Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween


I’m angrier than Michael Vick at a Dog Food Convention over the commie holiday of Halloween!! Every year my night of watching Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud reruns is ruined because groups of spoiled little runts come knocking at my door asking for candy or a dollar!! Whatever happened to kids pulling their own weight?!? In my day we had to celebrate Halloween too (I think the commie Teddy Roosevelt started the holiday), but at least then we didn’t have to fork out a thousand dollars for a costume. One year I went as the headless man; all I did was to push my shirt above my head and look through the peep holes to see where I was going. Sure I feel a few times and broke the eye glasses pops worked two weeks to pay for, and yeah, when I got home he gave me the licking of my life, but I loved it!!!!

Kids have it too easy today and they want everything handed to them! Hell, I remember my own two losers dragging me to the Miracle Mart back in the sixties to get them a dumb pre made costume (you all remember, the kind of costumes that you could use to stoke the ol’ furnace when you ran out of paper). My stupid son Clay made me get him a Lone Ranger costume. I can still see the look in his pre-Commie eyes when I told him that he could never be mistaken for the Lone Ranger because the Lone Ranger was a real man—I even told him that he couldn’t even pass for Tonto on his best day! Sure the kid cried all the way home, but he got an important lesson—don’t try to be what you can’t!! OF course, he started playing all those damned Beatle albums a few years later and grew his hair long (maybe he was Tonto after all). All Halloween does is remind me of what failures my kids have been to me and how a father’s love can only go so far. Damn!!!

And what is it with these big kids Halloweening? Last year I opened my door and some huge loser runt with a goatee was standing there wanting candy (no doubt, to sell for drug money). I told him that if he didn’t get off my porch I’d give him a Smith and Wesson candy bar!!! You should have seen the hack take off like Hillary Clinton from a Chippendale’s convention!!
In my day we went out till we were about seven and then the fun was over!! You got your butt out of bed and went straight to the foundry or the mine pit—and you were glad to have a job!!! Now all these damned kids want is to be coddled and nursed—Hell, some of them stay at home forever. I kicked my two losers out once ol’ Uncle Sam said I legally could.

Well, I gotta end it here; those three jerky grandkids of mine are coming over and I have to take them out to all of the Commie houses for foreign made candy. I think my harlot granddaughter is going as Hillary Clinton—as you can see I’m in for a great night. Damn!!!

So all you Che Guevara, Chairman Mao worshipping lefties have a great Halloween—Hell, maybe Dennis Kucinich will come to your door disguised as a “man” and you can give him some of your hard earned cash so he can become President and tell you how to live your life!!

As for me, after I get the little grandrunts back to the ol’ homestead, I’m popping open a Steg, putting on a little Dean Martin, later put some Matlock on the ol’ TV and pretending I’m deaf when the Bolsheviks come knocking at my door! Happy Halloween and go to Hell! I hate you all!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I got this from the Pennsylvania Democratic party:

Tuesday is a very special night, and I want to let you know what the Pennsylvania Democratic party is doing to mark the occasion. Tuesday night, October 30th, at 9:00 p.m., the Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage in Philadelphia for a debate sponsored by MSNBC.

Obviously, we're thrilled to have this incredible field of candidates present in the Commonwealth. But in the tradition of the Keystone State, we want to give you the chance to be heard. So we're opening up the PA Democratic Party's online message board to you!

We're hosting an open conversation and an Internet poll here on the party's Web site during and after the debate, and inviting Pennsylvania Democrats to sound off and discuss with each other what the candidates have to say. The conversation will begin on the PA Dems Message Board around 9:00 p.m., and then, starting at 10:30 p.m., we will offer an Internet poll giving visitors to the site the opportunity to cast their vote for the candidate they feel won the debate.

Luzerne County Sheriff

Barry Stankus, the incumbent Republican Sheriff is facing a stiff challenge from Mike Savokinas in the only county race that has some excitement. Stankus has done a good job the last eight years but you can always do better. His opponent points out some shortcomings and offers his ideas to improve the office. Stankus snagged the endorsement of both local papers. The CV said "Stankus has done a good job for eight years and deserves to be retained in his office." The TL said....sorry, the article has expired on the web. I hate to bitch about the local papers because I rely on them but the TL charging money for a story more than 2 weeks old (3 bucks!) is stupid.

The Red Sox won the World Series

And they did it way ahead of schedule. The last time I was at Yankee Stadium for a Yanks-Sox game someone had a sign that read;


After every disaster endured by Boston fans over the years it was a real fear for the faithful. But just 3 years later Beantown has another championship parade and look to be contenders for the foreseeable future. Then the Yankees stepped all over the celebration by announcing that Joe Girardi will be the new manager passing over Donnie Baseball and Alex Rodriguez will become a free agent. Today's news is that Joe Torre will take the helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers after being shit on by the Bombers management.

The Yankees know how to manage the news cycle almost as good as the Bush administration. I don't know why but this reminds me of Rumsfeld being fired the day after the 2006 election. Spin it all you want but you still lost.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Luzerne County Clerk of Courts

Democrat Bob Reilly has had the job for 20 years and seems to be doing well at it. The Times-Leader said it was a close call this time around. Sue Rossi has the managment experience to take his place but probably doesn't have the political support to replace him. Which is a shame, I would like to shake up the whole place.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Urban Terrorist stikes again

Luzerne County Commissioner Stephen A. Urban had the nerve to tell the people about what is in the super secret audit of PA Child Care, owner of the juvenile jail in Pittston Township. PA Child Care threatened to file a lawsuit if information from the draft audit was given to the press citing "trade secrets." I don't buy it. The state Department of Public Welfare conducted an audit of how taxpayer money is being spent and we have a right to know. According to Urban taxpayers may be on the hook for $30 million to $40 million because of the lease.

