Friday, November 30, 2007

The fall guy

My personal credit card and the county’s card look exactly alike."-Luzerne County Prison Deputy Warden Sam Hyder

A pretty weak excuse for using a county debit card at a strip club in Las Vegas while on a junket. The whole problem with the latest controversy over the debit card mess is that these guys have been using the cards for almost 2 years without ever having to produce a receipt. Human nature being what it is people will try get away with living the high life if somebody else is paying for it. Steve Urban points out that this and other trips were not authorized by the Comissioners or anyone else.
Hyder is willing to fall on his sword to protect Majority DebitCardmissioner Greg Skrepnak but a few other people have some explaining to do:
The total amount spent from each account, according to records, is as follows:
Deputy Chief Clerk Bill Brace, $11,263.
Commissioner Greg Skrepenak, $10,324.
Deputy Warden Sam Hyder, $7,604.
Human Resources Director Doug Richards, $4,526.
County Clerk/Manager Sam Guesto, $3,630.
The Bureau of Elections, $2,696.
Former Commissioner Todd Vonderheid, $1,772.
I wonder why they didn't give Steve Urban one?
Now county Controller Maryanne Petrilla has started an investigation about 2 years too late. Before now she was busy doing audits of the row offices held by Republicans. She will be one of the new majority commissioners this January. Can anyone say "conflict of interest."
Some other law enforcement agency has to look at this situation. I just don't trust the Courthouse gang to investigate itself.
The state Attorney General or the FBI should be looking into this.

Guinness is good

To some people it's downright irresistible.

DUBLIN, Ireland-Ireland's police announced a manhunt Thursday for a beer bandit who drove into the Guinness brewery and left with 450 full kegs.

The national police force, the Garda Siochana, said a lone man drove into the brewery -- a Dublin landmark and top tourist attraction -- on Wednesday and hitched his truck to a fully loaded trailer awaiting delivery to city pubs.

Diageo PLC, the drinks company that owns Guinness, said the brewery had never suffered such a large-scale theft before in its 248-year history.

I just want to point out that I wasn't in Ireland on Thursday. Tip of the pint to Wonkette that had this in the comments:

An old Irish joke:

"What's the similarity between an American beer and making love on a boat?"

They're both fucking close to water...

Thanks to Another Monkey for the pic.

Gravel gets down

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel the Democratic presidential candidate that poses the biggest threat to Dennis Kucinich has a rap video set to a techno version of Give Peace a Chance. He has been excluded from the joint press conferences that are billed as debates and he asks why?

From Raw Story:

Phony patriotism is jingoism." Gravel raps...with flashy animations interspersed with clips of Democratic candidates and President Bush playing behind him. "Why won't you let me say what I want to say? Power to the people. Give peace a chance."

Gravel... has been denied the opportunity to appear alongside Democratic candidates in any more debates this year. In earlier debate appearances, Gravel excoriated Democratic lawmakers who voted to let President Bush invade Iraq and now are criticizing the war, and he spoke out against the government's war on drugs, a topic most other candidates have avoided.

"Why are they afraid of the truth?" Gravel asks.

power to the people vs give peace a chance

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Republican YouTube debate

Just a few thoughts about the CNN gathering tonight. I think Mike Huckabee and John McCain did well and Romney was talking out both sides of his mouth along with Guilliani.

Barletta vs Kanjorski?

There is yet another will he or won't he run for Congress or Governor or President or Mexican, er, Dog Catcher story about Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta in today's CV that doesn't answer the question. The Pennsylvania Republican Chairman Bob Gleason thinks “He’ll have one of the best-funded races in the country” if he runs. He would probably need at least $2 million and he would be on his own to raise it because the NRCC is broke and the national committees will spend whatever money they have defending the Republican incumbents that don't retire (23 so far). And remember the national money pulled out during his last bid when the polling showed him falling way behind in 2002 and that was a good Republican year unlike this one.

Kanjo's response to this perceived threat is to say "me too" on immigration and just being the Congressman Kanjorski that brings home the bacon. $50 million for a flood control project in Wilkes-Barre and money for another in Scanton with West Hazleton getting a new fire truck paid for with federal funds. Then he steps into it about tolling I-80.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hackett on the air in PA-10

It gets earlier every year, I don't ever remember a candidate in the spring primary doing a media buy before the calendar flipped.

Not a bad idea because just about nobody in the district know the names of the Republican challengers to Congressman Chris Carney. He should take it further if the cash flow allows and go on TV for a week before Christmas with some positive bio ads to build name recognition. Other than a few hundred of us political junkies who read blogs like this one most people in the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional district have no idea who Chris Hackett or any of the other GOP candidates are. There is probably a good chunk of people in the 10th who don't even know the name of their Congressman.

Here are the 2 radio spots from Chris Hackett via GrassrootsPA. I'm still fumbling with posting audio:

Hackett Respect (mp3)

Hackett Spending (mp3)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

McCain pisses people off

For all his pandering to the Jerry Falwells of the world and getting his head stuck up Bush's ass this ad reminds me of why I like the guy. I still think if he would have been the Republican nominee in 2000 the election wouldn't have even been close, not that I would have voted for him. The tag line is "I love America enough to make some people angry."

