Friday, March 31, 2006

Jay Sweeney for state representative

I'm surprised Matt didn't point this out. In a previous post I asked why the Green Party doesn't field more local candidates. Maybe they are listening.

CV: The Northeast Pennsylvania Green Party is announcing the candidacy of Falls Township resident Jay Sweeney for state representative in the 111th District on Monday, April 3, at noon in front of the Wyoming County Courthouse in Tunkhannock. Sweeney, a contractor, opposed state Rep. Sandra J. Major, R-111, in the 2004 general election. His platform includes restoring democracy, voting referendums, lobbyist disclosure rules, and his opposition to Keystone Opportunity Zones.

Kathy Scott for Congress

Republican Kathy Scott of Williamsport, Lycoming County, is announcing her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th Congressional District. She is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock.

From her website:

I am Kathy Scott, and I am running for Congress in District 10. My opponent, Representative Don Sherwood (Republican-Tunkhannock), has been in office since 1996. As a resident of this district, I feel that I have not been well-served by Don Sherwood. Listed in the table below are some of the reasons why. If you feel as I do, I hope you will vote for me in the May 16th Primary Election on the Republican ticket. As I go door-to-door throughout the thirteen counties in District 10 to meet you, I will not be distributing a fancy, expensive color brochure. I am running on a shoe-string budget and not taking money from PACs (Political Action Committees) or special interest groups to fund this campaign. I don’t want to be indebted to anyone but YOU when I vote on legislation. When I vote, it will be to protect and support your interests and needs.

The Tunkhannock New Age Examiner has an interview with some great quotes:

"The voters out there are very fed up and disgusted with the direction our party and our country are going," Scott said Sunday afternoon. From Pres. George Bush's decision a couple of weeks ago to okay a deal to sell operations of six ports to the Saudi Arabians to a national debt that has gotten bigger in the past five years than it was under all of the 42 previous presidential administrations combined, Scott said, "Something has gone dreadfully wrong. Responsible spending has gone out the window, and our president and Congress are acting like they have a credit card bill which nobody has to pay," Scott said. "Well, we're the ones paying, and our kids and our kids' kids will be paying enormous debt service."

But beyond that, Scott said she truly believes there's an arrogance of many elected officials today who just believe they are above the law. She said she was dumbfounded about one of Sherwood's campaign brochures which touted "integrity" as one of three key ingredients that the congressman believed were his strengths."Here's a man who has admitted that he cheated on his wife for five years and we're to believe he has integrity?" the woman who has been married for 36 years asked."......"He brought dishonor to himself, his family and all of us who helped put him into office, and that's just wrong," she said. "He shouldn't be in office if he's going to live his life that way. The people of this district deserve better."

This will be an interesting test of the discontent with Sherwood. If she holds him to below 70% in the primary he is in trouble with his own party. And I know just the guy to replace him.

20th District race gets hot

ROSS TWP. - A little mischief is to be expected during a hot political campaign, but a recent incident shows just shows how heated the race for the 20th state Senatorial District seat is getting. Someone torched a Russ Bigus sign along state Route 118 in the Sweet Valley section of the township Tuesday night.

Signs are always being stolen during a campaign but this is the first time I remember someone torching one.

The debate went off with surprising little acrimony. The CV write-up emphasizedpropertyt taxes. David Madeira said Act 72 is a disaster and favors eliminating property taxes. Carl Sutton thinks raising the state income tax to 4.5 percent is the way to fund schools. Lisa Baker wants to put school district budgets to a referendum. James Haggerty wants to cut costs. Russ Bigus is in favor of Act 72 and the only Democrat in the race, Robert McNamara, agrees.

Health care costs were also discussed. Madeira felt everyone should pay for his or her own health care, but Baker felt accountability was a better option. She thinks everyone involved, including drug companies, employers, health care providers and patients, should work together to reduce costs. Haggerty believes people need more options so pricing could be more competitive, and Sutton thinks drug companies are spending too much money on advertising. He would like to see pharmaceutical ads banned from television. Bigus, if elected, would immediately order a intensive study on Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. McNamara thinks the burden is on elected officials. He believes that as leaders, they should make it their priority to find ways to cut costs.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Opening day

Jimmy Rollins hit in 36 straight games to end last season. Can he keep it going? And if he hits in another 21 does it break DeMaggio's record?

Some of the questions that will be discussed as we have another get together to celebrate the opening day of baseball.

The fun starts at 1PM when ESPN covers the Red Sox vs. Rangers and the Nats take on the Mets.

The Phils are on at 3PM. Sorry pinstripers you're guys aren't on til almost midnight.

Pope George Ringo has declared an emergency conclave of the the OT Committee and Operatic Society to celebrate this event.

We shall meet at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre (map it).

The big news in baseball is the steroid scandal and more and more of the big names are getting caught up in it.

Wade Bloggs gives us some unsettling news about the Phanatic:

Snout of Shadows?

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Barry Bonds isn't the only cartoonish creature thrust into the spotlight by this week's release of Game of Shadows. The Phillie Phanatic is also accused of using performance enhancing substances.

I didn't think he looked right.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another Monkey is back

D.B. Echo has returned from Ireland with a boatload of great pics at Another Monkey. This is what he was doing there.

His other project is NEPA Blogs and he looking for all local bloggers to link to.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

PA bloggers

Adding a few PA political bloggers to my blogroll which appears on the bottom of the page due to technical problems.

Above Average Jane and me have had a great discussion on the use of site-meter. Plus she has great interviews with Philly area candidates and runs a weekly feature on missing people.

Glen at That Liberal Blog covers the national issues.

PSoTD has a thing about cell towers.

120th House District debate set

I got a heads up that there will be a debate between the candidates for the 120th District that is centered on the west side of Luzerne County.

The League of Women Voters have scheduled a debate for April 19th at 7:00 at Wyoming Seminary (Kingston).

I have spent the day trying to get confirmation from the candidates; Republicans Paul J.M. Stebbins Jr, Joe Chacke III and incumbent Democrat Phyllis Mundy. Republican candidate John Cordara doesn't have a website that I know of.

Joe Chacke hasn't got back to me yet, but that's understandable, it's Sunday. Paul Stebbins is in and looking foward to the opportunity to discuss the issues. As I said I don't know how to get a hold of Cordara. Phyllis Mundy had this reply:

I have a long-standing commitment for that evening with the GreaterWilkes-Barre Labor Council. However I look forward to a debate in the fall with the winner of the Republican Primary.

Tomorrows headline in the Times-Leader if I hadn't beat them to it:

Mundy Ducks Debate EXCLUSIVE

Democratic State Committee

GRANTVILLE, Pa.- Gov. Rendell and Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll were endorsed without challenges for second four-year terms.

It was a given that Rapid Edward would get the endorsement since he has no opposition. CBK has the backing of the GUV and the other candidates didn't even contest it. I received 2 interesting press releases from the Valerie McDonald Roberts campaign.

Harrisburg, PA March 25, 2006:

Today at the meeting of the Democratic State Committee candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Valerie McDonald Roberts withdrew her request for endorsement.

