Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kentucky Derby

The 11th annual get together of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to watch the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd 4PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre (map it).

Carney on the fence

Congressman Chris Carney said he would cast his vote at the Democratic national convention according to the will of the district. The 10th went overwhelmingly for Hillary but Carney still hasn't committed. The NRCC is saying that Carney is a closet Obama supporter. But the convention isn't until August so he has some time to make up his mind or maybe not because DNC Chairman Howard Dean wants this thing decided before then and I agree with him.

His ace press secretary said "He will base his decision on who will be the best leader to move our country forward and do what is best for the district and Pennsylvania,” Rebecca Gale said. “In the meantime, Congressman Carney feels it’s best to let people vote and the conversation continue.”

In 2006 Carney got 26,300 votes in the primary while the Republican candidates garnered about 59,000. This time around he got 70,824 votes in an uncontested primary while the bitter and expensive Republican primary between Chris Hackett and Dan Meuser produced under 65,000. I'm sure much of the increase can attributed to the Presidential race and the general election turnout will be much higher. In 2006 it was about 210,000.

Barletta offers solution to high gas prices

Or maybe not.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta said the windfall profit tax bill proposed by Congressman Paul Kanjorski is a “desperate attempt to gain favor in an election year.” Kanjo admits that the bill doesn't have much chance of becoming law saying even if it did pass the Congress it faces a certain veto and America's Mayor pounced on that statement.
A check of Barletta's website doesn't have any info about energy or anything else other than immigration.
I'm surprised that he hasn't pointed out that we get a great deal of our oil from Venezuela and Mexico or maybe he isn't aware of it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Violate the law, get a week off

WILKES-BARRE Luzerne County Correctional Facility Board unanimously voted Monday to suspend prison Warden Gene Fischi for one week without pay because the warden failed to inform board members about decisions to avoid bidding purchases.
The board also put Fischi and prison kitchen supervisor Jack Rentko on probation for a year.

And Sam Guesto still has a job after telling Rentko to ignore bidding requirements saying “do it or it’s your ass.”

Some sort of secret police organization is supposed to be investigating this mess according to DA Jackie MO but she hasn't named the agency. Why can't she tell us which one? And why are our great local reporters giving her a pass?

More Presidential candidates coming to the area

Just not the ones you've ever heard of . Mario Fiorucci's annual State of the World forum in Sugar Notch has a new twist this year. A group of third party and independent Presidential candidates will state their case this weekend at 893 Main Street, Sugar Notch.

Saturday, May 3rd
3:00 PM Presidential Candidate Debates.

Sunday, May 4th
1:00 PM Presidential Candidate Speeches.

Participating Presidential Candidates:

Joseph A. Oliva Reclaiming Our Inheritance.

Bill Ingram Put a Working Man in the White House!

Donald K. Allen “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke

Daniel Kingery Put up, or Shut Up!

Steve Adams Common Sense for Uncommon Times

Jack Grimes United Fascist Union

Lanakila Washington Humanistic Party

Steve White forRuth Bryant White More Than a Woman

Michael Thompson forFrank McEnulty New American Independent Party

Deshon Porter Let’s Take Our Country Back!

John Bootie America’s Candidate

Daniel Kingery had a profile in the CV yesterday.

Other participants in the festivities include Kurt Shotko, Independent candidate for the 11th CD, Joseph Pilchesky, creator of and Mort Malkin will also speak about health care reform and how to plan for your personal wellness.

Ed note: I have nothing to do with organizing this event. But I think it's important to hear all voices.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hillary, Barack or someone else?

In wide ranging and sometimes contentious debate at yesterday's impromptu sub-committee meeting at our favorite watering hole an unlikely but possible scenario was discussed. After the Obama supporter was shouted down by a room full of Clinton backers someone suggested that the best outcome for the Dems would be to nominate Al Gore. The reasoning is if this goes to the convention the losing side will have a hard time backing the winner so a unity candidate should be found. I don't see it happening but anything is possible. This is not a new idea as I've seen it kicked around the lefty blogs and even by a few talking heads on TV. A month ago our local political historian, the Yonk, even outlined a possible turn of events in Denver.

So what do you think? I put up a poll on the sidebar.

Below we see the winner of the 2000 election showing off his green thumb.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A few links

My friends at the Susquehanna University College Republicans have revamped their website. They did a great job of organizing the first 10th CD debate.

I added Coal Region Voice to the blogroll. He is asking for some help on colon cancer legislation:

As a colon cancer survivor, I am looking for support for HB 972 and or SB246. The House version is a whole new law, while the Senate Bill ammends existing law. Both are colon cancer screening bills. Senator Don White is sitting on these in committee and letting them die along with 3000 Pennsylvanians every year.

PolitickerPA is a new site covering Pennsylvania politics. I spotted this cartoon there.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

10th CD postmortem

What a wild ride it has been in the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District over the last few years. Democrat Chris Carney won the seat in 2006 because Don Sherwood kept talking about "family values" and then it was revealed that he had been playing house for over 5 years with a girl half his age who actually called the police because she said he became violent. There were other factors in the race but that helped clinch it.

Ever since then I've been hearing things like "that's one of our seats that we can win back" from my Republican friends. It's not your seat or the Dems seat, it's the peoples seat. The founders designed the House of Representatives as the pulse of the people and expected it to change hands often. But gerrymandering has slowed the turnover rate.

Early in the Republican primary I expected Dan Meuser to win the nod just because he had the most money. He's a Republican, you buy things. But he ran a awful campaign. His selling point was the he was the head of very successful company, Pride Mobility, that grew over the years and created some good jobs with the implication he would be able to replicate that throughout the district. That opened him up to answering for everything that Pride had ever done wrong by design or circumstance whether or not he had anything to do with the situation. Pride Mobility for Congress had it's limits and some his ads came across as a plug for the Scooter Store.

