Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kentucky Derby

The 138th version of the fastest 2 minutes in sports will be this Saturday.

The 2012 Kentucky Derby

 The 15th annual get together of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to watch the Kentucky Derby  scheduled for Saturday, May 5th 5PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre.

None of us are big horse race fans so this is just another excuse to infuse cash into the malt beverage industry to ensure it's liquidity.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

7 years of blogging

Since I started doing this in April 2005 I have written 3500 posts that that have had over 15,000 comments. Depending on what stat tracker you look at there have been at least 800.000 unique visitors with over 2 million page views. If I hadn't taken a break for a few months those numbers would be higher. All I can say is Thank You.

I have had a lot of support in this endeavor. Many thanks to my blog buddies, the local newspapers, candidates,  readers, commenters and guest posters. Since I started this there must have been around 200 sites that popped up devoted to local politics that disappeared after a short time. We have a hard core of people that have toughed it out that keep tapping away.. Forgive me for not linking to you all but I'm sure I would omit someone. See the sidebar.

We are truly fortunate to have a couple of local newspapers with great reporters that give us fodder to write about everyday. W-B/Scranton is one of the few markets left in the USA with competing papers. I have occasionally broke a story but our local press do it everyday.

Of course I couldn't do this without the encouragement/tolerance of Mrs.G who initially  wasn't thrilled with the time I was spending online and going to political events but then told me to start blogging again when I was on hiatus. I don't write about all the things I want to because of time I have to waste doing things like making a living, taking care of our family and properties.  It's a hobby and I refuse to put advertising on the site so I don't make any money from it not that anyone can actually make a living writing about local politics on the Internet.

One of the neat things is that this little Blog in Northeastern PA is now recognized as a news outlet. Candidates reach out to me me and the other local bloggers sending us press releases, calling us on the phone and even have staffers that are devoted to internet outreach. A couple of press secretaries became my BFF.

We have also expanded  beyond the virtual world hosting Blogfest where politco's of all stripes can get together in an informal atmosphere. 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.

Jim Gilchrist responds

This was left as a comment on the last post but in the interest of fairness I think Mr. Gilchrist deserves the front page to defend himself.

Dear Readers,

The Minuteman Project is very much alive and well and continuously active in bringing national awareness to the illegal alien invasion dilemma that has made a mockery of our nation's stature as "a nation of laws."

The citations made above insofar as comments from one of the persons I sued (and won judgments against) for interferring with my organization, are bogus. Judge Randell Wilkinson ruled appropriately that claims of embezzling money from the Minuteman Project were lies. I was fully exonerated of all such accusations made by the persons who attempted (and failed) to steal the Minuteman Project organization.

Insofar as the Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC), while its mission of "justice for all" is indeed a worshipful goal, it's paralell goal is also to engage in fund raising. That fund raising agenda includes discrediting persons in the minuteman movement with both deliberate and unwitting propaganda. I harbor no hostility against the SPLC, but I do wish it would stop "hanging the innocent" in its fund raising efforts.

Wreaking havoc by the use of propaganda apparently comes with the territory of political or social activism...a sinister activity engaged in by both sides of a debate. Unfortunately for the electorate, the first casualty of propaganda is the truth.

Sincerely Yours,
Jim Gilchrist, Founder and President, The Minuteman Project
-a multiethnic immigration law enforcement advocacy group-

Minuteman Project founder endorses Lou Barletta

This dropped into my inbox last week but it took me a few days to check it out.

Minuteman Founder Endorses Lou Barletta for re-election in PA 11

“True leader on ending illegal immigration and enforcing border security”

Aliso Viejo, CA – The Founder and President of the nation's leading grassroots activist organization on the issue of immigration reform and border security, Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project, announced today that he is endorsing Congressman Lou Barletta for re-election to the US House in PA-11. 

Gilchrist cited Barletta ’s strong record on securing our borders, denying illegals any form of amnesty, and cracking down on taxpayer funded benefits that attract illegals to the United States .  Polls show that immigration reform and border security remains one of the top issues facing voters of the state of Pennsylvania in the upcoming May 8 Republican Primary.

Gilchrist stated, There are few leaders in Washington , DC that have demonstrated real courage in the face of overwhelming media bias and distortion when it comes to the issues of illegal immigration and border security.  Congressman Barletta is a champion to those us who followed his courageous battle to have America ’s laws enforced in our communities.  That is why I am proud to stand next to Lou Barletta and give my total support for the Congressman to be re-elected.”

Gilchrist further commented on the record of Lou Barletta, “Congressman Barletta will ensure that Congress actually enforces current immigration laws to protect the jobs of Americans and the dollars of taxpayers.  Whether it is Washington’s failure to reduce illegal immigration at our borders, stop enticements that lure illegal aliens to America, or even penalizing employers who hire illegal aliens at the expense of Americans looking for jobs all across our nation – Lou Barletta is a true leader on ending illegal immigration and enforcing border security.”

Jim Gilchrist founded the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project on Oct. 1, 2004, after years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws.  Called “the world’s largest neighborhood watch”, their volunteer members aid efforts of the US Border Patrol by watching for illegal activity along the US-Mexican border.

I asked the Barletta camp for a comment:

“Like many Americans, they agree that illegal immigration is a problem in the U.S. and recognize Lou Barletta as a national leader on the issue.
“Washington’s unwillingness to deal with the problem of illegal immigration has allowed millions of illegal workers to simultaneously take American jobs while depressing the wages of legal workers.  The failure of the federal government to fully address border, airport, and seaport security continues to put our nation at risk.
“These problems are important issues to Rep. Barletta and he will continue to lead the charge to take reasonable steps to secure our borders and secure jobs for legal American workers.”

Lance Stange
Campaign Manager
Lou Barletta for Congress

The Minuteman Project has collapsed amid infighting and accusations of financial misconduct.

