Saturday, October 31, 2009

Petrilla rakes in the bucks

Luzerne County Democratic Commissioner Chair Maryanne Petrilla has raised $54,000 this year and has $78,000 cash on hand according to her latest campaign finance report. That is more money than all the row officer candidates running this year combined.
Indicted Jury Commissioner Jerry Bonner gave her $500 but she sent it back. There are a few other names that are in the news listed in the report.
Wilkes-Barre Area School Board President Frank Pizzella kicked in $125 for her golf tournament that is also listed on his CFR. Pizzella has been charged with conspiracy in a teacher job-selling scheme in 2004. I didn't know that she played golf.
Michael Pasonick is the owner of an Architect/Engineering firm that does business with just about every government agency in Luzerne County made 2 donations totalling $1750 to Petrilla.
Pasonick was recently identified as the person who paid the bribe of $1400 to Housing Authority member Billy Maguire that was passed on by fellow board member Jerry Bonner. I wonder what the vig was in that deal? In one of the most creative excuses that I've ever heard Maguire said that he was reluctant to ask the housing authority for reimbursement of $1,400 he spent while attending a meeting of the National Leased Housing Association with Bonner in late January 2009 because of the debit card scandal and previous publicity that he was travelling the world on the taxpayer's dime when he was working in law enforcement. So he got Bonner to ask Pasonick to pick up the tab. At least he didn't try to double dip because records show he was not reimbursed by the authority. Bonner's attorney Mike Butera made the revelation about Pasonick. Butera has contributed $1000 to Petrilla.
Sometimes this gets confusing. Patrilla's committee received contributions from Hazleton State Rep. Todd Eachus' and DA Jackie Mo Carroll then her committee sent money to Eachus and Jackie Mo's campaign committees. Scott Gartley kicked in $500 and Petrilla contributed $1000 to Tina Gartley's judicial campaign. I guess this is an example of 'you wash my back, I'll wash your's.' These people don't use their own money to go to all these events, the donor's pay for it. In addition to Gartley she contributed to 2 other Luzerne County judicial candidates. She sent $250 to Joe Musto and $125 to Bill Amesbury.
In the row ofifce races she(her committee) gave $250 to Dem Prothonotary nominee Nancy Bellas who's husband has been indicted for taking a bribe and Democratic Controller hopeful Bob Morgan got $550.
Some Luzerne County officials chipped in for the boss.
Director of Assessments Anthony Alu $125
County Solicitor Vito DeLucca $375
Prison Warden Joe Piazza $500
This one I find interesting. Former Commissioner Todd Vonderheid ( Bond Brother) who is now the head honcho of the local Chamber of Commerce chipped in $250. Vondy ran as a team with Greg Skrepenak for Luzerne County Commissioners telling people we didn't need home rule because we can trust them. That worked out well. Vondy quit before his term was up.

Happy Halloween

By Mean Old Man

Once again it’s time for the Godless holiday of Halloween and I ain’t my usual happy self!!! Every year I have to put up with juvenile delinquent thugs roaming my neck of the woods. And to top it off, since the liberals have put my hero Judge Mark Ciavarella out of commission, there’s going to be even more of the useless punks this year. Damn!!!

In my day kids went trick or treating too; but we had respect for our elders and knew our place. And let me tell you, on a good night you were lucky to get a few candy bars (which the old man usually confiscated for “our own good”) and maybe a couple of pennies. But not today; the spoiled spawns of the hip hop crowd want money, and lots of it, too!!! I remember one Halloween when Thelma Jean made me keep the front porch light on and one midget degenerate dirt bag came to the door. I threw a few tiny packages of M&M’s (now there’s a good candy) into his dirty bag. He looked at me puzzled, asking “Doncha have any dead Presidents, dude?”

I told him that I did not, but that I probably had a rifle or a revolver or two of the kind that may have been used to off some of our Presidents if he’d like to try me. You should have seen the look on the goofs face. It was worth having to let all of the others in my door! He turned as white as chalk and ran away. I think some of the other dumbbell trick or treaters thought that he was masquerading as Casper. That was a fun year.

But now, what with the way our new President has outspent us and ruined our economy (remember how great things were when ol’ GW was in office?) I expect there will be even more mongrels out trying to get their hands on my hard earned money. They’re wasting their time!!!

So, let me give all you Halloweeners a message: Since most of you would still be in the slammer had our esteemed Judge Ciavarella not been railroaded by the press, the Obama Justice Department, and the blogger Gort, why don’t you all get out of my white hair and go to their houses instead. I’m sure that Gort would be happy to greet you at his doorway. Yeah, right!!! Show up anyway; hell, maybe he’ll even give you a first edition copy of The Complete Writings of Chairman Mao. Bet you’ll love that!!!

As for me, I’ll be sitting in my easy chair, smoking a Lucky, having a few bottles of Steg and listening to the soothing sounds of Eddie Fischer singing “Oh My Papa”. I always think of Pops every Halloween. He was a great guy; he taught me to hate the holiday and kids, too. I miss him a lot.

Happy Halloween; go to Hell!!! And don’t forget to stop at all the bloggers homes; just stay away from mine!!! I hate you all!!!!!!

Bullet voting

In a previous post I reported that supporters of Judicial candidate Dick Hughes have been urging people to vote for just for him even though you can cast 2 ballots for Common Pleas Judge in Luzerne County. Today I got an email from county GOP chairman Terry Casey asking people to vote for Hughes and skip the other 2.