Chris Hackett ran a classic outsider vs. insider campaign. He railed against pork barrel spending and the way business is done in Washington. Just about every elected official in the 10th backed Meuser but it didn't bring him much. Most endorsements are good for a press release and not much more. The one's that matter bring boots on the ground and money, none of his did.

For all the negative stuff that happened at the end I thought (and I'm told) Hackett's ads pointing out that Pride had outsourced jobs to China resonated with people. The illegal immigrant thing showed showed how such a complicated issue is hard to discuss in a political campaign. I think the last minute abortion (he said/she said) accusations probably backfired as many thought it was a dirty trick.

A consolation point for Dan Meuser is that he will have the opportunity to challenge Chris Carney for the seat in 2010.

Looking to the fall-State Rep races

Or lack of contests. Barring some write-in efforts that I'm not aware of it looks like our 5 Luzerne County Democratic state representatives will be unopposed in November. I read that Todd Eachus has secured both nominations in the 116th District getting 800+ write-ins on the GOP side. In the 120th Phyllis Mundy has no opposition and the same goes for Eddie Day Pashinski in the 121st as well as John Yudichak in the 119th. Mike Carroll cruised to victory in the 118th primary with no announced Republican taking him on in the general.

That leaves the 117th District Republican Freshman Karen Boback as the only one being challenged in November. 2006 Republican 20th Senatorial candidate Russ Bigus recently switched to the Democrats and is on the ballot. Boback beat a little known Dem last time by 2 to 1 after winning a crowded primary. This time she won the primary by about 1100 votes out of 7300 cast while Bigus was unopposed for the Democratic nomination and garnered 5665. The question now is will Bigus be able to use his past GOP ties and tap into the resentment I'm hearing from some back mountain Republicans about the slash and burn tactics of the Boback camp.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Other results

It looks like Chris Hackett won the Republican nomination in the 10th CD.

PA Dept of State:

33,091 52.3%

30,177 47.7%

What is interesting is that Carney got more votes in the Democratic primary than both of them put together in the GOP contest.

69,067 100.0%

In the 117th and 118th state rep districts it looks like the challengers came up short;

117th Republiccan primary

3,126 42.5%

4,233 57.5%

118th Democractic primary

9,378 81.1%

2,192 18.9%

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hillary wins PA

All the networks are calling it for Clinton. The question now is what the margin is.

Pennsylvania Exit Polls

Inspired by another local internet hooligan I wrote in Kayak Dude for state rep in the 121st district. Eddie Day Pashinski is unopposed in the primary and the general election which annoys me to no end and five of the six state reps up for reelection don't have an opponent in the fall. Put another feather in the cap of our Luzerne County GOP. I was going to do a few other write-ins but digressed.

In the Prez race it was an easy choice for me, Barrack Obama is the future and Hillary Clinton is the past. Yes we can.

In the only other contested race I could vote I picked John Cordisco for Treasurer because he is the only one of the candidates that I have met and a friend is part of his campaign team.

Turnout in my polling place was good. I was voter number 422 of about 1000 at 5PM.

Blogger is not letting me post pictures right now but you can see my ballot on Facebook.

Victory Party

If you want to celebrate with your candidate tonight here is where to find them.

Dan Meuser

Ramada Inn- Clarks Summit
820 Northern Blvd.
Clarks Summit , PA. 18411

The party will begin at 8 PM

Chris Hackett

Grotto's Pizza (Rte 415, Harveys Lake) 8PM-Midnight

Karen Boback

Harveys Lake American Legion located along RT 415 1/8 mile ahead of the entrance shortly after 9:00 PM.

James May

James May Election Headquarters 130 North Memorial Highway
Dallas, Pa 18612

Monday, April 21, 2008

117th State Rep

This should be the most interesting race of the night. Karen Boback has endured one after another assault from James May. She's on TV but he doesn't have the money to do it. He has a good ground game and may just pull an upset.

Update: There is an ad in today's Times-Leader written by someone named James May attacking James May. Kind of reminds me of the "Real Bob Casey" thing a few years ago. And according to this sign the good Doctor thinks she has already won.

118th State Rep

PJ Best has done well but he won't beat Mike Carroll. He hasn't even updated his website. Young Mr. Best will be heard from again

Gort42 on the radio

I was the last caller on Corbitt today. Tomorrow Sue Henry has extended a generous invitation to call in between 8:30-9PM on election night. I have a face made for radio.

I won't do that again.

Pennsylvania 10th CD prediction

I don't have one. In some ways it's too bad that this race has to end since it's has the subject of the most spirited debates this blog has ever had. Many thanks to kar, Scott, Barry, Sassy, PJ Lefty and all the anons that have shared their thoughts and advocated for their candidate. I'm sure I missed someone so remind me in the comments. So this is the last chance to sound off before the big day, tell me why your guy will win and by how much. The polling I've seen still shows a big undecided block. Will the Meuser campaign sandbagging of Hackett about abortion on the Friday before the election be the deciding factor? I find it interesting that a Meuser campaign operative emailed me the Capitol Wire story. Or will Hackett's message of changing the way Washington does business carry the day?

Who's going to win tomorrow?

I usually do some predictions the weekend before the election but after a busy couple of days I'm a bit behind. Just about all the polls and talking heads on TV tell us Hillary Clinton will beat Barrack Obama in PA with the question being by what margin. Both sides have gone just about totally negative particularly the robo calls from the Clinton campaign. I think Clinton has to win by at least 10% to keep going and that may not even be enough. And if Obama somehow pulls an upset, which I doubt, it's over.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Three years of blogging

I have been doing this for 3 years now, hard to believe. Since I put a sitemeter on in August 2005 it tells me that there has been over 250,000 page views with current traffic of about 400 to 500 visitors a day and 1600+ posts . Thank you for all who read my stuff and and a big Thank You for all who bother to comment. I always wanted this to be a place to discuss things.

