Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Voorspoedige nuwe jaar

Kul 'am wa antum bikhair

Urte Berri on

Shuvo noboborsho

Sun nien fai lok

Stastny Novy Rok

Godt NytÅr

Gelukkig nieuwjaar

Bonan Novjaron

Onnellista uutta vuotta

Bonne année

Ein glückliches neues Jahr

Eutychismenos o kainourgios chronos

Hauoli Makahiki hou

Shana Tova

Boldog uj evet

Felice Anno Nuovo or Buon anno

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu

Sehe Bokmanee Bateuseyo

Nyob Zoo Xyoo Tshiab

Godt Nytt År

Manigong Bagong Taon

Szczesliwego Nowego Roku

La Multi Ani si Un An Nou Fericit

Ia manuia le Tausaga Fou

Feliz año nuevo

Heri za Mwaka Mpya

Gott Nytt År

Sawatdee Pi Mai

Chuc mung nam moi

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Home Rule petitions

In 2003 the Luzerne County Home Rule charter was defeated 54%-46% with the help of both political parties. Democratic Commissioner candidates Greg Skrepnak and Todd Vonderheid argued the structure of the county government wasn't the problem but the people in charge had let us down. Trust us they said, we are a breath of fresh air. Well, we all know how that has turned out. Fictitious county budgets full of lies about imaginary revenues. Sweetheart deals to the well connected. State and Federal investigations into the business practices of the county and the people charged with keeping the public trust. Debit Cards used at strip clubs, no-bid contracts, falsifying tax liens, a fantasy airport, cronies hired for important jobs and when their incompetence was exposed they were shuffled off to other less visible county jobs. The list is almost endless. And bonds, bonds and more bonds just to meet payroll and keep the county operating.

We have a chance to fix this reign of incompetence.

Luzerne Home Rule

Luzerne Home Rule is proud to announce that it is now time to start circulating petitions to place Home Rule on the ballot in May. Click here to download yours today!

4,790 valid signatures are needed to get it on the May primary ballot that would elect another study commission that would draft a new home rule charter. If they use the 2003 Charter proposal with some tinkering it could be on the ballot in November.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

YouTube weekend

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party.

Such bullshit. I don't know how many times I bought a CD or DVD after getting a preview on YouTube. The record indusrty /Hollywood companies have it wrong.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

YouTube weekend

Dana is horrified that Barry ordered a spam musubi for lunch the other day. I have a rule for new food. I'll try anything once, twice if I like it and 3 times if I can't decide but this even gives me pause...spam musubi, a local luncheon specialty, consists of spam and a fried egg on a bed of rice, all held together with a dried seaweed wrap. It sounds disgusting but the next time I'm in Hawaii I will try one. Dana has included a video of how to make the thing but I'm surprised he didn't include this classic. I don't like spam.

Monty Python - Spam

YouTube weekend

The shoplifting dog in Utah is all the rage.

Dog Shoplifts [Caught on Camera]

Some of our canine friends are too worn out from the holidays to engage in a crime spree.

New pics at Facebook.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas

miilaad majiid

Vasel Koleda

gojan Kristnaskon

hyvää joulua

fröhliche Weihnachten

felix dies Nativitatis

eydet mobârak

feliz Navidad

Chuc Mung Giang Sinh

joyeux Noël

Pretenders 2000 Miles

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Skrep is outraged

“They are trying to hide stuff from me” -Luzerne County Democratic Commissioner Greg Skrepnak

Skrep objects to Philly law firm

Skrepenak said he received no contact whatsoever about this hiring in advance. Commissioners should have followed county policy by declaring a state of emergency to avoid the public request-for-proposals search process, he said. He also questioned why no executive session was called to brief all three commissioners on the hiring plan.
He believes the failure to notify him violates the state County Code.

Commissioner Chair Maryanne Petrilla's response was to suggest that he show up for work once in a while if he wants to be part of the decision making.