We’re in the final stretch of what has turned into a real horse race for two seats on the Luzerne County bench.
We’re fortunate because clearly the best candidate in the field of three is our very own Richard Hughes, the only Republican in the running.
Dick is running an upbeat, positive, bipartisan campaign.
Not only is Dick battling a lopsided registration edge but he has become victim of the same old dirty Democratic political machine that is fueled by sneaky and dishonest backroom tactics.
In case you haven’t heard, the two Democratic county commissioners decided to push that antiquated, mindless method of voting – straight-party ballot -- by adding some confusing language to the ballot.
They did this in September, a month after deciding in a public meeting that the language was not necessary.
They did not do this at a public meeting as required by law. The two Democratic commissioners approved the language in typical Luzerne County Democratic fashion – a backroom deal without advertising the meeting. Again, an illegal move.
And they didn’t tell anyone about it until they voted on it at a public meeting in October – a month after it was a done deal. By then the absentee ballots were printed and ready to go.
They tried to deceive you and me and all of the voters of Luzerne County and attempted to make an already uneven playing field even more crooked.
This was done at the urging of the attorney of one of the Democratic candidates who has everything to gain by this senseless system called straight-party voting.
They have wielded this political power for too long.
But we have the power now because we’re not going to take it anymore.
We have the power to show Maryanne Petrilla and Greg Skrepenak that we’re smarter than they think we are.
We can tell them we will no longer fall victim to their dirty political tricks.
But there’s only one way we can do this.
We have to cast a bullet vote for Dick Hughes. We have to vote for one and only one candidate for county judge: Republican Richard Hughes.
PLEASE tell your family and friends to vote for ONE and only ONE candidate for Luzerne county judge!!!!
That’s the only way our party will gain traction in Luzerne County.
That’s the only chance we have at getting a Republican on the bench.
That’s the only way the Democratic machine will stop trampling on our rights and our sensibilities ...
If we stand together we can put up a roadblock and stop that Democratic machine that uses unfair tactics to control our county.
We have the power to do that – in a single vote.
A single vote for Richard Hughes for Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

Bill O'Boyle in the TL explains the tactic. Bullet voting is a tactic that is employed in races in which there are more candidates than open slots. By not casting the allowable number of votes a voter helps his or her preferred candidate by not adding votes to his or her rivals.

The county GOP is still fuming about instructions being included on the ballot about straight party voting . Executive Director Renita Fennick said “We think the county election board’s decision to add language regarding straight party voting encourages the antiquated, mindless practice of one party voting,” she said. “They took an uneven playing field and made it even more lopsided.”

The usual suspects of political analysis, Tom Baldino, Terry Madonna and Ed Mitchell, had a mixed reaction to the tactic.

I've been bullet voting for years and I think it works. In the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board race the only person I will be voting for is Harry Haas. There are 5 candidates for 4 slots.

John Stewart explains Fox News

All Foxed up

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Luzerne County Controller

The Controller's contest continues to be the hot race with Walter Griffith complaining about Bob Morgan's campaign finance report after Morgan complained about his last one. They both filed corrections to the reports.

Griffith has been critical throughout the campaign of Maryanne Petrilla's performance as Controller in the brief time she held the office before becoming a Luzerne County Commissioner and Wil Toole took a shot at her in Monday's debate.

Toole gave the play by play of his pursuit of the endorsement of the AFSCME local that covers county employees saying he was a founder of the local union. They didn't endorse him. He said he wanted it then lobbed this bomb on why he didn't get it. "Then I found out that Maryanne Petrilla had hired the President's daughter two months previous."

Maryanne's response "He should be careful about what he says."

The Union President, Paula Schnelly, said "With all the controversy and corruption, we decided not to endorse anyone and stay clear of endorsements," she said. "Why he is making it personal, I don't know. ... I heard he alleged I am tight with Maryanne Petrilla. I know Maryanne Petrilla as well as I know Wil Toole."

Director of Assessments Anthony Alu recommended hiring Ms. Schnelly because she was the best qualified applicant.

Wil Toole chimed in on the CV website:

I think it incredulous to think that there are a hundred union members out of work and the Commissioners hired the union presidents daughter. I don't know about you but I don't think a hundred union members should be out of work and not even be offered the opportunity of a job. And by the way, if anyone believes that the commissioners hiring the union president's daughter is a coincidence then I have a bridge to sell. Where was that job advertised? I also find it amazing that after a hundred years of patronage, these Commissioner's have offered up the gift of job giving to their managers. Right!

Wil Toole, Former County AFSCME Union President

One last poll. Who should be the next Controller? Vote on the sidebar and give your reasons in the comments.

The Phillies win the phirst game of the World Series

Chase Utley put 2 out of the park and Cliff Lee went the distance scattering 6 hits and striking out 10 with no walks. I thought that CC was pulled too early but I'm not complaining because the Yankee's bullpen gave up 4 more runs. Whoever invented the pitch count should be shot.
Yankee fan favorite Pedro Martinez is pitching for the Phillies tomorrow.
The side poll tells me that there are more Phillies fans that visit this site than the Yankee faithful
Who will win the World Series? Phillies 41 (69%) Yankees 18 (30%)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retain the Judges?

Luzerne County Judges Thomas Burke and Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. are up for retention to the Court of Common Pleas this year and they are feeling the heat of the fallout of the Juvie Brothers scandal that may result in them losing the yes/no vote. They may meet a similar fate as Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro? In 2005 Nigro lost his bid for retention because the state legislature voted themselves an outrageous pay raise in the middle of the night and the voters took their wrath out on him. They have not been accused of any wrongdoing but Conahan and Ciavarella are not on the ballot and they are. People I talk to are in a throw the bums out mood.
PPO-2 has been in full campaign mode with a website up and has been raising money. Judge Burke hasn't raised a dime, doesn't have a website but has been pressing the flesh asking people for their vote and answering every question thrown at him.
Olszewski’s trip to the Florida condo has been well documented and just may sink him. I've never heard anybody say a bad thing about Judge Burke and I even had him for jury duty recently and thought he was very fair. Then again I had Ciavarella for jury duty a few years ago and was impressed by him. Shows what I know. But I just can't get by this from a local attorney:
Olszewski and Burke claim they did nothing wrong. "It wasn't me, It was them. I didn't know. How could I know?" Just men had a duty to discover the truth. Olszewski said the hearings took place a half a mile away in another building. How could he hear? How did an advocacy group over 100 miles away in Philadelphia hear enough to file lawsuits on behalf of more than 500 children? How did the FBI know enough about it to raid juvenile probation? Olszewski says if he knew he would have told the FBI. If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, oh what a party we'd have.
I always vote no on these questions no matter what is going on but that's just me and all my Republican friends tell me I'm wrong to vote no on Burke. As unfair as it may seem to be to these gentleman ( I doubt their judgement and tin ears not their integrity) we have to send a message about what has been going on in the Courthouse and the way to do that is to vote no on retention.
So tell me in the comments why I'm wrong and vote in the polls on the sidebar.