A week ago the Blogfather did a survey of the local blogging scene after being asked to and threw out a bunch of police codes that the rest of us don't understand. Another Monkey decoded it and I think according to this exchange I'm supposed to be dead.

The Yonk weighed into this discussion with his usual understatement and picked up this tidbit from a show on WVIA:

Coulter Jones, the youngest of the group in experience recounted his coverage of the 10th Congressional race which sparked a discussion about money in politics. Jones also said that bloggers just ran press releases and most times essentially did not vet or break news stories.

I will be the first to admit that I'm not a newspaper reporter. I look at this blog thing as being a letter to the editor that actually gets published without being chopped to pieces or a newspaper column without an editor. And yes, many times I post a press release unfiltered because things are moving so fast it's hard to edit it.

But don't tell me we don't do some original reporting. I don't know how many times Mark gave a rundown about the W-B Fire or Police Departments that showed up in the papers a few days later without attribution. They will always tell you that they have their own sources which may be true but who pointed out those sources?

In September 2006 I got a hold of a Don Sherwood invitation to a fund raiser on 9/11 that went flying around the Internet and was mentioned in the local papers a few days later. Lately I've examined the campaign finance reports from various candidates and there has been nothing in the press. This item may come up in the fall: Bigus gave money to Boback but don't expect the MSM to give me any credit.

Mrs G added this from the Flintstones:

New look

Gort42 had a makeover this weekend. The new Blogger has made it easier to add some features such as polls and pictures without screwing around with HTML. So I added a poll on the sidebar and I invite you to cast a ballot. Depending on the response this may be the only time I do it.

Hillary or Obama?

Somehow I got mentioned at Taylor Marsh today because of the joke Tom Ryan thing. Welcome my fellow political junkies. All Politics is Local!

Tom Ryan, Undecided SuperDelegate

Saturday, April 19, 2008

YouTube weekend

jeff beck with the jan hammer group star cycle

Carney on the air

There is another guy running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 10th District that hasn't got much attention lately. He's been busy doing boring stuff like passing laws to expand veterans health care benefits provide tax cuts to for middle-class families and resisting cuts in Medicare. While Meuser and Hackett continue to tear each other apart his message is simple, go vote this Tuesday. He's going to be tough to beat.


Barack Obama in Scranton Sunday

On Track for Change Rally with Barack Obama with special guests Sen. Bob Casey and Caroline Kennedy

Riverfront Sports Complex5 West Olive Plaza Scranton, PA 18508

Sunday, April 20th Doors Open: 5:00 p.m. Program Begins: 7:00 p.m.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Latest 10th CD dustup

Capitolwire is reporting that four Northeastern Pennsylvania GOP businessmen that support Dan Meuser are saying that Chris Hackett told them that he was pro-choice in a private meeting last May.

HARRISBURG (April 18)...At the last minute, participants said, the meeting was shifted to the Wilkes-Barre office of oil and gas company honcho Jack Sordoni. Four attendees - Sordoni, manufacturing company owners Rusty and Hal Flack and Tom Medico of Medico Industries - agreed to discuss that meeting with Capitolwire...

Hal Flack said: "I heard Chris say he was pro-choice. That registered with me because I didn't agree with it morally and I think politically, you can't win in this district with that position."
Rusty Flack said: "Hackett said he was pro-choice and Jack indicated that could be a problem."
Sordoni said: "While I regret to be involved in he-said, she-said politics, I will answer the question because I am being asked, and because I believe it is pertinent to the 10th Congressional District primary election. Emphatically, Chris Hackett said that he was pro-choice. I was surprised and asked him to reiterate his position, and he said again, he was pro-choice."

Asked why these businessmen were all unanimous in remembering Hackett's words, Hackett's campaign spokesman, Mark Harris responded: "I don't know what to tell you. They're Dan Meuser supporters, it's four days before the election, and it's absolutely not true. Chris is pro-life."

I asked Hackett about this in our interview last September.

On the pro-life issue. Some say that you were pro-choice before? "No."

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

New twist in the 117th State Rep race

The race between incumbent Karen Boback and challenger James May has centered around teachers strikes. May has attacked her for taking at least $9200 from the PSEA implying she supports the right of teachers to go on strike. Boback has denied that pointing out she wrote legislation to prevent teacher strikes (HR562, 1/23/2008).

A few days ago the PSEA PAC sent out a voters guide type mailer to the district endorsing Boback. One of the reasons they endorsed her is circled. It says they endorse candidates that "Oppose legislation that would eliminate the right to strike by public school employees."

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This is a race I haven't paid much attention to.

PCN: All four Democratic candidates running for their party’s nomination for Pennsylvania State Treasurer will have their chance to speak before a statewide audience less than a week before the primary election. PCN will air this special forum LIVE beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 17 with a replay at 10 p.m. the same evening.

Candidates John Cordisco, Jennifer Mann, Rob McCord, and Dennis Morrison-Wesley are expected to attend the event held on the campus of Harrisburg Area Community College. The hour-long forum, which will be moderated by Brian Lockman, PCN President and CEO, will give the candidates the chance to share their qualifications and plans for the statewide office. The Honorable Robin Wiessmann currently holds the Office of State Treasurer.

