Thursday, November 30, 2006

The next Luzerne County Commissioner

County controller will try for Vonderheid’s seat

Luzerne County Controller Maryanne Petrilla plans to climb to the next rung of the political ladder in 2007...She officially declared her candidacy Wednesday for the spot now held by Commissioner Todd Vonderheid, who will not seek re-election next year.

Petrilla’s campaign platform is focusing on economic development to create new jobs, fighting the county’s drug and crime problems and reducing costs while maintaining or improving services.

Her platform is the usual dribble that we have been hearing forever. More jobs, cut costs, less crime and lock up all the drug dealers. I'll believe it when I see it.

When it comes to more jobs Luzerne County is in the same hole as many other communities. A company will promise to come to the area if local taxing authorities will give away the store to them. The last time I looked programs like KOZ Zones haven't created many jobs and you and me pay the difference. The so called War on Drugs by the national government is directly responsible for the rise in crime and the overcrowding of local jails and local governments can only offer band-aid solutions. Then there is the dishonesty of every politician that wants to cut costs and taxes while promising more programs.

She wants to be Greg Skrepenak's running mate but he is saying he will wait and see who else comes forward. Bullshit. It will be her and Skrep running as a team. This quote from Skrepnak made me laugh:

"The budget is balanced. We have some quality projects in the works. The attitude in this county has changed. We can’t lose that momentum.”

The budget might be balanced now because of refinancing of the long term debt that future Commissioners will have to find a way to pay for and even more money will have to be borrowed to pay for a new county jail. How much more money can this county borrow?

These guys won't look good in Dodger Blue

Wolf signs with the Dodgers

Few people get to play professional baseball. Even fewer get to play for their hometown team.
Randy Wolf found that opportunity impossible to pass up.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced yesterday that they had signed the lefthander to a one-year, $7.5 million contract with a $9 million club option (or a $500,000 buyout) for 2008 that automatically vests based on innings pitched.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here comes da Judge

What, it's noon already?

I've heard the stories about Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Ann Lokuta sometimes eccentric behavior. If you read the complaint of the state’s Judicial Conduct Board it reads like a script of a bad comedy. Accusing her of not bathing, wearing soiled clothes and yelling at people is petty. The hints about her sexuality interfering with her duties have come up before. A former female clerk had filed sexual harrassment charges in 1999 that weren't proven. When she was up for retention in 2001 the word went out to vote no and she only got 57% of the vote in her favor. The other Judges on the ballot that year received 70%+.

The TL article has the highlights of some of the more outrageous accusations and the CV has some follow-up. The most serious allegation is that she used a court employee as her personal slave:

From 1999 to 2001, Lokuta “misused” worker Judith Flaherty by having her run personal errands on county time, the charges say. Flaherty allegedly had to clean Lokuta’s bathroom, kitchen, hallway, living room, scrub her floor by hand, take her car to the car wash, and do yard work at Lokuta’s home, among other chores. Flaherty was at Lokuta’s home performing the tasks for weeks and months at a time.

But the other shoe will drop in this if it goes to a hearing and it will be fun to hear her side of the story. This charge caught my attention:

Lokuta has also allegedly directed her staff to not interact with other court personnel or judges and continually gives negative commentary from the bench about President Judge Michael Conahan.

A Big Fat Slob has dealt with our local legal system and has concluded we need merit selection of Judges. I agree.

Dems take state house, maybe

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) Democrats won control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years Tuesday as Chester County officials settled a pair of tight House races three weeks after the election.
In the closest race, Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith of West Chester won the formerly Republican 156th District seat by 23 votes after officials tabulated hundreds of previously uncounted absentee ballots.
Smith, 56, who owns a water-treatment company, defeated Republican Shannon Royer, 39, who has worked on the House Republicans' staff for a decade, by a tally of 11,614 to 11,591, according to an unofficial count. The back-to-back ballot tabulations gave Democrats a 102-101 edge in the House, although Republicans did not immediately concede loss of control.

Let the games begin. Now we will wait for the recounts and court challenges. If that doesn't work maybe the Republicans can find another man of integrity like Hazleton's Tom Stish who defected to give them control in 1994. Of course if the result is reversed the Democrats will try to poach a GOP lawmaker.

There is real bloodletting going on over at GrassrootsPA that I'm enjoying immensely. I haven't joined in because I was advised a long time ago to stand back and watch the other side implode. If this stands there will be new leadership elections on the Republican side and John Perzel may be replaced as the leader.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Come one, come all

The next meeting of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society is scheduled for this Saturday 4PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre (map it). Pope George Ringo has extended an invitation to all bloggers, commenters and readers to join us.

Michael G. Rennie the Unofficial Social Secretary of the Northeast Blogging Council informs me that he's received many definate maybes from area bloggers that are intending to attend. Our last meetup in May was a runaway success resulting in no hospitalizations or arrests. We even had a state rep candidate show up and this time we may have a few past and future candidates for public office. So clear your schedules and join us.

In other blogger news Above Average Jane is celebrating her 2nd blogoversary. She recounts the growth of her blog and the success of some projects such as Our Part of the Bargain that received widespread media coverage. She even thanked me for "a great kindness" I showed her but I can't recall what it was. As in any market (and blogs are a marketplace of ideas) a good product will get noticed. Congratulations Jane! Many more years to come.

Tell me something I don't know

Women talk three times as much as men, says study

It is something one half of the population has long suspected - and the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men. In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.

Is Rover a Republican?

Which party do pet owners prefer?

So perhaps it's no surprise that this month saw the release of what may be the first professional political poll of American dogs. In a telephone survey of 600 dog owners nationwide, D.C.-based pollster Michael D. Cohen found that, although the owners favored John McCain over Hillary Rodham Clinton by 38.5 percent to 31.3 percent in a hypothetical match-up, they averred (by a smaller margin) that their dogs would likely paw the lever for Clinton. Cohen says the questions--appended to an otherwise nonpolitical marketing survey for a soon-to-be-released pet product--were meant as a lark. If Nascar Dads and Soccer Moms could be invented and then pandered to by political consultants in previous election cycles, he reasoned, why not dog owners?

There are many public policy questions that relate to household pets such as leash laws and vaccination requirements. Pitched battles have erupted over outlawing so called aggressive breeds such as pit bulls. Scandals over inhumane treatment and charging for cremations of dogs that were thrown in the dumpster pop up in the news. The ethics of euthanizing unwanted animals is a constant debate. Pets are even a source of contention in divorce settlements.

It will take a bit more polling to figure out how best the political class could react to such modern pet-owning challenges. But strategists considering writing off this would-be voting bloc should consider this: In 2002, American Demographics reported that 83 percent of American pet owners call themselves their animal's "Mommy" or "Daddy," up from 55 percent in 1995. Now, anyone running for office want to side against Mom and Dad?

Note: It must be dog night on the web. Bernie spent the weekend at a dog park.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kanjo looks to the future and wants to bury the past

Kanjorski sees change in atmosphere

U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski won a 14th term in Congress earlier this month and for the first time in a dozen years, he’s poised to join a House where his party is in the majority. The Nanticoke resident, who will turn 70 in April and appears to be in no hurry to retire, now has reason to stick around.

In the interview he notes that he is now the 2nd ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and has his pick of what sub-committee he wants to chair. This is a big deal because the nuts and bolts of lawmaking is done in the sub-committees. He says it will give him an opprotunity to bring home the bacon in the form of Wall Street West. He wants to work with incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi "to bring civility back to the House."

Q: What do you think Democrats can reasonably accomplish in the next two years?

A: I think we’ll definitely get a change in the minimum wage … I think we can get a better competitive program on (Medicare) prescription drugs, which will lessen the cost of those drugs to the government … We have to do that. Nobody can justify why this nation’s people, not only those who get it through Medicare and Medicaid, but the general population are paying so much more than every other industrial nation in the world … All the other governments of the world do negotiate their drug prices.

