Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Phargon Phils are in the Phlayoffs

Jimmy Rollins for MVP! Just look at what he did in this game. 2 stolen bases in the 1st inning that manufactured a run and a triple and a run scored. Plus every ball that was hit at him resulted in an out.


Ryan Howard hit a homer, Jamie Moyer was the veteran pitcher you expect and the bullpen was lights out.


It also helped that the Mets had a collapse akin to to the 1964 Phillies.

It's been Phourteen years since the last post season.


The Judge Ann Lokuta trial


What makes you think she is a witch?

Well, she turned me into a newt.

A newt?

I got better.

Burn her anyway!
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That's about the only kind of hearsay that Lokuta hasn't endured in the Court of Judicial Discipline this week. Most of the testimony seems to be "she hurt my feelings." But no paper trail was offered to support the allegations of rude behavior or inefficient administration of her courtroom. One witness said she called then President Judge Mike Conahan a few names which might be the reason for all of this. The rumours of a federal corruption probe at the courthouse didn't come up but that can of worms might be opened when Lokuta gets to present her defense in December.
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The play by play can be found at The Lu Lac Political Letter.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

He's such a tease


Please tell me it's true.


GrassrootsPA found this tidbit that speculates that Rick Santorum is considering a run for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010. What a gift that would be to the blogosphere and columnists in the papers. The great mentioner has also plugged him for UN Ambassador, Attorney General and in real fit of delusion even a Supreme Court nominee, among other posts.


My fellow bloggers wasted no time commenting on such an endeavor.


Pennsyltucky Politics


First he'd have to move back to Pennsylvania

The inevitable press releases and stories can almost write themselves. There's the cyber school controversy in which Pennsylvania taxpayers footed the bill to educate his kids while living in Virginia. The residency issue alone will fill enough newspaper stories to kill a decent size forest. President Bush won't be in office, but there will no doubt be plenty of reminders of his unyielding loyalty to the unpopular president, the Iraq war and calling former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a great leader. There's his role in the K Street Project.
Oh, we could go on...


Capitol Ideas points out that Santorum... now makes his living scaring people to death for a right-wing think-tank...Some, however, were spinning it as the beginning of a comeback tour that'll probably last longer than The Eagles.


The Pennsylvania Progressive:


Santorum doesn't seem to grasp how disliked he is in Pennsylvania. Perhaps if he lived here the last numerous years he'd have a clue. Of course he'd have to abandon his nice digs in Virginia and relocate to the Keystone State to even qualify.



Even my friends over at the PAWatercooler are skepticle.


... Rick was smeared so viciously by the far-left over the past four years that a huge majority of Pennsylvanians voted against him in 2006. Let’s face facts - most people who pulled the lever for Casey in November weren’t voting for Casey; they were voting against Santorum. And they voted against him largely because of nonsense spread by the far-left pro-aborts and shameless radical homosexuals who are apparently incapable of honesty. If Rick does run for Governor, I will gladly support him, but realistically speaking, I can’t see the people of PA voting for him any time soon...

However, I do think that Rick would make an excellent presidential candidate.


Speaking for the "the far-left pro-aborts and shameless radical homosexuals" that comprise the 59% of Pennsylvanians that voted against Santorum I think he hung himself in the last election. The old rule of politics is that challengers don't win elections but incumbents lose them. I think he would make a great Presidential candidate because he says what is on his mind and that would be refreshing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Walter Griffith for Wilkes-Barre City Council


Walter has a website. And he is hot about a barber shop that has zoning problems.
Here is his take:
...I as a Candidate for City Council District A would work with the City to help make this type of Mom and Pop Business be welcomed into our City
...This is the same candidate that said at a South Wilkes Barre Business meeting that he wants to encourage small business ...

Where was Rick Cronauer when the City Council threatened the Master Chemical Co...and almost shut this 35 year business down and force them out of the City..
Where was Rick Cronauer when the City Council levied a 2.57% BID Tax on the Downtown merchants???
Why hasn't Rick Cronauer come to a City Council meeting regarding the Solid Cactus Co. moving out of Wilkes Barre ...

This City Council Candidate seems to think like the City Council and Administration that we have at the present time....maybe there is some truth to the rumor about how he won the Primary against a 2 term incumbent...




The following story is a shock to me...I don't understand the mind set here...a business wants to come to South Wilkes Barre and Rick Cronauer spearheads the charge to stop it....He is a member of our business community and wants to stop a small business from coming to the area...??????

I think this type of thinking is exactly what we don't need in City Hall...Lets try to encourage everyone to open a business in South Wilkes Barre ...not discourage them ...that was an old insurance office....there was a lot of foot traffic and parking...I wonder who the 10 residents were Tom Leighton, and his political "Boys" ...I guess it is more of the same in Wilkes Barre...where was this guy when they were trying to put Master Chemical out of business...??? I think these issues need to be addressed at the next meeting...
The city's zoning board rejected an out-of-town landlord's plan to rent space to two Spanish-speaking New York residents to open a barbershop at 198 Old River Road.


The board denied Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Paul Jacobs' plan last week after Rick Cronauer, the Democratic candidate for city council in District A; Bob Hogan, owner of the Riverside Cafe, and about 10 other South Wilkes-Barre residents opposed it. Jacobs hoped to rent the space to Mercedes Rodriguez, who would have been the manager. Jacobs was joined by a barber and his daughter at the zoning meeting. Cronauer, Hogan and other residents expressed concerns about a lack of parking on Old River Road and an increase in traffic.In its written decision, the board stated a change from an insurance office to a barbershop with two seats will "increase traffic generation, including both vehicular and pedestrian traffic."Jacobs said he doesn't understand the decision, asking why another barbershop was allowed to open in the neighborhood. The Riverside Cafe already brings in a lot of traffic, he said. Cronauer said he was skeptical about a new barbershop opening on Old River Road. He thought any future plan should be thoroughly investigated. Only one zoning member, William Harvey, voted in favor of approving the barbershop. Richard Chukonis, Hayden White and John Yencha, the Republican city council candidate in District E, denied it. Jacobs has 30 days to appeal the board's decision.