This pissing contest between the Commissioners and President Judge Mark Ciavarella is going to end up costing Luzerne County a pretty penny if the State Supreme Court doesn't take original jurisdiction. Zen left a comment on an earlier post advocating the throw away the key approach and Mark points out that our demand that every criminal be prosecuted to "full extent of the law" is expensive and maybe the Judge has a pretty good case.

So the Commissioners are being sued by top Judge in the county and the case will be heard by a bunch of other Judges. Who do you think will win?

Job cuts are scheduled in all offices of the Luzerne County Government except the Judiciary at this time.

County approves 27 job cuts to begin Jan. 1

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Season Greetings

via Blondesense

Update: From Judi

Idiot watch

The girl that spraypainted swastikas and other hateful stuff on a Wilkes-Barre synagogue has been sentenced to jail.

WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. on Monday sentenced 19-year-old Nora Rynkiewicz to nine to 18 months in county prison followed by three years of probation.

The shrinks offered the usual psychobabble explaining her behavior which may be valid because I have a hard time understanding how such a young girl could be so full of hate. I think the sentence is excessive for an act of vandalism. She should probably spend a short time in jail and make restitution and be on probation as ordered by the Judge. He could have have been creative by putting her in a community service requirement such as working at the Jewish Community Center as a condition of probation.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meet Quincy

Between snow shoveling and puppy training I haven't had much time for blogging this weekend. Sometimes you have to say screw politics because what is going on in your life is more important. This little guy is learning faster than any dog I've ever had. He already knows his name, fetch, sit and is getting an idea of what NO means. I'll explain the name later.
You are all suckers for Puppy pics so go see some more at my Facebook page.

Friday, December 19, 2008

YouTube weekend

The first round of shovelling and snow blowing all day and the weather doomsayers that all I accomplished was to make room for the next snowfall on Sunday. The way to have some fun after the storm is to fire up the grill and cook some T-Bones from our favorite butcher shop, Plains Meat. Then settle into my recliner and kick off my boots subjecting Mrs. G to a bad case of

Luzerne County Judge sues himself

The Luzerne County budget battle has taken a weird turn.

CV: Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. escalated his fight against county commissioners, filing a lawsuit Wednesday to block judicial branch layoffs outlined in the 2009 county budget....Ciavarella named himself as a defendant for his role as a member of the Luzerne County Salary Board, and as the plaintiff, as president judge.

Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly is also threatening to sue over staff reductions.

For the longest time the county payroll has been looked at as some sort of jobs program for the relatives and friends of the well connected and now the gravy train has come to end of the line. Luzerne County has been so mismanaged that they can't even get a normal tax anticipation loan so the axe has to fall somewhere.

I have to give credit to Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Steve Urban for trying to clean up the mess that they have inherited although I think that they are partially responsible for it. The past budgets proposed by Greg Skrepnak, Todd Vonderheid, Tom Makowski, Tom Pizano, Rose Tucker, Frank Crossin, and an almost endless list of past commissioners, were works of fiction.

Apologies to McGruff for stealing his headline and the Yonk suggests some possible solutions to the impasse.

Deep Throat is deep sixed

The hero of Watergate has passed away.
He secretly guided Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward as he and his colleague Carl Bernstein pursued the story of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office building, and subsequent revelations of the Nixon administration's campaign of spying and sabotage against its perceived political enemies.
Watergate happened just as I was just old enough to understand that the government could do bad things. I think that the crimes of the past 8 years make Watergate look pale by comparison. There have been plenty of whistleblowers that have revealed the crimes of the Bush Administration but the press and Congress have ignored them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


We have a differnt look on the sidebar because Blogrolling has had brain damage for months so I went to the Google alternative that I think will be an improvement. I deleted some sites that haven't updated in a while, which is normal after an election, and added a few.

I have spent all of my Blogging Energy Units for today.

Don't use Internet Explorer until after 1PM

I prefer IE7 but I'm glad I also use Firefox to surf the web.

Cnet News

Microsoft issued a critical security warning Tuesday that a malicious exploit is making the rounds and attacking vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 7.