Candidate websites:


A friend is working for Cordisco and sent me this video:

The Ledger for Pennsylvania Taxpayers

Billionaire Boys Club

CV: Dan Meuser has loaned his campaign committee more than $1.5 million in his bid for the Republican nomination, nearly twice the amount his opponent Chris Hackett has donated his own committee, according to Federal Election Committee reports.The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face incumbent Chris Carney, D-Dimock Township, who is unopposed in the primary. Meuser donated another $90,000 to his committee Tuesday for a total of $1,514,600 so far, FEC reports show. Hackett loaned his campaign committee $50,000 Wednesday, according to FEC reports, and has now given his committee $792,300 to date.

As I'm constantly reminded the government doesn't create jobs businesses do. Like every politician these guys promise to bring "good paying jobs" to the district. Imagine how many jobs could have been created if that $2.3 million had been used as seed money for small business start ups.

Hackett has stopped posting his ads on the website, much to my chagrin, but Meuser has posted all of his. Here is his latest positive ad :

Vote Dan Meuser On Tuesday April 22nd

President Clinton returns to Wilkes-Barre

The Beacon: Former President Bill Clinton will visit Wilkes University on Saturday, April 19 at 9:45 A.M. The presidential visit will take place at Arnaud C. Marts Center, and admission will be on a first come first serve basis. Clinton will be the second president to visit Wilkes in its 74-year history.... The first was Richard Nixon who spoke at Wilkes on September 9, 1972 regarding federal aid to Wilkes after the Agnes flood.

118th State Rep debate tonight

The League of Women Voters of Wilkes-Barre is hosting a public debate between state Rep. Mike Carroll and P.J. Best at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pittston Area High School auditorium, 5 Stout St., Yatesville

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meet the candidate

Tom Schatz, Chairman of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste PAC, will be joining Chris Hackett for a 12:00PM press conference on the steps of the Wyoming County Courthouse.

Thursday, April 17th

8:00AM – Pipher’s Diner (Rte 6, Wysox, Bradford County)
10:20AM – Door to Door starting at Vern’s Feed (E Main St, Laceyville, Wyoming County)12:00PM – Tom Schatz, Chairman, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste PAC Press Conference (Putnum St, Tunkhannock, Wyoming County )
2:00PM – Red Rose Diner Whistle Stop (526 Main St, Towanda, Bradford County)
4:00PM – Robert Packard Hospital (1 Guthrie Square, Sayre, Bradford County)
4:30PM – Howie’s Pizza and Subs & Sayre Walk Around (141 Keystone Ave, Sayre, Bradford County)
7:00PM – Meet and Greet (North Abington, Lackawanna County)

Event Details TBA on 4/18-4/21
General Areas:
Friday, April 18th – Snyder, Union, Montour, and Northumberland Counties
Saturday, April 19th – Wyoming and Susquehanna Counties
Sunday, April 20th – Wayne and Pike Counties
Monday, April 21st – Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties

Meuser camp responds

Yesterday the PA Democratic Party said companies owned by Chris Hacket and Dan Meuser failed to pay some taxes. In the interest of being fair and balanced I invited both campaigns to respond.

From Dan Meuser's spokesman:

“It’s no surprise that Chris Carney would try this on his favorite Holiday.The fact is Pride's leadership and employees pay millions of dollars every year in federal, state, and local taxes and pump tens of millions of dollars into the local economy through employment and purchasing. What working families are concerned about is Chris Carney's repeated votes to support raising their taxes, including voting for legislation that would cost the average Pennsylvania family more than $3,000 every year.” (HR212)

Carney Repeatedly Votes to Increase Taxes on Working Families and Small Business: Carney voted for the largest tax increase ever, supporting a devastating$683 billion tax increase, tens of billions of dollars in new wasteful Washington spending and rejecting any reform to solve our nation's entitlement crisis. (House Roll Call 141)

Carney voted in lock-step with his liberal Democrat leaders to kill a motion that would have permanently eliminated the onerous marriage penalty and extended the $1,000 child tax credit. (House Roll Call 83)

Voted to raid the wallets of the middle class, saddling taxpayers with a$400 billion tax hike -- the largest tax increase in American history. Voted to reinstate the marriage penalty, resurrect the death tax, and eliminate the child tax credit. (House Roll Call 212)

Carney showed a commitment to raising taxes immediately after being sworn-in: His first vote elected Pelosi Speaker and his second vote made it easier to impose massive tax hikes on the American people. (House Roll Call4)Also within the first 15 days of Democrat-control of Congress, he sided with his liberal leadership, voting for a $6.5 billion tax hike -- the first tax increase in 13 years. (House Roll Call 40)

As the Wall Street Journal put it: "This is a lengthy, complicated bill, but the central idea is simple:Raise taxes..." (1/16/07)

Carney lined up once again with the Democrat Leadership to make it easier to raise taxes on the American people. He voted against a motion which would have prevented the IRS from implementing or collecting any new tax increases that the Democrats try to pass. (House Roll Call 605)

Carney voted to impose another massive tax increase at the expense of America's hard-working farmers, threatening the jobs of more than 5 million American workers. (House Roll Call 746)

Carney voted to impose a hefty tax increase on tobacco, which will severely burden low-income families and tobacco farmers. (House Roll Call 787)

In yet another example of Carney's commitment to increase taxes on hard-working Americans, Carney voted to allow yet another tax increase on homeowners. (House Roll Call 947)

Carney refused to permanently repeal the onerous Death Tax, in effect voting for a $1.35 trillion tax hike. Carney vote seriously jeopardizes family-owned business and farms, and destroys any hope for hard-working families to pass their livelihood onto future generations. (House Roll Call959)

Carney voted for a down payment on the "Mother of All Tax Hikes" when he supported the Democrats' package for $72 billion in tax increases. (House Roll Call 1081)

Pennsylvania 10th CD debate

Well it wasn't Lincoln-Douglas or even Mondale-Dole for that matter. Neither candidate scored a knockout line but I think both gentlemen did well for rookies. Republicans Chris Hackett and Dan Meuser actually did show some differences about Social Security, Iraq and Government spending. They agreed that taxes are bad and the other guy should stop saying mean things about me.