McDonald Roberts announced her decision in an impassioned speech before Democratic State Committee Members. She stated:

"This is about choice. Everyone has a god given right to choose and you all as popularly elected party officials have the responsibility as well as the right to choose who would be the best person on the ticket. But to my supporters, I see the agony in your eyes; I see that you know what needs to be done but that doing so will cause you difficulty. I don't want anyone to have to go through any more difficulties here on my behalf. So I am going to withdraw name from consideration from endorsement.

Yesterday she received the endorsement of the PA chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women)

Harrisburg, PA March 25—The Pennsylvanian National Organization for Women endorsed Valerie McDonald Roberts last night during the candidate's reception at the Democratic State Committee meeting in Harrisburg.

A statement from PA NOW PAC stated, "Valerie McDonald Roberts is the epitome of what we would want an elected representative to be. Her service demonstrates the feasibility of our requirements for candidates we support"......According to the Women's Institute for Policy research Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom for percentage of women in elected office as well as for political participation overall. Pennsylvania also ranks poorly for women’s reproductive health and in several other key indicators. McDonald Roberts is committed to seeing the standing of women in Pennsylvania improve and to working towards a more inclusive and responsive state government.

The other candidates are Gene Stilp, a citizen activist with a really neat big pig and William A. Hall III, a political newcomer from Northampton County.

Joke time


Crawford, Texas -- A tragic flood this morning destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush.

The flood began in the bathroom where both books were kept.
Both of the books are now lost. A White House spokesman
said the President was devastated as he had almost finished
coloring the second one.

The White House tried to call FEMA but there was no answer.

Friday, March 24, 2006

20th Senate District roundup

As predicted State Sen. Charles Lemmond has endorsed his former aide Lisa Baker as his successor.

And the other candidates are not happy about it.

Baker opponent Russ Bigus was angered by Lemmond's endorsement, saying the incumbent should have stayed neutral.

"If he is going to support her, it puts her in the status of an incumbent," Bigus said. "I don't think we need any more Harrisburg insiders in our state."

Another Baker opponent, Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty, claimed Baker's upcoming fund-raisers with former Gov. Tom Ridge prove Baker is "a Harrisburg insider" who is "out of touch." Ridge plans to attend Baker fund-raiser on Monday.

Last week Haggerty blasted her list of accomplishments.

On her campaign Web site, Baker touts a long list of accomplishments when she was a top aide for former Govs. Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker and state Sen. Charles Lemmond, who 'sn’t seeking re-election as the state senator of the 20th District.
Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty, one of four Republicans running for the seat, said "it’s silly and a disservice" for Baker to take credit for others' accomplishments.
"She has no record of her own," Haggerty said. "The voters are entitled to a list of Lisa Baker's government accomplishments, not Tom Ridge's, not the legislature's, not things she attended ribbon cuttings for."

TL columnist Casey Jones has picked his early favorite in the race:

I had to choose today I'd go with Carl Sutton for state Senate. That's a decision based entirely on his occupation. Sutton is a psychotherapist. Having a psychotherapist on the floor could only help. Say the Senate was about to vote themselves a big pay raise. That’s where Sutton would come in handy.

"Fellow senators," he would say, rising to his feet. "You’re out of your minds."

I can guess who will be the primary target in the upcoming debate at College Misericordia March 29, 7 p.m.

The other candidates are Republican David Madeira, Dallas and Democrat Robert McNamara, Susquehanna.

Bill Fitz has a great rundown of the mechanics of the race at My Take.


WILKES-BARRE-A political phone poll making the rounds asks specifically whether a candidate's belief in Scientology would sway the respondent at the polls. One participant said the pollster identified the polling company as Community Research Group, but refused to divulge who commissioned the poll.....Democratic state representative contender Brian O'Donnell says he is an active, practicing Catholic and is disturbed about talk questioning his faith.

None of the five candidates battling for Blaum's seat has claimed ownership of the poll that asks about Scientology, among other questions. The other four also say they are practicing Catholics.
O'Donnell wouldn't confirm or deny launching the poll, saying he's not going to divulge his campaign strategy and doesn't believe other candidates will either.

It sure sounds like a push poll with questions asked after information was provided about some of the candidates. The interviewer pointed out Bob Reilly's employee problems, Eddie Pashinski's pension and said nice things about O'Donnell. If O'Donnell is a Scientologist maybe Tom Cruise or Isaac Hays will come to town to campaign for him.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One newspaper town

Wilkes-Barre is one of only a handful of cities in the US that has 2 daily papers. That may end soon. Who likes that idea?

U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, with his national perspective, might be tempted to shrug his shoulders and say, "It happens." That's the direction of the newspaper industry anyway, as he sees it, and, besides, it could bring one positive result - more upbeat news.
In two-paper towns, he said, "There's a little more encouragement to spark stories out of conflict, and sometimes that isn't always the best thing." One-paper town Scranton's "general tone of news is supportive."
"That's healthy," he said. "That's important."

I guess it's supportive if the paper doesn't look at you in a critical way. If the paper only prints your press releases you will be happy with them. So Kanjo is happy with the Citizens Voice but not the Times-Leader.

McClatchy Co. Announced plans last week to buy all 32 Knight Ridder newspapers and quickly resell 12 of them, including the Times Leader. That raised speculation that Scranton-based Times-Shamrock Communications, owner of The citizen's Voice, would purchase the Times Leader and close one of the city's papers.

We're screwed folks. If at the end of this is we have only one newspaper our information will dry up. Having 2 newspapers is a treasure that will not be appreciated until we have only one.

Another one knocked off the ballot

HARRISBURG - Dallas Mayor Tim Carroll has been tossed off the Republican primary ballot in the 117th House District after a judge found he failed to disclose information on his candidate filing about other positions he holds.

Another contender in the race, Republican James May, was removed from the ballot by court order on Tuesday after he was faulted for filing incomplete election paperwork. In both cases, the court deemed the omissions to be "fatal defects" to the respective candidacies.

I hope they both appeal. If you read the story they should both have had a chance to amend the financial forms. It's not like they were trying to hide significant income. On the other hand, if you can't fill out the forms properly, what kind of state rep will you be?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How long will will the US be in Iraq?

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq - At another giant base, al-Asad in Iraq's western desert, the 17,000 troops and workers come and go in a kind of bustling American town, with a Burger King, Pizza Hut and a car dealership, stop signs, traffic regulations and young bikers clogging the roads....

Are the Americans here to stay?

Air Force mechanic Josh Remy is sure of it as he looks around Balad. "I think we'll be here forever," the 19-year-old airman from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., told a visitor to his base.

The Iraqi people suspect the same. Strong majorities tell pollsters they'd like to see a timetable for U.S. troops to leave, but believe Washington plans to keep military bases in their country.

State Rep News

HARRISBURG-Falls resident James May was ordered off the Republican ballot in the 117th District on Tuesday, after a Commonwealth Court judge found he failed to adequately fill out a financial disclosure form. He was among nine contenders vying to succeed Rep. George Hasay, R-Union Township.

Democrat Alfred Akulonis, one of seven candidates vying to succeed Rep. Tom Tigue in the 118th District, dropped out of the race this week, citing personal reasons.

And thanks to Wilkes-Barre Online for the link to 121st District candidate "Eddie Day and TNT" Eddie Pashinski .

