Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2143, July 31st, 2012

More money out of the Wilkes Barre Area and Luzerne County taxpayer window.

SCHOOL DISTRICT WOES 

If you are paying taxes in the Wilkes Barre Area School District like we are, you got screwed again. At a recent board meeting it was reported that the District had a mistake in its reporting of students in its Average Daily membership. Because of that the state will not reimburse to the tune of $67,000. The newspapers characterized it as a glitch. The Superintendent Jeff Namey told the board that it was not the fault of the distract but rather it was a situation where the paperwork that was supposed to be submitted was under the “stewardship” of Luzerne County Children and Youth. This situation was involving children in foster care. Children and Youth, a county agency filled with county employees did not provide the forms to the district. So here we have a county agency not giving the forms to the district and school district employees filing reports without the forms. Hey, why should either entity give a rap, it’s not their money….but ours. If Children and Youth can’t get the proper forms to a district for foster care, just imagine how they screw up a real problem involving the safety of said children!!
New County Council Board Chair designate Tim McGinley.  

McGINLEY NEW COUNCIL CHAIR

Tim McGinley will be the new Council Chair of the Luzerne County Council. Supporting McGinley were Eugene Kelleher, Rick Morelli, Stephen A. Urban, Stephen J. Urban, Harry Haas and McGinley. Vice Chair Linda McClosky Houck was backed by herself, Rick Williams, Brominski, Elaine Maddon Curry, and Jim Bobeck. Bobeck had say on many occasions that Houck was a hard worker on the council. Out of all of the elected board members, McGinley’s political tentacles have the most reach. It will be interesting to see how McGinley will operate with the County Manager Bob Lawton when budget time comes and cuts will have to be made.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2142, July 30th, 2012

The Luzerne County Courthouse. 

TOUCHING A NERVE

It took six months but it appears Luzerne County manager Robert Lawton is striking some nerves. Word I got is that nervous people under the dome are spreading two rumors about the man. They are: 
1. That the County Council will soon call for a “vote of confidence” on Lawton. The rumor is that there are certain members who feel Lawton is not being as responsive to the members as he should be. That’s FALSE because while a few individuals might have a disagreement with him about one issue or another, the entire Council backed him 9-0. (I’m not counting the Urbans). A majority of Council members feel that he was put in the job to run the County. And they’re going to let him. 
2. The second rumor is a doozy. This one has Lawton going to New York state because he is already tired of the political atmosphere here in the County. That’s FALSE too because Lawton, according to the local newspapers is going to give his 6 month report. And it won’t be pretty. It’ll be tough. Any guy who is quoted in the newspaper as saying, “we’re got to play hurt” is setting the stage for a very formidable task. There are people in the Courthouse who are just throwing this out to derail Lawton’s credibility. According to my sources on the County Council, it “Ain’t happening”.
Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney.  

ROMNEY AS REAGAN??

 In the summer of 1980 Ronald Reagan was being characterized as a b movie actor that could not assume the Presidency. The conventional wisdom was that since he nearly defeated Gerald Ford for the nomination in 1976 and he did well enough in the primaries, it was “his turn”. The GOP was content to give him his try and perhaps rebuild in 1984. His gaffes during the summer included the time Reagan announced the discovery of "new evidence" disputing the Darwinian theory of evolution and supporting the fundamental biblical view of creation. When challenged, he was unable to produce this new evidence. While visiting Pittsburgh, he declared that smog had been cleared up in California and that government control of industrial air pollution had gone too far. At that very moment Reagan's hometown of Los Angeles was suffering its worst smog attack in several years. Then there was the comment about the trees. Reagan said they caused more pollution than industry and said Alaska had more oil than Saudi Arabia. He was called on all of them. Now, 32 years later, there is a GOP nominee who’s turn at bat is here. Romney has made a few noticeable gaffes such as in Iowa when he said, “"Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend." When he was talking about consumer choice in health care plans, Romney said, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." Then there was the line to Texas Governor Rick Perry when he asked Perry if he wanted to make a $10,000 wager? A $10,000 wager? Let’s not forget the NASCAR blunder where he responded to a question by a reporter saying that he did indeed like NASCAR and was friends with many of the owners. It of course continued in London this week when he said, It’s hard to know just how well [the 2012 London Olympics] will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging." Then there was the gaffe about his wife owns a few Cadillacs! This comparison is not meant to denigrate Reagan or hit Romney hard. But it is a comparison nonetheless. By election day, will they matter? Obviously in the 1980 election, Reagan debate performance gave voter’s the opportunity to shift to Reagan. With a sputtering economy and the bloom off of the Obama rose, both men are running dead even. The Romney gaffes have not banished him from contention. The President’s policies and record are becoming the issue. Each candidate has a base and both are about even. (A huge achievement for Romney given the rancor of the primary campaign). There is a small percentage of people who will decide this election. Will Romney be able to overcome the gaffes as Reagan did in 1980 by presenting himself as an alternative to President Obama? Or will voters acknowledge that President Obama (who has a stellar record in foreign affairs) be a safer choice than Romney for the country? This election may very well point to one small or big event not yet revealed. Or it could be a referendum on who we as Americans can relate to better. In 2004 more Americans liked George Bush better than John Kerry. Eight years later, will more Americans relate to the son of a single mother or the son of an industry titan? Only time will tell. And when that time passes, the gaffes we write about today might not even be a consideration.
The late Leo Valovich behind the microphone. 

LEO VALOVICH 

For our Hazleton Area Folks, you knew the great depth of Leo Valovich’s broadcast career. I had been aware of the Make Believe Rainbow Room (Ballroom) for a long time. But I was very pleased when WYLN TV 35 started to carry it on their TV station a few years ago. For those of you not familiar with the show, Leo had slides up of old time photos and played the finest big band standards. I never met him until late 2011 when I was at WYLN to do Topic A with L.A. Tarone. I was stunned when the first thing he said to me was, “I’m a big fan of yours!”. “Hold it”, I replied, “You stole my thunder. I was going to say that to you”. We both talked radio, music and what old radio guys talk about when they get together. I was saddened to hear of his passing. Leo did more than 4800 Make Believe Ballroom broadcasts. That show, his great voice and knowledge will be missed. Somewhere out there, Leo is still talking to “all the ships at sea” and dedicating a special song “to the lady in red”. Rest in peace Leo.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2141, July 29th, 2012

Health Care-Not Scare Care logo 

HEALTH CARE AND RELIGION

Again much thanks to Pittston Politics.com’s Joe Valenti for curing my writer’s block this week. After a very intense week on the work and personal front, I was pretty much tapped out until I saw this on Joe’s site. Joe wrote about how he thinks the Affordable Care Act is going to infringe on our freedom of religion. 
Does Obama Care infringe on your religious freedoms? The Catholic Church along with other religious institutions have taken a stand and have drawn a line in the sand. It is quite clear. The Catholic Church refuses to be mandated to provide birth control or other forms of birth control also known as the “morning after pill.” 
The Affordable Health Care Act, exempts religious groups from providing contraceptives. President Obama reaffirmed that.  So did Joe Biden who pushed the issue.
The HHS mandate clearly violates their religious conscious. And, the Catholic Church has made it clear, before it spends one penny to fund an abortion or on birth control, it will close every Catholic charity, hospital, homeless shelter…which provides more charitable services than all the federal government programs combined
Like a spoiled child not getting their way, this church that protected child molesters and has treated women as second class citizens will threaten to close institutions of health and well being. Surprised? They shut down churches. Wiped out entire ethnic histories of parishes. They erased grand church names like St. Joseph the Worker, St. Boniface, St. Anthony’s and St. Mary’s. Don’t be surprised if the next Catholic Church merged parish you see is “Saints Sonny and Cher in the community of St. Franco of American at the Congregational Community of the Church of What’s Happening How?” You think it’s a threat, they’re most likely looking for an excuse to close those places down. Again, the people who are against the Affordable Health Care Act are going through their scare tactics again. Catholics will not have their birth control paid for by their church entity by mandate. All Catholics who risk eternal damnation and get their birth control at the drug store or from a doctor to keep the U.S.A. from becoming Biafra will get it somewhere else. And to be sure, Catholics must be using birth control because the Church uses as its justification for closing churches declining populations. While we’re at it, let’s also think about this: how hypocritical is it for the Catholic Church to discourage converts in underdeveloped poor countries to have as many babies as they can because it is “God’s way”. A just God would not bring babies into the world where they die of malnutrition because their parents have to dig for scraps of food in dirt. 
Here’s what really bothers me about these arguments. This debate happened back in April. The church screamed and yelled and the White House made it clear that religious groups were exempt. So maybe by bringing this up, the right wing hopes that people forgot there was an exception. The second thing is thing, how can an entity, founded on charity and love, leave 30 million of its brethren without affordable health care? Has the church stopped practicing what it preached? This is of course decidedly un Christian but maybe the Church is proving my point. For many years I said I wasn’t a Christian but a Roman Catholic. Legions of posters and e mailers took me to task because they said you had to be one in the same, a Christian and a Roman Catholic. With these obvious unchristian attitudes toward the uninsured, maybe they’re like me. Not Christians, but Roman Catholics. 
And finally, Valenti poses the question: Are your religious beliefs more important than your political convictions? 
Thankfully we live in a country that was formed on religious freedom. The Constitution that every card carrying conservative swears they carry around with them defines a clear line between the separation of church and state. The Founding Fathers might have included God in the Declaration of Independence but did not want any deity to be the word of law for this nation. So we as voters can vote on what we are supposed to. What exactly is that? The best people to run our affairs (foreign and domestic) in this representative Republic, the best person who will protect our economic interests and the best individuals who will give us the choice unfettered to either vote for our religious convictions or not. This complex world we live in demands nothing less. Once more this is still another example of how this law has been mischaracterized by the right. 
  

