Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gotta get a mac

This computer has frozen up 5 times in the last 6 hours.

Another Blogfest success

The outgrowth of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society scored another feather in the cap with the 5th iteration of Blogfest at Rooney's in Pittston last night. About 200 people came and went throughout the evening who adhered to the spirit of the event. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Pastafarians agreed to disagree but nobody was disagreeable and everybody wore clothes.


11th CD Democratic candidate Gene Stilp added some fun to the evening by inflating one of his pink pigs outside Rooney's. The police stopped by to check it out because somebody called 911, the cops laughed it off.


Stilp showed up with a posse of supporters and talked my ear off. I asked why he was running for Congress when most of us that pay attention associate him with state issues. He refuted that saying the issues he brings up matter not only to the state but the country. I also found that we have a mutual friend, my gatekeeper Dot. Primary opponent Bill Vinsko worked the room and the Barletta campaign was represented by CM Lance Strange who has great sense of humor and a thick skin like his boss.


It was great to see State Rep Gerald Mullery and his opponent Rick Arnold have a nice chat.


Young Republican Aaron Kaufer is running in the 120th HD. Regular commenter Forrest seemed to be persuaded by him.

Matt Cartwright and Tom Shibula came after they were done with the meet and greet down the street from my house. Blogfest had been on the calendar since January so you guy's schedule an event to step on it 2 weeks out? Grrrr as Rusty would say. Tim Holden also had an event scheduled at the same time many miles away. Laureen Cummings is the Republican candidate in the 17thCD and made the rounds at Blogfest. My pal Jim O'Meara is her campaign manager.


JJ Murphy represented his brother Patrick who is running for Attorney General but was in Pittsburgh campaigning. Hey Nat you have to get your scheduling priorities straight. I was disapointed that Kathleen Kane or any surrogates didn't make it but that's no surprise as I have been told she hasn't been on the hustings as much as she should. After all the parking was free with no need to worry about getting a ticket.


Other politicos in the crowd included Bill Goldsworthy, Harry Haas, Bob Lampman, Bob Zaruta,Mike Szutack, Bob Caruso, Johm Lombardo and Casey Evans who recently got engaged. It was good to see both the Young Democrats and Young Republicans, they are our future leaders. I'm sure I left someone out and misspelled some names.

As the blogger report I will update NEPA Blogs


Pictures of the event are available at

Joe V's Photo Bucket and Here

You Tube weekend

This comes from the Blogfather.

The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society theme song as performed by some drunk in the back of a police car. I sang along.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pink pig parked in Pittston

200 witnesses at Rooney's Pub.

Police and bloggers investigating.

Full report tomorrow.

Bill Wellock has the scoop in the CV

NEPA Blog Fest draws candidates' attention

Blogfest tonight

The next blogger meetup will be Friday March 30th at Rooney's Irish Pub 67 S. Main St. Pittston, PA 18704 starting at 6PM. There is big bar area with tables off to the side and plenty of free parking across the street where the Tomato Festival is held. It's easy to find just drive north on River Street from W-B and it's on the left. Or south from Scranton and it's on the right.

It looks like we will have a good turnout. So far I have received confirmation from about 20 campaigns for Congress and State House that the candidate and/or supporters will be attending. That includes Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Pastafarians. The statewide candidates have been invited along with local office holders not up for election this year and people interested in running for local offices in 2013. Some national figures have been invited and you never know who just might make it. Last time over 150 people showed up. Our political bloggers from Luzerne and Lackawanna counties will be there along with our readers, commenter's and people who are just interested in local politics.

Since it's inception 2 years ago Blogfest has been described as the best political event of the season.

There are 3 rules to the event.

1. No Speeches

2. You must wear clothes even if it is warm.

3. Agree to disagree but don't be disagreeable.

There is no charge for admission.

The Yonk is 2000 posts old

The Lu Lac Political Letter written by my good friend David Yonki who has been an online scribe since May 2006 has become one of the first reads for political junkies locally and across the state marked another milestone.

The LuLac Edition #2,000, March 28th, 2012


I’ve always been a milestone guy. I think if you stop counting, you stop caring. Your stats are a reflection of who you are, how you play the game, how you work the project.Today, LuLac is presenting its 2,000th edition. Bloggers call them posts but I’ve tried to resist that since starting this site in May of 2006.

Congrats Dave. We are looking forward to reading the 3,000th edition.

I'm coming up on the 7th year of doing this and just checked my stats making this my 3428th post. It's all how you measure it. The Blogfather has been doing it even longer.

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics"

After Blogfest we shall gather for the Kentucky Derby/Blogoversary celebration at the ancient home of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society, Marks Pub formerly Daugherty's in Miners Mills to mark our milestones.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kane on the air

Democratic Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane has her 1st TV spot of the campaign up.

NEPartisan has a review:

Not long ago, I saw a Kathleen Kane ad on cable news. It was a typical introducing ad, who she is, why she’s the choice for PA Attorney General, etc.
Throw in the usual footage of speaking to various people, add in a veteran, show the family, and BAM! you’ve got your ad.
It also mentions the endorsement from former President Clinton, so this ad has freshness.
Can Patrick Murphy counter? Does he have the money to throw up television ads across the state?
If I’m a voter not familiar with the PA Attorney General race, she’s the only candidate running. With the Clinton bump, it’s her race to lose.