In addition, the lone challenger to Rep. Todd Eachus pulled his name from the primary ballot Tuesday to avoid a court fight over his nomination petitions. White Haven Borough Councilman Herbert Albee now hopes to win the Republican nomination in the 116th District through a write-in campaign.

Ricky getting some help from his friends

WASHINGTON - President Bush's lackluster approval ratings haven't kept Sen. Rick Santorum from seeking his help to raise money.
Bush is scheduled to attend a private fundraising dinner Friday evening for Santorum at a Sewickley Heights residence. The two are not scheduled to appear together publicly.
Among Pennsylvania voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released last month, Bush had a 37 percent approval rating. The number is consistent with recent nationwide polls.

Last October Dick Cheney appeared at a super secret fundraiser for Ricky in Luzerne County. Then when Bush came to our area on Veterans Day he was a 100 miles away. Now another non-public fundraiser. Anyone see a pattern? 'Hey guys, can you round up of few rich buddies for me but don't let anyone see us together.'

Washington-Weeks after the Internal Revenue Service announced a crackdown on political activities by churches and other tax-exempt organizations, a coalition of nonprofit conservative groups is holding training sessions to enlist Pennsylvania pastors in turning out voters for the November elections....The first training session, on March 6 in Valley Forge, included a videotaped message from a single candidate, Senator Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican who faces a difficult re-election fight. "I encourage you to let your voices be heard from the pulpit" on vital issues, Mr. Santorum said, urging the pastors to champion a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to a recording made by a person at the session.....After the tape, organizers offered participating pastors copies of the senator's book "It Takes a Family."......

A politician speaking to a religious group is hardly new, and the tax code allows churches and other tax-exempt charities to register voters and to express views on public issues. But the rules forbid supporting a political party or candidate. Inviting just one candidate to speak, singling out one candidate for special praise and highlighting a combination of issues tailored to one candidate's campaign are all factors that the I.R.S. considers problematic.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Debates set

The League of Women Voters, Wilkes-Barre Area, will present a debate between candidates running for the 20th State Senatorial District at 7 p.m. March 29 at College Misericordia.

There are six contenders for the Senate seat to be vacated by Charles Lemmond, and all have confirmed they will participate in the debate. Candidates include: Lisa Baker, Lehman; Russell Bigus, Dallas; James Haggerty, Kingston; David Madeira, Dallas; Robert McNamara, Susquehanna; and Carl Sutton, Dallas.

League Board Members Christine McLaughlin and Jane Manganella, who are serving as co-chairs for debates, announced that the League also will present debates between candidates running for these state House seats:

121st District – 7 p.m. April 5 at Wilkes University’s Stark Learning Center, Room 101

Democratic candidates are Brian O’Donnell, Bob Reilly, Jim Hayward and Ed Pashinski. The lone Republican is Christine Katsock.

118th District – 7 p.m. April 26 at Pittston Area High School Auditorium

Democratic candidates include Mike Carroll of Avoca, who is state Rep. John Yudichak’s chief of staff, Alfred Akulonis Jr., Third District Democratic vice chairman Terrance Best and former Avoca mayor James “Red” O’Brien, both Pittston Area School Board members. Republican candidates are Luzerne County chief deputy sheriff Arthur Bobbouine, former Pleasant Valley school board member Jim Spinola and Chestnuthill Township Supervisor Maureen Tatu.

117th District – 7 p.m. May 4 at Penn State Lehman’s Hayfield House Room 105

The lone Democrat is Fed Nichols. The small army of Republicans: Eugene Stavitzski, Michael McCormick, James May (if he survives a court challenge), Tim Carroll, Karen Boback, Randy Tomasacci, Edmund Sichler Jr. and Stanford Davis.

I have been trying to track down websites for all the candidates. So if you are aware of any I missed please let me know.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Clean Sweep has local candidates

An anti-incumbent organization has thrown its support behind two local candidates for state offices.

PACleanSweep founder Russ Diamond said the organization is supporting the candidacies of Republicans Russ Bigus for state Senate in the 20th District and Edmund Sieminski, running for state representative of the 119th District.

"The pay raise issue raised a lot of concerns with me regarding the process and procedure in the way it was done," Bigus said. "There is no entitlement to this position. It's a job where we're supposed to roll up our sleeves every day and go to work for the people. I contacted PACleanSweep in November for their support, and I'm excited to get it because we share the same philosophies."

Sieminski, the only challenger to Rep. John Yudichak (D-Nanticoke), has served as a state representative in the past, and tried to instill reform while in the position.

Bigus will face a crowded field in the May 16 primary, with opposition from Republicans Lisa Baker, James Haggerty, David Madeira and Carl Sutton. The winner will square off against Democrat Robert McNamara for the seat of retiring Sen. Charles Lemmond.

I'm not sure if this a good thing or a bad thing.

Leadership squabble divides anti-incumbent group . Russ Diamond is running for Governor and the rest of the bunch is not happy about it.

Local Chuck supporters gearing up

Everyone considers Luzerne County to be Casey Country but many of us are not happy with the idea of Casey being shoved down our throats. I remember in the Governors race getting a call on election day to remind me to vote (I have never missed an election) from the Casey campaign. When I told the person that I had already voted for Ed Rendell he hung up.

Local supporter Austin Ford sent me an email on my he supports Chuck:

Chuck's plans for universal health care and a living wage could help stimulate the economy and support the 1.3 million Pennsylvanians who are without any health insurance at all. If we could switch to a federally sponsored, state controlled health care we could eliminate the middle man between Americans and their doctors. Each year the thousands of executives in the health insurance industry collect hundred of millions more while the national average for health care costs continues to soar.

But I am preaching to the choir, 87% of Americans want universal health care. Even 77% said they want it with or without a tax increase because they understand that the tax increase will be far less than how much they are paying large corporations to provide them coverage. So I ask you why is the will of the people being ignored? Perhaps because these same corporations that are profiting off of our poor are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into our US legislature in the form of campaign contributions. Rick Santorum and Bob Casey Jr both have already taken millions from PACs that openly admit they are pursuing the best interests of their rich corporate donors not of the average working man. In fact Casey and Santorum have taken money from 239 of the same PACs. This overlap includes all of the major pharmaceutical and health insurance industry PACs. No matter who wins between them universal health care will become even less likely.

This is why I am motivated to support Chuck. Chuck takes zero dollars from any PAC or corporation. His campaign is completely citizen driven because that is who he wants to be loyal to when he gets to the Senate. Chuck says he will use his office to inform the voters and help them put pressure on all legislatures to do the will of the people. Chuck believes that no amount of money can contain the will of the people.

In at least 32 counties he has organizations actively getting his message out many of them have conducted fundraising drives to pay for signs and radio ads. He needs only 500,000 votes to win this primary and I plan to deliver 12,000 from this county.

