Thursday, January 31, 2008

NEPA for Obama

Some local supporters of Barrack Obama are getting ready for the April 22nd primary.

From a press release:

The organizing group NEPA for Obama will be conducting petition signing drives to get the Senator and his delegates on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Residents of the 11th Congressional district who live in Luzerne County can stop by Barnes & Noble in downtown Wilkes-Barre to sign the petitions on the dates/times below:

Friday 2/1 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Saturday 2/2 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Tuesday 2/5 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Lou Barletta for Congress

Or maybe not. This headline was on the Morning Call's website yesterday afternoon:

Hazleton mayor running for Congress

It quotes Pennsylvania Republican Committee Chairman Rob Gleason:

Barletta will announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination in the 11th district seat in "a few days," Gleason said in an interview today. The seat is held by Democrat Paul Kanjorski."He is putting his team together," Gleason said. "I'm counting on him to win it."

A few hours later Mayor Lou denied it, almost:

Despite claim, Barletta denies Congress candidacy

"There has been a great deal of discussion recently surrounding my decision on a potential run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Although some folks have confirmed that I am running, I can tell you that I have not made a decision."

He is still playing Hamlet on the Susquehanna saying:

"This is an incredibly important decision for my family and we are working together to make a decision. I will be making my decision in the near future."

He better make it soon because he has until February 12th to file his nominating petitions but he said he hasn't started circulating them yet.

Some endorsements for Chris Hackett

DALLAS, PA – Conservative Republican Congressional candidate Chris Hackett today received the endorsements of two major conservative, pro-family groups, Pennsylvania Eagle Forum and Concerned Women Political Action Committee (CWPAC). These endorsements come on the heels of a prominent Pennsylvania and national pro-business group's embrace of the Hackett candidacy.

Pennsylvania Eagle Forum is an affiliate of national Eagle Forum, a leading national pro-family grassroots organization with over 80,000 members. Fran Bevan, President of Pennsylvania Eagle Forum had this to say about Chris Hackett:

"Pennsylvania Eagle Forum supports Chris Hackett for Congress because his strong pro-family values and his commitment to those values that strengthen families, communities and country are important to our country and our world. We are pleased that Chris Hackett has taken up the banner for smaller, less-intrusive government, healthy families and communities, defense of life for the unborn and those unable to speak for themselves, and parental rights and responsibilities. We admire his willingness to offer solutions for keeping our country and our borders safe."

Concerned Women Political Action Committee was founded by pro-family leader Beverly LaHaye, who also founded Concerned Women for America, the largest women's policy organization in the United States, with over 500,000 members. Mike Mears, Director of State Legislative Relations for Concerned Women for America, said this about Chris Hackett:
"CWPAC endorses Chris Hackett for Congress because he will be a leader in fighting for the sanctity of human life, American sovereignty, and traditional values. He will not just vote the right way in Congress, but will be a powerful voice advocating for strong families, strong border control, and strong national defense."

Pennsylvania Eagle Forum and CWPAC join the pro-business Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) who recently also endorsed Chris Hackett for Congress. Michael Gibson, President of the Eastern PA chapter of the Builders and Contractors, said, "Mr. Hackett will provide the fiscal responsibility needed to cut taxes, reduce the federal budget deficit and create job growth for the district."

In response to this strong support from leading conservative organizations, Chris Hackett said, "It's an honor to receive the support of so many like-minded conservatives in the pro-family and pro-business communities, and to have them join our strong grassroots team. I look forward to proudly carrying the conservative banner into the fall election and into Congress. America must get our fiscal house in order, secure our borders, and safeguard traditional values, and I will fight to do that every day in Congress."

Luzerne County bond update

Grier’s fight with county continues

Tim Grier has asked the Commonwealth Court to prevent Luzerne County from borrowing $93.5 million while he challenges it in court. The county also argued that public interest “will be harmed” by a delay in issuing the bonds because the proceeds will fund important projects.

Grier has a sensible response saying most of the bond proceeds have not yet been allocated to “identifiable projects.”

“A review of the ordinance in question proves this,” Grier’s response says. “If the projects have not yet been identified, let alone been subject to planning and cost estimates, how could the county be harmed by a stay in issuing the bonds to support these unidentified projects?”

Grier proposed the county use the delay to continue planning and producing cost estimates.

Go Tim.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

John McCain wins Florida

The Florida exit polls didn't give a clue about would will happen today but John McCain won the contest by 5 points and took all 58 delegates.

I guess Mitt will write more checks trying to keep his bid alive.


Rudy is out and McCain will win big in New York and new New England on super Tuesday. He may even pull even California.

Hillary claims victory in Florida

Never mind the fact that there are no delegates at stake and all the candidates agreed to skip the state because they violated the party rules. I just saw on TV that she is in FLA to give a victory speech in a meaningless election after agreeing to skip the state.
After the thumping she took in South Carolina she needs to point to some sort of victory, even a Pyrrhic one. Such bullshit doesn't sit well with me. You can't change the rules to suit your needs.
Ted and Caroline Kennedy's endorsement of Barrack Obama yesterday was really a rejection of the politics of the past from a political family of the past that looks to the future. My Republican friends will respond by making some sort of Chappaquiddick joke but the Kennedy's still matter. Ted is the Liberal Lion that will help with labor, lefty's and older folks that were inspired by President JFK. Teddy can still rally the faithful because the dream will never die.
The good thing about the impending regime change that will happen less than a year from now is we will have a President that can speak the English language, no matter who wins the election.
And this guy can speak the King's English. Obama's victory speech in SC:

Meet the candidate

Harveys Lake, PA—Congressman Christopher P. Carney has announced his next Listening Tour Town Hall Meeting at 3:00 PM on Friday, February 1, 2008 at the Municipal Building in Harvey’s Lake, PA. He will be available to discuss issues affecting our community, including actions Congress is taking to protect working families, support our veterans, and curb illegal immigration. In addition, Congressman Carney will have staff on hand to help with casework issues, including veterans’ benefits, Social Security, Medicare payments and passport delays.