Q: What else do you think you can do?

A: I think we’re really going to have to start looking at how we got into a war like Iraq and what future wars are out there. We can’t change that disaster now but we can hope and put into place things that should lessen the likelihood that the president can make that mistake again.

We'll see about that. Since WWII the Congress has abdicated its power to declare war. My view is if its important enough to fight and die for the people through their elected represenatives should follow the constitution and make a formal Declaration of War. Not pass a resolution such as Tonken Gulf or the last one giving the OK to the Iraq debacle.

Then there is Cornerstone Technologies.

Rep. Kanjorski denies avoiding deposition concerning firm controlled by his nephews.

Steering $9 million of taxpayer money to a firm owned by your relatives sure doesn't look good. Especially when the company goes belly up and has nothing to show for this "investment." Now the whole thing is wrapped up in litigation and the judge in the case had some choice words:

On Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Conrad confronted Cornerstone President Peter A. Kanjorski, the congressman’s nephew, saying the bankruptcy was aimed at preventing “yourself and your uncle from being deposed...I’ve sat through this case for four years, and I’ve watched the most twisted, obstructive effort to deny discovery that I have ever seen,” Judge William F. Moran said while ordering the contempt proceeding during a Sept. 5 hearing. “Maybe the people who are involved in this think they are immune from the law because of who they are. But they’re not in this county,” Moran said, according to a hearing transcript.

Slosh machines

In another middle of the night session the state legislature passed a bill to let slots operators give away free booze to players.

HARRISBURG-General Assembly critics assailed the state legislators for again enacting a major proposal late at night without adequate public input.
"This is the same kind of stealth legislation that happened with the original slots law and the legislative pay raise," complained Tim Potts, head of Democracy Rising PA, a citizens group formed last year to fight the pay raises...Late Tuesday night, just minutes before they ended the 2005-06 session, the House and Senate enacted a change to the state liquor code, permitting casinos to offer free drinks to anyone playing slot machines from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week.

Again they passed a law without any hearings, public input or openly debating the proposal 3 times as the state constituition requires.

You can debate the merits of this proposal but the problem with Harrisburg is the process. If you think the law should be changed to allow this, fine, but it should go through the normal legislative process not pass it in a lame duck session.

New name for the Red Barons

CV: Northeastern Pennsylvania will have to wait a little longer to learn the new name of its Triple-A baseball franchise, though sources suggest an announcement is likely in a week or two...And yes, the Yankees name does appear to be in the running. But it’s not alone...Among them: Bombers, Yankees, Clippers, Pinstripers, Highlanders, Iron Horses and Babes — are all related to the parent club. In deference to local history came options Barons, Mountaineers and Coal Crackers.

The Red Barons name is merger of the Scranton Red Sox and Wilkes-Barre Barons that paid tribute to our minor league baseball past. But it got perverted into a bi-plane logo that didn't make any sense. I can't say I'm thrilled with any of the proposed names but it could be worse. The thieves of the Lehigh Valley are calling their new Phillies farm club the Iron Pigs.

A new record

Over the holiday weekend I've received over 20 emails asking for my help in liberating a fortune or informing me I have won some sort of lottery. I find it hard to beleive that anyone on the net has not heard of the Nigerian Letter or 419 fraud and it's variations. But some suckers must still reply to these crooks (probably before they go play the slots at Pocono Downs) or they wouldn't still try.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hugo on hold

Dr. Tara let me know that next installment of the Hugo Selenski saga will be delayed. The defense has been given a mountain of evidence in the discovery process and can't get through it all before the original trial date in January.

Anyone and everyone in Luzerne County who has been following this case remembers that the escape charges against Hugo were dismissed because DA David Lupas filed the the paper work late. He's on a roll, he lost the first murder trial and the crime he could prove beyond a resonable doubt, escape, can't be prosecuted. Now the DA's office has dropped the ball on another case.

Felony gun charge might be tossed

The article gets into the technical aspects of the law. The DA wants relief because of a typo saying the typist put an (a ) where a (c ) should be. With all the lawyers in the DA's office you think one of them would have read the charges -looking for problems- that were going to sent to the court.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks to Miss Cellania for the pic.

And for everyone who has lived through an uncomfortable day with the relatives. From A List Of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago there is:

The Pre-Meal Thanksgiving Safety Demonstration

Welcome to this Thanksgiving meal, with non-stop service from passive aggression to outright yelling. This afternoon's meal will last approximately two hours and 14 minutes. At this time, please direct your attention to the head of the table for the pre-meal safety demonstration.

Emergency exits are located at the door into the kitchen and through the living room into the front hall. Please take a moment to locate the exit nearest you.

When the meal begins to take off, you must fasten your lips shut. To do so, insert an alcoholic beverage into a glass, and pull it to your lips for a long swig. We suggest that you keep your beverage glass full throughout the meal, as we may experience turbulence.

In the event of a sudden pressurization of the dining room's atmosphere, various members of the family may drop insults that they don't actually mean. Remain calm. Pull the defensive psychological mask that you have constructed over your face and breathe normally. Insults will continue to flow even after the mask is in place.

In the event of water flowing from eyelids, please remember that your Walgreen's Thanksgiving print paper napkin can be used as a tear-soaking device.

This is a non-smoking meal. Tampering with, disabling, or destroying the smoke detectors located in the bathroom is an offense punishable by substantial yelling and cursing.

At this time we ask that you turn off all cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices. Please make sure that you have stowed away all painful memories and disappointments in preparation for the meal.

For complete information on meal safety procedures, please review the email provided to you by your cousin Joe detailing which family members are not talking to which other family members and which subjects are prohibited.

Thank you for choosing this side of the family for your Thanksgiving meal. At this time, you may sit back, relax, and enjoy the fight.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Calif. court says bloggers can't be sued

via KOS

Good news for bloggers in Luzerne County and nationwide. We now have some case law that protects us when we link to something that someone objects to.

State's Supreme Court said a federal law gives immunity from libel suits

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that bloggers and participants in Internet bulletin board groups cannot be sued for posting defamatory statements made by others.
In deciding a case closely watched by free speech groups, the court said a federal law gives immunity from libel suits not only to Internet service providers, like AOL, but also to bloggers and other users of their services.
"Subjecting Internet service providers and users to defamation liability would tend to chill online speech," today's unanimous ruling said.

This doesn't mean we can say any irresponsible thing about anybody but it protects us if we link to someone who does put something out there that turns out not to be true. I'm not a lawyer but I read it to mean that we are also not responsible for any charges made in our comments.

Holiday animation

Nothing puts you in the mood for the upcoming season like watching Mickey, Minnie and Goofy getting kinky.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ryan Howard MVP

Not bad for a second year player. Last year Rookie of the Year and now the National League Most Valuable Player. Howard becomes the second player in Major League Baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards in consecutive seasons, following Cal Ripken in 1982 and 1983. Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) have the sweeter distinction of winning both awards in their first seasons. Howard's season of 58 homers and 149 RBIs is made more impressive by his .313 batting average. Congrats Ryan!

Now the Phils need another bat since their off season target Alfonso Soriano signed a crazy contract with the Cubs, Soriano agreed Monday to a $136 million, eight-year contract. The deal became official after Soriano passed a physical Monday. Soriano's deal is the fifth-largest total package given to a major league player. And Pat Burrell still hasn't been traded.

In other sports news the Eagles season went into the toilet, if it wasn't there already, when Donovan McNabb got hurt again. And Penn State beat Michigan State finishing with an 8-4 record and probably will get a New Year's Day bowl game.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Barletta on 60 minutes tonight

TL: The CBS news program airing tonight will feature interviews with Mayor Lou Barletta, citizens of Hazleton and a spokesman for the coalition challenging the Illegal Immigration Relief Act and English Only ordinances.