The Minuteman Project, one of the country's largest, richest and most influential nativist extremist groups, is in a state of crisis.
Its founder, Jim Gilchrist, was fired in February by members of the group's board of directors amidst swirling allegations of embezzlement, gross mismanagement and fraud.
Gilchrist initially responded by filing a lawsuit against the board members and waging a public relations battle in which he claimed the Minuteman Project had been "hijacked." Then, in April, he suddenly dropped the lawsuit and incorporated a new competing organization: "Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project." 

This has been a messy fight.


Gilchrist, 58, a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration, was removed as president of the Minuteman Project this month by its board of directors, which accused him of abusing his power and leaving more than $400,000 of the organization's money unaccounted for.

Deborah Courtney, the group's recently appointed treasurer, said in an interview that a direct mail company helped raise $750,000 for the group in 2006, but that she believes the Minuteman campaign received only $311,000. Courtney said she and others had been unable to trace the rest of the money.

To get his endorsement other campaigns have been shaken down.

 To win the endorsement of the Minuteman Project and its founder, Jim Gilchrist, you need to believe in federal troop deployments to stop illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. and stepped-up deportations of those who do.

You may also need to pay several thousand dollars, according to documents from three Republican campaigns that sought Gilchrist’s endorsement....
Democrat-turned-Republican Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith have been among those accepting his support.
But Republicans in Griffith’s Huntsville district and in one other state say support for a border fence and stepped-up deportation aren’t enough to win Gilchrist’s endorsement: They also were told bluntly that they would need to hire a consulting firm closely linked to the Minuteman founder and run by the project’s political director, Mississippi political consultant Howie Morgan.
When they didn’t hire Morgan, the endorsements didn’t materialize.

Do we really want vigilantes enforcing the law as they see it? That worked out well in Florida recently.

Border militia: patriots or vigilantes?

 The proposed Special Missions Unit would allow armed volunteers to pursue and arrest people they suspect to be smugglers or undocumented immigrants....

Minutemen founder, Jim Gilchrist spearheaded the movement many accused of vigilantism.
“You’ve had a couple of ranchers and several law enforcement officers murdered by illegal aliens,” said Gilchrist.
He admits that his call to guard the border attracted extremist elements but still hopes other states will follow Arizona’s militia proposal.

 It looks like this movement has burned out.

Yahoo News:

 But today, the once-thriving Minutemen anti-illegal immigration fraternity has all but died out. No one knows exactly why the groups fizzled so quickly, but researchers and former border-watching leaders say infighting and bad press have taken a toll. At the same time, the tea party movement started to rise, which usurped members and stole the groups' thunder....Still, the movement's message and popularity have left an indelible mark on the Republican Party, whose leaders underestimated the anger in their base over illegal immigration. The GOP, which at the time was considering legislation to legalize undocumented immigrants in a version of Ronald Reagan's 1986 immigration reform law, rejected the popular movement at first. President George W. Bush dismissed the Minutemen as "vigilantes,"


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Enemy Within - Bologna Border Bust
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive



Friday, April 27, 2012

Looking to the fall: Congress

Right now you have to say that the 2 GOP freshman have the upper hand along with the Dem in the open 17th CD.

Democrat Phill Scollo will be taking on Tom Marino in the 10thCD. Scollo has assembled many of the campaign staffers that helped Chris Carney win his 2 improbable victories in 2006 and 2008 but has not done well fundraising. Add in the fact that the district was made more Republican in the latest gerrymander and Mr. Scollo has a big hill to climb. Mr. Marino has had a second bout of cancer recently and some people wanted me to use his illness to score points contrasting his opposition to the Affordable Care Act with the health coverage he receives. I thought that was ghoulish as there will be plenty of time to discuss health care policy before the election. I wish Congressman Marino a full and speedy recovery.

In the 17CD Matt Cartwright will be the overwhelming favorite to defeat Republican Laureen Cummings. Money will be no object for Cartwright in this newly drawn Dem favorable district. Money will also not be a factor in Cummings campaign, she doesn't have any, raising just $305 according to her latest FEC report.Tim Holden ran a terrible campaign that overreached in his attack ads then went back to the Social Security canard when he got called out on it. Cartwright billed himself as the hometown boy and a "Roosevelt Democrat" for those of us who know who FDR was. With Congress polling at a 10% approval rating I think an anti-incumbent sentiment played a part in his win. Holden has been in Washington for 20 years but couldn't point to one piece of significant legislation he authored. A few other incumbents also lost on Tuesday.

Gene Stilp surprised me. He and Bill Vinsko worked hard but Stilp just out hustled him. Neither one had a lot of money but Vinsko pissed his away on consultants. I wasn't too surprised that Stilp won this race but the 10 point margin was a bit of a surprise. His name recognition and the pink pig won the day. The combination of  new district lines and the anti-incumbent mood may make this one competitive. Stilp wants Barletta to sign a pledge to run a clean campaign but even if he does plenty of outside groups could still spend all kinds of money if it starts to look close. The recent unwritten rule is that you need about $1 million to run a competitive congressional race. After the Citizens United ruling that should be modified to say you need about a million to be spent on your behalf .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Endorsements don't matter

My friends at NEPartisan and I have been arguing that endorsements form county and state committees don't count for much.