Hackett got the first opening statement and said he hasn't spent a lot of time talking about his successful businesses but listening to people. Meuser used his time to talk about Pride Mobility. When asked about to pay for the Iraq war and how you cut taxes at the same time they both dodged the question. On the follow up by Boris, Hackett said that raising taxes decreases revenue to the federal government and advocated a flat tax. Meuser went off on Corporate tax rates.

They both agreed that the government spends too much money. Hackett had a good line saying that pork barrel spending is a "gateway drug" for members of Congress. When Bill Kelly pointed out that they have both spent obscene amounts of money Meuser asked "Did you have to say that in front of my wife?" On negative campaigning Hackett said that is the eye of the beholder and Meuser called Hackett a liar for accusing him of giving money to Hillary Clinton then smacked his opponent over the C3i thing.

On the best Prez and worst one Meuser said he admired Teddy Roosevelt although he was a progressive and even a , gulp , liberal. He didn't like Jimmy Carter. He also likes Saint Ronny. Hackett also cited Reagan as his favorite then said that Clinton was his least favorite.

The whole thing is on WVIA's website.

Update: Right Winger has a first person account

The CV has some choice quotes

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tweety for Senate

Last night on the the Colbert Report Chris Matthews was asked about the rumor that he will run against Arlen Specter for the Pennsylvania Senate seat up in 2010. His response:

"Some kids wanted to be a fireman. I wanted to be a Senator."

PHILADELPHIA - Hillary Clinton is hoping the “Colbert bump” will help propel her to victory in Pennsylvania.

The Democratic presidential candidate will make her first appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” on Thursday. Both Clinton and Colbert have come to Pennsylvania ahead of the state’s hard-fought Democratic primary on April 22.

Clinton rival Barack Obama also is in Pennsylvania, but has thus far declined Colbert’s invitation. Obama’s wife, Michelle, will appear on the show Tuesday.

Did you pay your taxes today?

According to PA Democratic Party some people haven't paid all of theirs.

Hackett AND Meuser HAVE Unpaid Taxes

After spending over $1.1 million on campaign advertisements, Hackett and Meuser's have unpaid tax liens

HARRISBURG : Republican Congressional hopefuls Chris Hackett and Dan Mueser claiming to be fiscal conservatives and cut taxes, each have outstanding taxes owed to the taxpayers, according to public records.

Meuser's company, Pride Mobiliy, owes $1,409 in tax liens, while Hackett's company OneSource staffing (formerly Workforce Solutions) owes $16,915 in tax liens in Luzerne County .

"It is outrageous that these two are dumping their personal fortunes into their own campaigns, while refusing to pay their company taxes," said T.J. Rooney, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. "It is downright hypocritical to argue for fewer taxes while dodging your own tax bill.

Hackett, President of OneSource staffing, also swears in an enclosed affidavit to be the President of Workforce Solutions. According to documents at the Luzerne County Prothonotary in Wilkes-Barre , two tax liens appeared for Workforce Solutions, one from the federal government totaling $7,946.40 and one from the state for $16,915.

Dan Meuser, President of Pride Mobility, has unpaid tax liens throughout the country totaling $1,409. Attached is the document retrieved via a Lexis-Nexis Search documenting the Pride Mobility Liens in Louisiana and Ohio . The tax liens can be retrieved with a Lexis-Nexis search, entering "Pride Mobility" and "Tax Liens" into the search engine entitled "Combined Judgment and Liens.

"The Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice reported that both Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett have spent over $1.1 million of primarily their own money on campaign advertisements since January 2008 (Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice, 4/12).

"The people of Pennsylvania deserve a responsible taxpayer, not someone who skips on paying his taxes to run expensive advertisements promoting his campaign. Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett are hypocrites, they should not be passing the buck to the taxpayers," Rooney said.

Petrilla: Fire Guesto

I never thought I would see this. Good for Petrilla.

WILKES-BARRE — “In my opinion, he was unauthorized to change policy and was reckless,” Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla said. “His actions violated state law and cost taxpayers money. He has damaged the credibility of Luzerne County government. I have asked President Judge Mark Ciavarella to terminate him immediately. … Sam Guesto should be terminated for many reasons, mainly he overstepped his boundaries.”...Ciavarella said he wouldn’t fire Guesto unless some legal authority concluded Guesto violated the law. District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll has asked an outside agency to investigate.

So what Secret Police organization is investigating? If any. The county did it's own investigation of the prison purchasing practices and it alleges that Guesto instructed the prison kitchen manager to ignore bidding rules.

TL: Former Luzerne County chief clerk/manager Sam Guesto told county prison officials not to bid out items that were previously bid, telling the kitchen manager during a March 2006 meeting, “…do it or it’s your ass,” according to an internal report on illegal prison piecemealing released Monday. Guesto also directed that no-bid purchases be made from Commonwealth Foods Inc., kitchen manager Jack Rentko said in the report.

Guesto also directed the company designing the new prison to plan a bigger facility without getting the Commissioners to authorize the increased cost.

My opinion is that he should have been fired after the debit card scandal broke. We all await the results of the Secret Service investigation into that violation of the public trust.