The local papers are demanding that he release the names of people who have donated to his legal defense fund which is funny in the case of the Times-Leader since they won't even tell you who owns the paper. One big donor from Philadelphia has gone public. Joey Vento, owner of Geno's Steaks that made headlines over the summer for an English-only ordering policy, says he's proud to have given $10,000. It was interesting to read in the Philly papers that Geno's uses imported beef from South America. The other segments of the show sound more compelling. Stories about Joe Namath and the dwindling number of tigers in Indian jungles. Lou is extending his fifteen minutes of fame while people and businesses flee Hazleton.

I just watched th 60 minutes piece. The number one news show in the country is featuring the Mayor of Hazleton Lou Barletta about his efforts to rid his town of illegal aliens. Although he can’t actually prove illegal aliens are the source of all crime in that small town. But it makes for good press and that’s what he is about. I know I’m in the minority about doubting his efforts and motivation in this adventure. When I point out that Italians were looked upon with suspicion a hundred years ago because they looked different and had another religion people say “oh right.” It’s easy and dangerous to blame a minority for all your problems.

They reffered to the the wilds of PA and said the mayor is making a name for himself. "If the federal govt was doing something about it we wouldn’t be talking about it today." I agree with that. Then he confesses "Nobody knows how many illegals are here." And alleged that "The police are overwhelmed." Then he said he wants to make landlords and employers into INS agents.

The people they interviewed left town because they don’t feel safe.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Vondy out

CV: Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid confirmed at a Friday morning news conference he will not seek a second term in office. He did promise to serve out the remaining 13 months of his current term.

The Yonk has his farewell letter. He notes some accomplishments but I give him and Skrep many incompletes plus some downright blunders such as the life transition plan, adding to the long term debt and still playing games with jobs.

But let's look to the future.

The heir apparent is Controller Maryanne Petrilla who took on and replaced Steve Flood when he started asking too many inconvenient questions. The Democratic Party owes her for getting rid of a loudmouth, dedicated and honest man. From what I hear she even shows up at the office once in while since Laura Bidwell was fired and can't sign Petrilla's name to official documents. Wilkes-Barre city councilwoman Kathy Kane is also looking to move up because of the uncertainty of surrounding the new districts but if she stays on council she is looking at positions with the Pennsylvania and National League of Cities. Such a tough choice when you want to be somebody. Other possible Democratic candidates are Pittston Township Supervisor Tony Attardo, Wilkes-Barre attorney Ray Hassey, and former Bear Creek Township Supervisor Ed Benkoski.

On the Republican side Steve Urban is being coy but will probably run again. Other Republicans considering a run are: Crestwood School Board member Bill Jones, Hanover Area School Board member David Shipula, Dallas chiropractor Dave Madeira, former West Hazleton Mayor Carl Puschauver and everybody's favorite Bill James. Out of this bunch Madeira is the most interesting candidate. He ran a surprising 2nd to Lisa Baker in the primary to replace retiring Charlie Lemmond in the 20th Senate District. I don't agree with him about many social issues but county commissioners aren't involved in arguments about God, guns and gays. He impressed me as a fiscal conservative who isn't afraid to speak his mind. Sounds like a good running mate for Urban.

To me the potential candidate that stands head and shoulders above the rest is former Controller Steve Flood. And I know my fellow Democrats out there will object because he is not a "team player." For four years the guy was a pain in the ass to the powers that be and we need that. Although things have improved somewhat the county government is still not run properly.
Not only the job situation but the sweetheart deals for the well connected such as the juvi jail lease. Steve Flood wants to do things not just be somebody. Flood, who lost the controller seat to Petrilla in 2005, said he is 60-40 in favor of running because “too many people” contacted him about concerns about the county’s long-term debt, management salaries and costly county real estate leases. I just hope he runs a better campaign than last time when he just sat back and let his opponents smear him.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lehigh Valley blogs are fun

Even the local newspaper noticed.

Blogs: Less filters, more voices

Led by LVDem and Bernie O'Hare there has been an explosion of Allentown-Easton-Bethlehem bloggers that concentrate on local politics and other things. The combination of insight and comedy makes for a good read everyday. I was going to list the sites I visit but it's a long one and I'm sure I would miss someone. Plus I'm lazy.

The thrust of the story is that bloggers are changing the reporting of the news. There is an instant fact check on what is written in newspapers plus a sometimes rush to publish by bloggers that turns out to be wrong that the reporters refute. I think it's a healthy relationship. For all the doom and gloom written about the demise of newspapers because of the internet that's not going to happen. The big national blogs react to what is in the NY Times or the Washington Post as we react to the Morning Call, Times-Leader, Patriot News or Citizen Voice. We need each other.

To give you an idea how enlightened the Lehigh County blogosphere is I was named one of the Sexiest Men Alive, sort of.

Update: Happy blogoversary to LVDem.

Rick Santorum for President

Citing family reasons the soon to be unemployed junior Senator from Virginia rules out a White House bid in 2008.

Santorum: No oval office run
Some backers sought an '08 campaign, but he said: "Absolutely, positively not."

As much as I knock Rick you have to admire any politician that says what's on his mind. I've said before that I would miss him. Politics is a contact sport but it is also entertainment. Who is more entertaining than Ricky? Hopefully he won't go on to be a lobbyist but get some sort of media gig. Fox News is a natural fit. Actually in the last weeks of the campaign when he was going on about the gathering storm, etc. I thought he was looking to run for President. But he ruled it out and I will take him at his word. At the same time he can always change his mind. The idea of being President is a powerful tonic for anyone involved in politics. The old joke about everytime a Senator looks in the mirror he can see a President also applies to Congressmen, city councilors and even bloggers.

On a side note I want to congratulate Alex and the gang at Santorum Blog for providing the most comprehensive coverage of the Senate election. Good or bad for their guy it was posted.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Flash floods

A bridge collapsed on Cleveland Street in Plains Township due to Thursday’s storm.

Here we go again. This area has been prone to flooding for as long as I can remember. Tonight's adventure in some ways is more dangerous than what happened in June when the Susquehanna River threatened to jump it's banks in the Wilkes-Barre area. All our EMS types keep an eye on the river and when it starts to rise there is plenty of warning. When Mill Creek near my house gets out of control there is no warning.

Just a point of cartography. The stream that runs through Plains, Miners Mills, Hollenback Park, past General Hospital and into the river is actually named Gardners Creek (map). But it's always been called Mill Creek by me and everybody else.

But anyway. My normal 10 minute trip home tonight turned into an hour adventure. There was a two foot lake near the side entrance to Pocono Downs trapping many people putting their life savings into a machine that will never love them back. I had to turn around and when I tried the back roads it was more high water with the added attraction of mud and rock slides. When I finally got home I was met by a torrent of water gushing down the hill because of the runoff and just about every drain being clogged by leaves and debris. As happens in times of emergency people came together. Everybody was out helping out either cleaning leaves from the storm drains or setting up sump pumps in the house next door.

The great thing about living in an old neighborhood is that we have been through it before and know what is at stake. By old neighborhood I don't just mean people who have lived here a long time. Even our new home owners and renters on the street chipped in tonight and became part of the old neighborhood.

They eat more than donuts

WILKES-BARRE - A uniformed Wilkes-Barre police officer entered the Kidder Street Wendy's on Sunday afternoon and ordered a single hamburger combo, without cheese, pickles and onions, a baked potato and a regular iced tea with lemon. The entire meal cost a little over $5.

The officer signed a receipt and waltzed out the door without paying a cent.

Can that greasy, made-to-order fast food hamburger- and the sides -buy police protection?

Ethics issues surrounding the policy of gifting vary by police department. There are no state-level regulations against the practice, but Lindenmuth said accepting gifts can create a public perception that certain businesses curry favor with patrolmen because of handouts and freebies.