County Children and Youth director Frank Castano and County Manager Sam Guesto refused to give a copy to Urban so he got a copy from the Dept. of Welfare. Commissioner Chairman Greg Skrepenak backs them up hiding behind the lame excuse of a threatened lawsuit if information from the audit was given to the press. Let them sue, what are they afraid of? Or a better question is, what is Skrep afraid of?

In an attempt at damage control the county Dems are in full insult mode:

Skrepenak said Urban could not be trusted with a copy of the draft audit, and on Thursday, Skrepenak said Urban proved him right. He called Urban “a coward.

Skep also called him an “albatross,” a “liar” and a “sneak.”

Skrepenak said he will sue Urban if he is sued.

County Commissioner Rose Tucker said he’s a “bum” and said she wants to “strangle him.”

A law firm representing PA Child Care, which owns the Pittston Township center, said Urban’s audit release was “a desperate act by a desperate politician trying desperately to get re-elected.”

And to add to the nonsense:

“This would be displeasing in the eyes of the individuals who trained Mr. Urban in the military,” Guesto said. “You don’t call the press if you should move your battalion forward.”

Urban's response

“Rose can call me whatever she wants. I like Rose. She’s a sweet lady, but she has a responsibility here and she should not have shirked her responsibility by refusing to see the audit. She has a responsibility as an elected official to get involved in matters, no matter how difficult they are.”

Urban said Skrepenak is the one who put the county “at risk” with the lease.
“He’s got this county in a serious situation because he did not act prudently. He’s going to attack me because he has to cover it up.”

Remember that in 2003, Urban and then-Commissioner Tom Makowski voted to borrow roughly $9 million for a new county-owned juvenile facility. And then the money was pissed away on other projects.

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series

The Red Sox won game 2 by my predicted score of 2-1 after the thumping of the Rockies in the first game. That's baseball and pitching wins. Josh Beckett and my favorite Curt Schilling threw great games in the first 2. Get out the brooms.

Wilkes-Barre Council race

All the Wilkes-Barre City Council candidates were invited to a forum at Kings College but most of them took a pass. Even the Citizens Voice didn't show up. This was probably the only time before the election that all the candidates would share the same platform before the election. The TL has a recap of the positions of the people who actually lowered themselves to answer questions from the voters. They were:

Walter Griffith, Republican, District A

Vincent Guarneri, Republican, District B

Peter Gagliardi, Republican, District C

Linda Stets, Republican, District D

Michael Merritt, Democrat, District E

Missing in action:

Rick Cronauer, Democrat, District A

Tony Thomas Jr., Democrat,District B, INCUMBENT

Kathy Kane, Democrat, District C, INCUMBENT

Bill Barrett, Democrat, District D, INCUMBENT

Republican John Yencha, District E

Independent candidate Tony George, District B

Write-in candidate Sam Troy, District C.

Anybody see a pattern?

My friend David has his usual thorough coverage the event at The Lu Lac Political Letter. He covers the issues, the atmosphere and even a fashion report.

Wilkes-Barre political websites:

Mayor Tom Leighton

Mayoral candidate and District D Council candidate Linda Stets

District A candidate Walter Griffith

The 6th District Republican Committee covers W-B candidates and other races

Wilkes-Barre Can Survive! is pushing Republicans in the city and county

Lackawanna Wonderful

Unlike Luzerne County our neighbors to the north have a Commissioners race that is in doubt. Incumbent Republican Bob Cordaro and his running mate Brian Cashman remind us that that they made the hard choices. I'm sorry, I meant A J Munchak. It's just that Cordaro continues to brag about stealing the Yankees AAA team from Columbus it's hard to tell who he is running with. Sorry Bob, some of us are still pissed that you chased the Phillies out of town. The election is shaping up as a referendum on the incumbents as it always does.

A poll by Momentum Analysis shows the Democratic challengers Mike Washo and Corey O’Brien in good shape.

In the two-vote race for County Commissioner, nearly half (47% and 46%, respectively)
vote for Washo and O’Brien, less than a third (30% and 28%, respectively) vote for
Munchak and Cordaro, a fifth (21%) were undecided in their choice for either seat for
Commissioner and another 6% were undecided in only their second choice.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Luzerne County Commissioner's race

Bill James said he is running a write-in campaign after losing the Republican nomination in May. James and incumbent Steve Urban deny that they are in cahoots but Democrat Greg Skrepenak smells a rat:

It’s Steve Urban’s way of taking votes away from Bill Jones. Obviously Steve Urban must be scared,” he said.

It just may be a coincidence that Steve Urban plans to join picketing Crestwood School District support workers on Thursday. Bill Jones is a Crestwood School Board member and the union workers have been working without a contract for 6 years. It's good to see a Republican office holder stand with the working man.

Urban said the county would never allow negotiations to drag on for six years. He pointed out that Jones was on the board for eight years.

“This tells a little about his leadership and not being able to sit down and negotiate in good faith,” Urban said of Jones. “To me it shows a lackadaisical attitude on his part.”

Jones said it's not his fault.

“Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s going on way too long. I’m not on the negotiating team.”

And Urban still wants to see the super secret audit of the juvenile detention center in Pittston owned by an outfit called PA Child Care. The owners of the company are Robert Powell and Gregory Zappala who claim the audit is “private and confidential,” and contend that the audit report is inaccurate and “reaches conclusions that are unjustified.” County Chief Clerk/Manager Sam Guesto said he won't give Urban a copy of the audit because PA Child Care might sue if the information becomes public and Skrep backs him up. Never mind that this about a $58 million, 20-year contract paid for with taxpayer money. I think it should be public. And don't forget the names Powell and Zappala, they are part of the group that wants to build a cargo airport near Hazleton. That project is already looking to use some of the slots revenue that is supposedly going to be used to lower property taxes. This time I smell a rat.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Swiderski on S-CHIP

I've asked all the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District candidates to share their thoughts on the S-CHIP legislation.