HEALTH CARE GETS A SHOUT OUT

So I’m watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games the other night and I see a ten minute salute to National Health Care. The opening program featured a significant amount of British history. And one of those segments were dedicated to the National Health Service. This is the most maligned foreign program in America. We hear our people in England die because the health care stinks. We hear our awful the care is and if we adopt a change in Health Care, we will become Health Care captives like England and France. (By the way in France, after you have a baby, you get visits from a Health care provider who makes sure the mother is healthy, the baby well taken care and everything is in order). In the U.S. which according to the GOP has the greatest health care in the world, mom gets the baby and is on her own as soon as her fanny lifts up from the wheelchair on the curb of the hospital. If the health care is sooooooooooo bad, why would a country like Britain promote it to the entire world as one of their national accomplishments? How awful could it be. Maybe if the Democrats started to fight back when people lie about the Affordable Health Care Act and maybe promote the good things in it, maybe, just maybe people will understand it. The Obama administration need not have dancing doctors and nurses jumping up and down on hospital beds, but damn it, don’t run away from the biggest legislative accomplishment since the Civil Rights bills of the 1960s. As the venerable Professor would say, “Something to think about this morning!”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2140, July 28th, 2012

17th Congressional District candidate Matt Cartwright.

CARTWRIGHT PRAISES RULING 

In a statement the other day, Matt Cartwright praised the Commonwealth Court for their decision to overturn Act 13. The Act, which was signed by Governor Corbett in to law on February 14th, allowed the Commonwealth to override local zoning ordinances to require that gas drilling and transportation sites be allowed within communities. Cartwright stated, “I am delighted to read that the Commonwealth Court has acted to overturn this law. Many communities in the 17thCongressional District were already seeing its impacts and many local leaders who I have spoken with could not believe the changes. This action restores the autonomy of local municipalities in protecting the air and water of our local neighborhoods. Once again, citizens can expect look to local elected officials to stand up to forces that may pose environmental threats to local communities.” Cartwright acknowledged that, while this ruling was a major victory local municipalities and the environment, challenges still remain: “This is not the last time that this topic will be addressed. This case will almost certainly be appealed to the state Supreme Court, and if they affirm the lower court’s decision; there will almost certainly be more efforts to make Pennsylvania less environmentally friendly and more hospitable to oil and gas corporations. Hopefully, our law makers in Harrisburg will take this as a cue to enact responsible environmental regulations, charge a fair severance tax on drillers, and allow local communities to protect themselves from future environmental harm.” 
Matt Cartwright is the Democratic nominee, running for Congress in the 17th Congressional District, which now includes parts of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe and Northampton Counties, as well as all of Schuylkill County. Cartwright is running for Congress to bring jobs to Northeast Pennsylvania, and make sure that corporations and wealthy Americans pay their fair share of taxes. 
In the meantime, AP is reporting that two state agencies on Friday appealed a court ruling that threw out new limitations on the ability of municipalities to use zoning rules to control natural gas drilling activity. The Public Utility Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection, both controlled by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's appointees, filed the appeal one day after Commonwealth Court had issued its 4-3 decision that the law's changes unfairly affected people who live near drilling activity. The appeal asked the state Supreme Court to review whether the plaintiffs were entitled to sue, whether the ruling was based on sound law and whether the lower court should have stopped the law's provisions from being enforced.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2139, July 27th, 2012

"Maybe I'm Amazed" logo. 

MAYBE I’M AMAZED 

MAYBE I’M AMAZED……...that Mitt Romney’s campaign wasn’t even on the London soil when word came out that one of the candidate's staff members said the President didn’t understand the Anglo Saxon tradition of the two nations. I am waiting for an authentic statement from this man or his staff. Can you imagine if the GOP had a nominee that could actually articulate some type of conversation. Not to be crass here but did Mitt Romney ever pass gas in his life? If Romney thinks the President, a son of a single mother and Harvard grad didn’t see the notion of that tradition in passing through life, then I’m wondering what type of fuel he is running on. And I don’t even want to get into how he wondered if Britain could handle the Olympic games without a mistake or his multi million dollar fundraiser with employees of Barclays, a financial institution that lost billions for American investors. Where the hell is his staff? 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that the vaunted camera system in Wilkes Barre couldn’t catch a hit and run driver in the middle of the night on Hazle Street to see who ran over an innocent victim. I’m sure the Police are busting their butts on this but the cameras need to pick up trouble in the neighborhoods, not just the downtown. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that there has not yet been a statement from the office of the Wilkes Barre City Controller on the gas problems at the DPW garage. I always thought the Controller was supposed to sign off on all city bills. But I’m sure the new Controller Kathy Kane will do the same bang up job she did as County Chairwoman of the Democratic party. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that Scranton residents seems to be breathing easy now that there is a short term fix to the pay crisis. Guys, this is not the end. Someone has to make the move to step up and get this thing fixed. Or Scranton is going to continue to do a backslide. All the references to the late Jason Miller and the fading TV Comedy “The Office” aren’t going to save the day. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………but glad that Cole Hamels has decided to resign with the Phillies. It is refreshing to see a player stay with the team that brung him to the proverbial dance. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……….at the unexpected spike in sales of my book “A Radio Story”/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors”. Either someone needed a lot of kindle for firewood or this tome is being passed out to Communications majors telling them, “Don’t go into sales”. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that whenever a large tragedy occurs, people seem to feel the need to have a candlelight vigil. I get that people are sad and want to express their grief and come together as a community but sometimes it gets to be a bit much. I just wonder sometimes how many go because they care and how many people go because they just want to be seen. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that callers to talk shows are actually defending assault weapons. This afternoon I heard one numb skull tell Steve Corbett that “people use those weapons for sport on weekends” and that multiple magazines shouldn’t be banned. How would you like to have that guy as your next door neighbor. “Hey Clyde, what’ya doin’ this weekend?” “Oh nuthin, just gonna decimate me a two or three trees in the backyard!” As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “You can’t fix stupid!” 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that the “Godfather” movie actually made the History Channel. This week the TV outlet did a two hour special on the movie trilogy. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..at the islands I see when going over the 8th Street Bridge and the Pierce Street Bridge. This was in stark contrast to last September when the floods came. Equally and sadly amazing is the lack of progress some people seem to be making in getting government help. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..and still speaking of floods, that the “Agnes Movie” project fizzled. It was too bad not enough money was raised to get that thing in the theatres for the 40th anniversary of the great flood. My fear is that in the future there will be no interest of some younger people in their twenties and thirties who have little regard for their own history, let alone something older than they are. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………that one of the great bars of Scranton, Farley’s is closing. Farley’s was the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day and served one great cheeseburger. With Whistles going out of business a few years ago, Tink’s not being what it used to be and now Farley’s, one must hunt for something fun to do in Scranton. Well at least there is still Pizza By Pappas and Krispy Kreme! 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that even Dick Cheney has said he would support a ban on assault weapons and sees no good reason to have them. If Dick Cheney could get behind something like this, why can’t Romney. Is the Republican party so fractured and doctrinaire that it is even to the right of Dick “freaking” Cheney??? 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED………but not so much that the best hoagie I have had in a long time comes from Primo’s in Edwardsville. I had to eat the thing in stages because I’m cutting down my processed foods intake but God was that delicious.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2138, July 26th, 2012

This grandchild's future is the next good meal. Deficit be damned. 