Patrick Murphy snags AFL-CIO endorsement

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Endorses Patrick Murphy

(Philadelphia, PA) – Today, Iraq war veteran and former prosecutor Patrick Murphy issued the following statement after earning the endorsement of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, which represents 900,000 working families:

"I'm honored to earn the support of so many hard working Pennsylvanians. My dad was police officer for 22 years, so I grew up in a union household. And I understand that working families are struggling right now. There is a clear contrast in this race. I've always fought to defend the rights of workers to organize for better wages and working conditions, and as Attorney General I will continue to protect workers and the middle class. But my opponent has refused answer questions about her company's fiercely anti-union positions. Pennsylvanians need to know that their Attorney General will always fight for them. My record is clear. Unfortunately, my opponent's is not.” Murphy said.

Most endorsements are only good for a press release unless it brings money or boots on the ground. This one brings both. So which endorsement is more helpful, this one or President Clinton's ? It may help if he campaigns for Kathleen Kane but his recent track record of backing PA candidates hasn't worked out the way they wanted just ask Chris Doherty, Joe Sestak and Paul Kanjorski.

I've been told that Kane is on TV with a bio spot but I haven't seen it and it's not on her website or YouTube channel yet. I'll post it when I get the link.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Outside influences

Matt Cartwright has snagged the nod of the successor group of the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign Democracy for America that will urge it's members to send money his way. That Democratic wing of the Democratic Party thing is working out pretty well for him.

He also picked up the support of the Blue America PAC that has billboards up in the district but I haven't spotted one yet. They are reported to be in Lackawanna, Northampton and Schuylkill counties but not Luzerne county. If you see one please send me a picture and tell me the location.

In a story in the TL yesterday it seems that Tim Holden's spox Eric Nagy was answering a question that wasn't asked saying that Act Blue was a Super PAC. I said that was a lie and a distortion but I realize now it was not a lie but possibly an editing problem, my apologies Eric. The next time you are in town the Yonk and me will take you to Abe's Hot Dog's or Victory Pig Pizza with Chis Lilik to make up for that.

Today we found out that an actual Super PAC funded by a few millionaires is planning to spend big bucks to defeat Holden.

Super PAC Prepares to Spend $200K Each Against Holden, Murphy

This outfit is something of a mystery with most of the money coming from just 4 people. They are going after both Democrats and Republicans in safe districts that have primary challengers. So far they had success knocking of Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt in the Republican primary and got mixed up in another Republican primary in Illinois. The group also went went after Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Jo Bonner (R-AL), Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), each of whom won his or her primary. 2 out of 6 ain't bad.

From the CFC website:

To put the voters back in control of the process, we must challenge long-term incumbents and hold them accountable for their deeds. Enough is enough. As our economic crisis deepens, as the federal bureaucracy continues to expand and as lobbyists gain still more power, we must apply leverage where we can: in primary election challenges to incumbent members of Congress.

During the 2012 primaries, American citizens will stand up as never before, expressing their opposition to an out-of-control Congress, and making their voices heard and their votes count. The people will become more powerful than the politicians. When the people once more have power, there is no problem—even those caused by Congress itself—that we cannot fix.

Then if you look at Tim Holden's FEC report you will see many outside infuences.

DWT has a summery:

Holden, a Blue Dog has taken $688,999 from the finance industry and $414,997 from Big Oil and Gas. Holden has taken even more money from AgriBusiness and he's scooping up checks like mad this year to fight off his first serious electoral challenge ever. [One of the company's eager to keep Holden in Congress is AT&T, which has given House Republicans $896,121 this
year and House Democrats $443,750. $5,000 of that went to Holden.]

And a Facebook page to go with it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cartwright airs a pair

17th CD candidate Matt Cartwright has 2 new TV spots up knocking the absurdity of the tax code.

Via PoliticsPA:

“If corporations can claim this as a business expense, don’t you think that working families ought to get the same tax break for their child care?”


Likewise, if businesses can write off limousines, restaurant bills and office furniture, Cartwright asks why a woman who retrofit a home for her elderly mother can’t get the same.


17th CD news

There has been a flurry of endorsements for the Democratic candidates running in the newfangled 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Incumbent Tim Holden landed the holy grail for Dems with the AFL-CIO backing his bid for reelection. I've have been of the opinion that most endorsements are only good for a press release unless it brings money or boots on the ground. This one brings both.

In the press release category the Lackawanna Democratic Party Politburo endorsed Holden and NEPartisan discounts it influence. A similar thing happened when the Luzerne County Democratic Party endorsed him and played some games with the vote to make it appear unanimous. Since I know that more than a few Luzerne County Democratic Committee members are actively campaigning for Cartwright it looks like the county party's endorsement is worthless. This sort of thing would not happen when State Senator Marty Murray was running the show.

Holden brought Steny Hoyer to Easton to help him out but few people knew who they are. Another press release.

As I reported earlier Democracy for America endorsed Matt Cartwright.

Democracy for America endorses Matt Cartwright (PA-17)

This a big deal because this group can raise some money for it's favorite candidates. Fracking is a big issue with them.

Act Blue is another outfit that is raising money for Cartwright. So far it has raised $10K from 47 donors for an average $220. Tim Holden also has an Act Blue account that has raised $17,000 from 27 people an average of $630.

Act Blue is not a "super pac." A super pac is an outfit funded by wealthy people trying to buy our elections. Act Blue has small donors.

TL: Eric Nagy, said Holden preferred to focus on the outside influence of “super PACs.”
“Multiple Super PACs from outside the 17th district are poised to spend millions of dollars to distort Tim Holden’s record of public service and are determined to buy this election,” Nagy said. “Tim Holden is firmly opposed to Super PACs and believes that voters are supposed to decide elections, not corporations.”