Thanks to Sully for pointing this out and he says...Imagine an Obama-McCain race: adult, graceful, necessary, and good for us.

John McCain's website

A blast from the past

I've talked to past office holders that bragged that he/she did it better than the present bunch but that was always for private consumption. This is something I don't ever remember seeing before, a past county commissioner wrote a letter to the editor critical of a sitting one. And they're both Democrats.
Our own walking encyclopedia of local politics, the Yonk, detailed one of the most significant local elections in 1979 and Ed Brominski's role in it. This description of Brominski is classic...Brominski was an ex football star turned coach, an educator, who drove a gold Corvette and had as his namesake and political Godfather, the President of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, Bernard Brominski...
In a LTE a few days ago in the Times-Leader Brominski tore into the present Majority DebitCardmissioner Greg Skepnak without naming him:

After reading the recent headlines in your paper, I am pleasantly and sadly reminded of my own election in 1979. At that time, Frank Crossin Sr. and I were elected as the majority commissioners of Luzerne County.

We began our first year in office with a shortfall of payments that began in September 1979 and was preceded each year by annual shortfalls in county bill obligations.

Our first action was to eliminate useless jobs and our second task was to raise taxes. We did both, saving the county $125,000 per year in salaries and raising millage 7 mills to an unheard of amount of 22 mills.

The following years, with a good plan developed by Frank Sr. and followed by me and his son Frank Jr., we more than met our obligations and in fact finished 1983 with a $6 million surplus.
The present administration in Luzerne County is like a kitchen with pots hanging in a row. When a good chef uses them, they are a work of wonder. However, if they are using them only for self service and to help friends, all those pots do is bump each other and make noise.

We have a good kitchen, but it is run by lousy chefs.

Shame on them and us for re-electing them.

Edward A. Brominski Swoyersville

Happy hunting

I don't hunt but I always look forward to the thinning of the deer herd because I've hit enough of them with my car. I don't have any philosophical objection to hunting but more practical considerations. I don't enjoy wandering around in the woods freezing my tail off and after the 2nd day stories of some kid getting a first Buck that is always followed by tales of hunters having heart attacks and shooting their hunting partner.

Does anyone want to go hunting with this guy?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

President Kennedy

November 22nd was the 44th anniversary of President Kennedy's murder. I usually discount conspiracy talk but when you look at the Zapruder film it's obvious that the 3rd shot came from the front.

I'm too young remember where I was when he was killed but I remember where I was when I heard that President Reagan was shot. The Hagiography of Kennedy is annoying and Taylor Marsh doubts that he could be elected today because of his physical condition that required a whole bunch of drugs:

Anesthetic procaine, for his Addison’s disease•

Cytomel, for thyroid deficiency•


Metamucil, now there’s a commercial for you•



Trasentine, to control his colitic diarrhea•

Testosterone, to increase his energy and boost his weight after bouts of colitis•

Penicillin, for urinary tract flare ups•

Fluorinef, to increase his salt absorption due to Addison’s•


Tuinal, for insomnia – a side effect of the cortisone•

Antihistamines, for an array of allergies•

Codeine• Steroids… Oh, and Vitamin C and calcium.
J.F.K. also had lots of doctors who gave him his “vigah.”

Posthumous book claims Ford knew of CIA coverup in Kennedy assassination

"This book, actually authored by Gerald Ford, finally proves once and for all that the CIA, our government, did destroy documents and cover-up many facts that day in Dallas."

A tribute by the Human League

March of the Penguins

After my tryptophan induced nap on Thursday night I awoke in my recliner to watch The March of the Penguins on the Discovery Channel and I'm glad I did. Until now my knowledge of the flightless waterfowl was limited to Opus cartoons and nun and waiter jokes. They are amazingly resilient creatures living in the harshest place on earth. The photography is so spectacular you wonder how they did it.

The trailer

And an edited mix set to music


It will be light and lazy this weekend. Maybe I'll just surf YouTube and share what I find.

How about a Swedish band singing a song in German about a battle between the British and the French (and many others) that was fought in Belgium.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We all have our holiday traditions and in the Gort household it includes making the traditional stuffing with the help of our dog and cat. They spend so much time in the kitchen I'm thinking of getting them both a chef's hat. I'll get up early and stuff the bird then pop it into the oven along with cooking a ham and local made Kielbasa. Other family members are in charge of the side dishes and desert which will all be washed down with Beaujolais Nouveau.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because we have a large family gathering that doesn't involve a wedding or a funeral. I also like Groundhog Day but for different reasons.
Another tradition is to thank Miss Cellania for the pic.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jimmy Rollins is the MVP

After mouthing off in spring training saying the Phils were the team to beat in the East he backed it up by setting all sort of records for a shortstop. The Phillies ended up winning the division despite the usual terrible April start and because of the collapse of the Mets in September.
A Phillie has won the MVP 2 years in a row for the first time ever. If they somehow fix their pitching problems they just might win another World Series which would end the baseball world as we know it much like the Red Sox winning it all.
I’ve Made a Huge Tiny Mistake has the numbers argument.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The politics of parsing

I disagree with the decision to include timelines in this legislation; I feel it is up to the Generals on the ground to make the decisions about when to leave Iraq in a responsible way.