POVERTY IN AMERICA 

I have been saying this for years but it doesn’t seem to resonate with anyone. Poverty in America is on the rise and there seems to be a great concern that it is has become the new normal. A few facts: Poverty is at its highest rate since 1965. That was when LBJ declared a war on poverty. 
1 in 6 or 47 million people live in poverty. 
22% of children live in poverty. This trend has been increasing long before President Obama took office. The Stimulus helped some but not much. Most of the new poor fall into this category: 
People who are working either part time or for wages below the poverty level because companies want to make a huge profit. You tell me why a large corporation like Turkey Hill or Sheetz pays its “associates” minimum wage. 
A new class of poor are those people who have lost their benefits for unemployment and have stopped looking for work. Something is out of whack when 40 people apply for two job openings. I’d like to know exactly what Mitt Romney’s plan for job creation is except for “job creators” getting tax breaks! What is interesting about the poverty levels is this. Most sane people know that poverty exists. To hear some people “who have theirs” talk, poverty happens because people are lazy. But few people advocate cutting programs to help the poor. 
79% of Americans recognize that the gap between rich and poor has increased in the last twenty years. 
And get this, 67% oppose cutting federal funding for social programs to help cut the deficit. So says the Public Religion Research Institute. 
So next time you hear a deficit hawk on TV screaming about his grandchildren’s future, know that his grandchildren are not living in poverty. And know that the deficit that is so high was caused by two credit card wars and a prescription drug plan for seniors that was not paid for. And keep this in mind, the deficit has risen less under this much maligned Democratic administration than by any other President. 

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT 


Mitt Romney, presumptive GOP nominee. 

ROMNEY’S TRIP ABROAD 

The new trend for nominees to be is to take a few trips to foreign countries so that voters, still not totally paying attention will have a chance to the candidate’s “gravitas”. Romney is heading to Israel to see his old Chum Benjamin Netanyahu and people say the trip was planned to coincide with the Olympics. The reason? If Romney has a gaff, most of the news will be about the games in London rather than Romney’s miscue. 

RELIGION AND THE VEEP STAKES 

Here’s something to keep an eye on. Watch for Mitt Romney to not only pick a vanilla running mate but one who is religiously safe. While his Mormon faith hasn’t been and issue, there are still some Americans afraid of the unknown just as people in 1960 were concerned about JFK’s Catholicism. Romney’s Vice President will have a religious background that will be solid and consistent. Same religion from birth, no detours, no conversions, just a solid record to balance out any concerns people might have about the Mormons. The person also will not be a bible beater, but a quiet person of a consistent faith. 

OBAMA’S GUN STANCE 

I am totally mystified by President Obama’s stance on guns. Especially not coming out in favor of extending the Brady Bill and the ban on assault weapons. He showed o guts at his State of the Union after Gabriel Giffords got shot. And he is showing no guts now. No NRA member is going to vote for him! No matter how he runs away from an assault ban, he will never, ever get the votes of the NRA! He is passing up a political gift. If he stood on principle and stared down the NRA, he’d get more respect and solidify some votes. I was a Hillary Clinton backer in ’08 and one thing I liked about her was that she showed common sense. If this President talked common sense to the American people and took a stand, not against hunters, concealed carries or hobbyists, but against weapons and clips that could kill hundreds of people in less than five minutes! he’d score big. But no, he’ll pander to a lobby that is not going to vote for him if he were last man on earth. Sometimes I wonder about him. And the people running his campaign. 

ANONYMOUS SERIAL KILLERS 

Did you see that orange haired scumbag in court the other day in Colorado? I think the media should limit showing his face and refer to him as the Colorado Theatre Killer. No name, no recognition, no fame. Just let the twisted little freak live out his life in the anonymity he so richly deserves.
Our “Good Enough” logo 

GOOD ENOUGH? 

It appears that the combination of lethargic parents and less than superb school teachers is again rearing its head here in Luzerne County. The Times Leader reports that six schools, two in the Hazleton Area School District and four in Wilkes-Barre Area School District – landed on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s “Low achieving schools” list released today. The list is generated as part of the “Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program.” Students who live within the attendance boundaries of a low-achieving school are eligible for scholarships to be funded through business contributions to a non-profit entity established for the purpose. The businesses get a tax credit worth up to 90 percent of the scholarship contribution. In Hazleton Area, Hazleton Area High School and Hazleton Area Middle School are on the list. In Wilkes-Barre Area, G.A.R. High School and three elementary schools – Dodson, Kistler and Heights-Murray – are on the list. The lists are derived by looking at combined state math and reading test results for each school. So unless I’m reading this wrong, being stupid is actually getting you a reward with a 90% tax credit for businesses? If that’s the case, people have to wonder why this country is sinking into an economic abyss. But hey, let’s give those teachers another raise and laud those parents for not taking the time to teach their kids…anything. 

MEDIA MATTERS 

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE


 Join Shadoe Steele this week for Saturday night Live at the Oldies on WILK AM and FM. The show runs from 7pm to midnight with ABC News on top of the hour. 

SUNDAY MAGAZINE 

This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with Bob Vialiante, the co-ordinater for the 30th Annual Scranton Catholic Charismatic Conference, which will be held Aug 3rd thru the 5th at the University of Scranton. Bob discusses the conference, as well as the history of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. And Brian speaks with Janine Spagnola, a committee member of the 4th annual Joshua Miller Motorcycle Poker Run and Picnic, coming up on Saturday Aug 4th. The event is in honor of Joshua Miller, a State Trooper who lost his life in the line of duty, and this year's event will benefit the Wounded Warriors. 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 





Our 1967 logo. 

1967 


An explosion and fire aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin leaves 134 dead……………….The 1967 Milwaukee race riots begin, lasting through August 2 and leading to a ten-day shutdown of the city from August 1. Egypt continues to enforce an Egyptian blockade of the Suez Canal which lasted till June 5th 1975 making the Suez Canal closed to all shipping and trapping fourteen cargo ships known as "The Yellow Fleet" which remained trapped in the canal for over eight years……Prices in the summer of ’67 were as follows, Gas per Gallon 33 cents Average Cost of a new car $2,750.00 Movie Ticket$1.25………in Pennsylvania U.S Senator Hugh Scott says that Lyndon Johnson might be ripe for the picking in terms of winning a second term as President. Scott says that Michigan Governor George Romney, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and former Vice President Richard Nixon could easily pose a challenge to the Democratic President……………..the Luzerne County Commissioners vote to purchase $50,000 worth of new furniture……and the number one song in America and LuLac land was “Light My Fire” by the Doors.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2137, July 25th, 2012

Our "Write On Wednesday" logo. 