The Death Penalty



The face of evil, George Banks.

25 years later the case of George Banks is in the news again. The latest controversy revolves around the question of whether he is sane enough to execute. Anyone spending 25 years on death row has to be nuts.

That's what is wrong with the system. You go through appeal after appeal in a pretty cut and dry case. There is no doubt that this guy committed the crimes he has been convicted of but some sort of technicality or legal argument will delay carrying out the sentence of DEATH. And that is the way it should be. Just eliminate the death penalty, the cost to the system and the families is not worth the retribution.

So many times we later found out that an innocent person was executed. The death penalty belongs to another era. I don't often agree with Bill O'Reilly often but he once said that convicted murderers should be put in a prison on the North Slope of Alaska and if they get out they will have to deal with the elements or Polar Bears.

Executing George Banks doesn't accomplish anything. It doesn't make us any safer.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Scott for Congress

I don't know much about this guy. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think he was state senator in New Jersey then moved to our neck of the woods.


Friends,

After thoughtful discussion with my family and local and national Republican leaders, I filed the necessary papers with the Federal Election Commission to become a candidate Congress in the 10th Congressional District. I believe we must have representation in Washington that will stand up to the bureaucrats and be willing to withstand the pressures of entrenched special interests. Democrats will be nasty and ready to spend whatever it takes to keep this seat. That is why I am asking for your support today.

Working families deserve better than liberal Chris Carney. He and his Democrat cronies mock the values that our brave soldiers fight to protect, and will destroy our economy if given the chance. This is a Republican district and we must take it back now.


In recent weeks, I have met with Republican leaders in Washington and around our district. As a former State Senator, I have withstood attack after attack and won in a heavily Democratic district.


I am running for Congress because we need a representative dedicated to protecting our shared conservative values. My proven record as a former State Senator shows that I have not compromised my principles to be an effective legislator. Based on my proven record of protecting our Constitutional rights, I will be the highest rated candidate by the NRA in this race.

Thank you,


Hon. John P. Scott

That makes 3 declared Republican candidates in the 10th CD in PA. The other 2 are Don Ely and Chris Hackett.

Still no websites.

Where's Lefty when you need him

We went to the Bank to see a couple of games and came away with a split. The place was electric on Tuesday but the air seemed to be out of the balloon on Wednesday after the 10-6 loss on Tuesday. I'll spare you the play by play but CB Buckner should not be a Major League umpire. In the next game J Roll's triple in the 1st and Victorino's HR restored our hopes and we came away with a win.



One game out in the Division and the Wild Card. Take care of business and get some help.



Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sports weekend

Busy weekend, We had the wedding yesterday and a couple of paperwork projects today. I still haven't filed our taxes yet but hope to get them in this week. But anyway, Penn State couldn't buy a touchdown against Michigan and I think Austin Scott's playing days are over in Happy Valley after he coughed up the ball yet again resulting in a Wolverine score. Watching the tape and screaming at the TV led to a minor domestic dispute because Mrs. G wanted to talk about the wedding but got tired of my obscenity laced tirades about football. The Phillies took 3 out of 4 against the Nationals but the Mets won today and the Padres lost leaving the Phils 2 1/2 out of first in the East and a 1/2 game back in the wild card. And Family Guy was great tonight.



Then there is this thing, the only missing is a machine gun turret on the roof.



Saturday, September 22, 2007

This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who...


Off to Stroudsburg for a wedding. Why people insist on getting married during college football season I'll never know. I'll be taping the Penn State-Michigan game and hope some loudmouth doesn't tell me score.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My last 10th CD post

For this week.

Chris Hackett said a few things in Towanda that we didn't cover in my interview last week.

Daily and Sunday Review

"The French have rolled out a new program which I think is intriguing," said Hackett, explaining an idea for tax reform that he indicated might make sense for the United States. Under the proposed French program, the French government wouldn't tax a person's income if he worked more than 35 hours per week, Hackett said."What a great way to reward people for their hard work."

"We really need to protect our borders, and support the sanctity of this country... For example, he said, "If an individual wants to wire money out of this country - and they are an illegal alien - they should be required to show proof of citizenship if they try to wire money out. It would be a sure way to stop them from wiring money out."

We've had a spirited discussion in the comments and 2006 11th CD Republican nominee Joe Leonardi asked me to post this comment:

The back and forth riping on each candidate, form within the party, must stop. There is currently a strong anti-republican sentiment in the country, including the 10th. The Dems are motivated and are mobilizing. The RNC and NRCC are taking in less money than the DNC and the DCCC. There is a reason for this.


Most middle class Republicans are not that supportive of the party because they feel the President is not a genuine conservative. Outside of the war, under this administration, we have had one of the largest spending sprees and expansion of government since LBJ. People are making less real money, real estate prices (some folks largest investment) are falling. People are taking home less money. College tuition is increasing. People are paying more for health care and receiving less. These are the issues that every day voters care about. These are the concerns middle class conservatives care about. They are upset at how government intrusion, big government, negatively impacts their lives.