Such a lie and distortion. Matt Cartwright is not taking money from Super Pacs. Tim Holden is taking money from many corporate interests.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Former President Clinton Endorses Kathleen Kane

From the inbox:

President Clinton Endorses Prosecutor Kathleen Kane for Pennsylvania Attorney General

SCRANTON, PA -- Prosecutor Kathleen Kane is honored to announce that President Bill Clinton has formally endorsed her candidacy for Pennsylvania Attorney General. "The first elected office I ever held was Attorney-General, so it's a job I know something about. The Attorney General can have an enormous positive impact, so it’s important to elect someone who understands how to use the office and the legal system to protect and advance the lives of Pennsylvanians. Kathleen Kane would make a great Attorney General. She's smart and tough. She's prosecuted more than 3000 cases, protected senior citizens, and put child molesters and violent criminals behind bars,” remarked President Clinton. “Kathleen is a great Democrat who understands that an Attorney General's job is to stand up for consumers and people. I'm proud to endorse my friend Kathleen Kane and I hope she'll become the first woman ever elected Attorney General by the people of Pennsylvania."

"Pennsylvania has always been Clinton Country,” said Kane, “so I am energized by the President's endorsement and the momentum it provides my campaign. Moreover, it's an honor to be endorsed by President Clinton, someone who demonstrated the right kind of leadership for Pennsylvania and America.
# # #

Kathleen Kane is a veteran prosecutor who has experience ranging from the crime scene to the courtroom. Her career spans thousands of cases from murder and assault to child abuse and elder abuse, from rape and domestic violence, to public corruption and insurance fraud.Kathleen has worked with victims and families, has prosecuted thousands of criminals, and has the experience we need as our next Attorney General.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blogfest this Friday

Blogfest-2011 Spring Edition

Northeastern Pennsylvania Bloggers will be hosting the 5th semi-annual Blogfest at Rooney's Irish Pub, Friday March 30th at Rooney's Irish Pub, 67 S. Main St., Pittston, PA 18704 starting at 6PM. This is an informal gathering of bloggers, candidates for office, elected officials and anyone interested in politics or blogging. There is no charge for admission. For more information please visit, , , call 570-823-4508.

Since it's inception 2 years ago Blogfest has been described as the best political event of the season. No speeches are allowed and the rule is agree to disagree but don't be disagreeable. Many local and statewide candidates will be attending.

Kathleen Kane had 15 parking tickets dismissed

Pennsylvania Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane had 15 parking tickets all dismissed by the same Judge, Scranton Magistrate Alyce Hailstone. The tickets were written between 1998 and 2001 and the dismissals happened between 2002 and 2009. In one case a ticket was written 3/12/99 but wasn't dismissed until 7/9/09, over 10 years. I don't think Scranton uses the boot for parking offenders.

You can check out the details below:
Ticket Issued... Court Date* ...Result
2/21/01... ........8/12/02 .........Dismissed/Closed
10/31/00 .........9/16/05......... Dismissed/Closed
8/28/00 .........1/28/02 .........Dismissed/Closed
2/28/00 ..........4/19/04 ........Dismissed/Closed
9/17/99 ...........5/16/07 .........Dismissed/Closed
9/17/99 ...........5/16/07 .........Dismissed/Closed
6/18/99 .........10/25/05 ........Dismissed/Closed
5/18/99 ..........1/19/07 ..........Dismissed/Closed
3/31/99 .........9/15/06 ...........Dismissed/Closed
3/31/99 .........8/19/05 ...........Dismissed/Closed
3/31/99 ..........8/4/05 ...........Dismissed/Closed
3/12/99 ............7/9/09 .........Dismissed/Closed
3/12/99 .........6/30/05 ..........Dismissed/Closed
1/12/99 .........4/22/04 ..........Dismissed/Closed
11/27/98........ 9/29/04 .........Dismissed/Closed


I asked the Kane campaign for an explanation and spox Frank Keel responded:


"Of the 15 parking violations noted, 11 were undeliverable, meaning the issuing entity had a bad address for Kathleen. After a certain period of time, if the issuing entity does not deliver the parking citation to the correct address, the citation is dismissed. The other four tickets in question were simply dismissed, presumably because there were mechanical problems with the parking meters."


Being a law abiding motor vehicle operator that hasn't had a parking ticket in over 15 years this response raised a few questions in my mind. The last time I got a parking ticket I found it on the windshield of my car and I wrote out a check the next day. I blew off a ticket once then received a notice that included late fees and realized that the city had my address by running my plate number. I'm not a lawyer but it is my understanding that I'm required to provide PennDOT with my current address when I fill out the annual registration.

Santorum wins Louisiana

Santorum 91,305 49%
Romney 49,749 27%
Gingrich 29,655 16%
Paul 11,460 6%

Romney Etch A Sketch: Is aide's comment a present for his foes?

Asked whether Mr. Romney had moved too far to the right for the general election, Mr. Fehrnstrom said that the GOP hopeful would hit a reset button for the fall campaign. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch,” he said. “You can kind of shake it up and restart it all over again.”

Romney is still favorite to win the Republican nomination but you have to wonder if the Etch A Sketch comment is a defining moment like John Kerry saying "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Confirming the charge that he is flip flopper who will say anything to win an election. It reminds me of Dukakis in a tank, the Dean scream and his father saying he had been "brainwashed" by American generals into supporting the Vietnam war.