Here is Paul Swiderski's reply:

Like many other social welfare programs, S-CHIP is designed to provide temporary relief and assistance for lower-income families. However, the families who use these resources nationally tend to form a long-term dependence. S-CHIP is a liberal attempt to push our nation towards a nanny state. Rather than focusing on the rising cost of health insurance, Nancy Pelosi and the misguided San Francisco liberals are promoting increased government involvement in the health care system. I believe in the ability for our state to administer its own program, but I do not trust other states and localities to act in the best interest of taxpayers.

If we do not contain the involvement of the Federal Government, we will be issuing a blank check for those who act against the best interests of the 10th Congressional District. Other states have made it clear they will use such assistance to indirectly pay for the health and welfare of illegal immigrants in this country.

Can you trust “Nanny Pelosi” to make the best use of taxpayers money? Can you trust “Nanny Pelosi” to take care of you?

Involvement by the Federal Government in education and health care has increased costs for everyone. Inflation for education increases at twice the national rate. Health care costs have averaged double-digit inflation for the last decade. This is all due to the failure of the Federal Government to provide.

We cannot fall for the Democratic Party’s red herring of “protecting the children”. “Protecting the children” has limited our freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. The Democrats “protecting our children” has led to families with both parents working full-time jobs to provide the basic necessities. “Protecting our children” has given us a society of children raised by television and outsiders versus parents. “Protecting our children” has led to a national crisis of people looking for the next quick buck instead of promoting innovation and hard work. Instead of letting the government protect our children, we should better empower parents to provide the financial and emotional needs for their families.

We must look for new ways to contain costs within the health care system. We will continue to receive “hamburger” care at “caviar” prices because the free market is not allowed to operate. The government pays for half of all medical expenditures in this country. The government has no incentive to control costs. Instead, we pay too much for lawyers looking for their one big lottery ticket.

I promote we should assist the health care system in this country by tackling the root causes of the problem:

Ending the practice of frivolous law suits within the medical profession

Capping medical malpractice damages

Investing in medical technology advances

Promoting greater education for healthier living

Empowering the government to better negotiate medical costs

Protecting the doctors and medical professionals who take care of us

Tax breaks for small and medium-sized businesses to join purchasing cooperatives with other local businesses

Improving the local economy to promote the affordability of health insurance for all citizens within the 10th

My solutions will not make national headlines because they do not involve the extension of a larger national bureaucracy. My solutions are neither sexy nor do they contain any buzzwords drawn up by numerous advertising agencies. If given the opportunity to serve you, my solutions would just work.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

10th CD update

Candidates are dropping in and out of the race for the Republican nomination in Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District. The big news today is that former New Jersey state senator John Scott has withdrawn from the contest.

That leaves 4 announced candidates, Chris Hackett, Shavertown, owner of One Source Staffing; Dan Meuser, Harveys Lake, president of Pride Mobility Products; Donald Ely, Sunbury, a retired schoolteacher and minister; and Paul R. Swiderski, Harding, self-employed. Previously Joe Peters and Tom Marino ruled out a bid and Vince Sweeney is still thinking about it.

There is still time for someone else to jump into this thing and a commenter gives us a heads up to another prospective candidate; I heard that Amber from Club 10 will enter the race. She is raising funds Thursday night in the VIP room.

The announced candidates have websites in various stages of development.

Incumbent Democrat Chris Carney's site has just been given a makeover.

Paul Swiderski was the first of the challengers to pop up on the web. The best feature of it is his campaign blog.

Dan Meuser has his bio and sketches out some policy positions with a promise of more content to come.

This one is my favorite so far. Don Ely has bullet points saying what he is for and against without any explanation of his positions. I'm sure he will expand on them later. Some of what he OPPOSES caught my eye; Law of the Sea U. N. Treaty, U. N. Taxing of Americans, North American Union and the ever popular The Whole Liberal “Hate America” Agenda.

Chris Hackett is a slacker in this category with only a Coming Soon. But he got some press this week with the Pocono News and The Wayne Independent covering his announcement tour. And the DC publication The Hill has this blurb:

Republican candidates hoping to unseat vulnerable House Democrats by and large are sticking by their party’s line in opposition to the children’s healthcare bill President Bush vetoed earlier this month....if GOP congressional hopefuls are fearful that backing Bush and the House Republican leadership against the SCHIP bill will hurt their campaigns, they aren’t showing it in their public statements.

In Pennsylvania, businessman Chris Hackett, one of two top Republican contenders running against Rep. Chris Carney (D), cited Carney’s vote for SCHIP as one of several that “don’t reflect the values of the district in any way, shape or form.”

Asked if the president was right to veto the bill, Hackett said, “Absolutely, yes.”

Ace TL political reporter Bill O'Boyle has the spin from the NRCC and Carney's office on the race.

Ken Spain, press secretary at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said he’s not surprised by the large field.

“Chris Carney’s record of voting for tax hikes and runaway spending has made him an easy target so it should come as no surprise that he has attracted stiff Republican opposition in this race,” Spain said. “Every day that he allows himself to serve as a rubber stamp for this wildly unpopular Democrat-led Congress, he provides more incentive for Republican challengers to line up against him and send a message to Washington.”

That drew a response from Rebecca Gale, spokesperson for Carney in Washington.

Congressman Carney is proud of his record as a fiscal conservative,” Gale said. “The NRCC is just grasping at straws since their first-tier candidates have already backed away from challenging Congressman Carney.”

It's good to see Hackett address the issues in the news. I've asked the other candidates to tell us what they think of the SCHIP bill but for some reason they are being shy. I disagree with Hackett on this issue but he his willing to take a position and defend it.