Yours in Service to our Commonwealth,

Austin Ford

The next event in the race is the state committee endorsement.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -Bob Casey has been endorsed by the Democratic State Committee in three straight statewide elections, and he hopes to extend that winning streak when the committee considers its 2006 endorsements next Saturday. With some of the nation's most powerful Democrats determined to see state Treasurer Casey become the party's standard-bearer against Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, that is likely to happen.
It may or may not be easy.
Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals, Casey's two opponents in the May 16 primary, are working to derail a Casey endorsement. An open primary, in which the party does not take sides, "makes for a more competitive system and it allows the strongest candidate to emerge," said Pennacchio, a history professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Said Sandals, a Philadelphia pension lawyer: "Voters will become much more interested in the issues and the candidates if they understand that it really is contested."

One of my favorite analyst, LVDem, had this to say at KP:

Keep in mind that the state party endorsement has not killed a bunch of people in the past. In 1996 the state party did not endorse Casey in the primary: he won and became AG. In 2002 it endorsed Casey and Rendell won. Perhaps Casey should be more interested in running and hiding from this.

I will update you on the next Chuck event when I know about it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Talking with Joe part 2

I had an opportunity to spend some time with Dr. Joseph Leonardi who is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in the 11th District of Pennsylvania. I'm paraphasing.


Education and arrest people. Look at the way NYC turned around. Take money from social services and redirect it to the police. Take that model to small towns. The broken window theory. Put police on the street. They are not going to do anything if a cop is driving by.

I give Mayor Haggerty a lot of credit, I look out of the window of my office I see a police car pass by a couple times a day. Why can't we do that in W-B.

We have been locking up people over drugs for 50 or 60 years, is there another way of doing it?

The problem with drugs is 2 fold. There is an education issue that need to be addressed . Dare has had a small degree of success. What you need to get serious about the supply which leads to the problem of the borders. If we could close down the borders .. to the drug problem and illegal immigration. The drugs would have a harder time getting in. The other problem is there is a demand for it. We need to find a way to curb demand.

Blaming other countries for our drug problem?

That's where education comes into play. That's where just locking people up. Not just lock up the user. The person that should be targeted is the supplier that is using. Who's is trying to fix his own habit. They are people who should be targeted who have an incentive to get other people hooked.

"I'm not a big fan of mandatory minimums, and I know that doesn't sound appropriate coming from a Republican. I think that everything should be dealt with on a case by case basis. "

Obviously you are a strong war supporter?

I am?

Are you?

I think we have to do what it takes to end it and get out. Iraq seems to be on a good track. When you think about it you can't give into the terrorist mindset. Israel pulled out of Gaza and it wasn't enough. That's why appeasement will never work. They can't compromise. Was Iraq the right place at the right time? We won't know that for 10 years. The President had certain information and was elected to go through the intelligence and make a decision. Intelligence is not an exact science.

The government reaction to 9/11, the patriot act, the real id act?

If something else had happened since 9/11 people would feel they didn't do enough. I don't know if the Patriot Act was an overreaction. Passing the Pat Act without reading it was an overreaction. It seems now the 2nd time through more attention has been paid to it. I'm upset they have loosened the rules on carry-on items for aircraft.

"One of the things that upset me about the Congress is the way Congress gave up it's power to declare war in the Iraq situation. " All they did was authorize the use of force. That bothered me to no end. This was a war and they should have declared war. It's up to the Congress to declare war not the President. You don't give somebody a blank check.

Health care, big problem?

Is it as big a problem as people say it is? There could be some better ways to get coverage. I treat people everyday with decent coverage, they may have to pay more for it than they did in the past, but they have it. I don't see national healthcare as the answer. Health care problems go with the economy if the economy is doing well it's not as big an issue. Every time you're health premiums go up people complain, but so do your car insurance and life insurance premiums. That's part of the market economy.

Medicare Drug Plan?

"What a farce." If you are going to have a single payer Medicare plan then you should have a single payer drug plan. The reminds me ofMedicareicare hmo's, I don't think that there are any left. I'm a conservative running as a Republican however I'm not going to support this.

Social Security

I believe strongly in the SS system. I don't have a problem with being able to invest part of our incomes in it, but there will be a transistion stage that will cause a lot of suffering. SS is not an investment plan and I don't like the way it is being played off by both parties. I liked Santorum's law guaranteeing benefits. SS is not an investment, it is a promise from one generation to take care of another. You can really judge a society by the way it takes care of it's least fortunate and least well off. I don't have a problem to pay part of my income to help someone who has gotten older and maybe not as fortunate and providing that safety net.

Would you favor means testing? "Sure "


I got this in the email yesterday.


HARRISBURG - Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll today endorsed the candidacy of Chris Carney, the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives seat in the 10th Congressional District. "I am so impressed by Chris's credentials. As a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, he has served our country with distinction here and abroad; as an educator, he has shared his experience and knowledge with our next generation of leaders; and as a husband and father, he has set an example for all of us about the meaning of family," Mrs. Knoll said. "He is an outstanding choice, not just for Democrats, but for all voters in the 10th Congressional District. He will make the 10th District proud in Congress."

The 10th Congressional District includes Bradford, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties and portions of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Lycoming counties.

Andrew Eldredge-Martin spokemann for Chris Carney for Congress said:

"The Lt. Governor's endorsement is further recognition of the momentum we are building as a campaign. Chris Carney is going to represent the interests and values of the 10th District in Congress next year. He will make the 10th District proud in Washington."

This is another surprise development in the 10th District race and shows the state party is lining up behind Chris. Earlier we found out that Don Sherwood will have a primary challenger. From the TL:

A Williamsport woman said Tuesday she will oppose U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood in the Republican primary on May 16, claiming the incumbent "is not living his personal life in a way that's honest and moral." Kathy Scott, a former high school teacher and college administrator, filed a nominating petition Tuesday to run in the primary against Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock.
"We need more honesty and ethics from our representative," she said.

Plus national political handicappers CQPolitics no longer consider this a Safe Republican seat.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Voting machines

Mike McGlynn is ready to asses some blame:

The blame will be bouncing around if $3 million for computer voting is lost

as now seems likely, Luzerne County is forced to dust off the old crank-and-lever voting machines to conduct the May primary election, Piazza could be the fall guy when the county loses $3 million in grant money tied to the federal Help America Vote Act’s requirement that new touchscreen voting machines be in place for this year's elections.

Hooters goes bust

That was the headline in the CV today.:

Hooters Air will be the second low-fare, leisure-oriented airline in two years to fold at the local airport. Vacation Express — a startup service created by the airport, counties and contracted charter operators — shut down in September 2004. That venture was plagued by declining ticket sales after problems with delays, cancellations and a drunken pilot. Hooters Air, based in Myrtle Beach S.C., was a different story. The airline sold tickets, but its low fares could not cover its costs, airport officials said Thursday.

How many more companies will they pay off to come here? Then get burned?

"It has helped create real competition in the marketplace, reduced overall costs of flying out of here and increased total enplanements," Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid said. “We’ve had two carriers that haven't been successful, but the program has been overwhelmingly successful," he added.

The program has been successful? The only 2 carriers they have been able to lure to the airport pulled out in no time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

117th District Challenges

You have to get 200 signatures to run in the primary for State representative in Luzerne County. Two candidates are having their petitions challenged in the 117th District.
James E. May IV of Wyoming County and Timothy J. Carroll from the lake.