WRITE ON WEDNESDAY 

VOTER ID A SCAM 

As a young boy, I was mystified when people, Americans in the deep south prohibited people of color from participating in an election. The struggles of the Civil Rights movement changed that forever. Or at least I thought that. The new voter ID law being proposed in swing states that happened to be controlled by the Republican party is disturbing. To me it is an attempt to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians from being able to vote. I know that most everyone needs an ID to rent a movie, cash a check, etc. But there is a segment, especially those who are elderly and infirm that do not have identifications. And truth be told there doesn’t seem to be a provision that is uniformed so that getting an ID to vote will be made easier. This week’s “Write On Wednesdaty” features two points of view. The first from Eddie Day Pashinski, a state representative from the 121st district in Wilkes Barre. 
IT SEEMS each day another thread unravels to expose the ugly truth about the state’s new voter ID law. Many people were shocked when the Corbett administration recently revealed that 758,000 registered voters lack a PennDOT-issued driver’s license or non-driver photo ID. Without the most common type of photo ID, a staggering 9 percent of voters might be unable to participate in the November election. While the number is shocking, it’s more disturbing that Gov. Tom Corbett lobbied for the law by misleading the public when he repeatedly said less than 1 percent would be affected. His administration knew the truth was nine times higher. Why did the governor and Republican leaders deceive us? Sadly, it’s no accident. The voter ID law was rushed through the state Legislature as part of a national Republican strategy to steer the balance of elections toward the GOP by creating barriers to vote for seniors, young adults, people with disabilities and the working poor. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai recently revealed the truth and sparked a national controversy when he said, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done.” The Republican leaders in Harrisburg are so out of step with the values of regular people – both Republicans and Democrats – that they’re taking a victory lap for rigging the presidential elections. The deception doesn’t stop there. Turzai’s justification for the law – that people go to the polls impersonating other voters – is a myth. It doesn’t happen. As attorney general, Corbett prosecuted no one for this alleged act. The GOP’s fixation with this fictional crime is even more mystifying when you consider Republicans have won elections to control the state House, Senate and governor’s mansion. I have introduced legislation that would protect the integrity of our elections and the rights of voters by giving people more time to prepare. For many seniors, people with disabilities and working poor, the cost and time required to obtain a photo ID that complies with the law is unnecessarily burdensome. The fact is this deceptive law is intended to help Republican candidates by making it harder for 758,000 registered voters to participate in our democracy. Rigging elections with voter ID is a slippery slope that’s dangerous to the very foundation of our American system. The strategy to mislead the people from all political parties has been used repeatedly to advance the extreme Republican agenda. Take the state’s weak Marcellus Shale impact fee. It’s a gift to global energy companies reaping billions of dollars from extracting our natural resources. To make things worse, the recent state budget deal included a demand from Gov. Corbett to give Shell Oil – the second most profitable company in the world – a virtual blank check to cash in billions in state tax credits. Regular people and businesses don’t get that deal. They demonstrate their patriotism by paying their fair share. In addition, if you own a for-profit cyber charter school, you’re getting a great deal. You can pocket millions of dollars in overpayments from state and local taxpayers. Don’t worry, Republicans controlling state government won’t even force you to reconcile your books at the end of the year like public schools, and your teachers get a special exemption from the new teacher-evaluation system. Starting to get angry about how Republican leaders are running your state? If you’re one of the 9 percent of voters without a photo ID – senior citizens who don’t drive, college students, people with disabilities or working poor – they don’t care. You probably won’t be able to vote in November anyway. It’s one thing when you win an election fair and square. But when people controlling government steal the election by deceiving the public and manipulating the democratic process, then the Republicans in charge cannot and should not be trusted
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, of Wilkes-Barre, is a Democrat representing the 121st District. Omeed Firouzi is a young political activist who also has thoughts on the subject. This letter was recently published in the local newspapers. 
Editor: The author David Mamet once urged people to "always tell the truth because it is the easiest thing to remember." Perhaps that was the case last Monday for Pennsylvania House Republican leader Mike Turzai of Allegheny County. In discussing the achievements of Governor Corbett and the Republican legislature, Rep. Turzai let it slip that the new discriminatory voter ID law will "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania." Don't just take my word for it; go to YouTube and search "Turzai: Voter ID Will Allow Romney to Win Pa." and you will find the video. In making this assertion, Rep. Turzai essentially conceded that the aim of the new law is to purge the voter rolls of Democratic voters, including many senior citizens, low-income voters, and college students. If it was unclear to anyone that the intention of the new law is to ensure President Obama's defeat in Pennsylvania, it ought to be clear now. This law is not about fixing voter fraud, a problem that does not exist. This law is all about politics and is all about ensuring the president loses Pennsylvania. Rep. Turzai said the truth because, after all, it was the easiest thing to remember. Hopefully, we too will remember the truth this November.  
Omeed Firouzi, Trucksville,  is a local political activist, works for State Representative Phyllis Mundy and is an avid reader of this site. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2136, July 24th, 2012

One of the demonstrators  at Penn State offering her opinion. 

PENN STATE 

The Penn State program will be crippled at least for the next ten years. The sanctions that came down were what most people expected but the elimination of wins was something I did not expect. I’m torn by it because those games were won on the gridiron by players that for the moat part were not coached by Jerry Sandusky. But what better way to send a message to other schools than to eradicate a much ballyhooed record that was celebrated by the late Joe Paterno. The Penn State saga remains a cautionary tale. The cover up, and this was the ultimate cover up was evidence of what happens when you don’t deal with a problem right from the start. 

IRS GETTING INVOLVED 

Word is that the IRS is now getting involved in the Wilkes Barre gas situation. The Times Leader’s Terrie Morgan Besecker contacted a few tax experts who said, “ Under IRS rules, the fair market value of the gasoline Leighton pumped into his private vehicle should have been reported as income either on his W2 earnings form, or a 1099 form that’s used to report non-salary income. Look for Wilkes Barre tax payer advocates to go after copies of the Mayor’s taxes. Sunday on the L.A. Tarone Show on WILK, County Controller Walter Griffith asked where the City Controller, Kathy Kane was in all of this. Griffith rightly surmised that Kane, as the chief financial officer of the city should have been looking into this. But that’s tough to do when you are in the pocket of the Democratic organization. Still, she had the time having been replaced as Chairperson of the Luzerne County Democratic party by Bob Boyer. It’s pretty interesting that there hasn’t been a peep from the Controller’s office regarding this recent chain of events.
The first female U.S. astronaut, Sally Ride. 

SALLY RIDE 

Sally Ride, the first US woman to travel into space, has died aged 61, 17 months after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her foundation reported. She blasted off in the US space shuttle Challenger in June 1983. Ride was not the first woman in space - that was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in June 1963. Since her first mission in 1983, more than 45 women from the US and other countries have flown in space, including two as shuttle commander. Ride died on Monday in La Jolla, California.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2135, July 23rd, 2012

State Rep Kevin Murphy's mug shot. 