Republican Lowman Henry  agrees

By Lowman S. Henry
Tuesday's primary election highlighted two serious structural deficiencies in Pennsylvania's electoral process. Once again the "Keystone State" was anything but in the presidential nominating process. And, clearly the day of the party endorsement - especially a nod forced from the top down - has passed.
For several weeks it appeared as if the Pennsylvania and New York primaries would be pivotal contests in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. But, several weeks ago when former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum suspended his campaign our state's primary was rendered virtually meaningless. Sure, delegates had to be elected to the national convention, but the nomination had been decided.
Every four years there is talk about moving Pennsylvania's primary to an earlier date, perhaps to so-called "Super Tuesday" in early March, but nothing ever comes of the idea. So, as in presidential contests past, small states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and even other industrial states like Michigan and Ohio got to impact the choice of the nominee while we here in Penn's Woods watched from the sidelines.
Four years ago state Democrats did get a big say in the Obama/Clinton race, but that brief spurt of relevance was an exception to the rule. This year, lacking the glitz of a presidential contest, voter turn-out was abysmal. So many down ballot races - for congress and for seats in the state legislature - were decided by in some cases less than a quarter of the registered electorate.
Despite tepid participation in the primary election, voters did manage to deliver a message or two. The race with the most political ramifications was the five-way contest for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. That race turned into a virtual referendum on the once vaunted Republican Party endorsement process. That process was shredded by voters as they relegated the endorsed candidate, Steve Welch, to third place.
The Welch defeat marks the first loss of a Republican Party endorsed statewide candidate in a non-judicial race in over three decades. Part of the reason for voter rejection of the party pick was the heavy-handed manner in which the Welch endorsement was forced on Republican State Committee members by Governor Tom Corbett and party leaders. The fact is Welch would never have been endorsed without that support, and his candidacy never did develop any real grassroots appeal.
Party apologists will contend that the personal financial wealth the winning candidate, former Tea party activist Tom Smith, brought to the race was a deciding factor. But, Welch is wealthy himself and put over a million dollars of his own money behind his candidacy. And, former State Representative Sam Rohrer finished second having spent few dollars, but earning a wave of grassroots support. Welch failed to dominate with either money or manpower - two advantages normally associated with the party endorsement.
This year's GOP endorsement debacle has politically wounded an incumbent governor and called into question the effectiveness of the party apparatus in a vital presidential election year. The Republican State Committee should re-evaluate the future of party endorsements. The process this year both divided and weakened the party, calling into question its utility going forward.
Part of the reason for this is that the endorsement process has degenerated from truly democratic selection into a tool by which party and elected leaders exert their control over who gets nominated. The GOP has already split into "establishment" and grassroots conservative camps with the latter gaining influence with each passing election cycle. Forced endorsements only inflame the grassroots further aggravating that divide.
None of this is good for the party, and neither will it yield good government. This year's presidential election is shaping up as one of the most important in generations as voters decide whether to continue down the soft socialistic path of the Obama Administration, or return America to its historic traditions of individual liberty.
That battle will ultimately unite all factions within the GOP. But going forward, the Pennsylvania Republican Party must ditch the endorsement process and restore individual liberties within the walls of its own house.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is

Looking to the fall: PA row offices

Other than the Attorney General's race I  ignored the other constitutional offices in the primary.

Incumbent Rob McCord is being challenged by Republican Diana Irey to be the next State Treasurer.

In the the Auditor General's race  Democrat Eugene DePasquale will face off with GOP nominee John Maher to succeeded Jack Wagner.

I should probably smash my crystal ball but that would deprive many of you from beating me up in the comments. Right now I would say that Kathleen Kane is the early favorite to best David Freed in the Attorney General race. My guy, Patrick Murphy,  lost the primary after a hard fought contest. Now is the time for Democrats to close ranks and support Kane.

Looking to the fall: President and US Senate

The last time a Republican Presidential candidate won Pennsylvania was 1988 but it looks like we will be a battleground again. President Obama beat John McCain 53%-46% in 2008 but many people expect it to be closer this time.I haven't heard what Mitt Romney thinks of the height of the trees in Penn's Woods.We already know what he thinks of our cookies.

Bob Casey won handily in 2006 blowing out Rick Santorum by 17% in a very Democratic year. Tom Smith has deep pockets so expect this one to be more competitive than many people think.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From the inbox:

Blue America candidate Matt Cartwright turns the conventional wisdom on its head and beats entrenched Blue Dog Tim Holden in Pennsylvania's 17th district. 

Something very rare happened tonight, something that will send a chill down the spines of members of the Democratic establishment: a true blue progressive unseated a tired Blue Dog congressman.  We were told it was impossible.  Pennsylvania's Matt Cartwright just proved them all wrong. 
Blue America PAC was the first national progressive group to endorse Cartwright for the new 17th District in Pennsylvania and our members were thrilled to contribute to the billboard campaign that drew attention to his opponent Tim Holden's conservative record.  We knew that the voters of this newly drawn district weren't going to be content with a Blue Dog Democrat who voted like a Republican if they knew what he was all about.  
They had a choice and they chose the progressive candidate who would stand up for working families instead of corporations and who believes that individual liberty applies to women as well as men. 
Blue America Treasurer Howie Klein said, "Blue America congratulates Matt Cartwright on his hard fought win and we pledge to continue that fight across the country wherever progressive candidates are working hard to free our political system from the entrenched interests on behalf of ordinary Americans. Our next stop is Wisconsin's 1st congressional district where progressive businessman Rob Zerban is battling to defeat Republican poster boy Paul Ryan in a swing district.  The establishment doesn't think that's possible either. We think Rob can prove them all wrong once again."

Stilp wins


13,116 63.3%

7,590 36.7%

Cartwright wins


23,454 54.9%

19,265 45.1%

The other races

In case you forgot there is a Presidential primary today in PA. Rick Santorum has dropped out but I just got a fundraising email from him a few minutes saying he will be on CNN tonight. And he still hasn't endorsed Mitt Romney. I hope Rick does well tonight along with Ron Paul voters who just may keep Romney under 50%.

The Republican US Senate primary ads have had Steve Welch and Tom Smith accusing each other of being closet Democrats. Blog Buddy Randy Potter predicts an upset.