The last time time I checked the Generals were subject to civilian rule especially when the CINC has made so many bad decisions like putting our people into the middle of this mess in the first place. The Congress can end this if they only have the balls to stand up to this madman. Sorry Chris, you can't have it both ways.


“The time has come to start bringing our troops home responsibly”

Washington, D.C.—Keeping to his promise to fund the troops in Iraq, Congressman Carney voted in favor of the bipartisan Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act, which passed last week in the House of Representatives.

Congressman Carney said, “Unfortunately, troop funding has been stalled in the U.S. Senate. I hope the Senate will take this opportunity to continue to do what is best for our troops. I disagree with the decision to include timelines in this legislation; I feel it is up to the Generals on the ground to make the decisions about when to leave Iraq in a responsible way. I supported the Motion to Recommit that stripped the timelines from this legislation, as I did with the previous Iraq funding resolution.”

“I will always vote to fund our troops,” said Congressman Carney. “But now it is time for us to start bringing our troops home. The Department of Defense says nearly 50,000 Iraqis can be considered ready. This means we can bring home that same number of American troops. For every Iraqi battalion trained, we need to send an American battalion home.”
“Now is time to start bringing our troops home responsibly. I was proud to vote for legislation to give our troops the resources they need, but we need to be able to take the President at his word. If 50,000 Iraqis are trained and ready, then 50,000 American troops need to be returning to their loved ones,” concluded Carney.

The bipartisan Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act passed by a vote of 218 – 203 in the House of Representatives on Thursday, November 15, 2007.

"We need to be able to take the President at his word."

Wake up Chris, most of us are well past believing this liar.



By Mean Old Man

I'm angrier than Ronald McDonald in a health food store over the way the Liberal Commie parasites have ruined the sacred holiday of Thanksgiving!!
In my day Turkey day meant something; you got the hell out of bed three hours before dawn and grabbed your trusty rifle and went out into the cold for your grubb. And sometimes it rained--that cold hard November rain stung your skin, and you would sometimes slip on the wet leaves and crack your head open; but you kept on chuggin' until you got your turkey. And it wasn't one of those fancy supermarket turkeys either; you weren't really sure how much of a turkey you really had until you plucked all of the feathers off. I remember sometimes at the dinner table seeing a 10 pound turkey and Pops would hog most of that--so we were left with one thin slice, a few spoonfuls of sweet potatoes (if it was a good year) and maybe a slither of pumpkin pie. Our stomachs would be growling and our bodies shivering, it wasn't a day at the beach, in fact it was pretty sad--but we loved it!!! That was a good ol' Daniel Boone style Thanksgiving. But then all the prissy lefties had to come along and ruin all of the fun what with building their grocery stores and all that crap.
They even managed to convert my wife Thelma Jean; she makes a point of dragging me to Price Chopper every year to get a sissy butterball turkey--and a 25 pound one at that--all because my stupid sons along with their kids and wives (who, no doubt can't even muster up the act of boiling water) are coming over for dinner. Damn!!
Then after devouring the crappy dinner they will swarm like buzzards around the house--getting on my nerves while I'm trying to relax with an hour of Lawrence Welk. God, what did I do to deserve this!!! If I behaved that way around Pops back in the day he would tan my hide so good that you could make a decent pair of shoelaces out of it!!!! Nowadays, he'd be in San Quentin for child abuse--damned liberals!
And today kids don't even know what the holiday is about. How the good ol' Pilgrims came to Plymouth (just down the road apiece from yours truly) and kicked those Injuns into shape!! I wish we had a few of them Pilgrims around today. They wouldn't be coddling those teenage, I pod listening devil worshipers with dainty therapy--they'd fire 'em up at the stake!! Those fellas really gave it the ol' college try! Not like the hippies today.
So all you subversives have a nice Thanksgiving, maybe Ralph Nader will come over to put a recall notice on your gas stove. As for me, I'll skip most of the butterball and concentrate on Thelma Jean's biscuits (now that's a real meal for a real man), pop open a few Stegs and listen the champagne sounds of Lawrence Welk (after I put a muzzle on those Castro loving grandkids).

God Bless all in Bloggerville; Happy Thanksgiving. I hate you all!!!!

Blogging Energy Units

My friend DB Echo of Another Monkey defined something that I've been aware of for a long time. There is just so many Internet comments and posts any one person can come up within a day. I always visit my blogroll everyday and try to add to the discussion. But it's a balance between posting on the home blog and leaving comments as DB points out.

Today I visited and/or commented on these sites:

Keystone Politics
Capitol IdeasPSoTD
Morning Martini
PA Water Cooler
Above Average Jane
The Pennsylvania Progressive
A Big Fat Slob
Mayhem In The House Of Jacq
Danny Bauder
PennPatriot Online
Simply Left Behind
Lehigh Valley Ramblings
Another Monkey
Berks Democrats
NEPA Blogs
Courage of Conviction
daddy democrat
I've Made a Huge Tiny Mistake
The Independent, Conservative, Common Sense Oasis
Froth Slosh B'Gosh
Ignorance is Bliss
My Take
Pennsyltucky PoliticsJ
Jennifer D. Wade Journal
PA-Lefty Blogs
Wilkes-Barre Online
The American Check-Up
Politics: Lehigh Valley Style
The All Spin Zone
The Lu Lac Political Letter
True Democrats of the Lehigh Valley
Dr Tara
Whaling Season
TJ Rooney

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Boback has a challenger

It's not surprising for a freshman legislator to be challenged in a primary and we have 3 new State Reps in Luzerne County. Expect Eddie Day Pashinski and Mike Carroll to also have a challenger emerge in time for the April primary election. Let's just hope that the other party puts up a candidate other than Christine Katsock for the General Election. I hate uncontested elections.