Next up April 3: District of Columbia, Maryland and Wisconsin then we have 3 weeks until the PA primary along with Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Rhode Island on April 24. Right now it looks like the only state Santorum can win out of this bunch is PA. After that the race goes south again to friendlier territory for Rick.

The Santorum camp sent out a statement to supporters:

The story in Louisiana yesterday was different than the one the Washington establishment and the Romney campaign are trying to sell us on.The exit polls in Louisiana shared some interesting information - when people can get to know the real Rick Santorum, he wins in almost every polled category. Rick won Tea Party voters, conservatives, moderates, liberals and every income group except one: people making over $200,000 a year (Mitt Romney won this group, but it was close).
We won because we had the resources to tell the real Rick Santorum story, and refute Romney's negative commercials and robocalls. Because when people get to know Rick's and Romney's real record, Rick wins every time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

John Featherman for Congress

I don't normally cover congressional races outside of NEPA but this ad from John Featherman is an instant classic.

In 2006 Featherman tried to run against then Senator Rick Santorum in the Republican primary but his petitions were challenged and didn't meet the picky standards. He has also run for other offices and this time around he is challenging 1st CD Congressman and Philadelpia Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady.

From PoliticsPA: (NSFW)

You Tube weekend

O Fortuna

Friday, March 23, 2012

Democracy for America will endorse Matt Cartwright

A "very close source" to the Cartwright campaign told me yesterday that the progressive group DFA will be backing Matt in the 17th Congressional District Democratic primary.


Actually the source was Matt Cartwright himself and I'm just making fun of this National Journal story but that has changed in the last few hours. So now the NJ and others have reported that Cartwright has raised around $600K. "we'd be at $600,000" for the quarter, said Cartwright campaign manager Shane Seaver. I'm not sure what this secrecy about fundraising numbers is about. Like it is a surprise that Matt Cartwright could raise a ton of money


DFA recently ran a contest that Allan Grayson was the top getter.


Pennsylvania Progressive has an interview with Cartwright that can be viewed at this link



Down With Tyranny tells us about Tim Holden's ties to the frackers


Welcome home Renita

I was bit surprised that former Luzerne County Republican Party Executive Director Renita Fennick went to work for Tom Marino after the 2010 election instead of Lou Barletta. That has been rectified.

HAZLETONU.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, announced that Renita Fennick will become his district director on Monday, April 9.
Renita brings a wealth of local knowledge and regional experience to my office, and I’m pleased to welcome her to my team,” Rep. Barletta said. “I’ve known Renita for many years. She is committed and dedicated to improving the lives of people in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I think she will make an excellent district director.”
Fennick leaves the office of U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10), where she served as communications director since January 2011. She worked at the Citizens’ Voice and Times Leader newspapers in Wilkes-Barre, and was city editor of the Times Leader until 2009, when she left to accept a position as executive director of the Luzerne County Republican Party.

I think Renita did a good job as the local GOP front person and chief organizer. She and Chairman Terry Casey were able to smooth over the factionalism dealing with difficult personalities and helped the Republicans win 2 of the 3 row offices that year. In the 2010 election she was a big booster of Barletta helping him win Luzerne County and the district. Like many of our local politicos she has attended Blogfest and we hope to see her again next Friday along with her new boss and his press guy.

Fennick leaves Marino’s office to work for Barletta

Marino spokeswoman joins Barletta's staff

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Murphy on the air

The contest for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Attorney General is the 2nd most interesting race in our part of the Commonwealth after the 17th CD primary between Cartwright and Holden. The Man on Dog vs. the Dog on Roof Prez contest has kind of fizzled after Romney's blowout win in Illinois.

Patrick Murphy is winning the money primary outraising Kathleen Kane by 5 to 1 although Kane has $2 million cash on hand thanks to the generosity of her family.

I have to admit that I'm partial to fellow vet Murphy a graduate of King's College who had the honor of introducing President Clinton when he visited Wilkes-Barre in 1996. The first time I met him he told me "I read your blog." He attended the last Blogfest driving through a monsoon to get there. Hopefully he will attend our next together on March 30th and Tom will bring along Kathleen Kane. Republican David Freed has also been invited.

Here is the ad via PoliticsPA

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Romney wins Illinois

Mitt Romney won the Illinois primary after out spending Rick Santorum 7 to 1 and some reports say it was 20 to 1 in Chicago media market. Rick's shoestring campaign, lack of discipline and poor organization is not going to be enough to catch the former liberal Governor of Massachusetts. Santorum again didn't have a full slate of delegates on the ballot. He was in Gettysburg tonight and will make his last stand in Pennsylvania on April 24th.

Mitt Romney 428,434 46.7%

Rick Santorum 321,079 35%

Ron Paul 85,464 9.3%

Newt Gingrich 72,942 8%

This comes after Romney's blowout win in Puerto Rico after Senador Puertorriqueño told the residents of the island to learn English. Then he told a state with a 9%+ jobless rate "I don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. It doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates." Romney's camp beat him over the head for both remarks. Even though Paul and Gingrich are still in the race they are diminishing factors.

This Saturday Rick is favored in the Louisiana primary then DC, Maryland and Wisconsin look better for Romney.

As the Man on Dog vs. Dog on Roof contest continues some interesting polling was done by PPP looking to the fall.