MURPHY’S PROBLEMS 

Current State Representative Kevin Murphy always was used to making headlines in his political career. But the one on Sunday Morning in the Times Tribune State Rep. Murphy out on bail is one I don’t think he wanted to see. There have been reports that Murphy has been reeling since his defeat in the Democratic primary for re-election against Marty Flynn. Flynn ran a grassroots campaign and was making progress in the 113th district. But no one gave him a chance against Murphy until there was a flap over whether Murphy did get a degree from the University of Scranton. That disclosure days before the primary put Flynn in the driver’s seat. He defeated Murphy, a two term rep. Rumors abounded that Murphy would try to stage a write in effort in the fall. But all of that came crashing down on Friday night when Murphy was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife and one of her friends. The first reports were generic and oblique in nature but the story in Sunday’s Times goes into details that isn’t good for anyone involved. Here’s that Times Tribune report written by Joe Kohut and Katie Sullivan: 
State Rep. Kevin Murphy was released from Lackawanna County Prison Saturday after posting $15,000 bail. The representative for the 113th District, turned himself in to authorities earlier in the day. Scranton police had been on the lookout for him after he fled following a domestic dispute that became violent. During an argument with his wife, Denise, Friday night Mr. Murphy allegedly slapped, threw and punched her and put a choke hold on her friend, Patrick Hessmiller, according to the criminal complaint. Mr. Murphy was charged with two counts of simple assault and two counts of harassment after the incident at 547 Leggett St. in North Scranton. Investigating Officer Christopher Kaushas wrote in the complaint that Mrs. Murphy said Mr. Hessmiller drove her to her parent's house at 547 Leggett St. in North Scranton, only to find Mr. Murphy standing in the road, apparently heavily intoxicated. Upon opening the door, Mr. Murphy began shouting at Mrs. Murphy and open-hand slapped her across the face. She said he then grabbed her neck and threw her head on the floor of the vehicle, according to the complaint. Mr. Hessmiller told police he tried to calm Mr. Murphy down, telling him to stop, but was then punched in the face. In the struggle that followed, Mr. Hessmiller said Mr. Murphy put him into a choke hold until neighbors came out to help and Mr. Murphy fled, the complaint said. Mr. Murphy ran to his red Kia sedan, disappearing until Saturday morning. The complaint says Mrs. Murphy complained of minor soreness but refused medical treatment, as did Mr. Hessmiller who did not complain of any pain, though he reported feeling faint due to oxygen restriction while being choked by Mr. Murphy. Mr. Murphy was arraigned Saturday at the Lackawanna County Court House, acting Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano said. The Lackawanna County assessor's office lists Kevin and Denise Murphy as the owners of 547 Leggett St. The criminal complaint lists Mr. Murphy with the Leggett Street address as well as an address at 1734 Brick Ave. Mr. Murphy, who was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008, lost to Marty Flynn in the primary election in the spring. 
I worked with Kevin in the year 2000 at Cable Rep Advertising. He was personable, honest to a fault and I personally never saw him agitated in any way. However if there were personal problems going on in the marriage as well as his loss of what I’m sure he saw as a dream job,  (he was always involved in politics since he was a teenager) I’m sure that took its toll. We wish him the best. And his family. 
As one local Lackawanna politico opined to me early Sunday morning after seeing this story, “This is sad all around for everyone. The only guy happy about this is Frank Andrews Shimkus” Shimkus, a former TV anchorman for WNEP and WYOU was defeated by Murphy in a bitter race in the 2008 primary and then in the 2008 General when Shimkus tried to win on the GOP side. The seat was formerly held by Fred Belardi who lost the 2006 election to Shimkus after voting for the infamous Harrisburg pay raise of  2005. 
CORRECTION: The 113th was held by Gaynor Cawley. Andrews Shimkus won in 2006 after Cawley retired. He was defeated by Kevin Murphy in 2008. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2134, July 22nd, 2012

Plant earth as seen from the moon. 

THE MOON AND THE 2012 CAMPAIGN 

Friday was the 43rd anniversary of the first man walking on the moon. My generation and the previous WWII era people saw it as one of the most important landmark achievements of mankind. The things we take for granted today, cell phones, Teflon, plastics all could not have been possible without the space program. By some it has long been forgotten. For those who think history began on the day they were born, it isn’t even a blip on their radar screen. As the Presidential campaign lurches on, no one seems to be speaking of the future. President Obama attacks Mitt Romney on his Bain associations and Romney distorts the Affordable Care Act which he partly inspired when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Whoever is successful, both men will have to answer to history for not projecting a vision for America. Barack Obama especially will have to answer electorally to the people of Florida for essentially ending the space program. There were many significant factors about the announcement by President Kennedy in 1961 about how he wanted to land a man on the moon. It was a signal to the Soviet Union that we were serious about beating them and was a major component in the Cold War. It launched hundreds of thousands of young students into career of math and science. (The average age of a NASA employee at the time of the Moon landing was 28. What are our 28 years old doing of significance today? Making another version of Madden Football or that war game kids play until 4AM in the morning?) Among other things, perhaps the most important part of The Moon landing proposal by President Kennedy was that it was a proposition that would outlast his Presidency. It wasn’t designed to prop his party up for the 1962 mid term elections, it wasn’t designed to win him re-election in 1964, it was designed to provide a vision beyond his term in office. Politicians of today would do well to remember that aspect of the anniversary. Where are the ideas today that would inspire that one small step for mankind again?
The ignominious transfer of the Paterno statue. 

HISTORY ADJUSTED 

They took the statue of Joe Paterno down today at Penn State University. Workers in yellow vests and campus police converged on the site and began to chip away at the big statue and its accompanying wall where it was written that Paterno wanted to be remembered as a good educator, coach and humanitarian. Juror number three in the Sandusky trial was interviewed by ESPN and said this action was knee jerk and should not have happened. Others said that Paterno was complicit in perpetuating the scandal by giving the word that he was okay with Sandusky having access to the athletic facilities. The action by Penn State is a signal that they no longer care about the Paterno legacy. The thing they do have in common with Paterno is, like he, they want to protect something. Paterno wanted to protect his and the school’s legacy, the people at Penn State are just trying to keep the school in survival mode. History at Penn State can never be rewritten. The heinous acts of Jerry Sandusky and the blindness of Joe Paterno have to be acknowledged. But on the other side of the coin, the significant good Paterno did for the school cannot be erased either. Only the future will tell us how the school and Paterno will be judged. But that will take years. For now, fans of JoPa will cling to the words on that wall, “coach and educator”. That other word, “humanitarian” will be banished from the vocabulary when dealing with Joe Paterno.
Tim McCarver, former player and now Hall of Fame broadcaster. 

HALL OF FAME  

Today Ron Santo and Barry Larkin go into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. For Larkin it is the culmination of a great career. To Santo’s family, it is bittersweet. Santo died last year and was elected this year. Santo was a great fielder and dangerous hitter who should have been inducted way sooner. Another honoree was Tim McCarver who was elected in the broadcast wing. McCarver was a Phillies broadcaster in the early 80s and I had the opportunity to speak with him many times at the Vet when I wrote a sports column for the Pittston Dispatch. McCarver was used as a fill in announcer for ABC in the early 80s when the Phils got on national TV. That launched his career as a national broadcaster of note. In his induction yesterday he thanked Phils President Bill Giles for giving him his first broadcast contract. McCarver is one of the good guys in baseball and broadcasting. Unlike Ron Santo, it was nice to see him recognized when he was still vertical.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2133, July 21st, 2012

Our “Good Enough” logo. 

THE CULTURE OF “GOOD ENOUGH” 

Do you remember that old saying “good enough for government work?"  If ever there was a national anthem for Luzerne County government that would be it. Even with the passage of Home Rule and the election of a County Council, things are far from perfect. And sadly some things remain the same. It seems like almost every agency in the county has some type of issue or a problem. The latest if of course the Luzerne County Transportation Authority. How the “ghost rider” and sexual harassment situation will shake out if anyone’s guess. But the remaining constant is that when an alleged impropriety is brought out, the person who challenged the establishment, in this case Edd Brominski and Joe Holden get attacked. And of course the media. The disturbing part about these on going probes that keep popping up is this: some of these incidents happened after the FBI came to town. I wonder if it is arrogance or stupidity on the part of the administrators and workers who man these operations. One of the labels on these scandals was entitled “The culture of corruption”. But it appears that in addition to that, there seems to be a “culture of good enough”. Maintain an appearance of normality at all costs. Even if the acts alleged would not be tolerated in the business world. With the new government just starting, (and they have made some mistakes believe me) and our financial situation so precarious, any county linked organization can’t afford to be just “good enough”. It has to be stellar and innovative. But being a realist, I’m willing to settle for “good enough” sometimes. Because right now, years after the federal government began investigating and more than thirty people have been jailed, we still have the lingering question regarding Luzerne County government operations. And that is “what now?"

GUNS AND FREEDOM 

When I first heard about the Colorado shootings on Friday morning, I thought of my friends who lived out there. I was hoping they were not at that movie theatre. Then when I heard the details about the killings, I was shocked but not surprised. Assault rifles with multiple shooting capability should not be sold. In a store, by the mail, at a gun show, anywhere. There is no good reason to possess them. Let me be clear, I am not a Gun Control nut. I think people should be able to own guns, carry them and use them to defend themselves. I also think that hunters should use whatever rifle they want to in the sport of hunting. But as long as there are assault rifles on the market, this stuff will happen. Congress could have extended the ban on these guns but of course said no. The GOP right blathered about how this ban would take away “our freedoms”. You know what, while you’re so worried about your freedoms, some nut is taking away lives of defenseless people. In the meantime, tonight people will gather with candles and do what they do to make themselves feel better. As long as unbalanced, psychotic people have access to these guns, the only people benefiting will be the candle makers.
Senator John McCain. 