In the 117th District Karen Boback won a crowded primary race in 2006 with less than 30% of the vote and went on to a 2 to 1 win in November against the only Democrat that bothered to run.

Boback has received some good press from the local papers as do all our local office holders. The fallout from the Lake Lehman teachers strike has inspired James May, a 37-year-old former U.S. Army chaplain and resident of Falls Township to take her on. May, a Republican, said the issue of teacher strikes is the reason he intends to mount a campaign against Boback, who took office in January.

Just in the way of disclosure he was a candidate last time but got bounced off the ballot because of an incomplete financial disclosure form and his website is still out there.

He has attracted the attention of one of the Republican heavy hitters.

“The Conservative Reform PAC will be sending him $9,201,” Bob Guzzardi, PAC president, said. “A check is a tangible sign of support."

$9,201 to May's campaign struck me as an odd amount. Is there some significance to that number? So I asked Bob Guzzardi to explain. His reply:

Yes, it is one dollar more than given to Boback by PSEA. Parental choice is education is a core value of the Conservative Reform PAC and Rep. Boback has evidenced hostility to Penna. Charter Schools, which are one choice parents may want to choose for their children. Conservative Reform PAC also advocates for the expansion of Education Improvement Tax Credit, closest to free market in education that is politically feasible, and represents a legitimate compromise to me. is a web site I set up and, perhaps, could educate the electorate with a focus on the facts of the value of this program. Parents, although not perfect, are much better able to make decisions for their children's education than anonymous government bureaucrats. And allocating educational resources based on zip code seems harsh and counterproductive. In past 10 years, spending has more than doubled, above rate of inflation, and learning has not improved at all. Time for choice and competition in education; free markets for free people.

EITC is the only vehicle that can transform urban education, in my opinion.

I also support Simon Campbell and Strike Free Education in Pennsylvania Teachers strike for their money and their benefits, not better education.

Too early for this

I'm not done raking the leaves yet because for some reason they don't want to fall off the trees this year. I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to yank the snowblower out of the shed and find a place for it on the porch but I may move up that schedule. Last year we avoided large downfalls until Valentines Day but that one made up for it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bonds, not Barry

“We write our bond issues generically"-Luzerne County Budget and Finance Chief Sam Diaz

After the pre-election lies about a balanced budget Commissioner Greg Skrepenak and placeholder Rose Tucker voted to borrow $93.5 million to finance this year's deficit and fund some projects on the wish list. That brings overall debt to roughly $419 million in principal and interest through 2026 according to the TL. That's up from $309 million this year. Debt service will rise from $10.5 million this year to $22.2 million in 2008 and how will they finance the resulting shortfall? Float a Bond!

This is starting to look like using a Visa cash advance to pay a MasterCard bill.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Support your local blogger and your local language

Via Another Monkey :

NEPA Blogger Mike Burnside of Late Night Meanderings will be having an exhibition of his photographs at Marquis Art & Frame, 122 South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, from November 16 through December 29. The exhibition is called "Three On Third" and showcases Mike Burnside's photographs alongside paintings by Allison Maslow and Beverly Jean Johnston. There will be a reception on Friday, November 16 from 5 to 8 PM.

The Heynabonics craze is sweeping the nation.

The Official Coal Region Dictionary had documented our local vernacular a few years ago and now a comedy troupe, One Laugh at Least, that filmed a great skit in 2005 has hit YouTube. The TL says it has had at least 64,000 hits, more people than live in Wilkes-Barre. As usual the local rags are about a week behind the the local blogs again.

Jennifer Wade had it a week ago:

Shennanigans in Plymouth and elsewhere

Plymouth council candidate cries foul:

CV: Jacki Rydzefski Levandoski claimed candidates were campaigning inside the borough building as people were voting, and a candidate’s wife was assisting voters who needed help. Levandoski filed a complaint on Wednesday at the Bureau of Elections offices inside Penn Place. She claimed Councilman Stanley Scibek was inside the borough building as people were voting, and his wife, an authorized poll worker, was assisting voters who needed help at the Plymouth Armory.

In my own local voting place at St. Joe's in Plains our new Coroner John Corcoran popped in while I was voting. I don't know what the rules are about a candidate being in the voting place after he has voted for but it doesn't seem right. Campaign workers, signs, etc. are prohibited within 10 feet of the entrance of a polling place. More than one time I've seen a candidate bring in coffee and donuts for the poll workers over the years.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What mystery?

TL: The mystery is over. It looks like Luzerne County’s 2007 deficit will be around $13 million, possibly more, county Commissioner Greg Skrepenak acknowledged Tuesday.
Skrepenak said the county will likely resort to debt refinancing to plug the deficit.
Shortfalls in revenue from land sales, tax collection and some flooding expenses contributed to the deficit, Skrepenak said.