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama's treatment of dogs?Favorable........................................................ 44%
Unfavorable .................................................... 14%
Not sure .......................................................... 42%

In general, do you think it is humane to put your family dog in a kennel on the roof of your car for a long car trip, or do you think that is inhumane?
Humane .......................................................... 14%
Inhumane........................................................ 68%
Not sure .......................................................... 18%

Mitt Romney once strapped his dog’s kennel to the roof of his car for a long car trip. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for him, or does it not make a difference?
More likely....................................................... 7%
Less likely ....................................................... 35%
Doesn't make a difference .............................. 55%
Not sure .......................................................... 2%

Bo rides inside and the Prez likes a Guinness.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meet the candidate

From the inbox:

Cartwright Campaign to Open Wilkes-Barre and Scranton Offices this Weekend

Democratic Congressional candidate Matt Cartwright will be opening both his campaigns Wilkes-Barre and Scranton offices this weekend.
On Friday (March 23), the campaign will be opening their Wilkes-Barre office at 6 pm, located at 15 Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre. On Sunday (March 25) evening the campaign will be opening their Scranton office at 6 pm, located at 224 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton.
“We’re excited to open these two offices. With roughly 60% of the District in my home counties of Lackawanna and Luzerne, this will be a major battleground for the April 24th election,” said, Cartwright.
Cartwright, continued, “We have built a strong grassroots organization throughout the district, with the addition of these two offices, the campaign has become very accessible to both volunteers and voters.”
Both events will be open to the public and refreshments will be provided.
Matt Cartwright is a Democrat, running for Congress in the 17th Congressional District, which now includes parts of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe and Northampton Counties, as well as all of Schuylkill County. Cartwright is running for Congress to bring jobs to Northeast Pennsylvania, and make sure that corporations and wealthy Americans pay their fair share of taxes.

Planning Blogfest

!I've been busy working my Facebook contacts and sending out emails to various candidates and other political types inviting them to the 5th Blogfest so I haven't been able to be too snarky about some comments from PA politicians that caught my eye.

Talking about the new voter ID law Governor Tom Corbett said “When some of the precincts come in with a 112 percent reporting you have to scratch your head and say how does that happen?” I watch elections closely and I have never heard of such a thing.

From Steve Bennen: But here's the trouble: there are no examples of Pennsylvania precincts, at a time or in an election, coming in with 112% participation. Corbett appears to have simply made this up.

He was Attorney General before becoming Governor so if he found such evidence of voter fraud you would think he would have investigated it. Maybe he just closed his eyes.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic and need to go call it a night soon.

A few years ago I was talking with Joe V of Pittston Politics about doing a political event and we both agreed that we didn't want to do the usual candidates forum. The LWV and some media outlets already did that and we wanted to do something different. I suggested we rent a fire hall or something and have a kind of political carnival then he came up the idea of having an informal cocktail party and suggested we do it at his pal's bar in Pittston. I had been doing informal get togethers of local bloggers at other watering holes and it clicked. So Blogfest was born although it took a bit to settle on a name for the event.

It was a hit right from the start and Vito put it best "You should do this more often! It was probably the most stress-free 'political' event I have ever been to. It was so refreshing to meet people from all parties and discuss issues at such a casual affair. In addition to typical politics, I had the opportunity to engage in conversations about gas drilling, home rule, college football, and how my three boys believe it is their Constitutional right to maintain a messy bedroom. Great job Gort!

The last time around we had just about every candidate for Luzerne County candidate for Judge, the county council and many municipal offices. Before that state rep and congressional candidates made an appearance. I don't want to list everyone who has attended because I'm sure I will omit someone.

This time around Michelle and DB are working on getting many NEPA Bloggers to attend who may or may not be interested in politics.

The beauty of Blogfest is a few simple rules. No speeches from any politician or anyone else, agree to disagree without being disagreeable. The dress code is basic you must wear clothes even it is warm. If Rick Santorum shows up I will wear a brown sweatervest.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Date: Friday, March 30th, 2012

Time: 6pm

Location: Rooney's Irish Pub; 67 South Main Street; Pittston, PA 18640.

A menu can be found here.

This is a free event open to local bloggers, lurkers and anyone else interested in hanging out with the "cool kiddies" of the local blogosphere.***

You can RSVP to the Facebook Event Page right here.

Matt Cartwright for Congress

I had a brief telephone chat with Democratic 17th CD candidate Matt Cartwright today. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Go Quakers) and Hamilton College in upstate New York.

When I asked how much money he has raised he told me he has raised enough money so far. That shows as the Sunday airwaves have been full of his ads and I got a mailer from his camp yesterday. I asked him if he would appear with President Obama or Vice President Biden if they came to our area he said "why not." I would like to ask Tim Holden the same question but I don't have any contact information for him.

He pointed out that the new 17th CD is 56% D to 32% by registration and was drawn by the Harrisburg Republicans as a trade off for making the 10th and 11th CD's safer for Lou Barletta and Tom Marino but nobody expected him to get in the race.

Cartwright held a few fundraisers for Chris Carney when he was running for Congress and was disappointed that he is backing Tim Holden.

On the important questions he confirmed that the Phillie's is his baseball team and roots for the Eagles in the NFL. In College football he likes Notre Dame.

I also invited him to Blogfest on March 30th at Rooney's in Pittston. He said he will be there.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Barletta and GOP Distorts CBO Report

Congressman Lou Barletta's campaign sent this out yesterday:

"Remember when the President promised that Obamacare would reduce health care costs? It was one of his key selling points. Earlier this week the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report that the cost of Obamacare over the next decade is a staggering $1.76 trillion. That’s almost double the $900 billion price tag President Obama promised the American people."

TMB: The Congressional Budget Office released a new report this morning on the costs of the Affordable Care Act, and ever since, Fox News, congressional Republicans, the conservative Washington Times, and a variety of conservative blogs have been pretty worked up about the CBO findings.
They may want to take another look at it...