McCAIN IN TROUBLE 

2008 GOP nominee John McCain is in trouble again with his own party. McCain appeared on MSNBC the other morning and really gave a tutorial on foreign affairs and the Middle East. He also defended Mitt Romney’s decision about not releasing his tax returns and opined that what he saw in Romney’s taxes in the 2008 vetting process for Vice President would not disqualify the 2012 presumptive nominee from being President. Yet the GOP is angry at McCain. Why? Because in explaining the gridlock in Washington, D.C. he recounted how the Republican party of the ‘90s worked closely with Bill Clinton in passing some meaningful legislation. The state of the Republican party right now (nationally) is so narrow, that even a respected party elder like John McCain, acknowledging factual history, gets him in trouble. The 21st century GOP: Garrulous, Offensive, Pathetic.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2132, July 20h, 2012

Our “Maybe I’m Amazed” logo 

MAYBE I’M AMAZED 

MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that the women folk are getting involved in this year’s Presidential race. Mitt Romney’s wife Anne was on TV this week defending her man and word is that Michelle Obama is going to be taking a more active, public role in the campaign. Just a thought here but wouldn’t it be interesting to see potential First Ladies debate? I think that would outshine the main candidates in the TV ratings. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..speaking of TV, I caught the first episode of “Political Animals” on USA the other night. Mrs. LuLac was wondering if it was going to get any better and I wondered if it was going to get any worse. They pulled every TV drama cliche out of the books, made some pretty bad references to the Kennedy brothers, (the main character had three dogs named Jack, Bobby and Teddy) and the portrayal of a former President was really over the top. It sucked but I’ll watch it again.. I want to see how low they could go. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……….continuing in the TV vein, Ernest Borgnine died last week. ME TV paid tribute to him by running an old McHale’s Navy movie from 1964. I guess it was the only thing they owned. The best tribute movies for Borgnine were these two classics, “Marty” and “A Catered Affair”. That gave you an idea of the true measure of the man as an actor. He was more than a TV actor, he was a true movie and American icon.  
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that my friend Tiffany Cloud on “Storm Politics” had as her guest a female member of the Young Republicans. These two were talking about how they don’t want no stinking help for equal pay for women from the stinking government. The young lady referenced the 1963 Equal Pay Act and said that action was good enough in terms of equality for women. She said that if people worked hard and did a good job, they’d get equal pay on their own merits without any intervention from the government. Yet in 2012, women still make 70 cents on the dollar while men make more. The show was one of the most incredible things I saw on TV. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that there will be more interest in the role Governor Tom Corbett played in the Sandusky scandal when he was Attorney General. Corbett has been criticized for only have two investigators on the case while deploying hundreds of people to investigate “Bonus gate”. Plus there are questions about a Corbett contribution to the Second Mile charity run by Sandusky. Can anyone say Governor Cawley? 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that Dallas Borough has passed on ordinance on yard sales. The Back Mountain bedroom community of the upper crust in Luzerne County wants to make sure that there are no couches on any porches and that the proper items are offered up for commerce. Wouldn’t want to ruin the neighborhood. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..and speaking of the Back Mountain, one of its notorious residents has been ordered to stand trial. Finally. Hugo Selinski was given the word today that even though his new Defense Attorney still hasn’t gone though his substantial files, he needs to get on with it. Selinski was non plussed saying he was prepared and that his new Attorney was more prepared than his other previous barristers put together. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that Wilkes Barre City has finally gotten the hang of keeping records for its gas at the DPW building. Baby steps, folks, baby steps. 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED……..that country legend Kitty Wells passed away at age 92 this week. I remember listening to the old Country WGBI AM radio station and Wells was a staple of the music programming. Joanathan Bogart of the Atlantic on line nailed it with this recap of her career: "An architect of modern pop, one of the first female singing stars to make music explicitly about the experiences of women. Without her, there certainly would never have been a Patsy Cline, a Loretta Lynn, a Dolly Parton, or a Miranda Lambert—but there equally would never have been a Janis Joplin, a Patti Smith, a Joan Jett, or a Britney Spears. Her first hit and signature song, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," was written as a direct rebuke to a line in Hank Thompson's "Wild Side of Life" and precipitated a flurry of scandal upon its release in 1953. NBC's powerful network of Southern and rural stations and country programs—including the self-important arbiter of country-music legitimacy the Grand Ole Opry—almost instantly banned it. Like the Dixie Chicks would two generations later, Wells had run afoul of the cynically moralizing Music Row which, in common with the rest of the music industry, vastly prefers women to look pretty and sing sentimentally than to speak their minds.” Wells was inducted into the Country all of Fame in 1976. Here’s one of her hits I remembered as a kid.  
 
MAYBE I’M AMAZED…….that my good friend Edd Raineri of the Beatledd Show on WRKC FM had a band in the early 80s. And they had a local regional type hit that is still familiar to people on the music scene. Edd posted the history and Legacy of his band Eric Rains and The Alter Boys on You Tube this week. Check it out:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2131, July 19th, 2012

County Council member Edd Brominski. 

RIDING THE BUS 

At a recent Luzerne County Council meeting, Council member Edd Brominski says the numbers being run by the Luzerne County Transit Authority might be false. Informed sources tell the ex Commissioner that prior to camera being installed in buses, drivers allegedly added ghost passengers to the rolls to increase public funding. The last time I rode the bus was thirty years ago when I used to take the morning bus from Pittston Junction to downtown Wilkes Barre. Gas was high and scarce at the time and it was very convenient and cheap. Then when Mrs. LuLac and I were first married, we lived on Grove Street in Wilkes Barre and the bus dropped me right off at our apartment above Leggieri’s Market. Again it was cheap and convenient. The LCTA is a good resource in this end of the County. Many people who don’t have auto transportation depend on it for work in the low paying jobs that are prevalent in the private sector. Brominski brought it to the attention of Council saying it was reported to the FBI. He also wanted to stop some funding until the matter is cleared up. The Authority head, Stanley Strelish said he was unaware of any problems and noted that the people who knew of any tinkering with numbers should have come to the authority first. While I think Edd Brominski doesn’t bring up matters like this on a whim, I don’t think the funding should be stopped from the Council because the County will lose match monies from the state and federal government. That said though, if I had to pick comments from Edd Brominski or Stanley Strelish who is a political operative from the Pittston Area and got that job through the last Commission form of government, I have to go with Edd Brominski. As with all things governmental in Luzerne County….more to come. 

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT


 
Pictured are Lori Pazzaglia Munley, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Attorney Matt Cartwright and Louie Munley. 

CARTWRIGHT FRONT AND CENTER 


17th Congressional District candidate Matt Cartwright introduced the Chairperson of the Democratic party the other night in Luzerne County. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz came to town to rally the Democratic troops and the 17th District candidate did the honors with a really great introduction. Cartwright is being very visible in these dog days of political summer.  

CASEY’S EDGE 

U.S. Senate candidate Bob Casey Junior is amassing some serious numbers in fundraising against his GOP opponent Tom Smith. And to think Smith fended off a few challengers to run against Mr. Casey. Casey who was a brother in arms with candidate Obama in 2008 and a basketball partner has been scarce in his appearances with the embattled President. Casey is in a first term and has done nothing egregious to not get another term. His pro life credentials have been ridiculously challenged by his hometown Diocese and the right to lifers in his own backyard which can only be a plus for him with moderate voters. Casey is well on the road to re-election and the money in his war chest will not hurt. Especially if the Tom Smith and GOP bandwagon starts to steamroll Pennsylvania Democrats come the fall. 

ROMNEY’S TAXES 

Mitt Romney refuses to release more than two years tax returns. The Democrats are pounding him to do so. Romney refuses. People in his own party who support him are calling for him to release more returns. The questions are coming up and make perfect political sense. Did the McCain people see something in Romney’s returns (that he released in ’08) that made them pick Sarah Palin? Is there any foreign entanglement that might pose a conflict of interest for a potential leader of the free world? The Romney campaign seems to think that they can gain more by not releasing what is in the return than actually bringing them before the public. What this does in this campaign summer is reinforce the fact that Romney is an elitist that has more money than the average bear. My personal feeling is that there are a lot of Mormon religious/business connections there that might prejudice voters not only against Romney’s investments but his religion. In the meantime, the Obama people are beating up on the GOP candidate and dare I say making some progress in knocking him around. 