Republican Senate Primary Race: In a surprise victory Sam Roher defeats Tom Smith, Steve Welch, and Marc Scaringi. Both Smith's and Welch's campaign ads highlighting their past ties to the democratic party made them both look bad. Also a big embarrassment for Governor Corbett backed Welch losing here.

State Auditor General Race: John Maher wins this one big. Frank Pinto gave it his best shot. GOP party establishment candidates always win these races.

12th Congressional District Race: Jason Altmire (D) defeats Mark Critz (D). This will be very close.

Victory Party

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

Patrick Murphy
FOP Lodge 5, 1331 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Kathleen Kane  

Radisson Lackawanna Station starting at 8 pm.
700 Lackawanna Ave.
Scranton, PA 18503

Matt Cartwright

Scranton Hilton, Medallion Room, 8 pm.

Tim Holden


Bill Vinsko

 American Legion, 23 West Broad Street , Nanticoke , Pennsylvania starting at 8:30 PM

Pennsylvania exit poll

A grand total of only two poll workers was outside the Plains Twp. firehall when I was recorded as voter number 146 out of 1000+ at about 4:30PM today. This is the worst turnout I have seen in the 15 years I  have voted in this precinct. It's hard to say who's campaign this helps or hurts but it means we are all losers when so few people bother to participate in the process of selecting our leaders. The poll workers are people Mrs. G has known since she was a child and looked us up as soon as we walked up to the sign in table so we didn't show a photo ID. We capped off the afternoon of doing our civic duty by paying our property taxes at the collectors office. We turned around our IRS refund by using that money to pay the county and township taxes. Great timing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Parick Murphy wins easy

Right from the beginning of this race I thought that Patrick Murphy would be the next Attorney General of Pennsylvania.Kathleen Kane has mounted a good effort but will come up short.our online poll is showing that you my dear readers agree with me 3 to 1.   Murphy will run up big numbers in Philadelphia and the suburbs. He has been in Pittsburgh for the last few weeks and that should pay off.  The parking meter thing in W-B may help Kane in W-B.

Prediction in the 17th CD

In the PA-17th CD race I think Matt Cartwright will win. I think he has run a better campaign and campaigns do matter . The only call I got from the Holden camp were robo calls from the AFL-CIO that annoy us all. An actual person called me from the Cartwright camp and he is running a better ground game than Holden.  An empty W-B "HQ"  tells me all I need to know. The Cartwright camp has done a great job of reaching out to voters and bloggers while the Holden brain trust seems to be relying on endorsements from the Democratic establishment. Governor Rendell endorsed Holden which is good for a press release and not much else. The Cartwright camp is crowing about endorsements from the local papers which don't hurt but many other candidates went down in flames after being the pick of the editorial boards. The one endorsement that carries weight with me is Kevin Blaum's .

Our online poll of Gort 42 readers is predicting a 6 point Cartwright win. I agree. I think there is an anti-incumbent sentiment out there. The polls always show that Congress is unpopular but the local yokel is still popular. Tim Holden is not our local guy.

Election results

The best places on the web to get real time election results have been the PA Department of State and the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections. I wonder if the Luzerne County site will work as well this time out without Leonard Piazza running the show.

WNEP2 and PCN will have live election shows as well as a local radio station that I stopped listening to months ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A busy weekend

Closing arguments in the PA Attorney General race

Kathleen Kane is highlighting her endorsement by former President Bill Clinton who said “ she has a steel spine and a caring heart.” My friend Tom of NEPartisan went to the rally in the Philly suburbs and was wowed by Clinton just as I was when he came to Nantikoke to get Congressman Kanjorski reelected 2010. That worked out well for Kanjo. Clinton was paying back Kanjorski for his backing of Hillary in the 2008 Presidential race and he is paying back a similar chit to Kane .

This race started out with 2 very attractive candidates touting their credentials to become  the first elected  Democratic Attorney General in Pennsylvania history. Just like most races the closing days have seen both camps attacking the other. The knock on Patrick Murphy is that he took the bar exam in Minnesota instead of PA and hasn't prosecuted a case in the state      NEPartisan has a video of Patrick Murphy that was shopped around by the Kane campaign. VoteVets  pushed backed saying 
the campaign of Kathleen Kane has demeaned the service of Patrick Murphy in the US Army, by claiming he has not been a prosecutor, despite the hundreds of cases he tried in the Army

The hits on Kane are more substantial. Borys noticed that Kane is talking out both sides of her mouth on the Employee Free Choice Act also known as card check. Her family's trucking company Kane is Able is non union and their drivers make substantially less than unionized drivers. Most of her campaign money has come from her husband and other family members to the tune of 2+ million dollars. I talked to a Kane driver on Friday who told me he and his coworkers were miffed after hearing that news. She denies being an executive of Kane is Able but signs FEC reports as an executive of Kane is Able. Kane's claim that she has prosecuted 3000 cases has been scrutinized but only a few dozen have actually gone to trial. In this day and age of plea agreements very few cases go to trial. Above Average Jane casts doubts on her claim to be a certified  elder abuse lawyer. Murphy is hitting her for contributing money to Tom Corbett's Governor campaign.

Then there is fact that she doesn't pay her parking tickets.

Kathleen Kane had 15 parking tickets dismissed

Whoever wins this race I'm sure that either one would be a better AG than David Freed
The closing ads.

Norton is back

After a 2 year break the only WNBA fan I have ever met is blogging again. He and Buzz didn't catch on the west coast so they loaded the Univac 3000 into the VW microbus and came home.

One Vote Counts is back on the blogroll.

I also added my favorite recovering politician turned radio host Dave Madeira's site.

The David Madeira Show

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Meet the candidate

State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, and state Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca, will hold an old-fashioned rally for U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, D-St. Clair, who is running for re-election in the 17th Congressional District.
It will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Valenti's Restaurant, 1180 Wyoming Ave., Exeter.