Luzerne County Judges

The headline election this year is the election of 2 new Judges for the Court of Common Pleas. After the revelations that the Juvie brothers, Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella, have taken public corruption to a level unseen anywhere in history of this country the choice is especially important. Taking a bribe to fix a case seems almost pedestrian (they did that too) but designing a scheme to conspire to build a private juvenile penal colony then railroading children through the court system to ensure the place makes money is beyond corrupt, it is evil. And they had lot's of help.

17 candidates ran in the primary and now we have the choice of 3 very qualified people to fill the 2 open seats. Wilkes-Barre district judge Bill Amesbury won both nominations which in past years would assure his election because his name would appear twice on the old lever machine ballots but with the new touch screens he will only be listed once. Tina Gartley has been running the most energetic campaign and has been all over the place and her online outreach has been impressive, I think John Dawe knows how to work the intertubes. Republican Dick Hughes has solid support from the local GOP and many Democrats and independents that I talk to also like him.

My prediction is that Gartley will be top vote getter with Amesbury and Hughes fighting it out for the second spot. Some Hughes supporters are urging a bullet vote for him. A bullet vote is casting a vote for just one candidate when you are allowed to vote for more than one. In this case you can vote for two.

You can cast a bullet vote in the Gort42 poll on the sidebar.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Luzerne County Controller debate

I'm going to tell everybody here a dirty little secret if you really want to know the inside of politics in Luzerne County. The salary of elected officials have been kept low to keep good people out of government-Wil Toole
I thought that was the best line of the night at the LuLac Political Letter Controller's Forum . Moderator David Yonki did a great job of asking tough questions and allowing the candidates to mix it up. He read every question from the audience and they were good ones and no one asked about UFO's or other such nonsense.
The three candidates websites are here:
I'm going to do a short recap but you can see the whole thing because it was filmed by
The 3 candidates opened by reviewing their resumes. Morgan mixed a few sports metaphors and Griffith took a shot a Morgan for saying he will work at PNC Bank if he is elected. Griffith promised to be a full time Controller and later Morgan and Toole also pledge to work full time.
The questions started with the Times-Leader endorsement of Griffith. The TL says he is combative. When they asked about being combative and Gort is here, one of the local blog editors, has noted that I'm a pain in the ass. I'm always watching government and try to hold them accountable.
Morgan disagreed with the TL knock on his financial savvy and Toole addressed questions about his disability pension which was converted to regular retirement when he turned 60.
All 3 answered some technical questions about the office and they all agreed that there should be better handling of cash payments with Morgan and Griffith wanting a central location to take all cash payments but Toole argued that would be unworkable.
Griffith will work full time wants to eliminate comp time and ensure that all sick/vacation time should be tracked. Toole noted that he is retired so he nothing else to do and said the job can't be done part-time and said he will keep track of when employees sign in and out. Managers have to manage and that seems to be an alien thought in Luzerne County. He also doesn't favor buying a fingerprint/time clock machine and neither does Morgan. Morgan favors keeping flex time instead of paying overtime. He then pointed out that Griffith has run for 4 offices this year, Controller, Government Study Commission, Constable and Judge of Elections and asked what job he will he be doing on election day. Griffith responded that he will be a Judge of Elections because he hasn't been elected Constable or Controller yet.
Toole said he couldn't give a schedule of audits because things are so far behind and Morgan agreed that the backlog has to be cleared. They both said that the top priority is to deal with the Sheriff's office. Griffith then took some shots at former Controller and County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla, who is a Morgan supporter, saying she left the office in shambles, she didn't manage the office and defended the job Acting Controller AJ Martinelli is doing because he is doing double duty.
They all agreed that the debit card scandal was a nightmare. Walter recounted that the Commissioners approved the debit card policy and it wasn't followed by the Chief Clerk, Sam Guesto. The people who didn't follow the policy, there was no reprimand...for those people who stole our money... They should have been fired. Toole offered some suggestions to control travel costs then blasted the Commissioners at the time. Skrepenak, Vonderheid, Urban...They made a major blunder and it's about time that they stood up and say we made a mistake and stop blaming their employees.
At this point David joked that according to some of his readers all 3 have promised him a job.
Morgan said that the pay structure has to be revamped. How can the Chief Clerk make $80K but his bosses are paid $40K. Griffith wants to stop management raises and playing games with eliminating and creating jobs. He said that the deputy's in the row offices are paid more than there bosses because they are expected to run the operation while the elected official often doesn't show up for work. Then Toole said elected officials salary's have been kept low on purpose to keep good people out of government. He recalled that years ago their was a salary increase for elected officials but the Commissioners at the time, Frank Trinisewski and Jim Phillips rolled it back. Why? Because they were terrified that good people were going to run for office and they would be out. He also decried the pay of entry level pay for qualified auditors. Walter took issue with the contention that good people won't run for the job because of the relatively low pay noting that many people live on a lot less. Morgan said he is Okay with the pay. Toole also said that Businesses want to come to Luzerne County because we have slave labor. He also gave the play by play of his pursuit of the endorsement of the AFSCME local that covers county employees saying he was a founder of the local union. They didn't endorse him. He said he wanted it then lobbed this bomb on why he didn't get it. Then I found out that Maryanne Petrilla had hired the President's daughter two months previous.
Toole's pension controversy came up again and he said Judge Michael Conahan threw the case out despite the fact that he backed Joe Musto in the previous election. He blamed it on the administration that followed his tenure as Pittston City Clerk and was proud of the job he did. The administration that replaced me dragged me through a living hell. Morgan said that he doesn't have a conflict being an employee of PNC Bank that does a lot of business with the county and has an independent counsel opinion supporting that but would recuse himself from any pension board votes involving his employer.
It ended with Toole and Morgan beating up Griffith saying he accused Controller office employees of falsifying an audit asking why he didn't ask for an investigation. He responded that he did contact the Auditor General and another agency. Morgan said You make accusations without facts. He then hit Griffith about running for 4 offices asking if he would serve 4 years if elected as Controller. Griffith said he would serve a full term.
Post game: I was disappointed that the rest of Bentley's was closed as I was hoping to check out the place and catch some of the Eagle's game. Me and Forrest hit Mark's on the way home. Some elbows got thrown but then we all know that politics is a contact sport and afterward all 3 candidates were talking and joking with each other and the crowd. I can honestly say that this one of the best political debates I have ever attended. Things got tough but it remained civil.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is the matchup many of you wanted

The New York Yankees won the AL pennant tonight and will now take on the defending champs Phillies in the World Series. Most people that I know are fans of one these teams, in some cases both. This is the dream match up NEPA. So who will win? Vote on the sidebar and share your thoughts in the comments.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The LuLac Political Letter will be having its Controller's Forum for Luzerne County Monday night from 7 to 9PM at Bentley's. All three candidates, Walter Griffith (GOP) Robert Morgan (Democrat) and Wil Toole (Independent) will be on hand to answer questions and talk about their campaigns.