The top of the ticket will have a huge influence on Congressional races this time out. Perhaps if the party gets a conservative at the head of the ticket republicans will have a chance. Since there are no conservatives presently running for president, the overwhelming motivation to get the conservative base to the polls will be diminished.


One of the factors that will hurt us the most is the bickering I have seen on this blog and others. While I understand the reasons to push "your" candidate, it does not have to be done by tearing down the other. This sniping, innuendo and rumor mongering will hurt the eventual nominee. If the Carney camp doesn't have "ammo" all they have to do is scan these blogs and they can get all the they want. Remember the Massachusetts furlough program that led to the Willie Horton ad campaign, was brought up in the primaries by Al Gore.


I wish all the best to whomever the nominee is. The ideal time to beat an incumbent is after the freshman year or after the 20th year. If Chris Carney is to be beat it must be done now. But there is a realistic possibility that we may have lost the seat for the foreseeable future. We must not let that happen.


A strong primary based on what each candidate will do, what qualifications they hold and their ability to put forth a positive message may change the negative views many have toward our party. It may also help alleviate the apathy felt by many within the party.


The registration is in favor of republicans, but that won't do any good if registered republicans stay home on election day. If we tear each other apart in the primary, the bridge building, the necessary unifying behind the nominee will be that much more difficult. And if that can not be done and there is bad blood after the primary, the republican voters will stay home, or worse --- they will vote for the status quo.


Let's debate issues and vision and leave the petty infighting off the table and behind closed doors. To win, in November, a united front will be necessary. That front will have to be more than smoke and mirrors. It will have to be genuine, it will have to be solid and it must be strong to demonstrate the resolve necessary to get the job done. The primary sniping will devalue your candidate in November. And it will help return Congressman Carney back to the Congress instead of the classroom.

The Face of Censorship


John Morgan of Berks County said some unkind but true things about State Rep. Tom Caltagirone and now the local Democratic Party is threatening to sue him over the name of his blog, Berks Democrats . They aren't threatening to sue about what he wrote but are looking for a backdoor to silence him.
This a threat to the free speech of all of us on the internet. Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican and others should rally around John.
The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is a great resource that I have used in another dispute and has relevant information that applies to this situation.

Lou Barletta for Congress websites?

A relentless Internet surfer sent me few interesting links:

loubarlettaforcongress.com

is under construction and appears to be hosted by yahoo small business and

loubarletta.com

is parked @ godaddy

As everyone knows you want to buy up all the domain names if you plan to run for office before your opponents do. Mayor Lou has been coy about another run for Congress and the betting is that he is aiming for statewide office such as Treasurer or Auditor General. But you never know.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Bond triplets?





In a worst-case scenario, Barletta said, the city would have to float a bond to cover the cost of the legal bills and pay it back on debt service over 20 or so years.



Insurance company does not want to pay



Hazleton's errors and omissions insurance carrier has filed a suit against the city, asking a court to find it not liable for legal bills stemming from the lawsuit involving the Illegal Immigration Relief Act or the pending appeal.



The insurance company covers Hazleton for errors in law enforcement, not errors in law construction and they argue the city's ordinance was the latter. I'm not crazy about insurance companies but I see the point. Hazleton passed this ordinance knowing full well that they were going to be sued and even invited it.



My question is why is Rick Santorum and his fundraising prowess absent from all this? The small town defender website is tapering off and this whole thing started because Ricky needed a campaign issue and put Barletta up to it. But it's not surprising that Rick doesn't remember his friends. Just ask Carl Romanelli, who still owes over $80,000 trying to get on the ballot to help him.




Farm preserved and enviro-friendly Animal Hospital

Once you plant a house, it’s there forever.”

Another place a Wal-Mart or housing subdivision won't be built.

Turnbach farm in Sugarloaf Township joins program that prevents development

The Turnbach farm is the 16th preserved by the county since 2000. More than 1,680 acres of county farmland are protected... and 13 farms are on the waiting list.

Luzerne County’s Agricultural Preservation Program is doing good things. Luzerne County has been losing people for almost a hundred years yet more farmland and forests are being paved over then the storm water runoff creates havoc every other year.

Caring about planet, not cost, the priority for Doug Ayers in constructing new animal hospital

Gort family veterinarian and life long friend Dr. Douglas Ayers is building a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic in Plains and is making the building as eco-friendly as possible.

Many of the design elements are basic. The structure was built next to the current one to minimize its footprint and preserve virgin land. Rain gardens in low areas will trap storm water and retard its flow into the river. In exchange for oil-dependent asphalt, crushed stone of various sizes will be mixed together to create several hard-packed, semi-porous parking surfaces. Highly polished steel tubes will capture and reflect light into the building, reducing the electrical lighting demand. Finally, the building faces south, taking advantage of solar heating and leaving the potential to install solar energy cells.

Other elements are more complicated. The heat-cycling system uses sensors to analyze the desired temperatures for each area and calculates the most efficient way to transfer heat within the building, instead of heating one area and cooling another. Fan blades spinning between the air intakes and vents will capture heat, or the lack thereof, from outgoing air and transfer it to pre-heat, or pre-cool, incoming air.



Doug was also recently successful in preserving the Hillside farm and dairy in Dallas and is Chairman of the The North Branch Land Trust and is this year's local recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service. It's nice to see the local paper catch up on this project because I wrote about it last year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Meuser moving to the 10th, Skrep moving to the 11th?

CV: Dan Meuser, one of the leading Republican contenders for the 10th Congressional District seat in next year's election, doesn't live in the district...Meuser, a resident of Jackson Township in Luzerne County, lives in the 11th Congressional District, but his home is close to Kingston Township, which is in the 10th...The U.S. Constitution doesn't require congressmen to live in the districts they represent, but political opponents could make an issue of it.