TPM: CBO’s actual revised estimate is that the “gross costs of the coverage provisions,” — the money used to provide people Medicaid or private insurance — has risen by about $50 billion over the 2012-2021 period since its previous estimate, from $1.445 trillion to $1.496 trillion. That’s the only relevant change to spending projections in the report.

So where are conservatives getting the idea that the cost of the law doubled? When it passed in 2010, CBO said its 10-year outlays would be about $940 billion. But because the law isn’t set to be fully implemented until 2014, when the coverage expansion takes effect, that initial estimate included several years in which the law cost very little. Now that it’s 2012, CBO’s 10-year outlook captures more years during which the law will be in full effect. The law’s price tag appears higher, but its costs in no way doubled.

WONKBLOG: This analysis shows the net cost of the coverage provisions will be about $50 billion less than previously estimated. That implies the law will cut more, not less, from the deficit than previous estimates suggested. In other words, this estimate says the bill is more, not less, fiscally responsible than was previously reported.
One other thing that’s confused some people is that this estimate is looking at a different timeframe than the original estimates. The CBO’s first pass at the bill looked at 2010-2019. But years have passed, and so now they’re looking at 2012-2021. That means they have two fewer years of implementation, when the bill costs almost nothing, and two more years of operation, when it costs substantially more.

Republicans said that they wanted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. I see that they are big on repeal but I haven't heard much about the replace part.

More from Lou: And make no mistake, I am on the record opposing it. I have fought it at every turn. I supported a full repeal as well as systematically taking it apart piece by piece. I even signed on to an “amicus brief” against Obamacare which the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear in the coming weeks.

The White House sent an email reminding me of some the benefits of the new law and I have to ask Lou if he really want's to kick young adults off their parents health insurance? Should seniors have to pay more for prescription drugs? Is holding Insurance companies feet to the fire socialism? Does he want to outlaw coverage for pre-existing conditions or let insurance companies set a lifetime limit of coverage that would result in a death sentence for some people?

Health reform is already making a difference for the people of Pennsylvania by:

Providing new coverage options for young adults
Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 without job-based coverage on their family’s coverage, and, thanks to this provision, 2.5 million young people have gained coverage nationwide. As of June 2011, 64,798 young adults in Pennsylvania gained insurance coverage as a result of the new health care law.

Making prescription drugs affordable for seniors
Thanks to the new health care law, 247,686 people with Medicare in Pennsylvania received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. In 2011, 235,820 people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand-name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. This discount resulted in an average savings of $662 per person, and a total savings of $156,108,903 in Pennsylvania. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole.

Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay
In 2011, 1,509,076 people with Medicare in Pennsylvania received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 236,3000 in Pennsylvania.

Providing better value for your premium dollar through the 80/20 Rule
Under the new health care law, insurance companies must provide consumers greater value by spending generally at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of overhead, executive salaries or marketing. If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums. This means that 3,421,000 Pennsylvania residents with private insurance coverage will receive greater value for their premium dollars.

Scrutinizing unreasonable premium increases
In every State and for the first time under Federal law, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. Pennsylvania has received $5.3 million under the new law to help fight unreasonable premium increases.

Removing lifetime limits on health benefits
The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits – freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. Already, 4,582,000 residents, including 1,769,000 women and 1,136,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Creating new coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions
As of the end of 2011, 4,567 previously uninsured residents of Pennsylvania who were locked out of the coverage system because of a pre-existing condition are now insured through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was created under the new health reform law. To learn more about the plan available in Pennsylvania, check here.

I have asked Democratic challengers Gene Stilp and Bill Vinsko for their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act and will publish them when I get them.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Man on Dog vs. Dog on roof

Rick Santorum will always take grief for saying “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,”Santorum said. “That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

Mitt Romney just can't shake the dog abuse story .

Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Dogs Against Romney has sunk it's teeth into this story and won't let go.

The good news for us political junkies is that the primary race will last until Pennsylvania on April 24th. Right now Rick looks to win his home state. The Q poll Pennsylvania Republicans overwhelmingly favor presidential hopeful Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney in the state’s April 24 primary, with the former Keystone State senator garnering 36 percent to the former Massachusetts governor’s 22 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and New York also vote that day.

Maybe we will see a few of the Presidential candidates at Blogfest on March 30 at Rooney's in Pittston.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pennsylvania US Senate race

The latest polling has former State Rep Sam Rohrer leading the field of Republican contenders to replace Democrat Bob Casey who beat the last "conservative" in the presidential race Rick Santorum by 18% in 2006.

He's at 16% to 12% for Tom Smith, 10% for David Christian, 8% for Marc Scaringi, and 5% for Steve Welch. The big winner though is undecided- 48% of voters say they don't yet know who they'll choose.

Right now Casey beats them all handily. That will change.

Casey 49 – Rohrer 34
Casey 50 – Christian 32
Casey 49 – Smith 31
Casey 49 – Scaringi 29
Casey 49 – Welch 29

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Air war starts in 17th CD

via PoliticsPA

It looks like I will have to start watching the local news again but not for the car hits tree and a house burns down stories but the political ads. Incumbent Congressman Tim Holden and challenger Matt Cartwright will both be on the air starting today.

Holden's spot was put together by Joe Trippi who's claim to fame was the Howard Dean presidential campaign in 2004. I voted for Dean that year. The narrator keeps saying "Democrat Tim Holden" and the last scene looks like it was filmed in front of the Stegmaeir Building in Wilkes-Barre. As far as political ads go I think this a pretty pedestrian effort.