Since the event will be at Bentley's and they have a bar with TV's it is perfect setting for a meeting of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society. After the debate we can watch the Eagle's snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory . How did they lose to the Raiders? So come out and join us to address the financial crises by infusing cash into the malt beverage industry to ensure it's liquidity.

The local papers are full of it

Political coverage that is.

The Times Leader and Citizens Voice have done an outstanding job covering the corruption scandal and I think my fellow bloggers would agree that we can't do what we do without the efforts of their reporters and editors.

Today both papers had bunches of stories about the upcoming local elections that I will use in upcoming posts.

The TL:

Electorate can show strength by voting

Most school incumbents won’t be returning

ELECT: Luzerne County Judge

Listing of candidates on ballot for Nov. 3

ELECT:Judges Seeking Retention

Stankovic stresses her years in office

ELECT: Prothonotary

The CV:

Lawyer dollars feed county judges race

Corruption cloud hangs over seat for prothonotary

Third try for Congress uncertain for Barletta

Top contributors

Election facts

And many more.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

YouTube weekend

Elton John doing Bohemian Rhapsody. The Committee will have to approve.

I snuck this in:

Sports weekend

The Yanks and Angels are rained out so we will have to wait another day to find who will have honor of losing to the Phillies in World Series.

Penn State wins for the first time in a long time at the Big House 35-10. I'm surprised. I expected a closer game but I'm not complaining.

Alabama holds off Tennessee on a blocked FG winning 12-10. The Vatican Bowl is going down to last minute with Notre Dame beating Boston College 20-16.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Luzerne County rogues gallery

I like this collage in the Times-Leader. It shows 16 of the 18 people who have been charged with a crime so far. I predict that 6 months from now they won't have enough space to put all the mugs on the front page.
The article also has a score card.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The other row offices

I've been concentrating on the race for Luzerne County Controller because that is where most of the action has been lately. We have two other spots up for election on November 3rd and I hope this will be the last time we ever have to vote for candidates for these positions. But that is up to the Government Study Commission and then the voters to ratify a new charter.

I've been saying for months that Republican Carolee Medico Olenginski will romp to victory in the Prothonotary contest even without the news that her opponent's husband is a crook. I've never met Nancy Bellas and I was surprised that she won the primary against Duryea politico Art Akulonis and the most qualified candidate Gerald Mullery. I hear that the local Dems have given up on her and Mullery has even been handing out Carolee signs.

TL: Allan Bellas has resigned his post as President of Wyoming Valley West School Board President...Bellas has agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges related to his former post as Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority Executive Director. He previously accepted a bribe in exchange for helping a developer get a tax break deal.

Incumbent Democrat Register of Wills Dottie Stankovic is taking some flack over her work hours. The CV reviewed security records that show she never swiped her security card more than a third of the time over the last 21 months. But that does not mean she was a no-show at the Penn Place office on North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre, Stankovic explained.
"I was in the office, and somebody else used their pass to open up the door. One opens it up, and five or six go in," Stankovic said.

Gina Nevenglosky, her Republican opponent, has claimed she has been to the Register of Wills Office "20-some times" this year and, she said, Stankovic was never there.

The suspicion that not all row officers put in a full day's is not new. Remember that Bob Reilly was selling used cars during business hours and a few years before that he was working in a beer store on weekdays.

This dust up just may be the answer to Gina's prayers of being elected.

Baseball Playoffs

We will have to wait a few days to learn who the Phillies will play in the World Series. Angels beat the Evil Empire 7-6.

Phillies are in the WORLD SERIES again

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sam Stretton endorses Griffith

Most endorsements are only good for a press release unless it's a group that can deliver boots on the ground or bundle money or both. That's why Labor Unions are important for Democrats and outfits like the Club for Growth matter for Republicans.

This one matters.

Oct. 20, 2009

Luzerne County Republican Controller Candidate Walter L. Griffith Jr. has received the endorsement of attorney Samuel C. Stretton, solicitor to former county Controller Steve Flood.
In a letter to the “electors” of the county, Stretton said he “strongly” endorses Griffith as the county’s next “financial watchdog.”

“I have had the opportunity to talk to Mr Griffith on several occasions regarding the Sunshine Law and other issues and firmly believe that Walter Griffith Jr. has a firm grasp on the function and operation of Luzerne County Government,” Stretton said in the letter.

Stretton said he feels confident that Griffith would follow in Flood’s footsteps and “pick up his torch and make significant changes for the better for Luzerne County.”

Griffith called the endorsement an “honor” and said Flood is the type of public servant that all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, should emulate.

“I am humbled by Mr. Stretton’s confidence and consider it an honor that he would endorse me,” Griffith said. “I think it just goes to show that my reputation as a government watchdog is appealing to people of all political parties who want someone in the courthouse whom they can trust.”

County Republican Chairman Terry Casey said Stretton’s endorsement indicates that the message being conveyed by the rejuvenated GOP crosses party lines.

“Steve Flood is a Democrat who defeated the powerful Democratic political machine,” Casey said. “When he got into office, he proved he was a true public servant and worked for the people, not for the party. We now know that Steve Flood knew when something was amiss, long before the rest of us knew. That’s what we can expect when Walter Griffith is our controller.”


I just heard that the Grand Jury has indicted a high ranking Luzerne County elected official. I'm working the phones to confirm it.