I started writing that last night but it turns out there are other issues. The TL has the details:

Republicans Tim Carroll and James May failed to disclose pertinent information on their financial disclosure statements, according to the challenges. The May and Carroll campaigns dispute the allegations, saying rival Edmund Sichler is behind the challenges. Court hearings are scheduled for Monday in Harrisburg.

The dispute seems to be over some financial disclosure form that I'm not familiar with. Apparently if you made a couple of hundred bucks from some government entity you have write it down. It seems nitpicky.

The other Republican candidates in the race are:

Eugene Stavitzski, a territory manager for Fleet Pride in Scranton and Hunlock Township resident

Northwest Area School Board member Randy Tomasacci of Huntington Township

Michael McCormick, a borough councilman from Benton, Columbia County

Ross Township Supervisor Stanford Davis

Karen Boback, a Tunkhannock Area School District teacher from Harveys Lake.

This field is so crowded that I can't keep up with it. My guess is if you can 25% of the primary vote you will win the nomination. The good news is it won't be over in May. There is one Democrat running for this seat, Fred Nichols, jr.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Selenski Not Guilty of Murder

But he was found guilty of 2 other charges. It sounds like the jury got it right. The Commonwealth couldn't prove he pulled the trigger but he is certainly not innocent.

WNEP: After 21 hours of deliberating, some jurors explained why they couldn't convict Selenski of killing this time, saying prosecutors failed to make their case. "We were were looking for coroborating evidence. In every situation again these, it seemed everyone on the stand were polluted sources," said juror Rich Maley. Jurors said they just couldn't believe the prosecution's witnesses, especially Pat Russin, the one who said he saw Selenski kill Adeiye Keiler and Frank James. They do believe Selenski was involved. That's why they convicted him of abusing corpses for burning the bodies.

"Evidence was missing. We had to put Hugo's finger on the trigger and I don't think any of us could do that," explained juror Ken Acron.

It's not over.

After court was dismissed Selenski was taken to a district justice's office in Luzerne County to face new murder charges for the deaths of Wyoming County pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and his girlfriend, Tammy Fassett. Their remains were also found buried in the yard where Selenski lived in the Back Mountain.

Clearing the field

Thanks to Above Average Jane for pointing this out.

GOP disputes candidacy of Santorum challenger:

Initially, John Featherman appeared to make the cut, with 2,207 signatures. Then the Pennsylvania Department of State tossed 185 signatures.

Featherman, who has faced U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in a general election before, is awaiting the results of a GOP leadership effort to get him off the ballot.
Scott Migli, executive director of the Republican State Committee, filed a petition in Commonwealth Court yesterday asking that 1,073 more signatures on Featherman's papers be ruled invalid. That would leave Featherman far short of the 2,000 he needs to run against Santorum.

The rules on nominating petitions are picky. For instance if your name is John Q. Public, jr. on the voter rolls and you sign the petition leaving off the Q or jr. the signature can be challenged.

Petitions can also be challenged in Commonwealth Court for a number of reasons, including signers who didn't include an address or wrote a postal address instead of a home town address, signers who aren't registered voters, those who represent a different political party from the candidate, or signers who don't live in the district.

The All Spin Zone has this take:

This comes just days after Rick Santorum so magnanimously invited Mr. Featherman to debate. My bet is that they knew all along that this challenge was coming, as Republican State Committee spokesman Jeff Mannion suggests, and that they also knew the Featherman campaign did not have much cushion. Think, think, think. The Santorum campaign has been consistent with these words, that Mr. Santorum "stands by his pledge to debate any primary opponent who qualifies to be on the ballot."...... As I mentioned just a few days ago, Santorum's magnanimous challenge to debate Featherman is simply cynical politics as usual.

Featherman is not the only one being challenged.

HARRISBURG A total of 76 candidates in this year's state legislative races are being challenged in Commonwealth Court for faulty petition signatures, according to the state elections agency.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


We are blessed in Luzerne County and NEPA. We have 2 newspapers. Most cities in this country don't. The competition is great. Knight Ridder just sold the Times-Leader and many others to The McClatchy Co. who is planning to sell the TL and the Philly papers.

There has been speculation in recent years that Times-Shamrock, the Scranton-based owner of The Citizens’ Voice and The Scranton Times-Tribune, would acquire the Times Leader. Times-Shamrock officials toured the Times Leader in 1997 before it was sold to Knight Ridder, and then purchased the Voice in 2000......Also, The Associated Press was reporting Monday that in Philadelphia Singleton and a group comprising The Newspaper Guild and investment group Yucaipa Cos. of Los Angeles are interested.

The Guild had expressed interest in buying eight of the 12 newspapers on the block but wasn't successful. On Monday, the union said it would consider buying all the publications being divested.

Let's hope we still have 2 papers.



Just two months before the May primary election it's not clear what type of machine voters will use to cast their ballots in Luzerne County.

The county hoped to buy 750 new electronic machines from a company called ES&S. The election board announced Tuesday morning the company has informed the county that it can't supply all the machines and the training before the May 16 primary election.

The county has a back-up plan. It will use the machines the county has used for decades.
"Voters need not worry. The machines are still at the voting machine warehouse and we still can use those if need be," said Voter Services Director Leonard Piazza.
County lawyers are contacting ES&S to see if the voting machine maker has breached its contract. Other counties in our area may be in the same situation.

What impact will this have on the HAVA money? Why does the rest of the country have to make a change because Florida couldn't get it right? Why do we have to use a $3000 machine to do the work of a paper and pencil?

I have always taken my vote seriously and none of these systems have my confidence.

First salvo in the 20th District race

I got this in the email today.

Haggerty blasts Baker as "out-of-touch" Harrisburg insider, says Ridge visit indicative of Baker campaign's lack of substance

(KINGSTON, PA) – Kingston mayor and State Senate candidate Jim Haggerty today blasted former Blue Cross executive Lisa Baker as a Harrisburg insider who is out-of-touch with the people of the 20th Senatorial District.

"Lisa Baker is campaigning for State Senate on the basis that she has over twenty years of experience as a Harrisburg insider," Haggerty said. "In a year where Harrisburg insiders betrayed us by voting themselves a late night pay raise, the last thing the voters want to do is send another insider like Baker to Harrisburg."

Baker's campaign has recently sent "special invitations" out to select party insiders and big money donors to attend pay-to-play fundraising events with former Governor Tom Ridge. Invitations to the events were obtained by the Haggerty for Senate campaign from recipients who were offended that the Baker campaign is relying on the records of Baker’s former employers, rather than her own record.

"Harrisburg insider Lisa Baker is hosting an insider party for her insider friends," Haggerty said. "Check your mailbox. If you didn’t get an invitation to the party, you know you would be on the outside looking in with Baker as your Senator."

The battle lines have been drawn in the campaign for the open seat. Baker has chosen to take credit for projects in which she had little, if any involvement. Her website lists "accomplishments" such as the construction of the Wachovia Arena and its corresponding highway exit, which were the work of others. Jim Haggerty is running on a visible record of progress, cutting taxes, balancing budgets, and improving the quality of life of his community.

I don't think this is some super secret fund raiser ala the Santorum-Cheney event last summer that Ford drivers where not invited. The details of Ridge's visit are on her website.