The risk is believed to be widespread, given that IE 7 is the latest version of Microsoft's browser and is bundled with XP service pack 3 and also Vista, said Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications for McAfee's Avert Labs.

The AZN Trojan, which has been making the rounds since the first week of December, has the potential of infecting users' system with a Trojan horse, or "downloaders" that can download other forms of malware onto a user's system.

Microsoft announced it will release a security patch Wednesday via its automatic update system to patch users computers.

The patch will be available after 1PM. You can still probably use IE7 as long as you don't do anything stupid like click on a link in a spam email. But I'm not taking the chance.

Things are tough all over

The news is full of local and state governments trying to make ends meet. Luzerne County is raising taxes, borrowing yet more money and laying off workers to deal with years of mismanagement and the economic downturn. Mayor Tom Leighton has proposed a budget for Wilkes-Barre that increases fees and jacks up every tax that can be raised. And my little burgh of Plains Township will be increasing the property tax despite all the millions that Mohegan Sun Casino has pumped into our coffers. I have some questions about that and it will be the subject of a future post.

Mayor Lou Barletta is taking an axe to the City of Hazleton's budget trying to avoid a tax increase. He is about $900,000 short of balancing the city's $9 million budget and is proposing to close the gap by canceling a 3% pay raise for employees and requiring them to contribute toward their health care plan. He is also proposing going after people who have not paid the garbage fee and businesses that have not paid the mercantile tax.

With all these hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown around by the Feds to bail out banks, Wall Street investment firms and Auto companies a few dollars to help out our local governments is not an unreasonable request.

Note: I had a chat with Mayor Lou yesterday and he agreed to an interview in the first week of the new year. Send me your questions for his Honor in the comments or email. I'll put up a reminder before we meet. Please keep it clean people.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here come da Judge

Luzerne County will be electing at at least one new Judge of the Court of Common Pleas next year and a bunch of lawyers are lining up for a run. The one sure spot that will be contested is Senior Judge (past President Judge) Michael Conahan's seat and it looks likely that Ann Lokuta will be replaced depending what happens with her appeal. Depending on the outcome of the myriad of investigations going on we may have to pick one or two more jurists. That may be 4 seats all together. has been keeping the scorecard of who might be running. Some of the names he has tossed out are:

Joe Terrana, Tom O’Connor, Jackie Carroll Musto, Lisa Gelb, Fred Pierantoni, CJ Bufalino, Mark Bufalino, Rose Randazzo, Eugene Sperazza, Joe Cosgrove, Ray Hassey and Mike Vough.

And these are only Pittston area attorneys! I'm sure there are Barristers from Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and the Back Mountain that are considering a run.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What the hell is a Prothonotary?

One of my most popular posts is What the hell is a Prothonotary?

Incumbent Luzerne County Prothonotary Jill Moran should not seek reelection. I have an archive of her missteps and will repeat them if she decides to run again.

I've heard a few names that are willing to take on the challenge. We really need Home Rule.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Economic Human Rights Speaker Series

NEPA Organizing Center to Host Presentation on the Economic Crisis

The Center will be hosting Chris Caruso, PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, on Wednesday, December 17th at 6:00 p.m. as part of our Economic Human Rights Speaker Series.

Mr. Caruso will be clearly outlining the roots and manifestations of the present housing market collapse and economic crisis, and we invite the public to attend this presentation and discussion.
Any local residents, organizations, or community leaders interested in participating are encouraged to join us on Dec. 17th or to contact us at

YouTube weekend

McGruff has joined in on this YouTube Weekend thing with Robin Williams On Obama's Election

President-elect Barack Obama's struggles with the evil tobacco weed is in the news again.

I know what Barry is going through because it's easy to quit smoking, I've done it about 6 times. For all the gimmicks and crutches out there that will make your wallet lighter the only way to do it is.....

Cold turkey..........John Lennon

In other news

Supreme Court Overturns Bush v. Gore

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Pennsylvania Society meets in New York

"I don't know anyone who's been bought at Pennsylvania Society, Rented maybe -- but not bought." - Montgomery County Republican Ken Davis

Again I haven't been invited to any of the swanky parties this weekend. It must have been an oversight because I was ready to cash in my aluminum cans at Bilecki's Junk Yard to finance the trip.