PA-17th CD


It’s easy to accuse someone of guilt by association. How easy? Consider this: In 2004, Holden’s campaign took $1,000 from Barbara Conahan, the wife of one of the judges sent to prison in the kids-for-cash scandal. (The judge’s campaign filings show the same Chestnut Street address as Barbara Conahan’s Federal Election Commission filing.)
Of course, Conahan’s contribution to Holden occurred four years before the public learned of her husband’s role in the kids-for-cash scandal. In fact, it happened one year before Cartwright donated to Ciavarella’s campaign.
What does either contribution prove? Nothing. And that’s our point.

Duke for state rep

Democratic voters in the 117th District, please write in Mark Barrett for State Representative on Tuesday, April 24th!

Due to the Supreme Court ruling regarding the redistricting plans that shifted the boundaries back to their 2001 borders so close to the petition due-date, Mark didn't have enough time to collect the amount of signatures needed for ballot access, despite an amazing push in the final days. He is leading a true grassroots campaign to get on the November ballot to represent the voters in the 117th! You may know him from radio call-in shows as "Duke from Dallas". He will have all party resources available for his run.

An accomplished software developer, Mark will stand up to corporate lobbyists and the gas industry in Harrisburg, and be a stalwart and responsible leader for clean, safe drinking water and he will work to end loopholes that allow corporations to essentially do as they please with no oversight. He understands that when our students are doing well, our state is doing well, and while Tom  Corbett aims to destroy our educational system by cutting it down to the bone, Mark will restore funding to our public schools. If you feel that Karen Boback has been unresponsive to citizens, running unopposed will make her even less so.  She needs to be held accountable for her abysmal, Corbett-enabling record in Harrisburg.

Her recent vote to allow Republicans in Harrisburg to supersede local zoning laws allows the gas industry to override the will of the people in communities across Pennsylvania for the sake of profit; that's just one of many issues where Rep. Boback has sided with special interests over the people she was elected to represent. She voted for Tom Corbett's disastrous budget two years in a row, crippling public education and further burdening local taxpayers. Essential PA services, like Adult Basic heath care & Medicaid, that help everyday Pennsylvanians, have been sacrificed on the altar of "deficit reduction" in order to give more tax breaks for corporations. Unbelievably, Boback even proposed raising taxes on seniors and low income families through new taxes on food, clothing, and retirement income, in order to eliminate taxes for wealthy property owners!

We deserve better, and Mark is the right man for the job. Six years of Karen Boback is enough. So this Tuesday, please write in Mark Barrett for State Representative - he won't work for the gas industry, but he will work for YOU!

Casey Evans
2nd District Chairman

Vinsko on the air

11th CD Democratic candidate Bill Vinsko will  airing this spot over the weekend

Ground game

Bob Caruso took me on a tour of downtown Wilkes-Barre yesterday. The Matt Cartwright for Congress office on Public Square was full of tables, phones and people, The Tim Holden HQ had signs in the windows but the doors were locked and looking in the windows there was nothing in the place. I mean there was nothing in the place! No tables, phones, people or anything else. It looked like it was being rehabbed for the next tenant..

Libertarians and others in town

The PA Libertarian Party Convention is being held this weekend at the FM Kirby Center it is also being billed as Restoring Freedoms with speakers from other points of view.

I stopped by and the first thing I see is a guy wearing a NRA tee shirt with a handgun strapped to his belt. Oh boy. I didn't engage the young man but it reminded me of the time I ran into a similar situation a few years ago when I was in a restaurant and somebody came in packing a gun in plain sight. I asked him why he would do such a thing? He responded "because that is my right." I said it's also probably your right to ride a pogo stick into church but do you really want to do that. Cooler heads got in between us so the incident didn't get out of hand.

I ran into a few friends including my lifelong pal Green Party activist Carl Romanelli.. I reminded everyone that the most dangerous place in a room is the space between Carl and a microphone. He is scheduled to speak for 20 minutes tomorrow and he said they have a trap door set in case he goes over the time allotted. It was a pleasure to see Doreen Shutz again. She is  passionate and committed to the Libertarian cause.

It was great fun talking with "recovering politician" Dr. David Madeira who was accompanied by one his daughters. We discussed the latest manufactured controversy over the stay at home mom thing and it if is  worse that a 10 year old boy ate dog meat or a a 36 year old man strapped a dog to the top of his car for a 10 hour trip. Dave is now a radio host on 94.3 The Talker who has a better time slot than he started with. M-F 9-Noon. His website lists Gort42 as my favorite liberal blogger. I will return the favor and get him back on the blogroll.

The headliner was 2 term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who is running for President on the Libertarian ticket.. I got a chance to talk with him and asked how he got excluded from the Republican Presidential debates. He explained that he needed to get over the 1% threshold in the national polls but the pollsters didn't include him last year in their surveys. In a CNN survey 8 months later  he got 2% polling ahead of Huntsman and Cain but they still kept him out.The networks decided a  pizza guy is more entertaining than a 2 term Governor. Cable news is entertainment.

Below is a pic of  Governor Gary Johnson  with event organizer Lou Jasikoff

Thursday, April 19, 2012

PA-17th CD update

The damage is done.Now Tim Holden wants to play nice.

The past few weeks the Holden campaign has been up on the air saying Matt Cartwright is a rich guy who is bored with his life who gave money to corrupt Judges. Yesterday that blew up in their face.

Duke from Dallas for State Represenative

 From his Facebook page

Politicians Shouldn't Run Unopposed-
Write-in "Mark Barrett" PA Rep 117th on the Dem Ballot.
Heard on local talk radio, ”Duke from Dallas” will work to protect your Property Values from Natural Gas Corporations that threaten Communities with Heavy Industrial Facilities & Compressor Stations from the Big Government “Act 13” that eliminates traditional “Local Zoning Rights” and quality of life.