“I came to Congress with the goal of listening to the people of Pennsylvania’s 10th District. Last year we accomplished our goal of holding a town hall meeting in each of the 14 counties. People appreciated the opportunity to interact with their Member of Congress, so we are starting once again in 2008. I look forward to taking questions and responding to concerns from the people of northeast and central Pennsylvania,” said Congressman Carney.

Following the success in 2007, Congressman Carney aims to have a Listening Tour in each of the 14 counties in Pennsylvania’s 10th District in 2008. All are invited to attend.

Chris Hackett for Congress, a guest post

This was in the Times-Leader a few days ago but I'll take sloppy seconds. Any candidate for any office is welcome to post on my front page.

Rep. Carney's spending politics as usual
-Times Leader 1/24/2008

Recently, our local congressman, Chris Carney, was featured on the front page of USA Today. Why did he win such attention? Evidently, Carney received more spending earmarks than any other first year member of congress. He was proud of this dubious “achievement.” The taxpayers of northeast Pennsylvania shouldn’t be.

Here’s how the pork spending game works in Washington . Each congressman asks the Democratic leadership for “earmarked” money for projects back in their home district. Incumbents like Carney who expect tough reelection races get the most earmarks. Then each congressman can try to impress voters by bragging about the funding they “brought home.” Sounds good so far, but there’s a catch – and it’s a really big one.

In order to get that very modest level of funding for local projects, Carney had to vote in favor of projects everywhere else. Here’s a small sample of things Carney voted to waste our tax dollars on this year: rodent control in Alaska ; olive fruit fly research in France ; a bike trail in Minnesota ; a zoo in Illinois ; a post office museum in Las Vegas . Altogether there were some 9,000 earmarks in this year’s spending bills, and we ended up spending $28 billion more than in the President’s budget. While this pork spending game makes for nice press releases from Congressman Carney’s office, it’s a terrible rip-off for taxpayers.

In addition to spending Pennsylvania tax dollars on wasteful and unnecessary projects like the Mule and Packers Museum in California , Chris Carney’s approach to Washington deal making illustrates other fundamental problems with our nation’s finances. When there are 9,000 pork projects in the budget, and almost every congressman has a tiny piece of the action, the system creates all the wrong incentives. It’s set-up in a way that encourages accounting gimmicks, budget secrecy, and misallocation of resources. In short, it places special interests over the national interest, and it’s placing our children and grandchildren further into debt.

Unfortunately, the pork spending game is a bipartisan affair. When Republicans were in charge of Congress, they had a disgraceful record of funding things like the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska – a $200 million project that served a town of just fifty people. Several corruption scandals were linked directly to the earmarking process, and there are former congressmen who are now serving time in prison because of it.

In 2006, many Democrats, including Chris Carney, were elected based on promises to change the way Washington operated, and in particular to change the corrupt earmarking process. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi rams a massively bloated spending bill through the House with 9,000 earmarks in it, it’s obvious that nothing has changed.

Not all earmarks are wasteful, and not every project is tinged with corruption. But how can you tell which ones are which? For example, liberal Congressman Charlie Rangel from Harlem , the powerful Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has a $2 million earmark this year that names a building in honor of himself. That’s right – apparently once you’ve been in Washington long enough it no longer strikes you as arrogant to use tax dollars to name a building after yourself. Outrageously, Chris Carney voted in favor of this pork. What’s our congressman doing spending $2 million in tax dollars on the Charlie Rangel Building in Harlem ? Perhaps Carney thinks that’s a good use of Pennsylvania tax dollars. Perhaps it was a trade-off in exchange for Rangel’s support for Carney’s projects. Or maybe the fact that Rangel’s political committees gave $16,000 to Carney’s election campaign has something to do with it. To be clear, I’m not accusing Carney of corruption. I am saying that after only one year in Washington , Carney has become fully immersed in a system that corruptly and wastefully spends our tax dollars.

It is critical to America ’s financial future that we get off Washington ’s wasteful spending track. The best thing to do is replace pork-spenders like Carney with fiscal conservatives in Congress. But short of that, there’s another thing taxpayers should insist upon. Most pork projects simply don’t pass the smell test. No congressman wants to be clearly on record voting for fruit fly research in France instead of funding for our troops or veterans. Part of Washington’s pork spending game is that the politicians roll together all the pork in one giant bill and tell freshman like Carney that he has to vote for the whole thing in order to get his local projects. If, instead, we switched to a merit-based system, and every pork project was voted on individually, most of them wouldn’t pass. If Chris Carney could achieve that one simple reform of the process, then he would not only deserve to be on the cover of USA Today, he would also deserve the taxpayers’ thanks

-- Chris Hackett is a Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania ’s 10th District

The State of the Union

Congressman Kanjorski gives a classic understated but devasting response:

"I am pleased to have attended President Bush's final State of the Union address. Of the many issues that the President covered, the economic stimulus package received a great deal of attention. In addition to discussing the many implications of the slowing economy, the President also recognized that the stimulus package was developed through bipartisan negotiations. Had this process been utilized during the past seven years of the Bush Presidency, then perhaps we could have helped prevent the economic slowdown and the stalemate in Iraq."

Congressman Carney still talks about the fantasy of the bipartisan way:

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Christopher P. Carney issued the following response to the President’s State of the Union address tonight:

“Tonight’s State of the Union address included a number of points that I believe will affect our country: the stimulus, the bipartisan way forward, and the future of the War on Terror.

“The stimulus is a step in the right direction, but we still need permanent middle class tax cuts. We must fight for middle class tax cuts, and I hope the President will do more to provide tax relief for working families—not just the wealthiest Americans. This stimulus does help—in a tough economy, every bit helps, but we must do more to protect our seniors who are on fixed incomes and need help, too. Finally, we must do more for small businesses that are backbone of our community.

“I do hope the President will continue to move the country moving forward in a bipartisan manner. As someone who has really reached across the aisle to bring people together to get things done, I am glad to see the President willing to work with Congress in a bipartisan way. Thank goodness we have come together to help middle class families in Pennsylvania with this stimulus package. In tight times such as these, every little bit helps.