Pennsylvania 10th CD debate tonight

Live on WVIA-44 at 8PM.
We'll bring you the WVIA Times Shamrock Tenth Congressional District Republican Primary Debate from our Theater Studio. Candidates Chris Hackett andDan Meuser meet in their last debate, one week before Election Day. Taking questions from a distinguished panel and comments from our live studio audience and via our online community. This is a big race with national implications and it's heating up.
From a voters guide

Alan Keyes in Hazleton today

Former and soon to be Presidential candidate Alan Keyes will be making an announcement at Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton, PA at 8:30Pm. Keyes said he will reveal his reasons for departing the GOP and pursuing the Constitution Party nomination for President. The event will be video-streamed live at Keyes' website,

Congratulations to Mayor Lou Barletta for his success in attracting a Presidential candidate to Hazleton to address the illegal immigration issue. John McCain had previously declined his invitation, Barrack Obama is still busy trying to get a bitter taste out of his mouth and a 3AM phone call to Hillary Clinton went unanswered. Aides said she didn't hear it ringing because she was sleeping off the effects of a few shots and beers.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More than a million bucks

This blows my socks off.

Meuser, Hackett spend over $1.1 M on TV ads

Both of these candidates claim to know how to create "good paying jobs" which always reminds me of what my Republican friends always tell me, the Government doesn't create jobs.

117th State Rep debate not set

I think this mailer (above) is pretty funny. It was the first of 3 0r 4 from Karen Boback that says her opponent is running a dirty campaign. Unless I missed something I haven't seen or heard a personal attack by James May on his opponent, he has been slamming her on issues but has never questioned her integrity. Her ads in the papers have been positive touting her endorsements from Lisa Baker, Charlie Lemmond and a bunch of Republican groups but the direct mail has not been so positive. I understand why she is worried after winning the 2006 primary by 108 votes taking only 25% in a crowded race.

The CV and the TL have rundowns of the race today.

Some choice quotes:

“There are times when you see her standing with the most liberal Republicans siding with the Democrats,” May said.

“I am proud of every one of my votes,” Boback said. “I vote my constituency. I vote my district. Health care is not a partisan issue.”

“I am a less-government, less-tax, less-spending conservative,” May said. “Rep. Boback is on the side of big government, big spending with (Gov.) Ed Rendell and Hillary Clinton.”

The goal is to find real solutions to teachers strikes and the negotiating process,” she said. “Having been a teacher, I know children need regular schedules to be able to learn.”Boback said her legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania School Board Association.“It’s a common-sense solution to a problem that affects us all. It would be fair and equitable to everyone involved,” she said.

“I think it’s important to always point out there already a lot of professions that are not allowed to go on strike … doctors, firefighters, police officers, paramedics,” May said.

The only time you go negative in an election is when you think you are behind or you are just plain stupid. In the 2006 10th CD Republican primary Don Sherwood sent out a mailer attacking Kathy Scott by name when most people didn't even know he had an opponent. That was stupid.

Karen Boback is well educated person who is very sharp so she must be worried. She has refused to debate her opponent so far citing her tight schedule. May has said he will meet her anytime, anywhere.
Below we see Boback debating dairy issues with some constituents.

118th State Rep debate set

The League of Women Voters of Wilkes-Barre is hosting a public debate between state Rep. Mike Carroll and P.J. Best at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pittston Area High School auditorium, 5 Stout St., Yatesville
The TL has a write-up about the race today. Both Democrats want to provide property tax relief and improve the state’s health insurance program. But I have ask why there hasn't been any tax relief yet but slots money is being used for a Hockey Arena and other such pork like giving money back to the Mohegan Sun to pave a parking lot. Carroll voted to put tolls on I-80 saying there is no other way to raise funds for the much-needed repairs on Pennsylvania roadways. “In the end there is no easy way to fix this. In the end doing nothing is not an option.” Best opposes tolls on I-80 contending it is a job killer. “It’s a tax on the people. It’s not only a toll on the people that drive 80, it’s a tax in disguise.”
No word yet if either candidate will mount a write in effort for the Republican nomination since our local GOP dropped the ball again and have not fielded a candidate.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

YouTube weekend

We went to a show at the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre tonight. I bought the tix at the Kirby box office instead of TicketMaster saving hundreds of dollars. I love the place because there is not a bad seat (capacity:1800) in the house. We sat on the first floor just below the balcony about halfway from the stage.

The act was One Night of Queen and it was a great concert.

But there is nothing like the real thing:

Queen - Under Pressure (Live At Wembley Stadium 1986)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pennsylvania 10th CD air war

Chris Hackett fired the first salvo with a TV ad attacking Dan Meuser for donating to Democrats. I would post it but he ad is not on YouTube yet despite my urging.

Which brought this response.

Chris Hackett's Hypocrisy

Now Meuser is attacking Hackett about his donations to Luzerne County Commissioners Skrepnak and Vonderheid then receiving a contract from the county. Meuser also donated to the Bond Brothers.

Dan Meuser Want You to Know the Facts

A press release from the Hackett camp addresses the first ad.

Dallas, PA - Yesterday, Dan Meuser began running an ad that clearly is meant to deceive the voters about his past support for Hillary Clinton. Facing increasingly long odds after pouring in $1.1 million dollars of his own money, Meuser’s campaign has decided to quit even pretending to tell the truth.

Claim: “Chris Hackett is simply not telling the truth about Dan Meuser, Dan never gave a dime to Hillary Clinton.”

Truth: The Chris Hackett campaign ad says, “Meuser even had his company give money to Hillary Clinton.” Pride Mobility PAC gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton on 12/2/2005. (Source attached from Federal Elections Commission)

“Dan Meuser’s denial of donating to Hillary Clinton after his company’s PAC donated $1,000 to her campaign is a true Clintonian move,” said campaign spokesman Mark Harris, “Dan’s campaign is growing increasingly desperate as voters reject his liberal positions on earmarks and spending. After claiming to have been so involved in Pride’s government relations work and making it a centerpiece of the campaign, now he takes no responsibility for the donations made by his company’s PAC. It is unfortunate that Dan won’t explain why he has repeatedly supported liberal Democrats with thousands of dollars.”