Luzerne County Treasurer

“When Paterno retires, I’m going to retire.”-Luzerne County Treasurer Mike Morreale

The latest installment of the Times-Leader inquisitions features the candidates for Treasurer. Mike Morreale stresses his experience and takes credit for making many office records computerized during his latest term, eliminating ledger books. His claim to fame is joining Steve Flood and Steve Urban to revamp the county pension fund. It was a pretty ballsy thing to do (bucking the powers that be) and the results show it was the right decision.

Morreale said his support for a change in pension fund management helped the fund to grow from $140 million to around $214 million while saving $1.2 million in money management fees. The performance of money managers is presented at public meetings, and money managers must come in for reviews if they under perform, he said.

“I did the right thing. It was definitely the right thing to do no matter what,” he said.

I've heard that there is an investigation going on about some missing funds from the office but nobody wants to talk about it.

Morreale said he was proactive when he detected an odd pattern of tax bill check recording in his office. While all accounts balanced, some of the tax bills were marked as paid and then voided and then paid again in the office computer system. He referred the matter to the county District Attorney’s Office, which is investigating.

His opponent is Republican Gina Nevenglosky who says she would be a full-time Luzerne County treasurer with no outside employment if elected. She says it's time for change after 27 years and takes a swipe at Morreale's age.

“There is also a need for a treasurer who is able to stay alert during commissioner meetings.”

She will have an open-door policy, likes to hunt deer and will keep the current staff in the office. The only change she offered is

... she wants to explore the possibility of requiring licenses for cats to bring in new revenue and discourage overpopulation of cats.

Ptolemy objected to that proposal pleading poverty (he's still unemployed and owes me a bunch of money) and saying "Don't blame me for too many cats, they cut my nuggies off long ago." What's next, mandating seatbelts for dogs?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Big Ten Network vs. Comcast

Now Comcast is blocking some kinds of internet activity.

NEW YORK - Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

The wag that sent me this asks a good question. When will they start blocking content? Like some blogger berating them for not carrying the big 10.

The Inky has the latest rundown of the dispute and this is what it boils down to:

The Big Ten Network says it expected to take in more than $60 million a year in revenue by appearing on Comcast's expanded basic tier. Instead, the Philadelphia cable company has offered a deal for basically $2.5 million by placing it on the sports tier, which costs an additional $5 per month and is seen by only 4 percent of Comcast's subscribers.

A plague on both their houses. This is still an argument over money between 2 giant corporations. More pressure will mount when basketball season starts and people in Indiana can't watch the Hoosiers. The controversy has taken on the overtones of a "nasty political campaign." Complete with negative ads run by Comcast opposing the Big Ten Tax.

All I know is that they better come to a deal by next football season or other people might act like this woman. (h/t The Pennsylvania Progressive)

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Urban Terrorist keeps asking questions

“I’m going to ask questions because that’s my job.”-Commissioner Stephen Urban

It looks like the Luzerne County budget is not balanced after all. Last year the Bond Brothers (Skrep and Vondy) presented an election year "balanced budget" that relied on some questionable revenue projections that included some hoped for money from land sales that haven't happened yet. They were also counting on another $3 million from beefed-up tax collection. How's that going? The previous 3 years they had to float a bond to just meet payroll and it looks like that will happen again but not until after the election.

They are also looking at borrowing an enormous amount of money to build a new prison but have started eminent domain proceedings to pay the owner of the Huber Breaker a kings ransom in the hope of turning that big pile of junk into some sort of anthracite magical mystery tour. Paid for by another bond.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The State Children’s Health Insurance Program is in the news. To me it's a reasonable program to help people who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid but don't have insurance from their employer and just can't afford it on their own. The shameless attacks by some conservative bloggers on the families that dared to tell how the program helped their situation is another story covered elsewhere.

Congressmen Kanjorski and Carney voted for the bill. Isn't that a surprise, Chris Carney voted like a Democrat as he always does on economic issues. We have our differences on the Iraq mess but Chris is a much better Congressman than the last automaton. He comes out swinging on this one and rips the Bush veto:

“We cannot lose health coverage for 10 million children without a fight”

This was an unconscionable act by the President. Since it was created in 1997, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has always received strong bipartisan support.

Over the last ten years, the children’s health program has proven to be a popular, successful program – with 6 million children now enrolled in the program.

“It costs less than $3.50 a day to cover a child through the Children’s Health Insurance program. Insuring kids is also cost-effective for taxpayers who pick up the tab for indigent care in emergency rooms – the most expensive way to care for a child’s health – as well as because a healthy child is more likely to succeed in education and life.

“The President’s unconscionable veto of this bipartisan, fiscally responsible legislation –supported by strong majorities in the House and Senate, 43 governors, industry groups and the American people –demonstrates a complete lack of compassion for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Mr. President, you sent our troops to Iraq without a plan, you’re drive up our debt so that our grandchildren will be paying it off, but you can’t sign bipartisan legislation to provide health care to children? This is truly an unacceptable act, and I cannot support it.”

I've asked the Republican 10th CD candidates for a comment on this issue but I don't have all of their email addresses. Help me out people.

Update: I've emailed Hackett, Meuser, Ely and Swiderski asking for their thoughts. No response from any of them yet. I'm still looking for an email address for John Scott.

And there is this from Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) She asks What Has President Bush Done for Healthcare for America’s Kids? I hope you watch it because it is so powerful because because of what she doesn't say. If this speech was given anywhere but Congress it would have brought the house down.

Potty mouth

This is why I keep the windows closed when watching Penn State games.

TT: The West Scranton woman accused of cursing at her commode said she plans to enter a not guilty plea in court today.

Dawn Herb, of 924 Luzerne St., is facing a disorderly conduct charge that was issued after she started swearing at her backed-up toilet near an open window last week. If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $300 fine.

She will receive legal assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which is expected to represent her.