Meuser will try to head them off. He plans to move into the 10th before he files nomination petitions next spring to run for Congress, he said. He has not found a new home.

Meuser said he doesn't want to run for the 11th district seat because he doesn't want to get in the way of Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who is considering running."I respect what Lou has done on immigration, given Washington's disinterest in securing our borders, and I think he is the right candidate at the right time to be in Congress," he said.

Skrep: I’m not running for House

Political functions have been buzzing with talk that Skrepenak is eying a townhome in Jenkins Township because he plans to run against U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, next year, said Terry Best, a Pittston Area School Board member and Democrat...Best said Tuesday that he mentioned the plan because he was informed about it from reputable Democrats during a political gathering for judicial candidate David Lupas. “It’s all over the place,” Best said.

Quick hits

The Phillies topped the Cards 7-4 in 14 innings. St. Louis used 11 pitchers (record?) and 53 players saw action for both teams.

The Eagles have hit the rocks.

Why does County Commissioner Steve Urban need 1,000 absentee ballots? The printer said "it's not unusual" for candidates, party officials or citizens to buy absentee ballot applications. But,"We make them pay first, before we ship them."

U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski said he was unaware LCCC wanted to buy the Kanjorski Center, until he was invited to a recent press conference, in trying to justify his pulling the money for the project. But nobody believes him.

The saga of Judge Ann Lokuta continues. The mystery witnesses were not named and she was offered early retirement but refused. She has been accused of some bizarre behavior but her attorney assures us that she is not nuts.

Gotta love this headline: Arlen Specter likes virgins

And Gort42 made the list, at number 20, of Pennsylvania's Most Influential Political blogs. That's nice but they don't reveal how they decide on the rankings. I don't think I can trust a list that doesn't include Capitol Ideas.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chris Hackett for Congress, the interview


Chris Hackett is the owner of One Source Staffing Solutions since 1990. He has a degree in accounting from Wittenberg University in Ohio and is a long time resident of Shavertown in Luzerne County.




Why Congress?

I think Congress is an environment where I think I can make a significant impact. I'm running because of my disappointment with the current direction of our government. They have become too invasive in our individual lives and the approach to spending is deplorable.


There is an old adage in politics that says challengers don’t win elections, incumbents lose them.I think Don Sherwood proved that. Why do you think Carney deserves to lose?

I think Carney does deserve to lose because he doesnt reflect the values of the 10th congressional district very effectively. When you look at some of the votes that he has cast during his time in Congress they have been inconsistent with the rhetoric he put forth during his campaign. I don’t think they necessarily reflect the values of the district.

Give me an example?

I will give you several. One is the card check vote which allows unions to organize employees without a secret ballot. This would remove a fundamental right that workers have to a secret ballot which is protection from coercive actions by union organizers. I think the most recent example is the S-CHIP legislation that takes dollars out of Medicare and uses them to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants. Taking away the states rights to verify that they are a US citizen before they can be offered those benefits. Some of those kinds of things really fly in the face of the district.

Big thing in the news was General Petraeus said when asked if the war in Iraq is making us safer he said he didn’t know. He back tracked later. What do you think?

I think the war in Iraq has made us safer. What I would point to is lack of attacks in this country during the most recent time frame. I actually believe we are safer because we have taken the fight to these Islamic fanatics first hand.

In you latest press release you used the phrase Islamofascist terrorism. What does that mean?

My view is that this war is not just a war in Iraq. This a war against an ideology, much like the war against the Soviets. That was an ideology that they were trying to force on other countries. Here is the relationship I would draw for you. If you look at the parallels between the cold war and the war we are currently fighting they are very, very similar. In 1945 World War II ended. In 1947 because Europe wasn’t getting back on it’s feet we rolled out something called the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was a self serving vehicle which was perfectly appropriate and well orchestrated, it really helped Europe get back on it’s feet. We saw what was happening in Eastern Europe with of many of those countries becoming Communist so we started the containment process. So in 1947 we rolled out the Marshall Plan. In 1950 there was a war in Korea that was a containment activity and the war in Vietnam was a containment activity. The war in Afghanistan was an effort of containment. I don’t know if most people understand but we actually backed Al Qaeda against the Soviets in trying to maintain Afghanistan’s independence. During the cold period it took us 50years to win that war. And I dare say we were effective in winning that war. But there was many different pieces and again that was an ideology that these people, these communists, were trying to force on the rest of the world. It was a way of living, away of life, and we appropriately had a long term thought out strategy on how we were going to win it. It think that’s what we really need to be effective against these Islamist fascists. I’m sure you understand that the goal here is putting in place a theocracy. That is the goal of these Islamic extremists, to use a theocracy much like what was in place in Afghanistan before we unseated that terrorist regime. They oppressed the people, they ruled through fear, it’s no different than any other Dictatorship and that’s what we are fighting against. We’re not fighting against Iraqi’s or Afghan’s but we’re fighting against an ideology. These people are out to get us. They have articulated a one hundred year plan that they have to try to beat us. So they’re not looking at this as a short term fight, this is a long term conflict.

How about the domestic reaction to 9/11 such as the Patriot Act? Do you support the Patriot Act?

Yes. I think the Patriot Act was an appropriate response and I think one of the things we do is to continue to be aggressive in how we fight against this enemy.

The Military Commissions Act. One of things that bothers me is that the Government can declare somebody an enemy combatant and hold them without habeas corpus. Do you favor that?

I favor an aggressive approach in trying to deal with our enemy and I do believe we should be as aggressive as possible. This is in fact a war and we need to deal with it as such. .