“As someone that has spent a significant portion of his adult life fighting al Qaida, I believe we should be focusing our military efforts in Afghanistan. I have urged the president to take the war to the root of terror in Afghanistan. I’ve been to the White House; I’ve spoken with the President on this matter. The War on Terror must be fought on all sides, and Afghanistan is still unstable. America has the greatest military in the world; we must give our troops the resources to fight the War on Terror in places like Afghanistan where our National

Hyder keeps his job

Split saves Hyder's job

A divided prison board on Monday reappointed Sam Hyder as deputy warden, with the key swing votes coming from the two lay members of the board.
Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla, a Democrat, again allied herself with Republican minority Commissioner Stephen Urban in calling for Hyder’s ouster. But they were outvoted by Democratic Commissioner Greg Skrepenak, who garnered the support of board members Wister Yuhas and Robert Payne in reappointing Hyder.

Yuhas and Payne were also on that now infamous trip to Las Vegas when Hyder used his county debit card to buy a round of drinks at a strip club. So you have to ask who was he buying drinks for? Where these guys with him that night? And who was at that famous dinner at Paris Las Vegas La Rotisserie that cost $896.88 that the county solicitor James Blaum coughed up $300 to cover the booze bill?

The CV has a list of all of Sam Hyder's debit card purchases. If my math is right he had 81 charges to the card with 61 lacking receipts. On December 17th the Prison Board gave him 60 days to produce receipts or pay back the money but today they rehired him before the deadline expired. Only in Luzerne County.

His 3 day trip to check out a prison in the finger lakes region of NewYork also stinks to high heaven. The warden of the jail said the tour he does usually takes a couple of hours not 3 days. And I picked up on this tidbit, on his way there he spent $42.52 at Wellington’s Pub, Clarks Summit, for a meal. He couldn't make it past Scranton before he had to eat? Reading the list I was taken aback on how much he spent on food. He certainly likes Subway (no receipts). He's a big guy and I'm shure he needs 3 squares a day but some of these charges are nuts.

Oct. 1, 2006: MacGregors Grill & Tap Room, Canandaigua, N.Y., $86.18, meal, no receipt

Oct. 3, 2006: Dinosaur Bar B Que, Rochester, N.Y., $93.78, meal, no receipt.

Oct. 3, 2006: The Lodge, Canandaigua, N.Y., $102.85, meal, no receipt.

And so on. I wish I could eat this well.

Greg Skepnak and the other board members are willing to forgive him because he does such a great job at the prison. Steve Urban has been calling for his head since this all broke and Maryanne Petrilla seems to get it.

I believe that as a leader in the county, I have an obligation to the residents to chose leaders that will bring confidence in our government," she said. "We need leaders that will bring confidence that their hard earned tax dollars are not being frittered away. I don't need the Secret Service to tell me that a policy was grossly abused. I have not heard one legitimate excuse for actions that I consider inexcusable. Our taxpayers and residents have high standards for their elected and appointed public officials, and as a result I cannot support this action."

A friend comments:

By that logic, she should be asking for the resignations of Mr. Brace, Mr. Piazza, and the rest of the debit-card holders who abused the system. Commissioner Urban called for those folks to be fired in December. Can we expect that all of those involved, because of Petrilla's statements today, will be out of a job after the next commissioner's meeting?

Urban voted to oust them when he knew that he was going to be out-voted 2-1 at the December meeting, but he failed to make the motion to fire those involved at the January Commissioner's meeting. If Commissioner Petrilla is so adamant about making changes and HOLDING EVERYONE WHO HAD A DEBIT CARD ACCOUNTABLE, I guess we can expect that she and Mr. Urban will send the rest of them packing, FINALLY, next month when one of them makes the motion to fire the debit card holders and the other seconds that motion.

Or, maybe Commissioner Urban and Commissioner Petrilla will provide us with another excuse?
I guess we shall see.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Media Alert-Carney and Kanjo on TV

From an email from Chris Carney for Congress:

This week, you'll have an opportunity to hear from me, along with Congressmen Kanjorksi and Holden, on Channel 44, WVIA, at 7:00 PM on Thursday, January 31. We are featured on the segment "Bringing the House Home" and will be taking questions from the audience and calls from viewers.

I would love to see many of you in the audience. If you think you can attend this Thursday, please email Paul Macknosky at He can help you reserve a ticket—attendance is free.

If you can't attend, but plan on watching the show, I encourage you to call in with questions about my work in Congress. We know our opponents could take this opportunity to slander my record. We can't let that happen. Please tune into Channel 44, WVIA, at 7:00 PM this Thursday, January 31st, and call with questions. The call-in number is (800) 326-9842.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

10th CD debate

I just learned that there will be a debate at Susquehanna University on February 27th with all the Republican Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District candidates. I'm looking foward to this event and hope to worm my way into being a panelist in one of the later one's.

The candidates are:

Davis Haire

Paul Swiderski

Chris Hackett

Dan Meuser

So far.

Meet the candidate:

Chris Hackett tells me he doesn't have anything scheduled this week and Dan Meuser had a few events this pass week but I don't know what is coming up because he doesn't put his schedule on the website and I'm waiting for Haire to get back to me.

Paul Swiderski has a busy schedule:

He speaks to the Susquehanna U Republicans on January 29, 2008 9:30 PM

And he will be tasting some wine in Laceyville

Note to all campaigns. Send me your candidate's schedule and I will be happy to tell my readers where to find your guy/gal.

YouTube weekend

The illustrated Yonki

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Barack Obama wins South Carolina

All 3 networks have called the race for Obama with Hillary coming in 2nd. When you look at the South Carolina exit polls he won across the spectrum of age, income, education with the only bump being race but he took a quarter of the white vote with Edwards winning a plurality. I have to disagree with some of my learned friends because I think this thing will will not be settled on Super Tuesday and PA still may be the showdown state on both sides.
Thanks to Oliver for the pic. And if your a fan of Oliver Willis like me he tells us:
I'll be appearing on this webcast from the Brave New Films folks at about 8:20pm EST tonight.