Luzerne County Controller

Democratic Controller Bob Morgan candidate got his turn with the Times-Leader editorial board.
Some choice quotes:
He hasn't been at Commissioner's meetings but assures us that “If something inappropriate is going on, you have to be the one to blow the whistle. That’s your responsibility.” ...“I don’t think that the controller in the end has a lot of political friends. I think the controller in the end does the right thing for taxpayers.”..."I think there’s a sense that county finances are a black box and that nobody’s sure that we have a problem until we have a problem, and whenever we have a problem it’s a big problem.”
Morgan said he would be a full-time controller but would continue to work for PNC Investments as a financial adviser on a “limited basis,” primarily nights and on weekends.
He does not expect PNC Investments to get involved in managing the county pension fund but said he would stay out of any such negotiations. Morgan said PNC is “very aware” of potential conflicts of interest.
No mention of the potential conflict with PNC Bank being the county's bond underwriter.
Morgan has a website up and takes a swipe at his 2 opponents on the front page. I have not worked in City or County government and I haven't run for multiple offices, multiple times.

GOP hopeful Walter Griffith was also interviewed by the TL.
He emphasized again that he will shut down his business and be a full time Controller. He is tenacious and said "I just won’t let go if it’s not right.”

“My big issue with county government is the lack of consistency. There never seems to be anybody that will put their hand in the air and be accountable or consistent with their policies. I think that’s crucial in government.” ...“I’ve sacrificed a lot since 2003 for the people, not that I want any accolades for that. I do it because I care. That’s the whole purpose of my running the campaign, it’s because I have a heart to serve. It’s because I want to be there to fix things if I can.”...I’ve run a business for 20 years. I think a business background and common sense is what makes it work.”
Here is a link to his website.

Independent candidate Wil Toole was also interviewed by the TL that I covered in a previous post.
You can read about him on his site
Morgan's campaign has been low key until the last couple of weeks but now he has billboards and is running radio ads that I haven't heard.
From the Yonk: Morgan is also taking a swipe at his two rivals Republican Walter Griffith Junior and Independent Wil Toole. Morgan makes reference to the watchdog term readily applied to Griffith saying it takes more than some sort of mutt to oversee the finances of the county. He also refers to Toole’s previous administrative tenure as a way for the old boy network to continue to thrive.
You can meet all three candidates this coming Monday night at the LuLac Political Letter candidate’s forum, Oct. 26th from 7 to 9 PM at Bentley’s in Ashley. Afterward we can watch football.

Monday, October 19, 2009

High Hopes

That is the song that Harry Kallas always sang. I miss Harry. I always loved to sit in the back yard after cutting the grass on Saturday then tuning in the Phillies game with Harry doing the play by play.

It's on YouTube. I was trying to post it but I got a bunch of errors.

I can hear his voice calling the 9th inning of this game tonight.

The Phillies win!

In the bottom of the 9th Jimmy Rollins hit a triple that drove in 2 runs and the Phil's win a 5-4 game. They are up 3-1. The Angels beat the Evil Empire in extra innings. That series is 2-1 Go halo's.

Football and politics

The Yonk's Controller gaggle is scheduled for next Monday and the Eagle's play the Redskins on MNF. Since the event will be at Bentley's and they have a bar with TV's it is perfect setting for a meeting of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society. After the debate we can watch the Eagle's snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory . How did they lose to the Raiders? So come out and join us to address the financial crises by infusing cash into the malt beverage industry to ensure it's liquidity. I will send out an email to anoy,er, remind you in the next few days.

The program:

The debate/forum format will be:
1. Opening statements.
2. 3 Lead off questions.
3. Questions on the job itself and how the candidate’s perceive their role in it.
4. Audience questions submitted on index cards.

It’s free and open to the public. Monday night, October 26th, 7 to 9PM, Bentley’s.

The candidates are pain in the ass Walter Griffith (R), longtime Pittston Democratic Politico Wil Toole who is running as an independent and the invisible man Bob Morgan (D).

A note to a local radio loudmouth who is trashing bloggers this is called snark. It's what we do and I hope it offends you just like just about everything else does. Here's a quarter, go buy a sense of humor.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Phillies win the phirst game of the World Series

Chase Utley puts 2 out of the park and Cliff Lee goes the distance scattering 6 hits and striking out 10 giving up only 1 unearned run plus he made some nifty plays in the field. I thought that CC got pulled too early but I liked the result because the Yankees bullpen got tagged for 4 more runs. Whoever invented the pitch count should be shot.
Yankee fan favorite Pedro Martinez is going for us tomorrow.

PA State Supreme Court race

I don't pay much attention to the statewide Judge races because the candidates run on their bio's and promise to be tough on crime with an emphasis on locking up all the drug dealers. But then every politician promises to lock up all the druggies and we all know that policy has worked out well over the past 50 years. Their campaigns are financed by the lawyers that will appear before them but they assure us that that will not influence their rulings. What a bunch of hooey.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts make a good case for scrapping the present system and going with merit selection of Judges. Their blog documents the problems with electing appellate Judges.

The Democratic nominee for the one open seat is Jack Panella
from Northampton County who presently serves on the Superior Court and was on the Court of Judicial Discipline that dropped the ball over the allegations about Luzerne County criminals Conahan and Ciavarella . They were busy with the Lokuta witchhunt orchestrated by Conahan.


His opponent is Joan Orie Melvin from Pittsburgh who also serves on the Superior Court. Her website tells us that she has been a lifelong Republican. Her faith is the cornerstone of her life. She comes from a family of nine children raised with the principles of God and Country. Her sister is State Senator Jane Orie who helped her get the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Teamsters that didn't turn out so well. The Pennsylvania Progressive has the details.

Melvin was in town last month and said of the Juvie Brothers scandal "This is surreal. It is right out of a Charles Dickens’ novel."

In her previous visit to Wilkes-Barre in May she gave a long rambling speech to the local GOP faithful. In that speech she listed as one of her selling points was the upcoming redistricting after the 2010 Census telling the partisan crowd that they needed a Republican on the court to rule in favor of Republicans in any challenges to whatever plan emerges.

So much for Judges being above politics.

Now Capitol Ideas points out that the state GOP is running a banner ad on GrassrootsPA on her behalf.

"Tired of Barack Obama, Ed Rendell, Arlen Specter and big government Democrats ruining our nation?" the advertisement asks in yellow block capitals set against a bright-red background. And in case the message wasn't subtle enough, there's a Soviet-era hammer-and-sickle inside the "O" in Obama's last name. That oughta rally the base, eh?