Specifically, do you favor holding an American citizen without access to the courts?

Correct me if I’m wrong but they are not holding American citizens, are they?

Jose Padilla

That’s true he was held, but has since been convicted and is awaiting sentencing. The reality is we have to hold enemy combatants. The Military Commissions Act gave broad authority to the President to designate someone is an illegal enemy combatant, which was the designation issued to Jose Padilla.


Even they are a United States citizen arrested in the United States?

Yes.

You say you are Pro-Family, what do you mean by that? Nobody is anti-family.

I disagree with you, I think some people are anti-family. I think there is no more important unit than the family structure and defining that as a mother and father is very important to me. I think from an educational perspective the students that clearly do best are in good solid family situations. I’m pro-family, I’m pro-life and I’m very interested in using that as the building block for our society. I believe that what our society stands on.

On the pro-life issue. Some say that you were pro-choice before?

No.

Always been?

Always been, I was raised Catholic and I think some people like to misinterpret things for their own purposes.

What about abstinence only education?

I think the important thing is that the government not be involved in providing birth control because that is not the role of government. There are good reasons that abstinence makes sense. I think we must continue to educate kids, as the media as well as rock and rap have a promiscuous tone and demeanor which is often less than positive. I think providing the other side of the story is useful and important.

Gay marriage, for or against?

Opposed.

Gay adoption?

I would oppose that because of the sanctity of mother and father relationship.

Plain equal rights for gay citizens?

What does that mean?

You can’t be fired because you’re gay? Many states allow it.

I think that’s an interesting point because I think states have rights to do what they like. But I’m not for any form of discrimination, but I would also suggest no single group should get any preferential treatment, period.

You run a temp agency and temp agencies are notorious for hiring illegal aliens. What do you do prevent to prevent that?

I think that’s an absolute mischaracterization of the flexible staffing business and I think the tone of that is insulting. Please also note, I own 3 other businesses - Professional Recruiting, Insurance Brokerage and Administrative Services. That having been said I will answer your question. We have been using the Homeland Security Pilot Program to verify that someone’s name ,ssn and date of birth match. We are one of the 8000 companies in the country to use this system to make sure that the people that we hire are not illegal aliens.

Nobody is for illegal immigration.

I disagree with that. There are lots of organizations that are for it. Look at the ACLU and their efforts to fight the most recent rules of the Department of Homeland Security to enforce no matches within the Social Security Admin database.

What do you think of Lou Barletta’s approach?

I give Lou a lot of credit for taking a stand and trying to get something done. Whether in fact it’s the right thing or wrong thing isn’t for me to decide but I applaud him for taking action and trying to deal with the problem in a proactive fashion.

DO you think he is trying to usurp the powers of the federal government?

That’s a very interesting question because the premise that lies behind it is that the federal government has the right to regulate these things through the commerce clause. I think there is a question to where states rights are and being a federalist and recognizing the states should have more of the rights that have been taken away from them since 1937. States should have the latitude to be more aggressive in dealing with theses issues.

You made a contribution the Luzerne County Democratic County Commissioners then got a county contract. Do you want to address that?

I would be happy to. I brought you a list because I thought you might want it, these are the contributions made to the Skrepnak/Vonderheid committee. Chris Hackett gave $5000 on 12/15/2006. There are some other people you might recognize that also contributed on the same day - I think the total was $161,000 for that day. My point is that I was a supporter of Todd Vonderheid and I think many Republicans supported Vonderheid. Our effort was to have better county government. I think if you got hrough this list you will find that most people don’t do any work with the county and just wanted better government - like me. Vonderheid came from the Chamber and really understands business and he would try to run the county as a business and be more frugal with the taxpayers money. I think his efforts went well from that perspective. We have work with the county but the contract that you are talking about started at the end of 2005 and was finished in April 2007. To suggest that this $5000 contribution was something that we paid to get the contract is an illegitimate, politically motivated conclusion. But I want to be clear, I also made contributions to Todd when he was initially running in 2003, as well as a fund raiser in early 2006. Each of those contributions was $1,000. But I think it is disingenuous to say we got this business because of the any contributions - the county does have a formal bidding process and the rates we bid are clearly very, very competitive. Please remember, the 19% mark-up on the wages we paid also had to cover FICA, FUTA, SUTA and Worker's Compensation costs, payroll processing as well as the cost of carrying the receivables - we were paid over 200 out for some of our invoices. Clearly this was not the "sweetheart" deal that some would suggest. We did bill at a 30% mark-up for a couple employees because they were a much higher worker's compensation category.


People want to know how you voted last time?

I think we all go into the voting booth and pull the levers that we think are right. And I think we have a right to maintain our privacy on how we vote. I think who I vote for is my business and nobody else’s business.

The Stephen Colbert question. Dubya, a great president or the greatest?

I think that history is going to show that a lot oft he things that George Bush is doing today particularly in the war against terrorism are going to be correct. I will tell you have I have some real problems with the spending. I absolutely oppose earmarks.



Ed. Note: At this point my recorded malfunctioned so I will paraphrase his answers.

On college football Penn State and ND are my two favorite teams- but I also like Ohio State - I think Jim Tressler is a class act.


I asked some questions that were provided in the comments on an earlier post.

Has your company ever employed any illegal immigrants?

We comply with all laws regarding employment and as it relates to verifying ability to work in the US we go much further than most employers. The law requires employers to obtain certain acceptable documents to prove someone is able to work in this country. It is up to the judgment of the individual looking at the documents to assess validity. If they look reasonable, they must be accepted, as a business opens itself up to claims of discrimination if they reject prospective employees based on the exercising of this judgment.