The big news is that Tweety won't be attending according to Politico: Chris Matthews no longer plans to attend a ritzy Saturday night dinner hosted by the Pennsylvania Society, as Politico reported earlier. Matthews informed the event organizer that he and his wife could no longer attend, according to the organizer's assistant.

There will be plenty of other office seekers making the rounds. The list of potential Governor's includes Tom Corbett, Pat Meehan, Don Cunningham, Tom Wolf, Tom Knox, Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner and Jim Gerlach who will all be pressing the flesh at various soirees. And Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey plan to attend. I've asked some of our local office holders if they plan to take part and will update when they get back to me.

The last few years Gene Stilp has sponsored a pot luck dinner at the capitol in Harrisburg at the same time but I'm not sure if he is doing it this year. There has been grumbling about the fact that this event has been held out of state forever and many people think it should be held in the Commonwealth but as Governor Rendell said "People say if you had it in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh no one would come." That would break my heart.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Luzerne County Controller

Acting Controller A.J. Martinelli has put 21st Century Appraisals on notice that the reassessment gravy train has limits.

TL: “Therefore, I am placing you on notice that as a supervisor of the fiscal affairs of the county, I will not pay any bills for any unauthorized and unwanted services that you force upon the county, for the reasons stated in this letter.”

Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla was the the previous Controller replacing Steve Flood who asked a lot of of uncomfortable questions about the PA Child Care lease and other things. There is no way to tell but I think the debit card scandal and the no bid contracts at the prison would have come to light earlier if Flood had a 2nd term.

Governor Rendell was supposed to appoint a new Controller with the consent of the State Senate but he punted. A couple of people applied for the job but they were ignored. Former Wyoming Valley West School District superintendent Augie Piazza wanted the post but I haven't heard if he is running next year. PittstonPolitics reports that former Pittston Area School Director Tony Rostock has been shaking the bushes and a potential rival let everybody know that he got a $30,000 no bid contract at LCCC. That potential rival is Wil Toole.

Wil Toole wanting to be a fiscal watchdog has to one of the funniest things I've ever heard. He charged thousands of hours of overtime to Pittston City and is now suing because he contends that the city should pay for his wife's health insurance indefinitely. He is good at lawsuits.

Piazza, Rostock and Toole are all Democrats.

I think we need a Controller from the other party. The Dems have been in charge for too long and have become arrogant and reckless although Petrilla and her new BFF Steve Urban is trying to right the ship.

The only Republican name that I have heard that is willing to take a stab at running for Controller is Bob Sypniewski. We have a draft Bob movement going on in the comments but he is reluctant to make the run so let's encourage him.

Update from the inbox:

Dear Gort,

I am also contemplating a run for the Luzerne County Controller Position...I am a republican that really cares about the lack of accountability of our elected officials and will work hard for the Taxpayers of Luzerne County...

Walter L Griffith JR
Luzerne County Taxpayer and Activist

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dan Meuser speaks

Unsuccessful Republican PA 10th CD candidate Dan Meuser was interviewed by Chris Freind of The Bulletin.

He said that the Republicans got blown out in the last 2 elections because "We did a terrible job telling the average voter what we were going to do for them and poorly articulated how our policies would affect people's everyday lives." He claims that PA voters are "center right" and reminds us that Nancy Pelosi is a liberal bogeyman. He repeats the Republican mantra that tax cuts are the best solution to every problem that we face and he likes Mitt Romney for President.

He does have a good idea for party building "We need to immediately start organizing our party and reaching out to perspective voters as they turn 18, invite College Republicans to our events and have strong local party leadership. We can work together with the County organizations and committee people to set and exceed voter registration goals."

Some of the comments at GrassrootsPA about this article are surprising. One poster even accuses Meuser of undermining Republican nominee Chris Hackett.