My friend Danny gave me the heads up and says

She's using a hammer and sickle for the "O" in Obama in her new web ad. Disgusting. And the best part is that it's paid for by the PA GOP.


Comparisons to Communists or Nazi's used to be out of bounds in American politics but the Tea Bagger crowd does it all the time and now it is somehow Okay. It's one thing for a bunch of people who are ignorant of history and political philosophy to engage in this kind of nonsense but a State Supreme Court candidate should know better.

The thing that we want in our Judges is to be impartial and not take political sides no matter what party they belong to. She flunks that test.

I will vote for Panella.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

YouTube weekend

Juvie Brother's song

Pat Benatar - Hell is for Children

The Gort42 comment policy

I don't have one.

If you think that something is out of bounds send an email and I will consider deleting it. I don't moderate comments or require that you sign in because this a free speech zone and the last thing I want to do is make it harder to comment. I do ask that you keep it clean and avoid accusing people of crimes. Other than that lets go back to mixing it up.

YouTube weekend

This is both funny and sad.

Simply Left Behind found it.

Waking Up Now has the details and documents all the crazy things that they say.

When you're right you argue the facts, when you're wrong you argue the law

That's what my lawyers tell me.

Luzerne County Democratic Jury Commissioner and Housing Authority Chairman Jerry Bonner has asked that his statements to FBI be thrown out because he was not advised of his Miranda rights before being interviewed by the feds. He may have a point if the FBI didn't follow the rules. At the same time anybody who has watched any cop show over the last 40 years knows that you that you can ask for a lawyer at anytime and refuse to answer questions that might incriminate yourself.

It looks like Jerry is going to fight the charges that he passed on a bribe just like Frank Pizzella is doing.

I hope they both get a trial so all the dirty laundry can be aired.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This week in Luzerne County corruption

Wilkes-Barre Area School Board President Frankie "Kneecaps" Pizzella pleas not guilty to being part of a job selling scheme in 2004 before he became a school director.

17 Down and Hundreds? To Go

Finally, one of the people who has been paying bribes is charged.

CV: Richard Emanski, owner of King Glass and Paint Co., has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court. Prosecutors say he installed carpeting in the home of an unnamed school board member between November and December 2004 in return for the board member's support of his efforts to secure a district carpeting contract.

The School Director is not named in the indictment but it's either James Height or Brian Dunn.

Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority Director Allen Bellas and president of the Wyoming Valley West School Board admitted that he took a $2,000 bribe from a contractor who secured a government loan through the authority for one of those great job creation schemes called Tax Increment Financing which is similar to the Keystone Opportunity Zones. They keep telling us that the benefit of these programs is that they will bring "good paying jobs to area because of our great work ethic." I think it's corporate welfare and you and me pay more property taxes because of it.

CV reporter Dave Janoski get's out his crayon and connects the dots. The bribe was paid by Anthony Trombetta who owns Insignia Point Courtyard and Intellacom Inc. Intellacom had contracts with the Wyoming Valley West and Pittston Area school districts and Luzerne County Community College. The firm has been paid about $1.6 million by the three institutions for work on computer and security systems since 2003. 2 grand for a security camera that can be bought for a few hundred bucks elsewhere should be looked at. Two Pittston Area officials have also pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from unnamed school district contractors. Trommetta also owned a restaurant that went belly up.

I'm actually rooting for Frank Pizzella in this mess. He want's a trial and so do I so names can be named. All these people that are pleading to just one crime leaves us wondering what else they did.

Did I mention that Allan Bellas' wife, Nancy Bellas, is the Democratic candidate for Prothonotary.

Will Toole responds

In my last post I invited Wil Toole to respond to the TL story rehashing his overtime controversy when he was Pittston's city clerk/administrator. He responded with an email and left a comment on the post. Being a fair and balanced blogger I decided to put both on the front page.

From the inbox:

I was surprised to read it. When I appeared before the Editorial Board, it was discussed in detail and I thought they understood the situation.

The hours I worked were all documented and NEVER questioned by the administration I worked for. The dispute was brought to a resolve and the payback was a result of a settlement reached in a law suit I had with the city's new administration. It is a complicated two year story but basically, the judge held a conference with my attorney and me at which time he proposed a retirement figure which I accepted. I had been two years without income and with living expenses and legal expenses I had depleted all of my financial resources. I had to resolve my pension issue as quickly as possible. Therefore, I accepted the proposed settlement.

The city has a defined pension plan which is locked into the employee's final pay. For the settled upon figure to be obtained, my final payout had to be adjusted so that the pension amount conformed with the formula. I did not repay $19,000 in cash. The City's auditing firm did the calculations and after all possible deductions and credits, I was left with a total cash payback of $4,600. The payback number never had anything to do with the hours I worked, it was a settlement.

It is worth noting that before I worked at the city, there was absolutely no administrative record of employee time off. Each office or department had a record controlled and kept by that supervisor who was a member of that particular union. The first thing I did was to create time sheets that were submitted with each payroll period and was signed by the employee and his immediate supervisor and then kept in the City's payroll department. I also required myself to have a time sheet and it was approved by the council member who served as the Director of Accounts and Finance.

I would be happy to invite you to lunch at which time we can discuss this entire situation in detail. As I mentioned, it was complicated and it was political and I suffered terrible character assassination during the Walsh Administration's final election. Beginning with my military service, I spent my entire life working for and in my community. While in the Coast Guard, I was stationed aboard a ship that did patrols in the North Atlantic. When we were in port in Staten Island, I attended boy scout meetings and taught knot tying to the scouts. From that point right up to my retirement, I served my community in many ways. You can read my community efforts on my campaign web site, I am not a single issue community activist. All of my life, I did what I thought was the right thing.

Thanks for asking without first jumping on the bandwagon of character assassination.

Wil Toole

His comment on my last post:


I have no problem stating who the judge was that dismissed the charges and I did discuss the entire situation during the TL interview.

The fact is that half of the charges were dismissed at the magistrate's level. Carmen Maffei was the magistrate and he said afterward that he had confusion on some of the charges but if he understood the entire situation at the time, he would have dismissed all of them. The original magistrate was Fred Pierantoni but he removed himself because of perceived conflict of interest by working in the same building with me.