Who hasn't let loose with a few choice words when something has gone wrong around the house? When I was growing up my old man would go through the roof when the furnace or water heater, etc. would act up creating a scene akin to the one in the Christmas Story. I think I was 10 or 11 before someone explained to me that fuck wasn't something you did when you hit your hand with a hammer.

You would think that this would be dropped after all the publicity making the cops look silly but Scranton Director of Public Safety Ray Hayes said he stands by the officer’s decision. “Upon further review, many types of these incidents are not as cut and dry as they originally appear,” he said. “Freedom of speech is not an unfettered right.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I watched the 6 o'clock news

Something I almost never do because I'm usually at work at this time. But I'm still sneaking over to TCM to watch Alexander the Great starring Richard Burton. I'm a history geek, what can I say.

The only reason I'm even watching the local news is for the political commercials and they are sparse on Channel 16. Before we get to the break it's the usual crime blotter, car crashes, and nonstop weather updates with someones house burning down and lawyers blaming your misfortune on someone else.

The ads.

Some woman who wants to be a Judge said the reason she wants to be one is because she is a woman.

The first local one up has Skrep and Petrilla say that they are cleaning up corruption and saved $10 Million by cutting wasteful spending then claim credit for creating 4000 jobs then go into the usual claptrap about drugs and crime.

Washo and O'Brien have nice ties and want to open up government. Then say they won't make promises they can't keep.

That's it! What a boring election.

Luzerne County prison

The prison board has declared a "state of emergency" because of the overcrowding at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. It was prompted because prisons in other counties no longer have room for Luzerne County inmates. Another result of the so called war on drugs which now sees over 2 million people locked up every year in the US. In the 1970's the national prison population was about 200,000. The practical effect of the declaration is that warden will be able to award a no-bid contract to build a fence around the facility’s minimal-offenders unit.

The Commissioners are still looking at building a new lock-up that will cost at least $70-100 million that will have to be borrowed and Minority Commissioner Steve Urban thinks is too expensive. He wants to renovate the old juvenile detention building and use it as a women's prison to free up space at the main facility.

The prison Board also settled 2 lawsuits that resulted from the Hugo Selenski escape. After that fiasco Warden Gene Fischi and his Deputy Sam Hyder blamed it on underlings. The underlings objected to taking the blame and mouthed off to the press resulting in them getting fired. Call this a win for the 1st amendment that county taxpayers have to foot the bill because the top people wouldn't take responsibility for their actions. Maybe Fischi and Hyder have a future in the Bush Administration. And just to add to fun a guard has been granted medical leave because his dog suffered hearing damage.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The money primary: Carney and Kanjo edition part deux

With Hackett thrown in.

I got a piece of franked mail from PA CD-11 incumbent Paul Kanjorski that tells me about all the votes he has cast to oppose illegal immigration. Does Lou Barletta have him worried? Judging by his latest FEC filing probably not. He raised $368,792 this quarter and has $1.2 million cash on hand. For all the speculation that State Rep John Yudichak or Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty mounting a primary challenge stoked by me and others, it's not going to happen. And Barletta still has a $153,670 debt left over from his last run. Barletta is good at running up debt and by the time he gets done appealing the unconstitutional immigration ordinance Hazleton will be in the red for the next 20 years. I hope some Rebublican runs against Kanjo because I hate unopposed elections. Right now that looks unlikely.

Chris Carney has $589,268 cash on hand after raising $774,023. The thing that jumps out is the the NRCC has spent over $35,000 on negative ads against him. He has also received the PAC largess as has Kanjo.

Chriss Hackett is reporting $246,810 cash on hand with only $500 in expenditures. The numbers are a bit tempered when you see that $118,000 came from the candidate. But 100 grand from individual contributors in a month is impressive.

Dan Meuser announced after the filing deadline and it appears none of the other candidates have raised the required $5000 that obligates them to file.

Brett has the rundown on the rest of the PA delegation

What's your sign, part II

It seems to be an annual ritual around here. Some candidate complains his signs are being stolen or is this just a case of overzelous Wilkes-Barre DPW workers removing them from public property far and wide.

Candidate: Hundreds of signs are stolen

The Democratic candidate for Luzerne County sheriff said hundreds of his campaign signs were stolen Saturday night or early Sunday.
Mike Savokinas, who said his signs are missing, estimates cost of the lost signs to be between $2,000 and $5,000.

This sort of juvenile nonsense happens every election, I've even seen it with my own eyes.

In the continuing Times-Leader series of candidate inquisitions it was W-B Council District A hopefuls turn.

Walter Griffith touts his 10 point plan and said he said he applauds the job done by Mayor Thomas Leighton. That's a first.

His opponent Rick Cronauer promises to make the city better but if after four years he feels he hasn’t succeeded, he will pull up stakes and accept failure. While that is refreshingly honest it's going to take a long time to fix the problems of W-B or any other small city in PA.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What's your sign

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind - Five Man Electrical Band

Some people discount the usefulness of yard signs in a political campaign, I'm not one of them. More than once the first time I became aware of somebody running for this or that office is when I spotted a yard sign for the candidate. Plus it's a traditional way of people showing support for their friends and neighbors. The latest dustup in Wilkes-Barre is over the placement of them on public property.

WILKES-BARRE - Starting Monday, public works employees will begin removing political signs on the edge of public property next to limited access roadways in Wilkes-Barre, Assistant Solicitor Bill Vinsko said.

Since when can Bill Vinsko give orders to DPW workers? He cites some ancient ordinance that says that signs cannot be 660 feet of a right of way on any limited access highways. The ordinance has never been enforced before and the timing has the usual suspects crying foul.