YouTube weekend

Politics edition

The Asylum Street Spankers perform Stick Magnetic Ribbons on Your SUV with many terrible puns

YouTube weekend

Politics edition

I found this site via Andrew Sullivan

PrezVid The YouTube Campaign-2008 It has all the ads from every candidate and other highlights.

This “web ad” from John McCain says Mitt Romney “seems to change positions like the wind.”

Mittsurfingala John Kerry

And Jennifer joins in.

Friday, January 25, 2008

PJ Best for State Represenative

The mad batter of Pittston has a primary challenger and he, incumbent Freshman Democrat Mike Carroll, is not happy about it. Art Bobbouine is one thing but a primary challenge is quite another.
From Best's website:
So as expected, Mike is overreacting. He’s been overheard saying “I won this seat fair and square in 2006.” My response to this: You’re right Mike. You did win fair and square in 2006. That entitles you to TWO YEARS in the General Assembly. Just because the Good Ol’ Boys like Tom Tigue and your former boss have been given de facto life appointments doesn’t mean that 118 will be giving one to you. We still live in a democracy unless I missed something. The people will decide if you get another two years. I feel that a representative should be elected to represent the people and not represent themselves.

So Mike, if you did a good job you have nothing to worry about. But of course, we know that the reason you’re scared is because you didn’t do a good job. You’re worried that the people will realize that they can do better. And the truth is that they can.
Update: Here is his official announcement

Pittston, PA- PJ Best, lifelong resident of Pittston, PA, officially announced his bid for the office of Legislative Representative in Pennsylvania district 118. Best is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Public Policy, and feels that he can give the government back to the people.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. I love NEPA. I love everything about it: the people, the scenery, the character. I truly believe I live in the greatest place in America. This hometown pride that I have really focuses me on the direction we’re taking. We need a representative that knows where we want to go and how we need to get there. I can say whole-heartedly that this representative is me.”

PJ recognizes the need for change in North Eastern Pennsylvania as well as in Harrisburg: “I am not a political insider. I am not a politician. I am a regular guy from NEPA that wants to see the wishes of other regular people in NEPA granted. I feel my education has trained me to do this and my ambition will allow me to achieve this. I would sooner cut my own pay than see another fruitless tax increase.”

PJ will oppose incumbent Mike Carroll D-Avoca, who was elected to his first term of office in November, 2006.

Additional information about Candidate Best can be found on his website,

Now Russ Bigus is a Democrat

Last month Republican Luzerne County Commisioner candidate Bill Jones jumped ship and today his buddy Dallas School Board Director Russ Bigus joined him.

TL: "Yes, I have switched; I’m now a Democrat as of four hours ago,” Bigus said. “This was a decision I didn’t take lightly because I have been a Republican all my life...Bill (Jones) and myself have the drive, the work ethic and the ability to be successful in politics,” Bigus said. “We understand that we need to be there for the people, not for the party. The party should support the candidate, but I didn’t find that to be the case in my experience...People change careers all the time.”

If Mitt Romney is a conservative I guess anything can happen.

He recently left his job as the HR Director of the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 and before that he was the Principal of of Regis Elementary School in Forty Fort. In 2006 he ran in the Republican Primary to succeed Charlie Lemmond in the 20th Senatorial District of Pennsylvania finishing 4th with 13% of the vote.
He provided some interesting moments in that contest including having one of his large signs being torched and somehow he garnered the endorsement of PACleanSweep even though it was an open seat. The high comedy of the race was when Dave Madeira got into an argument with him about who had shot more animals in their lives. A now long lost blogger of the time proposed a duel to settle the question.
Now it looks like he is running for the 117th District State Rep seat of Freshman Karen Boback who is facing a tough challenge from conservative Republican James May. My guess is that he looking for a bruising GOP Primary that will leave the loser's supporters bitter and then he will try to unite them with the Democrats of the district to win the seat.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Challenger in the 118th?

From StopNEPACorruption:

Yesterday we received an email via our contact form denoting a rumored candidate in the PA 118 legislative race:

Apparently local Republican Art Bobbouine is circulating nominating petitions for the 118th district….More info to follow.

In 2006 Bobbouine lost the Republican nomination for the district to Maureen Tatu. On election night it appeared that he was the winner but a recount put Tatu on top. She went on to a blowout loss to incumbent Democrat Mike Carroll. I guess Art needs a job since the new Sheriff Mike Savokinas fired him from his job as chief deputy under Barry Stankus and he's been unsuccessful in passing the bar exam.

Guesto out

WILKES-BARRE — After enduring months of criticism and scrutiny stemming from the Luzerne County debit-card controversy, County Manager/Chief Clerk Sam Guesto announced Wednesday he was resigning as the county’s top administrator.

He has applied for the new Court administrator job and I will be disappointed but not surprised if he gets it.

From the CV:


March 2, 2006 — Edwardsville Price Chopper, $24.73, bought soda for Emergency Management Agency workers, cost reimbursed.

March 6, 2006 — Daily Grill, Washington, D.C., $451.65, dinner while attending National Association of Counties meeting.

March 7, 2006 — Marriott, Washington, D.C., $466.42, two-night stay at hotel for National Association of Counties meeting, $54.22 reimbursed, portion of receipt covering $43.59 not provided.

March 15, 2006 — Patte’s Sports Bar, Wilkes-Barre, $60.62, meeting with assessor’s office employees, cost reimbursed.

March 23, 2006 — Perugino’s, Luzerne, $60.80, meeting with prison officials, cost reimbursed.

March 30, 2006 — Manhattan Time Share, New York City, $208.44, overnight stay for crime suppression meeting.

April 13, 2006 — Manhattan Time Share, New York City, $208.44, overnight stay for crime suppression meeting.

April 25, 2006 — Pasquale’s, Hanover Township, $34.24, meeting with Wilkes-Barre Township officials, cost reimbursed

Nov. 30, 2006 — Conference Trade Show, Illinois, $440, registration cost for National Association of Counties meeting.

March 4, 2007 — Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C., $217.55, lodging for National Association of Counties.

March 8, 2007 — Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C., $622.37, lodging, National Association of Counties, $53.51 unallowable.

June 6, 2007 — Conference Trade Show, Illinois, $390 refund, cancellation of registration for National Association of Counties meeting, $50 cost reimbursed.

June 25, 2007 — Exxon Mobile, Bear Creek, $42, fuel, no receipt submitted.

Aug. 9, 2007 — Tom’s 22, New Freedom, Pa., $51, fuel, no receipt submitted.

Aug. 10, 2007 — Sheraton Hotel, Baltimore, $692, lodging for 911 meeting, $12.99 unallowable purchase on a movie, video game or Internet service.

Total charges: $3,630.26

Allowable charges validated by receipts: $3,493.67

Unaccounted charges/no receipts: $136.59

Unallowable charges: $66.50

Should reimburse: $203.09Paid back: $1,268.03;

Refund due: $1,064

Rapid Edward backs Hillary

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who wished Clinton and her presidential rivals would drop the rancor.

"I don't like it...I have tremendous respect for Senator Obama and Senator Edwards and of course great respect and affection for Senator Clinton," he said. "I would love it if we could do it with less acrimony."
Then why get mixed up in it?
There is an outside chance that the April 22 PA Primary will still matter if no candidate scores a knock out on Tsunami Tuesday February 5 and looking at the calendar we are the last big state to vote this season. Before PA the big contests are on March 4 in Texas and Ohio then we have over a month until our primary. If there is still no clear winner on March 4 we can look forward to six weeks of non-stop TV ads and multiple visits to NEPA by the candidates. The last time I remember the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary being decisive was in 1976 when Jimmy Carter beat Henry Jackson and Morris Udall to wrap up the nomination.
On the Republican side I think there is a even a better chance that the PA Primary will count.
Or at least I can hope or dream.
In the Presidential race there has been a lot of nasty emails popping up in my inbox repeating the lie that Obama is a Muslim that is refuted on Urban Legends and other places. But then I got this disturbing and eye opening message from the General who commanded me to pass it on:
Hillary Clinton: Secret Vogonzuelan
If you do not forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts...this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States...better heed this and pray about it and share it with everyone you know.
Who is Hillary Clinton
Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in MOSCOW, Idaho to Jose Chavez, a brown FOREIGNER, from Caracas, Venezuela and Prostetnic Vogon Zwentz, an ILLEGAL ALIEN from the planet Vogsphere in the Vogsol System of the Megabrantis Cluster. Hillary's parents met at the BOMB Shelter Tavern in PARIS, Idaho.
When Hillary was two years old, her parents divorced. Her father returned to Venezuela with her brother, Hugo, and her mother married a FREEMASON named CHARLES MANSON Rodham. When Hillary was six years old, the family relocated to the planet Vogsphere, where Hillary studied poetry at a MONTESSORI school in Vogtavia.
Hillary takes great care to conceal the fact that she is half Vogon, half Venezuelan, and the sister of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a known LATTE DRINKER and lapsed CATHOLIC. She is also quick to point out that her Vogon past has nothing to do with her brother's acquisition of Vogon BATTLE CRUISERS, and that her sudden interest in relaxing trade restrictions on dilithium crystals for Venezuela is simply an example of her commitment to free trade.
Hillary will NOT sing along when a Toby Keith is played at an event. Instead she will pretend to cough while uttering the words "blow me" into her hand.
Let us all remain alert concerning Hillary's expected presidential candidacy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So who's running for what? I think it's a sure bet that our local incumbent state reps will be on the the ballot but the question is who is willing to take them on.

In the 117th freshman Karen Boback is facing a primary challenge from fellow Republican James May but so far that is the only definite challenger to emerge in any race. I've heard that a Kingston Republican with a very similar name is mulling a run against Phyllis Mundy in the 120th but I haven't been able to confirm it yet. Todd Eachus has announced he will run for a sixth term in the 116th district centered on Hazleton. Look for an opponent of the proposed Cargo Airport to take him on. I haven't heard of any serious rumblings of an opponent to Mike Carroll in the 118th or Eddy Day Pashinski in the 121st but it's early.

John Yudichak can probably have the 119th seat for life and he's toyed with the idea of taking on Kanjorski for Congress but this is not the year to do that. And speaking of Kanjo the question is will Lou Barletta take him on?

Help me out people. Let me know in the comments or send me an email if you know of anyone circulating nominating petitions.

In the 10th CD race I'm sure that Carney, Meuser and Hackett will be able to get the 1,000 required signature but we will see if Haire and Swiderski have good enough organizations to get on the ballot. And there is always a chance of a surprise candidate in this district like Kathy Scott in 2006.

Speaking of the 10th CD the CV has this item about something we have been discussing for months on this site:

The Democratic campaign committee for Luzerne County Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid received campaign contributions in 2006 from Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett — two Republicans currently running for Congress.

Hackett and Meuser are competing for the Republican nomination to challenge Chris Carney, the Democratic representative of the 10th Congressional District.Hackett and Meuser love touting their conservative Republican credentials in their campaign ads.

You don’t hear much about their 2006 contributions to the Democratic duo then in charge of the county.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Edwards and Clinton beat up Obamma

Is John Edwards running for Vice-President again?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Coming attractions

I'm signing off tonight. But we have the 116th, 12oth and 121st to cover. And I have some news in one of these races.

PA State Represenatives from Luzerne County -118th

The mad batter of Pittston looks to be in good shape for reelection. I like his website and this freshman will probably face only token opposition. There are rumors of a Republican challenger but I haven't heard any names yet.

Let me explain the mad batter thing. He proposed banning aluminum bats in little league because of the perceived danger of a hard hit ball. I'm sorry Mike but you can't legislate away every possible danger to our kids and it's an area the government should not stick it's nose into. I've been involved in Little League baseball for a long time and the last thing we need is some politician rewriting our rules.

PA State Represenatives from Luzerne County -117th

Petition season starts Tuesday and the only primary challenge I've heard of so far is Republican James May taking on Karen Boback in the 117th District.

This campaign website has been updated but this one is barren and the official PA House site doesn't tell you much.

James May is an Army veteran that got bounced from the ballot in 2006 because of an incomplete financial disclosure form. This time he is running hard on the issue of teacher strikes and Boback's ties to the teachers union. Bob Guzzardi is backing him with some big bucks

His website stresses old fashion values with new leadership.

James May for State Representative from the 117th District.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

YouTube weekend

Monty Python explains the joy of flying

South Carolina exit polls

John McCain eeked out a win in the state that started the civil war and Mitt Romney took Nevada because he was only one that campaigned there. OK Ron Paul fans, he came in 2nd in Nevada after a big media buy and has beat Rudy Gu911ani (thanks Mt. Video) in every primary to date. According to the exits McCain did well among older voters and across the economic strata while Huckabee took the church goers as expected but Mac came out on top with the few people who still like Bush. And McCain scored big on the experience question 63 to 2.

On to Florida


Seperated at birth?

Nevada results

Image from J-Walk

In the big Democratic race of the day Hillary came out on top with a 51-45% win with Edwards not being a factor. The polls had a 3 way split going into this over the last few days, so much for polling.

Barry Obama came up short again and needed to calm his nerves.

A flick of the bic to Wonkette for the pic

YouTube weekend

Oldie but goodie.

Tony Blair sings The Clash

YouTube weekend

By request. Thanks Jay.

Society's Child (I've been Thinking) by Janis Ian

Kevin Blaum, another good guy

With all the shenanigans of various Luzerne County officials in the news we have to remember that we have some very good public officials such as Leonard Piazza and long time State Rep Kevin Blaum.
Kevin has stepped down as chairman of the Luzerne County Convention Authority that oversees the operations of the Wachovia Arena in W-B Twp. The arena is one of the best things that ever happened to our area and without him it may have never been built. His leadership has transformed an abandoned strip mine into the most vibrant retail and entertainment district in Luzerne County.
I first met him when he was a young high school teacher that won a seat on the Wilkes-Barre City council at the ripe old age of 22. We both worked on the 1976 Jimmy Carter campaign and he later defeated a long time party hack for the state rep seat. We had a ton of fun in that campaign as we both got to spend a day with the next President of the United States.
The good news is that he is not going away and will be writing a political column for Times-Leader starting Jan. 27.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Congressman Carney update

With all the fun in the PA-10th CD Republican primary I sometimes forget that there is a lone Democrat in the contest. All the "experts " don't give him much of a chance pointing to the GOP registration edge in the district and the fact that Bush is not as unpopular as he is in the rest of the country(only 52% think he sucks).
They point out that he only won in 2006 because Don Sherwood was playing house with a girl young enough to be his daughter then got caught slapping her around all the while voting for "family values." And even with all that going on before the last election nobody gave him much of a chance, except the voters.
Like any member of Congress running for reelection he is going to remind the voters of his accomplishments and in his case he can point to a long list of achievements in just one year. Plus he has been all over the district every weekend and recess campaigning just like I remember Dan Flood doing. Look out "my fellow Republicans" ( Bill Clinton quote-1995 State of the Union) you have your hands full no matter who wins the nomination.

Legislative Accomplishments from 2007

January 17, 2008

Washington, D.C--One year after taking office, Congressman Carney issued the following statement regarding his legislative accomplishments from 2007:
“I was pleased that our office was able to hit the ground running after being sworn-in last January. We brought on a capable, bipartisan staff, including our highly effective Director of Constituent Services, Joe Fabricatore, who served the 10th Congressional district under our two previous Congressmen. I wanted the best people on the job to work for the people of Northeast and Central Pennsylvania—people committed to working in a bipartisan matter to get things done.

“One of my proudest moments as a Member of Congress was seeing education benefits for National Guard and Reservists become a reality. Working with Senator Bob Casey, we created legislation that became a part of the National Defense Reauthorization. Because of our work, tens of thousands of Guardsmen and Reservists now have the opportunity to receive a college education.

“This issue was brought to my attention by an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran working in our office—Joseph Toth. He knew firsthand that Guard and Reservists do not receive the same benefits as our active duty soldiers—even though they are playing an increasing role in our combat operations. This legislation gives our Guard and Reserve the benefits they have earned. It also gives more of our brave men and women the opportunity for a college education. I was proud to see it pass Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, in what was truly one of our greatest legislative accomplishments this year.”

Congressman Carney received recognition from local newspapers for bringing back unprecedented federal investment to Northeast and Central Pennsylvania. “Our office worked extremely hard to secure funding for northeast and central Pennsylvania. We secured education investments for College Misericordia in Dallas, Lackawanna College Susquehanna Center, Bucknell University, and the Northern Tier Industry and Education Consortium in Susquehanna County. We secured funds for our local National Guard Unit for the Wilkes-Barre Readiness Center rehabilitation project in Kingston, Pennsylvania. We also worked to improve our emergency response by securing funding for the Wayne County Emergency Operations Center and Communications Center which was ruined by the June 2006 floods.

“One of my goals in Congress was to create jobs and bring economic development to our region. Federal investment was secured for Gentex Corporation in Carbondale to develop and test advanced helmet mounted display systems for the United States Air Force; Vital Probes, Inc. in Mayfield, Snake Creek Lasers in Hallstead, the Barnes-Kasson County Hospital in Susquehanna, the Nicholson Borough Water Authority, and the Honesdale Main Street Economic Development.”

In addition, federal investments were secured for: the Scranton Ammunition Plant, Noble Biomaterials, Beaver Springs, Lycoming County Department of Planning, YWCA of North-Central Pennsylvania, CAPPA in Williamsport, The New Hope Academy in Factoryville, and the Berlin Township Community Center in Beach Lake. “I’m working to secure our border,” said Congressman Carney. “As Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight, I have held hearings to troubleshoot problems on our border and see what we can do to keep our borders secure. I hear from people all over our district that illegal immigration is a significant problem and more needs to be done. This is why I traveled to our border to see firsthand what U.S. Customs and Border Protection is doing and how we can improve the situation.”

“I have maintained my commitment to be a fiscal conservative,” said Congressman Carney. “I was proud to vote for tax cuts for our small businesses and to protect middle class families from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). As a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, I will continue to fight for lower middle class taxes and keep the federal government accountable for its spending.”

“Finally, we were able to keep our commitment to hold a town hall meeting in each of our 14 counties in northeast and central Pennsylvania. My goal was to be accessible and available to people on the local level. People expect to be able to talk to their Congressman about issues that matter to them. I will always do the right thing for our district and I look forward to another year of accomplishment and successes,” concluded Carney.

Luzerne County Judge and Controller

Governor Rendell will get to appoint a successor to Michael Conahan as Judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas and a county Controller to succeed new Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla.

For the Judge spot 3 people have expressed an interest. CV: Attorney C.J. Bufalino III is interested... and Attorneys Tom O’Connor and Eugene Sperazza also have hinted they may seek the appointment.

Another Controller hopeful has applied. TL: Tony Lombardo, 70, said he has submitted his resume because he has business management and supervisory experience.
“I want to get in there with a basic principal that I will be a public servant and not a politician,” Lombardo said.

I'm still laughing about Wil Toole wanting the job and Augie Piazza is still planning to apply. Ashley Mayor Rick Oravic’s name is also being mentioned along with former Commissioner Ed Brominski and retired state rep Tom Tigue.

Rapid Edward can't run again so hopefully he will ignore political considerations and pick the best people for the jobs.

Meet the candidate

I've suggested to the 10th CD campaigns that they put their candidate's event schedules on their websites so bloggers like me can tell you, my dear readers, where you can meet their guys. I hope to make this a regular feature.

Paul Swiderski has 3 events this week:

Tonight he will be at the Laurel Villa Country Inn, 2nd & Ann Streets, Milford, PA

On Sunday you can find Paul at the Harding Fire Company meeting

And Wednesday, January 23 he will be joined by two special guests at the Sterling Inn, Route 191, South Sterling, PA

For the details click here.

And Congressman Chris Carney will speak at the 3rd Annual “Wrestling for our Veterans” at the Elk Lake School this Saturday, January 19th at 3:30 PM at Elk Lake School.

In other campaign news we have an announcement from Vince Sweeney.

Sweeney will not seek GOP nod for 10th Congressional seat

Sweeney, 57, of Kingston Township, said he has decided not to enter the race because he likes his job and is happy with his lifestyle. “No matter how I look at things, no matter how I twist and turn, dice and chop, I really like what I’m doing right now...But in two years, who knows?” Sweeney said. “That’s why I can’t see myself supporting any of the other candidates."

I'm glad he got that over with, the suspense was killing me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Meuser rakes in the bucks and starts to spend them

NRCC: Businessman Dan Meuser, one of the two leading Republicans seeking to unseat Rep. Christopher Carney (D), announced late last week that he raised more than $400,000 in individual donations in the final three months of 2007. In a memo (why didn't I get it?) to his supporters, Meuser also announced that he loaned his campaign an additional $250,000 and finished the year with $400,000 in cash on hand.

Businessman Chris Hackett (R) ended December with about $386,800 in cash on hand, according to his spokesman Mark Harris, who declined to give any more figures. Both Republicans are wealthy and willing to fund their bids.

Meuser owns and operates Pride Mobility Products, a motorized wheelchair company, while Hackett owns a staffing solutions company — and had already tossed $100,000 of his own funds into his campaign as of the end of September.

Chris Hackett was the first Republican candidate on TV with these 2 ads that aired on FOX News which explains why I have never seen them on the air. Meuser responds with this one that repeats the usual lament of young people leaving the area and a promise to bring good paying jobs to the area. Every politician in my lifetime has promised better jobs and a solution to keep our young in the area. I hope one of them finally figures out how to do it. Sometimes I think that these problems are beyond the scope of politics although our local bunch of hacks don't help things.

Tip of the teleprompter to Ignorance is Bliss for pointing out the video.

The latest outrage in Luzerne County

Luzerne County has paid a New York company more than $670,000 since May for employment services through a no-bid contract not approved by county commissioners.

Under the contract, Continental hires workers chosen for county work and provides workers’ compensation and payroll services for those employees. The county is charged two fees — 1.19 percent of clerical employees’ hourly rates and 1.33 percent of field employees’ rates. The county paid OneSource Staffing Solutions more than $707,000 for similar employment services from January 2006 to May 2007. Both county employment contracts didn’t include expiration dates or maximum payment amounts.

Not even the Commissioners know what is going on let alone our clueless former Controller.

TL: Eight people who retired from Luzerne County’s 2005 special early-out incentive are still working as consultants for the county – prompting complaints from union workers...Initially, some county officials argued that retaining consultants was a cost-efficient way for retirees to train their replacements. The retirees received their prior hourly pay but no health benefits.
However, Urban said he has received complaints from workers and taxpayers that consultants continue to work when they have already received early-retirement bonuses of $20,000 plus $1,000 for each full year of service and payment of accrued vacation and sick time.

This is what I wrote about the golden parachute scheme 2 years ago:

Our two Luzerne County Commissioners, Greg Skrepnak and Todd Vonderheid, who along with their army of consultants who came up with the Orwellian sounding "Life Transition Plan" hired back a bunch of people who were supposed to be let go. But the kicker is they are not on the county payroll but work for a temp service. So in addition to paying them the same salary the county is paying a premium to the employment service.

And the audit of the lease the PA Child Care facility in Pittston paints county officials as inept negotiators who blindly entered into an agreement that allowed PA Child Care’s owners to reap “unreasonable” profits at the expense of county, state and federal taxpayers. Remember that the people who own PA Child Care also want to build a useless airport near Hazleton with the help of a boatload of taxpayer money.

Sam Guesto was one of the people who negotiated this contract and is now being considered for a newly created position of director of specialty courts and alternative sentencing. Guesto was the guy that was supposed to monitor/approve spending on the county debit cards. Now Steve Urban and many others are calling for his head but it looks like he will end up with a soft landing.