The truth was that most of the judges excused themselves because they knew me personally. Judge Conahan did agree to take the case. The thing that Conahan knew and bothered me was that when he defeated Judge Musto in his election to the Bench, I was a strong supporter of Judge Musto and absolutely did not support Conahan. That's a fact! Now with that situation facing me, I thought I would be in real trouble with Conahan but there was nothing I could do about which judge was left to hear my case. He did dismiss the remainder of the charges and commented as to how could they have gotten that far? The charges were absurd.

As for the question of Conahan being a friend of mine when all this happened can be answered in the fact that it was Judge Conahan who worked out my pension law suit and the deciding factor in my accepting the proposed settlement was that my attorney and I thought that I was awarded health insurance for life. We thought it was designed the same as state pensions at the time. I mention this because it was also Judge Conahan who canceled my heath insurance coverage last year. Does that sound like he did me a favor?

Joe Valenti claims to be the only one questioning my background but the fact that I filed a defamation law suit against him may have something to do with his obsession to continue his character assassination of me.

The history of my work in my community is contained within my web site, At the age of 66, I wake every morning and I'm proud of the man in the mirror. I have made many efforts and spent countless hours doing what I could to improve the quality of life in my community. If voters take the time to read about my work history and my public works and then choose to base their opinion on character assassination and false charges over 10 years old then that's their right to do so. Apparently, it is the headlines that matter, not the ultimate disposition of those headlines.

This all boils down to comparing what I have done with my life, the work experience I have accumulated and the ability I have to be a good County Controller. By the way, my "Rodney King" point when interviewed was based on what I see as county officials spending more time looking to lay blame than working together to solve problems. If I'm wrong and working together is a bad objective then there are two other candidates to choose from. This is still America and as a veteran of 4 years of active duty, I will defend your right to choose. And, as a veteran I will exercise my right to defend myself when challenged.

Luzerne County Controller

The county Republicans are looking for a sweep of the 3 row offices up for election this year and many local political observers have told me if they don't win this time they never will. Next to the Commissioners the most important job under the dome is Controller. The candidates are Republican Walter Griffith , Democrat Bob Morgan and Independent Wil Toole.

Toole is a long time Democratic politico from Pittston who flirted with a run for the Democratic nomination in the spring and applied for the job in 2008 when Maryanne Petrilla became Commissioner. Rapid Edward never got around to filling the post. He is now running as an Independent.

Toole was the first Controller candidate interviewed by the Times Leader Editorial Board and sometimes sounds like Rodney King. “I don’t know why we have to be at war. I don’t know why we can’t say, ‘This is wrong. Let’s fix it,’ rather than, ‘Ha, ha, ha, I got you.’ I just don’t see that as being necessary.” He touts his achievements as Pittston's as city clerk/administrator "I ran the city of Pittston for 13 years,” Toole said the city had low tax rates, paved roads, pristine parks, adequate staff, an over-funded pension fund and manageable debt load when he left in 1997.

The article also notes that Toole made headlines in 1999 when he agreed to repay Pittston nearly $19,000 in overtime the city said he illegally obtained. Pittston officials said he obtained that money by inflating the hours of overtime he worked during his last year of employment as city clerk. Felony charges of theft and tampering with public records against Toole were dismissed by a county judge. Who was the Judge?

I find it amazing that the TL would include that information in the article but not ask him to comment about it. I have asked Toole for his side of the story and will publish his response if he answers.

The Blogfather has been researching the PNC Bank ethics policy because Democratic nominee Bob Morgan is employed by that bank. He points out many potential conflicts of interest because PNC has been involved financing Luzerne County bonds and some pension funds also wash through PNC. The company prohibits outside employment that interferes with the employee's job responsibilities or schedule. Morgan is on record as saying he will keep his job at the bank and will devote whatever time he feels is necessary to the Controller's position. I'm just guessing but I think he keeps banker's hours so how is he going to be available for all the meetings of the Salary Board, Retirement Board, Commissioner's meetings and just running the day to day operations of the office? Maybe he has a lot of vacation time saved up.

The Lu Lac Political Letter is hosting a debate between the candidates at Bentley’s, Route 309 in Ashley Tuesday October 27th from 7 to 9PM. All three candidates have accepted David's invitation.

This is neat. A venue that I can grab a drink then go to a political debate. I think that we can make this into a blogger/committee meetup.

Update: The date for the debate is MONDAY OCT. 26th. We changed the date because of WVIA TV's broadcast debate on the night of the 27th. We felt it wouldn't be fair to the candidates to compete with that. So the debate is Monday, Oct. 26th

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mike LaPolla for State Represenative

Freshman Democratic State Rep Kevin Murphy has an opponent.

From a press release.

LaPolla Announces Bid for 113th Legislative District Post

New Leadership Needed in 2010

North Scranton-Last evening, Mike LaPolla announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for State Representative of the 113th Legislative District to a crowd of 75 supporters, friends and family in North Scranton.

Mike LaPolla stated that he has spent the latter part of his career in service to the Boy Scouts of America and now seeks to take that philosophy of accountability, hard work and service to the community to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. LaPolla described himself as someone who carries no baggage and has no backs to scratch. He stated that he is a straightforward, honest, middle class citizen like the taxpayers of the 113th Legislative District.

“I have no political ties to special interest groups except one, the taxpayers of the 113th Legislative District” LaPolla said. “From Moosic and Taylor to Throop and South Abington with Scranton in the middle, property tax reform and the inability of the legislature to pass an acceptable budget in the time specified by law are the key issues the taxpayers face today. It took 101 days to get a mediocre budget passed that does not address the issue of a multi-billion dollar shortfall next year. Many citizens of the commonwealth were hurt by this inactivity and lack of accountability on the part of the legislature. If our representatives in the General Assembly are incapable of providing a solid, balanced and fair budget by July 1st as the law states, they should receive no pay, no per diems, and be sequestered in Harrisburg until such time as they come to an agreement on the budget. We elect our legislators to do the business of the Commonwealth in the best representation of the people they serve. This year, our legislature has failed miserably at great detriment to the people of the Commonwealth. This lack of accountability to the taxpayers must change and will change when I am elected to represent the people of the 113th Legislative District.