Matt Cartwright's intro is a bio ad that starts off with a joke. He says that " it is corporations who are picking who will be elected, it's obscene." The spot has a lot of energy and my favorite part is my own Plains Township Committeeman and Young Democrat Tom Shibula getting a cameo. Tom is running for delegate to the Democratic Convention, give him a vote in the primary.

Santorum wins a double in the bible belt

Mrs. G loves the color of the tie.


Rick Santorum 35% 212,343
Newt Gingrich 29% 179,919
Mitt Romney 29% 178,601
Ron Paul 5% 30,494


Rick Santorum 33% 93,182
Newt Gingrich 31% 88,676
Mitt Romney3 0% 85,922
Ron Paul 4% 12,498

Romney outspent his opponents 5 or 10 or 50 to 1 and can't still can't seal the deal.It looks like this race will last until Pennsylvania. Joe V has invited Rick Santorum to Blogfest so I shall invite Mitt, Newt and Ron.

A solution in search of a problem

Mundy to vote against needless, expensive voter ID bill

HARRISBURG, March 13 State Rep. Phyllis Mundy today will vote against the so-called "Voter ID" bill that would disenfranchise residents and waste millions of dollars during a time the Governor has proposed another round of painful budget cuts.

"I believe strongly in the concept of one person, one vote," said Mundy, D-Luzerne. "If there was any substantial evidence of voter impersonation that could justify the expenditure of millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars, I would be among the first to sign on to a solution. But the fact is, there is no such evidence."

Mundy noted that many organizations, including the League of Women Voters, the American Association of Retired Persons and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania oppose House Bill 934.

"This bill has been mislabeled," Mundy said. "It's not a voter identification bill. It's a voter suppression bill that will deny many of our citizens their most fundamental right in a Democratic society."

The Brennan Center for Justice reported that as many as 11 percent of eligible voters do not have a government-issued photo they would need to vote under this legislation. Obtaining the identification will be time-consuming and for many, difficult.

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has said it would cost $4.3 million to implement the legislation. Mundy added that there likely will be additional costs to defend the legislation in court. A judge in Wisconsin has struck down that state's voter identification after a legal challenge. The U.S. Justice Department blocked South Carolina's voter ID bill in December and has stepped in to block Texas’ voter ID law.

"At a time when the majority in the House, Senate and Governor's Office are cutting vital human services to our frail elderly in nursing homes and cutting early childhood education for our children, they are wasting time, money and effort on a problem that doesn't exist," Mundy said

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lupas familly saga

I have to admit to having corruption fatigue. I still read the stories in the local press but haven't posted about the 3o+ people charged and convicted in the ongoing probe lately. Maybe I'm succumbing to the cynicism of many people I know that have been resigned to the fact that we have been ruled by crooks for a long time and think things will go back to business as usual once the heat is off. All the attention has been on the corrupt public official that have been convicted of taking bribes but now another one of the people paying the bribes has been sentenced to jail.

SCRANTON - ... local engineer Michael J. Pasonick was sentenced to one year prison, a $250,0000 fine and two years probation on federal charges he bribed a school board official.
U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy acknowledged all the good Pasonick has done, including recently opening a food pantry he plans to turn into a soup kitchen, but called his actions "reprehensible." Conaboy also cited Pasonick's cooperation with federal authorities in landing "seven or eight" convictions of public officials," but noted "you were not charged for much of your questionable conduct."

Next up is Bob Mericle. If somebody is taking bribes someone is paying them.

Now longtime Wilkes-Barre Area solicitor is accused of running a ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 30 people who trusted him with their life savings. The victims are being represented by Earnie Preate of all people. I'm not sure what is worse, defrauding us nameless/faceless taxpayers or people you have a relationship with at church or who think of you as a friend.

W-B Area solicitor resigns amid probe

The whole thing started unraveling. Records in the county Prothonotary's Office indicate Lupas has defaulted on three loans since last April, owing more than $300,000 in principal, interest and fees.

Luzerne County Judge David Lupas sounded like an ungrateful child when asked about his father's troubles.
"I haven't talked to my father in some time," the judge said.

Then this bombshell dropped explaining why he hasn't talked to him.

Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas said in a statement released today that he provided information to authorities investigating his father, attorney Anthony J. Lupas Jr., for allegedly running a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme.


In 2003 Lupas the senior bankrolled Lupas the junior's bid for Luzerne County DA to the the tune of $750,000. You now have to wonder where the money came from.

Lupas tenure as DA was dominated by the Hugo Selinski case. He couldn't get a murder conviction of a guy with 5 bodies in his back yard and repeatedly screwed up on procedural issues in this and other cases. He went on to be a Luzerne County Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and was put in charge of Juvenile Court. While he was the DA many of the abuses that happened under Judge Mark Ciavarella occurred. Lupas and Jackie Mo didn't pay attention to the Juvenile Court

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Don Bailey bails on 2012 Democratic primary for PA AG

Bailey to Run for AG as Indy, Not Dem

He has decided to mount an independent bid instead. Good luck with that as Pennsylvania has set the bar so high for independents or 3rd party candidates to make the ballot it is almost impossible, just ask Carl Romanelli.

Some background on former Congressman and Auditor General Bailey can be found on a previous post.