Anybody paying attention knew there were big holes in the Democratic Commissioners election year budget announced last December with the banner headline No new taxes in the 2007 Luzerne County budget. The smoke and mirrors financial plan relied on juggling future debt repayment and hoping to sell the land that the Valley Crest Nursing Home sits on for $4 million. Another big if was getting $3 million from beefed-up tax collection. Steve Urban voiced doubts about the plan before the election and I've been harping about it for months.

I have to give props to Skrep and friends for avoiding any serious talk of a deficit before being reelected. Can he honestly say he didn't see this coming? That explains why the much ballyhooed quarterly budget reviews never happened. They were also able to push off the reassessment values until next year.

To add to the madness they are talking about another golden parachute scheme like the life transition plan. Before they go down that road again they owe us a report on how many positions were eliminated the first time around and how many are still employed through the temp service. Remember they floated yet another bond to finance that plan that will cost $23 million over 15 years in the hope of saving $2+million if salaries are kept in check.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Not the novel but the present government's penchant for newspeake is scary.

No, the Democratic race for the Presidential nomination is reminding me of the race between Gary Hart and Walter Mondale in 1984. Hillary Clinton is probably the only candidate on either side that could lose Iowa and New Hampshire and still win the nomination. She has all the interest groups, the insider endorsements and a ton of money although Obama is keeping pace in fundraising. February 5th is looking to be day the nomination will be decided with almost 2000 delegates up for grabs in 20 states and that's Hillary's firewall because she can run a national campaign just like Mondale did in 84. The "Where's the beef?" question will come up again and remember that helped Mondale win Alabama and other states that don't vote for the Democrat in a general election anyway but help decide the nomination. The difference this time is I think Barrack Obama has the beef and is ready to smack back at Clinton when she says he is not ready to be President. He did a great job on Meet the Press on Sunday and wowed the crowd at the Iowa Democratic dinner.

What I'm hoping for on both side is that the front runners falter in the early states and Tsunami Tuesday gives a mixed result thus setting up the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 as the deciding contest.

I'm not ready to endorse a candidate for President but I'm really getting to like this guy:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Republcans are broke

I know that sounds absurd but hear me out.

Republicans with money are not stupid. You pay for a product that will pay off and the Republican party doesn't offer a good return on investment.

If the Luzerne County Republican party was just plain broke it would probably be an improvement and I don't know what shape the state party is in but the national committees are hurting.

The congressional arm of the Republicans, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had $4 million in debt and $1.6 million in cash at the end of September and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had $28.3 million in the bank. I'll skip the other committees because the results are similar. If you can project money into enthusiasm the Dems are way ahead with Hillary and Obama picking up more money than the whole Repulican field so far.

Mitt Romney has asked his supporters to auction off old campaign stuff and donate it to his cause and the Democratic National Committee couldn't resist the temptation to auction off his past policy positions:

"Unless smooth-talking Mitt Romney was planning on recycling those old tax-raising, pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-immigrant, pro-gay rights and pro-campaign finance reform positions in a general election, we thought we'd auction them off for charity."

The DNC said it would donate a matching amount from the auctions to a pet shelter.

So the national party has no money so they need candidates that can self finance. In the Pennsylvania 10th district, millionaire Dan Meuser faces a primary against another NRCC-recruited opponent, businessman millionaire Chris Hackett.

Short of cash, NRCC seeks millionaires

Faced with lingering debt and a losing fundraising battle, House Republicans are recruiting a slew of self-funding candidates to run in many of their top races this election cycle. At least seven candidates with the ability to self-fund millions have stepped forward in key districts for the GOP so far, and more could be on the way...

Democrats are quick to point out that self-funding candidates have a shoddy track record. Last cycle, only four of 28 candidates who spent more than $1 million on their congressional bids were elected to Congress, and only three of 48 won in the previous three cycles combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Sports weekend

Penn State eeked out a victory against Temple 31-0. It shouldn't have been that close and JoePa wasn't happy with his defense and he let loose on his long time defensive coach Tom Bradley.

Does anybody know how you swear in Italian?” Bradley would ask after the game, just after his meeting with the media. “Because I think that’s what he said to me. I didn’t quite understand it. If anybody knows how to speak Italian...” Someone in the back of the packed room in Lincoln Financial Field’s catacombs yelled out, “What’s the word?” “I don’t know,” Bradley laughed. “It wasn’t good.”

Illinois upset Ohio State's apple cart probably ending their nation championship hopes and Michigan went down to Wisconsin throwing the whole Big-10 bowl picture into a blur. With a lot of help Ohio State may make it to the BCS title game but it looks like that the showdown with Michigan next week will be for an appearance in the Rose Bowl. There is an outside chance that a second Big-10 team will get a BCS game but it's unlikely.The loser will probably get the Capitol One Bowl so the best PSU can hope for is the Outback on New Years Day. But Illinois has staked a claim to that game with PSU getting relegated to the Alamo Bowl provided they beat Michigan State and win the "prestigious" Land Grant Trophy. An interesting note is 10 of the 11 Big-10 teams are Bowl eligible.