In a past life I worked at a resort in the Poconos that offered free meals to the state police. Sometime we would have 10 troopers eating in the employee area of the dining room at once. This wasn't burgers but prime rib and lobster. I didn't think it was right and raised an objection only to be told to shut up. On the rare occasion when we needed the police we would still wait an hour for them to show up if it wasn't supper time. One of the cops who regularly put on the feed bag even gave me a ticket for an expired inspection sticker. I'm not sure it buys you extra protection but it doesn't look good.

Let's juggle the books and fund the wish list

WILKES-BARRE Luzerne County commissioners approved a plan Wednesday to restructure up to $110 million in debt, claiming it will help balance this year’s budget and allow them to propose a balanced budget for next year...This year’s budget deficit was projected at $9 million and now should be erased by $7 million obtained from debt refinancing and other expected savings. The refinancing deal also gives the county an extra $5.3 million next year.

The kicker is the taxpayers are on the hook for higher debt repayment in the future. If I had any faith that they would hold the line on spending I might go for it but everybody has their hand out. In an election year it will be hard to say no.

County requested to contribute $9.4M Money would go toward 18 tasks, including Kirby Center, Osterhout Library, Lands at Hillside Farms capital projects

The Osterhout Free Library wants $300,000

The Lands at Hillside Farms wants $609,912

Butler Township officials want $1.5 million

The Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce wants $500,000

Plymouth wants $350,000

Wilkes-Barre wants $1.2 million

And so on.

You can argue the merits of each project mentioned but the county just doesn't have the money to fund them all without cooking the books and creating even more debt. The politics of it is Skrep is running for reelection and Vondy is leaving for a job with the Chamber of Commerce. Steve Urban is living up to his reputation as Dr. No and will probably be proven right. Don't forget that Luzerne County will have to build a new prison soon to the tune of $70 million or more that will require borrowing more money. Why our society insists on locking up so many people is another subject.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More on 2008

I know this a local political blog but it's fun to speculate on the next Presidential election. This is the silly season when we can all size up the field before the election gets close and we all start tearing each others heads off.

Rudy Giuliani was in Wilkes-Barre yesterday to talk about leadership and sanitation.

Giuliani not talking White House -- yet

To Republicans, Giuliani says, "You have to go back to your principles. We have to say, what can we do better? The list should include reducing spending and pork barrel projects, and finding better ways of dealing with corruption, he said.The election also indicated Americans want cooperation between the parties, Giuliani said. An issue to start with that both agree on is the need for immigration reform...He quoted another famous former New York mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia: "There is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage, only the right way to do it."

After telling our local reporters he isn't ready to announce that he is running for President he forms an exploratory committee. Remember this paragraph because you're going to see it many more times:

The former mayor is a moderate who supports gun control, same-sex civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion rights - stands that would put him at odds with the majority of the GOP conservative base.

Chris Bowers at MyDD thinks he's the frontrunner:

Here is the thing: right now, I actually think Giuliani should be considered the favorite to win the Republican nomination. As much as the Republican base has been raised up as an all-powerful, unstoppable conservative force (which might be true, since they did win the 2006 elections for conservatives) the truth is, and always has been, that Republican money runs the show... Unless Republican money sides with someone besides Giuliani, and I don't see that happening right now, I would have to consider him the Republican favorite. Not to mention that he will have what is left of the Republican libertarian and Rockerfeller wings all to himself, while a zillion wingnuts vie for the title of theocon of the year during 2007 (including, probably, McCain)

His biggest asset is his performance on 9/11 but Talk Left points out that many of the 9/11 families don't have a high opinion of him:

Rudy Guliani was greeted with heckles by families of 9/11 victims today as he as he appeared for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

Local bloggers Dr. Rick and the Yonk like him. I think Chris is wrong and the poll he put on his post shows most of his readers agree. Rudy just won't sell in the South or with the fundamentalists. It's McCain's turn, he will get the money and Bush will back him.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who's running for President, or not

Mark Warner pulled out before the election now my early favorite Russ Feingold takes a pass.

Yet, while I've certainly enjoyed the repeated comments or buttons saying, "Run Russ Run", or "Russ in '08", I often felt that if a piece of Wisconsin swiss cheese had taken the same positions I've taken, it would have elicited the same standing ovations. This is because the hunger for progressive change we feel is obviously not about me but about the desire for a genuinely different Democratic Party that is ready to begin to reverse the 25 years of growing extremism we have endured.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa took the initial step in his long-shot bid for the White House Thursday, establishing a presidential campaign committee and seeking an early jump on 2008.

Tom Vilsack doesn't excite me or anybody else but you never can tell. The big news is the obvious.

WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. John McCain said Sunday he is taking the initial steps for a White House bid in 2008, setting up a committee that allows a potential candidate to raise money and travel the country to gauge support.

The Republicans always have been very orderly about the nomination and it's McCain's turn. He has to win over or at least neutralize the religious conservatives and he's trying. He has to be the fiscal conservative's guy as he has always been out front on wasteful spending. On national security it's hard to find a bigger hawk.

In the end I think it comes down to Dubya. If he backs some one for the nomination they will win it. The thing I fear is that McCain makes a deal with the devil and puts Jeb on the ticket.

McCain-Powell is the best one for the Republicans.

What happens when the novelty wears off?

PLAINS TWP. – The slot machines at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs are sure to be a losing proposition for many visitors, but they are shaping up as guaranteed jackpots for nearby hotels.

The slots are off and running at Pocono Downs. Plains Township is already spending the promissed money on street paving and the local school boards hope it results in some tax relief. The LCTA is adding stops at the Racino while eliminating stops at grocery stores. The United Way provided a guest list of high rollers for the test run, most of whom will never be back. The hotels are talking about adding rooms to cash in on the additional traffic and the local gas stations will see an uptick in business.

From what I've read this facility is not being marketed in a way to draw out-of-town business but to bring in the locals. We can expect more glowing stories in the local media about what a "success" it is until the other slots parlors open. Then all the promises of a never ending stream of revenue will dry up.
2006 Election...A Comedic Roundup

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What about Bob?

FT: Republicans yesterday blamed individual ethics cases more than Mr Rove. "In Bob Sherwood's seat [in Pennsylvania] that would have been overwhelmingly ours if his mistress hadn't whined about being throttled," said Mr Norquist. Were there any lessons from the campaign? "Yes. The lesson should be don't throttle mistresses."

Or drown the government in a bathtub. I love the postmortem analysis coming from the Republicans. We strayed from our principles, Iraq wasn't an issue, etc. Voters are stupid is what they seem to be saying.

Incompetence was the issue. Whatever you thought of the Iraq war at the beginning most people know the US military can't stay there forever and Bush kept saying "stay the course." The response to Hurricane Katrina, the budget blowing up, earmarks, Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley just showed that the Republicans have not governed well and in many cases were hypocrites.

There is always a natural correction in American politics. Our system was designed so no one person or group of people can get everything they want and when they try the people stop them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The future of the Luzerne County GOP

“There was no backing from the local Republican party. The one thing the Luzerne County Republican Party needs to do is to get rid of Lynette Villano or there’s not going to be a Republican Party here in this county.”- John Cordora

I could dismiss Cordora's comment as sour grapes from a candidate that just got clobbered if I hadn't heard it before. Just as I think it's unhealthy for one party to control the national government it's not good that the local Republican Party is so inept. It's not only that they can't recruit candidates for many elections but when a good person decides to run for office they're on their own. It seems that the local Republicans are so used to losing to the Democrats that they don't even try. When one party controls the levers of government for a long time without serious challenge it's just asking for trouble. Yes, I'm a Democrat but before that I'm a citizen that wants good government. An effective opposition is essential at all levels of government. It's not fair to blame years of incompetence on one person but after reading Villano's comment below I think Cordora may have a point.