Mike LaPolla and his wife Jacqueline live in North Scranton. Mike has worked in service to the Boy Scouts of America for the past 11 years as Senior District Executive.

Christopher Paige for Congress

There is at least one Republican in Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District that is willing to take on Paul Kanjorski that is not named Lou Barletta.

Coulter Jones broke the news in the Citizens Voice a few days ago that Christopher Howard Paige filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission this past week, clearing the way for the 37-year-old Skytop man to run for Congress. Paige, who runs a hedge fund with his wife in Monroe County, was a registered Democrat until 2008, but switched registration to the Republican Party after the Democratic-majority Congress passed the TARP - the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which was part of the bailout of the U.S. financial system.

My first reaction was Who is this guy? So I started asking around.

I contacted long time Kanjorski spokesman Ed Mitchell who replied "Never heard of him. Got balls running as a hedge fund manager these days!"

Our best local researcher McGruff did some digging and found out that Paige graduated from the University of Virginia, has a law degree from Yale University and a master's degree in political science from New York University. He was the Director of The Pace Poll and is now dealing in exotic financial instruments that most of us don't understand and may have contributed to the financial meltdown that happened last fall. He moved to the Poconos in 2006 was a registered Democrat until 2008.

Some choice quotes.

From the CV:

"I'm not some hardcore Republican. What the Democratic Party has been doing with the economy has been disastrous. We cannot let this continue."

He takes a shot at Barletta.

"We've tried that twice. We don't need to try that again. I don't share his approach on immigration at all. I think he would damage the Republican Party's reputation with that approach."

And he took a shot at Kanjo about his oversight of the financial industry and his vote for the TARP program.

"That's like bragging you were on the bridge of the Titanic and in charge of navigation," Paige said. "These bailouts were unbelievably expensive, and obviously ineffective if you look at what has happened to the economy. Just take it the common sense, how does it make sense to take our money to give it to banks so they can lend our money back to us?"

More choice quotes from the Pocono Record.

“I was outraged by the bailouts which I think are unconstitutional. You are throwing societal resources at inefficient companies.”

“The housing bubble was fueled by government policy subsidizing home ownership. We've got to stop trying to subsidize various industries.”

In an interview with he said “I think the public has decided to get rid of Kanjorski, they just saw Barletta as an unacceptable alternative,” Paige said. “Had it been someone else, we would have won last year.”

I had a brief conservation with Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta on Saturday who also had no idea who this guy is and declined to respond to Paige's criticisms. I asked him a few questions.

The last time I talked to you I got the impression you were running for Lt. Governor, what happened to that?

"I want to be in a position to affect change and that is not an office that would let me do that."

Are you going to run for Congress again?

"I haven't ruled it out and I'm very seriously looking at the race."

Has your Congressional campaign committee raised any money this quarter?

"Very little, just trying to retire the debt."

When I talked to you in your office last January it was obvious that you love being the Mayor of Hazelton.

"Staying Mayor is not out of the question."

Mayor Lou will be teaming with Mayor John DeStefano Jr. of New Haven, Conn. to discuss immigration at a forum at Wilkes University on Oct. 22.

One thing that I like about Barletta is that he has a thick skin. I disagree with him on many issues and have beat him up on this blog many times but he always talks to me.

Corey O'Brien didn't return a phone call asking for comment.
Update: As noted Paige was a Democrat until 2008 and his campaign contributions reflect that. According the the HuffPo he gave $2300 to Hillary Clinton in 2008, $1800 to John Kerry in 2004 and $600 to Howard Dean in 2004. lists contributions of
$250 to Actblue and $250 to Sestak For Congress in 2006.

Bellas fired

Or suspended, it amounts the same thing.

WEST PITTSTON - The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority suspended Executive Director Allan Bellas without pay today after Bellas rescinded a promise he would resign amid "trouble" stemming from a federal corruption investigation.

His legal problems appears to be part of one the property tax give away programs to local businesses that promise to bring "good paying jobs to the area because of our work ethic." The rest of us make up the shortfall in tax revenue every year. The TL has more about Tax Incremental Financing. A source familiar with the investigation said Bellas has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors and is expected to be charged soon with accepting money in connection with some official action. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he did not know if the alleged wrongdoing was related to Bellas’ position on the authority, the Wyoming Valley West School Board or some other entity.

He also served on the LCCC Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2007.

So I will go out on a limb and predict that he will be charged with just one crime leaving us to wonder what else he did like many of the other people snared so far. I want trials for all these people detailing who paid them how much and when.

His wife, Nancy Bellas, is the Democratic nominee for Luzerne County Prothonotary and could probably now kiss that off.

I have been predicting for months that Republican Carolee Medico Olenginski would win the election and fair or not this probably made her case about corruption.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baseball, Football, Painting, Politics and Religion

Pretty much a complete Sunday.

While watching the Eagles beat the worst team in the the NFL, the Red Sox getting eliminated from the playoffs and as of right now it looks like the Evil Empire will knock off the Twins we somehow got most of the living room painted. New carpeting and furniture is next.

My post yesterday about Gina Nevenglosky 's Day of Prayer at the courthouse resulted in a spirited discussion and I would thank everyone (especially Rene and Steve)for joining in the banter with some thoughtful comments. I will concede that I may have overstated that this was violation of the establishment clause of the 1st amendment as many of you pointed out but when I read the agenda for the event it came across to me as a church service on public property masquerading as a political rally.

Religion is a good thing that motivates many people to do good things such as making sure their neighbors have enough to eat but when it gets into the political realm it can be destructive. How many wars have been fought because one tribe thought that the one next to them worshiped the wrong god or didn't worship god in the right way? I think Jesus had it right, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

I'm not religious but I have always tried to live my life according to the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." If only politicians could live up to that.

On a lighter note the best way to see me at church is to sit by the window and I will wave to you as I drive by.

This has floating around for a while and I don't know how true it is but it gave me a chuckle and is a good critique of religion:

Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic (Boyle’s Law)

Bonus Question of the mid-term exam: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

“First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities: 1. if Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, and then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose. 2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my freshman year that “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is, therefore, extinct…leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being, which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting “Oh my God.”