The Eagles did everything they could do today to lose to the Redskins but the Skins gave them the game anyway. Sorry Oliver. The Stillers came back at the end are looking forward to ending the Pats undefeated season in a few weeks. The Cowboys continue their march thru the NFC for the honor of losing to the AFC team in the Super Bowl by knocking off the Giants. Sorry Mark.

The Phillies have made the first news of the hot stove season by trading for Brad Lidge from the Astros. They gave up 4th outfielder Michael Bourn and middle reliever Geoff Geary. The speculation now is that Brett Myers will be back in the rotation but unless they land a couple more starters that may not happen. They also signed J.C. Romero to a three year deal who was close to lights out at the end of the season despite getting cut by the Red Sox.

And the A-Rod sweepstakes is absurd and will probably end up in court.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Florida Yankees

The Lackawanna County election has been finally decided and King Bob Cordaro has been dethroned. Cordaro and his running mate Brian Cashman got clobbered by the Democrats but are alleging some monkey business with the vote count. The official vote count is underway just in case the voters got it wrong on Tuesday but the ballots from Tuesday haven't all been counted yet.

The newfangled and expensive electronic voting machines were deemed unreliable by the state so 2 foot long paper ballots were used. They were all supposed to be fed into a scanner that should tabulate the results quickly but many of the absentee ballots wouldn't scan so a hand count ala Florida 2000 had to be employed. Three days after the election Lackawanna County has been compared to a Banana Republic.

The Lu Lac Political Letter has a breakdown of the dynamics of the race. To add to David's analysis I would say that the off the ballot/on the ballot adventure of Cordaro because of his incomplete financial disclosure and refusal to release his tax returns played a part.

And today he drops this bomb:

Cordaro claims deal on stadium

Why do we want to build a new stadium to replace a building that is only 20 years old? He claimed he has financial backing from the state but State Sen. Robert Mellow said he is blowing hot air. Some choice Mellow quotes:

Mellow said he hasn’t interacted with Cordaro in months and finds Cordaro’s comments “very offensive.

“He put us in a situation to have to build a stadium to keep a team,” Mellow said, describing Cordaro as “pathological.”

The franchise agreement approved by Cordaro includes a purchase option, which means the franchise could be sold and the area would lose its claim to house a Triple-A team.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Veterans Day Message by Mean Old Man


I’m angrier than Mel Gibson in a bagel shop over the way the pinko commies have tried to turn everyday Americans against our great tradition of going to war!!! In my day war was inevitable and it showed our greatness to the rest of the world! My old man was in WWI and he used to sit us down at night and tell us stories of how he fought the Hun. Now, that was a man’s war; you didn’t have prissy body armor to slow you down; you put on your duds, secured your helmet and jumped into the fight. And if you were lucky you got a mask to protect you from mustard gas. Those who didn’t have one usually were killed or maimed for life—but they loved it!!! Because there’s nothing more great or more fun than fighting and dying for one’s beloved country!! Tell that to all the young pinkos today, driving in their fancy sports cars, drinking their fairy beers, and complaining that they have to go for a manicure. Damn!!! Whatever happened to real men who enjoyed a good fight?!?

Last week my harlot of a daughter in law went spastic on me because I came down from the ol’ attic and gave my dimwit grandson a bag full of plastic soldiers. You remember those; you could sit for hours strategizing battle plans and on a good day (if Pops wasn’t looking) you could take a cigarette lighter and light one of the soldiers up pretending that he was the victim of a flame thrower! Those were the days!!! But back to my stupid daughter in law; she gets all upset because I’m exposing my grandson to violence. We’re turning our country’s young men into a bunch of whiney, sissy females! Damn!!

That’s why I say we need to bring back the ol’ draft. Once a kid is kicked out of the house and meets his trusty ol’ drill instructor; well, if that don’t make him a man then he may as well move to Key West or San Francisco. In my day we knew we were marked for the draft and you got your butt down to the recruiting office and kept your mouth shut. The DI would spit in your face and sometimes stick your head in the toilet bowl to wake your lazy butt up—it was degrading, demeaning and horrifying—and we loved it!!! Because at the end of the day you and your buddies would go for a belt or two and talk about all of the Krauts you were going to slaughter!! Wow, I miss those days.

Happy Vets Day to all our troops past and present. Each one of them has more class in the tip of his pinky finger than all the Commie scumbags have in their whole body!!! And to all of our gallant troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, who may be a little blue being away from home during the coming Holidays, just remember that it could be worse: you could be married to Hillary Clinton!!! That ought to make you kids feel a lot better!!
Hooray for our troops and to Hell with Liberals---I hate you all!!!!!!

Pointing fingers

"We need somebody in the Republican party that’s going to work for the Republicans ...she is controlled by the Democrats. She is the wrong person for the job. She has done nothing to help the party with fundraising. All of the candidates are forced to fend for themselves.”-

It seems like I do this post after every local election.

This time Steve Urban called for Villano's head and last year it was State Rep loser John Cordora sayingThere was no backing from the local Republican party. The one thing the Luzerne County Republican Party needs to do is to get rid of Lynette Villano or there’s not going to be a Republican Party here in this county.”