Republican City Council candidate Walter Griffith (via email):

My question is does anyone know if it is a public works dept. employee or a person that just wants to remove the sign ? They wont clean up the gutters of the city of the litter because of lack of manpower but they somehow have the manpower to enforce this ordinance...Seems odd to me...where was this ordinance in the Primary when the signs were all over the place..this is truly a set back for freedom and democracy..

We need to make this a loud noise and make it heard all over the City...The Candidates are being stifled by the City Council and our Freedom is being taken away.

Mayoral and council candidate Linda Stets:

If the city is not targeting anyone then I have to wonder if they will be removing real estate signs that are placed on public property, as they are also temporary, and serve no purpose after a house is sold. I also wonder why we would burden our over worked, stressed out 35 remaining DPW workers with yet another project when parks, streets, storm drains, and trash all needs picked up first. Does Mr. Vinsko truly think our DPW workers have nothing better to do?

In other Wilkes-Barre Politcal news various aspriants for office have submitted to the annual Times-Leader Inquisitions, if I missed any please send me the link.

Linda Stets says the neighborhoods are being ignored in favor of downtown development and wants a swimming pool opened at Coal Street Park.

Incumbent Council member Kathy Kane thinks things are going great and credits the Mayor with restoring the city's credit rating.

North End Democratic hopeful Mike Merritt repeats the usual claptrap about ridding neighborhoods of drugs and crime. He's been going door to door asking for votes but missed one important address.

Wilkes-Barre Online

My district’s favorite, Mike Merritt did the door-to-door thing on my street, but skipped this modest adobe even though he knew I was home. And that annoyed me to no end. What’s that all about? You want my vote, but you’re concerned about what I might write about you? Who knows. Maybe he thinks he doesn’t need my vote since he’s got the party’s endorsement. Whatever.

I'm pulling for John Yencha in this one.

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"

Sports weekend

Quit your bitching about Anthony Morelli, he went 16 for 28-with 216yards, a TD and no interceptions. Penn state blew out Big 10 pre-season favorite Wisconsin 38-7 with a balanced offense, 221 yards rushing, and the usual bend but don't break defense that set up 3 scores with turnovers. Morelli has played great the last two weeks. Next week should be a thumping of Indiana followed by the showdown with Number One Ohio State. Maybe Michigan State will knock them off just like every other number one team this year, USC and LSU come to mind, or the Lions will dump them. No school is going undefeated this year.

The Rockies haven't lost a game in 3 weeks after sweeping the Phillies and taking the first 2 at Arizona. The Tribe and the Sox are tied at one after an unusual sub-par post season performance by Curt Shilling.

The Eagles beat the Jets and the Pats are leading the Cowboys at press time.

Update: The Pats win 48-27.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Run, Al, Run

Susie has been chanting it for months as have others.
So Al Gore added to his hardware by winning the Nobel Peace Prize. He also won an Oscar and an Emmy so now all he needs now is a Tony and a Grammy. I'm sure he can sing better than John Ashcroft. And we all know that he won the People's Choice Award in 2000.
I haven't picked a candidate for President yet because I believe that any Democrat can win the White House next year. Against the Republican pygmies (thanks Newt) I would vote for the Easter Bunny, even paint eggs for him. If the Democratic nominee is anybody but Hillary it won't even be close.
So far it looks like a contest between Hillary and Obama with Edwards leading in Iowa but running out of money. I like Mike Gravel because he speaks his mind and Mrs. G's favorite is Dennis Kucinich for the the same reason but they are not going to get the nomination or even come close. The sleepers are Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden who are as qualified or more to be President as the big 3.
The small "d" democrat in me hates the idea of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. Not that I don't think that Hillary wouldn't be a good President but we are a nation that should not let the same 2 families run things for 20+ years, it's not healthy. Barrack Obama is exciting and represents a generational change along with getting over some other hangups. I'm not going to worry about what's on his lapel.
If the Vice President gets into it the race instantly comes down to a choice between him and Senator Clinton.
Run, Al, Run. You will make this guy happy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Luzerne County poll

The mysterious poll that was taken over a month ago but no one would take credit for finally has a father. The Skrepenak/Petrilla campaign manager, Mike Prociak, has admitted that they paid for it, like there was any doubt about it. Who else has the money? They won't make it public but it appears that the Citizens Voice and Times-Leader have seen it.

The surprise was that it has numbers on 2 of the row office races. In the Sheriffs race Republican incumbent Barry Stankus is leading challenger Mike Savokinas as expected. Savokonis is the only county candidate with a website and he raises questions about the finances of the office. The poll also said that Recorder of Deeds Mary Dysleski and Democrat Red O'Brien are in a close race.

Prociak said that Democrats Greg Skrepnak and Maryanne Petrilla are win and place but wouldn't tell us who is show. The 3rd place candidate said it was bullshit: "It was their poll," Steve Urban said. "I doubt any of the questions benefited me. So, you can't judge anything by what it says." The other Republican candidate Bill Jones could not be reached for comment as usual.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Office shopping

Hazleton has been in the news the last few days. Mayor Lou Barletta was at Notre Dame that got a nice write up in the TL. I found it interesting that the reporter who wrote the story, Steve Mocarsky, seemed to suggest he covered the event by watching the webcast on the ND website. That's a good thing, go internet.

This appearance, along with many others, continues the speculation that Mayor Lou will seek higher office. He has ruled out a bid for State Treasurer saying "The office doesn't excite me," and considers himself better suited for offices involving policy and legislation rather than audits and account balances. That sounds like he's ruled out an Auditor General run also.

"My name has been thrown around for a few statewide offices," Barletta said. "There are some who are encouraging me to run for governor in 2010 and others would like to see me in Washington working on immigration."I'm giving it consideration, as to what my future may be," he said.

I think it should be pointed out that according to the FEC Barletta still has a $150,000 debt left over from his last run for Congress.

