his career for over 35 years, I have observed that Brominski never really burned any bridges behind him. Although he did leave a few smoldering but still intact. 
3. Solano was lauded in Governor Corbett’s victory speech as someone who was his key to victory. If you ask me, Solano gets too much political credit for events that were already set in motion. I was struck this summer by a few lines in the late Senator Charles Lemmond’s obituary that said Solano was a responsible party in the Senator’s first election to the Senate. Although it was a tough primary fight, was anyone really going to vote against an ex Judge with sterling credentials over a Resort operator from the Poconos? Although during the 70s he kept the Republican party alive in Luzerne County by cutting deals for jobs with the late Senators Martin L. Murray and T. Newell Wood. If not for his intercession, the GOP might have folded up. And there are those who argue that any political clout that Solano brought to the area did not benefit the regular Joes but the party soldiers and relatives who regularly kissed his ring. And make no mistake, those who didn’t paid huge political consequences. 
All that said, with Tom Corbett in power and a GOP controlled House and Senate, it might have been a smart move to introduce Lawton to a “go to” guy in the power corridors of Harrisburg. As the old line about chicken soup goes, “it couldn’t hurt”. And who knows, maybe this was a social lunch. They might have been talking about football, a going away gift for Carolee Olenginski Medico or pointing out the best fall foliage tours for Lawton to take "The Mrs." on. But it is a development worth watching especially since Council members are urged to stay out of the Manager’s way in running the county. 


2012 Blogest logo.
Two of the people who cement the entire foundation of BlogFest are Harold Jenkins and Michelle Hryvnak Davies. Harold does the set up work for the event and handles the logistical details. Michelle Hryvnak Davies is responsible for setting up the social media accounts as well as the press releases with Radio, TV and newspapers. To be truthful , Blogfest would never happen without them. If you attend Blogfest, stop and say hello to Harold and Michelle. Although don’t ask Harold where to find cheap flights (he works for the on line pagan travel company) or for Michelle Rotello or Tom Clark’s phone number (she works as an IT person at WNEP TV). Blogfest is at Rooney’s in Pittston and starts at 6PM.