From what I hear the local GOP organization resembles a collection of nerdy high school cliques that are getting bullied by the cool kids and will take whatever crumbs fall off the table. The TL has Bruce Phillips and John Rodgers pointing out that the party doesn’t have its act together. They can't raise money even though wealthy Republicans in the county regularly give to state and federal candidates. But many of them also contribute to the local Dems because they are smart business people who know that there isn't much chance of a Republican winning anything and want to influence the decision makers. At the GOP dinner the hostility to Urban and Walter Griffiths wasn't even masked and I've been told that Christine Katsock was working the polls for Tom Leighton. What a bunch.

The 6th District Republicans (W-B and surroundings) have a website that has a fundraiser listed and also asks that you take your aluminum cans to Bielecki's junkyard and donate the proceeds to the cause. They can have the money from my cans if they pick them up and cash them in, I'm not dealing with the zoo at the junkyard and I would just like to get rid of them. I think it's a creative fundraising technique, maybe next they will ask for people to donate their leftover food stamps.

I think everybody should calm down. I don’t think we should make decisions in frustration or anger” -Luzerne County Republican Chairwoman Lynette Villano

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Is Kanjo worried about Barletta?

A few weeks ago I got this glossy piece (left) from our own Congressman Paul Kanjorski paid for by me and you. The congressional frank is a wonderful thing for incumbents.
Today's news says he has signed onto the The Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act. Other sponsors are Presidential candidates Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.)
The act mandates that all employers to use an online E-Verification system to confirm the person is eligible to work in the U.S. and adds 8,000 border patrol agents.
The bill will also provide money to build more detention centers, rail lines and has funds for doctors and an orchestra to facilitate the speedy removal of illegal immigrants already in the country.
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta won an overwhelming reelection victory and the rumours are flying about his next move. Will he run for Congress, a statewide office next year or go for broke in 2010 with a bid to be Governor? Josh says Kanjo is not taking any chances and John has the most entertaining recap of the Hazleton results.

The Lion Brewery has been sold

The long time makers of such staples as the now defunct Gibbons brand and the Mean Old Man's favorite Stegmaier is changing hands again. It's the the third time the company has been sold since 1993. The long time fixture in the north end of Wilkes-Barre employs 150 people.

The new owners say they are committed to expanding the operation. The promise of more beer will make this guy happy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Plus ça change

The Democrats swept the Luzerne County row offices and all 7 elections in the city of Wilkes-Barre. The results in the city was predicted by just about everyone and I saw the county wave building in the last week or so. Sometimes I hate being right.

I was off about the order of finish in the Commissioners race with Petrilla topping the ballot but the result is the same with the 2 Dems in the majority and Steve Urban will continue to howl in the wilderness. In one of the races that was competitive had 2 term incumbent Sheriff Barry Stankus getting hit with the jinx associated with that office like previous Sheriff Carl "watch out for that dog" Zawatski. In both cases the perception was they were trying to cover up something. The theft in the Recorder of Deeds office sank Republican Mary Dysleski as Red O'Brien smelled blood in the water and hammered her hard about it. Urban blames Republican Party Chairwoman Lynette Villano for the loss of Stankus and Dysleski.

“I think it’s a reflection on her leadership,” Urban said. “Next year we have party elections, and I think Lynette Villano should seriously consider stepping aside and letting someone else come in and try to rebuild the party.”

Sorry Steve, it was a Democratic year and nobody has ever accused you of promoting party unity.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Election day in PA, I voted

The polling place was calmer than the primary with only 3 poll workers but signs for everyone running. We were voters number 300 and 301 out of almost 1000 at about 4PM. Maybe by the closing of the polls at 8PM half the voters might show up which is considered a good turnout for a local election.
I voted for some Dems and some Republicans. In the choice for a new Judge of the Court of Common Pleas I tested the write-in function. Dave Lupas will forever tied to Hugo Selenski in my mind so I typed in Hugo for Judge. It is so easy to do a write-in or type -in I think more under the radar candidates will emerge in the local primaries.

First reactions

The Pennsylvania Democratic party links to my Judicail ramblings at Pa Dems and reminds us that this election is important.

And one of my most trusted advisors said:

I won't be able to make it this year; I have all week, otherwise I would have called off tomorrow. Will be sure to make it next year to toast Hillary's victory over Mitt Romney.

Programing note

I will be doing my usual post about voting at our local precinct and cover the returns after the polls close at 8PM. If anyone wants to make a prediction or share an election day story please email it to me and I will be happy to put it on the front page.

Wilkes-Barre city elections

The W-B has a whole new voting system for city council candidates but the final result will not be any different. The Democrats will probably sweep all the races but at least every race is contested and for the first time I can remember there is a full slate for Mayor, Council and Controller on both sides.

Mayor Tom Leighton will win another term and he deserves it. He hasn't done everything everybody wants him to but who can? In my opinion his biggest accomplishment was getting the budget under control. The last year of McGroarity administration W-B had to take 3 tax anticipation loans and the bond rating was shot to hell, it took a tax increase and some aggressive lobbying to reverse that. There are more now cops on the street and the downtown projects are a reality instead of a dream. Sometimes a Mayor has to say NO, and say we can't afford it. If the worse thing he did was to close the Heights firehouse he's doing alright. Mark will fill you in on the details. I like his opponent Linda Stets, she is easy to talk with and very informed. She makes some good points such as Coal Street Park needing a swimming pool. Her ad in the CV today had a laundry list of things she wants to do which I agree with but just don't know how to pay for.