Some of the other recent news from Hazleton is not so flattering to Barletta. Hazleton's finances are in the red and he doesn't see any improvement in the near future. He shocked me by blaming the problem on an influx of illegal immigrants. The CV has this devastating headline:

Report paints Hazleton as full of racism

A Zogby International report issued Wednesday paints a harrowing picture of Hazleton as a city where racism is rampant and people live in constant fear of racial profiling and losing their homes and/or jobs if taken for being in the country illegally..."Now fear reigns supreme, and the biggest fear is that this great tradition can be hijacked, especially by national demagogues trying to accent the worst," it reads. "The current atmosphere threatens to set Hazleton back to the pre-CAN DO days."

The TL has the reaction from the people who don't like what they are hearing about the Mountain City and their management of it.

And in a welcome example of good judgement an ordinance making it a summary offense for minors to possess or use tobacco products in the city proposed by council president Joe Yannuzzi failed to garner a second motion for consideration and was not voted upon.

Councilwoman Evelyn Graham said it should be the responsibility of parents to prevent their children from smoking, not overburdened city police officers. Unlike the nonsense that is going on in West Pittston.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dan Meuser for Congress

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. Dan Meuser has a website and has made it official.

Here is his press release announcing his candidacy. Thanks to Ray Zaborney for sending it to me.

Meuser Runs for Congress

Conservative Businessman Seeks To Represent PA-10

Dan Meuser, President of Pride Mobility Products, today filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission formalizing a run for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District.

“After careful consideration and consultation with my family, community and party leaders as well as constituents across our District, I have decided to seek the Republican nomination to represent Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District,” Meuser said.

Meuser has spent the past 20 years working with his family and the workforce at Pride Mobility to transform the business from a small furniture company with 25 employees to a worldwide leader in mobility products with over 1000 employees based in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Dan has helped build Pride Mobility into a force in the local economy, purchasing more than $30 million dollars in local companies and compiling sales of over $350 million annually. For the fifth year in a row under Dan’s leadership, Pride Mobility has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania.

“I believe that my unique experience of growing a small business into an international leader prepares me well to deal with the fiscal challenges facing our nation today,” Meuser said. “I know the importance of balancing a budget, the need to provide family sustaining jobs, and the burden that over regulation can impose on the economy.”

As President of Pride Mobility; Dan became an advocate for Americans with disabilities and senior citizens across the country. As a leader in his industry, Dan has taken the fight for access to mobility products for senior citizens and the disabled directly to some of the most powerful decision makers in Government.

“I’ve seen firsthand how government works, and in many ways, Washington DC is broken,” Meuser said. “I have spent much time advocating for the rights of senior citizens and the disabled, and have seen far too often in Washington the politics of special interests defeat common sense solutions that would best serve the interests of our citizens.”

Dan believes being an effective Representative for the 10th Congressional District means focusing on district issues and accomplishing goals. Meuser said, “My business record is about setting and accomplishing goals for our employees and our customers. I plan for my political record to reflect a pattern of working with all levels of government and community leaders to get things done here at home.”
Dan is a conservative Republican who has been active in supporting Republicans at the local, state, and federal level. In the past 7 years alone he has donated over $125,000 dollars to Republican candidates and party committees.

“I am proud to be a conservative, both fiscally and socially. I believe that we need to balance the federal budget, extend the tax cuts that have made our economy strong, and work to protect the conservative values of our district,” Meuser said. “I will fight to protect our right to bear arms, the sanctity of life, to secure our borders and oppose Amnesty.”

Meuser stressed the need for a strong military as well.

“As a member of Congress, I will make defending our national security our number one priority,” Meuser said. “We need to win the Global War on Terror. And, in Iraq, supply our military with whatever the commanders deem necessary to accomplish our goals in the most effective and expeditious manner possible, so our troops may return home successfully.”

In other Pa-10 news Chris Hackett has raised a ton of money in just a month. His press release courtesy of Dave Madeira.

Dallas, PA – Business and community leader Chris Hackett has established himself as the
Republican to beat in the race to unseat liberal Democrat Chris Carney after just 31 days of
active campaigning.

The Chris Hackett for Congress Campaign Committee today announced it will report over
$245,000 cash on hand as of the September 30, 2007 filing deadline. At the same point in the
2005 cycle, Carney for Congress reported less than $14,000 in the bank.

“My wife Ramah and I are grateful to have the strong support of so many business leaders and
grassroots activists from across this district and throughout Pennsylvania ,” said Chris Hackett.

“Pennsylvanians know that they are getting a bad deal from Washington . Liberal politicians are wasting too many of our tax dollars and not effectively securing our borders. They remain mired in partisan bickering. It’s time for change. Northeastern Pennsylvania needs a Congressman who will fight for taxpayers, work to create jobs and make America strong and safe.

That is what I intend to do.”

Vince Sweeney is weighing the pros and cons of running for office and Paul Swiderski will be kicking off his campaign at the Pierce Street Deli on Thursday.


I haven't seen a local election in Luzerne County so boring as this one. Not much paid media and even a lack of yard signs. Most of the offices are usually decided in the Democratic primary but even in May there wasn't much doubt that David Lupas would win the nod for Judge and Jackie Mo would be the next District Attorney. The biggest surprise was John Corcoran winning the nomination for Coroner with Jim Desiderio winning a write-in effort for the Republican slot.

The TL is starting it's endorsement inquisitions and Democratic Sheriff candidate Michael Savokinas tried to make some hay over an audit of the office done by Democratic Controller and Commissioner candidate Maryanne Petrilla. Not much there except some suggestions to do things in a more timely manor. He has some ideas for the office to do more and incumbent Republican Barry Stankus responds that's nice, but how are you going to pay for it.