I think people would settle back, enjoy the holidays, eat turkey and then start focusing. Two years is a political lifetime.”-Lynette Villano, chairwoman of the Luzerne County Republican Party, said she isn’t thinking that far ahead.

10th District recap

When Chris Carney first announced he was running for the 10th Congressional seat held by Don Sherwood no one had heard of Cynthia Ore. At the time the speculation was Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepnak would make the race. I was excited that the Democrats would even field a candidate against a 4 term incumbent that had no serious opposition in the last 2 elections. Since then an incredible series of events has made Chris Carney a Congressman.

I won't rehash it all but the highlights were Skrep taking a pass, the choking incident becoming public, Kathy Scott getting 44% of the vote in the primary and the Republicans throwing good money after bad when they knew it was hopeless. I think it helped the Democrats nationally that the GOP spent money on this race that could have been better spent elsewhere. And give credit to Chris and his staff of smart, young, energetic people for running one of the best political campaigns in the country. Even with the scandal it was still an uphill fight. Hell, the 10th re-elected Joe McDade when he was under indictment.

Just to blow our own horns I have to say the netroots did it's part. Atrios, posters at Kos, Firedog Lake, Americablog and Wonkette brought the race to national attention. Down with Tyranny produced web ads and many raised money for Carney. I'm proud to say the PA bloggers were relentless. And the conservative blogs stayed quiet. We made the national party pay attention and it poured money into the district.

In the end it was the common sense of the people as it always is. The incumbent said one thing and did another. He was a creature of his party and became comfortable in his position while telling us he brings home the bacon. People can smell a phony. They decided to take a chance on a young man who serves his country, educates our kids and listens to their concerns. The race for 2008 has already started. More on that later.

Plains budgets money they don't have

PLAINS TWP. -...The budget includes slot revenues totaling $1.75 million, to be doled out in four installments, Board of Commissioners Chairman Ronald Filippini said. The first check will arrive in January, he said, with subsequent checks arriving in April, July and October.

And feelings are hurt because not everybody got in the picture.

How can you account for money that is not in the till? I can anticipate future revenues because I've had the winning lottery numbers for a long time but the balls have not just figured it out yet. But they will. If I guess wrong my family suffers, if the town fathers guess wrong thousands lose. Sometimes I'm just so conservative.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bush fired Rumsfeld and wants to play nice

My answer to that.

The day after

The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society gathered last night to watch the returns and bask in victory. We didn't all vote the same way with a few even confessing to voting for Republicans in some races. There was a thoughtful and spirited discussion going on between the Rain Man, Pope George Ringo, SoccerMike and the Senator from Plains when the Mean Old Man showed up and all hell broke loose. The Mean One started yelling about nuking Syria and Iran, tossed around his version of WMD's (Thelma Jean's biscuits) and accused me of having a hand in the mysterious disappearance of a local conservative blogger.
Some people just can't take losing an election.

Wide awake in America

It shouldn't be this close. There is something wrong.

U2 - Bad

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pashinksi wins big in the 121st


Chris Carney wins!

Elected Video

Santorum concedes

And he's giving his thank you's. Now he runs for President.

Tl reports Mundy and Kanjo win


NBC calls Connecticut for Leiberman.


Hillary wins. Others are holds. Brown beats Dewine in Ohio.

Casey wins!

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania voters handed the U.S. Senate's No. 3 Republican his first political defeat Tuesday, rejecting conservative stalwart Rick Santorum in favor of Democrat Bob Casey, the mild-mannered son of a former two-term governor.

And Rendell wins big.

Harris loses in Fla, Strickland wins Ohio

AP, CNN: Strickland wins

Harris loses in Fla

Indiana just closed

Dick Lugar won. But we will await the results from the house races. 2,3,7, and 9.

Exit polls

CNN Exit Polls: Corruption, National Issues Dominating Election

Good news for the Democrats. Bad news for the countrythat is has gotten this bad.

Wonkette: Corruption, Terrorism, Economy, Iraq

Associated Press Exit Polls: A Third Of Evangelicals Vote For Dems

ABC Exit Polls: Strong Disapproval Of Bush, Iraq War Among Today's Voters

I voted

And I'm sure anyone who reads this blog has done their civic duty. I still don't trust these newfangled machines but our society has become technology drunk. A pencil and paper is the better way of doing things instead of a $3000 touch screen computer. So much for bitching about the method as after all the time and money spent on the new system it is here to stay. We have to work on improving the system so everybody is confident in the outcome.

I voted about 4PM and the turnout was 200 out of 600 in my precinct. Not bad but it should be better. There were lawn signs for all the candidates but only one poll worker for Pashinski. I may have to rethink running for county committeeman as I've never seen our guy in the all the years I've been voting in Plains.

Penn Patriot has a thoughtful analysis of the election and The Pennsylvania Progressive tells us who he voted for. Above Average Jane is blogging the election at the Washington Monthly. Kudos Jane! LVDem and the gang will keep us updated at Keystone Politics. Memories of my time in England covering the Monster Raving Looney Party is brought back by A Big Fat Slob. And it looks like he will be with us all night. GrassrootsPA is covering fraud in Philly and I'm sure Chis will be on top of things all night.

Anyone else blogging the election tonight? I was contacted by the Patriot News last week to contribute to their election coverage but they never gave me the details. If your out there boys let me know.

Anyone who has a last minute prediction, who wants to share your reasons voting for your candidates or has a election day story please chime in.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Endorsements and predictions

I've been cruising the web to see what my bog buddies are thinking about tomorrow.

Lehigh Valley Ramblings says Rapid Edward and Boring Bob will win big and laments the lost opportunity of knocking off Charlie Dent in the 15th CD. He also weighs in on the Lehigh Valley state house races.

Our calorie and neatness challenged friend A Big Fat Sob started this frenzy by saying Rendell and Casey will prevail and gives his picks on the Senate races plus the PA House contests.

next direction also picks Rendell and Casey plus calling Sestak, Lois Murphy and Chris Carney winners. But his heart is in the Pa-8th contest. He's calling Patrick Murphy a winner over Fitzpatrick in a nail biter.

LVDem has the guv and Casey winning big but predicts a mixed result in the House races with the Democrats picking up the 6th, 7th and 10th districts. He also goes into detail about the Lehigh Valley state house races.

Another Monkey and Fact-esque don't trust the electronic voting machines. Neither do I.

Jane congratulates candidates that didn't have a prayer for showing up. No matter what you always want a choice.

I'm surprised to read that the Bob Casey Blog and Santorum Blog think their guy will win.

The All Spin Zone has a poll asking what is your biggest issue.

On the other side Courage of Conviction likes Santorum and Lynn Swann and shocks us by picking a Democrat in the 199th State House District.

The Pennsylvania Progressive hasn't made any explicit endorsements but you know where he stands. How about some predictions John?

The Yonk is not shy. The Lu Lac Political Letter endorses Rendell and Casey but crosses the aisle to pick Joe Leonardi and Christine Katsock.

W-B Citizens On Line is predicting a Katsock victory. But picks the Dems in the other hot contests.

And Wilkes-Barre Politics is predicting a Democratic blowout.

Lehigh Valley Crack Addict has a hazy view of the whole thing.

Blogger wont let me upload pictures at the moment and I expect more problems tommorow.

Fill up your gas tank

There is no doubt in my mind that the price of gas will start to rise on Wednesday.