It looks like Patrick Murphy allies challenged his petitions and he didn't think that he could survive a court challenge so he will try to go the independent route. So after failing to get 2000 valid signatures for the primary he will attempt to get 20,000 plus signatures by August 1st. The rule of thumb is you need at least twice the required number to beat off a challenge. Unless he has an army of volunteers or can pay canvassers with Black Water money it is unlikely he will make the fall ballot. If he does make it it will be bad news for the Democratic nominee.

Both Patrick Murphy and Kathleen Kane oppose the ultrasound abortion bill. I'm not sure what David Freed's position on it is. I would hope that any Republican would oppose such an invasive procedure mandated by the government as an attack on freedom. The Voter ID Act that is a solution in search of a problem is opposed by Kane and Murphy but is supported by Freed. The last time I heard of in person voter fraud was when Joe Moran's kid was up for the WVW school board but it turned out that he was using his father's address in the Miner's Mill's section of Wilkes-Barre to vote.

The more I find out about Kathleen Kane raises more questions about her. The Pennsylvania Progessive

She denies being an exeutive of Kane is Able but signs FEC reports as an executive of Kane is Able.
Get your shit together Kathleen.

There is no doubt that Patrick Murphy will be backing President Obama for reelection but I'm not sure about Kane.

Kane is Able to back McCain

Interns wanted

WASHINGTON U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, announced that several internships are available in both his Washington, D.C., and Northeastern Pennsylvania district offices during the late spring and summer months.
“This is a very exciting time in our nation’s history, and students wishing to participate in an internship in my office have an unprecedented opportunity to take part in making history,” Rep. Barletta said. “I encourage anyone with an interest in political science and government to consider applying for an internship in my office.”
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to be an intern. Internships do not have a set start and end date; rather, those depend on the individual student. Schedules are also determined based on an intern’s availability.
To apply, an interested student should send a resume and a cover letter to Representative Barletta’s office at

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Idiot Watch

Michelle is good at spotting these stories

Allegedly drunk driver stops, seeks directions at state police

Troopers determined Rock was under the influence of alcohol because he allegedly had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, was unsteady on his feet and didn't know exactly where he was, police said.

He was looking for his account's office. I don't think legal fees are deductable.

DB Echo suggested this video

Romney wins in the Pacific; Santorum licks the field in Kansas

The Virgin Islands have yet to report, Newt will probably not do well there.

Romney added to his delegate total by winning all 12 at stake in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

The big prize today was Kansas and our former junior Senator and Virginia resident kicked ass.

Santorum 15,290 51%
Romney 6,250 21%
Gingrich 4,298 14%
Paul 3,767 13%

Rick picked up 33 delegates to Romney's 7. By all accounts Romney is ahead in the delegate race but every news site that is tracking it has different numbers because of the convoluted rules of the Republican Party. The Republicans in state legislatures are pushing "ballot security " measures like requiring everyone to show an ID but they can't get their own house in order.

Friday, March 09, 2012

RIP Paul Stebbins

I first met PJ in 2006 when he announced he was running for State Representative in the 120th HD. He ran an energetic campaign but lost in a 3 way primary. He attended a few of our Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society get togethers (the forerunner of Blogfest) and we ran into each other at various Republican events. The last time I saw him was at Aaron Kaufer's kickoff and he told me was looking forward to the next Blogfest.


PJ was a regular commenter on Gort42 and wrote many guest posts. He even announced that he was running for state rep on this site. You can view his contributions and my coverage of his race here.

He was a person of generosity and good humor that made you instantly like him. An educator who was a coach of youth sports and did his best to make his community a better place. We should all follow his example. My heartfelt condolences to the love of his life Suzie and his family.


When I read his obituary I both laughed and cried.



Paul John Matthew Stebbins Jr. surprised and annoyed us all one final time by dying suddenly Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.


On Aug. 25, 1979, according to him, "God gave the ladies of the world a gift." One special woman was lucky enough to unwrap that gift and on June 26, 2004, he married his best friend and soul mate, of almost eight years, Suzie. He even forgave her for being a New York Yankees fan.


Besides his wife, "PJ" found the greatest joys in the Boston Red Sox, being the best uncle, bargain shopping, Phil Collins, Republicans, funny movies, the Florida Gators and pushing his father's buttons. (And maybe the occasional hate mail that showed up after he wrote an editorial.)


He was a member of St. Barbara Parish (St. Anthony of Padua Church), Exeter.


He graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in elementary education. Paul also served as treasurer for the Young Republicans.


With heavy hearts, he leaves behind, in addition to his wife, the former Suzie Scavone, his father, Paul Stebbins Sr.; siblings, Lea Black, Tonya Stebbins, Mandi Stebbins, Krissy Blank, Katie Cartwright and Jacob Cartwright; in-laws, Mark, Rosemary and Becky Scavone; grandmother, Irene Stebbins; aunts, uncles, cousins, several very much loved nieces and nephews; and his crazy dog, Yogi.


Relatives and friends are invited to a memorial service from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Gubbiotti Funeral home, 1030 Wyoming Ave., Exeter.


PJ would ask that you honor his memory by donning your favorite Red Sox ball cap and/or voting for a Republican!


His more practical family members, however, ask that you honor him by smiling through the pain, doting upon your children, tolerating someone difficult, making amends, being a better friend, and most importantly — turning to someone you love, right now, and telling them so. These are the qualities that he possessed and that the world needs more of.


Many thanks to his doctors, Charles Manganiello, Mark Bernardi, Vijayaramanr Pugazhenai and Susan Brozena, and to all of the nurses at the Geisinger heart hospital.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Bridge Foundation, 35 E. Northampton St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.