Ann Lokuta booted

Pending appeal

HARRISBURG - Luzerne County Judge Ann H. Lokuta will be removed from the bench, the state Court of Judicial Discipline ruled in a 6-1 decision today. Lokuta will not be allowed to hold any other court office.

I agree with the Yonk: This punishment does not fit the crime or perceived crimes... Lokuta is gone because all of her fellow Judges (two who have some worries ahead of them I've heard) complained about her behavior. The staff on the third floor was angry because the Judge, a working class daughter of coal miner parents didn't think anyone born on third base was entitled to say they hit a triple. So they got even. And they won.

Her cooperation with the investigation of the business dealings of then President Judge Michael Conahan may have played a roll in this. And it's no secret that they can't stand each other and Conahan was behind the charges being brought against her.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Take me out to the ballgame

Congressman Paul Kanjorski has been beaten up in the press the last couple of days because he went to a Washington Nationals game as the guest of a Freddie Mac executive. It doesn't look good but I really doubt that Kanjo can be bought off with a baseball ticket

And he is pissed.

WASHINGTON - Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) provided the statement below about the Associated Press article that recently appeared about Freddie Mac and Members of Congress.

"As early as 2000, I have consistently and vocally promoted a strong, independent, world-class regulator for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae with the resources needed to get the job done. Unfortunately, President Bush, with the support of some Republican Members of Congress, obstructed efforts to improve the regulation of these government-sponsored enterprises. In 2005, with my strong support, the House Financial Services Committee, on a bipartisan basis, passed a comprehensive reform bill. A short time later, the bill passed the House, but this legislation died in the Senate in part because of the lack of support in the White House. Mike Oxley (R-OH), the Republican Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee at the time blamed the White House for failing to pass the bill and causing the current crisis with Fannie and Freddie, stating ‘What did we get from the White House? We got a one-finger salute.' When the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, we made regulation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae a priority and passed a regulatory reform bill in May 2007, which the Senate passed and the President finally signed a year later. I only wish that the President had heeded warnings earlier about the need to act.

"Finally, there are strict rules prohibiting Members of Congress from receiving most gifts. I have never violated those rules. The ticket to attend the opening game of the Washington Nationals was valued at less than $50, which was the gift limit at that time. The Associated Press article misled its readers by refusing to include this information in the piece. Furthermore, it is ludicrous to suggest that my positions on policy could be influenced by any factors other than the merits of the policy."


Patrick Murphy for Senate

According to a story in Roll Call Bucks County Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-8) is looking at taking on Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) in 2010. His top aide said "he’s looking at it very strongly right now.”

Murphy is an Iraq war vet who easily won a 2nd term in Congress taking 57% of the vote in November. He is a proven fundraiser raking in almost $4 million this cycle and would probably need at least $20 million for a Senate bid. He has some local ties being a graduate of Kings College and his brother JJ Murphy is the Wilkes-Barre City Administrator. JJ is an Air Force Reserve officer who was recently called up to active duty and deployed to the Horn of Africa. Another local connection is that he once told me that he reads my blog.

The buzz about Chris Matthews running for the seat took a hit when Politico reported he has signed a long-term contract with MSNBC to keep hosting Hardball. Some other reports say he is house shopping in Philadelphia and the latest Rasmussen poll has him trailing by just three percentage points, 46% to 43%. Other polls have him way down. The crew over at PAWaterCooler have had a collective tingle going up their legs at the possibility and will be very disappointed if he doesn't make the race. We will see. The Rain Man pointed out something I didn't even think of. Imagine Tweety at a confirmation hearing grilling a nominee and telling the guy "you don't know what you're talking about." Pat Toomey came close to knocking off Specter in the 2004 Republican primary ( he may try again) and Tweety made mince meat of him on an appearance his show. What a great debate that would be!
If Matthews decides not to make the Senate primary a circus another serious candidate is Allyson Schwartz.