The Council races will be won by the 3 incumbents and the 2 Democratic newcomers, Mike Merritt and Rick Cronauer. In the Nord End the question is "Is John Yencha still alive? ".

I just have to pull for Walter Griffith in District A. The guy has been busting his ass forever to get on the city council and I think it would be a good thing. One party rule is not healthy.

Election day in PA, Luzerne County

The choice for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas is between Democrat Dave Lupas or Republican Dave Lupas. I still find it hard to believe that no serious attorney ran for this seat. It's now easier than ever to do a write-in with the touch screens so may be I'll type in Stephen Colbert or better yet, Hugo Selenski. And Jackie Mo is the next DA.

Luzerne County Commissioner

The order of finish will be Skrep, Petrilla, Urban and Jones. Then when we get to end of the year when the budget doesn't balance and the state pulls the funding for the juvie jail in Pittston along with other disasters waiting to happen people will have second thoughts.


An office that shouldn't be elected but it is and the best politician will win. John Corcoran is a Wilkes-Barre Area School Board member and the Democratic nominee. Jim Desiderio points to his 20+ years as an assistant coroner but got a back door nomination on the Republican side. I'm sure either man can do the job as well as anyone other than a pathologist like the late , great Dr. Huddock.


This one might provide the only drama of the night. Incumbent Republican Barry Stankus was cruising to victory until it came out that he was moonlighting at a grocery store and "forgot" to list that income on his financial disclosure form. Mike Savokinas is running hard and the Dems are looking for a sweep. The Lu Lac Political Letter recaps the race.

Recorder of Deeds

The only other Republican row officer Mary Dysleski has had a mess on her hands because of the thefts from the office that her opponent Red O'Brien has been hitting hard in his TV ads. Her defense is that she put procedures in place that discovered it. My friend Pope George Ringo has the pulse of Pittston and is predicting an O'Brien upset.


Bob Reilly will win a sixth term as Clerk of Courts defeating Republican Butler Township tax collector Sue Rossi. My favorite guy in the courthouse Treasurer Mike Morreale faces token opposition from Republican Gina Nevenglosky.

Election day in PA, the Judges

My predictions and endorsements for what it's worth.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Superior Court

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission's ratings of appellate candidates are highlighted on PAVoteSmart as well as links to other critical information about the candidates and the important functions of Pennsylvania's courts.

My picks for the Supreme Court are Seamus McCaffrey and Debra Todd. I think McCaffrey wins on name recognition and his claim to fame for running the "Eagles Court” at the vet that dealt with rowdy Birds fans. And Todd has made some rulings that upset the law and order/war on drugs crowd but upheld the constitution. Maureen Lally-Green has been helped by ads paid for by some group in Virginia which she claims no knowledge. Why some group in Virginia cares who is on the PA Supreme Court is a mystery. Mike Krancer lacks the experience of the other candidates. Blackrobe at Keystone Politics has a great rundown of the race.

Six candidates are vying for the three open seats on Superior Court.

The Democratic nominees are Pittsburgh lawyer Christine Donohue, Allegheny County Judge Ron Folino and Philadelphia County Judge John Younge.

The Republicans are Allegheny County Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen, Dauphin County Judge Bruce F. Bratton and Pittsburgh lawyer Jackie Shogan.

I'm not up to speed on this one and have no idea who will win other than to say the Democrats are in better shape than the Republicans in any statewide race. Some less than thought out reasons to vote for or against the various candidates. Donahue has sent me about 10 or 15 glossy oversize postcards that don't say anything. A friend of mine is working to elect Ron Folino so I'll help him out. I read a book called Shogan or was it Shogun, many years ago and enjoyed it. And I got a robo call from Lou Barletta pushing Bratton, so that puts him on my shit list.

I'm still torn about electing statewide judges. On the one hand I think that the people should have a say in deciding who occupies positions in all branches of government. On the other if a political junkie like me can't get a handle on who to vote for maybe merit selection would be a better way to go. I think the biggest thing that turns me off to electing these offices is that the candidates won't tell you their positions on the issues. So we're subjected to bio adds that tell you how tough on crime and drugs they've been. All financed by the lawyers that will appear before them.


There are seven state court Judges up for retention. PACleansweep has been urging everyone to vote NO. Bernie has taken on the masochistic task of looking at the records of each jurist and gives a thumbs up to all but Saylor and Melvin. The candidates are:

Supreme Court Thomas G Saylor
Superior Court John L Musmanno

Correale F Stevens
Bonnie B Leadbetter

Joan Orie Melvin

Commonwealth Court Bernard L McGinley
Doris A Smith-Ribner

I have never voted to retain any Judge being the contrarian bastard that I am. In my memory only 2 have ever lost a retention vote. A Lackawanna County Judge that was under indictment and later convicted of theft and Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro in the pay raise fallout. Most of us don't know who these people are or what they do and the selection of appellate court judges should be taken out of the political arena.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The national anthem

This pic was sent to me tonight:

It suggest that Senator Barrack Obama ignored the anthem and that makes him an Islomofacist with a weird name.

Then I look at this picture: