Friday, February 29, 2008

This is going to be fun

Jane pointed out this Politico story where our never shy Congressman rips into his opponent:

What David Duke was to civil rights, my opponent has done that with immigration. He’s used that issue the same way Duke used the civil rights issue.” -Congressman Paul Kanjorski.

After a couple of weeks of the DCCC beating up Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta over a questionable campaign/personal loan the The Lu Lac Political Letter , with a little help from his friends, brought us the David Duke "endorsement" of America's Mayor.

Now Barletta wants an apology for the remarks by Kanjo:

"This week, I called for Paul Kanjorski to denounce the vicious and defamatory acts being waged at me by Democrats in Washington,” Barletta is quoted. “That was until I found out today that the congressman himself was making such outrageous and hateful claims. I call on him to recant his statement and it is my hope that he will apologize for his remarks.”

Lou, don't hold your breath waiting for that apology because David Duke is just the beginning. The Stormfront crowd are also big fans and I'm sure you will try to distance yourself from them. Good luck with that.

Update: Kanjo apologizes in a letter to Barletta

“Over the next eight months, we will be talking to the press and to the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania about issues that we passionately care about. Inevitably, there will be occasions in which we misspeak or our words are misconstrued.

“One such occasion occurred this week when I spoke to a reporter for the Politico. I did not say you were a racist and did not mean to imply it.”

Bigus signatures challenged

In the 117th Pennsylvania State Rep District the lone Democrat, Russ Bigus, has had some signatures on his nominating petitions challenged. My sources tell me that the challenge is coming from the Boback campaign, surprise. I sent an email to the Boback campaign asking for a statement but they have not yet responded. When (if) they do I will share it with you. I don't have an email address for the Bigus campaign and he doesn't have a website up yet. Please contact me. A call to the Commonwealth Court confirmed that there is a challenge and they provided the name of the person who filed the challenge. I'll hold off naming names until I hear from both sides.

Sometime the protesters win

WILKES-BARRE A proposed ordinance that would place requirements on anyone wanting to stage a protest in the city was not on the agenda Thursday night, but council heard a lot of reasons why the proposal should be dropped.

The outcry opposing this stupid law was almost universal. Only fifteen people protested the ordinance yesterday but they spoke for the rest of us. The proposed ordinance required a permit and a $20 fee if 2 or more people wanted to protest something.

And it sounds like the city council heard the "voice of the people."

The important thing here is that this council has not made a decision,” said Councilman Rick Cronauer. “We may feel exactly like you.”

“That’s why it isn’t on the agenda tonight,” Kane said. “If it does come before us again – and that’s a big if – all issues will be resolved.”

Luzerne County update

With Sam Guesto taking a newly created job out of the limelight thanks to Judge Ciavarella, the Luzerne County commissioners acted quickly to appoint a new chief clerk/manager. In a rare 3-0 vote they hired Doug Pape to be new day-to-day manager of the county. He has a solid resume and will be paid almost twice as much as his bosses but less than Guesto.

Many of you will shocked by this statement but I think the commissioners are underpaid. Luzerne County is a $200+ million operation with almost 2000 employees and they are paid around $40k a year. You get what you pay for. We really do need Homerule but that is another post.

Stepping on that Kumbaya moment Greg Skrepenak tried to move into Sam Guesto's old office in the basement of the courthouse until Maryanne Petrilla stopped him. Office space in the courthouse is a very touchy subject and any changes must be approved by all 3 commissioners.

Sounding like the cool kids are being mean to him and he wants to change his lunch seat Skrep said; “I ran to be in the majority, but all I hear is that we’re three equal, independent commissioners. So if that’s the case, the office space should help us obtain our goal.”

Will Skrep and Maryanne exchange Christmas cards next year?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Permit protest in Wilkes-Barre today

WILKES-BARRE-City council members do not plan to vote Thursday for an ordinance which would require people to pay a $20 fee for a permit to protest...Although council will not vote on the ordinance on final reading Thursday, members of the local activist group Voice of the People USA plan to protest it at a rally outside city hall before the council meeting, said chairman Frank Scavo, who also is a member of Old Forge School Board. They will hold a rally outside city hall Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. and will attend the meeting at 6 p.m.

Frank Scavo and a hatless Tim Grier appeared on Interactive WYOU last night to discuss the ordinance. You can watch it by clicking here. Thanks to Big Dan for pointing out the link and sorry Tim but I couldn't resist another hat joke.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PA-11th news

Eventual Republican nominee Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta is still getting hit with questions about the finances of his last run for Congress in 2002. Has he been paying on the loan or not? All he has to do is show some cancelled checks or a bank statement instead of unleashing his attack dogs on people who question the legality of the loan.

Mayor Lou had another headache when Klansman David Duke said:

"With the presidential “choices” pared down to Hillary, Obama and “Insane” John McCain, European Americans face an unmitigated disaster. Getting tough patriots like Lou Barletta elected is absolutely key to staving off four years of sustained attack on our interests.”

He said he wasn't aware of the "endorsement" and I believe him. He has become the focus of forces that he he can't control so expect more haters to offer help to Barletta which he will continue to disavow. It's hard to run a campaign when you have to keep pushing away your natural supporters.

Haire drops PA-10 bid

To my disappointment Davis Haire withdrew from the race for the Republican nomination in the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District. When this started I was hoping for 10 GOP challengers to freshman Democrat Chris Carney and for a while it looked like I might get my wish. But now it's down to a 2 man race between Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett.

From Davis Haire's press release:

I want to thank all of my supporters who worked so hard over the last few months on my behalf. The time and energy of so many friends, family and neighbors has been very humbling to me, and I cannot begin to describe my appreciation for their loyalty. I won't forget it," said Haire. "I recognize the uphill climb our campaign has against the money of Mr. Hackett and Mr. Meuser, but I am hopeful that whoever the Republican nominee is, he is able to articulate a winning conservative message of lower taxes, tough borders, affordable healthcare and protecting our family farms."

At this time, Haire will not be endorsing either Republican candidate.

Both Hackett and Meuser said nice things about him in the TL.

Jonathan Talllman for Delegate

I normally could care less about who is elected as Pennsylvania's delegates to the national conventions as long as they supported my candidate or I know the person.
I've never met Jonathan but he has commented on this site and regularly mixes it up over at GrassrootsPA. There has been a long time lament that young people don't get involved in politics or even bother to vote but this young man shows that is not true. I wish I could vote for him.
From what I am sure is his very 1st press release:
Tallman, 18, Seeks to Become GOP Delegate
Jonathan T. Talllman of Honesdale, Pennsylvania announced his candidacy for a position as a delegate to the Republican National Convention being held September 1-4 in St. Paul Minnesota. Jonathan is an eighteen year old conservative Republican who proudly represents the values of the 10th Congressional District Republicans.

"I would be deeply honored to serve the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the Republicans of the 10th Congressional District at our party's convention in September," said Jonathan. "This year, it is absolutely crucial that we win the White House. The convention will give our party the opportunity to nominate the Republican who best represents our values as established in the party platform."
On deciding to run for the position he said, "I believe that I can strongly represent the conservative principles we so greatly cherish here in the 10th District. At the convention, it will be crucial that we have conservative delegates who will proudly nominate the candidate that has the conservative credentials and leadership that Americans are looking for in a president."
Tallman is a senior at Honesdale High School. He is president of the Healthy Alcohol-Free Teens and the Community Foundation. He has been the president of his class for three years.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On the road again

“I think (Hyder) abused his privileges on other trips.” - Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla

WILKES-BARRE – The Luzerne County Prison Board voted 3-2 Monday to approve sending Deputy Warden Sam Hyder and two other employees to a three-day seminar on gang investigations.

The trip is the first to be approved by the board since controversy erupted over the use of Hyder’s county debit card at various training functions in 2006 and 2007.

Board members Wister Yuhas, Robert Payne and Commissioner Greg Skrepenak approved the trip. Commissioners Stephen Urban and Maryanne Petrilla voted against it.

Hyder has to be the most travelled and best trained county employee we have ever had.

Sam Hyder’s debit-card purchases

Pennsylvania 10th CD update

The big news today is that Chris Hackett landed a big fish and Dan Meuser has a new TV ad about immigration.

Today, the Club for Growth PAC endorsed Chris Hackett in the Republican primary in Pennsylvania’s Tenth Congressional District.

While Hackett does not have a voting record, he has quickly demonstrated a commitment to pro-growth issues on the campaign trail. Taking the lead against congressional pork, he wrote an op-ed for the local Scranton Times, criticizing Democratic Representative Chris Carney’s record of voting for such wasteful earmarks as California’s Mule and Packers Museum. He recently signed Citizens Against Government Waste’s Earmark Reform Pledge and challenged both Carney and his primary opponent, Dan Meuser, to sign the pledge as well. Hackett is also a strong supporter of tax cuts, school choice, and tort reform.

“With his business background and his pro-growth campaign platform, Chris Hackett has demonstrated an intuitive understanding of the importance of limited-government, free-market policies in advancing economic growth,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “We are confident Chris Hackett will fight for lower taxes and an end to wasteful government spending if elected to Congress. He is exactly the kind of principled conservative Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve to have representing them.”
Most endorsements are a one day event that are good for a press release but this one counts. The Club for Growth is a big player in Republican politics that can steer a lot of money to a candidate and Pat Toomey has a committed following among my PA conservative friends.
The new Meauser ad is titled Securing Our Borders

It starts off with the family gathering for dinner and a friend asked "is there any food on the table?" Then it shows some scary pictures of Mexicans claiming that there are 20 million illegal immigrants in "our country." Who counted them? I sure they don't send in their census forms. It cuts to a very serious looking Meuser telling us that immigration is a problem that costs millions. How much? He then gives us the "Meuser Plan" that sounds like what every other Republican candidate is saying. Secure the borders (does he want to also build a fence on the Canadian border?), no amnesty and making English the official language. I'm still not sure how naming an official language will discourage immigration.

Standard Republican fare playing on our fears instead of appealing to our hopes. Whatever happened President Reagan's "Shinning city on a hill?"

This will probably play well with the one issue voters but the recent F&M poll from last week lists immigration as the 6th most important issue to Republican voters scoring only 8%.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ralph Nader for President

I don't whether to laugh or cry.

As Atrios points out:

Who cares? .38% in 2004. I could get .38%.

Thanks to Michelle for the heads up.
CNN has the story

Bonds, Luzerne County bonds

The Luzerne County Commissioners voted the other day to spend some left over bond money on things it wasn't originally borrowed for. I've been complaining about this sort of shell game as long as I have been blogging.

The bond money came from $32.5 million borrowed in November 2003 to fund Susquehanna River recreation improvements. The bond document did not earmark funding for particular projects, which means commissioners are free to spend the money as they see fit.

Tim (take your hat off) Grier has made the same objection and points out that that bonds are supposed to be used for long term capitol improvements not everyday operating expenses. County Budget/Finance Chief Sam Diaz, and noted debit card abuser, said there is no legal requirement to use the money on projects that will last as long as repayment. I think he is wrong on that point. Even if he isn't the county government shouldn't be borrowing money for one thing and spend it on another. A few years ago they borrowed $9 million to build a new juvi prison then gave a sweetheart lease to a Pittston facility that the state objected to and had to terminate the lease. Then last December they used that money as Christmas presents for all sorts of projects that had nothing to do with the reason for borrowing the money in the first place.

Diaz also detailed the shortfalls of the last piece of fiction that was passed off as the county budget.

In other business Thursday, Diaz released a report explaining how the county ended 2007 with a $13 million deficit.
The report blames the deficit on a $16.8 million revenue shortfall, predominantly due to the county’s failure to meet projections in the following areas: current-year tax collections, $5.3 million; prior-year tax collection, $4 million; sale of county-owned land, $4.5 million; securing of state probation grants, $637,700; and federal transportation grants, $503,000.

Now they want to use $2.5 million of the proposed new bond issue to buy some land from Louis DeNaples when they can't sell the land they were counting on the help balance this year's budget. WTF?

Grier has offered to drop his challenge to the latest $93.5 million Bond issue if the Commissioners would just explain in detail what the money will be spent on. To me that's a reasonable request but they won't do it. And even if they did spell out how the money will be spent the way the thing is worded lets them spend the money on other things. Am I just becoming an old cynical bastard that doesn't trust the government?

Wilkes-Barre attorney Pete Moses, who is handling the county’s bond borrowing legal matters, on Friday declined to say if the county will accept Grier’s offer. Moses said he finds it "curious" that Grier wants to settle at this stage and is surprised Grier went public with his interest in settling.

It should be noted that Peter Moses looks to make a pretty penny on the bond issue and is billing the county for his work on this challenge. He has the best of both worlds. It makes you wonder why the county would bring in a hired gun who has a financial interest in seeing the bond succeed when they have so many other solicitors on the payroll.

And Commissioner Greg Skrepenak said the debit card abuse is "not criminal." It may not be but if I used a company card to buy drinks at a strip club or a $800 dinner tab with a $300 booze bill or pay for my kids hotel bill I'm sure I would be on the business end of a bread line

Saturday, February 23, 2008

YouTube weekend

Always look on the bright side of life. We have gone to 3 funerals in the last 3 weeks.

When I go I hope that someone will deliver an elegant eulogy like the one John Cleese did for Graham Chapman.

"I'm glad to see the back of the freeloading bastard."

Funeral For a Friend

"Shame On You, Barack Obama"

It looks like the love affair between Hillary and Barack that started in the last debate is over.

From TPMElection Central :

Hillary Clinton is hitting back at Barack Obama over campaign mailers that attack her stances on health care and free trade. "Shame on you, Barack Obama," she bluntly told reporters today in Ohio.
The mailers in question say that her health plan would force people to spend money on health coverage even if they can't afford it, and also that she considers NAFTA to be a "boon" to the economy.
Recent reports have argued that Hillary actually opposed NAFTA at the time, but could not publicly disagree with her husband's policies.

I think it's a sign of desperation when a candidate starts arguing about campaign tactics. Watching Hillary on TV today she comes across as really pissed off. So much for the softer side. Obama had a press conference and said the flyer's are completely accurate.

And Mr. Straight talk, John McCain, continues his doublespeak about lobbyist.

WaPo: For years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has railed against lobbyists and the influence of "special interests" in Washington, touting on his campaign Web site his fight against "the 'revolving door' by which lawmakers and other influential officials leave their posts and become lobbyists for the special interests they have aided."

But when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.

And inviting some bad Karma he said he hopes Fidel Casto croaks. CNN: "I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon." That's a reference to the author of "The Communist Manifesto," who died in 1883.

But the big news of the day is that Mike Huckabee will take some time off from giving paid speeches in the Cayman Islands to appear on Saturday Night Live tonight. Huckabee shows it can be fun running for President when you get to play your base guitar on national TV.

A click of the shutter to Danny for pointing out the great source of these lovely photos.

Update: It didn't take long for the Hucksters appearance on SNL to be posted on YouTube.
Here's the link. I don't agree with Huckabee on many things but the guy is naturally funny.

YouTube weekend

And speaking of Jazz

Jeff Beck - Blue Wind

YouTube weekend

I've posted this before but it got bounced for some reason. So somebody else uploaded it.

I have never been a big fan of A Cappella but when it's blended with an instrumental Jazz Band somehow it works.

Birdland - Weather Report & Manhattan Transfer

Friday, February 22, 2008

Davis Haire weighs in

Thousands in Contributions to Democrats + $707,000 County Contract = Hackett Violating Pork Pledge
(Tunkhannock, PA) - In response to a gimmicky Earmark Pledge cooked up by Chris Hackett's campaign today, the Davis Haire campaign blasted Hackett's hypocrisy since he's personally violated the links between contributions and government pork listed in the pledge. Over the last two years, Hackett's questionable contributions to county politicians - Democrat politicians - were followed by a $707,000 county contract in Luzerne County, as reported by the Citizen's Voice last month.
"Dr. Haire already stated his opposition to earmark abuse months ago," said Tom Whitehead, Campaign Manager. "But Chris Hackett should have read the pledge first, since he's guilty of violating the linkage between campaign contributions and pork listed in the pledge. It is hypocritical for Hackett to say he's opposed to wasteful spending since he's personally taken a $707,000 pork barrel government contract from Luzerne County after giving thousands of dollars to the Democratic Commissioners who authorized the contract. Republicans know better and can see through this charade."
On January 22, the Citizen's Voice reported Hackett gave $6,000 to Democrat Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid in 2006, and for nearly a year and a half, the county paid Hackett's company $707,000. The Eighth Point in the pledge seeks to end the links between campaign contributions and government pork.
Dan Meuser is no stranger to financially supporting Democrats either. Since 2002, Meuser and his company gave at least $39,150 to liberal Democrats Hillary Clinton, Ed Rendell, liberal Congressman Charlie Rangel, and Rep. Paul Kanjorski, who will now turn around and use Meuser's money to take on illegal immigration fighter and conservative Republican Lou Barletta.
"Dr. Haire is the only true conservative Republican in this race and the only candidate who was raised here. He believes in making the tax cuts permanent, securing our borders, making English our official language, and making healthcare affordable through market based solutions instead of Hillary-style socialized medicine," added Whitehead. "He is the only Republican who can stand up and beat Chris Carney in the fall."

New Chris Hackett TV ad

In a press release Republican Pennsylvania 10th CD candidate Chris Hackett took another shot at incumbent Chris Carney over earmarks. Carney has said he is proud of being the Freshman Pork Champ and Hackett is making opposition to earmarks his signature issue. He signed the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) Earmark Reform Pledge and says:

We need to work to restore confidence in our elected officials and establish a commitment to be as fiscally responsible with citizens' tax dollars as they are with their paychecks. The only answer is an open, transparent, and honest process. This cannot be achieved within the current earmark system," Hackett said in a letter to his opponents.

"When elected to Congress, I will not only abide by this pledge, but will fight to end the corrupt earmarking process altogether. The CAGW pledge is only a good starting point, a minimal effort that I would think all candidates could easily join me in supporting if they are truly opposed to wasteful pork spending," Hackett added.

The CAGW recently named PA Congressman Jack Murtha it's Porker of the Year. And I know how much my Republican friends like Murtha.

In a statement to the CV, Dan Meuser, one of Hackett’s Republican opponents, called the pledge “political gamesmanship.” Meuser said he supports eliminating earmarks, giving the president the right to veto specific earmarks and Congress voting on earmarks one by one.

The other 10th CD Republican candidate, Davis Haire, has stated on his website that he also opposed to earmarks:

Too often Washington politicians care more about spending your tax dollars to win votes back home, then thinking first about your wallet.

This is a good ad that drives home the point

Update: Congressman Carney reponds


"These projects will create jobs right here"

Clarks Summit, PA—Chris Carney issued the following response to attacks on the federal funding he delivered for the people of northeast and central Pennsylvania:

"These projects will create jobs right here—good, high paying jobs that will help our communities. These appropriations bills pass Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, both Republicans and Democrats believe in sound federal investment. At best Hackett is tragically misinformed about how to invest in our community, at worst he is just trying to score cheap political points."

Chris Hackett, one of several potential Republican candidates for Congress, has challenged Chris Carney's commitment to public service and his work to bring jobs and investment to the region.

Carney brought more federal investment back to the district than any other new Member of Congress.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pennsylvania 11th CD update

“I really don’t think they want this campaign to be about ethics. I don’t think that’s where they want this to go.” -Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta

HAZLETON – Republican congressional candidate Lou Barletta said Wednesday a $65,000 loan being questioned by his political opponents is a personal loan that he is repaying.

If it's a personal loan why has it been reported to the FEC as a campaign debt since 2002? He's still calling it a clerical error.

The DCCC, in its complaint, said the loan made in 2002 during Barletta’s first congressional run was listed on campaign reports 22 times over the last six years. No payment had been made on the loan, the DCCC maintained.

The NRCC has shot back with old questions about Conerstone and money his campaign committee has paid to his nephews.

PA Progressive, AAJ and Pennsyltucky have more.

In other news. After the Corps of Engineers’ denied a permit to build an inflatable dam Rep. Paul Kanjorski is trying to persuade the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority to appeal the decision. They don't seem to be too enthusiastic. The Authority has 60 days to appeal the decision.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mike Carroll for State Represenative

Freshman Democrat Mike Carroll kicked off his reelection campaign. I'm glad he got that over with because the suspense was killing me.

JENKINS TWP-Facing more than 100 supporters at the Volunteer Hose Co., state Rep. Mike Carroll formally announced his candidacy for re-election to the 118th District, for which he amassed 1,500 signatures though only 300 are required to appear on the ballot.

No Republican is running in the district to my disappointment because I hate uncontested elections. But a young man is taking him on the Democratic primary.

PJ Best State Candidate

Another blowout

Sorry Hillary. No matter how you try to spin it losing an election by 17% , the 9th in a row, shows that the people just don't want you to be President. The results from Wisconsin with 97% of precincts reporting:

Obama 635,693 58% 40 delegates

Clinton 444,605 41% 28 delegates

When you look at the exit polls he won almost every demographic and even split the women's vote 50-50. Some talking head said tonight that Clinton will have to win 65% of the remaining delegates up for grabs to get the nomination. Even if she wins both Texas and Ohio, which is doubtful, it would have to be by a large margin to catch up in the delegate race. And don't forget about Rhode Island and Vermont.

Many sports analogies are used in politics. Is this the playoffs before the regular season or the run up to the Super Bowl? If it's the playoffs before the World Series the Clinton team is being swept.

The enthusiasm gap. Just under 1.1 million people voted in the Democratic primary in Wisconsin and just over 400,000 cast a ballot in the Republican primary. This is a pattern that has been repeated throughout the primary season that better number crunchers that me have pointed out.

On the other side John McCain won all the delegates in Wisconsin with a 55%-37% win over Mike Huckabee.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sometimes I get it right

My blog buddy A Big Fat Slob recently pointed out that I called the Republican nomination 2 years ago.

From November 12, 2006

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

I'll give you another shocking prediction. The Democrats will win the White House and increase their majorities in both the House and Senate.

Sacred Heart

Cross posted on NEPA Blogs


Our Mission

To preserve, maintain and protect the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA and its contents, and other religious sites and artifacts of Slovak heritage. Initially, the corporation will fund a major capital improvement project for the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.

I'm not catholic but this one hits home. I grew up on Madison Street right behind the church and many of my friends attended the grade school. We used to play baseball in the parking lot and later go bowling in the basement of the school. It was quite a scene watching people going into Saturday Mass dressed in bowling shirts. It's a beautiful building but there are fewer parishioners as the years go by to support the church and the building needs some major repairs that the Diocese of Scranton is not willing to support. I wonder if any of the recent Hispanic residents in the North End of W-B are attending Mass at Sacred Heart or if it's identity as a bastion of Slovak heritage might discourage them.

The last few months the news has been full of stories of church and Catholic School closings and you wonder if this one will be able to survive.

Meet the candidate

You can meet Congressman Chris Carney at the Luzerne County Listening Tour Town Hall Meeting for 5:00 PM on Tuesday, February 19th at the Municipal Building in Harveys Lake, PA. The original town hall had been postponed due to weather. On Wednesday you can catch him in Susqeuhanna County at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, February 20th at the American Legion Post 357 in Hallstead, PA.

Republican 10th CD candidate Chris Hackett will be in beautiful Sunbury, home to the famous inflatable dam, Wed, Feb 20, 7pm – 9pm at the Edison Hotel.

Again, a note to all campaigns. Let me know where to find your guy/girl and I will be happy to pass it along.

Happy Presidents Day

One of my favorite Presidents is William Henry Harrison. He wasn't around long enough to screw up the country:

But before he had been in office a month, he caught a cold that developed into pneumonia. On April 4, 1841, he died--the first President to die in office--and with him died the Whig program.

Pennsylvania's only President tops the list for Worst Presidential Errors:

So who had the worst blunder? President James Buchanan, for failing to avert the Civil War, according to a survey of presidential historians organized by the University of Louisville's McConnell Center. Scholars who participated said Buchanan didn't do enough to oppose efforts by Southern states to secede from the Union before the Civil War.

Thanks to Simply Left Behind for the above.

So who is the worst President of modern times? My pick:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Let's get sued

WILKES-BARRE — City council passed a controversial ordinance on first reading Thursday that some believe is unconstitutional.

Is Lou Barletta disease contagious? Passing a law that invites a lawsuit is a waste of time and money. Why would W-B pass an ordinance that flies in the face of the first amendment because Kurt Shotko acted up at a parade a few years ago?

From Big Dan:

The ordinance states that people who want to protest or hold a rally, assembly, event, service or any type of demonstration on city property must apply for a $20 permit. They claim that no one will be denied a permit. Of course, if they deny a permit, I'm sure they won't be held accountable for at first claiming that they will not deny anyone a permit!

While they say they "won't deny anyone a permit," there are more than thirty reasons listed in the ordinance that enables them to do just that. Also, forcing someone to have insurance and also forcing them to pay a fee may put protesting out of reach financially for some, and that is where the City might have a Constitutional issue.

Putting a financial burden on people who want to protest the actions of THEIR GOVERNMENT is not going to fly and there is plenty of case law that has struck down similar attempts.

This is all over the internet:

I have the ACLU in Philla and H-burg looking it over. They will advise us this week. In the mean time we need a little buzz about it.

Can you guys do that?


We need to attend the WB meeting next Tuesday and Thursday.
We will need to hold a proper Demonstration at the City council meeting, to show that we are respectful
good group .

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And take off your hat when your indoors. My father drilled that into me and it's just polite.


I'm really getting tired of being shit on by Comcast. This week they dropped Turner Classic Movies and Toon Disney from my basic lineup and told me that TCM is still on basic cable if I get a box that will be will provided to me free for a year.

But there is a catch and DB caught it:

And for just $2 per month PER TELEVISION, you can get a digital converter from Comcast that will permit you to view these channels, and all the others that Comcast will eventually change. They'll allow you to have ONE converter free of charge for twelve months, but after that, it's $2 a month. (Prices subject to change without notice.)

Not to be confused with the changeover to HD broadcasting, which shouldn't affect your cable signal...unless your local cable monopoly decides it does. Too bad there isn't some sort of Public Utilities Commission designed to protect consumers from predatory and monopolistic practices by service providers.

Save your receipts for the eventual class-action suit...

Since Comcast took over from Adelphia they have cut some channels from my local lineup; the WE network(38), UPN-57 (11) and Newswatch16 (63) and the price went up. Comcast deserve's it 's place in the The Customer Service Hall of Shame. And now we lost Toon Disney and TCM with the friendly 1-800 rep explaining it was some sort of technical thing that requires that those 2 channels have to have a box. Such bullshit. They're just trying to shove a box down my throat so they can sell me more TV channels that I won't watch and many pay-per-view options that I'll never buy.

A good source has informed me that Comcast has hired a new consultant that designed this brilliant strategy. This is outsourcing taken to the extreme because they have contracted with the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy electronic guidebook defined the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "A bunch of mindless jerks who will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes"....

So help me out folks. What kind of Dish shall I get? Is the the Big Ten Network available on both Direct-TV and the Dish Network? I'm reluctant to make a switch because I really don't need more devices, wires and remotes but they leave me no choice.

But Comcast's strong arm tactics must be working:

Comcast profits soar in first quarter

Note: This is the 3rd the third version of this post because my trusty proofreader, Mrs. G, objected to all the F-Bombs and other expletive's in the first two drafts. I haven't been this pissed off about something since Bob Cordaro chased the Phillies farm team out of town.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

YouTube weekend

I usually do music clips but this week I bring you the helicopter attack scene from Apocalypse Now with some great music including the The Ride of the Valkyries


Every time I tune into a political show on any network they always have a segment with a couple of talking heads that I never have heard of identified as a Republican or Democratic "Strategist."

What qualifications do you need to be a "Strategist"?

As far as I can tell anyone who worked on one presidential campaign, has great hair and is photogenic meets the definition.

Who has the most signatures?

According to a press release Dan Meuser does:

Meuser’s Grass Roots Organization Dominates Petitions Race

Large crowds, major endorsements, fundraising and petitions boost Meuser

Today, the Department of State made available the petition filings for the 10th Congressional District. The number of signatures that a candidate gathers shows the strength and depth of the grassroots organization they have supporting them. Continuing the momentum from major endorsements, his district wide 2008 Campaign kick-off Tour, and a 2-1 fundraising margin over the sitting Congressman in the 4th Quarter, Dan submitted over 4,100 petition signatures for ballot access.

Dan’s supporters gathered 2.5 signatures for every 1 that Chris Carney’s supporters turned in to the Department of State, over 2,300 more signatures than the nearest GOP competitor and submitted over 800 more than both of his GOP competitors combined. The campaign garnered significant signatures from every region of the district. Dan’s hard work to build the largest grassroots organization among the candidates continues to pay dividends, as evidenced by the number of signatures and the significant support throughout the district.

Dam Yankees

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) questioned the need for a Congressional hearing on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball and the whole Roger Clemens circus.

I didn’t particularly like a Congressional hearing getting involved in something like this,” Kanjorski said, “It sounded more like an inquisition than a hearing...I concluded, listening to both sides, that it was going to be he said, she said,” Kanjorski said after the hearing. “All we were doing is giving a stage for one guy to make claims against another person. We were misusing the purpose of a Congressional hearing.” Kanjorski said his involvement in the steroid hearing produced more calls to his office from reporters and constituents than any of the other “extraordinarily important issues” on his agenda.

As to important issues, one of his pet projects has been finally shot down and he's not to happy about it.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scrapped plans to construct an inflatable dam in Wilkes-Barre

I've always thought this was a bad idea but I will give credit to Kanjo for coming up with big ideas if not always practical ones like the monorail thing he was pushing a few years ago. And what is going on with Wall Street West?

I have always felt that when people had the opportunity to use the river through boating, they would develop a greater appreciation for the need to clean it up,” Kanjorski said. “I saw the creation of a seasonal lake as a stimulus for creating broader public support to transform the river into the jewel of the Wyoming Valley, as the original settlers of the region once saw it. “

From what I understand the key to cleaning up the river is to stop pouring raw sewage and acid mine water into the river. When it rains the storm water runoff overwhelms the treatment plants because they are tied to the same drainage systems. Some action has been taken to isolate the systems but it will take a long time and much money. And Kanjo got $20 million last year to reconstruct sewer systems to do that. I don't know how you stop the acid mine water from flowing into the river.

In his press release he said he will take the bureaucrats to task for enforcing the Clean Water Act.

Tomorrow expect Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta to blame the pollution of the river on the illegal immigrants who went to work in the mines in the early part of the last century.

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Chris Hackett TV ad

The title is Do Better and it shows that he can drive and talk at the same time:

You can also find it at the media center of his website along with his latest radio ad.

Pennsylvania 117th state rep district

This looks to be the most interesting state representative race in Luzerne County. Incumbent Karen Boback is facing off with challenger James May in the Republican primary and the winner will will go up against recent Democrat Russ Bigus in the fall.

Bigus braved the recent snow storm to file his petitions in Harrisburg on Tuesday and said “We’re approaching this campaign very seriously and diligently...I plan to win in November.”

Boback will kick off her reelection campaign today in Dallas with the opening of her HQ.

A bunch of people showed up for May's official announcement on Monday in Dallas and he sent me this press release:

James May Kickoff Rally a Huge Success

More than 130 people braved the frigid cold temperatures on Monday night to support James May in the kickoff to his campaign for the Pennsylvania State House. "This would be an incredible turnout under any circumstances", said May, "but considering the weather, this is just stunning!".

May stuck to his conservative themes of lower taxes, less spending and traditional American values. "In 1976, Ronald Reagan called on Republicans to support a platform of 'bold, unmistakable colors, rather than pastel shades'". said May. "When my opponent lives in a state that has more teacher strikes than every other state in the nation combined, yet she refuses to support legislation that would guarantee every child in the state a strike-free education by banning teacher strikes, that is an indication that she is not a Republican of bold unmistakable colors, but rather a Republican of pastel shades", said May.

One individual in attendance was Bob Guzzardi, from the Conservative Reform PAC. May pointed out that when the PSEA Teachers' Union donated $9,200 to Karen Boback's campaign, the Conservative Reform PAC quickly sent him a check as well: for $9,201. Guzzardi received a thunderous standing ovation for his willingness to financially take on the PSEA.

The speaker for the event was Mr. David Barton, senior staffer in the Republican National Committee and the Bush/Cheney Election Team. In 2006, Barton was named by Time Magazine as "The Lesson Planner" for the conservative movement in America. Barton said that James May represents the conservative principles envisioned by our founding fathers. "I want to elect a person that I don't have to lobby" said Barton. "James May is such a person".

May announced that the Chairman of his Election Committee was Bob Sypniewski, President of Penn Mortgage in Dallas and the Treasurer was Deborah Cragle, Branch Manager of the Wachovia Bank in Tunkhannock. Deborah's father-in-law, Al Cragle, who was also in attendance, served as the Treasurer for Lisa Baker's 2006 campaign.

"This campaign will be about one thing", said May: "Issues". "If I am fortunate enough to be your next Representative, I will fight for the conservative principles of Ronald Reagan. I will follow Reagan's example and be a Republican of 'bold, unmistakable colors, not a Republican of pastel shades'".

Note to the other campaigns, send me your stuff and I will publish it.

Guesto lands on his feet

I know I have been ignoring all the fun under the dome because I'm concentrating on the various elections approaching. This is a political blog so I concentrate on elections, so shoot me.

Only in Luzerne County can a guy who was chased out his last job get a a similar one. He is at the center of the debit card controversy because he was the official that was supposed to approve any charges to the cards
in his position as county chief clerk/manager.
So when his position as chief clerk became untenable they invented a new position for him. Same old shit.
Sam Guesto has been hired for a newly created court director job, which means he will remain a Luzerne County employee when he officially ends his job as county chief clerk/manager today. Many county workers had predicted the court job was created for Guesto. Court of Common Pleas President Judge Mark Ciavarella has denied that, saying the position is warranted and that he would choose the most qualified applicant.
Guesto’s hiring takes effect today, and he will be paid $78,159.80 annually, according to the court order issued by Ciavarella Thursday afternoon.
I'm very disappointed with President Judge Mark Ciavarella but I can't say I'm surprised.

John Cole

I'm a big fan of the Scranton Times Editorial cartoonist John Cole and I often use his drawings to illustrate my posts because as the old saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words. He has to be one of the best in the business. Cole has a way connecting a national story to the local scene like these 2 recent cartoons.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Free Ride

According to PA Dept of State website 4 of our 6 Luzerne county state reps have no opposition in the Primary or General Election.

That stinks because I hate an uncontested election.

The winners are:

116th Todd Eachus

119th John Yudichak

120th Phyllis Mundy

121st Eddie Day Pashinski

All Democrats.

Update: Republican George Bath of Kingston Twp. is running against Phyllis Mundy in the 120th District.

Free ride

This and that

I got a robo call from Comcast a few days ago saying that that they were going to change my cable lineup and tonight it has started. The first thing to disappear was Turner Classic Movies and now at 2:30 AM most of the channels have the same infomercial runninng. We'll see what channels we lose this time and if they really butcher it I might get a dish. Since Comcast took over from Adelphia we have lost 5 channels from our basic cable and the price has increased about $10 a month. Mrs. G just said "I'll take the Adelphia crooks anyday."

My inbox has been flooded with a few hundred messages over the last few days, I'm a popular guy. Many were the usual garbage that slipped through the spam filter and pleas from various campaigns begging for money. Every time one of you, my dear readers, takes the time to leave a comment blogger lets me know and you have been busy. My apologies but I just can't respond to every one. And many thank you for adding to the discussion. As far as some of you that have asked me specific questions if I haven't responded yet please re-send it because I may have accidentally deleted your message.

10th CD update

The big news in the race today is that Dan Meuser still hasn't moved into his new house in Harveys lake.

His explanation: “After doing a little research, we learned that this address needed to reflect where my family spends the predominance of their time,” Meuser said. “Therefore, as my renovations are taking a little longer than expected at Harveys Lake, we decided to use the old address on the petition to fully comply both with the letter and the spirit of the law.”Meuser said he hopes to move “in the near future” and would vote in Harveys Lake in the April 22 primary election.

This has raised a number of questions and Davis Haire’s campaign manager pounced on the news:

There aren’t too many people in this district who can afford a second house for half a million dollars, especially one purchased for the sole purpose of trying to legitimize a candidacy for Congress,” Whitehead said. “At the end of the day, Davis Haire is the only one who’s actually grown up in this district, the only rural conservative Republican in the race, and the only Republican candidate who can win the general election.”

A local politico had this reaction:

I find the whole situation a little suspicious. While you don't have to live in the district, just in the state, to run, people who circulate petitions for a candidate must reside in the district, just as someone signing. So in Meuser's case he technically could not sign his own petition, nor could he circulate his own petition. There is a place on the bottom for the person who circulates must sign and the signature must be notarized.

I find it odd that someone who is running farmed out his entire petition circulating duties... I wonder if he circulated the petitions himself at all, or is he just paying people off to do it? If he circulated any himself did he sign at the bottom? And what kind of message does it send to those that signed, that the candidate couldn't sign his own petition?

I don't care where he lives because the Constitution says you only have to be a resident of the state that you represent. But you have to wonder how long the renovations of the new house are going to take. Maybe they will be finished sometime in November if he is successful and if not he has a nice remodeled house with a swanky address to put on the market. And who pays $500,000 for a fixer-upper?

Until 2002 all of Luzerne County was part of the 11th CD and you wonder why this good Republican wouldn't run against Kanjorski if he really wanted to make a change. It's not like he gave money to him or anything?

Another question is can he vote in Harveys Lake if he doesn't actually live there? I remember a case from a few years ago when someone was appointed to the Wyoming Valley West School Board but was disqualified because he was using his father's address in Wilkes-Barre to vote. He had to pay a fine for falsifying his voter registration.

Chris Hackett's campaign declined to comment on the residency issue but picked up the support of a former rival:

Congressional Candidate Paul Swiderski Endorses Chris Hackett

DALLAS, PA – Today, Paul Swiderski, former congressional candidate for the 10th district, endorsed Chris Hackett to continue his battle to bring a principled grassroots conservative voice to Washington.

"Throughout my campaign, I was impressed with Chris Hackett and his principled stands on issues. His emphasis on bringing jobs to our region, securing the border, and ending wasteful spending is exactly what we need in Washington," said Swiderski.

"As an accountant, I am acutely aware of the plight of the hard working families of the 10th district. They work overtime, they cut expenses, in an effort to make ends meet, but the government takes such a large portion of their income. I know Chris will be a fighter for lower taxes and lower spending and that's a major reason for my endorsement."
"I am honored to have the endorsement of Paul Swiderski," said Chris Hackett, "He is a proud and principled Republican who I am sure will continue to work hard for our party, our region, and our country."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama and McCain win big

DC, Maryland and Virginia went to Barry Obama big. John McCain staved off the Huckaboom in Virginia and Maryland. And both Republican voters in DC picked McCain.

Russ Diamond for state represenative

From a press release:

ANNVILLE - Russ Diamond, founder and chairman of PACleanSweep, filed the required paperwork in Harrisburg today to appear on the Republican primary ballot in the 101st legislative district on April 22, 2008.

“The people of Lebanon County deserve a representative in Harrisburg who actually supports, obeys and defends our state constitution,” said Diamond. “My candidacy is a natural extension of the PACleanSweep mission – replacing career politicians with energetic, effective leaders who can deliver change instead of just talking about it.”

Diamond has pledged to strictly adhere to the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the document, which clearly states that legislators are entitled to “salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever.”

“I will not take a pension. I will not enroll in the gold-plated legislative health care plan. I will not accept mid-term cost of living raises. I will not take any other perks. I will accept salary and mileage - period,” Diamond added. “If we can’t trust a legislator to abide by the plain constitutional language that outlines compensation, how can we trust that same person to protect critical rights such as our freedom of speech, religion and assembly and the right to bear arms?”

A few years ago I suggested to Russ that he should forget about being Governor and run for the state legislature. He had a few objections to that idea:
Others have suggested that I run for a legislative seat, and if I were angling for a career in government, that might be a consideration. But I'd rather serve for one term in the best capacity possible, and then go back home. I would make a much better 'check and balance' to the legislature than to be buried within it. And practically speaking, I'm quite sure there aren't too many legislators eager to welcome the person who started PACleanSweep into their exclusive club!

Maureen Gingrich is the Rep in that district. Why is that name so familiar?

Pennsylvania 11th CD update

Our incumbent Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski got some face time with one of the greatest baseball pitchers ever, Roger Clemens. I hope he got got his autograph. Click on the image for a better view. Mrs. G suggests that his wife should go clothes shopping with him to prevent him from buying more shirts like that one.


The Congress has decided that the steroids scandal in baseball is worthy of their attention. I think they may have a few more important things to take care of. MLB is cleaning up their act but for the most part I don't give a shit. The fans like home runs so I say juice 'em up and let 'em fly. Or on the other hand watching a guy strike out 15 or 20 batters is special. Baseball players have a long, proud history of cheating and after they solve this "crises" something else will come along.


Hazleton Republican Mayor Lou Barletta is having a bad week after he stopped his tease dance and finally threw his hat in the ring. The Democrats socked him with a charge that his 2002 campaign was still carrying a loan that has never had a payment made on it. Now the legal defense fund that the city of Hazleton established to defend that crazy ordinance has been ordered to reveal the names of the donors. I doubt that any big names will be revealed but you never know. This campaign will get down and dirty from both sides in short order. I was listening to Corbett on WILK on the way to work today and he was up in arms because one of Lou's out of town consultants blew him off.

Another candidate entered the 11th CD race.

Meet the candidate

Pennsylvania Republican 10th Congressional District candidate Chris Hackett has 2 events on his schedule this week. Tonight you can find Chris at the Harveys Lake Grotto Pizza from 7 to 9PM. Let's hope that the impending snow storm, that the forecasters are saying will be the worst one since the last one, won't keep people away. On Friday you can find him in the wilds of Snyder County at Penn Valley Airport (New Terminal Building), Selinsgrove, 7-9PM.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

James May for State Representative

I met James may last week and we had a brief discussion about his experiences in Iraq and at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He's an impressive guy and tomorrow he kicks off his campaign to unseat Karen Boback in the 117th District.
He is running hard on the teacher strike issue and has garnered support from some of the heavy hitters in the state.
From a press release:
When: Monday, February 11, 5:30 - 6:30

Where: Twin Stack Center, Natona Room, 1100 North Memorial Highway, Dallas

On Monday, February 11,
James May will kickoff his campaign for the Pennsylvania State House, with guest of honor David Barton! David Barton is currently the Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and was named by Time Magazine as "The Lesson Planner" for President George W. Bush's two Presidential victories. As a senior member of the Republican National Committee and a senior executive on the Bush/Cheney Election Team, he has been called "a hero to millions, including some very powerful politicians".
I have to admit that I don't know who David Barton is but May is excited about having his support. James invited me to the event but I have to work tomorrow night. This work thing sure screws up a lot of stuff.
I'm not sure if Capitol Ideas has included this race in his A Is Running For B At C series so it's a reminder if you missed it John.
And what is Russ Bigus up to.