We're expecting

Not having a dog has left a big hole in our lives. We weren't looking to get another dog soon but a series of events led us to this guy. Now for a name.
At first Lincoln seemed OK but it doesn't fit a Golden Retriever. Joe the Dog was also ruled out and all of my ideas have been shot down. Banquo from MacBeth, Barre after Isaac Barre and Durkee as in Maj. John Durkee, one of the founders of Wilkes-Barre. We have 2 weeks to come up with a name.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

YouTube weekend

I have mixed feelings on the the auto bailout. On the one hand the free market means you have the freedom to fail but we can't really afford to lose millions of jobs and a big chunk of our industrial base. Plus I hate corporate welfare. As far as the fate of the CEO's and the other suits.....

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Bush farewell tour

Dubya has been all over the TV this last week trying to rewrite history and offering excuses for everything that has gone wrong over the last 8 years. Despite my repeated offer/request/plea that the present occupant of the White House write a guest post for Gort42 he never got back to me for some reason. Maybe when he had the time to write something he chose to clear brush, fall off his bike or stab himself with a pretzel instead.
He did find time to write-up something for the Onion
Oh, America. Eight years went by so fast, didn't they? I feel like I hardly got to know you and methodically undermine everything you once stood for. But I guess all good things must come to an end, and even though you know I would love to stick around for another year or four—maybe privatize Social Security or get us into Iran—I'm afraid it's time to go. But before I leave, let me say, from the bottom of my heart: I can't think of another country I would've rather led to the brink of collapse.
Boy, oh boy, if these Oval Office walls could talk. Seems like it was only yesterday that I started my first term despite having actually lost to Al Gore by more than a half million votes. Hmm. We were all so young and peaceful then. Gosh, gas was still under $2 a gallon! On my watch it peaked at more than twice that. Never getting it up to $6 or ideally $7.50 will be one of my few regrets when I leave office.
It's just gonna be so hard packing up my things and heading off into the sunset come January. I wish I could go on forever giving massive and disastrous tax cuts to the wealthy, taking the country from a surplus to a deficit—nearly $500 billion this year, likely to pass $1 trillion next year, fingers crossed—and just generally doing irreparable damage to the very underpinnings of our economy, but, well, I'm afraid the Constitution says I can't. And not even I can overrule the Constitution. Though Lord knows I tried! Initiating blanket wiretaps without warrants, suspending habeas corpus for prisoners in Guantanamo, infiltrating an unknown number of nonviolent civilian antiwar groups without permission… such wonderful memories. I'm going to cherish them forever.
My fellow Americans, I only hope that every time you have your civil liberties encroached upon by the Patriot Act, you'll think of me.
Everywhere I look brings back memories. The Blue Room is where Laura and I put up our first White House Christmas tree. Down the hall, in the East Room, is where I concocted my favorite signing statement to circumvent the anti-torture guidelines of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and—ooh!—right across the way is where Cheney and I decided to use the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 and the nation's subsequent fear of another attack as an excuse to carry out our long-standing plan to invade Iraq. I should really get a picture before I leave.
Speaking of pictures, whenever I look at the dusty old newspaper photos of those tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib or the crumpled ruins of that bridge in Minnesota, I can hold my head up high knowing that I truly fucked this nation—physically and symbolically—beyond repair. I only wish I had the time to destroy a couple more major American cities.
And Cheney, I almost forgot about Cheney. What a guy, huh? I can't believe that in a few short weeks he's never going to talk to me again. The stories I could tell you about what went on in some of those back rooms—well, you wouldn't believe me if I declassified the memos. I don't know, maybe in 20 years, when the economy has rebounded and the people displaced by Katrina have rebuilt their lives from scratch with almost no federal assistance, Cheney and I can meet up again in the Rose Garden and reminisce over the good old days, when it seemed like there was no part of this great country we couldn't ruin forever.
What am I going to do once I'm no longer president? I've gotten so used to waking up every day, playing fetch with the dogs on the White House lawn, and then spending a lazy afternoon shredding every last bit of our good will abroad in a mind-boggling display of diplomatic incompetence.
The worst part about leaving is knowing I can never screw up anything this big again. Don't get me wrong, I'm only 62. I could still bankrupt an oil company, or become the next MLB commissioner and ruin baseball. But I'll never get the opportunity to fuck up on this massive of a scale again. Even if you put me back in charge for another term, I could only take the U.S. from a rapidly declining world power to not a world power at all. I don't mean to gloat, but I think it's safe to say that no one can ever unseat the American empire like I unseated the American empire.
Still, I have to admit, sometimes I think I could've dismantled so much more. The very fact that the environment still exists, that a mere 4,000 troops have died in Iraq, that there is still the slightest glimmer of hope for the future left in this nation—it's easy to feel like maybe I didn't do my job. But no, no, there's no use having any regret. I fucked everything up the best I could and that's good enough for me.
You know, I've got a few weeks left. I could still illegally fire some U.S. attorneys for political reasons, or finally get rid of that pesky separation between church and state. Or maybe I could just bomb a place. Like Russia. But this time, I would really savor it.
As long as I live, America, I'll never forget irreparably ruining you. Unless we all die in a nuclear war or calamitous environmental disaster brought on by my neglect. Either way, I'll see you all in heaven!