THE OLYMPIC UNIFORMS 

Ralph Lauren and his company have always made money on the Olympics. Every two years, Lauren offers colorful, overpriced, garish jackets, polo shirts and wind breakers that are adorned with the Olympic label and huge polo ponies. I don’t believe they sell well because why would anyone buy an Olympic jacket if there were not an Olympian or had an interest in the games. The recent flap over the uniforms is just another example of how we Americans are hypocritical in terms of business. We don’t mind buying sneakers that are made in Asian sweatshops but go crazy when our Olympians wear uniforms outsourced by an iconic American company. To Lauren’s credit, he said the 2014 uniforms will be American made. That’s good and maybe if someone in his company had their eye on the ball, this would never have happened. I tend to give the company a pass because most days I wear nothing but Polo by Ralph Lauren. I like the fit, the brand and because I don’t drink, smoke, gamble, spend my money on big cars and boats and other toys, it is my little luxury in life. Not to blow my own horn here but maybe if Ralph consulted a guy like me instead of the pencil thin and pencil neck geeks he has working for him on Madison Avenue, he might not have gotten his company in this mess. 

MEDIA MATTERS 

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE 

This week Shadoe Steele plays the very best in oldies on “Saturday Night Live At the Oldies”:. Tune in this Saturday from 7pm to midnight on WILK AM and FM with ABC News on the top of the hour.  B.J. Thomas is this week's guest.

ECTV 

Lackawanna County Judge Tom Munley and his co host David DeCosmo will welcome Jennifer Jenkins to their ECTV Live program during the week of July 23rd. Jennifer is Executive Director of the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock which is the Cultural Center in Wyoming County. Ms Jenkins will be talking about all the events and attractions that have been planned for "River Day" in Tunkhannock this year. The Borough and many properties sustained major damage when the Susquehanna flooded in September of last year, River Day this year will celebrate the community's comeback from that disaster. ECTV Live is broadcast on Comcast Ch19 and is seen each weekday at Noon and Midnight with the addition of 6pm showings several days during the week. Both Judge Munley and DeCosmo will be away the following week. But Paula Deignan of WILK will be hosting the show during the week of August 6th when the program will be devoted to Christy Mathewson Days in Factoryville 

SUNDAY MAGAZINE 

This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with outgoing Scranton Police Chief Dan Duffy, who discusses his new position as head of Lackawanna College's police academy, and looks back at his 22 month tenure as Scranton's Police Chief. And Brian speaks with Rebecca Blue from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture about hungry pest insects, and their effect on agriculture and recreation in Pennsylvania. 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.

PCN 


PCN TO AIR SPECIAL “PA BOOKS” PROGRAM ABOUT THE SANDUSKY SCANDAL AND PENN STATE 
Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalist, Bill Moushey, and forty-four year veteran newspaper journalist, Bob Dvorchak, will sit down with the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) to discuss their book “Game Over,” which investigates claims of a possible cover-up by Penn State officials in order to protect the university’s football program and its legacy. This special edition of “PA Books” is slated to air statewide on Thursday, July 19 beginning at 6:00 p.m. An encore presentation has been scheduled to air on Sunday, July 22 at 6:00 p.m. “PA Books” airs regularly on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. with weekday airings at 8:00 a.m.
Our 1967 logo. 

1967 

A race riot breaks out in the North Side of Minneapolis on Plymouth Street during the Minneapolis Aquatennial Parade and business are vandalized and fires break out in the area, although the disturbance is quelled within hours. However, the next day a shooting sets off another incident in the same area that leads to 18 fires, 36 arrests, 3 shootings, 2 dozen people injured, and damages totaling 4.2 million. There will be two more such incidents in the following two weeks.........12th Street Riot/Detroit Race Riots: In Detroit, Michigan, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city: 43 are killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned. • During an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declares to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Québec libre! (Long live free Quebec!). The statement, interpreted as support for Quebec independence, delights many Quebecers but angers the Canadian government and many English Canadians………in Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator Joe Clark says he is conflicted by President Johnson’s meeting with Soviet leadership in Glassboro New Jersey in June. Clarks said he lauded LBJ for getting the Russians to meet but felt he should have done more to bring peace, not war to the continuing Vietnam conflict…….and in Luzerne County, the long hot summer starts to heat up the political coals of autumn as Commissioner candidates on the GOP side Jim Post and Ethel Price keep running into their Democratic opponents Ed Wideman and Frank Crossin at church picnics and festivals and 45 years ago the number one song in America and LuLac land was that one hit wonder, “A Little Bit of Soul” by the Music Explosion.
 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2130, July 18th, 2012

Our “Write On Wednesday” logo. 
  

WRITE ON WEDNESDAY


The U.S. Supreme Court decision on health care reform affects everyone 

With more and more misinformation being bandied about after the Supreme Court Health Care decision, it has become my mission in life to debunk a lot of the lies being circulated about the law and the decision. A recent article by the head of the Blue Cross Government Affairs Committee really spelled out the ramifications of the law clearly. Here’s that article: 
In a landmark and heavily anticipated decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled on June 28 that the individual mandate provision within the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health care reform law, is constitutional. This also means that the insurance market reforms included in the federal health care reform law, including a mandate that insurers provide coverage to anyone who seeks it, even those with pre-existing conditions, remain as part of the law. So why is this decision important to residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania? The individual mandate was added to the federal health care reform law as a way to compel most consumers to purchase health insurance. This was the most discussed and most controversial measure of the health care reform law, raising the issue of whether the federal government has the power to compel consumers to purchase something. The Supreme Court ruled, in this case, that it does. That decision is important because having as many individuals as possible in the health insurance pool, especially healthy individuals, is necessary for the other market reforms included in the federal health care reform to work as intended. The court's ruling that the individual mandate is constitutional also maintains the incentive for healthy individuals to buy health insurance before they get sick. In fact, recent studies from several independent experts, including the Congressional Budget Office, show that severing the individual mandate from the other market reforms of federal health care reform would have led to increases in both the number of uninsured Americans and the cost of health insurance. Yet the individual mandate, and the other insurance market reforms that were upheld by the court, are not enough to address the driving issue of rising health care costs. That is why all stakeholders in the health care system need to take a unified and multi-faceted approach to addressing rising health care costs. And following the court's decision, health insurers such as Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) will continue to implement measures that have already shown promise in addressing rising costs. For example, health insurers are already working with doctors and hospitals nationwide to implement accountable-care models and other patient-centered payment reforms that reward the quality of care a patient receives. Health insurers are also offering an array of tools that promote wellness and that help manage costly chronic conditions. Managing chronic conditions is important because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases account for about 75 percent of the nation's aggregate health care spending. These chronic conditions are often brought on by obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lack of physical activity, and are largely preventable. To help address the root causes of costly chronic conditions, health insurers like BCNEPA have developed successful wellness programs for their members and customers. At BCNEPA, every member has the opportunity to work with health coaches to develop a personalized health and wellness program to better manage chronic conditions with our Blue Health Solutions program. Employers are also finding success with wellness programs. In fact, recent studies show that employees who are engaged in a wellness program miss fewer days of work, are more productive and can help slow increases in health care cost trends. Even with these successes, the greater challenge ahead following the court's decision is the long-term ability to control costs as access to care is improved. And that is why, as a major insurer and employer in the northeastern and north central regions of the commonwealth, BCNEPA urges our policy makers to carefully view what the court has ruled and how the Affordable Care Act is further implemented to ensure it is benefiting consumers. Our members, and all residents of the 13 counties we serve, deserve true reform that controls escalating costs through balanced health insurance pools, health and wellness programs, disease prevention and chronic care management, and a refocusing of resources towards preventive care and systems that pay providers based on performance, including their ability to keep patients healthy.  
Kimberly J. Kockler is Vice President of Government Affairs for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2129, July 17th, 2012

Let's hope this is not a wrong turn buy the DA's office. 
  

DA TAKES THE WRONG LOOK

District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said her office is going to look into the missing 18,000 gallons of gas at the DPW Garage in Wilkes Barre. She said she will conduct an investigation with two county detectives. Why not some other branch of government like the State Attorney General’s office? There has always been a connection between politicians and the county detectives. Isn’t the DA tipping her hand by saying who will investigate? I guess its better than nothing and will keep the overpaid detectives something to do. But if there are no findings of criminal activity, the distrustful people of Wilkes Barre will say that the fix was in. A few fundamental questions need to be asked. They are: 
1. Who specifically was using the gas from the city administration? 
2. Where there Council members and city employees involved? 
3. And if the Council members did get gas, where did they go and for what purpose? Don’t they have a salary? 
4. Were there any extended family members who got free gas? 
5. If the city is fined by a state agency, should the money be docked from the Mayor’s salary or will it come from the taxpayers? 
Think about this. There are 18,000 gallons of gas missing. It takes 14 gallons of gas to full up my car. Some cars take more gas but let’s call that the average. That means that there were 1200 fill ups. Even if you average it up, let’s say there are 900 fill ups. Who got them, how many times did they get them and of course this is the $10,000 question, why? Mayor Leighton wonders why people don’t give him credit for the downtown. The town is hustling and bustling. And for the most part bit is safe and clean. But all of that is lost in the white noise that has become one dubious situation after another. Let’s hope someone gets to the bottom of it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2128, July 16th, 2012

Small business, any business doesn't do it on their own 

OBAMA AND SMALL BUSINESS

As usual the national Republicans are taking the President’s words out of context and saying he was against small business. The President, in an address over the weekend said that we are all in this together and that even a business owner who is wildly successful did not achieve that greatness on their own. He pointed out that somewhere along the line there was a mentor or teacher who helped encourage the successful business person. All of a sudden, the right wing talk radio people began to say that the President was anti business. This is not an attack on small business people but rather a wake up call against a new generation of politicians who are anti government. Like it or not, government, since the beginning of this country has had a partnership with business. Government and business worked hand in hand. We would not have won the second World War if government and business did not work together. While no one will admit it, the Republican right is using business as a rallying cry in a similar way they used the Pro Life people in this country. For years the GOP has led the people who are legitimately and sincerely opposed to abortion down the political trail. They’d use this issue to pump up the base and paint others as crazed baby killers. Yet when the GOP had a Supreme Court majority, when they controlled Congress, not once did they do the political bidding of this large voting bloc. Why? Because like the pro life advocates, the GOP is using business as an issue that wants to paint this administration as anti business and by extension, anti American. The national GOP would have you believe that the job creators got rich on their own. They didn’t. They got that way because they built their business in a civilized Democracy that provides public services by that entity the GOP continually beats up, the government. Just last week Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat-backed bill that would have extended tax cuts to small businesses. Both sides indicated the vote was political one -- Democrats said Republicans blocked the bill to cost President Barack Obama political points. Republicans said that the legislation was a campaign stunt and wasn't enough to have any impact on jump-starting the economy. If this bill passed, $73 billion would be the amount of the projected total increase in personal incomes. Some $87 billion –would be potentially added to the GDP. Under this administration, the health care bill provides small businesses the opportunity to get tax breaks if they offer their employees health care. This administration is trying to help small business but it gets shut out by a national party that insists on saying no. As for the speech, the President lifted it from Elizabeth Warren a candidate for the U.S. Senate from the state of Massachusetts who defined what this country is all about. Folks, we better start working together or we’re  done.

 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2127, July 15th, 2012

Can this guy ever smile again?
New County Chair of the GOP Bill Urbanski might think so. (Photo Times Leader) 

COUNTY GOP’S NEW MOVE  

The Luzerne County Republican party had a change in leadership this afternoon at Genetti’s in Wilkes Barre. Ousted by a close vote was current chair Terry Casey. He was replaced by Bill Urbanski of Kingston who serves on the Zoning Board for the borough. The vote was close. 79 to 72. Casey has been Chairman for the past four years and has presided over a party that has not really reached its potential. Given the corruption in Luzerne County, you’d have to believe that a strong county party would be able to capitalize on that. Critics within the party charge that the current leadership has failed to seize the moment. A few other things are at work here too. The party in 2009 allowed a five person primary fight to sap its energy for the Controller’s race. Taxpayer advocate Walter Grifffith the most visible of the five was not only not endorsed but had people within working against him. In Wilkes Barre city in 2011, the party did not take part in shaping the primary field and when the nominee was elected, the county organization did not lift a finger to help her (Lisa Cope) in her effort to unseat Tom Leighton. This year in Pittston, an avowed supporter of white supremacy won a committee post because there was no opposition. In fact, more than 100 committee posts have sat empty. Plus there was a blow to the party when two of its stalwarts, Rusty Flack and Jonathan Balester passed away in 2009. (Flack to cancer, Balester to an as yet unsolved murder). All of these factors added up to formidable opposition to Mr. Casey. Urbanski said that he will fill those committee vacancies and build the party from the ground up. He will have a daunting task but seems to have more of a handle on how to effectively communicate in this new century. New leadership though will not put the fear of God into the Democrats or make the County GOP a force. The vote difference was so slight that you can bet there will be a fissure in the party. This of course is nothing new in Luzerne County and one of the reasons why the Democratic party, despite itself, has been so successful. Before Mr. Urbanski sees success on the horizon, he has to acknowledge the fact that there are lunch pail Republicans as well as banker Republicans. It has been like this for the GOP for generations. Before he can even get out of the gate, he, as the new Party Chair must crack the code on how to merge those two wings so that both can prosper and coexist as a viable alternative to the Democrats here in the County.

The LuLac Edition #2126, July 15th, 2012

"Health Care, Not Scare care" logo. 

HEALTH CARE, NOT SCARE CARE 

My good friend Joe Valenti of Pittston Politics decided to take the path of least resistance today in his otherwise brilliant on line reports. Valenti more than any of us has broken news stories regarding local politicos in the region. He also is a pain in the collective rear ends of the Pittston and Wyoming Area School boards. But today he put on his report an e mail about how American health care will be affected by the Affordable Health Care Act. In short the e mails that were passed to him show the difference among countries who have government run health care programs. There are comparisons of how long individuals might have to wait for procedures. At short glance, it is scary because it looks like the Affordable Health Care Act will delay procedures for the number of people on a program. Here was an example: 
Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis: 
U.S. 65% 
England 46% 
Canada 42% 
Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months: 
U.S. 93% 
England 15% 
Canada 43%
This was a report from Investor’s Daily. It would seem to indicate that we have better health care than nations who have national health care. It would also indicate that if we went down that path our health care would suffer. My question is how? How will our health care suffer when there are 30 million more people on the books paying? How will our health care suffer when 30 million more people are using medical services and insurance companies are paying premiums? How will our health care be less diminished when we tax the deadbeats who won’t buy health insurance and put that money back into deficit reduction? When this comparison is made it bothers me. We are not Canada who is content to be one of the colonies. We are not England who we broke away from in order to shape our own destiny. We are America. A country that used to be up to challenges of technology and innovation. How can a nation that landed men on the moon and brought them back safely not be able to figure out a health care plan where the majority of Americans are covered? Nowhere in this dubious data that was presented where there reasons why people in other countries had to wait for procedures. This country is more compassionate to its “less thans” than any country in the world. A lot of times we are too generous to a fault and allow our good nature to be taken advantage of. (As a compassionate liberal I also believe in accountability and tracking just what people getting welfare spend their money on). But we will not allow people to die or wait forever to have care. It is not our way. It is not our business model. We do things different here and this latest e mail making the rounds is just an example of the scare tactics being used.
My dog McKinley. Would you leave this dog alone for 90 days without food or water while you go on holiday? 

WE ARE NOT FRANCE EITHER

This week on the radio I heard a story about a problem in France regarding a high animal mortality rate. Seems that when the French go on their vacations and leave their homes, they also leave their pets. When they come back, Fifi and Pierre are usually dead from starvation, malnutrition and thirst. In France, it’s just the way things are. In America, we want to string up people who are cruel to animals. We do things here a little differently than the rest of the world. If we don’t let our dogs rot in the summer, do serious people actually think we’d allow a health care system to exist that would harm our citizens?