DALLAS - Former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will visit the area on Monday, March 27, 2006, to support of Lisa Baker in her bid for State Senate. Baker previously served as director of Governor Ridge's Northeast Regional Office, and as deputy chief of staff to Governors Ridge and Schweiker. "Lisa is a leader in the fight for good government and a tireless advocate for northeastern Pennsylvania," Ridge said. "While serving as Governor of Pennsylvania, Lisa was a key member of my cabinet and I relied upon her knowledge and expertise to get things done. She is, without a doubt, one of the hardest working and capable individuals I've known. I'm thrilled that she is seeking to continue her service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

It's no surprise that Gov. Ridge is backing his former aide and Jim Haggerty is running against Harrisburg. The question is who will outgoing Sen. Charlie Lemmond back? From the CV:

Although he is being cagey about it, State Sen. Charles Lemmond, R-Dallas, is expected to endorse one of the five Republicans looking to take his place. "Anyone who says they do not care who replaces them is fibbing a lot," Lemmond said in his retirement announcement on Sept. 25, 2005. "I will not be indicating a preference for anyone tonight, tomorrow, or next week, but when the field of contenders is known, the timing might be right." On Friday, Shawn Murphy, special assistant to Lemmond, said the senator expects to make a statement on the subject within 10 days.

If he doesn't back his former employee, Lisa Baker, most of my Luzerne County Republican friends (all 10 of them) will be shocked. I hope we get a reaction from the other GOP candidates to this news. The other candidates are Carl Sutton , David Madeira and Russ Bigus.

The only Democrat in the race is Robert McNamara. He can sit back and enjoy the infighting.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This is Karl Rove's worst nightmare

Pictures are not working on Blogger right now.

A great article in Time this week:

This is Karl Rove's worst nightmare: a large crowd has gathered in a restaurant in the small town of Montrose, Pa., on a sunny Sunday afternoon in February to listen to the Democratic candidate running in the 10th Congressional District, a rural conservative bastion considered "safe" for Republicans. The candidate, Chris Carney, is soft-spoken and well informed. The audience is enthusiastic and predominantly Democratic, but peppered with Republicans who seem every bit as angry about the Bush Administration as do the Democrats. One man, dressed in a jacket and tie, stands up and confesses he's a lifelong Republican who can't vote for Bush because of his "fiscal irresponsibility." Another Republican, a prohibitively large corrections officer named Gary Morgan, tells me he's disgusted by the way Bush has prosecuted the war in Iraq and by his party's "culture of corruption." He's impressed by Carney, a Navy Reserve intelligence officer who is also a college professor. "It's nice to be able to vote for somebody with honor and integrity, and a veteran."

Another rah rah speech about the war

I'm hanging around the house today a little under the weather and subjected myself to yet another speech by Bush about Iraq. It was carried by the news channels but there was no news. It's been 3 years since US troops went into that country to disarm the WMD's, stop the terrorist links or build democracy? You tell me. The biggest failure of this government is they made a war a partisan issue. Contrast his handling of Iraq vs. his father's response to the Kuwait invasion. He rallied the American people and the world and Saddam was expelled from Kuwait.

Reasonable doubt

"The gun is in Pat Russin's hands, it isn't in Hugo Selenski's hands," Fannick said.

WILKES-BARREIn a three-hour closing argument, the attorney for double-homicide suspect Hugo Selenski said the case against his client is "a mess" and is filled with reasonable doubt.
Demetrius Fannick, who occasionally raised his voice and passionately disputed prosecution theories, not only said authorities haven't proven Selenski robbed and killed two suspected drug dealers, he suggested that two prosecution witnesses, Pat Russin and Paul Weakley, might have killed the men themselves.

Whether or not you think Hugo is guilty, Fannick has done a great job. Everyone I have talked to think he has run circles around the DA's case. The TL poll agrees:

Poll: What do you think the decision of the Hugo Selenski jury will be?

Guilty of first degree murder
43 votes (14%)

Guilty of a lesser charge.
54 votes (18%)

Not Guilty
202 votes (68%)

And he will use theatrics, WNEP:

Fannick closed by saying no shotgun pellets were found near the bodies and to hammer home his point, he scattered hundreds of shotgun pellets across the floor of the courtroom.

The best comment on this case that I have read:

D.B. Echo said...

If I ever decide to murder someone by stabbing them with a rhinoceros horn in front of a bunch of witnesses while smoking a Cuban cigar and carrying a suitcase full of heroin with a dead underage Romanian hooker tucked under my arm, it's gonna be in Wilkes-Barre. I just hope I get the same defense team, prosecutors, and judge as Hugo.

A guy I could vote for

I spotted this at Political Wire:

"Guinness is the drink that kept the Irish from taking over the world. It would be unthinkable not to have a Guinness during a St. Patrick's Day parade. In fact, it would be spiritually wrong."--

Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman (I), on why he drank from a can of Guinness beer in violation of Texas’ open container law, according to the AP.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Lady Speaks

Adding to the blogroll:

The Pa Lady started out slow but she is on a tear. She lives in the wilderness of Bradford County and is pissed at a few state legislatures around the country particularly South Dakota and Tennessee. She is covering her Congressional race and points out the difference between Sherwood and Carney. It's always great to find another NEPA blogger!

She sent me this gem in an email:

My ex-mother in law, and lifelong Republican - had a great comment on Sherwood: "I'd have a hard time voting for any man with a mistress, but I sure won't vote for one who tries to kill her!"

Saturday, March 11, 2006

She doesn't do it

WASHINGTON - Abortion rights advocate Kate Michelman says she will decide soon whether to enter the Pennsylvania Senate race as an independent, a bid that could cause more of a problem for the Democratic challenger than for Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

From Dragonballyee: Despite profound and fundamental differences, I have decided that Pennsylvania will be better served by electing Bob Casey to the U.S. Senate than giving his opponent another term. I do this knowing that I may forever regret not responding one more time to the clarion call of principle.

Thanks Albert.

Abortion, abortion, abortion. There are many other issues that should interest you. Mine, get out of Iraq. Get a National Health Insurance program. Global Warming or not, is it a good idea to keep pouring poison into the air? Our addiction to oil, raise the Cafe standards. Balance the budget, if you propose new spending explain what taxes should be raised.

Noxen ain't the only place

SWEETWATER, Texas - James Wells and his 1,200 pounds of rattlesnakes were first in line for the annual Rattlesnake Roundup in this small West Texas town.....The event, officially known as the World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup, started as a way to control the poisonous reptiles in the area but has grown into a four-day attraction that brings about 30,000 visitors and an economic impact of more than $5 million.

Besides the roundup, there's a parade, a snake charmer pageant, a snake meat eating contest and snake-handling demonstrations, which are aimed at educating adults and children about the ways of rattlers. There's also a demo on how to skin a rattler in preparation for cooking or to use the skins.

I think the Noxen event has gone by the wayside. I have actually eaten rattlesnake and no it doesn't taste like chicken. More like seafood such as King Crab ot Alligator.

20th Senate District

With retirement of Charlie Lemmond we will have a spirited race for the Republican nomination for the 20th Senate District that includes part of Luzerne County.