As I noted before, we are part of a very small percentage of employers that use the Homeland Security program to verify a match of the Social Security Number, Data of Birth and Name. Aside from identify theft, this gives us a very high degree of certainty that the individual is eligible to work in the United States. We started utilization of this program over two years ago.

You are stating that you are pro life- are there any exceptions you would accept for a woman to get an abortion?

Yes. Rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Do you favor making English the official language of the US?

Yes. But I think it is important to understand why I feel this way. One of the reasons our country is so prosperous is we share a common language, common currency, all states have property rights and we all follow the rule of law as a basis for interaction. If you don't require a common language, it decreases efficiency, and keeps those who don't learn English in low paying positions. Think about the jobs available to an individual who only speaks a foreign language - it is very limiting.

You have been a successful businessman but you have never donated any significant amount to the Republican Party…

My wife Ramah and I have tried to make a difference in a different way. We've focused on contributions to non-profits, much of it anonymous, as a way to positively impact our community. As you know the United Way is an organization we have been very involved with and continue to support. I feel by trying to earn the seat representing the 10th congressional district, I can further make a contribution to our community.


Have you made other contributions to Democrats and if you have to whom?

I made a $500 contribution to Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton because I thought Tom McGroarity wasn’t doing a good job. Mayor McGroarity was anti-Chamber and was generally an obstructionist and I would have supported almost anyone to keep him from gaining an additional term. The City of Wilkes-Barre is still digging out from his mismanagement.

He was asked about the war and he said that he wanted to concentrate on winning the war instead of getting out.

Regardless of whether it was right to get into Iraq I think we have a moral obligation to stay until the country is secure. We don’t want to leave behind a haven for terrorists. Additionally, military doctrine states you must have security before you can have an orderly and safe withdraw - it would put our troops at significant risk if we simply attempted to cut and run.

Do you favor raising the CAFE standards?

No. Let the market determine that. I also favor drilling for oil in ANWAR as a way to enhance energy independence.

Please expand on the following.The Wilkes-Barre Chamber, the biggest culprit when it comes to keeping wages down in the area.


I can't understand how anyone can make this argument. If we look at it from a supply and demand perspective; the Chamber's strategic plan and core mission calls for the recruitment and retainment of businesses in NEPA. If the Chamber brings in new businesses, and they hire Associates, the supply of available workers decreases and there is upward pressure on wages. Therefore, the best way to depress wages - if you could actually believe that was the intent of the Chamber - the simplest way to do it would be to not attract new business to the area. Clearly, this flies in the face of the facts as evidenced by the number of industrial parks the Chambers in the region have developed to provide a fertile environment for new businesses to locate.


Ask him about his vision for the future, and how he will create something other than part time jobs.

I very much appreciate this question, as it will give me a chance to address a common misconception about what we do. Our business recruits and places individuals from CEO's of public companies to hourly Associates. We've had assignments where people earn $100,000 doing computer engineering and were on these assignments for 8 years. We currently have 200 software trainers making $14-$17 per hour and many of these assignments have been ongoing for two years. 95% of our work is FULLTIME and we are a bridge to our client's payroll for 100's of people per year. Additionally, the majority of our "part-time" work is medical staffing and these tend to be nurses working full time at other locations who are looking for some additional hours.Regarding my vision for job creation. I have worked with many companies who have considered making our region the home for a new location. I often meet with these companies via my involvement with Penn's Northeast or the various chamber organization. I review the labor market makeup and help them decide if our market has the right workforce given what they are willing to offer in terms of compensation, benefits, working conditions, hours and necessary skills. I feel the development of the new medical school in the Scranton area, the by-pass around Selinsgrove, and keeping interstate 80 from being tolled is critical to the future of our region.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Looking ahead

Penn state is waiting for the contest in the Big House next week and played a sloppy game today. They won 45-24 but it shouldn't have been that close. The offense fumbled the ball in the first half and the defense gave up 2 touchdowns in the second. The Phillies beat the Mets again but can't beat the bad teams. And the Red Sox won!

Who gets the pork?


Or Kanjo screws Yuddy
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BY ELIZABETH SKRAPITS
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In the federal transportation funding bill passed in August 2005, U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, included $5.6 million to build a parking garage for the Kanjorski Center on East Main Street in Nanticoke...What local officials didn't know until this week was in February Kanjorski had the bill amended to pull the $5.6 million for Nanticoke, cut it to $3 million, and reassign it to parking and street improvements in Wilkes-Barre.
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The project he is messing with is supposed to help Luzerne County Community College move a satellite campus into downtown Nanticoke into the aptly named and vacant Kanjorski Center.
This is a pet project of State Rep. John Yudichak but he didn't jump to any conclusions. "No one was aware of this action...Perhaps there was some misunderstanding that we can clear up."
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Skrep didn't pull any punches:
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Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak believes Nanticoke lost the money because Kanjorski and Yudichak are political adversaries. The chairman of the county commissioners pointed the finger of blame directly at the veteran congressman.
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"I have nothing against Paul," Skrepenak said. "I work well with Paul and I work well with John, but when you look at this, it just doesn't add up. This is what gives politicians a bad rep. I think if a project is viable for the community and the big picture, you put personal feelings aside and do the right thing...The county has been supportive and the state legislature has been supportive. We thought Paul was too."
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This is wrong in so many ways. Appropriate money for one purpose then redirect it to another, something Skrep knows something about. Using the transportation bill to build a parking garage when the money should be spent on highways and bridges. Having a little town rely on the funding then pull the rug out all because of politics.
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This adds fuel to fire to the rumours that Yudichak is going to challenge Kanjorski in the primary. And the speculation about Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty taking on Kanjo is still out there.
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Live Blogging at the Pennsylvania Progressive


Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz's Communications Director Rachel Magnuson will guest blog at The Pennsylvania Progressive today at 1 pm. The Congresswoman's pet issues are CHIP, Iraq, and energy. She will answer questions our readers have about Congress, the Thirteenth District, and upcoming legislation.