Claim: “Hackett took a $700,000 earmarked contract from a Luzerne County Democrat”

Truth: Chris Hackett’s company, OneSource, competitively bid on a county contract and was awarded the contract. There was no earmark.

“Several staffing agencies were faxed proposals and OneSource Staffing Solutions submitted the most cost advantageous bid for the county, said Chief Clerk Sam Guesto.” – Citizens Voice (1/12/2006)

In fact, it’s clear the Meuser campaign either doesn’t know what an earmark is or are willfully deceiving the voters yet again. According to the Government Accountability Office an earmark is “used to characterize directions included in congressional committee reports but not in the legislation itself.” As noted by Thomas Schatz of Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, a leading national anti-earmarking, “First, a contract award is not by definition an earmark, and second, since several staffing companies were given the opportunity to bid for a contract and OneSource Staffing Solutions won the bid, it cannot be considered a “no-bid” contract.”

“Again, the Meuser campaign is purposefully and willfully lying to voters to cover up Dan’s history of support for liberal politicians and policies. Dan says he didn’t donate to Hillary, but his company did. Dan says Chris received an earmark, but Chris did not. There is a continuing pattern of desperation as the Meuser campaign tries to cover up his donations to Ed Rendell and Hillary Clinton and his liberal position on federal spending,” said campaign spokesman Mark Harris.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit part deux

Only in Luzerne County can someone steal over $100,000 from the taxpayers and be sentenced to house arrest.

Deeds office thief given home arrest

Carl Salitis, a former employee in the Recorder of Deeds office, was sentenced Thursday to nine to 18 months of house arrest plus five years probation for stealing more than $100,000 from the office.

Judge Mark Ciavarella also waived the electronic ankle bracelet and supervision fees so he can use the money he would have to pay for that to put towards restitution. He gave a similar sentence to another thief, Robert Pritchard, in the Recorder of Deeds office.

With over $300,000 missing from the office it's no wonder that he was able to organize such affordable trips to ball games.

If me or you got caught stuffing over a hundred grand of the company's money into our pockets I'm sure we wouldn't be sentenced to watching TV on our couch.

In other news; last month five people were jailed for failure to pay child support.

Write over

Political sign covers county tourism billboard

A downtown Pittston billboard that was supposed to contain a publicly funded message about Luzerne County tourism has been covered with a political campaign banner. State Rep. Michael Carroll, D-Avoca, said his banner went up a few days after Easter, which was on March 23. He said his campaign purchased the ad and he had no idea the billboard was already being rented by the county.

It sounds like the company was selling the same space twice and hoping nobody would notice after getting a no bid contract to do the billboards. And a good question was raised by Steve Urban who asks what is the value of buying generic tourism ads within the county?

The mystery of the location of the bench ads at bus stops has been solved by TL reporter Jennifer Learn-Andes; the benches are on Broad Street in Hazleton, the Pittston Bypass, Main Street in Duryea and River Street in Plains Township.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Karen Boback calls James May a liar

The Pennsylvania 117th State House Republican primary has heated up. A few weeks ago freshman incumbent Karen Boback had a $200 a pop fund raiser at a supporter's house and challenger James May countered with a $2 a plate dinner of hot dogs and burgers for his backers. I don't know where he got the the idea but I thought it was a brilliant contrast. They even had somebody in a duck outfit that attended both events to call attention to Boback's refusal to debate him.

On the front page of her website Boback rips into her opponent.

James May is running a campaign of lies! Enough is enough!

May's Lies: May says Representative Karen Boback inserted controversial words into House Bill 302. May is lying.

The FACTS: Representative Karen Boback voted on the floor of the House of Representatives to REMOVE the words "sexual orientation" from this legislation. (HB302, 6/11/2007)

May's Lies: May says Representative Karen Boback is for teacher strikes. May is lying.

The FACTS: Representative Karen Boback wrote legislation to prevent teacher strikes. Today her legislation is supported by the PA School Board Association. (HR562, 1/23/2008)

May's Lies: May says Representative Karen Boback voted against open records.May is lying.

The FACTS: Representative Karen Boback proudly voted for Pennsylvania's new Open Records Law - just like she promised. (SB1, 2/11/2008)

More charges are here.

The May campaign responds with this Press Release:

Is Karen Boback Acting Like Hillary Clinton By Misspeaking to Voters or Does She Not Understand the Legislative Process?

May Calls on Incumbent To Be Honest With Voters on Teacher Strike Issue

Today James May, Republican candidate for State Representative, criticized State Representative Karen Boback for trying to mislead voters regarding her so-called opposition to teacher strikes. May called upon the incumbent to tell voters the truth.

In both an electronic call to voters today and a newspaper ad, Boback claims to be for a “resolution” for ending teachers strikes. There are several major problems with her statement. First, a resolution is not a bill. It cannot become law nor change our laws. It is worthless document with no teeth. Second, the resolution she supports is a mere study for considering to end teacher strikes. It does not call for an end to the strike!

“Either the incumbent does not understand the basic difference between a resolution and a bill or she is trying to mislead voters,” stated May. “If she does not understand the legislative process may be she should go back to the classroom to learn. On the other hand if she is attempting to mislead voters, which I suspect, shame on her.”

May strongly believes that Boback is trying to mislead voters in the same style of Hillary Clinton. Boback has refused to debate May, but has been available for fundraising in the district.