The front runner is Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty who has a TV commercial up that you can see here.

Harrisburg insider Lisa Baker has a long resume working for Sen. Lemmond and Gov. Ridge among others.

Dallas School Board member and principal of Regis Elementary School in Forty Fort Russ Bigus will never accept a pay raise.

David Madeira is stressing moral issues.

Carl Sutton is a shrink but I can't find any info or website.

There is a Democrat. Robert G. McNamara, superintendent of the Blue Ridge School District in Susquehanna County, has filed a petition to run. No website and various searches just came up with the former Secretary of Defense with the same name.

The Defense rests

"I'm pumped"-Hugo Marcus Selenski when asked if he felt confident as he left the Luzerne County Courthouse on Thursday.

WILKES-BARRE-Two hours and 12 witnesses were all attorney Demetrius Fannick required to defend his client, Hugo Selenski, against two charges of first-degree murder......Fannick rested his case Thursday morning. He and Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jim McMonagle will begin closing arguments Monday at 8 a.m. Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. will then give the jury instructions before sending them to deliberate Selenski's fate. If convicted on both counts of first-degree murder, jurors must then decide whether Selenski deserves the death penalty.

Hugo didn't testify in his own defense which is disappointing as I'm sure everyone who is following this story wanted to hear his version of events. But that is his right and Fannick must be confident he blew enough holes in the prosecutor's case. From what I've read he was successful in raising doubt about almost all of the prosecution witnesses and even some of the physical evidence. We will find out next week if the jury agrees.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Luzerne County has 2 Congressional Disticts thanks to last gerrymandering that went on after the last census. As long as I can remember Scranton and Wilkes-Barre always had different Congressman. In Luzerne County we had Dan Flood and up in the wild north they had Joe McDade. Now Scranton has been taken out of the 10th and supposedly it's a safe Republican seat. I don't know.

There are a lot of people pissed at Don Sherwood. A surprise candidate emerged, Kathy Scott.

A Williamsport woman said Tuesday she will oppose U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood in the Republican primary on May 16, claiming the incumbent “is not living his personal life in a way that’s honest and moral.”.........

Last November, Sherwood agreed to a confidential deal settling a lawsuit filed by 29-year-old Cynthia Ore, who claimed the congressman had repeatedly assaulted her during a five-year relationship. Sherwood, 65, is married.

Who votes for Lt. Governor?

Catherine Baker Knoll is our incumbent but she has few challengers. Her most serious opposition was former Congressman and Senate candidate Joe Hoefel who was in and out of the race in the space of a day. Rapid Edward told him to get out. What's the alternative?

My favorite is Gene Stilp, the guy with the big pig.

Valerie McDonald Roberts is an attractive candidate. She balances the ticket (Philly v. Pttsburgh)

In the end who votes for Lt. Governor or Vice-President? I'm still pissed off that Hoefel is out. As they say the Lt. Gov is just a cheesesteak away from the Governors office. Remember that Tom Ridge left for Washington and Mark Schweiker became Governor.

Jim Matthews is the only Republican candidate for Lt. Governor. He completes the all celebrity Republican team. Swann the football player and Matthews, his brother is famous.

Governors race

It's a clear field for Rapid Edward and Number 88 in the primary. There are a few minor party candidates that may be on the ballot if they can get 67,000 signatures but that's another subject. I'm disappointed that there is not a choice in May especially on the Republican side. But the race is on statewide and locally. Being good Irishmen both candidates will be in the St. Patricks Day Parade in Scranton on Saturday and the Governor is the Honorary Grand Marshall of the Wilkes-Barre parade on Sunday.

The Gov was in our neck of the woods yesterday talking about property tax relief again.

PITTSTON: Rendell visited the home of Collette Orlando, an elderly widow who lives on James Street in Pittston. The governor said his latest plan to use slot machine revenue for property-tax relief would lower Orlando's school property tax bill from $902 to $101.
Bert and Catherine Richards, an elderly couple from Pittston, would see their school property tax bill go from $958 to $148, Rendell said. ...."We're so close to the finish line, but we can't seem to reach the tape," Rendell said.

All I can say is get it done. This issue has been simmering for 30 years. If you can take Barbara Hafer out of the Senate race and pull Joe Hoeffel back from the Lt. Gov. contest you should be able to get your signature issue passed by the Legislature. Crack some heads or as the old saying goes "shit or get off the pot."

People are catching on

WASHINGTON - More and more people, even more Republicans, disapprove of President Bush’s performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.......Republican Party leaders said the survey explains why GOP lawmakers are rushing to distance themselves from Bush on a range of issues — port security, immigration, spending, warrantless eavesdropping and trade, for example.

The poll suggests that most Americans wonder whether Bush is up to the job.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A few national stories

I usually stick to the news of Luzerne County but a few national stories caught my attention today.

Bush Proposes Law Permitting Line-Item Veto: President Bush, seeking to curb ballooning federal spending, announced today he will propose a new law giving him a line-item veto, the authority to strike a specific item from a federal spending bill without killing the entire legislation......Bush said the veto would help "reduce wasteful spending, reduce the budget deficit and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely." He said it would "give me the authority to strip special spending and earmarks out of a bill and then send them back to Congress for an up or down vote."

Another empty proposal. This guy has not vetoed a single bill despite threatening to many times. The deficit has reached record levels and the pork keeps flowing. It would take a constitutional amendment to enact this.

Flag burning is back: I have just received word that tomorrow morning, Senator Bill Frist will announce that a constitutional amendment giving Congress the power to ban the physical desecration of the American flag will receive a floor vote in the United States Senate. The vote will occur during the last week of June.

How do you define it? I have never seen anyone actually do such a thing. Well at least they are not screwing with baseball and it keeps them busy.

Iraq: Murtha counters upbeat general: "I wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going very, very well from everything you look at." The comments drew criticism that Gen. Peter Pace is glossing over problems in the three-year-old U.S. campaign.
"Why would I believe him?" asked Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a major critic of the Bush administration's handling of the war. "This administration, including the president, (has) mischaracterized this war for the last two years."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Chuck for Senate

Chuck was in the area and I'm warming up to him.

WILKES-BARRE —-The 2006 U.S. Senate race is about more than beating incumbent Rick Santorum, Dr. Chuck Pennacchio believes.

It is about issues, values, reclaiming the Democratic party, taking back the country, strengthening the Constitution, and rebuilding burnt bridges with other nations, he said. Pennacchio is confident he can beat Santorum in November to become Pennsylvania’s first Democratic senator in 44 years. He isn't worried about state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., the more high-profile contender for the Democratic nomination, either, despite what he said were attempts by the Democratic Leadership Conference and the state Democratic party to shut down Pennacchio’s candidacy.

He is finding that Democrats are more upset with their own party than with the Republicans, because the Democratic Party is being taken over by corporate interests and won't stand up for its own values."I don’t have to start a fire. There already is a fire," said Pennacchio, who describes himself as a "Main Street" rather than 'Wall Street" Democrat.

Compared to Bobby "me too" Casey it's an easy choice. Casey is an empty suit with a lot of money. Can anyone say Bush? Somehow the national Democratic Party thinks all they have to do is nominate a pro-life Democrat that is supposed to be liberal on economic issues to take on Santorum. We tried that and Klink went Klunk.