Thanks to Jane for the reminder.

Put Local Campaign Finance Reports Online

My favorite Lehigh Valley internet hooligan Bernie O'Hare of Lehigh Valley Ramblings points out that you can obtain campaign finance information for federal and state office seekers on the intertubes and asks:

But what about candidates seeking local office? Sure, they're required to list their campaign donors and expenses with the local elections office, but who bothers to scrutinize them? Aside from a few reporters and opposing candidates, nobody.


I find the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections website is a great tool. It has past election results, lists of candidates and committees, every form you need to run for office, where to vote and much more. But it lacks one vital piece of information, campaign finance reports.


Like most people I don't have the time to go to the courthouse annex to read them and try to connect the dots. So Bernie inspired me to ask our own Luzerne County Director of Elections Leonard Piazza about it.

His response:

Thanks for the compliments!

Since becoming director, among all of the other things we've set out to do, the only thing that remains is to do exactly what your are requesting--get the campaign finance reports online.

It is very costly to have the reports sent out, however, and have the info recorded so it may be searchable, like the states and the FEC's sites; this I've already looked into.

That leaves us with the option of scan to PDF, not a bad option...in fact, I prefer it. We do have the capability to do that in-house, however, it is very time consuming and tedious to do. Now that I have all of the active campaign finance committees together and informed,etc., I have begun to work on a plan anew to get them online...we will, of course, as with many other things we've done here, be the first in the state to accomplish it if we are successful.

It may take some time though, because I will, in all fairness to all committees, only launch that portion of the website once all of the committees are scanned and hyperlinked. It may even be that I have to hire a part-timer to help out in some way.

Follow up in the months ahead on it to see where we are with it, I really wish it was out there too.

Keep on bloggin'!

Leonard

I understand that it's a big job to put this information online and it won't happen before the the November election but it should be available before the the 2009 local election.

Coming attractions

I met with Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District Republican candidate Chris Hackett today and asked him a few questions. Because of a technical glitch (operator error) I only got about 20 minutes of it on my recorder and will have to rely on my notes and memory for the rest. Thank you for providing questions (he didn't shy away from any) and you may find that some of his answers might surprise you.

On a personal note I found him easy to talk to and very knowledgeable about the issues facing the district and the country. He grew up near Philadelphia so we both have a rooting interest in the the Phillies and the Eagles but when I asked him to pick between Notre Dame and Penn State he replied Ohio State! I'll give him that because he went to Wittenberg University in Ohio.

It will take me a few days to transcribe it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Peters drops 10th CD bid

From GrassrootsPA:


Statement from Joe PetersSept. 12, 2007

“I have decided to end my exploratory efforts for the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat.

This decision is made even though every important metric along the way led me to conclude that I would win the nomination. From political support to survey research to fundraising ability, my efforts passed every test for a successful candidate.

However, I have concluded the demands of a campaign would cause too much stress on my new business ventures, which have been my main priority for the last few years. As such, I must place family and future first.

I want to thank the people of the 10th District, especially my family and friends who supported me during this process, including countless grassroots Republicans and donors.
In addition to my business interests, I intend to keep my focus on recapturing the 10th Congressional District for the GOP.”

No politics in the Luzerne County Courthouse

This letter was in the CV: The Committee to Elect James "Red" O'Brien ran a political ad in your paper on Aug. 31, regarding a rally. I find it very disturbing that a Luzerne County phone number (825-1755) and employee are listed to obtain tickets from.

The employee works for Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly who said it was "a simple mistake"...According to a county personnel policy, county employees can only work on political and campaign matters on their personal time, not while working as county employees.

Yeah Bob, we all believe that no politics happens on county time.

Bob Reilly is looking good for a sixth term facing Butler Township tax collector Republican Sue Rossi, not Gina Nevenglosky as the CV said. She is running for Treasurer against Mike Morreale.

Red O'Brien is running a competitive race against incumbent Republican Mary Dysleski who has seen 2 long time employees accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her office. One is awaiting trial and the other pleaded guilty and was sentenced to house arrest. I still can't believe someone who steals thousands from the taxpayers receives a slap on the wrist while some idiot who sticks up a Turkey Hill for 40 bucks gets time in the slammer. Only in Luzerne County.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

PA 10th CD update

After a flurry of activity things have been kind of quiet. Only Don Ely and Chris Hackett have officially announced that they are running for the Republican nomination. Dan Meuser's legal troubles over exploding wheelchairs and a sexual harassment lawsuit along with his donations to Democrats provided some fun that I'm sure will be revisited as the campaign heats up. Joe Peters' "poll" gave everybody a nice chuckle. We've had a nice discussion in the comments about these and other pressing issues such as who is pro-life and when they got there, who actually lives in the district and a few swipes about marital status. Meanwhile incumbent Chris Carney is serving on active duty and is busy blowing up things in Iraq by remote control.