“She has time to hold high-dollar fundraisers in the district, but no time to debate. I think we can do better than a person who hides behind misleading advertising and refuses to defend her liberal record. Clearly she is in the back pocket of the teachers union and the facts are not on her side,” said May.

May has pledged to work to pass legislation, not a phony resolution, to end teacher strikes. “As a father, I don’t want my children’s education jeopardized by a union,” added May.

Meet the candidate

Friends of Karen Boback announce that the first April work session for all volunteers will be held at Campaign Headquarters on Thursday, April 10 at 7:00 PM. Supporters are invited to attend. Campaign volunteer work schedules will be confirmed as well as distribution of campaign related materials. Light refreshments. Friends of Karen Boback headquarters is located at 217 Memorial Hwy, Route 309, Dallas, 1/8 mile south of Dallas Shopping Center on the same side of the highway.

MEET AND GREET with James May Conservative Candidate for the 117 District

When: Thursday April 10th

Where: Grotto Harvey's Lake

Time: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Food and Drinks will be provided by the Friends of James May

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Barletta on the issues

From the DCCC:

Bush-Republican Lou Barletta: Unprepared and Clueless about Cost of Iraq War

Republican Lou Barletta is running for Congress and doesn't even know the cost of the war in Iraq .

"At a time when General David Patraeus is on Capitol Hill and Congress is re-evaluating the toll of the Iraq War in terms of American lives lost and its huge drain on the federal budget, Lou Barletta is totally ignorant about how much the war costs,” said Carrie James of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

When asked on a recent Northeast Pennsylvania radio talk show (Sue Henry Show, WILK, 3/17/08) what the Iraq war was costing hardworking Americans, Barletta stammered and twisted and couldn't give an answer. The caller who asked the question actually had to provide the details.

"This only proves the point that Barletta is a one-trick pony candidate that grandstands and nothing more. The working people of Northeast Pennsylvania can't afford someone like Barletta who's embarrassingly unprepared when it comes to Iraq and the major issues."

This war has cost 4,000 brave Americans their lives, nearly 30,00 have been injured, it has pushed our military to a breaking point, and diverted tax dollars that should be used to help working people and seniors fight skyrocketing gasoline, grocery, utility, and healthcare costs. All this and Lou Barletta is clueless about a war that some independent analysts state could cost more than $1 TRILLION."

“ Barletta should know better than to plead ignorance about a war that Americans are fighting and that's busting the federal budget at a time when a bad economy is hurting working people as never before. Barletta should do his homework and learn about one of the most important issues facing Congress. Anything less dishonors the brave men and women serving in Iraq ,” said James.


The Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion to date. [ New York Times, 3/19/08]

Independent analyses conducted by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz indicate that the cost of the Iraq war could exceed $1 TRILLION. [ Washington Post, 3/9/08]

Since the start of the war in Iraq , 4,011 American military men and women have been killed. [Department of Defense, 4/3/08]

An estimated 29,395 service members have been wounded in Iraq and, as of March 1, more than 31,300 have been treated for non-combat injuries and illness. [Department of Defense, 3/18/08;
AP, 3/8/08]

Nearly 1.7 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001 – more than 592,000 have been deployed more than once. [Department of Defense, 1/31/08]

No Bid

I'm beginning to wonder if any Luzerne County business has been bid out in the last few years.

The TL is reporting that the county Convention and Visitors Bureau violated a State law that requires bidding for purchases that exceed $10,000. The agency spent over $200,000 for advertisements with a company owned by a friend of county Commissioner Greg Skrepenak and former county chief clerk/manager Sam Guesto. They rented billboards and benches but the location of these benches remains a mystery. You can't locate a bench at a bus stop?

This follows the revelation that millions of dollars of business at the county prison was directed to other friends of Skrep without being bid. DA Jackie Musto Carroll has asked an outside law enforcement agency to investigate the prison shenanigans but won't say which one. Since it appears that a state law was violated I assume it's the PA Attorney General. What I don't understand is why she won't reveal what agency is investigating. It shouldn't be a state secret. Unlike other officials she doesn't have an email address on the Luzerne County website so I will have to wait until tomorrow to call her office to get a no comment.

From the CV: Some no-bid purchases involve friends of county Commissioner Greg Skrepenak, former County Manager Sam Guesto, county Purchasing Director Greg Hunsinger and prison kitchen supervisor Jack Rentko.

A report from the County Solicitor Jim Blaum is due today.

Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Stephen A. Urban say the failure to bid went against past practice and was not a mistake. Skrepenak maintains it was an unintentional oversight.

More Luzerne County news:

County billed twice for work at prison, Petrilla confirms

And the appointment of a new Controller is caught up in Harrisburg politics.

Filler’ named for controller post

What a mess.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Club for Growth PAC raps Meuser

Washington - Today, the Club for Growth PAC is releasing a $90,000 ad buy on broadcast television in Pennsylvania's Tenth Congressional District.
Entitled, "Another Politician," the ad seeks to educate voters about the key differences between the two Republican candidates in the race, Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett.

Dan Meuser: Another Politician

No laws were broken

Republican congressional candidate Chris Hackett did not break the law by failing to notify federal authorities that his housekeeper was in the country illegally, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency spokesman.
I think all this chest thumping over immigration is counterproductive. The easy thing to do is to parrot the build a fence and "illegal is illegal" talking points but none of the candidates have offered a real solution. None of them will say it but the implication is that they want to kick millions of people out of the country which will have a devastating effect on our economy. Maybe an issue like this can't be discussed in a rational way during a political campaign and I think that all the candidates in the 10th and 11th Congressional Districts, both Democrats and Republicans, have demagogued this issue-some more than others.