I know money is a big issue but if Chuck knocks of Casey he will be a rock star. He will get the money, but not from corporations. The liberal blogs will go all out for him and the usual Democractic donors will follow.

Hunting skunks

WILKES-BARRE - A few years back, Patrick Russin knocked on the back door of Ron Selenski Jr.'s home and asked for a favor, Ronald Selenski Jr. testified Friday. Russin wanted to borrow Selenski's 16-gauge shotgun to take care of a skunk problem at 479 Mount Olivet Road in Kingston Township. That was some time in 2003, when Russin was staying at the home of his friend, Hugo Selenski. Russin worried the skunks would spray the dogs living at the home Hugo shared with Tina Strom. Russin wanted to "get rid of them," Ron Selenski testified. Ron Selenski's testimony contradicted Russin's earlier claims that Hugo called Ron Selenski on May 13, 2003, to ask for the shotgun.

From what I have been reading the defense team is running circles around the DA's office. Remember, all you need is a reasonable doubt. The ace in the hole is if Hugo acquitted in these murders he will immediately be charged in the deaths of Michael Jason Kerkowsk and Tammy Lynn Fassett.

Democracy in action.

I spotted this over at GrassrootsPA:

Gentlemen's agreement

Think the legislative pay grab will be a hot issue in every race across the state?

Think again.
Republican and Democratic leadership have agreed that their endsorsed candidates won't mention the pay grab in their campaign literature. A source close to a candidate said the party's campaign money came with this string attached: You can't use it to attack your opponent for taking the pay raise. Another source, a political veteran, said this is a longstanding agreement dating back to past pay raises.

"You can get around it by raising money from other sources to pay for a brochure about the issue," this source said, "but you can't use party money."

They are trying to take the biggest issue off the table? If your a challenger of either party it's your best hammer. I don't think you can muzzle people but it looks like they will try.

2005 Koufax Awards

The annual awards organized by Wampum has been described as the Oscars of lefty bloggers. You can vote by leaving the name of your favorite in the comments or send an email to the site editors. You can only vote once or "we will send your IP address to Bill O'Reilly and you will be receiving a visit from Fox News Security."

The spirit of the awards:

Congratulations to all those who received nominations. You have been recognized by your readers and peers for all of your great work. Providing the means to express our thanks is the central point of the Koufax Awards. Please try to take the remainder of the process in that spirit. The real winners are the readers, the lefty blogging community, and all nominees. The only losers are those who take the awards too seriously.

I have an interest in a few categories:

Most Deserving of Wider Recognition

My vote goes to Simply Left Behind. Carl has insiteful and entertaining analysis of the national news of the day. He also keeps us up to date on the politics of New York. Some of his most fun stuff is the way he slaps down trolls in the comments.

A shout out to PSoTD, 2 Political Junkies (who was nominated in several categories) and Comments From Left Field but I only have one vote.

Best state and local blogs

I didn't know about this category until Jane pointed it out. I think PA has the most nominations in this category. Congratulations to our Keystone bloggers, I read you all everyday. I'm not sure who nominated me (I have my suspect) but thank you for doing so.

Above Average Jane

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat




Rittenhouse Review

A Smoke-Filled Room


Friday, March 03, 2006

Technology drunk

Why use a paper and pencil when you can do the same thing with a $3000 machine?

HARRISBURGThursday's state Supreme Court ruling will allow Luzerne County and 23 other counties to replace lever-style voting machines with electronic devices for the May 16 primary election. But Luzerne County might not have enough time to train the public and election workers to use the new electronic machines in the primary. Counties are rushing to upgrade or replace old balloting systems because a 2002 federal law requires that elections for federal office be held on systems that meet certain tests.

State Sen. Jim Ferlo, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, called the decision predictable.
"It's a political decision, not a legal decision," said the Allegheny County Democrat.
Ferlo said he is concerned that the newer voting systems are being rushed into service by companies that make electronic voting machines without adequate information being provided to voters. He also criticized the computerized touchscreen systems certified so far because they cannot provide voters with written verification of the votes they cast.
"There is a substantive issue here about the integrity and the trust in the voting process itself," he said.

I hate rushed decisions. Because Florida couldn't get it right means the rest of the country has to do things that are not in the interest of voters. Our machines probably outlived their useful life but they still work. If Washington is going to mandate a change they should come up with a national standard that everyone can agree on.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hugo Selenski

The Hugo Selenski trail is underway in Luzerne County. Lots of bones, lots of bodies and lots of bedsheets.

CV: Selensk's former girlfriend, Tina Strom, said she did not see blood or hear gunshots the night of the alleged murder.

WILKES-BARREAll lies and no proof. Defense attorney says that’s the best way to summarize the story "Pat the Rat" Russin concocted in claiming Hugo Selenski lured two drug dealers to his home, then shot and killed them in May 2003.
"Pat Russin is a liar," attorney Demetrius Fannick boomed in his opening statement to the jury Wednesday morning.

Many women find slayings suspect "hot," and he’s gaining sympathy as a result

Ludicrous as it might sound, Hugo Selenski is a babe magnet. Women in offices and bars across Luzerne County describe him as sexy.

People obsessed with Selenski and the case are even branded "Hugoists" on one of the many Internet chat rooms created in his honor – some featuring his picture.

The whole country is watching.

Media outlets from all over descend on courthouse for opening day of trial.

"This case is fascinating and bizarre, I don't think anyone can deny that," said Gerald Kolpan, a reporter for FOX 29 in Philadelphia for almost 20 years. "When you get a case with so many elements with a defendant who has dodged so many bullets, it makes it an interesting story and interesting stories are what our viewers want."

Is he going to walk?

Happy Spring Training

I used the the snow storm today as an excuse to bug out of work early today and watch the Phillies play the Yankees in a totally meaningless spring training game.

Baseball is Back! The regular season starts April 3rd but I'm hooked on the game. We drove home in a snow and ice storm to see it. The highlight was a 2 run homer by Pat Burrell that won the game.

Another blogger that is excited by the return of baseball is Ol'Froth. A Pirates fan that is doing a great job of covering the Bucs.

Ricky finds a wealthy man

We have been hearing about Rick Santorum living paycheck to paycheck and getting a sweetheart deal on a mortgage and his charity spending too much on overhead( But the donors were taken care of) .The Calvary is coming to the rescue to fatten his re-election warchest that only has $7 MILLION+ IN THE BANK.

Bush coming to Pittsburgh raise money for Santorum

President Bush is expected to be in Pittsburgh later this month to help U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum raise money to defend his Senate seat against an anticipated challenge from Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. It would be the president's second fund-raising visit for Mr. Santorum, R-Pa., in this election cycle. Last June, Mr. Bush appeared at a Santorum event in Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, raising a reported $1.7 million for the senator and the state Republican Party.

Mr. Bush, however, remains a fund-raising powerhouse, and Mr. Santorum is intent on amassing the resources he will need in what is expected to be one of the most expensive Senate races in the nation this year.

"Money Money Money"

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain't it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That's too bad
In my dreams I have a plan

If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball...
Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world