Democrat Mike Morreale is a good bet to best Gina Nevenglosky for another term as Treasurer and Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly will probably defeat Republican Sue Rossi. Even the Recorder of Deeds race has been calm despite the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the office. You would think that Red O’Brien would be knocking incumbent Republican Mary Dysleski over the head about it. But Dysleski has a defense ready according to the TL: She said she instituted financial controls that detected the theft, and she immediately alerted the district attorney’s office. “We did the right thing and kept everything in the open.”

The Commissioners race is not in doubt but at least it's providing some entertainment with Greg Skrepnak calling Steve Urban a terrorist. And today Skrep asked of Urban "In eight years, what has he done but bitch?" And that great American organization The League of Women Voters will be sponsoring a forum for the Commissioner candidates Oct. 18, which will start at 7 p.m. in the Burke Auditorium at King's College's McGowan School of Business, North River and West Union streets, Wilkes-Barre. Bill Jones said he can't make it but he has missed most of the campaign so far anyway.

Wilkes-Barre Online chimes in on the lack of activity in W-B, Are we holding an election a month from now, or was it secretly postponed? And The Lu Lac Political Letter says It's now or never in the W-B Mayors race and provides links to the candidates websites. The only website for any of the W-B council candidates I have found is for Walter Griffith.

County Republican Chairwoman Lynette Villano gave another lame excuse for the impending blowout saying she thinks the buzz over the 2008 presidential race is also overshadowing the November election. Sorry Lynette but readers of this site know the real buzz is about the 2008 10th Congressional District race.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Winger for Congress?

With so many people either getting into the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional race or toying with the idea it's hard to keep track of it without a score card.

The latest rumour was hard to track down. At first I thought that Debra Winger was considering a run. She looks great in a Wonder Woman outfit and her co-star in her biggest box office hit, Richard Gere, once played a political consultant in one of the most entertaining and underrated political movies of all time, Power. Sure, she is not a resident of the district but that hasn't stopped anyone else. I'm sure she can drop a few hundred thousand to buy a residence at a swanky address. When I inquired her publicist sent this response, "What kind of drugs are you on?" I guess that rules her out.

The glam band Winger was immediately ruled out because none of them will get a haircut. Plus I don't think that 4 people can occupy the same office. And showing my age, who is Kip Winger?
No, the Winger that is running (or not) is closer to home. It's regular commenter and blog buddy Right Winger. He said "I care. I, like most other people, feel my ideas and opinions are the only valid ones. I'd like to make more money and have lots of power. I'd better stop before I convince myself this is a great idea."
Ignorance is Bliss is our newest NEPA political blogger, go tell him hello and rip his shorts off.
Mikhail Gorbachev, Bob Dole, Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, Princess Diana, Joe Torre, Terrell Owens and Ryan Howard among others have also decided not to run.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sports weekend

Penn State righted the ship with a comfortable win against Iowa and Illinois showed they're for real by knocking off Wisconsin. We get the Badgers at home next week for a game that should indicate if the Lions will get a good bowl game or another appearance in the Alamo Bowl.

The Phillies raised our hopes then broke our hearts yet again. Good pitching beat good hitting, we'll get'em next year. The Phils pitchers seemed to get squeezed by the umps but that's baseball. Unlike some people, I'm not calling for a Congressional investigation. Now I'm focused on the Red Sox winning it all. The Phils and the Sox have provided a lot of pain in my baseball life. At least the Eagles won't lose this week.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cars drive me nuts

I know it's a short trip. In the space of 3 days we've had 3 automobiles break down. On Thursday Mrs G's mom's Olds blew a brake line and we had to have it towed to our friendly neighborhood mechanic, Ferack's Auto Service. Joe's motto is "we cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you." He fixed it in record time, for him, and we picked it up on Friday. After getting home we noticed that our Jeep was leaking anti-freeze so it gets to spend the weekend at Joe's. Then today I get into our 95 Taurus and the brakes don't work and found that brake fluid is leaking at the same spot as the Olds.

Is there some sort of contagious fluid leaking disease that infects cars?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Vince said it would be....................huh?

The forecast for Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District is for gale force winds of hot air coming from all directions. Airwave polluting particles will be a hearing hazard and snowjobs and mudslinging may clog small minds.
The TL is reporting that former WBRE weatherman and present head honcho of the Luzerne County SPCA Vince Sweeney is thinking about running for Congress saying "I’m very flattered that anyone would think that I would make a viable candidate.” Sweeney said several people have encouraged him to consider running as a Republican next year against Chris Carney.
It's not the first time he has thought about running for Congress. Vince has a blog and he thinks he could have won the race the last time.
I knew my decision to not take a run at that congressional seat was probably the biggest favor I could have ever done for Chris Carney - it effectively guaranteed him the win. I'll say it again; I would have made a lousy congressman, but I would have won.
You, Chris, were the man for the job.
He says he never considered running for Congress but the idea was pitched to him before the Cynthia Ore/Don Sherwood thing hit the news and he declined. After the Sherwood the Strangler story hit the front pages he looked at it again and almost did it.
My name and face recognition, coupled with Mr. Sherwood's foolish behavior, would have created a juggernaut that would have carried me all the way to the day when my wife and I had to decide on the new drapes for that Georgetown apartment.
This part I find interesting.
I'd likely win. In fact, it goes beyond likely, I could run away with it. This time my "sit and listen" friend has a mock-up of a campaign poster that reads Rendell, Casey, Sweeney.
Uhm, aren't Rendell and Casey Democrats?

Crying in my beer

In a big disappointment to me and the rest of the blogosphere Rick Santorum was on the Sue Henry show yesterday and said he was not running for Governor in 2010.
The Phillies got clobbered by the Rockies to go down 2-0 and now have to win the last 3. But the Red Sox won the opener and the Evil Empire was smoked, Go Indians.
At least the state legislature is looking at making it easier to buy Duff Beer in various quantities from different outlets. That will help me drown my sorrows.