In an attempt to elevate the discussion I will be meeting with Chris Hackett on Thursday to discuss boring stuff like issues. I hope to talk with all the candidates before the primary. If anyone has any questions they would like me to ask Chris please leave them in the comments or send me an email. Be nice folks and please keep it clean.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sports weekend

The Eagles muffed 3 punts that resulted in a score and the game winning field goal by Green Bay. The Steelers won big. The Phillies went up 8-0 and then tried to give the game away but hung on for a 8-5 win. Penn State got revenge for last years pasting and put a hurt on Notre Dame. We have tix for the Phils -Braves games September 25/26. I hope they are still playing for something.

Quick hits

So many stories I wanted to blog about this week but the combination of my schedule (I work nights and get home around 2AM) and a remodeling project at home has eaten up my time.

Batman (Bob Kadluboski )is on trial for ramming a car he was chasing after a stabbing incident. Not the first time he's done something like this. More here.

A push poll in the Luzerne County commissioners race. The Republicans deny they did it and the Dems won't admit to it.

Kanjo says the Cornerstone thing is old news. The story will not go away.

Plains has money to burn thanks to the slots. Some want a property tax cut but the Supervisors are being cautious. I agree.

The witch hunt of Judge Lokuta continues.

The Lackawana County Commissioners race got more interesting with baseball Bob 's best friend getting busted by the FBI.

Homer Simpson once asked " if we don't have immigrants who will play shortstop or kick our extra points?"

The latest O'Brien/Washo ad:


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Saturday pet blogging



How to keep cool.



Lt Commander Carney reports for duty

Washington, D.C. --Congressman Christopher P. Carney will report for two weeks of active duty on September 10, 2007 at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. “Serving my nation is something I take very seriously,” said Congressman Carney. “I will continue to serve two weeks of active duty. I will leverage my counter-terrorism experience with the Predator UAV Program, to bring a certain value added to the military.”

Congressman Carney is currently a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. In addition to two weeks of active duty each year, he continues to drill at the Pentagon each month.

Lt. Commander Carney will be working on the Predator UAV Program. Previously, he was called up for service as a counter-terrorism expert at the Pentagon following the September 11th attacks. He continued counter-terrorism work as a Senior Advisor and Special Advisor from 2003 to 2005. In 2006, he was elected to Congress from the 10th District of Pennsylvania and pledged to continue his reserve duty while serving as a Member of Congress.

Reporting for active duty is unique for Members of Congress. Congressman Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, also reports for two weeks of active duty as a Reservist while serving as a Member of Congress. “Working in the Pentagon as a naval reserve intelligence officers helps me better understand what our men and women serving in the military face each day,” U.S. Representative Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said. “That perspective also helps me make decisions in Congress. Those who wear the uniform have a unique perspective on issues that affect our military. Serving in the reserve also helps you transcend partisan differences. I consider myself a shipmate to Congressman Carney first and a colleague in Congress second.”

While in uniform, Congressman Carney will not be able to comment on political matters.

It's good to see people keep their military obligations unlike some others.



Friday, September 07, 2007

Yuddy responds


Last week I asked State Rep John Yudichak (D-119th) about the rumor that he will run for the Democratic nomination in the PA 11th CD. He was kind enough to reply:
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I appreciate your interest, and I always enjoy your blog. I am keeping all options open regarding my political future. Currently, I am focusing on some very exciting projects in the 119th like the recent announcement that will bring LCCC into downtown Nanticoke as a full partner in the City’s revitalization. I will do my best to keep you updated. Thanks, jty
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He doesn't confirm it but doesn't deny it either. This should get interesting.

Kanjo News



"The president is not a dumb man, he's just not a deep man. He can be a deep man, but he's never had to exercise his brain. He's a DEK (a fraternity guy, pronounced 'deek'). They are the best party guys in the world," -U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, PA-11(D)

He explains his vote on Iraq:

The Pocono Record


"We were told a lot of things that were incorrect or inaccurate" he said...."They told us all kind of things. That we were under a threat and their information was as complete as possible and they (Iraq) had weapons of mass destruction"...he was shown large pictures of a plane "that looked like a mosquito." Kanjorski was told these were called UAVs — unmanned aeronautical vehicles, the highest black-box weapons we have, and they (the Iraqis) have 1,000 of them, and they can deliver weapons of mass destruction. That included a plane that could spray chemical and biological materials..."the Iraqis never had one damned weapon."


"There was no way they ever took those pictures in Iraq," he said, referring to the UAVs.
Kanjorski doesn't believe the president or the national security adviser lied to him "because I believe they were lied to," he said.



"We invaded a sovereign nation based on a lie."

His nephews keep making news over the Cornerstone thing and being employed by his PAC and campaign committee. We're used to nepotism but the Cornerstone story just won't go away. Now the Navy is asking questions.

The Politico

The U.S. Navy wants a business owned by the family of Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski to hand over a piece of high-tech equipment bought with some of the $9.25 million in taxpayer funds Kanjorski steered to the company.
Except no one seems to know where to find the equipment-

a Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, also know as a high-pressure pump.

Which brings me to the Yuddy rumour. For a few weeks I've been hearing that State Rep John Yudichak (119th) will take on Kanjo in the primary for the Democratic nomination for the 11th District CD seat held by Kanjorski. One wag said :

I think the time is ripe. the families can't stand each other even though they were allies at one time. Plus notice John's zoning in on health care? great middle class issue. All he has to do is stand up and say, you deserve the same health care the congressman got for his heart surgery. Mcnulty will run his campaign, he has to pay off his wife's direct merchant bill so they'll be plenty of paid media.

Another:

If Yuddy wants to take on Kanjo, now would be the time to do it. The republicans are running so many commercials that it could only help John. And if John runs I think he will win the primary and then have a cake walk in the general.

I asked Yudichak for a comment last week but received no response yet.

Danny had it first.