Duke tried to get on the primary ballot but got a late start circulating petitions and came up short. He needs at least 300 write-ins to win the Democratic nomination. I'm sure that Republican State Rep  Karen Boback will also mount a write-in effort trying to secure both nominations.

Posting problems

I'm having problems getting to the Gort42 dashboard in IE but it is accessible in Firefox. It's going to take a bit to get used to the layout in Firefox so bear with me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Endorsements for Holden and Cartwright

Just about every local Democratic elected local official and county committee has endorsed Congressman Tim Holden in the PA-17th CD primary. The latest include Senator Bob Casey who had a statement read by former Congressman Chris Carney at an event in Scranton. Other than the AFL-CIO that brings money and boots on the ground most endorsements are worth a press release and not much more. Some nods could actually hurt such as the Lackawanna and Luzerne County Democratic Committees after people have seen so many elected local Democratic officials pleading guilty to corruption charges and landing in jail. One of the Captains Obvious college professors agrees with me "Casey carries a lot of credibility, but in terms of delivering any votes, I have doubts it'll deliver significant numbers of votes," Baldino said.

And let's not forget that Holden has taken money from the Kock Brothers . From NEPartisan Yes, Tim Holden actually took money from the Koch Brothers. Five minutes on Google, and any American who doesn’t want our environment destroyed, all labor laws eliminated, no limits on Wall Street traders, our judicial system in chains, and the federal government out of business so the age of robber barons can return would reject anyone backed by them.

On the other hand Matt Cartwright has landed some endorsements that bring money, boots and media.

LuLac: The Scranton area’s local postal union, Local #101 of the American Postal Workers Union, threw its support behind Matt Cartwright today. The Senate is slated to take up a bill to destroy the Post Office because the Republicans think it should be run like a business instead of the public service that it is. MoveOn has more than 12,000 members in the 17th district, and of those who participated in the endorsement vote, a decisive 84% voted to endorse Cartwright...
As part of their support for the Cartwright campaign, MoveOn’s thousands of members in the district will help provide the grassroots support—including volunteer boots on the ground – that Cartwright needs to win.

League of Conservation Voters Action Fund ‘Proudly’ Endorses Matt Cartwright

“Matt Cartwright has fought to hold corporate polluters accountable to protect Pennsylvanians from the hazardous chemicals released in natural gas extraction,” said LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski. “LCV Action Fund is proud to endorse Matt Cartwright because he understands that the policies needed to grow America’s economy and keep our competitive edge are the same policies that will protect the air we breathe and the water we drink for generations to come.”

The LCV is backing up the endorsement with a $200,000 ad buy that will run until election day. From PoliticsPA It’s not the first time Holden has earned the ire – or the media dollars – of environmental groups. In October, the political arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council spent $100K to air TV ads knocking Holden, as well as Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) over the Clean Air Act.

You can see my coverage of that here

If you watch the local TV news you will see this ad until Tuesday

This spot hits Holden on the issues unlike the personal attacks that the Holden camp has resorted to.

I would put up a video of the latest Holden ad but it is not on the campaign website and they don't have a YouTube account that I can find. Is Joe Trippi really running his campaign?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PA 11th CD Democratic primary

Longtime activist Gene Stilp and W-B asst. city attorney Bill Vinsko are vieing for the Democratic nomination to take on frosh GOP Congressman Lou Barletta in the 11th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. This is the first election since Pennsylvania became a state that Wilkes-Barre won't be in the 11th District thanks to the latest Harrisburg gerrymander. The salon's in HB drew the lines to put Vinsko's house outside the district after he already declared that he was running. So if he wins the primary the Barletta camp can call him a carpetbagger although the US Constitution requires that he/she be "an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen".. A Wall Street Journal story highlighted the stratergy (paywall).

"[Republicans] began to focus on bolstering endangered incumbents...To help Mr. Barletta, GOP leaders shifted two Democratic-leaning cities, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre , out of his district…GOP leaders took one wedge out of Mr. Barletta's 11th congressional district that Democrats say looks drawn specifically to exclude the home of Mr. Barletta's leading challenger, Bill Vinsko."

"State Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi makes no apologies for using redistricting to bolster GOP incumbents in [Pennsylvania]...He added that redistricting doesn't guarantee a winner in the fall. 'A lot depends on the quality of the candidates.’

Vinsko's response: “Republican State Senator Pileggi and I are in complete agreement,” said Bill Vinsko, “Redistricting doesn’t guarantee a win because the quality and character of a candidate matters more to the people and I firmly believe that in this election the integrity of our campaign and the strength of our message will win the day with the people of Northeast and Central Pennsylvania.”

Vinsko and Stilp had a faceoff at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston last Thursday that they agreed to keep it clean and agreed on most issues.

Vinsko, Stilp engage in congenial debate

You can catch them on PCN tonight.

Tuesday LIVE at 7pm: PCN 11th Congressional Town Hall at Bloomsburg University

Both Democrats have struggled raising money. After a great start Vinko slowed down gathering only $28K in the first quarter of 2012 with $31,000 cash on hand. Stilp's report isn't on the FEC website yet. Barleta's fundraising numbers are not that great for sitting member of Congress but has an advantage. In the 1st Q he gathered $124K with cash on hand of $239K. It sucks that we have to discuss money in an election just like it stinks that we have to discuss the contracts of baseball players. After the recent Supreme Court decisions saying money is speech some people have louder voices than the rest of us.

With all that said will people get past Bill Vinsko being the front man for every controversy in Wilkes-Barre such as the million dollar fire truck or decide that Gene Stilp is about more than a big pink pig?