Note to The Onion Lawyers: I know I went past fair use by reprinting the whole thing, please forgive me.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Luzerne County scandals

SCRANTON – The U.S. Secret Service has concluded its initial investigation into the Luzerne County debit card scandal and has turned over the results to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for review, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

Forget the Secret Service and the US Attorney General the agency that matters in this is the IRS. I think it's pretty simple. If the people who had the debit cards in 2006 and charged personal expenses to it without declaring it as income on that year's 1040 should have to answer to charges of tax evasion.

Also, there has to be a Pennsylvania law about then County Manager/Chief Clerk Sam Guesto having a slush fund to pay the bills for Sam Hyder's trips to strip bars, etc. that then Controller Maryanne Petrilla claims she was not aware of. I don't know if any federal laws were broken but the PA Auditor General and Attorney General should be all over this.

Some of my previous posts on this and other related subjects:

Debit Cards

Sam Hyder

Luzerne County Prison


No Bid Contracts

The Latest Outrage in Luzerne County

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Idiot watch

Joe the pickup owner is driving around the Pittston area with a sign in the rear window that reads,

If your in America and can’t speak English, get the Fuck out.

Check out how "you're" is spelled. The police cited him for disorderly conduct because he used an obscenity in the message, adding that children walking to Pittston Area middle and elementary schools might see it. OMG, the children might just melt or become mass murderers if they read or hear a dirty word. I hope the Hughestown police drop this before it becomes a circus involving the ACLU and Focus on the Family.

The way I see it is that some local yokel wants to be the next Joey Vento, owner of Geno’s Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, who is famous for posting a sign at his restaurant that says “This is America. When Ordering, Speak English.” But since that has already been done Mr. Decker decided to spice up the message.

Maybe he was a classmate of this guy

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

2009 elections

In Luzerne County we will be electing a Controller, Prothonotary, Register of Wills and Jury Commissioners. The Controller's spot has been vacant since Maryanne Petrilla was elected Commissioner and Rapid Edward has not nominated a replacement. Incumbent Prothontary Jill Moran has drawn some fire about her work habits and business dealings and the speculation is that she will not seek a third term. Democrat Dottie Stankovic was unopposed in the general election four years ago although the good old boys tried to knock her off in the primary. Jerry Bonner is the Democratic Jury Commissioner and I can't even remember who holds the Republican slot.

Jobs like Prothonotary and Register of Wills are clerical positions that should not even be elected offices. Same goes for Jury Commissioner who's only official duty is to once a year hit the print button on a computer to get a list of prospective jurors. But we will have elections for these jobs until we get Home Rule.

As usual the action will be in the Democratic primary that will probably make the November election a formality. I hope that I'm wrong about that prediction and new county GOP Chairman Terry Casey can recruit some quality candidates and the back mountain money guys raise some serious cash for them.

I will be posting some scuttlebutt about who may be running for these positions in the coming days. If you have heard any names being tossed around let me know in the comments or toss me an email.

We will also get to pick at least one new Judge plus various school board members and municipal offices.