And the new Commissioner's Maryanne Petrilla's solution to all the bad press that the county lately has been getting was to fire Kathy Bozinski as Luzerne County public information officer. And she did this without the normal personnel executive session or giving Bozinski a chance to defend herself. Yeah, Petrilla is real breath of fresh air.

The people in charge have been failing us for a long time and maybe it's time to shake up the whole system. Home Rule may not be the solution to the problems of Luzerne County government but it's worth a try because this system is not working right.


Another view of the Presidential race


By Mean Old Man

I’m angrier than a fireman without a hydrant at the way my beloved Republican party has messed up its chances in this year’s presidential election!!

In my day the ol’ GOP had a lot of first class contenders; but now, all we have is a bunch of subversives and wussies. Damn!!! All the party is offering to us this year is a bunch of Liberal/Commie types, what with Rudy and Huckabee and if that’s not bad enough, John McCain!! And then there’s the former Liberal Governor of Taxachussetts, Mitt Romney (no doubt urged to run by at least two of his ten wives). My last hope was for Fred Thompson, but he still hasn’t learned to conquer his stuttering affliction. The party is in such a mess that it is now very possible that the feminazi Hillary will be President next year! If old Ronnie Reagan were alive today he’d be rolling in his grave!!!!

What happened to the days when the Grand Old Elephant gave us great men to guide the nation? The first President that I can recall was good ol’ Herbert Hoover—now there was a man! The nation was deep in the great depression, people were literally starving, veterans were camping out in Washington begging for a freebie, everything was a mess; and ol’ Herbert told it bluntly. “Get off your butts and find a job! Don’t look to the government to help you!” God, what a great man!! Of course, the commies stole the ’32 election for FDR, but at least the nation got four good years of Hoover. Then we had the great Alf Landon of Kansas; now there was a man of character—and he promised the country he would clean up the mess FDR had made, what with all those Commie social agencies. They stole that election too, but Alf still lives on in the hearts of his countrymen and survived to the ripe old age of 100 (dying in 1987). There were so many other candidates, some who made it and some who were cheated; Wendell Willkie, Tommy Dewey, the irreplaceable Barry Goldwater (what a loss!!), and on and on. But what can we do now????

That’s why I am using the time that the Commie who runs this site has offered me to start a movement.

It is time for all good and loyal Americans to begin to petition our great and Sainted Senator Rick Santorum to run for the Republican Presidential Nomination in this year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eight. It was all part of the liberal master plan to steal the Senate election from Rick not to keep him from another term but to keep him from the Presidency. Let’s stick it to those Mao worshipping thieves today!!! With Rick in the game the GOP will no doubt give him the nomination faster than a woman changes her mind!!



Tax collector caught cooking the books

The latest story of a tax collector that has been caught with their hands in the till.

W-B Twp. tax collector suspended

Longtime township Tax Collector Ruth Janick Lyons was suspended from her job without pay Tuesday after officials discovered roughly $40,000 is missing from the township’s accounts, solicitor Bruce Phillips said.

I can't count how many times I've seen a similar headline over the last 10 years. It is an outdated system electing tax collectors when the taxing bodies have the ability to collect property taxes without a middleman. Why do we need tax collectors anyway? One claims that she double checks the addresses to make sure they are correct. Maybe she does but it took me 2 years to get the address right for a rental property we own. After pointing out the mistake to our local yokel several times I ended up going to the courthouse to get it fixed. And I'm tired of hearing it's more convenient for the senior citizens. Seniors get other bills such as utilities, credit cards, etc. and those companies don't have someone down the street collecting their checks. Tax Collector is another one of those offices that should be eliminated.

Home Rule

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Luzerne County, the good guys

Sometimes we have to give credit when a public official does something in the public intererest. I made a suggestion a few months ago that Luzerne County should put campaign finance reports online. Now we have it, almost:

We are now well on our way to having the active campaign finance committee reports online. We are already better than 15% complete with the postings which are immediately available for public inspection and downloading.

This is the last goal that I set back in 2004 upon assuming the duties of Luzerne County Director of Elections, though I’m sure we’ll have our work cut out in the months that lay ahead this presidential-election year.

I trust you’ll find this newest addition of publically-accessible government documents on the Internet will eventually round out and complete the Bureau of Elections website, but please review what’s already been posted and feel free to offer your insight.

This is the first, I’m aware of, that a county in Pennsylvania will now join the ranks of open campaign finance disclosure on the Internet together with the federal and state governments, both of which have been doing so for a number of years.

We will be announcing it formally at the Board of Elections meeting later this month and hope to move the project from the development stage to final completion by the end of March 2008.

Here’s the direct link:

Thanks…have a good evening.


Romney has new message

I just watched Romney's victory speech and now he saying he is the Washington outsider and his win has the lobbyist worried. He used to be the liberal Governor (he regularly insults the state) and Senate candidate of the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts, before that he was the successful businessman who rescued the Olympics in Utah and made a fortune in high finance.
To atone for his Bay State sins like being pro-choice and gay friendly he kissed the ass of the bible thumpers disavowing almost everything he ever stood for but they still don't like a Mormon.
That didn't work so he started running to be the Governor of Michigan saying he will rescue the auto industry invoking the memory of his father, George Romney, who was the chairman of American Motors Corporation and a Michigan Governor. His dad was running for President in 1968 when he said something about being brainwashed about Vietnam that ended his candidacy.
After the New Hampshire primary he started billing himself as the change candidate copying the Obama message, who knows what next week will bring. I think if he turns his hair dryer on high his head will melt.

Michigan exit polls

MNBC has the first exit polls from Michigan and the network is calling the race for Mitt Romney, so is Fox and CNN. Kos is happy. The reports said the weather was bad and the electorate identified themselves as:

Democrat 7%

Republican 68%

Independent or something else 25%

Bad news for John McCain because Romney won big among self identified Republicans and conservatives and there just wasn't that big of a crossover vote like there was in 2000 when he beat Bush in the state.

Clinton won on the Democratic side but she was the only one of the top 3 on the ballot and no delegates are at stake.