Rose Ann Gaetano for Delegate

From the inbox:

Gaetano announces candidacy for Delegate and Alternate in the 17th

Dunmore- Rose Ann Gaetano, Dunmore, PA announces her candidacy for Delegate and Alternate to the Republican National Convention in the new 17th Congressional District in the upcoming primary election, April 24, 2012.

Rose is a resident of Dunmore PA and has been active in Republican Politics for over 30 years. She serves as the current Republican Committee Women representing Lackawanna County, member of the Margery Scranton Council of Republican Women, member of the PA Federation of Republican Women. Rose attended the Republican National Conventions in 2002, 2004 and 2008. In 2008, she was elected as delegate and alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention where she was the top voter getter for both delegate and alternate delegate in the 11th Congressional District. The Pennsylvania Convention Delegation appointed her to serve on the Rules Committee for the 2008 Convention.

Rose has been active in the local community, where she is an active member of UNICO National Scranton Chapter and recently services as co-chairperson of the group’s community service day. Rose is also a member of the Dunmore Lions, Operation Honduras, Family to Family, Daffodils Days for America Cancer Society, member of Century Club in Scranton and a former board member of Pennsylvania for Human Life Scranton Chapter. Graduate from Dunmore High School, Lackawanna Beauty School and is retired from HarperCollins Publishers, Dunmore, PA.

Gaetano has never taken her role in the republican party lightly, and always taken the opportunity to speaks out for what she truly believe in. Rose continually strive to be a role model to increase the effectiveness of women in the cause for responsible government through political participation and activism. In the current economic climate, it is extremely important, for men and women alike to become involved.

Rose looks forward to attending National Convention in Tampa, Florida representing the people of the new 17th Congressional District.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pennsylvania Attorney General poll

Which Democrat will take on David Freed in the fall? Vote on the sidebar and tell us why in the comments. The choices are Patrick Murphy or Kathleen Kane.

Gary Johnson for President

2 term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is the headliner of the PA Libertarian Party Convention starting Friday at the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre. Johnson started off running for the Republican Presidential nomination but the networks decided he wasn't a serious candidate and excluded him from those very entertaining debates. How they decided that the pizza guy was more credible than a 2 term Governor is beyond me.

The Libertarian confab is also being billed as the Restoring Liberty celebration with speakers addressing the legacy of Dr. King and a Green Party perspective on ballot access.

A couple of agenda's have been posted

Libertarian State Convention 2012 - April 20th - April 22nd


This is confusing and dilutes the identity of the convention just like trying to turn a political event into something else.

A Ron Paul Bus trip is scheduled for Sunday.

Some music is scheduled with IDOL Contestant Krista Branch , Justin Haigh and more. Some of the other speakers include Lou Jasikoff, Robert Mansfield, Betsy Summers, Dave Madeira and Carl Romanelli.

I hear that Betsy Summers will be running for PA Auditor General again but not have heard that any Libertarians or Greens will contesting the Congressional or State Rep races. In 2010 3 Libs made a run for State Rep locally.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

PA-17th CD poll

It's a tradition on Gort42 to put up some polls on the sidebar the week before the election. First up is the race between Matt Cartwright and Tim Holden in the 17th CD Democratic primary. Vote on the sidebar and tell me in the comments who you think will win.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mundy, Mundy & Cartwright rally the Democrats

Bob Caruso counted a crowd of at least 106 people that turned out for the rally hosted by 120th District State Representative Phyllis Mundy for 17th CD candidate Matt Cartwright tonight in West Wyoming. The turnout probably would have been even better if Luzerne County Democratic Chair and W-B Controller Kathy Kane didn't decide to skip the Wilkes-Barre city council meeting instead scheduling a meeting at the Ramada on Public Square that stepped on this event. After all the Luzerne County Democratic Committee made a not so unanimous endorsement in this race. Some people think that the endorsement hurts more than helps. 11th CD Democratic hopefuls Bill Visko and Gene Stilp were also facing off at the same time at the LWV forum in Kingston. Thom Shibula told me that Stilp had the "bigger pig" inflated outside Wyoming Sem. I'm surprise that the LWV would allow that considering all their other stuck up rules. So many things to do on a Thursday, need a towel.

I'm paraphrasing the speeches but certainly would not take them out of context.

Phyllis Mundy kicked off the night saying she doesn't understand why people would equate both political parties. There are differences between the party's " I see it everyday in Harrisburg. " Mundy also cited President Obama. She then gave a rousing intro to Matt Cartwright.

Matt then acknowledged what we all know "Phyllis is a giant in the Democratic Party." He then generously introduced Mornoe County State Rep Democratic candidate in the 176th HD Maureen Madden.The one thing that they all agreed on was that they were thankful that Lou Barletta wasn't representing them in Congress anymore.

Cartwright then delivered one of the best arguments I have ever heard from a local or national Democratic politician. " We are the Democrats, people are counting on us." "I will stand for Democratic principles but my opponent won't."He then reminded the audience of the successes of the Democrats, the SEC was created when FDR was President so was Social Security then along came Medicare. Business is good but you have to have some rules.

He doesn't like Tim Holden's TV ads saying "attacking me and my family as if we are the scum of the earth." He wants to hear this in person from Tim Holden who will not debate him. Holden won't debate Cartwright because he can't defend his votes against the ACA and for the Haliburton loophole.

More photos at this link.

LWV backs off recording ban

Sort of.

Stilp upset that debate cannot be taped

Misunderstanding over recording 11th District debate cleared up

The League of Women Voters has scheduled a forum with Democratic 11th Congressional District candidates Bill Vinsko and Gene Stilp tonight at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston. At first the league said that no person of any kind will be allowed to record anything in any way during the debate, neither audio or video. They have since backed off that somewhat, saying the ban didn't apply to the media but still applied to the campaigns and members of the audience. I don't know how they intend to enforce that rule in this age of smart phones and hand held recorders

“This is done to ensure the nonpartisan reputation of the league and to protect candidates from any information that is shared at the event from being recorded and used for biased or ‘out of context’ purposes.” Susan Ferentino, president of the League of Women Voters, said.