OPEC chief: Another output cut may be needed
Energy market seen 'oversupplied' with crude prices under $60 a barrel

Oil Companies' Record 3rd Quarter Profit Reports Omitted "October Surprise" Profit Drop

"This pattern of the last three election years is an indication that motorists who smell something fishy in the rollercoaster prices they've endured this year may be on to something," said FTCR President Jamie Court. "The rise to record high gasoline prices this spring unleashed a wave of justified criticism of bloated oil company profits. Now the price drop in the pre-election period, by a percentage well beyond reductions in the price of oil, smells just as bad."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Last minute mud

Some people got a hit piece about Eddie Pahinski in the mail the last few days. I'm disappointed I wasn't one of them. It attacks him for being a teacher, union leader and his present employment. When people start mouthing off about how school teachers have their health insurance paid for I reject the envy and ask why isn't everyone's? The tag line is Eddie will raise your taxes. What politician, Republican or Democrat, hasn't raised taxes in Pennsylvania? Right before the primary that paragon of virtue City-Wide Towing owner Bob Kadluboski had a similar piece of garbage printed in the Voice without attribution. I doubt if Christine Katsock had anything to do with this as she has always been squeaky clean.

Mark is all over it.

Don Sherwood is a liar

But we knew that. The TL has an article today about the details of Don Sherwood's settlement with Cynthia Ore that says:

Impact of settlement details on campaigns unclear

I think it's the nail in the coffin. The whole sordid saga exposes him to be just another "family values" hypocrite. He is no different from Jimmy Swaggert, Mark Foley or Ted Haggard. People who denounce the behavior of others while leading a secret life. I don't care what people do in their own time but don't lecture me on how to live.

Even if you ignore the Choking thing he has been a terrible Congressman. He has taken his orders from the White House to vote for give always to the oil companies, insurance industry and not to let Medicare negotiate volume discounts with the big drug companies. He has voted to gut the Constitution by signing on to the Military Commissions Act and warrentless wiretaps. And don't even get me started about Iraq. In his campaign he has twisted Chis Carney's positions and pissed off the AARP . He even tried to blame Carney for starting the Iraq War! You have to ask if this guy is smart enough to be in Congress?

Don Sherwood's lying is a lifestyle.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Great PoliWizard predicts

This is great. Keep them coming!

The Great PoliWizard predicts...

In the 117th... Karen Boback

Boback has all but sealed this victory up for herself. Come to think of it isn't her opponent the same guy who posed with a gun for a personal ad? If he had used the picture for gun rights ads he would have stood a better chance. Boback 68%-32%

In the 118th ... Mike Carroll

Carroll has political experience in the General Assembly already as one of the most well-liked representative's (Yudichak) Chief-Of-Staff. I have heard Carroll speak and the truth is that he seems very genuine and that will go a long way. Add the fact that Bobbuine wasn't the Republican's nominee and Luzerne County will vote to keep the seat here in our county.
Carroll 57%-43%

In the 119th... John Yudichak

John Yudichak is an up-and-comer. The sad prediction is that he will not follow Kanjorski as the next congressman but that it may be some Democrat from Scranton ( people are trying to get their own McDade once again). Yudichak's opponent Ed Sieminski just hasn't done enough to get himself elected. He is going against a loved commodity in Nanticoke. The people of Nanticoke have pretty much named Yudichak "The Guy," even over their beloved Kanjo. Yudichak 65%-35%

In the 120th... Phyllis Mundy

Mundy will win, not because she deserves to but because her challenger hasn't done enough to make himself known. This year was an all-time low for Mundy's yardsigns but her opponent has none. If you hope to knock off a flawed incumbent you need to do more than scream about pay raises in the 120th. You need real plans and the ability to go door to door which hasn't been seen from John C.Cordora. Joe Chacke would have been a better choice in terms of what he could have done if he had won the primary. Despite the worst record in our area, Mundy survives for two more years. Mundy 60%-40%

In the 121st... Christine Katsock

Despite what Eddie Day has done in the Democratic Primary, his road ends November 7th. Christine Katsock is the "Lovable Loser," Someone who dared to take on Rep. Blaum and current Mayor Leighton. In case people have forgotten, Katsock lost to Leighton in a highly Democrat Wilkes-Barre by six hundred votes. Throw in Wilkes-Barre Twp. and some surrounding areas that are Republican and this is the closest race in terms of margin in the area. Katsock 51-49%

In the Senate 20th... Lisa Baker

Baker won this when she won the primary. McNamara is a worthy candidate but the geographics of the 20th District don't work in his favor. Baker 67% Mcnamara 33%

In the Congressional 10th... Chris Carney

Enjoy the seat for two years Congressman Carney. The fact that Sherwood strangled a woman and had extramarital activities is the only reason you are alive in the 10th District race. In two years the Republicans will put up a new candidate who will appeal to Republicans again. I will be very disappointed if Sherwood wins. Carney 57-43%

In the Congressional 11th... Joe Leonardi

It's just that Joe has worked so very hard on a budget that wouldn't buy a used Yugo. Kanjo's 9 million dollar blunder was enough to turn voters off but will Leonardi reach those voters? Leonardi has offered up proposals and ideas and should win, if he doesn't it will be because of name recognition and I for one will never donate to the NRCC ever again. 52-48%

In the U.S. Senate Race... Santorum

Everyone looks at polls. Polls are as good as toilet paper, you can use them for the same purpose the next day. I for one have never been polled. The only poll that matters is the one on November 8th. I believe the people of Pa. will realize when in the booth that Sen. Santorum is poised to become the second ranking Republican in the Senate. That's a lot of pork and that is why on Nov. 7th , the people will push those great new machines for Sen. Santorum. If Bob Casey ran against Specter I'd vote for him in a heartbeat (at least we'd have two somewhat conservative senators) 52-48%

Gov. Race... Ed Rendell

Swann just came on to late and this hurt him. I believe he is the lesser of two evils but the fact is that Rendell is a lot like Clinton, very lovable even with all his flaws. There is something about how we love politicians who can chuck down a greasy cheese steak without even blinking. Swann would have had more credibility in this area if instead of debating Rendell he challenged him to a Januzzi Wings eating contest and won. Rendell 56-44%

Dr. Bill Fitz has some predictions

Guest post from a blog buddy. Anyone else who wants to throw out some thoughts is welcome. Just email your picks and I will post it.

Bill Fitzpatrick’s election 2006 Endorsements and Analysis and Picks


PA House-118*

I endorse both candidates, Tatu is very qualified and knowledgeable, while Carroll is Yuddy’s Chief of Staff, which goes a long way for me. This will be a close race; obviously the Pittston (Luzerne) part will go for Carroll and the Monroe part will go for Tatu. I think Santorum’s GOP turnout machine will be helpful for Tatu, but in 2004 over 1000 more people voted in the Luzerne County then in Monroe County, and Monroe was close while Luzerne was clearly for the Democrats. I was thinking about this race as I wrote and researched some numbers. I have no feeling on the issues and since the biggest issue in NEPA is Pork neither has delivered that yet. (I don’t think Carroll is claiming Yuddy’s pork like Baker did for Lemound and Ridge.) The district leans democrat and when the Democrat is qualified the Democrat wins. Carroll is qualified; Tatu who is also qualified but she does not have anything special to derail Carroll. This race has 3 possible outcomes Carroll wins handily (close but never in doubt), Carroll wins in a squeaker, or Tatu wins in a squeaker. So the odds are D Carroll Wins.

PA House 120

I endorse neither candidate, I met Mundy and she disappointed me. I was on a tour of the capitol with other King’s students and was introduced to her; she started “campaigning” and I think given the situation she was out of line. The other candidate is just a nut job, not a right wing nut job, they are cool, just a nut job in general. I predict D Mundy Wins
PA House 121*
Again I endorse neither candidate, Katsock is an organist and Eddie Day is a Teacher, but a music teacher not a real teacher. Neither is qualified I say D Day wins based on registration but I think it will be closer then Blaum/Katsock in 2004

PA Senate 20

I endorse Baker, because she is qualified and I agree with her on most issues. The other guy seems qualified but I just don’t agree with him. Baker wins as voters in that district split their tickets voting for Santorum, then Carney, then for Baker. R Baker Wins.

PA Senate 14

I endorse Musto, he is running unopposed, but I endorse him because he is a great guy. On the above-mentioned tour where I met Phyllis Mundy, Musto was our host. He gave us access to the floor of both Chambers and introduced us to many people such as Mundy, Bob Jubileer, and crazy Lt Gov CBK. Musto did not talk politics and gave us candy.(now that’s a politician) He only said good things about all his colleagues from both sides of the isle. I gained so much respect for him I bit my tongue when I met Bob Jubileer; I wish Mundy had that approach. I predict D Musto wins in a landslide.

US House PA-10*

I endorse not voting for Don Sherwood, and the only way one can do that is to vote for Chris Carney. NEPA and the NEPA GOP needs a Flood like leader in Congress and Don Sherwood is not that. In 2008 any GOPer will defeat Carney. Let’s hope we get a good one who will be there for a long time. I have some great suggestions as mentioned above GOPers split their tickets in the 10th voting for Carney and Santorum and GOP the rest of the way down. D Carney wins

US House PA-11

I endorse Leonardi. Dr. Joe is a practical conservative who is in this race for the people. He is willing to take on both national and local issues. Kanjo has been here to long and is corrupt; he is basically doing the same thing Curt Weldon is being investigated for. But as mentioned most of the people of NEPA worship pork and Kanjo is their High Priest, D Kanjo wins.

Other PA Races


I unenthusiastically endorse Lynn Swann. I agree with him and not Rendell, but something in me loves Rendell’s political skill. His willingness to praise Santorum against his party to get Republican votes is awesome. My first Political Science teacher was not at Catholic U or Kings but was Chris Matthews, and Rendel plays Hardball. D Fast Eddie Wins


I endorse Rick Santorum. I can explain this based on how unqualified Bob Casey because State Treasurer and Auditor General are less important jobs then State Rep and County Commissioner. There are many other reasons but I am endorsing Rick for what he has done and stands for. Rick is the Senate’s go to guy concerning Aids in Africa, just ask Bono. Rick is fighting for lower taxes, and is articulating a conservative philosophy for helping the poor. Finally Rick a voice crying in the wilderness on Islamic Fascism and recognizes the need to stop genocide in Sudan as part of the War on Terror. Finally R Rick will win, He has the turnout machine and in general Democrats will not turn put and vote. I have faith that in the end the people will pull for Rick

US House PA 4*

I endorse R Hart and she wins. Its close but she has the money and the machine to keep her seat

US House PA 6*

I endorse R Gerlach and he wins. The race is virtually tied and he has a much better turnout machine.

US House PA 7*

I endorse Weldon, Fair or not the FBI allegations will hurt and his machine will close the gap but not enough. D Sestak wins

US House PA 8*

I endorse R Mike Fitzpatrick and he wins. Mike is just a great guy and I every time I read about him I am more impressed. He has a 5-10 point lead, and he has the turn out machine to ice the cake. Look for Mike Fitzpatrick to lead the SEPA GOP after this election especially if Weldon loses. Specter is too old and Gerlach will always a close race. After Mike Survives, the only time he has to worry about an election is if he runs for something higher.

US House PA 13

I endorse neither candidate, Alison Schwartz is huge liberal, but she has pleased me by voting for the Patriot Act and strongly supporting Mike Fitz’s anti Mumia legislation. Even though she is more liberal the Joe Hoffel, she is not as annoying, but I cannot endorse her because of her very pro-abortion stances. Raj seems to not care about the district. He also has no strategy other than shock, that being said D Schwartz wins by a large margin, maybe over 60 percent. I vote in the 13th, I am writing in Mike Fitzpatrick instead of voting for Raj, Also I cannot vote against Alison this term because her office hooked me up with inauguration tickets.

PA House 42*

I endorse R Mark Harris and he wins. Mark shocked the world with his victory or the incumbent in the primary and is now in a close election in the general. He has all the momentum, this is a swing district and Mark will win because he cannot be out flanked on government reform. He also has the balls to challenge the House Speaker of his own party. But don’t worry he has enough money to keep his momentum.

PA House 151*

I endorse not voting for Gene McGill, he cheated on his wife and since he got kicked out of the house and is living at taxpayer expense. Rick Tailor is a liberal but favors government reform. I thought McGill would still pull it off but than he wrote a letter supporting a child molester. After talking to a notorious ticket splitter, who has forgave McGill for the pay raise but now has had enough of him. I think that is the mood of the district. I think D Tailor wins.

PA House 152*

I endorse Thomas Murt. He is super qualified. He has been on the School Board and Township Council. He was in both Iraq Wars. Like Harris Murt defeated an incumbent in the primary, so it will be hard to out flank him on reform. His democratic opponent, Mike Paston even said Thomas Murt will be harder to beat than the incumbent. The voters of the 152 have always split their tickets sometimes they vote Republican or Democrat for High offices but always vote Republican for State Senator and lower. R Murt Wins.

PA Senate 12

I endorse Greenleaf, despite the pay raise Greenleaf will win because he has a long record of past accomplishments mostly protecting children. I still endorse him because he has enthusiastically campaigned for Thomas Murt. So I think he learned his lesson. He wins because no one knows who Albert is except me. I think that is why R Greenleaf will easily be reelected.

Other Big Battles in the Country

CT House Seats*

Three incumbent GOPers are in trouble, I predict Chris Shays hangs but I am not sure of the other ones. R Shays wins

IN House Seats

Another 3 GOP House seats are up for grabs, I predict that the GOP holds on to at least 2 but I can’t give a prediction of which seats.

CT Senate*

I Liberman Wins, The GOP has done a nice job quietly supporting Joe

MD Senate*

Momentum is for Michael Steele. Black Leaders are endorsing him Left and Right. Three things can happen. Many Blacks stick with the Dems, many (over 30%) vote for Steele, or many don’t vote. If either of the latter two happens R Steele Wins

MO Senate*

Turnout turn out turn out R Talent Wins


Turnout turn out turn out will keep Burns close but to close to call

VA Senate*

Turnout turn out turn out R Allen Wins

NJ Senate*

In 2004 Bush was closing the gap in NJ but it was into close on Election Day, history repeats itself D Menendez Wins.

OH Senate

Turnout turn out turn out, DeWine can will, but to close to call

RI Senate*

Chaffey has never had momentum D Whitehouse wins


Erlich Wins, he has done to Good job, the only reasoned is in trouble is because MD is so Democratic.
I made 26 predictions but only 19 can be considered not obvious, and I have wimped out and called 2 tossups.


The Democrats will gain seats in all areas, but I believe that the Republican Turnout machine will be a counter balance races. Also it is hard to beat an incumbent. Momentum is shown in Polls while better turnout is not. That is why I have Republicans who are down or tied winning. But in cases such as RI and New Jersey there is no efficient system to help the Republicans while in Montana, Ohio, Indiana and here in PA they GOP can make up a lot of points. But turnout can only do so much; some Republicans like Weldon and Sherwood will feel the wrath of Republicans who are disappointed with them. Others like Gerlcah, Allen, and Talent will be able to ride the machine to victory.

PA House- GOP loses seats but retains Control

PA Senate stays the same with GOP Control

US House – GOP 219-Dems 216

US Senate GOP 52, Dems 46, Is 2(this has both my tossups going D)

Christine Katsock in the 121st District

The House district that includes Wilkes-Barre and adjacent towns has a choice this election. Eddie Day Pashinski promises to fix the health care crises after he studies it for a while. Christine Katsock blames the lawyers and advocates HSA's. A wash. On property taxes Pashinski wants another study but Katsock says she will get rid of them. I don't agree that will happen but at least she has a position. Katsock thinks KOZ's are a rip off and so do I. I'm voting for Christine but Eddie Day will probably win a close one.

The 11th CD

Paul Kanjorski will win another term. This is tough one for me. In any other year I would be backing an agent of change locally. But the big picture requires the Democrats taking back the House. Let's hope he doesn't get indicted for something.

Bob McNamara for State Senate

Baker's campaign slogan seems to be "Everybody is for Lisa." Her ads stress how much experience she has working for a bunch of politicians who have created a mess in Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, Charlie Lemmond, etc. I think many of my Republican friends would say it's nothing to brag about.

In the 20th Senatorial District that includes the western part of Luzerne County the clear choice is Bob McNamara. The first responsibility of the state government is educating our children and deciding how to pay for it. His experience as a school superintendent puts in him a unique position to understand all sides of the issues. As a veteran of the National Guard he knows what service means.

How it plays out on election night is to be seen. Baker probably wins.

118th district debate with myself

It should be an easy call. A Democratic candidate in a Democratic year. But when the Democratic candidate is talking out of both sides of his mouth it makes it hard. Mike Carroll says he's not a Harrisburg insider but constantly reminds you that he works for them. Maurren Tatu is a local elected official and nurse who knows how decisions made in Harrisburg impact people and small towns. The district includes solid Democratic territory of Luzerne County and a chunk of Monroe County. Carroll wins a close one.

120th District

The hands down choice is Phyllis Mundy. I'll forgive her vote for the pay raise because the west side of the Wyoming Valley has been well represented since 1990. Like every incumbent she has brought home the bacon but her claim to fame is her knowledge of health care issues. She doesn't buy into the simplistic "blame the lawyers" BS but offers real solutions such as working to reduce medical errors. The people I know at Blue Cross consider her a total pain in the ass because of her attention to business practices of the insurance industry, I like that. Yes, Blue Cross is a "non-profit" but running up big surpluses, paying the executives enormous bonuses and treating their workers like shit deserves some scrutiny. Her opponent John Cordora can't be taken seriously. Yes he has a point about the pay raise but that can't be all your about. His other issues are gay marriage and yelling liberal. Phyllis will win big, 65%+.

The easy ones

Todd Eachus, John Yudichak and Karen Boback will win big. History, registration and lack of effective competition tells me that. But you never know. At least there is a choice in these races for Luzerne County legislators. Congratulations to Michael Klesh, Ed Sieminski and Fred Nichols for giving the voters a choice.

Predictions for PA Governor and Senator

LVDem and The Yonk have posted some picks for Tuesday.

In the Governors race the question is not who will win but how big. The PA Republican party cleared the field for Number 88 and hoped to unite the party behind him. It didn't work. Lynn Swann is a celebrity but not a Governor. Rapid Edward could have spent the fall on vacation and still win this contest. Ed Rendell didn't take any time off and has spent most of the past year giving people a reason to vote for him. His signature issue of using gaming revenue to reduce property taxes hasn't pan out yet but nobody has noticed. I will cast a reluctant vote for Rendell and think he will score in the high 50's.

As much as Santorum tries to make Bob Casey the issue in the end it's all about Rick. If you're a political junkie or a reporter the guy is a blast. He talks about malpractice reform but Santorum's wife sued a doctor for $500,000 in 1999. She claimed that a botched spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering, and sued for twice the amount of a cap Santorum has supported. He claims to be a conservative ( remember them?) but thinks it's OK for the government to spy on your phone calls, but not his. He also said that the way to support our troops is to put one of his bumper stickers on your car. At first he favored Intelligent design then he was against it. And he is a fiscal conservative, you know, against government spending but spends his time traveling the Commonwealth handing out pork checks. I won't even get into the whole Terri Schiavo controversy other than to say what conservative would put the government in the middle of the most painful decision any family could face? But he did it with style. He flew to Florida on Walmart's corporate jet and blew off a voter forum about Social Security "out of respect for the family." But he found time to hit a few fund raisers and came away with a couple of hundred grand. This last week he has been comparing himself to Winston Churchill telling us if he loses we are all going to die. Compared to Rick's energy and passion Bob Casey is boring. I vote for boring. Casey wins by 10.


New computer Virus

The George Bush Virus - Causes your computer to keep looking for viruses of mass destruction.

The John Kerry Virus - Stores data on both sides of the disk and causes little purple hearts to appear on screen.

The Clinton Virus - Gives you a permanent Hard Drive ; with NO memory

The Al Gore Virus - Causes your computer to keep counting and re-counting

The Bob Dole Virus - Makes a new hard drive out of an old floppy

The Lewinsky Virus - Sucks all the memory out of your computer, then e-mails everyone about what it did

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Virus - Terminates some files, leaves, but will be back

The Mike Tyson Virus - Quits after two bytes

The Ellen Degeneres Virus - Disks can no longer be inserted

The Prozac Virus - Totally screws up your RAM, but your processor doesn't care

The Michael Jackson Virus - Only attacks minor files

Last but not least

The Lorena Bobbitt Virus Reformats your hard drive into a 3.5 inch floppy...then discards it through windows..

Blogger beware

The website Doherty Deceit is in the news again. This time for going after a member of the Scranton City Council. A few months ago the original host dropped it over some controversy but they found a new home. The latest blowup is documented in the TT: Web site rattles Gatelli
She claims that the postings on the site are a threat to her and her family while the site moderator/owner says it's free speech.

I don't live in Scranton so I don't know all the issues involved. The only thing I can say is that politicians should have thick skins and bloggers should have some responsibility. Discuss and argue the future without trying to destroy people. There is no perfect human being.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Meet the candidate

Chris Carney's weekend schedule.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

10:30 am Dickson City: Disabled American Veterans Hall, 516 Storrs Street

12 noon Honesdale: Honesdale Central Park

1:45 pm Milford: Hotel Fauchere, 401 Broad Street

4:00 pm Tunkhannock: Wyoming County Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Square

5:45 pm Dushore: Pam's Restaurant, 123 E. Main Street

7:00 pm Towanda: The Weigh Station Cafe, 1 Washington Street

Sunday, November 5, 2006 *with special guest The Honorable Max Cleland

9:00 am Montrose: Downtown Grounds Cafe, 42 Church Street

11:30 am Harvey's Lake: American Legion Harvey's Lake, Route 415 & Annabelle Avenue

1:30 pm* Lewisburg: Hufnagel Park, 551 Market Street

2:45 pm* Selinsgrove: BJ's Barbecue & Pub, 17 N. Market Street

4:00 pm* Sunbury: Cameron Park, Downtown Sunbury

5:15 pm* Danville: American Legion, Route 11 South

6:45 pm* Williamsport: American Legion Banquet Hall, 10 E. 3rd Street


Meet the candidate

Joe Leonardi's weekend schedule.

Friday, November 3, 2006

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Rick Santorum & Rudy Giuliani Rally Wilkes-Barre Twp. Fire Hall

Saturday, November 4, 2006

7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Monroe Farmers MarketMain Street, Stroudsburg

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Holiday Bazaar Presbyterian Church, White Haven

Sunday, November 5, 2006

7:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Honey Pot Fire Company BreakfastHoney Pot Section of Nanticoke

Listen to his radio spot here.

Sherwood paying Cynthia Ore hush money

AP Exclusive: Pa. congressman paying ex-mistress about $500,000

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Republican congressman accused of abusing his ex-mistress agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told The Associated Press.
Rep. Don Sherwood is locked in a tight re-election race against a Democratic opponent who has seized on the four-term congressman's relationship with the woman. While Sherwood acknowledged the woman was his mistress, he denied abusing her and said that he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms.
The settlement, reached in November 2005, called for Cynthia Ore to be paid in installments, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is confidential. She has received less than half the money so far, and will not get the rest until after the Nov. 7 election, the person said Thursday.
A confidentiality clause requires Ore to forfeit some of the money if she talks publicly about the case, according to this person and two other people familiar with elements of the case.

A picture Worth a Half-Million Words courtesy of Sherwood for Congress.