Sorry, but that explanation doesn't hold water. In past elections candidates have used information from LWV forums to attack their opponents. A video of the event would be useful in rebutting anything "out of context."

Service Electric TV was planning to film the forum but the league told them to buzz off. It's unclear if they have reconsidered that decision.

Cartwright hits Holden ON THE ISSUES

Tim Holden has aired 2 TV spots going after Matt Cartwright about things that have nothing to do with the duties of a member of Congress. One was tapping into the emotions of the Kids for Cash or as I call it the Juvie Brothers scandal that worked very well in the last DA's race. Cartwright gave money to Conahan and Ciavarella just like many lawyers did well before we knew how evil they were. Another argument to choose judge's on merit but that is another post. The second said you should vote against him because he is well off financially, really. Maybe Matt should bring that boat north and park it at the slip in Nesbitt Park and rename it "Hung Jury."

Yesterday Cartwright started airing what is called in the business a contrast ad but it doesn't attack Holden personally but objects some of the votes he has cast.

Tim Holden voted no on the Affordable Care Act. The most important piece of social legislation that every Democratic President since Harry Truman has been trying to achieve. It's not perfect but it is a start. I don't know how someone can call themselves a Democrat then vote against denying health care coverage for 30+ million of people. Then there is the Haliburton loophole that just may poison all of our water.

At this point I was going to post the latest Cartwright ad from his YouTube site but when I tried to I got this.

Embedding disabled by request

WTF! I'm trying to broadcast your ad on my blog giving you some free media and I can't. Whoever made that decision should be taken to the woodshed.

I had a bunch of other points to make but I will skip it now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Meet the candidate

Republican 120th HD candidate Aaron Kaufer is having a get together on Sunday.

Valenti’s Restaurant
1180 Wyoming Ave.
Exeter, Pa. 18643

Sunday, April 15th
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The details are on his website.

Thursday events

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.-Arthur Dent

So many things going on Thursday.

On the local scene Matt and Phyllis will be having a lovefest in West Wyoming while Bill Vinsko and Gene Stilp square off in Kingston that few people will attend or get a chance to watch on TV. Kathy Kane will skip the W-B city council meeting to host a Luzerne County Democratic rally at the Ramada on Public Square. How did all three of these events get scheduled at the the same time? Tim Holden is scheduled to be in the Lehigh Valley but you wouldn't know that if you checked his website.

Former President Clinton will be campaigning for Kathleen Kane down near Philly tomorrow and President Obama's top political guy was in the city of brotherly love backing Murphy yesterday. Loyalty is important in politics. Kane was big supporter of Hillary when she ran ran for President in 2008 and Murphy was one of the few elected officials in PA to back Obama.

I'm a bit conflicted about which event to attend. The Willow Grove thing is out of the question and the reluctant Nanticoke Committeeman has in invited me to the rally on Public Square. I'll take a pass on both. So do I want to go to LWV forum or a party with my 3rd favorite state rep and a guy who just may be my next Congressman?

Some press releases

WILLOW GROVE, PA--President Bill Clinton will attend a major “Get Out The Vote” rally for veteran prosecutor and Democratic State Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane this Thursday, April 12th from 6 – 8 pm at Upper Moreland High School in the town of Willow Grove, Montgomery County in the northwestern suburbs of Philadelphia. The rally follows President Clinton’s recent endorsement of Kathleen Kane as Pennsylvania’s first elected female Attorney General. “Kathleen Kane is the most experienced and qualified candidate to serve as Pennsylvania Attorney General," said President Clinton. “I am confident that Kathleen will use the legal system to protect and advance the lives of all Pennsylvanians. She is smart, tough, and experienced, and she will make a great Attorney General.” Kane, a veteran Deputy District Attorney for Lackawanna County in Northeast Pennsylvania, is greatly appreciative of President Clinton’s strong show of support for her candidacy. “Words cannot express my gratitude to President Clinton for his unwavering support,” Kane added. “President Clinton remains an enormously popular and influential world leader. Our campaign is incredibly energized by the President’s support. We intend to ride this wave of momentum to victory on Tuesday, April 24th and in the November General Election. We also look forward to having President Clinton at our side throughout this historic journey.”

Philadelphia, PA) – Senior Obama Campaign Advisor David Axelrod campaigned today in Philadelphia for Patrick Murphy, giving a boost to his run for Pennsylvania Attorney General.

In a strategy meeting with key supporters at a Philadelphia law firm, Axelrod said Patrick Murphy has the experience, leadership and vision to be a great Attorney General for the people of Pennsylvania.

He also noted Murphy's ardent support of the President during some of his tougher fights including ending the war in Iraq, repealing Don't Ask, Don't
Tell and protecting women's rights.

“President Obama has never had a better friend in politics than Patrick Murphy. He was with us early, he was a great supporter of the election, but more importantly he was a leader we could count on to help end the war in Iraq and repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Patrick has taken up fights for people, not for special interests, but for people who needed a voice,” Axelrod said.

“There are the people who run for public office because they want to be something, and then there are people who run for public office because they want to do something, because they want to serve and they see it as a way of making our community stronger. There is nobody I know who exemplifies that ethic more than Patrick Murphy, who has served his country so honorably, served his community so honorably. I’ve never met anyone who impressed me more than Patrick in terms of that commitment and that sense of service. This is a guy who represents a better future for Pennsylvania,“ he added.

Axelrod said he knows that as Attorney General, Murphy will protect the middle class and defend the rights of all Pennsylvanians with the same passion and conviction.

An early supporter of President Obama, Murphy endorsed his presidential campaign in August 2007. The primary election for Attorney General is on
April 24.